Opportunity Lost

The greatest opportunity for the church to fulfill the great commission and its mandate to love one another will come during the great tribulation.

Right now churches and Christians should be making their plans to win souls and to store up food and other supplies to provide for themselves and others during the tribulation. They should be setting up networks of believers and safe houses and places to hunker down. When the mark of the beast comes out it will be too late to make any of these preparations.

There will be multitudes in the valley of decision. Many will recognize the beast and refuse to worship him or take his mark. They’ll kneel at the feet of Christ in repentance, seeking His mercy and salvation. When they stand up again as new creatures they will look to Christ’s body (us) for help. They will not be able to buy or sell and will have no way to support themselves or their families.

Will we have anything to offer them other than the words, “Be ye warmed and filled” (James 2:16)?

When we stand before Jesus which group will we be in?

Those who were told, “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me:” Matt. 25: 34&35).

Or will we be in the other group that heard these words: “I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not” (Matt. 25:42 & 43).

What will we answer? “Lord I expected you to feed me during the tribulation.”

Or maybe, “My pastor said it would be a lack of faith to make any preparations.”

Of course most will be saying, “Lord, I believed you were going to rapture me so I made no provisions for anyone, not my family, not my friends not myself and certainly not these strangers.

What will His answer be?

We already know.

“Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me” (Matt. 25:45).

I’ll let you look up the next verse.


More on Preparing for the Tribulation

There may still be some who are convinced God will provide for them just as He provided manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Their feeling is that God says He’ll supply their every need so they’ll just trust in Him. Some go so far as to say it would be a waste of resources that could be used for ministry now.

From what I’ve seen, most of the people who say this are people who believe in a pre-Tribulation rapture. They don’t believe they’ll be here for the Tribulation, and they don’t believe they’ll be faced with the Mark of the Beast, so it’s easy for them to adopt a cavalier attitude about it.

However, when it comes to their own personal lives many of them hold a double standard because they have no issue at all with preparing for events they do believe they’ll face or may face.

For instance, they’ve set aside money for retirement because their social security may not be enough. If they believe God will provide for them, then why are they saving up? Why not donate that IRA to missions?

They put money aside for their kid’s college. Don’t they believe God will provide the money if He wants their children to go to college?

On the coast where I live, they’ve got portable generators to prepare for power outages from a hurricane. They usually have extra gas cans and storm shutters to protect their homes from damage as well. Many of them have a few days extra provisions stored up. If they’re so confident that God will provide and protect them why are they making these preparations?

Even if their home is paid off and they are not required by a mortgage holder to insure their home they still maintain the insurance in case their home is damaged in some way. If they believe God will protect them, why are they buying insurance? Those premiums could feed a lot of orphans.

Many of them profess to believe in divine healing, yet they pay for health insurance, and when they’re sick – off they go to the doctor. If they believe God will heal them why do they have health insurance and why do they go to the doctor?

Now, the fact is, they may not live to retirement age, their kids may not go to college, they may never be hit by a hurricane, and they may never get sick. But they maintain these precautions just in case.

On the other hand, if they live long enough they definitely will go through the Tribulation.

Why is it OK to prepare for something that “might” happen and wrong to prepare for something that “will” happen?

Now, just for the record, I am not finding fault with any of these things. I’m simply pointing out the double standard in saying one is OK and the other is not.

So usually, when I hear this, it’s not a sincere objection; it’s more of a self righteous proclamation. But, regardless of that let’s take a closer look.

When we compare the Great Tribulation to Israel’s flight from Egypt we immediately see a major difference – no advance warning, and no time to prepare.

The Jews didn’t know Moses was coming. He just showed up one day. There was a flurry of plagues and disasters and the next thing they knew they were on the other side of the Red Sea. It probably seemed to them like they went to bed in Egypt one night, and woke up the next morning in the middle of the Sinai desert with no food or water.

It was a situation that God had unexpectedly put them in and God took care of them by giving them manna from heaven and water from the rock.

On the other hand the Great Tribulation is not unexpected. It is one of the most prophesied events in the Bible.

When Israel found themselves in the wilderness with no food or water it was because of obedience to God. So, God blessed them with manna from heaven.

However, it will not be obedience to God that causes many to find themselves without food or water during the Great Tribulation. It will be because they ignored the clear warnings of God and didn’t prepare.

Unfortunately, there will also be many who will find themselves without food or water, not because they didn’t prepare, but because they were betrayed and the Anti-Christ government stole their food. For them there is the glorious promise in Revelation 2:10, “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life,” and the comfort of knowing that in Heaven they will never hunger or thirst again.

So we see from these examples that historically when God has given an advance warning it’s because He expected His people to prepare, and when they did prepare He blessed them for it.

In all these cases, God provided a supernatural deliverance.

In Noah’s case it was by giving him instructions on how to build the boat and by giving him enough advance warning to build it. Remember, the Bible says there was no indication at all when he started the ark that a flood was coming.

In the case of the famine God gave a warning and then provided seven years of supernatural abundance so they would have enough extra to be able to store up for the famine.

It was only in the wilderness, when there was no advance warning and no ability or time to prepare, that God provided the manna from heaven.

In the case of the Great Tribulation He’s given us advance warning and plenty of it: Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 12, 17 and 21, the book of Revelation, and much of the book of Daniel just to name a few.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this book, Revelation chapter seven also gives us some insight into whether or not God will provide for us during the Tribulation, as He provided the Manna to Israel. Read from verse nine to the end of the chapter.

In verse nine John records that, “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb,” In verse fourteen He’s told, “These are they which came out of great tribulation.”

Then in verse sixteen the angel says, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

If God had fed them during the Great Tribulation they wouldn’t have hungered or thirsted. But, clearly this is saying that they did hunger and thirst, they may have even starved to death but they kept their faith and now Christ is feeding them.

Pay close attention to these words, “Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” One of the end time plagues is that the sun will scorch the earth. Could it be that these saints had no shelter from the sun?

This fits exactly with Christ’s many exhortations in the Gospels to endure unto the end. It will not be easy for any believers during the Tribulation. That is the overriding message of Christ’s Olivet discourse and the entire book of Revelation. If you don’t understand anything else out of those books you should at least get that.

The Third Reason the Church Will Go Through the Great Tribulation

The third purpose for having the church go through the Great Tribulation is the most important of all and should also be the most obvious of all. The church is needed to preach the gospel to this lost and dying world one last time.

The Tribulation period is a transitional period out of the dispensation of grace and into the dispensation of judgment. The purpose of the Great Tribulation is to bring the world to its knees.

God will be pouring out His Spirit and dealing with everyone on earth during the Great Tribulation. God has always dealt with people on multiple levels and it will be no different during the Great Tribulation, except that He will be dealing with everyone in the world at the same time, and for the last time.

God will be calling all races to repentance, He will be calling all nations to repentance, He will be calling all cities to repentance, He will be calling all families to repentance and He will be calling all individuals to repentance.

On the one hand God will be pouring out wrath, but on the other hand Jesus is still standing at the door and knocking. He’s still saving souls and forgiving sins, but that’s all about to end.

Human nature is such that most people do not turn to God until they feel that they have nowhere else to go. When I was at my hour of greatest need, Christ had someone there for me, and that’s when I came to Him. If you are a Christian reading this, then you know this is true of yourself as well. God had someone there for you at your hour of need.

When Christ came the first time, He fulfilled over 300 prophecies. Aside from the prophecies in Daniel which were sealed, almost all of those prophecies were about Him and not about the times in which He would live. In other words, there was no advance warning. There were no prophecies about historical events that would take place just prior to His coming, so that we could look and know, “He’s coming soon.” He just literally showed up one day. All the prophecies were about what He would do when He came.

For His second coming, it seems like it’s almost the opposite, it seems like there are more prophecies and warnings about the events that will precede His coming than there are about what He will do when He returns.

Soon every person on Earth will be faced with a decision; whether or not to take The Mark of the Beast. Once a person takes the Mark of the Beast they can’t be forgiven. They can try to repent but it will be like the repentance of Esau, “…when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Heb. 12:17).

Why do you think God put all these warnings about the Tribulation, the anti-Christ and the Mark of the Beast in the Bible?

I think the answer is obvious. It’s so the church will recognize the anti-Christ and the Mark of the Beast for what they are and warn the world. The world has never needed Christ more, and the world has never needed the church more.

It would go entirely against God’s loving nature to pull the church out of the world right at the time of the world’s greatest need.

At our time of need God sent someone to us. Why would He not send us to them at their time of need? He loves them as much as He loves us. He died on the cross for them too.

This is why I said earlier that the pre-Tribulation rapture is based on a shallow understanding of God’s love. Pre-Tribulationists remember God’s love for them but seem to forget about God’s love for others.

Pre-Tribulationists have painted the church as the fair haired child, God’s little darling, that He is going to whisk away from the big bad Tribulation. “It would be like beating up His bride just before the wedding” they say, “to have her go through the Tribulation.”

What utter nonsense! The entire history of the church is a history of tribulation, sacrifice and suffering. Real love is being willing to sacrifice yourself so that others can be saved. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

The fact is, here on earth we are still the body of Christ, not the Bride. We are not reigning with Him yet.

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim 2:12).

As the body of Christ, we have a job to do and that job is to fulfill the Great Commission. That’s the third reason why the church will undergo the Great Tribulation.

The Second Reason the Church Will Go Through the Great Tribulation

The next purpose that comes to mind for having the church go through the Tribulation is the same purpose God had when he flaunted Job before the devil. Most Christians know the story but I’ll recap it here briefly.
The sons of God were presenting themselves before the Lord and Satan came up among them. God boasted of Job to Satan and Satan responded by accusing Job of being a fair-weather believer.
“Take away his riches and blessings and he’ll curse you to your face” is basically what Satan said. So God gave Satan permission to take away everything Job had. In one day, Job lost all his wealth and all his children. Even his own wife turned against him, but Job remained faithful.
After this Satan came up again and God boasted of Job again. This time Satan said “take away his health and then he’ll curse you to your face.” So God gave Satan permission to take Job’s health and Satan smote Job from head to foot with sore boils.
Then, to add fuel to the fire, Job’s closest friends turned against him. They came to visit, but instead of comforting Job as real friends would do, they mocked him and told him he was getting what he deserved for being so self-righteous. Still, Job would not curse God. He remained faithful.
In the end Job’s friends were rebuked and Job was doubly blessed for his faithfulness. Job’s faithfulness was used as a testimony against his friends.
Ever since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, men have been trying to blame others including God, for their sins, as Adam did. Adam told God, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12). In other words, “It’s your fault God, you gave me the woman.”
It will be no different on the great and terrible Day of Judgment. Unbelievers and sinners from all ages, right up to those who took the Mark of the Beast, will be looking for someone or something to blame in a last desperate attempt to justify their sins, in hopes of somehow escaping the horrible eternal fate that awaits them.
To answer those people, God will produce His church as a testimony against them, just as He produced Job as a testimony against Satan.
The testimony of Christians who wouldn’t take the Mark of the Beast will be used against all who did. The faithfulness of the church will expose their claims as nothing more than false excuses.
They will see believers who endured the same troubles and tribulations as they did yet trusted God and wouldn’t take the Mark of the Beast. They will see believers who suffered starvation, imprisonment and murder, but wouldn’t give in to the Beast and take his mark.
Then, just as the rich man in Hell saw Lazarus being comforted, they will see the church being rewarded. They will be left naked before God with their true motives revealed, as stated by Jesus, they “…loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).
This is what Apostle Paul was talking about when he told the Corinthians that the saints would Judge the world. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (1 Cor. 6:2). In Revelation chapter 20:4 we see the fulfillment of this prophecy, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:”
In Hebrews 4:15 it says that Christ was, “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” This is what gives Him the ability to comfort and succor us because He knows what we are going through. He’s been through it himself.
Likewise, the fact that we have endured the same temptations and tribulations as the sinners, yet remained faithful, is what gives us the authority to be their judges. We are in a very real sense a jury of their peers.
So, the second reason that the church will undergo the Tribulation is so that they can be a testimony against the world and judge the world.

Three Reasons Why The Church Will Be Going Through The Great Tribulation

Reason #1

One reason the church will be going through the Tribulation is because the church needs to be chastised and purged. The church is not without fault.

The idea of the church being purged is something that a lot of Christians will have trouble accepting because they have been fed such a watered down version of the Gospel and have done very little Bible study of their own.

Purging is how God weeds out the hangers on, those who are seeds sown on stony ground or seeds sown amongst the thorns. They receive the word and are happy as long as they are being blessed but as soon as any hardship or persecution arises they lose their faith.

This purging will be the fulfillment of John the Baptist’s prophecy which he gave as he prepared the way for Jesus “… he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:12). This is repeated in Luke chapter three as well.

It’s a prophecy that will see its fulfillment at the Second Coming of Christ. Christ will purge the church through the Tribulation and then He will gather them into His garner (the resurrection and rapture). The chaff (the wicked) will be burned with unquenchable fire.

This goes along with First Peter 4:17 and 18, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

The book of Revelation is about the fulfillment of John the Baptist’s prophecy and God’s end time judgment of the world. It begins where Peter tells us judgment must begin – at the house of God – the church!

The second and third chapters of the book of Revelation give us God’s judgment of the Church.

There are seven churches in all and much has been said and written about who they are. These seven churches have been depicted as seven church ages, seven specific denominations that are still around today and of course, seven churches that existed during the early years among other things. I’m sure there is some truth to all of these ideas, but I think they also represent seven types of churches that cross all denominational lines. They range all the way from the self righteous and selfish (Laodicea) to the selfless and loving (Philadelphia).

Jesus begins his message to each church with the same statement “I know thy works.” Then He proceeds to pronounce His judgment on each one. Five churches are told to repent and one of them is rebuked so severely that He says, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:16).

Smyrna is a church with which He finds no fault. He tells them not to fear the coming Tribulation saying, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).

So here we see in Smyrna a specific prophecy that they will undergo the Great Tribulation and suffer. They are even told that they will need to be faithful unto death, but they are not to be afraid because their reward will be a crown of life.

Remember, Jesus found no fault with Smyrna, yet He told them they would be suffering the Tribulation. What do you think that means for the other five churches that were told to repent?

The church at Philadelphia is the only church to actually be commended. He tells them, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev.3:10).

This is generally cited by pre-Tribulationists as proof of a pre-Tribulation rapture. However this promise is to this church only, not to all the churches and a promise of deliverance or protection is by no means proof of a pre-Tribulation rapture.

There are many ways for God to keep His people from Tribulation. We already read of the instructions to the locusts not to harm those with the seal of God.

Read the forty-fifth chapter of Jeremiah to see God’s promise to Baruch the son of Neriah. Because of his faithfulness, God preserved him during the Babylonian takeover just as God also preserved Jeremiah.

God raised up Obadiah to hide one hundred prophets in caves to protect them from the persecution of Jezebel.

A crowd of people sought to slay Jesus and He walked right through the midst of them.

Soldiers came for Elijah and they were consumed by fire from heaven.

There are many examples in the Bible of God delivering and protecting His people in different ways. In fact God never had to rapture anyone in order to protect them before. Why would we think it’s His only option now?

After pronouncing His judgment on each church Jesus finishes up with a message of encouragement to each one, promising blessings and eternal rewards to all those who “overcome.” Laodicea which received the stiffest rebuke is also told, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev.3:19).

So, we see from the judgment of the churches in Revelation chapters two and three that the church is not perfect. They, just like Israel before them, have not fulfilled their appointed purpose. Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 11:32, “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

That’s why the second purpose for having the church go through the Great Tribulation is to chasten and purge the church and to try them and prove them just as Israel of old was tried and proved.

What does it mean to be tried and proved?

It means you are going to have to prove your faith. You’re going to have to do something that proves to God that you believe His word and trust Him above all else.

Abraham was tried and proved.

Abraham had made a profession of faith and had been following the Lord, but God was about to bestow upon Abraham a great blessing. God was about to make Abraham the father of both the Messiah, and His chosen people. Abraham was about to become one of the most pivotal figures in human history, he would forever be known as “the father of faith.”

But God wanted to be sure Abraham believed Him 100%. So He tested Abraham.

A lot of people will scoff at this, they’ll say “God already knows our hearts,” but just read the story as it happened in Genesis and you’ll see that it’s true.

“And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, … And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”

As you can see, it wasn’t until after Abraham was actually about to kill Isaac that the angel of the Lord stopped him. Only then was God satisfied. Only then did God say, “Now I know.”

Faith is far more than something you hold in your heart. Faith is how you show God what’s in your heart. Hebrews 11:1 says, “… faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Faith is the evidence of what you believe. Faith is the action that shows your belief. Abraham’s willingness to offer his son Isaac proved he believed “that God was able to raise him up even from the dead” (Heb. 11:19).

God is getting ready to wrap things up and end it all. He’s getting ready to bestow the greatest blessing ever to His church. They are going to sit with Him on His throne and reign with Him forever. Many have already proven themselves and are waiting with Him in heaven, but before He brings the rest of us in we are going to have to be tried. We are going to have to prove our faith.

How will we be asked to prove our faith? by loving God more than we love our own lives.

Many Christians already prove this to God on a daily basis by living fully surrendered lives. But many more have one foot in the world so to speak and are really only living semi-surrendered lives. They haven’t yet proved to God that they love Him more than life. The Mark of the Beast will force their hand.

No more serving of two masters – cling to Christ and hate the beast or cling to this life by taking the mark and show Christ your true colors.

The book of Hebrews describes the end time purging like this, “…Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26 & 27).

In other words God is going to shake out the chaff, just as prophesied by John the Baptist.

Next week I will post reason #2.

Preparing For The Tribulation

Pre-Tribulationists and even some post-Tribulationists seem to have two main objections to preparing for the Tribulation. One, it’s a lack of faith and two, it’s fear based.

So before we get into any discussions about how to prepare for the Tribulation let’s address these two issues.

The first thing we’ll look at is a story from the Bible that we all know quite well; the story of Noah’s ark.

Not the one in Genesis but the one that’s given to us in Hebrews 11:7.

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

This scripture gives us the answer to our question: act of faith or act of fear?

The answer is: “both.” Noah, acted by faith, moved with fear.

The fear of God is a subject that you don’t hear much about today. Most people don’t understand it.

Satan has done a good job of portraying the fear of God as being like the fear of a child with an alcoholic father. They never know what kind of a mood he’ll be in and they never know what will set him off. Something that’s OK today may get them a beating tomorrow. They walk around in a constant state of terror and they dread the sight of their father.

When you try to talk to people about the fear of God today, this is the image they conjure up in their minds. They think that you believe God is like an alcoholic father and that’s why you fear him.

Of course, the opposite is what’s really true. We don’t fear God because He’s inconsistent and moody. We fear Him because He’s consistent. His word is true, and He won’t change it for anyone. With God, there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).

Jesus explained it like this: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).

Putting that into the context of the times we live in might read something like this, “If someone orders you to take the Mark of the Beast under penalty of death, don’t be afraid of him because the worst he can do is kill you; after that God will take you to heaven. Instead, be afraid of God, because if you do take the Mark, God may not kill you right away, but when you do die, He will send your soul to hell forever.”

The fear of God could also be described as being afraid to doubt God. If you doubt His Word and take the Mark you will be damned. He won’t let you off the hook.

Noah was given a daunting task; to build what was probably the biggest boat ever made up to that time. I’m sure he had his detractors and those who said it couldn’t be done; he may have even felt that way himself. But Noah was afraid to doubt God. He knew that if God gave him the task then he would be able to do it. He also knew if he doubted God and didn’t prepare, then he and his family would be wiped out. So he put his faith in God’s warning and got busy. That’s how faith is moved by fear.

We don’t know how long it took to build the ark or how long it had been completed before the flood came. We do know that there was no visible sign of impending disaster when God told him to start building and that it must have taken considerable time and resources to build it.

But, most importantly, we know that God was very pleased with Noah’s demonstration of faith; so pleased, that He gave Noah the mantle of: “heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

Out of all the billions of people who have lived and died during the thousands of years between Adam’s sin and the birth of Jesus Christ, only one man in each generation received this title. It meant that God had chosen his bloodline as the Messianic bloodline. It was the greatest honor any person on earth could receive and it could only be bestowed by God. In his generation Noah was the man.

Those who condemn preparing for the Tribulation, as an act of fear, or as a lack of faith, would do well to meditate on Noah’s story for a while.

How does the flood compare to our present situation?

First of all, we’ve been given advance warning just as Noah was.

Second, just like Noah, we’ve been given specific instructions on what to prepare for.

Third, unlike Noah we’ve actually been given signs to tell us when it’s approaching.

Fourth, in addition to the advance warning, we’ve also been given a very stern admonition not to wait until the last minute to prepare. “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:31 & 32). In other words, don’t wait for the rain to come before you start building your Ark, it’ll be too late.

Fifth, Just as Noah was told what to do to survive; we’ve been told where to go to survive, or at least those living in Judea have. “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Matt. 24:16). Of course, most of us are not in Judea, but I think the message is clear, find a similar place of seclusion to flee to or move to the mountains of Israel when you see the time approaching.

Of course, there may be some who will say, that was different, because God specifically told Noah to build the Ark. Even though Jesus said to flee to the mountains, He didn’t say specifically say to prepare a place there ahead of time.

Now, seeing as how it will be fatal to pack when the time comes, and seeing as how Jesus told them where to flee to; don’t you think maybe He’s hinting at preparing a place in the mountains and stocking up some provisions ahead of time? If He was planning on delivering them Himself, why did He tell them to flee?

Now, let’s look again at the case of the famine in Egypt. Pharaoh was warned about the famine seven years before it came. Even though God didn’t specifically tell Pharaoh to store up anything for the famine, Joseph, the man of God, had learned from the lesson of Noah and quickly grasped that the purpose of the warning was to ensure that Egypt would be ready. He also understood that the purpose of the seven years of plenty was to ensure that they would be able to prepare. That’s why his advice was to start storing up for the famine immediately.

At the time, even Joseph didn’t know the full significance of his actions. But, he had the common sense to realize that God didn’t provide the dreams for Pharaoh’s entertainment. God doesn’t issue warnings for no reason. So for seven years Egypt stored up 20% of all their crops.

When the famine hit, Egypt was ready; but what about the rest of the land? They must have heard that Pharaoh was storing up food. They must have heard of the prophecies about the famine. A nation the size of Egypt could not store up 20% of all their harvests in secret.

But, apparently no one else was prepared for the famine, because the Bible says, “all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands” (Gen. 41:57). This is how Joseph was reunited with his family and this is how God chose to preserve Israel during the famine.

So, not only did Egypt and the countries that were all around benefit from preparing for the famine, but when you think about it, you and I benefitted as well, along with everyone who has ever lived and ever will live; since it was Joseph’s prudence that preserved the Messianic line, which brought salvation to the world through Jesus Christ.

Where would we be if the Messianic bloodline had perished in the famine?

Of course, it didn’t, because God provided a supernatural deliverance. God did His part by providing a heads up and seven years of record crops. Joseph did his part by building huge warehouses and storing up those crops. It wasn’t as supernatural as the manna, but it was God’s deliverance none the less.

It would have been too late for Israel and Egypt if Joseph had waited until the famine started before he stored up any food. There wouldn’t have been anything to store.

Once the anti-Christ takes over the food supply, and the Mark of the Beast comes out, Christians who fell for the pre-Tribulation deception will suddenly find themselves scrambling for food. They’ll be flocking to those who prepared, hoping they’ve got a little extra, just as all the nations flocked to Egypt.

Unfortunately, what they will get in many cases is the same answer given to the five unwise virgins, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you:” (Matt. 25:9).

Will the Church be raptured before the Great tribulation?


There are a lot of people who try to duck this issue by saying, “What difference does it make, the important thing is to be ready.”

Of course that’s true but there is a big difference between being ready for a pre-Tribulation rapture and a post-Tribulation rapture. The difference is not in being ready for the rapture. If you’re saved, you’re ready for the rapture.

The difference is in being ready for the Tribulation.

The restoration of Israel as a nation was the key end time event that essentially started the clock ticking for Christ’s return. Until that time, the question of whether or not the church would go through the Tribulation was merely academic. It was a discussion about “them” not about “us.” But now with Israel’s restoration, the establishment of the United Nations and many other fulfilled prophecies, it is clear that we are living in the end times and it’s very likely that we are living in the last generation as prophesied by Jesus, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt. 24:34).

With that in mind the question of whether or not the church will go through the Tribulation takes on a new importance. The question is not “Will the church go through the Tribulation?” but “Will we go through the Tribulation?” It’s no more an abstract discussion about others in a future time and place, but about us in the here and now. If the church is raptured before the Tribulation, we will be raptured. If the church is here during the Tribulation we will be here.

We will be the ones who are persecuted and hated of all nations. It will be us that the anti-Christ is hunting down and murdering. We and our friends and families will be the ones who are beheaded and martyred.

It will also be our friends and neighbors and maybe even our own family members who will betray us to the anti-Christ, as Jesus warns in Mark 13. “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:12 & 13).

Most of us are familiar with the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. Daniel’s enemies had a law passed that was specifically written to target and destroy Daniel because of his belief in the one true God. When these men presented this law to the king for his approval, they deliberately hid their real intentions. Once the law was on the books it had to be enforced; which is why Daniel was arrested and thrown in the lion’s den. We know the rest of the story. The Lord sent an angel to shut the lion’s mouths and Daniel was alive and well the next morning.

I know that many pre-Tribulationists cite this story as a type or foreshadowing of the pre-Tribulation rapture and I will address the error of that analogy later.

My point here is that the anti-Christ will use this same tactic against the church. The Mark of the Beast will be presented to the world as both necessary and beneficial when in fact its real and primary purpose will be to make war with the church as stated in Daniel 7:21. “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.”

Imagine yourself as a Christian parent watching your young son or daughter literally starving to death because you cannot buy any food. You can’t work because you can’t get paid unless you take the Mark. For a while you trade and barter all your possessions for food but eventually you run out of stuff to trade. You’re forced to beg but pretty soon no one will help you because they’re afraid of you. You’ve been portrayed in the media as a religious whack job and they’re afraid of what you might do to them. After all if you simply take the Mark you’ll have plenty of food.

You can’t pay your rent so you live on the street and all the time Satan is whispering in your ear saying, “Go ahead and take the Mark. God wouldn’t want you to starve and He sure wouldn’t want your children to starve. God knows your heart; He knows that you aren’t worshipping the beast you’re just trying to survive.”

“Go ahead and take the Mark.”

What would you do?

Due to the proliferation of the pre-Tribulation rapture doctrine, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of unprepared Christian parents will soon be faced with this decision.

It’s no wonder Jesus gave this warning, “Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!”

I Timothy 5:8 says, “… if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

But if you think that it’s OK to take the Mark of the Beast to feed your family read this.

“…If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his Mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:9 & 10).

So, you’re worse than an infidel if you don’t provide and you’ll go to hell if you provide by taking the Mark. That really leaves only one alternative – prepare ahead of time!

As Christians and as brothers, sisters, sons, daughters or parents we all have others whom we are responsible for. We owe it to them; in fact it is our sacred duty both to them and to ourselves to know the truth of this matter.

Of course there are a lot of people who will say it doesn’t matter because God will take care of us anyway. But in Revelation chapter seven He essentially tells us that He won’t.

Starting at verse nine, John sees a great multitude of people from all over the world dressed in white robes. First he’s told that they are the ones who came out of Great Tribulation. Then he’s told,

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;”

In other words, during the Tribulation they did hunger and thirst, which means obviously that God did not provide food or water for them, otherwise they wouldn’t have hungered.

It’s my belief that God has warned us in advance so that we can prepare for the Great Tribulation and provide for our families without taking the Mark of the Beast.



What if?

In Matthew chapter four Satan tried to use the scriptures against Jesus.

“Cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Matt. 4:6).

Jesus saw through his deception and answered,

“It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matt. 4:7).

What if ignoring the many warnings about the Great Tribulation, and not making any preparations, is no different than throwing yourself off the “pinnacle of the temple” and expecting God to catch you?

The Great Tribulation will be a time of affliction unsurpassed in human history, but even more importantly, it will be a time of unsurpassed persecution and bloodshed of Christians.

Millions of innocent men, women and children around the world will be martyred for their faith.

Pre-Tribulationists teach that the church will not be on earth during this unprecedented time of persecution and bloodshed.

What if they’re wrong?

What if the “fellow servants and brethren” waiting to be slain in Revelation six are not “tribulation saints” but the church – us, our families, our children?

What if the many chapters of the Bible, that tell us of the Great Tribulation, were put there as a warning, like the dreams of Pharaoh, so that we would know to prepare?

What if the pre-Tribulation Rapture is not a “blessed hope,” but is instead a “dangerous deception?”