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The Tribulation Gospel August 25, 2017

Posted by stevekerp in Christian living, End Times.

Here’s an illustration of the “tribulation gospel” and a few other things:

You buy (or inherit) a large piece of land. You may have funds to build your dream house on it, or perhaps funds are also part of the inheritance. But you tell your lovely and gracious bride that the deal is done, the paperwork is signed and the land is yours.

You are both so excited!

There is a sort of shack standing on the land now, and you decide you will move into the shack until your dream house is completed. You can hardly wait.

But there’s a small problem. A band of vagrants has set up camp on your land. They are trespassing – it’s not their land and never was. But while the land was vacant, they moved in. They are armed and dangerous. You tell them you own the land and you are moving in and they must “vacate the premises forthwith!” or you will call the Sheriff. They snarl at you and refuse to budge.

So you call the Sheriff and explain the situation. You prove to him that you are the lawful owner and you want these trespassers removed. So the Sheriff tells them they must leave or they will be forcibly evicted. They still refuse.

So the Sheriff returns with a few dozen deputies. The miscreants start shooting! The Sheriff and his men return fire, kill some of the vagrants and subdue the rest. Once they are removed, you and your lovely and gracious bride move into the shack. It’s hardship, no doubt about it. There’s little room, the roof leaks when it rains, the floor is half dirt and half old boards, and the wind comes through the walls. It’s too hot in summer and cold in the winter.

A year passes, construction of your dream house is complete, and you move out of the shack and into your new home. The shack is dismantled and the pieces hauled off to be burned.

Regarding the trespassers on your land, no effort is legally required to be made to allow them to stay. They got wrath – as much as necessary and exactly what justice required. The Sheriff first gave them notice, which is what the “everlasting gospel” recorded in Revelation 14:7 is all about:

Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.

The idea that God is going to make another appeal for faith, repentance or obedience after the rapture is a false hope. It may be that people will cry out to God in remorse, but His response is in Proverbs 1:24-32. God will “laugh at [their] calamity” and will “mock when [their] terror comes.” NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2) If people want to ignore God today, when salvation is offered and is freely available, then God will ignore them in the day of disaster. By the way, remorse is not repentance.

Getting back to the story, you and your lovely bride endure hardship while the dream house is being built. Life in the shack is unpleasant, but it is not punitive. No one is mad at you and you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s just the nature of the situation and, truth be told, you brought it on yourself by your free and willing choices. Instead of paying rent for a year and taking longer to finish the house, you opted for a year in the shack.

Christianity – true Christianity – is like that. “In this world you will have tribulation” is one of those precious promises we ignore. Acts 14:22 is another. “Take up your cross daily and follow Me” is not an invitation to a life of ease.

It’s truly a shame that so many prophecy teachers see Daniel’s 70th week as “the tribulation period” and construct such an unbiblical model. Some also seem to think that Abraham, Noah and others were saved by works (or were saved by a different gospel), but in this “church dispensation” all that’s necessary is faith. NO! Abraham was saved by faith, and it issued in obedience; his willingness to sacrifice Isaac. Noah was saved by faith, and it issued in obedience in building the ark. Just read Hebrews 11; you will see that they were all saved by faith that produced obedience. Faith or trust is not stand-alone. The other side of the coin is always obedience to God. That is also the gospel of the “church dispensation” according to James chapter 2.

Faith and works are bound up in the same bundle. He that obeys God trusts God; and he that trusts God obeys God. He that is without faith is without works; and he that is without works is without faith.” Charles Spurgeon

The “everlasting gospel” cited above is not a last-chance, “open the door of your heart” appeal for lost sinners to repent. Rather, lost, defiant and blaspheming sinners are simply being put on notice. The “tribulation period” for the church has lasted 2000 years and is almost over. Wrath for unbelieving Gentiles will soon follow. There are no “second chances” or “make-up classes” and, truth be told, the God-haters who remain after the rapture won’t want any.

For the Jews, there will be a “time of Jacob’s trouble” or, if you prefer, the “tribulation period” cited in Deuteronomy 4:30 that will be short and intense. Once again, it will separate the obedient from the rest (IMHO) and will refine the Jews. Regardless of race, “without faith it is impossible to please God,” and God-pleasing faith always issues in obedience.

It appears to me from scripture that God’s redemptive efforts return to the Jews after the rapture. It may be, of course, that a Gentile could become a Jewish proselyte. It is also entirely possible that a “Gentile” may be predominantly Gentile but have Jewish blood – and how much is necessary to “qualify” as a Jew is up to God – once again, even in wrath He may allow mercy.

I think the preaching of lavish grace and “second chances” during the “tribulation period” when suddenly people will “get it” and “accept Christ” is extremely irresponsible. That’s the main dragon I’m trying to slay. People who teach that one can survive God’s wrath with dried food and a water filter will be seriously disappointed.

The Sign of the Son alignment will be in place on September 23rd. Please – if you haven’t already: get your priorities in order. Now is the appointed time.

The Pre-Tribulation Misnomer August 24, 2017

Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.
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“Pop-eschatology” (which seemed to begin with Hal Lindsey in about 1969) says that there will be a huge number of people saved during the “great tribulation” – popularly defined as the last 3 1/2 years of the final seven years. In Revelation 7:9-14 we see this “great multitude which no one could number … who come out of the great tribulation…” etc.

But it looks like this crowd appears in heaven before the trumpet and bowl judgments, and also there is no indication in the text that the judgments of God during the Trumpet and Bowl judgments ever lead to repentance. In fact, the text says just the opposite in Rev. 9:20-21 and Rev. 16:9-11.

The phrase “great tribulation” only appears three times in the New Testament, and it’s never “THE great tribulation” as if a distinct time period or event:

Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Some have suggested that Matthew 24:21 and Revelation 7:14 are two references to the same period of “great tribulation” but a careful review of the context and details quickly disproves this idea. One problem is that those who hear and obey the Lord in Matthew 24 are those who leave Jerusalem/Judea and, by leaving, survive this period of great tribulation (which appears from the context to be localized rather than global). Those who refuse to hear and/or disobey will remain and be killed. So those who are disobedient go into eternity. Should we conclude that they are rewarded for their disobedience? How do these wind up before the throne? Is remaining in Jerusalem the same as “washing their robes and making them white in the blood”?

Second, this group we see in Revelation 7 is large – like really large. The text says they are a great multitude which no one could number, and that all nations and people-groups are represented. Can this be said of the casualties in Jerusalem who die during the “great tribulation” visited on Judea?

My tentative conclusion, is that “great tribulation” is used as a descriptive phrase but refers to separate events. The “great tribulation” of Matthew 24 appears to be “great” because it is intense, but it is a short and local event. The “great tribulation” of Revelation 7:14 appears to be “great” because it is global and maybe because it lasts a long time. It is probably connected to “tribulation” as it is used in Matthew 24:9, Romans 5:3, and Acts 14:22. We ALL get tribulation; it’s part of being a Christian. It’s good for us in that it develops character, and it’s connected to the cleansing blood of Christ.

Whether it’s a last-days worldwide persecution (see Matthew 24:9) or it’s the tribulation visited on every believer for the past 2,000 years – every Christian who has washed his robes and made them white – is a separate question.

The third instance of “great tribulation” is in Revelation 2:22. Here, we see that just one person – identified as “Jezebel” – is threatened with “a sickbed.” Those who commit adultery with her are threatened with “great tribulation” unless they repent. It would be a stretch to suggest that this is a large group of spiritual adulterers who are punished by God by being subjected to “the great tribulation” and then subsequently are found in Revelation 7 standing before the Throne with white robes. And the text does not tell us whether or not they do repent, so we have no way of knowing whether this particular “great tribulation” is visited on a large group, a small group, or nobody at all. What we could safely say is that if they DO repent, they avoid “great tribulation” but stand before the Throne, whereas if they don’t repent, they experience great tribulation.

One of my conclusions is that using the term “great tribulation” has been a serious and foolish misnomer in eschatology, especially when used as a time-marker for the harpazo. Because eschatologists make up their own definitions and contexts, the “pre-trib rapture debate” has generated strife for many, many years in the eschatological community (the “eschatosphere”). Using the term “tribulation” (or “tribulation period”) to refer to Daniel’s 70th week is Biblically inconsistent and demonstrates poor scholarship. Similarly, using the term “great tribulation” to refer to the last half of the final seven years before the Millennial reign of Christ is the source of much confusion, as well as bizarre and unsupportable time lines. The “dispute” between the pre-trib and post-trib positions would probably not exist if we insisted on Biblically accurate and precise terminology.

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