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Training for The Tribulation
Prophecy - Signs
Friday, June 29, 2018
Alf Cengia

Hello! How is your training for The Tribulation going?

I know, I know! - This is an old theme which I've addressed before. Why continue to bring it up? Well I keep seeing the same stuff over and over, and over again. Non-pretribulationists seem obsessed with the supposed unpreparedness of pretribulationists.

Before continuing I'd like to refer readers to Steven Schmutzer's provocative article Pick a Pack of Proper Preppers.

And some house keeping.

There seems to be general confusion regarding the term "tribulation" - even among those who hold to the same rapture timing position. Some say the church isn't exempted from tribulation (I agree), and that tribulation is distinct from God's wrath. They'll even give you the Greek terms for God's wrath and tribulation as "proof."

Furthermore, some hold that not all of the 70th week is "tribulation" - only after the Abomination of Desolation (AoD). God's wrath then follows after this "Antichrist Tribulation" period.

Here are some quick thoughts.

Yes, the church is promised tribulation as long as it is in this world (see Rom 5:3; James 1:2; 1 Pet 1:6; Rev 1:9). Tribulation is ever present; it has many sources and reasons. One of these sources is God's wrath. See Romans 2:8-9.

When Christ said there would be great tribulation as had never been seen before (Matt 24:21), He was defining its severity. Jesus cannot mean that the starting point of "tribulation" is at the AoD, given tribulation is ever-present and varied. When we understand this, it's difficult to exclude the 2nd and 4th seals of Revelation.

Note: In his groundbreaking book on the Pre-Wrath Rapture, Marvin Rosenthal placed the 4th seal immediately prior to the AoD (Beginning of Sorrows). In contrast Robert Van Kampen placed it immediately after the AoD to coincide with the Antichrist. He believed the 4th seal only affected Jews-Christians; that the beasts (in Rev 6:8) refer to Antichrist and False Prophet. No wonder many are confused!

For a rebuttal to these positions see Renald Showers' books "Maranatha - Our Lord, Come" and "The Pre-Wrath Rapture View - An Examination and Critique."

But back to my Tribulation Training gripe.

Some time ago a gentleman contacted me for financial support in order to continue exposing the dangers of pretribulationism. Since then someone else asked for money to promote his non-pretrib ministry. He thinks his message is unpopular because suffering under the Great Tribulation threatens most people.

I can't speak for everyone but my rejection of their views is based on my understanding of Scripture, not an effort to avoid the "truth." I suspect the same follows for other people. These examples are numerous.

A lady with a popular online ministry hosted a series of sound-bite videos on preparing for the tribulation. Essentially the message is the same - discard pretribulationism. She once stated that the big enemy [to fight against] is the false pretrib teaching. Donations are always helpful too. Fighting pretribulationism is costly business.

One writer summed it up this way:

Very few people want to go through tribulation. It’s in our human nature to avoid pain, suffering, loss, and trial. This is the primary allure of the pre-trib rapture doctrine. It tells Christians that they will not be around when the real evil sweeps the planet.

No kidding! Personally, I know of no one who desires tribulation. Do you?

As I've often suggested, if tribulation is your thing, there are places where you can get in some practice for the Big Event. How does one actually prepare for the Antichrist Tribulation? Give us the nuts and bolts of it. Virtue-signaling platitudes don't help.

What do you have for the Christian suffering from life-long chronic depression? What about Christians going through so much pain they don't want to live anymore? How about the father confronted by a chronically depressed daughter who contemplates suicide because of the stresses of life? Some welcome death as a relief.

I know of families and individuals who are experiencing significant tribulation right now. My own family has been through some, though many are far worse off. I could go on but I'll spare you.

Nobody wants tribulation. We ask for prayer for relief of these circumstances (Eph 6:18; James 5:16). This is the case even when we experience joy in trials caused by exercising our faith right now (Acts 16:25). 

Here's where Paul placed his trust:

...indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us. 2 Cor 1:9-10

Unless one has something more profound than posttrib rapture timing in any Tribulation Training Manual, they have nothing for these people. Whether they're trials experienced now, or something far worse in the future, the answer can only be found in our faith in Christ.

Whenever I suffer and struggle with faith, I desire prayer. I need to be reminded of what Paul told us in Philippians 4:11-13. He could rejoice in all manner of trials because of Christ who strengthened him. In Romans chapter 8 Paul tells us that tribulation, persecution, peril, sword will not separate us from the love of Christ.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:38-39

Holding onto this kind of faith will take care of any future tribulations, regardless of their severity. Put that in your training manuals.

Finally, shouldn't our focus be on the lost? What about the Great Commission and winning souls to the Lord? Wake up, People!


Further resources
The Soul Winner (Charles Spurgeon)
Living in Hope in Hopeless Times

About Alf Cengia 

Last week: Dragon Deception and God's Warriors

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