Would God Allow His Bride to Go Through the Great Tribulation (And Why)?

“God would not allow his bride to go through the Great Tribulation!”

I couldn’t tell you how many times I have been told the above, or asked it (rhetorically). Most of the time it comes from a staunch pretribber who is not really wanting to find a solution to the dilemma he thinks this question portrays. He is assuming a pretrib rapture is needed for the sake of the “dainty” Bride of Christ.

The question itself comes from a common misunderstanding of what the Great Tribulation is and what it is not. There is another misunderstanding on what we as believers should expect in our life of service to God. Let us address both of these misunderstandings to answer the question at hand properly and in concordance with the Bible.

“Not Appointed to Wrath?” The Great Tribulation is not God’s Wrath

The above question is typically backed up with the verse that “we’re not appointed to wrath” as proof that the bride will not go through the Great Tribulation.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 (HCSB) — For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ

What those who quote this verse assume is that the Great Tribulation is God’s wrath. It is not. It is Satan’s wrath. The Bible tells us that Satan’s wrath begins when he is finally barred from entry to heaven.

Revelation 12:12 (ESV) — Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

Today, as in the days of Job, Satan can still go and accuse the brethren. When he is barred from entering, it will be his signal to begin his short time (3½ years) of wrath. This lasts from the 5th trumpet until the 7th trumpet. (For brevity’s sake I will not expound that out here. But my book proves that the 6th seal through 4th trumpet are all a series of related events caused by doomsday star Wormwood, and that the 5th trumpet is the start of the Great Tribulation).

Thus, Satan’s reign, and his wrath with it, end with the 7th trumpet. Then God’s wrath picks up where Satan’s wrath left off:

Revelation 11:15, 18 (NIV) — 15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet…18 The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great– and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

God’s wrath comes exclusively through the seven bowls. It begins after the 7th trumpet and is “filled up” or “made complete” by the 7th bowl:

Revelation 15:1,7 (NIV) — 1 I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues–last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever.

Thus, if we are not appointed to the wrath of God, then that only means we must be out of here by the 7th trumpet before that starts. And that is exactly when the rapture comes, at the “last trump” (KJV):

1 Corinthians 15:52 (HCSB) — in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.

“Appointed To Afflictions or Tribulation”

While we are not appointed to wrath and will be rewarded with being born again (John 3:3-8) into a glorified spirit body by then, we do have “endure until the end” (Mt 24:13) through much trouble.

As a lifelong reader and student of the Bible, it really is odd for me to hear Christians claim that “God would never put his precious bride through the terrible tribulation.” Whenever I hear this, I wonder if they are not among the 95% of Christians who have not read their Bible. Because when I read the stories of the saints throughout the OT and NT, I consistently see lives full of trouble, affliction and persecution. Even the ultra-righteous Job has his share.

Or when I look out at the world today I see many lands where there is not freedom of religion. In them, Christians today are living in great tribulation. There is a common saying based on this that only rich Western Christians could possibly imagine a pretrib rapture saving us from the Great Tribulation. God has not saved any of those being murdered today for the truth and the pretrib rapture theory to them clashes with reality. They are dying already for their faith in the present tribulations.

If you look around at conditions on the ground now and previously in Bible times you see God does not seem to be a doting father who “shelters” his children. He lets us face troubles head on and does not save us typically until the last moment after we have cried out passionately for help (much like the Red Sea crossing).

A few verses will suffice in demonstrating this truth plainly:

Acts 14:22 (KJV) — Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 (KJV) 3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

Why Must We Suffer, Anyway?

Now you may wonder why does God work this way with us? This is actually the same as the classic question of “why does God allow suffering?” For the Great Tribulation is just a global and more intense class of suffering at the hands of a Satanic government than we already have had throughout history unto this day.

Most Western Christians do not read their Bible (less than 5% according to Back to the Bible). Their expectations for what their life with God will be like are thus based mainly on their experience of playing church in a rich society with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The concept of real suffering for your faith (which is not simply being put down or having your beliefs ridiculed now and then by skeptics and atheists) is unknown to them in general. Because of this paradigm, when they finally read the Bible, they have a hard time understanding or accepting what they read about suffering experienced by saints or the promises of the same for us, too.

God has a good reason. The Bible is not silent on the reason. This prophetic verse is one that covers it:

Daniel 11:33,35 (HCSB) — 33 Those who are wise among the people will give understanding to many, yet they will die by sword and flame, and be captured and plundered for a time. 35 Some of the wise will fall so that they may be refined, purified, and cleansed until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

This “fall” spoken of clearly refers to suffering persecution and martyrdom. It is to refine us and make us better. This is how God builds his character, makes his Bride ready (Rev 19:7). It even was necessary for Jesus, the firstborn Son of God:

Hebrews 5:8 (HCSB) — Though He was ⌊God’s⌋ Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.

If you are rich, distracted and therefore spiritually poor and blind, trials are the specific prescription that Jesus gives for us as well.

Revelation 3:17-18 (HCSB) — 17 Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see.

It’s no mystery what “going through the fire” refers to. It means suffering. The Book of James is well known as a source of meaning and comfort on this topic:

James 1:2-4, 12 (HCSB) — 2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. 12 A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

God’s Terrestrial Escape Plan For the Great Tribulation

The “Bride of Christ” can bring to mind an image of a dainty maiden, one who cannot withstand hardship. However, that is not the point of the metaphor. The point is that we must be “virginally pure” (Rev 14:4) or ready (Rev 19:7). Being pure of what makes us ready? We’re pure or righteous in God’s sight as long as we trust in his word intending to follow it (Lk 8:21; Gen 15:6).  Our own ideas, man’s religion, man’s ideas, our own thoughts that conflict with or distract us from serving God are the problem. Only those who have shown a steadfastness in following God throughout all kinds of tests and temptations are suitable for the Kingdom of God. Thus, ironically, the method by which we become the Bride every day is exactly what pretrib rapture proponents believe God must not put us through (globally) if we are the bride!

The Bible says and demonstrates repeatedly that we must go through much trouble to make us ready. This builds our character, purges our sin nature and increase our faith and wisdom (James 1:1-12). This is the same process that Christ himself went through. The Great Tribulation is just more of the same, except on a global and intensified scale. Therefore it is improper to deny we will go through the Great Tribulation because God would not subject his bride to such a terrible time. He does every day!

Besides all that, the End Time escape plan of God revealed in the Bible is to protect his bride on the earth through the Great Tribulation in the same way that God protected the Israelites where they were on the earth while the Ten Plagues of his wrath rained down around them. He will guide us to a protected place that Satan cannot reach and feed us during the three and a half year Great Tribulation:

Revelation 12:14 (HCSB) — The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time.

It will be a time of great wonders and community that has not been seen since the First Century, as described in Acts 2. For this reason, I am looking forward to the Great Tribulation without any fear at all. And so should you once you know the truth from the Bible on the matter.

So, “comfort each other with these words” just as Paul said to the Thessalonians (1Th 4:18). By the way, those are the same Thessalonians who Paul instructed on our rapture after the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation appear (2The 2:1-4).

Conclusion

Pretrib Christians who say God won’t let us go through the Great Tribulation are not completely wrong. They believe God must protect us from the Great Tribulation which I completely agree with. The mistake is in thinking that a pretrib rapture to heaven is the only way this protection can or will happen. God must protect us, but there are other ways he can do it

So in the end it’s not wrong that God won’t make his righteous saints go through the Tribulation. I don’t count being taken to a special area where you are protected and fed by God for 3½ years as going through tribulation (Rev 12:14). If we are protected in heaven or protected on earth, how is either situation able to be called “going through the Tribulation”? =)

Daniel 9:27 Explained: Who Makes Which Covenant?

Jim B asked:

I feel Daniel 9:27 is one of the most troublesome passages in the Scriptures, not in and of itself, but because of the numerous different orderings of words that appear in the various translations. Further, the pronoun, “he” that appears twice in the verse lends even more confusion because most translations do not make clear whether the entire verse is in reference to Christ, the antichrist, or both.

First, notice three different readings in my possession of the third (last) clause:

  1. And for the overspreading of abominations…
  2. And on the wings of abominations….
  3. And on the wing of the temple….

#3 is particularly troublesome because it suggests that a statue of the antichrist will be placed on a “wing” or section of the temple. Is that what the verse is implying? But that is in no way implied in versions 1 & 2.

#2 is confusion because “wing” begins to sound metaphoric, eg. “On Wings of Song”

#1 makes absolutely no sense to me. “For” sounds like “because of” eg. “And because of the overspreading (maybe the translator means far-reaching) abominations…

But the confusion does not end there. The New King James makes a distinction in the first sentence of v.27 by giving the “he” a small h, implying that Daniel are referring to a human, probably antichrist. But then in the second clause NKJ states, “But in the middle of the week, ‘He’ shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering”. Now the capital H in “He” supports the theory that Christ (and not antichrist) fulfilled the first half of Daniel’s 70th week by ending the need for animal sacrifice with crucifixion. This, of course, would shoot full of holes the theory that antichrist will confirm a peace treaty with the Jews and then break it in the middle of the 70th week. But then we come against another perplexing question: why would Daniel  refer to the antichrist in the first clause of v.27, then jump to Jesus in the second clause, then jump back to antichrist in the third and last clause. hence:

  • “Then he (antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week;”
  • “But in the middle of the week He (Christ) shall bring an end to sacrifice and oblations;”
  • “And on the wing of abominations shall be “one” (antichrist?) who makes desolate…”

Has anyone who knows Hebrew actually gone back to examine the “he” of v.27 to see if there is some sort of distinction readily apparent in the text, similar to how we capitalize He in reference to Deity, and a small h in he for ordinary humans? This would go a long way to properly interpreting v.27 but, absent that, I’m afraid the controversy over a 3 1/2-year or 7-year tribulation will continue until Jesus returns.

Jim raises some great questions about confusion over the correct reading of what is considered possibly the most important prophetic verse in the entire Bible.

  1. Who do the three he‘s refer to here? Does one of them (capitalized in NKJV) refer to Christ?
  2. Which reading of the variations is correct: abominations or temple?
  3. And how long is that tribulation anyway?
  4. What is the covenant made about?

Does He refer to Messiah or Anti-messiah?

This question troubled me for some time after hearing Michael Rood propose that the Messiah is referred to here, not Antichrist, a perspective I had never heard before. After looking at it both ways I’m more confident on this verse than I ever would have been before.

The old idea that the one who confirms the covenant is Christ (with his New Covenant) does not fit the context. The last eligible antecedent to the three he’s in v.27 is “the prince of the people who shall come and destroy the temple” of v.26 referring to the coming Antichrist, not “the Messiah.” The covenant is naturally understood to last only seven years, a limit that certainly does not fit the New Covenant which will be perpetual (Jer 31:31ff). The doom pronounced on this person matches what is pronounced on the Little Horn of chapter 7 as well as the Beast thrown in the lake of fire in Revelation 19.

By the way, I do know enough Biblical Hebrew to explain the deal with the he’s. Not only does Hebrew not have capital letters, but in this passage the verb conjugation automatically implies the masculine singular, so there are no separate personal pronouns to capitalize here anyway. Whenever you see a capitalization of pronoun, take it with a grain of salt because it is the added interpretation of the translator who could be wrong–which is the case here.

Which Translation is Correct?

I always recommend people refer to and use multiple Bible versions rather than rely on one, especially if it’s the old King James which is in hard-to-understand Old English, and 400 years behind in scholarship and manuscript discoveries. The rub here is, as we see in Jim’s questions, that it may take a while before you have the discernment to decide which of the several possible readings is probably the right one and not be left more confused instead of more enlightened.

The reason for the great differences Jim noticed are due to manuscript variations. The Hebrew Masoretic Text (MS) gives us the obscure “wing/overspreading of abominations” (yes, plural abominations) while the Greek Septuagint (LXX) reads “wing of the temple.” The Greek New Testament more often follows the LXX reading than the MS. Here the LXX fits better with Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 which refer to Daniel’s abomination being “setup” or “standing” in the “Holy Place” or “where it should not.” If you go with the obscure Hebrew reading, it’s hard to say what it means, but neither does it clearly contradict the NT understanding of this being about something set up in the Temple.

What is the Abomination of Desolation?

The noun here for abomination is always used in connection with idolatry (TWOT). Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the type of the Antichrist prophesied in Daniel 11:31-32, setup a altar and statue of Zeus in the Temple during the time of the Maccabees when he outlawed the reading of the Torah. Not surprisingly, Revelation 13 indicates that there will be a statue of the Antichrist himself commanded by the False Prophet to be worshipped. If the Beast will be setting up his headquarters in the temple declaring himself to be God (1The 2:4) it would make sense for the statue of himself to be setup there at his headquarters, exactly where Daniel’s abomination of desolation is to be setup according to Jesus.

What, then, is the desolation? The desolation referred to would be the desecration of the altar that putting such a detestable idol near would cause, a destroying of its true purpose. After Antiochus IV was defeated by the Maccabees they had to have a rededication of the altar.

How Long Is the Great Tribulation?

The question of how long the Tribulation is does not depend on any of the above questions. See this article for how to determine that with high confidence: How Long is the Great Tribulation?

Publicized Peace Treaty With Israel or Secret Conspiracy?

By the way, the theory that antichrist will confirm a peace treaty with the Jews and then break it in the middle of the 70th week is just that, a theory, not much better supported than Evolution. There actually is no plain text verse to support this. On the contrary, there is a plain text passage indicating that “the many” who the Antichrist makes a treaty with are those ten rulers who will already be pulling the world’s strings behind the scenes and therefore have power to make him the world ruler:

Revelation 17:16-17 — 16 The 10 horns you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, devour her flesh, and burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to carry out His plan by having one purpose, and to give their kingdom to the beast until God’s words are accomplished.

I am convinced that this is why Jesus never told us to “watch out for the seven year peace treaty between Israel and the Antichrist spoken of by Daniel because there shall be Great Tribulation 3½ years later!!” Instead he told us to watch for the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet as the sign the Tribulation was imminent (1290-1260 = 30 days later). The treaty that the Antichrist makes with “the many” (or “the mighty”,”the strong ones” as another possible rendering of the Hebrew HaRabim) by all indications looks to be a secret conspiracy to defeat (America) Mystery Babylon and then set up a one world government or New World Order in her place. If it’s a public treaty then why didn’t Jesus tell us to watch for it and thereby give us a very nice advance signpost? But if it’s secret Jesus would not have instructed us to watch for it knowing that we’d have to be an Illuminati, instead of his disciple, to be in on that signing meeting =).

How Long is the Great Tribulation: 7 years or 3½?

Someone asked:

Which half of the Great Tribulation do the Two Witnesses do their ministry in, the first or the second?

This question obviously assumes the Tribulation is all 7 years of Daniel’s 70th week. But, is that often-repeated idea correct?

Here’s how we find out how long the Great Tribulation is step by step:

  1. Daniel 9:27 says there will be a league for 7 years and then halfway through it the sacrifices will be stopped and an abomination erected on a wing of the temple (same day apparently) by the Prince who shall come. (AC).
  2. Dan 12:11 confirms that the sacrifices will be stopped and abomination set up on the same day, adding the detail that its exactly 1290 days from the end of the 7 years, which indeed is in the middle (not to the very day of course).
  3. In Mat 24:15, Jesus says that the abomination spoken of by Daniel would “stand” (Mk 13:14) in the Holy Place immediately preceding the Great Tribulation (the same time of distress during the final End Times King of the North’s terrible reign over the whole earth that Dan 11-12:1 speaks about).
  4. Therefore the Great Tribulation must be less than 1290 days long and thus cannot be 7 years long since it starts after the Abomination which is said to come in the middle of the 7 years. This makes it at most 3½ years.

The 1260 days of the Two Witnesses preaching is the same 42 months that the Temple Mount is trampled (Rev 11:1-3) and the same 3½ years that the Woman is protected in the desert (Rev 12:14) which all fit the Tribulation period well and make perfect sense placed there.(How 1260 days = 42 months = 3½ years literally is quite amazing to understand. See this article for a detailed explanation of the future 360 day year.)

But Why Do the Two Witnesses Preach 1260 days, not 1290?

The reason why the Two Witnesses preach for 1260 days and not 1290 and the gentiles trample for only 42 months not 43 months, etc. is because since the Abomination was the only sign given to us by Jesus for how to recognize when to flee Judea to the mountainous safe place prepared for the righteous remnant (Mat 24:15-16=Rev 12:14), then there ought to be some time allocated in there to effectively flee as he commanded.

Thus, it seems that the Tribulation is only 1260 days and starts 30 days after the sacrifices are stopped and the statue of the Beast that the False Prophet commands to be made is set up which is what the Abomination is in case you are wondering (idols are one of only about five abominations identified in the Torah and also what Antiochus Epiphanies as a type of the Antichrist put in the Temple “a statue of Zeus).

Let me know if someone after reading this still believes the tribulation is 7 years long and why (I’m very curious to know why that idea is so persistent. I guess it’s because of the assumption that the treaty the Prince makes at the start of the 70th week is a public treaty all will see as his first act, but not only does this treaty make no mention of Israel being the other party but no where does it say its not the secret treaty that Revelation 17 mentions the Antichrist makes with the 10 kings to destroy Mystery Babylon and rule the world instead).

Safest Place in the USA from Wormwood

April wrote:

My question is: Where geographically in the U.S. is the safest? If scientist are aware of meteor locations and the estimated landing areas. And according to christian beliefs, the left behind theory. If left behind, what should I do?

The Bible only indicates one place where God’s people will be gathered to safety before the End Times catastrophes described in the Book of Revelation start. Joel 2:30-32 tells us the location of this place of safety from the same the blood moon and other heavenly and earthly signs of Rev 6:12’s 6th seal.

As you might guess, that place is not America, but the same place that the 144,000 will be gathered to and sealed (Rev 14). If you are left behind in America at that point, there is still hope as there will be survivors everywhere (Zech 14:16). However the best plan is to start understanding and accepting that you will one day be faced with the decision to listen to the call of the promised End Times Elijah to move to Israel from America (as Revelation 17-18 and Jeremiah 50-51 explicitly say).

As these things take long dedicated study to piece together I recommend my book Planet X in Bible Prophecy to help you understand.