Endure & Remain Faithful
Tribulation is a time of warfare between the forces of good and evil. It is God’s judgment on the world’s evil system. However, tribulation is also the attack of the world’s system against the true believers of Jesus Christ. Good and evil cannot coexist. The characteristics of each become more prevalent during a time of conflict. As the battle intensifies, the people on both sides become more visible and neutrality begins to disappear. Weeds among the church are continually exposed, as they fall away and side with the religiosity of the world. The armies of the world become larger and darker and more violent in their hatred against God and His people. At the same time, the Army of God becomes stronger and more radiant as they stand for the truth of God, and His Spirit grows stronger and stronger among them.
Tribulation will increase in escalating stages, but so will the strengthening of the Lord’s army. Within the church, there will be increasing levels of purging the weeds, purifying the people, evangelizing among the nations, and receiving power from on high. This fierce pressure takes place because of God’s love for mankind and His desire to bring out of darkness into salvation every single soul possible and to destroy every demonic stronghold that has held the human race captive. Traditional or lukewarm Christianity will collapse during the Great Tribulation.
The Wrath of God is a military action on the part of the armies of heaven to avenge and rescue God’s people in the world. God’s wrath is directed solely against the forces of darkness. There are many in the world of darkness who will be called into the light. When this is complete and God’s message is shut down within His people, then the full wrath of God will be poured out on the earth. Until then, many warnings are poured out from heaven that tend to either draw people to the Lord or to solidify their hatred toward Him.
A united world government will soon war against the people of God who continue to stand as warrior-spirited witnesses for Jesus Christ and His kingdom. These are Christian-warriors who refuse to submit to the wicked authority of this world government and maintain that it is Jesus Christ who is their King. They will be deeply hated and the world will wage a continuous war against them and eventually overcome them. These will be extremely hard and faith-challenging days of persecution and a time of “wearing out” the people of God. All bibles and biblically related books will be outlawed, and the peoples will be required to turn them over to the authorities for burning. Those who refuse will be criminally charged and sentenced to imprisonment. Murderous executions, imprisonment in concentration camps, brutal torture, separation from family, and forbidding the purchase of food and water will all be commonly employed tactics of this evil kingdom. These are the days of persecution.
What is our Lord’s command to His people during these times?
If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
IMPRISONMENT – A FAVORITE TACTIC OF THE ENEMY
One may wonder why imprisonment of many of God’s people is employed by the enemy instead of simply executing them. Imprisonment allows time for the enemy to break down the spirit of people for the purpose of allowing them to voluntarily turn away from the Lord and render allegiance to world authorities. Though deep in their heart they may still believe in the Lord, some will give up. Ultimately, their life in this world will mean more to them than their faith in Christ. Satan rejoices when men visibly turn away from Almighty God and render allegiance to him, even if it is not from a pure heart. Turning people to him is more important than murdering them, for it means he has defeated what is most important to God - the steadfast faithfulness of His people. The one who has turned away from the Lord undoubtedly will be praised before the world as a newly enlightened hero. This will be a shameful experience.
Remain steadfast! Our Lord will provide a hiding place for us when the time of persecution arrives. Where is that hiding place?
For the prophet Daniel, it was both in a king’s palace and in a lion’s den.
For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it was in a fiery furnace.
For Joseph, it was in an Egyptian prison.
For David, it was both in a palace and in a cave out in the wilderness.
For the apostle Paul, it was in prison or shipwrecked in the Mediterranean.
For the spies sent by Joshua, it was in a harlot’s house in Jericho.
For Corrie Ten Boom, it was in a flea-infested barracks in a Nazi concentration camp.
They were all right where God wanted them and not a hair on their head perished. So our hiding place is wherever the center of the Lord’s will is for us. The only thing we should fear is being out of God’s will. Trust in the Lord for our individual hiding places for they will probably be different for every believer in the End Times. Meanwhile stand in the gap and prepare our brothers and sisters for the coming hour of trial.
Although Christians will be physically overcome during this horrendous period of time; they are the ones who are victorious in this war. They have become outcasts from society, mocked at by former neighbors, family members, and friends, imprisoned and killed. This is the Body of Christ having a similar experience that their Lord Jesus Christ endured 2,000 years earlier. They are now glorious participants in His great victory. In the crucial test of faith, they have chosen to relinquish their lives rather than their faith in their God. This is true victory.