FACING The Tribulation
2. The World’s
Of the Great Tribulation, Jesus said:
are the days of vengeance, that all things which are
written may be fulfilled (Luke 21:22). ...For there will be
great distress in the land and wrath upon this people...
We must understand
what He meant by the underlined words. God is NOT, in a fit of rage,
like some demented monster, doling out His fury upon hapless,
defenceless human victims. But He IS just!
When Jesus died on
the cross, that was an expression of God’s wrath or vengeance
against sin. It didn’t mean the Father hated Jesus. Far from it!!
Jesus was an integral part of Him. God in heaven felt every
agonising moment just as Jesus did. But the violation that sin
brings is so great that God hates it with unmitigated disgust. Hence
His wrath against it.
Jesus was the
object of His vengeance at that time, because Jesus was paying the
penalty for all mankind so that humanity’s sins could be rescinded.
There was no other
way for you and me to be redeemed. God knows best.
Likewise, there is
no other way for humankind to realise how despicable sin is, unless
He lets the penalties of sin reap their end result. Sin is the
violation of divine law. And God’s law governs not just the
spiritual sphere – outlawing wrong thoughts such as hatred, lust,
greed, envy, jealousy, pride, resentment, etc. – but it also
regulates the whole physical management of earth, the solar system,
and the universe.
We are not merely
the last generation in this age, we are part of the last
degeneration. Like Sodom and Gomorrah, society has descended to a
It is time
for You to act, O Lord, for they have regarded Your Law as void
And God DOES act!
When people disregard God’s laws wholesale, so that gratuitous
violence, sexual depravity, abortion, and hedonistic selfishness and
sensual pursuit blot out the light of God’s love, that darkness
which covers the earth is met with God’s rebuke. Sodom and Gomorrah,
Zeboiim and Admah were all obliterated by sulphurous fireball.
vengeance is not like man’s. God loves His creation and wants people
He wants them to
turn back to Him, to turn back to obedience to His ways, and to turn
away from the sins that bring devastation and woe.
Some will; most
You can read the
preview of human reaction to disasters in Revelation 16. When the
sun’s strength increases so that people suffer, they won’t
acknowledge their own guilt and need for moral change; instead they
curse God (Rev 16:8,9). Already Satan has brainwashed the world with
a ‘convenient’ scapegoat. But global warming is NOT caused by
‘excess’ carbon dioxide emissions. It’s the other way around.
Increased carbon emission is a product of increased
temperature. And solar activity is the greatest factor that controls
temperature. God has power over the sun. Carnal man does not want to
acknowledge God, however, so he finds another ‘explanation’.
When wicked people
suffer for their own sins, they don’t turn and repent. Their lives
are motivated by self, not by moral goodness. They only care about
themselves, not about what God wants, moral purity. So, this occurs:
blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their
sores, and did not repent of their deeds (Rev 16:11).
you hit someone maliciously in the face, with undiluted hatred and
venom, wanting to kill that person, are you not worthy of
punishment? And when you receive the just recompense of your
viciousness, should you be surprised?
Why should we be
surprised that there is such a thing as God’s punishment for evils
perpetrated upon the earth? Would you find fault with God’s wrath
when people hit Him in the face with vitriolic hatred, and treat His
laws with impunity?
Would you argue
with God? Only the fool would do that.
Those who submit to
God’s good ways, who love Him and obey His laws, can understand why
the escalation in evil is met with such a response.
For this is
the time of punishment in fulfilment of all that has been
written (Luke 21:22, NIV).
The angel Gabriel
told Daniel of:
happen later in the time of wrath... the appointed time
of the end (Dan 8:19, NIV).
That is where we
are at now. God has spoken, but humanity takes little notice.
The wrath of
God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness
and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness
(Rom 1:18, NIV).
Thus, the Great
Tribulation is, if you like, the world’s nemesis. The dictionary
defines “nemesis” as “retributive justice.”
The exhibition of
God’s wrath intensifies as the end-time progresses, which you can
see from the book of Revelation.
Some like to neatly
categorise Bible events, calling the Great Tribulation the time of
Satan’s wrath against the Church, and the Trumpet plagues of
Revelation as God’s wrath. But such an approach is wrong. It is
oversimplification, because God uses Satan’s destructive and harmful
influences to achieve God’s constructive character purpose also.
That end is
repentance and restoration – to spiritually purify His people that
they can finally enjoy spiritual bliss in His eternal family. For no
impure person will enter it:
dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and
idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie (Rev 22:15).
those who do His commandments
[wash their robes, margin], that they may have the
right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into
the city (Rev 22:14).
In a world that
disparages obedience to God, you need endurance to make it:
endures to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13).
therefore and pray always that you may
[have strength to, margin] escape all these things that will
come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).
You cannot escape
all the physical things to come to pass – only those ones
that God arranges for you to escape – but you can escape all the
spiritual ravages of Satan the enemy, if you are faithful to
Jesus, and endure to the end.
To endure, you must
I summarise what
you must prepare for:
2. Be Prepared To Suffer
The Christian life
is not ‘a bed of roses’.
through many tribulations [to] enter the kingdom of
God (Acts 14:22).
You read of what
Paul suffered for the sake of Christ.
hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed,
but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down,
but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying
of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested
in our body (2 Cor 4:8-10).
present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly
clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labour, working with
our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted we
endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the
filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now (1
On top of all these
hardships, Paul suffered imprisonment and stripes (2 Cor 6:5) –
being whipped across the bare back with a leather whip, 39 times,
which lacerated the flesh and sometimes even killed a person.
He castigated the
Corinthians for preferring to welcome false ministers – who today
preach what is appealing to people – instead of heeding his
ministers of Christ? – I speak as a fool – I am more: in labours
more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more
frequently, in deaths often.
Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was
shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of
my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the
city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in
perils among false brethren... (2 Cor 11:23-26).
Paul called all
this “light affliction”! (2 Cor 4:17.)
How could he say
that?! Because his mind was not transfixed by the physical. He had
consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy
to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom
He looked beyond
this present mortal life of difficulties, upset, hardship and
trouble. He set his mind to endure whatever for the sake of the
crown of life that awaits those who love righteousness more than
since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with
the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased
from sin (1 Pet 4:1).
Do you see the
point of why God allows suffering? It hinges upon sin and
is built in the crucible of suffering, where the child of God holds
on tight to the promise of God despite all he endures physically.
Paul reminds us
that we must walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).
For we know
that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a
building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the
heavens (2 Cor 5:1).
We Are Surrounded By Many Silent Witnesses
who was imprisoned by the Communists in Romania for being a
Christian pastor, relates many examples of those who endured:
secret printing press ‘True Witness’... has printed a book of
verse entitled Oxana that describes the suffering of the
Lithuanian Christian Poshkene Birute. She was deprived of her
children and put into a psychiatric asylum because of her faith
Communist newspaper Niamunas slandered her by claiming
she tried to poison her children, though she was not charged
with this crime. It also alleged that believers appear naked in
their meetings and engage in sexual orgies.
poem, our sister evokes the martyrs of the past and concludes:
‘The murdered are silent; we continue. There is no more
beautiful fate than to fight and suffer, to be men persecuted
for the truth....’ (Where Christ Still Suffers, pp
That is not a
natural reaction or attitude. She was given it by the Holy Spirit,
so she could endure her ordeal. Her poem continued:
camps, asylums, shootings – how powerless are these false ideas
of hatred. The snow melts in the spring. It cannot destroy the
sun’s rays. Neither can wickedness destroy love. It will be
Czechoslovakia, Communists killed a leading personality of the
underground Church, the secretly ordained priest Premsyl Coufal.
He had been taken many times to the police and told he had the
choice of informing on the believers or accepting death. The
last time he was called in, they gave him a calendar with
February 23 circled. This was the deadline for a reply. Day
after day Coufal looked at the calendar. Should he become a
Judas or a martyr? He was a child of God. He remained faithful
and paid the ultimate price.
Communists entered his apartment, smashed his skull, broke his
nose, and made cuts in his arms, then they turned on the gas.
Later, they allowed Christians to see what they had done. They
wanted to scare others who follow Jesus and testify that
Communism is wicked.
openly oppose the evil in your community if you knew that
suffering awaited you?
couple Barendsen, evangelical missionaries in Afghanistan,
testified for Jesus in this country that has been subdued by
Soviet hate. They were bound to chairs and cut to pieces...
evangelical Jameel Safoury taught the blind about the wickedness
of men and about the Light of the world. For this, leftist
Palestinian guerillas cut off his arms and his head. The corpse
was found under a bridge (Where Christ Still Suffers,
All these died in
faith, preferring God above all else (Heb 11:39). They endured, and
are now in heavenly bliss awaiting their full reward.
[Communist Cuban dictator] attended the execution of a Christian
by a firing squad. As his hands were tied behind his back,
Castro told him, ‘Kneel and beg for your life.’ The Christian
shouted back, ‘I kneel for no man.’ A sharp-shooter put a bullet
through first one knee, then the other. Castro exulted, ‘You
see, we made you kneel.’ The man was then slowly killed, shot by
shot through the non-vital parts of the body, prolonging his
Christ Still Suffers, p 26.)
Jesus won’t have to
resort to bullets to make Castro kneel! Everyone will give homage to
God (Rom 14:11; Phil 2:10) on the Day of Judgement (2 Cor 5:10).
regimes are based on an insane dogma – that God does not exist.
Christians are regarded with contempt, derision and hatred.
I am also
with the Christians committed to asylums. The fact that these
sane men pray is considered a sign of madness, and they are tied
up, gagged, kicked and given electric shocks which will drive
of the underground saints shines against this dark background.
cost, Brother Borushko told the court defiantly, ‘Suffering is
the living nerve of Christianity. The Church lives as long as it
suffers, because Christ the Lord suffered martyrdom, and has
asked us to follow Him.’ Another Christian, Brother
Krasnov-Levitin, wrote after eight years of imprisonment, ‘Never
and nowhere have I felt happier than in the prison camp... God
was so near. In those times I asked, “My God, make this time,
the brightest time in my life, last as long as possible.” ...So
I found my felicity in unhappiness, and my inner liberty in the
worst of captivities.’ (Where Christ Still Suffers, p
“Marx [the founder
of Communist ideology] taught that all religions and all morals must
be abolished” (ibid., p 84). “Marx was a devil-worshipper
connected with a Satanist sect, as I amply demonstrated from his own
writings in my book, Was Karl Marx A Satanist?”
Let History Judge by the Russian Communist Roy Medvedev
(Alfred Knopf, New York, 1971), describes some of the tortures
applied to prisoners in the Leninist jails of the Soviet Union.
This source is unchallengable and details the methods used by
Lenin’s followers to force confessions from innocent people,
among whom were many Christians. Sons were often killed in front
of their mothers to make the mothers confess non-existent
crimes. A prisoner who refused to denounce others would be shown
a stranger and told that the man would be shot if the prisoner
refused to co-operate. If the prisoner, thinking it was a trick,
still resisted, the hostage was shot. After a few days a second
person was shot before his eyes. To prevent others from being
executed the prisoner denounced his friends, who later on were
also killed. (Where Christ Still Suffers, p 88.)
Crude human rulers
resort to vile methods to try and coerce their subjects into
submission. They use the devil’s classic methods of
manipulation and intimidation to achieve their
Central to their
methods is fear.
Those who endured
and overcame did so because they did not fear man. They feared God
Kong Star quoted a businessman returning from Shanghai,
Communist China’s largest city, who said he witnessed the fatal
torturing of a Chinese Roman Catholic. ‘He said, “They grabbed
him and took him to a school on the outskirts where they formed
a twenty-man court of high school students. He was charged and
found guilty of neglecting his prime duty by not knowing Mao’s
thoughts and choosing religion instead ... The victim wore a
crucifix.” The businessman said the teenage crowd wanted to
crucify the Chinese believer. The Red Guards pelted him with
eggs and stones, then tortured him with hot pokers. His screams
were heard by passers-by.’
Chinese Christian was found with a Bible hidden in a pillow. For
this he was stripped naked, smeared with honey, and made to
stand in the fierce sun for many hours.
(Norway) reported that in Swatow a pastor was dragged through
the streets wearing a dunce’s cap which had ugly inscriptions on
it. In Red China, clergy could be executed for refusing to chant
the Red book of Mao Tse-Tung before their flocks.
suffering of the Chinese Church surpasses all imagination. The
Catholics announce that over a million of them have been killed
(Dauriac, Requiem for the Church of China). We do
not have the figures for the Protestants, but it must be
Dr D Rees,
former missionary in China, returning from a fact-finding tour,
wrote to us, ‘All my Chinese friends have been killed or
imprisoned. One was blinded, one thrown into a well, two died of
tuberculosis, and another, when brain-washed, went out of his
mind and signed a recantation. When his reason returned, he tore
up the recantation. But the Chinese Christian Church is growing
by thousands. It is called Pi keo wuyen tib Chiao huei
(The Church of Closed Lips). No one speaks to another, but
neighbours are converted through the operation of the Holy
Spirit. All my Chinese friends of the Jesus Family (Watchman
Nee’s denomination) have been done to death by various means,
thousands of them.’
doctor, Kuman Chandah, had his legs cut and his eyes gouged out
in one of Red China’s prisons.
In one such
incident, Vladimir Tatishtshev, a Russian, was arrested in
Shanghai. The Chinese torturers tied iron tubes to his legs with
screws and hammered on them till his bones were broken, to make
him confess imaginary crimes. When he refused, the Communist
police went to his home. An officer picked up Tatishtshev’s baby
and told the mother, ‘If you don’t sign an accusation against
your husband, we will smash your child’s head in.’ The mother,
stunned and unbelieving, refused. Then the police officer, a
woman herself, smashed the baby’s head against the wall. The
mother stabbed the officer, and the other Communists shot the
said on 7 April 1970, ‘In the course of ten years, more than 25
million people in China were exterminated... The discontented
were dumped by the million into enormous concentration camps.’
newspaper Krasnaia Zvezda, on 7 May 1969, wrote, ‘The
Chinese Communist Party ... have burned people’s eyes out with
boiling water and sulphuric acid, hacked off limbs with
penknives and split open skulls with stones and ancient
broadswords.’ (Where Christ Still Suffers, pp 129-131.)
We naturally recoil
in horror at this catalogue of atrocity, but you must look through
it to the spiritual:
It is stupid
to fear those who can kill only the body, instead of fearing the
One who can throw both body and soul in Gehenna. A sword was put
to the chest of a Christian and he was asked, ‘Are you a
Christian?’ When he answered, ‘Yes,’ they would have killed him,
but an officer said, ‘Free him, he is an idiot.’ Someone asked
him later, ‘How could you confess Christ with such courage?’ and
his reply was, ‘I read the story of Peter’s denial of Christ and
I did not wish to weep bitterly.’
many stories about our martyred Chinese brethren is this
eye-witness report about the stoning to death of a Christian
girl in a Communist labour camp. The girl was bound hand and
foot and made to kneel in the centre of a circle of people who
were commanded to stone her. Those who refused were shot. She
died with her face shining like St Stephen. At least one of
those present was led to faith in Christ through this girl who
sealed her testimony with her blood. A young man prayed for his
persecutors as he hung six days on a cross before dying. Five
students who were sent out to dig deep holes into which they
were to be thrown, sang Christian hymns as they were buried
alive. (Where Christ Still Suffers, pp 131-132).
These are the
heroes of the faith, of whom this world is not worthy (Heb 11:38).
We must join them.
incident in Red China, a girl was cruelly tortured to get her to
betray the secrets of the Underground Church. When asked how she
could bear so much suffering, she replied, ‘It was not hard. My
pastor taught me that the real torture lasts a very short time.
For each minute of torture, there are ten minutes of looking
into enraged faces and at the implements of pain. I kept my eyes
closed and since I did not see the stick before it hit me, nor
afterwards, the suffering was much reduced. I relied on Christ’s
promise: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”
(Matt 5:8). I purified my heart of fear of men, and I learned to
see God. So many had seen him before. When the Communists became
aware of my defence, they stuck my eyelids wide open with tape,
but it was too late. I had already received a vision of other
spheres.’ (Where Christ Still Suffers, p 146).
We can learn
from this Christian not to be obsessed by the suffering which
faces us, but rather to close our eyes to it. Dead men cannot be
afraid. We are meant to be dead to the world, and with hearts
purified by the blood of Christ, to look upwards to the heavenly
Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure
to give you the kingdom (Lk 12:32). ...do not be afraid of those
who kill the body and after that have no more that they can
reaction is to fear suffering and death, and to fear those who wield
threats over you.
How can you
overcome such fears? Die to self:
for the glory of the Father and commands all his disciples to
die to sin (Rom 6:2), and to lose, if necessary, their natural
life in obedience to the commandments. A religion is truly a
religion if you are ready to die for it. A belief that is not
worthy of the sacrifice of life is not religion. The desire to
lead a consistent Christian life can lead to renunciation and
painful loss. Do not consider yourself a Christian if this is
too great a price for you. Jesus was ready to die on a cross...
we are meant to imitate him in dedication to God and love
towards our fellowmen (Where Christ Still Suffers, p 133).
The Great Tribulation Will Be The World’s Nemesis
Christians is actually part of the world’s nemesis although it may
not look like it. Soon, we will see the wholesale destruction or
demolition of ‘churchianity’ except for that of the Great False
Church. Truth is going to be crushed into the ground and true
believers persecuted and put to death in the Great Tribulation.
Most believers have
no idea what is coming, and how close this disaster is! But it has
been foretold in Revelation for centuries and the time for its
fulfilment is upon us:
I saw under
the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of
God and for the testimony which they held.
of true Christians happened during the Dark Ages.] And they
cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and
true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on
the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it
was said to them that they should rest a little while longer,
until both the number of their fellow servants and their
brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed (Rev
were massacred during the first 300 years of the Christian era, when
millions died rather than relinquish their faith, and throughout the
Dark Ages and Middle Ages. The slaughter is to be repeated by a
second wave in these last days:
and, behold, a great multitude which no man could number, of all
nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the
throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm
branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice... And
one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These are the ones
who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb...” (Rev 7:9-10,
And who will be
responsible for this mass bloodshed?
I saw the
woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of
the martyrs of Jesus (Rev 17:6).
Her prelates are
dressed in regal colours of red and purple (17:4), and her spiritual
prostitution (17:5) has spawned deception throughout the world on a
massive scale (17:2). She is that great city (17:18) – Vatican City
– exerting political clout over the nations (17:18), spreading her
spiritual abominations (17:3) of hierarchic domination and heresies
This great false
church is used by the devil, and her end-time paramours with rulers
and other religions of the world will buy her short-term favour at
the expense of God’s people. But Jesus promised that the gates of
hell would not prevail against His true Church (Matt 16:18), though
it will appear a very close run thing! (Matt 24:22.)
God decreed capital
punishment for murder (Gen 9:6). Earlier, when Cain had killed Abel
(4:8), the metaphoric ‘voice’ of Abel’s blood was crying out for
justice and recompense (4:10). Even Cain knew that his life was now
under threat (4:14), though for the sake of the human race, God
protected it (4:15).
When Lamech killed
a man, he also feared greatly for his life (4:23,24).
These ancients well
knew the law of reciprocity – that a life taken requires the forfeit
of one’s own life.
When the world
became so corrupt that murder and violence filled the earth, God had
to act by wiping out the whole of humanity (6:11-13) except for
Noah’s family who alone were righteous.
promised never again to allow such worldwide destruction of human
life, He did not rescind the principle of judgement. The sentence is
‘stored up’ for full expression in these last days.
In fact, the word
ekdikesis in the Greek, in Luke 21:22, means “full
vengeance”. The Great Tribulation is the time when He avenges all
the evils mankind has perpetrated on the earth.
It is prophesied:
strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath
of His lips He shall slay the wicked (Is 11:4).
Moreover, His love
for His people is so intense that He will avenge His chosen
(Luke 18:7,8). The same word ekdikesis is used there, meaning
He will “fully avenge”. For taking the lives of His saints, God will
obliterate the great false church of Rome. The secular government
and military will finally turn on her (Rev 17:16).
You can read of the
horror of her downfall in Revelation 18.
will come in one day – death and mourning and famine. And she
will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who
judges her (Rev 18:8).
her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has
avenged you on her! (Rev 18:20.)
the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the
earth for their iniquity; the earth also will disclose her
blood, and will no more cover her slain (Is 26:21).
brings down those who dwell on high. The lofty city He lays it
low. He lays it low to the ground. He brings it down to the dust
bloodshed are punished. God punishes all evildoing. And he takes
full vengeance upon all those who persecute His saints and kill His
For true and
righteous are His judgements, because He has judged the great
harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has
avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her (Rev 19:2).
So, the wickedness
of the world, and the hatred of false Christians for those who are
true – leading to the martyrdom of God’s chosen ones – will actually
be their undoing, their nemesis.