Tribulation and the Great Tribulation (11 Jan 2015)

This year 2015 started off with disasters in our neigbouring countries. The floods in Malaysia displaced more than 100, 000 people from their homes. Air Asia flight QZ 8501from Surabaya fell into the sea instead of landing safely in Singapore.  In Myanmar, tens of thousands of Karen and Kachin families are still displaced from their homes because of years of internal conflict.  Further away, we read of mass kidnapping and Ebola in Africa. Fighting and killing continue in Iraq and Syria.  Missionaries and tourists alike are not spared from fatal accidents and petty criminals.  People who are affected are greatly distressed. There is no hope for many. But for all who believe in Jesus there is an assurance that God is in control.

Yes, Jesus have said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

The tribulation that Jesus mentioned is caused by the fallen world and the deceiver of the world. Satan is the prince of this fallen world. People are deceived because he masquerades as an angel of light. He twists Scriptures, sows discord in families and split churches.

Abide in Christ and be alert of his designs to cause divisions and to corrupt the Word of God.

The term “tribulation” is used in two main ways:

a) Tribulation. Non-technical, non-eschatological sense – any time of suffering or testing into which one goes (Matt 13:21; John 16:33; Rom 5:3; Rev 1:9).
b) The Great Tribulation. Technical, eschatological sense – the whole period of the seven years of tribulation (Rev 2:22 or Matt 24:29). Also used to refer to the last half of this seven year period (Matt 24:21).

Christians are not spared from tribulation in this world. They will be persecuted for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus promised that He will gather His bride (the true Church) before the Great Tribulation comes. The Bride of Christ will not go through the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation is God’s long-delayed wrath on the wickedness of the world. It is also a time when God deals with the disobedient nation of Israel and bring them back as His people.

In the obituaries, we read of those who have gone home to the Lord’s presence. Some left this world at ripe ages of over 80 and 90.  Others at younger ages. Their loved ones grieved but are comforted by Christ’s victory over death. They are assured of Christ’s promise of their future resurrection to glory. Those who died in-Christ will be with Jesus. There is a blessed hope for all who trust in Jesus. They will see their loved ones, they will also be gathered to meet the Lord in the air at His appearing (1 Thess 4:17).

Yet for many others who did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, their souls have gone to Hades. There they wait for the Great White Throne judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rev 20:11). So what can we do to make the most of our time in this world of tribulation and distress?

For all who are still around and reading this, by the grace of God we are to:

1) Pray and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15; Rom 1:16)
2) Renounce ungodliness and worldly passions
3) Live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit 2:11-13).

Elder Yoong Yuen Soo