One of the most polarising topics on social media, is the debate if the church is going to go through the Tribulation Period. Many Christians in the West, are of the view that the Church will be raptured before the Tribulation Period. The polarisation continues even within this group that hold to the view of the Rapture being a separate event to the Second coming of Jesus Yeshua. Many, also hold the view that the Rapture will take place in the middle of a seven-year period of the Tribulation. This seven-year period is based on the interpretation from Daniel, and the cumulation of time periods recorded in Revelation. So, within the community of Christians that hold to the Rapture view, there are three positions, Pre, Mid and Post indicating the time of the Rapture in the seven-year period.
This article is not about promoting a particular eschatological view, but to simply clarify the definition of the Tribulation period. There are those that oppose the teaching of the Rapture. This group sadly make a harsh claim that those holding to the Rapture view, are Christians who are fearful and are unable to contemplate that the Church will go through a period of suffering. Of course, within any group there are exceptions, but it is clear we are dealing with a poor understanding of the times we are living in, irrespective of what Biblical view we hold.
Right now, the Church continues to endure great suffering and various forms of persecution throughout the world. The Church in the West is not ignorant that persecution exists around the world, but clearly the scale and the nature of persecution does. This is not the Tribulation period that Jesus Yeshua speaks of in Matthews Gospel, but there are strong indications that we are in the birth pains that leads to this period. Mat 24: 6-13
Persecution is here and has been for two thousand years. Yet the West enjoys the freedom of ‘free speech’ and can meet for worship and share their faith without fear. For other Christians it is a very different reality. Without divulging names of individuals or churches, there are Christians in Afghanistan today being persecuted by the Taliban. There are mini revivals going on in rural pockets in the North of Afghanistan, which the Taliban are seeking to crush. There is a small number of Christians living in the Gaza strip, who are daily living with the persecution of Hamas. There are numerous stories around the world where forms of tribulation are evident, which is the persecution of those who confess Jesus Yeshua as their saviour.
For the West, persecution has not yet arrived, but the deception and the signs of ‘the falling away’ that Paul mentions has begun. 2 Thes 2: 3. Jesus Yeshua makes it clear, that we will be persecuted, and that the world will hate us if we are His disciples. Jhn 15: 18-19/ Mat : 16-39
We have seen how the Church in the West deals with a hardship such as Covid. The restrictions made upon the church during Covid is not persecution, but simply an inconvenience. The position of having the vaccination or not, revealed how quickly the enemy can polarise the church in the West. The ‘fall out’ from Covid has been significant, for many Churches have lost many members and non-members. Many Christians have failed to return to attending their Church and are comfortable to stay at home and watch services online.
Whatever we think on how the leadership of churches in the West dealt with Covid, it is not persecution nor is it tribulation. What it is, is a clear symptom that we are drawing very close to the Tribulation Period, for it is at our door. The Church is not promised escape from persecution, for it will surely come as the Tribulation Period fast approaches.
For those are of the view that the Church will not go through the Tribulation Period, we still must prepare for persecution. The worst thing we can do is hide behind a Biblical idea, that the Church is coming into a period of world revival and the world will be transformed by the church before the Lord returns. Be assured, revival is taking place around the world right now. Pockets of revival are taking place and will continue to take place throughout the world, yet with serious ramifications of horrific persecution. You cannot have Revival without Persecution.
Let us not trip over the term Tribulation. The Tribulation Period has not yet begun. Let us not oppose those who hold the view of the Rapture, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Otherwise, this contention that is aired on social media will be another polarisation that the enemy sows into the Church.