The Great Tribulation -- or "Great Tribulation" -- Which Is It?
Do the Blood Moons suggest there is coming the Mother of All Tribulations upon mankind? This concept is often referred to as THE GREAT TRIBULATION yet nowhere in scripture do you find the phrase “The Great Tribulation” -- that is all three words used together.
Matt: 24:21 –22 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.”
This passage is often cited as the source for this concept. But notice that it says there shall be “great tribulation” – not THE Great Tribulation. Great tribulation will occur for sure – but we in the churches have exaggerated the concept and made it into something scripture simply does not teach -- a specific one-time “mother of all tribulations” exacerbated by a further misunderstanding of the meaning of the "flesh" spoken of in the same verse. Ephesians 5:30 clearly explains this "flesh" is the Church and not the whole of mankind.)
You might conclude the simple word THE is not a significant misuse when conveying the meaning of this verse. However, it is much like the difference between the phrase "THE Great Smokey Mountains" and "A Great Smokey Mountain". These two phrases portray two very different concepts. One means a whole range of mountains while the other only means one of those mountains. Adding the article "the" therefore can have the effect of changing the intended significance of this event or giving it a meaning not intended by the verse. Certainly, the verse clearly says there will be a time of great tribulation -- terrible enough by itself. However, the scripture clearly says it will be "different in nature" -- not "degree of physical terribleness". It is the "different nature" of this period that is most significant here. There certainly have been periods of "Great Tribulation" in the past but this period will be "different" in some significant way -- something not seen since the beginning of the world to this time.
Christ uses many expressions in this section of Matthew to further characterize this time. He particularly likens the time to the flood of Noah's day -- which was also a great tribulation destroying all but eight people. This comparison is very significant. There was never a time like it before and GOD promises it will never happen again. He "seals" that promise with the sign of a rainbow. Notice Christ's words:
Matthew 24:36 --39 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
It is also important to realize that a significant body of other prophetic scriptures reveal a great spiritual onslaught against the people of GOD at the very end time as unholy spirits escape into the world to stir up mankind at the very end.
Rev 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Rev 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
There could be no greater physical tribulation than that which the Jews experienced in the death camps, or the Cambodians experienced in the “killing fields”, or the people of Uganda experienced as Idi Amin took human beings and hung them up alive on meat hooks in the hot sun, or the early day Christians experienced by the tortuous methods used by the Romans against them. YES – scripture is clear that the end times will bring “A” great tribulation and it will be unsurpassed IN SOME WAY but it will not serve to minimize the horrendous things mankind has experienced in our history. What is coming is “unlike” anything that has come before (“ . . . such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be . . .”). But are these events spiritual in nature this time or another major physical trial? The concern we must have is whether our teachings so similarly align with the cultural hysteria and hyperbole taught by the worldly church. If they do – something is amiss as those teachings are clearly NOT directed by GOD’s Holy Spirit but by another spirit. It is ONLY GOD’s Spirit that leads us to what is actually TRUE on any subject especially HIS prophecies. This is a vital understanding as we know also that GREAT DECEPTION comes at the very end in the form of a "great flood" of false information. How will anybody be able to get through that deception? Well, the following two verses form a key guide for us as we live through this time of great tribulation.
Acts 5:32 “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.”
Simply put, unless we are doing our level best to live according to every word of GOD (the whole of scripture) and embrace GOD's grace & guidance – we too are in danger of being "drowned in this flood" and overtaken by the great end time deception.
Matthew 24:24 "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
The Disciples of Christ kept and taught "whatsoever HE commanded them". Included was the seventh day Sabbath and all precepts taught from the whole of scripture available in their day. Actually living by the very word of GOD is the key. Prophetic scripture clearly explains that the WHOLE WORLD will be deceived (Revelation 12:9) in the end times including all of its so called Christian churches who have rejected the actual teachings of Christ. Following Christ's example and observing those things which GOD has commanded in HIS word is vital. That's how we "know HIM" and how we "remain tapped into what isTrue".
1 John 2:3-4 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
1 John 2:4-5 He that saith, I know him, and keeps not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Some feel that we are already in that period (of great tribulation) described by Christ in Matthew. Even John writes in the book of Revelation that he is our “companion in tribulation”. All we can actually know is that there will be (at the end) a time when something is “pressing on the people of GOD” in a way it has never done so in the past. We know from scripture that the apostles themselves spoke of living in “the time of the end”. But it is fascinating that the phrase THE GREAT TRIBULATION (so commonly used by the church culture) is nowhere found in scripture – that is – all three words used together?
Next let's clarify the concept that all flesh will be on the brink of destruction taken from that same verse:
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved. . .
“OK, let’s look at that one as well. Gen 2:23 “And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” But also look at Eph 5:28--32 “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Christ is calling the “members of HIS body"—which are HIS true Church -- HIS "Flesh and bones”
It is very obvious that we are dealing with the First Adam and the Second ADAM – same concept! Christ is speaking about HIS Flesh – the church in the prophecy of Matthew 24 – and NOT ABOUT the whole of humanity. This is further proven by what HE says in Luke 18:6—8 “And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Christ Himself is expressing concern that at the end time there will be very little faith left – only a “remnant” of the church doing the work at that time. And we know that every place where we find the church discussed in the end time it is only referred to as “a little flock” or a “remnant”. It is clear the FLESH he is speaking about is referring to the true church – those that worship HIM in Spirit and Truth. John 4:23 “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.”
A misunderstanding of this tribulation period has greatly contributed to an overall deflection away from what those end-time prophecies are truly telling us. We should carefully consider that the warning contained in these verses (given to the church primarily not all of mankind) may be more about "spiritual corruption" than they are about physical danger!
Christ also expresses in Revelation 3 that the people in the church at the very end time are “poor, blind, and (spiritually) naked.” HE goes on to say they need to “buy the gold tried in the fire (that is – to go back to building disciplined Godly character through obedience) and anoint their eyes with eyes-salve.” Again – we see that people at the end aren’t seeing things properly – a great reason to question the “norm” on what people teach about these things. Also, in the parable of Matt 25 of the ten virgins – we find that vision is a problem as the focus of this parable for all of them is whether they have enough “oil” in their lamps (at midnight -- the very end) to properly SEE at the very end time just at the exact time Christ is coming back.
Are we facing “the mother of all physical tribulations”? Well, the passage says that we are facing a time of “great tribulation” and it will be different than anything that went before. The flood of Noah was much like this – it had never happened before and GOD promised it will never happen that way again. It is essential that we carefully consider the similarity between what happened in Noah’s day and this time of "great tribulation" because of what Matt 24:37 says will happen at the end time just before Christ’s return.
Notice again: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The flood in our day is a flood of false doctrine and deception.
Notice further: Rev 12:15 “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.”
I agree with John as he records his vision in the book of Revelation where he says – we are living in a time of Tribulation. Is it the “great tribulation” spoken of by Christ in Matthew 24? Well we can’t know for sure but there seems to be some merit to that position. We can, however, easily conclude that there is “a great tribulation” of a “spiritual nature” overflowing mankind like a flood (of false information) in our very day. Whether a physical tribulation will follow remains to be seen.