Watch and Pray to Escape the Great Tribulation
When they say "PEACE and SAFETY" then "SUDDEN DESTRUCTION"
Prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ
"For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape." (1 Thes. 5:3)
The Lord Jesus Christ prophesied the Great Tribulation “such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” This event would occur in the End Time immediately before the Lord’s Second Coming (Mt. 24:21-22, 29). The “elect” refers to God’s chosen people in the New Testament (1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. 1:10) “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Rev. 3:10)
Watchfulness and Prayer are the keys to Escaping the Great Tribulation
Here is the Lord’s warning and assurance of guidance and protection for His disciples during the Great Tribulation. “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Lk. 21:34-36)
In the Garden of Gethsemane the Lord Jesus Christ instructed His disciples to “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Mt. 26:41) The word “watch” literally means “to be awake or sleepless”. In the Old Testament a watchman is a guard whose task it is to stay awake, to be on the lookout for signs of danger. There are two important duties of a watchman. He was responsible for a) looking after crops; and b) keeping watch for enemies on the walls of the city. During harvest time (also in the spiritual sense), the services of watchmen are essential. All over the world it is now harvest time, that is why we currently need watchmen – to watch over God’s harvest (John17:12) and to protect it. Watchmen were, however, also placed on the walls of cities to protect its people and to safeguard it. (Isa.1:6-8; Isa.62:6; Ezek.22:30) This is the reason why the Lord Jesus Christ instructs us to watch and pray.
What calamity is expected to happen during the Great Tribulation?
The Lord Jesus Christ had warned of many things to look for which would herald His soon arrival back on planet earth. He declared, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom [that’s happening today]. And there will be famines [happening right now], pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matt.24:7).
The natural order appears to have been upset. More and more new infectious diseases are being reported. AIDS ravages the world. Resistant strains of tuberculosis are increasing in deadliness, and infectious diseases are a growing threat in hospitals due to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Earthquakes are multiplying and shaking the ground in unheard of places. Floods, volcanoes, drought and famine stalk the nations of the world, and even the United States is greatly suffering from the after-effects.
The Lord Jesus Christ specifically stated that His followers would encounter all these things in Matthew 24.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Christians will go through the Great Tribulation
Since the Lord Jesus Christ has promised that if His people would “watch and pray”they “may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass.”
There is a popular teaching that Christians would be raptured (snatched up) to heaven before the Great Tribulation, but the Lord Jesus Christ said He would return after the Great Tribulation and not before (Mt. 24:29-31).
Our Lord prayed to the heavenly Father for His disciples, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” (Jn. 17:15) This means Christians will remain in the world during the Great Tribulation.
How then will the saints escape to safety during the Great Tribulation in the End Time?
The Lord Jesus Christ instructed His disciples, “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Mt. 24:16). Church history showed the disciples of Christ had escaped to Petra that is in the Jordanian mountains about 120 miles south of Jerusalem. The apostle John prophesied in Revelation that God would provide a place of refuge in the wilderness for the woman and her offsprings (church saints) “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:13-17)
When the Communists took over China God had prepared several places of refuge in the mountains and wilderness for our Church members. God has also prepared several places of refuge in different parts of the world for His people, especially in America and particularly in Texas..
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AMERICA - the Modern Babylon is fallen, is fallen
God had also revealed to the apostle John that “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, . . . For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” . (Rev. 18:1-5)
Many eschatologists (scholars of End Time prophecy) interpret “Babylon” in Revelation 18 as contemporary America because it is no longer a Christian nation as it once was. Just like ancient Babylon was a nation of many pagan and ungodly religions so is America today. President Obama have said it many times that America is now a nation of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindhus, many other religions including atheists and satanist cults. America is indeed the Modern Babylon. The present administration has abandoned the Creator God for humanistic secularism and evolution, has denied the sanctity of life and is promoting abortion, and accepted same sex marriage (homosexuality) which is an abomination to God.
“Therefore her plagues 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. 18:6-8)
This prophecy gives us the scenario much worse than what had happened on September 11, 2001. In the near future we can expect food shortages in America’s food chains and supermarkets. Do not be surprised when fires not only burn the forests in California but also in many large cities due to arson and riots and even radical Islamic attacks throughout the land. Prepare to stock up and have a long term supply of food. Also start praying and looking for a place of refuge and safety if you can.
We can no longer pray for America to repent of her sins in order to avert God’s judgment. It is already too late!
The present economic crisis and rise in the unemployment rate is only the tip of the iceberg that is going to cause the sinking and downfall of America. As the Great Tribulation unfolds it will make the Great Depression of the 1930s look like a picnic. It is prudent to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Pray continually for God’s guidance and protection.
Hope for the Best and be prepared for the Worst to come
The Lord Jesus Christ reminded His disciples, “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;” (Lk. 4:25) The Great Tribulation will last three and half years. God has prepared His people for this situation but they must also make preparations for themselves.
"Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Lk. 21:34-36)
NOTE: This Hub is based on a sermon preached by "Arkwriter" to a congregation in Stafford, Texas on March 15, 2009 during the Evangelical Services and Spiritual Convocation.