The Four Purposes for the Tribulation
By Nathan Jones
The signs of the times indicate that we are on the threshold of the Tribulation — a time of unparalleled carnage that will befall the earth. The earth will plunge into a period of time that the Bible describes will be the most horrific period in all of human history.
What is the Tribulation, and what are its purposes?
For the answers to these questions and many others concerning the Tribulation, Dr. David Reagan and Nathan E. Jones address these important end times questions. The full discussion can be found on a special television episode of Christ in Prophecy.
The Four Purposes of the Tribulation
Dr. Reagan: One of the names the Bible gives for the coming worst time period in all of human history is the Tribulation.
Nathan Jones: When it comes to the Tribulation, we have to remember that we’re not talking about the daily sufferings that people go through. Surely, many Christians around the world are suffering immensely. Christians are being persecuted by ISIS, or illegally shut out of public forums, or being treated as second class citizens. Even the daily traumas that we go through in life, the sufferings we endure because of man, Satan, or that we even put upon ourselves due to our sin nature, are not the Tribulation.
No, when the Bible talks about our daily, earthly sufferings, think of tribulation as a lowercase “t”. Rather, when Bible prophecy talks about the Tribulation, think of it as the all uppercase, capped “THE TRIBULATION.” We’re talking about a judgment level equal to the Flood. The Tribulation — capital “T” — is a time period when God will judge the world because of its sins. That time remains future. God will most certainly judge the world for its sins, just as He did during the Flood.
Dr. Reagan: Isn’t there a special purpose for the Tribulation that relates to the Jewish people?
Nathan Jones: Oh, definitely. There are actually four different, main purposes for the Tribulation.
The first purpose for the Tribulation, as mentioned, concerns the wrath of God. God’s anger can be compared to a cup that over time has been filling up, but is about to overflow. God’s anger has reached the lip of the cup. God’s very nature is patience, but His wrath will eventually pour out when His anger has finally reach its limit. God’s anger will finally consume the world in what the Bible calls the Day of the Lord. So, the first purpose involves the punishment for the world’s sin.
The second purpose for the Tribulation concerns bringing a remnant of the Jewish people back to know God and His Son, Jesus, as their Messiah. By the end of the Tribulation, the Bible reveals that two-thirds of the Jews will be killed tragically in a second holocaust. But, when Jesus returns, those remaining Jews will look up at the heavens, and they will weep and wail, and they will realize that Jesus is the Messiah. Dangling at the end of Antichrist’s rope, they will give their lives to Jesus as their Messiah.
The third purpose for the Tribulation involves the Gentiles, for they too will come to know the Lord as their Savior. Revelation 6 talks about martyrs from every tribe, tongue, nation and people standing before the throne of God and worshiping Him. So, we know that many Gentiles will come to know the Lord due to the trials of Tribulation as well, though most will reject Christ, unfortunately.
The fourth reason for the Tribulation, I think, is also the paramount reason for the Tribulation — Jesus returns. I am talking about Christ’s Second Coming. Jesus finally comes back to earth. When Jesus returns, He defeats Satan and the Antichrist, and He sets up His Millennial Kingdom for a thousand years.
So, those would be the four main reasons why God will plunge the world into the Tribulation.
Dr. Reagan: I agree about those four purposes. One of the reasons I mentioned the Jewish people is because in Daniel 9. Daniel was told by God’s angel that there would be a period of 490 years, called the 70 weeks of years, in which God will deal with the godlessness of the Jewish people. God will attempt to accomplish some very specific purposes, and one of His most important objectives involves the salvation of a great remnant of the Jewish people.
For the Jews, the prophetic time-clock stopped ticking when Jesus died on the cross, for the Jewish people had refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah. Some 483 prophetic years had passed, according to Daniel’s prophecy, when the Messiah was “cut off.” Seven prophetic years as they relate to the Jews remain. The last seven years, also called Daniel’s Seventieth Week, have been put off until after the Church Age. Think of it as God calling a time out in a football game. The last seven prophetic years are waiting to be completed. These seven years are in reality the Tribulation.
So, there is going to be a special focus upon the Jewish people during the Tribulation. Horrifically, half the people on the planet, according to the book of Revelation, are going to die during that time, and that number does not just involve the Jewish people.
A Measure of Grace
Dr. Reagan: I want to emphasize that even when God pours out His wrath, His fundamental purpose is to bring people to repentance so that they might be saved. What a God of grace He is!
Nathan Jones: For some people, they really have to be forced to their knees. Life has to be as hard as it can be before they finally surrender their lives to Jesus Christ. That is what the world will be like during the Tribulation. The world right now is shaking its fist at God. Even now, we are seeing in the United States a great spirit of rebellion, or the great spirit of the Antichrist, as the Bible calls it.
The hard-hearted and deceived people of this world will need to first witness the Rapture of the Church, as the Christians are taken suddenly off the planet by Jesus Christ. Then they will enter into a time period that leads into the Tribulation. Daniel 9:27 reveals to us that the Tribulation begins when a one-world ruler ascends to global power, and he makes a peace covenant with Israel. Daniel tells us that covenant starts the prophetic countdown of Daniel’s Seventieth Week.
Like we said, God has set aside an extra seven years that are particularly meant for the Jewish people, but will become a blessing to the Gentiles as well, so that multitudes will come out of the Tribulation and into salvation. Daniel’s Seventieth Week prophecy is primarily prophesied for the Jewish people to bring a remnant to know Jesus as Messiah, but the whole world will witness the grace of God’s salvation as well, even if they have to endure the hardest of times in order to make a decision.