The Tribulation: Grace in Judgment
By Nathan Jones
Why would a God of grace, love, and mercy pour out the Tribulation upon the earth?
(Note: This and other questions sent in to Lamb & Lion Ministries about the Tribulation were answered by Dr. David Reagan, Nathan Jones, and Tim Moore on our television program Christ in Prophecy.)
Tim Moore: In my position as a Kentucky lawmaker, often times folks will call me and say, “There ought to be a law for this or that.” The reason being is that there is a deep yearning in the heart of man for justice to be served. People see unrighteousness abound and so they think there should be rightful punishment and justice for wrongdoing. Likewise, God is a God of justice, a God of righteousness, and a God of holiness, and so there will be punishment for the sins of those people who have rejected Jesus’ offer of salvation, even if at the same time He is also offering mercy.
I find it very interesting that people wish to make up a god of their own choosing. There’s a movie being produced about the life of Jesus starring Joaquin Phoenix. The actor has rejected some of the miracles that Jesus performed. Using very crude language, Phoenix proclaimed that he just couldn’t believe in any of that kind of miraculous stuff. And he’s playing Jesus! He has ended up creating a Jesus of his own imagination, just like the cults do.
How sad that so many people want to reject the holiness, the righteousness, and the justice of God, while still embracing the mercy and love of God. They forget that God is beyond human comprehension. All of those attributes make up who God is, and so inherent with His mercy and love is also His justice. That is why God will pour out His wrath during the Tribulation on those who have rejected His Son. And, because the signs of the times point to the soon return of Jesus Christ, that’s why Christians should run with great urgency to tell people that if they do not accept Jesus Christ then this period of unprecedented Tribulation and outpouring of God’s wrath will ensnare them.
Nathan Jones: Look in the book of Revelation at the Apostle John. He was brought up to Heaven and he saw the martyrs who will have died because of the Antichrist beheading and slaughtering them. John reported that these martyrs numbered like the sands. So many die at the hand of the Antichrist that they number uncountable and hail from every tribe, language, tongue, and people.
How did so many come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior? Because the world got really, really hard. Life got really, really bad, and so these people left behind at the Rapture were finally forced out of their complacency. They had to make a decision to choose the Lord or not. So, one of the beneficial results of the Tribulation will be probably the greatest spiritual harvest ever, maybe even greater than the last 2,000 years of Church history. The Lord is going to bring a great remnant, not just of Jews, but of Gentiles as well, who will come to know Jesus as Savior. That’s the result of the Tribulation. Sometimes life has to get really bad before a person finally gets serious about God.
Tim Moore: Even now people are living under periods of great trials within their own lives, not to be confused with the seven-year period Scripture talks about. Many believers will testify that they came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ only because they came to the end of themselves. The Lord allowed them to go through a period of great trial, causing them to turn to Jesus as their only hope of salvation, and their testimony bears witness to that.
Dr. Reagan: I find most people think of God as a cosmic teddy bear. He’s going to be warm and soft and furry. He’s just going to say, “You never accepted my Son, but you lived a pretty good life compared to the guy next door to you, so you’re good.” But, God doesn’t judge on the curve, rather He judges on the basis of the blood of Jesus Christ and whether or not you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. He is a God, yes of love, grace and mercy, but He is also a God of wrath.
Isaiah 26:9 says that, “When your people experience your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” Many people are going to come to the end of themselves and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior during this period of Tribulation. What a God that He is so gracious to do that!
In the third segment of answering questions about the Tribulation, the Christ in Prophecy team will explore key events that will happen during that time.