Purpose of the Great Tribulation

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by webdog, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. webdog

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    With the two pre / post rapture threads going, what is the true purpose of the GT? I believe it's Romans 11.

    Why would a believer, sealed with the Holy Spirit, need to, or have to go through the GT?

    If we are told we can resist the devil and he will flee from us, why wouldn't it be a piece of cake for us to not take the mark? How could a true believer, sealed with the Holy Spirit, be able to even receive the mark?
     
  2. dwmoeller1

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    Why would they not? After all, trials and tribulation because of Christ are to be gloried in by the believer (Rom 5:3). Tribulations work patience. Tribulation is a time for exceeding joy (2 Cor 7:4).

    They wouldn't receive the mark. IOW, much joy for the believer - a time to have their faith tried and grown in patience so that they may become perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
     
  3. webdog

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    I believe the GT is for the jew (Romans 11). Why would a gentile believer, or a jewish believer (the elect) need to be converted?
    Believers do suffer trials and tribulations today. Are you saying we are going through the GT now?
    Please explain if it's impossible for a believer to receive the mark, the warning not to receive the mark. The warnings were to mankind, where you would have believers part of during this time.
     
  4. npetreley

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    First, the GT is focused primarily on Israel. It is the time of Jacob's trouble, not the time of Gentile's trouble. So a lot of reasoning people use when discussing it is off-base because they are looking at it primarily from a Gentile church perspective.

    I expect someone to say (if this isn't what you're already asking), "If it is primarily focused on Israel, then why does the church need to be here?"

    It's not a matter of the church NEEDING to be here. There's no reason for the church to be spared. Indeed, there's every reason why the church should NOT be spared, assuming it even affects the church very much.

    First, I have to ask why does anyone think the church should go AWOL when the going gets tough? Most of the church has no idea what real tribulation means, yet the Bible clearly says we will suffer tribulation. Peter was hung on a cross upside down. Paul was stoned and left for dead. What makes us so special that we should be spared such things at the hands of evil men? Indeed, we should rejoice during tribulation because the Bible says so, and because it works character in us, and it stands as a testament to faith to the rest of the world.

    It is the wrath of God that we are spared, not tribulation. The great tribulation is a time of man oppressing man and powers of spiritual darkness oppressing man (again, primarily Israel). It is not God's wrath upon the wickedness of the whole earth -- that comes when Jesus returns. And that's what we are spared.
     
  5. reformedbeliever

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    Howdy web. I believe that those believers who were sealed had to go through the GT because that is the way God planned it. Many would have to suffer as Christ suffered, and we still do. Some of us, most of us, do not have to go through the tribulation that those saints of the time of Nero had to go through. I believe it was due to the severity of the GT that the Gospel was brought with even more intensity than before. The GT made believers even more bold. It is during the most tribulation that some of the greatest movements of Christianity occured.
     
  6. reformedbeliever

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    How about being wraped in animal skins and being fed to wild dogs? Being fed to lions? Lighting Nero's garden or his roads? I don't think there will ever be tribulation like what was happening at the time of Nero.
     
  7. dwmoeller1

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    Read Solzhenitsyn.

    There have certainly been times of severe tribulation even to the extent of the time of Nero. The difference between those and what seems to be described about the GT is that the tribulations of the GT will be universal - not merely confined to particular regions. While the tribulations at the time of Nero are a good parallel since Rome was, figuratively speaking, 'the whole world', it seems to beg the question to claim that there won't be a truly universal time of tribulation.
     
  8. dwmoeller1

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    If the GT is for the jew to be converted, then why do gentiles go through it? If the time of the gentiles is about gentiles being converted, then why are the Jews going through it? Your logic fails.

    Again, the question which has to also be considered is "Why not?" Even if we grant that the GT is primarily for the jews, what logical reason is there for removing the believing gentiles?

    No, I am merely pointing out that since trials and tribulations are joy for the believer, then there is no logical reason for them to be removed during the time of the GT regardless of who the GT might primarily be for.

    Because in Revelation it is only those who persevere to the end that are 'blessed'. Also, Matt 24:24 seems to indicate that its not possible to deceive the elect.

    So, while many in the church will fall away (ie. the apostacy of 2 Thess 2), the true believers will not be deceived - even though the lies will be deceptive enough that, if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived - but will persevere to the end.
     
  9. reformedbeliever

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    Thank you for the reference. Can you be more specific? Is there a title for the book? Sorry for my ignorance. Thanks again.
     
  10. dwmoeller1

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    Gulag Achipelago is the specific work I referred to. In short, its a foray into the prison system of the USSR. Its a broad work and in it he describes many things practiced on Christians.

    Also, Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" also describe tortures which were quite grusome. Yes, it was focused primarily on the Jew's but it was applied to any Christian who opposed the Nazi's as well.

    Those are the specific works that come to mind. Also, there are several instances of this sort of thing in 3rd world countries.
     
  11. reformedbeliever

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    Thanks for the reference. Sounds like something I would not enjoy reading.....lol.
    The universal aspect of the GT during Nero's time, as I think you already addressed, would not be seen during these times mentioned.
    Eschatology is one subject that I really need to spend more time with. I'm not ready to die on any of the eschatological hills. I'm very open to learn.
     
  12. dwmoeller1

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    Agreed. However, not even then was it truly universal, only figuratively...even if relatively nothing else has really approached it (although the USSR might be argued to have come close). So then the question is whether or not the Nero persecution was a partial or ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy.

    Unless one holds a full-preterist position (which itself is contradictory to I Cor 15), it seems more reasonable to see it as a partial fulfillment.
     
  13. webdog

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    I don't see how. Salvation is of the jews and for the jews, but gentiles are granted salvation. These same lost gentiles during the GT will be granted salvation in the same way...from the Gospel
    Rev 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.
     
  14. dwmoeller1

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    If the gospel is still being preached to the gentiles and they are still accepting, then again, why would the church *not* be in the GT. Your logic goes thus:

    premise 1 - The purpose of the GT is to convert the Jews
    premise 2 - The chuch is about converted gentiles
    Conclusion - Therefore, the church would not need to be in the GT

    Now I may be presuming about your conclusion, but that is what you question of 'why' implies is the expected conclusion. As it stands though, the argument is non sequitor - the conclusion does not logically follow from the premises. To demonstrate that it is non sequitor, I ask 'why not?'. My point is that unless you can answer the question of 'why not?' there is no logical reason to expect the conclusion you give flows necessarily from the premises.

    Now, I grant that the conclusion might be connected to the premises, but you haven't really established this is so. Your argument relies on unstated implications/assumptions to make the logical connection. My question of 'why not' is meant to bring those unstated assumptions/implications to the forefront so we can more fully examine your logic.

    So again, what reasons are there why the church would not be in the GT?
     
  15. webdog

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    Premise 2 is wrong. All those in Christ (jew and gentile) make up the current dispensation...the church age. We are the only age indwelt with the Holy Spirit. The GT believers will not have this benefit (both jew and gentile), hence the reason they will not be able to "resist the devil". The purpose of the GT is to convert the "not all Israel" group from "not all Israel is Israel".
     
  16. dwmoeller1

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    Thanks for clarifying that. Let me restate the argument then:
    premise 1 - The purpose of the GT is to convert the Jews
    premise 2 - The chuch is about believers indwelt with the spirit
    Conclusion - Therefore, the church would not need to be in the GT

    Its still non sequitor and thus an invalid argument.

    Although now it appears you are actually making a different argument:
    premise 1 - The church is composed of believers who are indwelt with the spirit
    premise 2 - the spirit will not indwell believers during the GT
    conclusion - therefore the church cannot be present in the GT

    Unlike the first argument, the second is valid - the conclusion does flow from the premises and will be true if the premises are true.

    I agree with premise 1 so it is premise 2 which you must establish in order for the argument to actually work. Before you do that, lets examine quickly some key things which you will need to deal with.

    1. No where does Revelation say that the Spirit will not be indwelling people during the GT
    2. In fact, no passage says that.
    3. So, the only thing I can think of to support premise 2 would be 2 Thess 2:7. If this is what you are relying on, then be sure to address in detail how that verse demonstrates that the fact of the 'restrainer being taken out of the way' equates to 'the HS will no longer indwell people in the GT'.

    4. Also, there are several verses which describe the GT believers in terms which are extremely similar to the church:
    a. Like the church, they "keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 12:17).

    b. They resemble the church in that their "citizenship is in heaven" (see Philippians 3:20). From the Revelation, we learn that these who come out of the great tribulation are not restricted to earth. Rather, they are clearly located in heaven. They "are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in the temple..." (Revelation 7:15).

    c. Like the church, they are called saints. "And it was given to him [Antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them..." (Revelation 13:7).

    d. Perhaps the strongest similarity, though, is that their names, like those of the church, are recorded in the Lamb's book of life. "And all who dwell on the earth will worship him [Antichrist], everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain" (Revelation 13:8).

    So, don't forget to address this fact in showing how we can know that the HS no longer indwells believers during the GT.
     
  17. J.D.

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    Reformed, I'm with you on that. I lean toward amil, but find premil and even responsible, rational forms of dispy and postmil acceptable. Us undecided's are in good company. Even R.C. Sproul admits that he is non-commital in eschat.

    I read Gill's views on it - he basically is premil, taking the thousand years to be literal and precise, with the resurrection of the saved before and the resurrection of the damned after the mil. He has the armies of God and Magog made up of the resurrected damned. But he does not muster a literal explanation of how the armies of Gog and Magog are "devoured" by fire coming down from God (he makes this an analogy representing God "speaking" to their consciences and bring them into a sort of self-conndemnation") and yet they are not "devoured" so as not to stand before the judgement. So his literalism fails to be consistant in the end. I think all literalist systems break down somewhere, and that's why I lean toward amil.
     
  18. dwmoeller1

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    First, lets be sure not to confuse amil with preterism. Reformed seems to be arguing in preterist terms.

    Secondly, I agree with you about historical premil - its quite acceptable. However, I am having difficulty accepting that about postmil (maybe because I can only find preterist postmils to discuss things with?) and find it impossible to do so with dispy eschatology (even if I can find other aspects of their position acceptable). Can you maybe comment on what you find to be acceptable forms of dispy and postmil eschatology?

    About Sproul though, hasn't he strongly gone partial preterist/postmil in recent years? Or am I thinking of someone else?

    Yep - literalism always ends up having to rely on non-literal explanations to remain consistent in interpretation. That being, amil becomes much more acceptable. Since it seems to me to answer several questions much better than the premil system does, I lean strongly towards it. I think this is esp. true if one finds themself in the New Covenant Theology camp. The 'now, but not yet' paradigm of amil thought seems to find strong resonance in the NCT paradigm.
     
    #18 dwmoeller1, Mar 9, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2007
  19. reformedbeliever

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    Yep, I'm partial preterist.... I think...lol. I would also describe myself as a cross between post and amil. I have a lot of study to do on eschatology before I would be close to being dogmatic about any of it. I'm probably closer to panmillinealist. When Christ comes back, it will all pan out. :laugh:
     
  20. dwmoeller1

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    Tsk tsk. :) We will have to have a discussion on that later ;)

    Seriously though (although the having a discussion part later was serious), I am not dogmatic on amil vs. premil. However, I still can't quite place postmil or partial preterism in what I would consider the 'Scripturally acceptable category'...although I am not dogmatic about that either and can see where they at least come close to that category. Enough people whom I respect in other areas of thought hold those positions such that i am seriously searching to see if I can change my mind on the matter.

    The dispy view of eschatology however, I am pretty dogmatic about :)
     
    #20 dwmoeller1, Mar 9, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2007

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