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The “Gospel” During the Great Tribulation

The Righteous Will Live by Faith

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The purpose of this study is to exalt the Centerpiece of the Great Tribulation, Jesus Christ and His everlasting gospel. I hope that this short study will lift some darkness that currently obscures this most important subject. What makes this subject so important is that the gospel is good news from God and good news about God. (I should point out the gospel also contains bad news from God for those who refuse to submit to His authority.) In the coming hours of human extremity, God will completely reveal the everlasting gospel. In other words, during the Great Tribulation, the gospel of Jesus Christ will be stripped of human varnish and denomination ownership. Truth will shine brighter than the sun at noon on a cloudless day and truth will soar high above antagonism and confusion by the diverse religions of the world. Everyone will clearly hear the gospel – yes, even above the roar and din of overwhelming destruction and suffering. During the appointed time of the end, the Holy Spirit will empower God’s anointed messengers as never before, exalting Jesus Christ and His everlasting gospel with power and simplicity. (Revelation 7:1-8; 11:3; Joel 2:28-32)

There is no higher subject, there is no grander theme and there is nothing more glorious in the whole Bible than the “revelation” of Jesus Christ. Billions of people have rejoiced to learn about Him down through the ages without seeing the stunning revelation of His Majesty that is about to take place. Every born-again Christian knows that nothing can compare with the joy, peace and transformation that comes from knowing Jesus and understanding the gospel of His kingdom. He is the King of kings! He is the Lord of lords! He is the Alpha and Omega! He is the eternal Sun of Righteousness, the day Star of humankind! Yet, for all that He is, His favorite titles seem to be Son of God and Savior of man. (John 14:31; John 10:11; Revelation 5:9) So why is it then, that when people tell the story of the Great Tribulation, our Lord and His gospel are not usually the centerpieces of the story? Why is the book of Revelation regarded with so much mystery, fear, foreboding and gloom when Revelation is expressly declared”The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to him…? (Revelation 1:1) Is it possible that Christians do not comprehend how Jesus and His everlasting gospel fit into the end-time story?

It is absolutely fascinating to discover how all the books in the Bible are “directly wired” into Revelation’s story, comparable to the electrical wiring connected to the main breaker box in my house. All 66 books, written by 40+ authors over a period of 1,400 years, connect to the book of Revelation in ways that reveal something about the enormous dimensions of God’s love and His Plan to save man. No book in the Bible stands alone; no book should be excluded from our study. Each book contributes something essential to our understanding of the everlasting gospel. Each book adds color and detail to an infinite picture that says something about the Most High God. However, if I could exalt one book above the others, it would be the last book of the Bible. I say this because I believe we are living in the final days of Earth’s history and the message within the book of Revelation uniquely applies to the last generation. In other words, Revelation merits closer attention because it is the timeliest.

God is Love

I have said often in these studies that the most difficult idea the 144,000 must convey during the Great Tribulation will be that God is love, simply because the world’s view of what constitutes God’s love is highly distorted. Think about it. Revelation describes many horrible events. Consider a global scene with people perishing by the hundreds of millions in great fires, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, contaminated waters, famines, plagues, wars and other physical calamities. Consider the great suffering that every survivor will experience. Words cannot express the anguish that will torment every living person during the Great Tribulation. No book in the Bible is more graphic or more depressing than the book of Revelation, especially if we focus on the results of God’s justifiable wrath. So, how can I say that the book of Revelation is the most glorious book in the Bible? I say this because of what God produces during the Great Tribulation and what he brings out of the Great Tribulation!

What do I mean when I say, “What will God produce during the Great Tribulation?” God will enable every person to have an unmistakable understanding of Jesus Christ and His gospel. “What will God bring out of the Great Tribulation?” God will save a numberless multitude of people who supremely love Him and His truth. (Revelation 7:9,14) Any process that can produce results like this is nothing short of amazing – especially when you consider the religious and cultural diversity of this planet!

Basic Elements of the Gospel

The gospel of Jesus Christ can be compared with different levels of algebra. Algebra I contains introductory ideas. Algebra II builds upon the foundations established in Algebra I, so that issues like quadratic and differential equations can be studied. Algebra II also sets the stage for the advanced study of calculus. The point is that the gospel is not a “sound bite” or a flippant “one-liner” – it is as wide and deep as the ocean. (Ephesians 3:16-19) True, you can put small sample of the ocean in a jar, but the water in the jar is not the ocean! Unfortunately, many Christians have been led to believe that the gospel is a small matter (the jar of water) rather than an infinite matter operating within well-defined principles and laws.

The Apostle Paul became annoyed with the Hebrews because they would not move on to “Algebra II.” He wrote, “In fact, though by the time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! No one who lives on milk, being still an infant, is acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in god, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” (Hebrews 5:12-6:2, italics mine) If Paul were alive today, I wonder what he would say about the current condition of Christians and their understanding of the gospel.

Three Important Points

The way the gospel will be presented during the Great Tribulation will be as it has always been, only on a much grander scale. God has always used a specific person or remnant group to accomplish His purposes. During the tribulation, God will choose and empower 144,000 ordinary people from every religion and culture to do the job. To be more specific, one religious body will not present the gospel during the Great Tribulation and for the most part, neither scholars nor “men and women of letters” will present the gospel either! God looks within the heart (1 Samuel 16:7, 17:10; Jeremiah 29:13) and He will choose 144,000 humble messengers that will come from all nationalities and faiths! Many people may question how this diverse group will present only one gospel! How will God accomplish this? In every nation, there are people who love God with all their heart, mind and soul. These people are living up to all they know to be true. These are His sheep. (John 10:16; Romans 2:14,15) Once God presents the “book of truth” to such people (Ezekiel 2:3-3:4; Revelation 10:8-10) they will rejoice to understand the gospel! (Matthew 13:23) God will then empower them to preach to their respective nations. (Hebrews 8:10-13; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 24:14) The world will listen because God will stop the daily affairs of the human race with His judgments. (Isaiah 26:9,10; Revelation 8 and 9) As a result of God’s intervention, a numberless multitude will receive salvation. Think about it. God is going to save to the utmost and redeem people from every religion and nation!

Two Problems

Before we get into the elements of the everlasting gospel, I would like to present two important points for consideration:

A. Most Christians believe their church has the correct interpretation of the gospel. (This is the reason the Christian community is so divided – each church is convinced of the certainty of its position. Many churches use prophets or authorities outside the Bible to confirm their claims.) Regardless of denomination, church leaders, pastors and church members all believe their version of the gospel will be preached to all the world and evangelicals are doing everything within their power to accomplish “the impossible.” I say “the impossible” for two reasons: First, the majority of people living on Earth have not heard any portion of the gospel after 2,000 years of promotion. According to figures released by the American Bible Society, it is currently estimated that more than 3.5 billion people have never heard of Jesus Christ! Second, the population of Earth is growing faster than people sharing the gospel can reach. Yes, through the miracle of radio and TV, the gospel is being preached in remote places, but the problem is not reaching remote places! Radio and TV may beam the gospel to every nation, but culture and religion prevent most people from giving the gospel fair consideration.

History confirms that it is almost impossible for one man to prove the superiority of his religion over that of another man. One cannot count the number of “holy wars” fought in the name of God. Figures show that less than 5% of the world’s population change religions. Can Moslems convince Jews of the superiority of Islam? Can Catholics convince Hindus that Catholicism is right? Can Mormons convince Jehovah’s Witnesses that Mormonism is correct? No, the likelihood of change in each example is slim to none. It is heartbreaking, but true – when it comes to religion, most people cannot objectively consider another point of view if they have already embraced a particular religion. Religion usually starts in the cradle and whatever religion a person is born into, that is the religion they die out of. The question is, will God allow people to perish because two men cannot agree with each other? No. God intends to present the gospel to every person and in a setting where each person may fully consider His offer of salvation. To do this, God must and will break down religious barriers by sending a series of devastating judgments.

B. During the Great Tribulation, God will tear down the enormous loyalty, trust and confidence that each person places in his or her religion and religious leaders. This tearing down (disillusionment) will be painful and sad (and many will curse God out of deepest bitterness), but this terrible experience will enable Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Hindus, Moslems and everyone on earth to consider the everlasting gospel for what it really is. (Revelation 10:10,11) God will open everyone’s mind by a powerful and overwhelming course of events that no one can deny. God will put all people on a level playing field. The light of His Truth will illuminate the pompous, arrogant claims of religious leaders and religious systems. (Zechariah 13:7-9) Sadly, the pride of their hearts will be revealed. In stark contrast, the 144,000 will present the everlasting gospel in simple, but powerful terms. Blazing truth will shame the darkness that is protected in the name of religion with the same clarity that daylight defeats darkness. In this environment, everyone will have an opportunity to (a) hear the gospel; (b) make a decision (for the truth or stand against it); (c) have their resolve about their decision tested by persecution; and (d) ultimately be sealed or marked according to their decision. In this manner, the everlasting gospel will be preached to every man, woman and child on earth and each person will have a fair chance to make an intelligent decision about it.






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