THE TRIBULATION IS FOR ISRAEL, NOT FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST!
Dr Mike Johnston
God didn’t give us the Bible in a vacuum. He has a well-constructed plan for every word in every Book. It includes a nation of prophecy with a promised earthly Kingdom in Jerusalem, and a mystery Body with a heavenly inheritance; both existing for separate purposes under separate plans “since the world began” (Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25). In the grand scheme, all Scripture exists to either explain or enhance one of these two programs; Israel and the earthly kingdom, or the Body of Christ and our heavenly inheritance.
Many years ago, conventional wisdom convinced us that the Old Testament is “time past” for Israel – which is true. However, they also told us it ended with Malachi, which is NOT true. The fact is, the New Testament didn’t begin until the death of Christ the Testator over thirty-three years later (Matt. 27; see Hebrews 9:16-17). Now some will contend this is inconsequential nonsense – and for them it probably is. However, for the rest of us, it means this: Christ’s teachings up through the crucifixion (Matt. 3-27) are in reality a furtherance of the Old Covenant (time past) narrative extending through the Gospel of John, which has the Jewish Kingdom future period (ages to come) – not the present period (but now) mystery church in view (Rom. 16:25 ; Eph. 3:3-5 ).
With all due respect to the narrator – and the book he’s selling – he begins with a preconceived outcome then attempts to build his case on Scripture skewed by pulling it from context, ie Noah, Lot and families were in great tribulation?? Show me that in my King James Bible. The tribulation originates from the law of first mention and has always been for Israel prophesied by Moses (Deut 4:30). Through progressive revelation it was expanded on by the prophets, codified by Daniel (Dan 9:24-27), clarified by Christ (Matt. 24-25, etc) and culminated in the Revelation (Ch. 6-19).
“When thou [Israel] art in tribulation [Hermeneutics – Law of First Mention ], and all these things [tribulation horrors] are come upon thee, even in the latter days [the time before the kingdom], if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant [Abrahamic, and the other four] of thy fathers which he sware unto them” (Deut. 4:30-31).
Seven elements linking the tribulation to Israel
(1) The tribulation is for Israel “When thou art in tribulation”
(2) It will consist of severe trials “all these things are come upon thee”
(3) It will happen in the latter days “even in the latter days”
(4) Its purpose is national repentance of Israel “if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice”
(5) It will showcase God’s mercy toward Israel “the LORD thy God is a merciful God”
(6) It will demonstrate God’s eternal purpose for Israel “He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee”
(7) It will result in fulfillment of a Covenant “nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them”
With this maiden message began a Progressive Revelation that subsequently unfolded prophecy about the tribulation for Israel throughout the Old Testament. Then, 1500 years later the Lord Jesus collated the prophecy in His description of the tribulation in the Olivet Discourse. His reference to it as “the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22) gives credence to every prophet who ever uttered a word of prophecy about it. Result of the tribulation: “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins” (Isa 40:2)
The fact is, there isn’t a verse anywhere in the Bible CLEARLY placing the Body of Christ here for one moment of Jacob’s trouble without snatching from context and redefining the words “saints” and “elect” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse and Revelation refer to Israel.