The Tribulation and Day of the Lord are for Israel

Dr. Mike Johnston

The Day of the Lord – including the Tribulation – is for Israel, NOT for the Body of Christ. To begin with, Israel and the Body of Christ are not the same. Neither are God’s plans for them. God’s plan for Israel is from prophecy and concerns Christ returning to earth in a spectacular event called the Revelation – to inaugurate His Davidic Covenant Kingdom in Jerusalem (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Matt. 24-25; Rev. 19-20). This plan was “spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21; see Luke 1:70). For instance, Daniel prophesied that the Kingdom would begin immediately following Israel’s fulfillment of seventy weeks of seven years (Dan. 9:24-27). One week is still missing. God’s plan for the Body of Christ is completely different. It concerns our heavenly inheritance, not an earthly kingdom. Since the prophets didn’t know about us, the Lord Jesus revealed this program to Paul as a mystery “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25; see Eph. 3:3-9). In that it began as a mystery, it will likewise disappear in a mystery called the Rapture; an any moment event whereby Jesus returns for us in the air to snatch us from earth (1 Thess. 4:16-17) and take us back to Heaven to be with Him (John 14:2-3). This will occur when “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). Once we are gone, a time of God’s wrath begins upon earth (Isa. 2; 24-26; Joel 2; Zeph. 1; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19; etc). Moses: Deut. 4:30; the Lord Jesus: Matt. 24:21, 29; and John: Rev. 7:14 called it the Tribulation. Scholars see it as Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Dan. 9:26-27), a time of trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15), and “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10) which will come upon the world. The key to understanding the Tribulation purpose and participants is found in prophecy. From the beginning the subject has been Israel (Deut. 4:30). Its purpose is to punish sin and sinners (Jer. 30-31; Zeph. 1; Joel; Rev. 6-19) and prepare earth and Israel for the Revelation of the Messiah and the Jewish (Millennial) Kingdom promised to Abraham on through David in perpetuity through Covenant (Judges 2:1; 2 Sam. 7:8-16), and sealed with an oath (Psa. 89:3-4, 20-37; see Luke 1:31-33).

In summary of the Day of the Lord including the Tribulation we can easily find Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations on earth during this “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15). However, the heavenly Body of Christ – which has been promised deliverance from this divine punishment (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 3:10; see also Rev. 4:1) – is conspicuously absent (Rev. 6-19). To wit, there isn’t a prophecy or a single verse anywhere in the Bible conclusively identifying the church Body of Christ on earth during Israel’s Tribulation without pulling from context and redefining the words “saints” and “elect” – which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation specifically refer to Israel or Tribulation converts. In light of these factors and others we are convinced that the Body of Christ will not go through Israel’s Day of the Lord and seven-year Tribulation!

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