Why Christians Will Suffer "Great Tribulation" is Joe Ortiz's sequel to His book, The End Times Passover, which is reviewed separately on this site. Mr. Ortiz makes the point that "The" Great Tribulation is actually not mentioned in the Bible. The definite article "the" is not part of Matthew's description of end times tribulation events.1 So, Christians will suffer great tribulation in the end times, although it will vary from the tribulation the saints have received throughout recorded history only by degree to which the saints will be persecuted. Many Bible teachers are claiming that end times Christians will escape tribulation and be raptured prior to these events (often referred to as "pre-tribulation rapture" or "pre-trib rapture"). Since Christians are not destined for wrath,2 why would God put us through great tribulation?
Mr. Ortiz first makes the point that Jesus told us that we would suffer tribulation and persecution because of His name. Since the original apostles were all martyred for their faith (except John), why should we expect to escape unscathed? Many examples of tribulation are described within the passages of scripture, including the tribulations of Paul, and warnings from Paul and Jesus that believers would experience tribulation. This tribulation would increase greatly immediately before the return of Jesus Christ.
Purpose of tribulation
Why would God put His people through tribulation at all? It is clear from the New Testament that God wants His people to testify to others of His Son, and His gift of salvation through faith in Him. Under intense persecution, early Christianity spread over much of the Middle East, western Asia, and Europe. Just prior to the return of Jesus, persecution of the saints will increase greatly, yet the gospel will be preached over the entire world. Although some of the saints will be executed for their faith, others will be brought before government authorities to witness to them. Although the suffering of tribulation seems to be bad, the Bible tells us that this tribulation produces endurance and perseverance, "so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."3 Christians should be prepared to endure persecution during the end times, lest they be discouraged and fall away from the faith.
End times Passover
The latter part of Why Christians Will Suffer "Great Tribulation" is devoted to a discussion of the Passover and its symbolism. Mr. Ortiz is convinced that God will provide an "end times Passover" to protect believers who survive tribulation during the time He pours out His wrath upon the earth. Although somewhat speculative, a Passover-type of protection for believers makes sense, and is suggested by one of Jesus' instructions to the churches.4 Paul's perspective for the lives of Christians is reflected in the book of Romans:
for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Romans 14:8-9)
Disagreements over interpretation
In any book of prophecy interpretation, there is going to be some disagreement. However, for Why Christians Will Suffer "Great Tribulation" I have only one minor complaint, which doesn't impact the overall message of the book. Mr. Ortiz makes the claim that the New Jerusalem comes down to earth from heaven and that the earth will just be "remade" at the return of Jesus. However, scriptures are pretty clear that the entire universe is completely destroyed ("burned up") after the return of Jesus to earth.5 In fact, Jesus Himself said that heaven and earth would "pass away." At that point, Jesus will create a new heavens and a new earth, which doesn't seem to exhibit even the same laws of physics.6 When the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, it will land on a new earth that doesn't even contain oceans and doesn't circle a star (i.e., no Sun).
Why Christians Will Suffer "Great Tribulation" is one of the best short books on end times prophecy, and is an excellent rebuttal to the prevalent pre-tribulation rapture teaching. The text is written in an easy to read style, yet cites the relevant scriptures to back up its interpretations. The book has changed the way I look at some end times events, and has clarified my picture of the end times. It is highly recommended reading for those interested in end times interpretations.
Why Christians Will Suffer "Great Tribulation" by Joe Ortiz
- The End Times Passover: Etymological Challenges to Millenarian Doctrines
- Book Review: The Origins of Left Behind Eschatology
- Book Review: Left Behind Answered Verse by Verse
- Will Christians Go Through the Great Tribulation?
- Will Christians Suffer the Wrath of God?
- What Will Heaven be Like?
- How the Passover Reveals Jesus Christ
- "for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short." (Matthew 24:21-22)
- "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
- And not only this, but we also exult in our
tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; (Romans
therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. (2 Thessalonians 1:4)
But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated... For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. (Hebrews 10:32-36)
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 1:9)
- 'Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.' (Revelation 3:10)
- But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire,
kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:7)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)
looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! (2 Peter 3:12)
"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished." (Matthew 5:18)
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Mark 13:31)
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Luke 21:33)
And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN." And this expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26-27)
- See What Will Heaven be Like?
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Last Modified May 9, 2007