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?
We are what we think.
- 09/19/2014 02:04 AM
Quote of the Week: Michael Reeves
When you proclaim Jesus, the Spirit-anointed Son of the Father, you proclaim the triune God. — Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012), 37-38.
- 09/16/2014 02:10 AM
Catching the Spirit of Philosophy
Philosophy is unlike any discipline I ever studied in school. The word philosophy (from Greek: phileo, meaning “love,” and sophia, meaning “wisdom”) means the love of wisdom. My first philosophy teachers in college introduced me to the ancient Greek philosophers … Continue reading
- 09/12/2014 02:02 AM
Quote of the Week: Kenneth Samples
Christian apologist Walter R. Martin used to say that some people will not look up until they are flat on their back. — Kenneth Samples, Sunday morning church class lecture
- 09/09/2014 02:47 AM
A Call to Parents, Teachers, and Pastors: Listen and Learn!
I interact frequently with parents who are looking for resources to help their teenagers transition childhood faith into adult conviction. RTB is glad to develop resources—such as the Through the Lens video series or the Impact Events study guides—that help … Continue reading
- 09/05/2014 02:11 AM
Quote of the Week: Lawrence Krauss
Religious belief that the universe is the handiwork of an all-powerful being is not subject to refutation. This sort of reliance on faith may itself have an evolutionary basis. There has been talk of a “god gene”: the idea of … Continue reading
- 09/02/2014 02:28 AM
Islam and The Middle East Crisis
Like many people, I have been paying careful attention to the religious and political events transpiring in the Middle East for the past several years. As a student of Islam, I am very interested in this religion’s relationship to radical … Continue reading
- 08/29/2014 02:59 AM
Quote of the Week: Francis Crick
Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truth, but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive and leave descendants. — Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis (New York: Touchstone, 1994), … Continue reading
- 08/26/2014 02:49 AM
Use It or Lose It: Intellectual Exercise Can Save Your Mind
The mind can atrophy, like the muscles, if it is not used. Atrophy of the mental muscles is the penalty that we pay for not taking mental exercise. And this is a terrible penalty, for there is evidence that atrophy … Continue reading
- 08/22/2014 01:56 PM
Quote of the Week: David Naugle
There are three marks of a great person: One who is a great thinker; One who is a great lover; One who is a great doer. — David K. Naugle, Reordered Love, Reordered Lives (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 202.
- 08/19/2014 11:00 AM
Interview with Dr. Travis Campbell
Through RTB’s Visiting Scholar Program, we often have the pleasure of hosting and working with experts in various fields of study. This summer theologian Dr. Travis Campbell spent two months at RTB headquarters penning articles and recording podcasts. Dr. Campbell … Continue reading
Last Modified May 9, 2007