Why Pan-Tribulation Really Means Post-Tribulation

I’ve been a Christian for many years and over time I have never seen a more heated argument in the church then “When is Jesus coming?” This is a very important question because it affects how we live our lives today and what we are preparing for in the future. People have basically made three groups of thought in response to this question: Jesus comes before the tribulation (pre-tribulation), He comes in the middle of or during the tribulation (mid-tribulation) or He comes after the tribulation (post-tribulation).

As I said, it’s a very heated argument. Entire denominations have split due to theological differences regarding the Second Coming. More recently, a newer view has appeared called “pan-tribulation” which holds this view:

Whatever pans out, I’ll be ready.

The people who hold this view usually don’t study the end times. They don’t do this to be ignorant. They just don’t like to argue. They don’t see the timing of the Second Coming to be a theological issue worthy of a fight, unlike matters of deity, salvation or gifts of the Spirit. The problem is that few people who hold the pan-tribulation view understand what all is coming down the pipe.

When you say “whatever happens, I’ll be ready”, you are stating you are ready for the best case scenario and the worst case scenario.

Most people know what the best case scenario is regarding the Second Coming — Jesus comes before the world sinks into unadulteraded evil and takes all the Christians to heaven while He judges the rest of the world. This is the viewpoint (pre-tribulation) of most evangelical American churches and fiction books such as the Left Behind series. This is usually accompanied by the belief that Jesus can come at any moment, so be ready and make sure that you’re doing something He would approve of if He returned. This view has a very high emphasis on evangelism since “Jesus could come at any moment” we have to work while “it is yet day.” This view also assures believers that they will not go through any of the trouble, persecution or judgments that come at the end of the age during the tribulation.

Sadly, most people do not know the worst case scenario. I have read end time passages from Revelation, Isaiah, the Gospels, etc many times and there are several realizations that I have had.

  1. There is no word-for-word Biblical promise that secures protection of the saints against the seal and trumpet judgments.
    This is especially important since these judgments are quite painful, like the fifth trumpet when giant flying scorpions are released to torment the earth. The Bible mentions that the bowl judgments (the final seven judgments) are reserved for those who took the mark of the beast, but there is no mention of partiality about the other judgments. It also seems that the first fourteen judgments happen prior to the mark of the beast.
  2. According to Jesus, it’s those that endure to the end that will be saved. (see Matthew 24:13)
    In context, Jesus makes it very clear that it’s those who endure all the persecution and suffering that will be saved. If you give up, you lose and you lose eternally. He wants lovers who will love Him regardless, come what may.
  3. Persecution will be everywhere and it will be way worse than it is now.
    Most Christians across the world outside of America and Europe experience persecution on an almost daily basis. But there is coming a day where all nations and cities will be hunting down believers. Acts of violence, murder and torture will be used on those who claim to love Jesus.
  4. A massive falling away is coming of those who claim to love Jesus.
    The Bible says in multiple places that the love of many in the church will grow cold and many will walk away from Christ, most likely due to all the trouble and calamity happening all around them. It will be very lonely for believers. Friends will either betray them or die for Christ.

Now, there is hope and good things happening through the worst case scenario, but I’ll talk about that some other time. I hold a post-tribulation view which means I’ve had to reconcile in my mind that there is a possibility (key word) that I will be stung by flying scorpions (among other things), be persecuted to death and have my loved ones betray me — all while knowing that if I get offended with God and quit loving Him, I will go to hell. That is the worst case scenario.

It takes no preparation to be ready for the best case scenario, but it takes all the time we have to prepare for the worst.

Jesus is coming soon. If you really want to be ready for anything, then taking the post-tribulation view is the only viable thing to do. That’s what I have done. I am preparing my heart for the absolute worst. If I am wrong and Jesus comes back early and I don’t have to go through any of the big trouble, then I will be grateful and will have nothing to be worried about. Also, since I have prepared for the worst, my life will be ready and pure for Him and my rewards will be greater in the millennial kingdom because I prepared my heart and life to be steady in all aspects of my love for Him. If I am right though, and I do go through the big trouble that’s coming, then I will be prepared and by God’s grace, I will make it to the end faithfully loving God.

It’s time that pan-tribulation believers push preparing hearts for the end times so that Christians are not caught unprepared for what’s coming. It’s time for us all to realize that’s it’s not just a matter of opinion. Eternity is on the line.

A big test is coming. A test that will determine where you are for eternity…and someone tells you “Don’t worry, you won’t have to take it.” So you don’t study. What happens when you find out come test day that they were wrong and you have to take the test? There is no retake for this test. It’s either pass or fail. For eternity.

What if the post-tribulation view is wrong? Then you become more like Jesus and ready for any personal tribulation that comes your way. What if the pre-tribulation view is wrong? There’s a high chance you’ll be offended with God when the great tribulation comes. That’s not a chance any of us should take. It’s definitely not wisdom. My parents always taught me to study and prepare just in case I find myself in front of a test I didn’t know about. It was good counsel, not just for school, but for my spiritual life.

I encourage you to at least start reading end time books like Revelation, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Daniel, 2 Timothy, Isaiah and Matthew. Ask the Lord to reveal truth to you regarding the end times and about what’s coming. Ask Him to prepare your heart, even if it’s just for you personal tribulations that are coming into your life soon.

Remember, Jesus is coming soon. People get ready.

Enoch & Elijah (Love & Holiness) In The End

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. (Revelation 11:3-4 ESV)

I was thinking today about the two witnesses that will be on the earth during the first part of the tribulation. These two men will be the ultimate prophetic voice for God and truth in the end times (outside of the Bible itself). These two men that the verses above are talking about are very significant.

There has been discussion on who these two witnesses are. Most people believe that one of them is Elijah, mostly cause of this verse:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Malachi 4:5 ESV)

That verse from Malachi pretty much says that Elijah will be sent to speak God’s heart during the tribulation. As for the other witness, there has been much talk of it being Moses, usually due to Moses and Elijah meeting with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (see Matthew 17:1-8). People assume that Jesus was talking to them about His end time plans, especially since Jesus had just finished talking about His second coming.

I think this would be a good time to mention that we ought to be careful about declaring something as fact for something the Bible leaves as a mystery. The Bible makes no mention of who this second witness is and we should make no solid claim or theology saying who it will be. This is a very important principle when dealing with end time theology, so much so that God gives a warning to all who would add or take away from what He has revealed about the end (see Revelation 22:19-20). I believe though that thinking, pondering and mediating on these mysteries is fine, as long as it draws us closer to Jesus and not to arrogance.

That said, I personally believe that the other witness will be Enoch. I believe this in light of this verse:

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment… (Hebrews 9:27 ESV)

The Bible states that it is appointed that all people are to die once, but there are two people who have not. Elijah and Enoch. The Bible states that the two witnesses will eventually die by the antichrist only to be raised from the dead a few days later and taken to heaven, but forget the logistics of all of this. Think about the spiritually symbolic statement being made if God sent back these two men.

Enoch was a lover of God. He pursued God like no one else. In fact, He was so passionate in his pursuit of God that he was literally “caught up to be with the Lord.” There would not be anyone again who loved the Lord in this way until David, but not even David would be translated to heaven. Elijah was a voice crying out for holiness during a time of great wickedness and idolatry. He called people to be separate from the evil leaders of his day and called people to wholeheartedly return to the Lord.

If the Lord sent Enoch and Elijah back during the tribulation, the symbolic word being declared would be “Love God completely!” and “Rid yourself of idols & evil! Holiness unto the Lord!”. Love and holiness would become the focus points of all evangelistic messages during the tribulation and that’s something I can see being very possible.

Nevertheless, whoever these witnesses are, whether it’s John, Elijah, Moses, Enoch or a couple unknown people, their very presence and message will declare “Jesus, the God of love, is coming…and His jealous love burns.” Regardless of who the witnesses will be, our hearts must align with God’s in the areas of love and holiness. The two greatest evils released during the end times are that “the love of many will wax cold” and “the increase of lawlessness.” Both these evils either both Jesus and Paul warn the church that it will affect Christians in the end.

My heart is stirred to prepare my heart to love and live holy (by His grace) in the end. He’s returning for bright shining lamps. May we prepare now, so that we have enough oil for the end.

My Top 10 Thankfulness List (2010)

It’s so hard to sum up into 10 points all that I’m thankful for this year, but here we go:

10. Five Guys in Daytona Beach. You have made me fat and happy.
9. My iPhone 4. You have made my life way more productive. And less so. 🙂
8. Inception. A clean movie that stirred me to use my brain in my artistic hobbies.
7. My job. You all are a great team and this by far is the best job I’ve ever had!
6. My pastors and church. In days where truth and love are rare in the land, I’m so glad to be in a safe place that’s full of each.
5. Our new house. Never could of imagined it.
4. My close circle of friends. We’ve been through a lot and you still help strengthen and refine me. I pray I do the same.
3. My family and new family in-laws. So many people, so much joy and love.
2. My wife. Our first thanksgiving together and my heart overflows thinking about you. I don’t deserve you.
1. Jesus. I really don’t deserve Your love and patience.

There are so many more things I’m thankful for, both silly and funny, but there isn’t enough time or space to write them all.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Thoughts from James 5

James is such a rich book in the Bible. It begins it’s journey instructing us on wisdom. It then talks about partiality and taming our tongues. It shows us what true wisdom from above is and talks about how we should therefore live before God. But it all climaxes in the last chapter as James is summarizing his thoughts. He basically gives three points for mediation.

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days…You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.

  • Beware of greed…
    James issues a judgment of those who live a life to be self-satisfied instead of being satisfied in God. The part that strikes me is “You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.” All I can think of is a turkey that sees all this food around him and decides it can’t hurt to eat. So it gets fatter and fatter, not knowing that it’s being fattened to be dinner. I can see “wise turkeys” not eating (fasting) and therefore passing becoming dinner (cause who wants a scrawny turkey?).
    Likewise, James is telling us that if we knew what was coming and what lies behind the bend, we would strive to live a fasted life.

You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

  • …Cause the Judge is at the door…
    James urges us to see the what is coming is not a *what* but a *Who*. This is a typical theme in the Scriptures (“watch yourself cause He’s coming”) but James takes it one step further. He says the coming of the Lord is so close, He’s literally at the door. James is telling us that the way to live a fasted life is to keep the coming of Jesus at the forefront of our minds.

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

  • …So pray.
    James ends his summary by saying in light of the coming of Jesus, we should pray. Pray for everything (forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, weather, etc). The summary point of James is “PRAY”. James even states the importance of prayer in the beginning of his letter when he was talking about wisdom (James 1:5-8). A life rooted in prayer is the only answer to living a fasted lifestyle in acknowledgement of the Coming One.

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Small note here at end. James concludes his book with a seemingly random thought about bringing people back to the truth. But James doesn’t say this randomly. He says this in context of needing a praying life. Our answer for seeing people walk away from the truth should not be to judge them, but to labor in prayer for them…cause it’s the only way their “souls will be saved from death.”

So this Thanksgiving, while we’re all eating turkey and fattening ourselves (lol), let’s remember James’ words:

Beware of greed cause the Judge is at the door, so pray.