Most in the Christian community has heard of the “great tribulation” that Jesus spoke of in Matthew chapter twenty-four. But why should there be one anyway? Why not just “end it” and let it be? Why the pain and heartache of a tribulation? Let’s consider seedtime and harvest.
Seedtime and Harvest
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:6).
“The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
The wicked have drawn the sword
And have bent their bow,
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay those who are of upright conduct.
Their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken” (Psalm 37:12–15; emphasis mine).
“He has brought on them their own iniquity,
And shall cut them off in their own wickedness;
The LORD our God shall cut them off” (Psalms 94:23).
If we sow discord, we shall reap chaos. If we sow deceit, we shall be deceived. If we sow violence, we shall receive violence. Of course, whatever good someone does he shall receive also. There is a price to pay for our lives. We’re all judged at some time.
God’s mercy and grace is greater than our faults. PTL. But what about those who take pleasure in evil. Evil will come upon them in the measure they’ve sown.
In the world we live in it is difficult to navigate the strategies of deceit. We must always be on guard with what we hear and believe. We have to study for ourselves. As I’ve said before, counterfeiters don’t counterfeit money that doesn’t exist, and they make it as realistic as they can to deceive their victims. There may be climate change, but what’s true and who’s manipulating the information for power. There may be racism, but who’s being the most racist and are they wanting reconciliation or vengeance? What’s the truth of slavery in human history, and how does history compare to the current teaching and agenda? The list is never ending.
God knows the truth and judges the heart of every individual. We can’t deceive Him. He says the wicked will be destroyed by their own wickedness. He allows them to reap their own evil.
In our eyes, God seems to work mighty slow. But does He really? If we consider God dealing with nations, much is involved. Generations in fact. And generations overlap. Nations don’t just become godless overnight. God told Abraham that it would take 400 years for Canaan to be completely corrupt. In the book of Daniel, the last days are described as “when transgressors have reached their fullness.” God’s not quick to throw anyone away. He wants everyone to come to the knowledge of His saving grace, and that takes time. He divides the “sheep from the goats.”
Even when a nation has completely turned from godliness and that nation is condemned, their are still people that He is saving. We can see this when Jesus cursed Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (Matthew 11:20–24). The cities were cursed and doomed, but Jesus still sought the individual. In Noah’s day, God told Noah that the flood was coming on the earth because of wickedness, but anyone who was willing to repent was welcome aboard the ark; that is until the ark door was closed.
Every Generation Must Take Up It’s Cross
For the believer, the key part is to maintain our faith during trying times. We say, “Why is this happening to me?” Simply put, every generation must take up it’s cross. Jesus did, the prophets did, the apostles did and we must also. The reality is we’re suffering for the sake of those that will come into the kingdom until the wicked are separated and destroyed.
What’s happening is the nations are sowing evil. They’re drawing the line that declares, “This side is us and that side is God. Choose!” I think of Psalm two:
(NLT) “Why are the nations so angry?
Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
the rulers plot together
against the LORD
and against his anointed one.
“Let us break their chains,” they cry,
“and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then in anger he rebukes them,
terrifying them with his fierce fury.
For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne
in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”
The king proclaims the LORD’s decree:
“The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son.
Today I have become your Father.
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
the whole earth as your possession.
You will break them with an iron rod
and smash them like clay pots.’”
Now then, you kings, act wisely!
Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
Serve the LORD with reverent fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry,
and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
But what joy for all who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 2:1–12)
We must remember our citizenship is in heaven. Since the fall of Adam, the kingdoms of the world have always been doomed. We live in the world and the things of the world affect us, but God is with us. He promises to deliver and save. But even in death we win! It’s the fear of death that we must overcome, and being convinced of what He’s done for us is how we overcome.
Why is there a Great Tribulation? The nations are reaping what they’ve been sowing. Consider the mass bloodshed of the U.S.S.R, the CCP, and other despotic governments of the last hundred-so years. They’ve sown famine, war, misinformation, terror, deceit, cruelty, fear, division, destruction and every other evil work. The nations have gone the way of Communist ideology. They’ve fallen in with the wickedness of that beast: persecution of religion, teaching history according to their agendas, causing divisions between child and parent, attacking the family, using disease for power grabs, destroying national infrastructures of commerce, power and energy, self reliance, farming and agriculture, legal and judicial common sense and justice, the list goes on.
The Great Tribulation and the wrath of God poured out doesn’t happen because God enjoys people’s suffering and death: (NKJV) “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11). No, it’s because the word of God can’t be violated. There is seedtime and harvest. We humans are great at wanting things our own way without consequence, but everything has a consequence — good or bad.
The end of the age “great tribulation” are the peoples and nations reaping the harvest of their transgressions. Nonetheless, even during this time there’s time to repent as individuals. At the end of the tribulation, God takes His own out of the earth and the wrath of God comes upon the unrepentant. Everyone has decided whom they will serve.
When will that time be? I don’t know. But we can be alert and savvy to the times. We can “watch and pray” so that day doesn’t come upon us as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:4; Mark 13:32–33). Nevertheless, individuals and nations will eventually have to reap what they sow. Aren’t you glad we can repent and start a fresh harvest?
God will take care of us as He did Noah. Yet, like Noah, we need to be open and obedient to God’s instructions on how to build our ark.
Stay strong and prepared.