Friday, January 17, 2020
2020 is shaping up to be a year of harsh end-time change. Now is the time to determine in mind with whom you stand, Christ or the populist spirits of anti-Christ. Persecution and tribulation are coming, first, for Christians and conservatives, then for anyone opposed to Lucifer’s end-time domination, see Dan. 7:21 and Rev. 13:7.
From the partisan impeachment sham by Democrats against President Trump certain to incite violence from the crazed liberal Left; to the corrupt MSM; to the never-ending Clinton rage for her 2016 loss with corrupt ties to Ukraine; to trade wars, and hostilities between the U.S., China, Russia, Iran, Israel, and the whole Middle East; deadly weather, storms and wildfires, unnatural mass farm animal die-offs, mass deaths of water fowl, fish, marine life, and eco systems; plus signs and wonders from the heavens; 2020 will bring tribulation.
Freedoms are rapidly eroding. For Virginia residents the beta test of anti-gun legislation with ultimate gun confiscation in its sights has become a hotbed of discussion and threats. Even if Virginia Gov. Northam’s desired anti-gun proposals don’t pass in their entirety, the seedbed of gun confiscation is laid. Globalists must disarm Americans in order to advance the UN’s 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development, and they will.
The question each Christian must answer is, whose ambassador will I be – of Christ and His Kingdom, or a kingdom of this world? We cannot serve both. Christ does not force Himself on anyone, but kingdoms of this world do, in fact. The Kingdom of Christ is of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17), while kingdoms of this world are violent, seeking dominion and control, overthrowing others, going from war to war to war…
When gun confiscation ultimately occurs, and it will, Christians must decide whether or not to have their weapons taken. Preferring Christ over self-preservation, shouldn’t we use this event “as an occasion for testimony” (Luke 21:13) rather than being embroiled in a resistance that destroys lives? Ours is the obligation of ambassadorship for Christ and His sacrifice of Calvary for our salvation, and to then emulate Him, His truths, His calling, His love, mercy and grace.
If God did not spare His own Son from suffering and tribulation, neither will He spare any Christian from the same. God loves us, and purchased for Himself a bride, “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27) with “holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). This is by grace through faith, and suffering and tribulation to rid us of pride, sin, and disobedience.
Looking ahead to “receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8), God said “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). This process begins in the mind, and tribulation must also be received by faith, being a vital component of that process.
Nobody wants to suffer tribulation; yet, for the Christian, tribulation produces indispensable qualities empowering preparation and endurance. However, many Christians want to believe they’re right with God without suffering tribulation. Is that possible? Perhaps, but not likely, given the fact that Christ promised that “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).
Since, in the world, tribulation is a promise from God, how then can we escape tribulation? It’s impossible…IF our life is lived in ambassadorship of Christ, 1st Century apostles being exhibit A. The fallen nature of humanity has not changed, and IF we live as ambassadors of Christ we become targets for suffering, tribulation and death, bearing witness to Jesus’ truths that the gate and path to eternal life is narrow and difficult, and few find it, Matt. 7:13–14.
Our natural man wants to avoid suffering and tribulation. But if we truly love God more than self-preservation, we must endure it as Christ exampled. Here’s why – “since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1–2). Therefore, preparation begins in the mind.
What is “the will of God” except that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation [having] given us the ministry of reconciliation…[being] ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us…[to] be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:17–18, 20). To then “arm yourself also with the same mind” (1 Peter 4:1), is where enduring tribulation to the end begins, which, if done in faith will produce action that prepares one for tribulation. But if one’s mind is not in sync with God’s Word, we will not be ministers of reconciliation through ambassadorship. Yet, if we will be ambassadors of Christ, we are promised to suffer tribulation. So, faith begets tribulation.
Over a fourth of the Bible is centered on teachings that equip God’s people with knowledge to endure to the end of THE TRIBULATION; a message that most believers reject due to the false pre-trib rapture tradition. But God said “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:1–5). [Bold emphasis added]
Christ suffered severe tribulation. “He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him” (Isa. 53:3). And because this was true of our Lord Jesus, He reminds us that “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matt. 10:24). Therefore, since Christ suffered tribulation, we also, being His disciples and servants, must expect and prepare for the same. We are not above the LORD!
It’s a highly noteworthy revelation, that, although Christ was the Son of God “yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8). I would strongly suggest that, especially in these end-times, we all need to learn obedience. And by the mouth of Almighty God we learn that suffering and tribulation are imperative to that process, requiring Spirit-led submission.
Don’t let the virtues of tribulation escape you – it produces “perseverance, character, and hope” without disappointment! Without tribulation those virtues go unrealized. So, what reason could a Christian have to avoid tribulation, except to avoid the promise of God? Yet, much of today’s organized church avoids teaching believers to embrace tribulation, even disallowing teaching Antichrist’s seven-year tribulation as being relevant to present-day believers. But today’s end-time organized church needs Antichrist’s seven-year tribulation to shake it from its lukewarm and status quo slumber that’s more of an ambassador of the culture than of Jesus Christ.
The 1st Century church under leadership of the apostles was not remiss in teaching the virtues of tribulation. In fact, they emphasized that tribulation is an essential part of entering the Kingdom of God. This was clearly borne out when God said “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Yet, much of the church today rejects the promised tribulation of Antichrist through pre-tribulation rapture messages, utterly depriving believers of much-needed “perseverance, character and hope” to endure to the end as Christ taught at Matt. 24:13. That’s not good, and will prove disastrous when the Antichrist and tribulation are revealed.
Hope that “does not disappoint”, is hope founded on the testimony of the Son of God who said that He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31). But to get there means to “arm yourselves also with the same mind” (1 Peter 4:1) which is the mind of Christ, who foretold the end-times with pristine clarity that no true believer should be deceived.
Antichrist’s seven-year tribulation will bring many unbelievers to faith in Christ, resulting in a great harvest for the Kingdom of God. But in the organized church Antichrist’s tribulation will have one of two effects on professing Christians – it will either, in true love and faith in Christ, draw people closer to God, or, holding to the traditions of men, many will be offended that the dispensational pre-trib rapture was a lie and will be caught in “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3).
In the love of Christ, be encouraged to always stand strong in the faith of Jesus, enduring all tribulations ahead. Embrace them as instruments that build “perseverance, character, and hope” without disappointment! Be encouraged to cast aside any and all traditions of men that do not agree with the testimony of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. You will never regret it!
Marlin J. Yoder