What makes the end-times tribulation period unique is not the large volume of end-times prophetic information given to us in the Bible, or that our understanding of end-times prophesy becomes more clear by employing a literal interpretation of scripture as often as possible, or that a dispensational framework of interpretation allows for a confident placement of the rapture at the beginning of the tribulation. What makes the end-times tribulation period unique in history is the drastic change in the context of the world environment, introducing judgment plagues, the worldly appealing initial introduction of the Antichrist, unprecedented worldwide persecution of Christians, and a monumental last-ditch outreach of the gospel message of salvation to the uncommitted.
What drastically changes during the tribulation is an extreme environment of narrowly focused, life-and-death issues and goals, in which every Christian alive on the earth will become instantly transported into the reality of an adventure of faith. When Joel 2:28-29 commences, every Spirit-born, twenty-first century Christian on earth overnight becomes a “called-out” person, no matter who or what they previously were. When the latter rain of Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:16-21 begins, every Christian on earth will become a called, chosen, and Spirit-anointed vessel for service, similar to what Jeremiah experienced and describes in Jeremiah 20:9.
An argument can be made that Christianity itself is based upon a violent and irreconcilable difference of opinion in first-century Jerusalem regarding the nature of the messiah. Christianity is born out of a lethally violent disagreement. Our salvation is based upon God’s working within a massively destabilizing first-century social upheaval and religious crisis of identity, truth, and right living. This crisis produced redemption and salvation for countless millions of new-covenant believers down through the twenty centuries leading up to our present time. All of the first-century early church participated fully in these events, according to their individual callings, abilities, and Holy Spirit empowerment.
God has shown us in the Bible that He is able to stand alongside us in the fiery furnace, in the lion’s den, and on the challenging road to evangelizing the Mediterranean world in the first century. As Spirit-led Christians, when faced with adversity, we do not fold up our tents and go home. Godly men and women in the Bible, and Spirit-led Christians today, do not back down in the face of a challenge.