This concept of having “tribulation in the world” partially undermines two of the four or five current, major end-times interpretations of biblical prophecy. Postmillennialism says that the transforming power of the last-days Christian church will…by the attractive virtue of its winning ways and message…usher in by positive incremental steps the era of the thousand year…”millennial”…reign of Christ on earth. The pretribulation rapture interpretation says just the opposite…that the believing Christian church will be raptured off the earth before all of the challenging and horrifying action of the Great Tribulation begins.
Both of these biblical end-times prophetic interpretations do not appear to square with the universal, generally applicable biblical concept “that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
“In the world ye shall have tribulation” is not consistent with an end-times world slowly and gradually being converted to an elevated level of godliness consonant with the dawn of a new millennium of blissful peace, truth, and justice.
The challenges, trials-of-faith, and radically life-changing epiphanies of truth that result from “much tribulation”…as a result of a surgical separation from autonomous self-sovereignty through God-composed journeys of faith…is not consistent with a full removal of the Christian church pretribulation before “all the shooting starts.”
The Christian life in the danger zone is just that…a zone of danger. There is real spiritual opposition of darkness in high places (Eph. 6:12) that would like this upside-down world of skeptical indifference to God to continue just as it is.
According to Joel 2:28-32, God intends to pour out of His Spirit upon the entire planet at the time of the end…the latter rain…with a piercing truth like the sharp, two-edged sword it is, setting people free from the blindness of skeptical unbelief.
This can mean nothing less than a critical zone of danger every bit as perilous as the early Christians faced proclaiming boldly after Pentecost that Jesus of Nazareth is the messiah risen from the dead for our salvation. This can mean nothing less than a similar experience of persecution and tribulation encountered by Paul…that will separate out the subtleties and nuances of a final understanding of the knowledge of good and evil in the closing chapter of human redemptive history.
A genuine God-composed journey of faith life-script sets up a foreordained crash and a collision between the two opposing “business models” in our approach to life. An entirely new model of complex, well-ordered, pre-planned, and premeditated information is needed for a larger enterprise, before the “scope of work” grows.
Joshua did not think up the military strategy to bring down the walls of Jericho. Gideon would never have dreamed up the battle plan God devised to defeat the invading Midianites. The life-script of waiting patiently for the birth of Isaac was far outside of the initial contemplation of both Abraham and Sarah. Peter could not anticipate all of the upcoming events that would revolutionize his life in the simply call of Jesus: “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mk. 1:17).