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The early believers in Christ had to make do with verbal instructions on how to deal with the tribulations they were facing as members of an outlawed sect.

 

By the time these instructions were eventually circulated in written form, the reality of particular trials, testings, and tribulations as the lot of those who were being generally identified as Christians, and persecuted as such, was something that raised questions both within and without the body of Christ.

 

These two references in Scripture give us insight into the outworking of God's plan for His pressured people:     

 

Jas 1:2-3
(2)  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;
(3)  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.

Rom 5:1-5
(1)  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
(2)  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
(3)  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience;
(4)  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
(5)  And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

 

I once told a visitor, after listening to chapter and verse of her many hardships, afflictions, and difficulties, to remember A B C; that is:

Adversity Builds Character.

 

Her response was that she didn't want character!

 

The thing is though, character is exactly what God wants His people to have, in increasing capacity.

 

There is much speculation about a time of "great tribulation" or in Greek, "megas thlipsis" , and whether the saints of God that make up His body will go through it.

 

They already have.

The ruin of Jerusalem in 70AD. was an unparalleled ruin because the sin of Jerusalem was an unparalleled sin - they crucified Christ.

They had opportunity to be nearer to God in profession and privileges than any other people, so in their desolation the greater and heavier are his judgments upon them, for they abused those privileges, and were false to that profession, 

 

Mat 24:21-22
(21)  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
(22)  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

 

The idea is that if God is too heavy for too long and allows times of "mega thlipsis" to prevail seemingly indefinitely, we being human would be tempted to lose faith, and it is for the sake of the elect that such a time in 70AD was shortened lest the spirit of the faithful should fail and they turn their hand to iniquity, if not their heart. [Some phrases adapted from notes by Matthew Henry.]

 

In its typology of things apocalyptic, the 70AD great tribulation corresponds to a time yet to come, when the saints of God must be very patient under pressure during a final face off with the natural wickedness of man, metaphorically a Satanic beast whose corruption, deception, and exploitation reaches its ultimate climax, as per these verses to ponder...   

 

Rev 13:7-10
(7)  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
(8)  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
(9)  If any man have an ear, let him hear.
(10)  He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

 

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The Saints in China are under great tribulation.  As Saints are in other places around the world. We here in the USA are so comfortable it is scary. We so not stand against laws much less some one with a 'sword'. 

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21 hours ago, Becky said:

The Saints in China are under great tribulation.  As Saints are in other places around the world. We here in the USA are so comfortable it is scary. We so not stand against laws much less some one with a 'sword'. 

Yes. Also I'm watching libertines increase in number and in pro-active opposition and hostility to Bible-believers, and can see the time coming when the sheer weight of their evil wearies the saints and overwhelms the remnant. Fortunately, the tables are turned in the final outcome and judgment.  

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