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The Lord is also well able to keep his own even during tribulation. He kept Israel during the 10-plagues of Egypt, Noah during the flood, and the three Hebrew children in the fire. If the church is not raptured and judgment begins because of sin and unbelief, then God is able to protect or keep his own during this time. Either way with a rapture or no rapture we are safe. It is clear that Jesus will come back, but as He said, it is hidden and only the Father knows the day and the hour. The rapture should not be used to create expectation or fear as if God is not in control. Either way GOD IS FAITHFUL..! Is.26:20-21.
The church is not subject to the wrath of God, but it is subject to chastening or chastisement (Rev 3:19). What is the difference? Under wrath a person may lose both body and soul. Under chastening a person may lose his body but his soul will be saved. Has the church ever gone through tribulation? The answer is yes. There are the 10 days of tribulation of the church of Syrmna, Rev. 2:10. This was before Christianity was legalized by Constantine. Do we find anything like the tribulation in recent history? The answer is yes. The Jews under Hitler began their tribulation upon Hitler's appointment as Chancellor in 1933 and it increased in intensity until the Wannsee Conference of Jan 20, 1942, where the "final solution" for the Jews was announced. The systematic extermination of all Jews was carried out until the German surrender of May 7, 1945. Note the period of three years and 3 and a half months, approximating the 3 and a half years of the last half of the seven year covenant, Dan 9:27. The Jews gained their national identity and some of their ancient land after the Hitlerian tribulation. After the final tribulation the times of the Gentiles will be over and Israel will become truly independent and sovereign, Rev. 10:5-7. I believe the real time of tribulation begins when the 10 horns receive power as kings one hour with the beast, Rev 17: 12. One hour would be about 40 years. At first the tribulation is relatively mild, but it builds up in intensity until the seven year covenant. The first 3 and half years are a break from intense persecution and are relatively peaceful. The last half are the Great Tribulation and the time of Jacob's Trouble. The great question is why is there a seven year covenant? I believe the beast suffers a military defeat by the kings of the east and is forced to permit all peoples and nations under his control to elect their own leaders and function as nations for seven years, including the Jews. At the end of the seven years the beast will be defeated again by the kings of the east when the Euphrates dries up. American Christians will be entering their own tribulation when America is invaded during the next world war. The tribulation will be as intense as the one under Hitler. Some Christians will be raptured after suffering much persecution, even as the Thessalonians (where the rationale for the rapture doctrine began). But no Christian will be exempt from suffering, since each must take up their cross in following Christ, Matt 16: 24.
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