By Buel Hallpike
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Many persons who believe that the saints will not go through the Tribulation place much emphasis on Luke 21:36. That verse states, Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
Yahshua did not explain the form of escape to which He was referring. This ministry is resolutely against making assumptions to fill gaps of knowledge. Our conclusions will be based only on the infallible and incontestable facts of the Bible, without twisting the Word of Yahweh in order to justify some desired end.
Most Pre-Tribulation adherents assume that in this verse Yahshua was alluding to the time of His Second Coming, when the saints would be caught up in the air to meet Him (1 Thess 4:17). They conclude this was an indication by Yahshua that those who are "counted worthy" would not go through the Tribulation. A verse that is not understood or taken out of context can be assumed to be saying what was not originally intended.
When however we consider information, which Yahshua had provided in earlier verses of this chapter, we get a much clearer picture of what He meant, and we find that that meaning is confirmed throughout the New Testament. So let us examine the sequence of events that Yahshua gave in the preceding verses of Luke 21, as well as similar accounts by Matthew and Mark and see whether He gave irrefutable proof that His Second Coming would take place before the Tribulation.
Sequence of events
(It is essential that you read slowly and carefully without bias, Matthew 24:3-44; Mark 13:3-37; Luke 21:8-36)
Yahshua said in Luke 21:12 that before the end-time earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful sights and great signs from heaven occur, there would be persecution. In verses 16 and 17, He gave examples of the persecution: "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake".
These verses give the same details as in Matthew 24:3-14.
After telling us in Matthew 24:7 about the famines, pestilences and earthquakes that Yahshua said would take place, Matthew continued the narrative of Yahshua in verses 8-13 as follows:
8 "All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved".
To whom was Yahshua referring when He said in verse 9 "they will deliver YOU up to tribulation and kill YOU, and YOU will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake"?
There is no doubt that He was addressing His disciples. Does this verse give you even the slightest hint that Yahshua’s followers would escape the Tribulation? No. Not if you believe Yahshua’s words.
The Tribulation theme is continued in Matthew 24:21: "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened".
Observe that this great tribulation will be shortened for the elect’s sake. That means the elect (the chosen or selected ones) would have gone through the Tribulation. There is no question that this was what Yahshua meant for He continued in verses 23, 24 and 25, "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the [Messiah]!' or 'There!' do not believe it.
24 For false [messiahs] and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25 See, I have told you beforehand".
Yahshua continued His use of the second person plural pronoun ‘you’ to address His disciples. He was talking directly to them, and by extension to His disciples of all ages. He was plainly forewarning His followers of the things that would happen to them if they were alive towards the time of His Second Coming. Having made it abundantly clear that His saints would go through the tribulation, He continued in verse 29 by saying: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then [after this] (note the sequence) the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
In these verses, Yahshua indicated that the Tribulation is not the same event as the curtailment of the work of the heavenly bodies. The darkening of the sun, the failure of the moon to give its light, the falling of stars and the shaking of the heavenly powers all occur IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION. These events will set the stage for the return of Yahshua. He will not come until the Tribulation has taken place and the heavenly bodies usher in His appearance. This is clearly stated in the verses we have just read in Matthew 24:9-31.
Mark gives the same account. He wrote in Mark 13:24-26, "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory".
Like Matthew, Mark has recorded that AFTER THAT TRIBULATION, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. This is further confirmation that the Tribulation is NOT the same event as the disturbances of the heavenly bodies.
As if further proof were needed, Luke says the same thing. In chapter 21, after telling us in verses 12, 16-17 of the persecution that will take place, Luke continued in verses 25-27,
"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.
27 Then [after the shaking of heavenly powers] they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory".
Matthew, Mark and Luke are all in agreement. They show that the events are separate, and they all give the same sequence - 1) Tribulation, 2) distress on earth and 3) the coming of the Messiah. Read it for yourself. It is in the Book. Pre-Tribulationists, please note that these three evangels unanimously distinguish between the Tribulation and the distress on earth (the wrath of Yahweh). According to these plain verses we have read, answer for yourself this question, do the saints go through the Tribulation? Except you are prepared to call Yahshua a liar, or contradict the consistent account of Matthew, Mark and Luke, they DO. His Second Coming is AFTER the Tribulation.
Will there be a Secret Intermediate Coming?
There is no secret snatching off of the saints before His Second Coming, as some would like us to believe. Revelation 1:7 tells us, "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him". Matthew confirms that it will be visible, "for as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" Matt 24:27.
It will be a noisy occasion: For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed 1 Cor 15:52.
Matthew tells us "He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" Matt 24:31.
Paul says in 1 Thess 4:16, "For [Yahshua] Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of [Yahweh]. And the dead in [the Messiah] will rise first".
Read any translation of the Bible. There are only two advents of the Messiah. The first was when He came as a babe, then ministered, died, rose again and ascended to heaven. The Second will be as we have just read, after the Tribulation. It will be a conspicuous event for all to see and unmistakably loud. There is no additional coming to secretly take away His Bride. His Bride will be caught up in the air to meet Him when the Trumpet of Yahweh shall sound (1 Thess 4:16-17).
Yahshua will only appear to have "come as a thief" to those who are not awaiting His return. Paul wrote in 1 Thess 5:2,4 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of [Yahweh] so comes as a thief in the night. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
Yahshua said "if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you" Rev 3:3. In Revelation 16:15 He gave this advice: "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." He is not coming as a thief to stealthily take away His chosen people. The element of surprise and of being caught off guard will only apply to those nominal believers and sinners who were not watching. To such persons Yahshua’s Second Coming would be as sudden and as unexpected as that of a thief. Whether or not you are looking forward to Yahshua’s return, you will not be able to miss it. It will be extremely loud and very conspicuous. Preterists, and all others who believe that Yahshua's Second Advent has already taken place, please note!
Will the wrath of Yahweh be on His people?
Luke’s account in Luke 21:26 of "men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken", sounds like sections of the book of Revelation. This is referring to the apocalyptic events when the wrath of Yahweh is poured out upon the world. The wrath of Yahweh is not to be confused with the Tribulation. Most Pre-Tribulationists believe that the Tribulation is the same as the wrath of Yahweh and therefore reckon that Yahweh would not put His saints through the Tribulation. In this they are sadly misguided. The Tribulation is the end-time persecution of Yahweh’s people by the forces of evil. It will be a time of intense trial, when believers will have to stand firm in their belief in Yahweh and may even pay the ultimate price for their faith. We have seen that Yahshua warned us in Matthew 24:9, "they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake". The three evangels Matthew, Mark and Luke have explicitly shown that the Tribulation precedes the wrath of Yahweh and would be experienced by Yahshua’s supporters who are alive at the time.
On the other hand, the wrath of Yahweh is not directed at His chosen ones, but upon the sinful people and regimes of this world. It is heaven’s response to the cries of those who had been slain for the word of [Yahweh] and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O [Yahweh], holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Rev 6:9-10. This is corroborated in Revelation 16:5-6 in which the angel of the waters said, "You are righteous, O [Yahweh], The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due".
The end-time wrath of Yahweh is also called the Day of Yahweh, which is more popularly known as ‘the Day of the Lord’. It is described by the prophets in the Old Testament, as "destruction from the Almighty" Isaiah 13:6 and Joel 1:15; "Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger" Isaiah 13:9; "a day of vengeance" Jeremiah 46:10; "great and very terrible, who can endure it?" Joel 2:11. All of nature as servants of Yahweh will be pouring forth His fury. It will be fearsome when the Almighty unleashes His awesome power upon the sinful inhabitants of earth. For full details read Revelation chapters 6-11 and 15-18. Only then will the world understand "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living [Elohim]" Heb 10:31. They will say to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!" Rev 6:16.
Note that it is not the saints who say to the mountains and rocks "fall on us…" but the sinners who are fearful of Yahweh’s wrath. The saints suffer at the hands of mere mortals (tribulation). Sinners suffer from the hand of the Almighty One (the wrath of Yahweh).
When Yahshua said that His disciples should pray that they would be found worthy to escape, He was not referring to the Tribulation, which they had to go through, but to the wrath of Yahweh, which would fall only upon those who despised Yahweh.
How is that possible, that Yahweh’s people could miraculously escape the sweeping disaster that would cover the whole earth? When Yahweh sent the plagues on Egypt, although the Israelites were in Pharaoh’s domain, nevertheless, they were protected while in Goshen from the outpouring of Yahweh’s wrath. "I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am [Yahweh] in the midst of the land" Exod 8:22.
In sending the plague that destroyed the livestock of Egypt, this is what Yahweh said and did: Exod 9:4 "[Yahweh] will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel."
Exod 9:6 So [Yahweh] did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died.
Again when He sent hail, the children of Israel did not experience it. Exod 9:26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.
Exod 10:23 tells us that when He sent darkness, They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
In the final plague, the death of Egypt’s firstborn, Yahweh again made provision for His people. Those who daubed the lintels and doorposts of their houses with blood did not suffer loss.
Announcing this event in Exodus 11, Yahweh told Moses to say:
4 Thus says [Yahweh]: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt;
5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals.
6 Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.
7 But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that [Yahweh] does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel’
In Revelation 9:3-4 when Yahweh sent locusts He commanded them not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of [Yahweh] on their foreheads. This shows that Yahweh is quite capable of making a distinction in the day of His wrath between things/persons He chooses to hurt and others, without the need to remove them. As He did for the children of Israel in the land of Goshen at the time of the plagues, He can do again in the day of His final wrath. Always bear in mind that the outpouring of Yahweh’s indignation will not be upon His saints but on unbelievers. If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of [Yahweh], which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation Rev 14:9-10.
Yahshua did not explain what form of escape would be provided for those who were counted worthy. Therefore no one can be absolutely certain of what He meant. Of this, however we can be completely confident: What Yahweh did once He can do again. But since there is no limitation to His range of options to deliver His people, He does not need to repeat any particular method of deliverance that He had used in the past. He who made a way through the Red Sea, saved Daniel from being savagely ravaged by hungry lions and subdued the furnace's fiery flames for the Hebrew boys, has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. When that time comes, we know that if we are true and faithful (counted worthy), we shall escape the fury of Yahweh’s wrath then and His final punishment of a second death that is reserved for sinners.
The fact that we do not know how the saints will be delivered from Yahweh’s wrath is no excuse to make up a doctrine that is contrary to the plain and unambiguous word of Yahshua as stated by Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Bible promises Tribulation
Nowhere in the Bible do we find any promises that the Pilgrim pathway would be easy. Peter in writing to the pilgrims of the Dispersion on the subject of suffering, said in 1 Peter 2:21 "For to this you were called, because [the Messiah] also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps".
Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12, "all who desire to live [righteously] in [Yahshua the Messiah] will suffer persecution".
We are reminded in Acts 14:22, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of [Yahweh]."
Yahshua forewarned His disciples: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" John 16:33.
The last book of the Bible leaves us in no doubt, that a vast number of The Redeemed would have come through tribulation. In Revelation 7:9-14 we read, After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our [Elohim] who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped [Yahweh],
12 saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our [Elohim] forever and ever. Amen."
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"
14 And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "THESE ARE THE ONES WHO COME OUT OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb".
Could there be any plainer proof that an innumerably great multitude of saints will go through the Tribulation? These Scriptures do not give even the slightest indication that saints would escape the tribulation. No. They are consistent with the theme of pilgrims suffering severely before their final triumph.
Very serious times are ahead for Yahweh’s people. Many believers, who think they will escape the Tribulation, will one day find out when it is too late that they are in the middle of the inescapable and intense persecution that the Bible had constantly forewarned us would take place. Because they had been misinformed, they would not have been prepared and many would relinquish their faith. As Yahshua said of anyone who is not rooted in the truth, "when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles" Matt 13:21.
You will not have to stumble when you know beforehand that brutal persecution awaits the true and faithful. Your mind needs to be firmly made up before the tribulation comes that you will not give in or give up. In everyday marriages one pledges "until death do we part." In our marriage with Yahshua, our vow must be, "not even in death shall we part". Those who believe what the Bible teaches, will remember Yahshua’s words, "he who endures to the end shall be saved" Matt 24:13. It is this knowledgeable, tough, and enduring faith we need as we near the end. We do not need a faith with eyes fixed on a way of escape. Like the three Hebrew young men, facing a raging furnace, we need an uncompromising faith that will enable us to say, "Let it be known that we will not bow to your idols or to your pressure". One songwriter wrote of these boys, "They didn't bow, they didn't bend, they didn't burn". Indefatigable courage and determination to the end is what we will need in the face of severest persecution. Please read our article 'Yah will Make a Way'.
The enemies of Yahweh may destroy or hurt your temporal body, but they have absolutely no power to obliterate or defeat your unbreakable faith if it is built firmly upon the indestructible word of Yahweh that will last forever. Therefore when your time of persecution comes, Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of [the Messiah’s] sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy 1 Pet 4:12-13.
Some may argue that if the saints must go through the Tribulation, then it lessens the imminence of Yahshua’s Second Coming. This is not true when we are dealing with the Almighty. Harold Wilson, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said, "a week is a long time in politics". With Yahweh, a day could be a very long time. Nothing can prevent Him from accomplishing in the shortest possible time what He pleases. We do not know His timescale. He has only given us the sequence of events.
Global changes have occurred instantaneously without warning. When Yahweh decides that the end has come, there will likely be a sudden turn of events. We are already witnessing several areas of confrontation between believers and the state. These could be easily exacerbated into wholesale conflict leading to relentless persecution of Yahweh’s supporters. Particularly in recent years, the spate, enormity and intensity of deteriorating episodes worldwide leave us in no doubt whatsoever that the end is very near. Since this is so, the Great Tribulation may not be too far off. Get ready!
Yahshua’s warning to be watchful is always relevant and must be heeded, for no one knows when He shall return. Also although the topic of whether or not saints will go through the Tribulation is very important, death for any of us may precede the Tribulation and Yahshua’s return. Therefore we must be always on the alert and ready - equipped with "the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of [Yahweh]" (Eph 6:17), for any eventuality. Except you know the word, you are completely defenceless to face an unknown and possibly turbulent future.
We have presented the unambiguous words of Yahshua, contained in Matthew, Mark, Luke and Revelation that actually state saints WILL go through the Tribulation.
We can hardly say it is our conclusion, since the words in the Scriptures are so precise on this subject, that without commentary, they provide the clearest proof that believers alive at the time will not escape the Tribulation.
Those who believe in the Pre-Tribulation coming of the Messiah, cannot provide any specific verses like those we have quoted from Matthew, Mark, Luke and Revelation, but resort instead to inferences to support their spurious doctrines. Beliefs must be based on the simple unadulterated word of Yahweh and not on assumptions.
Since Yahshua says "they will deliver you to tribulation" Matt 24:9; and "in this world you will have tribulation" John 16:33; and the saints will have "come out of great tribulation" Rev 7:14, how dare anyone say the saints will escape the Tribulation? Is Yahshua a liar?
Since Matthew, Mark and Luke have consistently shown that the Tribulation is different from the wrath of Yahweh, how dare anyone assume they are one and the same thing? Does the account of these apostles mean nothing?
Since these three evangels all say that the sequence is the Tribulation, then the heavenly signs followed by the coming of Yahshua, how dare anyone say that His Coming is before or at the time of the Tribulation? How dare any so-called ‘believer’ disbelieve the unequivocal accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke?
You can be led into truth, when with an unbiased mind you seek to know exactly what the Bible says, rather than to find Biblical 'rubber stamping' of some belief you may hold. The pre-Tribulation theory is unscriptural, and dangerously misleading, giving a false hope, which the Bible never promised.
Belief in a Post-Tribulation coming of the Messiah does not diminish the need to be prepared, for Yahweh can shorten intervals as He chooses (See Matthew 24:22), and no one knows when his or her end will come. It follows then that at all times we ought to be ready to go through the Tribulation, or to die.
"Ready to suffer grief or pain
Ready to stand the test…
Ready in life, ready in death
Ready for His return"?
(Lyrics variously attributed to S.E.L and A.C.Palmer)
"Our beliefs must fit in with the Scriptures especially when the Scriptures do not support our beliefs". Buel Hallpike
©Buel Hallpike June 2012