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Why Will There Be a Tribulation?

by Tom Stewart
May 13, 1999

The Angel Gabriel delivered to Daniel the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27) that informs us that making "an end of sins" (9:24) is God's motivation for the completion of the 70th Week (or, the Tribulation Week). Remember, if the LORD only desired the punishment of sinners-- and not their repentance-- He would need only to devise a worldwide catastrophe to annihilate mankind, as He did in the days of Noah. But, the Tribulation Week covers seven years in which He seals 144,000 Jewish Christians (Revelation 7), as well as a "great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues [Gentile Christians]" (Revelation 7:9). Also, Israel will ultimately be converted "in one day" (Isaiah 66:8) at the climax of the Tribulation Week. [See our comments on the 144,000 and the Great Multitude that come out of Great Tribulation in Chapter 7 ---New Window of our "Revelation Commentary" ---New Window.]

The following is an excerpt from our article, "
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel" ---New Window, that explains why there will be a Tribulation:

To Make an End of Sins: The Judgments of the Tribulation Week

Even the Early Church saw the need of warning the world of "judgment to come" (Acts 24:25) when evangelizing the lost. Contrary to the belief of the lost sinner-- and backslidden professing Christian-- all sin must be judged. "Every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward" (Hebrews 2:2) in the past. Since God has not changed-- "I am the LORD, I change not" (Malachi 3:6)-- He will still judge all sin. "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged" (1Corinthians 11:31).

God hates sin, so there will be a Tribulation Week.
"Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile" (Romans 2:9). Even when the Judgments of the Tribulation Week seem to come from man, i.e., the first 5 Seal Judgments (Revelation 6:1-11), God has merely induced sinful man to fulfill His will. "26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD, and against His Christ. 27 For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, Whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done" (Acts 4:26-28).

Why all this Divine, Tribulational ferocity against sin? God hates sin because it is against the highest good of Himself and the universe. David recognized this fact when he confessed the sin of his adultery with Bathsheba.
"Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest" (Psalm 51:4). All sin is the "transgression of the Law" (1John 3:4), but what Law is transgressed? "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself" (Luke 10:27). Therefore, all the ills of mankind emanate from sin. "Your sins have withholden good things from you" (Jeremiah 5:25). Also, "Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; He will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins" (14:10). Soberly, God warns: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20).

Sin is so much a part of mankind that mankind eliminating itself would seem to be the perfect fulfillment of Gabriel's revelation to Daniel to
"make an end of sins" (Daniel 9:24). But, Scripture assures the Faithful that "except those days [the days that are about to come upon the world] should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:22). The suicide of the world will be prevented by the miraculous hand of the Creator, because "God is love" (1John 4:16).

Also, God is Only Wise (Romans 16:27); so, He has masterfully engineered His Providence to use man's sin to
"make an end of sins" (Daniel 9:24). The Psalmist informs us: "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain" (Psalm 76:10). Even when man does "evil with both hands earnestly" (Micah 7:3), the Almighty assures us that "no weapon that is formed against thee [not to mention Him] shall prosper" (Isaiah 54:17).

As you can see from the above excerpt from our article, "
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel" ---New Window, God's judgment of the sins of mankind is for the purpose of making "an end of sins" (Daniel 9:24). But, just as it was astounding at the First Advent of the LORD Jesus Christ almost 2,000 years ago that the Eternal God so loved a sinful world "that He gave His Only Begotten Son" (John 3:16) to live and die as a man for the redemption of "whosoever will" (Revelation 22:17), it is equally astounding that the God of Love would combine His Tribulation Week judgments with the preaching of the Everlasting Gospel to save all that can be saved. "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the Everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the Earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (Revelation 14:6).

May the LORD God Almighty find for Himself a people willing to submit themselves to Him in that Day.
"Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power" (Psalm 110:3).

Tom Stewart

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