WE do not purpose here to enter a full discussion of this subject, but wish to devote the greater part of this chapter to the establishment of some disputed points in con­nection with The Great Tribulation.


     Let us notice:


     1.  Its Purpose.

     2.  Its Effect.

     3.  Its Relation to the Saints.

     4.  Its Nature.

     5.  Its Duration.


     Let us study with Bible in hand.


     1. Its Purpose.  The best I can gather from the Bible, the purpose of The Great Tribulation is not simply to punish men for their wrong deeds, but to punish them with the view of leading them to accept salvation.  It is often the case that God sends a punishment upon individuals for the purpose of caus­ing them to do right.  Such was the purpose of the ten Egyp­tian plagues.  God sent plague after plague upon Pharaoh, but every time that he consented to let the Israelites go, God stopped the plague; and it was not until God had suffered long that He overthrew the Egyptians in the sea.  God sent Moses to ask kindly that the children of Israel might go.  Pharaoh refused.  Then God sent the judgments.  Even so, the Spirit of the Lord pleads tenderly with each individual. Many refuse.  The Great Tribulation is coming as God’s last effort to lead this world to Jesus.  Let us notice a few Scrip­tures.  “I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judg­ment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”—Jer. 9:  24.  In the verses preceding






this one, the Lord speaks of The Great Tribulation, and so this is the subject under discussion in this verse.  It is here made clear that God will mingle His loving kindness with His judg­ments; His mercy with His wrath; and as a result some will accept His righteousness.  “By fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh.”—Isa. 66: 16.  The Great Tribu­lation is the subject under discussion in this chapter.  So we read that by fire and by His sword (these are great features of The Tribulation) will the Lord plead with all flesh.  So we may understand that the purpose of it is to plead with men if haply they might find the Lord.  “There shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.”—Isa. 4: 6.  Here again, in this chapter, we have a direct reference to The Tribulation.  The Lord speaks of Mount Zion, and says that on it shall be a tabernacle for a place of refuge during The Tribulation.

     “That man of sin . . . . who opposeth and exalteth him­self above all that is called God . . . . sitteth in the temple of God.”—2 Thes. 2: 3, 4.  This passage proves that there will be a temple of God on earth during the reign of the Anti­christ, and hence, the possibility of worshipping God during that period.  In Rev. 9: 20, 21, we read of men who suffer under The Tribulation plagues, but will not repent; and this statement indicates the possibility of repentance, as well as the purpose of God in allowing the plagues to come.  In Rev. 14: 6, 7, we read of an angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, saying fear God and worship Him.  This will occur during The Tribulation, and indicates the possibility of serving God.  “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall







be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be de­liverance, as the Lord hath said.”—Joel 2: 30‑32.  This does not mean that the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before Jesus comes for His Bride, but before the great and terrible battle of Armageddon.  Such signs be­long to the tribulation period only.  It shall come to pass during The Tribulation that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.  This should be conclusive that salvation during The Great Tribulation is possible.

We are accused of teaching a second probation.  Those who so accuse us, do so through ignorance of the subject in question.  We teach that when a person dies, his eternal destiny is fixed.  I do say, however, that as long as a person lives he has an opportunity of salvation, unless he has committed the unpardonable sin.  I teach further, that there will be many people living during The Great Tribulation who will have an opportunity of being saved.

     2. Its Effects.  A glance at a few verses will show the effect that The Great Tribulation will have upon people. “God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded.  And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of His doing.”— Psa. 64: 7, 9. (Compare Rev. 6: 2.)  This passage refers to The Great Tribulation, and indicates that it will bring great fear upon all men, and that they will, at least, consider wisely the workings of God.  “In that day shall a man cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His Majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”—Isa. 2: 20, 21.  Here Isaiah speaks of the tribulation period, and says that men will turn away from their idols of silver and of gold, and cast them to the moles and bats.  This will certainly be a great step to­wards God.  “When thy judgments are in the earth, the in­-






habitants of the world will learn righteousness.”—Isa. 26: 9.  Here it is clearly stated that the inhabitants of the earth will learn to do right during The Great Tribulation.  Of course, according to other Scriptures, many will still rebel against God; but, thank God, some will learn to serve the Lord.  “The Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”—Isa. 4: 4.  Here it is declared that the Lord will wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion by the spirit of judgment, or by The Great Tribulation.  Of course, sin is washed away by the blood, but judgment is the agent through which God will seek to lead men to Jesus for salvation.  In the midst of The Tribulation we see 144,000 Israelites turning to God in such a way that the Lord seals them, and preserves them from many judgments that are to follow.  (See Rev. 7: 1‑8; 9: 4.)  Thus we see that The Great Tribulation causes some to turn to God, and to seek His salvation.

3. Its Relation to the Saints.  Some teach that all the saints will have to enter The Great Tribulation, while others teach that all the saints will escape it.  I am sure that both theories are erroneous.  Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”—Luke 21: 36.  This certainly indicates that there is a possibility of escaping all The Tribulation.  Will there be any who shall attain unto this standard of Christian living and escape those judgments?  “As it was in the days of Noah . . . Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot . . . . even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. . . . .There shall be two men in one bed . . . .Two women shall be grinding together. . . . Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”—Luke 17:  26‑30.  Noah and Lot escaped all the tribulation of their day, and so there will be some who will escape all The Great Tribulation.







Even so, Paul says, “Sudden destruction cometh upon them . . . . and they shall not escape.  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. —1 Thes. 5: 3, 4.  This teaches that sudden destruction will come upon some, but that others will escape.  Jesus says, “Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” —Rev. 3: 10.  So in Rev. 4: 4, 6.  We see a company of saints who are “caught up” at the sounding of the trumpet (Rev. 4: 1), escaping all The Tribulation, for it does not begin till we reach Rev. 6.  I am just as sure that there will be saints who will not escape all The Tribulation as I am that there will be some who will escape.  “These are they which come out of The Tribulation, The Great.” —Rev. 7: 14.  (R. V.)  “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” —Rev. 12: 17.  “Say ye to the righteous, that is shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” —Isa. 3: 10.  All of these verses apply in connection with The Great Tribulation.  I conclude, therefore, that a number of the saints will escape all The Tribulation, and that a number of them will enter into it.

     4. Its Nature.  We do not purpose here to enter a full discussion of the nature of The Tribulation.  Perhaps all of its features are brought out in order of their occurrence in the Book of Revelation.  We have there the principal characteristics: War, famine, martyrdom, violent shaking of the solar system, earthquakes, moving of the mountains, darkening of the sun, turning of the moon into blood, making the water of the rivers and wells bitter, turning loose of infernal creatures upon the earth, reign of the Antichrist, overthrowing of his kingdom, and the battle of Armageddon.  Whatever else we shall say concerning the nature of The Great Tribulation we leave for future chapters.







5. Its Duration.  The duration of The Great Tribulation is unknown, for the Bible nowhere gives its length.  Jesus said, that unless it should be shortened, no flesh could live through it, but for the elect’s sake it shall be shortened. (Matt. 24: 22).  That there are certain fixed periods included within The Tribulation no one can deny.  The very fact that the Bible fixes the duration of certain features of The Tribulation, and does not fix the duration of other features is proof con­clusive that all the features of it do not have a fixed duration.  It is very clearly brought out that from the events men­tioned in Rev. 11: 3, until the close of The Tribulation there will be, at least, seven years.  The Antichrist is mentioned first in Rev. 11: 7, and according to Dan. 9: 27, he will con­tinue seven years, the last half of which time he will reign as king of the world. (Rev. 13: 5).  The events mentioned in the 9th chapter of Revelation will continue eighteen months and twenty‑five hours.  (Rev. 9: 5, 15.)  So we can say with confidence that from the sounding of the fifth trumpet (Rev. 9: 1) until the close there will be at least eight and one‑half years.  Just how long a time the events mentioned under the opening of the seven seals and the sounding of the first four trumpets will occupy I do not know.

In this chapter we have shown that God’s purpose of The Great Tribulation is His last effort to save men from hell; that during that period some will turn to the Lord; that a number of the saints will escape it, while others will be left in it; that the nature of it will be wars, famines, pestilence, etc., and that its duration no one knows.