© 15 December 2017 Revive Israel Ministries
Attitudes Toward Tribulation
When we speak about "tribulation," many think immediately about end times' scenarios. However, we also need to look at our general attitude toward adversity. How is the normal believer to react to times of trouble?
The New Covenant Greek word thlipsis is translated as "tribulation, affliction, trouble, anguish, persecution, burden and pressure.” It appears 45 times in the text. From a simple survey of the references, 7 do not seem to be relevant to this question; 38 speak of being strengthened, helped, encouraged, rescued in times of adversity; 0 times is there a promise that a believer will not encounter adversity or be removed from the world for the purpose of not dealing with adversity.
45 – thlipsis: 7 irrelevant; 38 help-encouragement-rescue; 0 avoidance-removal.
The Hebraic equivalent is צרה , tsarah and is translated similarly as "trouble, affliction, adversity, anguish tribulation, tightness." It appears 73 times in the Law and Prophets. Again in a quick survey, 3 do not seem to be relevant; 1 being removed or avoiding; 69 times crying out to God, being protected, rescued and strengthened in times of trouble. Much of the prayer in Psalms is crying out to God during adversity. The Hebraic concept of salvation is a rescuing and protection during attacks from an enemy.
73 – tsarah: 3 irrelevant; 69 help, deliverance, 1 avoidance-removal.
One of the aspects of our faith is to deal with times of trouble. God is particularly present in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1, 91:15). Since the prevailing world culture is immoral, the normative experience for people wanting to walk in righteousness is to have to face difficulty.
One of my concerns about the "pre-tribulation rapture" teaching is not only its incorrect eschatology, but the general attitude about dealing with adversity. Faith helps us in the midst of difficulties. God rescues during trials and tribulations. Character is developed by dealing with difficult situations in faithfulness and patience. Revivals are often accompanied by persecution.
What Seed Are You?
A person who does not know how to respond to adversity will be like the "second" seed of Yeshua's parable in Matthew 13:21: "When tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, he immediately falls because he has no root; but only endures for a while."
Both "pre-tribulation rapture" and "comfort only" – type messages are creating believers without root or character, who will not be able to endure during the difficult days ahead of us. Many will fall away quickly, as in Yeshua's parable. Responding to adversity by faith and knowing God's power for day-to-day deliverance are critically important for our generation.
Acts 14:22 – "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."
The message of the whole Bible gives us tremendous strength for times of adversity. We have victory in the midst of difficulty; not avoidance of adversity altogether.
Prophesying the Resurrection
"If there was a resurrection, wouldn't we see it in the Bible?" We would, and we do!
Subtitles available in Danish, Dutch, English, French, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish!
When I Least Expected It
We recently went to the hospital for an appointment with my oncologist to review a MRI that I had (Praise God, the results could not have been better...Keep praying!). Most of the people who were waiting there were suffering from some type of cancer. For more than two years now, we have gone there and shared the Lord and his love with them as we waited to see the doctor. As I have looked out at all these people I have often imagined, even desired to stand up and share my testimony with everyone. Until last week that event was no more than a fantasy in my heart.
Orit is a wonderfully generous and loving woman who provides refreshments for those who are waiting. She is also a very religious and I have shared with her numerous times. Again that day, I reminded her of my testimony and gave glory to Yeshua. To my surprise, she looked at me with deep appreciation and said; “everyone in this room needs to hear your testimony!” She stepped into the center of the waiting room and called loudly for everyone to pay attention to my story.
I stepped forward and for the next five minutes I shared my story of how I had been diagnosed with brain cancer that the doctors said would most probably kill me quickly. Later I also developed cancer in my tonsil and lymph. But through the doctors' amazing ability, and even more so through the prayers of faith by so many, two and a half years later I am healthy and cancer free. Listening intently were Ultra-Orthodox Jews, religious Moslems, secular Jews, and Arabs, and some gentiles from the nations. All were in the war against cancer and I stood there as one who was victorious.
Having captured their attention, I finished with my story as a Jewish man who believed that Yeshua was the Messiah of the Jewish people as well as of the world. I gave Him glory and encouraged them that faith in Yeshua releases healing power in our bodies.
With that I smiled at everyone and blessed them. As I stepped away, many people applauded!
When I sat down, Jackie and I could hardly believe what had just happened. We were amazed and filled with awe at what God had done! The thing I had desired had come to pass when I least expected it.