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What’s The Purpose of the Tribulation?



I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33, ESV


Some may hear of these tribulations and ask why would a good God do something like that? There are several reasons but I will give you my top two. 

First, God will display his power and justice. God is a promise maker and keeper. He’s told us in his word repeatedly to turn towards him. In God’s outpouring of wrath through the tribulation, he is exercising his divine justice against the unrepentant sinners. If one is being just, they are being good. God himself hates sin, evil, and all wrong doing. A good God will bring justice where there is injustice. In the tribulations, God is punishing evil.  While many today want to embrace God for the comfortable and politically correct attributes of his,  such as love, mercy, and grace, they too often dismiss or disregard all together with his righteous attributes of justice, judgment, and wrath against evil. Any good king or leader cannot allow evil to go unchecked, for when there is harm or loss, there needs to be restitution for the sake of peace and well being. 

God’s Word tells us that there is a day when everyone will have to give account for their actions. In God’s wrath being poured out through the tribulation, it will bring the unrepentant and unbelieving to their knees.  Many stubborn hearts will soften. People will beg God for forgiveness. While his message and his messengers have been ignored for so long. God will again show mercy to all who repent of their sins and bring salvation in days of the tribulation.   

Second, God will bring about the largest worldwide revival.  Jesus said, that “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations.” (Matthew 24:14, ESV) Many Bible teachers and preachers understand the 144,000 saints that are mentioned in Revelation 7:1-8 as Jews that repent for their rejection of Christ, and later receive him as Lord and become Christians with a courageous mission.

They go and preach the gospel. Like Billy Graham, the great evangelist of our time, who preached to more than 210 million people in his lifetime. Imagine the 144,000 Jewish revivalists. What if they preached only to a fraction of what Billy Graham did? There would likely be millions and millions of new believers placing their faith in Christ in these terrible times. Unfortunately, these tribulation Saints will have to endure the entire seven-year tribulation. Yet God will protect this special group of evangelists to ensure the gospel proclamation is going forth even in the darkest days. 


It’s important to remember that God uses prophecy to prepare His people not to punish them. Recall how God gave a prophetic warning to Noah to avoid the coming flood by building an Arc to save him and his family. (Genesis 6:13-20) Consider Joseph who was told to set aside grains in storehouses that would eventually save him and many others from the coming famine. (Genesis 41) Consider the citizens of Nineveh who were warned by the prophet Jonah to repent or be overturned by God’s coming judgment and power. (Jonah 3)  These are all examples of God’s goodness yet his justice. 


In reading about God’s purposes for the tribulation. How does this change or confirm your ideas about God and this future event? Read the passage 2 Peter 3:9. What does it tell us?