There is some debate in the church as to when Jesus Christ will return. Some suggest that He will return midway through the Great Tribulation. Others say that Christians will have to go through the Tribulation, which will last for seven years.
But I think it’s quite clear from the following passage, as well as other Scripture, that Christians will not go through the Tribulation: “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9 NKJV).
Now, I’m not saying that Christians won’t go through tribulation. But I am saying that in my opinion, we won’t go through the Great Tribulation. There’s a difference.
We all will experience trials and hardship and persecution as Christians. In fact, Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).
The Great Tribulation the Bible speaks of is God’s judgment on a generation of people whom He has amply warned of the wrath to come. However, you cannot find any instance in the Bible where God judged an individual or a nation and judged His people along with them.
We find examples of this when God sent two angels to bring out Lot (and those in his family who were willing) before He judged Sodom and Gomorrah. Another example is Noah and his family, whom God spared from the Flood.
And in Revelation we have Jesus’s words to the church of Philadelphia: “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world” (3:10 NLT).
Being a member of a church won’t keep you out of the Tribulation, but being a member of the body of Christ will. You have to know Jesus in a personal and real way. Are you waiting for Him? Are you watching for Him? Are you looking forward to His return?