Derek Prince - The Great Tribulation
And then Jesus says in verse 21: "For then" And notice, this is the fifth then if you’ve been following. And if you have the New King James there’s one then they put in which isn’t in the text. So you’ll end up with a wrong number. The actual number in this chapter is nine and in the next chapter is nine. This is number five. "Then there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time. No, nor ever shall be".
Now, when you consider what’s happened even in our days you consider the Holocaust 6 million Jews cruelly murdered burned in ovens. And you consider what Stalin did responsible, I believe, for the death of 7 million people in the Soviet Union. Or Mao Tse Tung who acknowledged responsibility for the death of 60 million Chinese. And something is going to happen that’s worse than all of that something that has never happened until now and never will happen again. People used to laugh at this statement. Jesus went on to say: "Unless those days were shortened no flesh [no human being] would be saved. But for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened". I can remember as a young preacher when people just pointed out "That’s ridiculous! It could never be". But scientists today tell us there is enough nuclear explosive material in existence on earth to destroy the entire human race fifty times over. I’m not saying that’s the way it will happen but I’m pointing out that it’s not a ridiculous impossibility. It’s a very real possibility.
And notice the word elect which occurs altogether in this passage three times. It’s a very important word. Elect means chosen. I don’t know whether you can accept this but I have become convinced from the Bible and I’m not a Presbyterian, I wouldn’t mind being a Presbyterian but I’m not and I’m not a follower of Calvin although I have a respect for Calvin but I have concluded from Scripture that God has those whom He has chosen. And He chose them before the foundation of the world. Like you and me. You know that about us. You read Ephesians 1, God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. You’re not an afterthought. You’re not an accident looking for somewhere to happen you’re part of an eternal plan. And that eternal plan includes a whole lot of people that are not yet believers. God knows each one of them. God will not rest until He has gathered every single one in.
That’s why I’m so deeply impressed by the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 2:10: Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. Paul had a vision, God’s got His chosen ones in every age in every nation. I’m willing to go through whatever it takes to gather in the chosen ones. He said the age will not close until all the chosen ones have been gathered in. "unless those days were shortened no flesh would be saved but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened". In other words, if the tribulation and this is the great tribulation we’ll look at it in Scripture in a moment if God had not shortened it the actual period no human being would remain alive. The word that’s used for shortening is used I’m told, for cutting off the tail ofa dog. You know, some dogs have to have their tails lopped. Well, it’s not much of the dog that’s cut off, it’s just the last little bit. It seems to me that’s what Jesus is saying: just the last little bit I’ll spare you that some might be left alive on earth.
Now let’s look at the theme of the great tribulation for a moment. Revelation 7:13–14. We’ve already looked at this throng from all peoples, nations, tribes and tongues that’s gathering before the throne. Then it says: One of the elders answered, saying to me "Who are these arrayed in white robes and where did they come from"? John was very wise he said: "Sir, you know". If God asks you a hard question that’s the way to answer "Sir, you know". So he said to me, "These are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation". It’s not have come out but who are coming out. John was actually seeing them streaming out of the great tribulation. "They’ve washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb". The great tribulation.
The English language by the use of "the" indicates there’s only one this is unique. It’s never happened before it will never happen again exactly as Jesus said. And then it says, wonderful words: "Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them". As Scott said not just visit but dwell. That’s a beautiful picture, isn’t it? We need to focus on that because we’re going to have to go through a lot. Let’s not lose sight of the close. Otherwise we’ll get weary, and as the Bible says faint in our minds. Never lose sight of God’s planned close for the age. It’s worth going through everything to end there.