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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Purpose of the Great Tribulation, #4
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:11)
If we would become part of Christ, of the good olive tree, the Church of Christ, we must be re-created. We must be changed. That change does not occur on the basis of our physical death and entrance into the spirit realm. The transformation takes place in us now as a result of chastening, of tribulation. The change will be confirmed and established forever when we are given a body of glory in place of our current body of sin and death.
As we consider the state of the Christian churches in the wealthy democracies we are appalled. Truly, the Church is a valley of dry bones. It is a house of death, as was true of Israel in the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Every evil work abounds. Self-seeking is accepted as normal behavior. Instead of a humble waiting on the Lord there is smugness and spiritual pride.
There is an increasing tendency on the part of the believers in Christ in America to become angry at the thought they might have to suffer some day. They soon will be shaking their fists at God, cursing Him because of the days of trouble that are ahead.
Will God fulfill His Word through the Prophets and Apostles and bring forth a Church perfect and complete in every detail, a wife for the Lamb whose character and personality are all Christ could desire?
God has promised to do that, but it will require much suffering along with an unprecedented entrance of God's Person into His elect, in order to bring into being the beautiful and glorious branch of the Lord.
Can we begin to see that God has a wonderful purpose in the great tribulation? Do we understand it is only through many hardships and dangers that the bringing forth of a perfect Wife of the Lamb is possible?
Let us return for a moment to Isaiah and point out an important concept.
In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. (Isaiah 4:2)
Notice the next verse:
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (Isaiah 4:3)
"Them that are escaped of Israel."
"He that is left in Zion."
"Every one that is written among the living."
What is the Lord telling us? He is announcing that in the last days those who are called by His name will be sifted until only the holy remnant remains.
Gideon's army was sifted until only three hundred men remained (Judges, Chapter Seven).
Again, notice that a remnant is brought forth:
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. (Zechariah 13:8)
Do we find the same concept in the New Testament?
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many [of most people] shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12)
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. (Matthew 20:16)
To be continued.