There will be increasing tribulation in the end times. It is not that God desires difficulties for us; however, there are reasons that these spiritual battles “must” take place.
Revelation 1:1 – things which must take place swiftly
Revelation 4:1 – things which must take place after this
Revelation 22:6 – things which must take place shortly.
The necessary tribulations include even the beast government (17:10) and the release of satanic forces (20:3)! As the plagues of Egypt were an essential part of the salvation of Israel, so must there be plagues in the end times before the Second Coming. The rabbis say that “the last redemption (Messiah – End times) will be like the first redemption (Moses – Exodus).”
[Our very own Dan Juster wrote a whole book on this theme: Passover: The Key That Unlocks the Book of Revelation, available here]
Here are five reasons that the tribulations “must” take place:
- Persuading people to repent
The final judgment is soon to take place. God wants to do everything possible to cause people to repent before the judgment. The purpose of the tribulation is repentance. Even so, most people will not repent.
Revelation 9:20 – The rest of mankind … did not repent
Revelation 9:21 – … they did not repent
Revelation 16:9 – … they did not repent
Revelation 16:11 – … they did not repent
Although most of the wicked will not repent, some will.
- Proving God’s justice
When believers see the judgments, they will become more convinced of the righteousness of God’s justice. We will break out in songs of worship, praising God, not only for His mercy, but also for His judgments.
“Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are your ways … for your judgments have been manifested” (Revelation 15:3-4).
Because the final judgment is approaching, all good and evil must be exposed. While the wicked will be more stubborn, the righteous will be more repentant.
- Punishing evil
Rewarding righteousness and punishing evil is basic to justice. Rewarding righteousness is not enough; God needs to punish evil. The plagues are part of that justice.
“Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment” (Exodus 12:12).
God could have brought the Israelites out of Egypt without plagues, but He needed not only to save the innocent, but also to punish the wicked. His judgment included destroying the power of the demon gods that the Egyptians worshiped.
- Panic of the devil
Many of the end-times tribulations are an attack of the devil. That is also a sign of our victory. The devil is angry and afraid. He knows his time is short and that he is losing the battle.
“The devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:12).
Satan’s anger is a sign of his panic. Satan is losing. We are overcoming him by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:10).
- Purifying our faith
When our faith holds fast in the midst of trials and tests, it becomes even stronger. Our character and integrity are developed.
Revelation 1:9 – your companion in tribulation and patience
Revelation 13:10 – here is the patience and the faith of the saints
Revelation 14:12 – here is the patience of the saints
End-times tribulations are like a fiery furnace. If we remain faithful, our patience and perseverance will be developed. Our faith will be refined like gold.
*Editor’s note: We felt this content was even more relevant than in 2012 when it was first published.