The Lord Jesus meets us here in suffering & turmoil with peace the world cannot give. He brings our tribulation to a most glorious end!
Bible Study Notes for 4 November 2018
Immanuel Lutheran Church of Laurel, NE
“And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out
of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14)
Among the goals I hope to achieve through Bible Class is to equip you to be a more skilled Bible reader. Toward that end, we take up different techniques, tools or approaches now and then to equip you with more than one tool in your ‘box’ of study tools and illustrate how to use them. The tool we have in view today is a ‘word study,’ taking time to take up a single Bible word and explore how it is defined and used by Scripture. The word we will study today is “tribulation.”
A good concordance will show every verse where a particular word is used. Word study lets us see different aspects of a word. We can notice the range of meaning possible among Biblical authors. It helps guard against our own private notions of what a term might mean and get at the author’s own inspired use of the word. Over time and with practice, as with any skill, we learn to discern between the several possible and one most likely intended meaning of a word.
The New Testament alone uses this ‘tribulation’ word some 45 times. This doesn’t include places in the Old Testament where the same word is used. I’ve included only a handful of these verses below, which bring out helpful aspects for better understanding our Revelation 7:14 verse: “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation…”
PART I: A Believer’s General ‘Tribulation’ vs. The Final Great Tribulation
33 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)
1.) Who experiences this tribulation?
2.) What is their comfort in tribulation?
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (Mat 24:21-22)
3.) What is the result of unending tribulation?
4.) For whose sake is tribulation brought to an end?
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)
5.) Is all tribulation a foretaste of the final things to come? Explain your answer.
6.) How do “all the tribes of the earth” respond following tribulation?
7.) Agree or disagree? “Our God only gathers to Himself people in tribulation.”
Part II: A Possible Cause and An Impossible Effect of Tribulation
There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:9-11)
8.) What spiritual crisis faces those who experience tribulation?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
9.) Can your own tribulation ever possibly sever you from Christ?
Part III: Internal Turmoil and External Causes of Tribulation
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. (2 Corinthians 1:3-8)
10.) This passage in ESV translates the ‘tribulation’ word with ‘affliction’
11.) One English word focuses on internal turmoil, the other on external causes.
12.) Perhaps one might say: Affliction + Tribulation = Suffering
PART IV: Tribulation as used in the Book of Revelation
I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:9-11)
13.) The word ‘brother‘ is a family word, a Baptism word in one Father’s household
14.) The ‘partner‘ word is more literally ‘together-communer‘ (koinonia)
15.) Three here mark fellowship: same tribulation, one King rules, one faith in Jesus
16.) See 1 Cor. 10:16 — Word+bread & wine=participation in Christ’s body & blood!
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. 9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’ (Revelation 2:8-11)
17.) v. 11 emphasizes each church needs to hear what the Spirit says to the others.
18.) How is the Lord Jesus introduced in verse 8?
19.) When he says “I know your tribulation…,” does he know facts or feelings?
20.) Christ knows also what follows after tribulation’s end and gives it for you!
LIFE–THE CROWN OF LIFE.
VICTORY, NOT TO BE HURT BY THE SECOND DEATH.
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