Sometime back, I did a short essay called, “Where God is Taking the Church” I believe it touched on this question:
Do you guys have anything on the the theme of testing/purification/refining of the saints during the great tribulation and the end of the age in general?
In contrast to dispensationalists, we believe the saints of the last tribulation are the body of Christ. Clearly then, Daniel’s vision of the refining, whitening, and purification of the saints of that particular, ‘unequaled’ tribulation expects something climactic and unique, distinct from the more common experience of tribulation in general, as characteristic of the age in general.
We know God’s vision for post-tribulational Israel. What is less considered is His perfecting purpose for the church of the last generation. God has not finished with His intention to educate the powers through the church, “the pillar and ground of truth”. It is that holy entity that is called to walk in the path of the Servant, demonstrating the wisdom of the cross before principalities and powers, answering most especially at the end, “have you considered My servant …”
If God will have an all saved Jewish nation, miraculously born and cleansed “in one day” (Isa 66:8; Eze 39:22; Zech 3:9), then God is able to perfect the church unto climactic translation, not only because the chronological clock has struck, but because the church has been brought to something unprecedented, that can only be compared to the translation of Enoch and the catching up of Elijah.
Unlike tribulation in general, as the church by definition is a tribulation people, the ‘great’ tribulation is much more particularly the great transition between this age and the age to come. This is why the great tribulation is compared to a final travail unto the birth of the new age of covenant promise. Also called the time of Jacob’s trouble and ‘Zion’s travail’, the unequaled tribulation ends with the birth of Israel and the translation of the church. This is very significant, because this convergence is not only because Jesus returns at this time, but because of what God has accomplished in these two, elect entities.
In the case of Israel, the beleaguered remnant according to the election of grace has been brought finally, and fully to “the end of their power” (Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7) in preparation to look upon Him whom they pierced when He comes in the clouds (Zech 12:10; Mt 23:39; 24:30; Acts 3:21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7). In the case of the church, a process of revelation and experience of divine power in the furnace of affliction has brought the corporate body of Christ to its promised eschatological perfection (Dan 11:32-33, 35; 12:3, 10; Jn 17:23; Eph 4:13; Heb 4:9; 1Jn 4:18; Rev 12:11; 19:7).
This twin event of birth and resurrection at Jesus’ return begins the liberation of the creation described in Ro 8:20, which we see as realized in two stages, pre and post millennial (Isa 24:22; Ro 8:20; Rev 20). All of this means the end of the age is not only waiting on the completion of His purpose to bring Israel back to Him, not only His intention to fully reveal the mystery of iniquity, but His intention to perfect His corporate servant, the church, in a final demonstration before principalities and powers. I call this the ‘final straightening of the church’.
The tribulation, with its clearly marked certainty of the time, and abundance of unsealed revelation and prophetic fulfillment, will function as a kind of birthing canal, emptying not only Israel but the church of their power. This is why I believe we should see the enormous use that God has invested in the first half of the week.
What God has invested in giving the church the critical preparation of the first half of the week is exactly WHY the church will be straightened and prepared for the great transition that takes place at the beginning of the second half. This time will mark Michael’s clearing the heaven of Satan’s hindering presence (Rev 12:7-14 with Dan 12:1).
This brings Satan down for his ‘short time’ (Rev 12:12), but it also signals the time that the two witnesses receive their power, but not ONLY the two witnesses, but a whole body of ‘maskilim’ who receive strength and power at precisely the same time that Michael is evicting Satan (Rev 12:10-11). These who “love not their lives unto the death” are shown in Daniel’s prophecy to be receiving this power to “be strong and do great exploits and instruct many” at the very time the abomination is being placed that begins the unequaled time of trouble (Dan 11:31-33; 12:1-2, 7, 11). It is no accident that THIS is the very time the two witnesses are receiving their power for final tribulation witness.
I hope we can see this. It cannot be too greatly stressed that this great transition at the mid-point of Daniel’s final week is, not only the time that Satan is being thrust out of heaven and confined to earth for his ‘short time’ of unparalleled destruction; it is the same time the daily sacrifice is being taken away and the abomination of desolation placed in Judea to begin the great tribulation, just 3 1/2 years before “the end” (Dan 9:27; 12:7, 11). We must not miss this connection! Michael’s heavenly victory results, not only in woe for the earth, but in great anointing of power coming upon the church for the final testimony that results in a multitude beyond human ability to count coming out of ‘the tribulation, the great one’ (Rev 7:9, 13-14).
As Jesus saw His appointed hour, those of understanding will see and prophetically apprehend the approaching test for all its unparalleled requirement. As the door of the last seven years is shut firmly behind us, many more of the awakening body of Christ will begin to foresee the evil and dig down deep, greatly hiding herself in Christ, knowing her natural inability to stand in the evil day. This will prepare and fit the church, not only for her final purification and perfection unto translation at Jesus’ return, but her ultimate testimony to the nations, more than at any other time moving Israel to jealousy.
As Jesus said of Peter, I believe it can be prophetically said of the church of the last hour, that another will take her and lead her where she would not have gone, even to a corporate cross of obedience unto death (Rev 12:11). So the purification of the saints of the last and unequaled tribulation is unto a divinely ordained perfection that ends in translation, with the removal of the veil cast over all nations (Isa 25:7-8; Rev 10:7). I am suggesting that the testing of the church, I would call it the great emptying of the church, is not unrelated to the veil that is spread over the nations being removed with the finishing of the mystery of God at Jesus’ return (Isa 25:7; Rev 10:7). There is something about the relation of revelation “at the end of power”, which is to say at the end of human self sufficiency, which must always removed as a necessary prerequisite for resurrection.