Millennial Series: Part 23: Premillennialism and the Tribulation -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 111:444 (Oct 1954)
Article: Millennial Series: Part 23: Premillennialism and the Tribulation
Author: John F. Walvoord


Millennial Series:
Part 23: Premillennialism and the Tribulation

John F. Walvoord

Pretribulationism (Continued)

Argument from the nature of the tribulation. Just as premillennialism is founded upon a literal interpretation of millennial passages, so pretribulationism is based upon a literal interpretation of the tribulation passages. A careful and literal exegesis of the Scriptures dealing with the tribulation reveal no evidence whatever that the church of the redeemed of the present age will go through the tribulation. This is brought out particularly in the Scriptural revelation of the nature of the tribulation.

Before ascertaining whether the church will pass through the tribulation, it is of utmost importance to understand first what the Scriptures teach about this coming period. Practically all types of posttribulationism are built upon confusion of tribulation in general, which characterizes various ages, and the great tribulation, which is the predicted future time. For instance, George H. Fromow answers the question of whether the church will pass through the great tribulation by countering: “The Church is already passing through ‘the Great Tribulation,’ according to the sense of Rev vii, vv. 13, 14 …Rev vii. is the only passage where we find the Tribulation called ‘great.’ Its use as embracing the whole of the Church’s course, corresponds with the entire record of the Scriptural history of the redeemed. ‘Great’ thus covers the entire period of the

history of the redeemed people of God, of ‘Saints,’ or ‘Gracious Ones,’ or ‘Church,’ however they may be described.”1 This quotation is notable because it illustrates two leading characteristics of posttribulationism which are essential to their conclusions: (1) confusion of the great tribulation with tribulation in general; (2) confusion of the church with saints as a whole. While posttribulationists sometimes avoid the first, they seldom avoid the second. As a study of the tribulation will bring out, “…not one syllable of Scripture affirms that the church goes through the great tribulation, or even enters that awful period.”2

The Old Testament reveals that the tribulation deals with (1) the nation Israel; (2) the pagan Gentile political powers; (3) saints who are described as either Israelites or Gentiles. It is certain that the true church cannot be equated with the Gentile political powers, though the apostate church of the tribulation period is under the control of the...

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