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The Root of Tribulation

Here's where all the tribulation begins.

Themes in Revelation: Tribulation

Week 12, Monday: The Father of Lies

It is decidedly short-sighted to think that “tribulation” in the book of Revelation refers only to a brief period at the end of history when violence and immorality will be widespread and martyrdom will be the lot of many. After all, does this not sound like the world of the first century? Or the twentieth? Or the twenty-first?

In the Kingdom of God we expect to know tribulation (Rev. 1.9) because our Lord Jesus has told us it would be so (Jn. 16.33). Tribulation occurs when the plan and will of God are opposed, exposing the world to God’s promised judgment and bringing trouble on all people and all creation, not just on believers. Tribulation is a major theme of the book of Revelation. All who have made the turn into the Kingdom of God will know tribulation, because tribulation is the normal way of things in the world.

We can overcome tribulation and its destructive effects, but first we must understand it well. This is the theme we will be exploring across the facets of Revelation in this installment.

Read Revelation 12

Meditate on the following passages from Revelation
1.      Revelation 1.9: We are “companions” with John and the other apostles in the tribulation that accompanies our Kingdom-and-glory calling from the Lord (1 Thess. 2.12). Jesus told us how to approach the tribulation we can expect in this world (Jn. 16.33). How does this compare with the way people normally approach such trials? Why are Christians able to have such an attitude toward trials?

2.      Tribulation results when the Word and ways of God are repudiated and opposed. How can you see, in Revelation 12, that the tribulation we have in this world is basically spiritual in its roots?

3.      The whole world is subject to tribulation in this time before the return of Christ. But the dragon, who is the source of the world’s woes, focuses his special fury on the Church. Why? What is he hoping to accomplish by bringing believers to misery and woe?

4.      The Church should regard herself as “in the wilderness” during this period of worldwide tribulation. What period of Israel’s history does this reference recall? Why can believers take comfort from seeing themselves in this way?

5.      According to James (Jms. 1.1-4) and Peter (1 Pet. 1.3-9), companions with us in this tribulation, how can trials and tribulation actually be of benefit to us?

My Reflection
Paul – another companion in tribulation with us – counsels us concerning how to respond to tribulation (Phil. 2.14, 15; Phil. 4.6, 7). How does this compare with the way you typically respond to unfavorable, disturbing, or inconvenient situations?

The Glory of God
Everything God does is for His own glory, to make Himself known to the world, to attract people to seek and know Him (Acts 17.26, 27). How does the tribulation of the world glorify God?

Glory to Glory
How should believers, in their lives and spoken witness, show the glory of God to the world through the tribulations we must endure?

Memorize
Our memory verse for this week is Revelation 1.9. Write this verse on an index card, using your preferred translation of the Bible. Carry this with you throughout the week, and spend some time each day working to memorize this passage.

Closing Prayer

Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.”
Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor
Who seek after my life;
Let those be turned back and brought to confusion
Who plot my hurt.
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
And let the angel of the LORD chase them.
Let their way be dark and slippery,
And let the angel of the LORD pursue them.
For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
Which they have dug without cause for my life.
Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly,
And let his net that he has hidden catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.
And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD;
It shall rejoice in His salvation.

Psalm 35.1-9

T. M. Moore

Download free copies of each week’s study in the book of Revelation by clicking here.

The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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