108 End of the Age: Tribulation Shortened for the Sake of the Elect

Part 8 of the “End Time Bible Study Course” by Robin Corner – for small group or individual Bible Study 

Matthew 24:22-26 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.”

Historical fulfilment

The rebels hired or forced people to give false prophecies saying that God would deliver Jerusalem. Of course He didn’t, and people relying on these prophecies lost their lives.

Modern-day fulfilment

When I was a teenager, some of my contemporaries took “the hippy trail” through Afghanistan to India. Some spent time on ashrams in India, or found some “holy man” to follow. It all sounded very romantic, but I never met anyone who claimed to have found ultimate truth by that path. 

Margaret and I, when we were involved in Transcendental Meditation, were always involved with people who would say in effect, “Here He is, in the inner rooms”. In other words “Find the Christ within you”; “meditate”; “look deep within yourself”. There is an element of truth in this. Jesus wants us to spend time getting to know Him by reading and meditating on His words in the Bible, seeking Him in prayer, and listening to His voice. However, Christians believe that searching “the inner rooms” of the mind or soul is not an end in itself but that the end is following and obeying Christ. And when He comes, He will make His coming known in a very obvious way to all peoples, whether believers or not.

The common teaching in many churches, Bible colleges and books, is that the church will not be on earth through this tribulation period, because all the Christian believers will be “raptured” before the tribulation begins and transported to heaven to be with Jesus.  For now, I’ll merely note that, much as the theory is promulgated by some highly respected Bible teachers, on the face of it, Matthew 24:22-24 rules it out completely.  The “elect” are those who have genuine faith, chosen by God to have eternal life. This period of tribulation will be shortened for the sake of the elect, proving they are still on earth. Verse 24 includes the intriguing phrase “…to deceive even the elect, if it were possible”. It is not possible to deceive God’s true elect. But the mention of the theoretical possibility shows they will be on earth during this extreme tribulation. This will be even more obvious as we study later units of this series.

Questions

  1. What in these verses shows the believers will still be on earth when this tribulation occurs?
  2. What is the danger of false prophets or false messiahs? Can you think of any examples in our time?
  3. How can you tell which prophets are true and which are false?
  4. How do you feel about living in an environment where there is a lot of deception?
  5. Do you feel we are in such an environment today?
  6. What steps will you take to stop you and your friends falling into deception?
  7. Set some goals to turn your answers to question 6 into practice. Share them with your friends.

 Enquiries robin@worldwidecpm.org