Is it true that the tribulation period will be a return to the age of law? And that there will no longer be the born again experience?
The “born again” experience is the only way that there has ever been to be saved, and the only way that there ever will be in the future. Remember to whom Jesus first used the term “born again?” John 3:1-10 says, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN AGAIN, HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, ART THOU A MASTER OF ISRAEL, AND KNOWEST NOT THESE THINGS?”
Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, who was supposed to be an expert in the Old Testament. Jesus is scolding him for not knowing what He is talking about when He used the term “born again.” Why?
Nicodemus had no doubt taught through the Book of Genesis many times. What had Nicodemus taught when he had come to Genesis 2:16,17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: FOR IN THE DAY THAT THOU EATEST THEREOF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE.”? Was God mistaken? Can you not interpret the Bible literally? Is there a mistake and contradiction in the Bible? Why all the questions?
All of these questions arise, because it is very clear that Adam and Eve did NOT die (physically) the day that they ate of that forbidden tree. Genesis 3:1-19 says, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Adam and Eve did not die (physically) that day, because we see God handing out consequences for their sin that would affect them in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. Eve was told, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow THOU SHALT BRING FORTH CHILDREN.” That word “children” is a plural word (more than one). That would require that Eve live for some time, because she would have to first conceive, and then bear, more than one child. That would take a minimum of 18 months, plus the time in between conceptions. So that passage makes it clear that Eve did not die (physically) that day.
Then we look at the matter of Adam’s consequences for sinning. The Lord starts right out to him, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life…” Right there the Lord Himself says that Adam is going to have to live off from the ground “ALL THE DAYS OF THY LIFE.” That word “days” is plural. That means that Adam was not going to die (physically) the day that he sinned, but would indeed live on and suffer for many DAYS in the future.
What did Nicodemus teach people when he taught through the Book of Genesis? God clearly said to Adam, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for IN THE DAY that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” But it is very obvious that Adam and Eve lived on (physically) for many days and years after they sinned. Either God was referring to a different type of death (other than physical death), or else the Bible has a contradiction in it.
Was Nicodemus like so many religious leaders today who, when they come to a passage that they do not fully understand say, “Well, in the best manuscripts, the words, “in the day” are not found.”? Is that what Nicodemus did when he taught through the Book of Genesis? Or did he say, “That phrase is a copyist error, and should not have been included.”? Or did he say, “That Hebrew phrase could also be translated a different way, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for IN THE DAY that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely REGRET IT.”? Is that how Nicodemus taught the people? We do not know what he told the people that he taught, because the Bible does not tell us. But we do hear that kind of teaching all over America today. Instead of studying to find the answer to seeming difficulties in Bible, we hear religious leaders taking this word and that word, and this phrase and that phrase, and taking them out of the Bible or changing what they say. Is that the way to find the truth? No. That is the way to remain in darkness.
Jesus scolds Nicodemus, because Nicodemus should have figured it out after studying through Genesis, that God was talking about man dying SPIRITUALLY the day that he ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. SO SINCE THE DAY THAT ADAM AND EVE SINNED, MAN HAS BEEN SPIRITUALLY DEAD, AND HAS HAD TO BE BORN AGAIN TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” AS LONG AS PEOPLE CONTINUE TO BE BORN WITH EARTHLY BODIES, THEY WILL NEED TO BE BORN AGAIN SPIRITUALLY. Which means that during the Tribulation Period, man will need to be born again to be saved.
That new birth has always been, and will always be, brought about by the conviction and regeneration of the Holy Spirit, whether in the Old Testament, New Testament, or during the Tribulation Period. In the Old Testament, God said in Genesis 6:3, “And the LORD said, MY SPIRIT SHALL NOT ALWAYS STRIVE WITH MAN, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” That shows us that in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was striving with man (convicting him of his sin), just like in the New Testament. The limit of 120 years was mentioned in Genesis 6:3, because at that time the flood would come and every lost person would die. The Holy Spirit would no longer strive with man after that, because man’s chance to be saved would be forever gone at the moment of his death.
At the very end, the Holy Spirit is still convicting man and pleading with him to get saved. Revelation 22:17 says, “And THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE SAY, COME. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit has always been the only way for a person to get born again. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of our sin, and points us to Jesus as the Savior. Notice once again what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:6-8 , “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and THAT WHICH IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT IS SPIRIT. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: SO IS EVERY ONE THAT IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT.” Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he should have already known what He was telling him; that it is by the Spirit of God that a man is born again. Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
In regard to your question about the Law being reinstated during the Tribulation Period, remember that all Christians are going to be caught up in the clouds to be with the Lord before the Tribulation Period begins. I Thessalonians 4:16,17 says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
When we are gone, the Jews will be found following the Old Testament, just like the Jews do today (they do not accept the New Testament, unless they are saved Jews). Even right now, there are a group of Jews who are preparing things to rebuild the Temple; and we are told that they have already found a red heifer to use as a means of sanctifying the new Temple and altar. The antichrist will cause their sacrifices to cease in the middle of the Tribulation Period. Daniel 11:31 says, “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” II Thessalonians 2:1-4 says, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” You can see right there that the antichrist will come and disrupt the Temple and the sacrificial system that has been reinstated by the Jews.