Hebrews 11:35-38 "Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance: that they might obtain a better resurrection. +And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings; yea moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; were destitute, afflicted, tormented; Of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth."
Paul used the verses above to show the terrible events the early Christians had to endure in the tribulation that arose to afflict all who had faith to live by the teachings of Christ and actively support the development of a church to represent His body in their sinful world. Thereby trusting Christ for their salvation and a reward of a resurrection. Just reading these verses will clearly show those faithful early day Christians had a mighty hard time to live the Christian life, but if you closely study what Paul reveals you will notice some of them did not accept deliverance even when tortured. They could have denied their faith in Christ and escaped the torture, but they kept their faith and trust in Christ, believing it would give them a greater reward in the resurrection. They were not hoping for a cowardly rapture, nor any other way of escaping torture, but put a solid faith in God and Christ. The Christian dispensation and way of life would not have ever survived its beginning if they had lived like the average Christians are living today. We are living in a sinful nation and among very sinful people. That is proven every time you watch a news program, and we are living in darkness if we don't see it. But far too many preachers are not showing that God has often punished nations that became sinful enough to grieve Him; That has often been His own chosen people who were punished severely without mercy. It is past time for America to awaken and repent to escape God's wrath and punishment because He has put a warning in His Word that makes what Paul wrote to the Hebrews appear pale and weak in comparison. It is found in the 24th chapter of Matthew and in other places such as Revelations and Thessalonians, and is going to happen, and is hinted at throughout the New Testament.
Matthew 24:21-22 "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.."
This is usually mentioned as the great tribulation and it probably could not happen without the use of Atomic Bombs. Of course it was written long before there was knowledge of Atomic Bombs, but God knows the future as well as He does the past and every prophecy in His word will happen exactly as it is written. We are stupid if we doubt that. I am seeing signs in world events that are mentioned in this great tribulation warning, and other Bible scholars are agreeing with me, that show the beginning of this dreaded tribulation may be very near. It is time to put your faith and trust in God and ignore what too many preachers are trying to show as a way to escape the torture. God has been faithful and merciful to give us His warning–don't ignore it. It is going to happen, and perhaps a lot sooner than many think.