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2/22/17 – Will Believers live through the Great Tribulation?

Published: Wednesday, 22 February 2017 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”  Revelation 4:1

This verse occurs immediately after Jesus Christ has discussed the seven churches identified in Chapters 2 and 3.  The words “after this” occur twice in this one verse.  This tends to lead many people to think that Christ is telling John that after the Church age, God will bring judgment on the earth.  This implies that the “rapture” of all Believers (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) will occur before God judges the earth.  In other words, Believers living at the time that God begins His judgment will be removed from this earth.  No one knows when this will happen.  I support the thinking that Believers will not live on earth during what is referred to as the “Great Tribulation” for the following reasons.

From other stories in the Bible, God removes the righteous before He delivers His judgment.  He removed Noah and his family from His judgment of the world through the Flood.  If you read the account of Noah in Genesis 6 - 7, you will find that God shut the door of the ark (Genesis 7:16).  In the story of Abraham’s nephew Lot, God sent two angels to tell Lot to leave Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18 – 19).  The two angels led Lot and his family out those cities, because God was planning to judge the wickedness of the people living there (Genesis 19:29).  I encourage you to read this story as Abraham had a discussion with God (I believe the pre-incarnate Christ) about how many righteous people would it take for God not to judge.  It is a wonderful dialog.

Another reason for thinking that Believers will not live on earth through the Great Tribulation (God’s final judgment for this world) is that the “church” is not mentioned after Revelation 4:1 until 22:16.  In other words, God will no longer use the church to tell others about Him.  During the Tribulation, there will be great revivals among Jews as well as people throughout the world.  However, these Believers are not referred to as being the “church”.  During the Great Tribulation, Believers will be identified with the seal of God on their foreheads (Revelation 9:4).

A final reason that Believers will not live through the Great Tribulation is that God has already judged true Believers.  Jesus Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.  As a true Believer, all of your past, God has forgiven present, and future sins have been judged.  True Believers will not face additional judgment from God.  Christ will judge them for their works after they become Believers.

If this interpretation is wrong and Believers live through the Great Tribulation, all of us will see who are true Believers and who is not regardless of their church affiliation.  The faith of Believers will be tested as it has never been tested before.  Many Believers hope that they do not have to suffer through the Great Tribulation.  However, there are Believers living today that are suffering extreme persecution, and their faith continues to grow strong. 

I cannot think of a better way for any Believer to grow stronger in their faith than by going through tribulation.  God calls any of our current suffering as easy and relatively short in duration compared to the glory that we will experience when we are in heaven with Him.  How strong is your faith when tested by suffering?  Does your faith grow stronger or become non-existent? 

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