By Helena Lehman
In this study, we will explore whether or not the True Church of all born-again believers is present during the seven years of the Tribulation and whether or not there will be a great revival of belief in Yahshua during the Tribulation period. The passages most often referred to as suggesting a huge revival or growth of the Church in the Tribulation is in Revelation, Chapter 7. Here are the passages that talk about these redeemed saints:
Revelation 7:9-17 - “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’ Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
Though, these passages could be talking about people who will live through all or most of the Tribulation, there is no proof of this. Instead, by specifically saying they “come out of” the Great Tribulation, it suggests that these saints are to be taken out of the Tribulation close to the beginning of it because they are believers that “have washed their robes… in the blood of the Lamb”, meaning that they believe in Yahshua’s substitutionary sacrifice for them that offers salvation and freedom from God’s Wrath! For this reason, they are to be spared from suffering through most of the 21 Judgments of the Tribulation, as these all constitute God's Wrath being poured out to varying degrees.
These Tribulation Saints are mentioned after the Six Seal Judgments are opened and after the Four Horsemen are released but before the Trumpets and Bowls of God’s Wrath are poured out. So it suggests that these saints “who come out of the Great Tribulation” will be taken up to Heaven before the Seventh Seal and First Trumpet Judgment is sounded. Some argue that “the Great Tribulation” refers only to the last half of the Tribulation, but I and many others see the entire seven-year period of Daniel’s 70th Week as greatly distressing! For this reason, most Bible Scholars including myself assume that the Tribulation Saints mentioned in Revelation, Chapter 7 will go up in the Rapture before any of the Seal Judgments are opened. This is suggested in Revelation Chapter 4, Verse 1 - when the door is opened in Heaven and a voice calls out: “Come up here!” before the First Seal is mentioned:
Revelation 4:1-2 - “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.”
This passage leaves us to ponder why the Raptured saints are not mentioned as being in Heaven until after the Sixth Seal of Judgment is opened. There’s no doubt that it’s a bit of a mystery! Some people have suggested that some (but not all!) of the Raptured saints will remain on the Earth for a short time and will therefore see the first Seal Judgments opened over the Earth. Indeed, there is no reason to suggest that the Rapture cannot happen before this! If the Rapture does occur beforehand, though all the saints on Earth will be transformed into immortals with perfect bodies during that secret Rapture event, some of them may then be left behind or returned to Earth after a short interval and won’t return to Heaven until just before the First Trumpet Judgment is sounded. If this is true, these immortal saints would remain on the Earth until they are called back up to Heaven with the Two Witnesses in the middle of the Tribulation.
This belief ties in well with my notions about what could be the fate of the 144,000 Witnesses of Revelation. Is it possible that they will be Raptured but asked to return to Earth shortly afterward to witness to the unsaved masses and terrified new saints that will have to remain on the Earth during the first half of the Tribulation? See the following linked-to article to find out more about this possibility:
Who Are The 144,000 Witnesses of Revelation?
So, though the first Rapture event will likely be a while before the Mid-Tribulation point when the Two Witnesses are to be killed, resurrected and taken up in a second Rapture event, it will likely NOT happen before the Tribulation begins but sometime shortly after that. Now, the Signs in the Heavens indicate that the Four Horsemen may not be released until sometime on or after December 21st, 2012, when there will be an amazing line-up of planets in the sky in conjunction with the Winter Solstice. On this Solstice, our Sun and the Earth will align with the galactic center of our own Milky Way Galaxy and six planets will target four specific Zodiac Signs that serve as allegorical representations of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. See the illustration below and my Pillar of Enoch Ministry web site at http://pillar-of-enoch.com to find out more about these amazing heavenly signs on the mysterious Mayan date marking the end of this age and the dawn of a new age.
Thus suggests that the first Rapture has to happen before the Winter Solstice in 2012. Though there is no way to know for sure, my guess is that the First Rapture will happen perhaps a year or more before then. Of course, this is conditional on whether or not we are moving into the seven-year Tribulation period this year as suggested by the prophecies in Hallel Psalms 110 through 118 and the 2010 year date in the Great Pyramid leading into the Antechamber, which signifies the Tribulation period. But only time will tell. So we need to keep our hearts ready for our Bridegroom's arrival at anytime even as we prepare to live through some tough times together for a short time.
Now, after the first Rapture has passed, the second Rapture event isn’t indicated until after all the Seal Judgments are opened and all but one Trumpet Judgment has been sounded. This Seventh or Last Trumpet of Revelation is blown just after the Two Witnesses are raised up and taken to Heaven with the same call of “Come up here!” used in Revelation, Chapter 4, Verse 1:
Revelation 11:11-15 - “Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand men were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’”
The call of “Come up here!” in the above Scripture passage and in Revelation, Chapter 4 are sure indicators of a Rapture event due to the accompanying description of an ascension into Heaven that transpires each time this call is made. It is also important to note that the Church is mentioned in Chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation but is absent throughout the rest of the book until the last chapter (See Rev. 22:16). This suggests that the True Church will not be present in any real capacity during the entire Tribulation period.
Instead, the Church that will function in the Tribulation will only be the apostate branches of the Church. These are the churches outside of the little Church of Philadelphia that Yahshua promises: “I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world” (Rev. 3:10). Outside of this church and the church of the oppressed, imprisoned and martyred in Smyrna, Yahshua holds something against the other five churches mentioned in the letters (Rev. 2:4-5, 2:14-15, 2:20, 3:1-2, 3:15-16). Interestingly, the churches that are being threatened with having to live through the Tribulation equals five, the same number of “virgins” that are left behind and unable to attend the Wedding Feast in the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
However, since the True Church that consists of all the believers worldwide that are born-again and anxiously awaiting Yahshua’s return appears to be absent during the Tribulation, the churches that remain will not have the Spirit of God present within them. Due to this, any newly converted saints that are saved after the first and second Raptures will not be able to rely on any visible church for spiritual guidance or protection. As a result of this and their inability to buy and sell anything unless they take the Mark of the Beast and worship the Antichrist, those who wish to stay faithful to God will need to flee from civilized society. In fact, it is likely they will need to hide in the wilderness during the last half of the Tribulation to survive. This is suggested in the Book of Revelation here:
Revelation 12:5-6 - “She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
The “She” in this highly allegorical passage is the nation of Israel and specifically refers to the Tribe of Judah or the Jews since Miriam, the mother of Yahshua, was a Jewess! The Child born to her was Yahshua, and all believers in Him are seen as a part of His Body. Now, not only is the Child Yahshua caught up to Heaven at His Ascension, but it suggests that the Church that is a part of His body will also be caught up before the Jews that are associated with the Woman. The Jews will have to remain on the Earth and hide in the wilderness, where they and any newly converted saints will be obliged to hide in places of safety that will be designated by God. These places of refuge will be divinely provided and protected by angels until Yahshua returns after 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6).
When 1,260 is divided by the 360 days of one prophetic year, it equals exactly three and a half years! This suggests that the remainder of the saints who love Christ will be taken up to Heaven in the Middle of the Tribulation and only Jews and new believers in Yahshua will be protected throughout the outpouring of God’s Wrath on the wicked in the last half of the Tribulation. If this is to be so, let us pray that we are counted worthy enough to be taken or transformed and returned in the first Rapture and not left behind to suffer with the unprotected heathens who will be left behind!
Amen and Maranatha!
This article may be shared freely with others provided it is not used in any paid electronic or printed publication or video without compensation to and recognition of author Helena Lehman and her POEM web site at: http://pillar-of-enoch.com.
All Scriptures in this Article were taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible.