Apr 6, 2010

Saints in the Tribulation?

Ed Hindson

Dr. Ed Hindson
World Prophetic Ministry

Q. There are several statements in Daniel Chapter 7 that seem to indicate Christians will have to go through at least part of the Tribulation. Could you comment?

A. These references are probably among those about the Antichrist, about whom Daniel says:

"I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them," (Daniel 7:21).

"And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change the times and the laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time," (Daniel 7:25).

It should be kept in mind that the Bible uses the word "saints" for all true believers. The term does not always refer exclusively to Church Age saints. There have been "saints," and will be, throughout recorded history. There were Old Testament saints, there are presently Church Age saints, and in the future, there will be Tribulation saints and Millennial saints. The reference in Daniel 7:25 refers to Tribulation saints who are persecuted by the Antichrist for 3½ years.

At the moment of the Rapture, there will not be one solitary Christian left on Planet Earth. All of us, dead or alive, will have been caught up to Heaven by the Lord. But those left behind will still have a chance to come to Christ. Revelation Chapter 7 says that at least 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes, will fall into this category. Later in that same chapter, we are told that "a great multitude" of Gentiles, from all nations, will come to Christ as well (Revelation 7:9).

At the Rapture, when the Church Age saints are raptured away, the Holy Spirit's role as Restrainer of evil will come to an end. God will unleash His wrath upon the world with the plagues described in Revelation, as well as by allowing the Antichrist to form a one-world government. God Himself will take this restraint away.

Some advocates of the mid-Tribulation Rapture theory maintain that, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:9, "God hath not appointed us to wrath." Then they further surmise that the wrath of God consists only of the last set of judgments of Revelation, the seven bowls, according to Revelation 16:1.

However, the fact is that the entire Tribulation consists of God's wrath. Even the first set of judgments, the seal judgments, are called "the wrath of the Lamb" (Revelation 6:16). The Lamb is Jesus Christ, who is, of course, God. So the wrath of God is included in these judgments, as is the case with all the judgments of the Tribulation.

Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit's role as the One who draws people to Christ will continue. As God, the Holy Spirit is everywhere at all times. He will be operative during the Tribulation, among other ways, by using the Tribulation Saints to win others to Christ.

For most of those who come to Christ during the Tribulation, the short-term outcome is not good. By refusing to take the Mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:16-18), they will condemn themselves to a life of privation and perhaps execution by the Antichrist's forces. But the Bible says these "Tribulation saints" will also reign with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:4) and spend eternity with Him and the saints of all ages, so their short-term hardship will pay everlasting dividends.