In Revelation ch. 7, there was a question posed to the Apostle John by one of the 24 Elders. This Elder eventually answered his own question. But, what he did not tell us in his answer is also of much interest to us —the Bride. What he didn’t tell was the time period when most of this multitude seen by John were saved. Were they all saved during Great Tribulation? They were seen coming from every tribe and nation, out of Great Tribulation. Were these then saved during the Great Tribulation, or were some or even many already saved, thus entering the Great Tribulation from that time immediately prior to the Tribulation’s beginning? We are going to look at scripture to draw our conclusions.
Romans 11:25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” (NASB1995)
This is an interesting passage. It causes pre-Trib Rapture teachers to conclude that when the last gentile is saved, as in Christ, then this occurrence would somehow be the trigger for what they believe to be the pre-Trib Rapture. This then in their view be followed by God turning His work of salvation toward Israel during the coming 7 year Tribulation prophesied (which in their understanding is) just for Israel.
But a careful consideration of this passage helps us to understand that Israel will not be Saved in its entirety until every last Gentile is first saved. Their understanding then would preclude any Gentile salvations during the Great Tribulation. In fact it informs us that if there is then even one Gentile saved during the Tribulation; that then there can be no pre-Trib Rapture. For their point is —that the last Gentile saved and added to Christ making them part of the church; then ends the church age (an age of which (incidentally) there is no mention in scripture).
There is a prophetic reason for all Gentiles having to be saved before the nation Israel can be saved, but I’ll not have time nor the space to get into the reasons in this post. But, will just say, it has to do with the timing of Jesus’ return and Israel’s salvation, and will include these two coinciding one with the other in God’s prophesied time line.
Dispensationalists, believe that these “who come out of Great Tribulation are saved during the Tribulation by what they call the 144,000 Jewish “evangelists” and that they are saved differently than us (the bride), but to them, they mysteriously are not saved into the body of Christ, but into Judaism’s or Israel’s Kingdom promises, which they say is another gospel. The sealed 144,000 immediately precede in this passage the introduction of this Great Tribulation multitude in Chapter 7 of the Revelation; yet, there is no mention that they are won to faith by them, and, never do the Dispensationalists explain how they can make this (“evangelist” claim which they do) concerning the 144,000. This understanding of these is in fact nowhere found in any scripture. The term “evangelist” is just not in the text, nor is it even implied there or elsewhere. Neither is the proof for when the multitudes were actually saved stated in this text. To come out of the tribulation does not mean that at least some or most of them did not also come into this seven year period as already saved individuals. So, the question is: can the answer even be known? Or can it be that the answer has already been made known elsewhere in scripture, if so, this passage would assume the reader to already have it’s answer, and thus, there would have been no need for this subject of when were these saved to have been broached by either John or the Elder speaking in this passage.
I believe that this latter explanation can be proven from scripture, and it can even partly if not wholly be proven from what is believed by Dispensationalists themselves.
These folks believe that since the Rapture has already taken place that any Gentiles saved during the tribulation must represent those nations who will later enter the millennium as mortals to be ruled over by the church or bride, which they say was pre-Tribulationally Raptured. This makes sense to them because they believe the bride to be separated from Israel and absent from the tribulation. These Revelation 7, scriptures which they rely upon actually refute some of their belief, because the passage clearly states that these Great Tribulation saints will serve God day and night before His Throne (verse 15). So these saints will be highly rewarded when Jesus returns. Their robes are dipped in the blood of Christ during the Great Tribulation, possibly implying martyrdom. This is a forward looking picture of them at a specific time, after Jesus has come back to earth as our Messiah.
These are then present as a great multitude who have come out of Great Tribulation, but when we read of the Great Tribulation in scripture, there is no mention of Gentiles from every nation actually turning to God in these great numbers as we see them here, but Revelation’s scripture does tell us of truth rejectors being stricken with plagues, and then we are told that even then these lost souls will not repent. Certainly there would be some repentance if this multitude were actually saved during this Great Tribulation period.
Then there is the call for an existing people of God to come out from this evil system which has corrupted all nations (Rev. 18:2-4). This corruption is understood and seen to encompass all of the unsaved rebellious world. A world, which His people who are present are told to come out of.
Then there are these verses recorded by Paul, which describe what will actually be in store for the people of this world during Great Tribulation:
2 Thessalonians 2:8 Then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will eliminate with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 [that is,] the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (NASB2020)
This is a picture of the lost world who enters into the time of Great Tribulation, when Antichrist appears and is doing his part in bringing about this Great Tribulation. So, this will be occurring at a time when the people of God are told to separate themselves from this system (“come out of her”). It is not that the gospel message will not be going out; it is that it has little to possibly no impact on the lost except for the remnant of the nation Israel. Otherwise these lost Gentiles, and even lost Jews, who are not sealed, we are told are given a reprobate mind; and they are found repeatedly during this time in the Revelation to refuse to repent. They have been given a reprobate mind for rejecting the offer of salvation up until this time. “But they would not repent”.
Now, notice, that in chapter seven of Revelation, our multitude of believers are depicted as having come out of Great Tribulation’s sufferings. We are told that:
Revelation 7:16 “They will no longer hunger nor thirst, nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any scorching heat; (NASB2020)
This verse proves that these, who come out of Great Tribulation are not those of the “sheep nations” of Matthew 25, who are seen rewarded for having helped this very same multitude of Christ’s brethren, who actually came out of this Great Tribulation. The sheep nations are those who actually fed them when they were hungry and clothed them and gave them drink when they were thirsty. These, the sheep of the nations, do not get robes of white dipped in the blood of The Lamb, as do these Great Tribulation believers, but they do get to enter as mortals into the kingdom prepared for them, but only because they had helped these of this Great Tribulation multitude, whom Jesus referred to in Matt.25, as “these my brethren”.
There is every evidence in scripture that these Great Tribulation saints not only came out of the Great Tribulation but that likely most of them had entered as believers before the Tribulation and that they had learned much from it, as Jesus made clear to His saved churches who were told what they would experience during the time of Tribulation. Listen closely:
Jesus when speaking of the whore, from whom we are to separate ourselves, makes clear that she will be thrown into Great Tribulation, and He further has this to say concerning His own churches, who will see, and yes, learn from this whore’s Tribulation experience. Listen:
Revelation 2:22 ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed [of sickness,] and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 ‘And I will kill her children with plague, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. (NASB2020)
This lesson, Jesus says will come to His churches as this evil world and His bride is made ready for their judgment and reward, and the bride will be made to understand through this Jezebel’s experiencing of Great Tribulation. All of this is on the way to His return. Thus in Rev. 19 we hear that the bride has made herself ready for her marriage I would think.
Notice that Jesus’ promise here is to reward not only man according to his deeds, but his church also as we are represented in these seven churches, and when will that reward come?
Revelation 22:11 “Let the one who does wrong still do wrong, and the one who is filthy still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous still practice righteousness, and the one who is holy still keep himself holy.” 12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to reward each one as his work deserves. (NASB2020)
Have you ever wondered why Jesus stated what He did in this verse. It seems such a strange pronouncement from our Lord. It is as if He has given up on His attempt to change or save this world at this point. This is a world that is acting out in evil ways. This message seems to be strictly for this Great Tribulation time of which John was writing, a time when He (Jesus) would come soon, and quickly. A time when the saved would walk in their salvation, and when evil would go on as it has been doing. A time when men for the most part would not change but would continue in their own chosen ways. Certainly this message is not meant for the time leading up to this seven year period, but instead these statements seem specifically for this specific time.
We are told to study the scripture to show ourselves approved. We do that line upon line, here a little there a little. God did not intend His message to be easy, but to require a dedicated commitment unto Him, who is the truth (the Word of life).
1 Timothy 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to the teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. (NASB2020)
I often use this verse to end a message. I do this for two reasons. One, to show my commitment to you to be as true as I can to God and God’s truth. Secondly, to cause those who do not see what they teach as being as important as they see their own motivation to teach, even when what they teach might be a bit off base. We are told to beware of false teachings. Any one of us frankly can be a false teacher. We will be judged based on our dedication or lack thereof to His truth. And what Paul tells Timothy in this one verse should make all teachers shudder; because according to God’s word: “for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” False teaching has no saving qualities, and in fact the implication here is that it could have a damning effect when considering the salvation of both the teacher and the taught. We cannot save ourselves, but we certainly can damn ourselves to an eternity without God as our Father, by our own unrepentant rebellion against Him, who is the truth.
Men need Christ today; men need the baptism of the Holy Spirit today; men need the teaching of the Holy Spirit in their ministries today.
May our Father bless you as you seek His Son who promised His Holy Spirit to guide you in your walk with Him. As we approach this period of history of which Jesus had John write down what he saw and heard, may we be committed to righteousness and holiness, without which we will not see God.
If this post stirred you; then you may want to read the following. All of the posts that I consider foundational to a doctrine question are listed under that “Foundational” section.