The Church During the Tribulation
By Morgan Franklin
As always there are different perceptions and opinions of scripture. But sometimes when we try to form a new perception of the text, other existing ideas contaminate our new ambitions. The rapture is a big topic among scholars, pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation and post-tribulation. All of them believe at some point the church will be raptured before a traumatic event or series of events (Tribulation, reign of the AntiChrist, bowl judgements etc.). Let’s challenge the idea of the church being raptured before great tragic events, by supporting that they are on Earth the whole time while these events are happening.
We first have to realize that the book of revelation isn’t a linear book. There is a ton of proof that supports this thesis and I will not be covering every detail in relation to that. What I will be concurring is that the great earthquake mentioned many times in revelation and other scripture is one event. The event is the day of the second coming and the only rapture of the church. This will then proclaim that the 6th Seal, 7th Trumpet and 7th Bowl judgement are happening at the same time with falling stars(angels), dark moon, dark sun, lightning, voices, thunder and hail.
Revelation 6:12 (6th Seal)
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
Revelation 11:19 (7th Trumpet)
And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Revelation 16:17-21 (7th Bowl)
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.
For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:
11 And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Rev. 11:12-13 also shows us that the two witnesses are getting raptured (just before the rest of the church) during the great earthquake of the second coming.
Since the second coming is after the Seals, Trumpets and Bowl judgments it means that there is going to a post-tribulation rapture and that the church is along for the whole tribulation. Now, there are many verses that may seem to conflict with this view but actually could be misunderstood. Scholars will always assume that any verse relating to the end times and the protection of the church is the rapture, but that might not be the case. Let’s take a look at them with a few words translated from Hebrew and Greek origins:
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Keep in greek is “τηρέω” and it could also be translated as Guard or Protect. Temptation in Greek is “πειρασμός” and can be translated as Test or Trial.
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Delivered in Hebrew is “מלט” which is also translated as Flee or Escape.
1 Thessalonians 1:10
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Delivered in Greek is “ῥύομαι” which is also translated as Rescue.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Saved in Greek is “σῴζω” which is also translated as Heal and Deliver.
As we look at these verses and some translations in the Greek and Hebrew the church does have protection from God’s wrath. Let’s not only assume the rapture but also protection from the Almighty that will help us endure during the tribulation here on Earth. There are countless cases of God’s supernatural protection for his people, so lets not count that out. Now, by dissecting the text in revelation the see that there are two Wraths mentioned, the Vials of Wrath(Bowl Judgements) and the Wrath of Jesus at the second coming. Many pre-tribulation rapture supporters say that the whole tribulation period is his wrath, which is incorrect. Not every disaster that happens in the world is from God including the ones mentioned in revelation and remember Satan has a loose leash during this time to construct terrible events. Here are the verses that show us that there are different Wraths, since we know Jesus comes after the bowl judgements:
Bowl Judgement/Vials of Wrath Support:
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
Wrath of Jesus Support:
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
We can concur two things here, the Church is protected from the Bowl judgements while we are on Earth and we are raptured from Jesus’s Wrath on the day of his second coming. Revelation does mention that those with the seal of God in their foreheads will have protection. Seems that it might be only the 144,000 that have it but not entirely clear. Here are the verses:
And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Protection from God’s wrath doesn’t mean we are invincible during this time, many of us will still be martyred by the Beast system. But we are protected from God’s Wrath on the nations, like how Noah survived in the Ark. He wasn’t raptured, he endured through God’s judgement with the help/guidance of God. This last verse wraps this all together:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 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 verse explains why the tribulation isn’t longer then seven years because the elect will be on earth during that time, the whole time. God doesn’t want his people enduring all the chaos for years on end, because he loves us.
When we break off of mainstream Christian doctrine we can start to understand and see scripture differently. Let’s not assume anything unless the scripture blatantly states it, but observe all possibilities.