Will God’s people live through the coming tribulation?
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: Will God’s people live through the coming tribulation or are they to be raptured before the tribulation?

The experiences of ancient Israel were examples given by God for His people living at the close of time (1 Corinthians 10:11). Just as Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage after the plagues, so God’s people will be protected through the plagues and be delivered from the hand of the oppressor.

An interesting pattern emerges as we examine God’s Word: 

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Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego entered the flames when they refused to yield to the universal death decree of Babylon’s king. Their death-defying faith faced the flames. In those flames, God miraculously delivered them.

Revelation 14: 9-10 warns that worshippers of the Beast (who receive the Mark) experience God’s Wrath. Revelation 15:1, 16:1,2 reveals God’s Wrath is in the seven last plagues. 1 Thessalonians 5: 9 reveals believers are NOT appointed to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Exodus Chapters 7 to 12 details the 10 plagues that fell upon Egypt in the days of the Exodus. The first three plagues were experienced by everyone, the last seven only by the Egyptians! The Lord made a definite difference between the unbelieving Egyptians and the believing Israelites (See Exodus 8:23  NKJV). Note also Exodus 10:21 - 23 — supernatural darkness over Egypt, but God’s people had “light in their dwellings.”
    The example of Noah (Genesis 6 to 8), Lot (Genesis 19), and Daniel (Daniel 3 and 6) point out the guidance and protection the Lord gives to those in tribulation — and these are only a few of the examples extending from cover to cover of the sacred scriptures.

    There is a natural objection to all the foregoing in the questions: Isn’t the Great Tribulation the worse tribulation that has ever occurred? And doesn’t Revelation 3:10 promise that the Lord will “keep” His people from the “hour of temptation [i.e. trial]” coming upon “all the world”?
    First of all, consider the example of Noah. Wasn’t Noah’s situation the end of his world? Noah’s tribulation was an hour of trial that certainly came upon all the world! We know that God saved Noah via the ark He instructed him to build. God “kept” Noah from his “hour of trial” by giving Him a way of escape. Even if the tribulation destroys our world, can’t we expect the Lord to help us as He helped Noah to survive? The tribulation will be worse, but our God will show He is stronger.
    A more compelling answer to the above objections comes from comparing Revelation 3:10 and John 17:6, 15. The word translated “keep” and “kept” in all these verses is the same Greek word, which means “to guard from loss or injury by keeping the eye upon” [ “tay-reh’-o”, Strong’s Greek Concordance #5083]. In other words, the Lord will “keep” His people from trial by watching over them and guarding them from harm — not by taking them out of the world entirely! The Lord Jesus prayed that we would not be taken out of the world, but kept by God from the evil.
    Also note the significance of these verses:
    Acts 14:22 — Paul telling us to prepare to face tribulation to enter the kingdom of God.
    2 Thessalonians 1:4 — Paul praises the believers for their endurance of tribulation.
    Revelation 1:9 — John identifies himself as a “companion in tribulation” with the believers.
    Revelation 2:9 — Jesus states clearly that He knows His church’s tribulation.
    Matthew 13: 37 - 39 summarizes the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus declares the tares are destroyed and the wheat is gathered, at the “end of this world”. Scofield, in his notes, implies that the tares are merely gathered, and then destroyed much later — but the Bible clearly says the tares are gathered and burned in the fire. This takes place when “the Son of man shall send forth his angels” — the same event in 1 Thessalonians 4: 13 - 18 and 2 Thessalonians 1:6 - 2:1, taking place at the Coming of Jesus.

The Bible verse declaring that He comes as a thief is given after the list of plagues (Revelation 16:1-15). What sense would it make to declare, “Behold I come as a thief” after six plagues are already poured out, if He had already come as a thief before they were poured out?

Revelation 15:8 emphatically declares, "no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled." 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 makes it plain that the Antichrist will be revealed before Jesus comes— not later during a time of probation—and that the Antichrist is destroyed by the brightness of His coming.

Luke 17:26 - 37 compares the Lord’s Coming with the days of Noah and Lot — times of Judgment. People were eating, drinking, marrying, buying and selling, planting and building, until Judgment fell. The very “ordinariness” of it all, makes the horror seem even more terrible. The great flood (in Noah’s time) and the fire and brimstone (in Lot’s time) “destroyed them all.” Survivors escaped via the ark and the help of angels escorting them to safety — but in both examples the unbelievers were destroyed. In this context of God’s Judgment, Jesus says “one shall be taken, and the other left” (Luke 17:34-35). Those who will not believe the Lord are destroyed. They do not have seven more years as a “second chance.”

For more information, see The Secret Rapture.

This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
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