Over the next few weeks we will continue to share with you the opinions of 13 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Revelation. The members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will now address:
#7. If the Church is not going to be present on this earth during the Tribulation, will people be able to be saved, and if so, how?
Nathan Jones, Lamb & Lion Ministries
Revelation 7:9-14 clearly says there are going to be people saved during the Tribulation. Two of the verses state, "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches. These are they who came out of the Great Tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." That's clearly a reference to people being saved during the Tribulation.
Now, how are these people being saved? Firstly, they are going to witness the Rapture, so they are going to see millions of people disappear. Then secondly, hopefully all the materials and literature and videos we are leaving behind for them will help lead them to the Lord and explain what has happened. Thirdly, there will be the Two Witnesses from Jerusalem as Revelation 11 talks about who will preach to the world from that city. Fourthly, there will be 144,000 Jewish evangelists whom the Lord has set aside for just that time period. Fifthly, there will be the very judgments of God. People will say, "Hey, there's got to be a God for all of this to be happening." And finally, there will be an angel of God as Revelation 14:6 tells us. That angel of God is going to circumnavigate the whole world and share the Gospel so that Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled. So, there will be plenty of opportunities for people to come to the Lord and be saved without the Church having to be there as witness.
Ed Hindson, World Prophetic Ministry
I think the seventh chapter of Revelation makes it pretty obvious there are people who are going to be saved due to the 144,000 Jews, where 12,000 come from each of the 12 tribes. That passage makes it pretty clear those are Jewish people who will be converted. Later in chapter 7, John says an innumerable host of every people, tongue and nation will be martyred, and that sound like Gentiles. So, you have a whole host of people being converted during the time of Tribulation.
The question is often raised, how are they converted then if the Holy Spirit is gone due to the Rapture? Well, the Holy Spirit's not gone. The Church is what's gone, because the Church will have been raptured out. The Holy Spirit is God. God is omnipresent. God is in Heaven. God lives in our heart. God is ruling over the whole world. God's presence was personified on the Ark of the Covenant in the presence of His glory, but when the glory departed from the Ark of the Covenant as the book of Ezekiel reveals, and God departed and judgment fell, that doesn't mean that God was missing from the world. God was still there dealing with Ezekiel's heart and Daniel's heart during the Babylonian captivity. The Holy Spirit will still be here during the time of Tribulation, convicting people of sin, righteousness and judgment, so that when people are saved they are still born of the Spirit. In my opinion, they are not baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ and into a unique relationship with the body of the Church, that is typically just for the Church Age.
Al Gist, Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries
The Church is going to be in Heaven during the Tribulation for sure. But, we're not saved by the Church. We are saved by the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God contrary to what some believe will still be active during the Tribulation here on earth. And so, people will be saved during the Tribulation the same way they've always been saved, and that is through faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone for their salvation. So, yes, there will be many people saved during the Tribulation.
We are quick to talk about the horrors of the Tribulation, but we overlook the harvest of the Tribulation. In Revelation 6, the Bible speaks of a group of people who have been persecuted unto death for their testimony in God, and we find them in Heaven in Revelation 7. We find the innumerable multitudes of people who are before the Throne of God. The Bible says they came out of Tribulation, and their robes have been washed white by the blood of the Lamb. So, yes again, there will be many people saved during the Tribulation.
Unfortunately, I believe that most of those, not all, but most of those who will accept Jesus as Savior during the Tribulation will also be martyrs for their faith. They will have to die a physical death for their faith. It will be very difficult on people during that time.
Ken Humphries, Treasured Truth Today Ministries
Yes, I do actually believe that based on Revelation 7. That's another passage I would just love to read. Revelation 7:9 really reveals to us the truth that, "And this I beheld, and lo a great multitude which no man could number of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues stood before the throne and before the Lamb clothed with white robes and palms in their hands. Crying with a loud voice saying, 'Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the Throne.'"
I suppose the question arises, "Who are those people?" Obviously they are not the Church as the Church saints are in Heaven. They're not Israel because they are from every tribe and kindred and nation. These surely are Gentiles who after the Church has been raptured and have left and who may never have heard the Gospel beforehand and who don't know what it means to be saved will be born again. But, because the waited until after the Rapture, they are now faced with living during the period called the Tribulation, or the Great Tribulation and may want to call out upon the name of the Lord. Having rejected Christ as Savior in their earlier days, they may now want to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.
August Rosado, Today in Bible Prophecy Ministries
Matthew 24:14 tells us, "And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached unto all the nations and then shall the end come." So, even during the Tribulation period you will have those who will be preaching the Gospel. Well, how do we know that? Revelation 7 reveals God raises up 144,000 male Jewish Israelites consisting of 12,000 each from the 12 tribes of Israel. These guys are going to be prophesying during the Tribulation period, and I believe multitudes are going to get saved due to their witness.
Then we jump to Revelation 11 where God raises up these Two Witnesses. Revelation 11:3 says, "And I will give power unto my two witnesses and they shall prophesy thousand two hundred and threescore days in sackcloth." That's 1,260 days the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation period! Agai,n I believe multitudes are going to become saved due to their witnessing.
Then we jump to Revelation 14:6 where John says, "I saw an angel preaching the everlasting Gospel to them who dwell on the earth."
So, the Church isn't going to be here preaching the Gospel during the Tribulation, because we are going to be in Heaven for that seven year period of time. God is going to raise up these three groups to preach the Gospel, and unsaved people will be getting saved during that time.
In the next part of this series on reading and understanding Revelation, the remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will continue to answer the seventh question, "If the Church is not going to be present on this earth during the Tribulation, will people be able to be saved, and if so, how?"