Saints and Servants of the Tribulation
Once God has raptured all believers into heaven and the tribulation period starts, is there any hope for the ones that are left behind? The tribulation is not about punishment and destruction,
it’s God showing to unbelievers in undeniable ways that He is real and giving them one last chance to ask for and accept His forgiveness before it’s too late, the end literally is near. Continuing in
chapter six, John sees in verses 9-11;
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
What John sees here is some of the people who will be killed during the tribulation because they accepted Christ as their savior. How will they learn about Christ? There will be plenty of people left who have heard about salvation but didn’t believe. When the world gets turned upside down, everyone will be looking for answers. Some will look to the bible and find them and in turn will tell others. They will be able to explain what’s going on and what will be happening because it’s all right there in the bible. Although this will be a time of punishment and destruction, there will also be more people to accept Christ during the tribulation than at any other time in history. It will also be the time of the greatest persecution of Christians in history, those killed during this time will be known as the tribulation saints. John then describes how God is going to make Himself known to the world.
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:12-17)
This earthquake will be like nothing the world has ever seen, literally the whole earth will quake. It will be so powerful that people will know that it is not a natural phenomena, but has to be God. Everyone will recognize God, but not everyone will go to Him for refuge. Instead, they will try to hide from God in the rocks and mountains. It’s amazing how inspite of all the physical evidence of God and His power, people will still oppose Him.
Gentiles (non Jews) won’t be the only ones spreading the word of God at this time, chapter seven talks of more witnesses for God.
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: (Rev.7:1-4)
Many Jews who have been waiting for the promised Messiah, will realize that Jesus is the Messiah and will start evangelizing around the world. Verses 5-8 say that there will be twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. And although Christians at this time will be facing great persecution, these verses tell of a great advantage they will have. All people who accept Christ will receive His seal on their forehead. Weather it will be visible to everyone is unknown, but the effect will be that all who have God’s seal will not be harmed be His judgments that are coming. The effects of the 144,000 witnesses and the tribulation saints are described in verses 9-14
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.