We continue with the proofs that the martyrs of the Tribulation period tell us. In Part I we stated that ALL who become Christians during the Tribulation will die. It is a key view. Why? It critically affects the Rapture debate. As such, for Rapture naysayers, this view is problematic. Understandably, others may be puzzled as it is a complex and potentially confusing topic (especially so for such a short article series as we present here).
Were it proven that ALL who become Christians in the Tribulation become martyrs, it makes a serious dent in the case for a Rapture occurring any other time than before the Tribulation. For example, were there no Christians alive on earth as of the early stages of the second half of the Tribulation, there could be no mid- or –end-tribulational Rapture. It wouldn’t be logical. The Great Multitude (see Revelation 7:9, these all martyrs) are shown to be already in front of the heavenly altar at the time of the 5th and 6th seals.
If ALL Christians have been martyred who would be left to be raptured? As the case may be, Tribulational martyrs are expressly promised to participate in the First Resurrection … in their case, this occurring at the beginning of the Millennium. For a Rapture to occur at any other time than before the Tribulation would not align with Scripture; nor the proofs of the Tribulational martyrs; nor the character of God.
But what of the view of Rapture naysayers who say that there is no Rapture to be expected at all? To take this position means that ALL Christians will go into the Tribulation period. More Christians would then be added to their number through conversions during the earlier stages of the Tribulation. The question then arises: Why would God allow that ALL Christians in the world to be killed during the Tribulation? As we have shown and will further prove in this article, all Tribulational Christians will be martyred.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 states that “[…] God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, if ALL Christians (from the time of before and during the Tribulation will be annihilated on earth, this is a “wrath” of a different gospel. This is not congruous with the character of what God has said.
A naysayer’s view must endorse a very non-sensical sequence of events. ALL Christians must go into the Tribulation so that ALL first be slain so that they ALL can be given a resurrected physical body so ALL to come back to life in the Millennium.
This sequence of events seems unnecessarily cruel … and inefficient. Could these be the actions of a LORD that says “My reward is with me” (Revelation 22:12). What about the Saints that have died before the Tribulation period? The Rapture naysayer must take the position that these saints need wait another thousand years for the Second Resurrection as they will not be eligible for the First Resurrection. Scripture doesn’t support these confused perspectives. Rather, it expressly says that “the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
A pre-tribulational Rapture is the clearest, most sensible and most scriptural view.
More Arguments From the Dead
Given that our view — that ALL Tribulational Christians will be martyred — is such a critical factor in the Rapture debate, we want to further prove the veracity of this position. There are other additional proofs and deductions from the Bible for this case. We present five of these next. It is these proofs of certain martyrdom that tell the theological tales.
1. The Meaning of “All.” The Second Beast shown in Revelation 13 only offer two options — one or the other. Worship the image of the First Beast or die. No other option is on offer. There is no allowance for exceptions. “[…] all who refused to worship the image [are] to be killed” (Revelation 13:15). (Again, see Revelation 20:4.) All means all … not some. The Bible also says this about these Tribulation saints: “They triumphed over him [the Dragon] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11).
What happens to those that do worship the image? Could they change their minds at some later date? Revelation 14:9-11 is clear. “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” Once having made the election to worship the image of the Beast and to take the mark, there is no recourse nor recanting. To believe otherwise, would be inconsistent with the character of God. Once He unleashes His Wrath it is too late to repent. After all, His wrath only comes after repeated entreaties and warnings. Then comes the point of no return … of no further grace.
At the very minimum, what we can safely conclude is that All who refuse to worship the image will die.
2. No Survival Outside the “Buy Sell” System. Despite the clear message of Revelation 13, some still imagine that Christians could survive the Tribulation period. If only they would buy the right survival goods and pursue cunning evasive strategies they would stand a chance, they reason. However, they ignore this perspective: Outside the “buy-sell system” in that future tribulational world put in place by the False Prophet, it will not be possible to live without the “mark.” If one is not able to “buy nor sell” at a time of a pervasive global economic crisis and a closed worldwide financial system, one cannot obtain food nor shelter. With no transactional access to the financial system, a Christian will die of starvation if not first murdered.
An understanding of the limits of a closed financial system should lay to rest any notion that All who refuse to worship the image will be martyred.
3. A Deduced Absence. At the 5th trumpet blow (1st Woe, Revelation 9:1-6), this occurring perhaps mid-way into the second half of the Tribulation) “[…] out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. […] They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes.”
Only those that did not have the seal of God were allowed to be tormented. The only group that has a seal placed upon them at this point are the 144,000 servants. As such, were Christians still on earth at the time of this judgment, they would be expressly allowed by God to be tortured. Any Christians on earth during this woe wold be selected to face God’s wrath. Shown here is that God can and does exclude one group to be protected from His wrath (namely the 144,000). Then, why would He choose not to do so with his Children? “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for […] an egg, will give him a scorpion?” (Luke 11:11-12).
Thus, we can draw one of two conclusions. There are no Christians on earth at the time of the 1st Woe; or if yes, then God expressly chooses to torment them. Only the former perspective aligns with the character of God.
4. Can Christians Curse God? At the call of the 6th trumpet, one third of the world’s population is wiped out; two-thirds remain who then ALL curse God. Says Revelation 9:20-21: “The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons and idols […] Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Could Christians be counted in this number of survivors? Not if all of the survivors are said to “curse God”, “refuse to repent” and kept “worshipping demons and idols.” Clearly, then, there can be no Christians survivors at this point upon earth. (We maintain that they have been martyred already some time before.) After all, salvation is impossible without repentance. Conclusion? Either no Christians are upon earth at the time of this woe; or, God expressly made sure that while 1/3rd of the earth’s population dies, that this would mean that ALL Christians would die at this time. But, again, it would be absurd to believe that God in His wrath would wipe out ALL remaining Christians at this juncture, favouring instead other godless earth dwellers.
We can reasonably deduce that no Christians exist upon earth at the time of the 5th and 6th trumpet judgments.
5. Appearances of Christians Throughout the Tribulation. Following the sixth seal (that being the time point that we are shown the great multitude of martyred Christians in front of the heavenly altar) the topics of “saints” or “servants” “Christians,” God’s people” or “multitudes” is never mentioned again in Revelation’s time line. Crucially, no mention or picture is made of any more Christians having arrived in front of the heavenly altar during the Tribulation period for any other reason than of being slain by anti-Christian forces. Any reference to “souls” that did not “worship the image” refers back to its occurrence which, in our view, is at a time near to the 6th seal. As such, this would be consistent with the view that All Christians will be martyred in the Tribulation period.
The above arguments (as well as others made elsewhere in this 2-part article series), we believe conclusively prove that no Christians will survive the Tribulation period … all becoming martyrs (most likely by its mid-point). Daniel 7:25 says that “The holy people will be delivered into his [Anti-christ’s] hands for a time, times and half a time. (See also Daniel 12:7) We see this three and one-half period coinciding with the first-half of the Tribulation period.
These perspectives may indeed raise additional questions as well as reconciliations with other popular or conventional interpretations of Scripture. However, we will leave these questions for another study.
Who Left to Populate the Millennium?
A number of readers have argued that not all Christians could be killed in the Tribulation as there would be no people left on earth to populate the Millennium. This is incorrect. Why? The Bible states that a major stage of the First Resurrection occurs at the start of the Millennium. At this time, it specifically applies only to Tribulation martyrs and no one else. All those who become Christians during the Tribulation are resurrected at the beginning of Millennium. “They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4) upon earth. Tribulational Christians therefore are destined to live and reign with Christ through the whole millennium until the time of the Second Resurrection (Revelation 20:4).
There will also be a surviving number of people on earth — both Jews (as there must be in order to fulfill prophecy) and Gentiles — though a greatly decimated number. In conclusion, resurrected tribulational saints and surviving Jews and Gentiles will populate the Millennium.
We briefly again review the significant positional differences between those Christians who are raptured and those who later become Christians during the Tribulation. Firstly, those who are raptured are a unique and small group. They face neither the First nor the Second Death (physical death nor spiritual damnation) but a translation to a new body. What a wonderful reward to the Christians of the apostate, hostile world that exists at the time of the Rapture.
The only other “first fruit” group that is given a similar special dispensation (in part) are the 144,000 prophets. They are sealed, being already redeemed first-fruits (what we take to mean resurrected with eternal bodies) and therefore will not perish during the Tribulation. They possibly may also enter into the Millennial period and also not taste the Second Death [though we must disclose that the Bible is actually silent on these points.]
Thoughts to Ponder: Great Rewards to All Saints
Glorious is the fact that raptured Christians are spared the First Death and Second Death; and are also spared “the hour of trial” (Revelation 3:10) and will be in heaven with the Lord while the Tribulation takes place upon earth.
Raptured Saints “[…] will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) in their translated resurrected incorruptible bodies. Whether on earth or in heaven, wherever Jesus will be, that is where the raptured Christians will be. They “[…] will be with the Lord forever.”
Surely the Tribulation is a terrible period … as none ever before in mankind’s history. Nevertheless, there is good news to celebrate: For ALL Christians, there will be no Second Death. We will all be given eternal life.
Wonderfully, after the Tribulation, the Lord, “[…] will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
The Pre-tribulation Rapture view, as we have shown, is the most consistent with Scripture. There is no incentive to survive the Tribulation for Christians since all will be killed and all are then resurrected at the start of the Millennium. Why prolong physical suffering if one can look forward to a resurrection after the Tribulation?
Therefore, whether amongst the raptured or those saved during the Tribulation, there are no physical preparations to be made … nothing to buy … or escape. There is no need to pay for survival supplies, nor to build an underground bunker.
For now, given that the Rapture still lies ahead, we remain part of the generation that “[…] continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28).
Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done (Revelation 22:12).
(A recent 3-part series, Anxiety Merchants and False Prophets specifically deals with the promotion of survivalist goods to Christians.)
About the Author: Wilfred J. Hahn is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst, research director for a major Wall Street investment bank, and head of Canada’s largest global investment operation, his writings focus on the endtime roles of money, economics and globalization. He has been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other publications and languages. His 2002 book The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free accurately anticipated and prepared its readers for the Global Financial Crisis. His newest book,Global Financial Apocalypse Prophesied: Preserving true riches in an age of deception and trouble, looks further into the future.