Many people, Christians and non-believers alike, often pooh-pooh the notion of a Rapture. Apparently, they reason that an “up-up-and-away” is the easy way out … leaving a messed-up world in abandonment behind them. But that is a gross mischaracterization of the environment of the earth at that time. The Bible says that faith will run cold in the last days (Matthew 24:12). This implies that there will be relatively few saved souls on earth at that time. (Disclosure: We do not subscribe to the Partial Rapture Theory.)
The last-day world is taken up with merriment, hedonism, humanism, wickedness, and self-determination. Believers will be persecuted. It will be a very difficult time for born-again Christians. Christ even asked rhetorically: “[…] when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Thus, right up until the time of the Rapture (shortly or immediately followed by the Tribulation Period), these souls will be prepared and ready. They will not have succumbed to the lures of the world.
Of course, no one knows when the Tribulation will start. Without a doubt, it would indeed be all so much easier if the Rapture were predictable. Waiting for the Rapture, therefore, requires much faith, separateness from the world, and perseverance. Later—once the Tribulation starts, of course—future events will no longer be secret … readily observable by all earth-dwellers at that time, according to Scripture. Many people will realize that God’s wrath and the end is near.
Those that come to Christ during the Tribulation period will be called to stand and overcome the pressures to worship the image of the first Beast. Those that accept Christ as their Savior will pay with their blood to stand firm to the end. Before the Tribulation begins, all Spirit-filled souls will be raptured … all of them undeserving of both salvation and a Pre-Tribulational Rapture.
In the next several issues, we will examine a number of unusual controversial issues that involve the Rapture and the saints of the last days. To be sure, this raises conundrums, debated chronicles and, hopefully, some insights. We begin with the following conundrum: Why does God seemingly allow the “wicked” to triumph over His people?
Should we not expect to be delivered by our Lord, who says that our smallest care is His concern? Isn’t He the one upon whom we are to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)?
Yes. Yet, we also read about a situation in the Bible where the “holy ones” are given over to be defeated by the Antichrist, also known as the “little horn.” This statement is found in the 7th chapter of Daniel. He tells us: “As I watched, this horn [the ‘little horn’] was waging war against the ‘holy ones’ and defeating them […]” (verse 21). Again, not to miss this … it says, “defeating them.” We may wonder why this is allowed to happen to the “holy ones,” as it seems unjust.
Any doubt on this topic is quickly expelled, as this defeat of the “holy ones” is described at least five more times.
A few verses later (Daniel 7:25), it states that the Antichrist “will speak against the Most High and oppress his ‘holy ones’ […] They will be delivered into his [Antichrist’s] hands for “a time, times and half a time.” Here we learn that this ordeal will last three and a half years in the Tribulation Period.
But that’s not all. There are yet additional and similar prophecies in the book of Daniel, which state that the “holy ones” would be overcome. A later vision, interpreted by an angel, informs us that: “He [the Antichrist] will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the ‘holy ones'” (Daniel 8:24).
Lastly, in Daniel 12:7, it says: “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the ‘holy ones’ has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Even though the “holy ones” are said to be “mighty,” they will be destroyed. These above-mentioned statements all align with prophecies written in the Book of Revelation. However, “[The Beast] was given power to wage war against God’s ‘holy ones’ and to conquer them” (Revelation 13:7).
And again: “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s ‘holy ones’ and to conquer them” (Revelation 13:5-7).
Daniel and John the Revelator are in perfect alignment. The time period over which the defeat will take place is 42 months, and the Beast mentioned is the same … the one that blasphemes and speaks against the Most High.
Given these confirming references from both Testaments, there can be no doubt. For a period of 3 1/2 years (in our interpretation, this being the first half of the Tribulation period), “holy ones” are going to fall prey to the Antichrist.
They will not only be defeated; the Bible also says that they will be destroyed (Daniel 8:24). A plain interpretation would, therefore, suggest that ALL are destroyed.
We still grapple with this question: Why should the “holy ones” all become martyrs … all be destroyed? We again come back to our earlier question at the outset: Why does God seemingly allow the “wicked” to triumph over His people?
We must first confirm the answer to this question: Just who are these “holy ones” that are being overcome in the previously quoted texts? The answer provides an important key.
We must note that the concept of the church was yet hidden at the time of Daniel and other OT prophets. The Messiah had not yet appeared nor had been rejected by the Jews.
However, the identity of the “holy ones” seems fairly clear, as it is referring to a future time when the “holy ones” would exist. We identify them as the Tribulational Christians. There is an ironclad case supporting this conclusion, which we will show.
To re-phrase, all of the “holy ones” that are being shown as vanquished and destroyed in Scripture are Tribulation Saints. This means those that have come to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and Savior once the seven-year Tribulation began … in other words, after the Rapture has taken place.
None of the six aforementioned prophecies apply to the saints of the Church Age. Post-Rapture saints have a much different timeline than the saints that are taken up in the Rapture.
Many misinterpret these accounts of saints being destroyed as evidence that the Church-age Christians will not be raptured and, therefore, be required to go through the Tribulation. We believe this to be an incorrect conclusion on several accounts.
First, the proofs of the Rapture occurring stand on their own. Several New Testament texts confirm it. As well, the Rapture is an event that is entirely consistent with the character of God.
The fact that there are people who will repent during the Tribulation has no direct connection to the Rapture. These references to “holy ones” found in Daniel and Revelation refer to those (earth-dwellers) who become believers in Christ during the first half of the Tribulation.
Gloriously, there will be many … a veritable multitude. The accounts of Daniel and Apostle John (the Revelator) are in alignment on this point.
Apostle John says that “[…] a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, [was] standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). These were Tribulational Christians. How do we know this?
First, of course, this scene takes place in heaven before the throne at the time of the sixth seal. This event, therefore, occurs in the Tribulation Period. “They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” (verse 9). The white robe signified that they had received salvation, and the palm branches represented victory. This could only apply to a Christian. Therefore, to again conclude: These “holy ones” are all Christians that come out of the Tribulation.
Second, this “multitude” that is identified at the time of the sixth seal is, in fact, the fulfillment of the prophecy given at the time when the fifth seal was opened (found in Revelation chapter 6). The slain saints at that time (shown under the altar in front of the great throne) are told to wait until the remainder of brethren on earth are killed and emerge “out of the Tribulation.” They are shown as the souls who had been slain, waiting under the altar in heaven. They had been killed in the Tribulation because of the Word of God and the testimony that they had maintained.
“They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?'” (Revelation 6:10). They were told to wait a while longer, “[…] until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been” (verse 11). Those that had been killed already upon earth were given a white robe.
Then later, after the sixth seal had been removed, the “multitude beyond count” is seen in heaven (Revelation 7:9), as already mentioned. “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:14).
We can deduce here that many, many Christians were martyred from before the time of the fifth seal until after the sixth seal. Just as Daniel prophesies, they will all have been “destroyed” (martyred). This writer concludes that there will be no “fellow servants” remaining (these being the “holy ones”… Tribulational saints) upon the earth once the seventh seal is about to be removed. In the following sequel, we will review the evidence for this view, as well as its decisive implications for various Rapture theories.
In the next issues, we delve into yet more conundrums and chronicles. Why can the Rapture happen at no other time than Pre-Tribulation? Who passes through the Tribulation into the Millennium? Will all Christians die at the hands of the Antichrist? What are the most glorious promises to the Church?
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. A following book, Global Financial Apocalypse Prophesied: Preserving true riches in an age of deception and trouble, looks further into the prophetic future.
Contact Wilfred at: email@example.com