Returning to My Initial Position. I Concede a Good Outcome
As it relates to the individuals of the Innumerable Host of Rev 7:9-10, in the finality of events for this group, the result overall is a good one. Instead of also suffering an eternity of tormented existence in a place called the Lake of Fire, the mercy and goodness and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ rescues each member of the group when each one trusts God and His Word.
While this outcome for these individuals is a good one, it represents the second-best outcome in actuality. These individuals could have obtained the Optimal outcome if they had chosen to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today, during this current and active Dispensation of Grace.
2 Corinthians 6:2 “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Don’t put off until tomorrow what one should and must do today. Don’t put off one’s salvation until the Tribulation period. There is no guarantee one will survive long enough to call upon the Lord Jesus Christ and to trust Him for salvation. Today is the day of Salvation!
Why Are Church-Age Believers Exempted & Spared the Sufferings of the Tribulation?
Because during this time of the Dispensation of Grace, those who became Church-Age Believers literally took the Lord Jesus Christ at His Word and believed Him, chose Him, trusted Him. We abandoned the gods of this world and the god of human self. We chose the Lord Jesus Christ alone as the sole means of salvation.
To those people who choose the Lord Jesus solely at His Word, He extends incredibly rich promises that He absolutely will fulfill. Two such promises the Lord Jesus extends to us are to exempt and spare us from the unique cut-out time period of His wrath, the wrath of the Lamb, the Tribulation.
Revelation 3:10 “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 1:18-21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Romans 2:5-10 “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds…. but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Romans 5:8-10 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
1 Thessalonians 1:10 “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
Called to Encourage or Comfort One Another, For We Are Spared His Wrath
Scripture is clear on the fact that we Church-Age Believers are not destined to experience the wrath of God or the wrath of the Lamb, and scripture advises us to encourage or comfort one another with this thought of being spared His wrath.
Which of these two scenarios brings you the most encouragement or comfort?
One: Hey, Church-Age Believer, you are going to see and experience and suffer some of the most horrible calamities the world has ever encountered. You will likely see family and friends die in the most brutal manner after they have suffered the most deprived conditions. Yep! What you suffer personally and what you observe your loved ones and friends suffer will suck the life right out of you. Even though you suffer a miserable, agonizing death, no worries. So be encouraged.
Or does this next approach resonate in your heart and mind while bringing you relief, joy, and contentment?
Two: Hey, Church-Age Believer, because the Lord Jesus promised that you were not destined to wrath, He is going to evacuate you from the world before the Tribulation begins. The Rapture is one of the most phenomenal supernatural events the world has ever witnessed, and the Lord Jesus has promised you will participate as one of His evacuees. You and your family will experience no unnecessary horrors or sufferings. And if your loved ones and friends are Believers in the Lord Jesus, they will travel with you. You and they are spared the suffering, pain, and misery. So be encouraged.
Check out these scripture verses designed to encourage.
1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
Our Lord Jesus Himself encouraged us when He told His disciples about the Rapture during the Upper Room Discourse.
John 14:1-4 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Titus 2:11-13 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
I like the way Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries sees it: if Church-Age Believers are dragged through any portion of the Tribulation period, then the blessed hope quickly becomes the blasted hope. Encouragement for the Church-Age Believer quickly fades.
The Innumerable Host we saw in Rev 7:9-10 standing before the throne of God and before the Lamb, they came out of the Tribulation after suffering horrible conditions, then they died and were brought to heaven. In the verse that follows, we see that not all Church-Age Believers will die a natural death (sleep), but the dead are changed first, then those who are still alive are changed, and they never see death.
These Church-Age Believers being changed while alive are not the same as those Tribulation Believers who come out of the Tribulation after having died. So be encouraged. Chances are good that you may find yourself among a group of people who never experience natural death and who certainly never experience the ravages and death in the Tribulation.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Perhaps the thought of suffering needlessly and horribly brings you encouragement and comfort, but as for me and my house, the idea of suffering horribly and watching those I love and value suffer horribly brings me absolutely no encouragement or comfort.
But the idea of being evacuated in the Rapture before all the horrible suffering of the Tribulation, the hour of trial that comes on all the world, so that neither I nor the ones I love ever experience any moment of it… now that brings me incredibly great encouragement and comfort.
Maranatha! Our Lord, come! Lord Jesus, come quickly. Come fetch us home in the Rapture, and today is a good day for You to do that!
BTW: This is the very thing we should hope and desire and pray for today, right now, for those we eventually see before the throne of God and the Lamb in Rev 7:9-10. We want them to experience salvation today so that they are also evacuated in the Rapture and never experience the horrors of the Tribulation. Being evacuated in the Rapture represents the optimal scenario for Believers.
The Work That You Do Is for Today.
The missionary work that we all do or should do: preaching, teaching Sunday school and Bible study, evangelizing the lost, planting churches, acts of salvation-focused kindness and generosity, Bible translation, scripture use and engagement, mobilizing people, praying, giving, using media arts to portray and deliver the gospel of Jesus Christ, helping other Christ-followers figure out where and how they can minister, etc.
The individuals of the Innumerable Host that we see in Rev 7:9-10 are likely alive today, right now. The work you do, the fruit, and the product of your hands should primarily focus on and strive to bring them to our Lord Jesus Christ today, right now!
Do not put off the life-transforming works of our Lord Jesus until the period when the individuals of the Innumerable Host of Rev 7:9-10 stand before the throne of God and before the Lamb. Do not relegate them to a second-best salvation. Help them achieve the optimal outcome today.
Scripture is clear in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “For He says, ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
The lost peoples of the world need their lives transformed by the forgiveness, mercy, and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Most High God, right now, today!
The work that you do today will likely play an important future role in the discipling of the nations (Matthew 28:18-19). Hopefully and prayerfully, it will. In the midst of the Tribulation Period, when each person of that Innumerable Host decides to choose the Lord Jesus, to trust Him alone, each one will need good informative resources to help that one grow and mature to the degree possible. Those works that you completed in the name of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, that you created for people today to induce them to come to salvation and to more intimately know our Lord Jesus Christ, those previously existing works will play key roles to help in the transformation of future lives, but those completed works must first exist today for the people of today.
The work that you do today is about the outcomes of today; it’s about transformed lives today.
It’s Not About A Second-Best Salvation.
Trust the Lord Jesus to bring salvation to each person today so that each one may experience and enjoy that optimal scenario with the optimal results and outcome. Work in a manner that helps them believe in our Lord Jesus and trust Him now. Help them praise, bless, and extol our Lord Jesus because each one received His very best salvation today.
Difference Between Church-Age Rewards and Tribulation Saint Rewards
IF we were to place Church-Age Believers with the Innumerable Host in the Tribulation, it makes us forfeit most of the rich blessings and promises and rewards our Lord Jesus has offered to Church-Age Believers.
The individuals of the Innumerable Host suffered, at least partially, through God’s wrath and through the hour of trial. Church-Age Believers are spared from suffering through the wrath of God. They are kept out of and spared from the hour of trial.
The individuals of the Innumerable Host are apparently limited to their place of service and their role of service. Scripture in Rev 7:15 indicates this group of individuals are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple, evidently in a servant role.
Church-Age Believers are promised to rule and reign as kings and priests on the earth, in addition to having specific places awarded to us in heaven. New Jerusalem is written upon us, denoting our citizenship of this great holy city. We are awarded the best of both realms.
Indeed, Scripture promises Church-Age Believers will sit on Christ’s throne with Him. In Revelation seven, there is neither promise to the Innumerable Host to rule and reign with the Lamb nor to sit with Him on His throne. They are not awarded crowns; Church-Age Believers are promised crowns.
Caveats and Qualifiers
What one believes overall about the last days and eschatological events also determines how one believes about the myriad of details of last days’ events. What one believes determines and positions the who, what, where, when, why, and how details of the time of the end.
Obviously, one may easily derive from my positions in this essay that I am a pre-tribulation Rapture Church-Age Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe the Rapture happens first. The Rapture serves as THE trigger event. My other last days’ beliefs hang on that event, and what I believe logically follows.
Another key trigger event is when the Tribulation Period begins. And because I believe the Rapture happens before the start of the Tribulation Period, I believe that Church-Age Believers are evacuated before it comes hugely, mega-bad in the world.
But after Church-Age Believers are evacuated, other pieces of last days’ events will begin to fall into their proper place with the corresponding timing and outcomes.
Perhaps the reader takes some other position as to what event is key to when it falls and how it triggers other events. Maybe one holds the position of a mid-tribulation Rapture which determines how one believes events will play out. Or maybe the reader believes in a three-quarters tribulation Rapture or a post-tribulation Rapture. What one believes about the big picture drives how you believe other details will play out.
Maybe one believes there is no Rapture of Church-Age Believers and believes only in the second coming of the Lord Jesus to establish His kingdom on the earth.
Maybe you believe something just because that belief is popular in the circles in which you run, but in reality, you don’t know what you believe or why. In actuality, you’ve not given last days’ events or their timing or their triggers much thought.
Perhaps this essay may cause the reader to reconsider primarily hoping for the second-best outcomes and to pray and work for people in our day and age to attain optimal outcomes of salvation.
Possibly, the reader rejects my position entirely, or at the least, a number of elements of this essay because you believe in different trigger events or a different timing of events. I get that and understand that concept: what one believes has consequences.
An essay of this type that is so wide in its scope is open for discussion, dispute, and alternate arguments. I’m okay with that. Let the dialogue begin.
As I wrote trying to address the main point – that Tribulation Believers of Revelation chapter seven received a second-best outcome, that it’s a good thing, but not cool – I heard in my head a series of peripheral questions that I believed needed answers to bring a fuller level of understanding to my main point. It was not my goal to tackle every point in exhaustive detail.
Finishing Where I Started
In my assessment, the individuals of the Innumerable Host that we see in Revelation chapter 7:9-10 experience a good thing for themselves, especially in view of the alternative, but how they travel to and arrive at that point is not cool. Had they chosen differently, they could have received a much better outcome, the optimal outcome. That optimal outcome is still within reach. It’s not yet too late for them. Today is the day of salvation. Right now!
This ends the 3-part series on Revelation 7 Tribulation Believers.
If you would like to see a chart comparing second-best outcomes to optimal outcomes, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org