Questions From the Body of Christ about Salvation in the Tribulation
One of the things I really enjoy doing with the ministry the Lord has blessed me with is answering questions of believers and unbelievers alike. The questions people have never ceased to amaze me; most I have never even considered myself.
This QFTBOC (Questions From the Body of Christ) series are articles from these questions I have received and will be in a question and response format. If you or someone you know has a question pertaining to the Word of God – theology, difficult passages, eschatology, etc. – I would really like to hear from you.
If I end up using your question, and you would like to have your name and/or place of residence listed on the question in the article, please specify with your submitted question; otherwise, if I use your question, it will be listed as “Anonymous.” Regardless, I will make every attempt to answer every person’s question(s) in a response to the emails I receive. Depending on volume, it may be a little while until you hear back from me, but my intention is to respond to all inquiries.
Other articles in this series are: QFTBOC: Civil Disobedience and Patriotism, QFTBOC: Memory – Fully Retained or Total Reset?, QFTBOC: Psalm 91, Protection, & God’s Will, QFTBOC: God’s Chastisement of His Children, QFTBOC: What’s Satan’s Problem?, QFTBOC: Can We Know Another’s Salvation?, QFTBOC: Childbirth Purification & Christ, QFTBOC: Biblical Slavery, QFTBOC: Peter & John at the Palace of the High Priest, QFTBOC: Living for Christ in a Dark World, QFTBOC: Family and the Afterlife, Judgment and, and QFTBOC: Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel.
A friend told me that during the first three years of the Tribulation, because the Holy Spirit will be taken away, no one can be saved during that time. Is that really true? I thought people could be saved throughout the Tribulation.
I don’t know if you answer questions individually or within a newsletter. If you could point me to the website where I can find your answer, I would appreciate it.
I ran across your article through Jan Markell’s website [article originally published on RaptureReady.com].
Teri H. – Redmond, WA
What about those who have heard the Word of God before the Rapture but have not accepted Christ as their Savior?
Will they have a chance during the Tribulation period to accept Christ? Or will they not believe due to a “Strong Delusion” since they had a chance to accept Christ before the Rapture?
If they do not accept the Mark of the Beast, will they still have a chance?
In the Tribulation, will only the Jews be saved?
I was told that the Gentiles who were left behind will have no chance to reconsider and accept Christ because they will be “sent a strong delusion.” We are currently in the ‘time of the Gentiles.’
Is this the way you interpret scripture? I know the Jewish people can accept Christ now, so why wouldn’t the Gentiles have an opportunity to come to Christ, though it is during the time of the Jews.
Please consider this and tell me what you think. Thank you for your reply and answer.
Response to Your Questions about Salvation in the Tribulation
Thank you all for your important interrelated questions, a subject that appears to be on a lot of people’s minds today.
Because I’m dealing with three individually related questions – and not wanting anyone to get confused (including myself) – I’m going to be addressing my entire response as if all three are one combined question.
When it comes to Salvation in the Tribulation, you make a great point:
Why would it be any different for the Gentiles than the Jews? The answer is: It won’t be.
A Couple of Quick Points
Here are a couple of logical points you could point to others when it comes to this teaching.
- Where do the following people come from?
“After 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; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10). (emphasis mine)
- If no Gentile were to be saved during the Tribulation, then the Separation of the Sheep from the Goats couldn’t happen (Matthew 25:32-46). This judgment will happen immediately after the Second Coming and is the separation of people from all of the nations who survive the Tribulation and didn’t take The Mark of The Beast.
What About Those That Don’t Take the Mark of The Beast?
When it comes to the question of whether someone will automatically be saved if they don’t take The Mark of The Beast, the Separation of the Sheep from the Goats judgment answers this question for us. In short, there will be people who refuse to take The Mark of The Beast and, unfortunately, will not be saved. These are the goats at The Separation of the Sheep from the Goats judgment.
I need to stress an emphatic point here, that warning our family, friends, and strangers – who have yet to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior – not to take The Mark of The Beast in the last half of the Tribulation will be of no value without giving them the life-saving message of the gospel.
We need to be reminding them while we still can and using the 10 Commandments in an effort to convince them that they are sinners who are desperately in need of the Savior. Then we can be assured that they have the tools at their disposal to not only reject The Mark of The Beast but, most importantly, to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Any Scriptures cited by those who say that Gentiles – or anyone who rejected the gospel before the rapture – can’t be saved after the rapture, I would humbly suggest, have been misinterpreted.
Let’s take a look at the most frequently used passage on this topic.
God Sends a Strong Delusion
The reason some think that those who don’t accept Christ before the rapture can’t accept Christ after the rapture is because of faulty logic and a misunderstanding of the Scriptures. The strong delusion that Paul mentions has nothing to do with coming to Christ in regard to conversions after the rapture. It has to do with those who flat-out reject the truth for a sustained amount of time.
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness“ (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). (emphasis mine)
Hint: This strong delusion won’t be sent by God until three and one-half plus years after the rapture of the church and will be on those who have – up until that time – rejected the truth and hardened their hearts. Think of Pharaoh at the time of the exodus and how Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. It’s a one-two punch of a spiritually hardened heart.
God’s Desire for Mankind is Salvation
We have passage after passage in the Scriptures declaring God’s desire that none should perish but that all should come to a saving faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. It will be no different for those who, up to that point, have rejected the gospel before the rapture. They will indeed have an opportunity to come to the Lord but under the immensely horrifying circumstances of the Tribulation.
- “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
- “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
- “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
- “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-13).
- “And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
- “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).
- “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
- “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34).
- “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).
- “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).
- “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
This truth that God desires all to be saved doesn’t end with the rapture of the church. On the contrary. The Tribulation is not only meant to bring the Jews back to God and His Messiah but is a last call for the Gentiles to be saved as well.
For proof, we need only to look at the program the Lord has for those during the Tribulation. God has the 144,000 Israeli evangelists, the Two Witnesses, the angel proclaiming the gospel, and the witness and sharing of the gospel from every person who comes to Christ during those perilous and exasperating years. One could say that the Lord has all of His bases covered when it comes to salvation, even in the Tribulation.
The Holy Spirit in the Tribulation
I realize there are those who say that the Holy Spirit will be taken away at the rapture of the church, with the Holy Spirit’s ministry rather depleted, or some may imply, non-existent at that time. Honestly, I don’t see either one of these ideas concerning the Holy Spirit during the Tribulation – at all.
Let’s take a look at the passage that often seems to be misunderstood in just that way.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he [Antichrist] might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8). (emphasis mine)
“Out of the midst” is the literal translation of the Greek words “ek mesos,” which is translated in our passage above as “out of the way.” The Holy Spirit, who resides in every believer, will be taken “out of the midst” of the world at the rapture of the church. Therefore, it is the church itself – with the indwelling Holy Spirit of God – that is taken “out of the midst” and, along with the Holy Spirit, is the combined entity that has been restraining unabated wickedness and the rise of Antichrist on the earth for two-thousand years.
It’s two-dimensional, so to speak. The Holy Spirit is in the midst of each believer, and the body of Christ is in the midst of the world.
This is reminiscent, for me, of Peter’s speech to those dwelling in Jerusalem after the falling of the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost, when he stated:
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst [“mesos“] of you, as ye yourselves also know…” (Acts 2:22).
Just as “God did by [Yeshua] in the midst of [Israel]” God’s works and proclaimed God’s Word, God also, through His indwelling Spirit within the midst of each believer, works in us within the midst of the world. Once the church is removed, the Holy Spirit is no longer working within the midst of any individual, within the midst of the world.
The Holy Spirit is Omnipresent
The Holy Spirit – the Ruach HaKodesh – is the third person of the triune God. As the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit clearly displays God’s omnipresence. Consequently, God’s Holy Spirit will most certainly be omnipresent during the Tribulation. In fact, if it weren’t for the Holy Spirit convicting men and women of their sins, no one could come to Christ during the Tribulation at all. Because the Holy Spirit is God, He will still be quite active and present during the Tribulation, being the omnipresent Spirit that He is!
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (Psalm 139:6-8). (emphasis mine)
Obviously, David penned this Psalm well before Christ came to offer His life for our sins and the Holy Spirit dwelled in the body of every believer.
But will the Holy Spirit’s ministry change once the rapture of the church occurs? I see nothing in Scripture to indicate that it will.
As we have noted, the Holy Spirit will not be taken away from the earth, as the Holy Spirit is omnipresent. The church will be taken from the earth; hence, the active working of the Holy Spirit within the body of Christ will no longer be present to keep evil at bay, as has been the case since the Holy Spirit indwelled the Jewish believers at Pentecost in Jerusalem.
The one thing we do know is that when the rapture does occur, there will be zero people on earth who will have the indwelling Holy Spirit within them. This would indicate, to me, that this is what is meant by Paul’s statement that, “… he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way (or ‘out of the midst’).” That is, when the Holy Spirit is no longer inhabiting the bodies of the body of Christ on earth because of the rapture of the church, that mankind will lack any person for the Holy Spirit to indwell at that time and render the human condition to be unrestrained and to exercise in full the evil that permeates their hearts, leaving the door open for the man of sin to be revealed.
So, it seems reasonable to me that because Christ is still the focus of salvation in the Tribulation, people who do give their lives to Christ will receive the indwelling Holy Spirit in their lives just as the body of Christ did. Only they will have to live the remainder of their lives under the extremely stressful and horrific conditions of the Tribulation – something they wouldn’t have had to do if they would have come to Christ earlier.
Of course, when you really stop and think about it, how many of our brothers and sisters in Christ for the past 2,000 years have lived under conditions of tribulation and persecution. And just like many of us who rejected the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives before we gave our lives to Christ, so, too, will be the experience of those who rejected Christ before the rapture and will still be given the chance by the grace of God to come to His Son during the Tribulation.
Remember, God never changes!
Thank you all for your extremely important questions that so many seem to have on their hearts as we approach the Tribulation, for we all have concern for friends, loved ones, and even strangers we have never met, who have yet to give their lives to Christ.
I pray this inspires us all to make the extra effort to reach the lost for Christ with His live-saving gospel as we see the day approaching. There shouldn’t be one person in our circles of influence who hasn’t heard us speak of the love of God, found only in the perfect sacrifice of God’s Son, Messiah Jesus, for the sins of the world, and how one can come to Him for eternal salvation.
If Christ was willing to lay down His life for each and every one of us in pure agape love, then, certainly, we should be willing and able to talk to them and show them the way to their Creator and Savior because of His unconditional love living within us and our passionate concern for their eternal future!
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➢ I am still taking questions for the Questions from the Body of Christ series. If you or someone you know has a question pertaining to the Word of God – theology, difficult passages, eschatology, etc. – I would really like to hear from you.