There are three great purposes for the Tribulation: 1) to prepare Israel for her Messiah; 2) to bring judgment on all unbelievers and unbelieving nations; and 3) to bring salvation to the repentant lost.
To Bring Salvation to The Repentant Lost
This has to be included as one of the Tribulation purposes, mainly because of the great many people who will be saved out of it, and also because God always desires that man be saved no matter how and where that happens. The prophet Joel declared, “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32).
Now there seems to be evidence of two different Tribulation revivals: one, mostly toward the beginning of the Tribulation and another at the very end of the Tribulation.
The earlier revival is divided into two groups. The first group (Revelation 7:1-8) are no doubt all Jews, 144,000 of them, 72,000 from each of the twelve tribes. And the second group (Revelation 7:9-17) consists of “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.” This group, as recorded here, has been martyred and are now “standing before the throne and before the Lamb [in heaven].” They have come out of the great Tribulation and they have been given new glorified bodies. Verse fourteen states, “And they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” And then in verse 16 and 17 we read…
“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.”
We don’t know exactly how this revival will be set off, but I am guessing that it will be due to the miracle of the Rapture of the church and also to the realization of the horrors of the coming wrath of God.
Now it may be assumed that this countless group are all Gentiles, but I’m not sure of it. I think most of them will be Gentiles; however, I don’t think we can rule out the possibility that a few will be Jewish. The Scriptures do not give us any indication one way or another.
Though I think most will be saved toward the beginning of the Tribulation, I also think that the work of salvation will continue to happen all through the seven years, as they hear the consistent preaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and also of the two Jewish witnesses and the angels. Most of these will be martyred, but some will survive and be blessed to go into the Millennial kingdom alive.
But I think the greatest number of people who survive the Tribulation and are saved will be Jewish. This will occur at the very end when Jesus appears in the sky. This is the later revival. As I stated earlier, two-thirds of them will die in the Tribulation, but one-third of them will be left alive and will be saved (about 10 million of them; I am taking the literal view that “all will be saved”).
Here in Zechariah 13:8-9, and 12:10-11, are the details of that conversion.
“And it will come about in all the land,”
Declares the Lord,
“That two parts in it will be cut off and perish;
But the third will be left in it.
9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'”
“And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born. 11 “In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
Here also is the record from Matthew’s gospel.
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, 30 and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
“His elect” here consists of all glorified and unglorified people in world history who will be ushered into the millennial kingdom. And a big part of that elect group will be those unglorified, saved Jews who come out of the Tribulation. Many of those will be those who will serve Him in the new millennial temple (see Ezekiel 40-48).