Personalities in the Tribulation: The Church

I think it is always a good idea, in studying a subject like the Tribulation, to first pick apart and dissect important terms, and in this case, personalities. It will help us in our understanding of it all. We will start with the church. Yes, we who are believers in this age have a role to play in the tribulation.

The Church

The church will not go through the Tribulation on earth. We will be raptured before it begins. Yet we will have a role to play in the Tribulation. The two vital questions that need to be answered is where is the church during the Tribulation? And, what is their ministry during the Tribulation?

Where is the church during the Tribulation? There is no mention of the church anywhere after the third chapter of Revelation. However, bible scholars believe that the twenty-four elders who are sitting on thrones circling God on His throne (recorded in Revelation 4) represent the glorified church in heaven. Here are four indications suggested by the following terms, that these twenty-four elders do in fact represent the church.

Twenty-four elders sitting on thrones. The term elder is a church term in the New Testament. The elder rules on behalf of God over the people (Acts 15:2, 6). Also, the number twenty-four is significant to the priesthood, as David divided the priesthood into twenty-four orders (1Chron. 24:4); and the church is the only body that has been qualified for the priesthood. Dr. Dwight Pentecost writes,

While Israel was called to a priestly function (Ex. 19:6), that nation never entered into this chief function because of their sin…The church is the only body definitely constituted a priesthood that could fulfill the function of priests ministering under the High Priest (1Pet. 2:5, 9)[1]

As to the elders sitting on thrones, this position suggests that they represent the church, since we read in Revelation 3:2 and in Matthew 19:28 that the church has been promised this position.

The elders clothed in white garments. The color white is a symbol of purity, which would fit the glorified church, having “no spot or wrinkle,” and being “holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:27). And it was also promised to the church in Sadis (Rev. 3:4-5) that they will walk with Him in white, and that they will be “clothed in white garments.”

The golden crowns. Each of the elders were wearing a victor’s crown. This suggests that they are the church, for the crowns were recently received as rewards in the bema judgment—a judgment for the church.

Their worship. The elders worshipped God because of His acts of creation (Rev. 4:11, redemption (Rev. 5:9), judgment (Rev. 19:2), and reigning (Rev. 11:17). Worship has always been an activity of the church; thus, we may regard this as proof that the elders represent the church.

What is the ministry of the church during the Tribulation? The ministry of the church in heaven is at least four-fold.

1. The fact that we see the elders enthroned before God, suggests that they represent the church as rulers or judges on behalf of God. This means that we will have a part in bringing judgment on the earth in the Tribulation. It also means that during the millennial reign of Christ we will rule with Christ and will be kept busy with this aspect of ministry.

2. The church in heaven has a priestly ministry. In Revelation 5:8 they are seen bringing the prayers of the saints on earth to God.

3. The church in heaven is constantly worshipping God. This will be our blessed ministry during the Tribulation and always.

4. Because of the church’s knowledge of the program of God, they will have a ministry of teaching and revealing truth during the Tribulation (Rev. 5:5; 7:13-14).

[1] J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, Dunham Publishing Company, 1958),pp. 255-256.

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 21:33-46

Our purpose as the church is to bear fruit.

This is our twelfth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will focus on the meaning of the parable of the landowner.

Matthew 21:33-46

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone the builders rejected

has become the capstone;

the Lord has done this,

and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.


This parable speaks to the Jews as nation and particularity to the Jewish leaders, the Pharisees who killed the prophets (the servants) and would kill Jesus (the Son). The verdict given by the Pharisees upon the vine-growers (vs. 41) was a verdict made upon themselves. Yes, they who were the vine-growers in the parable convicted themselves. The other tenants who would be given the vineyard (or the kingdom) would be the church (v. 41, 43). So, this parable speaks prophetically about the end of the Jewish program and the beginning of the church (Rom. 11). The stone whom the builders rejected would be Christ (v. 42). The Pharisees were not stupid. They understood that Jesus was speaking about them and they wanted to kill Him.


The obvious application for me that I see is in verse 43. I am part of the church and my purpose is to produce fruit.

The Distinctive of the Church: 5 Features of the Church

Studying Bible Prophecy

bride of Christ

We have been showing the distinctiveness of each group—Israel and the church, and why they cannot be merged. In my last post we viewed the distinctive of Israel: Jewish people who are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Now we will look at the distinctive of the church.

The first thing I will point out regarding the church is that it has a distinct time period—from Pentecost to the rapture.  Only God knows the length of this period, but it will be the exact time needed to prepare us, His bride, for our union with Him.

Secondly, unlike Israel, the church has a mysterious character.  Whereas Israel was always well known throughout the Old Testament, the church sort of popped out of nowhere.  That is, it was unheard of in the Old Testament, and wasn’t really revealed until Christ came.  But even then, the concept of the church was…

View original post 424 more words

Has the Church Replaced Israel? The Definition and origin of Replacement Theology

Studying Bible Prophecy


 Has the church really replaced Israel or have they remained two distinct groups?

In previous posts we have brought to light in Daniel 9:24, that the seventy weeks have been decreed “for your people.”  We have said that “your people” means Daniel’s people, the Jews.  Therefore, this firmly establishes the fact that the Tribulation period, which is the seventieth week, is meant only for Israel.

But some have insisted that the church has now become Israel; and so, for them, this changes everything.

Well, this is just not true!  In this post we will bring to light this error of reasoning that the church has now replaced Israel.


The definition of replacement theology.  Kenneth Gentry, one of its leaders, defines it this way: “We believe that the international church has superseded for all times national Israel as the institution for the administration of divine blessing to the…

View original post 935 more words

Daniel 9:26: A Gap of Time for the Church — between the Sixty-Ninth and the Seventieth Week

Studying Bible Prophecy

70 ad

We have been studying Daniel 9:25-27.  In these three verses is the timeline of the entire seventy week period (490 years), referred to in verse 24.  Last time we looked at verse 25.   We will pick up our study now in verse 26, which we will see as a gap of time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week.

 Daniel 9:26
Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.


Many do not agree that this is a gap of time; they (Preterists) believe that the events described here, and also in verse 27, are all in the seventieth week.  And  because they say that, since…

View original post 853 more words