Personalities in the Tribulation: Jesus Christ – Part 2

Studying Bible Prophecy

Certainly, Jesus Christ must be included in the list of Tribulation personalities; for He is the underlying theme of Revelation. He is the central figure. In my study I have found seven different titles for Jesus Christ: Lamb, Son of man, Jesus, Faithful and True, Word of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We will highlight these titles as we present Him to you in chronological order as He appears in the Tribulation. In an earlier blog I wrote on Jesus the Lamb. In this blog we will deal with the six other of His names.

The Son of man will be the leading reaper in the judgment (Rev. 14:14-16). In this vision of John’s, he sees a white cloud and one like a son of man sitting on the cloud. I think we can be fairly sure that the Son of man is Jesus, because He has…

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Personalities in the Tribulation: Jesus Christ

Studying Bible Prophecy

Certainly, Jesus Christ must be included in the list of Tribulation personalities; for He is the underlying theme of Revelation. He is the central figure. In my study I have found seven different titles for Jesus Christ: Lamb, Son of man, Jesus, Faithful and True, Word of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We will highlight these titles as we present Him to you in chronological order as He appears in the Tribulation.

The Lamb is worthy to break the seals (Rev. 5:1-14). Here in John’s vision, God held in His hand a book that was sealed up with seven seals. And the question was asked by an angel, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” And no one was found in heaven or on earth to open the book. And John began to weep. But then one of the elders said to…

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Personalities in the Tribulation: The Holy Spirit

Studying Bible Prophecy

The Holy Spirit is not mentioned in the Tribulation, but we know that He will be present, since He is eternally omnipresent. However, according to many scholars, it is believed that His ministry will be different in the Tribulation; and some believe that it will be the same as it was in the Old Testament.

The reason for this change is because at the Rapture the church will leave this earth; hence, the Holy Spirit’s ministry to the church will no longer be necessary, even to those who are believers during the Tribulation on earth, since they will not be the church. They will be believing saints, but not the church.

So what will the ministry of the Holy Spirit look like during the Tribulation? First of all, there are at least two, and possibly more, ministries that will be lacking: of baptism and of indwelling. The Holy Spirit will…

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Personalities in the Tribulation: Angels — Part 2

Studying Bible Prophecy

Continuing from part 1

Another angel (Rev. 8:3-5). When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour (v. 1). This silence was in anticipation of coming judgments. During that time of silence an angel stood at the altar of incense (in the heavenly temple). Here are four things that this angel did, or that occurred.

1. He stood at the golden altar of incense with an incense burner, and mixed the incense that was given to him with the prayers of the saints (all believers that were praying).

2. He then offered the mixture on the golden alter.

3. The smoke of the incense and prayers rose up to God from the altar.

4. The angel then filled the incense burner with coals of fire from the altar and threw it down to the earth; and there came thunder and lightning…

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Tribulation Saints

Undoubtedly, the greatest revival in the history of mankind will be during the Tribulation. John tells us that in his vision he beheld “a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes” (Rev. 7:9). That passage goes on for a few more verses (verses 9-14), and it is clear that this great multitude are believers that were martyred during the Tribulation and are now rejoicing in victory in heaven and are worshipping God and Jesus the Lamb.

Many of them will no doubt come to salvation because of the shocking disappearances of the Rapture. Then, when the two witnesses and the 144,000 evangelists are put in place at the beginning of the Tribulation, many will be converted through their witness. Likewise, I imagine that many will also be saved by the witness of people all around them who heard the gospel message from others, even from angels. And of course, the Holy Spirit will be always working to convict and to convert any who are chosen to be saved.

As for those who are martyred (the “great multitude”), we may place the blame squarely on the Antichrist and the harlot (the false religious system). And this follows squarely, after so many years, to what happened in ancient Rome with the Roman emperors, and then with what happened with the evil Roman Catholic church. So, it will be repeated in the revived Roman empire. But I think it will be reversed: the Great Harlot will be the first to martyr the Christians, as we see in Revelation 17:6; then, when the Harlot is destroyed and the Antichrist is given full power (at the midpoint of the Tribulation), he will be the one to martyr the Christians. As we see in Daniel 7:21, and also in Revelation 13:7, “It will be given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.”

Please note what it says in Revelation 13:7; “It was given to him to make war with the saints…” (bold italic for emphasis). This indicates clearly that God will allow the Antichrist to martyr the saints, and thus to be in control.

Another interesting couple of verses that shows us this control is in Revelation 6:10-11. Here the martyred and resurrected saints were asking God, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And He told them that the time of killing (by the Antichrist) would go on “until the number of their fellow servants… should be completed.” In other words, God is in control. He will not allow anyone to be martyred beyond what he has predestined.

Please note also (from Revelation 7:10-14, 14:13-14, and 15:2-4), that God in the end will greatly bless the resurrected martyrs and give them victory and a song of joy and worship to God forever.

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.