Who Are the “Saints” Whom Antichrist Kills?
Question: Revelation:13:7 says that Antichrist is given authority (and it could only come from God) “to make war with the saints and to overcome them….” Doesn’t this prove that the church faces Antichrist and gets through the tribulation? If not, who are the saints whom Antichrist kills?
Response: Christ promised that the “gates of hell shall not prevail against” the church (Matthew:16:18). Surely hell would have prevailed if the Antichrist, who is backed and empowered by Satan (Revelation:13:2,4), could “make war with the saints and overcome them.” Furthermore, this fact would mean that a post-trib rapture would be practically a non-event because there would be almost no Christians left alive to rapture. Yet one is given the impression that multitudes are “alive and remain” to be “caught up together” with the dead who have been raised (1 Thessalonians:4:17).
Here then is another reason for concluding that during the tribulation the church is already in heaven in resurrected and/or glorified bodies like Christ’s own body. The gospel, however, is still being preached on earth by the two witnesses in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 ½ years (Revelation:11:3) (seen no doubt on worldwide news broadcasts every evening) and by the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Revelation:7:3,4) as well as by many others. Souls are being saved through the preaching of the gospel.
Those who have heard the gospel and rejected it prior to the rapture have no chance to be saved. Instead, they are given a “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth” (2 Thessalonians:2:11,12). Multitudes, however, who never heard and rejected the gospel are being saved and are paying for their faith with their lives. The Antichrist kills all who do not bow down to worship him as God: “He had power…to cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation:13:15).