Question: If the Rapture occurs before "Tribulation period" of seven years, how did the multitude from every nation, etc., get into heaven in Rev. 7:9-17? |

TBC Staff

Question: If the Rapture occurs before "Tribulation period" of seven years, how did the multitude from every nation, etc., get into heaven in Rev:7:9-17? There is only one rapture/resurrection, not two! Also, don't the first six seals of Revelation correspond directly with Christ's appearing in power and His angels gathering together His elect after the Great Tribulation and the cosmic disturbances in heaven (Mt 24:30-31)?Also, if the seven churches in Rev. 2-3 are "overcomers," what trial do they overcome? I believe it is the Great Tribulation when Satan's man, Antichrist, sets up his image in the temple and demands worship. I feel the "true church" (Philadelphia type) will be protected through the Great Tribulation, but there will be some martyrs....

Response: The multitude "which no man could number, of all nations...clothed with white robes" are also seen in Revelation:6:9-11. These are "the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held...." Not "some," but an astonishing number worldwide, will be killed by Antichrist during the Great Tribulation! These "souls" are not yet resurrected, having come to heaven through martyrdom after the resurrection and Rapture.

Of those martyred we read, "And they overcame him [Antichrist] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death" (Rv 12:11). Their resurrection comes not at the Rapture (already past-1 Cor:15:49-57) but at the end of the Great Tribulation: "I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark...and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years...this is the first resurrection" (Rv 20:4,5).

This is the resurrection only of those killed by Antichrist. There is nothing about the Lord descending from heaven or of the living being caught up with those resurrected to meet Christ in the air (1 Thes:4:13-18). Christ has already returned to the Mount of Olives at His Second Coming and defeated Antichrist and his armies at Armageddon (Ezk 38:18-20; 2 Thes:1:8; Rv 19:11-21). Yet this is called "the first resurrection." Why? Because those resurrected at this time are also in the church like those resurrected at the Rapture.

No, the opening of the six seals in Rev. 6 occurs at the beginning of the Great Tribulation; but Mt 24:30,31 concerns the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation. As for the "true church" being preserved through the Great Tribulation, it won't even be on earth then but in heaven, married to Christ (Rv 19:7,8). The fact that the bride is "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white" shows that the Judgment Seat of Christ is past. Following the wedding (19:11-13), Christ's bride returns with Him in the armies from heaven "clothed in fine linen, white and clean" (v. 14). Christ at the Second Coming brings "all the saints with [Him]" (Zec:14:4,5), described as "ten thousands of his saints" (Jude 14). Clearly these "saints" must have been raptured to heaven in order to return with Christ at the Second Coming. I have dealt with the precise timing of this event in a number of books. (See Countdown to the Second Coming)

You seem to believe that only those who face Antichrist are called overcomers. Not so. All Christians are to "overcome evil with good" (Rom:12:21). All true believers are to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil (1 Jn:2:12-17). John exhorts every believer to overcome Satan, and declares that we overcome the world by our faith (1 Jn:5:4,5).