Saved, But Missed the Rapture
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
It’s heart breaking to think of missing the Rapture.
- Nobody who misses the Pre-Tribulation Rapture will ever live in New Jerusalem.
- Those who miss the Rapture will not get the highest rewards.
- Those who miss the Rapture cannot be part of the “Bride of Christ.”
- Those who miss the Rapture will live in the cities of the New Heaven and New Earth.
- Those who miss the Rapture will not have crowns on their heads.
- Both those in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and those saved after the Rapture will wear white robes.
This chapter opens with the entire earth filled with the wrath of the Father and the Lamb against sin and wickedness. Satan, the enemy of all that is holy, has produced his greatest imitation of religion in human history. Blasphemy against the Creator and all that is holy has filled the earth. A war in the heavens has cast Satan to the earth and his time is short. He and his unholy trinity will fight to the finish and the world’s armies will join his struggle. It’s a Doom’s Day scenario.
As we study the Book of Revelation, chapters six through eleven, we must remember that the time frame of this story is the exact same seven years as the time frame of chapters twelve to nineteen. Accordingly, chapters six and seven are approximately the same time as chapters twelve and thirteen. Satan has been cast out of heaven to earth and is on a rampage against all truth and all that believe and obey truth. The wrath of God and the anger of Satan, along with his false trinity, are everywhere. Men are dying like flies. It’s doom’s day to the fullest extent. The Father and the Lamb must judge everything of sin before they can redeem the earth. The evil trinity has been reduced to a very short timeframe to mount their offense against the kingdom of God
Darkness is at its greatest level, yet, there is a rainbow of brilliant color above the Father’s throne and mercy is extended. The throne of God is the backdrop of this entire seven years of tribulation. The rainbow over His throne must never fade from view as we behold the scene of redemption and judgment. The Father is sovereignty holy and full of grace but perfect in judgment of sin. This book is as literal as every other book of the Bible and every scene of mercy and grace must be defended. The view that states that this book and its story is all darkness and sorrow has done great injustice to this masterpiece. The one word that rises above all others is the word redemption. This earth and all of God’s universe is experiencing the final moments of purification, cleansing, and renewal that will end in a world fit for nothing but the Holy God and His holy family, a world of kings and priests.
This seventh chapter of Revelation is clearly a brief moment where the great God and the Lamb stop everything that is occurring to reveal the extent of their mercy. Within this one chapter, the Jewish world and the Gentile world both witness the unfailing love of God. This chapter has the appearance of occurring in the middle of the seven years of the Great Tribulation. There is no finality to that, but it does fit the overall scheme of events. In the First Testament, the prophets of Israel call this period of seven years a time of Jacob’s Trouble. At least two-thirds of all the Jewish race will be killed or die. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” Zechariah 13:8-9.
The book of Revelation was written for and to the church, but we see the Lord’s kinsmen and all the promises to them surface several times. The twenty-four elders place the redeemed of Israel in their proper order. The twenty-four elders represent both First Testament saints and church age saints. This chapter makes it clear that Israel is not forgotten, and chapters fourteen and fifteen put a remnant of Israel in His presence that were saved out from the troubles of the Great Tribulation. The twelve Gates of Pearl in New Jerusalem place them in the midst of the Bible as part and lot of the whole of His chosen. They will possess the whole geography of God’s promises to Abraham during the thousand years of His reign on earth and the ancient city of Jerusalem will be the joy of the earth. This book, though written to the church, does not forget Israel.
We will see the multitude that have been saved, converted, and redeemed out of the Gentile world as the judgments of God fill the earth and the masquerade of Satan reveals his evil design. Never has the population of the earth been privileged to see the contrast of God’s hatred for sin and Satan’s true nature of sin so clearly. The greater multitude will refuse to repent, but those that do will not be forgotten. A great company will find repentance impossible and will serve Satan and his Antichrist, while they believe that he is the true God. To suggest that salvation will be easy in this dark period would be a disservice to truth and to the great mob that will be desperate for direction. Salvation will depend upon a person’s willingness to be a martyr and to be hated many times worse than the hatred experienced in this present day. The world will finally see that the Jehovah God of Holy Scripture is the only true God. The choices will be simple because God’s judgments will be known by the whole world.
1 Samuel 10
18 And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you:
19 And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes, and by your thousands.
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. Revelation 7:1-3
This pause in the proceeding of judgments is remarkable. The world is under great wrath from the Father and the Lamb. They are also under an assault from Satan and his horde at the same time. It’s like everything comes to a standstill as the angels of God manifest their incredible powers. Even Satan’s activities must be stayed. All the elements of nature will suddenly be calmed and the earth’s population will be filled with a sense of a divine encounter. His angels, probably Cherubim in this case, are awesome creatures. When they manifest powers as great as suggested in this text, a foreboding of their great emotions will touch all creation. “Holding the four winds of the earth,” will create a hush or calm that strikes incredible fear.
These angels were already on a mission to disrupt the processes of nature. Their activities were in motion so that the sudden calm was like the eye of a hurricane with a storm raging on both sides. It is apparent that this action to seal the servants of God from the nation of Israel suggests that the effort by the Antichrist to massacre the Jewish race is well underway and the Lord is acting to preserve the remnant. This also suggests that the abomination of desolation had been erected in the temple and Israel had learned of their mistake when they made a covenant with the Antichrist. One third of Israel will be preserved and saved. This action by the Lamb guarantees their future in His plans. The sealed saints will be His witnesses among the remnant.
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.”
This great action by the Lamb to set aside a fixed number of His kin for witnesses to Himself is quite amazing. They have already been thoroughly converted after the Rapture. They are called “servants of our God” and were probably faithful orthodox Jews that were busy preparing for the Messiah before they learned of the Rapture and realized they had missed this grand event. No one can be saved apart from the Lamb’s blood and this seal confirms his or her faith in Christ. Please note that this seal is called “the seal of the Living God” to distinguish from the seal of the Antichrist.
The tasks of these faithful believers from among the Jews and their protection while they are His witnesses would suggest several things. They will become powerful witnesses to Jesus Christ’s messiahship to the entire Jewish world. They will certainly prepare all of Israel to be converted in one single day when the Son of Man arrives in Jerusalem after He wins the Battle of Armageddon. His one hundred and forty-four thousand will be caught up to the Lamb before the seven years of tribulation is over and will likely be guests at the wedding event and supper already underway in Heavenly Jerusalem. They also may help prepare Israel for the coming kingdom of Israel during the Millennium. This large number of protected Jews will certainly have a wonderful part in Israel’s future, both before they are caught up, and when they return with Christ to reign on earth.
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10.
This multitude of Gentile believers are never called the church and never given a reference to suggest the church. The saints in chapter four are symbolically numbered twenty-four elders, which clearly connects them to the First and Second Testaments. That was the First Testament saints and the Second Testament church that was raptured up together to meet the Lord. There is little room for debate on that fact. This new multitude is unique and arrives while the church is celebrating her victory in Heaven and the Lord’s elders are helping direct the proceedings of tribulation and redemption on earth. The saints that became elders were seated on thrones but these victorious saints have only palm branches. They had certainly won a victory but not the same victory. Both companies are clothed in white robes, but the Pre-Tribulation saints had crowns on their head. That is a distinctive difference.
23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
This company of Tribulation saints will never be a part of the Bride but could well be guests of the Bride at the Marriage Supper. Reference was made to the martyrdom of saints on earth in chapter six in the opening of the fifth seal. Already a great number had been killed but were told to wait while others suffered the same death. The devil and his false trinity will direct their main offense against any reference or connection to the Bible and the beloved of the Lamb. While Satan will offer great support to the one world church, he will stamp out any idea of the truth. One of the most dangerous locations after the Rapture will be a Bible-believer’s meeting. The multitude that will be converted will be too large to hide and their readiness for martyrdom will certainly give boldness to stand up for Christ. When death will be welcome because of the great sorrows and suffering, the converted will no longer fear the consequence of the boldness of their faith.
When they arrive in the heavenly Jerusalem, they will break forth in worship that will excite the elders, angels, and the Cherubim to a fresh time of praise. These Tribulation Saints will immediately be welcomed to the throne of God and the presence of the Lamb. They will cry with loud voices, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb.” Every fresh arrival into the City of Jerusalem will proceed to the throne because the Father is the focus of the city. The Son of God will always be in the presence of the Father and will be equal in receiving the praise and adoration belonging to our Creator and Sovereign God.
“And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 7:11-12
The great host of elders, the great multitude of angels, and the living creatures or Cherubim break forth in another time of worship that has always been the culture of Heaven. The pleasure of Heaven will be the worship of our triune God that are now revealed to His victorious elders and Tribulation Saints.
Everything is in the proximity of the throne. This vast multitude fell on their faces to be careful to give all honor to the Father and the Son. This is certainly victory worship because of the salvation of this multitude out of the Great Tribulation. This is not a light thing because these saints had paid the ultimate price. If angels rejoice over one sinner saved in our present world, can you imagine the glory of a great number being saved in spite of the devil’s vengeance.
God the Father and the Lamb are receiving the great praise and many acclamations because redemption has been won by the sacrifices of the Lamb. Their praise and their word offering, “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might,” show that this is no ordinary event. Mercy has come at a terrible price. This world was on a fast track to total oblivion, but the Father and His Son have manifest all the glory that belongs to divinity. They divested themselves of the privileges of their divine right as God the Eternal and God The Son, to redeem a fallen race and now to redeem a depraved world. This worship is going to be forever and ever.
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:13-14
The question asked by this elder is the same we hear today in many theological circles. This great multitude has been a mystery to many because the world thinks of the Antichrist and his dark invasion without remembering Jesus Christ and His powers to save. The Bible declares, “…for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9b) This earth is going to face such a revelation of God’s righteous judgment that great numbers of the earth’s population will turn to the Heavenly Father and wash themselves in the Blood of the Lamb. The Book of Revelation must be understood as a book of redemption, not a book of annihilation. God is not going to destroy this earth, but He is going to destroy sin and all its ugliness. The salvation of this multitude is proof of the positiveness of this book.
There can be no doubt that this is a Mid-Tribulation “catching away” of martyred converts. The same elder that asks the question answers the question. The question was asked of John and John answered him, “Thou knoweth.” This elder was part of God’s team so he knew what was occurring on earth. His answer is clear, “These are they which came out of the Great Tribulation.” The Son of God identifies the Great Tribulation in His discourse on the mountain, which was called the Olivet Discourse. He called it the Great Tribulation and clearly tied it to Daniel’s seventh weak. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).” (Matthew 24:15).
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
“Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:15-17
The promises to this multitude of redeemed Tribulation Saints are great but clearly different from the elders that were raptured before the seven years began. When this beautiful truth is understood, it clearly solves the debate of the times of the Rapture. Yes, there is a Mid-Tribulation catching away apart from and in addition to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. How can you call this “catching away” of these Tribulation Saints be anything other than a Rapture? They never are called elders as in chapter four and they never sit on lesser thrones. They do not receive crowns, but they enter into all other glories of the redeemed. They “serve Him day and night” and “hunger no more, neither shall the sun light on them,” because, now, He and the Lamb are the light of all the redeemed. The Lamb will be in the midst of them and will lead them into life everlasting. We can see that they have glorified bodies and are free forever of the tears and fears of this life.
This is a marvelous chapter and it closes the way it opened for the Tribulation judgment to begin again. No chapter in this book reveals mercy and forgiveness more beautifully. The Great Tribulation is an event planned from the day that darkness fell in the garden. The Father never doubted that He would redeem His world and that mercy would win for eternity. The presence of the one hundred and forty-four thousand converted and sealed out of the nation of Israel brings all the hope of the First Testament into the middle of this masterpiece. The fact that the world is not cut-off from salvation during His judgment shows us this forgiveness of sin that gave us His Son in the first place. Our God is holy, but love is His greatest emotion.