Tribulation Salvation: Saved By the Blood
By Doug Stauffer (www.BibleDoug.com)
Tribulation Salvation: who cares, right? Since the Church will be raptured to meet the Lord in the air prior to the commencement of any part of Daniel’s Seventieth Week (aka “the Tribulation period”), many Christians consider the topic of salvation after the Church Age as irrelevant. They question why anyone would expend any time and energy discussing a topic that only applies after the Church has disappeared. On the surface, that philosophy sounds wise and prudent, but unfortunately it is seriously flawed and heartlessly shortsighted.
Much pen and ink has been used covering the topic of so-called "Tribulation Salvation." Current teachings, whether informative or unwittingly misleading, will surely impact those remaining on earth following the Rapture. People in the future will be either positively or negatively influenced depending upon whether the preacher’s perspective is biblical or anti-scriptural. For this reason, preachers and teachers have a grave responsibility to ensure that their teachings on this subject are biblically accurate—not for the sake of Church Age believers—but for the sake of those influenced by any teaching that endures after the Rapture.
Erroneous teachings—especially concerning salvation—could inadvertently condemn souls trusting in a false message after the Church’s departure. Thus, it is ill-advised to dismiss this subject as irrelevant rantings, unless souls in the future are deemed less important than souls during the Church Age. No one during the Church Age needs to be concerned about the Mark of the Beast since this Mark cannot and will not be instituted until after the Rapture when the Antichrist appears demanding worship. Yet, this has not diminished people’s inclination to offer an assortment of opinions on the matter. Regardless of one’s personal take on this subject, God offers many explicit and indisputable details concerning the Mark.
The first point to consider and understand about the Mark concerns those who will and those who will not take the Mark of the Beast.
I. ONLY THE DECEIVED TAKE THE MARK
Bible truths remain buried until harvested by those who exalt God’s word above everything else. For instance, the narrative of Christ’s return to earth at the Second Advent (Revelation 19:11) contains an interesting facet concerning those that take the Mark of the Beast. This truth has been overlooked by commentators and Bible teachers but offers a significant insight into the specifics of who can and who cannot take the Mark of the Beast and subsequently worship his image. Take notice of the group specified as subject to the blasphemous idolatry—it is only those who are deceived!
Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
This single passage curiously emphasizes the fact that no one is compelled against their will into taking the Mark. Those who take the Mark are DECEIVED into receiving the Mark and DECEIVED into worshiping the image of the Beast. The Beast will use “great wonders” and other miracles like causing fire to come down from heaven and giving life to the image as the means to deceive (Revelation 13:11-15). Thus, those who take the Mark willingly do so and willingly worship the beast. Granted, according to the beast’s statutes forced upon mankind, no man can buy or sell without the Mark (Revelation 13:16-17), but this fact does not preclude God from supernaturally providing some type of manna from Heaven.
More importantly, the passage explains why unbelievers take the Mark—they are DECEIVED into doing so. This point cannot be overemphasized so it bears repeating one more time—only the DECEIVED are going to take the Mark and worship the Beast. It is not going to be believers who simply want to eat to satisfy the flesh.
Likely, this is why Jesus during his Olivet discourse repeatedly warned concerning the heightened time of deception during Daniel’s Seventieth Week (the Tribulation period). Christ’s warning: Don’t be DECEIVED; many (including false prophets) will DECEIVE many.
Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Christ’s repeated warnings concerning succumbing to deception are not accidental or simply coincidental because heeding this warning is the difference between eternal life and eternal damnation. The Calvinist teaching claims that those born blind (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) do not have the wherewithal to trust God, but this is simply a man-made doctrine. God saves sinners and each comes to Him of their own free will and no one that willingly comes to God is rejected by Him.
Another reason that this truth is so vital is because Christ also said that there is a specific group during that time that CANNOT BE DECEIVED (addressed later). This group of believers cannot be deceived because of God’s supernatural protection and provision. Without question, the Satanic deception serves as the key element for anyone accepting the Mark. This means that anyone that God renders impervious to deception will also be invulnerable to the deception surrounding taking the Mark. We will consider this specific group later, but it refers to those who are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ!
II. SALVATION IS BY THE BLOOD
Interestingly, another point often overlooked by some Bible teachers concerns what the Bible says about how someone gets SAVED during Daniel’s Seventieth Week (aka “The Tribulation”). Revelation chapter 12 says that the overcomers (the brethren mentioned in verse 10) are those who have trusted in the shed blood of Christ thus giving them the testimony of such faith. These BRETHREN are obviously the believers as opposed to the unbelievers who do not overcome, thus “the brethren” does not refer to all Israel.
Revelation 12:11 And they [the brethren] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
No one in the Tribulation will be saved based upon their own power and ability to withstand Satan’s evil onslaught. During the most dreadful time since man’s creation, trusting in Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary will remain sufficiently efficacious to save a lost soul who trusts in that one and only blessed payment.
After the Church’s departure at the Rapture, salvation is still by the blood of Christ shed for the lost upon the cross of Calvary! Salvation will not somehow revert to man’s futile attempts to do some good work(s) but will continue to be focused upon the payment made for sinners on the cross of Calvary. The Bible is clear: salvation is by the blood because the brethren overcome “by the blood of the Lamb.”
Revelation 12:11 also mentions overcoming by the “word of their testimony.” Some careless Bible students allow their preconceived doctrinal systems to distort the text by claiming that the verse actually says that they overcome by the WORKS “of their testimony.” The book of Revelation sheds light on the meaning of “testimony” as it occurs eight times in seven verses:
· “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:2)
· “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9)
· Believers “slain … for word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Revelation 6:9)
· The two witnesses “shall have finished their testimony” (Revelation 11:7)
· The brethren “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11)
· The remnant “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17)
· “the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven” (Revelation 15:5)
· “thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10)
Not one of these instances emphasizes a man’s works. Fortunately, the first English dictionary (Webster’s 1828) offers a clear definition of testimony, “A solemn declaration or affirmation made for the purpose of establishing or proving some fact.” The believers will be killed in this future period because of their TESTIMONY which is “the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Some Christians struggle with understanding this because attention after the Rapture again focuses upon the Jews which historically are not associated with Jesus Christ. Yet, the Bible distinguishes between the brethren and the unbelievers when it says, “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” (Romans 9:6). Revelation also points out that the “remnant of her seed” (the believers) (Revelation 12:17) are simply a subset of the “woman”—all Israel.
The believers (Jews and non-Jews) will not be Christ-rejecting Jews and Gentiles because the fact remains true in the Tribulation: JESUS SAVES! no matter who teaches that the emphasis reverts to a man’s works earning his salvation.
Revelation 12:11 states that salvation involves the WORD of their testimony: that testimony is associated to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the precious blood that He shed for sin. As we will see later, the WORD of their testimony refers to those who have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Acts 2:21). All Tribulation believers will have trusted in the blood of the Lamb and have the “testimony of Jesus” and that’s enough to get them killed but also affords them access to the supernatural protection of God Almighty.
Surely, if God can provide food for millions in the wilderness FOR FORTY YEARS (Exodus 16:35) and multiply five loaves and two fishes to feed five thousand men (Matthew 14:19-21), God can certainly feed the believing brethren hiding from the Beast without the natural means to care for themselves or their hungry families. If you are here at that time do not believe the lie that you must sell your soul and take the Mark in order to care for your family. Trust in the LORD! He has always been and will always be sufficient.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
III. BELIEVERS ARE CALLED FELLOWSERVANTS, BRETHREN AND SAINTS
During the Church Age, believers are designated by many labels such as Christians or brethren (or sisters), the sons of God, etc. Once these labels apply to an individual, the believer never surrenders the designation by choice or by force. In other words, once a person is a brother in Christ, he never ceases to be one of the brethren.
Likewise, believers have many similar designations during the Tribulation. For instance, Revelation chapter 19, refers to the believer during Daniel’s Seventieth Week as a “fellowservant” and collectively calls them the “brethren.” It is hard to imagine that these titles are any less permanent and that Satan can overpower the Almighty’s designation associated to a man’s spiritual state.
Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
The brethren, like John, are those who have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation. They are said to have the testimony of Jesus which eliminates all nonbelievers! The brethren cannot be simply Jacob’s descendants by natural birth but must be limited to Jew and Gentile believers in Christ. Additionally, these believers are repeatedly referred to as “the saints” like here in Revelation chapter 13.
Revelation 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
The saints are obviously believers since the Beast makes “war with the saints” which includes people from “all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” Although the Beast will be wroth with the “woman” which includes all Israel, take note of the distinction in chapter 12. The next verse distinguishes between the “woman”—all Israel (Jacob’s seed), and the “remnant of her seed.” This remnant of the woman’s seed includes only the followers of Jesus Christ that have the testimony of Jesus Christ and the testimony of keeping the commandments of God.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
It is the remnant of the woman’s seed (the believers) who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, unless every Jew is a believer in the Tribulation—which they are not. In fact, this remnant of her seed is the remnant of believers that “gave glory to the God of heaven” after the earthquake that slew 7,000 men.
Revelation 11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Unbelievers do not glorify God and are not part of this “remnant” of her seed. The unbelieving populace are singled out as those who “repented not” during this time (Revelation 9:20, 16:9, 16:11). If every Jew is a believer there would be no need to make the distinction between the “woman” and the subset of the woman called “the remnant of her seed.”
The vital question (answered later) is how does someone become a “saint” during the Tribulation? A person TODAY in the Church Age becomes a saint by trusting in Jesus Christ and all believers are repeatedly addressed as “saints” (Romans 15:25-26; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Ephesians 4:12; Colossians 1:2). After the Rapture, Satan makes war with the saints which refers to the believers here at that time. Revelation also refers to the “patience and the faith of the saints.”
Revelation 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Only believers are called the fellowservants, the brethren and the saints during the Tribulation. As is God’s customary approach, the Bible always distinguishes between the saved and the lost even if only within the context of a verse. For instance, scriptural context always defines itself, in this case with the two groups: the saved remnant (Revelation 11:13; Revelation 12:17) and the lost remnant (Revelation 19:21). The passage from Revelation chapter 13 above also seemingly makes another point concerning the believers’ self-defense during the Tribulation that will be addressed later—kill with the sword, be killed with the sword.
It bears further emphasis that every remnant does not point to the same group. As always, context determines meaning. Take note how Revelation chapter 19 mentions a lost “remnant” who are NOT gathered as one of the saved when Christ sends His angels to gather the elect (Matthew 24:31). This lost “remnant” is slain by Christ as He returns on His white horse (Revelation 19:21). Certainly, no Bible believer would say that the reference of “remnant” always points to the same grouping—Christ is not slaying those that were gathered by the angels.
IV. SELF-DEFENSE: UNNECESSARY AND PROHIBITED?
Interestingly, the Bible points out that those with the best chance of enduring during the Tribulation are not the stocked-up preppers, expert marksmen and skilled survivalists. Those TRUSTING IN THE LORD have the greatest chance of enduring unto the end. In fact, Revelation seems to teach a type of passive martyrdom, not a Lordship salvation by works. The Bible addresses the saints of Daniel’s Seventieth Week telling them that he that “killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.” This seems like an odd admonition if enduring to the end earns one spiritual salvation—which it does not.
The patience and the faith of the saints seems to indicate that armed resistance or any type of a believers’ militia might be prohibited by God. Again, believers during this period are blessed to die “the death” while God supernaturally intervenes in unimaginable ways to offer them strength and resilience. The point is that self-defense could be prohibited during that time.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Interestingly, Revelation also mentions that the saints are “blessed” who “die in the Lord.” The question must first be asked and answered how a person gets “in the Lord.” Today, a person must make a conscious decision to believe “in the Lord” (Acts 9:42) and the Bible says that that believer is part of the brethren “in the Lord” (Philippians 1:14) and fellowservants “in the Lord” (Colossians 4:7). It seems obvious that an individual in the Tribulation will need to make a conscious decision to become a saint. Those who believe that only by works a man can continue as a saint are teaching a Lordship salvation. They teach that the saint must “endure” by making Jesus Lord over all or he loses his salvation—that is the precise definition of the false and heretical teaching of Lordship Salvation.
Daniel chapter 11 mentions the abomination of desolation (Daniel 11:31) which matches the statements in Matthew 24:15. Jesus tells those living in Jerusalem and Judea that when they witness this abomination they are to “flee into the mountains” and take “flight” (Matthew 24:20). He does not tell them to stand and fight! Fortunately, during this flight into the mountains those who “know their God" are promised strength and the ability to do exploits.
Daniel 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
The Old Testament historical record offers an interesting perspective on God’s past deliverance. Samuel told the nation of Israel that God “himself saved you out of all your adversaries and your tribulations” (1 Samuel 10:19). Fortunately for Israel, God is not going to leave them or any of the Gentile believers to fend for themselves in Daniel’s Seventieth Week. God saved them in the past and will save them from their adversaries and tribulations in the future too. Yet, the believers are not promised a physical deliverance, and many of them will be “blessed” to “die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13).
Daniel 8:24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
V. KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS: FOR TESTIMONY’S SAKE
It is generally quite counterproductive to approach the Bible with rigid preconceived notions, especially concerning some issues yet unsettled among most believers. In such cases, one’s mindset rather than the Bible becomes the determining factor in what is “truth.” A good example of this concerns the Bible’s reference to those that “keep the commandments of God.” Some view this phrase as referencing the need to keep God’s commandments during the Tribulation in order to attain salvation, but the truth is much simpler than that. Interestingly, nowhere does the Bible say (or imply) that keeping the commandments refers to salvation or assisting in one’s salvation. Nowhere! In fact, the Bible plainly and repeatedly teaches just the opposite, so this teaching contradicts the Bible.
The phrase “keep the commandments of God” is found in the New Testament thirteen times—half of which occur in the book of First John. Diligent Bible study considers the context of each usage before arriving at a conclusion to avoid any private interpretation.
The Bible offers several unambiguous reasons for keeping God’s commandments and NONE involves getting saved or remaining saved. None! Briefly, those who keep the commandments of God exhibit the testimony that they are the fellowservants, the brethren and the saints. A brief explanation follows since this issue is so hotly contested among believers on both sides of the spiritual chasm.
· Keep the Commandments of God: For assurance of salvation
How does a person know that he knows Jesus Christ? By doing what Christ says to do: keeping His commandments.
1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
According to this passage, keeping the commandments saves no one, but doing so offers a clear assurance that one knows God. The reason disobedient Christians often struggle with a true assurance of salvation is because they fail to live right. Most of those who doubt their salvation miss the assurance that comes from doing what God says to do.
· Keep the Commandments of God: To get prayers answered
A person does not keep the commandments to be saved but does so in order to get his prayers answered.
1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Verse 23 defines “his commandment”—believe on Christ and love one another. Verse 24 says that the Spirit of God given to believers testifies that Christ dwells within them (Romans 8:16). The Spirit bears witness so long as one does not grieve or quench the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).
· Keep the Commandments of God: To know that you are the children of God
Verse one defines how a person is born of God: NOT by keeping the commandments, but by believing that Jesus is the Christ. The verse continues by stating that all those who love God also love their fellow believers.
1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Verse two states that believers can know that they love other believers when they choose to love God and keep the commandments of God. Those who do not love their fellow brethren do not love God. Verse three defines the love of God as keeping His commandments. The disobedient simply do not love God and do not sufficiently love others. Verse three concludes by stating that the commandments are NOT grievous, but they certainly would be grievous if keeping the commandments was a reference to the 613 Old Testament commandments. Keeping the commandments would certainly be grievous if a failure to fulfill all of God’s commandments brought a loss of salvation. Simply put, keeping the commandments attests to one’s relationship with God; it is not the means by which that relationship is attained.
Simply put, salvation is all about Jesus! The tribulation saints (the brethren and the elect) have trusted Jesus Christ and at no point will their salvation be dependent upon themselves (but there is more proof to follow). The brethren in the Tribulation are the believers in Jesus Christ; this is also referred to as the “faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).
· Keep the Commandments of God: To display that you love God
The whole point of keeping the commandments concerns an outward display (testimony) that someone loves God.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Nowhere does the Bible say that keeping the commandments earns someone a place in Heaven. Simple truth: if you love God, you keep the sayings (commandments) of God. Doing what God says to do testifies to one’s love toward the God he knows.
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
The contrast concerns those who see the manifestation of God which the world cannot see. The manifestation of God only happens for those who love God.
 Nehemiah, while in captivity for the nation’s disobedience, expressed his understanding of the ramifications of the Law when he confessed to God that the Jews “have not kept the commandments” (Nehemiah 1:7). He pointed out that their refusing to keep the commandments caused their scattering around the world and only obedience would enable their regathering (Nehemiah 1:8-9). In the New Testament, Paul describes his blamelessness in the law and legal Jewish pedigree. He also points out that keeping the law was simply placing confidence in the flesh and trusting in the flesh. (Philippians 3:3-9).
· Keep the Commandments of God: To testify of one’s relationship
Revelation points out those who are going to be persecuted by Satan. The persecuted (the remnant of the woman—Israel) have the testimony that they “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Their testimony is that they do what God tells them to do. No one is keeping the commandments to earn salvation.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The testimony of the saints during the Tribulation is clear: they keep the commandments of God. Nothing in the context indicates that anyone keeps God’s commandments for salvation. This point is reiterated two chapters later in Revelation.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
The Tribulation saints live by “the faith of Jesus” Christ (Galatians 2:20). The saints are not Jews that have rejected Jesus Christ, but spiritual brethren. They are saved by putting faith in the blood shed on the cross of Calvary.
The preaching during the Church Age concerning what will happen after the Rapture will either promote or hinder the truth; it will either help those here in Daniel’s Seventieth Week or condemn them with a false teaching. If we preach salvation by faith and works and salvation is not by faith and works, our teachings become instruments of deception. Surely, our teaching will outlast us and if we get it wrong, it may be one of the tools of deception. Again, two chapters later the believers are referred to as saints.
Revelation 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
Surely, someone must make a conscious decision to become a saint. The saints and prophets will be persecuted and killed by those who take the Mark and worship the image of the Beast.
VI. THOSE KILLED AWAITING THE DEATH OF THEIR BRETHREN
During the first half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, while Michael remains upon the earth, he serves as Israel’s protector. At the midpoint (Revelation chapter 12), God summons Michael to Heaven in order to cast Satan to earth (Revelation 12:7-9). With Michael in Heaven, he is no longer on the earth to protect Israel. When Satan is cast down to earth, he goes into the Temple of God and desecrates it (2 Thessalonians 2:4) and Israel is told to flee at the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15-18).
Interestingly, the saints that were slain for the word of God and the testimony (of Jesus) during the Tribulation are seen under the altar. They want to know when God’s vengeance will be poured out upon their executioners.
Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
These Tribulation saints are told to wait until their fellowservants and brethren are also killed and then God will take out His vengeance upon the unbelievers on earth. He does not tell these murdered saints to wait until the Rapture (it has already happened years earlier); the Lord says wait until their fellow-brethren (the other believers) are killed. The brethren are waiting for Jesus Christ to come back to gather together the elect or waiting until their brethren on earth are caught and killed.
VII. A TRIBULATION BELIEVER PROTECTED FROM TAKING THE MARK
During Christ’s earthly ministry, Jesus promised to give his sheep eternal life (Matthew 10:27-28) and stated that “they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” During the Church Age, once a man calls upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13), it is impossible to invalidate his salvation, thus making him eternally secure. After the Rapture, can God afford the same assurances of salvation for the Tribulation saints that trust in Him? Yes, of course God can, and He does! The soul’s salvation and security of the Tribulation saint is dependent upon God and one’s relationship to Him—it is NOT dependent upon one’s capacity to withstand soul-condemning temptation, especially while the deception is so prevalent and pervasive during that period.
The defining characteristic concerning those who take the Mark is the fact that they were DECEIVED into taking it (Point I). The deceived are those who received the Mark of the Beast and took the Mark because the False Prophet “deceived them that had received the mark of the beast.” Everyone that takes the Mark during that seven-year period does so because he is deceived by the miracles performed by the False Prophet.
Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
This characteristic is a plain, simple truth; however, it is important to note the reason that the entire context of this passage is PAST TENSE. Verse 20 (above) takes place after Christ’s return in verse 11 thus recounting the miracles, the deception, the receiving of the Mark of the beast and the worshiping of the Beast’s image during Daniel’s Seventieth Week. This passage is a historical review, not an ongoing narrative.
Once the tribulation saints/the brethren/the fellowservants trust in the Lord, fortunately, they are supernaturally protected and can no longer be deceived by the satanic miracles. They are no longer vulnerable to the deceptive schemes designed to deceive. The synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke offer the best narrative concerning the attempts at satanic deception. Yet, these three gospel books only refer to the believers as the “elect” and not as the saints or the brethren or the fellowservants like in Revelation.
Several times Matthew refers to the believers of Daniel’s Seventieth Week as the elect. When Matthew refers to the believing Jews as the elect, it is important to understand that the elect become the elect when they are elected at salvation. Matthew associates the shortening of the days to the preservation of the elect. God shortens the days, not to save souls (which are already saved) but to save flesh (physical life), otherwise, no one could possibly survive Satan’s onslaught.
Matthew 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
Matthew also points out that the angels sent prior to His return, gather only a select group—the elect.
Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Obviously, those gathered by the angels include only believers (the elect). Before Christ returns to earth with His armies, He sends His angels before Him to gather together the elect—these are the saints, the brethren, the fellowservants mentioned in Revelation. Obviously, those not gathered by the angels are the non-elect—the unbelievers. In fact, all unbelievers are killed at Christ’s Second Coming.
It should come as no surprise that God can and must supernaturally protect the elect prior to His return. Fortunately, because of this supernatural protection, the elect cannot be deceived into believing the miracles that caused all non-believers to take the Mark and worship the Beast. However, God’s supernatural protection does not protect the believers from being put to death. It only protects them from the opportunity of Satan to use his deceptive miracles against those who have called upon the Lord for salvation. This means that God will not allow the believers to be deceived and only those deceived by the signs and wonders take the Mark of the Beast.
Matthew 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
God does not protect ALL Israel from the deception—God protects only the elect while all Israel is cautioned not to believe those who claim to be Christ. The signs and wonders during Daniel’s Seventieth Week are so convincing that IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, these miracles would “deceive the very elect,” indicating that God’s intervention will render it IMPOSSIBLE to deceive believers who are supernaturally protected by God from his deception.
During this time, when people start proclaiming that Christ has returned, those in hiding are simply told to “believe it not” because when the true Christ shows up every eye shall see Him (Revelation 1:7). Again, the elect are identified as the “saints” in Revelation with whom the Beast makes war (Revelation 13:7). The sister passage to Matthew 24:23 indicates that the false Christs and false prophets attempt to use their signs and wonders “to seduce” those protected from the satanic seduction.
Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
During Daniel’s Seventieth Week, those who reject the truth will refuse to call on the name of the Lord to be saved (delivered). No mere human trusting in one’s own strength (apart from God’s supernatural intervention) will be capable of withstanding the deception. Only God can and only God will thwart Satan’s tactics making his deception powerless.
Fortunately, God will supernaturally protect from deception all those who call on the name of the Lord. By the grace of God, the elect/the saints/the brethren/the fellowservants cannot take the Mark once they have called upon the Lord (Acts 2:21) because God is their protector and He remains sufficiently efficacious even after the Church’s departure at the rapture.
Those still entrenched in their manmade philosophies might remain unconvinced that God can and will supernaturally protect believers from the deceptive means of the Devil. Fortunately, God offers them a second witness in the books of Mark and Luke with additional details concerning the Olivet discourse. The Olivet discourse recorded in these gospel books offer a scenario of how believers are to react when they are captured and delivered up to the synagogues and into the prisons.
Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
Luke 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. 13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
The believers during Daniel’s Seventieth Week are told not even to think about what they will say because God is going to speak for them and through them. By the grace of God, those who trust Christ during Daniel’s Seventieth Week are supernaturally protected from everything the Devil hurls their way. Deception brings sure damnation and God protects the elect from the deception. The Holy Ghost not only gives them the words to speak but speaks through them! Second Thessalonians further emphasizes the satanic signs and lying wonders. These deceptions are accepted “in them that perish.”
2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Revelation further pinpoints those who are perishing, saying it is those whose names are not written the book of life (Revelation 13:8; 17:8). Some of the brethren think and teach that God somehow becomes impotent after the Rapture when in fact His protective hand is the only hope of salvation and security. Man simply cannot do any amount of good works to save himself, especially once Michael has cast Satan and his angels to earth (Revelation 12:9). God pronounces a “Woe” to the “inhabiters of the earth” as Satan shows up with “great wrath” knowing he has “but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).
VIII. HOW ARE THE SAVED, SAVED?
This subject has been hotly contested, but fortunately God has not left the Bible-believer without answers. The chronology of Second Thessalonians chapter two starts with the Rapture in verse 1, moving to the midpoint of the seven years in verse 4 (the Abomination of Desolation), and onto the Second Coming in verse 8. As this chapter starts with the Rapture, it mentions the one event that precedes it (the apostasy of believers) and then the narrative covers the entire seven years. The events recorded in verses 10 through 12 have nothing to do with the Church Age or rejection of the gospel today (although many of us have either mis-taught this mostly because we too were mis-taught).
The one who comes after the working of Satan (the Beast) will come with all deceivableness of unrighteousness and deceive them that perish. Why do they perish? Because they received not the love of the truth (during Daniel’s Seventieth Week) THAT THEY MIGHT BE SAVED! Just let the Bible say what it says without forcing it to fit within a manmade dogma no matter how widespread or popular the false teaching.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The damned (those who perish) are identified as those who refused to believe the truth. They are deceived because they refused to be saved which is their ONLY protection from deception. These unbelievers refused the truth resulting in them refusing to call on the only one that could save them—Jesus Christ. The signs and wonders of the false Christ and false prophets are used to deceive but take note of the group that CANNOT be deceived by the miracles (Matthew 24:24) and will not take the Mark or be damned from having taken the Mark.
How does an individual become one of the saints? Those present during Daniel’s Seventieth Week will hear the gospel preached by the Two Witnesses, the 144,000 or even the angel with the Everlasting Gospel. At that point, he must accept the truth to be saved. Truth rejectors NEVER get saved. The most important question of all … does the Bible definitively point out how someone gets saved? Yes, in Acts chapter 2. This chapter records Peter’s preaching with the context revealing that he is referencing the events of the Tribulation period—Israel’s last days, prophecy, visions, dreams, wonders, signs, etc, culminating in his mentioning the sun being turned dark and the moon into blood.
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
The context of this description matches the events surrounding the sixth seal when the moon is turned into blood (Revelation 6:12). This all takes place before the Day of the Lord when Christ comes back. Peter concludes his comments concerning this time with these words when taken literally reveal God’s plan of salvation for the Tribulation:
Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
How does someone get saved during Daniel’s Seventieth Week and delivered from the deception to come? He calls upon the name of the Lord and from that point forward, he has God’s promise of supernatural protection from deception. According to Matthew chapter 24, the believer cannot be deceived. The saints cannot take the Mark of the Beast because they cannot be deceived. When the saints are caught the “patience of the saints” will be their guide. Those delivered up to be judged by this world’s system are instructed not even to think about what they are going to say. They are to trust in the Lord.
- Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is saved.
- Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is a saint.
- Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is one of the brethren.
- Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is a fellowservant.
The Devil persecutes the saints because their testimony is that they have trusted in the Lord and they are obedient followers of Him (they keep the commandments). Salvation in the Tribulation is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! It is the blood. The Tribulation saint is saved by the blood, protected by the blood and delivered by the blood. Anything that detracts from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is part of the deception.
IX. DOES A BELIEVER NEED TO DEFEND HIMSELF IF CAPTURED?
Matthew chapter 24 records Christ’s Olivet Discourse as does Mark chapter 13. God not only supernaturally protects the saved from being deceived but He also protects all those captured by Satan’s minions. Some Bible teachers have pontificated that no one can withstand the temptation of watching loved ones decapitated—that is unless God shows Himself more powerful than the hordes of Hell.
Mark 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
Those who call on the name of the Lord are saved (delivered) but this likely indicates much more than a mere physical salvation since believers can still be delivered up to those trying to compel them to take the Mark. Fortunately for the saved, if they lose their lives, these saints are still saved and are likely among the ranks of those martyred for the faith of Jesus (Revelation 20:4).
Every preacher should desire for part of his enduring legacy to be that he loved the truth enough to admit when he has taught something wrong. His legacy should be that he loved souls enough to fix any teaching where he has erred even if he will be dead or gone before anyone knows the true ramifications of his teachings. That is what I want! Is that your desired legacy or is it more important whether you align yourself with your favorite teacher? It matters what the Bible teaches, not whether you agree with some other man. I have grown weary of being asked whether my teachings align with this man or that. Sheer carnality! I want to align with God and His book. We should allow the Bible to correct our errors and the fear of man has always been one of Satan’s greatest tools. Here is one more problem text from Mark chapter 13.
Mark 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Those who ENDURE UNTO THE END are physically saved to enter the millennium with natural bodies. Enduring to the end simply means that they made it to the end of the seven years without taking the Mark and without being caught and killed. When Christ sends His angels before Him to gather the elect (Matthew 24:31), it is this enduring group (along with some of the nations) delivered at Christ’s return to go into the millennium.
The Tribulation saint is promised a supernatural salvation, as well as supernatural protection from damnation. Although some teach that a person is saved by faith and works in the Tribulation (which is what I was taught), there is no indication that a man’s works are salvific. If people are taught that their works are an element in salvation and this turns out to be wrong, trusting in one’s faith PLUS WORKS will condemn the individual for trusting in a false gospel and a false hope (Revelation 14:6).
However, IF during the Tribulation people are saved by faith PLUS WORKS as some proclaim, then condemnation would come to those in the Tribulation who call on the name of the Lord and trust solely in Christ’s shed blood for salvation (Acts 2:21; Revelation 12:11). However, the point of this writing is to show that this hypothesis is false and dangerous because it is unbiblical. Unfortunately, one error leads to another. There are some preachers today who are teaching that the great deception during the Tribulation will be that preachers will be teaching that a person is saved by grace through faith without works during the Tribulation. As all error, one erroneous teaching frequently leads to some of the most egregious of errors.
Salvation has always been and always will be by trusting in God’s revealed truth. Salvation is by grace because no one deserves salvation. Salvation is by grace because no one can earn salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith otherwise an individual could boast for the part he plays in his soul’s redemption. Salvation of the soul is always the unmerited favor of God. Praise God He opened my eyes to this truth and I have repented of having taught this wrong.
Once a person in the Tribulation calls on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21), he becomes a part of the elect (Mark 13:27), the brethren (Revelation 6:11), and the saints (Revelation 13:7). Through God’s grace and supernatural protection, the Tribulation saint cannot be deceived, thus he cannot take the Mark of the Beast (Revelation 14:11). Additionally, if the believer is caught by the authorities, he has no worries because God will put the very words he needs into his mouth (Mark 13:11). God receives all the glory and He has this whole thing figured out. I only wish I could say I always taught this truth this way. I did not and I was wrong! God help me to be a loud enough voice to undo the effects of having taught this wrong.
Those present during the Tribulation need to have their eyes upon Jesus because nothing else suffices; nothing else saves! Salvation today is by the blood; salvation in the Tribulation is by the blood; nothing else saves! Interestingly, those who speak against the words of the captured Tribulation saint will in effect be blaspheming the Holy Ghost and these lost people will not be forgiven for that.
Luke 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
God has a purpose for everything, even the capture of those who have trusted in Him during Daniel’s Seventieth Week. The Holy Ghost will give these believers the words to say; their captors trying to compel them to take the Mark will think they are speaking against the individual, but their words will be actually blaspheming God, the Holy Ghost (who is speaking through these saints). God has a purpose for everything, and everything has a purpose. God gets the glory no matter what happens but certainly not if man plays a part in the salvation of his soul.
I am a student of the Bible and do not claim infallibility; however, I am a Bible believer who simply wants to be right. If you feel like some/all the material is wrong, please feel free to contact me at Doug at Bible Doug dot com. I want serious Bible students to question any error that may be found herein. One caution: try your best to critique the subject matter and not how stupid you think I am for disagreeing with you or your favorite Bible teacher...that is if you want my undivided attention.
Why do you keep confusing 'calling upon the name of the Lord' which is dealing with physical deliverance (as your own scriptural reference notes Joel 2:32) with spiritual salvation, believing on the name of the Lord and his blood atonement? Calling and believing are too different actions!
Your brother in Christ
It was a blessing to read your article. The only I strongly disagree with you is how a person is saved. You keep quoting Romans 10:13, which says, "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Brother, can you please read the very next verse?
Romans 10:14, "How shall they call upon him in whom they have not believed?...."
How can lost sinners call upon the name of the Lord if they have not believe the Gospel? The obvious answer is that they can't. Lost sinners need to believe the Gospel first, and then they can call upon the name of the Lord as saved people. Calling is prayer, and prayer is a work. We're not told to pray to get saved. We're told to believe.
Romans 10 is NOT the Gospel, and verse 1 set the tone as it deals with Israel. Israel's problem is that they don't believe Jesus is the Lord, and that he rose again from the dead. In fact, Romans 9-11 deals with Israel.
Romans 3:24-26 is how lost sinners get saved, and it is really simple. Faith in the blood atonement of Christ, and faith in Christ himself as Lord and Saviour. Ephesians 2:8-9 is so clear that salvation is a gift of God. If salvation is a gift, then it cannot be asked for. It is to be either received or rejected. The ONLY way lost sinners can receive this free gift of God is BY FAITH--faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, and faith in Christ himself as Lord and Saviour. Lost sinners simply must believe the truth of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), and put their trust in Christ for salvation. It really is that simple.
Your brother in Christ,
Hey brothers, not sure how come you state that you STRONGLY DISAGREE. Obviously, I know and believe Ephesians 1:13 comes before anyone can call upon the name of the Lord.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
1. hear the word
2. believe and trust in the Lord
If I only mention this verse and don't mention the blood, then someone could say I don't believe in the blood atonement. The problem is that we don't go through and mention every aspect of salvation every time we speak.
My position is that no one can call upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13) until he has heard, believed and trusted; otherwise, he is not calling upon the name of the Lord without believing and trusting, he is simply going through the motions of religion or some other such thing.
Also, salvation is ALWAYS deliverance...sometimes physical salvation and sometime spiritual; sometimes temporal and sometimes eternal. The context determines the meaning.
Furthermore, I believe Romans 10:13 is the OUTWARD expression of what is going on inside (trust and believe). Not sure how to end a witnessing conversation...just believe and trust...how? Well, you know, believe and trust. But how do I show that I believe and trusted in Him. Well, call upon Him and ask Him to save you and forgive your sins. If that is a work...I think we could be splitting hairs and I distinctly remember calling upon the Lord in salvation and I was not trusting in works to save me. You could say I was already saved and that may be true, but there are much more important things in the article than to home in on one part and say, it is a different word (calling and believing) and other such things.
The truth is too important to split hairs and I am pretty sure that I understand the gospel and how to lead someone to Christ after four decades of being saved myself. I appreciate your reading and concern for my approach and I will make adjustments to the article so that this issue is not a distraction, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
What is Revelation 17:13-14 referring to?
Thank you for making this.
I just left a forum indefinitely called Rapture Forums, where the prevailing and endorsed view there is that salvation is by faith + works in the Tribulation and in the Old Testament too. There are a minority of people who dispute these beliefs, but overall, they are met with the verses that are commonly used to promote the beliefs.
I recently tried to outline the many issues of that salvation model they hold in order to illuminate why there are massive problems with it. They didn't really seem too interested in my comment, though. Part of the problem might be that they have more scripture under their belt that they are aware of, whereas I am still learning.
However, I know it in my heart the character of God and the verses that assure salvation to all who trust in Jesus, so I therefore cannot accept their position.
This issue is so serious to me, because of its implications about God. I believe God has put a heaviness in my heart for issues in Christianity that are often just skipped over and assumed. To Him, I am grateful for that.
I intend to immerse myself more in the Word of God, as well as to study this topic so I can give a better answer to them that hold to faith + works in the Trib. Perhaps you can help me, I guess we'll see.
The topic ate away at me last night, to the point of obstructing my sleep.
With that, thank you for making this.
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