Can people be saved during the Tribulation without the Church being there? Find out as Dr. David Reagan interviews a panel of Bible prophecy experts on television’s “Christ in Prophecy.”
Last aired on September 2, 2012.
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Dr. Reagan: If the Church is not going to be present on this earth during the Tribulation, will people be able to be saved, and if so, how? And what about the city called Babylon the Great in Revelation 17 & 18 — Could it possibly be a city inside the United States, as some claim? For insight regarding these questions, stay tuned as we interview 13 Bible prophecy experts.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus our Blessed hope and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. This is our forth week in a series of programs in which we are featuring 13 Bible prophecy experts responding to questions about the book of Revelation. If you have missed our previous 3 programs featuring these interviews you can watch them on our website at lamblion.com.
In this program we are going to seek the answers to a couple of more questions about the book of Revelation. The first has to do with whether or not people will be able to be saved during the 7 horrible years of the Great Tribulation. After all if the Church is going to be taken out of the world in the Rapture before the Tribulation begins who will be left to share the Gospel with people? So our specific question for our experts is this: Do you believe people will be saved during the Tribulation? And if so how? We do not have time to present all the answers we received so we will present a representative sample.
Nathan Jones: Well Revelation 7:9-14 clearly says there are going to be people saved in the Tribulation. Two of the verses go, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches. These are they who came out of the Great Tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” That’s clearly people who are being saved during the Tribulation. And how are they being saved? Well they are going to witness the Rapture so they are going to see all these people disappear, millions of people disappear. Hopefully all the materials, and literature and videos we are leaving behind for them will help lead them to the Lord and explain that. There will be 2 witnesses in Jerusalem, Revelation 11 talks about who will preach to the world. There are 144,000 Jewish evangelists that the Lord has set aside for that time period. There is the very judgments of God. They’ll say, “Hey there’s got to be a God for this to be happening.” And then there is an angel of God, Revelation 14:6 tells us that an angel of God is going to circumnavigate the whole world and share the Gospel. So there will be plenty of opportunities for people to come to the Lord and be saved.
Ed Hindson: I think the seventh chapter of Revelation makes it pretty obvious there are people who are going to be saved; 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. It makes it pretty clear those are Jewish people that are being converted. But then later in chapter 7 he says an innumerable host of every people, tongue, and nation that sound like Gentiles. So you have a whole host of people being converted during the time of Tribulation. The question is often raised, “How are they converted then if the Holy Spirit is gone in the Rapture?” Well the Holy Spirit’s not gone, the Church is gone, the Church is raptured out. The Holy Spirit is God. God is omnipresent. God is in Heaven. God lives in our heart. God is ruling over the whole world. And God’s presence was personified on the Ark of the Covenant in the presence of His glory. But when the glory departed from the Ark of the Covenant in the book of Ezekiel and God departed and judgment fell, that doesn’t mean that God was missing from the world. God was still there dealing with Ezekiel’s heart, Daniel’s heart during the Babylonian captivity. The Holy Spirit will still be here during the time of Tribulation convicting people of sin, righteousness, and judgment so that when people are saved they are still born of the Spirit. But in my opinion they are not baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ into a unique relationship with the body of the Church that is typically just for the Church Age.
Al Gist: Well the Church is going to be in Heaven during the Tribulation for sure. But we’re not saved by the Church we are saved by the Spirit of God. And the Spirit of God contrary to what some believe will still be active during the Tribulation here on earth. And so people will be saved during the Tribulation the same way they’ve always been saved and that is through faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone for their salvation. And so yes, there will be many people saved during the Tribulation. We are quick to talk about the horrors of the Tribulation, but we overlook the harvest of the Tribulation. In Revelation 6 the Bible speaks of a group of people who have been persecuted unto death for their testimony in God and we find them in Heaven in Revelation chapter 7 we find the innumerable multitude of people who are before the Throne of God. The Bible says they came out of tribulation, and their robes have been washed white by the blood of the Lamb. And so yes, there will be many people saved during the Tribulation. Unfortunately, I believe that most of those, not all, but most of those will also be martyrs of the faith that they will have to die the physical death for their faith. And so it would be very difficult on people during that time.
Ken Humphries: Yes, I do actually I believe that in Revelation chapter 7 and that’s another passage I would just love to read for the benefit of those who are looking in. Revelation chapter 7:9 I think really reveals to us the truth of that. “And 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. Crying with a loud voice saying, ‘Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the Throne.” And I suppose the question arises: Who are those people? And obviously they are not the Church the Church saints are in Heaven. They’re not Israel because they are from every tribe and kindred and nation. And these surely are Gentiles that after the Church has been raptured and left, who may never have heard the Gospel and who don’t know what it means to be saved to be born again. Are now faced with a period called the Tribulation or the Great Tribulation and may want to call out upon the name of the Lord. Having rejected Christ as Savior in earlier days may now want to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.
August Rosado: Matthew 24:14 tells us, “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached unto all the nations and then shall the end come.” So during the tribulation period you will have those that will be preaching the Gospel. Well how do we know that? Well Revelation 7 God raises up a 144,000 male Jewish Israelites, 12,000 each from the 12 tribes of Israel. These guys are going to be prophesying during the tribulation period and I believe multitudes are going to get saved. Then we jump to Revelation chapter 11 God raises up these 2 witnesses. Revelation 11:3 says, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses and they shall prophesy thousand two hundred and threescore days in sackcloth.” That’s 1,260 days the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation period. Again I believe multitudes are going to get saved. Then we jump to Revelation 14:6 John says, “I saw an angel preaching the everlasting Gospel to them who dwell on the earth.” So the Church ain’t going to be here preaching the Gospel because we are going to be in Heaven for that 7 year period of Tribulation and so God is going to raise up these three groups to preach the Gospel and unsaved people will be getting saved during that time.
Mark Hitchcock: Well, people will clearly be saved I think during the Tribulation period. I mean we’ve got this picture in the book of Revelation, Revelation 7 in chapter 7:1-8 we have this 144,000 Jews, Jewish males, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. In the beginning of Revelation 7:9 where you have this great multitude no one can number. John asked you know who are these? And he says, “These are those who’ve come out great tribulation, they’ve washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb.” So clearly there is you know an innumerable host that are on the earth saved during the Tribulation. Of course these in Revelation 7 are martyred so by that time they are Heaven. Now you know people say, “How are people going to get saved if you believe in a Pre-Trib Rapture?” Well there is going to be all kinds of material left on the earth. There are going to be people who’ve heard the Gospel from people before. There’s going to be people maybe who are watching this program right now who’ve heard the truth of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. And I think the Rapture itself maybe one of the greatest evangelistic tools in all of history. As you know millions upon, millions of people leave this earth. So and of course ultimately it’s the work of the Holy Spirit that brings people to faith in Christ. The Spirit will still be here actively drawing people to Himself. So I like to say there will be great revival during the Great Tribulation.
Gary Fisher: I believe the scenario will be this: the Church will be removed and very, very shortly thereafter God will ordain according to Revelation chapter 7, a 144,000 Jewish witnesses. And according to I believe it is verse 9 it is implied that they will be some of the greatest evangelists the world has ever known. And the Bible names them by tribe so they are not the Church, the Church is not here. It names them by tribes so a lot of times I find people say, “I’m part of the 144,000.” “Good what tribe are you from?” So yes, I believe those guys are going to preach. And I would like to add some perspective to that; what happens in Bible history when a Jewish person gets full of the Holy Spirit? We have all these Bible records of these guys, the prophets and so forth, and so on. Where would we be without the ministry of the Apostle Paul; a man, a Jewish man full of the Holy Spirit? Now we’re not talking about during the Tribulation. One man full of the Holy Spirit; think of the millions that have been affected by his ministry. We’re talking about 144,000 of these guys full of the Holy Spirit armed with the Gospel and they’re going to preach in 7 years like the Church hasn’t done in 2,000 years. Millions will be saved.
Daymond Duck: I do believe that people will be saved during the tribulation period. And I am talking when I say that about people who didn’t hear the Word of God and reject it before the Rapture of the Church. Now John saw a great multitude in Heaven. He asked who this multitude was. He was told these are they that come out of the Great Tribulation. They wouldn’t be in Heaven if they weren’t saved first of all. They are saved and they came out of the Great Tribulation. So I do believe that people will be saved during the Tribulation period. I believe that will happen as the result of the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, and the 2 witnesses. And in Revelation chapter 14 there is an angel that flies through the air and preaches the Gospel to every nation, and kingdom, and tribe, and people on the face of the earth; I understand all of that. I want to get across a point that the Holy Spirit does a lot of things and operates in a lot of different ways. And the Holy Spirit is not limited to operating in the Church or to baptizing people into the body of Christ. For example the Holy Spirit was present at the Creation rooting over the waters, but there was no Church. The Holy Spirit was active during Old Testament times working through the Old Testament writers and leading them in what to say, but there was no Church. The Holy Spirit was active through people like Samson, and even over in the New Testament Mary and Joseph, but there was no Church. And so the Holy Spirit can act and do things without the Church and without baptizing people into the body of Christ. I believe that Jews will be saved in the future during the Tribulation period, but they won’t be added to the Church. There are people that we usually refer to, some of us do, as Tribulation Saints that will be saved but they won’t be added to the Church.
Don McGee: Yes, I believe they will be saved during the Tribulation. I suppose in a nutshell you could say they will be saved in the Tribulation just like any other time that people are saved by grace through faith we understand that. But specifically there are some things I believe that’s going to lend toward the salvation of a whole multitude of people during the Tribulation. And not the least of which I believe will be the fact that a lot of people quite simply will not buy into the official government religious explanation for the sudden disappearance of multitudes of people. I don’t think they are going to buy into that. I also believe that there is a residual effect of evangelization during the Church Age that’s going to carry over into the Tribulation period. For example Bibles; Bibles will be everywhere at least in the free world. There will be access to internet sites that people can get information. And not only that I believe that people are going to go to certain websites where authors have left instructions regarding what has happened, what to expect, and what the reader needs to do. And when you take all of those things, combine them with the 2 witnesses, and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and the angel that preaches the Gospel. You take all of those things together you can’t help but see yes, there will be many people saved during the Tribulation period.
Dr. Reagan: I hope you are enjoying these interviews with such a variety of Bible prophecy experts. Our next question is a much debated one, it concerns whether or not the headquarters of the Antichrist could be located here in the United States. A number of authors in recent years have argued that the Antichrist will rule the world from either Washington D.C. or New York City. Most of these are what I consider to be sensationalists, but I believe their contention needs a response.
So, we are going to ask our Bible prophecy experts if they believe the headquarters of the Antichrist, called Babylon the Great in Revelation 17 and 18, could be located in the United States? Once again, we do not have the time to present all 13 responses, so we will show you some representative ones, and then I will present a summary at the end.
Don McGee: No, I don’t. I don’t believe that Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18 could be the United States. There are several reasons for it. If you look at the system in Revelation 17 you see a very powerful economic, religious system. And the United States in my opinion does not fit in that kind of description. Our country has never been considered the heartbeat of any kind of worldwide religious system. I don’t think that applies. You look at some of the descriptions of this religious system; there are colors that are associated with it purple and scarlet, that doesn’t have anything to do with our country. The seven hills that kind of thing; we don’t have anything in this country that is associated with that. So I don’t think the Revelation 17 Babylon is the United States. Now Revelation 18, the economic system, I still believe that is not the United States. And the reason for that is the United States is not the only mega powerhouse, economic powerhouse that has existed on the face of this planet. And if you look at it carefully I think you’ll understand and see clearly that the context of both Revelation 17 and 18 is a 2,000 year old context that has to do with Europe and the Middle East not the Western World.
Al Gist: No. Babylon the Great in Revelation 17 and 18 is a reference to a specific city I believe. It’s not a country like the United States. Although I have to admit that much of the description that is given to Babylon certainly seems to fit the United States of America. But no, I’m convinced and believe in a literal Babylon on the Euphrates River in the modern country of Iraq the same place where it’s always been. But there will be a resurrection of that city. It will become a great commercial and religious center and also most likely the headquarters of the Antichrist during the Tribulation, the second half of the Tribulation. So I take a literal approach to that Babylon. I do not believe that it is the United States of America.
Daymond Duck: Well the book of Revelation doesn’t say that God is talking about a nation. It says that he is talking about a woman, and it says he is talking about a city. So I believe we have a double identity there mystery Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth is a woman and a city. Now concerning her identity as a woman we know that the Bible teaches especially in the Old Testament that wicked women they characterize false religion. And in the New Testament good woman, and even in the Old Testament is characterized as true religion, the Church the Bride of Christ is a good woman that’s true religion. So we have that teaching. In the Old Testament God called the unfaithful Jews harlots, on one occasions, on more than one occasion really. He called Jerusalem the mother of harlots. I believe that mystery Babylon, the mystery about Babylon is that it is a harlot religion that will be located at the rebuilt city of Babylon at the end of the Tribulation period.
Ken Humphries: I would have great difficulty believing that quite frankly. I suppose I find it difficult to believe that Babylon could be any other country or city, certainly any country because the text tells us that Babylon is a city number one for a start off. And if we are prepared to ignore what I call the plain text, that is when we come to the Book of the Revelation we should come to it with a literal understanding or try to interpret it literally as far as we can. And if we come to the Scriptures literally and we are prepared to ignore what is the plain text or the plain message of the text and entertain our own ideas or our own fancies about who Babylon could or could not be. I think we could easily be deceived. It simply won’t do for us to just walk right past what is the interpretive clues given to us.
Ed Hindson: It’s obvious in the book of Revelation that John portrays Babylon, whatever he means by that as the Kingdom of the Antichrist; the ungodly world system of the last days. That controls a world economy; nobody can buy or sell without the mark of the Beast. A world government and to some degree the attempt to impose a world religion so that all the world would worship the Beast as though he were God. So whether we say that that is localized in a specific place, whether if people take it as literal Babylon in Iraq which I do not. Or a symbol of Rome, which I think is much more likely in the book of Revelation. Or a symbol of the final world empire wherever he rules from he will rule the whole world; at least the whole civilized world will be under his influence and his control. I personally believe that John is using Babylon by calling it mystery Babylon as a symbol for Rome; he is a prisoner of the Roman government he’s not going to name Rome creating more problems at that point for himself. But at the same time he wants his reader to understand who he is talking about. It’s the city that sits on seven hills.
Nathan Jones: Well, it’s not called mystery Babylon for nothing, it’s a mystery. So we can only guess. But there are some clues in the Bible that give us a kind of indication what it’s not. Well Revelation 18 explains it, it’s an economic powerhouse, it’s a great source of immorality. The people are sinful, they live for pleasure and that’s clearly the United States today. But the Antichrist government is a global government. It will incorporate the United States. It will rise from the European Union; the whole world will be part of it. And the harlot this prostitute that the Bible talks about rides the back of that world government. So it can’t be the harlot and be the beast the Antichrist kingdom it is riding at the same time. So no, the United States will not be part of the harlot system. The Bible talks about when it talks about women, or especially adulterous women it talks about religious systems. So what it’s talking about is not a nation but a religious system that will exist the first half of the Tribulation made up of apostate Christianity; its basis is in humanism and that will be destroyed. And the Antichrist for the second half will institute his religion which is self worship and is worshipping his master which is Satan.
Terry James: I really personally don’t think so. For one thing America if we look at history today, I think that we can pretty much see the way things are going by history today. And America is no longer the apex nation, I mean they are the apex nation but they are quickly, the flower is quickly fading so to speak. And so we can’t say that it’s going to be the premier nation during the Tribulation of chapter 18 of Revelation. And we see chapter 17, you know the mystery Babylon and all that with a harlot system, the Church system and everything but I don’t see anywhere there is a mystery Babylon with regard to that city that is doomed to be destroyed in a single hour in Revelation chapter 18. Therefore I’m more or less of the conviction that it’s going to be a rebuilt Babylon.
Tom McCall: I think Revelation 17 and 18 both speak about Babylon, I believe they are different. I believe Revelation 17 is the Church the professing church that remains after the Rapture of the true church. And will be manifest as the great harlot that never did believe in Christ. That just pretended and was very hypocritical on the whole thing. But it’s become the world religion after the Rapture and will attract the whole world as I think most of the false religions of the world, the Muslims, the Hindus you know all these religions of the world will coalesce around the mother church that survives after the Rapture. And it will be destroyed by the Antichrist who gets tired of it. He uses the Church the false Church to gain power but once he’s gained it after 3 1/2 years he says, “I’m through with you. I don’t need you anymore.” And devours it the Scripture says. Then there is the Babylon of Revelation 18 which seems to be the city Babylon. The Old City of Babylon where it all began, where the Tower of Babel was; where pagan religion had its origins.
Mark Hitchcock: Well a lot of people think so. A lot of people think Babylon could be the United States or many people will say that it is New York City. Because clearly whatever it is it is a city, because in Revelation 17 and 18 it says, “Babylon is that great city which rules over the kings of the earth.” So clearly it’s a city. Now some people think it’s Rome, some rebuilt Babylon. Some New York City, the United States. You know to me making it the United States when you really go through it and look at what the passage says it talks about how this Babylon kills the prophets. To me it’s a stretch to take the specific statements there and have it apply to the United States. I take the view that it’s a literal rebuilt Babylon in the future. But I reject the idea that it has anything to do with New York City or the United States.
Dr. Reagan: Let me give you a quick summary of how our experts responded to the question concerning whether or not the headquarters of the Antichrist could be located here in the United States.
All of them without exception answered no. In the process of giving their answers 7 of them stated that they think the Antichrist headquarters will be located in the ancient city of Babylon rebuilt. Five did not express their view about the location. One, Ed Hindson, said he thought the Headquarters would be in Rome.
I personally agree with the experts when they say there is no possibility that the Antichrist headquarters could be located in the United States. And I happen to agree with Ed Hindson’s view that the headquarters will be located in Rome. For more detailed information about why I believe that, go to our website at lamblion.com and search for my article entitled, “Mystery Babylon.”
Next week, the Lord willing we will present another program in this series as we ask our Bible prophecy experts whether or not they believe that the Revelation 20 teaches that Jesus will return to this earth to reign for 1,000 years.
Well that’s our program for this week. I hope it has been a blessing to you. Until next week, the Lord willing, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb and Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our redemption is drawing near.”
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