The Great Soul Harvest of the Tribulation - "After this I looked and there before me was a great multiple 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 in their hands." Rev 7 v.9 indicated that during the first part of Tribulation the greatest soul harvest in all history will take place. A Great Multitude Which no Man Could Number
Tim LaHaye believes that more people will accept Christ during the early months of the Tribulation, before the Antichrist (Beast) really has a chance to consolidate his one world government and set up his one world religion of self worship than have been converted in the nearly 2000 years of the Church age. Power Was Given Unto the Beast - Revelation 13 v.3-4
Some interpreters have a hard time believing that the Tribulation could usher in such an enormous soul harvest, but more men and women will be won to Christ during that period than at any time in history. That God could pour out His Spirit in a flood of conversions, even in an Old Testament setting, was proved in Jonah's day when the Lord spared the city of Nineveh after the prophet Jonah preached to its people, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" (Jonah 3 v.4)
The Bible says the inhabitants of that wicked Assyrian city heard Jonah and "believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them." (v.5) And how did God respond to such earnest repentance? "That God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it" (v.10).
And do not forget that it was another Old Testament prophet, Joel, who predicted a worldwide soul harvest for the time of the end: And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Joel 2 v.28-32)
A partial fulfillment of this prophecy took place on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2 v.16-21), but its full manifestation awaits the day of these 144,000 Jewish witnesses of Revelation 7. 144,000 Their preaching of the everlasting gospel will be so clear and so powerful that it will result in the conversions of "a great multitude which no one could number" from every nation on the face of the earth!
In other words, there is going to be an enormous divide at the time of the end between the many who shall become "purified, made white, and refined" and the "wicked." Of course, the only way to become purified and made white is by the "blood of the Lamb." The wicked will stubbornly reject the Savior and continue in their wickedness.
This passage will find its complete fulfillment in the Tribulation when the gospel will be preached around the world by the 144,000 witnesses and the angel with the everlasting gospel. Angel with the Everlasting Gospel Revelation 14 v.6 Even now it accurately describes our world. Sad to say, it is exactly the condition we see in the present day. Many are coming to Christ all over the world and turning from their wickedness, while many others reject the Savior and seem bent on continuing and even intensifying their wickedness. Can the end be far off?
The Goal is Close - Jesus predicted in Mat. 24 v.14 that the gospel would be preached throughout the world during the Tribulation, yet already we are coming close to evangelizing all the world by the end of this decade! (1990's) Many short wave radio ministries announced a plan to take the gospel via short wave radio to the entire world! Wycliffe Bible Translators expects to have the New Testament soon translated and printed in hundreds of additional languages throughout the world.
The Tribulation Will See a Great Soul Harvest - According to Joel 2 v.28-32, the Holy Spirit will be alive and well on planet Earth during the Tribulation, convicting all who are open to God with the gospel truth that Jesus died for their sins according to the scriptures, that He rose again from the dead, and that they can be saved through faith in Him. The key then will be exactly what it is today and always has been - repentance and faith.
God is Still in Control - Despite the numbers of Saints who will lose their lives in the Tribulation, God is still very much in control throughout the whole period. Note the careful language both Daniel and John use to describe the Antichrist's power over the people of God: "The saints shall be given into his hand" (Dan 7, v.25) and John: "it was granted to him to make war with the saints" Make War with the Saints - Revelation 13 v.7
Both of these texts stress that the Antichrist does nothing without the permission of God. The Beast does not tear the saints from God's grasp, nor does he somehow out maneuver the Lord. The Tribulation saints are in the same position as was the Lord Jesus when he stood before the Roman governor Pilate. The arrogant Pilate demanded of a silent Jesus, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" To which Jesus replied authoritatively, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above". (John 19 v.10-11)
That is exactly the situation of these Tribulation saints. The Antichrist would have no power over them unless it had been given to him from above. In fact, God's control of His people's lives extends to the exact number of believers who will be martyred. That is what Rev. 6 v.11 has in mind when it reports that the martyred saints will be told in heaven to "rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed." That is total control!
The Death of a Believer is Blessed - "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord," Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord - Revelation 14 v.13 The world will believe these martyrs are ignorant, foolish, and idiotic. Some may even pity them. But God does not pity them. He blesses them! He will feel toward them just as He has felt all along toward all His people: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" (Psalm 116. v.15) And this blessing of God comes with more than well wishes.
The apostle John says these martyrs will be granted "rest" and that their works will "follow them", that is, they will be richly rewarded for their perseverance even to death.
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