Are the 144,000 the Only Ones Kept Safe During the Great Tribulation?
Hello Steve! How can I document that it’s not just the 144,000 (which have the seal of God in their foreheads) that are kept safe during tribulation?
I know Luke 21:18 documents we are kept safe. But are there any other verses in the Scripture I could use as proof we Christians will be untouched?
I got some rapture believers that claim only the 144,000 of Revelation 7:1-8 are given protection during the tribulation.
They will also say the “great multitude from all nations and tongues” mentioned in Revelation 7:9-17) that came out of great tribulation will be killed during tribulation. My understanding is that they made it through the tribulation.
How could I prove that it isn’t just the 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel that are kept safe?
Thank you for your time.
Well, you’re correct. Your rapture friends are wrong. And yes, I can give you some Scripture to help document the fact that during the tribulation, many others will receive God’s protection and be saved.
As you pointed out, Revelation 7 documents that people of all nations, tongues, kindreds and people will be saved during the great tribulation. As it’s written:
Rev 7:9 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;
That would include many, many members of God’s People Israel who are not counted among the 144,000, plus huge numbers of people from every race and nation on the face of the earth. Millions of them. Maybe even hundreds of millions (i.e., “a great multitude, which no man could number”).
As it’s further written:
Rev 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
Rev 7:14 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.
It’s important to note that in the above verse, in the original Greek manuscripts, the phrase translated “great tribulation” quite literally states, “the tribulation, the great.”
In other words, you can’t mistake this for any other tribulation. It’s speaking of the great tribulation that takes place at the end of this flesh age, when Satan is here in his role as the false Christ (i.e., antichrist) working his great deception upon the world (Revelation 13:14).
So in Revelation 7:9-17 you have a great and uncountable multitude of people, from among all races, being saved (i.e., washing their robes in the blood of the Lamb) during the time-period of the great tribulation.
And there’s not a single word there about these great multitudes being martyred. Nothing.
And why not? Because they’re not martyred. That’s why. After all, again, the Scripture says there are uncountable numbers of them. Millions. Maybe even hundreds of millions.
Think about it:
Satan would have to have his chopping blocks going 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during the entire duration of his brief reign on this earth as the false Christ (i.e., antichrist), if that great and uncountable multitude of people were being martyred, as the rapture believers claim.
And if Satan, in his role as the false Christ, was bringing that much bloodshed to this earth, who would believe he’s our merciful God when he seats himself in the temple, at Jerusalem, and proclaims himself to be “God” (II Thessalonians 2:4)? His deception would be over with. No one would believe he’s “God.” He’d fail at his mission to deceive the world into worshiping him as God.
It’s important to note that the Scripture only documents a total of three martyrdoms during the great tribulation, i.e., the two witnesses of Revelation 11, and God’s faithful martyr, Antipas, of Revelation 2:13. Beyond those three, Satan can’t physically kill anyone.
So, any other martyrdoms being claimed by the rapture believers cannot be Scripturally documented. They’re pure conjecture, mostly based on sensationalistic “Left Behind” books and movies, and not at all on the Holy Scriptures.
How Are the Multitudes of Revelation 7 Saved?
So how did this great and uncountable multitude from every race and nation end up getting saved during the great tribulation, when they weren’t among the 144,000 of Israel who will be sealed in their foreheads (i.e., minds) with the Word of God before the great tribulation even begins?
Well, that’s easy. Those great multitudes from every race and nation will be saved during the tribulation because that’s when the 144,000 elect will seal them in their foreheads with the Word of God.
Don’t let that throw you. That’s how it’s always worked. God originally gave Israel, whom He calls “my elect” in Isaiah 45:4, the job of carrying forth His Word of salvation to the rest of the world. And He’s never reneged on that charge. As it’s written:
Isaiah 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
In other words, salvation (through the teaching of God’s Word) was to come through God’s People Israel. The Word of God was initially given to Israel. And Israel’s singular job was to take that Word of salvation to the Gentiles, or nations of this world.
Israel was to be a “light to the Gentiles.” And that’s true to this very day, all of the way to the final generation of this earth age. Simply put, it’s their job. As we’re told by St. Luke in the New Testament book of Acts:
Act 13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
Act 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
As then, so again. Fast-forwarding to the time of the great tribulation, the elect of Israel — meaning, in this case, the 144,000 of Revelation 7:1-8, who are from each of the 12 tribes of Israel — are destined by God to be a light to the Gentiles (nations), to help bring them to Christ, through the teaching of God’s Word.
With that in mind, let’s allow Christ Himself to document for us that there’s quite another group altogether, besides the elect, who are preserved and saved during the great tribulation, and that the elect of Israel would be the ones to bring the Word of God to that group.
Christ’s Prayer in John 17
In John 17, the Lord is praying to the Father for the safety, preservation and well-being of His elect servants. But toward the end of His prayer for the elect, He includes another group of people. Let’s take a look at part of that prayer, where Christ speaks of both groups.
As it’s written:
Joh 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
That’s speaking prophetically of the elect of the end days — the same folks from Mark 13:13, of which it is said, “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.”
Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take [i.e., lift] them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
There’s no rapture. If anyone deserves to be “raptured out” of this world, it would be God’s elect. But Christ clearly states, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world,” with the word “take” in that verse meaning “to lift” or even to “sail away” (i.e., Strong’s G-142).
So the above verse proves there will be no rapture. Instead of being raptured out, the elect will be protected from Satan during the great tribulation. Indeed, the word “keep” in the above verse is translated from the Greek word tereo (Strong’s G-5083), and it means, “to guard from loss or injury, by keeping the eye upon.”
In other words, Christ prayed that the Father would preserve His elect from loss or injury. They won’t be martyred during the great tribulation. They won’t be raptured. They’ll be protected and preserved.
Finally, in the verse above, as if to drive home the point that this prayer covers the time period of the great tribulation, Christ specifically asks the Father to protect the elect from “the evil.” It’s vital to note that in the original Greek manuscripts, that particular verse reads “the evil one” rather than merely “the evil.” Prominent Bible scholars like E.W. Bullinger and Finis Dake fully agree on this. The correct translation is “the evil one.”
So the elect are to be preserved and protected from the deception of the evil one — the devil himself — when he’s here on this earth in his role as the false messiah. He cannot deceive them, because, as you know from Revelation 7:1-8, they’ll have been sealed in their foreheads (i.e., minds) with the Word of God before the great tribulation even begins.
Joh 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
The elect don’t find this flesh world very appealing. We know this flesh world is not our home (I John 2:15; John 15:19; 1 John 5:19, Hebrews 13:14). We’re strangers here, just passing through, faithfully doing our job to help fulfill Father’s will to save His children (Hebrews 11:12-16; I Chronicles 29:15) through Jesus Christ.
Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
It’s our faith in the Word of God that consecrates us to God the Father. (And, of course, Jesus is that Living Word of God.)
Joh 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
Joh 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Christ sends His elect out into this wicked world for a very specific purpose, i.e., to carry forth His Word to the world and its people, just as God the Father sent Jesus into this world to carry forth His Word to the People of Israel. The Word flows from God, through Jesus, to the elect of Israel, and then to the rest of the world.
It’s that Word of Truth, clearly understood, and faithfully carried forth and taught, that sanctifies the elect to God the Father.
Now, here are the verses I want you to see, in relation to that great multitude of saved people of all races from Revelation chapter 7:
Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Christ doesn’t pray solely for the elect to be watched over and protected from the wiles of the evil one. In addition to His elect, He prays for “them also which shall believe on me through their word.”
So there are two groups Christ prayed for, i.e., the elect of Israel, who do the teaching, and those who hear the teachings of the elect, and come to believe in Christ through that teaching.
Carrying this forward to the great tribulation, the elect 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel (Revelation 7:1-8) will be teaching God’s Word, trying to help the people of this world distinguish between the false Christ, who seats himself in Jerusalem and pretends to be God, and the true Christ, who doesn’t arrive to this earth until afterwards (II Thessalonians 2:1-4) at the sound of the seventh trump (Matthew 24:29-31; I Corinthians 15:52).
And as a result of the teaching of the elect 144,000 during the great tribulation, uncountable numbers of people from all races and nations will hear the Bible message taught correctly, and will become faithful believers. Prophetically speaking, that’s the “them also which shall believe on Me through their word.”
This is just as it was originally meant to be. Old Testament Israel may have failed in their mandate to be a light unto the Gentiles. But New Testament Israel — Christian Israel — has not failed, and will not fail.
Indeed, since the time of true Israel’s migrations into the west, we’ve sent out more missionaries to the nations, and have taken the Word of God to more people of every race, than any other religion in world history.
And during the great tribulation, the 144,000 chosen from each of the 12 tribes of Israel who are sealed in their foreheads with God’s Word (Revelation 7;1-8), will indeed be the ones who bring the Word of salvation to the nations and multitudes of this earth, fulfilling Israel’s God-given mandate to be “a light unto the Gentiles.”
Now, check this out:
Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Wow. “That they all may be one.” The elect, and those they teach, will become one with Christ, just as Christ is one with God.
What’s more, Christ is going to share His own glory with the elect and with those who believe on Him through the teaching of the elect.
That’s why Revelation 7 states, regarding that huge, uncountable multitude from all races and nations that come to the Lord during the great tribulation:
Rev 7:15 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.
Rev 7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
Rev 7:17 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.
So the saved multitudes of Revelation 7, which come from all races and nations, basically get the same reward as the elect 144,000 after Christ’s Second Advent.
Christ shares His glory with them, just as He does with the elect (John 17:22). And they get to stand before the Father’s throne, right in His temple, and serve Him “day and night,” just like the elect. And God Himself dwells among them, and takes care of them.
Again, that’s because, in hearing the teachings of the elect during the great tribulation, and subsequently following their example by standing up against Satan who will be here in his role as the false Christ, these great multitudes from every race become overcomers, just like the elect.
They overcome Satan’s great deception, through the Word of God that’s been taught to them, washing their robes and making them white in the blood of the Lamb.
In short, during the tribulation, this great and uncountable multitude from every race and nation are sealed in their foreheads with the Word of God through the teaching of the elect. And that’s how they overcome Satan’s deception during the great tribulation, and become one with the elect, and with Christ, serving God in His temple “day and night.”
More Info on Martyrdoms
If you haven’t done so already, you might also want to read my previous Bible Q&A, titled Will the Elect Be Martyred During the Great Tribulation?
That Q&A goes into the topic in much more depth than this short Q&A. But the bottom line is that Revelation 9:4-5, strictly limits Satan from killing anybody other than the three faithful servants of God mentioned in Revelation.
By that, I mean the two witnesses of Revelation 11, and the faithful martyr, Antipas, mentioned in Revelation 2:13. Let’s take a quick look before we close this out:
Rev 9:4 And it was commanded them [i.e., the locust army] that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
Rev 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
The “them” receiving the command in verse 4 above is Satan’s locust army (i.e., his fallen angels, demons and flesh minions), which do his bidding on this earth when he’s here in his role as the false Christ, which is to say, the antichrist.
Those two verses tell us that Satan and the locust army he rules over as “king” (Revelation 9:11) are only allowed to cause harm to those who don’t have the seal of God in their foreheads. And even then, those who aren’t sealed with God’s Word can only be “tormented,” but not killed.
So he can’t kill those who are sealed with the Word of God in their foreheads. And he can’t kill those who aren’t sealed, either. He can only “torment” (i.e., vex) the unsealed with his lies and deceptive tactics.
So the idea being put forth by the rapture believers that the great and uncountable multitude of saved people from all races, described in Revelation 7:1-8, are standing before God at His throne because they were martyred during the great tribulation is completely unbiblical.
Satan is only allowed to “torment” (i.e., vex) those who don’t have the seal of God in their foreheads (i.e., their minds).
And many of those unsealed folks, being tormented daily during the tribulation by Satan’s great flood of lies and deception (Revelation 12:15), will hear the teachings of the elect (as well as the teachings of the two witnesses of Revelation 11), and will faithfully embrace those teachings and take a stand for Christ, becoming, in the process, overcomers just like the elect.
And that’s how the “great multitude” which “came out of great tribulation” end up at God’s throne after the great tribulation with their robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb.
They’re not martyred. They’re not raptured. They’re nurtured, with God’s Word, sealed in it through the teaching of the elect 144,000, and thereby kept safe (i.e., preserved from Satan’s deception), just like the elect.
Regards in Christ,
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