During the Tribulation Can the Elect Be Harmed By Other People?

Hi Steve, first I’d like to thank you for your dedication to spreading His Word.  I’ve learned more from your site and a few others than I have in many years in various churches; sad, but true.

Second, my question:  I understand, from a Biblical standpoint, that Satan can’t harm the elect, physically.

However, given today’s moral decay, I can see physical harm and worse being bestowed upon believers by non-believers of the elect or righteous believers(not elect) during the tribulation period.  Your thoughts are appreciated.

Best regards, in Christ,

Steve’s Answer:

Hi KJ,

Interesting question.  And thank you for your kind words.  All credit goes to Father.  It’s He who’s opening your eyes with His Holy Spirit of Discernment.  Not me.

Usually, folks ask me if Satan is going to be killing people during the tribulation, which, of course, he won’t be, except for the two witnesses of Revelation 11 right at the very end of his short reign.

But you’re the first who’s asked me if others might cause physical harm to God’s elect during the tribulation.  So let’s take a look.  The Scripture indeed says:

Mar 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.

So the people of this world will utterly despise the elect for standing against their phony “god” and his false Babylon global system with all of its perceived fleshly benefits.

The Scripture also says:

Mar 13:9  But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.

That’s fairly definitive, I think you’ll agree.  The synagogue Jews might well pummel you a bit, when (and if) you’re delivered up to those councils (i.e., Sanhedrin courts) to give your testimony.

What’s more, it’s important to note that the Scripture also says:

Mat 10:17  But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

So we might have to take a bit of a whipping, along the way, particularly when we’re delivered up to Satan for those trials described in Mark 13, Luke 21 and Matthew 24.

But you can’t accept those Scriptures, and simultaneously throw out Scripture that says:

Luk 21:18  But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

After all, to be delivered up to the synagogue Jews “for a testimony against them,” you have to be alive.  Right?  You couldn’t testify at all if they’ve killed you, or broken your bones, or beaten you senseless.  So those things are simply not going to happen.

Suffering, or False Salvation?

The other thing I’d like you to meditate on is the fact that Satan is not going to be here bringing about suffering, but instead, alleviating people’s suffering.

That’s how he deceives.  He’s going to be playing “Jesus,” and claiming to bring salvation and healing and prosperity to the world.  And he’ll urge his followers to be just like him, similar to the way the Scriptures tells God’s elect “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16).

So it’s unlikely that he’s going to allow a lot of physical suffering to be brought about by his followers. That would hardly be conducive to gaining more followers for his big, global play act, which I like to call Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.

The more likely scenario is that he’ll imitate Jesus.  And what did Jesus do when He ran into opposition?  Well, in one case an entire town rejected Him, and the apostles wanted to call fire down from heaven upon the people of that town.  But let’s read what Jesus said to them:

Luke 9:54  And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?


Luk 9:55  But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.


Luk 9:56  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

Satan, too, is coming to this earth as a “savior,” and as an imitator of our Lord.  So I have real problems with the idea that he’s going to allow his followers to go wild and start hunting down the elect for the explicit purpose of physically harming them.

It would destroy his deceptive “savior” role, just as Jesus knew that if His followers — the apostles — had indeed called fire down from heaven and wiped out an entire village of non-conformists, it would have been the end of His salvation ministry.

So Satan will be wooing the elect, with deception.  Not beating them up, or having them beat up by others.

Satan wants God’s elect as a notch on his belt, so to speak.  He knows he can’t take vengeance on God.  But he can try to get back at God by deceiving those who love and serve God the most.  Thankfully, it won’t work.  The elect will not falter.

Can the Locust Army Harm God’s Elect?

Let’s take a quick look at Satan’s locust army — i.e., those who will be his most staunch followers on this earth — and see if they’re allowed to harm the elect:

Rev 9:3  And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.


Rev 9:4  And it was commanded them 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 only people Satan’s locust army can touch are those who DON’T have the seal of God in their foreheads.  And even those poor souls can’t be killed. They can only be “tormented like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.”

Whether you believe the word “tormented” means actual physical torture, or psychological and emotional torture (i.e., torturing people with lies and deception until they cave in and accept them), it doesn’t matter.  This “torment” is not carried out against the elect.  It’s carried out against those who don’t have the seal of God in their foreheads.

Personally, I’m not too worried about being roughed up, a bit, during the tribulation.  I’ve been roughed up before, more than once.  Still kicking.  Not shaken in the least.

But I honestly don’t believe a lot of physical violence is going to happen when Satan is here, based on the Scriptures, except maybe in the synagogues on the way to being delivered up to those trials discussed in Mark 13.

And even then, those synagogue Jews aren’t going to want you showing up at those trials — which will be seen worldwide — looking like you’ve just been beaten with tire irons.  Do you see what I mean?  It would destroy Satan’s entire “We’re here to save you” shtick.

The Rapture Crowd, and Irrational Fear

Finally, I believe it’s also important to note that the main Christian proponents of the idea that Satan is going to be allowing folks to be tortured, killed or otherwise harmed is the “rapture” crowd.

The rapturists tout those kinds of scare stories as a reason why you should join their church and fly up to heaven with them in the so-called “pre-trib rapture.”

In other words, to them, the rapture is their escape pod from what they see as Satan’s reign of terror on this earth during the tribulation.

But if they’re wrong about the rapture (and they most certainly are wrong), then what else might they be wrong about?

The bottom line is that their irrational fear of being killed or harmed during the tribulation is the chief emotional and psychological driver behind their need to cling to this patently false “flyaway” doctrine.

They think their only way out of the tribulation is through God’s Great Helicopter Rescue, rather than through heeding Christ’s words about the tribulation in which He says “he that shall endureth [i.e., remain behind] unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Count the Cost of Your Service Beforehand

Now, everything I’ve said above is based on the Scriptures, but also on reason and discernment.  The Scriptures don’t lie. But at times, our reasoning might be deficient, or our discernment might be off a bit.

So we won’t know for sure every little detail of how the tribulation is going to play out, until it actually starts playing out. And anyone who says they know exactly how it’s going to play out before it actually happens, is lying to you, and probably to themselves as well.

But thanks to the Scripture, we have a pretty good broad outline of how the tribulation is going to play out.  Nevertheless, there are most likely a lot of fine details we don’t yet know.

So I’m not trying to minimize anything. The Scripture does indeed say to expect persecution, because even Christ Himself was persecuted.  As it’s written:

Joh 15:20  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.


Joh 15:21  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

We’re also told, as I mentioned earlier, “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;” (Matthew 10:17).

So, as Christ stated to His disciples at one point, count the potential cost of your discipleship before joining His crew:

Luk 14:27  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.


Luk 14:28  For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?


Luk 14:29  Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,


Luk 14:30  Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.


Luk 14:31  Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?


Luk 14:32  Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.


Luk 14:33  So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

The elect are here for a specific purpose.  It’s to help bring about God’s will, which is to say, His great plan to save His children (II Peter 3:9).

And they’re finishers of what they’ve started, even in the face of losing everything they own.  They won’t back out.  And they won’t let Him down.


For one, because they’ve done what Christ said in the verses above and have factored into their reasoning the potential costs of serving Christ during the tribulation.

In so doing, they’ve concluded that, whatever the cost, and however harsh or potentially painful it might be, it’s well worth the reward of being seated in Christ’s throne with Him and the Father for eternity (Revelation 3:21).

Why So Fearful? 

So if you find yourself fearful of what’s to come, you have to ask yourself why you’re subjecting yourself to the spirit of fear.  After all, our Lord said, “Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7).

He also said, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32)

And as Paul wrote in II Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

The spirit of fear is not of God.  But it can be used against us, before the fact, by God’s enemies and ours, to manipulate us into becoming weak-kneed and full of worry.

But only if we allow it.  Let’s not allow it.  After all, in John 17 our Lord and Savior specifically prayed for us, before departing this earth.  He stated in that prayer:

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.


Joh 17:15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

And so it will be.  There’s no “rapture” out (i.e., “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world”).  But there is protection from on High.

Indeed, the word “keep” in verse 15 above means “to guard from loss or injury” (i.e., Strong’s G-5083).  And as Dr. Bullinger points out in his side notes to the Companion Bible, the term “the evil” should have been translated “the evil one,” in reference to Satan.

We’ll be guarded by God Himself from any spiritual loss or injury the evil one might attempt to inflict against us during the tribulation.

In other words, our heavenly Father will be there to spiritually strengthen us, and to get us through the tribulation period spiritually unscathed.

We might lose everything we’ve got, physically — homes, cars, bank accounts, jobs, etc.  But who cares?  At that point in the tribulation we’re heading for the eternal Kingdom (Matthew 24:29-31), and we can’t take anything from this flesh life with us, anyway, except for our works on God’s behalf.

So we don’t fret the perceived loss of physical goods.  Those material goods aren’t coming with us, anyway.

But as we’ve learned earlier, towards the end of Satan’s brief reign there will nevertheless be persecution from some of Satan’s minions against at least some of those delivered up.

For some, it might be spiritual and emotional persecution (i.e., brow-beating, harassment, etc.).  For others, it might be physical persecution.  The threat of imminent death might even be involved (Revelation 12:11), though I don’t believe Satan will be allowed to kill anyone but the two witnesses.

But as Pastor Arnold Murray from The Shepherd’s Chapel used to say, “It ain’t no step for a stepper.

That’s an old horseman’s saying, meaning that a horse trained to parade itself majestically (called a “stepper”), or to perform certain specific tasks to perfection, doesn’t forget its training when adversity strikes.

Such a horse just keeps right on “stepping,” as majestically as ever, right through the adversity.  It maintains its poise, thanks to its training.

In other words, if and when persecution strikes, God’s elect will power right through it without missing a beat, because God has readied them for it, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

How does He do this?  First, by giving them great understanding of the Scriptures as they consistently obey His command to “Study to show thyself approved, unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).

And secondly, by putting His seal of spiritual knowledge into their foreheads just before the four winds of change usher in the events leading to Satan’s brief stint on this earth as the antichrist (Revelation 7:1-8).

At that point, anything that tries to derail us is only going to stiffen our resolve to successfully complete our service to Father, in Christ’s name.

So, keep up your training, by staying in His Word, daily.  The more of His Word that you absorb, the greater that marriage bond between your spirit (i.e., your inner man) and the Holy Spirit of God becomes.

And ultimately, that’s your ticket to success during the tribulation, i.e., the spiritual bond you’ve developed with your heavenly Father, through HIs Word.

Regards in Christ,

Steve Barwick


Steve Barwick

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