(Daniel 12:1-3) “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people–everyone whose name is found written in the book–will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”
(Matthew 24: 21-22) “For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equalled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”
Both the prophet Daniel and the Lord Jesus both spoke about a period of testing, trial and affliction on a global scale at the end of this present age which would be like nothing that has happened in past history or like anything to happen in the future. In fact things will become so bad that if God does not intervene no humans would survive. However, for the sake of His elect saints, for the sake of Israel and for the very survival of the human race God will intervene and cut those days short
We also know that this time of distress, anguish and trial will last for three and a half years and that during this time Israel and the faithful Church, spiritually grafted into Israel, (metaphorically the Olive Tree), will be physically persecuted oppressed and subjugated by the beast empire of the Antichrist (Daniel 7:21, 25; 8:25; 12:7) (Revelation 12:6, 17; 13:5-7) (Revelation 11:3).
Who are the “Saints?”
In both Testaments the word “saints” defines all true believers in Israel and in the Body of the Messiah and there are numerous references to the saints in the Old Testament especially in the Psalms. The saints in both Testaments are in fact one body of believers, both Jewish and gentile under one shepherd being the Messiah our Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:14-16). Those faithful believing saints in Old Testament times looked forward to the coming of the Messiah to bring salvation to Israel both a spiritual and a national restoration. We find the Messiah in the Old Testament appearing and speaking to God’s servants before His incarnation as a flesh and blood man. From the New Testament period onwards the saints would look back to the cross where salvation was provided once and for all time for Jew and Gentile alike. The Messiah has only one corporate body of believers and these are the saints spoken of in both Testaments. These are the bride of the Messiah!
The faithful saints who lived before the crucifixion of the Messiah were spiritually linked by the same Holy Spirit to the faithful saints who lived after the crucifixion of the Messiah as the author of Hebrews writes; “These (all the faithful saints before the coming of the Messiah) were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised (They did not see the Messiah in their time). God had planned something better for us (New Covenant believers) so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (Hebrews 12:39-40).
The New birth (The circumcision of the heart)
The apostle Paul understood this when he wrote; “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God” (Romans 2:28-29).
When the Lord Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus the religious leader about the necessity of the new birth it was something that Nicodemus should have experienced and known about from the Old Testament scriptures, but he had never experienced this reality of being circumcised in the heart by the Spirit. The Lord Jesus said to him “Are you a teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?” Nicodemus should have known about and experienced this spiritually regenerating work of the Holy Spirit but Nicodemus was still in a state of spiritual blindness even though he was sincere in his encounter with the Lord Jesus and very knowledgeable in the scriptures.
We know from God’s Word that the natural man, our own spiritually un-regenerated spirit, is incapable of understanding the things of the Spirit because they can only be discerned by the revelation of the Spirit who indwells every born again believer (1 Corinthians 2:13-15). The new birth makes it possible for a person to understand the things concerning the kingdom of God and to enter into it (John 3:3).
All who were born again in the Old Testament period were spiritually connected to all who were born again from New Testament times down to the present day. The New Birth was not only a work of the Spirit from the day of Pentecost onwards. The 120 on the Day of Pentecost were already born again by the work of the Holy Spirit but needed to be baptised with His power for testimony and service for the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:8). The New Birth is a scriptural work clearly seen in the lives of the those Old Testament saints who remained faithful to the Lord by the faith that produces obedience to Him, a faith not produced by an action of the human will alone, but imparted by the supernatural drawing power of the Holy Spirit of God (John 3:8) (Acts 5:32) (Romans1:5; 16:26) (Ephesians 2:8-10). So saints in both testaments refer to all those who have been spiritually reborn from above by the Holy Spirit.
Who are the “elect?”
The elect are mentioned throughout the New Testament and describe all New Covenant believers. The elect are mentioned in numerous places and they all refer to the corporate community of God’s people. Those who hold to the Dispensational system of Eschatology, which makes a radical separation between Israel and the Church which scripture does not do, try to limit the elect in Matthew 24 to refer only to the Jews in the Tribulation to bolster the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church which dispensational eschatology says is no longer on earth during the Tribulation. It is an inference but not in the text or in the context of Matthew 24. However, it is clear from the text of Matthew Chapter 24 that the elect are all believers.
The word “elect” is the standard New Testament word used for New Covenant believers in the New Testament as well as to those saints in the Old Testament who persevered through faith (Romans 11:7) . Added to this, when we see the elect being gathered to meet the Lord in the air in Matthew 24:31 and in Mark 13:26-27 it is clear from the texts that the rapture is a global one and not restricted to believing Jews in Israel. The elect “are gathered from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens” which dovetails in with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. We also notice that the catching up of the elect saints to meet the Lord in the air as He descends to earth occurs immediately after the tribulation of those days and not before the tribulation (Matthew 24:29) (Mark 13:24). It is clear from both Testaments that the “saints” and the “elect” are standard Biblical words used for all believers in every age.
The Tribulation Saints
Now that we have established who the saints and the elect are from God’s Word we now need to look at the Tribulation Saints. These are not those left behind due to a partial rapture or restricted to those who get saved during this time of Great Tribulation after the Church has been raptured. The Left-Behind franchise of books, movies and DVD’s have greatly contributed to this whole idea of a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church even before the Antichrist is revealed and again this is an unscriptural position which can be ‘debunked’ from God’s Word.
Even though many have undoubtedly been saved through these books and movies and made multitudes both within and without wider Christendom aware of the last days, the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture is a spiritual deception that has led untold millions of genuine faithful believers, especially in the western Church, exposed to this teaching to believe that they will be taken out before the real “unpleasantness” happens, especially to Israel.
As we will see the Tribulation saints in reality are you and me who are New Covenant believers and if we are still alive on earth when the time of the Big Trouble comes, we will become the tribulation saints. It also needs to be said that since the time of the Lord Jesus faithful believers have already been in tribulation but at the end of this age for three and a half years it will become an epidemic.
We already see tribulation happening in many countries today in 2022 where our dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus are suffering terribly. During the reign of the beast kingdom of the Antichrist it will intensify and increase and become global. Did not our Lord Jesus Himself say; “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name” (Matthew 24:9).
When you consider the terrible atrocities perpetrated on faithful New Covenant believers by ISIS can the beast kingdom of the Antichrist do any worse? No, it can only become more intense and widespread. With these things in view let’s now look at the Tribulation Saints and what happens to them in the time of Great Tribulation that is coming and possibly is even now at the very door!
1. The Tribulation Saints are all New Covenant believers, those who in this life are not spared from Tribulation
(John 16:33) “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
(Romans 5:3) “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance.”
(1 Thessalonians 1:6) “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit.”
(Matthew 24:21) “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”
(Acts 14:22) “…Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (KJV).”
(Revelation 1:9) “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
(Revelation 7:14) “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
To come out of something you have to be already in it! In Revelation 7:14 in the Greek text the saints or the elect, being faithful New Covenant believers, are seen coming out of the time of Great Tribulation rendered in the present continuous sense. Also the elect are gathered to the Lord in the air immediately after the tribulation of those days because they have gone through this time of the Big Trouble and have been kept through it while they were still in this world but rescued out at the end of it, and that before the wrath of God is poured out (Matthew 24:21-22, 29-31). These are seen coming out of the time of Great Tribulation between the sixth and the seventh seal.
In the Greek text of the New Testament the word for tribulation is “thlipsis” It is used in a comprehensive way. It can mean tribulation, trouble, affliction, oppression, persecution and a sense of being pressed down or having a sense of being weighed down mentally, emotionally and even physically. It needs to be seen in light of the context in which it is used in the New Testament. In the eschatological passages of Matthew Chapter 24 Luke 21 and Mark 13 and in Revelation it is used to describe the suffering and persecution and affliction of the saints and for times of stress and trouble but not used for the wrath of God.
2. The Tribulation Saints are those who will be delivered from God’s Wrath but not from the Time of the Great Tribulation
Two different words are used for “wrath.” Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians that as believers “we are not destined or appointed for wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus the Messiah…who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9) The word used in 1 Thessalonians for wrath here is the Greek word “orge” and it expresses anger but has the idea of a magistrate passing sentence on a felon or one who has broken the law. It is a righteous and just anger that is being expressed judicially. As believers redeemed and protected by the blood of the Messiah we are not destined for this judicial judgement. Our sins were judged at the cross, and because we have accepted and acted by faith on this great Biblical truth, and having met the conditions for salvation, we will not be judged along with the rest of the unsaved world that have rejected salvation. (Ephesians 1:7) (Romans 5:9)
Having said this there is a second word used for wrath and it is in the context of the bowls of the wrath of God (Revelation 16:1). The Greek word is “thumos” and this describes anger brought to boiling point that overflows without restraint. With this kind of anger there is no reprieve. It was this kind of righteous anger that brought the flood upon the ancient world and the fire that fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah. This is not tribulation but wrath. Lot was in tribulation in Sodom (Genesis 19:9) (2 Peter 2:7-8). However when the wrath of God was poured out upon Sodom Lot was out of the city. This teaches us about what will happen at the end of this age during the time of Great Tribulation. Most of the book of Revelation is tribulation (thlipsis) only at the end does it become wrath (orge/thumos). Faithful New Covenant believers will experience much tribulation in this life and in the time of Great Tribulation but never experience the wrath of God!
3. The Tribulation Saints are those who will be given God’s Power to overcome lawlessness and to endure to the End
(Matthew 24:12-13) “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of most will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
At the end of this age just before our Lord Jesus returns to earth most believers will have grown cold and that due to lawlessness. Satan’s lawlessness will be at the zenith of its diabolical power in the lives of those unsaved in the world and in the lives of a spiritually backslidden Christendom. The word “love” is the word “agape” which is only used for those who have been saved. However, those who have been saved and persevere in the Spirit’s power to the end will be saved and completely taken out of this present evil age when the rapture and resurrection occur at the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus.
While many within wider Christendom will have “tasted” the things of God they have not continued to keep the oil of the spirit in the lamp of their inner spirit burning and consequently run out of spiritual power and are unable to persevere to the end (Hebrews 6:4-6). We are not talking about believers struggling with the world, the flesh and the devil or those brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus who through manifold temptations do sin. All of us who have been born again by the Holy Spirit and sealed by Him for the day of our ultimate redemption, and have been born again if we are honest, experience this daily conflict within between the desires of the flesh militating against the desires of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18).
It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus that any of us will be able to overcome these sinful appetites and desires that afflict our souls in this world (Galatians 5:22-25 (Romans 7:14-25, 7-9, 12-17). This is why we must guard ourselves against what we say and do and especially what we allow ourselves to look at on the internet, the major tool of Satan these days to get believers to turn aside from the Word of God. Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air.” The word ‘air’ is the atmosphere just above the earth’s surface where the radio and television and internet waves flow to and fro across the surface of the earth. The question can be asked “Do we have our eyes fixed on the light of God’s Word or on the light in the living room or in the bedroom?” Those who have been truly saved and sealed with the Holy Spirit for the day of full redemption at the rapture and resurrection will persevere to the end and that only by God’s power. No one will be able to pluck them out of the Fathers hand because in His foreknowledge God has given them to His Son to be His bride for all eternity.
As the Lord Jesus said; “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:37-40). And again He said; “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).
“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
In these verses we are told that faithful New Covenant Bible believers will be handed over to ungodly secular and religious powers. Beatings will also be a part of this persecution. Many have experienced this in past centuries and will also experience this in the future and even now in most countries in the world to a greater of lesser degree our faithful brothers and sisters are standing before governors and political leaders because of their loyalty to the Lord Jesus. This will increase in frequency and intensity and become widespread in all nations during the time of Great Tribulation. We will be hated by all nations the Lord Jesus said (Matthew 24:9). This will provide further opportunities to testify to the unsaved the gospel of the kingdom which must be preached as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). The preaching of the gospel of the kingdom on a global scale will be the final sign that the Lord Jesus said would mark the end of this present age just before He comes back.
We are also told that when we are brought to trial that we should not give into anxiety regarding how we will respond, as intense as that anxiety will be for most of us, but at that very hour when we need God’s supernatural empowerment the most whatever comes out of our mouth in testimony will not be us speaking but the Holy Spirit speaking through us. We may not see how this could be at present living in our comfort zones in the western democracies but this is what our Lord Jesus promised to do in us and through us having sealed us with His Spirit for the day of our full redemption out of this present evil age. The days are coming when Mark 13:9-13 will become a reality for western Christendom.
Sadly, tragically, many of us will be betrayed by family members who want to save their lives in this world. Betrayals ending in death will be at the hands of close family members. Did our Lord Jesus say; “For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” (Matthew 10:35-36). He was not putting down the importance of family relationships or denying their necessity but speaking about the gospel which will cause division within families which history attests to because of rejecting the gospel of the kingdom. In Islamic families and strict religious Jewish families this is a common occurrence when a family member becomes a New Covenant Bible believer in the Messiah our Lord Jesus. In Islam they are killed by their own family members. At the very end of the age, which is rapidly approaching, faithful New Covenant believers will be hated in society and treated as vermin that need to be disposed of.
Luke also affirms these truths of God supernaturally enabling His elect saints to stand to the end. He tells us that the words of God’s wisdom will be so powerful that those hearing them will not be able to refute this testimony and Luke says; “But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives“(Luke 21:19b). We may die physically but we will be more alive than ever because we will be absent from our body and present with the Lord! (2 Corinthians 5:8).
(1 Peter 4:12-14)
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share the Messiah’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
The apostle Peter knew that Nero the pagan Roman emperor would be burning believers at the stake and most likely it had already started to happen. We are told by historians that Nero sewed believers into animal skins on stakes and burnt them alive to light up his garden parties. This was a fiery trial that many were suffering and would continue to suffer under that antichrist Nero. Both Peter and Paul were martyred during the reign of Nero.
Peter was encouraging the flock over whom the Holy Spirit had made him their shepherd, in that they were together all sharing in the suffering of the Messiah and that when His glory was revealed at His Second Coming they would all be with Him and glorified with new immortal bodies the same as He has which scripture affirms (Philippians 3:21) (1 John 3:2). In that day the rapture and resurrection will be a reality for all of the tried and tested saints. If we are insulted because we stand firm for the sake of the name of the Messiah our Lord Jesus we will be blessed in abundance and beyond human understanding and strength because the Spirit and Glory of God will be resting upon us powerfully! In the time of the great Tribulation the elect saints of God, the faithful Body of the Messiah, being the tribulation saints, will go into this Time of the Big Trouble but come out at the very end of it in triumph!
4. The Tribulation Saints will be the faithful Body of the Messiah; being His bride, that will overcome Satan by the Power of God
(Revelation 12:11) “And they overcame him (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”
Persecution of faithful New Covenant believers has always been a mark of every century going all the way back to the time of the apostles. In the last three and a half years of this present evil age it will intensify and become widespread throughout the whole world and in every nation. In every age, from the first century onwards down to the present day faithful believers experiencing heaviness through manifold temptations and persecution for their faith but remaining faithful to God’s Word, will be overcomers and that by the supernatural power of God enabling His elect saints to stand against all the satanic engineered surmounting odds stacked against them.
We are the end-time generation of New Covenant believers. The event that makes this so is that after almost 2,000 years of exile Israel is once again a nation reborn in a day and that by the direct hand of God! (Isaiah 66:7-9). Israel is God’s prophetic time-clock for the Gentile nations. In 70AD the clock broke down but not beyond repair. In 1948 the clock started ticking again. God’s repairing started, it still needs work but this will be completed by the divine watch maker and repairer Himself, the Living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and fully completed at the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus to inaugurate his Messianic kingdom after He has completely destroyed all opposition. In that Day the Messiah will rule the nations with a Rod of iron! His law will be the only law!
How far we are from the clock striking midnight we cannot tell but when it does the seventh and last trumpet will sound announcing that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15). Also at this time Israel will be rescued and the tribulation saints raptured and resurrected (Romans 11:23-29) (Matthew 24:31) (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) (Revelation 7:14). We also will co-reign with Him as a kingdom of priests! (Revelation 5:10).
How can we overcome Satan in these last days!
Most certainly not by our own strength or will power because Satan is more powerful than we are humanly speaking. However, He the Messiah who is dwelling in us through the presence of the Holy Spirit is the Lord Jesus’ indestructible, eternal supernatural, resurrection life and power in us that is greater than he that is in the world! (Satan) (1 John 4:4). We have the divine power of the triune God by which we can overcome Satan. There are three things the apostle John mentions, being at the time he wrote his first epistle, as a brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are the lot of all followers of the Lord Jesus. These three things are mentioned…
We overcome Satan by the Blood of the Lamb
When the Israelites were to be protected from the destroying angel on the night of the Passover they had to splash the blood of the sacrificed Lamb on the top and on the sides and on the doorsteps of their houses and stay inside. The blood actually formed a cross when you consider how it was applied. The blood in the basis was not effective until it was taken out of the bowl and splashed on the doorposts as an act of faith. Only then was it effective to protect the Israelites from the destroying angel. It is the blood of Jesus that will justify us when we exercise saving faith in the Lord Jesus and His blood will protect us from the coming wrath of God (Romans 5:9).
We overcome Satan by our word of testimony
We can know from the Word of God what the blood of Jesus does for us but when we confess with our mouth what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us, we have the supernatural power to overcome whatever Satan and his minions from hell throw against us. When we confess what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus has power to do in us and for us in effect we, like the Israelites did, are taking the blood out of the basin and applying it by faith as they did. Confession is also a part of the salvation experience (Matthew 10:32) (Romans 10:9-13).
One way to put this into practice is to take communion every morning and confess out loud those passages from God’s Word that tell us what the blood of Jesus has done for us, is doing in us and will do for us! At first Satan will try every dirty trick in the book to stop us from taking the bread and the wine but over time, as we keep doing it every day Satan’s power will start to wane. This persistence in taking the Lord’s Supper has nothing to do with feeling spiritual as our emotions can be deceptive even at the best of times and for the most part not the barometer of our true spiritual condition and standing with God, As we persevere in faith and do not give up we will see Satan’s strongholds over our lives weaken. Make much use of the blood of Jesus!
We overcome Satan by not considering our lives in this world.
All of us because we are living in this world naturally have a leaning towards looking after ourselves and our families and enjoying the things the world offers by way of material possessions. This is part and parcel of our daily lives in this present world. We are always naturally inclined to love our lives in this world, to pursue careers, financial security, emotionally gratifying relationships and living free from persecution and undue suffering if we can. It is not natural to seek persecution. Our Lord Jesus Himself said that if it is possible when we are facing persecution we should flee to another city and of course take the gospel of the kingdom with us, which the first century believers did (Acts 8:4) (Acts 11:19). Persecution purifies the saints and perfects them for God’s work and through it His Word will spread and prevail (Matthew 10:23).
However, if escape is impossible then we are to look alone to the Lord Jesus for His all sufficient power and strength to prevail which He will give us in abundance at the very same hour when we need it! He is able to do in us far more abundantly above anything we can ask or even imagine by His power that works mightily within us! (Ephesians 3:20).
In this world we need to be content with what we have as believers. If we have food, clothing and enough money to live on and a roof over our head what more do we need. Godliness with contentment is great gain. As the apostle Paul writes; “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:6-10). The more things we have of this worlds material possessions the more we have to let go of when the time of Great Tribulation comes upon Israel, upon the world and upon Christendom.
We need to hold loosely onto the things we possess. After all as the Lord Jesus said that a man’s life does not consist in the things he possesses. We come into this world with nothing and we take nothing out of it. It is not what we take with us when we leave this world as believers but what we leave behind; hopefully the legacy of a life lived for the will of God and the abundance of spiritual fruitfulness as a result in the lives of those we leave behind! As John Wesley said; “God buries His workers but continues his work!”
Every day we face the challenge of laying down our own wills and selfish desires to embrace the will and desires that God has for us. Our flesh does not want to die to the world or to the things this world offers but through the power of the blood, the power of God’s Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit and through the power of praying in the Holy Spirit we can daily and progressively crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. It is a spiritual process that all of us must experience if we would endure to the end. The trials and tests we are facing that God uses to spiritually purify us are preparing us for eternity and our heavenly reward in eternity.
If it comes to laying down our lives then God will enable us to do this. God already knows how our life on this earth will end and has already prepared us for it. We may not see how this could be when viewed through human reasoning, but down through history, multitudes of faithful New Covenant Bible believers have paid the ultimate sacrifice and in the resurrection will receive a great reward and co-reign in glorious splendour with the Messiah in His Messianic kingdom to come and then for all of eternity after that! (Revelation 20:4).
There is a story told of two believers that were to be burned at the stake. One was a young believer and the other a seasoned veteran of many spiritual battles. Both of them were in the same cell. Through the barred window they could see the stake and the faggots already standing in the courtyard. These dear saints were to be burned the next morning. In the cell on the window ledge as single candle burned. Both of them tried to put their finger into the flame to see what it would be like to be burned and both of them did not find it a pleasant experience. When morning came the executioners came into the cell to take the prisoners out one by one. They took the seasoned believer first. He turned to the young believer and said if the Lord is with me I will raise my hand. He would be able to do this as the fire would burn through the rope. As he was tied to the stake the young believer started through the window in fear and with trepidation at what he was about to witness. Well the faggots were set ablaze and the flames licked up over the believers robes and burnt through the ropes and as the young believer started at the horrific scene before his eyes he saw this seasoned veteran raise both hands as a sign of victory and went to be with Jesus in a blaze of glory! That young man was so strengthened in his faith that he went to the flames with a settled peace in his heart knowing that he would be translated into the presence of the Lord Jesus and reunited with his brother who had preceded him!
There will be Tribulation Saints
Who then will the Tribulation Saints? The apostle Paul defines them when he writes; “All who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). There will be tribulation saints, some will escape, some will be imprisoned, some will be marginalised from society, some will be betrayed by family members and relatives, some will be tortured and some martyred, however, in these days the Spirit of Glory and of God will rest mightily upon all who have decided to persevere to the end by looking only to the Lord Jesus and to the strength given by the blessed Holy Spirit, and by standing by faith on the blood and righteousness of the Messiah our Lord Jesus. May the Lord Jesus give us all who have put our trust in Him to save us, give us the power to endure to the end! To be kept from the power of the evil one, and to hold fast to the profession of our faith! Faithful is He who calls us into His service and glory and He will do it! For He who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion at the day when the Lord Jesus comes back for his bride! Selah!