1 Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.
Here Peter urges believers to keep on rejoicing in their relationship with God even though they are experiencing great persecution and suffering. In fact, he tells them that the more they share the sufferings of Christ, the more they should rejoice. Why? Because their suffering on earth, if they suffer willingly (trusting Him), will produce for them greater joy in the end, when they see Him; for then we will share with Him all our stories of suffering and will enjoy sweet fellowship together.
Now the revelation of His glory will occur at both phases of His coming: at the rapture and at the end of the tribulation. All who believe before the rapture, they will experience His glory for the first time at the rapture. But all who miss the rapture, but find salvation sometime during the tribulation, they will experience His glory for the first time when He comes to earth immediately after the tribulation. It is at this time, I believe, that the Old Testament saints and all the tribulation martyrs will be resurrected to glory and thus will also rejoice in His revelation.
But here is what is exciting for me and for His bride, the church: we will be rejoicing with Him through all of it; from our first encounter with Him at the rapture (when we are glorified), to the second phase of His coming and on into His millennial reign, and then to eternity. We won’t miss a thing, for we will be at His side as His bride, talking with Him and enjoying His presence.
Yes, we will have front row seats with Christ. And all during the 7-year tribulation, as we dine with Him, we will cheer on the saints and watch the devil and his demons go down in defeat. Then for a thousand years we will reign with Him on thrones in our glorified bodies. Oh what glory that will be for us—what a time of rejoicing!
And then finally, we will watch as our Lord judges all the unredeemed for eternity, and when this earth and the vast heavens are destroyed in a moment, and when He makes all things new—new heavens and a new earth! Oh, we have plenty to look forward to. Joys forever! Why not begin rejoicing even now as we fix our hope completely on the grace that He will bring us (1 Pt. 1:13).