Here is the fourth installment of this series—points 7 through 10.
7. The church should not be described as those who dwell upon the earth (Rev. 3:10). Earth dwellers (katoikeo) in this verse are those who have associated themselves with the world. All the references where this word (katoikeo) is used (Rev. 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14), refers to those who worship the antichrist, who will rejoice over the death of the two witnesses, and who are deceived by the false prophet. This expression can have no reference to the church. Therefore, we must conclude that the church is gone during the Tribulation. As is the promise here, God will keep them (the church) from the hour of testing. He will rapture them all before the Tribulation comes.
8. The church cannot go through the Tribulation because that would subject Christ to judgment. Since we the church are of one body with Christ and can’t be separated from Him, if the church is subjected to the wrath of God in the Tribulation, so will Christ. This can never be! The church, with Christ, cannot be subject to judgment or the promises of God would be of none effect, and the death of Christ would be ineffectual (promises: Rom. 8:1; Jn. 5:24). Thus the church cannot go through the wrath of the Tribulation.
9. The church is absent in Revelation 4 through 18. The church is mentioned several times in the first three chapters of Revelation, but is not mentioned at all from chapters 4 through 18, which are the chapters which describe the Tribulation.
However, we may notice that immediately after John is called up to heaven in chapter 4, he sees the church represented figuratively by the twenty-four elders (v.4), which suggests that the church has been raptured to heaven just before the Tribulation begins. Then also, notice that just before Jesus comes to the earth in chapter 19:11, we again see these 24 elders in heaven worshipping God (v. 4). They have been in heaven with Jesus all during the Tribulation, and are ready to follow Him to earth and into His kingdom (v. 14).
10. Signs of Christ’s Second Coming were not given to the church. Many signs were given to Israel (e.g. Matthew 24), so that they would be prepared and ready for His second coming, but the church was given no such signs. In all of Paul’s Epistles, which were written to the church, there are no signs of His coming; rather the church was instructed to be watchful for His coming—that He could come at any time (1 Thess. 5:6; Titus 2:3; Rev. 3:3).
Therefore, for Israel, certain things need to happen according to signs before He will come; but for the church, nothing needs to happen. This clearly tells us that Israel will be living during the Tribulation, for it is during the Tribulation that the fulfillment of the signs are to take place. But since there are no signs for the church, this means that He will come for us at any time, which will be before the Tribulation.