Q. I just listened to your MP3 series on Revelation chapter 7-9. In part 4 you talk about the Tribulation Martyrs serving Jesus in the temple etc, but they would not receive the reward that the Church does, which is to be co-heirs with Christ. I had never seen this before while reading Revelation until you mentioned it. Can you explain why you think this is so? So basically what your saying is that as soon as the Rapture happens anyone who believes after that point is not really part of the Church but is classified in another group. (Kind of like Israel is a separate group.) Can you go further into this?
A. The earliest date for the birth of the Church is on Pentecost, 50 days after the Resurrection, and it will disappear in the rapture. Therefore, just as Old Testament believers aren’t part of the Church, neither are Tribulation believers. And a careful reading of Rev. 7:9-17 shows that the destiny of these believers is much different from the Church.
They’re specifically described as serving God in His Temple, and yet they are never called priests. This is a role never ascribed to the Church. In fact there is no Temple in the New Jerusalem, home of the church (Rev. 21:22). Also there’s no mention of the saints in Rev. 7 ever ruling and reigning with Christ as is the Church’s destiny.
Ephesians 2:14-17 clearly portrays the Church as an entirely new and unique race of human, different from any other, with a future designed to show just how far God can go in lavishing His grace upon us (Ephes. 2:6-7). In my opinion, we don’t hear anywhere near enough on this subject from the pulpit.
During the Church Age, God asks people to believe solely by faith (John 6:28-29), and promises blessings beyond those of any other group to those who do. But once Daniel’s 70th week begins, God’s supernatural power will once again be on display for all to see. During that time belief in Him will be as much by evidence as by faith, like it was in the Old Testament. Believing in what you see is not as commendable to God as is believing what you don’t see, hence the different destiny of Tribulation believers from that of the Church.