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Having established a biblical-theological pattern that God has worked with both Israel and the church simultaneously in the past and in the present. It should not be unexpected then that God will work with both Israel and the church at the same time in the future—particularly during the seven-year period. There is a striking juxtaposition in Rev 7 depicting God’s protection of two groups just before the day of the Lord’s wrath begins with the opening of the seventh seal. The first group are the 144,000 “from all the tribes of the people of Israel.”
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so no wind could blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, who had the seal of the living God. He shouted out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given permission to damage the earth and the sea: “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Now I heard the number of those who were marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from all the tribes of the people of Israel: From the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed. (Rev 7:1–8)
These 144,000 are, at least in part, the remnant of Israel who will converted at the end of the age—or, more specifically, at the end of the seventieth week of Daniel thereby fulfilling the prophecy in Daniel 9:24–27. God will redeem this group at that time when they recognize Jesus as their long-awaited messiah (cf. Zech 12:10). It is said that they are protected on earth from the impending wrath of God by having a “seal” placed on their foreheads: “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God” (Rev 7:3). Yet, there is another group that is simultaneously protected from the soon-arrival of God’s eschatological wrath. This group, however, is not protected on earth but delivered to heaven before the throne of God. They are described as an innumerable number who appear in heaven “who have come out of the great tribulation,” possessing newly resurrected bodies:
After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. They were shouting out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood there in a circle around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” Then one of the elders asked me, “These dressed in long white robes—who are they and where have they come from?” So I said to him, “My lord, you know the answer.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb! For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them. They will never go hungry or be thirsty again, and the sun will not beat down on them, nor any burning heat, because the Lamb in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:9–17)
Their protection happens by being transferred to heaven where they are shown praising God for their deliverance and resurrected bodies. This description can be none other than the whole people of God from the beginning of time, encompassing all believers down to, and including, church age saints. It is not my intention here to expand on this point, since I have written in depth on this topic elsewhere. But I should point out a key cohesive link to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse that locates the cutting short of the great tribulation: “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no [elect’s] life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (Matt 24:21–22 NASB). When the great tribulation is cut short, Jesus returns to gather his elect before he metes out his judgment (Matt 24:29–31; cf. John 14:1–3).
My purpose for commenting on these two groups in Rev 7 is to make the observation that it is not a coincidence that both groups are viewed together as being protected at this point just before the seventh seal is opened. God’s wrath does not begin at the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel; rather, it begins when the scroll is opened, which will occur when the final, seventh seal is broken. There is a consistent progression to God’s activity before the wrath is unleashed. The fifth seal promises God’s wrath (Rev 6:9–11), the sixth seal portends God’s wrath (Rev 6:12–17), God protects his people from his wrath (Rev 7), the seventh seal pronounces God’s wrath (Rev 8–9; 15–16).
Knowing therefore how God deals with both Israel and the church in the past and present, it should not be surprising for the student of prophecy to conceive that God will work with both at the same time during the future seven-year period.
Before we conclude, there are two other passages in Revelation I want to briefly comment on that is related to our topic. Revelation 12:17–18 reads, “So the dragon became enraged at the woman [Israel] and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus [the church]. And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.” This passage is in the context of the midpoint of the seventieth week of Daniel when Satan possesses the beast (Antichrist) “having great wrath” and will first pursue the “woman,” the Jewish remnant, which most likely is the 144,000. Then his plan is thwarted (Rev 12:13–16) and shifts to plan B and pursues the second object of his hatred, the church: “those who keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus” (Rev 12:17; cf. Rev 13:9–10). Thus this is another passage portraying the juxtaposition of two redemptive groups, a Jewish remnant [Israel] and the church, who are both seen on earth during the time of Antichrist’s great tribulation. In Rev 7, as discussed above, they are later seen being delivered just before God’s wrath begins. First Satan’s/Beast’s wrath, then God’s wrath.
Thus there is a juxtaposition of Israel and the church during the great tribulation (Rev 12:1–17), just before God’s wrath (Rev 7), and finally, a beautiful description of both in the consummation: “[The New Jerusalem] has a massive, high wall with twelve gates, with twelve angels at the gates, and the names of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel are written on the gates. There are three gates on the east side, three gates on the north side, three gates on the south side and three gates on the west side. The wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev 21:12–14).
In conclusion, in recent previous episodes, I addressed the false claim that Daniel’s seventy-week prophecy requires the church to be “absent” from the earth during the last seven years, because of the fact that the church was not in existence during the first sixty-nine weeks (i.e. 483 years). I showed that this is an illogical and baseless assertion. Then I addressed the pretrib claim that if an Old Testament prophecy was given to Israel and about Israel, therefore the church cannot be on earth when that prophecy is fulfilled. I adduced a host of counter examples to show this is an errant pretrib interpretation, because God has worked with both Israel and the church at the same time in the past, in the present, and will in the future. It therefore cannot be maintained that Old Testament prophecies—such as Daniel’s seventieth-week prophecy—excludes the church from the seventieth week of Daniel. Rather, the biblical evidence encourages the student of prophecy to view the church, not only present, but active, along with Israel, during the seven year period. Daniel 9:24–27 is a fundamental proof text for pretribulational theology. The pretrib presupposition of Dan 9:24–27 that maintains that the church must be raptured before the final seven-years is a forced, erroneous inference that systemically skews the biblical message on this topic. God works with both Israel and the church at the same time, while maintaining their distinctive purposes within the larger redemptive picture. There is diversity within unity. One people of God, realized through two main expressions: Israel and the church.
 For my full exegetical treatment on this text concluding that this is a picture of the result of the resurrection and rapture, see my Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord.
 Revelation 12–15:4 is a major parenthetical section that pauses the narrative to give a panoramic view of the kingdom conflict between Satan, and God and fills in more information on Antichrist’s activities during the great tribulation depicted in the fourth and fifth seal in Rev 6. See Kurschner, Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord, 182–87.