Question Time - Will the church go through the great tribulation?

Richard Collings, Caerphilly, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]


Will the church go through the great tribulation? 



Before offering an answer to this question there are a couple of points that need to be clarified. Firstly, I assume that when the questioner asks, ‘Will the church go through the tribulation?’ they really mean ‘will some of the church go through the tribulation?’ I make this assumption because countless myriads of believers down the centuries have already finished their course and are absent from the body and ‘present with the Lord’. Secondly, we know that throughout the church age Christians have endured tribulation. There may even be some readers of this magazine who live in countries where persecution and severe opposition to Christianity is a constant threat, and they know experientially what the Lord meant when He said, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation’, John 16. 33. However, as difficult as their circumstances are, we must distinguish between such trials and that to which the Lord referred in the Olivet discourse, ‘For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be’, Matt. 24. 21. 


Based on the prophecy recorded in Daniel chapter 9, and other scriptures, we learn that there is coming a period of seven years that will be divided into two equal parts. Those seven years commence when the man of sin confirms a covenant with the unbelieving Jews, a covenant that is described in Isaiah as being a ‘covenant with death’. Although we often refer to the whole seven years as being the tribulation, it is the latter half which the Lord has in mind in the verse quoted from Matthew’s Gospel; it is those final three-and-a-half years that are ‘the great tribulation’.


The critical event that ensures that not one single Christian will experience any of the tribulation is the rapture of the church, a truth that links several scriptures together. To begin, let’s examine Paul’s final words in 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, ‘And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come’. Not only will none of us go through the tribulation, we shall not even go into it. The wrath that Paul refers to is a descriptive term for the tribulation, and the apostle tells us that we shall be saved ‘from’ it, i.e., away from it, not out of it. How is that deliverance achieved? It is achieved by God’s Son coming out of heaven at the event we commonly call ‘the rapture’.


At the beginning and ending of Revelation, there are numerous references, either directly or metaphorically, to the church. However, from chapter 6 through to the end of chapter 19 the focus is on events on the earth, and, in particular, on the judgement of God. Those chapters cover the seven years of Daniel’s prophecy, and, thus, they include the three-and-a-half years of the great tribulation. They record for us what will happen during the ‘day of vengeance of our God’, Isa. 61. 2. What is significant is that there is not a single mention of the church being on earth during that time – and for good reason, for she will not be there, having been caught up to meet God’s Son who had come out of heaven to deliver her from the wrath to come.


As already stated, the tribulation will commence when the man of sin confirms a covenant with the many of apostate Israel. I believe that in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 2, Paul teaches that the man of sin cannot be revealed until after the church has been removed at the rapture; the presence of Christians on earth prevents his revelation.


Unquestionably, the tribulation era will be a time of unparalleled affliction which will put massive strains upon God’s people who will be on earth during that time. If there was any possibility that Christians would have to face those dark days, I would expect to find some very clear guidance in the church epistles of Paul, and the writings of Peter, as to how they should conduct themselves in such circumstances, but there is absolutely none. We rejoice in the knowledge that ‘God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ’, 1 Thess. 5. 9.

Questions for this column should be addressed to



AUTHOR PROFILE: RICHARD COLLINGS is a trustee of Precious Seed and writes the ‘Question Time’ page of the magazine.

There are 22 articles in
ISSUE (2016, Volume 71 Issue 1)

The Land and People of Israel, what does the future hold? - Drew Craig

Widows, Orphans and Strangers - God Loves the Stranger (3)

A Word for Today - καινός

Chaplaincy at London's Heathrow Airport

Characters Around the Crucifixion - Part 2: Ciaphas who Sacrificed Him

Christ – A Greater than Solomon (3) As to His Supplication (6)

The Doctrine of Justification

Earthquakes of Scripture (3)


Ephesians - Part 4: Chapter 2 vv 11-22

Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hand to God, Ps. 68. 31 NKJV


Gleanings from the book of Ruth - Alex Dryburgh

The Gospel Preached by the Lord Jesus

How to Master the Bible - Martin Anstey

The Lord's Upper Room Ministry(1)

Lordship in the Assembly

Nathan the Prophet

Question Time - Will the church go through the great tribulation?

Reports and News - Gospel Work and Other Activities

Their Finest Hour - Daniel

Truth & Training from Titus - Part 2: Chapter 1 vv 2-4

This article is not part of a series

There are 49 articles by this author

Question Time

Question Time

Question Time

Question Time

An Introduction to a Study of Future Events

Question Time

Question TIme - Why do I find it hard to spend time in prayer?

Question - Will there be different levels of reward for believers?

Question - Is it wrong for a woman to cut her hair?

Question Time - Does the Bible specify a dress code for the meetings?

Question TIme - Should there be a minimum age set for those requesting baptism?

Question TIme - What is scriptural marriage?

Question TIme - Should elders discuss matters relating to oversight with their wives?

Recognising Elders

Question TIme - Can I use my natural skills in the service of the Lord?

Question TIme - Does the teaching of 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verses 2-16 apply only to assembly gat

Question TIme - Is it wrong for a Christian to be cremated?

Question Time - What guidance does the scripture give regarding organ donation?

Question Time - Are there scriptural grounds to justify leaving one assembly to join another in the

The Final rebellion and the great white throne judgement

An overview of the Lord’s Supper

Question Time

Question Time

The Symbols of Headship

Question Time

Question Time - Why are people leaving assemblies and meeting elsewhere?

Question Time - What is the most effective way of teaching God’s people?

Question Time

Question Time - Should some assemblies consider meeting in a house instead of a hall?

Question Time - Will the church go through the great tribulation?

Question Time - Does the New Testament stipulate what meetings an assembly should convene?

Question Time - Is ill health an evidence of God’s chastening?

Question Time - Why do we worship on a Sunday and not on the seventh day?

Question TIme

Question Time - Is it appropriate for assemblies to donate to non-Christian charities?

Question Time - What advice can be offered to a couple who cannot have children?

Question Time

Question Time

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Question Time

Question Time - Is it wrong for a Christian to go out with someone who is not saved?

What does the Bible tell us about the future? - Part 2 ‘I will come again’

Question Time

What does the Bible tell us about the future? - Part 4 - ‘I will come again’

Question Time - Is it essential that an assembly should convene a weekly gospel meeting?

Question Time - Does the first part of 1 John chapter 3 verse 8 teach us that a Christian will never sin?

Question Time - Can a Christian commit the unpardonable sin?

Question Time - Is any aspect of the Mosaic law binding on Christians? 

An Assembly of the Lord’s people will be a people among whom ... Prayer Arises to God - Part 7