The church is spared
By Merrill Olson
Domestic violence is an all-too-familiar thing in our society. It may have happened with family members, neighbors, friends, or co-workers. It may have occurred with someone reading this article. You know what it is like. It has touched you personally. You know the trauma of it.
Nevertheless, the experience of it or knowing about it leads to an understanding regarding the Lord Jesus Christ and His redeemed church, His bride. However, when we look into the New Testament, the phrase “bride of Christ” is not in it. But, the idea concerning this unbreakable union with Christ appears throughout Scripture (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:23-27; Rev. 19:7; 21:9). In other words, it pictures the intimacy that “born again” (John 3:3) people enjoy with Him. The Bible compares it to that of a husband and wife. In fact, in Ephesians 5:23-29 Paul is not just writing about human marriage. Instead, he is speaking about “Christ and the church” (v.32).
With this understanding of the Lord’s relationship to His redeemed church His bride, a person gains insight into the importance of the Rapture before the Tribulation period.
As one studies prophetic Scripture, it is not too difficult to realize that this seven year period is going to be a time of unparalleled horror. It will be characterized by world-wide disaster and God’s wrath. Revelation 6-19 describes it vividly when God pours out His righteous anger in three sets of judgments in the form of seals, trumpets, and bowls.
Therefore, the question is asked: “Will Christ allows His redeemed bride to go through a period of His wrath?” Another question: What would you think of a groom who beat up his bride before their wedding? The answer does not need explanation.
The Tribulation period will entail two types of wrath. The first is the Antichrist’s fury against those who turn to Christ during this time and are put to death (Rev. 7:9-14). This is the Antichrist’s wrath against mankind. Believers today in other countries are dying for their faith in the Lord Jesus. Evil people make them suffer and put them to death. This is not God’s wrath but human wrath against other human beings.
However, the second type of wrath during the Tribulation period will be God’s wrath poured out on an evil world in the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. It will be so bad that people will cry out for the mountains and rocks to fall on them to hide them “from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand” (Rev. 6:15-17)?
On the other hand, we are promised that the bride of Christ will not experience God’s wrath. God assures us through His Word that we are “to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come”
(1 Thess. 1:10). “The wrath to come” refers to the Great Tribulation period. “Delivers” denote the rescue the Lord provides. He is the great Deliverer and Rescuer from the “wrath to come.” This rescue is the promise of the pre-tribulation Rapture!
Merrill Olson served as a senior pastor for thirty-four years. He received a B.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, an M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is currently involved as an interim pastor along with a teaching and writing ministry. His emphasis is on apologetics and training believers to defend their faith in Christ from God’s Word. He is well versed in Bible prophecy as it pertains to end times. He is a gifted speaker with the conviction that only by the Word of God can people experience inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. He has been married to his wife, Jan, for many years and resides in Minnesota.