Since Christ’s resurrection, every generation of Christians has wondered about these two questions: 1) When will Christ return and establish His eternal Kingdom; and 2) What will happen to believers during the great tribulation. In answer to the first question, the mighty angel in Revelation 10 swears by the eternal God of heaven, and says: “that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled” (Rev 10:6ff). God has appointed a time in history, in which He will judge the world in righteousness and reward His saints. This is good news indeed!
In chapter 11, John receives a second vision to tell us about the fate of believers during the period prior to Christ’s return. There we learn that: 1) the believers will be divinely protected, not one of them will be lost at the time of great tribulation; 2) they will faithfully testify of Christ, even in the face of great opposition, which will eventually cost them their lives; and 3) God will raise them up and they will ascend to be in glory with Him forever. John gives us this information in a highly figurative manner, which can certainly present some interpretive challenges; and this we will address during the time of exposition on Sunday, Lord willing.
In a time of much global uncertainty and unrest, it is most encouraging to know that the Lord will sustain us in the midst of it. As Jesus promised us, in the world we will have tribulation, but in Him we will have peace, because He has overcome the world (cf. John 16:33). Our victory is certain, because our King has conquered sin, Satan, and death, and He now reigns supreme above all the kings of the earth. Therefore, no matter what happens here on earth, we are in safe keeping of both the Father and the Son, and no one can snatch us out of their hands (cf. John 10:27ff). This, of course, does not mean that we will not face physical harm, but we can be certain that death is only a temporary condition for us Christians. As Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, so shall we. One day, death will be swallowed up in victory and we shall forever be with the Lord. Hallelujah! Having this eternal perspective will enable us to endure any hardship we face here for the sake of Christ.