The Tribulation’s purpose is to give Jews and Gentiles one final opportunity to repent of their ways, trust Jesus for their salvation and be transformed into the new creation before the Books are closed on them forever.
Note several things. First, our scapegoat, upon Whom all our sins were carried away and our names were written into the Book of Life.
Second, the penning of our names into the Book at salvation is part of our transformation into a new spiritual creation. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly, a Christian’s spiritual transformation is permanent.
One cannot, by an act of his own will, revert back to his old spiritual form, whether Jew or Gentile, anymore than one can become an angel. All four are distinct and different from one another.
Third, the Tribulation Period is the ‘time of Jacob’s Trouble’ — a last chance for Jews and Gentiles to turn to Christ and be saved. All three books are open. Those who enter into the Tribulation are those whose names are currently written into the Book of ‘In-Between’ — unregenerate Jews and Gentiles.
One can accept Jesus and have one’s name written into the Book of Life, as the Bible says the Tribulation saints and martyrs will do.
It is also a time during which one can write his name into the Book of Unrighteousness by accepting the Mark of the Beast.
The Church, having already been written into the Book of Life, has no role to play in the Tribulation Period. The Bible says that God will ‘seal’ 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes of Israel as His chosen evangelists during the Tribulation (Revelation 7) who will carry on the work the Church does during the Church Age.
We find then, a number of truths confirmed. First, our eternal security. One cannot revert back to his or her previous spiritual state, since, at regeneration, the old man no longer exists to revert back TO.
Instead, “he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Second, it is obvious that the Church has no role to play during the Tribulation. The task of the Church is given to the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.
Third, the Tribulation Period is the time when the Book of ‘In-Between’ is opened. Rosh Hashanah is the Feast of the Trumpets, and the feast concludes with the blowing of the last trumpet.
After Rosh Hashanah, there is a ten-day period during which one has an opportunity to have his name registered in the Book of Life before the Day of Atonement when the Books are closed for the Day of Atonement.
The Body of Christ is already recorded in the Book of Life. All our sins were atoned for before the last trumpet sounded. To the Church, all the Books are already closed. We don’t belong. A pretribulation Rapture isn’t a ‘great escape’ for the Church, it is an utter necessity to the Plan of God moving forward.
Without a pre-trib Rapture, the purpose of the Tribulation Period reverts from a final opportunity to write one’s name in the appropriate Book to a period of indiscriminate judgment inflicted on a trusting Church, who by virtual of irreversible spiritual transformation, cannot possibly benefit from the ‘last chance’ period between the ‘last trump’ and the Day of Atonement on the plains of Megiddo at the Second Coming.
In fact, if one moves the ‘last trump’ into the middle or to the end of the Tribulation, it no longer has an discernible purpose apart from punishing the inhabitants of the earth indiscriminately.
Think of it this way. If the purpose of the Tribulation is to punish the wicked, it seems like a case of overkill, since the wicked are already slated for eternal punishment. On this side of the Tribulation, God doesn’t punish evildoers on earth.
As far back as David, believers lamented, “how long shall the wicked triumph?” (Psalms 94:3) Psalms 73 asks the same question, before answering it in verse 17:
“Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”
If God reserves punishment for the wicked until eternity on this side of the Tribulation Period, why would He design a seven year period that, apart from a last chance at redemption, constitutes a special, dual punishment for one wicked generation out of all generations in human history?
Bottom line: Salvation is an eternal condition that begins at that point when one trusts Jesus. Once becoming a new spiritual creature, the old one no longer exists to revert back to, even if one were so inclined.
Those who are saved are written in the Book of Life. Those in the Book of Life have no further need of a last opportunity at atonement during the Tribulation Period.
The work of the Church during the Tribulation Period is carried on by Jewish evangelists chosen and sealed by God for that purpose.
The Church has no purpose assigned to it during the Tribulation, apart from being martyred, which makes Paul’s admonition to ‘comfort one another with these words’ [of the Rapture] somewhat meaningless.
Without a period between the last trumpet and the Day of Atonement, there is no opportunity offered for those whose name is written in the ‘Book of In Between’ to choose either the Book of Life or the Book of the Unrighteous.
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet SHALL sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:52)
The ‘mystery’ must happen first, before the Tribulation can begin. And NOW, Paul’s admonition finds a context: