Who will serve in the Great Tribulation?
In last month’s newsletter we explored the chiastic construction in Ephesians about putting on the full armor of God. Letters C and D reveal just how formidable this enemy actually is, but God gives us instruction in lines A and B about how to combat this enemy.
A. Put on the full armor of God
B. So that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
C. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
D. But against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
C. Against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
B. Therefore, take up the full armor of God,
A. So that you will be able to resist in the evil day. Eph 6:11-13
In this agonizing struggle against Satan, in which God is asking His children to participate by learning to stand in truth and righteousness, we learn from Scripture that there will be two future battles. The first will occur during the Great Tribulation and the second will take place at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.
At the beginning of the Great Tribulation God will select a remnant that will serve with Yeshua in a fierce confrontation with Satan. We know it is a remnant because we are told that those who are with the Lord Yeshua at that time are “the called and chosen and faithful” (Rev 17:14). As we learn in the parable, “Many are Chosen, but few are Called,” all God’s people are “called” by His name but only a remnant will be “chosen” because they are faithful.
In the Book of Revelation we catch a glimpse of this first future battle. There are two armies. One is led by the beast and the kings of the earth. The opposing army is led by “Him who sat on the horse,” which is Yeshua the Messiah.
I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Rev 19:19
Another indication that it will be a remnant that will overcome Satan during this first battle, which will initiate the Millennial Kingdom, is also suggested in the Book of Revelation.
Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection [at the time of the Great Tribulation]; over these the second death [at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment that follows the Millennial Kingdom] has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years [in the Millennial Kingdom]. Rev 20:6
Note the shift from the single “one” who is blessed and holy to the plural “they” who will become priests and reign with the Messiah. Both refer to the remnant, but the “one” highlights God’s selection of individuals worthy to participate in this epic battle against Satan, and “they” brings these individuals together as a collective army comprised of a chosen remnant.
At the end of the end of the Great Tribulation Satan will be chained and will then remain inactive during the Millennial Kingdom. However, at the end of the thousand years Satan will be released to gather another army for what will become the second and final future battle, which will completely defeat Satan and all that he represents.
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
3 And he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. Rev 20:1-3
The final battle occurs at the end of the Millennial Kingdom when Satan is free to assemble another army.
7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,
8 And will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. Rev 20:7-8
Thus, the remnant will comprise an army for God that will be led by the Lord Yeshua during the Great Tribulation. These warriors will be prepared to enter the battle with complete trust and a faithful willingness to follow and obey. They will be rewarded by entering the Millennial Kingdom in a close relationship with their king Yeshua.