Almost everyone has had a garden sometime during their lifetime and had an expectation of what the plant would resemble and knew it would produce the fruit we desired. To this end, we selected the seed and provided an environment that stimulated the growing conditions for the fruit we desired. We planted the seed in soil so the seed would sprout and take root. Then we cultivated the soil to stimulate root growth and remove other plant life that would use up the nutrients needed to produce fruit.
However, there is a time to plant, a time to sprout, a time to grow and a time to mature. Everything that is planted has a growing cycle and will not produce fruit until the plant has reached a state of maturity. Harvesting fruit from the plant always occurs at or near the end of the growing cycle.
Have you ever considered that God created Adam and Eve as seed and placed them in the Garden of Eden for a reason? Every seed was commanded to produce seed after its own kind and fill the earth. To this day the question of how much longer and when will this occur has always been on the minds of man. The Earth’s growth cycle will continue until harvest time when God swings his sickle to harvest the fruit of the earth. Jesus taught a parable to open our eyes to the answer we are seeking that concludes with this thought.
Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'" Matthew 13:30
The focus on this essay is to discuss the tribulation period in relation to resurrection of the saints and still tell God’s side of the story. Still it is amazing what you find what scholars have said about the tribulation period without a real consensus of agreement. One such writer described the distinctiveness of the tribulation period being described in the following two verses.
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. Matthew 24:21
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" Revelation 6:15-17
From these scriptures I see both sides of the earth’s harvest. In Matthew 24:21 Jesus is describing the times just before his return as being under greater distress than the normal distress. The distress will be caused by Satan’s persecution of the saints just prior to his face to face encounter with Christ.
However, we see another picture in Revelation 6:15-17 where we read about the angel describing the events to John as Christ is opening the seals. In addition what is amazing about the last two sentences of chapter six is this. The kings of the earth are trying to hide from the face of God sitting on his throne when the great day of God’s wrath has come. God and his Son have returned in all their glory.
This is a picture a few moments right after his coming which already has followed a series of events that harvest the earth. During the harvest the dead are raised without preference whether they are good or bad. Then Christ separates the “Wheat from the chaff” the “righteous from the wicked” the “just from the unjust” the “good from the bad” and the ”sheep from the goats.” One group is gathered to the right side and the other to the left. The final two verses of Revelation 6 relates the fear and anxiety of the wicked as God’s wrath is upon them, Part of the wrath of God is to allow them to see the saints inherit the kingdom of God.
To have a better picture of this scene we must understand what Jesus said in regards to his coming.
"Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. "It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. "It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30
Jesus is telling us that the normal everyday life will continue as if life was never going to end. We also need to consider that Noah and Lot was forewarned of the pending wrath of God and was taken to a place of safety before the wrath of God was poured out on the wicked. To the wicked, the day of wrath will come suddenly and will be caught red-handed indulging in sin.
As chapter seven begins the picture of the doomed of the previous chapter have been gathered with the elect and then separated. As you proceed into Chapter seven focuses on the 144,000 being sealed from the tribes of Israel and the millions of saints that have gone through the great tribulation. They have endured the tribulation and have overcome the trials of life through the blood and testimony of Jesus Christ. The saints are now in a place of safety and the impending punishment of the wicked is about to begin.
In reality these that stand before the throne of God were forewarned of the impending wrath of God. They humbled themselves before God and accepted the plan of reconciliation God provided for them. With his elect safely gathered, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings (Matthew 23:37) God spreads his tent over them.
In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. Isaiah 4:2-6
Can you imagine living in a futuristic city covered by a plastic dome and kept in a perfect environment? I believe that in God’s time or I assume that in chapter seven God will create a canopy similar to a futuristic city under a plastic dome. Notice that this canopy will be a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. Those who serve God will be under the umbrella of God’s protection and will enjoy the comforts of Heaven.
As in the story of Noah and Lot, once Lot and his two daughters reached Zoar and Noah and his family were in the arc they were in a place of safety, then it began to rain. God’s wrath fell as rain as an example of what we could expect when he comes.
Chapters eight through eleven and fifteen through sixteen of Revelation show the wrath of God as God plans to unleash his wrath. In these chapters three woes are spoken about that describe the desolation of the wicked that causes misery and sorrow.
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
It is written leave room for God’s vengeance and this passage speaks of the rewards and recompensing according to the golden rule. God will pay them according to what they have done to his saints. Fire and brimstone will fall as rainfalls on the earth where those who refuse to repent of their wicked deeds are. For some reason I visualize in my mind brimstone bouncing of the canopy of God and onto the camp outside where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Is this the reward God has planned for the wicked? Who has stood before the white throne of God when Revelation 16 ends?
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. Revelation 22:12
At the end of Revelation six and beginning chapter seven we see a picture of those who were not prepared for the coming of the Lord and those who are shouting for joy and praising the Lord. Those inside the camp struggled with sin and desired to be found worthy by placing their trust Jesus Christ who will bring them safely home. The people outside the camp of God are trying to hide from God because they know what they are about to receive is not as good as the luxuries and pleasurable things they sought and indulged in while they were in the world.
All of these events will occur with perfect precision exactly as written in the word of God. Christians know their reward and they expect to reign with Christ for a thousand years and to live forever in the kingdom of God.
Does the resurrection occur during tribulation? The answer is yes. The general tribulation that is described in the Bible takes place between the first sin of Adam and Eve and the moment when Jesus Christ comes for his elect. The tribulation period described by man is not found in the bible and confusing to say the least when seeking answers from the bible.