The answer to this question isn’t a simple one because the question itself has layers to it that must be resolved:
- Is God’s deliverance intended primarily to protect a chosen group from experiencing something negative?
- What are some motivating factors for God to provide deliverance in any circumstance?
- The Great Tribulation appears in this question as something negative, to be avoided. How does the questioner define the Great Tribulation?
Let’s begin with this last point – how does the questioner define the Great Tribulation? The reason this is important is because some define it as an expression of God’s wrath (the Day of the Lord), while others see it as Satan’s wrath. Rather than attempt to resolve this difference here, let’s focus on why it matters.
To see the relationship between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord:
Characteristics of Deliverance
In an example provided in 2 Peter 2 about Noah and the seven others being delivered from the flood, we’re shown how God is able to rescue the Godly from trials.
2 Peter 2:5, 9
5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
The characteristics of this example are important to note:
- The flood was an expression of God’s judgment upon the world. There are many reasons for God’s choice to cleanse humanity and the world in this way(1).
- The trial of Noah and his family began years before the flood occurred. To accomplish his purpose, God protected them during the time leading up to the flood.
- Noah and his family endured their deliverance from the flood with much effort and reliance on God’s provision. This was necessary to survive in a strange environment for more than a year inside the ark(2).
- God was protecting Noah and his family, whom God considered as righteous, from the effects of his own wrath.
By observing these characteristics, we can see that there is much more going on than simple avoidance of a negative experience. Noah and his family experienced and came through that trial during the time it took to build the ark. God didn’t set a finished ark down for them to be whisked off to safety. In other words, the time it took to build the ark, prepare it, and stock it with all the animals being saved, served to demonstrate their faith and trust in God to deliver them as he promised (Hebrews 11:7).
Motivations for Deliverance
What are some of the motivating factors behind God’s will in this example? We can begin to see these by stepping back and looking at the larger context of God’s work and goal for humanity. I’ve identified at least five factors that would be greater considerations, but let’s look at just two of them:
- Protecting the seed and the lineage of the future Son of Man
- Ensuring the connection between the first Adam and the last Adam (Jesus Christ)
The lineage of the coming Son of Man begins with Adam and Eve (Luke 3:23-38). God ensures the serpent that he (Yeshua the Christ) will bruise the serpents head, but the serpent will only bruise Christ’s heal (Genesis 3:15). The realization of this was still in the future for those living at the time of Noah, and God would ensure it was accomplished through the deliverance of Noah and his family.
Just as there is a connection between Adam and the coming Son of Man through their shared humanity, there is a more important spiritual connection (Romans 5:12-21). The first Adam sets in place the conditions under which all humanity must now walk in order to reach the Tree of Life. A tree from which they’ve been barred access (Genesis 3:22-24). The last Adam became humanity’s gateway back to the Tree of Life, so that they might bear the glorified image of Jesus Christ, and partake of the immortality he brings to this dust of the ground (Genesis 3:19; 1 Corinthians 15:42-49).
To come back to the context of the original question, we must ask a similar question about the role of the church in God’s plan for all humanity. Like the example of Noah’s deliverance through the flood, you can be assured that any deliverance the church receives will not be for their own sake, but to the praise, glory, and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Father (2 Timothy 4:1-2, 7-8; 1 Peter 1:6-9).
To discover more about the plans Christ has for his body of believers and their exemption from God’s wrath, read my recent book. . .
The Rapture Question – An Unfiltered View
Returning to the original question, there’s still an important issue left unanswered; the presupposition about the nature and source of the Great Tribulation. Pursuing this question will lead us to two possible answers to the original question:
- For those who think the Great Tribulation is a period of God’s wrath, their expectation would be that God would, like he did for Noah, provide a means of exemption from his wrath.
- For those who see the Great Tribulation as a period of Satan’s wrath, they have no expectation of a unified deliverance before it occurs. The situation is not the same as Noah who was delivered from God’s wrath. God does ensures believers of deliverance from his wrath, but he doesn’t ensure our deliverance or exemption from the wrath of others, Satan included.
There is much more to learn about each of these topics and links have been provided to related articles. Those tagged with Read more lead you to related channel questions and their basic answers. Those tagged Discover more are part of a more in-depth study program. Any tagged with Learn more address methods, processes, and resources which can aid your approach to learning. All are free resources to assist you in gaining a more unfiltered view of God’s word.
At the close of each article, the relevant presuppositions that support it will be cited. This enables the reader to gain a clearer and deeper understanding of the context. To learn more about presuppositions, see the About page.
- God is proactive and purposeful in all that he does
(Matthew 13:34-35; Ephesians 1:3-14; Hebrews 1; 1 Peter 1:18-21)
- God is faithful and will fulfill in those called and chosen what he has already completed in Christ (Fourth Gospel(3) 1:9-13)
- God and his Christ are involved in a redemptive work for humanity
- A key method in God’s redemptive work involves the offering of reconciliation, redemption, and salvation to eternal life – all through belief in Yeshua as the Son of God.
- Entering into belief in the Son of God we leave behind the state of being under God’s wrath, which exists to humble the proud and correct the deceived.
- The grace of God is greater-than the sin of humanity (Romans 5)
- God’s redemptive work on humanity’s behalf is to save them from the second death, not the first death
(Genesis 2:16-17; Fourth Gospel 3:14-21; 5:24; 6:40; Romans 5; 6; 1 Corinthians 15:19; Hebrews 9:25-28; Revelation 20:6, 14-15)
- The Unseen Realm – Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, Michael S. Heiser, 2015 – Lexham Press, Chapter 12 – Divine Transgression
- Though Noah’s time on the water was 150 days (including the 40 days it rained [Pulpit Commentary] – Genesis 7:24), he spent additional time in the ark waiting for the waters to recede. From the date the rain started (600th year, 2nd month, 17th day of Noah) to the time God called them out of the ark (601st year, 2nd month, 27th day of Noah), it was one year and ten days they spent inside the ark (Genesis 7:11-12; 8:13-16).
- We adhere to the belief that the authorship of the Fourth Gospel has been misrepresented. Typically this authorship is attributed to John the brother of James and author of the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ. I have concluded on the side of such authors as J. Phillips, Edward Reaugh Smith, and Tobias Skinner who have shown conclusively John could not be the sole author and instead attribute primary authorship to Lazarus – the disciple whom Christ loved. Due to this, I will refer to the book as the Fourth Gospel.