|Dr. Couch, I understand from 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 that the lost will believe a lie during the tribulation period. But then in Revelation 7, it speaks of the Gentiles coming to Christ during the tribulation period. Is there a contradiction? |
ANSWER: No this is not a contradiction. It is a both/and not a neither/nor! Revelation 7 reads, "I saw a great multitude, … from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, … crying saying: 'Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb'" (vv. 9-10). Who are these folks? "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (v. 14).
Many multitudes during the tribulation will believe the lie of the anti-Christ who is driven by the lie of Satan (2 Thess. 2:9-12). They are deceived and "do not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved" (v. 10). Thus, God sends them a deluding ("leading astray") spirit so that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness" (vv. 10-12).
Yet, thousands will believe the truth during the tribulation! Not all are deceived. Those who come to Christ during this terrible tribulation period will suffer, and die as martyrs. But many survive and enter the messianic kingdom when Christ comes.
Those who believe in Christ during the tribulation ("those who are beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus," Rev. 20:4), will "come to life and reign with Christ for a thousand years" (v. 5). They are the ones who are "Blessed and holy and who have a part in the first resurrection" (v. 6). This "first resurrection" is the resurrection that takes place as the kingdom period begins. These resurrected ones are the tribulation believers and martyrs. They "will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years" (v. 6b).
Who are "the rest of the dead" who do not come back to life until the thousand years are completed" (v. 5)? They are the unbelieving dead who are resurrected for the Great White Throne judgment. The lost are resurrected and "judged from the things which were written in the books (scrolls) according to their works" (v. 12). "The dead were judged every one of them according to their works" (v. 13). "They are thrown into the lake of fire, anyone whose name was not written in the book of life" (v. 15).
It is not difficult to get all of this straight, that is, if one studies by context and takes the Bible at face value. Don't dump all of the Bible verses into one big bucket and mix everything together. Keep things where they belong!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch