The scriptures clearly tell us the day will come when the righteous will be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17). However, there is a lot of disagreement as to when that will happen.
Some say it will happen before the great 7 year tribulation period begins. Others say it will happen at the end of the tribulation, while others say it will happen in the middle of the tribulation. While that debate continues, we can settle one question clearly from scriptures. God has no desire to pour out his wrath on the righteous.
The following scripture passage from Genesis shows how God dealt with Sodom. Even though Sodom was very wicked and had to be destroyed, He went to great extents to avoid pouring out his wrath on the righteous. Abraham pleaded with God successfully to spare the city even if there were only ten righteous people found there.
Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.” And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes. Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” He spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.” Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.” Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” (Genesis 18:24-32 NASB)
Abraham stopped at ten righteous people, but God was not willing to destroy any righteous people. So before He destroyed Sodom God sent two angels to go into the city to rescue righteous Lot and his family. When they encountered some resistance from Lot, they were moved with the compassion of the Lord to seize him and his family and bring them out.
But he (Lot) hesitated. So the men (angels) seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. (Genesis 19:16 NASB)
This shows the great lengths that God is willing to go to deliver the righteous from his wrath. God was faithful to Lot, but He was also motivated to save Lot because he was part of Abraham’s family.
Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived. (Genesis 19:29 NASB)
This shows how much God values our family relationships. He will save one family member because of His relationship with another who walks uprightly before Him.
God has a long and consistent track record of sparing the righteous from His wrath. In the days of Noah He saw the earth was filled with only evil continually so He decided to destroy the whole earth by a great flood. He found Noah alone was righteous. So He not only saved Noah but his whole house including his wife and his sons and his sons wives.
Here is another example. When God brought plagues on Egypt because Pharoah refused to let His people go, He protected the people of Israel who were living in Egypt in the land of Goshen so none of the plagues came on them or on their cattle or their homes.
And here is the greatest example of them all. On the day when Jesus hung on the cross, God poured out His wrath on the innocent Lord Jesus as He stood in place of every sinner who ever lived.
He took the punishment upon Himself that we all deserved because of His great love for us (John 3:16).
So God goes beyond what is fair in order to make a way to save whoever is willing to come to Him. He is not willing that any should perish, but he will not force anyone to be saved. Based on what He did to save Lot and his family from Sodom, Noah and his family from the flood, Israel from the plagues of Egypt, and every sinful person who accepts what Jesus did when He gave His life for their sins, then it makes sense that God would not destroy the multitudes of people during the tribulation if the righteous are living among them. Either he will protect the righteous from His wrath while they remain in the earth or He will take the righteous out of the earth before His wrath is poured out. Either way, we can take comfort in knowing God is faithful to deliver all those who walk uprightly before Him.
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