ESV - 9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
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Will the Roman Catholic institution go through the tribulation? I am glad that you have rightly described the Roman Catholic Church as an institution rather than a biblical body of Christ. Yes, it is a religious institution because most of their doctrines and traditions are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible. With all due respect, I would not classify the Roman Catholics as a true Christian community within the context of the Bible. I have several reasons for arriving at this unpleasant conclusion. Now to answer your question, I perceive that you subscribe to the Pre-tribulation rapture theory which holds that the church will be taken away before the tribulation period ensues in order to spare the believers the afflictions that will follow. There are other rapture theories including the Mid Tribulation and Post Tribulation theories. If the Pre-tribulation theory is assumed, then any people who do not hold to the truths of God's word and have no saving faith in Jesus Christ will definitely not be part of those to be taken away at the rapture described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. They will face the full wrath of the coming tribulation. My reading of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 indicates that the gathering unto the Lord shall not take place until two significant events occur in God's divine calendar. These are explained as follows: 1) The falling away of the false church which is also described as the great revolt. This is the great apostasy which has probably commenced in our time and whose intensity will increase as the coming of the Lord draws near. 2) The unveiling of the man of sin, also referred to as the son of perdition. The is the Antichrist whose ungodly systems and regulations have already taken shape in the modern world. He will viciously oppose and persecute the true church, hoping to annihilate them. As to whether the Roman Catholics will undergo the tribulation as an institution or religious sect is debatable. I believe that there will be a powerful global false religion affiliated to the Antichrist which many will fall for but which shall not exalt Christ. This apostate religion is described Revelation 17-18. The true church is warned to come out of this apostasy in Rev. 18:4-5. Some have identified it with the Roman Catholic Church but this is difficult to tell because apostasy is wide in scope and mutates into several cult movements. If it be true that the Catholic system will be part of the Antichrist religious order, then it is inconceivable that they would suffer the tribulation which will be sponsored by Satan and his agents against the true church. This is the wrath of Satan identified in Revelation 12-13. I believe that the church will go through a section of the tribulation period but God will preserve His church during this period despite the afflictions. The wrath of God is identified with the bowls that will be poured on the earth after the church is taken away (see Revelation 16).
The short answer is yes. But to better answer the question, it would be useful to point out that Bible scholars, as well as Protestant Reformers like John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Wycliffe or John Huss, identified the Papacy as the Antichrist of Daniel 7. Apostle Paul said that the "man of sin " was already working in his day and would grow to full revelation before the Second Coming of the Lord. According to "dispensationalist doctrine", the coming of Jesus will take place in two separate events. First, He will come secretly to take the church to heaven, and then, 7 years later, He will come in power and glory to judge the world. In between, the Antichrist supposed to be empowered and the great tribulation period takes place. However, nowhere in the Bible these two separate comings of Jesus could be found. There is no Bible second stage of His coming that occurs 7 years after the so-called "rapture." In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says that He will be with the church till the end of the world – this statement makes no sense if we believe that the church is going to be ‘raptured’ 7 years before the end of the world. Also, there isn’t a single Bible reference to the 7 years tribulation at the end of the world – many believe the tribulation period will be much shorter, probably months not years (Matt 24:22). How about the Antichrist's appearance after the saints are caught away? Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 tell that Christ's coming will not take place except there is a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed. During Paul's time, the spirit of the Antichrist was emerging (2 Thess 2:7, 8) - this clearly states that Antichrist will be destroyed when Christ comes - he does not arrive after the Second Advent. The Bible further clarifies that some who are raised in the first resurrection will refuse to worship the beast (Antichrist) and receive his mark (Rev 20:4). So, if the Antichrist comes to power after the rapture of the saints, (Rev 20:4) makes no sense. The Second Chance doctrine – some believe that after the secret rapture, during the 7 years of tribulation, the left behind will have another chance to be saved. That's not Biblical teaching because the probation period closes just prior to Christ return (Rev 22:11, 12). Finally, all humanity, saved and not saved, will be here on earth during the final events, prior to Christ's return, just as the Roman Catholic will be here on earth (Rev 17; Rev 18).
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