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14.7. The Church and the book of Revelation

Some note that although the term “church” (εκκλησία [ekklēsia] ) is not found in chapters 6-18 of the book of Revelation, “saints” (ἁγίων [hagiōn] , Rev. Rev. 13:7+) are frequently the subject of the events of the Tribulation period. Yet this does not prove that the Church is present at that time because saints is a generic term which describes believers of all ages. And as we have already discussed, saints of the present Church age enjoy a unique relationship by virtue of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost which differentiates them from saints of other ages, including the Tribulation period.

The fact that saints are found in the Tribulation does not prove that the Church is there any more than the existence of saints in the Old Testament proves that the Church was there. It has already been shown that the Church began at Pentecost with the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Old Testament saints are not part of the Church. In the same way, the existence of saints in the Tribulation does not prove that the Church is there either, and not even once are they called the Church. The Church, as such, is never mentioned in any passage dealing with the Tribulation. . . . in chapters 6-18 [of the book of Revelation], which deal with the Tribulation period itself, the Church is not even mentioned once. This is most unusual in light of the prominence of the Church in the chapters dealing with events prior to and after the Tribulation. . . . This is only an argument from silence, but within the structure of the book of Revelation it is a powerful case indeed. From the viewpoint of pure exposition, it is impossible for anyone to turn to a Tribulation passage and to show that the Church is there.1


Notes

1 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 151.