Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

During tribulation, how many people will survive?

QUESTION:

Dr. As the present population of the world is 6.8 billion, can you give me any idea as to how many people will survive the tribulation up to the end of the Great Tribulation or the complete seven years. As I believe we are now in the “last days” any thoughts you might have on this subject would be appreciated.

Vincent

ANSWER:

Vincent:

Thanks for stopping by. As many of the other people who ask questions, this one is hard. The short answer to your question is, “I don’t know.” Only God knows. Another disclaimer: I don’t know all the answers, and any observations are based on how I understand the biblical data. Having said this, however, it doesn’t mean we are clueless. Let me first set a little background, and then I will answer more direct.

1. Jesus said of the Great Tribulation, “for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short” (Matthew 24:21, 22). Jesus is confirming the prophecy of Daniel (Daniel 12:1; cf. Matthew 24:15).

2. There is God’s present restraining force in the world that limits the destructive forces of evil men and Satan. Paul said, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth…(1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8). Paul identifies the evil one as Satan and his forces.

Vincent, you can see from these verses that the Great Tribulation will happen, and it will involve destruction so bad that unless God shortens it, all life will disappear. Most of the destruction will come by war, and the disease and famine that accompanies war with its grotesque brutality. Some of the violence will be at the hands of Satan, his demons, and the humans he energizes (e.g. Revelation 9:7-15), and some by direct judgment by God (e.g. Revelation 19:11-21). Some destruction will come by natural means and wild animals. Times will be horrible.

As to being in the last days, maybe we are – maybe not. I assume that you mean the coming of Christ is about to happen. Jesus said of his coming, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Acts 1:7). Many people have foolishly set dates as to the coming of Christ – and then He didn’t. Christ could come at any time. And, with the world situation as it is, it could appear that the stage for the one world government is set.

Now, I come to a more direct answer to your question. I give the following observations.

1. Since the world population is increasing, and we don’t know when Christ will return, then we don’t have a fixed number to begin with. Any answer is a guess.

2. The places where numbers are given are in Revelation 6:7, 8, and 9:15, 18. The first reference indicates that 25% of the world’s population will die. The second mentions that 33% of the remaining population will die. That means over 50% of the world’s population will die, or at today’s numbers, 3.4 billion would remain. But, that is not all. There are other devastations that are not included in this number. 

For example, consider the second advent of Christ as described in Revelation 19:11-21. At this battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:16:16), untold millions of the enemies of Christ will be slaughtered. The blood of the dead will rise about four and one half feet deep for 200 miles (Rev. 14:20). The vultures of the sky will have their fill. It will take some seven months to bury all of the dead, and the fuel from the enemy’s weaponry will supply heating fuel for seven years (Cf. Ezekiel 39:12, 9).

3. Another concept to help us understand the savagery of this time period is to know the basic purpose of the Great Tribulation. It is twofold: first to bring judgment on a Jesus Christ hating world. The second is to purge and prepare the Nation Israel for the Messianic Kingdom.

4. I must end my answer with this observation. According to biblical data, the dead include saved people who are murdered by the enemies of Christ, and fall victim to the overall destruction – collateral damage. Their destiny is heaven with Christ. The point I want to make, however, is that the instigators of the massive destruction and mayhem are enemies of Christ who are not very nice people and/or creatures, and who invite the judgment of God upon themselves. They refuse to worship God, are hideously evil, and rightly deserve the judgment of the Almighty God of the universe, Jesus Christ (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2:6-12; Revelation 9:20, 21) – according to the biblical data. 

The times are scary, Vincent. However, our trust as Christians is in knowing that our salvation is sure in Christ, that He loves us, and to follow the admonition of Peter, “Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep; sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). And, in addition, be about the completion of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

All the best to you, Vincent, and keep up the faith. 

Dr. Willis Newman

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