There seems to be a lot of different ideas regarding what happens when during the tribulation, with lots of guesses involving the book of Revelation. Revelation 1:19 actually gives us an outline for the book, and the Apostle John followed it to the letter. Jesus tells John to write:
1. "The things which thou hast seen." Thou is John, and he was not instructed to write about anything that he did not see: nothing that occurred before his birth, nothing that he did not witness personally. Verses 12-16, the awesome description of Jesus that goes hand-in-glove with the description in Daniel is the total record of what John recorded in Revelation as having seen.
2. "And the things which are." Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the letters to the seven churches, covers a time period known as the church age. John was in it and so are we: it is that period of time between the resurrection of Jesus and the rapture of the church.
3. "And the things which shall be hereafter." Here after what? here after the church age. Revelation chapters 4 through 19 cover the tribulation, and chapters 20 - 22 touch on the millennium and beyond.
So, if we keep the sections of the book of Revelation in their correct framework, we can clearly see where we are, and which things we need to be concerned about and which we donít. For example, we need to be extremely concerned regarding leaving behind our first love as they did in Ephesus, having those who hold the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes as they did in Pergamos, tolerating Jezebel, a female false prophet, as they did in Thyatira, having a reputation for being alive but, instead, being dead as they did Sardis, and being lukewarm as they were in Laodicea. These are the things Ďwhich are,í which means they continue today. Two churches were missing from this list: Smyrna, the persecuted church, and Philadelphia, the church of brotherly love. Jesus found no fault with them at all. Americans obviously donít belong to Smyrna (yet anyway - if the Lord delays his coming much longer that may change) and naturally, we all presume to be a part of Philadelphia, but many who name the name are actually part of one of the five named above.
It is my opinion that a person who is truly born again cannot lose his or her salvation, but on the other hand, I also believe that there are many who think they are saved but who are actually following a different Jesus who preaches a different gospel, and thus they have received a different spirit (II Cor. 11:4). Jesus spoke of these: Matt 7:22-23 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Jesus is not speaking here about a person who lost his salvation, but about one who was never saved in the first place (and itís unfortunate, but the list given by the Lord matches much of what goes on in the charismatic movement).
The things which thou hast seen. Rev 1:12-16 "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
John saw Jesus in parallel to his appearance in Dan. 10:5-6: "Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude."
Some hesitate to identify the person in Daniel as Jesus because this person was withstood for twenty-one days while traveling to meet with Daniel (vs 13). Jesus could have destroyed this prince of Persia by merely speaking a word, but then it wouldn't have been by the shedding of blood, which was the plan of God. I believe this may have been a tactic in God's strategy against Satan. I Cor. 2:6-8 speaks of the wisdom of God "which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." I do believe that John and Daniel both saw Jesus. The visions were very similar, but not exactly the same. Jesus is presented in a very unusual way and his appearance tells us some things.
Dan. clothed in linen
This is the robe of righteousness and it covers His entire body.
Dan. waist girded with gold
Gold speaks of royalty and good works, and of course Jesus' works were perfect. In Daniel he is wearing a gold belt which presents Him as perfect life giver, and in Revelation he is wearing a gold band which presents Him as perfect life sustainer.
Dan. body like beryl
According to Strong's concordance, the beryl is probably the topaz, and the first def. in Webster's is "a mineral that is essentially a silicate aluminum and usu. occurs orthorhombic translucent or transparent crystals or in white transparent masses". This represents purity and holiness.
Dan. face like the appearance of lightening
This is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (II Cor. 4:6). Notice the contrast: lightening is a product of stormy or gloomy skies, it provides total illumination but only for an instant, and it is usually accompanied by other bolts of lightening. This is representative of the Old Testament revelation of God piercing the darkness of this world. In Revelation his face is like the sun shining in its strength, indicating the darkness has been overcome and dispelled and God is now fully revealed. As Jesus said in John 14:9, "if you've seen me you've seen the Father."
Dan. eyes like lamps of fire
The description here is exactly the same. Fire purifies what can be purified and consumes what can be destroyed. In like manner, Jesus will examine our works by fire, and all works of the flesh will be burned away, but believers will be given rewards based on what remains after the burning of our works. Nothing is hidden from His sight. This is the complete and final cleansing of the church. Thank God we will not carry around dead works for all eternity. Click here for more information.
Dan. arms and feet like polished brass
This one is a little harder. Moses serpent was brass (Num. 21:9). In Dan. 3:25 Jesus was present in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrew children. They were tried for their faith and He was with them while they stood the test. Brass represents strength and it speaks of judgment, salvation and deliverance: judgment because Christians agree with God that we are worthy of death; salvation because acknowledging this and accepting God's sacrifice saves us; deliverance because the saved are delivered from the judgment.
Dan. sound of His words like the voice of a multitude
Both of these speak of the many people who were to become members of His body and testify of Him.
Revelation included two additional points:
1. He had in His right hand seven stars. The right hand represents works, and the works of Jesus were perfect. The stars are the angels of the seven churches (vs. 20), and they could be angels, messengers or pastors. Whichever they are, Jesus dispatches them because He has earned the right through His completed works.
2. Out of His mouth went a sharp, two-edged sword - this is the Word of God (Luke 4:4,8,12; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 1:2).
So, who is this God we serve?
Our King Jesus is: totally righteous, perfect creator and provider, totally pure and holy, full of glory, full of life, strong in salvation, he who calls out a holy people for himself, royal commander, and a mighty warrior.
And this Jesus is the sum total of the Johnís listing of "what thou hast seen" in Rev. 1:19.