This is the third blog focusing on the “last days”. The first blog was a definition of and a description of the period known as the “last days.” The second blog focused upon the Rapture of the church.
This time, we will look at another important event of the end times – an event known as the Tribulation.
The term “Tribulation” is God’s description of a seven year period of unspeakable horror. It is the beginning of what is described in the Bible as “the day of the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 5:1-4: “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!,’ then “sudden destruction” comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”
When describing the Day of the Lord, the prophet Amos said this:
“Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light– pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?” 5:18-20
The Tribulation will be the most traumatic period in the history of the world, and it will be especially difficult for Israel. Jeremiah 30:7 calls this period, “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” During this time, God will pour out His wrath upon the earth in a series of judgments which are described in the book of Revelation, chapters 6-19.
I said in another blog that the Tribulation will be a period that lasts seven years. We know that because of the prophecy of Daniel, found in chapter 9:27. The Tribulation will occur during the “seventieth seven” or “seventieth week.” Prophetically, the term “seven” or “week” is used to describe a seven year period.
What is the purpose of the Tribulation?
- To bring the nation of Israel to the place that they will recognize Jesus as Messiah.
Matthew 23:37-39: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
- To judge the Gentile nations for their efforts to exterminate Israel.
Zechariah 12:9: “It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
- To pour out God’s wrath upon all who reject the gospel.
“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:5
- To allow a Christ rejecting world to experience what they have lived for: a world ruled by Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.
“No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:20
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.” Psalm 53:1
In Matthew 24, Jesus gives His description of the Tribulation. In verses 4-8, He describes the events of the first half. In verses 9-14, He details the events of the last half. In verses 21 and 22, He makes this bone-chilling statement:
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.”
So intense is the suffering that Revelation 6:15-17 says this:
“The kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’”
As I have said in the first blog, the Tribulation will not take place until the “falling away” (Greek. Apostasia) takes place. Studies in the U.S. reveal that only about 17.7% of the American population goes to a house of worship today. What more has to happen for us to “fall away” as a people?
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” 2 Thess. 2:3
So, according to what we have talked about in our Rapture discussion and in this writing, we believe that the Tribulation will not occur until three things happen:
- The Rapture of the church occurs.
- The falling away comes.
- The Antichrist is revealed.
Next time I write about the end times, we will study more about the significant people of the Tribulation and the actual events that will occur during the Tribulation period.