THE TRIBULATION

(Lesson 24 on Bible Doctrines) 

 



"When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto His voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them" (Deut.4:30,31).

"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (Dan.12:1).

"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt.24:21).

"And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev.7:14).

Definition: the tribulation is the final chapter in world history and leads up to the second coming of Christ (cf. Zech.14:1-4; Rev.19:11-16). This period will be preceded by the rapture (I Thess.4:13-18). The tribulation will be a specific period of time when God pours out His wrath upon the Christ-rejecting inhabitants of this wicked world because of their sin and unbelief. These worldly Christ-rejecters are referred to in the book of Revelation as "them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev.3:10; cf. 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 12:12; 13:8,12,14; 14:6; 17:8).

  1. THE NATURE OF THE TRIBULATION
    1. As stated above, the key word used in the Bible to describe the tribulation is "wrath" (cf. Rev.6:16,17; 11:18; 14:19; 15:1,7; 16:1,19; I Thess.1:9,10; Zeph.1:15,18).
    2. The entire tribulation period will be characterized by:
      1. judgment (Rev.14:7; 15:4; 16:5-7; 19:2).
      2. indignation (Isa.26:20,21; 34:1-3).
      3. punishment (Isa.24:20,21; 26:20,21).
      4. destruction (Joel 1:15).
      5. darkness (Joel 2:2; Zeph.1:14-18; Amos 5:18).
    1. The Bible clearly teaches that Christ bore for us the wrath of God and His judgment; therefore we who are in Christ "shall not come into condemnation" (John 5:24; cf. Rom.8:1). "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thess.5:9; cf. 1:10b).
  1. THE SCOPE OF THE TRIBULATION
    1. While it is clear that God will pour out His wrath upon the entire world, the Bible also teaches that the tribulation period has special reference to the Jews. It is "the time of Jacob’s trouble" (Jer.30:7).
    2. The tribulation period will commence with "the prince that shall come" confirming a covenant with Israel "for one week" (Dan. 9:26,27). This prince is the antichrist, the "beast" of the book of Revelation (13:1-8; 14:9-11; 15:2; 16:13; 17:3,8,11-13; 19:19,20; 20:10).
    3. This covenant will be a "peace treaty" that will supposedly bring peace and end the hostilities and terrorism in the Middle East. The world, already under a strong delusion, will be deceived by this false peace (I Thess.5:3).
    4. He will observe the covenant for the first half of the tribulation but "in the midst of the week" he will break it (Dan.9:27; cf. Matt. 24:15; II Thess.2:4).
    5. The "week" is a week of years (cf. Gen.29:27,28). Therefore, it is generally understood that the tribulation period will last for seven years. The several references to three and a half years refer to the second half of the tribulation, sometimes referred to as "the great tribulation" (cf. Dan.12:11,12; Rev.11:2,3; 12:6; 13:5). It is also referred to as "a time, times, and a half" (Dan.12:7; Rev.12:14).
    6. The scope of the tribulation has no reference to the church. Churches are nowhere mentioned in Rev.4-19, which deals with the tribulation period.
  1. THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIBULATION
    1. To judge those who have rejected Christ – a world that worships the devil and substitutes the antichrist for the real Christ deserves the judgments that God will pour out (John 5:43; Rev.13:4).
    2. To prepare Israel for the Messiah – after suffering through the tribulation, the repentant remnant will receive Christ as Lord and Saviour (cf. Zech.12:10; 13:1,8,9; 14:1-4; Rom.11:26,27).

Pastor James Barker
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