The Great Tribulation
The Scripture teaches;
That the Great Tribulation will occur after the Rapture and will be a time of terrible suffering on earth. It is also referred to as the time of “Jacob’s trouble”- Matthew 24:21,22,29; Revelation 9:16; 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. — Mark 13:19 KJV; 2 Thessaloians 2:3-12; Revelation 13. During this time, the Antichrist will take possession of this world for a reign of terror. He will not be a system or organization but a person – a supernatural, diabolical being, in the form of a man who will blaspheme and proclaim himself to be God (Daniel 8:23-25; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 13:1-10). The Marriage Supper of the Lamb will take place above while the Tribulation continues on earth – Revelation 19:1-10.
The Great Tribulation is described as the “ … time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) ”… great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). “ … the day of the Lord” (Joel 1:15).“ … a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness”, (Joel 2: 2). “ … a day of wasteness and desolation” (Zephaniah 1:14,15). “… a time of trouble” (Daniel 12:1). The purpose of the great tribulation is to make Israel suffer so that they can be ready to cry to the Messiah (the Lord Jesus Christ whom they, at present, reject) to come back to them. It is also to judge the unbelieving men and women of all ages (Zechariah 12:10,11; 13:1-9; 14:12-13).
The Bible shows that the great tribulation will take off after the rapture of the church (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 4:1) and will last for seven years. It will end at the second Advent of Jesus Christ when He alights on Mount Olives (Zechariah 14:4; Matthew 25:31; Revelation 19:11,12; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Jude 14,15; Acts 1:11) and settles on earth (Jerusalem) for a thousand-year reign called the Millennial Reign (Revelation 20:4,5). This means that it is post-rapture and pre-millenium or, the 70th of Daniel’s 70 weeks (i.e after the 69th week) Daniel 9:26,27; Revelation 19:11-19,21; Matthew 24:15-31; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8). It is post-rapture because God will not like His children to suffer the great tribulation, its judgements and destructions. He saved Noah ( a preacher of righteousness) and his family before destroying the world with flood (Genesis 6:8-10; Genesis 7:1-13,16-24; 8:15-22). He rescued Lot (who was vexed with the filthy conversation of Sodom) and his family before destroying it with fire (Genesis 19:10-29). So God will take away His children from the earth before the great tribulation begins. The great tribulation reaches its peak of destructions, judgements, terrors, frightening wars and desolation from the middle of the seven-year duration and ends with Christ’s second advent. This is when the anti-Christ breaks his seven-year peace covenant with Israel and attacks Jerusalem (Revelation 19:15-19,21; Matthew 24:15-22; Daniel 12:1; Jeremiah 30:6-9).
The great tribulation is described as being full of woes, judgements, famines, bloody wars, explosions, plagues (incurable epidemics which become pandemic), terror, anguish and earthquakes. It will be a time men will be calling unto the mountain to fall upon them; burning rocks falling from heaven upon the earth and scorching it, seas will be polluted, cattles and vegetations will be destroyed and millions will be dying from catastrophes, “as if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him … leaned his hand on the wall, and serpent bit him”. Beasts and men will be in trouble even mighty men will weep. “Neither their gold and silver (riches) will be able to deliver them”. Whole cities and nations will be under great distress, perplexity, as the seas and waves roaring, hypertension and confusion as the powers of the heavens will be shaken by God (Amos 5:18,19; Isaiah 2:19; 24:1-3,6,19; Mark 13:24; Joel 1:15; Luke 21:25,26; Matthew 24:11-26; Revelation 19:1-3,11-19,21). The great tribulation opens with the rapture of the church (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 14:1) then the rise of the Anti-Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:7,8). He wins nations, some by war while others concede authority to him (Daniel 7:8,24-25; Revelation 17:8-14). The False Prophet popularizes him, making men to worship even his image. No one buys or sells without the mark or number (666) of the beast. While these are going on, saints receive rewards in heaven (Revelation 2:17,25-28; 3:12). There will be great apostasy, more of false religions and increase in the power of the devil who will be driven down to the earth (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 12:10-12; 13:2,12-18). God’s planned judgements will fall on men in a divine sequence, producing supernatural phenomena and demonic creatures unknown to man. These will come as Christ opens seven seals of a scroll on which they occur, then the blowing of seven trumpets each, a harbinger of more woes. 144,000 Jews will be sealed and raptured as well as countless tribulation saints from all over the world (Revelation 7:1-17). Saints in tribulation will be martyred (Revelation 6:9-11; 14:13; 20:4-6). A mighty Angel appears with rainbow on his head, a little book opened and swears that “there should be time no longer”, (Revelation 10:1-11). After this, the high point of catastrophies called “the great tribulation” begins for the remaining 31⁄2 years (Revelation 11:1-19; Daniel 12:1,5-7; Jeremiah 30:6,7). Jerusalem falls to the Anti-Christ and Israel is defeated (Matthew 24:15-22; Daniel 11:40-45). Israel runs for refuge in old Edom (Revelation 12:6,13-17; Isaiah 16:1-5). There will be more woes on earth through the pouring out on it of the content of seven vials (Revelation 15:1-6; 16:21; 18:1-24). God’s two witnesses appear, are killed and later resurrect (Revelation 11:7-12). The marriage supper of the Lamb takes place (Revelation 19:1-10) and saints prepare to return to the earth with Christ (Jude 14,15; Revelation 19:11).
The scope will cover Israel, the middle east and the whole earth. The powers at work will be (a) the Anti-Christ called the Beast, the King of the north, the Syrian, the Assyrian, the king of Babylon, the Extortioner, the man of sin, the little horn, the Prince that shall come, a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark saying, the spoiler, the son of perdition and that wicked one empowered personally by Satan (2 Thessalonian 2:1-10; Daniel 7:8,24; 8:9,23; 9:26,27,36-45; Revelation 13:1-18; 14:9-11; Isaiah 10:31; 30:31; Micah 5:3-15; Isaiah 14:4; 16:4; Daniel 7:11). (b) The false Prophet (Revelation 13:1-19; 14:9-11; 15:2-4; 16:2-12; 19:20; Daniel 9:27; 11:35, 45; 12:7; Matthew 24:15). (c) God’s powerful judgements (Joel 1:15; 2:11; Amos 5:18; Revelation 4-19:1-21). (d) The devil (Revelation 12:7-17; 20:1-2; 2 Thessalonian 2:9).
While terrors are unleashed on the earth, saints will be (a) receiving rewards: crowns, mansions, new names, white stones, etc, at the judgement seat of Christ (Bema) (I Corinthians 3:11-15; Luke 14:14; I Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10-12; Matthew 16:27; John 14:1,2; 1Thessalonians 2:19; James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 2:17,25-28; 3:12,21; 22:12-16). The believers’ time of judgement and reward only means the evaluation of believers’ works for which they may receive rewards or loss of reward. All raptured believers will be eternally saved. (b) Rejoicing and feasting at the marriage supper in heaven (Revelation 19:6-9) (c) Worshipping God with the angels (Revelation 7:9-17; 14:1-5; 4:5,7) and (d) preparing for the second Advent with Christ upon white horses (Jude 14,15; Revelation 19:11-14; Matthew 25:31).
The great tribulation ends when Jerusalem is ravished by the Anti-Christ with two thirds of it captured at the end of the seventh year, and the children of Israel will repent in great mourning and tears, calling for the Messiah, Jesus Christ to come back to the earth and establish the millennial reign all over humanity (Zechariah 14:4-8; Micah 1:3,4; Zechariah 14:1-3; 13:1; 12:4-14; Zephaniah 3:8; Joel 3:13-16). All Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25-27; Hebrews 8:8-12; 10:17; Zechariah 12:10; 13:1; Isaiah 66:7,8). Jesus then descends, destroys the anti-Christ, the false prophet and casts them into the lake of fire together with his armies at the battle of Armageddon (valley of Megido), then an angel, binds the devil and casts him into the bottomless pit for 1000 years (Revelation 19:20; Ezekiel 38:3,9; Revelation 20:1-3; Zechariah 14; Revelation 1-20; Revelation 19:11-21; Isaiah 34; Jude 14,15). Jesus Christ then builds a millennial temple at Jerusalem from where He rules the whole world.