The Coming Tribulation
Prophecy and Mystery: Hermeneutical Foundation
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Improperly dividing the Word of truth is the cause for more heresy and misunderstanding than any other single factor I know of. For instance, there are vast distinctions between things given to Israel by prophecy (Promised Land, Davidic Covenant, etc), and those given to the church- not by prophecy, but by the revelation of hidden mysteries given to Paul (Col. 1:26)- such as the mystery of Christ in His Body, the Church (Eph. 1:9-10; 5:32; Col. 1:26-27), the blindness of Israel (Rom. 11:25), the rapture of the church (1 Cor. 15:51-53). These components remain unseen to those who simply divide the bible into Old and New Testaments. Dispensational scholar Cornelius Stam writes:
The supposition that the most important division of the Bible is that between the Old and New Testaments has often been expressed in the statement: “The Old Testament is for the Jews; the New Testament is for us.” This is quite incorrect, however. First of all, the titles Old Testament and New Testament are not accurate designations of the two sections of the Bible which they are supposed to represent. To the Apostle Paul was committed the greatest revelation of all time: “the mystery,” the secret of the gospel and of God’s eternal purpose (Col. 1:25,26). To him was entrusted “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:1-3). His ministry superseded that of Peter and the eleven as, upon Israel’s continued rejection of Christ and His kingdom, he became the apostle to the nations (Rom. 11:13). Solemn recognition was given to this fact by the leaders of the twelve (including Peter himself) as they gave to Paul and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, acknowledging Paul’s divine commission to go to the Gentiles, and agreeing thenceforth to confine their own ministry to Israel (Gal. 2:2,7,9). In connection with this commission Paul was also the divinely appointed minister of the Church of the present dispensation, “the Body of Christ” (Col. 1:24,25).1 No other Bible writer has one single word to say about “the Church which is [Christ’s] Body.” None of the other apostles mention it. Not only would we seek in vain for such phraseology in their writings, but we would seek in vain for any discussion of the subject, for they do not discuss the Church of which believers today are members. But Paul, who wrote more of the books of the Bible than any other writer, deals consistently with those truths which concern “the Church which is His Body” (Eph. 1:19-23).
The Revelation Lost Sight Of
But this great revelation and the glorious truths associated with it have been largely lost to the professing Church. The Church of Rome ignores the facts we have stated above, though they are clearly set forth in her own translations of the Bible. She insists that the true Church of today is a perpetuation of that which was founded by Christ while on earth; a kingdom to be established on earth, over which Peter and the eleven were appointed to be heads and rulers during His absence. And even though our Lord said nothing about a prolonged absence or of any succession of such rulers, Rome declares that her present pope is a successor to Peter and, as such, the Vicar of Christ and supreme Head of the Church on earth [Editor’s Note: this is blasphemy]. Consistent with this she holds that she is laboring to fulfill the “great commission” given to Peter and the eleven, requiring water baptism for the remission of sins and claiming to possess miraculous powers. But Protestantism, while boasting freedom from the tyranny of Rome, has by no means emerged entirely from the shadows of the dark ages. She still suffers a Roman hangover. While renouncing papal authority, she nevertheless still clings to the Roman teaching that the Church of today is a perpetuation of that to which our Lord referred in Matthew 16:16-18 and that it is God’s kingdom on earth [Editor’s Note: this is a Satanic heresy called Replacement Theology- more later]. She too seeks to carry out the “great commission” given to Peter and the eleven, though half-heartedly, for she cannot make up her mind whether water baptism is or is not necessary to the remission of sins and is also confused and disagreed as to whether or not she possesses the miraculous powers of what she calls the “great commission.” Martin Luther, under God, shook Europe to its foundations with a partial recovery of Pauline truth, but the Protestant Church has done little to further that recovery, so that rather than recognizing the distinctive character of Paul’s position as our apostle, most Protestants think of him simply as one of the apostles, along with Peter and the eleven. In taking so short a step away from Rome the Protestant Church has assumed a very weak position, for if Paul is to be considered as one with the twelve, Rome can easily prove that Peter, not Paul, was appointed as their chief (See Matt. 16:19; Acts 1:15; 2:14,38; 5:29, etc.). We will now contrast Prophecy (for Israel) and with Mystery for the church also by Stam, first by defining each:
Prophecy: That which was spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. It pertains to specific promises of God to and through the nation of Israel. All of those promises are in an earthly setting. They are both literal and visible.
Mystery: The preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began, until the Lord gave to the Apostle Paul an abundance of visions and revelations about the heavenly aspects of God’s purpose and plan. (Definitions from AV1611.com)
Prophecy and Israel
Concerns a kingdom; a political organization (Dan. 2:44; Matt. 6:10).
The kingdom to be established on earth (Jer. 23:5; Matt. 6:10).
Christ to be its King (Jer. 23:5; Isa. 9:6,7).
The kingdom prophesied “since the world began” (Luke 1:68-70; Acts 3:21).
Israel to be given supremacy over the nations (Isa. 60:10-12; 61:6).
The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel’s instrumentality (Gen. 22:17,18; Zech. 8:13).
The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel’s rise (Isa. 60:1-3; Zech. 8:22,23).
Prophecy mainly concerns nations as such (Isa.2:4; Ezek. 37:21,22).
Prophecy concerns blessings, both material and spiritual,on earth (Isa. 2:3,4; 11:1-9; etc.).
Prophecy concerns Christ’s coming to the earth (Isa. 59:20; Zech. 14:4).
In prophecy salvation by grace through faith alone is not contemplated.
The proclamation of the prophetic program com- mitted particularly to the twelve (Matt. 10:5-7; Acts 1:6-8; 3:19-26).
The prophetic program revealed through many of God’s servants (Luke 1:70; II Pet. 1:21).
Old testament writers frequently did not understand the prophecies made known through them (Dan. 12:8-10; I Pet. 1:10-12).
Mystery and the Church
Concerns a body; a living organism (I Cor. 12:12,27; Eph. 4:12-16).
The body given a position in heaven (Eph. 1:3; 2:5-6; Col. 3:1-3).
Christ its living Head (Eph. 1:19-23; Col. 1:18).
The body chosen in Christ before the world began, but “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 1:4-11; 3:5-9).
Jew and Gentile placed on the same level before God (Rom. 10:12; 11:32; Eph. 2:16,17).
The Gentiles blessed through Israel’s obstinacy (Acts 13:44-46; Rom. 11:28-32).
The Gentiles blessed through Israel’s fall (Acts 28:27,28; Rom. 11:11,12,15).
The mystery concerns individuals (Rom. 10:12,13; II Cor. 5:14-17).
The mystery concerns “all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies” (Eph. 1:3; Col. 3:1-3).
The mystery explains Christ’s present absence from the earth (Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 3:1-3).
Salvation by grace through faith alone lies at the very heart of the mystery (Rom. 3:21-26; 4:5; Eph. 2:8,9).
The proclamation of the mystery committed particularly to Paul (Eph. 3:1-3,8,9; Col. 1:24-27).
The mystery revealed through one man: Paul (Gal. 1:1,11,12; 2:2,7,9; Eph. 3:2,3).
Paul both understood and longed that others might understand the mystery revealed through him (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21; Col. 1:9-10; 2:1-3).
End Times Tribulation
Replacement theology maintains that the church is the new Israel which is a teaching- according to the Lord Jesus- originating in the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9; 3:9). It is evil, unbiblical, and anti-Semitic.
The church is not Israel, and Israel is not the church! Bible students confusing the two will invariably misinterpret prophetic Scriptures dealing with each of them giving way to numerous heresies as a result. Israel exists from prophecy and focuses on a coming earthly kingdom in Jerusalem; and the church- which was manifest to Paul as the revelation of a mystery hidden from the prophets- Eph. 3:3, focuses on a heavenly kingdom for the church which will ultimately occupy the heavenly new Jerusalem. Israel through prophecy, the church through mystery; different as night and day and yet many can’t see it, or worse- refuse to acknowledge it and thus force the church into some or all of the 7 year tribulation period even though it was specifically prophesied as the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble (Jer. 30:7). According to Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks of years for Israel (Dan. 9:24-27), there would remain a single missing week of seven years scholars teach will be fulfilled just prior to fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant also known as the Millennial (1000 year Jewish) Kingdom. The following info is gleaned with slight editing from the Old Scofield Study Bible.
Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. These are “weeks” or more accurately, sevens of years; seventy weeks of seven years each. Within these “weeks” the national chastisement must be ended and the nation reestablished in everlasting righteousness (Dan-9:24). The seventy weeks are divided into seven = 49 years; sixty-two = 434 years; one = 7 years (Dan – 9:25-27). In the seven weeks = 49 years, Jerusalem was to be rebuilt in “troublous times.” This was fulfilled, as Ezra and Nehemiah record. Sixty-two weeks = 434 years, thereafter Messiah was to come (Dan – 9:25). This was fulfilled in the (presentation) of Christ (Dan_9:26); therefore Dan-9:26 is obviously an indeterminate period. The date of the crucifixion is not fixed. It is only said to be “after” the threescore and two weeks. It is the first event in (Dan 9:26). The second event is the destruction of the city, fulfilled A.D. 70. Then, “unto the end,” a period not fixed, but which has already lasted nearly 2000 years. To Daniel was revealed only that wars and desolations should continue (Compare (Mat-24:6-14).
The New Testament reveals, that which was hidden from the Old Testament prophets; (Mat – 13:11-17); (Eph-3: I – 10) that during this period should be accomplished the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven (Mat – 13:1-50) and the out-calling of the Church; (Mat – 16:18); (Rom – 11:25). When the Church-age will end, and the seventieth week be- gin, is nowhere revealed. Its duration can be but seven years. To make it more violates the principle of interpretation already confirmed by fulfillment. (Dan-9:27) deals with the last week. The “he” of (Dan – 9:27) is the “prince that shall come” of (Dan_9:26); 9:26); whose people (Rome) destroyed the temple, A.D. 70. He is the same with the “little horn” of chapter 7. He will covenant with the Jews to restore their temple sacrifices for one week (seven years), but in the middle of that time he will break the covenant and fulfill; (Dan – 12:11); (2Th – 2:3); (2Th_2:4). Between the sixty-ninth week, after which Messiah was cut off, and the seventieth week, within which the “little horn” of Daniel 7. will run his awful course, intervenes this entire Church-age. (Dan – 9:27) deals with the last three and a half years of the seven, which are identical with the “great tribulation.” (Mat-24:15-28) “time of trouble” (Dan_12:1) hour of temptation- (Rev_3: 10).
The Time of the End
Daniel 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed Here the prophetic foreview, having traced the history of the two parts of Alexander’s empire which had to do with Palestine and the Jews, namely, Syria and Egypt, to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and having described his career, overleaps the centuries to “the time of the end,” when he of whom Antiochus Epiphanes was a type, the “little horn” of (Dan – 7:8) the “Beast out of the sea” of (Rev – 13:4- 10) shall appear (cf) (See Scofield) – (Dan-7:8). Prophecy does not concern itself with history as such, but only with history as it affects Israel and the Holy Land. Antiochus Epiphanes was insignificant as compared with historical personages whom the Bible does not mention, but he scourged the covenant people and defiled God’s altar, thus coming into prophetic light. From verse 36 (Dan – 11:36), the “little horn” of (Dan-7:8); (Dan-7:24-26) fills the scene. His prosperity lasts until “the indignation” (the “time of trouble” of, (Dan – 12: 1); (Mat-24:2 1) is accom- plished (Dan – 11:36). This is parallel with; (Rev – 17:10-14); (Rev-19:19-21). (Dan_11:37-45) supply details not mentioned in the New Testament The expression “God of his fathers” (Dan –I 1:37) has been held to indicate that the “king” is an apostate Jew, but this does not accord with (Dan_9:26) which was fulfilled by the Gentile armies of Rome. The “little horn” is an apostate, but from Christianity, not Judaism (compare Ho – 2:18); (1Jo_2:19). (Dan–I 1:38-45) describe his career. Substituting “the god of forces” (that is, Forces of nature) for the true God (Dan –I 1:38); (Dan-1 1:39), he soon presents himself as that god (cf) (2Th 2:3); (2Th-2:4). While his career lasts he is an irresistible conqueror (Dan –I 1:40-44). He established his palace in Jerusalem, probably at the time of his supreme act of blasphemous impiety; (Dan T 9:27); (Dan – 12:11); (Mat 24:15); (2Tb-2:4). From this time begins the great tribulation; (Dan_12:1); (Mat-24:21) which runs its course during the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week, namely, three and one half years; (Dan-7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Dan_12:11); (Rev_13:5).
Isaiah 10:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. “That day”: often the equivalent of “the day of the Lord” (Isa_2:10-22); (Rev-1 9:11-2 1). The prophecy here passes from the general to the particular, from historic and fulfilled judgments upon Assyria to the final destruction of all Gentile world-power at the return of the Lord in glory. (See “Armageddon,”; (Rev –16:14); (Rev – 19:21) “Times of the Gentiles,”; (Luk-21:24); (Rev-16:19); “The great tribulation,”; (Psa-2:5); (Rev_7:14)
Revelation 7:14 And 1 said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. 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. The great tribulation is the period of unexampled trouble predicted in the passages cited under that head from (Psa_2:5) to (Rev_7:14) and described in Revelation 11-18. Involving in a measure the whole earth (Rev –3: 10) it is yet distinctly “the time of Ja- cob’s trouble” (Jer – 30:7) and its vortex Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It involves the people of God who will have returned to Palestine in unbelief. Its duration is three and a half years, or the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. (See Scofield) – (Dan – 9:24). (Rev_11:2); (Rev-1 1:3) [Editor’s note: Please never forget that the Lord Jesus promised to keep us from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth Rev. 3:10. The Greek word for from generally means out of].
The elements of the tribulation are:
(1) The cruel reign of the “beast out of the sea” (Rev – 13: 1) who at the beginning of the three and a half years, will break his covenant with the Jews (by virtue of which they will have re-established the temple worship, (Dan –9:27) and show himself in the temple, demanding that he be worshipped as God. (Mat – 24:15); (2Th-2:4).
(2)The active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev-12:12) who gives his power to the Beast. (Rev – 13:4); (Rev_13:5).
(3)The unprecedented activity of demons (Rev – 9:2); (Rev_9:11), and
(4) the terrible “bowl” judgments of Revelation 16.
The great tribulation will be, however, a period of salvation. An election out of Israel is seen as sealed for God (Rev_7:4-8) and, with an innumerable multitude of Gentiles (Rev-7:9) are said to have come “out of the great tribulation” (Rev_7:14). They are not of the priesthood, the church, to which they seem to stand somewhat in the relation of the Levites to the priests under the Mosaic Covenant. The great tribulation is immediately followed by the return of Christ in glory, and the events associated therewith. (Mat 24:29); (Mat-24:30).
(1) The time of the end in Daniel begins with the violation by “the prince that shall come” (that is, “little horn,” “man of sin,” “Beast”) of his covenant with the Jews for the restoration of the temple and sacrifice (Dan-9:27) and his presentation of himself as God; (Dan – 9:27); (Dan_11:36-38); (Mat-24:15); (2Tb-2:4); (Rev-13:4-6) and ends with his destruction by the appearing of the Lord in glory. (2Th_2:8); (Rev 19:19); (Rev-19:20).
(2)The duration of the “time of the end”, is three and one half years, coinciding with the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. (Dan – 7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Rev_13:5). This “time of the end” is the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” (Jer – 30:7) “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan_l 2: 1) “great tribulation such as was not from the beginning of the world… nor ever shall be” (Mat-24:2 1). The New Testament, especially the Book of the Revelation, adds many details. The church is never mentioned- nor can it be clearly identified- in any part of the 7 year tribulation. 
The Time of Jacob’s Trouble
Let’s say this one more time beloved: Israel- NOT THE CHURCH- is the subject of coming seven year tribulation. There are no verses in the Bible directly placing the church in the tribulation, nor are there any specific references to her on earth from Rev. 4 onward- and those doing so have not only done a grave disservice to honest hermeneutics, they have often fostered heresy as a result. Commenting on Revelation in the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. William MacDonald writes:
There is a definite break between chapters 3 and 4. From this point on, the church is never mentioned as being on earth. What then has happened to it? We believe that it was taken to heaven by the Lord at the end of chapter 3.
Once the saints have been translated to heaven, the Lord will resume His dealings with the nation of Israel. Then will begin the Tribulation. This is a seven-year period in which the Lord deals with the Jewish people concerning their rejection of the Messiah. Those who turn to Christ during the Tribulation will be saved to enter the glorious kingdom on earth, whereas those who refuse Him will be destroyed. Large numbers of Jews will return to the land of Israel in unbelief at the outset of the Tribulation (Eze_36:24-25). The Roman world power will make a treaty with the Israelis, guaranteeing them freedom of worship (Dan_9:27). In fact, the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation will be relatively mild. The Lord Jesus described these years in Mat_24:4-14.
At the middle of the Tribulation, an idolatrous image will be set up in the temple at Jerusalem and men will be ordered to worship it or be killed (Mat_24:15). This will signal the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, a period of suffering such as the world has never known or ever will know (Mat_24:21).
Chapter 4 introduces us to the beginning of the Tribulation. The first scene is in heaven, where John is given a vision of the glory of God. The Lord frequently gave a vision of His glory to His prophets before permitting them to foretell the future (Isa. 6; Ezek. 1). In chapter 1, John saw Christ’s glory before he was permitted to record the future history of the church. Now he is given a vision of God before he learns the judgments which will be poured out on unbelieving Israel and the Gentiles. (MacDonald’s commentary not in original).
Introducing the Tribulation
We are first introduced to the time of the Tribulation in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, and the prophet calls it the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) because it will primarily focus on the Jews in Israel. This is our first clue as to who will go through the Tribulation and who it will affect. The Rapture is when Jesus returns for His Church, made up of believing Jews and Gentiles, and ‘catches them away’ to be with Him in Heaven. Sometime after that, the Bible says that God will once again focus on the Jews, and the great and terrible time of the seven year Tribulation will begin. And that’s why Jeremiah calls it the time of ‘Jacob’s’ trouble- because it’s about the Jews even though it will have ramifications that affects the entire world.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24: 21
There are those that would interpret this passage in Matthew to mean the fall and destruction of Jerusalem in70 AD at the hands of the Romans, but could not possible fit. This tribulation that Jesus refers to is the greatest tribulation that this world will ever see, eclipsing even that of Hitler’s Holocaust which killed 12,000,000 people, half of those being Jews. So let’s once again turn to our friend Clarence Larkin and see what the bible has to see about this soon to be fulfilled prophecy of Scripture.
The Tribulation is focused on the Jews and Israel
“Turning to the Old Testament we find in Jer. 30:4-7, that it is the time of “Jacob’s Trouble,” and is compared in its sufferings to the “birth-pangs” of a woman. In Ezek. 26:34 it is spoken of as the time when-Israel shall “Pass under the Rod; ” and in Ezek. 22:19-21, we read how that God is going to cast Israel into His “Melting Pot, ” where they are to be refined as “gold is refined.” See also Mal. 3:1-3, and Zech. 13:9. Daniel speaks of it as a “Time of Trouble” for his people, the Jews. Dan. 12:1.
From these references we see that “The Great Tribulation” is something that has to do with the Jewish people, and is a judgment through which they must pass as a “refining process” to fit them to again be God’s chosen people. Indirectly the Gentiles will be affected by it, but the Church will be “caught out” before that “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.”
The Prophet Daniel in his Vision of the “Seventy Weeks” (Dan. 9:20-22) was told that it would be 69 weeks from the going forth of the Edict “to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince.” Those were “Prophetic Weeks, ” in which each week stood for “seven years, ” and they were literally fulfilled, for it was exactly 483 years of 360 days, from the going forth of that Edict, B.C. 445, until Jesus rode in triumph into Jerusalem, A. D. 30, and was hailed as the promised Son of David.
Within a week the Jews had Jesus crucified and then “God’s Clock” stopped, and the remaining “one” week, the “Seventieth, ” has still to be fulfilled. In the meantime, in the break between the “sixty-ninth” and “seventieth” week, the Holy Spirit is gathering out the Church, and when it is complete it will be taken away, and then “God’s Clock” will begin to tick again, because He will again be dealing with. His People the Jews.
It is during this last, or “Seventieth Week” of Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks, ” that the Tribulation is to occur, and as the “weeks” of the already fulfilled “sixty-nine” weeks, were each “seven years” in length, so this last, or “Seventieth Week, ” must be the same. The length then of the “Tribulation Period” should be “seven years, ” but Jesus tells us in Matt. 24:22, that for the “ELECT’S SAKE” Those Days Shall Be Shortened. Not the “Elect” of the Church, for they are “caught out” before the Tribulation, but the “Elect” of Israel, the 144, 000 “Sealed Ones” of Rev. 7:1-3. source – Dispensational Truth by Larkin
The Coming Restoration of the Jews
I have always found it interesting that in the very end of Time, God decides to wrap things up in the same place and with the same people that He started with – the Jews and in Israel. You have to remember that the Jews are the ones who wrote the New Testament, and in the early church there was no such thing as a non-Jewish Christian. We Gentiles are forever indebted to the Jews for that. This is what Paul says in the book of Romans –
“Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in [his] goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree?” Romans 11: 20-24
See what Paul is telling us? That we Gentiles (non-Jews) have been ‘grafted in’ to the Olive Tree that is Israel and the Jews, and as such we should not be “boasting’ but we should have respect and fear. Because it is a special privilege to be grafted into the family of God, and Paul promised that the Day is coming when the Jews will once again recover from their ‘blindness’ and see for themselves that Yeshua is indeed the Promised Messiah, and this is what will happen to them –
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Romans 11: 25-27
When Israel was restored on May 14, 1948 (click here to read about that fulfillment of prophecy), that was just the beginning of God’s Plan in the end times for the Jews.
The Character of the Tribulation
While the “Tribulation Period” shall last for about seven years, as to its severity it will be divided into two parts of three and a half years each. The second or last part so far exceeding in its severity the first part as to be known as “The GREAT TRIBULATION.”
What was to happen during Daniel’s “Seventieth Week” was not revealed to Daniel. He received a communication which he did not understand and was told to “seal the Book up until the Time of the End.” Dan. 12:4, Dan. 12:8, Dan. 12:9. All Daniel knew was that the contents of the Book had reference to the “Time of Trouble” that should befall his People at the “Time of the End” (of their sorrows), not the “End of Time.” What that “Sealed Book” contained is no longer a Mystery, for the Apostle John saw the “seals” of that Book broken, and was told to record what it contained. The “Seven-Sealed Book” of the Book of Revelation is the Book that Daniel was told to seal up.
If we want to know then about what is to happen during the Tribulation, all we have to do is to read and study the Book of Revelation from Rev. 6:1 to 19:2 to 19:1.
As the Dragon is cast out of the Heavenlies in chapter 12, and he is cast out in the “Middle of the Week, ” it follows that chapters 6 to 11 inclusive cover the “First Half” of the Week, and chapters 13 to 19 inclusive the “Second Half.” See the Charts on “Revelation” and “Daniel’s Seventieth Week.” source – Dispensational Truth by Larkin
The Seven Seals
Revelation talks about a series of seals that are opened, as they are it triggers certain events. Here is a brief overview of these seals and what will happen when they are opened. All the seals occur in the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation, or the first half of Daniel’s 70th week.
- The First Seal – A “White Horse” appears, the Rider of which is uncrowned at first, but is afterward crowned. He has a bow in his hand, and goes forth conquering. This rider is not Christ. Christ as the Lamb, is holding and breaking the “seals” of the Book. He does not appear as a White Horse Rider until chapter 19.The “Rider” is Antichrist, and pictures him before he is crowned and becomes the Chief Ruler of the “Ten Federated Kingdoms” of the revived Roman Empire. He is the “Prince who is to come, ” and who shall “confirm the Covenant” with the Jews for “one week.” Dan. 9:26, Dan. 9:27. This proves that Antichrist appears at the “beginning” of the “Week” and not in the “Middle” as some claim.
- The Second Seal – A “Red Horse” appears, the Rider of which has power to take peace from the earth. The symbolism is clear. Red, the color of the horse, is a symbol of “blood, ” and the sword of “war.” The time is clearly that prophesied by Christ. Matt. 24:6, Matt. 24:7. The outcome of these wars will probably be the “Ten Kingdom Federation” over which Antichrist shall become the head.
- The Third Seal – A “Black Horse” appears, the Rider of which holds a pair of scales in his hand and a voice cries-“A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” The meaning is clear. When all able-bodied men are drafted for war, the fields remain untitled and “famine” follows, just as Christ prophesied. Matt. 24:7. The olive and the grape do not need cultivation, so their ruthless destruction is forbidden.
- The Fourth Seal – A “Pale Horse” appears, the Rider of which is “Death.” It is noteworthy that the Riders of the first three horses are not named. They will be recognized when they appear. Hell (Hades) follows in the wake of “Death” ready to swallow up his victims caused by war and famine.
- The Fifth Seal – When the Fifth Seal was broken John saw the “souls of martyrs” under the Altar. These Martyrs, whose “souls” John saw are not the Martyrs of “past ages; ” they were taken up with the Church, but the Martyrs who will be killed for the “Word of their Testimony, and who love not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11), during the Tribulation. After the Church is caught out the preaching of the “Gospel of the Kingdom” will be resumed. Matt. 24:14. As it is a proclamation that Christ is about to set up an “Earthly Kingdom, ” it will be exceedingly distasteful to Antichrist and his followers, and a “Great Persecution” will follow. Matt. 24:9-11. It is the “souls” of the martyrs of this Persecution that John saw under the Altar. They asked that their death should be avenged, but were told to rest for a “little season” until they were joined by their fellow servants and brethren who should die as they did. The promise is fulfilled in Rev. 20:4.
- The Sixth Seal – When the Sixth Seal is broken great “physical changes” will occur on the earth. Joel 2:30, 31 ; Matt. 24:29; Isa. 13:9-1 Isa. 13:1. So terrible will these changes be that men will call upon the mountains and rocks to fall and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. The 24th chapter of Matthew should be compared with Rev. 6:1-3.
Between the breaking of the “Sixth” and “Seventh” Seals there will be a pause or interval, during which 144, 000 of the Children of Israel, 12, 000 from each of the Twelve Tribes, will be “sealed.” As there were 7000 in Ahab’s time who would not bow the knee to Baal (1Kings 19:18), so in the Tribulation there shall be 144, 000 of Israel who will not bow the knee to Antichrist. They are “sealed” by an angel, and the “Seal” is the imprint of the “Father’s Name” on their foreheads. Rev. 14:1 ; 22:4.
Then John saw a “Blood Washed Multitude.” Rev. 7:9-11. This introduces us to another class of saved of the “End Time.” They are not the Church, for they come out of the “Great Tribulation.” They are probably Gentiles who accept Christ as their Saviour after the Church is caught out. They are saved and shall serve God in His Heavenly Temple, and never hunger or thirst any more, but they are not part of the Church and shall not participate in any Millennial blessings on the earth.
- The Seventh Seal – At the breaking of the “Seventh Seal” there will be “silence in Heaven” for a limited period. This will be a period of preparation for the greater conflict to follow. Following the “Silence, ” Seven Angels in succession sound upon Seven Trumpets.
Between the sounding of the “Sixth” and “Seventh Trumpets” there will be an “Interval, ” just as there was between the breaking of the “Sixth” and “Seventh Seals.” During this “Interval” a “Mighty Angel” will come down from Heaven having a “Little Book” (open) in his hand. This “Mighty Angel” will be Christ Himself, for the description of Him corresponds with chapter 1:12-14, and as His “voice” is like that of a Lion, this identifies Him as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah of chapter 5:5; and in chapter 11:3, He speaks of the “Two Witnesses” as “My Witnesses.” When the “Mighty Angel” shall set His “Right Foot” on the “sea, ” and His “Left Foot” on the “earth, ” and lift up His hand to Heaven, and swear that there shall be “Time no longer” He shall take formal possession of the Earth. The expression, “Time no longer,” means “No longer delay,” for Time does not end until the close of the “Perfect Age.” While Christ at this time will take formal possession of the earth, actual possession will not be secured until He comes again to the Mt. of Olives, at the close of the Tribulation.
As awesome and as terrible as these 7 Seal Judgments are, they are only the beginning of the Tribulation period. After these will follow the seven Trumpet Judgments and the seven Vial Judgments. And it all leads up to the Battle of Armageddon. This period will last, in total, approximately 7 years as God cleanses the earth, restores the Jewish people and uses them to bring the glorious Gospel of Yeshua Ha’Maschaich around the world one more time. 
Why God’s Purpose for the
Tribulation Excludes the Church
Dr. Thomas Ice
(DISCLAIMER: While PMI is a King James only ministry, we publish the work of others as we receive it).
“And the LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today.” – Deuteronomy 30:7-8
God’s purpose for the tribulation (i.e., the seven-year, 70th week of Daniel) revolves around His plan for Israel and does not include an earthly presence for the church. Why? Because God’s plan for Israel is unfinished at this point in history. When the role of the church is completed she will be taken as a completed body to heaven in an instant – at the rapture. This will clear the way for a restoration and resumption of progress toward the completion of our Sovereign Lord’s plans for His elect nation – Israel.
The Tribulation Focuses on Israel
The Bible teaches that the tribulation is a time of preparation for Israel’s restoration and conversion (Deut. 4:29-30; Jer. 30:3-11; Zech. 12:10).1 While the church will experience tribulation in general during this present age (John 15:18-25; 16:33; 2 Tim. 3:10-13), she is never mentioned as participating in Israel’s time of trouble, which includes the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord, and the Wrath of God. Gerald Stanton explains:
The Tribulation does not deal with the Church at all, but with the purification of Israel. It is not the “time of the Church’s trouble,” but the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” The emphasis of the Tribulation is primarily Jewish. This fact is borne out by Old Testament Scriptures (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30:7; Ezek. 20:37; Dan. 12:1; Zech. 13:8-9), by the Olivet Discourse of Christ (Matt. 24:9-26), and by the book of Revelation itself (Rev. 7:4-8; 12:1-2; 17, etc.). It concerns “Daniel’s people,” the coming of “false Messiah,” the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom,” flight on the “sabbath,” the temple and the “holy place,” the land of Judea, the city of Jerusalem, the twelve “tribes of the children of Israel,” the “son of Moses,” “signs” in the heavens, the “covenant” with the Beast, the “sanctuary,” the “sacrifice and the oblation” of the temple ritual.
These all speak of Israel and clearly demonstrate that the Tribulation is largely a time when God deals with His ancient people prior to their entrance into the promised kingdom. The many Old Testament prophecies yet to be fulfilled for Israel further indicate a future time when God will deal with this nation (Deut. 30:1-6; Jer. 30:8-10, etc.).2
The Church is Absent from the Tribulation
Not one Old Testament passage on the tribulation refers to the church (Deut. 4:29-30; Jer. 30:4-11; Dan. 8:24-27; 12:1-2), nor does the New Testament ever speak of the church in relation to the tribulation (Matt. 13:30, 39-42, 48-50; 24:15-31; 1 Thess. 1:9-10, 5:4-9; 2 Thess. 2:1-11; Rev. 4-18), except as present in heaven. Such silence speaks loudly and supports the pre-trib position, especially when combined with clear, explicit statements that promise her exemption from that time (Rom. 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; Rev. 3:10).
Note the clear promise to the church of Revelation 3:10:
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth.”
If pre-tribulationism is indeed the teaching of Scripture, then we would expect that passages dealing with the tribulation would consistently make no mention of the church. This is exactly what we find. However, Israel is mentioned often throughout these texts. Dr. Robert Gromacki has studied the New Testament book of Revelation, chapters 4-19, which gives the most detailed overview of the seven-year tribulation in all the Bible. He has shown the following…….
However, there is a strange silence of the term in chapters 4-19. That fact is especially noteworthy when you contrast that absence with its frequent presence in the first three chapters. One good reason for this phenomenon is the absence of the true church and true evangelical churches in the seven years preceding the Second Coming. The true believers of the church have gone into the presence of Christ in heaven before the onset of the events of the seven year period.
The church is not mentioned during the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments because the church is not here during the outpouring of these judgments.3
Tribulation on a Christ-Rejecting World
Another purpose for the tribulation is that it is a time of God’s wrath upon a Christ-rejecting world and a time of revenge for Gentile treatment of Israel.
Moreover, it is evident that the Tribulation also concerns God’s judgment upon Christ-rejecting Gentile nations. Babylon, which “made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Rev. 14:8), shall herself “be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Rev. 18:8). The “cities of the nations” shall fall, after which Satan shall be bound “that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled” (Rev. 20:3).
God’s judgment falls likewise upon the individual wicked, the kings of the earth, the great, the rich, and the mighty, every bond man and every free man (Rev. 6:15-17). It falls upon all who blaspheme the name of God and repent not to give Him glory (Rev. 16:9).
Wicked men, godless nations, suffering Israel – these may all be found in Revelation 6-18; but one looks in vain for the Church of Christ, which is His body, until he reaches the nineteenth chapter. There she is seen as the heavenly bride of Christ, and when He returns to earth to make His enemies His footstool, she is seen returning with Him (I Thess. 3:13).4
Such a time of judgment does not require the church, who has not rejected Christ, to be present. With the church in heaven during the tribulation, it enables God’s focus to be on Israel as His Divine instrument through which He acts. This program was predicted by the Lord before Joshua and Israel ever entered the Promised Land. Notice the predicted pattern…..
Then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. (Deut. 30:3)
And the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it . . . (Deut. 30:5a)
And the LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. (Deut. 30:7-8)
Zechariah speaks of the Lord’s retribution upon the nations as a time when “the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . . in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zech. 12:8-9) Once again the focus is upon Israel, in this case Jerusalem, not the church.
The book of Revelation provides a graphic depiction of God’s judgment upon an unbelieving world, often called “earth dwellers.” As God prosecutes His judgment upon the “earth dwellers,” John records periodic pauses by our Lord as He evaluates the response of mankind to His judgment before going on to the next phase. It is as if the Lord inflicts a series of judgments and then surveys the landscape to see if, like Ninevah in the days of Jonah, there is repentance so that He can suspend prosecution of the war. Unlike Ninevah in the days of Jonah, the “earth dwellers” do not relent in the wake of “the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16), so our Lord proceeds to the next phase of His battle.
Every step of the way, the “earth dwellers” would “not repent of the works of their hands” (Rev. 9:20) Instead of worshipping Christ, “the earth and those who dwell in it . . . worship the first beast” (Rev. 13:12). Instead of repentance they “blasphemed God” (Rev. 16:21). Finally, “all the nations were deceived” (Rev. 18:23) resulting in the satanic notion that the armies of the world must march against Jerusalem – God’s city – and Israel – His people.
This results in the basis for the second coming of Christ, which is to rescue Israel from the world’s armies who are striking out at God by invading His people. Such a scenario does not demand or require the church and so she will not be there. We can see that the purpose of the tribulation revolves around God’s plan for Israel, not the church.
Only pretribulationism is able to give full import to tribulation terms like “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), as a passage specifically stating that the tribulation is for Jacob (i.e., Israel). John Walvoord concludes…..
Never are tribulation saints given the special and peculiar promises given to the church in the present age. The nature of the church in contrast to Israel therefore becomes an argument supporting the pretribulation viewpoint.5
Since God’s purpose for the tribulation is to restore Israel (Jer. 30:3, 10) and judge the Gentiles (Jer. 30:11), it is clear that this purpose does not include the church. This is one of the reasons why she will be taken to heaven before this time.
The church’s hope is a heavenly one, not participation in the culmination and restoration of God’s plan for His earthly people – Israel.
(DISCLAIMER: While PMI is a King James only ministry, we publish the work of others as we receive it).
- These arguments are adopted from John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), pp. 270-71.
- Gerald B. Stanton, Kept From The Hour: Biblical Evidence for the Pretribulational Return of Christ, 4th edition (Miami Springs, FL: Schoettle Publishing Company, 1991), pp. 35-36.
- Robert Gromacki, “Where is ‘The Church’ in Revelation 4-19?” Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, editors When The Trumpet Sounds (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1995), p. 355.
- Stanton, Ibid., p. 36.
- Walvoord, Ibid., p. 65.
From article: Preterism: I Can’t Believe It – by Todd Strandberg
One of my key reasons for believing in the pre-tribulation rapture is the fact all other views are always trying to undermine pre-tribulationism. Up until now, the most vocal group of opponents has been the post-trib and pre-wrath folks. I’m amazed to find preterism now on the attack, gaining ground by mostly converting pre-tribbers.
What is preterism? This theory argues that all Bible prophecy has been fulfilled; it states that nothing remains on the prophetic calendar. According to preterism, events like the rise of the Antichrist, the tribulation, the rapture, and the Day of the Lord all took place around 70 AD, the year the Romans invaded Jerusalem and destroyed the second Temple. I just cannot understand how anyone can follow a preterist line of thinking in light of current world events. As in many cases, pride is one of the most common reasons people begin following doctrinal error. They believe that they are part of a special group that has discovered a hidden truth. Never mind the fact that millions of people have joined them in supporting their folly.
Up until now, I’ve largely been ignoring preterism because it seemed equivalent to the Flat Earth Society. Well, I can’t stand by and watch error run free, so it looks like I’m going to have to add preterism to the list of erroneous rapture views that I need to actively refute.
The heart of this error is based on Jesus’ statement that “this generation shall not pass, till all things be fulfilled” (Mat 24:34). It seems easy enough to claim Jesus was speaking about a first-century generation; however, logic ends there when one contemplates the fulfillment of all Bible prophecy.
In order to make 70 AD the magic year, we would have to delete dozens of prophecies that were never fulfilled. When was the Gospel preached to all the nations? When was the Mark of the Beast implemented? What about China’s 200-million-man army? When did 100-pound hailstones fall from the sky? And what date was it when the Euphrates River dried up?
The questions are endless. Why did we have the rebirth of Israel? If Jerusalem was forever removed from being the burdensome stone, why has it now returned to that status? When did all the Jews shout, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” as Jesus said they would?
After being so strict in their interpretation of Matthew 24:34, preterists then run roughshod over many clear statements of Scripture. They say that although the “resurrection” happened in 70 AD, the bodies of Christians were left in the grave.
Preterists take the dangerous step of spiritualizing all passages of Scripture that relate to the nation of Israel, and claim that these refer to the church, the “New Israel.” They teach that the “old earth,” which Scripture says will pass away, is the Old Covenant. The new heaven and new earth, they say, is the New Covenant, and the “elements,” which Scripture says will burn with fervent heat when this happens, are the “elements of the law.”
Preterism produces some bizarre explanations for why the world is still experiencing suffering and calamity. One explanation I ran across cited God’s need for population control as the reason for mankind’s suffering. Here is what one preterist author wrote:
“I believe that people are born and people die. Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall. God is the providential population controller. He brings famine, disease, natural catastrophes, wars and tumults. One-third of the population of Europe was destroyed by the Black Plague in the early part of this millennium. Eight hundred fifty thousand were killed in the 1556 earthquake in the Shanghai province of China. Two million were killed in World War II. Thirteen million were killed under Stalin and 6 million under Hitler. God is very equipped to control population.”
The Issue of Preterism – by Dr. David R. Reagan
Doesn’t the book (of Revelation) infer that its prophecies were to be fulfilled in the time it was written? It would be easy to get this impression because the very first verse speaks of “the things which must shortly take place” (Revelation 1:1). Also, two times the text states that “the time is near” for the fulfillment of the prophecies (Revelation 1:3 and 22:10).
But in view of the fact that the prophecies have not been literally fulfilled in history, it appears that these statements point to imminence rather than nearness in time. Imminence is the concept that an event can occur at any time, and the creation of that sense seems to be the purpose of these statements.
The principle is one that Jesus stressed in His teachings about the end times. Over and over He told His disciples to be ready for His return at any moment. “Be ready,” He warned, “for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matthew 24:44). Jesus used the parable of the ten virgins to illustrate His point. Five were unready when the bridegroom came and were thus left behind. “Be on the alert, then,” Jesus warned, “for you do not know the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:1-13). On another occasion, He put it this way, “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight… for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect” (Luke 12:35, 40).
The apostolic writers make it clear that living in a state of suspense, expecting the Lord to return shortly, at any moment, will have a purifying effect, because it will motivate holiness. Paul urges us to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:12-13). Peter tells each of us to “keep sober in spirit,” and he says the way to do it is to “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). John says we are to focus on the Lord’s return because “everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself just as He is” (1 John 3:3).
Words must always be interpreted in terms of context, and context is often shaped by historical setting. In the First Century setting, the references to “soon,” “shortly,” and “near” seemed to indicate a quick fulfillment. But as time has passed without any literal fulfillment, history has shaped the context to indicate imminence — that is, the events prophesied can happen any moment.
A similar phenomenon can be found in statements used in other portions of the Scriptures. For example, James wrote that we are to be patient until the coming of the Lord, and then he stated, “the coming of the Lord is at hand… behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (James 5:7-9). In like manner, Peter wrote, “The end of all things is at hand” (1 Peter 4:7). The fact of the matter is that we have been living in the end times ever since the Day of Pentecost when the Gospel was first preached, and the end times could be consummated any moment with the fulfillment of Revelation’s prophecies.
The generalized time references in Revelation are not indicators of nearness in time. Instead, they are warnings of imminence — that the events prophesied could start unfolding at any moment.
 This section was adapted from the Old Scofield Study Bible notes. We offer a 2 year study program with optional degree in Old Scofield Bible Theology. We also offer these wonderful Bibles separately in bonded leather, KJV for a $30 gift to help PMI reach prisoners for Christ. Stamps are welcome and Bibles sent after total offering received.