APPENDICES TO THE TRIBULATION TRILOGY
Excursus on 2 Churches and the Body of Christ
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat 16:18).
The book of Acts is transitional, moving from God’s prophetic program for the nation Israel with its prophesied kingdom on earth, to His mystery plan for the church body and its kingdom in Heaven. Let me be clear. Most of the theological inconsistencies you encounter from confused Christians is rooted in their crass misinterpretation of the book of Acts. In his great book Why So Many Churches, Dr. Noah Hutchings writes: “If only Christians would hear what God has spoken to them during this age, and claim that which God has given to us and let Israel have that which God has promised to them in the covenants, then all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour could fellowship one with another. If Christians would rightly divide the Word, then all Scriptures would fall into their rightful place.”
In Acts 1-9 the main focus is Peter, Jerusalem, and PROPHECY for ISRAEL Then in Acts 10the focus begins shifting to Gentiles, Antioch, the Apostle Paul, and the MYSTERY of the CHURCH. Overall, Acts records events from the ascension of Jesus back to Heaven, the day of Pentecost, including the birth and historical record of the first organized Jewish Church under Peter’s preaching and leadership, to Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles who alone received the revelation of the mystery for the church (see Gal. 1:12). Scofield writes: Acts is in two chief parts: In the first section (Acts 1:1 – 9:43) Peter is the prominent personage, Jerusalem is the center, and the ministry is to Jews. Already in covenant relations with Jehovah, they had sinned in rejecting Jesus as the Christ. The preaching, therefore, was directed to that point, and repentance (i.e. “a changed mind”) was demand-ed. The apparent failure of the Old Testament promises concerning the Davidic kingdom was explained by the promise that the kingdom would be set up at the return of Christ (Act_2:25-31; Act_15:14-16). This ministry to Israel fulfilled Luk_19:12-14. In the persecutions of the apostles and finally in the martyrdom of Stephen, the Jews sent after the king the message, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” In the second division (Acts 10:1 – 28:31) Paul is prominent, a new center is established at Antioch, and the ministry is chiefly to Gentiles who, as “strangers from the covenants of promise” Act_2:12), had but to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” to be saved. Chapters 11,12, and 15 of this section are transitional, establishing finally the distinction, doctrinally, between law and grace. Galatians should be read in this connection. (excerpted from the Old Scofield Reference Bible)
Christ Promised to build His Church
Christ revealed His plans for a special assembly gathered around His name. AC Gaebelein offers sound insights from his Annotated Bible: “I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). Here we have the first mention of the church in the Bible. It did not exist in the OT. The church, still future when Jesus spoke these words, was formed on the Day of Pentecost and is composed of all true believers in Christ, both Jew and Gentile. A distinct society known as the body and bride of Christ, it has a unique heavenly calling and destiny. We would scarcely expect the church to be introduced in Matthew’s Gospel where Israel and the kingdom are the prominent themes. However, consequent to Israel’s rejection of Christ, a parenthetical period—the church age—follows and will continue to the Rapture. Then God will resume His dealings with Israel nationally. So it is fitting that God should introduce the church here as the next step in His dispensational program after Israel’s rejection.”
Two “Churches” Formed
“Some of God’s people will inherit an earthly Kingdom, while others are members of the Body of Christ, destined for Heaven. Knowing the difference is all important to be established in your faith. You cannot follow instructions given to people of another time whose inheritance is in another place and be successful in your service for the Lord. All scripture is given by inspiration of God. All of the Bible is for us, but it is not all about us. Peter and Paul are two different apostles of the Lord. They have two different messages called “the gospel.” Their message is addressed to two different groups of people. Those two groups of people are in two different churches.
The Greek word ekklesia literally means “a calling out” and can be used to describe either a sacred or secular gathering: church and assembly. Two separate churches are set forth in Acts:
- The Jewish Church which was exclusively Jewish beginning with Peterafter the Holy Spirit outpouring on Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 2:47)
- The Body of ChristChurch following Paul’s conversion and revelation of the mystery some time after (Acts 11:26; see Rom. 16:25; Gal. 11:12; Eph. 3:1-9)
The Jewish Church
The Jewish Kingdom Church was formed to call out the new Nation of Israel out of apostate Israel. The establishment of the Kingdom is yet future. It has not yet happened. The reason you do not see the Lord Jesus Christ ruling and reigning on the throne of David as the King in the Kingdom is because God had a secret. The secret is about another group of people called the Body of Christ. The Body and the Kingdom are two different things. God’s prophetic program for a “Kingdom of Heaven upon the earth” gave way during the time of the book of Acts for the revelation of the mystery.
The Body of Christ Church
The church which is Christ’s Body has a heavenly calling and a heavenly inheritance. You only learn that from Paul’s epistles because he is the only one who received the revelations and the only one who writes about and unto the body of Christ.” (above in quotes copied from http://www.av-1611.com/Prophecy_vs_Mystery.htm)
The Church and Israel
The Church is composed of all believers who have put their trust for salvation in the death and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Unlike Israel, the Church is not under a covenantal relationship with God. Prior to the calling of Abraham, God made a covenant with mankind through Noah in which he promised never again to destroy the world with a flood cf. Genesis 9.9-17. After God created the Hebrew race he made covenants with them (see the Covenants of Israel). But God never made a covenant with the Church. God’s relationship to the Church is grace alone and is not under the Law of Moses. The Church does, however, share in the blessings of the New Covenant as the blessing of this covenant are spiritual rather than physical (as are the blessings of the other covenants).
The Church is separate and distinct from Israel. The below chart outlines the key differences.
Chart of Key Differences Between Israel and the Church
|Established by and under covenants||Established by grace alone (a “secret”)|
|Has earthly promises||Has heavenly promises|
|Operates under Law||Operates under Grace|
|Is a Kingdom||Is a Body|
|Has a King||Has a Head|
Israel was established by a covenant God made with Abraham who became the father of the Jewish race. Subsequent covenants followed. The final covenant was the New Covenant. The Church’s life is Christ as his Body. The Church was a creation held secret in the mind of God until God revealed the secret to Paul (Ephesians 2.11-22; 3.3-9; Colossians 1.26-27). Both Israel and the Church are beneficiaries in God’s plan under the “eternal covenant” (Hebrews 13.20-21). This covenant was not made with either Israel or the Church. The Eternal Covenant was sovereignly made by God the Father and God the Son in eternity past as the means of redeeming fallen mankind, solving the problem of evil, and bringing glory to God. The Church’s domain and destiny is heaven (Philippians 3.20). Israel’s promised realm is earth (Matthew 6.9-10). God promised Israel an earthly kingdom (Acts 1.6).
The Church (Body of Christ)
The Church has no earthly kingdom. The operative means of life for the Church is grace (Romans 6.12). Throughout most of its history the nation of Israel operated under the Law of Moses and Jesus operated under the Law (Matthew 8.4) during his earthly ministry. In a future day, under the New Covenant, Israel will have the Law written on their hearts (Jeremiah 31.33). The Church is described as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12.12-13, 27). Israel is described as a kingdom. Jesus is the Head of the Church, i.e., the Body of Christ, (Ephesians 1.22). He is never called the King of the Church. Jesus is the King of Israel (Luke 1.31-33). Ironically, the Roman governor Pilate, a Gentile, recognized Jesus’ Jewish kingship (Matthew 27.37; Mark 15.26;Luke 23.38; John 19.17-22 cf. John 18.33-39) even though the Jews rejected His title (Matthew 27.29-31; Mark 15.17-20; Luke 23.35). In the Messianic kingdom, Jesus will rule as Israel’s King in his role as David’s greater Son. In this role he will fulfill the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, Sabbatic, and New covenants.
God established the Church, the Body of Christ, with the conversion and commission of Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles. It has the following characteristics.
- The Church is the Body of Christ(Ephesians 1.22-23; 1 Corinthians 12.12-13; Colossians 1.24).
- All who put their trust in Christ in this age are members of the Body of Christ, i.e., the Church (1 Corinthians 12.12-13).
- Membership into the Body of Christ, i.e., the Church, is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12.13; Galatians 3.27).
- One is baptized by the Holy Spirit when one exercises faith in Christ (Galatians 3.26-27).
- Members of Christ’s body, i.e., the Church, are indwelt by Christ (Colossians 1.27).
(excerpted from http://doctrine.org/the-church-the-body-of-christ/
The Revelation and the Rapture Differences
The Revelation- also called the Second Coming – is for Israel. Keep this in mind and prophecy becomes clearer. It originated through the prophets, centers around earth, concerns the establishment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom in Jerusalem, and occurs at the completion of the great tribulation (Matt. 24:29) also known as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), and the day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; 34:8; Jeremiah 46:10, etc).
The Rapture is for the church. It originated with Paul, centers around heaven, and is a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) that removes the church (also a mystery) prior to the day of the Lord, at the day of Christ. Once the church is removed, the prophecy clock and final preparations for the Kingdom can once again get underway.
In order to fit the pieces together leading to the Kingdom, we need to understand Daniel’s seventy weeks. Remember, the vision was delivered by the angel Gabriel (Dan. 9:21), to the prophet Daniel, for “thy people” (Jews) concerning “thy holy city” (Jerusalem; see Dan. 9:24). Although it is a comprehensive narrative, the prophecy is incomplete; it’s missing a single week of seven years that must be fulfilled through Israel according to the Davidic Covenant and the prophetic Word (Dan. 9:24-27).
The Jewish prophet Daniel saw the Lord’s first presentation of the Kingdom in a prophecy he foretold of seventy weeks of seven years (for Israel) leading to the cutting off of the Messiah (Dan. 9:24-26). With the Davidic Covenant in mind, John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ began preaching “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). This of course was God’s offer to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:16) and fulfill Daniel’s prophecy.
When Jesus was officially rejected on the exact day Daniel’s seventieth week was to begin, the prophetic calendar for Israel stopped; allowing for a parenthetic body to be inserted into the fabric of God’s providence- a mystery that was unknown by the prophets- called the church. However, this left unfulfilled one seven year period the prophets and dispensational scholars refer to as the time of Jacob’s (Israel) trouble (Jer. 30:7); the day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; 34:8; Joel 1:15, 2:1; etc); a time of trouble (Dan. 12:1); and the tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21-29).
Bear in mind, the day of the Lord is a Jewish phrase used by at least nine Jewish prophets that centers on earth and concerns Israel not the church (see Zech 12-14; Matthew 24; Rev. 12: the focus is Jerusalem and the abomination of desolation in the Temple Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4). The Body of Christ is NOT in view during the time of Jacob’s trouble!
See Chart of Differences between the Revelation and the Rapture on the next page
Unrevealed and not predicted in O.T. Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:51 – “mystery” compare Eph. 3:9 – “which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God”)
No mention of Satan (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Revealed and predicted often in O.T. Scriptures (Isa. 9:7; 11:4; 26:19-21; 63:1-4; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:9-12; Zech. 14:1-9; Ma. 4:2-3)
Christ comes back to earth (Zech. 14:4)
Christ comes with His bride (Rev. 19:7-9; 11-14)
Christ comes as the sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2)
Follows definite predicted signs (signs occurring during the Tribulation Period – Matt. 24:29-34)
Satan is bound (Rev. 20:1-3)
Excursus on the Tribulation
Prophecy is for Israel and the Tribulation exists purely as prophecy. Moses was the first to reveal it (Deut. 4:30). Through the years – by means of Progressive Revelation – the prophets unfolded it to Israel. However, in doing so, God never revealed His mystery Body to any of them; reserving it for Paul alone.
We would do well to study carefully the words of Zephaniah as he uses many terms for the tribulation for Israel: “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. (Zephaniah 1:14-18).
Coinciding with Zephaniah’s prophecy, the Book of Revelation delineates the tribulation as a time of “wrath” by using the word at least 10 times in Revelation. It is called “the wrath of God” five times (Revelation 14:10, 19; 15:1,7; 16:1) and “the wrath of the Lamb” once (Rev. 6:16 see v 17). Opening the first seal unleashes the tribulation  which continues 7 years (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14) and concludes with “the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15) when Christ returns to fight the armies gathered against Israel at Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21).
The following info is 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 birth and manifestation of Christ. (Dan_9:26); (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 19:26). 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 accomplished (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 elements of the tribulation are:
- 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).
- The active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev–12:12) who gives his power to the Beast. (Rev – 13:4); (Rev_13:5).
- The unprecedented activity of demons (Rev – 9:2); (Rev_9:11), and
- 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).
- The time of the end in Danielbegins 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).
- 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 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 churchis never mentioned- nor can it be clearly identified- in any part of the 7 year tribulation.
The Tribulation is for Israel
Bible students are incessantly at war with Biblically sound hermeneutics by refusing to see a distinction between Israel- which exists from prophecy (focusing on a coming earthly kingdom)- and the church- which was manifest to Paul as the revelation of a mystery hidden from the prophets- Eph. 3:3 (that focuses on a current heavenly kingdom). As such they must force the church into some or all of the 7 year tribulation period even though it was clearly prophesied for Israel as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) which will immediately precede setting up the long awaited (Jewish) Millennial Kingdom.
The tribulation is a future time of unequalled trouble and suffering for all those who are then living upon the earth. Among other names, it is referred to as the “great and terrible day of the Lord” in Joel 2:31 and “the time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7. May I remind the reader that Jacob is ISRAEL. When describing this holocaust in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus warned the Jews, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
Bear in mind. The Tribulation is primarily for Israel. There isn’t a verse of Scripture anywhere clearly placing the Body of Christ here for a single moment without pulling from context the words “saints” and “elect which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation refer to Israel.
No person that has trusted the Lord Jesus Christ prior to the tribulation will go through this time, because all believers will be raptured to glory immediately preceding this seven-year period (Revelation 3:10). Understanding the purpose for the tribulation will help define its participants. The purpose of the tribulation period is twofold: to punish the world for sin and anti-Semitism, and to purify Israel and her supporters for the Millennial at the conclusion of it. It is only when God’s judgments are in the earth that the world will learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). During this awful time the nation of Israel will be invaded and suffer the loss of two thirds of its population according to Zechariah 13:7-9. At the conclusion when Christ returns to Jerusalem in the Revelation, the remnant of Israel will repent and turn to the Lord Jesus, receiving Him as their King.
Dr. Gerald Stanton’s adds much insight to this time: “Posttribulationists have missed the plainly revealed purposes of the Tribulation period while dwelling on the supposed fact that God is purifying His Church. 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 Scripture (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 Messiahs,” 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 “song 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 of God’s dealing 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 expressly with this nation (Deut. 30:1-6; Jer. 30:8-10; etc.). Moreover, it is evident that the Tribulation also concerns God’s judgment upon Christ-rejecting Gentile nations . . . 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” (1 Thes. 3:13). (Kept from the Hour, pp. 35-36)
The book of Revelation, chapters six through nineteen, records the awful judgments that will fall upon earth and its dwellers in ever-increasing severity. Since the Body of Christ (a mystery) will be gone, during the tribulation (time of Jacob’s trouble- Jer. 30:7) God’s message will be “the gospel of the kingdom” preached by 144,000 faithful virgin Jewish witnesses (Matt. 24:14; Rev. 7:4; 14:1-5).
AntiPreTrib Problems Associated with the Tribulation
The Tribulation is a ubiquitous term that has become a well-known doctrine. Prophecy is for Israel and the Tribulation exists purely as prophecy. It was well known by the prophets (Deut. 4:30) so it was never a part of the mystery. That being said, there isn’t a prophecy or verse for that matter anywhere in Scripture: (1) clearly consigning the mystery Body of Christ to the time of Jacob’s trouble, or (2) revealing her as being on earth for a single hour during this time [unless two terms used for Israel, “elect” and “saints” are pulled from their context to prove something that simply is not provable in any other fashion].
There are several problems AntiPreTrib advocates have with the Tribulation.
- Their first problem is what to call it.
Tribulation which includes the great tribulation (Matt. 24:21, 29), is part of “the day of the Lord” (Isa. 2; 13; 34; Jer. 30-31; 46; etc). It is also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) [Jacob is Israel], “Daniel’s Seventieth Week” (Dan. 9:24-27), and the “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), and “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10).
- Their second problem is the length of it.
The first mention of seven in the Bible tells us how it stands connected in God’s mind. “. . . on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made” (Gen. 2:2). Seven from that point on signifies something started and finished. Since Daniel’s prophecy of seventy weeks is our Rosetta Stone for interpreting the tribulation trilogy, we have one seven year period still future, dispensational Bible scholars view in connection with the beginning and ending of tribulation and great tribulation period; Scripture bearing witness. In the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:21; 29), and the Book of Revelation, two separate three and one-half year periods form one whole seven year tribulation: 42 months (Rev. 11:3); 1260 days (Rev. 11:3, 12:6); and time, times, and half a time (Rev. 12:14).
However, in a concerted contrarian effort to thwart scholarly teaching, you’ll find antiPreTrib proponents to be of the most creative antagonists on the planet; especially those espousing the most recent – and perhaps most confusing – PreWrath rapture ruse. Their claim to fame is in arbitrarily placing the church into the time of Jacob’s trouble for most of seven year period with nothing more than bizarre calculations and misguided outcomes they arbitrarily apply to the Body of Christ without ever proving she is here during any part of the Tribulation aka Jacob’s trouble.
- Their third problem is not accepting its origin and purpose.
The Tribulation is for Israel through prophecy; Moses being the first prophet to reveal it (Deut. 4:30). The purpose of the tribulation is to punish sin and purify Israel and her supporters for the Millennial Kingdom (Jer. 30-31; Obad. 1:15; Matt. 25:31-46). “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city . . . to seal up the vision and prophecy …” (Dan 9:24). Although Daniel prophesied that the seventy weeks would seal up the vision and prophesy, there appears to be a secondary reference here to a cessation of prophecy which occurred at the 69th week and will last for an unspecified time. Knowing what we now know, that happened when God moved from prophecy to mystery at the rejection of Jesus’ Kingdom offer. Interestingly, the corollary to this rejection brought about a dual blindness each leading in separate directions for distinct purposes.
- Their fourth problem is consigning the Body of Christto it.
The tribulation is a watershed for Israel given through prophecy before she ever knew about the coming kingdom (Deut. 4:30). It was later expanded upon by the prophets (Jeremiah, Isaiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc) through Progressive Revelation. When the Lord summed up Israel’s end time’s scenario in Luke 21:22, He referred to this epoch as “the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” The days of vengeance is the tribulation – aka the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), and the “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), also referred to as Daniel’s Seventieth Week for Israel and Jerusalem. All things fulfilled refers to Israel’s prophets. The notion that the Body of Christ will share in the prescribed horrors of the Jewish tribulation is an invented doctrine without clear Scriptural support.
There are only three ways to place the church in the tribulation:
(1) by wresting Scripture from its context where it clearly can be found implicating Israel and the Gentiles, not the Bride of Christ (Rev. 19:9; 21:2,9; 22:17);
(2) by superimposing the church over the top of Israel, which is Satanic Replacement Theology condemned by the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 2:9; 3:9); or
(3) by a dogged determination to maintain the anti-rapture mantra even when presented with clear evidence refuting it. The tribulation is for Israel (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 12:1, etc) and placing the Body of Christ here during that time is a manmade doctrine devoid of integrity and Biblical authority.
In summary, the Tribulation aka known by other names – covers Daniel’s Seventieth Week and as such is seven years in length. Its purpose is to punish sin and prepare Israel for the Revelation of the Messiah and the Davidic Kingdom on earth which the prophets applied exclusively to Israel. Any suggestion that the Body of Christ will be here for a moment of the time of Jacob’s trouble is without Scriptural authority and should be rejected out of hand with no more ink devoted to it.
The Islamic Antichrist?
Some Christians and ex-Muslims see a direct correlation between Islam and the Book of Revelation about the “end times”. It is interesting to note that Revelation 20:4 tells that the faithful Believers in Jesus will be beheaded. One only has to look at militant Islam today to make this correlation. Islam is the only religion that commands this barbaric custom of beheading. They do this everywhere today to those they call “infidels”. The Qur’an commands in Surah 47:4 – “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads…” To fundamental Muslims, the entire world including your own home is their “battlefield”.
It is all a war of spiritual forces. The god Allah is opposing the God of Israel everywhere in the world today. Allah will be defeated in the end. And so will his millions of mindless followers he controls.
Muslim Prophecy speaks of the coming time of the Great Caliphate, Third Jihad, and return of the Twelfth Imam (Mahdi), who is supposed to emerge from a well (yes a hole in the ground). According to Shiites – of which Obama was reared – the 12th imam disappeared as a child in the year 941 A.D. This Imam is supposed to subjugate the world for Islam. The Iranian President Ahmadinejad is on record as stating he believes he is to have a personal role in ushering in the age of the Mahdi. In a Nov. 16, 2005, speech in Tehran, he said he sees his main mission in life as to “pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance.” After Ahmadinejad spoke to the United Nations, in September 2005, he told Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli in Tehran, in a videotaped discussion, about a strange, paranormal experience he had while speaking.
“Be not fond of the dull smoke-colored light from hell.” – the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Ahmadinejad recounted how he found himself bathed in light throughout the speech. But this wasn’t the light directed at the podium by the U.N. and television cameras. It was, he said, a light from heaven.
This 12th Imam, named Muhammed al-Mahdi, is supposed to return to earth, presumably reuniting the Sunni and Shi’a factions of Islam by his presence. The prophesied destruction of Israel in the end times is supposed to originate in modern Khorasan, located in northeast Iran. To a Christian, a world dominated by fanatical Muslims with a charismatic leader who attempts the destruction of Israel, and causes all to bow down to this cruel, intolerant, demanding and mean Allah, sounds very much like the predicted anti-Christ who will behead those who do not bow down to his worldwide religion.
It is finally donning on most educated Christians that the coming Antichrist will not be the Catholic pope who many have falsely maligned for years. All signs point to a charismatic Muslim. Many Christians are on the lookout for a charismatic Muslim leader like al-Mahdi, who together with a fake Jesus (who denies the Christian truths just as Islam does) will begin to subjugate the world to Islam by great miracles, uniting Muslim fanatics, and blackmailing countries with mideast oil and nuclear weapons. These two will confuse and mislead many of even the Christian “very elect”. The key to this identity of Antichrist in Christian Scripture lies in 1 John 2:22. More about him is spoken of in both Daniel and in Revelation. It is no coincidence that of all the religions in the world, only Islam has a “holy” book that attacks the deity of Jesus, lies that God has no Son, and lies about the Trinity (falsely saying Christians believe it as: Father, Son and Mary). According to Daniel 11:37, this Antichrist will also have no “desire of women”, just as Islam does today. Women in Islam are second-rate. Most are living a life of misery and restrictions that western women would be unable to fathom. A woman’s testimony is only as good as one half of a man’s in Islamic courts, women must pray behind man in a mosque, and their divorce rights are nearly non-existing. A Muslim woman can be divorced and left out on the street just by a husband saying; “I divorce you” three times. The Muslim propensity to behead infidels is also another indicator from Scripture (Revelation 20:4) that the coming Antichrist will be a Muslim.
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. Daniel 11:37
In 2008, Ali Larijani, the chairman and speaker of the Iranian Parliament quoted Imam Muhammad Baqir, a famous Muslim scholar, as saying, “there must be bloodshed and jihad to establish Imam Mahdi’s rule.” Ayatollah Ibrahim al Amini, professor at the Religious Learning Center at Qom affirms Larijani when he states, “The Mahdi will offer the religion of Islam to the Jews and Christians; if they accept it they will be spared, otherwise they will be killed.”
Excursus on Islamic Nations
The nations involved in this grisly uprising against Israel will become God’s chastising mechanism – just as was Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 27:6) – for punishing and preparing His elect (study carefully Isa. 2; 24 and Jer. 30-31); this time to receive Christ at His second Kingdom offer. Surpassing the horrors of Pharaoh’s Egypt or Hitler’s Germany, the tribulation portends the most savage historical period the earth has ever hosted. More and more scholars are seeing a connection between the uprising of savage Islam and the rabidly anti-Semitic end times Beast eating its way around the globe in the last days (Dan. 7; Rev. 12-13). Interestingly, Psalm 83 lists the very nations threatening Israel today. Time will tell when this will explode. As for now, I urge you to get your heart right with Jesus and in that frame of mind make a thorough study of Daniel 7 and 9, the Book of Zechariah 12-14; Matthew 24-25, and Revelation 6-19 because it will help link together in perfect harmony a frightening description of an unparalleled time of universal hatred toward the most important nation on earth to God.
Last Days Signs in the Sun and the Moon and the Stars
|Reference||Stars/Heaven||Sun||Moon||Day of the Lord||
Armageddon/Valley of Jehoshaphat/Judgment
|The stars and the constellations shall not
give their light
|The sun shall be darkened in his going forth||The moon shall not cause her light to shine||Day of the Lord cometh,
cruel both with wrath and fierce anger
|He shall destroy sinners; I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity|
|Not mentioned||The sun ashamed||The moon shall be confounded||And it shall come to pass
in that day;
after many days
|Lord of hosts shall reign in
Mount Zion and in
|The Lord shall punish the host of the high ones and the kings of the earth, and they shall be gathered together in the pit|
|I will show wonders in the
|The sun shall be turned into darkness ||…and the moon into blood||before the great and the terrible Day of
the Lord come; in those days, and in that time
|I will also gather all nations, and bring them down into the valley of
Jehoshaphat. In mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance
|The stars shall withdraw their shining||The sun shall be darkened||The moon shall be
|The Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision||The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, the children
|Let the heathen be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.|
|Matthew 24:27-31; 25:31-34||The stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken||The sun shall be darkened||The moon shall not give her light||Not mentioned||Lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; immediately after the tribulation of those days. The sign of the son of man in heaven; coming in the clouds with power and great glory||Eagles are gathered at Armageddon/sign of the Son of man coming with power and great glory, tribes mourn, sends his angels w/great sound of trumpet, elect gathered . . . then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory and separate the sheep from the goats in his kingdom.|
(see Joel 2:30 above)
|I will show wonders in heaven above||The sun shall be turned into darkness||…and the moon into blood||Before that great and notable Day of the Lord||Implied in the context
|Implied in the Day of the Lord|
|Rev. 6:12-13||And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth||The sun became black as sackcloth of hair||And the moon
became as blood
|The great day (of his wrath)||Implied since Judgment occurs
|The throne and the wrath of the Lamb follows
Summary: When studied in context, these passages collectively tell us that the sun moon and star activity accompanies the Lord’s return to Jerusalem to conduct His wrathful judgment prior to the Millennium.
Chart of Tribulation Trilogy Commonalities
|Subject||Daniel||Olivet Discourse||Revelation of
|Time of Jacob’s trouble||Dan 12:1
a time of trouble Dan.
|Matt 24:21, 29
great tribulation, tribulation
|Rev 3:10; 7:14
the hour of temptation; great tribulation
Dan. 7:19-26; 9:1-27
Rev 7:4; 12:6,17
|Dan. 7:14; 9:1-27||Matt 24||Rev 11:8; 12:1-2; 14:1; 14-20; 16:16|
|Language relevant to Jews alone||Holy covenant, sanctuary, kingdom, thy servants the prophets, Moses the servant of God, Messiah, sacrifice, oblation||False prophets, kingdom, abomination of desolation, Daniel the prophet, holy place, Sabbath, Judea, elect, Son of man, sign of son and moon, Noe||Temple, ark, Michael, wilderness, remnant, seed, commandments, Christ, Sion, Moses, prophets|
|Dan 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11||Matt 24:15||Rev 13:6|
|Antichrist||Dan 7-8:23-27; 9:26-27; 11||Matt 24:4; 24:15; 24:24-26||Rev 13:1-10|
|Elect ||Referred to as “saints”||Matt 24:22,24,31||Referred to as “saints”|
|Saint(s) ||Dan 7:18,21,22,25,27; 8:13;||(Referred to as “elect”) Matt 24:22,24,31||Rev 5:8; 8:3,4; Rev 11:18; 13:7; 13:10; 14:12; 15:3; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24; 19:8; 20:9|
|Follows with Judgment for entering
|Dan. 7:9-10||Matt 25:31-46||Rev 16:16; Rev19:19-Rev 20:4|
|Judgment||Dan 7:9-13; 12:2||Matt 25:31-46||Rev 20:11-15|
|Kingdom in focus||Dan. 8:23-26||Matt 24:7, 14; 25:1, 14, 34||Rev 12:10; 20:1-4|
|Temple||Dan 5:2,3; 8:13||Matt 24:1,2; 24:15||Rev 3:12; 7:15; 11:1; 11:2; 11:19; 14:15; 14:17; 15:5; 15:6; 15:8; 16:1; 16:17; 21:22|
|Resurrection||Dan 12:2||Rev 20:6, 12-13|
|Culminates in the
Revelation of the
|Dan 2:44; 4:3,34;
6:26; 7:10-27 ; 12:1
|Matt 24:29-31; 25:31-40||Rev 14:14-20; Rev:19:11-16|
Contents for the Tribulation Trilogy
Dr. Mike Johnston