A. In order to understand the Tribulation, it is important to understand the source of the Tribulation. This article will show that God is the architect and orchestrator of the Tribulation, from start to finish, and that its key purpose is to draw unsaved Jews to saving faith in Christ. Consider the following verses of Scripture.
B. Tribulation Overview.
1. The purpose of the Tribulation. Jeremiah 30:7. This prophecy was given in the year 606 B.C., while the Jews were in Babylonian captivity, and speaks of the coming of the tribulation that will come upon all Israel (Jacob). In 30:8 “that day,” the Day of the Lord which will also be the restoration of Israel under Messiah, the son of David. (Ryrie Study Bible)
Jeremiah 30:7, “How awful that day will be! There will be no other like it! It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.”
2. That which must precede the Tribulation. Daniel 9:27. This prophecy was given in the year 538 B.C., while the Jews were in Babylonian captivity. The Antichrist will make a pact with the Jews, which will mark the beginning of the Tribulation period.
Daniel 9:27,”He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”
3. The Day Of The Lord (Joel 1:15) consists of the events of the Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ, and the Kingdom Age of the Millennial reign of Christ.
4. In addition to the purpose of the Tribulation for drawing unbelieving Jews to belief in Christ, the entire period of the Tribulation, which will include the Seal Judgments, Trumpet Judgments, and Bowl Judgments, will be a time of testing for all of those that will be left behind from the rapture of the Church (Rev 3:10). Believers in Christ will be “saved from, or saved out of,” the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” Notice that Rev 3:10 identifies those of the Tribulation as “earth dwellers,” and are also addressed throughout “all of the Tribulation,” in the following verses: 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:8, 13:14, 17:8.
5. The source of the Tribulation judgments, will be God, through Jesus (the Lamb) and God’s angels.
a. Seal Judgments. Revelation 6:1-8:6. Notice that in Rev 6:16-17, those whom have been left behind from the rapture, and have found themselves being the objects of God’s wrath, beginning with Rev 6:1, recognize that “the great day of the wrath of the Lamb has already come upon them.” Notice that in Rev 6:2, the Antichrist is a Seal Judgment which is poured out on the earth by Christ.
b. Trumpet Judgments. Revelation 8:7-9:21.
c. Bowl Judgments. Revelation 15:1-16:21.
6. The Second Coming Of Christ occurs at the end of the Tribulation (Matt 24:29-31 (for Him to set up the Kingdom Age of the Millennium, and to enact judgment on unbelievers of all times) (also Rev 1:7; Zech 12:10, 14; 1-5, 9; Mk 13:24-27; Rev 19:11-21).
7. The rapture of the Church (John 14:7; 1 Cor 15:50-54; Eph 4:13-18; 2 Thes 2:3) is not a part of The Day Of The Lord, but is that event which removes the Church (the born again believers in Christ), from the earth so that God can deal with unsaved Israel and draw them to belief in Christ. Neither the existence of the Church, nor the relationship between Christ and the Church, were known by the Jews in the prophetic writings of the Old Testament prophets. In essence, it was a mystery of Christ and the Church that was not made known until it was revealed in the New Testament (Eph 5:32; 1 Cor 15:51).
8. At the time of the rapture of the Church, all living and deceased believers of Christ of the church age will be taken to Heaven (John 14:3,6); will receive spiritual rewards at the Bema Judgment (2 Cor 5:10); are joined to Christ in Marriage (Rev 19:7-9; 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-27); will be in the Presence of Christ and God until the end of the Tribulation (Rev 4-5); will return with Christ at the end of the Tribulation, at the Battle/Campaign of Armageddon (Rev 19:11-21).
C. The Seventieth Week Of Daniel Examined (The Tribulation).
a. The church and Israel are two distinct groups with whom God has a divine plan. The church is a mystery, unrevealed in the Old Testament. This present mystery age (Inter-Advent age, mine), intervenes within the program of God for Israel because of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah at His first advent. This mystery program must be completed before God can resume His program with Israel and bring it to completion pg 193). The church will be raptured before the seventieth week (pg 194).
b. The seventieth week has the character of: (1) wrath (Rev 6:16-17); (2) judgment (Rev 14:7); (3) indignation (Isa 26:20-21); (4) punishment (Isa 24:20-21); (5) hour of trial (Rev 3:10); (6) hour of trouble (Jer 30:7); (7) destruction (Joel 1:15); (8) darkness (Joel 2:2). It must be noted that these references describe the period in its eternity, not just a portion of it, so that the whole period bears this characterization (pg 194-195).
c. This period of tribulation will see the wrath of God poured out upon the whole earth (Rev 3:10). While the whole earth is in view, this period is particularly in relation to Israel. Jer 30:7, which calls this period, “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” makes this certain. The events of the seventieth week are events of the “Day Of The Lord.” The use of the name of deity emphasizes God’s peculiar relationship to that nation. When this period is being anticipated in Daniel 9:24 (538 B.C.), God says to the prophet, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city. The whole period has special reference to Daniel’s people, Israel, and Daniel’s holy city, Jerusalem” (pg 195) (Daniel 9:20-27).
d. Since every passage dealing with the tribulation relates it to God’s program for Israel, the scope of the tribulation prevents the church from participating in it (pg 196).
e. The purpose of the seventieth week is two-fold (pp 197-200).
(1) The first purpose is stated in Rev 3:10, “Because you have kept My word of perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of the testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who live on the earth.” Apart from the question involved as to who will be in this time of testing there are several other important important considerations in this verse.
(a) First of all we see that this period has in view, “them that dwell on the earth,” and not the church. This same expression occurs in Rev 6:10; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 14:7; and 17:8. Since this period is related to “earth dwellers,” those that have settled down to permanent occupancy, it can have no reference to the church, which would be subjected to the same experiences if it were here.
(b) The second consideration to be noted here is to express purpose, when God is its subject, “to inflict evils upon one in order to prove his character, and the steadfastness of his faith.” Since the Father never sees the church except in Christ, perfected in Him, this period can have no reference to the church, for the true church does not need to be tested to see if her faith is genuine.
(2) The second major purpose of the seventieth week is in relation to Israel. In Malachi 4:5-6 (397 B.C.) it is stated: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord: And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
(a) The prophet states that the ministry of Elijah was a ministry to prepare the people for the King who was shortly to come.
(b) In Luke 1:17 and Mark 9:12-13, the Lord was showing the disciples that John the Baptist had this ministry of preparing a people for Him. John’s ministry was a ministry to prepare the nation Israel for the coming of the King. It can only be concluded then that Elijah, who is to come before the great and terrible day of the Lord, can have only one ministry: that of preparing a remnant in Israel for the advent of the Lord. It is evident that no such ministry is needed by the church since she by nature is without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but is holy and without blemish.
(3) The two stated purposes of the tribulation, the testing of earth dwellers, and the preparation of Israel for the King, have no relation to the church, whatsoever. This is supporting evidence that the church will not be in the tribulation.
(4) The rapture, the catching up of the New Testament saints (1 Thes 4:16-17) will remove, not all who make a profession of faith in Christ, but only those who have been born again and have received His life. The unbelieving portion of the visible church, together with unbelievers in the nation Israel, will go into the tribulation period.
II. Tribulation Wrath In Focus.
A. Because the postribulation rapturist refuses to distinguish between the tribulations of this age, which the church will endure, and the unique and unprecedented period of tribulation which shall come on the earth, they insist that the rigors of tribulation come only through the agency of man or of Satan, and disassociate God from the period entirely.
B. The tribulation period will witness the wrath of Satan in his animosity against Israel (Rev 12:12-17) and of Satan’s puppet, the Beast, in his animosity against the saints (Rev 13:7). Yet, even this manifestation of wrath does not begin to exhaust the outpouring of wrath that day.
C. Scripture abounds in assertions that this period is not the wrath of man, nor even the wrath of Satan, but the wrath of God.
1. Isa 24:1. Look, the Lord is stripping the earth bare and making it desolate.
He will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. (Note: The Lord is to deal with the whole earth more severely than He did at the tower of Babel or through the Noahic Flood, MacArthur Study Bible).
2. Isa 26:21. For look, the Lord is coming from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth will reveal the blood shed on it and will no longer conceal her slain. (Note: The innocent killed by their oppressors are to come to life (cf. v. 19) and testify against their murderers, MacArthur Study Bible).
3. Joel 1:15. Woe because of that day! For the day of the Lord is near
and will come as devastation from the Almighty. (Note: The Heb. term “destruction” forms a powerful play on words with the “Almighty.” The notion of invincible strength is foremost; destruction at the hand of omnipotent God is coming, MacArthur Study Bible).
4. Zeph 1:18. Their silver and their gold will be unable to rescue them on the day of the Lord’s wrath. The whole earth will be consumed by the fire of his jealousy, for he will make a complete, yes, a horrifying end of all the inhabitants of the earth. (Note: The discussion expands to include the whole earth as in vv. 2, 3, MacArthur Study Bible).
5. Rev 6:16. And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. (Note: 16. Earth’s inhabitants will recognize for the first time the source of all their trouble, MacArthur Study Bible).
6. Rev 16:7. I heard the altar say, Yes, Lord God, the Almighty, true and just are your judgments. (Note. The personified altar echoes the words of the angel, reinforcing the truth that God is just in all judgment, MacArthur Study Bible).
D. From the above Scriptures, it can not be denied that this period is peculiarly the time when God’s wrath and judgment fall upon the earth. This is not wrath from men, nor from Satan, except as God may use these agencies as channels for the execution of His will; it is the tribulation from God. This period differs from all preceding tribulation, not only in intensity but also in the kind of tribulation, since it comes rom God Himself.
III. Tribulation Summary.
A. The great tribulation is the period of unexampled trouble predicted in the passages cited under that head from Ps 2:5 to Rev 7:14, and described in Rev 11.-18. Involving in a measure the whole earth (Rev 3:10) it is yet distinctly “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer 30:7) and its vortex Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It involves the people of God who will have returned to Israel in unbelief. Its duration is three and a half years, or the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. 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 (Matt 24:15; 2 Thes 2:4).
2. The active interposition of Satan, “having great wrath” (Rev 12:12), who gives his power to the Beast (Rev 13:4-5).
3. The unprecedented activity of demons (Rev 9:2, 11).
4. The terrible “bowl” judgments of (Rev 16:1-21).
B. 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 (Matt 24:29-30).
A. Paragraph I. B. 2. The Moody Bible Commentary, @2014 by The Moody Bible Institute, p. 1307 .
B. Paragraph I. B. 3. Things To Come, @1958, by Dunham Publishing Company, J. Dwight Pentecost, Th. D., p. 231.
C. Paragraph I. B.4. Revelation Commentary, @2011, by John F. Walvoord, Th.D., by Moody Publishers, p. 84.
D. Paragraph I.C. Things To Come, @1958, by Dunham Publishing Company, J. Dwight Pentecost, Th. D., pp 194-200.
E. Paragraph II, A-D. Things to Come, @1958, by Dunham Publishing Company, J. Dwight Pentecost, Th. D., pp. 235-238.
F. Paragraph III, A-B. Scofield Study Bible, @2006, by Oxford University Press, Rev 7:14 Note.
G. Scriptures in this article are from the Christian Standard Bible. The scriptures were pasted from BibleGateway.com
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Israel In The End Times