The Tribulation

Jeremiah said a day is coming:

How awful that day will be!  None will be like it.  It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. [1]

Jesus confirmed Jeremiah’s description when He said, “those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now – and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive.”  [2]

Jacob’s Trouble.  Days of Distress.  We know this time by a different name:  Tribulation.  The word “tribulation” comes from the greek word thlipsis (θλῖψις).  It means “trouble”, “distress”, “tribulation”, and “oppression”.

The Tribulation is a specific time of God’s judgment on the earth [3] where He judges Israel for her unbelief and the Gentiles for their exceeding wickedness.  It will be the last 7 years of this age. [4]  Beginning with the Antichrist and Jews signing a 7 year treaty[5] , the Tribulation ends with Jesus coming back to earth in power and glory. [6]  During the course of these 7 years there will be enormous death tolls through persecutions, earthquakes, famines, disease and supernatural disasters. [7]  Revelation 6-19 describes the Tribulation and shows God will execute a long series of judgments against the earth through the 7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 bowl judgments.  

Halfway into the 7 years the Antichrist will break the treaty he made with the Jews. [8] They will no longer be allowed to worship God in their Jewish Temple.[9]  Instead Antichrist will declare that he is God and demand to be worshipped.[10]  This is the “abomination” Daniel spoke of that “causes desolation.”[11]  Whereas the Gentiles will worship him[12], with the help of the False Prophet [13], the horrified Jews will scatter from Jerusalem to other nations. [14] 

The remaining half of the Tribulation (3 ½ years) is referred to as the “Great Tribulation” [15]where the most intense evil, idolatry, persecution and judgment occurs.  With Jerusalem emptied of its Jewish people, the Gentiles will “trample on the holy city” for the last 3 ½ years[16]. These are the last years in an epoch known as “the times of the Gentiles”.[17]  This era began back with the Babylonian captivity and it refers to the Gentile rule of Jerusalem ever since.  

The Tribulation’s crescendo is at the very end when the sun and moon go dark and the stars fall from the sky and the heavens begin to quake.[18]   Then there will be the “glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:14)

Waiting, counting days gone by,

Upward, eyes watching cloudy gates;

Looking, longing, each word nigh,

‘Til faith to sight His glory makes!


  1. Jer. 30:7
  2. Mk 13:19-20
  3. Rev 3:10
  4. Daniel 9:24-27; 12:11; Mt. 24:3-30; Mk. 13; Luke 21
  5. Daniel 9:27
  6. Dan. 9:27;  Mt. 24:30; Mk 13:26; Lk 21:27; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:20
  7. Revelation chapters 6-19
  8. Dan 9:27
  9. 2 Thess. 2:4
  10.  2 Thess. 2:4; Revelation 13:4, 8, 12, 15
  11. Dan. 9:27; Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13;14
  12. Revelation 13:4, 8
  13. Revelation 13:12, 15
  14. Isa. 49:22-23; 60:8-15; Mt. 24:16-20; Mk. 13:15-18; Lk. 21:21-24; Revelation 12:6, 13-17
  15. Jesus says that after the abomination is setup then the following days will be the “great distress” (see Mt. 24:15 and 21)
  16. Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2
  17. Luke 21:24
  18. Isa. 13:10; 34:4; Mt. 24:29; Mk. 13:24-25; Rev. 6:12-14

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