Q: What is Great Tribulation?
A: Great Tribulation is the correct Biblical term for the last seven (7) years before Christ returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Great Tribulation is the last week of Jewish prophecy. Daniel divides Jewish history into ’70 weeks of years’. (Daniel 9:20-27) When Christ was crucified sixty nine weeks were completed, leaving one more week of years or seven years till the end. There, enters a parenthesis in time. God’s plan for his people Israel is put on hold as the Jews are dispersed into all nations having no homeland of their own from AD70 until the Balfour Declaration in 1917 allowed them to begin returning to their homeland. They became the nation of Israel in May 1948. By the way, this was the first time the nation of Israel had existed since before they went into exile in 587-86 BC. During the time of Christ, this country was Judea. Another note of interest overlooked today, at the same time the Jews were given Palestine for their homeland, Jordan was established for the Arab/Palestinian people to have their own homeland. This seems to be forgotten or overlooked in our current political climate.
During this parenthesis, salvation is extended to ‘the nations’ or the gentiles. Other names for this period of time are: The times of the Gentiles, The Age of Grace, and The Church Age. Prophecy indicates as we’ve discussed previously that the age of the Gentiles has officially ended. According to Luke 21:24, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” So, Biblically, the age of the Gentiles ended in 1967 with the six day war.
The Age of Grace ends with the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit from the Earth. The Age of Grace began with Christ and His death, burial and resurrection, and the subsequent pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. (Birthday of the Church, beginning of the Church Age). 2 Thessalonians 2:7,8 says, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; ony He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming…”
The ‘lawless one’ is commonly accepted as referring to the Anti-Christ. The ‘one who restrains’, “He” (capitalized) is the Holy Spirit. Accepting these identities, we see that the exit of “He who now restrains” is an event preceeding the revelation of the Anti-Christ. The chronological order is thus:
- The Holy Spirit leaves, thus ending the Age of Grace, The Church Age, and the Parenthesis;
- The Anti-Christ is revealed, and sets into place a seven year peace treaty with Israel; thus beginning the 70th or last week of Jewish prophetic history.
- Christ returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and destroys the Anti-Christ in the ensuing battle at Armageddon. This is the Anti-Christ who the Lord “will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”
A minimum of seven years lapses between the exit of ‘He who restrains’ and Christ’s Second Coming. As indicated above, this seven years relates to Jewish prophetic history. It is during this time that the Jewish people turn ‘en masse’ to Messiah. This is a time of Judgment upon the Earth. It is in this seven year period that “The bowls of wrath” are poured out upon the Earth representing God’s Judgement ‘poured’ out against ungodliness
We will next discuss:
1. The pre-great tribulation rapture of the Bride of Christ, and
2. Not all believers/Christians are a part of the Bride of Christ, thus there will be a partial rapture of the church.