Escape The Coming Tribulation

"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).

Jesus describes a future time of "great tribulation" worse than any time past or future. All people left on earth after the "rapture" of the church will face a seven-year tribulation period. We know it is seven years from the "seventy weeks" prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. With a year for a day, this is a total of 490 years. This "clock of years" dates God’s dealing with the Jews. The "clock" started with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. It predicted 69 weeks, or 483 years, to the coming of the "Messiah" (vs. 25). Sir Robert Anderson’s book, THE COMING PRINCE, documents exactly 483 years, to the day, from that decree until Palm Sunday. Daniel said the Messiah would be "cut off", referring to the cross (vs. 26).

Daniel also tells us another "prince" would destroy Jerusalem and the temple. In 70 A.D., Titus, a Roman general, fulfilled that prophecy. When the Jews rejected and had Jesus crucified, God’s seventy-week clock stopped with one week to go. Jesus said, "… Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).

Daniel predicts an end time "prince" of the same people that destroy Jerusalem, "… shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [i.e., seven years]" (vs. 27). The European Community, which is the revived Roman Empire, will appoint this Roman prince (Revelation 17:9-18). As he moves toward world rule, he will convince the Jews (privately) that he is their Messiah. The Jews will accept him as their Messiah when he negotiates a seven-year peace covenant with the Arabs, allowing them to rebuild their temple. The signing of this covenant begins the 70th week (of years) prophesied in Daniel 9:27), which is also the "tribulation."

Why doesn’t the beast take over now? Paul calls him "the mystery of iniquity." He says, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only He who now hindereth will continue to hinder until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked one be revealed" (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Something, or someone, is hindering the world dictator from taking over today. I believe it is the church, indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. Millions of Christians are salt and light, hindering evil from completely taking over.

When Jesus calls His church out of the world, then the "beast" will be revealed. Revelation describes "seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials" of judgments during the seven year tribulation. One fourth of the people on earth will die during the "seals" judgment period (Rev. 6:8). An additional one third of the people on earth will die during the "trumpet" judgment period (Rev. 9:18). This means more than half of the world population will die during this seven-year time of tribulation on earth. We are not told how many will die during the "vial’s (bowl’s) judgment", which will likely be the worst part of the tribulation (Rev. 16).

All the signs Jesus gave are for the full return of Jesus to earth. If the full return is that near, then the rapture, which is seven years earlier, is upon us. These signs are present today. Jesus said, "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near; even at the doors" (Matt. 24:33).

Just before this "tribulation," Jesus will come to take His bride of true believers out of the world. After Jesus rescues His church, they will move into Heaven for the judgment seat of Christ and the marriage of Jesus and His church. If you are not saved, you can escape this coming tribulation by trusting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. May God help you do it today. Amen!

© 2002 D. B. Martin