Christians usually know a little something about the Tribulation Period, but because we will not have to live through it, we often fail to tell others of this terrible period of time. In fact, while the Tribulation is going on here on earth, those that have been Raptured to heaven will be engaged in the wedding supper of the Lamb. This is the last event of the marriage of the church. Just like the weddings during Christ’s time here on earth, we have seen that the church, which is the bride of Christ, will experience the same type of events that were part of the weddings of Christ’s day. This includes the culminating event of the marriage supper, wherein the groom puts on a large banquet for the bride.
As Christians are celebrating the wedding supper with Christ and are living with peace, love, and joy, while in compete harmony, there will be something else going on here on earth. Those that are left behind will be facing a totally different scenario than the believers. For while believers will be at a wedding supper in heaven, unbelievers will be living through the Tribulation Period. So, what is this period and why should Christians tell others about this coming period in time?
The Tribulation Period
There have been several movies made about the Tribulation Period, some like the Left Behind series are based on biblical scripture. Others are just movies made to scare and entertain the audience. Unfortunately, both types create a fantasy for the viewer, sometimes leading them to believe that it is just a movie or story so it will never happen. Or, they believe that it is so far in the future that they don’t have to worry about it. But, Christians know that the Tribulation Period will be very real for those that are indeed left behind.
We also have learned through my previous blogs that the Tribulation Period will start at the time of the Rapture after all authentic Christians are taken from the earth. We also learned that the Rapture can happen at any time. I can’t emphasize enough that failing to make a decision for Christ, will lead to unprecedented pain and suffering which leads to a permanent hell. So, what should everyone know about the Tribulation Period in order to avoid being left behind to experience it? Furthermore, what exactly do you need to tell others about the Tribulation Period, so that they will know that it is a real event and not fantasy, and that it will indeed occur?
So that you will know what to say to unbelievers about the Tribulation Period, I will start by telling you what the Tribulation period is. The Tribulation Period will be a time of indescribable horror. We know this because Jesus told His disciples, “For then there will be a great tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days are cut short, no life would have been saved…” -- (Matthew 24: 21, 22, NASB). Fortunately, Christ and God, the Father, will cut short the Tribulation period so that some lives can be saved. So, how long will this Tribulation period last?
According to Daniel’s prophecy in the book of Daniel, this Tribulation period will last a total of seven years. Although Daniel prophesied hundreds of years before Christ came to earth, his prophecies described both future events that have already been fulfilled, such as the prophecy about the Messiah and His death, and future events that are still to occur. Daniel spoke of these future events in “weeks”.
Daniel's Prophecy in Weeks
Even though it is fairly complicated to figure out, because the Jewish “week” is based upon the Jewish lunar calendar and not our solar calendar, we know that a “week” is a seven-year period. By using the lunar calendar, and without going into great detail, we know that Daniel’s 70 weeks is referring to 70 seven-year periods, or 490 years starting with the Jewish people’s Babylonian captivity. In fact, in the ninth chapter of Daniel we learn that Daniel’s prophecy calculations actually start with the King Artaxerxes’ decree that the Jewish people could return to Jerusalem to rebuild Jerusalem and the city walls. For, Daniel said, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; …” – (Daniel 9: 24, 25. NASB).
Then, Daniel said that after sixty-two weeks that the Messiah would be cut off. There is only one person who actually fits this particular prophecy time line and it is Jesus Christ who died, or was “cut off,” and then rose again three days later. These seven weeks are actually seven sevens or 49 years. Notice that Daniel then added sixty-two weeks or 434 years to the 49 years to make a total of 483 years. Amazingly, this was the exact number of years from the issuing of the decree to restore Jerusalem until the Messiah came. For, it was exactly 483 years or sixty-nine of the seventy weeks of Daniel’s prophecy until Jesus Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on what Christians call “Good Friday”. The following Friday, Christ was crucified or “cut off” just as Daniel predicted.
Why is the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy about Jesus’ entrance and cutting off important to us? It is important because it shows that Daniel’s prophecy about the Messiah came true and that his other prophecy in regard to the Tribulation period will come true as well. So, there is still one week of Daniel’s prophecy that has not happened yet, but it will happen when God is ready for the Rapture to occur. This prophecy of future events is in regard to the seventh week or the last seven-year period, which is the Tribulation Period. We know that this seven-year period or last “week” of Daniel’s prophecy is the Tribulation Period, because Jesus tells us that it is in His Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 that we will take a closer look at in just a moment.
Two Halves to the Tribulation Period
So, the Tribulation Period will last seven years. But according to Daniel’s prophecy there will be two halves to this period. The first half is the first three and one-half years. This time period will be bad, but it will not be as bad as the second half of the Tribulation Period. Moreover, the Bible scriptures do not tell us how bad the first half will be. However, it does tell us how bad the second half will be. For, it is at the three and one-half year mark that the Antichrist shows his true colors and becomes indwelt by Satan doing terrible things and trying to act like he is a god. He even replicates some of the things that Christ did while he was here on earth, thus deceiving many. We will talk more about this in another blog. But for right now, just know that the Antichrist will come upon the scene acting like he is the savior of the world. Later, though, he will show his true colors and become a destroyer of people.
Daniel explained in his prophecy how bad this Antichrist will be, for Daniel said, “… the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. … even to the end there will be war, desolations are determined. And 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 grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” -- (Daniel 9: 26, 27. NASB).
The middle of the week, is at the three and one-half year mark. From Daniel’s prophecy we can determine that the Antichrist will have great political power, the kind of power that it takes to make a covenant of peace with Israel and then later to break that covenant. It is at the three and one-half year mark that the Antichrist stops the Jewish sacrifices and grain offerings in the temple. But he goes a step further and desecrates the temple with some type of abomination. The word “abomination” refers to something that is detestable to God. Again, Jesus refers to this abomination in His Olivet Discourse with the disciples.
The Olivet Discourse
Jesus took his disciples up to the Mount of Olives, and in chapter 24 of Matthew Jesus spoke about the end times and the coming Tribulation period. This recorded discussion is called the Olivet Discourse. The disciples had previously asked Jesus Christ some questions before they even got to the Mount of Olives. In two of the questions the disciples wanted to know what the signs would be for the end to come and what would be the sign of Christ coming again. When they got to the Mount of Olives and sat down around Jesus, He answered them by telling them first not to be afraid, because there would be wars and rumors of wars, but that those things had to take place. Still that would not be the end. First, “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” -- (Matthew 24: 7, 8. NASB). Then “there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.” -- (Matthew 24: 21. NASB).
Jesus then went on to say that it would be after these birth pangs that the Great Tribulation period would finally come. He said, “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. … At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” -- (Matthew 24: 9,10, 12-14. NASB). The end of the Tribulation Period will culminate in Christ’s Second Coming or as the Apostle Paul tells us, “The Day of the Lord.” Paul said, “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” -- (I Thessalonians 5: 2. NASB).
Before the end or The Day of the Lord, and in the middle of the last week, or exactly three and one half years after the tribulation starts, however, the Great Tribulation will start. In fact, Jesus said that it will start “when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place.” – (Matthew 24: 15. NASB). We will talk more about the abomination in another blog. Suffice it to say, that half way through the Tribulation, the Antichrist changes his attitude and behavior toward Israel and the world from the original political face that he put on for the world when he made the covenant with Israel. Things are going to go from bad to worse for the entire world, though, and not just for Israel.
A Million Times Worse than We Have Ever Seen Before
This word “tribulation” comes from the Greek Word “Thilipsis”, which means affliction or anguish. The word “great” comes from the word “Megas”. We use the word “Mega” in many of our own words today, which means 10 to the power of 6 or one million. For example, we have such words as “megabyte” and “megaton” to name just a couple. So, Jesus was telling the disciples that this awful time period would be a “mega” “affliction” full of anguish that would be a million times worse than anything they could imagine or that had ever happened on the earth before. That is why God cuts the time short to only seven years so that not everyone dies. Instead, there will be a few people who will come to Christ during the Tribulation period, but they will be persecuted and some will even be martyred for their salvation.
In the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24: 9 we learn that there will be an increase in lawlessness as people’s love grows cold. To reiterate how terrible this period will be, Christ tells the Apostle John in the book of Revelation that “…a red horse went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another…” -- (Revelation 6: 4). Christ will send a warrior angel to take all peace from the earth. Can you imagine total chaos, hate, and unrest? That is exactly what will happen without peace on the earth. Without peace on the earth, we are told that men and women will actually slay each other. It will be an horrific environment on the earth.
There will also be famines over a quarter of the earth. For, the Apostle John said that he heard the third living creature say, “Come, behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice… saying, A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barely for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and wine.
… I looked and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name of Death …Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.” -- (Revelation 6: 5, 6, 8. NASB). First there is the black horse bringing a shortage of food. Then the next the ashen horse and his rider bring famine and death.
Why would Christ allow the famines and pestilence? Well, people’s hearts have been so hardened that something needs to get their attention. Remember, too, that people are slaying each other. Do you think that the other three-quarters of the earth will stop and ponder if starvation, bugs, and devouring beasts are worth the life-style they are living? Maybe a few will see their Savior in Jesus Christ and ask Him to come into their heart. Could any of those who are still alive at that time turn to God and our Savior, Jesus Christ and ask to receive forgiveness and salvation? God wants people to turn to Him. Some will, but we are not told how many. I certainly pray that you are not one of those facing all the tribulations of that time period.
Even while all this is going on, we are told that there will be a major earthquake and the sun will disappear. The Apostle John was shown a vision in which “there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, … The sky split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and freeman hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.” -- (Revelation 6: 12-14. NASB). Rich and poor, mighty and weak, it doesn’t matter who they are or how much power or wealth they have, for all will experience the same thing.
What would you do in such a situation? Would you pray to God to forgive you and protect you? Would you humble yourself before the power of the Almighty God? One would think that the people facing such horror and devastation would turn to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. But sadly, that will not be the case. All these people will want to do is die, but still die without acknowledging Christ as their Savior. In fact, they will have no problem acknowledging the might of God or understanding that it is God who is controlling everything, yet they will still refuse to humble themselves and repent. Instead, we are told that they “said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand.’” -- (Revelation 6: 16, 17. NASB). People will refuse to ask Christ to save them. How sad!
Will You Experience the Tribulation if it Occurred Today?
These are only a few of the terrible things that will happen during the Tribulation Period. This time period will be so bad that people will want to die but they cannot. So, if people know how bad this time period will be, why would they not care about avoiding it. Well, some will not know the truth of the Tribulation, others will refuse to accept Christ as their Savior even in hearing the horrors of the Tribulation to come. But as Christians we are not to worry about what another person decides to not do with their life. However, we are to share the truth, so people can make a decision either for or against Christ. This means that we not only have to tell people about the Saving Grace of Christ, but we have to also tell them about what will happen on the day of the Rapture to those who have refused to acknowledge God and His Son. We must tell people what will happen during the Tribulation Period if they are not Raptured.
Everyone needs to know about the Rapture and about the coming Tribulation Period. We cannot be remiss in spreading the Gospel message or in telling others about the Rapture and the Tribulation Period. Moreover, Christians will either receive rewards and crowns for the things we have done for the Lord or we will miss out on the rewards and crowns, because we have failed to spread the Gospel message and explain things about the kingdom of God to unbelievers. As Christians, it is our responsibility to share our knowledge of the truth of Christ’s Good News and message with other people through direct witnessing or through Active Relational Christian Mentoring. Have you shared what you know about Christ, the Rapture, and the Tribulation with anyone?
Our world is going downhill fast. Just take a look at the riots, the police shootings, the lies from politicians, the smears - whether real or made-up against a particular presidential candidate and the wars in the Middle East, not to mention the terrorist attacks here in the United States and around the world. Add to those things the loose morals, lowered ethics and the lack of values and we have a world that is on the verge of implosion. So, how close to the end times do you think that we are? Would you be willing to bet that the end of the world won’t come for another thousand years so that you can do nothing, because you think that someone else in a future generation can do it for you? Will our world make it to the next generation let alone to ten or more generations? What will you tell Jesus when He comes at the Rapture?
If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, please take a moment to repent of your sins and ask Him into your heart. There is nothing scary about salvation. In fact, you will receive great peace and joy in your heart when you become a child of God. I don’t want you or anyone to go to hell, and I certainly do not want you or anyone to have to live through the Tribulation Period. For, no matter what we can imagine through the words used in the scriptures, Christ has told us that it will be a million times worse than what we imagine. Don’t take a chance that the world that you are living in is the only world there is, for there is indeed the spiritual world that God has made for us. All it takes to have eternal life and be with God forever, is belief in God and belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. You just need to believe that Christ gave His life for you, taking your sins upon His shoulders, and then dying for your sins. Then if you believe that He arose from the grave the third day, conquering death, you, too, can have salvation. You will be saved!
Once you have asked Christ to forgive you and to come into your heart, you will be saved, if you truly meant it. Then, tell a friend, family member, or even a stranger that you have just accepted Christ as your Savior. You are now a child of God. Then start telling your friends and family members about the Rapture and the Tribulation Period so they, too, can decide their destiny of an eternity in hell or an eternity in heaven. You can do it! You can share the Gospel with others, and you can become an Active Relational Christian mentor!