Question: What is the Tribulation?
Recent world events, especially in the Middle East have many Christians studying the Bible for an understanding of end times events. This look at "What is the Tribulation?" is just the beginning of our study of the Bible and what it says about the end of this age.
Answer: The Tribulation, as taught by most Bible scholars, encompasses a future seven year period when God will complete his discipline of Israel and final judgment upon the unbelieving citizens of the world. Those who accept a Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory believe that Christians who have trusted Christ as Lord and Savior will escape the Tribulation.
Biblical References to the Tribulation:
The Day of the Lord
For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low. (KJV)
Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. (NKJV)
Behold, the day of the LORD comes,
Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger,
To lay the land desolate;
And He will destroy its sinners from it. (NKJV)
- (Also: Joel 1:15, 2:1, 11, 31, 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2)
The final 7-year period of Daniel's "70 Weeks."
"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (NIV)
The Great Tribulation (Referring to the second half of the seven year period.)
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (KJV)
Trouble / Time of Trouble / Day of Trouble
When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice. (KJV)
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (KJV)
That day will be a day of wrath,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of trouble and ruin,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness. (NIV)
Time of Jacob's Trouble
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. (NIV)
More References to the Tribulation
"But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." (NIV)
"From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days." (NIV)