Most Christians would define the tribulation period as the seven-year period after the return of Christ. It is believed to be the time between his coming and the Day of Judgment when Jesus Christ will give everyone his or her reward. Theologians has made several studies into that time period and some even know the course of events that will take place and have developed a timetable of when they expect these events to take place. These men make the tribulation period so vividly gross that no one wants to read about it or have that experience.
Being knowledgeable about the tribulation period first gives one a better picture of Christís return and will help you to keep his return in biblical perspective with God's plan. The majority of Christians study the Second Coming without ever making an in depth study on the tribulation. The only ideas they have on the tribulation period are based on the sermons they have heard in church meetings. Most of these theories are developed by great men of our faith are made of suppositions, opinions and assumptions with little or nothing to support it. Tell this to an avid pre-tribulationist and they will laugh at you.
In this account we will make the attempt to see the Tribulation Period from God's eyes. Things will become clearer and not so confusing when you hear what God said. Still remember that this series is to say the least, theology even though I believe itís the gospel. Many stories have been told and books written based on the tribulation period and much of that is known to be fiction. However, before one examines the doctrine he must understand that there are people who love God and believe the seven-year tribulation period with all their heart. In their own mind the Tribulation Period is real and they are busy warning men and women in their sphere of influence of the events that are about take place in the near future.
If Tribulation period is to a have a true meaning, it must be understood in the way God planned the end times. Otherwise, you can run off the deep end with your own ideas and become deceived. In the entire Bible there is one reference to the tribulation period better known as the great tribulation.
"Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:14
One thing is an absolute truth, the Bible does not contain the phrase "tribulation period." However, the word "tribulation" is found in the Old Testament 73 times and the New Testament 56 times in its various forms. Tribulation describes intense mental anguish and the pain, the agony and suffering associated with the trouble that affects our lives. Tribulation comes in an event that pushes you to the wall for a decision made under intense pressure perhaps testing your disposition. Some take the punishment, some come away from the wall fighting and others take refuge in God. The decisions you make during tribulation tells God if you have changed on the inside.
Another form of tribulation places obstacles in your path to divert the path you are taking. To a ship Captain a Straight is a narrow channel to pilot his boat through and veering to the right or left of the channel will cause you to run aground or shipwreck. In the verse below the word ďNarrowĒ is translated from the word tribulation.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14
Both of these examples describe the trials and temptations you face on your journey to Heaven. Overall tribulation is related to how you react to the trial than it does to time. Still, we are talking about a great tribulation of which the word ďgreatĒ speaks of things with significant value that are larger in size, amplified in our thoughts, intensive than what we consider normal.
The question that needs to be answered is how does word "great" relate to time periods? According to the doctrine of the tribulation period it is supposed to last seven years. My personal lifetime has exceeded the seven years of the tribulation period by nine times. So seven years does not relate to me as being a great length of time.
How does great relate to the Tribulation period? Great in relation to the tribulation Period is a descriptive of the tribulation. The descriptive words should be a superlative for pain such as excruciating or agonizing and reflect extreme suffering, pain that is very intense or to a high degree.
Consider this instead, the general tribulation has existed since Adam and Eve was thrown out of the garden. The six thousand years since creation is far greater in time than any of our lifetimes. All of the biblical characters faced the same kind of tribulation that you face everyday of your life. Jesus said, in this life you will have trouble (a word rendered from the word tribulation,) Those standing before the throne in Revelation 7:14 went through tribulation everyday of their life just as we do.
There are more Ideas about the tribulation period than Carter has liver pills and these words are believed to describe it.
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. Matthew 24:21,
There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people - everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered. Daniel 1.2:1
Theologians tell us that the tribulation period is a part of God's plan to return and begin ruling the inhabitants of the earth. During this event there will be a time of unequaled suffering that will be felt worldwide and at the center is the nation of Israel. Some have named this as "the time of Jacob's trouble" and will be connected with the intense judgments of God on the wicked nations of the world. Theologians believe that the Great Tribulation is the last three and one-half years of Daniel's seventieth week of years.
However, there is no consensus of opinion of what the tribulation period is or when it will occur and the various views are divided into three theological views. According to theologians the tribulation period is based solely on when they can place the time of Christ's return to redeem his children.
The pre-tribulational view believes that Christ comes for his elect just before the anti-Christ rules the earth for seven years. It is during this time the wrath of God falls on all men in the form of great tribulation. Those who remain true to God not will escape the suffering and will see persecution unlike any other since the beginning of time.
The mid-tribulational view believes that Christ comes for his elect at midpoint of the seven-year rule of the anti-Christ. Still Christ returns before the tribulation occurs.
The post-tribulational view believes that Christ does not come for his elect until after the rule of the anti-Christ. Every Christians will go through the entire tribulation period that is alive when Christ returns. At the completion of the tribulation period the wicked will be separated from the righteous and God's wrath will be poured out on the wicked in the form of judgments.
In summary, Pre-tribulationist believes that they will not have to go through the tribulation period. The mid-tribulationist believe that they will go through three and a half years of the tribulation period when all is calm and the post-tribulationist believe that they will go through the entire tribulation period.
Understanding the tribulation period is difficult because each of the views contain truth from the source, Godís holy word. For the most part theologians use the term Tribulation Period to describe the wrath of God and what could be considered the rewards given to the wicked. Most descriptions incorporate the seals, trumpets, and bowls of Godís wrath as a part of the tribulation period. In addition, the center point of the tribulation takes place in Israel where Satan assumes the throne.
One thing that Christians can agree upon is that Satan will rise to power and then slain on the day Christ returns. In my opinion, on that day, Christ will send his angels into the world to gather every human being to him for sorting. Every person will pass before the throne of Christ as if sorting the sheep from the goats making a distinction between the good and the bad. The good will enter the kingdom of God and the bad, those who would not have God as their king will be thrown out of his kingdom. He will remove from his kingdom everything that sin and work evil rewarding them according to their conduct while in the world. The saints will be observers of the wrath of God rather than those who suffer Godís wrath.
The term tribulation Period is completely unknown to God's vocabulary. I say this because the term Tribulation Period is not found in any of the Bibles that I have been able to search. Christ and the prophets did not use tribulation Period as a term to describe Christís return or the end of the age. Because the tribulation period is not used in God's word it makes it difficult to link prophecy and to a specific time in God's plan. Therefore, those who believe in the tribulation period could not, be on the same page with God.
The tribulation period that consists of the seals, trumpets, and bowls is the reward God gives to men according to their deeds and this creates confusion. I plan to explain the last sentence in greater detail in another essay. God does not create confusion because confusion is caused by the lack of information or deception. Who benefits more from deception of this kind? The arguments over pre, mid, or post Tribulation does more to divide the church and God said ďa house divided can not stand.Ē Those who study God's word do God a disservice when they relate his plan in their own terminology.
Consider this, when the disciples were discussing the destruction of Jerusalem they asked Jesus this question.
"When will this happen, and what' will be the sign of your corning and of the end of the age" Matthew 24:3
And the first thing he said was,
"Watch out that no one deceives you. Matthew 24:4
When God makes a plan he adheres to the plan. He demands one specific thing about his word. Don't add to his plan and don't take anything from them. Changing Godís word amounts to taking a detour that ends up in the wrong place. Jesus cleaved to Godís plan saying the words his father told him to speak and by doing the works he saw his father do.
One of the most deceptive ideas of the pre-tribulational rapture of the church is about those left behind. The people that go through the tribulation period have the opportunity to repent and be saved. According to Godís plan, the resurrection of the wicked takes place at the same time as the resurrection for the righteous. The only thing that is different is the reward as you can see below.
"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when alt who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. John 5:28-29
Notice the words, "when all who are in their grave" they all heard his voice and everyone whether just or unjust will rise from their grave. Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, Hebrews 9:27
According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 1 Thessalonians 4:15
Writing to Christians, Paul speaks of those who are left till the coming of the Lord. The resurrection God will not be partial and just as a farmer reaps the entire field so will God will reap the fruit of the earth and separate the wicked from his elect. The earth will be literally stripped of mankind.
Everyone who believes that Satan will rise to power and rule the world also believes that Jesus Christ will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy (the lawless one) by the splendor of his coming, 2 Thessalonians 2:8
The lawless one will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. 'But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever, Daniel 7:25-26
Every man at the time of Christís return whether they belong to Satan or to Jesus Christ will go through the tribulation period. Because of a general resurrection, those who have died prior to Christ's return will go through Godís wrath known as the tribulation period.
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. Daniel 7:25
Most Christians believe that they will see the reign of the anti-Christ. The events surrounding the oppressing of the saints and changing laws to enforce the oppression is occurring in the United States as we speak today. The lawless one has been actively working through the American Civil Liberties Union to change the way Americans live. These are not just any laws they are attacking, but laws that allow Americans the freedom to worship God in public. Any thought relating to God is all it takes to file a lawsuit in federal court by the ACLU.
Satan is out to overthrow God and take his throne to rule everything that exists. Satan is relentless in pursuing the throne of God and in doing so he will have stop man from spiritually appearing before the Lord three times a year (Exodus 23:17.) The set times time were the festivals of the Passover, first fruits and Tabernacles, a time that every Christian appears before God.
The festival of unleavened Bread was a joyous time when every smidgen of leaven was removed from the home and the house was thoroughly cleaned. The spiritual connection is that it is a type or symbolic of the day we ask God to forgive us of our sins. On that day the sins of our past is removed and we are made holy and free of sin in Godís sight. The festival of unleavened bread led into the Passover celebration to remember the shed blood of Christ atones for our sin. The Passover commemorates the redemption of the Israelites from slavery and in like manner we were bought for a price and set free to serve God of our free will. For Christians, the blood of Calvary that covers our sin has been applied to the doorway of our heart.
In the sacrament of Communion we celebrate the distinctness of our beliefs by remembering the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of the Lamb of God. In Communion, we take part in the sacrifice of our Lord remembering his death as payment for our sin and resurrection to eternal life.
The second feast every man was to go to Jerusalem to appear before the Lord. This festival followed the Passover by fifty days later to celebrate the first fruit - the first harvest of the year. From a spiritual standpoint, the first fruit was Jesus Christ who is the first born of those born again. The bible records that Jesus spent 40 days after his resurrection ministering to the needs of the church and then asked the disciples to tarry for another ten days in the upper room. Fifty days after his resurrection those gathered in the upper room experienced the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit in power. Today we celebrate the first fruit by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.
The feast of Tabernacles was to remember the wandering in the desert before Israel went into the promise land and homes provided for them by God. The feast of harvest together with the feast of trumpets symbolizes the harvest of the earth and being gathered to Christ to tabernacle to live with God forever.
If Satan could change any of these set times his strategy to overthrow God would prosper. Satan knows his time is short and lengthening his time, as ruler over the human race would give him a sense of satisfaction. We do know that the saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time, which is equivalent to the time of the two witnesses.
Knowing God through study and prayer will strengthen your commitment to stand firm in God during his or her trials of life.