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How Long Is The Tribulation Period?

How Long Is The Tribulation Period?
By Jack Kinsella

I was intrigued by a question posted in the Omega Letter Members Forum regarding the length of the Tribulation. How long IS the Tribulation? Is it seven years? Or is it a much longer period, with the final seven years being a period during which the Antichrist’s government rules the planet?

Nicole wrote that during her weekly Bible study (at work! Lucky lady!) during a discussion of the Tribulation, the study leader questioned whether the Tribulation was a literal seven year period.

Nicole wrote, “he said that he couldn’t find anywhere where it said that the Tribulation was only 7 years, just the part referring to and dealing with the pact with Israel and the antichrist, but that all the signs of the end of the age, as stated in Matthew, seemed to definitely fit the times we are living in now. So in studying this, he now believes that we are currently living in the Tribulation and just have not yet gotten to the 7 year agreement with Israel and the rise of the antichrist. Of course, he said that was just his own opinion and he wasn’t forcing it on anyone, but he wanted it out there for food for thought.”

Well, it’s out there, and it is certainly food for thought.

So let’s eat.

We are in the time of the last days…of that, there can be no doubt. While the Bible gives abundant evidence of that reality in the form of fulfilled prophecy, the world also concurs, albeit unwillingly.

For example, try and find someone who doesn’t recognize something malevolent in the number 666. Recently, the State of Arizona was forced by public outcry to rename a former spur of the famous Route 66.

The numbering plan devised by the Joint Board on Interstate Highways had several components. East-west roads were given even numbers; north-south roads, odd. Transcontinental and main east-west roads were assigned two-digit numbers ending in zero, while the main north-south routes carried numbers ending in one. Three-digit numbers were assigned to alternate routes and branches of main roads.

Hence, the Route 66 spur in Arizona was Route 666, until the public forced its renaming last month to US 191.

Arnold Schwartzeneggar starred in a movie called “End of Days” that was a Hollywood attempt to rewrite the Scriptures, but the fact the movie was made at all is significant. Nobody was making movies like that in the 1940’s. But it has been a major Hollywood theme since the mid 1970’s when the world started to get a bit uneasy about the whole thing and decided the best way to deal with the sense of impending doom was to have a bit of fun with it.

Every major religious faith has a version of the last days, a Messianic figure and a final battle between good and evil. Even Islam.

Sura 7:187 (the Koran) says, “They ask thee about the (final) Hour – when will be its appointed time? Say: “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone): None but He can reveal as to when it will occur. Heavy were its burden through the heavens and the earth. Only, all of a sudden will it come to you.” They ask thee as if thou wert eager in search thereof: Say: “The knowledge thereof is with Allah (alone), but most men know not.”

The Hindu Upanishad teaches that those who have purified their natures through Sannyasa and Yoga, having attained immortality, get liberated from all sides in the region of Brahma at the end of time.

And all these pagan faiths, all of whom have existed for centuries, are also recognizing this generation as being the one of the end. Try running a search on any major religion adding the keywords ‘end times’ and see what you find.

And note in your mind that it is in THIS generation, and not the 1920’s, ’30’s or ’40s in which these discussions began.

Now, to the central point – the length of the Tribulation Period. The prophet Daniel was given a future outline of history for the Jewish people from the perspective of the Jewish people. The angel told Daniel:

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24)

This verse makes five points relative to Israel’s future. The first is the seventy ‘weeks’. The word ‘week’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘shabua’ which is used to denote seven year periods the way a ‘decade’ was used by the Greeks to denote periods of ten years.

The first sixty-nine weeks of years were fulfilled with the Crucifixion of the Messiah in Jerusalem.

But the angel said the 70 weeks were determined upon DANIEL’S people, and DANIEL’s ‘holy city’ (Jerusalem) so the final, unfulfilled 70th week is for the Jews and not the Church. It is to ‘finish the transgression’. For the Church that was accomplished at the Cross. The Bible says that for national Israel, it will be accomplished at the Second Coming of Christ.

Zechariah 12:10 says, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

Revelation 1:7 says, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

The angel said the 70th Week will make ‘an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity’ again, accomplished at the Cross for the Church, but a future event from the perspective of Israel.

Romans 9:27: “Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:”

Romans 11:26: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:”

Jeremiah 30:7 “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.”

Here are the clues from Scripture: The Tribulation Period is for the Jews (“time of Jacob’s trouble”) from the PERSPECTIVE of how the Jews fit into God’s redemptive plan. Israel’s four hundred and ninety year future history stopped at Year 483 when they rejected their Messiah. It resumes when the antichrist makes the covenant referenced in Daniel 9:27.

The Church plays no role in the Tribulation period, which is why Paul taught the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church in 1 Thessalonians 5. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9) “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10)

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:9)

The clear distinction drawn between the Church Age and the final, unfulfilled ‘week’ of Daniel means the Tribulation MUST be a literal seven year period. Daniel gives its length as 2,520 literal days.

Daniel 9:24-27 speaks of 70 weeks where 1 week is 7 years, i.e. 69 weeks is 445 BC to 32 AD. “In the midst of the week… abominations” (9:27) refers to 3 1/2 years into the 70th Week. Once the “abominations” (9:27) take place, Israel will flee for “a time [1], times [+2], and half a time [+1/2]” (Revelation 12:14) [=3 1/2 years]. “The wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:11).

We are NOT in the Tribulation Period, but we are very, very close. I believe the Bible clearly teaches that the Church plays no role in the Tribulation, is promised it will be saved from the time of Jacob’s Trouble, and that it is a literal seven-year period, as specific as to its length as were the first sixty-nine weeks.

“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

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