by Tad Lindley
There is a good chance that many of us will live to see these two events. What are they, and how and when exactly will they happen? I urge you as you read this to stop and check the scripture references in your own Bible. Mark it up. This is essential information if you want to end up on the right side of the end time.
The start of the Great Tribulation
At the end of this time in which we live, at the beginning of the last seven years, there will be a peace agreement or treaty signed by many world leaders (see Daniel 9:27). (Perhaps it will be in response to World War III, which is the sixth trumpet in Revelation 9:13-20.) One of these world leaders signing will be the anti-Christ. At that point in time, he will appear to be just another man in an important position. Three and a half years later though, that same individual will travel to Jerusalem. On his itinerary will be a visit to the rebuilt Jewish temple, where he will cause the animal sacrifices to be stopped (Daniel 8:11, 9:27).
The anti-Christ while still at the temple, as the news reporters record the event for the world to see, will proclaim himself to be God (II Thessalonians 2:3-4, Daniel 11:36). At that time, those who study the Bible will know without a shadow of a doubt who the anti-Christ is. This event is what Jesus refers to as the “Abomination of Desolation” (Matthew 24:15), and it is what kicks off the start of the Great Tribulation.
What happens during the Great Tribulation?
During the Great Tribulation, Christians and Jews will come under intense oppression from the government of the anti-Christ. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25) And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God [the Jewish people], and have the testimony of Jesus Christ [Christians]. (Revelation 12:17) And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven.And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. (Revelation 13:6-7 NLT) Not only that, he will institute the mark of the beast, He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. (Revelation 13:16-17 NLT)
How long will it last?
The Great Tribulation is a three and a half year period. Many radio preachers describe it as a seven year period, but the Bible is very clear that it is only the second half of that seven year period from Daniel 9:27 which is three and a half years. Revelation 12:14 says, a time, times, and half a time. In Daniel 7:25 it reads, a time, times, and the dividing of times. Daniel 12:11-12 gives us 1,290 days and 1,335 days respectively. And Revelation 13:5 declares it to be 42 months. At the end of that time, according to Jesus, he will come again: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)
Why will many people not notice the tribulation?
The crazy thing is that Jesus taught that many people will be oblivious to the Great Tribulation. For them, life will be the same. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. (Matthew 24:37-41 NIV) They will not notice the Great Tribulation in the same way that many Germans turned a blind eye to the Holocaust. The government in power scapegoated the Jewish people as the source of Germany’s problems and made it convenient to destroy them. On top of that, in the Great Tribulation, those who take the mark of the beast will still be able to shop, to buy stove oil, to own homes etc. They will not feel the wrath of the anti-Christ, and so at the coming of the Lord, they will be caught like those in the days of Noah who felt the first rain drops fall and realized something was wrong, terribly wrong. (To be continued next week.)
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.