By Nathan Jones
How long will the coming Tribulation last?
On July 23, 2014, I was interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we discuss the differences between the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation. The first half of the discussion is in English, while the second half is translated into Spanish.
Daniel's Seventieth Week
Vic: Nathan, please continue sharing with us about the Tribulation. Then, maybe tell to us about what's going to happen in the first part of the Tribulation versus the second part which is called the Great Tribulation.
Nathan: In the Bible, Daniel talks about how God's end times are involved with seventy weeks of years. Daniel describes this prophetic time as seventy weeks of seven years, so 490 years. Now, 483 of those years would happen up to the time that Jesus came and made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus' First Coming was when He first came to save the world, and He did so spiritually, but He hasn't taken His kingdom yet. That kingdom will be set up after the final seven years – the last set of seven – which will happen in the end times.
Between the 69 seven-year periods and the final one seven-year period has been the last 2,000 years. During this interlude we've been going through the Church Age. The signs of the end times Jesus gave in Matthew 24 demonstrate that He is coming back very soon, so therefore we're getting real close to the end of the Church Age and that time of the Tribulation.
For believers in Christ, the Bible promises the Rapture of the Church. First Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 and other verses, like in the book of John for instance, tell about Jesus' return to take the Church – believers in Christ – up in the Rapture to Heaven. We will not have to endure the seven-year Tribulation. God promises that the Church is not destined for the wrath of God. So, Christians, don't get freaked out when Vic and I start teaching about the Tribulation.
There's a seven-year Tribulation coming upon the world. We know from Daniel and Revelation that its seven years divided into two sections of 42 months each, and that's in 30-day months. So, we can calculate exactly from the beginning of the Tribulation, which Daniel 9 tells us is when the Antichrist – a one world ruler who will come on the scene – will make a peace covenant with Israel. The day that he makes his peace covenant with Israel is the countdown to the end of the Tribulation. The end of the Tribulation happens with Jesus Christ comes back to defeat evil and rule and reign.
Don't lose heart because of how terrible the Tribulation will be, because even though it's going to be the worst time in human history, it also starts the greatest time period in all of human history – the Millennial Kingdom. That's when Jesus Christ comes to rule and reign on this earth in peace, righteousness and justice.
Vic: That's awesome! Nathan, you referenced that from Daniel 9?
Nathan: Yes, Daniel 9:24-27 to be specific.
Vic: I know there's a lot of other passages that talk about the Tribulation, but Daniel was the greatest reference. I believe it's important for individuals to check these references out in the Bible for themselves.
Nathan: Here are the references. The length of the Tribulation is seven years long, described in a variety of ways as "one seven" year block in Daniel 9:27, half called "times, time and half a time" in Revelation 12:14, consisting of two "1260 days" periods in Revelation 11:3, or two "42 month" periods in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5.
All throughout the prophets in the Old Testament are references to the Day of the Lord, which is another name for the Tribulation. Daniel is like the Revelation of the Old Testament, and Zephaniah is totally about the Tribulation. The book of Zephaniah is a little minor prophet which few people ever even read.
In the third part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the Great Tribulation, we'll look at God's first purpose for the Tribulation.