By Nathan Jones
What event starts the second half of the Tribulation, which is called the Great Tribulation?
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.
The Great Tribulation
Let's go back to Matthew 24 where we'll read, "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath."
In the middle of the Tribulation, that's 3.5 years into it, the Antichrist will come to Jerusalem. Preaching from Jerusalem will be what's called the Two Witnesses. For the first 42 months, which we read about in Revelation 11, they'll be preaching from Jerusalem the Good News to all the people of the world. The Antichrist will hate them, but they're indestructible until they're time is complete. That time is done when the Antichrist shows up in Jerusalem at the midpoint. He kills the Two Witnesses. He then goes into the Third Temple which the Jews will have rebuilt by then on the Temple Mount, and he'll go in there and desecrate it by setting up a statue of himself. He'll then declare himself to be God and make everybody bow down and worship him.
The result of the desecration we read in Matthew 24 is that a remnant of the Jews will then flee out of Jerusalem. They'll pour down to southern Jordan. Because of Psalm 83, we know that Israel will have conquered Jordan at some point and have control of it. They Israelis will go to Jordan and stay there where they'll be protected by God.
That's the event that starts the Great Tribulation, and that's how it will begin. So, the Tribulation lasts for seven years, but when the Jews are being persecuted by the Antichrist, that's what starts the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation is the last half of the Tribulation. The last half will include the Seventh Trumpet Judgment and the Seven Bowl Judgments.
Vic: Nathan, what a great point you made. Many people are mistaken thinking that the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation are going to be peaceful, but the Bible says otherwise. It says that there's going to be a major earthquake that's felt around the world and many other terrifying events during the first half.
Nathan: Yes, the Tribulation pretty much begins with an earthquake that's so bad that it levels the mountains. It says that the rulers of the world will hide in caves and cry out for the wrath of the Lord to stop.
Then we get to the Seventh Trumpet Judgment in the middle of the Tribulation, which is at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. We read in Revelation 11 where it says that the temple of God was open in Heaven and the Ark of His Covenant was seen in His temple. Hey, you want to know where the Ark of the Covenant is? The Ark was seen in His temple. There's all sorts of lightning, noise, thunder, an earthquake and great hail.
So, to sum up, the Great Tribulation starts out with the Antichrist declaring himself to be God. Satan possesses the Antichrist at that time. He's ruling directly over the whole world through Satan's power. Then another great earthquake begins the next series of judgments for the latter half of the Tribulation.
Vic: Wow, those are some amazing yet terrible events coming down the line. That's why I just want to offer some hope to everyone, because a lot of what you are sharing with us is something that is for the future, but we believe that time is coming up quickly. Nobody promises us tomorrow, therefore we need to be ready today.
Preparing Your Heart
Vic: Nathan, I wanted to see if maybe you could shout out a word of encouragement to someone that's out there who may not have a relationship with the Lord?
Nathan: Certainly. The reason why God tells us about the future is because He wants us to know what's going to be coming so that we have a chance to ask for forgiveness of our sins and to accept Jesus as our Savior. Jesus died on the cross for you because He loves you and He wants you to be saved. He wants you to be free of your sins and the guilt and burden that you carry. To accept Christ's gift, you have to surrender your life to Him.
In your heart pray, "Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior."
Jesus promises to forgive you of your sins and to rapture you up with the Church before the Tribulation. He'll give you an eternal life with Him. The rest of the world will suffer through the Tribulation, but many will turn to Jesus as their Savior at that time. Don't be one of those people who has to survive through the Tribulation, because most will not survive to the end. Most people will die, and there will be very few left alive by the end of the Tribulation.
Pastor Vic, we haven't even talked about the seven Bowl Judgments in Revelation 16, where most of the world is utterly destroyed. There's very few people left alive by the end of the Tribulation. That's why this is the time for everyone to give their heart to Jesus Christ and avoid all of that, but most importantly to also be free of their sins.
Vic: Amen! And, Nathan, maybe for that person who doesn't know how to pray, could you give a prayer to show how they can begin that relationship with Jesus?
Nathan: Sure, Pastor Vic. It all comes down to a decision of faith. It's about trusting that Jesus died for your sins. As John 3:16 teaches, "For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
Jesus wants to give you eternal life, and all you have to do in your heart is put your faith in him and pray something like, "Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior." Jesus promises to forgive you, to give you a new life, to be the Lord of your life, to direct you in your paths throughout the rest of your life here on this earth, and give you eternal life.
Vic: Amen! Thank you so much, Nathan, and again thank you for all the wonderful information that you just filled our hearts and our brains with.
Nathan: Praise the Lord. I hate to leave such a burden on people, but it's important to know that the Lord wants us to realize what's coming down on the world soon. That's why it's so important that we give our lives to Jesus Christ right away.
Vic: Again, you're tuned into the "Truth Will Set You Free" Bible Prophecy edition with Vic Batista and Nathan Jones. You can always reach out to us here at TWave.org or simply by calling 305-992-9537. May the Lord bless you!