By Nathan Jones
What are some of the background events of the Great Tribulation?
On July 30, 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'll survey the events within the Great Tribulation. The first half of the discussion is in English, while the second half is translated into Spanish.
Vic: We are going to discuss the Great Tribulation. Matthew 24:29 speaks about the Tribulation period and reveals, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken."
Nathan, let's go over a few background events for those who may not be familiar with the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation. We know that the Bible speaks about the Rapture of the Church. That's going to happen before the Tribulation. Then the Antichrist will come on the scene and make a peace treaty with Israel for seven years. That event will mark the very beginning of the Tribulation. Enlighten us about how the Rapture happens and then how these events unfold.
Nathan: First Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 tell us that Jesus Christ will come and take up everyone who is saved – those who have given their life to Jesus Christ – up with Him into the clouds and then up to Heaven. And so, every believer in Christ will not be here on this Earth at the advent of what is called the Tribulation.
The prophet Daniel back in the Old Testament book of Daniel foretells of seven years will be the worst time in all of human history that will befall the planet. Jeremiah 30:7 says the Tribulation is the "time of Jacob's trouble." In other words, it'll be a time when Israel will be put in a crucible as the whole world will be against Israel. That's God's way of bringing a remnant of the Jewish people to salvation by finally excepting Jesus as their Messiah.
From Daniel 9:27 we know that a seven-year Tribulation will one day come upon the planet. The seven years is actually divided into two parts, so we've got the Tribulation which is all seven years, but then you've got what's called the Great Tribulation which is the second half. The division is 3.5 years for the first half of the Tribulation and 3.5 years for the second half. Half is called "times, time and half a time" (Rev. 12:14), consisting of two "1260 days" periods (Rev. 11:3), or two "42 month" periods (Rev. 11:2; 13:5). As horrific as the first half of the Tribulation will be, the second half will be far, far worse.
Vic: The last 3.5 years is when the judgments of the Tribulation really intensify. The judgments begin with Revelation 6, and they're just horrible. Between the natural disasters, global wars, disease, famine and pestilence, half the world population will be killed in just the first few years. Then we read starting with the Seventh Trumpet Judgment about the different judgments that begin to unfold in the last 3.5 years, also touched on in Matthew 24:30. Nathan, could touch on that verse for us and then begin to expand for us about the Great Tribulation?
Nathan: Continuing Matthew 24 with verse 30, in the NKJ it reads, "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in Heaven, then all the tribes of the Earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory." This is actually describing the Second Coming of Jesus Christ which happens at the very end of the Tribulation. That's what Jesus is talking about here in Matthew 24.
Vic: Prior to the Second Coming, which occurs at the end of those seven years, it's just going to be chaos around the world due to the Bowl Judgments of Revelation 16.
In the second part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the Great Tribulation, we'll survey the coming one-world leader – the Antichrist.