trib·u·la·tion (trĭb’yə-lā’shən) n.
: distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution ; also : a trying experience [merriam webster]
The tribulation is the final phase of this world. Referred to in the Bible as the Great Tribulation or the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. It will be during this time that the final antichrist (Satan in human form) rules the earth. It will be a time of great suffering for many but, if the right path is chosen it will all be well worth it in the end whenJesus comes again to destroy sin and evil forever and begin His eternal reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Wiping away tears and pain from all those that believe in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments. They will reign with Christ for all eternity. If the wrong path is chosen, those people will be thrown into the “lake of fire” on Judgment Day.
The duration of the tribulation is of much debate. It comes from Daniel 9:27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” In prophecy time a week is equal to seven years. This passage is believed by many to be about the last seven years of this world and that the final antichrist will confirm a peace treaty for seven years with Israel and break his promise in the middle of the seven years. This is when the actual Great Tribulation beigns. The antichrist will take seat in the Temple of God and say he himself is the one true God. Anyone that does not worship him will be killed. He will enforce a new economy (mark of the beast) and accepting this new law will show loyalty to him as being the one true God. Therefore, anyone who does not take this mark will not be able to buy, sell, hold a job, pay bills, or anything else that requires monetary means and they will face much persecution. Daniel and Revelation have a lot of information about the final antichrist.
Another belief is that the final week was fulfilled in 36AD. The first half ended when Jesus died on the cross and the last half ended when Saul became Paul and began preaching to the gentiles. This is believed because the 70 weeks of Daniel pertained to the Jews who didn’t accept Jesus as the Messiah. Then the teaching passed on to the gentiles, ending the prophecy for the Jews. And yet another is that half the seven years have been fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross and all that remains are three and a half years, which is the Great Tribulation and is the time frame given in many passages of the Bible.
Which is more accurate? First let’s take a look at Daniel 9. Daniel prayed to have the Temple rebuilt after it had been destroyed by the Babylonians. The angel Gabriel came to Daniel and told him of things to come. This is what Gabriel said:
Daniel 9:24 “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.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.“
Verse 24 says the prophecy is for Daniel’s people, the Jews, and Jerusalem, the holy city. Seventy weeks had been determined. In this prophecy a day equals a year and a week equals seven years. So, seventy weeks is 70 x 7. Which is 490 years total. What will happen during this 490 total years? Finish the transgression, make an end of sins, make a reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
What does all this mean? Well, let’s break it down a bit.Trangression means a violation of the law or being rebellious. Finish the Trangression means to end the rebellion. Make an end of sins. We all know what sins are. Reconciliation for iniquity means being forgiven of unrighteousness. Everlasting righteousness means sin free forever. Seal up the vision and prophecy means to close or finish the vision and prophecy. Anoint the most Holy means to crown the most Holy and give the kingdom to. All of this is to happen within the 490 year span. As we look around us we can see not all of this has happened. Therefore, this prophecy is not totally complete or fulfilled, yet. This rules out the belief that this prophecy was fulfilled through Paul preaching to the gentiles.
Next, Verse 25 begins a break down of the years and what will happen during each phase. The command to rebuild Jerusalem until Jesus was 7 weeks (7×7=49 years), and 62 weeks (62×7=434 years). Total of 483 years from the ok to rebuild until Jesus is known as the Messiah. This is saying that from the ok to rebuild it will be 49 years to rebuild Jerusalem and then 434 years later the Messiah will be known. The ok was given to Nehemiah by King Artaxerxes I in 456 BC. 483 years later brings us to 27 AD, when Jesus was baptized and began His ministry and His disciples recognized Him as the Messiah. Notice how this is written. It has a colon “:”. It’s followed by a description that deals with something already mentioned in the same verse. This description does not pertain to the next verse. Only when the colon is at the end of the passage does the next verse refer to it. Keep this in mind as scripture interprets scripture throughout the whole Bible and this chapter is no different.
Verse 26 says AFTER 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off. Now, week 62 is when Messiah is known, not cut off. So, Messiah is cut off sometime AFTER week 62. Seven weeks to rebuild plus 62 weeks until Messiah is known equals 69 weeks so far. Messiah is known at week 69 out of the 70 weeks and so He is then cut off after week 69. There is only one week left so Messiah must be cut off at this time. He will not be cut off for Himself. This means He was cut off for someone else. Jesus was cut off, or killed, for our sins. He died for us at week 62 1/2 which is after week 62 or in total weeks it was week 69 1/2 (this is including the previous 7 weeks to rebuild). Here we see the colon “:” again. This means it’s a description of something within the same verse. Therefore, this description must have something to do with the Messiah being cut off. This description is about the sanctuary and city being destroyed. Remember why Solomon’s Temple was destroyed? The Lord brought forth the Babylonians because Israel was not following God’s laws. This time the Lord brought forth Titus, an army commander and the prince of Emperor Vespasian, to destroy the city because again they were not following God’s law. They did not welcome their Messiah. They had Him killed. The end was with a flood, or spreading out of the Jews. Unto the end of the war desolations are determined, meaning devastation, ruin, wretchedness and misery. Which was the case in the 70 AD Siege of Jerusalem when Titus (the prince) and his army (people) burned down the Temple and city. As with the verse before, this description is not about the next verse.
Verse 27 Notice how verse 25 and 26 mention the Messiah before the colon “:”? If we were to take out the colons and the description following it, we can see this whole prophecy is about the Messiah. It would fall together in order with no confusion. Verse 27 is about the Messiah just like the verses before. Scripture interprets scripture. God does not jump from one subject to the next. The Lord is very consistant. Verse 27 says “he will confirm “THE” covenant for one week” (the last week of the 70 weeks). This is not “A” covenant as many would like to call it. A covenant means a promise [merriam webster]. What promise did Jesus speak of during His ministry? He promised to return. For 3 1/2 years Jesus ministered as the Messiah. He taught of the Kingdom and His return. Then He was crucified, cut off. Half of seven is 3 1/2. We see the colon again so this description has to do with something in the same verse. In the midst of the week he shall cause the the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. Jesus was the final sacrifice. That law ceased when He was crucified. The next part of this verse reads, “and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate“. An abomination is an action, thought, or practice that is disgusting to the Lord. Desolate means joyless, disconsolate, and sorrowful through or as if through separation from a loved one [merriam webster]. This is how Jerusalem feels without their Temple. They haven’t had it since 70 AD. They shall feel this way even unto the consummation, meaning the fulfillment or the end [merriam webster]. The end has been determined by God.
The description in verse 27 is showing what is happening since the Messiah was cut off in the midst of the week. We are still in the midst of the week. Throughout this whole prophecy the years, or weeks, are not split up until the midst of the 69th week. We still have the other half to go. The final 3 1/2 years. The consummation. Mentioned in Revelation when the antichrist is given control. The Tribulation can not be 7 years if the first 3 1/2 years are peaceful. That would be a contradiction. Something the Lord would not do. If the Tribulation lasting a specific 7 years was indeed a fact, it would be mentioned elsewhere in the bible just as 3 1/2 years is spread throughout Daniel and Revelation concerning the final days.
Many people are not following the rules of scripture and allowing God to help them understand. Instead they take man’s word for truth. Only God can give the wisdom to understand His word.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
During the tribulation the antichrist will bring about the mark of the beast which no one will be able to buy or sell without it, he will sit in the temple of God and claim to be the one true God. He will have all those that oppose him, and his laws, to be tortured and killed. Natural disasters will be world wide, strong, and frequent. Two witnesses will prophecy for the whole three and a half years of the tribulation. At the end of the three and half years they will be killed and lay in the streets for 3 1/2 days. After 3 1/2 days, they will rise to met Jesus with the rest of the dead in Christ. And then the rapture of the living happens. Afterwards begins the wrath of God.