The Christ in Prophecy Journal

The Inbox: Are We Currently Living in the Tribulation?

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There are some Bible prophecy teachers out there who are teaching that we are currently living in the Tribulation. All the way back since World War 1, they claim, the prophetic judgments of Revelation have been pouring down upon the earth. Sadly, the only thing predictable about their predictions is that they’ve scared a whole lot of people senseless.

Are we currently living in the Tribulation?

Let’s define “Tribulation,” for there’s tribulation, and then there’s THE Tribulation.

How one defines tribulation is often tied to where they’re coming from. Some people think of tribulation as having to endure…

We’re obviously not talking about First World problems here. The rest of the world defines tribulation much more severely, such as having to endure…

These are the severe trials and afflictions that much of the world suffers from on an ongoing basis. Then, there are the Christians, who live under an extra level of persecution.

For Jesus warned, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,” therefore “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 15:20; 16:33). The world hates Jesus and His moral law, and so will of course also hate and persecute His followers (John 16:33; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Pet. 4:12-13).

But, when talking about tribulation, as Bible prophecy describes, we’re not talking about the inevitable day-to-day sufferings we all share caused by Satan and our fellow man. Rather, prophecy is talking about an event — The Tribulation.

The Tribulation: Terminology

The Tribulation goes by a number of different names and descriptions in the Old Testament:

  • The Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12)
  • The Terror of the Lord (Isaiah 2:19)
  • A Day of Reckoning (Isaiah 2:12)
  • A Day of Wrath (Zephaniah 1:15)
  • A Day of Trouble and Distress (Zephaniah 1:15)
  • A Day of Destruction and Desolation (Zephaniah 1:15)
  • The Time of Jacob’s Distress (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1)
  • The Great and Terrible Day of the LORD (Joel 2:11,31)

“For then there shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Revelation 6-19).

Think of modern-day movies which often mislabel the Tribulation as Judgment Day, Armageddon, and the End of the World. They’re close, but woefully nowhere near as intense in scope.

The Tribulation: Purpose

God has a four-fold purpose for the Tribulation:

  1. To pour out His wrath upon the nations of the world for all their evil, as He did during the Flood.
  2. To bring multitudes of people to finally accept Jesus as Savior.
  3. To gather a remnant of Jewish people who finally accept Jesus as Messiah.
  4. For Jesus to defeat evil and set up His Kingdom.

(Deuteronomy 4:26-31; Isaiah 13:6-13; 17:4-11; Jeremiah 30:4-11; Ezekiel 20:33-38; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; Zechariah 14:1-4; Matthew 24:9-31)

The Tribulation: Length

The Tribulation will last for seven excruciatingly long years (Daniel 9:27). It begins when the ascending one-world ruler — the Antichrist — makes a peace covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). The seven years are split into two periods of 3 1/2 years each, with the division occurring when the Antichrist enters into the newly built Jewish Temple and declares himself to be God (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 11:2-3,7; 12:14; 13:5-6). He then engages in genocide, killing two-thirds of the Jews in a second holocaust (Zechariah 13:8-9). And that’s why the second half is often referred to as the Great Tribulation, for it truly is the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).

The Tribulation: Conditions

So how do we know we are not currently living in the Tribulation? Well, just look out your window. Do you see the following conditions Revelation describes, conditions so horrific that Jesus declared, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

  • A one-world ruler risen to power who rules over a global government.
  • The Antichrist making and breaking a peace covenant with Israel.
  • A one-world religious system being implemented.
  • A new world war being waged so great that a quarter of the world’s population — almost 2 billion people — are slaughtered.
  • Death by mass starvation and rampant plagues.
  • The worst evils let loose from people’s hearts so that they sin exceedingly.
  • Violence, theft, and witchcraft are the norm.
  • Demons run reckless, no longer obscured.
  • The planet cracked apart by earthquakes, meteors, and fire so that the entire biosphere teeters on the brink of collapse.
  • Christians and Jews hunted down like animals to be slaughtered.
  • The Antichrist’s name tattooed on his people’s right hand or forehead, or face starvation.
  • The world’s leaders crawl into caves and cry out for the mountains to fall upon them to protect them from God’s anger.

“When the Tribulation begins, the people who are on earth will not have to call anyone to find out for sure whether or not it has begun. The Tribulation will be a living hell with a degree of violence that is unparalleled in all of history.” – Dr. David Reagan, Lamb & Lion Ministries

The Tribulation: Exemption

Clearly, we are not currently living in the Tribulation, but eventually it will come. But, don’t lose hope, for there are a people who will not have to endure the horrors of the Tribulation. While the Tribulation, like the Flood was, is God pouring out His judgment upon mankind for our sins (Isaiah 24:22; Zephaniah 3:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:12), believers in Christ are promised exemption from God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:4; Revelation 3:10).

The wrath of God is meant only for those who live in rebellion against Him, and not for those who have accepted Jesus as Savior (Ephesians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). They have kept His command to persevere through the tribulations of this life, and so He will also keep them from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth (Colossians 3:4, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; Revelation 3:10).

So, no matter how bad the world gets today, it is nothing compared to what life will be like during the Tribulation. Make sure you never have to face those terrible days. Accept Jesus’ lifeline of salvation.

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

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Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones

Assoc. Evangelist and Web Minister for Lamb & Lion Ministries, reaching out to the nearly three billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

25 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • naming all the names of the tribulation was very helpful because reading those different names was very confusing, just not sure if talking about same day, now have better understanding

    • Old Testament prophets used key phrases like “latter years” (Ezek 38:8) and “last days” (Ezek. 38:16) to indicate the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7). The New Testament authors based their understanding of this time on the 19 references from the Old Testament (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Malachi). New Testament writers referred to this same time period as “the Day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:10; Phil. 1:10). “The Day of the Lord” would then be the Tribulation, which is the seven year time period when God will pour out His wrath upon the world for its continued rebellion against Him, as well as use that time to bring many people to accept Jesus as Savior, especially among the Jewish people.

      Fortunately, the Rapture removes the Church before that wrath is poured out (1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:4; Rev. 3;10).

      • Yes, the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation and I pray for many more to turn to Jesus now, for God does not want to lose any. He will delay until the last moment of the Tribulation and I hope those who are defiant now come to believe and accept the Christ and be Saved!

  • It is surprising how many people are confused by tribulation vs THE Tribulation.
    False teachers like Baxter and Hagee who constantly names dates do their best to
    scare the weak brothers and sisters in Christ.
    We must pray for all believers to receive discernment in times like these.

  • Great post! I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for providing the different names for the Tribulation Period. One in particular helped me, “A Day of Wrath.” I have a man in my church who believes in the Post Trib theory. I’ve been pointing him to Scripture, but he says “Why do we assume that the Tribulation period is Gods Wrath?” When I point him to Scriptures that say Christians are not appointed to Gods wrath and the Wrath of God is poured out on all unrighteousness, he says those Scriptures refer to salvation. Do you have any advice on how to better explain this to him? Thank you.

    • Revelation begins the Tribulation narrative with 3:10 concerning true believers in Christ during the Church Age are promised, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” As we get to the final Bowl Judgments, Revelation 15:1 states that these judgments complete God’s wrath. So, the entire Tribulation concerns God’s wrath.

      Back up then to what Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” He also states in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:9 states, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Ephesians 5:6 states, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Colossians 3:4 states, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

      Again and again, Scripture states the Church is not meant to endure God’s wrath – both here on earth related to the Tribulation and for eternity related to eternal judgment.

  • Great article. I do wonder at two points you make which seem to conflict, perhaps you can expand on them.

    At one point you stated that Christians and Jews will be hunted down, and at another you state that Christians will be protected. How can both be true, hunted down and protected?

    Also, I was surprised to read that 2/3 of Israel’s people will be wiped out. Can you point me to scripture on that please?

    Do you feel that the Hebrew people of the Old Testament are the natural tree and Christians are grafted in?

    • Christians who make up the Church will be raptured before the 7-year Tribulation begins. Those left behind after the Rapture who then become saved, called the Tribulation Saints, will be persecuted by the Antichrist.

      It is estimated that only a third of the Jews will accept Jesus as Messiah upon His Second Coming as two-thirds of them will be killed under the Antichrist’s persecutions (Zech. 12:10; 13:8-9; Rev. 9:27-28; 11:25-27; 12:13-17).

      “For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” – Romans 11

      • Thanks for these scriptures, on the church and the Jewish people. My bible commentary, in the NIV, says Eventually all people will realize that Jesus, the man who was pierced and killed, is indeed the Messiah. There will be an awakening, with sorrow for sin and genuine revival. The crucified Messiah will be clearly revealed. Philippians 2:10 and Revelation 5:13.

  • Thankyou Nathan, Lots of clarity in these scriptures. Revelation 1:4 Jesus told John to write to the 7 seven churches that knew and trusted him. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father…to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. It looks like after the 3rd chapter of Revelation, the church is not here on earth. Rev 1:7 “Look he is coming with the clouds,” and ever eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15 Jesus coming will be visible and victorious, Jesus return will be unmistakable. Matthew 24: 27 So as the lightning comes from east to west is visible, even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 29 Immediately after the distress of those days “the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. These events will be like never seen in history…. This will be the second coming, correct. Christ’s coming will be swift and sudden. There will be no opportunity for last-minute repentance or bargaining. The choice we have already made will determine our eternal destiny.

  • It would be the source of much less confusion IF the specific words also used for “the time of Jacob’s trouble” – the “great tribulation” were used – as they are written in Matthew 24:21 | Revelation 2:22, 7:14 in the Holy Bible [AV]

  • Nobody is talking about the Rev 12 Sign, Although Rev is still sealed up we do know per scripture that God will no longer reject Israel Micah 5:3 which references Rev 12 sign, the Rev is a sign for the Jews since they require a sign and it fortells the rapture that will happen per 2 thess 2 at the end of the age of grace some time after the Antichrist is revealed in the Temple per Daniel 1290 days into the Tribulation

  • I disagree with your assumption “To bring multitudes of people to finally accept Jesus as Savior.”. Jews, yes, but the Gentiles have had their chance. God will then be dealing with sin and the Jews.

    • Gentiles will find salvation, too. “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…” Rev. 7:9.

      • My bible’s commentary on Revelation 7:9 says the multitudes in heaven are all those who remained faithful to God throughout the generations. No True believer ever need worry about which group he or she will be in. God includes and protects each of us, and we are guaranteed a place in his presence.

  • Firstly — no one knows the day nor the hour — however my understanding from a revelation in 1955 and a second in 1984 is that we are living in that period termed the end of the age.

    In since 1966 — we have seen a distinct departure from the path our ancestors through the adoption of situational ethics, God is dead [ both of the 60’s ] the joint rise of homosexuality and feminism including appointing and ordaining of priestesses within the church and the departure of the male headship factor. This has been compounded with the Sports Religion taking over Sundays –

    But tribulation — that will come in a blink of an eye — the point is are we prepared for it and have we maintained the fullness of our lamps —

  • The NAR who backed Donald Trump have now completed one of the goals of the 7 mandates and that is to regain control of the earth and that is “government” in the most powerful nation on the earth.

    Donald Trump the new “Cyrus” is God’s chosen leader who will usher in the new kingdom age, therefore the tribulation (currently happening) cannot continue as they are now regaining control. Joel’s army is on standby.

    It is later than we think.

    • What if Trump’s presidency actually moves events forward, such as unifying the Muslim world in attacking Israel? A reprieve may be for Christians and the law in the US, but not so much concerning the prophetic timeline.

  • On your opening video, when you comment on Bible prophecy teachers out there teaching that we are currently living in the Tribulation, you prominently feature Pastor Irvin Baxter. That is NOT TRUE! I have NEVER heard Irvin Baxter teach we are in the Tribulations, rather, he emphasizes the seven years Tribulation period will begin at the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Agreement. I find it offensive you should have his picture as the only one featured in the video when the truth is obviously different.

    • If you’re offended then you better do your research…
      Baxter does not believe the book of Revelation is chronological, which leads him to some fanciful interpretations. For example, he says we are now living in the midst of the sixth trumpet of Revelation 9, and we may soon witness (in 2016) the annihilation of 2 billion people. The fifth trumpet he claims began in 1991 when Saddam Hussein (Saddam means “destroyer”) set Kuwaiti oil fields on fire, and ended with his execution in December 2006. He thinks the 7-year tribulation period is yet future.

      Further, he does not accept the doctrine of the Trinity, and is affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church which claims its methods are the only true way to salvation.

      He also rejects a pre-tribulation rapture based on Revelation 20:4-6 which he claims is the “first resurrection.” He fails to follow the text which clearly describes this first resurrection as being for the martyrs of the tribulation period after Christ’s Second Coming. He also believes the two witness of Revelation chapter 11 could possibly be here on earth now, and mistakenly thought they were to be revealed in Israel during the summer of 2011.
      (http://www.soundchristian.com/prophecy/who/)

      That would certainly qualify Baxter as a false prophet.

      • I agree, False Teachers and False Prophets are in abundance these days, as they were in Jesus time. 2 Peter But there were false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Sovereign Lord who bought them….bringing swift destruction to themselves.

        Lying: Is the Leader offended when you ask for the scriptural backing behind his or her statements? Do they misconstrue the facts of the bible?

        Matthew 16:27 “He shall reward every man according to his works.”

  • Please stop using the name “Christian” when referring to believers in Tribulation. It sounds like you are referring to the Body of Christ, which are designated Christians in the NT.

    Gentile believers will fall under the same category as Rahab or the Ninevites in the OT. This Tribulation is part of the Jewish dispensation, not the Church’s.

  • The Tribulation will be worse than anytime ever on the earth. In Revelation 5 Then I saw the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll? But no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. (John) I wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” These seals are located throughout the scroll so that each one is broken, more of the scroll…(the events of history,) can be read to reveal another phase of God’s plan for the end of the world. Jesus sets in motion these events that will bring about the end of human history, he has control over human events. This is after the true Church, (The Bride of Christ) is taken from the earth.

    Four horses appear as the first four seals are opened. The horses represent God’s judgment of people’s sin and rebellion. The four horses are a foretaste of the final judgments yet to come. God’s wrath, or the Great Tribulation, will far surpass anything Satan’s wrath has ever accomplished. People will recognize the tribulation if they have not accepted Christ and been saved from its perils by the Coming of the Lord.

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