What exactly is the 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 Coming Apocalypse
Vic: Today we’re going to be talking about this incredible topic of the Tribulation versus the Great Tribulation. It’s a topic that many people get confused about.
Nathan, could you read for us Matthew 24:21?
Nathan: I’d be happy too. I’ll be reading out of the New King James. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Vic: Wow, that’s incredible! And, Nathan, would you explain to us what the Tribulation is exactly? And, in particular, the difference between the first and second time periods of the Tribulation?
Nathan: Matthew 24:21 says that the Tribulation is going to be the worst time in human history. God is going to bring judgment upon this earth, and it will be so bad that it’ll be unlike anything seen before in human history.
The Tribulation rather reminds me of those Terminator movies, with the machines crunching over skulls and the nuked landscape and everything’s dead and humanity’s on the brink of extinction. It’s interesting how our society today is obsessed with movies that talk about the apocalypse, the end times, and the end of humanity. In fact, a lot of that imagery is based on what the Bible teaches concerning the Tribulation. It’s not that there will be terminators running around, but the fact that we’re going to get to that point in human history when humanity will exist in a post-apocalyptic era, that according to the Bible is indeed coming. The Bible calls it the Tribulation, which is a seven-year time period coming upon this earth.
Vic: You’re right, Nathan. It’s almost as if the world is being prepared for such things. We see all these movies coming out about zombies and vampires and stuff which portray humanity at the end of its rope.
Nathan: Another interesting fact about society anticipating the end times is that just recently a survey was made of teenagers today. It asked them, “What is your biggest fear of the future?” You would think they’d have said jobs or uncertainty about college, but no, their number one fear is of a coming apocalypse. So, it makes you wonder, because a lot of these kids aren’t schooled in the Bible. It makes me wonder where they’re getting this idea that the end of the world is coming.
I believe you’re right, Pastor Vic. Even though Hollywood and books and TV are obsessed with the idea of the end of the world, it’s a biblical event long ago foretold. These media reinterpret the Tribulation, of course. Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that there’ll be a great Tribulation coming upon the world, an apocalypse, an end time which will result in the almost total destruction of humanity.
Vic: That’s an excellent point, and that’s why we want to clarify this event called the Tribulation.
In the second part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the Great Tribulation, we’ll see what the prophet Daniel had to say about his prophetic Seventieth Week.