Friday, July 30, 2021

Jesus Reveals the Great Tribulation

VIDEO: The Tribulation

The revelation given to the Apostle John contains a lot of events and items which may be metaphoric, based in the time period it was written. We can create many theories, but much of the contents may not be correctly interpreted without divine inspiration from the Holy Spirit or until they come to pass. For this reason, we must learn to agree to disagree on some things.

Our salvation doesn't depend upon correctly interpreting the information given in Revelation. This is food for thought and consideration.

For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19 AKJV)

We must be careful not to add things to these revelations and not to mitigate what this book is saying. It is a fine line to walk as we look into this prophecy about our Lord's return. Let us begin with what our Lord said about the time when He would come to rule and reign on the Earth. 

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. (Matthew 24:3-4 ESV)

In a private conversation, the disciples of Jesus asked Him about when He would come back to rule and reign. Since we are grafted into Abraham’s family and Christians are disciples of Jesus, His answer applies to us. The Lord warned us that we need to be aware that deception about His return may come, and we need to be careful so that we don’t go in the wrong direction. The next several verses of Matthew 24 describe events that have been occurring since our Lord left:

  1. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. (V5 ESV)
  2. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. (V6 ESV)
  3. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places (V7 AKJV)

The Lord assured His followers that, “All these are the beginning of the birth pains” in verse eight. These signs are not something to worry about, they have happened and are happening now. Jesus gives us a sure sign that He is “right at the door:”

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9 ESV)

The Greek word thlipsis is translated “tribulation” in the ESV and “affliction” in the King James version. The more complete meaning is “pressure (literally or figuratively): afflicted(-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.” This will be a time when saying that you are a Christian may be difficult for many people. What Jesus described, is occurring in today’s society:

1.   Many will be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (V10 AKJV)

a.    As Christians, we should be known by our love of one another (John 13:35)

b.   Many of God’s people act harshly towards people of other denominations.

i.    This will increase once the seven-year agreement is signed and increase once more when the AntiChrist declares himself to be god in a newly built temple in Jerusalem.

2.   Many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. (V11 AKJV)

a.    How many have given prophecies that have not come true in recent years?

b.   How many “prophecies” are not backed up with the Word of God?

3.   Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (V12 AKJV)

a.    Living together before marriage, abortion, homosexuality, and so much more is now seen as “normal.” If you don’t agree to these allowances, you are seen as “intolerant.”

b.   Iniquity is sin. Churches are under pressure to accept sin and to tolerate what the Bible says is sin or have their non-profit status removed. (V13 AKJV)

People are attached to their sin. They are choosing sin over following God’s ways. This causes our heart to be hardened and grow cold. Eventually, many will fall away from God altogether.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14 ESV)

Before Jesus could return, the gospel, the news about Him, needs to be preached in all the world. In the next verse, Jesus begins to show us signs that His return is near.

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)... (Matthew 24:15 ESV)

All of those who are disciples of Jesus (Christians) will see this event happen. The Lord mentioned Daniel’s prophecy. To find out when this will take place, we must look to what Daniel said:

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the middle 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 on the desolate. (Daniel 9:27 AKJV)

There will be a covenant for a week (seven years) and we shall see the abomination that makes desolate in the middle of a week. What does this mean? We must investigate what is commonly known as “Daniel’s Week” which some incorrectly refer to as the “Tribulation.”  

In Matthew 24:15, Jesus referred to Christians being killed as Tribulation, that has been happening in the middle east for many years now. Daniel’s Week is a seven year period of time that begins with some kind of treaty or covenant within a broader system of weeks representing years. 

70 Weeks

The prophet Daniel was interceding for God’s people when the angel Gabriel appeared to him to reveal a great mystery from God.

Seventy weeks [of years, or 490 years] are decreed upon your people and upon your Holy City [Jerusalem]... (Daniel 9:24 AMPC)

This is a prophecy concerning Israel and the temple, therefore, if the Jewish people do not have a temple, we do not count that time in the seventy weeks. The Hebrew word šāûaʿ (shaw-voo'-ah) translated weeks, also has a meaning of heptad, or a set of seven, in this case, years. 

Weeks = 7 years
   70 weeks
x   7 years
490 years

We also know that the seventy (70) weeks are actually years because we can trace through history what occurred and how long the mentioned events took.

Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem until [the coming of] the Anointed One, a Prince, shall be seven weeks [of years] and sixty-two weeks [of years]; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (Daniel 9:25 AMPC)

The reconstruction of the Jerusalem temple was begun by Herod the Great, king of Judea, in about 18-20 BC. By the time of Jesus’ ministry, the temple complex had been under construction for forty-six (46) years. John points out this fact to confirm that Jesus is the Messiah (John 2:20). At that time, our Lord had been in ministry for three years. At the end of Jesus’ ministry, right before He went to the cross, He entered the temple and there was no one there to greet Him as the Messiah. This makes a total of forty-nine (49) years or seven (7) weeks of years confirming through the prophecy of Daniel, that Jesus is the Messiah. 

Weeks = 7 years
   7 weeks
x 7 
    49 years until Jesus entered the temple as the Messiah

Most scholars believe that you should add these seven weeks of years to the sixty-two weeks to make sixty-nine (69) weeks of years that have passed since the coming of the Lord. 

     7 weeks of years until the Messiah
+ 62 weeks of years Jerusalem and street under construction
    69 weeks of years have occurred at the time of the cross?

I never thought to disagree until the Lord asked me to look at what He said so that we can look at the coming tribulation according to His point of view.

The first thought I had was, why didn’t it just say sixty-nine weeks? Why did it have seven weeks and then sixty-two weeks? There is a Hebrew word for nine after all.

Looking at the actual words in Hebrew helps to find the error. The word šiššîm (shish-sheem') which means sixty, was present, but the Hebrew letters for a conjunctive connection such as “and” was not in the text. This means the word “and” is added by the translator. There is no punctuation in ancient Hebrew writings, so this could easily read:

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks. Threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (Daniel 9:25)

The seven weeks shows us how to identify the Messiah, period, end of sentence. The threescore and two (62) weeks should not be added to it; it is speaking about the possession of Jerusalem by Israel, and the rebuilding process of the entire city; the temple construction is included within this number. In other words, Jerusalem, its walls, and streets were under construction for sixty-two weeks and construction on the temple was ordered for the last seven weeks of years or forty-nine years before the arrival of the Messiah.

Proof to support this calculation and the fact that the seven (7) weeks and sixty-two (62) weeks should not be added together can be found in the very next verse.

And after threescore and two weeks (62 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 to the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26 AKJV)

Being “cut off” is when Jesus was crucified: He was alone and unsupported. This clearly states that only sixty-two (62) weeks occurs before the death of Jesus, not sixty-nine. If we were adding the seven (7) weeks to the sixty-two (62) it would have said sixty-nine (69) weeks had passed at the death of Jesus. This is a very important distinction in God’s timeline. 

7 weeks = 7 years                       
    70 weeks (for Israel)
-  62 weeks (passed at the crucifixion)
     8 weeks remaining

We have 8 weeks of years or fifty-six (56) years left after Jesus died. The temple and Jerusalem were in the hands of God’s people until approximately AD 70. Jesus died in AD 33. This means that thirty-seven (37) years out of the fifty-six (56) remaining years has occurred, leaving 19 years in God’s timeline of seventy (70) weeks of years for the final events to occur that will begin with the building of the temple and the Tribulation.

           8 weeks          56 years
        x 7 years         -   37 years
        ____________ _____________
        56 years remaining          19 years left

There is much that has to happen before the return of the Lord which is mentioned next:

Seventy weeks are determined on your people and on your 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. (Daniel 9:24 AKJV)

This gives a great list of all the different activities which need to occur before the final day of judgment:

1.   To complete the transgression

a.    There is a certain amount of offense against God which occurs before His wrath is poured out

b.   There is a “cup of wrath” that once full, God will pour out upon man (Jeremiah 25:15-16; Isaiah 51:17, 22; Ezekiel 23:28-34; Revelation 14:9-10) 

2.   To make an end of sin, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness

a.    Jesus paid for all of these on the cross;

                         i.    Through Him we can turn and stop sinning

                       ii.    We are reconciled through the blood when we confess our sins

                     iii.    We receive our eternal righteousness with God when we take Him as Lord

3.   To seal up vision and prophecy

a.    Hāzôn (khaw-zone) is translated vision, and is also the title of book of prophecy

b.   To seal up means that it will be locked in at that point

c.    At the end of seventy years, fate is sealed for those who remain

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12 AKJV)

This is what happens at the end of 70 weeks of years. Judgement is sealed concerning the wrath of God. We have 19 years left in God’s timetable. Where does Daniel’s Week come into play?

The Final 19 Years and Daniel’s Week

The very next event mentioned by the angel Gabriel is the week of years:

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate... (Daniel 9:27 AKJV)

The person who establishes this covenant then breaks it is often referred to as the AntiChrist: the leader who will do Satan’s bidding. So that he is not confused with the “spirit of antichrist” that is always at work in the world (1 John 4:3), we will capitalize both important aspects of the name: Anti and Christ.

The AntiChrist will make an agreement for seven years. In the middle of the seven years, he will break the agreement and sacrifices and offerings will be stopped. This must mean the temple will be rebuilt and for the first half of this peace agreement, sacrifices will be done.

In the past it has been assumed that all the events described in Revelation must occur in a seven-year period, the Tribulation labeled as Daniel’s Week. In reality, the Tribulation has been ongoing since the departure of our Lord. There is a Great Tribulation which we will discuss later, and Daniel’s Week which is just the beginning of a 19-year period leading to the return of the Lord: The Tribulation.

The seven-year agreement takes care of some of the 19 years that are left, but 12 years will remain. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that at the end of this seven-year peace treaty that the Lord immediately returns. This is a presumptuous assumption.

The great abomination takes place in the middle of that week. The words of our Lord confirm that there is more to come for His true disciples after the abomination appears:

Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes… For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:16-18 & 21 AKJV)

Jesus is telling His disciples that when we see this happen, we need to get out of town! This means that we will be here until the AntiChrist stands in the temple, declares himself to be God, and blasphemes Heaven and all who reside there. Looking carefully, the Lord implies that we will even be around for a time afterward, which He refers to as the “Great Tribulation.”

Why would He tell His true followers to flee if they would not be here for that Great Tribulation? With close examination of the first coming of Jesus, the New Testament, the Book of Revelation, and more of Daniel’s prophecy, we will discover:

  • The reason for an extra 12 years that will be explained when studying the Feasts of Israel.
  • Who will be here during the Great Tribulation and the 12 following years?

We hope you will continue this journey to understand the mysteries of Revelation with us.

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