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  • Writer's pictureBrian O'Kelly

45 - End Times - The Tribulation - 4 Christian Views of the End – (Part 4)

Updated: Dec 3, 2023


3) What is the Tribulation

a. Tribulation – Greek word Thlipsis – Whenever you see the word Tribulation it’s Thlipsis. Means to be squeezed or compressed from something external like in a vice. Thlipsis isn’t always translated as tribulation, sometimes it’s just as trouble, but whenever you see tribulation it’s this word.

b. We see the word tribulation throughout the bible on many occasions. For example:

i. Romans 5:3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;

ii. 2 Cor 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.


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c. Yet are three references to a “great tribulation” that appear to be different than all of the others.

i. Matthew 24:21 “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.

ii. Rev 2:22 “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.

iii. Rev 7:14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

4) Features of the Tribulation according to Dispensationalists

a. 7 Years

i. Dispensationalists teach that Jesus tied the “Great Tribulation” to Daniel 9

1. Matthew 24:15-2215 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 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. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

2. Mark 13:14 14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

3. Luke 21: 20-24 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

ii. So Since Jesus references Daniel 9 in Matthew and Mark we need to examine the 70th Week of Daniel where he mentions the abomination of desolation.

1. Daniel 9:24-27 “Seventy weeks are determined

For your people and for your holy city,

To finish the transgression,

To make an end of sins,

To make reconciliation for iniquity,

To bring in everlasting righteousness,

To seal up vision and prophecy,

And to anoint the Most Holy.


25 “Know therefore and understand,

That from the going forth of the command

To restore and build Jerusalem

Until Messiah the Prince,

There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;

The street shall be built again, and the wall,

Even in troublesome times.


26 “And after the sixty-two weeks

Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;

And the people of the prince who is to come

Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

The end of it shall be with a flood,

And till the end of the war desolations are determined.


27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;

But in the middle of the week

He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.

And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,

Even until the consummation, which is determined,

Is poured out on the desolate.”

iii. Scholars all agree that the weeks here represent years. So 70 weeks = 490 years. So when did the 70 weeks begin?

1. This is somewhat debatable, as there are at least three “decrees” in the Book of Ezra. The first is in Ezra 1:1-4. This is a decree of Cyrus that the Jews can go back to Judah and Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. This decree is from about 537 BC. There is no mention of building the city, and especially of rebuilding the wall, which is almost the definition of a city back then, so this is probably not what the prophecy is a reference to.

2. The second “decree” is that of Darius in Ezra 6:1-12. This comes from about 518 BC. It is essentially a renewal of Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the temple, and for the same reasons as above, this is probably not what the prophecy in Daniel 9 about a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is referring to.

3. The third “decree” in Ezra is that of Artaxerxes in Ezra 7:11-28. This is a decree to actually rebuild the city. The decree comes from the seventh year of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:8). This is somewhere around 458 BC from what we know of Artaxerxes’ reign from outside sources. This decree actually resulted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem under Nehemiah.

4. While this can be questioned, if we are to believe that Daniel was given a true prophecy only the third decree ends in the lifetime of Jesus.

iv. Did the 70th week already happen?

1. We can see that the 7 weeks and the 62 weeks make 69 weeks and no one suggests a gap here.

2. Dispensationalist would say that there is a gap of now over 2000 years since the end of the 69th week. There’s not a word of scripture that supports the idea of a gap. This is entirely invented and inserted into the theology of the dispensationalist.

3. Imagine that I asked you for a ride home and you asked me how far it is and I said about 5 minutes. You agreed and as I’m giving you directions I ask you to get on the freeway. After about 5 minutes your thinking I just don’t realize it’s a little longer. After about 15 minutes you’re really starting to wonder, so you ask and I say only about 5 minutes again. You keep going, and after a half hour, I say again only 5 minutes. Imagine now if this continued for another hour, then two then three. Finally when you have to stop for gas you find out that it is only 5 minutes, but there’s a gap of about 500 miles before the 5 minutes begins. Would you feel misled? It seems reasonable to ask if God misled everyone when he said 7 and 62 (for 69) and then another 7 for a total of 490.

4. Reasons for this:

a. They don’t see an event that they think would qualify as the great tribulation spoken of by Jesus.

b. They also believe that this event doesn’t apply to Christians as the church will be raptured first

i. Based on a misunderstanding of the “one will be taken and one left” of all three parallel accounts of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 17 as the rapture of the believers.

ii. Further they believe that since it happens to the whole world it must be happening to the church if it is here but that God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Thessalonians 5:9

5. Therefore since neither a worldwide calamity nor the rapture of the church has happened yet, the 7th week must be yet future.

6. To me (and also to the three other views, including the oldest and most widely held view) the 70th week should follow naturally the 69th week without a gap.

7. The 70th weeks beginning would coincide nearly exactly with the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. Daniel 9:25 says Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks

8. Daniel 9:26 says “And after the sixty-two weeks

Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; the cutting off of the Messiah was the crucifixion. He was cut off but not for himself, for us and for all men.

9. The new Covenant made the old covenant of temple sacrifice obsolete:

a. Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

b. Hebrews 10:8 “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

c. Hebrews 8:13 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

d. Jesus ended the sacrificial system at the cross just as predicted

i. Daniel 9:24

To finish the transgression,

To make an end of sins,

To make reconciliation for iniquity,

To bring in everlasting righteousness,

To seal up vision and prophecy,

And to anoint the Most Holy.

10. When was the crucifixion? 3 ½ years into the ministry of Jesus.

a. Daniel 9:27 predicts it saying:

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;

But in the middle of the week

He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.

b. Jesus confirmed a new covenant with many, those who believed. The dispensationalists see this as the antichrist making a peace treaty with Israel.

11. Jesus’s Predictions are to take place within a generation:

a. Luke 21:32 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

b. Mark 13:30 30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

c. Matthew 24:9 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

d. Matthew 24:33-35 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

e. A generation in biblical terms is 40 years. The temple was destroyed by Titus Vespasian in 70 AD. Within a generation.

b. Dispensationalist says the 70th week is all about Israel because Daniel says 70 weeks are determined for your people.

i. If the 70th week hasn’t happened yet, then this would be true. But if the 70th week has happened it would be referencing the first coming of the Messiah to God’s people Israel.

ii. Jesus did confirm the new covenant with many, the believing Jews like the apostles and those saved on Pentecost and beyond are the many including us who are converted and come under the new covenant today.

iii. Paul’s conversion is widely believed to be around the year 36 just about 3 ½ years after the crucifixion. Up until Paul was converted the preaching and evangelism of the apostles had been limited to those in Judea, primarily Jews. The conversion of Paul and the expansion of the Gospel to the world beyond Judea would complete the 70 weeks “determined for your people” since at that time the gospel began to go out the rest of the world via the ministry of Paul.

c. Antichrist:

i. Mentioned only 4 times all in John’s epistles

1. 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

2. 1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.

3. 1 John 4:13 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

4. 2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

ii. Brilliant Politician – Becomes a world leader.

iii. Makes a peace covenant with Israel based on the “confirms a covenant with many”

iv. Equated with

1. Mark 13:14 14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

2. Daniel 12:11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.

3. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

d. Four Horsemen

i. White Horse – Peace of the Antichrist

ii. Red Horse – War on the saints

iii. Black Horse – Inflation and Famine

iv. Pale Horse – 25% of the people on earth die.

e. God’s wrath poured out on the earth

i. Earthquake

ii. Sun Darkened – Moon turns red

iii. Stars fall to earth

iv. Second Earthquake – Mountains and Islands moved

v. Men will hide in caves

f. 144,000 Jewish Billy Grahams

i. Tribulation Saints

g. Earth Struck again

i. 1/3 of vegetation

ii. Burning Fire thrown into the sea 1/3 becomes blood. All sea life dies and 1/3 of the ships destroyed

iii. 1/3 of freshwater became bitter because of a falling star. Many die from bad water

iv. Sun and Moon struck by 1/3

v. Locusts sting and torment those who don’t have the seal of God. Men will wish to die but will be unable. Locusts have a king.

vi. Four Angels kill 1/3 of remaining mankind with 200 fire-breathing horsemen. Remaining don’t repent.

h. Two witnesses will prophecy for 1260 days.

i. No one can hurt them.

ii. Fire comes from their mouths.

iii. They can stop the rain, turn waters to blood and strike the earth with plagues as they desire.

iv. The Beast show up and kills them.

v. They lay in the street and the people of the earth rejoice.

vi. After 3.5 days they are resurrected. They ascend into heaven and 1/10th of the city falls down in an earthquake.

i. Kingdom of Jesus proclaimed

j. The Dragon (Satan) tries to devour Jesus.

k. Church Flees to the Wilderness (supposedly Petra)

l. War in heaven between Michael and his angels and the dragon. The Dragon is cast to earth and persecutes the church.

m. Dragon raises the beast (AntiChrist) out of the Sea

i. Beast has a deadly wound and is healed causing the world to marvel and worship. This is an imitation resurrection.

ii. Given Authority for 42 months to blaspheme God and make war on the saints

iii. Has a lieutenant (beast from the earth) who leads the whole world astray with signs and wonders deceiving people and demands the Mark of the Beast

n. Jesus stands on Mount Zion with the 144,000

i. The saints are reaped by Jesus with a sickle

ii. The sinners are reaped by an angel with a sickle and thrown into the winepress of God’s wrath. Their blood was up to the horses bridles for 75 miles.

o. Bowl Judgements

i. Sores

ii. Entire Sea turns to blood killing everything in it.

iii. All fresh water turns to blood

iv. Men are scorched

v. Euphrates dries up so the kings of the east can come (China)

vi. An even bigger earthquake. All islands and mountains are leveled.

vii. Hailstones of fire from heaven

p. Babylon falls and the kings of the earth unite against Jesus at Meggido.

q. Jesus wins the war.

r. Millennial Kingdom begins.

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