By Merrill Olson
The coming worldwide great tribulation will be time of unparalleled turmoil that God will use to accomplish His sovereign purposes. It is going to be the darkest time in human history. Jesus describes it, “For then there will be great tribulation such as not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21).
There are those that claim that this was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman General Titus invaded Jerusalem. However, this cannot be because no time or events in the history of Israel or the world fits the horrific description of occurrences that Jesus gives in this entire passage. What He describes isolates them from any inquisitions, purges, genocides, or massacres in history. What He portrays is still futuristic and will be ended by His Second Coming (Matt. 24:27-31).
As stated before (previous article), this ordained time will be a seven year period of unimaginable distress for the whole world. It is expressed distinctly in Revelation.
Sometime soon after the Rapture with the end of the church age, this seven year period will begin with a treaty between Satan’s CEO, the Antichrist, and Israel (Dan. 9:27). This will apparently usher in a temporary peace in the Middle East that encompasses the whole world for a brief time when people will be speaking of “peace and safety”
(1 Thess. 5:3). The Antichrist will allow a Jewish Temple to be built for Jews to offer sacrifices once again. This is something that they have longed for and will actually see it happen. Nevertheless, it will only be short lived because at the midpoint of the treaty the Antichrist will break this covenant (Dan. 9:27).
Jesus explained this rescinding as “the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (Matt. 24:15). The apostle Paul expresses this “abomination of desolation” as the time when the Antichrist “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” (2 Thess. 2:4). This last three and one half years will be a dreadful experience for the Jews. God’s purpose will be to bring the Jewish people into submission to Him as He prepares them for the coming of their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ (Zech. 12:10).
For the Gentiles, the entire Tribulation period will be to punish the godless Gentile nations and the people for their sin and rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior and despising Him and worshiping the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:9-12; Rev. 13:4; 16:2). It will be a horrendous time when God pours out His wrath upon a God forsaking world (Rev. 6:12-17). It will be so terrible that people will literally long to die and it will not happen (v. 16).
All the way through the Book of Revelation from Rev. 6:1-19:6 reveal this outpouring of God’s judgment upon a God rejecting humanity. However, it will also be a time when a “great multitude” will deny the Antichrist and will come to saving faith in Christ (Rev. 7:9-17). Even though they experience martyrdom, heaven will be their eternal home. As it will be then, so it is now. Salvation is found only in Jesus (Acts 4:12).
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