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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

The Tribulation Period

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

Day 3 of the 24 Day Prophecy Study

Notes compiled by Steve McAtee and Marty Zide

1. The Uniqueness of the Tribulation Period?

Although we can point to some horrendous times in the history of mankind, the seven year Tribulation period is unique in its intensity and devastation. There has never been, nor will there ever be a time like this. Matt. 24:2 - For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

Jer. 30:7 - Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.

Dan. 12:1 - ...And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.

Joel 2:2 - A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness... There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it.

Two characteristics will distinguish the Tribulation period from all other times of persecution and suffering. While other calamities were localized in various places, the Tribulation period will be worldwide in it’s scope. Second, the reaction of the people involved in the Tribulation period will be different. They will recognize the uniqueness of the time.

Rev. 3:10 - Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Rev. 6:15-17 - Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?

2. Terminology of the Tribulation Period

The Scriptures use several different names for the Tribulation period. Each of them provides for us a description of this time. There are many names that describe this time The Day of the Lord The Time of Jacob’s Trouble The Wrath of God The Day of Vengeance The 70th. Week of Daniel The Hour of Judgment The Time of Trouble The Day of Darkness The Day of Alarm The Hour of Trial The Day of Distress The Day of Desolation The Time of the End The Great Tribulation There are other names used in Scripture for the Tribulation period. All of them emphasize a time of great distress and trouble.

3. The Length and Purposes of the Tribulation Period

We discover the length of the Tribulation period by studying the great prophecy of Daniel, located in Dan. 9:24-27. Here we learn that the Tribulation period is actually Daniel’s 70th. week in his prophecy of 70 weeks. Each week represents seven years. Therefore, we conclude that the tribulation period will last 7 years.

We also discover several of the purposes from the same prophecy in Daniel. In examining the passage, Daniel lists six great goals for the tribulation.

Dan. 9:24,27 - Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

Six Goals for the Tribulation Period

1. to finish the transgression 2. to make an end of sin 3. to make atonement for iniquity 4. to bring in everlasting righteousness 5. to seal up vision and prophecy 6. to anoint the most holy

4. Events of the Tribulation Period

In our study we will look at what happens in the first half, the middle and the last half of the Tribulation period.



When the Tribulation begins, multitudes of Jewish people will have gone back to the land in unbelief. As soon as the temple is built, they will once again return to temple worship and sacrifices. During the first half of the Tribulation, Israel will be living in peace and safety because of the covenant they entered into with Antichrist.

Ezek. 36:24-25 - For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

Dan. 9:27 - And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering.

2 Thes. 2:3-4 - ...the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

God’s Judgments God’s judgments begin when the Lord Jesus breaks the seals on the scroll. The first six seal judgments take place during the first half of the Tribulation. Jesus described these as the beginning of birth pangs. The seventh seal releases the trumpet judgments. The first six trumpet judgments also take place in the first half. The seventh trumpet marks the beginning of the second half of the Tribulation.

Matt. 24:8 - But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. The Seal Judgments - Rev. 6:1-17, 8:1 1. Antichrist goes about conquering 2. total warfare upon the whole earth 3. worldwide famine 4. 1/4 of the earth’s population destroyed 5. persecution & martyrdom of tribulation saints 6. cosmic disruptions - earthquakes, sun, moon, stars 7. contains The Trumpet Judgments - Rev. 8:2-9:21, 11:14-13:18 1. 1/3 of the vegetation of the earth destroyed 2. 1/3 of the seas and its creatures destroyed 3. 1/3 of the fresh waters destroyed 4. 1/3 of the sun, moon and stars are darkened 5. (1st. woe) release of creatures from the abyss

6. (2nd. woe) 1/3 of humanity is destroyed 7. (3rd. woe) containing the bowl judgments


During the midpoint of the Tribulation, so many things are happening so fast, it is difficult to know the exact order in which they take place.

Events in the middle 1. Israel is invaded by hostile forces & is persecuted, their sacrifices now come to an end 2. the abomination of desolation takes place 3. Antichrist becomes world ruler 4. Antichrist suffers a violent death, but comes back to life & demands to be worshipped 5. Satan is kicked out of heaven & no longer has access 6. all religions are forbidden except worshipping antichrist 7. the number 666 is demanded by the false prophet


Israel These next 3 1/2 years will be the most severe for Israel. It is at this time that they will flee into the wilderness. Satan and Antichrist will set their sights on the Jewish people, both believers and non-believers alike. The Lord will use this time to bring many of the unsaved to Himself.

Matt. 24:15-21 - Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place... then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak... For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

God’s Judgments God’s judgments continue on and intensify in the second half of the tribulation. Satan knows that his time is short and God is using these times to bring Israel to their knees.

The Bowl Judgments - Rev. 16:1-21 1. terrible sores on those who worship Antichrist 2. seas turned to blood and all sea life dies 3. fresh waters on the earth are turned to blood 4. sun heats up & scorches people - they blaspheme 5. supernatural darkness

6. Euphrates rivers is dried up 7. great earthquake and massive hail

These judgments of God are so great, that unless these days were shortened, no human life would survive. As destructive and horrible as these judgments are, the wicked will not repent of their evil ways.

Matt. 24:21-22 - For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

The tribulation comes to an end as a result of the second coming of Jesus to the earth. Jesus will consume Antichrist with the breath of His mouth.

2 Thes. 2:8 - Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.

5. Key Personalities of the Tribulation

The personalities that we will study are in no special order, but they all play a very significant role in the Tribulation The major personality playing the most significant role in the Tribulation period is God. It is called the Day of the Lord. This title emphasizes the special intervention of God in human history. We must always keep in mind that the Lord is completely sovereign in all that happens during these 7 years.

Satan, who mimics the role of the Father in the unholy trinity, also plays a significant role during this time. He is the one who is behind much of the evil that is taking place. He also works closely with Antichrist and the False Prophet. Together they form the unholy trinity of evil that will be in full force during the Tribulation period.

Rev. 12:12 - Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.

Our study will concentrate on the human personalities that will be present during the Tribulation period.

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