Week - 42 THE GREAT TRIBULATION Revelation 7:2-3
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Authored by Jerry Marshall
Most Christians acknowledge the reality of a time of tribulation, but there is considerable debate concerning when this time will occur and who will be affected by it (see also the chart entitled “Theories Regarding the Tribulation”).
Dispensational premillennialists believe that Jesus’ prophecy of a future Tribulation will affect Israel but not the church. Prior to the tribulation, the church will be raptured out of the world when Christ suddenly descends from the clouds. The prophecy in Daniel about the Antichrist only deals with God’s plans for Israel (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15-22). The rise of the Antichrist begins a seven-year period of tribulation designed to bring Israel back to God. Many Jews recognize Christ as the Messiah. After these seven years of horror, Christ returns to defeat his enemies at Armageddon and begin his thousand-year reign of peace (Matthew 24:29-31).
Historic premillennialists view the tribulation as the final manifestation of evil at the end of history. The Antichrist will proclaim himself to be god and launch a worldwide campaign of persecution of Christians (Matthew 24:15-22; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). Thus, according to historic premillennialists, Christians will experience this Tribulation and suffer for the cause of Christ. But Christ will sustain his people and protect them from God’s dreadful judgments on the Antichrist and his followers. At the height of this period of persecution, Christ will return to defeat his enemies at Armageddon and establish his thousand-year reign.
Amillennialists believe that the battle between good and evil will climax in a period of intense persecution of Christians at the end of this age, just prior to Christ’s second coming. They believe that the Tribulation is not a specific time in the future but instead may refer to this present age as well. The Tribulation occurs anywhere the Good News is being opposed and Christians are being persecuted. Amillennialists point out that Scripture doesn’t state that the Tribulation is confined to Israel (Revelation 7:13-14). They believe that all of God’s people will be persecuted. When Christ returns, bringing judgment on evil, he will gather believers (Matthew 24:31).
Postmillennialists believe that the church itself will usher in the Millennium and that Christ will return after one thousand years of peace on earth. The Tribulation occurs anywhere the Good News is being opposed and Christians are being persecuted. They believe that Jesus’ prophecy of the abomination being placed in the temple has already been fulfilled in Titus’s destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in A.D. 70 (Matthew 24:15-22). They don’t believe Jesus’ prophecy speaks of a future Antichrist.
1 Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts and Maps, Tyndale house pub 2001