Eschatology: The Tribulation (sample)

An excerpt from the iTi Level Three, Session One course "Eschatology: The Tribulation." All Scriptures are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. All other material is ©Copyright 1994, Dove Ministries International.

The word "tribulation" is used in at least three different ways. One meaning applies to the trials and persecutions the Christian believers will suffer throughout the Church Age as a result of their identification with Christ.

John 16:33 (KJV) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

II Thessalonians 1:4 (KJV) So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

Acts 14:22 (KJV) Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Romans 12:12 (KJV) Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Ephesians 3:13 (KJV) Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

II Corinthians 7:4 (KJV) Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

A second use of the word "tribulation" applies to a special period of tribulation for Israel prophesied by Daniel, including his reference to the desecration of the altar of the Jewish Temple by the Antichrist.

Daniel 9:24-27 (KJV) Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy 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. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two 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 unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst 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 upon the desolate.

Jeremiah also makes reference to the same period calling it "Jacob's trouble."

Jeremiah 30:7-9 (KJV) Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. 8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

Jesus describes another application of the word as the Great Tribulation.

Matthew 24:21 (KJV) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

In this context the word "tribulation" means the final wrath upon the Antichrist and the Gentile nations that follow him, called the "Great Day of His Wrath."

Revelation 6:12-17 (KJV) And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

It is very important tht the three different applications of the word "tribulation be clearly distinguished. The fact that believers must be ready to suffer trials and tribulations throughout the Church Age does not mean the Church must go through the Great Tribulation and the final hour of God's Wrath. God has promised to keep His saints from the tribulation period.