The Bible tells us that the world won’t continue indefinitely as it is. There is a major new kingdom coming. One that involves the terraforming (re-creation) of the earth and the destruction of all that opposes the living God. The Bible tells us in Revelation 21 and 22 that evil, pain, suffering and fear won’t exist forever. God is one day soon going to set all wrongs right and establish his kingdom forever. Before we can get there however, a number of events must take place. One of these events is commonly referred to as the tribulation.
Google defines the word tribulation as ‘a cause of great trouble or suffering.’ Synonyms to the word tribulation include suffering, distress, trouble, misery, unhappiness, sadness, heartache, grief, sorrow, pain, anguish, agony. As you’ve read through these synonyms you’ve no doubt understood that a tribulation is something anyone would want to avoid at all costs. Which human being likes to suffer? Who likes to be in misery and pain? No one.
Now the Bible outlines a period of tribulation that will come upon the earth just before the second coming of Jesus Christ. We find one reference in Daniel 12:1-2
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered,everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
Another term for ‘tribulation’ is a ‘time of trouble’ as found in the wording here in Daniel 12. Did you catch what the second part of that sentence said? ‘such as never has been since there was a nation till that time…” Now the very next sentence states, ‘But at that time your people shall be delivered,everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.” Which has given rise to at least three groups of interpretations, pre-trib, mid-trib and post-trib. Trib of course being the short form of tribulation.
Those who espouse the pre-trib view believe that Jesus is going to rescue his saints before the time of trouble. Those in the mid-trib camp believe that God will do it midway, usually three and half years into the tribulation. Those in the post-trib camp believe that God will rapture his saints after the time of trouble. Now let’s make something clear. If I had a vote, I’d certainly be voting for the pre-trib position. If we go back to the beginning of this article where we listed all of the synonyms for tribulation, it doesn’t take a genius to see that the tribulation is going to be really bad news.
Daniel isn’t the only place to talk about a time of trouble. Jesus mentions it in Matthew 24:21-22.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”
Here Jesus refers to the tribulation as the great tribulation. He also adds that if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. In other words, the great tribulation will be very hard on the saints. Look at the last part of verse 22. “…But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” If God didn’t keep the tribulation time short, he would lose all believers. Wow. Clearly not good times. Something big and horrible is coming upon the earth.
Next we’ll look at the timing of the tribulation. Of the pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib camps, which one agrees best with the word of God? In the meantime, make sure you make time for God. Take the time to ask him into your life and to show you how to live in a way that pleases him.