In previous articles we talked about what is the tribulation and we also talked about who will have to go through the tribulation. In this article I’d like to discuss what the bible has to say about when the tribulation will take place. The tribulation, or time of trouble, is the last really bad time of persecution for God’s saints before the second coming of Jesus. A time so bad that as we’ve seen in previous articles, Jesus himself predicted that it would be cut short for the sake of the elect (God’s true people). With such a bad time ahead it makes sense that many people ask the question, so when will the tribulation take place?
The bible predicts that as we near the end of the world, humanity will become more and more evil. It isn’t by accident that Jesus references the time of Noah and the flood in Genesis 6. In chapter 6 of Genesis we find God saying that he regretted making man because his thoughts were only evil continually. This kind of state is repeating itself in our day. Morality is being thrown by the wayside and God is being attacked as a relic of times gone by.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5
In this bible passage we see a long list of negative things that God condemns culminating with verse 5 that says, “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” These are people who claim to be enlightened. Who even claim to be Christian but are not living by the indwelling power of Almighty God but instead are living by whatever nasty desire motivates them that day. The end result, unfortunately, is that God’s name gets slandered among non-believers and Satan wins more converts to his cause. “For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” – Romans 2:24.
We’ve seen in other articles as well that the second coming of Jesus Christ will come only after there have been multiple warning signs. Things like earthquakes, famines and wars but also things like immorality among the supposed people of God. In fact, in the bible, the symbol of adultery is used to describe a turning away from the one true God and his commands. God equates a mixing of pagan practices with Christian practices as spiritual adultery (See Ezekiel 16 for example).
In my experience, I’ve found that we humans have a hard time with the idea that there is one way to believe or one truth if you will. We would like to think that there are many roads to God and many ways to have fulfillment. 12 step programs even talk about God as a ‘higher power’ so as not to offend people of different faiths. This idea of multiple paths to God however, isn’t what the bible taught and it isn’t what Jesus taught either. In John 14:6 Jesus stated, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Elsewhere he compared himself to a gate when he stated in John 10:9, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”
In the Old Testament God was also very narrow in his interpretation. For example, in Deuteronomy 28:1-2 God states, “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.” And also in verse 13, “The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.”
Jesus was a divisive figure in his time. He presented things in black and white in a way that the religious leaders of his day didn’t appreciate. He made bold claims to be God on earth. He was declared to be the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In John 8:24 he tells the Pharisees, religious freaks, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” Here again Jesus is very clear, believe in him or die.
When is the tribulation?
So what does all of this have to do with the tribulation? Simple. Jesus is coming back at a time of global spiritual adultery. Where the world forsakes the word of God. Where Christians are Christians in name only but make compromises with false teachings and false gods. Where the religious leaders of the day are more interested in being popular than in being right. Where they are willing to excuse and minimize sin because it isn’t politically correct. Where the commands of God are disregarded because they are inconvenient or costly. Where people’s ears are tickled with fuzzy stories instead of being challenged to repent and take up their cross. All of this describes modern day Christianity. It describes modern day religion. It is all a sign of the end.
The tribulation will arise because otherwise decent folk will get it in their minds that they need to get rid of rigid minded thinking. They will be led to believe that those who will not compromise for the greater good are a threat that must be eliminated. Jesus even predicted, “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.” Why? Because the world is guilty of spiritual adultery. It is guilty of trying to be liked and loved rather than being obedient and faithful. I believe that this is one of the reasons why the tribulation will be so hard and difficult on the true people of God. It will be easy for them to doubt whether they are doing right.
Are you willing to trust God? Are you willing to put your faith in the bible? Are you willing to believe that God has a plan for your life? There is no reason to fear the tribulation. God will be with us. He will see us through. Our salvation is secure.
Won’t you determine to be faithful to God no matter what people say?