Posted in end time, great tribulation, prophecy, rapture

The purpose of the Tribulation

Jeremiah 30:7 shows God talking to Jeremiah, explaining that in due time, both Israel and Judah will experience trouble like the two kingdoms never had before. “How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.” He was prophesying of the time of the Jews from then until the Tribulation, the last seven years of Daniel’s prophesied seventy sevens.

Daniel 9:24-27 explains it:

Seventy Weeks and the Messiah
“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.”

Seventy weeks of years, or 490 years are decreed for the Jews to finish their transgression, or rebellion. Ah, but it seems that the 70 weeks is not spoken of as occurring consecutively. 

“So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.”

When Jesus died and rose again, the time of the prophetic clock paused and the 490 years was interrupted by the Church Age. The Old Covenant was suspended at 483 years upon Jesus’ death (Not forgotten! Not set aside! Simply paused) and the Church Age began. In Acts 15:13-18 James states “Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.” The Church Age is the taking a people from among the Gentiles, the Gentiles are grafted into the Covenant. Galatians 3:8 confirms this is part of God’s Plan: “The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” Acts 15 continues with Stephen reminding the Jews that

“‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, ” (Acts 15)

That rebuilding will take place at the outset of the Tribulation. Jerusalem is the scene of the Psalm 83 war and the Gog-Magog Battle. Though they do emerge victorious, the city does not emerge unscathed and there is rebuilding to attend to.

An interesting thing happened when Jesus died and rose, and the Church Age began. Not only did the Old Covenant pause and the New Covenant begin, but the Holy Spirit entered a new phase of His ministry. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people, and sometimes left people, but during the church age the gift of grace includes the doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved by the promise and strength of the indwelling Holy Spirit. However before the Church Age and after the Church age in the Tribulation, Jews and Gentiles alike were and are responsible for maintaining their faith through outward displays of service and obedience to the Lord through sacrifices and worship.

“Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.” (Daniel 9)

The prince to come is the Antichrist.

“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.” (Daniel 9)

The covenant will be confirmed for a period of seven years, resuming the last ‘week’ necessary for the Jews to finish their Transgression. That seven years is the Tribulation. It will not occur until two things happen: first as Paul revealed in Romans 11:25, the Jews have had a hardening of the heart until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. [“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”] “Full number” is a nautical term indicating the practice of by law, requiring a certain number of sailors and soldiers to man the ships, without which, they could not set sail. The hardening of the heart means that the Jews cannot and will not recognize their need for a Messiah until that hardness is lifted. And that hardness will not be lifted until the Church is lifted, literally, raptured and the last 7 years begins. The Old Covenant and the New Covenant do not mingle. At that point the prophetic clock resumes and the Old Covenant resumes as well, with the Jews suddenly clamoring for a Temple and the sacrifices allowed because their hearts are no longer hard.

And secondly, the hardness of heart won’t be lifted until the Gog-Magog battle occurs, as prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39. — “My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” declares the Lord GOD. “That is the day of which I have spoken.” God uses the Gog-Magog battle to show Israel His presence in their lives and uses His direct intervention in that battle to draw Israel back to Himself. (Ez. 39:7-8). The Jews recognition of God’s direct intervention in their lives occurs by the end of that battle. The 7-year peace treaty is signed and the Temple is immediately rebuilt. Sacrifices resume.The Church is gone by then.

So Daniel prophesied 490 years for the Jews’ full transgression. After 483 the clock stopped when Jesus died and the Church Age began. God builds up His church to a full number only He knows. It is a 2000 year pause as the Old Covenant is suspended temporarily and the New Covenant begins. (Hebrews 8:6-8; Luke 22:20). The end times are prophesied with its signs, and then when the full number of Gentiles is reached we are raptured. The Church Age is over. The end time is over. The clock starts again and the last 7 years begin: the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. The Tribulation is completely about Israel, and God’s conclusion of His punishment for their transgression. The Holy Spirit resumes His Old Testament ministry and the Jews resume their old covenant style of worship (along with Gentile believers- Acts 15:17). Church Age believers eat a banquet supper with Jesus as His bride and earth-bound unbelievers and new believers on earth go through a living hell.

Won’t you accept Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins NOW? Now is the day of your salvation – “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor 6:2) We are warned: “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. (Is 55:6). Do not say you will wait and see. Do not say that you need signs. Do not wait because He is near, even right at the door! His gift to you awaits. His love and mercy and forgiveness of your own rebellion. It is the most precious gift…and it is free. Here you can read How to Be Saved.

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Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.