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I was saved in 1976 and became extremely interested in Bible prophecy, being an ex war-correspondent and photographer. My calling and aim is to share the dramatic and all-important issues of prophecy relating to our day. This is a calling to unfold and share the wisdom of God as contained in His word. There is also much teaching in these pages for your heart. It’s not all prophecy! Please study these things further yourself and understand that the format is non-exhaustive. Please search the scriptures to “see if these be true.” This is a "watchman" and Bible prophecy teaching website.
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Edition 207. May 14th 2014
When will the Tribulation Period begin?
When will the tribulation begin?
This has been one of the most enduring questions of the ages. Because it is important it is controversial, but in the midst of the confusion is the glorious truth, which is more positive than you can imagine.
The question, when will the tribulation begin, is obviously also related to the question, when will the rapture occur?
In this edition I will add to my thesis revealed in many previous editions that the rapture will occur right at the start of the tribulation and not when it ends.
What is the tribulation period and why?
The Bible reveals exactly what the tribulation period is. It is not the tribulations that we as believers go through in normal life. It is not world wars or any natural or man-made upheavals.
It is two periods of 1260 days making 2520 days, or seven years in Hebrew years of 360 days each.
It is a specific period, cut out of time, in which the culmination of all evil and all God’s work reaches a climax. It is the period in which God’s judgement on all rebellion to Himself culminates. It is the defined period of the wrath of God, the wrath of Satan and the wrath of man all in their final manifestation.
You’ve heard about “hell on earth”? This will be the worst time the world has seen in history, but will be a picnic compared to hell. (Revelation 12:12)
The tribulation period is the culmination of the Old Covenant, which has been on hold during the Church dispensation for almost 2000 years. It is the final seventieth week of years of Daniel 9. The sixty nine weeks of Daniel deal exclusively with Israel. The seventieth week is part of the sixty nine and therefore is associated again with Israel and the closing of the Old Covenant.
The tribulation period is also called the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) Jacob is always a reference to the Jews and never the church.
The tribulation period sees the culmination of God’s working with the Jews. Many Gentiles will be saved in the tribulation, becoming “tribulation saints”, but the primary action is with the Jews.
There will be monumental wars throughout the tribulation period, but it will not end that way. It will end with the return of our Lord. He will speak the final word and it will all be over!
Is the tribulation fair?
Our God is the God of all things and every little atom and aspect of our lives. If mankind sets himself up as God’s enemy, steals his life and joins up with Satan, knowingly or not – God will judge justly and in terms of His righteousness and justice.
The future universe will be sin- free. It will holy and pure. (Revelation 22:3) The tribulation is the final cleansing process.
It’s so much easier to understand the tribulation period and the wrath of God when we understand why it’s coming. The Law of God shows us what sin is. It also shows us what holiness is. Without an understanding of the law of God you will not even begin to understand what sin and holiness is.
I don’t know what country you live in, but let me ask you this: Is ignorance of the law of the land an excuse to break the law? Here where I live it isn’t. Is the world justified in its rebellion to God’s law because they do not know God’s law? No it isn’t. You are supposed to know the law.
The coming judgements of the Bible are so enormous and catastrophic, very few can even imagine it. In fact the severity is one of the reasons why the world mocks and scoffs at it all.
Genesis 4:13 “Cain said to the Lord, My punishment is more than I can bear.”
This is the dangerous heart of the criminal mind. It includes all people who are against God. They will rebel even more against God as His wrath is poured out in the tribulation period.
Do you know how wonderful and safe it is to say the opposite of what Cain said? Try saying to God that you are a rebel and that you deserve the punishment of hell. Tell Him that you now come to Him in brokenness and sorrow for sin, and in repentance. You will be eternally safe!
The criminal mind always hates the law and blames others.
Today many churches have watered down holiness and become lukewarm. The Emergent church movement and many others have got rid of hell, the cross and coming judgement. Have they all got a bit more than a nasty surprise coming?
It is only the cross of Messiah that cleanses and separates us from sin, Satan, and the world. It is only the cross that protects us from the coming judgement upon the world.
The unsaved and the un-crucified, counterfeit Christian have the world as their kingdom. If you do not have the cross at work in you, Satan will give you the world. (1 John 5:19) It is his to give you! The only people who don’t need to take up their cross are the worldly!
The tribulation is fair. It comes from God. God judges sin.
So, when will it begin?
Firstly, no one knows exactly, for sure! But we have many indications in the Bible and in reality that point to the time-period.
There are many Bible codes, expositions on various verses and many such things that are all pretty close in time. So it’s a real gamble rejecting it all!
There are those who will know the time and those who will not know the time! The Bible commands us to know the time in many passages and says that it is the unbelievers who will not know the time! The precise day and hour is another thing.
There is very little doubt and great consensus among prophecy teachers that the tribulation period will begin on the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah). It is the next of the feats to be fulfilled in historical space and time. The consensus is, Trumpets = tribulation start. Days of Awe = mid-tribulation and specific wrath of God. Tabernacles = Second Coming and Millennium start. The previous Feasts have already been fulfilled in the events of the cross and the Pentecost.
The Feast of Trumpets is a two day affair, so if the rapture / tribulation start were to begin then it would satisfy the verse saying, “No one knows the day or hour.”
The question is which Feast of Trumpets? This one coming up now in our month of September 2014 marks the start of the Jewish year 5775 on the secular calendar and 6000 on the spiritual calendar.
The image above from the Torah Calendar shows that we are now at 5999 and about to go into 6000. It also coincides with the 120th jubilee cycle. Genesis 6:3 speaks of God not striving with man forever, then it says that the days of man will be 120 years. This could be a type of the 120 jubilees.
Here is a larger version of it on the calendar: Torah Calendar
There is much talk about the jubilees and timing. I think it is interesting, and the jubilee cycles do line up, but God stopped counting jubilees when Israel was out of favour and has not been counting jubilees in the church age.
So, you have to then say, “Let’s count them as though God were still counting.” That may have significance, but don’t put too much emphasis on it.
So we have a fair amount of weight pointing to this coming Feast of Trumpets as the starting point for the tribulation period.
I must caution that none of this is absolutely a done deal. There are errors in calendars and many other variables that can come into the picture. What I am doing here is simply watching / looking at the evidence and presenting it to you as a possibility, nothing more.
The tribulation will begin with the signing or confirming of the peace agreement of Daniel 9:27. That is the event that kicks it off and reveals the antichrist.
The percentage possibility of a tribulation start at the beginning of 5775 is zero if there is no peace agreement. If a peace agreement springs out of the woodwork the possibility shoots up to( I would imagine) 80%!
There are so many signs of the times all before us now, but we must not jump the gun. We must wait for the relevant signs.
The Bible indicates the general time-period in a number of verses. In the verse below we are told that it will be on the third day. This is talking of the general salvation of the Jews, which we know occurs in the tribulation period.
The Bible declares that a “day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” We can use that principle right here. Two thousand years have passed since the cross and we are now well into the “third day.”
Hosea 6:1-2 “Come let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has stricken us, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up.”
Many say that the Bible says, “no one knows the time of the Lord’s coming” That is rubbish. What it says is “no one knows the day and hour”, which is a very short, defined point in time. This is also brought out in the verse below.
Matthew 24:42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour the Lord is coming.”
Luke 12:37 “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when He comes, will find watching,”
What should we watch for?
●We need to watch for the Russia / Ukraine situation to develop into a full blown war that would bring the main western nations in. This would then most probably become the war of Gog and Magog, which occurs just before the tribulation.
●We need to watch for the complete destruction of Syria. This would be the Isaiah 17 war, which also occurs just before the tribulation.
●Watch for Iran to move on with its nuclear aspirations and to make a fateful mistake relating to Israel.
●Watch for developments with other Arab nations surrounding Israel.
●Watch for the “king of the north” and the “king of the south” to become more clearly identified (Daniel 11)
●Watch for the developments within the European Union. It needs Eastern Europe to become a part.
●Watch for any developments relating to the rebuilding of the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It may become part of the peace deal.
●We need to watch for a peace treaty of some sort to begin to come into play between Israel and the Palestinians backed by the major world nations
These are the big-ticket items. All the other things like earthquakes etc are peripheral and more general.
At this point in time we still have a fair way to go before the stage is fully set for a tribulation start. Developments will have to escalate or we will have to wait!
1 Thessalonians 1:10...”He delivers us from the wrath to come.” The word “from” is the Greek word “ek” meaning “clean out away from.”
If there will be a post-tribulation rapture, what “wrath to come” is this? Generally speaking, the tribulation is referred to as the wrath of God. What comes about at the Second Coming is Millennium, not the wrath to come!
The rapture of the true Church will be the biggest nightmare ever for many so called believers and professing Christians as they realise that they will have to face the worst time the world has ever seen!
What is the opposite of tribulation? It is rapture! The opposite of great tribulation is great peace!
I’m not going to get into this now, because I’ve dealt with it many times, but there will be few people saved. Not all who profess to be Christians are.
Have a look at the two very familiar verses below.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 “That Day (rapture) will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.”
2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 “The mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way and then the lawless be will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”
In the verses above, the rapture is closely linked with the revealing of the antichrist and the removal of the restrainer. They are inextricably linked.
Note that there must be a falling away before the antichrist is revealed. When is the antichrist revealed? The next verse tells us. He is revealed as the restrainer is taken out of the way. (The restrainer is the Holy Spirit in full, church-age manifestation).
Now let’s take this and juxtapose it into the post-tribulation rapture position. That would mean that at the end of the tribulation, the antichrist is revealed! Do you see the problem? It is impossible for the antichrist to be revealed at the end of the tribulation. He is a key figure throughout the tribulation and is revealed at the start of the tribulation.
You can’t leave out bits of scripture that don’t suit you. A post-tribulation rapture has to include the revealing of the lawless one and the restrainer being removed. It does not add up. It can’t happen that way. The rapture is at the start of the tribulation!
The good news:
The Church will be removed before the tribulation begins, but the church will most certainly see the “labour pains”.
Huge troubles cause people to come together. Unity created by troubles is not ideal, but nonetheless we will see much of the true Church (who are open to the things of God) come together in unity. We will also see a newfound unity between true believers and believing Jews.
Many backsliders and prodigals will come home!
Many will be shaken off the fence and come searching with open hearts.
Repent, turn and move on.
Joel 2:12-13 “Now, says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning.’ So rend your hearts and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and great in kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”
Romans 11:15 “For if their (Israel) being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead.”
The big thing with Israel’s repentance is that it will be very public. Everyone will see it and take note. It will influence and affect untold masses of Gentiles. (Isaiah 11:12)
Israel’s repentance is vitally important for the world. It’s the sign that the kingdom of God is at hand.
The repentance of Israel signals the destruction of an unrepentant world.
It’s the biggest sign of all that God’s word is true and Bible prophecy is and will be fulfilled. Judgement implies a judge. You can reject judgement and the judge just like the people in Noah’s day, or you can repent.
Israel will repent. It’s starting now, but the majority will find Messiah in the tribulation period. You do not need tribulation to bring you to salvation! You are privileged to be given the chance to repent and come into God’s kingdom NOW!
Jeremiah31:21 “Set up signposts, make landmarks; Set your heart towards the highway...turn back O virgin of Israel, turn back to these your cities.”
What you must do:
●You must have a big God in your life. You can repent all you like and desire to be free from the bondages of sin, but if your God remains small and you remain big – you will always fall. Your God must be big. How do we have a big God and small me? You have to desire to know Him. You must pay the price to know Him deeply. As you grow in the knowledge of Him so His power grows in you. “I am determined to know nothing but Messiah and Him crucified”. As I decrease, He increases.
●Repentance is one thing. It is good. It is turning around and facing a new direction. But you must still walk in the new direction.
Genesis 6:3 “God will not strive with man forever.”
The great, great, great, great tribulation will begin for all the unsaved on the day they die and it won’t last for seven years!
You can’t make the world respectable. You can be its friend and it will kill you because it is full of sin, Satan and death – mostly disguised!
Genesis 5:24 “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
2 Kings 2:11 “Then it happened, as they continued and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”
I took this picture early in the morning in the Drakensberg Mountains. This is the appropriately named “Dragons Back.” It symbolises the coming of the real dragon!
2 Samuel 23:4 “He shall be like the dawn of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after the rain.”
Shalom and grow in grace!