When will the great tribulation take place?

“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).

The great tribulation corresponds with two events that will take place just before the second coming of Christ:

First: The seven last plagues that are listed in Revelation 16. “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete” (Revelation 15:1). In several points, the seven last plagues are similar to the ten plagues upon Egypt (Ex. 5:1 to 12:30). Both judgments demonstrate the justice of God and bring honor and glory to His name. Both testify to God’s authority over men. Both result in the defeat of the men who had chosen to disobey God. The seven last plagues will be literal, as were the plagues in Egypt. God will pour His wrath upon the evil doers who disobeyed His law and rejected His truth “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

Second: The battle of Armageddon “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (Revelation 16:16-17).

This time of trouble and great tribulation will last for a short time “Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her” (Revelation 18:8). A “day” in Bible prophecy represents one literal year (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34). The plagues will be so server that it will be impossible for the world to survive more than few months. But we have hope in what Jesus said in Matthew 24:22 “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” The Lord will be with His people during the great tribulation period.

Some believe that the saints will all be raptured out of the world just before the time of trouble and that the wicked will be left behind to endure seven years of tribulation. But the Bible clearly teaches otherwise. The Bible describes the 144,000 as “they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). Although God does not always provide a way out of tribulation, He does promise to give us the power and strength to get through it. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

 

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