This paper presents an overview of the coming Great Tribulation. It is a more formal presentation than is usual in my Blog but it simply represents the Teaching Ministry that God placed in the church. This post is taken from a formal paper written by the author. Due to its length, it is presented in two parts. It is my hope that it gives a better understanding of the Tribulation Period that is still future. It also highlights Jesus Christ as the greatest Teacher ever known to mankind. To Him goes all glory and honor.
By Evangelist Alfreda Lockett Evans
In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus presents His fourth significant discourse or in-depth teaching with his disciples. This lecture, called the Olivet Discourse, is so called because it took place on the side of Mount Olivet. It occurred after Jesus scathingly rebuked the Pharisees and Scribes for their hypocrisy and false religion and after He lamented for Jerusalem in Matthew Chapter 23. In answer to the disciples’ questions about when the end time events would take place, Jesus sat them down and taught them concerning the time that will lead up to the Second Coming of Christ and to the time when He will set up His Kingdom on earth. This Discourse can be compared to the three other significant discourses in the Gospels which were, The Sermon on the Mount, found in Matt. 5-7; the Discourse of the Present Age, found in Matthew 13; and the Upper Room Discourse, found in John 13-17. (Walvoord, p. 179).
Mark 13:3 tells us that Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked three questions of Jesus concerning the end times. They asked, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” It was in response to their questions that we have Jesus’ teachings concerning end-time events. Walvoord states that the first of the three questions was not answered in the Book of Matthew, but it was more clearly answered in Luke, while Matthew and Mark answer the second and third questions. He further states, “Matthew’s account of the Olivet Discourse records that portion of Christ’s answer that relates to his future kingdom and how it will be brought in, which is one of the main purposes of the gospel” Walvoord, (p. 182.) Ironside (2005), also states that this question was answered by Christ, but “its answer to this is given more fully in Luke’s report of His discourse” (Luke 21: 20-24). (p. 201)
The key parts of the Olivet Discourse are The Course of the Present Age, found in Matt. 24:4-14; Sign of the Great Tribulation, Matt. 24: 15-25; The Second Coming of Christ, 24:26-31; and The Parable of the Fig Tree, 24:32-33. It was in the section of the Discourse that concerns the Sign of the Great Tribulation that we gain crucial end-time insight that is based on the prophetic aspects of the Book of Daniel. Verse 15 brings in the beginning of the Great Tribulation, as also predicted in Daniel 12:11. Verses 16-28 give details of that time of trouble and verses 29-31 brings us to the coming of the Son of man. (Ironside, p. 202.)
The Tribulation Period will be a terrible seven-year period of unbelievably disturbing events that will occur such as wars, plagues, earthquakes, and catastrophes, during which about three-fourths of the earth’s population will be destroyed. There will be a time of punishment upon the earth for all of those individuals who rejected Jesus Christ. The Great Tribulation Period, also known as “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” is the second half or the final three and one-half years of the Tribulation Period. Jeremiah 30:7 says, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” Matthew 24:21 states, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”.
In Matt. 24:15 we learn that Jesus taught His disciples that there would be a future event called the Abomination of Desolation as prophesied in the Book of Daniel. He spoke of the Abomination of Desolation as a critical sign of the end times. What exactly is an abomination? An abomination is a vile, shameful or detestable action, condition or habit. (Mish, 2003). The Abomination of Desolation is a two-fold prophecy which relates to a specific event that first occurred in ancient Jewish history but will happen again during the Great Tribulation. In ancient Jewish history Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Syrian King in 167 B. C., erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies and desecrated the sanctuary and its holy vessels. This was an abominable act. What Antiochus IV Epiphanes did so long ago, however, only serves as a type of the abomination that will be committed by a future entity who is known as the Antichrist. He is also known as that man of sin and the son of perdition. He will oppose and exalt himself as God, actually sitting in the Temple requiring all to recognize him as God. (2 Thess. 2: 3-4; Rev. 13:8) For the first half of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will take his position and establish himself as a great and compassionate leader. (Daniel 11:21). Because the nations of the earth will be in chaos, he will come forth as one who can bring civil order and balance. He will be a great orator or speaker. Daniel 11:36 states “And he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods…” He will be a political and commercial genius. (Dan. 11:41). But also, a clever liar and deceiver who is led by Satan. (2 Thess. 2:9-10) Some predict that he may be a homosexual, although not all agree with this interpretation of the Scripture. (Dan. 11:37) However, at the end of the first three and a half years, he will reveal who he is: the cruelest dictator the world has ever known. He will gain political and economic control over all the world. (Dan. 13:7). (Continued in Part II).