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The Tribulation Timeline (Daniel 9:24-27; Revelation 6-18)

Sermon on 26 February 2023 by Ps Justin

Introduction


The Bible has revealed to us a divine judgment coming in the last seven years, called the tribulation. We will cover three parts: (i) Part 1: Jesus is coming soon. How do we prepare (Matthew 25:10)?; (ii) Part 2: Signs in the sky (Luke 21:36); (iii) Part 3: Caught up (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Message

1. What is tribulation in the bible?

The tribulation is the last 7 years on earth. It is God’s final judgment on unbelieving nations and to complete His discipline on Israel (Israel 13:11). It is characterised by various divine judgments, cosmic disturbances, natural disasters and terrible plagues (Revelation 6-16).

There will be the 7 Seal Judgements (Rev 6). When the first seal is opened, the 7 years of tribulation begins. The anti-Christ will come (1st seal), men will slay each other (2nd seal), there will be famine (3rd seal), death of one quarter of the earth (4th seal), believers crying out for the martyred (5th seal), great earthquake, black sun and red moon (6th seal). When the last seal is opened, this initiates the 7 Trumpet Judgements (Rev 8-11).

When the first trumpet is sounded by the first angel, there will be hail and fire mixed with blood hurled upon earth (1st trumpet), a mountain is thrown into the sea (2nd trumpet), a great star falls into water (3rd trumpet), a third of the sun, moon and stars turn dark (4th trumpet), locusts torture those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (5th trumpet), an army of 200 million will destroy one-third of mankind (6th trumpet). When the seventh trumpet is blown by the seventh angel, then begins the 7 Bowl Judgements (Rev 16).

When the first angel pours out his bowl on the land, there will be terrible sores on those who follow the anti-Christ (1st bowl), seas turn into blood and all living in them will die (2nd bowl), rivers and springs of water will become blood (3rd bowl), men will be scorched by fire (4th bowl), complete darkness over the land of the anti-Christ (5th bowl), the Euphrates River will dry up (6thbowl), and there will be flashes of lightning, rumblings, thunder and earthquake (7th bowl).

That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities And against the high towers. - Zephaniah 1:15-16

Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it. – Jeremiah 30:7

2. Why the 7 years of tribulation?

Daniel 9:24-27 reveals the ‘why’. “Weeks” literally equate to “sevens”. Therefore, in verse 24, seventy weeks mean 490 years (70 x 7).

“Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. - Daniel 9:24

In verse 25, “seven weeks and sixty-two weeks” means 7+62 weeks (69 weeks), which means 483 years (69 x 7).

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. - Daniel 9:25

“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. - Daniel 9:26

In the above verses, God said that 70 weeks (actually 490 years) has been determined and 69 weeks (actually 483 years) has already been accounted for, hence we are left with 7 years (490 – 483 actual years). This final seven-year period is the 7 years of tribulation.

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” - Daniel 9:27

Verse 27 tells us that the Middle of the weeks (7 years), that is 3.5 years, of the tribulation is known as the “Great Tribulation”.

3. Who is the tribulation for?

Daniel tells us that God designated this period of 490 years for “Daniel’s people” (Daniel 9:24). The church is not “Daniel’s people”. The church is specifically excluded from the events of the 7-year tribulation (Jeremiah 30:7). Israel however must experience the final 7 years of God's judgment for failing to keep the covenant terms.

Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it. – Jeremiah 30:7

The church will be removed prior to the beginning of the final 7 years of God’s judgment (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9).

and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. - 1 Thessalonians 1:10

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, - 1 Thessalonians 5:9

4. The tribulation timeline

Where are we now? We are in the church age. Rev 19 tells us about the Lord’s second coming. The second coming of Christ takes place after the last bowl is poured. He will reign for 1000 years together with His bride. The army of heaven will be clothed in white linen (the church) and follow Christ on white horses. After 1000 years, the devil will be released and cast into the lake of fire.

As Christians, we have two births but only one death. Rev 20:15 tells us about the judgement of the dead. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name is not found in the book of life, he will be thrown into the lake of fire.

Closing

God will preserve the righteous and destroy the wicked. Our God is merciful, but He is also a consuming fire. Therefore, we should live purposefully, faithfully, fruitfully, truthfully, and prayerfully (1 Corinthians 4:1).

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