Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Wrath of God in Daniel's 70th Week

In my last article I gave my reasons why I think all of Daniel’s seventieth week should be considered Tribulation. The term “a great tribulation” was used by the Lord when describing the period of time proceeding from the Abomination of Desolation (Matt 24:21) and should not be thought of as simply persecution only occurring within the last half of the week. The full meaning of tribulation involves other forms of hardship and trials, including what are often referred to as “birth pangs”. But even assuming I am correct in my arguments, this alone would not exempt the Church from experiencing the 70th week. The Church has, and always will, experience tribulation in all its meaning, this side of the rapture.

The eschatological wrath of God is, perhaps, a different matter. There is somewhat of a consensus among the different viewpoints that, while the Church is not spared tribulation, it will not experience God’s eschatological wrath. Usually, various Thessalonian verses are evoked to make that point (1Th 1:10; 1Th 5:9-10). But I should point out that some pretribulationists do not agree that the wrath of God mentioned in these verses is eschatological, and Richard Mayhue is one good example of this. Renald Showers, on the other hand, devotes several pages in his book “Maranatha – Our Lord, Come!” arguing that the wrath of God spoken of in these verse is, in fact, eschatological because of the context.

I’m inclined to think that a person’s rapture view will predispose them to identify the wrath of God in diverse places in the 70th week, which is compatible with that individual’s assumptions. A pretribber will assume the wrath of God begins with the opening of the seals, whereas non-pretribulationists will argue that God’s wrath does not occur until after the 6th seal. Most posttribulationists feel that this occurs immediately after the 7th trumpet, coinciding with the rapture. The simple fact is that nothing happens unless the Lord opens the seals.

A frequent and persistent objection put forward by non-pretribbers is that the wrath of God isn’t mentioned until the 6th seal; therefore it hasn’t occurred in the previous seals. Furthermore, it is sometimes claimed that at the 6th seal, the wrath is still future – about to happen. I’ve addressed this assertion before but it needs to be dealt with again.

That a word isn’t mentioned somewhere does not preclude the concept’s existence in a particular set of Scriptures. The irony of all this is that the same logic can be directed at several non-pretribulational assumptions which reveals some inconsistencies in their methodology and criticism:

There is no resurrection or rapture mentioned between the 6th & 7th seals or 7th trumpet – therefore they do not occur there.

The second coming isn’t cited at that point – therefore it hasn’t occurred there.

The word “Church” is not used to describe the Great Multitude – therefore it isn’t the Church.

The word Church doesn’t appear anywhere between chapters 4 to 18 – therefore it isn’t there.

The wrath of man is never spoken of in the six seals – therefore it’s not there.

There is only one type of resurrection mentioned at Rev 20:4 (Tribulation martyrs) – therefore only the Tribulation martyrs are resurrected there. (Some will attempt to argue for a one-phase first resurrection and that the resurrection actually occurs retrospective to Rev 20:4, although it only appears in that verse).

Some presume that because man’s wrath or Satan’s wrath (Rev 12:12) is shown to be active during a particular period then it automatically means that God’s wrath cannot be simultaneously occurring. Real life scenarios would seem to contradict this conclusion. In any conflict there can be any number of parties exhibiting wrath concurrently. Moreover there is no Scriptural rule (or verse) that states that Satan, man and God cannot be wrathful within the same timeframe. But what is relevant is where the wrath of God begins - NOT by doing a word search but by examining Scripture.

In a previous article I looked at Rev 6:15-17: Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

At the risk of repeating myself, the expression “the great day of his wrath is come” is in the indicative mood with the augment. According to Dana and Mantey “A Manual Grammar of the Greek new Testament” pp 193-94, normally, that kind of aorist tense verb refers to an occurrence of that event in the past unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

So what is the context in those passages?

Non-pretribulationists will argue that the context is in the future. I suggest the only futuristic context is an eschatological assumption for needing it to be so. If we look objectively at cause and effect and forget presuppositions, it’s patently obvious that the unbelievers are reacting to the earthquake; the darkening of the sun and the blood-red moon. The cause of the unbelievers’ consternation is not futuristic, but what has just occurred, and most likely exacerbated by the previous seals (Rev 6:3-8). They have only just come to a sudden, fearful realisation of God’s wrath but have no foreknowledge of the 7th seal or 7th trumpet (1 Thess 5:3-4). It also should be remembered that John is only recording the cry of the unbelievers. The expression – “the great day of their wrath has/is come” is NOT a divine revelation, although people consistently appeal to it.

Wrath of man or God?

The 2nd seal (Rev 6:3-4) has peace removed from the earth through men slaying one another. Because this warfare is the result of human activity, non-pretribulationists claim that only the wrath of man is involved. However, there are clear examples that God has used men and nations as instruments of His wrath in the past - against Babylon (Isa 13:1-5, 9, 17-19; Jer 50:9, 13, 25); He raised up Syria and Philistia against Israel (Isa 9:11-12); He used Assyria as the rod of His anger against Israel (Isa 10:5-6) and the Babylonians against Judah (2 Chron 36:16-17; Ezr 5:12 and Jer 32:28-32).

Some other passages demonstrating that God uses the sword as an instrument of His anger are: Isa 51:17-20; Isa 65:12; Jer 16:4-10 and Jer 24:10. Note the use of the words devastation, destruction, famine and sword as results of God’s anger in Isa 51:17-20. See also Exo 22:24 (sword) and Eze 7:1-15 (sword, plague and famine).

There are distinct similarities in the expression of God’s anger in Eze 5:13; Eze 5:17 and Eze 14:21 to what is occurring in Rev 6:8.

Rev 6:8 I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.

Eze 5:13 'Thus My anger will be spent and I will satisfy My wrath on them, and I will be appeased; then they will know that I, the LORD, have spoken in My zeal when I have spent My wrath upon them.

Eze 5:17 'Moreover, I will send on you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you of children; plague and bloodshed also will pass through you, and I will bring the sword on you. I, the LORD, have spoken.'

Eze 14:21 For thus says the Lord GOD, "How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it!

I find the expression “four severe judgments” interesting in light of the FOUR horsemen of the FOUR seals. Why only four horses in Revelation? Why not seven? There is an unmistakable connection between the four judgments of Revelation and the four results of God’s wrath in Ezekiel 14:21.

Moreover, there is a compelling parallel to the four horses of the four seals in Revelation and the visions of the prophet Zechariah. In Zechariah’s visions we see different colored horses and chariots riding out on God’s command – they serve God’s purpose and they ride in judgment.

In reference to these horses and chariots, Tony Garland makes some observations:

Zechariah’s eighth vision has a greater bearing on the horsemen shown John. Zechariah sees four chariots which come forth from between two mountains of bronze (Zec. 6:1). In our commentary on Revelation 1:15, we understood that bronze is a metal which can withstand the heat of fire and often represents judgment. Each chariot is drawn by horses of different colors—much like our four horsemen: red, black, white, and dappled (Zec. 6:2-3). The chariots are said to be captained by “spirits” (or winds)—a reference to the Holy Spirit or possibly invisible messengers such as angels. There are four chariots, just as there are four horsemen shown John, indicating a global scope of activity…

….the similarities between Zechariah’s vision of the chariots and the horsemen shown John are:

1. Four different categories of horses ride with a global ministry.
2. The horses ride at the command of God—they serve God’s purposes.
3. The horses ride in judgment.
4. The horses have similar colors representing victory (white), bloodshed (red), black (judgment), and pale or dappled (sickness leading to death).

I recommend reading the entirety of Tony Garland’s article HERE

Finally, in his notes on Revelation, Chuck Missler also makes the following observation:

Horses = judgments (2 Kings 6:15-18; Jer 46:9-10; Joel 2:3-11; Nahum 3:1-7; Zech 1:8-11; 6:1-7).

Objection relating to the first seal

A common objection about the wrath of God involves the 1st seal. It goes something like this: if the first seal is the expression of God’s wrath then, because God is responsible for breaking open that seal, He is also responsible for the rise of the Antichrist; the false religious system; the Abomination of Desolation etc. That would mean God’s house is divided. Furthermore, it is argued that it is unreasonable to think that the Antichrist could gain control while God’s wrath is active.

In answer to this it should be pointed out that God’s house is not divided if the releasing of the Antichrist fulfils God’s sovereign purpose. God allowed His servant Job to be attacked by Satan (Job 1:8-12; Job 2:3-6) for His sovereign purpose. It was God’s purpose to raise up a pharaoh to achieve His sovereign plan for Israel (Exod 9:16; Rom 9:17). God also purposed to harden Pharaoh’s heart (Exod 9:1; Exod 9:12; Exod 10:1). Despite the fact that God despises certain practises and deems them abominable, Romans 1:18-32 tells us that He gave Gentiles over to these practises as expressions of His wrath against them. Yet in all this He did not oppose Himself. Moreover, the Lord’s opening of the 1st seal is totally in keeping with what Paul wrote in 2 Thess 2:6-8.

God has specific sovereign purposes for releasing the Antichrist into the world:

The judgment of Israel because they rejected their Messiah (Zec 11:10-14; Zec 11: 15-17; Dan 9:27). This will, in turn, back Israel into a corner and lead to their repentance (Dan 12:6-7; Rev 16:12-16; Zec 12:2; Zec 12:10; Zec 13:1).

God will also use the AC to judge a rebellious world. Isaiah 3:1-15 demonstrates that God sometimes removes good leaders and replaces them with oppressors and gives people up to delusion (2 Thess 2:10-12; Rev 13:3-8). And finally God’s sovereign purpose will be fulfilled by the defeat of the Antichrist and his forces and the resultant ushering in of the Messianic age.

Objections relating to the fifth seal

If the opening of the 5th seal is part of the wrath of God then that means God is the cause of the martyrdom. The first thing we should note is that there is no 5th rider or horse. When the seal is opened, the scene is revealed as having already taken place. God did not specifically orchestrate that event in the way the first four seals were. In other words, while God set into motion the events of the first four seals, the opening of the fifth seal only revealed an event perpetrated (presumably) by the Antichrist’s forces.

Rev 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: (KJV)

Rev 6:9 Now when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been violently killed because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had given. (NET)

Dr Renald Showers points out that the verb form translated as “were slain” is in the Greek perfect tense (Rev 6:9 KJV). A T Robertson and Dana/Mantey agree that because of this, the event has already occurred and is consummated before John’s phrase, “I saw”. Here God’s wrath is implicit in a future sense because of the promise found in Rev 6:10-11. So the 5th seal events are caused indirectly by the opening of the previous seals which are part of God’s wrath but the martyrdom cannot be directly attributed to God.

Another objection I’ve encountered relates to Rev 6:10. If the wrath of God is evident at this time then why are the martyrs crying out to be avenged and for God to judge those who shed their blood?

Given the events of the first four seals and how closely they parallel God’s wrath/anger in the Old Testament (Rev 6:8) it is obvious that God’s wrath is, in fact, in operation. Does the fact that the souls are crying out to be specifically avenged and their killers judged for these particular actions somehow preclude God’s wrath being already present? I don’t see how this could be argued logically.

If I was an angry, omnipotent ruler who wanted to punish and reclaim a land that belonged to me, I would proceed to take action against it. If, in the course of events, the leaders of that land decide to kill some of my loyal servants and some of them cry out for judgment and vengeance – that does not automatically nullify the fact that I am already taking some sort of action. In the first instance, I have my own objectives and in the second, I am going to honor my servant’s request in my own time. It should also be noted that Rev 6:11 informs us that there is a specific number that are to be killed until the martyrs are avenged, and the fact that Rev 20:4 has tribulation martyrs being resurrected indicates that this will be at the end of Daniel’s 70th week.

Dr Showers points out that God is addressed as despotes in Rev 6:10 – which means a husband; an absolute ruler (“despot”); Lord; Master. He also notes that: “the ancient Greeks used this word politically to refer to not only people who intruded into a land already occupied by someone else but also an absolute ruler who had ‘an unlimited possibility of the exercise of power unchecked by any law’” (Rengstorf, “despotes,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 2:44).

Interestingly, Robert Van Kampen taught that the 5th seal martyrs are not part of the Great Multitude. More recently, another pre-wrath scholar proposed that the martyrs included saints of all ages and the fact that they wore robes was not indicative that they had resurrection bodies.

The Two Witnesses

Rev 11:3-7 "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.

Rev 11:10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

Some (probably most) place the Two Witnesses in the second half of the week. I personally think it is unlikely to be the second half because they witness for 1,260 days which means they are killed at the end of the week, and I can’t visualize earth dwellers rejoicing during the trumpet and bowl judgments (depending on your eschatology) and in the throes of Armageddon. Moreover, the false prophet also brings fire down from heaven (Rev 13:13) and it would also compromise the totality of the Beast’s reign and the effectiveness of the Witnesses for all this to occur in the same time span (Rev 13:4, Rev 11:5).

Article by John Whitcomb

But setting that aside, and assuming for the moment that the witnesses emerge at the middle of the last week, the nature of their ministry is that they shut up the sky; turn the waters into blood; strike the earth with every plague and destroy their enemies with fire coming out of their mouths. The nature of these torments that they heap out on the earth dwellers (Rev 11:10) is reminiscent of God’s wrath in the OT. Compare the Egyptian plagues and Elijah’s ministry. Note as well that all this presumably begins at midweek when Satan’s wrath is also operational.

One obvious question that needs to be asked is this – given that God has used men and nations in the past as instruments of His wrath – is God’s wrath present in the ministry of the Two Witnesses? If the answer is no then the respondent needs to qualify that by explaining how this is so, given the OT examples of the nature of those judgments and the fact that it is God who empowers them. If the answer is yes then we should recognize that the wrath of God has already occurred at least midweek, which is problematic for some viewpoints.

Words used for God’s wrath

Sometimes the objection is put forward that the different words used for God’s wrath or anger are technical and should not be applied to His global eschatological wrath or the wrath reserved for Israel as opposed to the Gentiles. One such claim is framed around the word ebrah. It is claimed that it is the only word used for the day of the Lord wrath and only against Gentile nations – never Israel. In fact Eze 7:19 uses ebrah as the wrath of God against Israel in context of the day of the Lord. Another claim is that the various words used for God’s wrath vary in intensity as well as application. However, these assertions lack Scriptural support.

Some final thoughts

Apart from arguing that God’s wrath does not occur before a certain point in the 70th week, there has been a growing tendency for some to argue for a limitation/spiritualization of God’s judgments on the world. The same approach is used for the reign of the Antichrist. Some think the AC’s dominion will be restricted to the area of the Middle East and some surrounding nations and not extend globally. The reasoning for this is based on several presuppositions and interpretations of OT verses. Given this assumption, one of the meanings for the word earth in Revelation is invoked.

Earth gē ghay from Strong’s numbers contracted from a primary word; soil; by extension a region, or the solid part or the whole of the terrene globe (including the occupants in each application): - country, earth (-ly), ground, land, world.

So when we encounter the word earth in Rev 13:12, it is proposed that the meaning to be taken is “region” and not "world". Moreover, the ALL in tribes, tongues and nations of Rev 13:7 (KJV) is explained away because ALL has been used elsewhere in Scripture where it is argued that, in fact, not ALL was really meant (Synecdoche - figure of speech).

The problem with this reasoning is that it is based on dangerous assumptions. In fact there are many instances in Revelation where it is problematic to assume that the word earth "ge" means anything other than globe or world. See Rev 1:5; Rev 1:7; Rev 5:3; Rev 5:6; Rev 5:10; etc and finally Rev 21:1 and Rev 21:24. We might then argue hypothetically that consistency would demand that we could apply the regional meaning to all those verses as well. What's more, if the principle of synecdoche can be applied to Rev 13:7 then it can also be used for Rev 5:9; Rev 7:9 and Rev 14:6.

Rev 13:7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

I find it ironic that, on the one hand some criticize pretribulationists for “bad, escapist theology” that is deemed dangerous in the event the Church isn’t raptured, but on the other hand they attempt to minimize the gravity of Daniel’s 70th week and the extent of God’s wrath!

The following verses are quite sobering to me in the likely event that the Antichrist’s reign is, in fact, global in scope:

Rev 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

Rev 13:9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.



Opponents of the view that God’s wrath occurs prior to the 7th seal have problems acknowledging the OT examples where God uses nations and man as an extension of His wrath. The basis of their arguments is centred around denying the past tense Greek grammar of Rev 6:17 and appealing to future context. That context is dependant on assumptions regarding the timing of the day of the Lord; assuming that God’s wrath cannot occur before the narrow view DotL (end of week) and the expectation of a rapture either mid 6th and 7th seal or 7th trumpet.

A major thrust of their argument is that orge - which is deemed to be God’s wrath - is first mentioned at Rev 6:17 but anything prior to that is either Satan’s or man’s wrath. They deny that God uses anything other than direct means to implement this wrath. That this view is erroneous couldn’t be clearer in light of the verses below:

Rom 13:3-5 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings WRATH on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of WRATH, but also for conscience' sake.

The Greek word for wrath in the above verses is orge and this dovetails neatly with Rev 6:8.

“…Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.”

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Tribulation

I must confess that terms like the day of the Lord, the tribulation and the great tribulation confused me when I first became interested in rapture eschatology. Some would say I’m still confused and to a degree I think they might be correct. I am still trying to sort out some of these ideas.

Generally, pretribulationists call the 70th week of Daniel “The Tribulation”. While monitoring discussions between pretribbers and non-pretribbers I’ve seen claims (by non-pretribbers) that the last seven years are not ALL tribulation. One question I’ve often seen posed is this, “What makes you think there’s a Seven Year Tribulation?” The logic is that the term tribulation is only mentioned by the Lord in the Olivet Discourse describing the days that proceed after the Abomination of Desolation. So because the term wasn’t used for the first half of the week then it follows that those days are not tribulation. This idea assumes that if a word is missing from a group of Scriptures, the concept isn’t there.

Carrying on with that train of thought, because the Church is never promised to be spared from tribulation and the events following the AoD are tribulation, then the Church will be in the great tribulation. Further, some try to restrict the “great tribulation” to Satan’s wrath because of Rev 12:12. However, while this verse is telling us that Satan is coming down in wrath; this does not automatically mean that God’s wrath isn’t operational at that time.

The last half of Daniel's week (or part of it) is usually referred to as - the “Great Tribulation” - based on the Lord’s words in Mat 24:21. I should point out that the Lord did not just designate that period of time as THE “Great Tribulation” - what He actually did was describe the TYPE of tribulation of that time. He said it would be “GREAT” tribulation, “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.” That distinction is important for two reasons:

1) I mentioned that some people argue that since Christ only called that period “great tribulation” then the first half of the week is not tribulation and, therefore, pretribulationists are wrong to label Daniel’s last week, the 7 year tribulation. I think this is erroneous on two levels:

a) Just because a word is absent from a set of Scriptures does not mean the idea is not there. Man’s wrath is not mentioned at all in the seals yet it is thought of as being there by some. The word Trinity isn’t mentioned in Scripture yet the doctrine is accepted.

b) The word for tribulation is thlipsis. Strong’s meaning is - pressure (literally or figuratively): - afflicted, (-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble. The same word appears in Romans several times and Corinthians twice, set in a contemporary context. So given the meaning of the word; the fact that Christians have experienced thlipsis prior to the 70th week and the nature of the seal judgments, pretribbers are correct in calling the whole of the week, the tribulation, and this also assumes that the opening of the first seal initiates the 70th week.

2) Many hold that the “great tribulation” and the DotL are two DISTINCT periods. Yet if the “great tribulation” is a technical term that is distinct to the day of the Lord then we have problematical verses to resolve. Compare Matt 24:21, Jer 30:5-7, Dan 12:1 and Joel 2:1-2. These verses refer to Jacob’s Distress, the “great tribulation” and the day of the Lord as all being periods of unparalleled times of trouble. But if the GT is the greatest time of trouble then the DotL cannot be, and vice versa. Either Scripture is using hyperbole and it doesn’t really mean what it says or the DotL and the GT do, in fact, overlap in some way.

Mat 24:21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

“…nor ever will.” If this verse is talking about the Great Tribulation, and the great and terrible day of the Lord comes immediately after the GT as a separate and distinct period - then, according to the Lord’s own words, the DotL cannot be as terrible as the GT.

One very important issue is the teaching that the “great tribulation” - originally intended to be three and a half years – has been shortened for the sake of the elect based on Matt 24:22 and Mark 13:20. But I don’t think those verses teach a shortening of the GT in the way that is sometimes claimed. I suggest that the Lord’s meaning is that unless He intervenes and cuts short that period of time to three and a half years, no flesh will be saved. The elect is a composite of Israel and Tribulation believers (Christians/Church?). It is for their sake that the period is cut short otherwise they (the combined flesh) would not survive to populate the Millennium.

If we take the view that the GT is cut short because that period is so bad that no flesh would be saved then the day of the Lord must - by necessity - not be as terrible. The idea that the days are shortened ONLY for the sake of the elect has no logical significance if it is applied uniquely to the Church and the rapture. At the rapture, those who have died are resurrected anyway, so the “cutting short” is redundant for them. A comparison of all the Scriptures relating to that period - taken literally and in context - reveals that the GT/Jacob’s Distress is a full three and a half years.

Compare Dan 7:25, Dan 11:36, Dan 12:7, Rev 13:5, Rev 12:14 and finally Rev 20:4. God prophesied in Daniel and even caused a vow to be uttered to attest to it, that the period would be three and a half years.

Another reason given for the shortening of the GT is directly related to the Antichrist’s persecution of the elect – both Israel and believers. The argument is that if the beast’s persecution wasn’t somehow stemmed, there would be no saved people alive to enter the Millennium. Presumably, in this scheme, while the DotL is more terrible than the GT, somehow believers are protected through it. This would give time for some people to become saved after the rapture.

That the Antichrist’s persecution of the saints hasn’t been amputated is confirmed in Revelation which occurs after Matthew and Mark. We are told that the beast has authority to act for 42 months, confirming Daniel’s prophecy. Moreover, both Dan 7:25 and Rev 13:7 tell us that he conquers the saints. And finally in Rev 20:4 we see those who were martyred for not worshiping the beast are resurrected at the end of the week.

Given all this, we should ask ourselves why God – in His Omniscience – would need to change His mind. This would contradict His Immutability. If God knew and planned His sovereign purpose from Eternity Past, why would He prophesy that something would occur only to change it later? (Isa 46:9-11)

“…when someone changes his/her mind, it is often because new information has come to light that was not previously known, or the circumstances have changed that require a different kind of attitude or action. Because God is omniscient, He cannot learn something new that He did not already know.”

In summary I think that:

The term tribulation is applicable to all of Daniel’s last seven years.

Just because a particular word is absent from a set of Scriptures does not mean the concept isn’t there.

The last three and a half years are obviously worse than the first half and are generally referred to as the Great Tribulation (Jacob's Distress) – especially because Israel is the focus here.

There seems to be an overlap between the GT and the DotL based on some Scriptures.

The Great Tribulation is three and a half years. Matt 24:22 and Mark 13:20 should be compared in context with other Scriptures to understand what the Lord really meant.

Just because the Church is not promised to be spared from tribulation, it does not automatically follow that it will experience the events of the 70th week of Daniel. One needs to determine where the wrath of God occurs within the last week and I’ll try to address this soon.

Further reading:


God’s Purpose For The Tribulation



The Bible associates a woman’s birth pangs with tribulation. See Jer 6:24, 50:43 and John 16:21. The same concept is used by Paul (1 Thes 5:3) and by the Lord referring to the period prior to the Abomination of Desolation (Mat 24:8).