We Do Not Know the Day

or the hour of Christ’s return at the Rapture. But one day billions of people will suddenly vanish from the face of the earth. Are you ready?

- Dr. David Jeremiah

What Is the Tribulation?

What Is the Tribulation?

According to biblical prophecy, the Tribulation is a seven-year period that will begin immediately following the Rapture. Evil will spread without restraint. The diseases, natural disasters, wars, and devastation we see in our world today are but a taste of the atrocities to come. Toward the end, the Antichrist will sit at the center of the Tribulation’s evil as he personifies Satan.

There is nothing we can do to prevent the Tribulation from occurring, but we can equip ourselves with a thorough knowledge of God’s Word. It reveals everything we need to know about earth’s final days.

Questions Answered in This Article

The Tribulation will be a terrible time, but it will serve a purpose: it will warn mankind of God's imminent judgment. God will appoint two godly men to serve as His witnesses throughout the Tribulation. These end-times prophets will shine the light of truth by the power of God's Spirit. Anyone who believes their message will suffer the horrors of the Tribulation, but they will be spared from the Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20.

What are warning signs of the approaching Tribulation?

These ten events are the things we can expect in embryonic form in the days preceding the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation. These ten things will continue to multiply and progress as the first three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation unfold.

A Time of Deception

“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:5).

A Time of Dissension

“… you will hear of wars and rumors of wars …. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom …” (Matthew 24:6-7).

A Time of Devastation

“… there will be famines …” (Matthew 24:7).

A Time of Disease

“ … pestilences …” (Matthew 24:7).

A Time of Disasters

“ … and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7).

A Time of Death

“They will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9).

A Time of Disloyalty

“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matthew 24:10).

A Time of Delusion

“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:11). It should also be noted that part of the delusion will be an increase in drug use. One of the characteristics of the End Times’ false religion will be what the book of Revelation calls “sorceries” (9:21). The word John uses is pharmakia, from which we get the word pharmacy. It is an ancient reference to the ingestion of drugs. The use of mind-altering substances such as narcotics and hallucinogens will be associated with false religions, doubtless with the approval of the government.

A Time of Defection

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). People will turn away from God and from each other.

A Time of Declaration

“And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations …” (Matthew 24:14).

What will happen on earth during the Tribulation?

The moment after the Rapture, the Spirit of God will remove any restraining influence on earth so that things will be far, far worse even than today. This is a seven-year period described in Revelation 11-18. After the first three and one-half years of that time, there will be the climax of worsening conditions, the anger of God against the wicked, and the signs of Christ’s coming. During the last three and one-half years, the “lawless one”— the Antichrist—will be empowered to sit at the center of the Tribulation’s evil as he personifies Satan.

What natural disasters will occur on earth during the Tribulation?

The sun will turn black, the moon will turn red, and great earthquakes will be common. Revelation 6:12 says, “… behold, there was a great earthquake ….” It also says, “… the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.” When Jesus died on the cross, the whole earth became dark at midday. When Egypt was judged, there was a blackness of night. When the Lord came down at Mt. Sinai, the mountain was shrouded in black clouds. The prophets, as well, said darkness would occur at the beginning of the Tribulation period.

The stars will fall out of the sky.

“And the stars of heaven fell to the earth …” (Revelation 6:13). The word “star” here is the Greek word aster and it refers to luminous bodies in the sky other than the sun and moon. Clearly these stars are not the distant stellar objects we know as stars but more like a group of asteroids.

The mountains and islands will move.

“… every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Revelation 6:14). When the asteroids hit the earth, the possibility is that the earth’s crust will be so disturbed by the impact that great segments of it will actually begin to slip and slide over the earth’s mantle. According to Dr. Henry Morris, those living in the regions above such shifting will observe the heavens appearing to move in the opposite direction, as if they are being “rolled up.”

The ocean will become blood.

As Revelation 8:8-9 explains, a great mountain burning with fire is cast into the sea. The sea will become blood and one-third of all sea life will die. There will also be the destruction of one-third of all the ships. The far-reaching implications of these judgments are beyond our understanding. Someone has reasoned that the oceans occupy about three-fourths of the earth’s surface, so the extent of this judgment will be staggering. The pollution of the water and the death of so many sea creatures will vastly affect the balance of life in the ocean. This will happen to one-third of the saltwater bodies of the world.

The water will become poisoned.

The freshwater supplies will be affected. They become bitter, with the result that many people will die (Revelation 8:10-11). The instrument of judgment will be a great star that is labeled Wormwood.” This literal star or meteor hurtling through space will approach the earth. Sweeping along the surface of the earth, it will turn one-third of the water of the earth into a deadly poisonous liquid. It will affect the rivers, springs, and wells.

What will happen in heaven during the Tribulation?

The Christians are in heaven. God is seated on the throne, which is surrounded by a rainbow of emerald greens. The 24 elders representing the church-age saints sit around the throne. Before the throne is a sea of glass. In the midst of the throne are the four living creatures, and singing praise to the throne are the angels and the Church. This is the worship of the glorified Christ, the Creator of the world. God is just about to deal with the physical earth in judgment, and before He does, the Creator of earth is worshiped by the Church in heaven. Thunder, lightning, and voices signify the judgment which is about to fall on the earth.

Will Christians escape the Tribulation?

Christians will escape the seven-year nightmare of the Tribulation.

I believe the Bible clearly teaches that one of the coming great events in the fulfillment of prophecy concerns the Church. This is the personal, bodily return of the Lord to remove from earth His waiting Church and to reward them according to their works. This will take place before the Tribulation period during which time the judgments of God will be poured out upon the unbelieving world.

I believe there are more Scriptures to support the imminent return of Christ for His Church prior to the Tribulation than during or after it: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 3:10.

For a more detailed study, read “Delivered Before Destruction” in The Great Disappearance.

Will people be saved during the Tribulation?

Yes, there will be a great harvest of souls for Christ during the Tribulation. In this harvest of souls, we see fulfilled the prophecy contained in Matthew 24:14—“And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

People from every nation, tribe, and language will be part of the great redeemed multitude. This is going to be a time of the greatest suffering and persecution the world has ever seen, and it will also be a time when the greatest wave of genuine conversion ever takes place. This multitude of redeemed ones will come from those who were still unsaved at the time of the Rapture.

What Can I Do About the Coming Tribulation?

The best preparation for the Tribulation is to make sure you are not around for it.

If you haven't already, confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and trust Him to be your Savior. Once that is settled, you have a commission to carry out! Jesus appointed us to carry His message to the very ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19-20). There will be an opportunity for some to receive grace during the Tribulation. Still, until then, it is our responsibility to share the Gospel with anyone who will listen.

More questions?

If you have more questions about God’s plan for the future, you’ll love Dr. Jeremiah’s teaching series, The Great Disappearance. Each message is filled with straight-forward answers from God’s Word that will enable you to understand and apply God’s Word to your own life. Learn more about The Great Disappearance here.

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