This period of time has become known as the time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jr 30:7) or the Tribulation Period (Rv 7:14). It is a seven-year period of time between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ; also known as Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Dn 9:27). It is also part of what Old Testament prophets called the Day of the Lord (Is 13:6; Ek 30:3; Jl 1:15; Am 5:20; Ob 1:15; Zp 1:14; Zc 14:1; Ml 4:5). The term ‘Day of the Lord’ includes this period of time, but also includes the individual judgment that will occur at the time of Christ’s second coming (Mt 25:31-46).
God has always stated Israel as a nation could know if they are in God’s favor. This statement is found back in Deuteronomy (Dt 27-28). God stated He would bless Israel if they were obedient: plenty of rain, plenty of crops, no enemies could overtake them, and they would be the ones taking care of other nations financially and provisionally. However, if the nation of Israel did not obey God, then a series of misfortunes would follow suit getting progressively worse and worse: disease, lack of rain, failed crops, overtaken by enemies, taken into captivity, and those in the land that are non-Israelites would overtake those living there. In ancient times, Israel as a nation was confined to a geographic region. However, today, Jews are everywhere around the globe and not in one geographical region. God could only get their attention if He acted where all Jews live. Therefore, today, this would involve the whole world.
As the Antichrist starts out on the heels of the great disappearances, the world is in chaos and he seems to be the savior with answers for the nations of earth. He makes a treaty with Israel (Dn 9:27) and promises their protection. However, not everyone is in agreement with this and a league of nations come against Israel. Likely, nations between and above the Caspian and Black Seas and northeastern Turkey, along with Georgia and Russia, will align with Iran, Sudan, and Libya to attack Israel (Ek 38:1-12). Peoples from the north, south, and east of Israel will attack. These nations have a 4-fold agenda: (1) obtain the wealth of Israel (Ek 38:11-12), (2) control the Middle East, (3) destroy Israel, and (4) challenge the authority of the Antichrist (Dn 11:40-44). The Antichrist as well as the nations in southern Arabia and Western Europe are against this invasion (Ek 38:13).
God intervenes and uses several natural disasters to hinder the invasion: (1) a great earthquake, (2) infighting among the troops of the various nations doing the invading, (3) disease, and (4) torrential rain, hailstones, fire and burning sulfur (Ek 38:19-22). There are four key events which follow this invasion: (1) birds and beasts are called to gorge on the dead bodies (Ek 39:4-5, 17-20), (2) burying of the dead takes seven months to complete (Ek 39:11-12, 14-16), (3) the weapons left from the invasion of the dead army provide enough fuel to last seven years (Ek 39:9-10), and (4) blessings, restoration, and salvation are provided to Israel (Ek 39:21-29). Although it is God Himself who actually saves Israel (Ek 38:21-23), the Antichrist claims credit and gets further respect from the other nations of the world and they see him as one dedicated to peace.
As the Antichrist is trying to set up his world-wide domination, there are natural disasters of epic proportion that also occur (Rv 6:12-14). There are four earthquakes that occur - each one more impactful than the previous: (1) the first marks the beginning of the Great Tribulation, i.e., the last half of the seven-year period (Rv 8:5); (2) God will send two witnesses who will preach from Jerusalem and be able to withhold rain and cause all sorts of plagues to occur on the earth as a way to get people’s attention. However, the Antichrist will be set against them and will eventually have them destroyed after three and a half years, and will institute a celebration of their demise. However, after three and a half days, these two will be resurrected and ascend to heaven. At that point, a severe earthquake will occur. It will destroy a tenth of the city of Jerusalem, and seven thousand people will be killed (Rv 11:13). (3) Another earthquake occurs, along with a great hailstorm, not long thereafter (Rv 11:19). (4) The fourth earthquake is so severe that it breaks the city of Jerusalem into three parts and collapses cities all around the world. Mountains are leveled and islands submerged, or both are relocated and/or re-sculpted (Rv 16:18-21). This is likely the same earthquake that occurs at Christ’s second coming when he touches down on the Mount of Olives (Zc 14:4).
Many scientists proclaim today that space debris hitting the earth is not a matter of if it will happen but when it will happen. Apparently, the when is during the Tribulation period. The frequency and intensity of meteor showers will increase drastically (Rv 6:13). A massive hail and lightning storm occurs which damages and burns a third of earth’s vegetation (Rv 8:7). The removal of crop prosperity was one of the curses provided in Deuteronomy (Dt 28:18). Then come two large asteroids that lands in the sea and on land which causes a third of the earth’s seas to become toxic so that the fish die and causes the fresh water supply to become too toxic to drink (Rv 8:8-11).
God then allows even more evil to be released on the earth. There will be a plague that lasts for five months on those who have not put their faith in Christ where the pain of their infliction will be excruciating but will not lead to death (Rv 9:1-6). Then there is another type of plague that kills one-third of mankind (Rv 9:13-15). However, even after all of this, most do not see a connection between these events and God’s wrath. By the end of the seven year period almost one-half of the earth’s population will have been destroyed (Rv 6:8, 9:15). During the second half of the Tribulation the judgments intensify (Rv 16). Painful sores will break out on individuals. The seas become like blood causing the sea creatures to die. This then spreads to the fresh waters, the rivers and springs. The sun becomes intense and its heat kills many, and this is then followed by total darkness. The Euphrates River also dries up. This could be tied to the fourth great earthquake which could divert the flow of the Euphrates River.
In spite of all of these events, the main purpose is a spiritual one. We’ll look at that aspect next time.
Heaven for the Bride