Prophecy: Will believers of our time go through The Tribulation?
This is a question that is often asked and debated. Here I’m speaking of the teaching that says believers of our time will go through the prophesied seven-year period of The Tribulation leading up to what is spoken of as The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Scripture tells us there’s a seven-year period of prophecy pertaining to Israel that has still not been fulfilled. This is sometimes called the prophet Daniel’s seventieth week of years. What controversy there’s been over this and these next three verses we’ll note!
24 Seventy weeks [This predicted seventy weeks of years, a total of 490 years.] are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. [This is speaking of Christ’s Second Coming and the establishment of His promised Kingdom on Earth.]
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. [Emphasis added]
Volumes have been written about this passage. But in summary, this prophecy shows that from the time of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the time of the death of the Messiah there would be sixty-nine weeks of years, meaning a total of 483 years. However, a total of 490 years were promised. This means seven years of the time promised have still not come to pass. That seven years will occur after the Rapture and before Jesus Christ’s return to the Earth. Is there any chance that we, today may live in the time of that seven-year period? That’s the subject of this article.
The first thing and probably the most important thing one must understand about this is that the period we’re now living in was a mystery, that is, a secret kept from all the prophets of old. None of them knew anything at all about it and wrote not even one word about it.
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
As this next verse we’ll note is translated in the KJV Bible, it sets forth what seems to be a contradiction of what you’ve just read in verse twenty-five but is not.
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: [Emphasis added]
Here we have one of many passages of Scripture that demonstrates the importance of examining the original Greek text. In this case, we find that the word prophets is an adjective, not a noun as it is mistranslated in the King James Version of the Bible. Therefore, it is not speaking of prophets, but of the prophetic [forthtelling] scriptures. Always bear in mind that the word prophetic is not always used in the Bible for future things prophesied. It is at times used to speak of forthtelling, not foretelling. In other words, this statement and some others in Paul’s writings were not known or written about by any of the prophets of old. It truly was a mystery [MUSTERION = secret] to them all. I have some articles about all this on our website that fully explain this. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll at some point read and study them. Here are the titles of two of them.
Mystery: The Key to Understanding the Bible?
Mystery: What is this secret that Paul wrote about?
Through a series of revelations, the apostle Paul was used to disclose many things that had always been a secret held in the mind of God. One very important one of those that relates to our subject is what is often called the Rapture. This is an event that will precede that seven-year period we speak of as The Tribulation. The Rapture is the occasion when we, as what is called the Body of Christ church, will be suddenly transformed, and resurrected to meet the Lord in the air. Only the apostle Paul wrote about this occasion. None of the prophets of old knew about it or wrote about it. They wrote a lot about what we speak of as The Second Coming of Christ when He returns to the Earth, but not one word about this “coming” we speak of as the Rapture where He doesn’t touch down on the Earth but meets us in the air [1 Thessalonians 4:17].
1 Corinthians 15:51-53
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [Emphasis added]
Other passages speak of this special occasion when we as members of the Body of Christ will get a resurrection body with all the wonderful features of our Lord’s resurrection body. The word mystery is not found in all these next verses we’ll examine, but the same occasion is being presented by the apostle Paul.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [fellow members of the Body of Christ who have passed away], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope [speaking of unbelievers].
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again [speaking of our gospel for salvation today], even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord [speaking of this special revelation that was given to Paul], that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord [a reference to the Rapture] shall not prevent them which are asleep [again, a reference to those Body of Christ believers of this present period of grace who have died].
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Please note that there would be no point in us meeting Him in the air if He was at this time coming back to the Earth as He will do at what we speak of as His Second Coming. This is, therefore, another reason we know this passage is not talking about The Second Coming of Christ.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. [Emphasis added]
There’s a passage that is sometimes misunderstood that people try to relate to this that is found in Matthew’s writings. However, that passage is talking about The Second Coming of Christ that occurs at the end of this seven-year period of The Tribulation. This passage that’s directed to Israel has nothing to do with us and the Rapture.
37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. [Emphasis added]
Again, this was prophecy our Lord gave about His eventual return to the Earth. He’s not talking about the Rapture, but His Second Coming at the end of The Tribulation period.
There’s a whole lot of confusion about this subject in Christendom. Most preachers won’t even accept the truth that there’s a Rapture. As I recall, I don’t think I had even one seminary professor who believed in the Rapture. They were all in the dark about it. So much of this is because they also didn’t understand the first thing about the right division of Scripture. This last verse I mention in this article is one of the most important verses you’ll ever read. But always bear in mind that even most Bible translations mistranslate it.
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]
This fact clearly explains why so few church-goers know about the principle of the right division of Scripture. These people run many things together as one, where they are separate and distinctively different items. Such is the case with passages that speak of the “coming” of Christ. As I mentioned above, there’s His coming to meet believers of our time in the air at what is called the Rapture and then there’s His Second Coming where He comes to the Earth at the end of the seven-year period of The Tribulation. Certainly, all believers of all times experience some suffering, but no believers of our time will go through this period of intense suffering like the world has never seen before known as The Tribulation.