The Shadow of the Tribulation

We are seeing a lot of things happening in the world today, more than we have in a long time, at least in our generation.  What is happening in the Ukraine is an atrocity, but this is only the beginning. War is coming to the world and what we are seeing right now are the beginning of sorrows that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24.

To be clear, the tribulation that is coming will last for seven-years. It will last a total of 2,520 days and will commence with the signing of a middle-east peace treaty between a recognized global leader, Israel, and other nations.  It will come on the heels of a great battle on Israeli soil where the Jewish nation will be supernaturally protected by God.  The invading armies who were bent on infiltrating and exploiting her land and destroying her people, will be obliterated in the worst case of friendly fire to ever have occurred in the history of warfare.  This seven-year tribulation is the same tribulation that is  prophesied about in both the OT and NT.  In this blog I want to do my best to provide you with a better understanding of what the coming tribulation is and is not. There has been a lot of teaching and doctrine being shared on the internet lately about this future horrific time on the earth.  Some of these Bible teachers have misconstrued the facts that would otherwise provide folks with a better understanding of ‘Daniel’s 70th week.’  While it will be nearly impossible to survive the seven-year tribulation as millions will perish, many people will survive and will have to stand before the Lord at the ensuing Judgment of the Nations which will occur in Jerusalem at the end of the tribulation, just after Christ’ Second Coming.

People often ask questions about the seven-tribulation like:

  1. Can people who are left behind after the Rapture still be saved?

Yes.  More people will come to faith in Jesus during the tribulation than in all of the NT era combined. There are more people alive now than in all of history.  The effects of the tribulation and evangelism will prevail.

2. When does the seven-year tribulation actually start?

At the signing of the peace treaty between the antichrist and Israel.  The clock doesn’t start at the Rapture, but at the signing of this treaty.  It will happen after things calm a bit as a result of the Rapture and ensuing wars.

3. What about all the children? Will they have to endure the seven-year tribulation?

No. All children under the age of accountability will be taken. This includes small children, toddlers, infants, and even the unborn.  The world will be childless for the first nine months of the tribulation.

4. Why does there have to be a tribulation in the first place?

God loves the world so much that He won’t let the millions of people living in the last days die without knowing His plan of salvation.  Tribulation is necessary to usher in the millennial kingdom.

5. Where do we get the name tribulation anyway?

The name tribulation comes from a tribune, which is a flat board with holes and spikes in it that was pulled by oxen in a threshing floor designed to separate out grain from chaff.  The tribulation will be a great separation.

6. Are we seeing the beginning of the tribulation right now?

Yes.  The shadow of the tribulation has already been cast.  We are most likely seeing the beginning of WW3 in the Russia/Ukrainian war.  More nations will get involved and it will escalate. 

 7. What do I have to do to avoid the tribulation all together?

Get saved today!  If you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and ask His forgiveness for your sin, repent of it, and live for the Lord, you will be a born again Christian.  Jesus will Rapture His Church before the tribulation.

I have three reasons why I chose to write this blog:

  1. There’s a lot of false teaching out there pertaining to the seven-year tribulation. It’s important for the body of Christ to correctly understand this doctrine.
  2. Having a proper understanding of the seven-year tribulation will help the believer to have a stronger eschatology, a deeper faith, and love for the Christ.
  3. If you know what’s coming, you can prepare yourself and help others to be prepared, not so much to survive the tribulation, but to avoid it!

The seven-year tribulation will be a time of unprecedented global calamity and chaos that will be bestowed upon the earth as part of God’s judgment, His warning, and His plea for humanity to repent of their sin and turn their hearts toward Him.  The tribulation will last for seven years and will begin at the signing of the peace treaty between the antichrist and Israel. Each of the seven years consist of 360 days in length, each year having  12 months with 30 days each.  This is a Hebrew calendar year which is also known as a prophetic year. The total length of the seven-year tribulation will be 2,520 days and it is divided into two halves of 42 months (1,260 days) each.  Although there is a lot of information to cover in the entire narrative of the tribulation, for this blog, we will discuss three major themes of the tribulation which are: God’s judgment, global evangelism, and the preparation for Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. I will cover the specifics of the tribulation in another blog.

God’s Judgment:

There will be three sets of seven judgments which the Lord will cast onto the earth.  The first set of judgments will be the seal judgments; the second set will be the trumpet judgments, and the third set will be the bowl judgments.  The seal and trumpet judgments occur during the first half of the tribulation and the bowl judgments occur during the second half of the tribulation.  The second half of the tribulation will be much worse than the first half.  Jesus, as the Lamb of God, will be the One casting these judgments into the earth.

Global Evangelism:

Another major purpose for the tribulation is for God to prompt humanity to repent of their wickedness and turn their hearts toward Jesus.  People can and will still be able to be saved during the tribulation, provided they haven’t taken the infamous mark of the beast.  They can still be saved by God’s grace and receive His forgiveness for their sin.  This will free them from the eternal consequence of a death without Jesus; that is  spending an eternity in Hell, suffering forever without any hope of redemption.

The Second Coming of Jesus:

When Jesus returns to the earth, we (His Church) will be with Him.  He will defeat the assembled armies on the Plains of Megiddo in northern Israel and then Jesus will set His foot on the Mount of Olives.  He will take the next 75-days cleansing the temple and judging the nations of the world.  Once this is completed, we will enter into the 7th dispensation of human history, the Millennial Kingdom era of peace and prosperity under the theocracy of Jesus Christ Himself.

NOTE: I want to be clear that I don’t believe that the Church will be on the earth when the seven-year tribulation begins.  While this blog is not a teaching on the pre-tribulation rapture, it is my strong position as a believer and the fellowship I am ordained with, the Assemblies of God.

While the coming seven-year tribulation is mentioned in many passages of scripture in both the OT and NT, I want to reference Daniel 9 as a main text to support the seven-years of tribulation that will occur on the earth just prior to Christ’ Second Coming. The seven-year tribulation is also known as ‘Daniel’s 70th Week’ and it is a major prophetic revelation about this future season that was revealed to the prophet Daniel during the Babylonian captivity.  It’s recorded in Daniel 9:24-27 and it reveals God’s plan and desire for His people, and all humanity, to be saved.  Let’s take a closer look at this passage:

“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 (Jesus).”                                                                                – Daniel 9:24

  • The word ‘weeks’ (Hebrew: heptad) means ‘sevens.’  It’s referring to seven years consisting of 360 days each. The word heptad infers that a seven-year period must occur to complete Daniel’s ‘70 weeks.’  It can’t be less or more than a heptad.  Be warned as some believe the tribulation last only 31/2 years.

The phrase, ‘your people’ is a direct reference to the Jews.  The phrase, ‘your holy city’ is Jerusalem.  The target audience is the Jews and the target city is Jerusalem. We also see in this verse that the purpose of the 70 weeks of Daniel is also revealed; and it is a six-fold purpose:

  1. To finish the transgression,
  2. To make an end of sin,
  3. To make reconciliation for iniquity,
  4. To bring in everlasting righteousness,
  5. To seal up the vision and prophecy,
  6. To anoint the most Holy.

To finish the transgression. Daniel is speaking to the Jews, not the Church.  Jesus put an end to the effects of sin at the cross for all who would believe and receive Him.  All those who place their trust in Jesus will be saved.

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”   – Hebrews 10:12

To this day the Jews are still ‘cut off ’ and their transgressions (sins) will not be ‘finished’ until they, as a nation, repent and turn to God through Jesus.  The prophet Zechariah foretold of this event happening for the Jews at the end of the seven-year tribulation when they see Jesus returning, with His Church, in His glorious Second Coming.

“And one will say to Him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms (hands)?’ Then He will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends.’ “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion,” says the Lord of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones. And it shall come to pass in all the land,” says the Lord, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”                                                                        – Zechariah 13:6-9

  • While it’s true that God will judge His own people (the Jews), it is equally true that a third of them will repent and be restored to the Lord.

NOTE: There is a difference between the Jews and the Church.  God has not cast the Jews away or replaced them with the Church. The Jews, as a nation, will be saved one day just as (in the same way) the Church has been saved through Jesus Christ. 

To make an end of sin. This statement refers to the Jews as well the Church. 

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer (Jesus) will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (the Jews); for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”   – Romans 11:26,27

  • It is the Lord’s intention to save His people, but they must also chose to be saved by the Lord.  This is no different for the Church; we too must be willing to receive Jesus’ saving grace upon our lives and place our faith in Him.

To make reconciliation for iniquity.   The word ‘iniquity’ means ‘unrighteousness, wickedness, and ungodliness.’  These are the very things that Jesus is going to remove from the ‘qualified’ Jews and trib-saints at His Second Coming who can still be saved.  This pertains to the mark of the beast.

To bring in everlasting righteousness.  This is the platform that Jesus will establish His heavenly kingdom here on earth.  The principles and effects of sin will be suspended during the millennial reign of Jesus. He will rule the world from the throne of David in Jerusalem.  It will be a time when righteousness will prevail.

To seal up the vision and prophecy.  This is the consummation (completion) of prophecy; as God establishes His kingdom on earth, prophecy will be fulfilled and therefore sealed forever.

To anoint the most Holy. There is one anointing and One who is most holy, this is Jesus Christ.  Once His kingdom is established, it will be established forever.

These points all converge and are completed in Christ.  When the Lord returns to the earth and establishes His kingdom, all of these will be fulfilled. Verse 25 of Daniel 9 establishes the time frame when this will happen.

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince (Jesus), there shall be seven weeks (49 years – the building of Solomon’s Temple, the 1st temple) and sixty-two weeks (434 years – the renovation of Solomon’s Temple by King Herod, the 2nd temple); the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.”                                     – (vs.25)

The phrase, ‘the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem’ is a reference to King Cyrus, and later Artaxerxes,’ decree to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.  This happened in 444 BC. 

‘Messiah the Prince’ is Jesus.  Daniel said that during this time ‘their shall be seven weeks’ (49 years).  This was the rebuilding of the walls and temple in Jerusalem. Then Daniel said, ‘and sixty-two weeks’ (434 years).  This was the renovation of Solomon’s temple by King Herod – the 2nd temple.

The phrase, ‘the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times’ speaks of Israel’s harsh history of persecution, oppression, and sporadic peace.  We know that the command to go forth and restore and build Jerusalem happened in 445-444 BC when King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  A ‘week’ represents ‘a set of seven’ so seven weeks is 49 years.  62 weeks represents 62 x 7 = 434 years. 69 weeks (69 x 7) equals 483 years. 

Each year is represented by 360 days; when you account for leap years on the Gregorian calendar you come up with 476 years which completes the 69 weeks.  This would end at the time when the Messiah Jesus was ‘cut off’ which was around 32-33AD. This was the exact same time Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and was crucified a week later.  This was prophecy then, but it’s history now!

Verse 26 transitions from the end of the 69th week to the beginning of the 70th week. 

“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah (Jesus) shall be cut off (crucified), but not for Himself (Christ died for our sins); and the people (Romans) of the prince who is to come (the antichrist) 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.”                      – (vs.26)

  • The phrase, ‘the people of the prince who is to come’ references the Romans and the coming antichrist who will hail from what was the Roman occupied part of the world at the time of Jesus.  This is the European arena.

In 70 AD, the Romans invaded Jerusalem and destroyed the city and the temple.  The ensuing diaspora occurred, and the global persecution of the Jews commenced. This passage suggests a spirit of anti-Semitism, beginning with the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome, and it has continued throughout the Church age.  Clearly we have already seen this for ourselves as anti-Semitism continues to rise even today.

Verse 27 picks up with the antichrist and his agenda for Jerusalem.

“Then he (antichrist) shall confirm (Hebrew: ‘to make stronger’) a covenant (peace treaty) with many (Jews – Israel) for one week (seven years – the Tribulation); but in the middle of the week (1/2 way into the tribulation [42 months] in the middle of it) he (the antichrist) shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering (in the future 3rd temple). And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation (to the end of the tribulation), which is determined (the 70th week – 2,520 days), is poured out on the desolate.”                      – (vs.27)

  • The phrase, ‘and he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week’ refers to the antichrist as the ‘he’ and the word confirm in Hebrew means ‘to make stronger.’

This suggests that a covenant or peace treaty will already be ‘on the table’ at the time the antichrist shows up.  The antichrist, after the chaos of the rapture and simultaneous battles, earthquakes, and space phenomena, will use these global calamities as a distraction to step in and present himself as a trusted and stable global leader.  He will modify the peace treaty and make it work for both the Jews and the Palestinians. The day this treaty is signed is the day Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year tribulation, actually begins.

The phrase, ‘but in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease’ is a reference to the antichrist putting an end to the temple sacrifices.  This is the mid-point of the tribulation when, after the antichrist has revealed himself to be a deceiver, the Jews will flee from Jerusalem and run to Petra in the Jordanian wilderness.  For the next 31/2 years, the antichrist will wreak havoc in Jerusalem and on the earth because he knows his time is short.

The phrase, ‘he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering’ foretells the antichrist’ defiling the temple, claiming to be God, and demanding that he be worshipped as God in the temple.  The phrase, ‘the one who makes desolate’ refers to the antichrist desecrating the temple of the Lord. Daniel’s vision foretells the end time scenario that will unfold at the end of the Church age.

The fact that you are reading this blog reveals the fact that you are part of the terminal generation; the group of people who will bealive and fortunate enough to be the ones whom God has revealed this prophetic sequence of events to. We are aware of Nehemiah and of the wall he rebuilt. We are aware of Jesus and His life, death, and resurrection. We are aware of the Church age in which many men and women have given their lives for the sake of the gospel, they have fought the good fight, and experienced the true meaning of sacrifice, even to this day. We can see the 69 weeks of Daniel as history from our perspective. We are at the threshold of the 70th week as Daniel’s revelation is outlined in this vision. We have confidence that though the enemy attacks, God prevails in the end. The main thing we must understand about the coming seven-year tribulation is that it’s coming. What we are seeing right now is the shadow of the coming tribulation being cast on the earth.  We are seeing some of the precursors to the tribulation. We’re living in a pre-tribulation era and therefore we are looking for a pre-tribulation Rapture.   This position provides us confidence in knowing that we will be saved from this time of God’s judgment upon all ‘earth dwellers.’ 

The prophet Jeremiah described the tribulation as ‘Jacob’s trouble’ in this way, 

“For thus says the Lord: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask now, and see, how whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale? 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 30:5-7 

In this passage God reveals His promise to the Jews through Jeremiah of the coming ‘redemption’ of His people from bondage; but it will come through ‘terror, not peace.’  He speaks of ‘strong men with their hands on their stomach like a woman in labor and whose faces are turned deathly pale.’  This infers a season of severe suffering.  In apocalyptic literature we see the image of a woman in travail as a depiction of the sever-year tribulation.  Jeremiah also describes this ‘day’ as being ‘awful’ and that ‘no other will be like it; it’s a time of trouble for Jacob (aka Israel).’  This is a direct reference to the seven-year tribulation, Daniel’s 70th week.

Jeremiah is seeing through a prophetic lens, the future global calamity that will befall the whole world in the last days, the days we are living in right now.   

The phrase, ‘but he shall be saved out of it’ is a reference to the Jewish remnant who will have to endure this horrific time, but who some will come to faith in Christ and be saved.  The hope in this passage is that ‘he (the Jews) will be saved out of it.’  While the NT Church is not mentioned in this passage, we do see a remnant of Israel being saved and a restoration being initiated for God’s people at the end of this seven-year tribulation and time of global crisis.   

Jeremiah continues, ‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘That I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. 10 ‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the Lord, ‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. 11 For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.’             – Jeremiah 30:5-11

The phrase, ‘they will serve their God and David their king’ is a direct reference to the Millennial Kingdom where Jesus, depicted as David here, will rule the world from Jerusalem.  God promises to ‘save His people out of a distant place’ (from afar) and will give them ‘peace and security.’  God states how He will ‘destroy all the nations among which I scatter you,’ but will ‘not completely destroy you,’ inferring a partial loss to Israel. This will be consistent with God’s chastisement of Israel for her sin and her much needed redemption.  This judgment will be solidified in the tribulation and manifest at the Judgment of the Nations, just prior to the Millennial Kingdom era.   

NOTE: All survivors, sinners, and saints alike, of the seven-year tribulation will all be judged at the Judgment of the Nations.  This judgement will be held in Jerusalem and Jesus will be in charge of it. This judgment will determine who enters the millennial kingdom and who is cast into Hell.  Everyone who took the mark of the beast will be cast into Hell.  People who hid out in their bunkers will be collected by angels and brought before the Lord to be judged.  Nobody on the planet will escape this judgment. 

In Isaiah 34 we see the description of the tribulation and final battle, the Battle of Armageddon.  This battle takes place at the end of the tribulation, when the armies of the world will amass in northern Israel in an effort to destroy Israel.  They will fail miserably as the Lord Himself will return in His glorious Second Coming and we, His Church, will be with Him.  He will destroy those armies in short order, putting an end to their reign and influence on the planet.  Then the Lord will continue toward the Mount of Olives where He will land. 

If you’re wondering if the seven-year tribulation is going to be rough, we’ll it will be.  The goal is not to survive it so much as it is to die in Christ in it; something that wouldn’t have happened to anyone left behind if they would have died a few moments before the Rapture.  This is God reaching out to a world of sinful people who are as hard hearted as they are ignorant of the things of the Lord.  God loves them too much to just let them go through life not knowing of His great love for them and their great need for His plan of salvation.  The tribulation will be a time of testing, judgment, and a great revival.  Not the kind of revival that occurs under big top tents, in churches, or larger stadiums; but those found in the hearts of people who are desperately crying out to Jesus for His mercy and forgiveness.  He will forgive all who confess  and repent of their sin and receive Him by faith, even unto death. If you’re wondering if the shadow of the tribulation is being cast on the earth, the answer is yes. It hasn’t started yet, but it will, very soon.  Something very big is about to hit the earth in the next few months.

The Psalmist said it this way, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”                                                                    – Psalm 90:10

If a generation is 70 years, and by way of strength, 80 years, than something big is about to happen.  On May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation (Isaiah 66) and the clock on the ‘fig tree generation’ began. This means that between 70 and 80 years, ‘all these things’ will be fulfilled (Matthew 24:6); which includes the seven-year tribulation and the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth.  We passed the 70 year mark in May of 2018.  We can’t pass the 80 year mark in May of 2028 because this would mean that Israel would turn 81 in May of 2028. If you subtract 7 years (2,520 days) from May 14, 2028 it lands on June 20, 2022.  The working theory that we have is that we can’t go past this date without the Rapture occurring so Psalm 91:10 and Matthew 24:6 can be fulfilled.  It’s a wild thought, but one that causes me to consider the nearness of the tribulation and the even more nearness of the Rapture. If we’re still here in July of 2022 then this theory will have been blown and my watcher prowess will extend itself toward another possibility; however, I think that something big is about to occur. I think it will be the Rapture of the Church and everything that goes with it.  Why I can’t say for sure, I am exceptionally mindful of the time and season that we are living in. 

This being said, I am making arrangements for our Trust to be solidified, I am working on procuring more investment properties, I am considering taking a teaching job at a local Christian school, and I am thinking about helping my sister and her husband remodel their basement.  Some would ask why am I doing all of this?  I would respond by saying that I am occupying.  Jesus said for us to occupy until He returns. This means that people will be eating and drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage.  He said that they will be building, planting, purchasing, and planning for the future when the Lord returns.  I am doing just that, till He returns.

The word I felt the Lord gave to me was, ‘if all things were equal, I would continue to bless you and you would continue to serve Me and be blessed; however, all things are NOT equal.’  The time of God’s judgment has come and the earth must be purged and prepared for the millennial kingdom era to ensue.  Tribulation is the process for that to happen; this is Daniel’s 70th week!  More people need to be aware of the time and season we are living in so they can get their hearts right with the Lord and be ready when the Lord returns for His Church globally. The tribulation shadow has been cast, things are happening all around us, and the Lord is about to go to war with the earth.  For the non-believer, they should be terrified; for the believer in Jesus, they should be excited.  As for me and my house, we serve the Lord Christ and we are all ready for His return.  We are all working hard, planning for the future, and hoping we will be caught away at any moment now. Until then, we are about the Master’s business, being good stewards of our resources, and representing the Lord to everyone who asks so they may know and be glad.  Hang in there my brother (and sister), Jesus is at the very doors and we are about ready to launch! 


Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northwest Missouri.  He lives with his wife of 32-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren).  Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate.  He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry. 

One thought on “The Shadow of the Tribulation

  1. Do yourself a favor and don’t scroll to the bottom in order to see how much reading it will require. If you do you might not want to take the time to read all of it and, that would be a huge mistake!

    Excellent write and easy to follow along, great information that truly brings to light the times in which we are living and the time to come.
    If you don’t already know or understand, take the time to read this blog.
    Excellent, informative, enlightening, profound and prophetic!


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