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  • Writer's pictureMark Absher

The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord

Throughout Scripture we see many prophecies regarding the Last Days. Below we have compiled some passages and considerations regarding the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.

Students of Bible prophecy recognize that God has ordained a period in the future wherein Jesus Christ will return to the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to rule over all nations of the world for 1,000 years (see Revelation 20:4)—the millennial reign of Christ. Prior to this millennial period, God will judge the world. The period of God’s judgment is referred to as the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21), and it culminates in an excruciating Day of the Lord—a particularly devastating period that is concluded by the Second Coming of Christ (Matt. 24:29-30). Some of the critical considerations regarding this period along with their supporting Scriptures are noted below.

1. The judgment constituting the tribulation is understood from a prophecy in Daniel 9 to extend for a period of 7 years. See Daniel 9:24-27.

  • The prophecy indicates that 490 years (or 70 “sevens”—also referred to as “weeks”) were particularly ordained regarding the Jews, Jerusalem and the work of the Messiah; the prophecy is divided into 2 sections of time: 483 years (or 69 of the “sevens”) of the prophecy were fulfilled when the Messiah was “cut off” (which many Bible students understand to equate to the crucifixion of and ascension to heaven by Jesus); thus, 7 years (or 1 “seven”) of the prophecy remain; according to the prophecy the antichrist will enter into a 7-year (or 1 “seven”) covenant with “the many”; then 3.5 years into that covenant, he will break it and cause sacrifices to cease. Thus, it appears that the covenant is with the people of Israel and may have something to do with the temple and sacrifices.

2. God will desolate the earth. Isaiah 24:1-13, 19-20.

3. God’s desolation of the earth is heralded by the breaking of 7 seals (Rev. 6&8:1-5), the sounding of 7 trumpets (Rev. 8:6-9:21&11:15-19) and the pouring of 7 bowls of wrath (Rev. 16). Each has its own consequence:

Breaking of the 7 Seals

  • Breaking of 1st Seal (Revelation 6:1-2) - A white horse comes, and the rider has a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

  • Breaking of 2nd Seal (Revelation 6:3-4) - A red horse comes, and the rider takes peace from the earth even such that people kill one another; and a large sword was given to him.

  • Breaking of 3rd Seal (Revelation 6:5-6) - A black horse comes, and the rider has a pair of scales in his hand, and it seems that the price of wheat and barley increase dramatically.

  • Breaking of 4th Seal (Revelation 6:7-8) - An ashen horse comes, and the rider’s name is Death, and Hades is following him; he kills ¼ of the people of the earth with sword, famine, plague and animal attacks.

    • Note that the heralds of the first 4 seals, these "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," may be the 4 spirits who patrol the earth and appease the wrath of God as described in Zechariah 6:1-8. Some speculate that the rider of the white horse is the antichrist who, in a mimicking precursor to the Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 19:11-16), appears on a white horse.

  • Breaking of 5th Seal (Revelation 6:9-11) - The souls of martyrs for God cry out for judgment.

  • Breaking of 6th Seal (Revelation 6:12-17) - A great earthquake occurs; the sun becomes black; the moon becomes like blood; a storm of asteroids strikes the earth; the sky is split apart like a scroll; every mountain and island are moved from their places; all on earth cry out for death rather than to face the Messiah.

Interlude (Revelation 7) - Angels halt wind from blowing on the earth. An angel seals 144,000 men from Israel on their foreheads. A multitude who came out of the Tribulation and whose robes have been made white by the blood of the Lamb cry out a praise to the Lamb, and the Lamb spreads His tabernacle over them.

  • Breaking of 7th Seal (Revelation 8:1-5) - An angel fills a censor with fire from the alter and hurls it to the earth with lightning, thunder and an earthquake.

Sounding of the 7 Trumpets

  • Sounding of 1st Trumpet (Revelation 8:6-7) - Hail and fire mixed with blood are hurled to the earth; and 1/3 of the earth is burned up, and 1/3 of the trees are burned up, and all the green grass is burned up.

  • Sounding of 2nd Trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9) - A great mountain burning with fire is hurled into the sea; and 1/3 of the sea becomes blood, and 1/3 of the sea creatures die; and 1/3 of the ships are destroyed.

  • Sounding of 3rd Trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11) - A great star falls from heaven, burning like a torch on 1/3 of the rivers and on the springs of waters. The star is named Wormwood; and 1/3 of the waters become wormwood, and many people die from the waters because they are made bitter.

  • Sounding of 4th Trumpet (Revelation 8:12) - 1/3 of the sun, 1/3 of the moon, and 1/3 of the stars are stricken, so that 1/3 of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for 1/3 of it, and the night in the same way.

Interlude (Revelation 8:13) - An eagle flies and announces 3 woes for those who live on the earth because of the blasts of the next 3 trumpets.

  • Sounding of 5th Trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12) - 1st Woe - The abyss is opened and smoke darkens the air and the sun, and Abaddon’s (or Apollyon’s) scorpion like locusts come out of the smoke and attack all humans that do not have the seal of God on their foreheads, and they torment humanity for 5 months.

  • Sounding of 6th Trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21) - 2nd Woe – 4 angels bound at the Euphrates River are released, and they release a 200 million horseman army (breastplate colors are hyacinth, fire and brimstone) that kills 1/3 of mankind with plagues of fire, smoke and brimstone. Then, the 2 witnesses appear, are slain, are resurrected and ascend to heaven. An earthquake strikes Jerusalem; 1/10 of the city falls; 7,000 are killed.

  • Sounding of 7th Trumpet (Revelation 11-12) - 3rd Woe – An announcement is made in heaven: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” The temple of God in heaven appears with the ark of His covenant. Signs appear regarding Israel, Satan, Christ and Michael, the archangel. (Rev. 12) A woe is announced regarding Satan’s being on earth filled with wrath, because he knows his time is short.

Interlude (Revelation 13-15) The beast from the sea and the beast from the earth appear. (Rev. 13) The Lamb appears with 144,000 special saints; angels appear declaring the gospel, doom of Babylon, and doom for worshippers of the beast. (Rev. 14) One like the son of man reaps from the earth. An angel then reaps for the winepress. (Rev. 14) Angels receive the 7 bowls of wrath to be poured out on the earth. (Rev. 15)

The 7 Bowls of the Wrath of God

  • Pouring of 1st Bowl (Revelation 16:2) - Harmful and painful sores afflict everyone who has received the mark of the beast (the antichrist) and worshipped his image.

  • Pouring of 2nd Bowl (Revelation 16:3) - The sea is turned to blood and everything in it dies.

  • Pouring of 3rd Bowl (Revelation 16:4-7) - The rivers and springs of water are turned to blood.

  • Pouring of 4th Bowl (Revelation 16:8-9) - The sun scorches people with a plague of fire and heat.

  • Pouring of 5th Bowl (Revelation 16:10-11) - The kingdom of the beast is darkened, and pain and sores afflict people (possibly because sunlight provided healing and relief).

  • Pouring of 6th Bowl (Revelation 16:12-16) - The Euphrates River is dried up—preparing the way (to Israel) for the kings from the East (to attack Israel). Spirits of demons, like frogs coming from the mouths of Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet, summon nations to come and attack Israel (the Battle of Armageddon).

  • Pouring of 7th Bowl (Revelation 16:17-21) - An announcement is made from the throne in the temple in heaven: “It is done.” The strongest earthquake in history strikes the earth. Cities fall. Jerusalem is split into 3 sections. Islands disappear. Mountains fall. 100-pound hailstones fall upon the people of the earth.

4. Celebrations will cease. Isaiah 24:7-11, Rev. 18:22-23.

5. People will be scorched. Isaiah 24:6, Rev. 16:8-9.

6. All are subject to judgment. Isaiah 24:2, 4, 18.

7. The Day of the Lord and Tribulation are for judgment. Isaiah 24:5, Isaiah 30:27-28&30-32, Isaiah 35:4, Psalm 110:5-6, Joel 3:2&12, Obadiah 16, Zephaniah 3:8, Ezekiel 39:21.

8. The sun and moon will be impacted. Isaiah 24:23 They will become dark. Joel 3:15, Isaiah 60:2, Rev. 8:12, Matt. 24:29.

9. The antichrist will destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, first permitting the sacrifices and then halting them and desecrating the temple. Daniel 9:27, Zech. 14:2, 2 Thes. 2:3-4, Matthew 24:15-16.

10. Messiah will battle and defeat all nations. Zech. 14:1-5, Zech. 12:9, Rev. 19:19-21.

11. An earthquake will level the land, except for part of Jerusalem. Zech. 14:10, Rev. 16:17-21. The mountain of the House of the Lord will remain. Isaiah 2:2.

12. All of armies of nations will essentially panic, fight each other and rot while standing when Messiah arrives. Zech. 14:12-13, 15.

13. Great wealth will be collected at the battle of Armageddon. Zech. 14:14.

14. We do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will return. Matt. 24:42.


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