People often ask us which tribulation view we embrace. The question puts us in a difficult position. But not because we don’t know; it’s because of the muddied language. So many biblical terms have been redefined that we have to spend more time offering caveats and explaining what we mean than actually stating the view. So here’s our first response: our view is the view that Jesus gave us as recorded in God’s Word. I know, that sounds like a cop-out, but bear with us.
Do you know that Jesus gave us the foundation for understanding when He is coming back? You may be surprised to find out that it is not based on a 7-year tribulation period, but a great Week of prophetic 1,000-year Days.
Think about it. If we truly understood the whole counsel of the Word, would there be so many views? Especially since God is not the author or confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). For the most part, we inherited the tribulation views from our spiritual fathers, and have simply repeated them over and over until they’ve become a sort of sacred cow—pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib, pre-wrath, amillennial, or preterist.
Don’t worry if you don’t know all these terms; in fact you’re ahead of the game if you don’t! If we were to ask the majority of churchgoers if they know where the idea of a 7-year tribulation period comes from, they could not tell us. Few of them know that it comes from only two verses in Daniel 9. And in order to come up with that concept, you have to misinterpret the whole prophecy. If you want more details about this, see our video series entitled “Daniel’s 70th Week and the Mid-Week Mystery of Christ” on our YouTube Channel, Chronos Messenger.
So let’s go back to what Jesus told us about His return. We call it the “before and after set-up.”
Think of it as laying the firm foundation for the end-time building. It comes from Matt. 24—what is commonly called the Olivet Discourse (Teaching). Jesus gave this assurance to His disciples just before His crucifixion. Even though they didn’t fully understand it at that point in time, it offered them hope in the midst of what surely was a time of great disappointment. It’s a key prophetic marker for us as well! (By the way, they did come to understand it, thanks to the Holy Spirit.)
Jesus was telling the disciples about the signs of the end of this age and of His coming. He called the signs the “beginning of sorrows” and the “great tribulation.”
For now, this is what we need to see. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (vs. 29).
Not surprisingly, Peter featured this same before and after set-up in the very first sermon preached on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Quoting from Joel 2, Peter preached about the end-times, particularly the last Days! Both describe the celestial signs:
To fully understand the significance connection, we need to know the biblical definitions of the tribulation and the Day of the Lord. Stay tuned!