The 7-year tribulation is when Satan will make one final attempt to steal God’s throne before he is forever overthrown. This time is marked by great troubles. In other words, it’s going to get worse before it gets better—but there is a better coming. However, in order to receive the better, we must understand the worse.
God warns us in His Word that trouble is on the way. So then, we must know how to respond to this warning so that we are ready for the coming day.
Other Names for the 7-Year Tribulation
The 7-year time period mentioned throughout scripture, but described in detail in the books of Daniel and Revelation, is also known as…
- The great tribulation (Matthew 24:21)
- The Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6-9; Joel 1:15; 2:1-31; 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2)
- Trouble or tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30)
- The time of Jacob’s troubles (Jeremiah 30:7)
Daniel Has a Vision of This Troubling Time
Toward the end of Daniel’s life, he has a vision described in Daniel 12.
- “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”—Daniel 12:1-3
From this passage, we know that…
- Unprecedented, troubling times are on the way.
- There will be some who will awake to “everlasting life.”
- There will be some who will awake to “shame and everlasting contempt.”
- Those who are wise will shine.
A further study of this passage and the 7-year tribulation reveals more about the troubling times and who will awake to everlasting life and who will awake to everlasting contempt.
- Everlasting life is given by those who trust in Jesus for their salvation.
- Everlasting contempt is given to those who do not trust Jesus.
5 Things to Know About the Great Tribulation
- It will be an outpouring of God’s wrath.
“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.’”–Revelation 16:1
- It will be worse than anything in history.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”–Matthew 24:21
- The Church will escape the wrath.
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”–1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…”--1 Thessalonians 5:9
- It will be for Israel.
“Alas! For the day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s [Israel’s] trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.”–Jeremiah 30:7
- It will be for unbelievers.
“‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’… So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who came out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”–Revelation 7:13,14
3 Questions to Ask About the Great Tribulation
How Bad Will It Get?
The 7-year tribulation will be beyond anything we can imagine. The trouble the earth sees will be unlike any other trouble that human history has ever known. John Lennox, a Christian apologist and theologian, said this about the passage in Daniel 12…
- “It is hard to get one’s mind around this grim statement. The time of Antiochus was horrendous, as was the period around the later fall of Jerusalem. The Holocaust beggars description. But Daniel indicates that there is even worse to come at the time of the end.”
Jesus said this in Matthew 24:21…
- “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
To put it mildly, it's going to get bad.
How Long Will It Last?
Daniel said, “that it shall be times, times, and a half; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.” “Times, time, and half a time” is three and a half years. This is the halfway point through the 7-year tribulation.
Jesus said, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place…” This abomination of desolation warns us about the beast putting up an image in the temple that he makes the world worship. Daniel 9:27 said this would happen in the middle of a “week,” which is 7 years. Revelation 11:2, 13:5, and Daniel 12:11 noted that the beast would do this for 42 months.
The first three and a half years will be a time of false peace and prosperity upon the earth, as the anti-Christ will make a treaty with the people of Israel. At the halfway point, the beast will set up an image in the temple, desecrating it. This begins the second half of the 7-year tribulation, and then God’s wrath is poured out until His judgment is completed.
How Should You Respond?
There are 5 things you can do in response to the information given to us in God’s Word…
- Trust Christ.
Admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Receive Jesus as your Lord and receive eternal life. Trust in Jesus for your salvation.
Get into and treasure God’s Word. It causes you to grow spiritually, giving you the wisdom and understanding you need in these last days.
- Ready yourself.
When you are readied for the return of Christ, you go through a process of purification. This is a picture of what Christians are to do… start to think about the things you watch, listen to, and how you conduct yourself. Ask God to reveal to you if these things are “pure” or “profane.”
As Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
- Find your one.
Pray and ask God to help you intersect with someone who you can share your faith with, lead to Christ, and disciple. Find one person to pour into and pray for. This is a core value in evangelism.
- Take your next step.
Move forward and take the next step. Don’t be paralyzed with fear. Take the next step in obedience to Jesus Christ.
Now that you know what to do, are you ready? Discover more about the 7-year tribulation here.