Saturday, November 5, 2011


Contextual Interpretation: An Overview of the Tribulation Period

In Luke 21:24, we are told that the Jews will be taken captive and the city of Jerusalem would be “trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” However, in context, Luke 21:24 describes a period in which Israel has control of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be surrounded by Gentile armies and those living there, Jews, should flee (Lk. 21:20-21). This occurs half way through the Tribulation, a seven year period in which Israel has the peace treaty with the leader of the armies (Dan. 9:27). For three and a half years, no one has attacked Israel. The Antichrist, with his Gentile armies, will occupy Jerusalem and hold it until the end of the seven years. Therefore, it is my belief that the end of the age is, in fact, the end of Daniel’s seventieth week, known as the Tribulation. When Christ returns, He will destroy the Antichrist's armies and cast him into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:11-21). Jerusalem will never again be “trodden down” by anyone!

The First Half of the Tribulation (Matt. 24:4-15; Rev. Ch. 6-11)

The Tribulation is described by the prophet Daniel as a time of trouble (Dan. 12:1), and Jeremiah indicated that the time was specifically for the Jews by calling it the "Time of Jacob’s Trouble" (Jer. 30:7). Jesus described the second half as the "Great Tribulation," saying it would be like no other time before or after (Mt. 24:21). So terrible will this period be, that if God did not limit its duration, no one would survive (Mt. 24:22).

Daniel’s prophecy said that seventy weeks (sevens) were determined upon Daniel’s people, and upon the holy city (Dan. 9:24). From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, until the Messiah was to be killed, would be sixty-nine weeks (sevens). The command was issued 483 years before Jesus Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. Since the first sixty-nine "sevens" were actually sixty-nine weeks of years, it is logical to interpret the last, or the seventieth week, as seven years.

Fortunately, knowing how His Word would be spiritualized and twisted, God made it quite clear in several places that He meant years. Daniel describes this period as being divided into to halves by stating that “in the midst of the week he (the prince that is to come) shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease…” (Dan. 9:27) So that there is no doubt concerning the length of time depicted in each half of the Tribulation, we have the following: 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6, 14); forty-two months (Rev. 11:2, 13:5); and “a time, times, and half a time” (Rev. 12:14). The latter is to be interpreted as “time” equaling one year, “times” equaling two years, and “a half time” equaling a half year. To interpret it otherwise would be to contradict what scripture says using days and months. Hence, God calls the Antichrist’s reign a short one (Rev. 12:12). Again, remember that it begins with a seven year peace treaty between the Antichrist and Israel (Dan. 9:27).

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