No, the Tribulation Has Not Yet Begun, Period
Gee, I’m getting tired of this. I realize I should exercise more patience, but it is difficult at times because so many people are looking for the modern equivalent of “signs and wonders” that their ability to discern has been lost. The problem is that there are too many people who are wrongly stating things like we are IN the Tribulation, the Tribulation has begun, or they’re busy exclaiming that this seal, that trumpet, or that bowl judgment just now opened! They are ALL wrong and I say that with conviction because I know for a FACT that the Tribulation has not begun. Why? Because the Bible tells me so.
“At the same time the first crater opened in Russia was the same time ISIS began their killing spring in Iraq. Since June of 2014 until now, ISIS has literally destroyed large swaths of land through Iran and Syria taking over cities, towns, and villages and a literal genocide on Christians…and killing any Muslims who refuse to surrender to Sharia Law. But during the exact same time that ISIS has been on this torturous terror, demonic terror, craters have been opening up in Russia and now the seventh crater has just opened. And so one woe is passed, or one woe has been acknowledged..one woe is in play…one woe…behold there comes two more woes thereafter.” —Paul Begley
The title of the article in question is “A Massive Pit Has Opened, and the Death Angel Has Come Forth! The First Woe Has Begun and End Times Demons Are On the Loose!” Scary, right? The author of the article then goes on to connect the above quote from Paul Begley with Revelation 9, which speaks of the 5th Trumpet Judgment when God allows the release of a demon horde of “locusts” to infest the earth. According to the Bible, they come from the pit itself.
Here’s the problem though. In order for that particular judgment to occur, of in fact, any of the 21 judgments listed in Revelation to take place (7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls), the Tribulation would have to have already started. In other words, we would be inside the Tribulation itself. I am dismayed to learn of more and more people who apparently believe we are inside the Tribulation, that it already began and they tick off the specific judgments as they happen. They are simply convinced that the Tribulation began and it is moving along toward its conclusion.
Are we? Are we inside the Tribulation period that the Bible speaks of? Is there any way to know for certain or are we left to guess? We can and should know. Guessing is not allowed and serves no purpose except to misunderstand God’s Word.
I believe God’s Word, while requiring study, is very clear in most things. I believe the Bible reveals to us the exact event that starts the Tribulation and we will know it when we see it, if we are looking for it and aware of what is going on in the world. The answer to when the Tribulation begins is found in Daniel 9:27 specifically. That verse describes an event that will start the Tribulation and it is the event where Antichrist (the “he” in that verse; cf. also 2 Thessalonians 2) will confirm a covenant with the many for one “week” (or one group of sevens).
The short answer is that NO, the Tribulation has not begun yet. The event that will kick it off has not yet occurred. We are not inside the Tribulation. Clearly, if we are not inside the Tribulation, then none of the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, or 7 bowl judgments have taken place yet. If you’d care to read on, I’ll explain how we will get to that event and why it is still in the future.
Daniel 9 speaks of events that deal with Israel. You’ll recall that Daniel 9 opens with Daniel the prophet discovering that the 70 year captivity spoken of by Jeremiah was nearly over. Naturally, he was very excited and immediately set out to pray and praise God for His marvelous works and purposes (cf. Daniel 9:1-3). He took time to humble himself before the Lord.
As he prayed and even before he had concluded his prayer, the angelic messenger Gabriel came to him to explain some things to Daniel (cf. Daniel 9:20-23). Gabriel essentially told Daniel that yes, the 70 year captivity was nearly over and the Jewish people would be released from that captivity and allowed to return to Jerusalem. However – and Gabriel made this clear – that another form of captivity would affect the Jewish people, the state of Israel, and the Temple Mount for not 70 years, but 70 “sevens,” (that is the English word of the original word that was used in the text, though most translators translated the word not to “sevens” but to “weeks.”)
What Gabriel was saying was that there would be 70 sevens (or 70 groupings of seven) in which the Temple Mount would be trod underfoot and controlled by Gentiles. This became known as the “times of the Gentiles” and began with the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar.
The question to ask then is 70 groupings of seven what? What did the “sevens” refer to? Clearly, the entirety of Daniel 9 is dealing with years (not weeks). There was the 70 years of captivity that was soon to be over. Gabriel arrives and says yes, but there will be 70 “sevens” of…years that will continue until those years are expended.
We call them “weeks” of years or 70 weeks. In reality, they should be called 70 sevens of years or 490 years in total. Most commentators who do not allegorize Scripture (and even some who do) would agree that the 70 “weeks” in Daniel 9 ultimately refers to 490 years in its entirety.
We will delve more deeply into this in our next article, but let me leave something with you to ponder. Would you agree with me that every pro basketball game breaks down in the following way:
- each game has four quarters
- each quarter is 12 minutes long
- all four quarters totals 48 minutes
Is the above information accurate? Is that the way games are played in the pro basketball league? Okay, if the above information is true, then how is it that each and every basketball game can actually last 2 1/2 to 3 hours?
Give that some thought and we’ll be back next time with more.