Birth Pains & the Traditional Belief in the Tribulation Period

The Bible actually describes the time leading up to the Tribulation as birth pains. Just before a women is to deliver her child, she goes through some trying, difficult moments which are really just a taste of what is to come during the actual birth. In the same way, there will be world events that wake us to the fact that Tribulation like has never been seen before is about to occur. God will actually shorten this time frame because if He did not, no human would survive.

Mark 13:19-23 …because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now-and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect-if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

The Tribulation

Luke 21:10-11 “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” And that’s just for starters! Actually, this is a very serious time for mankind. It will be the worst the world has ever experienced.

Leading up to this time are significant prophecies that have been fulfilled, one of the major ones being the formation of Israel as a “state” or “nation” as directed in the Bible and which occurred in 1948. There are some who believe this prophecy actually refers to the Taking of Jeruselem in 1968 during the Yom Kippur war. In either case, we cannot avoid the excitement the Bible proclaims following this event. The book says the generation that sees Israel become a nation will live to see the events of Christ’s second coming! That generation is alive today.

The events which lead up to the tribulation include a shift toward global political and economic unity.  A “One World Government”. One only needs to pick up the daily paper to see news about the “new world order”. The Bible states that there will be a 10 nation union that will come to power near the “end times”.

Whether the true “triblation” period is the 7-year period… or half of that period (42 months) and the years before as “birthpains” we will know soon enough.

You will also learn that during the Tribulation, a leader of a ‘corrputed church’ will team up with the false christ to do ‘signs and wonders’ to manuipulate the world. That leader will come from ‘the city on 7 hills’ according to the prophecy of the Bible.

You may recall the Bible stating that during the tribulation, no man will be able to buy or sell without the ‘mark of the beast’. We are certainly heading in that direction. This New World Order will affect all major markets around the world. It is out of this union of nations that the “man of peace” (eventually the Anti-Christ) will appear.

This will be a time of trouble and tension in the world, especially in the middle east. In fact, nearly all of the unfulfilled prophecy in the Bible will center around Israel. A great leader will either come up with or confirm a wonderfully designed peace plan to settle the problems between the Jews and the Muslims. He will be admired by the whole world as a man of peace. Unfortunately, this will be a false peace.

As you can see the time is ripe. Many people feel a God who is loving and kind would not turn on mankind for their mistakes. God is love, and slow to anger, but do not doubt the degree of his wrath. Many people will not survive the tribulation period, and despite God’s attempt to “convert” them to believers, many will resist to the very end and indeed perish. God has allowed thousands of years since Adam for the world to accept Him as their creator. For many, the Tribulation will be the time God finally gets their attention.

The events that will occur (in a nutshell) are as follows:

1. A group of 10+ nations united and powerful

2. Signing of a peace contract

3. War, famine, economic collapse and pestilences occur

4. Believers in Christ disappear from earth (pre-mid or post trib)

5. Wrath of God on non-believers takes place

6. Christ’s second coming to Armegeddon

7. A millenium of peace

Timeline In a Nutshell

For many years, believers have interpreted that the Bible prophesies a seven-year period that will immediately precede the Battle of Armageddon. It is at Armageddon when Jesus returns to earth to establish His 1,000-year reign of peace. The beginning of the final seven years will be triggered by an event called “the confirmation of the covenant.” The one-world leader known as the Antichrist is the one who will confirm the covenant, but most of the world will probably be unaware of this development when it happens. In fact, the confirmation of the treaty my even be secret. Within three and one-half years after the confirmation of the covenant, a Jewish temple will be completed on the Temple Mount and animal sacrifices will be resumed there. This could be a building or a temporary structure like a tent used in the old testament.

Halfway through the final seven years, the Antichrist will be revealed. At the time of his revealing, he will stand on the Temple Mount claiming to be God. This event is called the abomination of desolation. The occurrence of the abomination of desolation will signal the beginning of the Great Tribulation and the reign of the Antichrist. His reign will last for the final three and one-half years, culminating in the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The anti-christ will be a very charasmatic leader, initially a man of peace. He will mimic the actions of Christ in his distorted way. He will be indwelled by Satan during the Great Tribulation.

To the non-believer, this sounds like the plot to a Hollywood movie script. Remember, this prophecy was given thousands of years ago… before any of these things made sense or were known.

How do we know these things? The prophecy concerning the final seven years is found in

Daniel 9:27. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

From this single scripture and other prophecies explaining this scripture, we are able to know most of the major events that will occur in the final seven years. Now let’s discover the keys that will unlock our understanding of Daniel 9:27.

The prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 states that 70 weeks are determined upon the Jewish people. In this prophecy, each day equals a year. Consequently, this prophecy covers 70 weeks of years, or 490 years. Let’s pause for a moment to explain how we know that each day equals a year.

According to Daniel 9:27, the abomination of desolation occurs in the middle of the 70th week. Jesus said that the abomination of desolation would be the event that triggers the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-21). The Great Tribulation then lasts for 3 1/2 years. We know this from Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:6 and Revelation 13:5.

Revelation 13:5 clearly states that power was given to the beast (the Antichrist) to continue for 42 months. So, if the reign of the Antichrist and his Great Tribulation lasts for 3 1/2 years, then the last half of the 70th week equals 3 1/2 years. Of course, the first half would be the same as the last half. From this we know that a week in this prophecy refers to a week of years, or seven years.

The gap between 69th and 70th week

One of the points of greatest controversy concerning Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy is the gap theory. This teaching states that there is a gap between the 69th and 70th week of the prophecy. That is the reason the 70 weeks were broken up into 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week.

Daniel 9:26 tells us that after 7 weeks and “…threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off…” This cutting off is obviously referring to the crucifixion of Jesus. It also states that, after the 69th week, “…the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”

The crucifixion of Jesus happened somewhere between 27 AD and 37 AD. The city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 AD by the armies of Rome, led by General Titus. Both of these things were prophesied to happen before the beginning of the 70th week. Consequently, it is obvious that there has to be a gap between the 69th and the 70th week. This is the time of the gentiles. It is also called the ‘Church Age’ and ‘The Age of Grace’ by some. When the 70th week resumes, things will turn to a jewish perspective as this is God’s chosen people and he will complete his work through them.

How long is the gap? It is very clear from the prophecy that the crucifixion marked the end of the 69th week-the end of 483 years. But what event signals the beginning of the final seven-year period?

Daniel 9:27 clearly states that it is the confirmation of the covenant that begins the final seven years of Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy. We will soon prove that it is the Antichrist of the endtime that will confirm the covenant. Since the Antichrist has not yet appeared on the world scene, we know that the last seven year period has not yet begun. The gap presently stands at around 1,99X years and counting.

What will the covenant be?

Before we can understand what the confirmation of the covenant is, we need to know what the covenant is. It appears that the covenant that is to be confirmed refers to Israel’s right to the land of Israel and to Jerusalem. God first entered into this covenant in Genesis 15:18. “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

On May 19, 1993, the nation of Israel adopted a document called the Jerusalem Covenant. It is presently displayed in a beautiful glass case on the main floor of the Israeli Knesset. This Covenant states that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the nation of Israel. It affirms that Jerusalem must never again be divided or surrendered. The Jerusalem Covenant concludes with the famous words of King David, “If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy (Psalms 137:6).

During the Tribulation, three and one-half years after the covenant is confirmed, a Jewish temple will have been re-established and animal sacrifices will have been resumed. From this we can conclude that the covenant and its confirmation will affect the status of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. This strengthens the probability that the covenant is God’s promise that placed Jerusalem under Israel’s control.

What is the confirmation of the covenant?

We can’t say for certain, at this time, what the confirmation of the covenant will actually be. Many have speculated that it will be a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians.  Or dual statehood for them both.  However, it appears that this may not happen. We know this because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues throughout the great tribulation. The center of the conflict is the West Bank, which is also known as Judea and Samaria. Jesus pinpointed Judea as the center of the great tribulation in Matthew 24:16.

The more likely scenario would be an understanding concerning the Temple Mount between Israel and the Antichrist. The seemingly unsolvable problem in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the status of the Temple Mount. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, in an attempt to solve this problem suggested placing the Temple Mount under United Nations control. He proposed that, under this arrangement, both Jews and Muslims would be able to worship there.

If the World Community did end up controlling the Temple Mount, that would explain why the Antichrist, as the international leader of the world, will stand on the Temple Mount claiming to be in control there …even claiming to be God. The Bible prophesies that he will do exactly that (II Thessalonians 2:3-4). So the confirmation of the covenant will apparently consist of the Antichrist and the World Community agreeing to Israel’s presence on the Temple Mount, even to the extent of allowing the build of Israel’s Third Temple.

Who confirms the covenant?

Some have contended that the “he” who confirms the covenant for seven years is Jesus Christ Himself. However, this cannot possibly be true. Since Messiah was to be cut off and Jerusalem destroyed after the 69th week, Jesus was gone from the earth before the 70th week could possibly have begun. Daniel 9:27 states that the “he” who confirms the covenant also causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease and is responsible for the abomination of desolation.

Daniel 11:30-31 proves that it is the Antichrist who takes away the daily sacrifice and places the abomination of desolation. Notice what it says: “And arms shall stand on his (the Antichrist’s) part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries…” So we know for certain that it is the Antichrist who will confirm the covenant.

Why should we believe the final seven years is near?

For 2,000 long years, Israel has been estranged from the city of Jerusalem. To build a temple on the Temple Mount has been totally out of the realm of possibility. However, Israel’s Supreme Court recently ruled that Gershon Solomon and his Temple Mount Faithful movement could conduct a symbolic cornerstonelaying for the building of the Third Temple. They were not permitted to do it on the Temple Mount because the Supreme Court knew that would unleash terrible bloodshed. However, they did permit the ceremony to be held just outside the walls of the Old City near the Temple Mount.

The Muslims became very upset at even this symbolic gesture. They began to throw rocks down onto the Jewish worshipers praying at the Wailing Wall. Four hundred Israeli police knocked down the door of the Temple Mount. Fifteen Palestinians and fifteen Israelis were injured in the resulting melee. The smallest dispute over the Temple Mount inevitably throws Israel and the Palestinians into violence.

When Yasser Arafat, Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton met at Camp David in July of 2000, the issue that reportedly kept the Palestinians and the Israelis apart was disagreement concerning the Temple Mount. Simply stated, the Temple Mount has become the center of the Middle East conflict. And the Temple Mount and the building of the Third Temple are the very issues that will trigger the final seven years to Armageddon.

NOTE: Again, I caution that this is the typical belief system that has been accepted in the church for many years.  We need to continue to be studying and taking these things to the Lord in prayer.  Things may not happen exactly as we once thought.

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