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Sunday, April 06, 2014

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 30



[Continuing a chapter on End Times prophecy.]

The Tribulation

What about the evidence for a seven-year tribulation, immediately after the rapture? Not all dispensationalists hold to a seven-year tribulation, or to a tribulation right after the rapture. For more information on the different views, see the Wikipedia article on The Great Tribulation. However, belief in a seven-year tribulation, right after the rapture, seems to be most common view.

Where does the idea of a tribulation come from? Partly from the words of Christ:

Mark 13:3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are all about to be fulfilled?”
5 Jesus, answering, began to tell them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray. 6 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and will lead many astray.
7 “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be troubled. For those must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places. There will be famines and troubles. These things are the beginning of birth pains. 9 But watch yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will stand before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them. 10 The Good News must first be preached to all the nations. 11 When they lead you away and deliver you up, don’t be anxious beforehand, or premeditate what you will say, but say whatever will be given you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
12 “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 13 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake, but he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. 14 But when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, 15 and let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter in, to take anything out of his house. 16 Let him who is in the field not return back to take his cloak. 17 But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babies in those days! 18 Pray that your flight won’t be in the winter. 19 For in those days there will be oppression, [The New American Standard, English Standard, Revised Standard, and American Standard versions use “tribulation,” rather than “oppression,” in Mark 13:19. The King James, the New Living Translation and the New International, respectively, use “affliction,” “anguish,” and “distress.”] such as there has not been the like from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be. 20 Unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved; but for the sake of the chosen ones, whom he picked out, he shortened the days. 21 Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there!’ don’t believe it. 22 For there will arise false christs and false prophets, and will show signs and wonders, that they may lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones. 23 But you watch.
“Behold, I have told you all things beforehand. 24 But in those days, after that oppression, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, 25 the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out his angels, and will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the sky.
28 “Now from the fig tree, learn this parable. When the branch has now become tender, and produces its leaves, you know that the summer is near; 29 even so you also, when you see these things coming to pass, know that it is near, at the doors. 30 Most certainly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 32 But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Watch, keep alert, and pray; for you don’t know when the time is.

This prophecy of Christ, like the prophecies about his early life, discussed at the beginning of this chapter, seems to have two meanings. It apparently refers to the end times, but also to another, more immediate time. I checked the StudyLight page on Mark 13:19, the verse from above where “tribulation” occurs. That web page has links to over a dozen commentaries or study helps on the verse. The majority of them indicate that the tribulation mentioned here was the destruction of Jerusalem, a relatively short time after Christ’s death and resurrection. It is possible that it also refers to a tribulation during the end times, or to both situations, but the main meaning seems to have been the destruction of Jerusalem.


The above is an excerpt from my recently published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, which is in the public domain.

The previous post in this series is here. God willing, the next post in this series will continue a discussion of this topic, prophecy. Thanks for reading.

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