Seven Years of Tribulation?

For some time now, it has been on my heart and mind to re-assess everything that I believe.  The purpose of re-assessing is to make sure that what I believe comes from God, and is based on truth and on His Word, rather than just believing something just because that’s what everyone else believes. . . or because it’s the standard, accepted doctrinal norm.  It’s just what we’ve all been taught.

When it came to my mind to wonder about the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine, I prayed about it, asking the Lord to help me find the truth.  In turn, He asked me a question.  He asked me to consider: if I had the choice, which would I prefer? Would I want to come home to Him at the onset and not have to suffer through it, or would I choose to stay here through it all?

I turned the idea over in my mind for a good while.  This was quite a question.  If it was up to me, what would I choose?  I ended up realizing that I would want to stay. . . because there are people who I thought would probably need me in such a time, and I couldn’t bear the thought of not being there for them in what would have to be the darkest hours of anyone’s life.  Yes.  Let everyone else go home and be safe if they like, but I would choose to stay and try to be as much help as I could to the people around me.

It was after I gave it the consideration it deserved and came to that conclusion, that God opened things up to me to show me the error of that pre-tribulation rapture doctrine, and where it came from.  I wrote about that a couple of posts back.

One thing that speaks volumes to me, is the fact that I’m not the only one.  Each time He puts a particular subject on my heart like this to research, I usually find that He has opened other people’s hearts and minds to the same revelation.

Over the past couple of weeks, I had begun to wonder about the duration of the great tribulation.  I thought, why does everyone refer to ‘the seven year tribulation’?  Where does it say seven years?  Is that actually in scripture somewhere, or is that just one of those things that everybody believes because that’s what’s been said and accepted for as long as they can remember?

And so I embarked on a search through the scriptures for the seven years of tribulation.  I started with the book of Revelations.  I found many references to three and a half years, in various forms:

Revelation 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

Revelation 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

Revelation 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

Revelation 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

But I didn’t find anything saying there would be seven years of the great tribulation.  I began reading the prophets, one book at a time.  When I got to Daniel, chapter 9, verse 27, I thought, aha!  Here it is!

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.

. . . okay.  It IS in there.  It just took me quite a while to find it.  Thank you Lord, for letting me find it.   Unlike a year ago, I now know that a week in scripture can mean 7 years instead of just 7 days.  I also realized that this scripture was the source of a couple of other concepts  that I had intended to seek out – Where does this idea come from that the antichrist is going to make some kind of a 7 year deal?  Why do people think that the temple has to be re-built before the messiah comes?  Here it is.  In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice to cease.  But there haven’t been any sacrifices in a Jewish temple for almost two thousand years, so of course if someone is going to make them cease in our time, they would first have to be instituted again, which would require the re-building of the temple.  All of this in one verse.  Wow!  Thank You Lord.  You’ve told me so many times, ask and it shall be answered, seek and you shall find.  And you’ve answered my questions so frequently lately.

And it was late, and I was exhausted, so I put my scriptures away and went to sleep.

I woke up the next morning more tired than usual, because I had been up late on my scripture searching quest.  I began my morning routine, make coffee, check my email, and there’s a Publisher’s Clearing House Search in my email.  Use our seach engine and get a free entry to win money.  Okay, give me a free entry.  But I need to type in something to search for, and I don’t have enough coffee in me to think about that yet.  What was that scripture reference last night?  Daniel 9:27.  I’ll just plug that in.  Hit search.  I got my free entry to win money.

And then I look at the list of results.  It’s not even the first thing on the list that my eyes are drawn to, it’s 5 or 6 places down the list.  I open it up to take a better look.  Here is the most pertinent part of what I read there:

“Daniel 9:27

Protestants try to ascribe the covenant of verse 27 to the Antichrist because “he,” they say, refers to “the prince who is to come.” But this cannot be! Remember the poetic organization! The key is the word “many.” It is literally “the many,” and whenever it is used in the Old Testament, it refers to either the covenant people Israel or to the saints, that is, true believers. Jesus says in Matthew 26:28, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Christ makes the covenant, not Antichrist!

Confirm means “strengthen” or “make firm”—almost to the point of being unbreakable. This helps substantiate its reference to the New Covenant, an everlasting covenant that strengthened the basic requirements of the Old Covenant. Significantly, when Christ in the Olivet Prophecy gives His disciples the signs of the end, He does not mention a covenant or treaty to be enacted between the Antichrist and the Jews, Christians, saints, or anyone! He does mention both of the events Gabriel mentions here: the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Matthew 24:2) and the abomination of desolation (verse 15).

What about the final three and a half years of the seventieth week? They have yet to be fulfilled, but Gabriel leaves us hanging regarding when they occur. He does not mention them. When could they be fulfilled?

  • The seventieth week has been completely fulfilled by the three and a half year ministry of Christ. This seems to be the least likely of these options.

  • Christ will complete His ministry in the first three and a half years after His return, before Satan is locked in the bottomless pit. But the Bible does not indicate that any time elapses between His return and Satan’s binding in Revelation 19 and 20.

  • They are the years of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, during which Christ will complete His ministry through the Two Witnesses and/or to the church in the Place of Safety. Again, this is only speculation—although Paul’s training in Arabia may provide a precedent (Galatians 1:11-18).”

Okay, I’m wide awake now! Wow.  I get it.  Ask, and it shall be answered.  I asked where people got the idea of seven years of tribulation, and as always, I asked for the Lord to reveal to me His truth.  So first He showed me where people got that idea, and then, the very next thing after I awoke, He showed me His truth.

“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. . . ”

Yeshua had (or has) a seven year ministry.  It’s a Shemitah.  Two thousand years ago He preached and taught the people for half of that seven years; He confirmed the covenant God made with Israel; and caused the sacrifice to cease.  That’s already happened.   The rest of His seven years will be fulfilled by the two witnesses for the three and a half years of the great tribulation.