There is common teaching that a seven-year tribulation will follow a secret rapture of the Christians from the earth. The truth is that there is no place in either the Old or New Testament where a seven-year tribulation is explicitly mentioned. Although this idea is popular, it has no basis in the scriptures.

The "greatest tribulation" has already occurred, when Jerusalem was besieged and destroyed by the Roman armies in AD 70. When prophesying this event, Jesus said,

How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers... For there will be a great tribulation, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive (Matt 24:20-22).

The destruction of Jerusalem was an absolutely terrible event. Anyone who does not believe this should read the account by the Jewish historian Josephus. This means that the greatest tribulation which will ever take place on earth has already occurred.

Tribulation Normal

Tribulation is actually a normal part of the Christian life. We are taught in the Bible that we should always expect tribulation.

In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

We must go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

Tribulation will be a normal experience for Christians in every age. When they are true to Jesus, they will be a threat to the world, and this will always bring opposition. The Greek word "thlipsis", which is translated as tribulation, affliction or trouble, literally means pressure. Our word tribulation comes from the Latin word for threshing sledge. It often refers to trouble in a spiritual sense, and describes the pressure that all Christians will experience if they live in obedience to Jesus.

Calling of the Jews

The calling of the Jews will take place during a period of tumult on the earth. There will be wars, famines, plagues, false religions, and death on a scale that has not been known before. The whole earth will be thrown into chaos. During this time there will be a tremendous consolidation of political power in order to hold back that chaos. It may end with one mighty political power ruling over a large part of the earth. It will be given enormous powers, because it promises to bring back peace order and prosperity. However, because it is opposing God, it will fail and the situation will deteriorate even more.

This time of chaos and trouble will also be a time of persecution for Christians. They will not be able to accept the consolidation of political power and will make a stand against it. The state will use its power to annihilate any opposition. This will be very painful for God's people, but it will be a time when the Church is purified. Those who are not fully devoted to the Lord will fall away. Those who are true will be strengthened by the refining process. They will be made ready for the times that lie ahead.

The chaotic events which take place are all part of the sovereign work of God. He allows them primarily to seal his people. He wants to prepare a church that can be victorious and bring in the Kingdom. This time of testing will purify and strengthen the church so that it will be ready to go out and take the Kingdom. Those who overcome in this time of chaos will rule the nations with the authority of Christ (Rev 2:26,27).

This time should not be called "The Tribulation". The time of chaos that brings in the calling of the Jews will be a time of tribulation for many Christians, but this will be no different from the experience of many Christians down through the ages. It will be just one more period of tribulation. Describing it as something unique is incorrect and unfair to Christians from earlier ages who have often suffered terribly for the Lord. Being under pressure is normal for Christians.

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