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  • Pastor Steve Conley

The Difference Between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord

Many fail to distinguish between the period of unprecedented persecution of the elect and ethnic Israel and the period of God's eschatological wrath. The first Jesus called megas thlipsis (great tribulation); the second is the day of the Lord, which begins with Christ's arrival at His parousia. The wrath that is present in each period has a different source, object, and expression. In the period of unprecedented persecution that Jesus called great tribulation, we find the wrath of Satan (Rev 12:12), through the Beast (Rev 13:7), upon the elect (Matt 24:9, 22, 24, 31; Romans 8:33; 11:7) and ethnic Israel (Deut 4:30; 32:36; Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1, 7; Rev 12:9-17) in the form of economic isolation (Rev 13:17), violent persecution (Matt 24:9, 22), supernatural deception (Matt 24:24; 2Thes 2:9) and beheading (Rev 20:4). The day of the Lord is markedly different from the great tribulation. In the day of the Lord the wrath is from God (Rev 6:16-17; 15:1), upon the unbelieving (2Thes 1:8), saints persecuting (2Thes 1:6; Rev 6:9-11; Dan 7:25; Rev 13:7), Beast worshiping (Rev 14:10), earth-dwellers (Rev 3:10), as a recompense of vengeance (Isa 34:8; 35:4; 2Thes 1:6-8) in the form of the trumpet and vial judgments (Rev 8-9; 16-19). Not only is the character of the two periods totally different, but their relationship to the cosmic sign that the Prophets, Christ, and the Apostles spoke of is the opposite. We are told that the day of the Lord comes after the cosmic sign, but that the great tribulation comes before it (Joel 2:31; Matt 24:29; Rev 6:12). This is incontrovertible evidence that the eschatological wrath of God is not present in the great tribulation, but only comes after the sun, moon, and stars go dark in the day of the Lord.

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