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  • Pastor Steve Conley

What is Great Tribulation

If you wish to have firm footing for your eschatological understanding you must from the text of Matt 24 derive what great tribulation is. Not from that text, nor any other, can it be shown to be the wrath of God. Jesus makes it rather clear what "great tribulation" is in Matt 24, if one will simply observe the time related words and the connecting adverbs, like "therefore".

Mat 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Note that the context of Christ's answer is the end of the age, the time period of His parousia) Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. Mat 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Mat 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. Mat 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. Mat 24:9 Then (following the beginning of sorrows) shall they deliver you up to be afflicted (thlipsis), and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. Mat 24:10 And then (during this persecution) shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then (when the gospel has been preached in all the world) shall the end come. Mat 24:15 When (the timing of the defiling of the temple spoken of by Daniel) ye therefore (refers back to the persecution that follows the beginning of sorrows) shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Mat 24:16 Then (at the defiling of the temple, the abomination of desolation, which begins unprecedented persecution) let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Mat 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Mat 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. Mat 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! Mat 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: Mat 24:21 For then (at the defiling of the temple) shall be great tribulation (thlipsis), such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Mat 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Mat 24:23 Then (during this unprecedented persecution) if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Mat 24:25 Behold, I have told you before. Mat 24:26 Wherefore (because of false Christs) if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Mat 24:29 Immediately after (at once, following the unprecedented persecution) the tribulation (thlipsis) of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: Mat 24:30 And then (subsequent to the cosmic sign) shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then (at the appearing of Christ) shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

I hope this helps you to see that great tribulation is the unprecedented persecution of the elect and Israel and not the wrath of God poured out upon the day of the Lord.


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