In A Rapture Study, I examined the four main rapture views which all center around the tribulation period. This part of the study on the rapture will primarily focus on the tribulation’s purpose and who the tribulation is for. I believe these are key questions to ask to determine who will and who won’t be a part of this period of time and why. Although the tribulation is an important concept to understand the rapture, it is still one of the many pieces to this puzzle. If you’re not familiar with the tribulation and want more insight, navigate to the articles below on my 2 part study on this time period for a general overview.
What is the Tribulation?
Before we get to the rest of the article, I want to make two things clear, first being what I mean by tribulation. I’m talking about THE tribulation and not “trials and tribulations” we Christians experience throughout our lives. These are two different things. We, as Christians, are told to expect trials throughout our life as it is used to strengthen our faith.
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13, NKJV)
In John 16:33, Jesus doesn’t just tell us that there’s tribulation in this world but rather “you will have tribulation”, a fact that’s not sugar-coated. 2 Timothy 3:12 states, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution”. Even as you’re reading this, millions of Christians worldwide are being persecuted in some way. We are not denied exemption from persecution or trials and tribulations but instead guaranteed that it will occur. However, this is vastly different from THE tribulation.
The tribulation is a 7 year period of time described in the bible as the worst period of time in humanity that will ever come on the earth. Jesus himself says that if it isn’t cut short to 7 years then all flesh on earth could be destroyed, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22, NKJV).
This same period of time is also mentioned to us in places such as Daniel 12:1, “…And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation”. The tribulation period itself is called “Jacob’s Trouble” and “Daniel’s 70th Week”. Who the tribulation is for as well as its purpose lies within these two names.
The second thing we need to keep in mind before we proceed is that Israel and the church are two separate “entities”. Israel and the church are not the same. Due to this fact, God has separate agendas for both of these entities. The church has not replaced Israel and neither does the church share the same prophetic program with Israel.
Although they have rejected their messiah and largely live in unbelief today, God is not finished with them, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew…I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:1-2, 11, NKJV).
Paul makes it clear to us in Romans 11:25-27 that due to Israel’s rejection of their messiah 2,000 years ago, a “partial blindness” has come on them until the fullness of the Gentiles – something I plan to delve into in a separate article, “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins’” (Romans 11:25-27, NKJV).
“Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7, NKJV).
Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. He was also the brother of Esau who he bought his birthright from. In Genesis 32:22-32, Jacob wrestled with God in order to receive a blessing. They wrestled to the next day and, eventually, God put an end to the fight, blessed him, and also renamed him to Israel.
We also see this name change in Genesis 35:10, “And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.’ So He called his name Israel”. Jacob (Israel) later becomes the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. With this backstory in mind, we can see that “Jacob’s Trouble” can also be called “Israel’s Trouble”. To cement this idea further that this time period is primarily for Israel we’ll also take a look as to why it’s called “Daniel’s 70th week.”
“Daniel’s 70th Week”
Daniel’s 70 weeks is a time determined for Daniel’s people. I cover these 70 weeks of years (490 years) in more detail in my first study of the tribulation here. Daniel 9:24 shows us that 70 weeks are determined for Daniel’s people to bring 6 things to pass:
Featured Image by Dan Kiefer