The Tribulation - What is it ? When will it happen ? What will occur during it ?
When it comes to Bible prophecy, there is probably no event that causes more fear or more questions than the Tribulation. The Tribulation is an event that will involve the whole world. The Bible says it will start immediately at the moment the Rapture occurs, (Return of Jesus Christ to remove his followers from the world, to safety with him in Heaven). At this moment the world will be in a very confused state, millions of people will have just vanished without a trace off the face of the Earth. Families driving together in cars may all vanish, while one person on a full bus may be the only one who vanishes, Jetliners may fall from the sky as their pilots vanish, subways and trains will derail as their drivers vanish, people will vanish from their homes, off the streets, in stores, and at work, and many others will even be removed or vanish from their graves, where they were buried for years or just recently.
The TV will probably be full of NEWS reports from around the world with leaders and others trying to calm the public, and trying to explain what may have happened to all of the people that vanished. They may say it was some type of new weapon, or some extraterrestrial involvement, or that some new-age experience has occurred. I am pretty sure that in a short time, someone from the EU (European Union) will come forward and say that he has the answer to what has happened. This man will also bring about a 7 year peace plan between Israel and her enemies. This man from the EU will gain respect and admiration from folks around the world, many will even come to think of him as the messiah or God, in fact in time he will declare himself as God, he will demand that everyone on the planet will be required to get some type of inplanted computer chip or mark in their right hand or on their forehead, that pays homage to him or his image, this is the famous ' mark of the beast ', mentioned in Revelation 13: 16-17 (NIV Version) - " He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name ".
From this we can see that this mark, symbol or device that is placed in the hand or head, is used to not only pay respect or allegiance to the antichrist or his image, but you will not even be able to buy or sell anything without it. Here in 2006, we are now seeing more and more use of the new RFID tags, that allow any item to be tracked on the globe by satellite, and we now have VISA cards that allow instant buying simply by waving the card near a scanner, the day when we can buy and sell with some type of mark or device, is here.
This man from the EU, the infamous antichrist, will probably have the 3rd temple, the temple of Solomon to be rebuilt in Jerusalem, he will probably allow sacrifices and other services to occur, but during the 7 year peace treaty, he will break his pact, and will stop the sacrifices and worship, and he will place an image of himself or some other item in this temple, and require the worlds inhabitants to worship this image. The bible says that this image, statue or whatever it is, will come to life in a sense, and it will have the ability to talk. Revelation 13: 14-15 (NIV Version) - " He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed ".
While these events are happening in the middle east, other horrible things are occurring around the world, in fact during the 7 year tribulation there will be over 18 different judgements that come upon the earth. The Bible says there has never been, nor will there ever be such a time of trouble as the 7 year tribulation period.
One of the biggest and probably the best known of biblical things that will occur , is the ' Battle of Armageddon '. This is a 3 phase war that occurs during the 7 year tribulation. Sometime during the peace plan, Russia marches against Israel, maybe along with Arab nations such as Iran, Syria, and others. The Bible says that Russia will be driven back and it's army almost destroyed. Then the remaining Russian forces will attack and this time China will also, and China or Russia may also unleash a nuclear attack against the U.S. at this time, then the Bible says that all remaining armies of the world will gather against Israel during the end of the 7 year tribulation, at the climax of this phase of the battle, the Lord will return with his saints from heaven to put a stop to all war forever, and Jesus will set up his kingdom on the earth.
So during this period of roughly 7 years from the time the Rapture occurs, (when the christians are removed from the earth to heaven), we have the antichrist coming from the European Union, with a 7 year peace plan between Israel and her enemies, the antichrist moves his headquartes to Israel perhaps in a rebuilt temple of solomon in Jerusalem, meanwhile numerous other terrors will happen throughout the world, here is what the bible says (NIV Translation used) will also occur during the 7 year tribulation:
First God allows his angels to unleash or cause what are named the ' SEAL JUDGEMENTS '.
1. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse are unleased.
First seal -- White horse - False Peace Plan - The antichrist comes from the European Union with a false peace plan between Israel and her enemies, Rev 6:1-2 - " I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a Crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest ".
Second seal --Red horse - War, Rev 6: 4 - " Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword ". (This Red horse probably symbolizes the Russian - Arab attack against Israel, the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon.)
Third seal -- Black horse - Famine, Rev 6: 5-6 - " I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"
Fourth seal -- Pale horse - Death by War, Famine, and Diseases and Plagues, Rev 6: 8 - " I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth ".
Fifth seal -- Believers in Jesus are killed during this time period by a Christ rejecting world, and orders from the Antichrist. Rev 6: 9 - " When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained ".
Sixth seal -- A world-wide earthquake occurs and meteors fall from the sky - Rev 6:12-14 - " I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place ".
(During a short time period after the Sixth Seal Judgementl) 144,000 Jews accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and become evangelists all over the world. In addition to other methods, this group leads a multitude to Christ from every corner of the globe. Most of these new converts to Jesus will be killed for their faith in Christ.
Seventh seal -- This seal unleashes such horror, that for one hour there is complete silence in Heaven, probably as a tribute or time of mourning for the inhabitants of the earth and what they are now going to face. - Rev 8: 1 - " When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour ".
Now God allows his angels to unleash or cause what are named the ' TRUMPET JUDGEMENTS '.
Rev 8: 6-13 - " Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them ".
First Trumpet Judgement - Rev 8: 7 - " The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up ". (This could be the effects of a massive meteor shower that hits the earth, or this could be the time that Russia's remaining forces team up with China and others, and they unleash a nuclear war.)
Second Trumpet Judgement - Rev 8: 8-9 - " The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed ".
Third Trumpet Judgement - Rev 8: 10-11 - " The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water, the name of the star is Wormwood. (Here we may the description of a massive comet or asteroid hitting the earth.) A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter ".
Fourth Trumpet Judgement - Rev 8: 12 - " The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night ". (Here again we see the after-effects of the previous Judgement, after a large comet or asteroid has hit the earth, the light from the sun and stars will be blocked out.)
Fifth Trumpet Judgement - Rev 9: 1-11 - " The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. (Representation maybe of a falling angel - demon, because the bible refers to it as having a key, etc, so it cannot be a real star, but as mentioned in the Bible in other places, Lucifer and angels are called ' stars, or ' shining ones '.) The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them. The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon ".
What are these horrible locusts that sting all of the non-christian converted people during the tribulation ? They must be locusts for that is what they are called, but they have powers and look unlike any normal locusts do, one thing to note is they have a leader over them, normal locusts do not. These locusts appear to be demons that were inprisoned deep in the earth in the ' abyss' or hades. They have been given this body or shape to appear in, as in their normal state they would be invisible to human eyes. This horrible appearance as a locusts with a human face with sharp teeth and a scorpions tail, is to help them scare and torment the humans they attack for a period of 5 months. This is just another thing God does to try to get more people to convert their lives to Jesus Christ before it's too late, for we see that they do not even attack any christian. There leader is a powerful demonic spirit (The star, ' demon ' who was given the key) whose name is Abaddon or Apollyon. It's very interesting to note that the name ' Abaddon ', means: ' The angel-prince of hell, the minister of death and author of havoc on earth. The Vulgate renders the Greek Apollyon by the Latin Exterminans (that is, "Destroyer").
Sixth Trumpet Judgement - Rev 9: 13-15 - " The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, " Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind ".
The remaining or next series of judgements are called the ' BOWL JUDGEMENTS '.
First Bowl Judgement - Rev 16: 2 - " The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. " (This is the computer inplant or mark that the antichrist from the EU requires everyone to recieve, so they can buy and sell, the ' mark of the beast - 666).
Second Bowl Judgement - Rev 16: 3 - " The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died ".
Third Bowl Judgement - Rev 16: 4 - " The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood ".
Fourth Bowl Judgement - Rev 16: 8 - " The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him ".
Fifth Bowl Judgement - Rev 16: 10 - " The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done ". (Here we see that the antichrists temple and his kingdom is destroyed towards the end of the tribulation.)
Sixth Bowl Judgement - Rev 16: 12 - " The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. (The antichrist, false prophet and the beast image that had the power to speak, etc) were being controlled by demonic spirits possessing them and giving them their great powers. Now these spirits are able to possess world leaders are others, making them gather together all the worlds armies for the last large phase of the armageddon war.)
Seventh Bowl Judgement - Rev 16: 17-21 - " The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!", Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
At this time, Jesus Christ and his followers return to the Earth, Jesus sits foot on the Mount Of Olives and put's a stop to all wars forever, he restores the earth and sits up his kingdom for the Millennial (1,000 year) reign upon the earth.
If you would like to know a lot more about the ' End Times ' , and read some great Christian articles on such subjects as: Being Saved, Armageddon, The Rapture, and much more, visit the website called: ' Signs Of The End Times '
By Robert W. Benjamin
Copyright © 2006
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About the Author: Robert W. Benjamin has been in the software business on the internet for over 5 years, and has been producing low-cost software for the past 25+ years. He first released products on the AMIGA and C64 computer systems in the late 1970's-80's.