Skip to comments.When Is (Was) the Great Tribulation?
Posted on 03/22/2015 5:47:53 PM PDT by grumpa
WHEN IS (WAS) THE GREAT TRIBULATION?
by Charles S. Meek
And they will deliver YOU up to tribulation. . . . (Matthew 24:9)
For these are the days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. (Luke 21:22)
For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole EARTH. (Luke 21:35)
The Olivet Discourse contains the greatest body of prophecy in the New Testament outside of Revelation. It is found in the parallel passages of Matthew 24/25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. The above passages in the Olivet Discourse are referring to the Great Tribulation at Jesus Parousia (his effectual divine presence in judgment). Was Jesus speaking of the entire globe as we know it today, or was He speaking of the world in which He and his contemporaries lived, that is, Judea?
The word translated as earth in Luke 21 is the Greek word ge. The online Blue Letter Bible interlinear gives several meanings for this word, including: (a) the inhabited earth, (b) country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, or region. As always, context and audience relevance determine how to interpret the Bible. Lets take a look at another time we find this word in the immediate context of the Olivet Discourse:
Matthew 23:35That upon YOU may come all the righteous blood shed upon the EARTH [ge], from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias. This is a clear reference to the Jewish people, and not to all the people on the globe.
In addition to Luke 21:35, Lukes version of the Olivet Discourse contains the same word ge in another verseverse 21: There shall be great distress in the LAND [ge]. Jesus is obviously speaking about Jerusalem, which is confirmed by the further context:
In Luke 21:20-21 Jesus tells his followers that they will know when the Tribulation is upon them by the appearance of armies around Jerusalem, and that they can escape the Tribulation by fleeing to the mountains. These instructions limit the extent of the Tribulation to the immediate regionnot the whole globe as we think of it today. It matches perfectly with the events surrounding the invasion of Judea by the Roman army in AD 66-70, at which time over a million Jews were killed and the temple demolished.
In the Olivet Discourse, we find several clear time restrictions: (1) At least seven times Jesus restricts the events to those to whom He is speaking, by such phrases as When YOU see. . . . Consider: Matthew 24:6, 9, 15, 33, 34, 44; Luke 21:20. (2) For further emphasis, Jesus said, For THIS IS THE TIME of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. Luke 21:22 (3) Just in case they were too dense to get it, He emphasized, Truly I tell you, THIS GENERATION will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Luke 21:32 (4) And, if it there was any lingering doubt about when it would happen, He said, Pray that you may be able to escape all that is ABOUT TO happen. (Luke 21:36, see the NIV or literal translations such as the YLT)
But wait. Jesus said it would be the worst tribulation ever (Matthew 24:21). Wasnt the holocaust worse? Jesus frequent use of hyperbole aside, in terms of Jewish history AND covenant, the events surrounding AD 70 were indeed, without exaggeration, the most horrific days ever to befall Gods people.
What about Revelation? Well, John said he was in the tribulation WHEN HE WAS WRITING Revelation! See Revelation 1:9 and 2:9-10. Dozens of scholars are persuaded that Revelation was written in the 60s AD. So Johns tribulation could have been referring to either the Christian persecution under Nero during AD 64-68 or to the devastating events of the Jewish-Roman War in AD 66-70. In either case, this is consistent with Jesus numerous this generation statements.
Conclusion: The events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem as predicted by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse were restricted by Him to the region and the people of Judea in the first century. This was the Great Tribulation. There is NO indication in Gods Word that it will ever happen again. To read a future great tribulation into the text does violence to the promises of Jesus.
For more information, see my websites:
context context context!
When it comes, you probably won’t have to ask.
End times Ping
Oh, they’ll be saying ‘peace and safety’ I guess.
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again.
Verse from the same speech:
“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
This happened? When?
Oh I’ve heard one incredible thing regarding that.
It’s not true, of course, but that doesn’t matter, apparently.
“Conclusion: The events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem as predicted by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse were restricted by Him to the region and the people of Judea in the first century.”
Co-incidentally, I have been reading some books by Moses Stuart, John Stuart Russell about this topic. Same conclusion.
Agree with the author 1000%.
The only item in prophecy left to be fulfilled is Judgement Day.
That’s what was taught in Christendom, up till relatively recently.
I have recently read about preterist thought on the book of revelation.
It turns out that there is quite a bit of scholarship on the subject. A lot of people have come to the same, or partially similar conclusions.
It is pretty obvious that the prophecy of the destruction of the Jewish temple did occur in 70 AD.
There is a great deal of imagery and symbolism in Revelation.
Nonsense. How about, for example, the mark of the beast? How about the 70th week (7 years) of Daniel? The tribulation will be world wide, not confined to the middle east. So many events that clearly did not happen in 70 AD,
The greatest tribulation that has been or will ever be. If the days were not shortened, no flesh would be saved alive. Nah, hasn’t happened yet.
Just about every generation thought they were going through Tribulation. Imagine what the people thought during WW2 or prior to that the Great Depression.
Thank you for the ping
The current ideas about a future 2nd Coming date back to the 19th century, not ancient history.
My thoughts exactly.
If the prophecy was for the disciples... that all of this would be fulfilled and THEY would SEE it.... then Jesus missed it. Most of them were dead by the time Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD