How Long is the Tribulation?

Christians have been talking about the Great Tribulation from the moment that Christ proclaimed its coming. It will be the most horrifying and awful moment in time, since the beginning of Creation. It will be so bad, that you would rather die than go through it.

That is COMPLETELY understandable.

Likewise, it is completely understandable to want to know how long the Great Tribulation is. If you are going to go through it, you’d like to know how long it will last.

Horrible times are always more bearable, when you know when they will end.

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How Long is the Tribulation?

A reader, Mark, asked me a couple questions this week, that struck me in just the right way, to get me thinking down pathways that I don’t normally follow. Others have asked these questions, and they didn’t impact me as strongly as these.

Why?

Dunno.

I will paraphrase his questions outrageously, with just this:

Why do you believe that the Great Tribulation is 3.5 years?

Normally, I quote Revelation 12 and move one. Revelation is a great place to talk about such things, and these two verses are pretty definitive:

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

 – Revelation 12:6

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

 – Revelation 12:14

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+12&version=KJV

That’s three and a half years. Or, thereabouts. But, you could drive an aircraft carrier through that word, ‘thereabouts’, and I just read this verse today (Thursday):

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

 – Daniel 7:25

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+7&version=KJV

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, obeying Him in everything that He said, YOU are a member of that group called ‘The Saints of the Most High’. And, if you live long enough, you will be worn down by the Antichrist for 3.5 years.

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side note: I find it fascinating that Daniel chose to use an Aramaic word עִדָּן (ee-dan) for ‘time’, instead of the Hebrew word פָּ֫עַם (pa’am) or a host of other Hebrew words that could have described the word ‘time’. But, he didn’t. He – via the Holy Ghost – chose a Gentile word.

Very interesting.

Just don’t blow that out of proportion, please.

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A Theory That Blinds

No one likes to be ‘worn down’, killed or destroyed. The thought of going through all that is more than most of us would like to think about. And, I believe that the thought of this horror has led people to flee into myth and unreality.

That’s why Edward Irving was so excited by the lie, created by the Jesuit priest, Manuel Lacunza. Irving had ‘found’ a way to avoid thinking about the Great Tribulation.

You’ll find my discussion about what Manuel Lacunza said, here:

A Theory That Blinds
http://www.ezekielsfire.com/section-one/a-theory-that-blinds/

As much as you might not wish to think about The Great Tribulation, following a lie created by a Jesuit Priest… well …that is NOT the answer. Lies are NEVER a protection against reality. NEVER. And, Jesuits have proven themselves to be servants of their father, Satan.

So, for those who have eyes that see, please use them. A ‘good’ fantasy can take your mind off of the harshness of reality. But, acting out a delightful fantasy is stupid.

It’s like the Trekkies who spend their weekends playing out roles in the ‘Galactic Federation’. Or the poor morons who buy ‘light sabers’ and imagine themselves to be the next ‘Luke Skywalker’.

You might enjoy doing that in your idle moments, but doing that with the Bible is a sin.

Not Seven Years

What the Great Tribulation definitely is NOT, is seven years. Every description of the Great Tribulation is always three and a half years, or a subset of that moment in time. Nowhere does the Bible describe a seven year Tribulation.

So, why do people proclaim this error?

I chalk it up to laziness, ignorance and sloppy preaching. Since I have done all three, I completely understand why many would believe that the the Tribulation will be seven years long.

So, where does it come from?

It comes from a discussion of chapter nine, of the Book of Daniel:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+9&version=KJV

And, the verse that perplexes us, is this one:

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 – Daniel 9:27

That is the last verse of chapter nine, and the next chapter is not a continuation of the subject. So, verse 27 really is the end of the discussion.

The previous verses were about Daniel’s agony over the destruction of Jerusalem and his knowledge that his people were at fault. Then God sends an angel to comfort him, calling him ‘sweetie’ or ‘darling’.

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side note: Yes, the Bible uses ‘Greatly Beloved’. But, the word in Hebrew is khah-moo-DOTE (חמודות). In Hebrew, it’s the kind of word that you use, when talking to your wife or little kids, although Gabriel uses the feminine plural, which is a strange.

The point is that both God and the angels had more than just love for Daniel, they also had a lot of affection. And, maybe he was a ‘sweetie’.

Sorry about all the ‘side notes’, but I love the Hebrew language. And, lots of foolishness comes from people who think that the Strongs is good Hebrew.

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But, when Gabriel comes to speak with him in Chapter Nine, he doesn’t comfort Daniel with a discussion of the greatness of Jerusalem. No, he tells him about the most important thing of all:

The Coming of Messiah

And, it’s ALL about the coming of Messiah. Then, we get to verse 27, and let me give it to you again:

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 – Daniel 9:27

So, people are ready to believe that Daniel 9 is about Jesus up through verse 26, and then they split off verse 27 and make it about the Antichrist – 2000 years later.

Does that make sense to you?

Not to me. And, the above translation isn’t all that good. Here is how it should go:

And, a covenant shall be confirmed to many, for one week. And, [at] half of the week, there is a ceasing of sacrifice and offering. And, to the wing of abominations, devastation – until completeness and destruction is poured on [the] devastated.

 – Daniel 9:27 (John Little Version)

Notice something important here. Nowhere does the word ‘he’ appear. It’s not in the Hebrew. Quibble with me all that you want on my attempt at translation, but one thing is COMPLETELY clear:

There is no ‘he’ in Daniel 9:27

And, Hebrew is a VERY specific language. VERY. For there to be no verb or noun that includes the word ‘he’, then you cannot say ‘he’.

THERE. IS. NO. ‘HE’. IN. DANIEL 9:27!!!!

This means that you cannot call Daniel 9:27 to be about the Antichrist. You just cannot. Furthermore, this is an example of how bad our English translations of the Bible are.

I consider it an abomination to deliberately mistranslate the Bible. And, I know that they did this in some places in the King James Version. I’m sorry if this offends you, but facts are facts.

However, most of the mistakes were unintentional, and most of the unintentional mistakes were the result of bias. The translators had a certain belief, and that belief influenced their translation. We all do this, and we can’t help it.

This also goes for me, by the way. And, I am NOT qualified to make a full translation of the Bible. I know enough to point out where things need to be corrected. And, I can make some corrections. But, to translate the whole Bible… (shiver).

So, if Daniel 9:27 cannot be speaking about The Tribulation, then what DOES it speak of?

The ending of the previous covenant and the bringing in of the new. And, it’s exactly what Jesus did. It certainly fits WAY better than this made-up idea that the Antichrist is the one being talked about in the last verse of Daniel 9.

Seriously, why did they think that it was okay to arbitrarily insert a 2000 year gap in this prophecy?

Why did they think that this was okay?

I truly hate it when people twist the Bible out of shape so to make it fit their personal desires. Bible twisting makes me angry, and it should make you angry to.

Proper Interpretation

So, let me take a moment to make something very clear to those of you who are actually interested in the truth, instead of an echo chamber:

You do not have permission from God to add or subtract from the Bible.

I hope that you understand that. I see very few who actually demonstrate that. Most pastors and ‘theologians’ add or subtract to what the Bible says, and they’ve done it for so long that they do not recognize when they are doing it.

I understand that this is natural. I have even found myself doing it, when I quote one verse and then pull in the meaning of another verse, somewhere else in the Bible. Since, Mrs. Little is usually around when I do that, she reminds that what I’ve said ain’t necessarily so. (One of the joys of having The Missus around, is to get whacked over the head with a Bible!)

Unless the Bible says something specifically, you cannot say it. Yes, I know that concepts are built upon the truth being here a little and there a little (Isaiah 28:10,13). But, there must be complete agreement between a verse over there and a verse over here. So, let’s look for that agreement.

Daniel 9:27 – Mark 13:14 – Matthew 24:15

This is where we should talk about a false connection that is often made between Daniel 9:27 and Mark 13:14 and Matthew 24:15. Mark 13 and Matthew 24 are both talking about the same thing – The Last Days. But, Daniel 9 is NOT talking about the Last Days.

In fact, Daniel 9 is talking about the exact coming of Mashiach – the anointed one who will also be the Moshiah, or Messiah (aka, Savior). Nowhere in Daniel 9 does it speak of the Antichrist. But, the simple-minded have seen words like abomination and desolation and made connection that did not exist.

Let’s look at what I mean:

But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

 – Mark 13:14

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+13:14&version=KJV

The Greek words for abomination and desolation in Mark13:14 and Matthew 24:15 are equivalent to the Hebrew words for abomination and desolation in Daniel 9:27. I originally did not think that this was the case, until I looked more closely. They are essentially, the same – except that one set of words is Greek and the other, Hebrew.

But, are the verses talking about the same thing?

The context of Daniel 9:27 is the First Coming of Jesus Christ. The context of Mark 13:14 and Matthew 24:15 is the coming of Antichrist. Therefore, we must look elsewhere in Daniel for abomination and desolation. And, we see them, here:

Daniel 7:8

Daniel 8:9-14

Daniel 8:23-25

Daniel 11:21-45

THOSE are the verses about the Antichrist in Daniel. There is NO description of Antichrist, anywhere else in that book. Yes, I know about ‘The Image’ in Daniel 2, but that does not talk specifically about the person that we call The Antichrist. And, those four blocks of text in Daniel speak a lot about abomination and desolation.

In fact, when you look at the words of Daniel 8:13…

Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

 – Daniel 8:13

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+8%3A13&version=KJV

The word for transgression is not the same as abomination. But, the verse itself fits much better than Daniel 9:27.

A Hint For A Cryptic Text

There is a phrase in Hebrew that rolls around in my head every time something difficult in the Bible needs to be talked about:

הוא מבין יבין

It’s pronounced like this:

Hoo Mah-veen Yah-veen

It means:

He that is understanding will understand.

And, BOTH Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 say the following:

(let him that readeth understand,)

This means that there is something hard to see, that there is something far less obvious that what appears. In fact, that phrase might have been put there by God to remind the unwary to not get this wrong. You might even say that it is a phrase written to those living in the Last Days – you and me.

Getting Confused By Words

Do not be confused by words that are similar. There are simple-minded folks who read the words “Gog and Magog” in Revelation and automatically assume that this is talking about the same ‘Gog and Magog’ in Ezekiel.

Sorry, kids, but that is not how the Bible works.

The context of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel is obviously different than the context of Gog and Magog in Revelation. But, people do not wish to see it that way, so they persist in making the connection.

Another example of bad thinking is when the Jews look at the prophecies about the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. Since there are TWO separate comings of Mashiach in the Old Testament, they can’t see either one. In fact, they will not understand the passages about Jesus Christ, until they accept His first coming. Then, they will understand His Second Coming.

But, let’s end this side-trip into advanced Biblical analysis. Our goal is to look at the Bible and see how it agrees with itself and move forward with that agreement.

Verses About The Length Of The Great Tribulation

Again, there is only ONE VERSE in the WHOLE BIBLE that people use to prove that there is a seven year tribulation. If there was a second verse, they would have used it, but there is no other verse that can be twisted enough to get it to say what people want it to say. And, we have knocked out that verse.

This leaves us with the easy task of proving that the Tribulation is far shorter than seven years. But, there is some complexity that is difficult to understand.

Here are the most direct verses, in order of appearance:

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

 – Daniel 7:25

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+7&version=KJV

And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

 – Daniel 12:7 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+12%3A7&version=KJV

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

 – Revelation 11:3

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+11%3A3&version=KJV

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

 – Revelation 12:6

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+12%3A6&version=KJV

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

 – Revelation 12:14

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+12%3A14&version=KJV

All of those verses are pretty clear. None of them say seven years or seven of anything. They all say three and a half or 3.45 years.

The Confusing Part

Here is where the Bible begins throwing us curve balls:

 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
 
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

 – Daniel 8:13-14

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+8%3A13-14&version=KJV

Two thousand and three hundred days is 6.3 years. That’s not seven years. It’s not three and a half years. It’s not 3.45 years. It’s 6.3 years – unless… each year is a day, which doesn’t seem to work very well. But, as I think about this, there is the possibility that we’re talking about the 2300 year period from Alexander the Great, until now.

At the moment, I will run with the more ‘conventional’ analysis of a day equaling a 24 hour period of time. The focus of Daniel 8 was not Alexander The Great, but the Last Days. But, please feel free to discuss this in the comment section, below. I value your input.

So, back to the two thousand and three hundred days…

Why is there a difference of 1040 days?

I can’t be sure. But, I believe that those extra days include the period of time when the Antichrist is rising and sweeping through the world – but has not yet proclaimed himself to be a god. I am NOT dogmatic on this, so feel free to share your own thoughts on this.

Or, as Michael from The Bay Area is wont to say:

What do I have wrong?

(Michael is a MUCH nicer guy than I am!)

ANOTHER Mystery

But, let’s not stop there. Let’s more to the mystery with Daniel 12:8-13:

8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

 – Daniel 12:8-13

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+12%3A8-13&version=KJV

So, we now have two additional numbers in addition to the 1260 days:

1290

1335

I am going to try and align the numbers, and you can check my work.

1260 – This appears to be the period of specific and active genocide

2300 – The Antichrist rises, but spends the first thousand days gathering power. Persecution might begin, but it doesn’t go global – yet.

1290 – This appears to include an initial 30 days, where people are not allowed to worship openly. I am thinking of the first 30 days as something of a warning. Having said that, this is not what the passage actually says.

1335 – Then, there appears to be an additional 45 days tacked on to the end of the 1290. And, you will be ‘extra blessed’ if you make it through those 45 days.

And yes, I invite you to check my work. When you get a little too close to something, it’s easy to not see the mistakes that you make. So, please provide your input.

Now, where was I… ah yes. Those extra 45 days in verse 12 (the 1335 days), has me extremely puzzled:

Does this mean that you have a choice over that remaining 45 days?

Could there be an attempt at deception, where everything seems to be fine for those who survive the 1290 days?

Do they have the chance of doing something stupid during the last 45 days?

I’m sure that I will ponder this for a very long time. Hopefully, VERY long. In fact, I would be happy to live a long life and die of old age and never see the answer. I would be happy to have a younger generation deal with this, somewhere in the far and distant future. But, the Bible has not provided this luxury to our generation.

Conclusion

So, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the Great Tribulation is NOT seven years long.

(wild applause)

The bad news is that there WILL be a Tribulation, and you are going through it, unless you die of old age. The hard part will be about three and a half years, but it will probably feel like a million.

The Apostle John saw the pain and suffering that we are going to go through. He knew that it was going to be unimaginably difficult, but his words were:

…Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

(Revelation 22:20)

For whatever reason, the suffering of the Great Tribulation is necessary. And, it MUST come before Jesus returns. So, I accept it and look forward to it. Though I tremble at the thought of it…

…Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

 

I truly hope that you’ll be ready for this

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.Proverbs 22:3

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If you find a flaw in my reasoning, have a question, or wish to add your own viewpoint, leave a comment on the website. Your input is truly welcome.

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3 thoughts on “How Long is the Tribulation?”

  1. John:

    The apostle Paul talks about a rapture in I Thessalonians 4:16-18. When will it happen in reference to the Great Tribulation of 3.5 years? I believe that it will happen before the Great Tribulation begins.

    • Hi Don,

      Um… that verse is proof that the Rapture happens after the Tribulation!

      Please think carefully about this.

      When does Jesus return?

      After the Tribulation.

      So, why are you saying that this is proof of a Pretribulation Rapture?

      I am puzzled by your statement, Don.

      Yours in Christ,

      John Little
      omegashock.com

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