Also Known As The Time Of Jacob's Trouble
What Jeremiah saw
We are first introduced to the time of the Tribulation in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, and the prophet calls it the time of 'Jacob's trouble' because it will primarily center on the Jews in Israel. This is our first clue as to who will go through the Tribulation and who it will affect. As we have shown throughout this series on the Rapture, when Jesus returns for His Church, made up of believing Jews and Gentiles, and 'catches them away' to be with Him in Heaven, the Bible says that God will once again focus on the Jews, and the great and terrible time of the Great Tribualtion will begin. And that's why Jeremiah calls it the time of 'Jacob's' trouble - because it's about the Jews even though it will have ramifications that affects the entire world.
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall
be shortened." Matthew 24: 21
There are those that would interpret this passage in Matthew to mean the fall and destruction of Jerusalem in70 AD at the hands of the Romans, but could not possible fit. This tribulation that Jesus refers to is the greatest tribulation that this world
will ever see, eclipsing even that of Hitler's Holocaust which killed 12,000,000 people, half of those being Jews. So let's once again turn to our friend Clarence Larkin and see what the bible has to see about this soon to be fulfilled prophecy of Scripture.
The Tribulation is focused on the Jews and Israel
"Turning to the Old Testament we find in Jer. 30:4-6, that it is the time of "Jacob's Trouble," and is compared in its sufferings to the "birth-pangs" of a woman. In Eze 26:34 it is spoken of as the time when-Israel shall "Pass under the Rod; " and in Eze. 22:19-21, we read how that God is going to cast Israel into His "Melting Pot, " where they are to be refined as "gold is refined." See also Mal. 3:1-3, and Zech. 13:9. Daniel speaks of it as a "Time of Trouble" for his people, the Jews. Dan. 12:1.
From these references we see that "The Great Tribulation" is something that has to do with the Jewish people, and is a judgment through which they must pass as a "refining process" to fit them to again be God's chosen people. Indirectly the Gentiles will be affected by it, but the Church will be "caught out" before that "Great and Terrible Day of the Lord."
The Prophet Daniel in his Vision of the "Seventy Weeks" (Dan. 9:20-22) was told that it would be 69 weeks from the going forth of the Edict "to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince." Those were "Prophetic Weeks, " in which each week stood for "seven years, " and they were literally fulfilled, for it was exactly 483 years of 360 days, from the going forth of that Edict, B.C. 445, until Jesus rode in triumph into Jerusalem, A. D. 30, and was hailed as the promised Son of David.
Within a week the Jews had Jesus crucified and then "God's Clock" stopped, and the remaining "one" week, the "Seventieth, " has still to be fulfilled. In the meantime, in the break between the "sixty-ninth" and "seventieth" week, the Holy Spirit is gathering out the Church, and when it is complete it will be taken away, and then "God's Clock" will begin to tick again, because He will again be dealing with. His People the Jews.
It is during this last, or "Seventieth Week" of Daniel's "Seventy Weeks, " that the Tribulation is to occur, and as the "weeks" of the already fulfilled "sixty-nine" weeks, were each "seven years" in length, so this last, or "Seventieth Week, " must be the same. The length then of the "Tribulation Period" should be "seven years, " but Jesus tells us in Matt. 24:22, that for the "ELECT'S SAKE" Those Days Shall Be Shortened. Not the "Elect" of the Church, for they are "caught out" before the Tribulation, but the "Elect" of Israel, the 144, 000 "Sealed Ones" of Rev. 7:1-3. source - Dispensational Truth by Larkin
The coming restoration of the Jews
I have always found it interesting that in the very end of Time, God decides to wrap things up in the same place and with the same people that He started with - the Jews and in Israel. You have to remember that the Jews are the one who wrote the New Testament, and in the early church there was no such thing as a non-Jewish Christian. We Gentiles are forever indebted to the Jews for that. This is what Paul says in the book of Romans -
"Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in [his] goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree?" Romans 11: 20-24
See what Paul is telling us? That we Gentiles (non-Jews) have been 'grafted in' to the Olive Tree that is Israel and the Jews, and as such we should not be "boasting' but we should have respect and fear. Because it is a special privledge to be grafted into the family of God, and Paul promised that the Day is coming when the Jews will once again recover from their 'blindness' and see for themselves that Yeshua is indeed the Promised Messiah, and this is what will happen to them -
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Romans 11: 25-27
When Israel was restored on May 14, 1948 (click here to read about that fulfillment of prophecy), that was just the beginning of God's Plan in the end times for the Jews.
The character of the Tribulation
While the "Tribulation Period" shall last for about seven years, as to its severity it will be divided into two parts of three and a half years each. The second or last part so far exceeding in its severity the first part as to be known as "The GREAT TRIBULATION."
Click image to view full-size chart by Clarence Larkin
What was to happen during Daniel's "Seventieth Week" was not revealed to Daniel. He received a communication which he did not understand and was told to "seal the Book up until the Time of the End." Dan. 12:4, Dan. 12:8, Dan. 12:9. All Daniel knew was that the contents of the Book had reference to the "Time of Trouble" that should befall his People at the "Time of the End" (of their sorrows), not the "End of Time." What that "Sealed Book" contained is no longer a Mystery, for the Apostle John saw the "seals" of that Book broken, and was told to record what it contained. The "Seven-Sealed Book" of the Book of Revelation is the Book that Daniel was told to seal up.
If we want to know then about what is to happen during the Tribulation, all we have to do is to read and study the Book of Revelation from Rev. 6:1 to 19:2 to 19:1.
As the Dragon is cast out of the Heavenlies in chapter 12, and he is cast out in the "Middle of the Week, " it follows that chapters 6 to 11 inclusive cover the "First Half" of the Week, and chapters 13 to 19 inclusive the "Second Half." See the Charts on "Revelation" and "Daniel's Seventieth Week." source - Dispensational Truth by Larkin
The Seven Seals
Revelation talks about a series of seals that are opened, as as they are it triggers certain events. Here is a brief overview of these seals and what will happen when they are opened. All the seals occur in the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation, or the first half of Daniel's 70th week.
Between the sounding of the "Sixth" and "Seventh Trumpets" there will be an "Interval, " just as there was between the breaking of the "Sixth" and "Seventh Seals." During this "Interval" a "Mighty Angel" will come down from Heaven having a "Little Book" (open) in his hand. This "Mighty Angel" will be Christ Himself, for the description of Him corresponds with chapter 1:12-14, and as His "voice" is like that of a Lion, this identifies Him as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah of chapter 5:5; and in chapter 11:3, He speaks of the "Two Witnesses" as "My Witnesses." When the "Mighty Angel" shall set His "Right Foot" on the "sea, " and His "Left Foot" on the "earth, " and lift up His hand to Heaven, and swear that there shall be "Time no longer" He shall take formal possession of the Earth. The expression, "Time no longer, " should read, as in the Revised Version (margin), "No longer delay, " for Time does not end until the close of the "Perfect Age." While Christ at this time will take formal possession of the earth, actual possession will not be secured until He comes again to the Mt. of Olives, at the close of the Tribulation.
As awesome and as terrible as these 7 Seal Judgments are, they are only the beginning of the Tribulation periond. After these will follow the seven Trumpet Judgments and the seven Vial Judgments. And it all leads up to the Battle of Armegeddon. This period will last, in total, apporximately 7 years as God cleanses the earth, restores the Jewish people and uses them to bring the glorious Gospel of Yeshua Ha'Maschaich around the world one more time.