Jesus Explains the Tribulation and End Times

The end of the world is easier to comprehend when we can compare it to the world around us. That is what Jesus does in Luke 21.

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Updated May 08, 2024
Jesus Explains the Tribulation and End Times

The "Tribulation," according to the Bible, refers to a future period marked by significant suffering and divine judgment. It is primarily discussed in the New Testament, particularly in the Book of Revelation, but also in the Gospels and the Epistles.

In Luke 21, Jesus preaches a sermon about the End of the World. The end of the world is easier to comprehend when we can compare it to the world around us. That is what Jesus does. He pointed to things they knew and said amplify that, multiply that exponentially, and then you will understand what is coming. Basically, Jesus describes a Global Final Holocaust-not merely of Jews and Christians but of humans!

Within that message is what amounts to a survival guide for believers who have to exist during the Final Holocaust.

Tribulation Definition

In Christianity, the Tribulation refers to a prophesied period of severe hardship and divine judgment described in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament's Book of Revelation. This period is characterized by a sequence of catastrophic events such as widespread wars, devastating natural disasters, famines, and plagues. It is believed to last for seven years, divided into two parts, with the latter half known as the "Great Tribulation" due to its increased intensity. Central to this period is the rise of the Antichrist, a deceptive global leader who opposes God and persecutes believers. 

The Tribulation serves multiple divine purposes: a time of judgment for the unrepentant, a means of purifying and preparing the faithful, and a crucial phase in unfolding God's salvific plan. It culminates with the Second Coming of Christ, who will defeat the Antichrist and establish His millennial reign on Earth. Interpretations of the Tribulation vary among Christian denominations, with some viewing these events as literal and imminent, while others see them as symbolic or historical.

Key Aspects of the Tribulation

Duration: The Tribulation is often described as lasting for seven years. This period is divided into two halves, each lasting three and a half years. The second half is sometimes called the "Great Tribulation" due to its increased severity.

Events: The Tribulation will include catastrophic events, such as wars, famines, plagues, and natural disasters. These events are often interpreted through the imagery of seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls of wrath described in the Book of Revelation.

Antichrist: A key figure during the Tribulation is the Antichrist, a deceptive leader who will gain global influence and demand worship, opposing God.

Purpose: The Tribulation serves multiple purposes in biblical prophecy. It is a time of judgment for the wicked and unrepentant, a period of purification for God’s people, and an opportunity for the final outpouring of God’s grace through evangelism.

Second Coming of Christ: The culmination of the Tribulation is the return of Jesus Christ to Earth, defeating the Antichrist and establishing His millennial reign.

Will Christians Experience the Great Tribulation?

Although the believers He is addressing are Tribulation saints, Jewish believers, and those saved through the ministry of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and the Two Witnesses, the lessons have deep implications for us living in the days just prior to those events.

For us today, Christ's words call us to be ready for the onset of the worst time in history. It will begin after the Church is raptured, but the climate of the Tribulation is already here. Are you prepared to survive the storms before the final storm?

Several years ago, across the world, dignitaries marked the 60th Anniversary of the liberation of the grisly death camp complex called Auschwitz.

Hitler's Holocaust, horrible as it was murdering over six million Jews alone—pales when compared to the Final Holocaust. Briefly, here are the facts:

About 1.5 million people died at Auschwitz, of whom about 1.2 million were Jewish. That means that 1/5th of the six million Jews exterminated by Hitler died in this complex. Other groups of people who died included Polish political prisoners, Soviet prisoners of war, Gypsies, people with disabilities and prisoners of conscience or religious faith. The complex contained three camps and at least 36 sub-camps which were built outside the town of Oswiecim, on an isolated 40 sq km site, between 1940 and 1942.

There is an incredible comparison that can be drawn from Auschwitz and the Great Tribulation.

• Most scholars see the first half of the seven year final period of the earth's history to be relatively normal. It is the second half that seems to have the incredible destruction, demon armies and death. So in Bible terms, the Great Tribulation lasts 3 ½ years or 42 months.
• Auschwitz opened its doors to death by gas chamber on September 3rd 1941. The advance of the Soviet Army closed down the camp on January 27th 1945. The death camp of the Holocaust was operating for 3 ½ years or 42 months.
• So the death camp at Auschwitz and the Great Tribulation last almost exactly the same length of time. That is where the comparison stops. The Final Holocaust is so terrifying, so deadly, so inescapable that God personally steps in to stop it lest not one human be left alive!

Events of the Tribulation

In the Great Tribulation, 2 ½ million die every day for 42 months. In Auschwitz, less than a thousand died each day. That means 2500x as many people die every day. Or, to put it in Auschwitz terms—the number of people that died every day at Auschwitz will die every 30 seconds in the Great Tribulation! Or, in other terms, living on earth will be like living in an Auschwitz death camp—and in the death toll, there will be the equivalent of an Auschwitz Holocaust twice a day for 42 months!

A brief look through the pages of Revelation chapters six, eight, nine, and sixteen--describe the living hell you can avoid if you are saved this morning. Here are only a few of the dreadful disasters that take place during the Tribulation:

- One out of every two people will die during the Tribulation (see Rev. 6:8 and onward), some through the ravages of war, others by starvation, and amazingly many others by the 'beasts of the earth.' So, whether by death that comes instantly and thus less dreaded or a slow and painful death that is lingering and agonizing-50 percent of all people will die. The world's population was 6,415,574,176 yesterday, so at least 3,207,500,000 will die. That amounts to just about eleven times the current population of the United States. Can you imagine that? And remember that the population of the world is doubling every 39.5 years. So, every day, the number of people who will die becomes larger and larger.

Bible Facts of the Tribulation

- One-third of all vegetation will be burned up. All grass, every tree, everything green will be destroyed (see Rev. 8:7).

- The sun and the moon will be darkened as nature goes into revolt (see Rev. 8:12).

- The gates of hell will open and hordes of locusts, the size of horses, will come upon the earth. Those locusts will be allowed to sting men like scorpions, and the pain will last for five months. The Bible says men will beg God to let them die but they will not die (see Rev. 9:3-6).

- There will be worldwide famine unlike anything the world has ever seen (see Rev. 18:8).

- There will be a world war so bloody that the blood of those killed in battle will flow for two hundred miles up to the bridle of a horse in the valley of Jezreel. This will be the Battle of Armageddon (see Rev. 14:20).

- All told, during the Great Tribulation, as many as half of all the people on the earth will be killed. Now, do you see why God refers to the Rapture as a 'blessed hope'? Because the Tribulation to come is so horrible!

But that means we are gone and will escape everything, right? Yes, exactly. We will miss every part of the TRIBULATION, but we will probably go through some of the worst days we have ever seen before it starts. And that is what Jesus is pointing out to us in Luke 21 where we open in God's Word today.

In Luke 21, we see the end of everyone's life as it was. Time stops. Life ends. Nothing is the same again. Christ's Coming simply reveals what people have been all the time. Paul tells us later that "each man's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it" (1 Corinthians 3:13).

Remember what we have already learned from Luke 21:36. - "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

The dangers Jesus warned of are what His church has faced from the beginning. There have always been deceiving teachers, persecution, and disasters. But what He says is that each of these areas will increase and intensify as Christ's Coming draws near.

There will be religious deception (Luke 21:8). "Be not deceived!" is Christ's admonition to us, and we must take it to heart.

Luke 21:8 And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them.

Use these Scriptures to gain wisdom and understanding of the End Times and to witness to those around you! How great a message we have for those who can escape the Great Tribulation! 

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Ig0rZh

This article is part of our larger End Times Resource Library. Learn more about the rapture, the anti-christ, bible prophecy and the tribulation with articles that explain Biblical truths. You do not need to fear or worry about the future!

Battle of Armageddon
Signs of the End Times
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Seventh Seal Opened
What Is the Death Angel?


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