Lord, Get Me Outta Here! February 2003
Why the Tribulation?
This month I'd like to take a step back and look at something very fundamental to our understanding of the period of time commonly referred to as the Tribulation, and therefore the rapture. This may seem like a silly question, but do you know why the Tribulation will take place? There's been enough hype over the years that just about everyone - Christian and non-Christian alike - believes that something cataclysmic is going to happen, but not many could say why.
Some people probably believe that God will simply have had His fill and finally let go of the restraint He's shown for all these years and really let mankind have it. After all, don't we deserve it? Those who don't believe in God, or that there is a God at all, hold the view that the earth will have had enough of us troublesome humans and try and rid herself of us. But this period of time, also known as the 70th Week of Daniel, will come about for a very specific reason and with a very specific purpose.
In the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel we read that Daniel had been studying Scripture - the prophet Jeremiah to be exact. He knew the words that the Lord had spoken to the prophet and Daniel went to prayer in order that God's purposes would indeed come to pass. (Daniel's prayer, which is recorded in this chapter is a wonderful model. So is his praying for God's word to pass rather than trying to stay God's hand.) It was during Daniel's time of confession, prayer and supplication that he was interrupted by an angelic visitor. In verse 24 of this chapter the heavenly visitor explains to Daniel that seventy weeks of years (or 490 years) have been decreed upon Daniel's people and upon their holy city, Jerusalem. Who are Daniel's people? The Jews. So, these 490 years are decreed upon the Jews and upon Jerusalem. Why? to finish and put an end to transgression, to seal up and make full the measure of sin, to purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin, to bring in everlasting righteousness (permanent moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) to seal up vision and prophecy and prophet, and to anoint a Holy of Holies.
In verses 25-27 the weeks of years are then broken down into two terms: 69 weeks of years and the final, or 70th week of years. The first 69 weeks comes to a close when the Anointed One is cut off or killed. This came to pass with the crucifixion of the Messiah. The 70th week is to begin when a prince (of the people who came and destroyed Jerusalem) comes and enters into a covenant with Israel for one week or seven years. Because there is a separation of the 70th week from the previous 69, we don't have a set time that is to transpire between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th. All we know is when the 69th ended and when the 70th will begin.
The 70th week of Daniel is the seven year period that is commonly called the Tribulation. From this passage - one of many in the Old Testament that speaks of this time period - we can clearly see that the focus of this decree is the Jewish people and Jerusalem, not on the body of Christ. I believe if we understand this very basic truth about this time period which is yet to come many fears can be put to rest and some of the passages in Scripture which seem so puzzling will fall into place. Without taking the whole of Scripture into account on not just this topic, but every issue in the Bible, we will find ourselves seriously lacking and in danger of gross error.
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