The Tribulation Period :: by Kent Crockett

The Tribulation Period is the last 7 years on earth before Jesus returns at His Second Coming. Daniel gaves us a “prophetic clock” which predicts the first and second comings of the Messiah (Dan. 9:24-27).

Daniel’s 70 Weeks Prophecy

This prophetic clock is split up into three sections:

  1. The first 69 weeks (of years), or 483 years.  The Jews not only had a week of days, but also a week of years. (See Gen. 29:27-30, Lev. 25:4,8).  This prophecy clearly refers to the week of years.  The clock will tick for 483 years, then the Messiah will be revealed.
  2. The clock stops, creating a gap in time of many centuries.  We are currently living in this time gap, waiting for the clock to start ticking again.
  3. The clock starts ticking again sometime in the future when the Antichrist confirms a covenant with Israel for 7 years.  At the end of the 7 years, the Messiah will be revealed a second time.

The clock began ticking when the Artaxerses signed a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 445 B.C. (Dan. 9:25, Neh. 2:1-8).  The first 69 weeks was fulfilled when Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the Messiah on Palm Sunday (Luke 19: 37-44).  The clock stopped ticking on that day.

After the clock stopped, two things were to happen before the clock could start ticking again: The Messiah was “cut off” (crucifixion) and Jerusalem was destroyed, which happened in 70 A.D. (Dan. 9:26).

The clock will start ticking again for the last week of years when the Antichrist confirms a covenant with Israel for 7 years (Dan. 9:27).  In the middle of the 7 years, he will stop the sacrifices in the temple, thus splitting the Tribulation Period into two halves.

For further study, I highly recommend Daniel’s Prophecy of the 70 Weeks, by Alva J. McClain, Zondervan Books, 1974.

The Abomination of Desolation

Daniel informs us that the Antichrist will stop the sacrifices in the Jewish temple “in the middle of the week,” splitting the 7 years into two sections of 3 1/2 years.  This act is referred to as the “abomination of desolation” (Dan. 9:27).  Paul also speaks of the abomination when he informs us the Antichrist will take his seat in the Jewish Temple and declare himself to be God (2 Thess. 2:3-4).  Jesus said, “Therefore when you see the Abomination of Desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place [Jewish rebuilt temple] (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matt. 24:15-16).

“Let the reader understand.”  What is the reader (someone reading his or her Bible) supposed to understand?  That when they see the Antichrist go into the temple, there are only 3 1/2 years left until the Second Coming!  The Antichrist will be destroyed on the same day Jesus returns to earth. (2 Thess. 2:8, Rev. 19:20).

It’s clear that the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation are talking about the same things.  Daniel gives us generalities, Revelation gives us the details.  Most of the book of Revelation deals with the last 3 1/2 years on earth. The chart below depicts the scripture verses that pertain to each half of the Tribulation.

7 years of Tribulation

3 1/2 years 3 1/2 years
1,260 days (Rev. 11:3) 42 months (Rev. 11:2, 13:5)
Two witnesses prophesy 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6)
Time, times, and a 1/2 time

(Rev. 12:14, Dan 7:25, 12:7)

 On the 1,260th day, these things will happen…

It is amazing that Daniel, Paul, John, and Jesus all warn us about the 1,260th day, the exact middle of the 7 years.  On that day:

  • The Antichrist will stop the sacrifices in the rebuilt Jewish Temple (Dan. 9:27).
  • He will take his seat in the Temple, displaying himself as being God (2 Thess. 2:4).
  • He will kill the two witnesses (Rev. 11:7).
  • He will set up the “abomination of desolation” (Matt. 24:15, Dan. 9:27, 12:11).
  • The Jews will flee to the mountains (Matt. 24:15).