How exactly do we know that the tribulation is indeed seven years?
There are many different ideas and theories as to the proper method to calculate the times of the tribulation. There are two schools of thought on this. The first school believes that the tribulation runs three and a half years in length. The second believes that the tribulation runs an entire seven years.
Make no mistake – your position on this is a direct reflection of the faith you hold in God. More on this in a moment.
We will demonstrate that God directly ordered a full seven year tribulation. The belief that it lasts only three and a half years is a doctrine of men that rely upon their own efforts to interpret scripture.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 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.
This block of scripture – known as the prophecy of 70 weeks, Daniel’s 70 weeks, or as the prophecy of the 70th week if we are looking primarily at the last of the 70 weeks for insight on the end times.
This block of scripture breaks the 70 weeks into three periods of seven weeks, 62 weeks and a final week, for a total of seventy weeks. The first two blocks of time, which total 69 weeks are set to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the Second Temple and the crucifixion of Christ. This is also the prophecy which stands as the back story to something we see in the Gospels. In Luke, chapter two we learn of a priest named Simeon. We find that Simeon had the Holy Spirit with him, and that Simeon would not die until after he had seen the Messiah.
What should be understood in this is that Simeon was not simply hoping that the Messiah would come in his day. Rather, the nation of Israel knew that this was about the time their Messiah was to come. They had the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks as a guide. They did not know the exact time that Messiah would come to earth, only that it would be about this certain time.
They knew the times and the seasons, yet only the Father knew exactly when Messiah would come.
This is why Simeon sought to witness the Messiah before he passed. He was faithful in all things and found favor with God. The Holy Spirit descended upon him and gave him a promise. Indeed, that promise was fulfilled when Jesus was presented on the 8th day of his life for purification at the Temple.
After the death and resurrection of Christ and the destruction of the Temple, 69 of the 70 weeks were complete. This leaves one final week – the 70th week – unfulfilled. A cursory examination of the scripture shows us that the final week is fulfilled in the end times, during what is commonly called the tribulation.
To answer a common question, the time between the 69th and 70th week is measured in covenant and decree time. That means the prophetic calendar starts and stops with covenants and decrees. In this case it stopped when Israel rejected the new covenant offered by Christ. It will restart when Israel accepts the false covenant offered by the Antichrist. Israel rejected Christ and destruction followed. They will accept the Antichrist and destruction will follow once again.
Here is an interesting parallel that shows the relationship between Israel, the Throne of David and the 70 weeks:
The Throne of David established in Jerusalem to the advent of Christ – 1,000 years.
The advent of Christ to the destruction of Israel and the Temple – 70 years.
Now, watch this:
Rebirth of Israel to the advent of Christ – 70 years.
Advent of Christ to the completion of the Throne of David – 1,000 years.
Think of it this way:
David’s throne is established in Jerusalem
Christ comes to Israel
70 years – the rejecting of the true covenant
Israel scattered and Jerusalem taken
The long captivity in foreign lands
Israel returns and Jerusalem restored
70 years – the accepting of the false covenant
Christ comes to Israel
David’s throne is completed in Jerusalem
That is the pattern that plays out with regards to the 69th and 70th week, the long space between them and why the 70th week has to come. You see, Israel is “unfinished business”. Soon that will change.
Now, we get to the heart of the matter – how long is the tribulation? Is it seven years or is it three and a half years? The first, best indicator of the timing of the tribulation is found in the three scriptures above.
It is important to understand the timing of the tribulation. The vast majority of false doctrine regarding the soon return of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ hinges on the tribulation being three and a half years in length, and not seven years. A three and a half year tribulation allows the deceived to justify reordering the Book of Revelation to stack the judgments that fall into something other than the chronological order in which they are given. Never mind that the Lord himself dictated the number and order of the judgments. If the Lord declared them to be of a certain number, then this is exactly what He means.
We know that the total time period is 70 prophetic weeks. We know that 69 of the 70 prophetic weeks were fulfilled by the time the Temple was destroyed. However, the most important piece of the puzzle is the start of the 70th week. Let’s look again at the scripture:
27 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.
We see that the 70th week starts with the treaty with Israel. This is one of the few points that most Biblical scholars agree upon, regardless of whether or not they hold to seven years or three and a half years. However, this is where some make a critical mistake in their studies.
“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.”
There are many that point to this piece of scripture as proof that the tribulation is only three and a half years in length. They take this assumption and pair it with the rest of the timing scriptures that also indicate three and a half year increments. From this they conclude that the tribulation is indeed only three and a half years, and thus the Book of Revelation delivers all of its judgments in just three and a half years.
Here is the critical mistake:
While the Antichrist does indeed break a seven year treaty in three and a half years, the total prophecy still calls for a full 70th week. Even though the treaty is broken at its midpoint, it does not cancel out the rest of the week. Remember this – it is not the prophecy of 69 and a half weeks:
It is the prophecy of 70 weeks. That is 70 full weeks.
The single most important reason that the tribulation runs a full seven years is that God told Daniel that the 70th week is indeed a full week. Also, when we examine the original language we see that the wording used in the original Hebrew is indeed a week of years. Also, there are no scriptures in the Bible that assigns a different definition or timing value to the 70th week. It is, and always has been, a week or collection of seven years.
There are other proofs that the tribulation does indeed run the seven years, and not three and a half years. When you carefully examine the different time frames given for the various elements of the tribulation, you find that they apply to the subject at hand. Stated differently, those individual time elements apply specifically to the events described. For instance, when Daniel 9:27 tells us that the Antichrist breaks the treaty in three and a half years. That time frame is applicable to that event alone. It does not cut the tribulation by half – only the life of the treaty.
We see this demonstrated in Daniel, chapter 11. At verse 11:21 we see the rise of the Antichrist. In verse 22 we see what will be the battle outlined in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Then, in verse 23 we have the point in time where the treaty is signed. As we know from Daniel 9:24-27, this is what starts the tribulation, or the 70th week.
Now, from Daniel 11:24 to 11:30 we see the exploits of the Antichrist as be brings the beast kingdom to fruition. It is not until Daniel 11:31 that we see the Abomination of Desolation occur. We know from the Book of Revelation that there is yet another 1,260 days set to occur after the abomination. Logic dictates that the events detailed in Daniel 11:21-30 must occur over an extended period of time. Once complete, there is at least an additional 1,260 days yet to go.
Here is the order given in Daniel chapter 11:
9:21 – Antichrist rises, charms his way into power
9:22 – Ezekiel 38 / 39
9:23 – Treaty with Israel
<<< Start of the 70th week, Daniel 9:27 >>>
9:24 – Antichrist enters Arabia, spreads wealth, prepares for war
9:25 – War against the king of the south
9:26 – Overtakes the king of the south
9:27 – Treaty with king of the south
9:28 – Returns to Babylon with massive wealth and spoil
9:29 – At the appointed time, the Antichrist invades the south
9:30 – He is turned back, the invasion of Israel
9:31 – Abomination of Desolation / 1,260 Days remaining
All of these things occur before the period known as mid-trib, except for the Abomination of Desolation. This time period runs a minimum of 1,260 days, as determined by the timing of the two witnesses, which we will cover below – and by the signs in the heavens, which we will also cover below.
Let us examine a third proof that the tribulation is indeed a minimum of seven years.
The Book of Revelation is littered with chronological markers and pictures of events that are designed to give the proper sequence of the timing. Let us look at one set of these markers – the three woes.
The three woes in the Book of Revelation are truly under appreciated, and as such they are generally overlooked. Most confine their study to the seals, trumpets and bowls. However, every word uttered in the Bible has significance and must be studied. The three woes are no different. To the contrary – it is the three woes that set the chronology of the tribulation.
Let us start with the first woe. In Rev. 9:12 we see that the first woe is complete. Officially, the three woes begin at Rev. 8:13, and each actually begins with the blowing of the last three trumpets. From 8:13 to 9:12 we find terrible judgments that strike not just the planet in general – but these judgments fall upon men specifically. This is why they are called the “woes”. Other judgments that are general in nature can be compensated for, and survived. The woes cannot be avoided – they are people specific.
So, in Rev. 9:12 we see that the first woe is complete, or passed. It is critical to note the timing. The first woe is tied to the completion of the fifth trumpet. More on this in a moment.
Now, let us look at the second woe. We find the second woe in Rev. 11:13.
In Rev. 11:13 we find that 7,000 people have died as the result of an earthquake in Jerusalem. Likewise, the rest of the city fears God for this and gives him glory. As it was with the first woe, the second woe likewise fell upon specific people for a specific purpose.
Here is the critical part of the equation.
The second woe is tied to the start of the 6th trumpet and the two witness revealed in chapter 11. In chapter 11 we see that the rebuilding of the Temple, announcing the judgments of God and striking down those that come against the Temple are a part of the two witnesses and their calling. Also, they are decreed to stand for 1,260 days. This is important to understand. Many simply assume that the 1,260 day extends from chapter 11 forward. It does not. The 1,260 days end at Rev. 11:7.
The second woe is completed at the end of the 1,260 days of the two witnesses. They are overtaken by the Antichrist – who has just invaded Israel. They are killed and lay dead in the streets for three days. After the three days they are resurrected and raptured back to heaven. This results in an earthquake that finishes the second woe.
What must be remembered is that the completion of the second woe FOLLOWS the 1,260 days of the two witnesses. This is a direct designation by the Bible. This means that 1,260 days have progressed since the signing of the treaty with Israel – and BEFORE the second woe.
The second woe is then followed by the 7th trumpet and the start of the third woe – which runs the entire length of the second 42 months of the tribulation, which begins after the abomination of desolation. We see the commencement of the third woe in chapter 12, at verses 12 and 17 (the official start is the blowing of the 7th trumpet, but we see the stated effect for the first time at 12:12, after the Beast and False Prophet are introduced). This tells us that the third woe – like the first and second – is people specific. We find that the third woe commences after the remnant of Israel flees Jerusalem, and the Antichrist is stopped from harming them. It is now that he turns his attention to the rest of the saints. It is now that he heaps woe upon any that call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Also, the second woe is completed BEFORE the seventh trumpet. This is extremely critical.
We can sum up the chronology of the three woes in this manner:
The first woe is complete at fifth trumpet in Rev. 9:12.
The third woe starts after the abomination of desolation, in Rev. 12:17 – and runs the length of the 1,260 of the second half of the tribulation.
The completion of second woe comes at the end of the 1,260 days of the two witnesses. It also begins with the sixth trumpet – just before the seventh trumpet.
That tells us that a minimum of 1, 263 days have progressed BEFORE the 7th trumpet is sounded.
This is only possible if the tribulation runs the entire length of seven years – or the full 70th week.
Lets take a moment and put all of this together in more of a graphic form to make it easier to digest. Here is the scripture critical to this exercise:
From Revelation chapter 11:
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
This gives the witnesses 1,260 days.
7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
This declares that they die after those 1,260 days.
11 And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
This tells us that they are dead three days. Running total puts us at 1,263 days.
13-14 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.~
And there we have it – the earthquake and 7,000 dead complete the second woe. The second woe did not come before the 1,260 days of the witnesses. It came after.
So, lets put this all together:
6:1 – Seal one
6:3 – Seal two
6:5 – Seal three
6:7 – Seal four
6:9 – Seal five
6:12 – Seal six / Opening signs in the heavens – the start to the day of the Lord:
The sun turned to darkness, And the moon to blood – Joel 2:31*
And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood – Revelation 6:12*
* The blood moon is different than the darkened moon
<<< The start of the 1,260 days of the witnesses (you will see this in a minute) >>>
8:1 – Seventh seal – silence for the space of about a half hour
8:7 – Trumpet one
8:8 – Trumpet two
8:10 – Trumpet three
8:12 – Trumpet four
9:1 – Trumpet five
9:12 – Woe one
9:14 – Trumpet six
11:14 – Woe two – see above ^^^. Finished at the earthquake which comes after the death and resurrection of the two witnesses.
11:15 – Trumpet seven – Judgment Seat of Christ
12:12 – Woe three begins – runs the rest of the tribulation
<<< The 1,260 days of the witnesses are complete. Otherwise, they would not have died three days before woe number two occurred. >>>
Let’s examine the rest of the timeline in Revelation:
12:6 – The 1,260 days of the Jews in the wilderness begins.
12:12 – Woe three begins
16:2 – Vial one
16:3 – Vial two
16:4 – Vial three
16:8 – Vial four
16:10 – Vial five
16:12 – Vial six
16:17 – Vial seven
19:11 – Second Coming / closing signs in the heavens
The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining – Joel 3:15**
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light – Matthew 24:29**
** The emphasis here is the darkened moon, or the moon that does not give her light – not the blood moon which still gives its light.
We can emphasize this a bit further. Scripture shows the Day of the Lord beginning with the signs in the heavens. That places the start of the 1,260 days of the witnesses after the 6th seal, at the 7th.
As we noted above, there are distinct differences between the signs that come. Here are the signs in the heavens, showing there differences and placement.
Joel 2:31 KJV – The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.
Revelation 6:12 KJV – And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
Not to be confused with the similar signs that declare the Second Coming, which call for the moon to be darkened as opposed to turned to blood (lunar eclipse gives us the blood moon – the new moon gives us the blackened moon)
Matthew 24:29 KJV – Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Joel 3:12-15 KJV – Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
For those of you keeping score at home, that is 1,263 days from 6th seal to second woe.
The section on “Time, Times and a Dividing of Times” has more on the timing, and why the first six seals are not a part of the seven year tribulation, yet are a part of the eight years that pass from the rapture and the Second Coming.
Also, the “Coming Signs” page goes into greater detail concerning the signs in the heavens.
I think it bears repeating. We have presented three separate evidences for the full seven years. However, evidence two and three should be unnecessary. You see, God gave Daniel a vision of 70 weeks of prophecy. God broke it into three parts – seven weeks, 62 weeks, and a final week.
That is the key – God declared a full 70 weeks. Not 69 and a half weeks.
This alone should be enough. If you find yourself still doubting the full seven years after you read this, then it is your faith – not God’s timing that is the issue. Maybe God declaring a full 70 weeks is not enough for you.
I assure you – it IS enough for me.
As it was stated earlier – the belief in a three and a half year tribulation is a direct indication of your faith in the God of the Bible. If you are seeking your own understanding to these things then you are not seeking his. As such, you have been blinded. The three woes and their chronology are hidden in plain sight. The signs in the heaven – specifically the blood moon that starts the tribulation, and the dark moon that ends the tribulation. Likewise, the requirement that the 70th week is indeed a full week is also hidden in plain sight.
They are unavoidable. They have been there the entire time. That leaves only one conclusion – if you cannot see them it is that God has blinded you. God does not blind those that seek him with a whole heart. God does not blind those that are seeking his will and understanding. He does not blind those that seek to replace their understanding with his own.
He blinds only those that seek their own will, and seek the will of God for one purpose alone – to prove themselves right.
The God I serve does not lie.
The tribulation IS a full seven years.
By the Numbers
After my original work on this page, the Lord required me to go just a bit further. So, I am adding what you are reading now. There are numerous timing markers in the Book of Revelation that prove the timing of the tribulation beyond doubt. Why is this important? One reason alone:
All attempts to reorder Revelation are an attempt to wipe out the promise of the soon return of the Lord.
In other words, the only way that a pre-trib rapture can be discredited, and a false doctrine put in its place is to change the order of the Bible itself. I have said it before, and I will say it again. The different positions on the rapture bicker back and forth about who is right. However, the one thing they all have in common is that pre-trib is the one position that cannot be possible. They are united in their hatred of pre-trib above all else.
That should tell all of us something.
That said, let’s take a closer look at some of the timing markers that are literally hidden in plain sight (there are more than we cover here, but this should be more than enough). We will put up an illustration, and then detail what it reveals below.
I apologize in advance for the quality of the artwork. Clearly, the Lord did not make me an artist.
As you review each of the illustrations, bear in mind that the primary timeline in the tribulation is the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments. Everything else is secondary to the judgment timeline in the tribulation.
You can click on each illustration to enlarge it for better viewing.
We will start with something we already covered – the three woes.
1. The Three woes.
In this picture, we see a graphical representation of what the Bible reveals on the timing of the three woes and the two witnesses. This shows us that the 1,260 day ministry of the two witnesses ends after the sixth trumpet, and the seventh trumpet sounds after they are resurrected.
We can also see that each of the three woes has a declared start time, and a declared ending. This is important, as it sets the timing of other things we will discuss in a moment. The start and ending of the third woe is one of the undeniable proofs of the seven year tribulation, and the timing of the two witnesses. The ending of the third woe is not readily apparent above, but it will be in the following illustrations.
The most important takeaways here are that the 1,260 days of the witnesses END before the seventh trumpet is sounded, and that the third woes goes FORWARD after the seventh trumpet. You will see the significance of this shortly.
Let’s take a closer look at the third woe.
2. The Third Woe.
In this depiction, we can see that the end of the third woe does not come until the seventh bowl is poured out. This seems to run contrary to the other two woes, but it only seems that way.
It starts at the blowing of the seventh trumpet, runs through the period known as mid-trib, and runs through the bowl judgments. We take a better look at this in the next illustration.
What we have here is a graphical representation of the space between the seventh trumpet and the first bowl. It also gets into something that we have covered elsewhere in Trib Rising – tense.
Many times in prophetic scriptures, the tense of what is being said revels the critical clues to timing. The tense of the subject will be established either through direct reference, or it will be established through the tense spoken in individual scriptures. Blocks of scripture can appear to transition back and forth between two tenses, yet the overall tense of the subject is still revealed in all the verses.
In case you are not sure what tense is, simply stated, it is a word or phrase that establishes whether or not a verse or event is past, present or future.
The two witnesses in chapter 11 are a good example of what we said first. In chapter 11, nearly each verse transitions tense. One verse will say something to the effect of “And they did”. Still, another verse may say “they are doing such and such”. We then have a verse that will reveal that “they shall do”. First we have an example of past tense, meaning that the event has already taken place. This is followed by an example of present tense, where the event is currently in process. Lastly, we have an example of future tense, where the event is yet to happen.
When the tense of a subject shifts between all three seemingly at random, then it becomes difficult to determine the overall tense without an overall timing marker. That is what we have with the two witnesses. The transitions back and forth have no bearing on the overall conversation because the blowing of the seventh trumpet tells us that everything spoken prior, likewise happened prior to the seventh trumpet.
In the Book of Revelation, chapters 12 through 15 utilize tense to set the timing of the things that have happened in contrast to the things that will happen. Generally, there is a clear indication of the tense of the subject spoken in these chapters. Here is an example of each.
12:5 – She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,
The birth and the catching up of the child are both past tense here. However, we also have a future tense indicated, in that the child is to rule with a rod of iron. As we know that this is Jesus Christ, we know that the rule of iron comes at the end of the tribulation. This verse is past tense for all intents and purposes.
12:12 – Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
The overall tense of this scripture is present, in that its core focus is the declaring of the devil’s wrath since he has come down from the heavens. Still, we have the element of past tense in the declaration that he has come down, but this is necessary to declare why there is now rejoicing and woe.
12:6 – and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
Here is an example of future tense. In this scripture we see that the woman is to be nourished for 1,260 days. We know the woman to be the Jewish remnant that flees Jerusalem and Israel after the invasion of the Antichrist. You may already seeing where this is headed, but try not to get ahead of the discussion. It will be worth the wait.
How many of you have never picked up on what you just saw in verse six?
However, as it was with the prior two examples, there are examples of the other two tenses. In verse six, the woman fled (past tense), where she has a place prepared (present tense), and then she will be nourished (future tense). Lets look at a graphic representation of 12:6 and see this more clearly:
Here is the next piece of the timing puzzle. When we look at chapters 12 through 15, what we must remember is that John has only a singular perspective – “right now”. What this means is that whatever John sees will have already happened, is happening, or will happen.
After the seventh trumpet sounded, John found himself standing and looking at a collection of events that seem almost unrelated to what he had seen with the unfolding of the seals and the trumpets. He went from watching a linear progression of events, to watching the scenes of a “movie” so to speak.
When we look at the illustration above, we get a better sense of what John is seeing. We can think of John as standing on a timeline. He is in the middle of that timeline, with events unfolding either before he reached that point, after he reached that point – or while he is standing right there. Remember, this is after the seventh trumpet, and before the first bowl.
Think of it like this. From where he is standing, he can either look into the past, or into the future. Let’s not forget the present – he can see what is right there with him.
In the graphic above, we can see the 1,260 that have passed (the witnesses that served on earth for 1,260 days – before the blowing of the seventh trumpet), and the 1,260 days that are yet to come (the time of nourishing the woman that lasts for 1,260 days). We know which is past and future by what we have seen already. We will detail this more in a moment.
We can also see the seventh trumpet and the first bowl. Between these two events is the period known as mid-trib. Remember, John is standing on a singular timeline. He is not past, present and future at the same time. Only God can do such a thing. Like us, he can only see the present of his own accord. Anything past or future must be seen in the past or in the future.
With the graphic above, we see how 12:6 is laid out.
12:6 – and the woman fled into the wilderness,
where she has a place prepared by God,
in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
That is how the graphic is laid out. Three simple pieces, each showing a critical tense to the events that are revealed. By the time John sees 12:6 unfold after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the woman has already fled Jerusalem and the Antichrist. When he sees 12:6, the place is currently prepared, and the woman has arrived.
Her nourishment will last a total of 1,260 days that have not yet happened!
This is what I call a face palm moment. How many have never caught this, even though we have all read it more times than we can count.
With all of this said, let’s go back to graphic number three, and examine the third woe a bit closer.
We said earlier that the third woe starts at the seventh trumpet, and runs through the seven bowl judgments. This is strange as it does not seem to fit the first two woes. Yet, there is a reason why this occurs as it does, and it actually fits the pattern of the first two woes more than we realize.
8:13 – Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”
This tells us that the next three trumpets will bring the next three woes.
9:12 – The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.
11:14 – The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.
These two verses tell us that the first two woes are finished. More precisely, that they have passed. The word “passed” is very specific, and it reveals something that is critical to understanding what happens with the third woe. The next verse brings the seventh trumpet, and the start of the third woe.
This is where things get interesting. In the first two woes, the blowing of the trumpet revealed an immediate plague. However, there does not seem to be a plague revealed after the seventh. Instead, we find a unique statement that gives us something incredible:
11:15 – Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
The third woe is the kingdoms of the world becoming the kingdoms of our God, and His Christ. Why exactly is this a woe? For many reasons, though the easiest to understand is this.
In a world where every last believer in Christ has been executed, and the Antichrist is worshiped as god – can you think of any other word that would describe what your life was about to become when the God you despise shows up to take issue with the world – and you?
There is one more thing that must be understood before we move forward. Verse 11:15 is an example of something we see elsewhere. It is a prophetic announcement of what must now come. It is not a declaration that something is complete. It is a declaration of what must now transpire.
Just as the declaration that the mystery of God should now be finished. That was a declaration that all the things which Daniel was told to seal up and not reveal are now to come to pass. It was not a declaration that they are complete as of that moment, but that the time has come for them to be completed. We cover this in greater detail elsewhere in Trib Rising.
Still, we need more to accurately gauge the things that are about to come. For starters, why are the three woes called “woes” in the first place?
When you look at the judgments that come prior to the fifth trumpet (the first woe), you find that they are all general in nature. Here is what I mean. Though they are terrible and complete in their scope, they can be avoided. It is a hard prospect, but it is possible. Even the judgments that are human specific such as the fourth seal. One fourth of all mankind perishes. Yet, that leaves 75 percent alive. While one out of four are not good odds, they are still in your favor.
It is when we get the the fifth trumpet that the game changes. Until now, there can still be denial as to what has happened. We detail the events that transpire with the seven seal judgments and how the Antichrist captures the hearts and imaginations of the world. After he becomes the Antichrist there will be an epidemic of denial and excuses as to why the first four trumpets are not from God, or at least not from any god that is greater than the Antichrist is seen to be. From the fifth trumpet forward, each subsequent judgment will serve a particular narrative.
It will be the Lord raining down a doom, death and destruction that cannot be ascribed to anything but the wrath of God. Each judgment that follows from the fifth trumpet forward will be people specific in its effect, and will have a singular premise. . .
Torment. No more, no less than sheer torment.
Nor can they be avoided if you are the enemy of God.
It is the same progression that followed the plagues of Egypt. Every god Egypt worshiped was humiliated in the 10 plagues that fell. So will every claim, lie and deception of Satan and the Antichrist be humiliated.
Whether the plague strikes the people directly, or they strike the earth first, it will be the torment of all ungodly men that serves as the catalyst.
And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent ofthe works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.
They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed[b] the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
People gnawed their tongues in anguish11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.
And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds[d] each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.
Understanding what the woes are, we can examine why it is that the third woes runs the entire length of the seven bowl judgments. Lets take another look at the scripture that tells us what the third woe is all about:
11:15 – Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
By now, you are getting the idea the the seven bowl judgments are going to be devastating to those that reject God. Yet, it still appears as though the third woe does not match up with the other two. The answers to this issue comes in the verses that follow the declaration in 11:15.
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants,[c] the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
We see a number of things here that are worth exploring, and do so at different points in Trib Rising. For now, there is a singular observation that captures the gist of what happens with the third woe:
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.
Understand, an examination of the first two woes reveals several things that need understood. First, each woe has a set beginning. We see this with all three woes. We also see from the first two woes that there must be a declaration that each woe has passed. We see that with the first two woes. But what about the third?
With the third woe, we do not find anything that declares the the third woe has ended, or passed. This seems to be a problem, until you understand why the word “passed” was used, as opposed to “end”. The first two woes pass, which means they come to an end. The Lord could have used the word “end”, except that “pass” is actually a prophetic reference that reveals the depth of the third woe.
So, is there nothing that declares an end in any manner that can apply to the third woe? the answer is yes.
16:17 – The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!”
This is the only reference to completion given after the third woe begins. Since the first two woes have a declared end, so must the third woe. However, it would seem that there is a discrepancy here as well. If the first two woes were declared to have passed after only one event, then how can the words “it is done” apply to the third woe after seven separate events?
When the word “passes” is used for the first two woes, it has a meaning in the Greek of “the departing of evils and suffering”. This tells us something critical. It not just that the first two woes stop. It is that the suffering and evil they bring actually departs from the suffering.
“Isn’t that the same as stopping?”
It could be argued if we did not have the third woe to contend with. Not only that, but when we examine 16:17 in the Greek, we find that “done” has the meaning of terminal condition, or the ceasing of all things related to the subject at hand. Still, both definitions seem incredibly similar in meaning, and appear to have no real distinction or difference. However, it only seems that way.
The answer resides in the understanding that the first two woes passed, and did so only after one event. The departing of the evils and miseries associated with the first two woes reveals something terrible about the third woe.
The evils and sufferings of the third woe simply does not stop.
The reason that the third woe does not “pass” as the first two woes, is that the third woe is cumulative. Here is what that means.
When the misery of the first bowl begins, it will never stop.
When the misery of the second bowl is poured out, it will never stop.
When the misery of the third bowl is poured out, it will never stop.
When the misery of the fourth bowl is poured out, it will never stop.
When the misery of the fifth bowl is poured out, it will never stop.
When the misery of the sixth bowl is poured out, it will never stop.
When the misery of the seventh bowl is poured out, it will never stop.
The third woe is not seven individual plagues that fall upon mankind. It was one terrible, unending plague that comes in seven parts, worsening beyond the point of madness with each increase. This is something that has never happened.
It is a time that was not since the foundations of the world, nor shall ever be again.
That is why the third woe stretches across the seven bowls. They are seven terrible parts to a singular event – the greatest woe to ever fall on mankind.
Each bowl is poured out, and the suffering from that bowl never stops. Then will come the next bowl, and what it brings strikes every last man and woman along with the plagues before it.
When the words “it is done” are finally uttered, the third woe will finally be done. However, the next terrible truth is revealed. Remember, the first two plagues passed. That means the evil and torment they brought likewise passed.
“It is done” does not tell us that the plagues pass. It tells us only that there is no more plagues to be added, that they have now all been poured out. In other words, as each human being suffers ALL seven of the plagues at the SAME time, all together, they do not actually pass once the seventh bowl is poured out. They continue to linger, and mankind continues to suffer.
Remember, the Second Coming of Christ does not come with the seventh bowl. It comes several months after. There is still the issue of the judgment on Mystery Babylon yet to come. Talk about insult to injury. The greatest suffering mankind has never seen will then be taken to a whole new level when all of what remains of any sustained government and provision capability is now wiped off the face of the earth in one day.
No food, no medicine, no water, no shelter from the scorching heat, no end to the seven plagues that came over three and a half years – nothing but torment, death and destruction.
As we said earlier, the third woe is consistent with the first two woes, as the seven bowls are actually seven parts to one terrible judgment.
Also, in the graphic showing the relationship between the third woe and the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of God, we also demonstrate tense as well, in showing again the example of the woman. This adds perspective to understanding how the woes set the overall timing of the tribulation.
3. The Tense in Chapters 11 through 15.
Graphics five through eight go through chapters 11 through 15, placing the different blocks of scripture into perspective based on the tense they reveal.
Each listed scripture or block of scripture will have a general title, such as “the Beast Rises”, and the associated scriptures relevant to that overall message. It is important to note something we mentioned earlier. If a block of scriptures contain verse that seem to touch on multiple tenses, it will be the overall tense that sets the timing.
As you review each chart, remember that present refers to where John is standing between the seventh trumpet and the first bowl. “Past” are the things that have come to pass already in the tribulation, and “Future” are the things that are yet to come.
4. The Overall Picture Begins to Emerge.
I graphic 9, we can draw on the scriptures and evidences above, and begin to draw the bigger picture. There are several time specific revelations in chapters 11 through 15 that make anything but a seven year tribulation impossible.
We have the 1,260 days of the two witnesses that end before the seventh trumpet.
We have the woman nourished for 1,260 days after the Antichrist invade Jerusalem and she flees.
We have the authority of the Beast, which is 42 months that start after the invasion of Jerusalem.
We have the three woes which make it impossible for somebody to try and stack all these things into a different order than what we see here.
We can go a bit further. Let’s take the different timing revelations between the seventh trumpet and first bowl, and put them in a basic graphic that shows where each sits in relation to John standing at mid-trib when each was revealed.
We can also bring in what we covered in “Coming Signs 2″ concerning the seven seal judgments that occur in the first 15 days after the rapture. We won’t go into detail here, as it is a massive subject that we already present on that page.
For now, we will simply state that the seven seals come at the start of the rapture, and before the start of the tribulation. They are a part of the Great Assembly, and herald the start of the tribulation itself.
We will also bring in the 15 days of the Temple cleansing that occurs after the Second Coming. This is a part of the revelation of the 2,300 evening mornings revealed in Daniel chapter 8. We cover this as well in “Time, Times and a Dividing of Times”.
For the record, the 2,300 hundred evening mornings are not 2,300 days. They are at most 1,150 days. The evening morning is not a day – it is the two Temple services conducted every day. Calling them 2,300 days is an incorrect assumption that was born of failing to understand what exactly the Bible was revealing.
The picture of the timing of the tribulation is starting to emerge. It is also a much more balanced and symmetrical picture than most realize. We will touch on this in a moment.
Compare the graphic above to some of the absolutely ridiculous and complicated charts, graphs and timelines that many try to sell. Without exception, if the graph you are looking at cannot be understood be even a college professor, then it as a safe bet that what you have is an attempt to deny the soon return of the Lord.
Even the three and a half year trib charts, that place the rapture at the start of the three and a half years are guilty of this. They may place the rapture towards the beginning, but it will always come after some of the judgments of the tribulation. I deal with this on several pages. This falls into the same trap as those that claim the tribulation has already started.
They know in their hearts that the rapture is the next event on the horizon.
They simply lack the faith to step out on God’s promises. It is lukewarmness at it’s worst. It is getting the “benefit” of the rapture, while living in fear of the tribulation because they lack the faith to stand and say that there is an escape coming.
Only, as Hebrews 10 tells us, they won’t actually get the benefit of the rapture. They will be destroyed for what amounts to spitting on the cross. More on this in “The Devil’s Body Count”.
5. False Doctrines on Tribulation Timing.
Graphics 11, 12 and 13 attempt to place a few of the more popular theories on the tribulation timing against what we know now.
While there are far too many interpretations out there to cover, we will touch on the three or four overriding premises. Chances are that whatever false timing doctrine you encounter will come down to one of these overall pictures.
Here in graphic 11, we have the “wrath to nowhere”. I call it this, as it follows a popular theory that the numbered judgments are somehow “stacked” on top of each other. This theory maintains that all of the numbered judgments occur at the same time. All of the “ones” hit at the same time. All of the “two’s” hit at the same time. This happens all the way through the seventh judgment.
This doctrine usually occurs with belief in a three and a half year tribulation, though not always.
It’s major error is that at the sixth seal, the wrath of the Lamb is declared to have come, and that nobody can survive it. That leaves us with a small problem. If all the numbered judgments occur at the same time, then what happens after the seventh of each?
Remember, none of the seventh judgments actually launch an actual judgment. They are transitions only.
This doctrine makes the wrath of the Lamb the “wrath to nowhere” and nothing to fear, as it doesn’t actually do anything.
In graphic 12, we have another popular theory. This shows the efforts of many to match up the declared “wraths”, and put them together in a manner that avoid what we just covered in the “wrath to nowhere”.
It plays on the start of wrath at both seal 6 and bowl one, and adds in the end of wrath at trumpet 7.
However, this gives us the “woes to nowhere” now.
The three woes are the timing marker that has literally been hidden in plain sight. If you go back to any website that promotes a tribulation timeline that does not show a chronological fulfillment, I guarantee that they will not even mention the three woes, let alone attempt to place them. Yet, once you see them, you can never get around them.
Under this theory, the third woe becomes a harmless lie, that means absolutely nothing.
In graphic 13, we have a few more of the popular interpretations. These are the “crammed judgment” theories, which attempt to cram all of the judgments into the space of either 30 days, 45 days, 75 days in some cases.
This usually comes after a fairly tame 1,260 days, called the tribulation. The 30 to 75 day period of the judgments are the Great Tribulation.
At least these theories acknowledge the chronological nature of the Book of Revelation. Unfortunately, they fail to understand something we covered earlier. It is the prophecy of 70 weeks – not 69.5 weeks. These theories fail to account for the two periods of 1,260 days that come first with the witnessed, then with the woman.
The last line is a favorite theory of mine – the 2,300 days of the shortened tribulation. This theory attempts to take Daniel chapter 8, and turn it into a shortened trib. There is one glaring problem.
If the Lord sets the tribulation to so many days, then “shortening” the tribulation must come through some other means. The Bible does not redefine the number of days that it declares for the tribulation. Nor can it. There must be a seven year tribulation, contained within the fulfillment of the eight days of Awe. There is no way around this.
As we covered earlier, there are simply too many interpretations to examine here. However, chances are that whatever you find, it will use a variation of what you have seen here.
Remember, if it takes a lawyer, engineer and politician to decipher what you are looking at, then it is a good bet that what you have on your hands is a false doctrine.
6. The Picture Revealed.
Graphic 14 is simple and straight forward. It takes a scale timeline, and adds in the general categorizes of events that happen during the time from the rapture to the Second Coming.
Each of the graphics prior to this were not to scale with regards to showing the equivalent lengths of the years.
Also, we show something that we covered in detail in “Coming Signs 2″. The space between the seven trumpet and bowl judgments will be five months for each.
The overall timing that we see here places roughly a year for the mid-trib beak. It should be noted that there are additional evidences for what we show in this graphic when you study the 1,290 and 1,335 days of Daniel as well. We cover these two time periods in greater detail in “Time, Times, and a Dividing of Times”. However, they do not affect the overall picture that we see here. though they reveal fascinating insights into what the Antichrist actually does when he gets to Jerusalem.
6. The Symmetry of the Bible.
As we close this project out, it has become clear beyond all doubt that the tribulation is indeed seven years in length. That said, I am going to show you the coolest thing I found in all of this in just a moment. Graphic 15 reveals the truth of the symmetry of God. First, we need to bring in the discussion on symmetry that we had in “Coming Signs 2″:
We have discussed the timing of the tribulation multiple times on this project, and there are more aspects than humanity can ever adequately document. That said, the Lord continues to reveal the vast number of timing markers that He placed in the Bible – most of which are concealed until such a time as they are needed to combat false doctrine.
There is literally an unlimited number of theories on how the tribulation is laid out from a timing standpoint, once we get past seven years or three and a half years, depending on the particular aspect that is being discussed. That said, I want to start with a personal observation. In all of my studies, I have witnessed an immutable fact about the Lord and the way He does things.
Everything follows a pattern.
Everything that will happen, has happened.
Everything the Lord does has symmetry.
It is the last point that I want to discuss for a moment. What exactly is symmetry, and how does it apply to the Bible? Think of symmetry in these terms. Symmetry is balance – either in the small details or the big picture. Think of symmetry as an equation. What happens on one side of the equal sign must happen on the other.
One of the things I have seen is how mathematics conceals the truths of the Lord. For example, the trigonometry of the right triangle can be used to demonstrate the life of the believer, and the relationship between where we are and where we are supposed to be. Mathematics is the universal language, and it is absolute proof of the existence of God. Likewise, it is also a vehicle that Satan likes to pervert and use to his purposes. There is a reason why so many cults, false religions and ancient discoveries revolve around mathematics such a geometry and trigonometry. They are counterfeits of actual revelations proving the existence of the one true living God.
Equations reveal the Biblical nature of justice, and show in the purest form the laws of the harvest. They show that what happens on one hand must be reflected on the other. When the Bible reveals that the things that will be are the things which have been, we see the Biblical application of equations. Likewise, when that understanding is taken as a blueprint for our lives, we see algebra in its purest form, with variables in place that allow the application of God’s law to any situation we encounter in life. In its simplest form, life is one giant exercise in a=x, or whatever units you want to cover. It is an exercise in plugging the unknowns into the Biblical equation, and seeing what answer spits out.
It also reveals a balance to all things. This explains why so many cults and false religions work hard at hijacking the concept of balance. You see, balance is the key to the patterns and timing in the Bible. Balance is the essence of symmetry.
Have you ever considered the number seven? It is perfection because of its symmetry. Seven is the very first number to exhibit the characteristics of true balance. On one hand you have a set of three, with another set of three on the other. Yet, in the middle there is a natural break or balance point. Seven gives us a marked point of definition that no other number has – at least no number that also encompasses the second number of God – three.
However, if you take the number six – the number of man – you do not have a natural balance point. It appears that you do as you have three on one hand and three on the other. Yet, the balance point is still subject to interpretation as it falls somewhere between two numbers. It is unmarked and undefined. With the number seven, it is the number four which balances the entire equation.
Chances are you have this “familiar” feeling when you read this, yet you are unsure why. This is because you live this symmetry every day that you serve Christ, and benefit from the salvation He purchased on the cross.
It is no accident that the life and death of Christ falls in the symmetrical center of human history.
When Christ was born, raised, died and resurrected, it was at the 4,000 year mark of the total 7,000 years that have been appointed to mankind for our preparation for eternity. Remember, one day is as a thousand years with the Lord, and a thousand years is as one day. In the overall calendar, Christ balanced out the equation on the fourth day. He become the equal sign. He became the balance point between God and humanity.
Remember, without a clearly defined balance point, the the scales will always tip to one side or the other – and mankind can NEVER measure up to God. The number six has no defined balance point. The number seven does. Three and five have balance points – yet neither have the number of God on both sides of the equation denoting His presence in all things from start to finish.
Only the number seven meets this criteria.
This is the premise behind everything we see transpire in the Bible. Every last pattern and cycle reveals this symmetry. If you look closely enough you will see it. Every pattern sets the balance for what the Lord is revealing. Everything from the seven years of feast and famine in Egypt, to the two periods of Jacob’s Trouble – symmetry is found in everything the Lord does.
The tribulation and judgments are no different.
When you study the different theories on the timing of the judgments, you will find every concoction under the sun. 99 percent can be dismissed right off the bat from one standpoint alone – a lack of symmetry. You see, symmetry is one of the unspoken confirmations of the Lord. It alone says that only God could have done such a thing, as true symmetry is possible only with God.
Symmetry demands balance in all that it does. It demands balance in the timing and judgments of the tribulation as well. It demands that there cannot be a mass of the majority of judgments lumped together in just one part of the tribulation. Here is what I mean. There are a number of false doctrines that declare all of the judgments will fall after the seven years (or three and a half years in some cases), in a space of about one month or so. Symmetry tells us that this is an impossibility.
Likewise, there are doctrines that attempt fit the seal judgments into the first half of the tribulation, and the remaining 14 judgments into the second half of the tribulation. This is equally impossible as symmetry is lacking.
Still, there are a multitude of doctrines that declare the tribulation to be only three and a half years in length. We deal with this at length in “Biblical Proof of a Seven Year Tribulation”. However, it should be enough for all of us that the Lord declared the prophecy of 70 weeks – not 69 and a half weeks. If the Lord say the end is a full week, then it is a full week. Nowhere in scripture does the Lord EVER change the definition of what a week is. It is still a symmetrical collection of seven.
For those that are not familiar with this concept, the word “week” is not unlike the words “couple”, “several”, and “set”. All of these words have general, chronological and numerical meanings and implications. For example, the word “couple” can be used to describe a collection of two. It can be used to give a description of a short block of time. That short block of time is always assumed to be a duration of two, be it two minutes, two hours, two days, two weeks, two months, two years, two hundred years, two thousands years, etc. It’s “short” stature is in comparison to equivalent blocks of time. Two thousand years is short when compared to seven thousand years.
As I said, there cannot be a mass of the majority of judgments in one part of the tribulation. Symmetry demands that there be equal spacing and dimensions given the block of time we are examining. Likewise, symmetry demands that all timing in the tribulation sync up with established patterns given by God elsewhere. You can have the judgments falling in a short space of time, if that period is itself a short space of time. Likewise, if you have the appearance of asymmetry, then it requires that you study the entire event to see what patterns match up from elsewhere in the Bible.
For the record, the timing of all the events in the Book of Revelation fit the pattern of the Temple. From the services to the order of events, every event from 4:1 until eternity can be found in the Temple functions and requirements.
OK – are you confused yet? Don’t worry, it will clear up in a moment. The ability to see symmetry is God given. It is an ability that can lead to a career in the engineering fields. Those with an ability to see symmetry are typically a bit “different”. If you have ever worked with a collection of engineers before then you will know what I am talking about. Symmetry is a different way of seeing the universe around us. Let’s talk about this in practical terms.
The end times are typically seen as one period of time divided into two parts. It is seen as the tribulation, a seven year period that has two 42 months halves. For most conversations this is absolutely correct. This description fits the bill. However, when it comes down to a detailed study of end times prophecy, and the study of the timing of the end, it is an inadequate picture. It is inadequate because it does not account for all the pieces.
Here is the more accurate breakdown of what we actually have:
The overall end times period consists of a defined period that leads up to the return of the Lord, followed by the period of time that follows the return of the Lord. That period concludes with the Second Coming.
Birth pains >—————-> Rapture >——————-> Second Coming
The period from the rapture to the second coming is broken down into three time periods. The time from the rapture to the signing of the seven year accord. The signing of the accord to the Abomination of Desolation. The Abomination to the second coming.
Rapture >———-> Accord >————-> A.D. >————-> S.C.
The period from the signing of the accord to the second coming is where we see the seven year tribulation. Yet, this is actually three periods of time – not two. It is the first period of 42 months, followed by a space at mid-trib, then comes the third period of 42 months.
42 months >—————–> Mid-trib >—————-> 42 months
There is another symmetrical chronology found between the rapture and the second coming. It is a two period division, which gives us a time of preparation before the actual 42 month block of time. The first period of preparation runs from the rapture to the signing of the seven year accord. That is followed by the first 42 months.
The second period of preparation runs during the time known as “mid-trib”. It starts at the conclusion of the first 42 months, and runs until the completion of the events at mid-trib. Then will come the second 42 months.
Rapture >————> Accord >—————> 42 months complete
Mid-trib >————-> 42 months start >————> Second Coming
There is another symmetry that we must understand. Each of the three sets of judgments are actually six judgments and a transition.
S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6 – S7 transitions to trumpets
T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6 – T7 transitions to bowls
B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6 – B7 transitions to second coming
All that we have laid out on the symmetrical periods on the end times gives us a chronology that looks like this:
R>Seals 1-6>Seal 7>Trumpets 1-6>Trumpet 7>Bowls 1-6>Bowl 7>SC
In the example above, seal 7 starts the first 42 months of the tribulation and trumpet seven starts the back half of the tribulation. This also presents the next symmetrical pattern that must be understood – the period that most associate as the “tribulation” is not actually just the seven years of the tribulation – it runs from the rapture to the second coming. That is not seven years – it is a total of eight years. It is the combination of the time between rapture and the signing, the first 42 months, the events in the space known as mid-trib, and the last 42 months:
R to Accord > Accord to end of 1st 42 months > Mid-trib > 2nd 42 months to SC
Here is the next piece that we need to bring in. Let’s examine something in that we said just a moment ago:
“Likewise, if you have the appearance of asymmetry, then it requires that you study the entire event to see what patterns match up from elsewhere in the Bible.”
Here is where this comes into play. The period from the rapture to the signing of the accord will not be the same length of time that the events at mid-trib run. This creates the appearance of asymmetry. These two period together will cover the space of about a year, yet they will not be six months each in duration. As we will see in a moment, the period from the rapture to the signing of the accord is considerably shorter than mid-trib. When we study the events of each, we can see the practical applications of each. After all, the events at mid-trib are many, and they take time to unfold.
Remember, the symmetry of an event can also be found in the big picture. In this case, the big picture is the fulfillment of something we have already touched on – the daily services at the Temple.
Let’s take the illustrations we have above, and transition them into the picture of the Temple services and the fulfillments of the various aspects of the feasts:
Great Assembly > Read the Law > Ritual Prep > Morning Service > Ritual Prep > Evening Service
What we see in the Book of Revelation is the complete picture that is represented by the seven feasts, the Sabbath cycle, the daily service and the calling of the assembly and priests. We discussed at length in the projects on Matthew 24 and tithing how the Lord broke the big picture into many tiny pieces. This was done because it is not possible for a sinful and fallen humanity to duplicate the perfect things of God piece for piece. So, the best we can do is simply take it one piece at a time.
Did you ever wonder how Jesus was able to say that to love the Lord with all our hearts, and each other as ourselves was to fulfill the law – yet there are 613 actual commands in that law? This is possible because Jesus made it possible to have the law written in the hearts of men, as opposed to written in small pieces to be kept in a ledger. Now, we can know the essence of the law – even if we never study a single word of the written law!
That is how it seems that we know right from wrong, and that we have sinned against God – even if no one ever points out which of the 613 commands we have broken.
This premise reveals that the symmetry in the two periods of preparation are found in the Temple services. The timing of the first preparation period – seals one through six – is found in the Great Assembly. The timing of the second preparation period – the space between trumpet six and trumpet seven – is found in the rituals performed to prepare for the evening service. While it is beyond the scope of this study, it bears mentioning that the events we see from 11:15 through 14:13 are fulfilled at the mid-trib break, and much of what finishes at mid-trib actually begins in the first 42 months of the tribulation.
Think of it like this. The first 42 months ends at 11:15, and the second 42 months begins at 14:13. The scriptures in-between reveal the backstory and key events that happened simultaneously with the unfolding of the judgments of God.
With that, we need to spend some time discussing the first preparation period. It is here that we find the timing of the events that come with the return of the Lord and the start of the actual tribulation. It is here that we find the revelations that tie into the Book of Joel and the things that must soon come to pass. ~~~
With that, I took graphic 14 and removed all of the labels. I then colored in the various timelines and indicators to make them pop. Also, in graphic 14, I put the things that were of God over top the primary timeline of the judgments. This would include the two witnesses and the woman.
The things that are evil, such as the rising of the beast, were placed below the primary judgment timeline. Doing this seemed a natural fit for obvious reasons.
In graphic 14, you see vertical lines in the period of mid-trib. These lines help highlight where John stood as chapters 12 through 15 were revealed to him.
There is one last thing that needs to be said.
What I was left with was the result of simply putting the pieces together, without trying to influence the final overall picture. I simply took the pieces – one at a time – and placed them – one at a time. The symmetry that emerged did so of its own accord.
In other words, graphic 15 was quite literally “an accident”.
That is what makes it so remarkable!
Here is graphic 15:
When you remove all of the debate and detail;
When you step back to look at the forest, instead of the trees;
When you simply take the picture, an assemble it piece by piece;
When you do so without expectation of the results. . .
This is exactly what happens, every single time, with every single truth revealed in the Bible.
You get God’s perfect symmetry!
In the name of our most blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.