F.M. Riley (29 Sep 2019)
"How Long is the Tribulation Period?"

How Long is the Tribulation Period? 

                                                                                               By Pastor F. M. Riley

                                                                                               September 27, 2019

     "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth."

                                                                                              2 Timothy 2:15


     Even though true "men of God" who studied and wrote on Bible prophecy, throughout the past 2,000 years of this dispensation, believed and taught that the Tribulation period will be seven years in length, today there is a number of people, who fancy themselves to be   "intellectuals" and "scholars," who have decided that the Tribulation will be only three and 1/2 years in length..  Sadly, they are so certain of this, and so dogmatic, that just like the Pharisees before them, they will not even consider STUDYING any other position but their own.  If I remember corrrectly the inspired Word has something to say about those who are "willingly ignorant," 2 Peter 3:5. 

     Our readers might also read the statement of the Lord Jesus Himself in Matthew 13:15.  It is glaringly obvious that these people who are ignoring any right division of The Book of Revelation, and teaching a 3 1/2 year Tribulation, don't want the truth of God's Word, for they are  certain they already know everything, and refuse to be shown anything..   Anyone even attemptiing to point out the truth to them is scorned and ridiculed.  The inspired Word of God also says something about God resisting the proud, but giving grace to the humble, James 4:6.  There is not a thing "humble" about these Scripture perverting "false teachers."  Now to our queston.......

What is the Length of the Tribulation Period?

     This is the question we are dealing with, so let's see what God's Word actually and literally has to say about it.     

     Daniel's 70th Week

     "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, Daniel 9:24. 

     Dear readers, the "weeks" being spoken about in this inspired prophecy are weeks of years, seven years to a week.  This is made quite clear by the very next Scripture; Daniel 9:25.  The angel "Gabriel," who was speaking here, commanded Daniel to "Know.....and understand."  Apparently Daniel did!  Changing these "weeks" into years, then means that 490 years were determined upon the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem before they would be redeemed, restoring them  to a right relationship with God. 

     This 490 years is divided in the Scriptures into three periods of 434  years, 49 years, and 7 years.  This is because God does not count time against the Jewish people when they are out of His will and favor.  Our readers can find all three periods of years if they carefully study the history of Israel in the Scriptures. 

     Fron the time King Cyrus gave the commandment to "restore and to build Jerusalem" to the time the public ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ ended, Matthew 23:37-39, fulfilled a period of exactly 69 weeks of years; 483 years.  This is seven years to each week. 

     But when Israel rejected Christ as their Messiah, God's time clock on Israel stopped.  God DOES NOT count time against Israel when they are out of His favor, Notice that in Daniel 9:26, Daniel was explicitly told, "And AFTER threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off...." 

     So 69 weeks of years; 483 years of the prophecy given in 9:24,  have been fulfilled.   This leaves exactly one week [seven years] yet to be fulfilled.  Not 3 1/2 years.  Seven years!  Is this just too hard for these "scholars and intellectuals" to grasp and understand?

     So where is this missing week of years?   And when will it be fulfilled?

The Missing Seven Years

     I now urge our readers to carefully study this entire passage in Daniel 9:24-27, in order to get the complete prophetic picture.  True believers who seriously study Bible prophecy can find the missing SEVEN YEARS in Daniel 9:26-27.    

     In 9:26 it is prophesied that a "prince.....shall come" who will destroy "the city and the sanctuary."  This is obviously speaking of a "prince" of the Roman Empire, for this is exactly what the Romans did to Israel in 70 A.D.  However, what the Romans did to Israel  in 70 A.D. was definitely a type of what the future anti-christ will do to Israel again.  The anti-christ will be a "prince" of the restored Roman Empire, which the "New World Order" people are trying to bring upon all of mankind on the earth RIGHT NOW    I say this because there is no break in the Scriptures between verses 26 and 27.  Verse 27 is still speaking of the same Roman prince spoken of in verse 26.  Notice the conjunction;.....

     "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," Daniel 9:27.  

     What this Scripture tells us is that there is going to be a "covenant" [peace agreement] made between Israel and whomever it is that Israel

is fighting with at the time.  Iran?  Syria?  The Palestinians?  Lebanon?  I don't know what nation or nations will be involved in the making of this "covenant" of peace.   But 9:27 explicitly states that the "covenant" will be made for a period of "one week;" a week of years. exactly seven years.  During that seven year period, Israel and the Jewish people will be back in favor with God, for the very first thing recorded as happening as that seven years begins is the salvation and sealing of twelve tribes of Israelites, Revelation 7:1-8.  Glory to God! 

     So the seven years of this "covenant" will also be the final seven years of the prophecy of  70 Weeks given in Daniel 9:24. 

     The wording of the  "covenant" will apparenly  be a bit weak in the minds of the Israelites, and when it is agreed upon by Israel and  the other parties involved, it will not be totally trusted by Israel. There have been verbal agreements made previously between Israel and the Muslim nations around her, and they have been repeatedly  broken.   So Israel, with good reason, will be very cautious. 

      But then some high ranking official [the anti-christ] will bring the covenant before the United Nations ["many"] where it will be "strengthened" [correct translation of confirmed] and approved by the whole world body of nations.  This will inspire such confidence for Israel and the Jewish people that they are finally going to have true lasting peace, that they will be dancing in the streets, crying out, "Peace and safety," 1 Thess. 5:3. 

     Israel's confidence in this "covenant" will last for three years  and six months; the first half of the Tribulation, but then it will be dashed to pieces.  The anti-christ will suddenly violate the covenant, set himself up as God [the abomination of desolation], and with a vengeance seek to destroy Israel and the Jewish people.  The Israelites will be forced to flee from their homes and land in order to save their lives, exactly as prophesied by the Lord Jesus Himself in Matthew 24.  The last half of the Tribulation will then be a time of great  sorrow for Israel and terrible suffering and sorrow for the whole world. 

     Since the first half of a week of years is three years and six months, then how long do our readers think the last half will be?   Hello!

     Now for confirmation of the length of the Tribulation which has been presented from Daniel 9, let's go to.......

The Revelation Prophecies

     The entire Book of Revelation is an inspired vision given to John by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Rev. 1:9-20.  Could a reader find a more reliable source of information than the Lord Jesus Himself?   Every true believer knows the answer to this question.

Let's Get Acquainted With John

     The "John" whom the Lord chose to write this book, is fascinating.  This "John" is the same man as John the Apostle, Luke 6:13-16.  He is also known as John, the beloved, John the Pastor of the Lord's church at Ephesus, and John the  Revelator.  He filled all of these positions during his lifetime, after being chosen by Christ to serve as one of His Apostles. 

     John is very unique in the Scriptures.  He is the only one of the apostles, whom the other apostles said that he would not die, John 21:21-23.   However, it is stated quite clearly that the Lord DID NOT say that John would not die.  Rather, what the Lord said, was, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" 

     Oh glory!  What a statement! The Greek word translated as "tarry" in this Scripture is "meno," which  literally means to "stay behind; remain behind; continue; endure; abide."  See Strong's No. 3306.  The Greek  word translated as "come" in this Scripture is "erchomai." See Strong's No. 2064.   This word is used over and over again in the New Testament when referring to the Lord's bodily, visible, coming again.  No wonder the other disciples thought that John was not going to die.  However, John did die not long after writing his vision recorded in The Book of Revelation.  But John is very unique among men, inasmuch as he will live again, and then die a second time. 

     Yes, I well know and understand that the inspired Word says, that "it is appointed unto men once to die," Hebrews 9:27.  But I also know WHO made that appointment for mankind, and therefore WHO has the power to break, or change the appointment, according to His will.

     Following the resurrection and rapture of the Lord's church and  New Testament believers, which ends the church age, instead of being "caught up" with the rest of the Lord's believing people, John will remain behind on the earth to serve as one of God's "two witnesses," Rev. 11:3. 

God's Two Witnesses

     John was the greatest "prophet" of this present New Testamemt Dispensation of Grace.  Along with John, the Lord will also send back Elijah, the greatest prophet of the Old Testament Dispensation of Law, Malachi 4:5-6.  These two men will minister the Gospel of Christ,  to those LEFT BEHIND on the earth following the rapture, and the immediate results of their ministry will be the salvation of the 144,000.

       The ministry of God's "two witnesses" is explicitly stated to be 1,260 days in length, Rev. 11:3.  This time period is the entire first half of the seven year Tribulation.  And now, by the grace of God, I will be enabled to PROVE what I have just stated. 

     We believers can KNOW that God's "two witnesses" minister during the first half of the Tribulation, because they are killed by the "beast" right after the conclusion of their ministry, which would bring them to the exact  middle of the Tribulation. 

     The "beast?"  This is also a fascinating fellow, which many ignore or overlook.  Who is "the beast," and where does he come from?  I'm so glad you ask! 

     The simple and obvious answer to this question is that he is the anti-christ.  But wait a minute!  Hold on! 

The MAN......the anti-christ

     The anti-christ comes on the world scene in Rev. 6:1-4, right at the time Christ opens the first seal on the seven sealed book.  But he comes on the world scene as a MAN riding a white horse.  He is repeatedly referred to as a MAN in the prophetic Scriptures.  See Isaiah 14:12-16,   2 Thessalonians 2:3 and Rev. 13:18. 

     In the Old Testament prophecies, personal pronouns are used to refer to him over and over again.   He is referred to as the "Assyrian" a number of times, Isaiah 14:25.  He is also referred to as the "Idol shepherd" who leaves the flock, Zechariah 11:17.  And of course in Daniel he is referred to as the "prince" who "strengthens" the "covenant" with Israel, Daniel 9:26-27.

     So when the anti-christ comes on the world scene, he will be a MAN, a true flesh and blood human being, just like all the rest of mankind on the earth.  There is no doubt in my mind that he is living today, and is likely involved in world politics. 

     The anti-christ is, or will be, a very ambitious man, for his wicked human  desire is to rule the whole world, and to sit in the Temple of God in Jerusalem, and shew himself, and all of mankind, that he is God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. 

     But his ambition will be short lived, because he will be killed [assassinatated] shortly before the middle of the seven year Tribulation.  I suspect that after entering the rebuilt Jewish Temple, and declaring himself to be God, he will be assassinated by one or more of the religious Jews who will not have appreciated an uncircumcised Gentile defiling their Temple, and blaspheming their God. 

     His death will be the result of being attacked with a sword, Read Isaiah 14:19 and Zechariah 11:17, and pay close attention to what is stated in these Scriptures. 

     From the time of his death, the anti-chirst is never referred to as a MAN again anywhere in the Book of Revelation. 

The BEAST.......the anti-christ

     The very first time the anti-christ is referred to as a beast is in Revelation 11:7.  He is never referred to as a MAN again anywhere in the rest of the Book of Revelation.  Why?  Because he is no longer a man; a true human being.  Rather, he is a "beast," having been restored to life by the Spirit of Satan himself energizing his dead body. 

      Dear readers, grasp this scene in your mind if you are enabled to do so.  When the man, the anti-christ, is killed, because of his position as a ruler, he will be given a magnificient funeral, witnessed by all of mankind on the earth at that time.  They will know that he was assassinated and is dead. 

     Yet when the whole of mankind, a short time later, sees him up  and walking around again, with a patch over his eye, and his arm in a sling, they will be deceived into concluding that he has risen from the dead, that he really is God,  and they will then fearfully obey his every command,  Rev. 13:4.   That is, except for those who really have received Christ as their Savior during the first half of the Tribulation, and whose names are " written in the book of life," Rev. 13:8.

     When killed the soul of the anti-christ will go down into "the bottomless pit," just like the souls of all unbelievers.     But even God's earth will refuse to hold his vile body.  Isaiah 14:19 clearly states that his body "will be cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch."  In other words, God's earth [Psalm 24:1] will vomit his body out.  He will not be resurrected.   Satan has no power to resurrect anyone.  But Satan does have the power to call up the dead.  Read 1 Samuel 28, the entire chapter.  Satan will then call up the soul of the anti-christ out of "the bottomless pit," and will place it back in the dead body of the anti-christ, along with his own living spirit,  thereby restoring the anti-christ  to the state of a living creature.  Not a true human again, but rather a "beast" brought into existence by the evil powers of Satan. 

      It is more than "coincidence" that some wicked  people who dabble in mysticism and demon worship, and who claim to be able to see into the future, say that the anti-christ will wear a black patch over his right eye, and that his arm will be dried up and useless and will be  carried in a sling. Read Zechariah 11:17 again.   The Scriptures clearly state that Satan will give "the beast" his powers to work his wickedness [Rev. 13:2],  but Satan  has no real power to heal anyone.  So during the last half of the Tribulation the anti-christ will be a one-eyed crippled "beast."  . 

But When? 

     The inspired Word explicitly says that God's "two witnesses" have a 1,260 day ministry, Rev. 11:3.  Their ministry will be concluded by being killed by "the beast," Rev. 11:7. But the "beast" doesn't even come up out of the "bottomless pit" and onto the world scene until mid-tribulation, The inspired Scriptures also explicitly state that "power" will be given to "the beast" to continue  "forty and two months" AFTER he has killed God's "two witnesses," Rev. 13:7.   

     Wow!  Glory to God!  What does all of this mean? 

     [1]   This means that "the beast" will be brought up from "the bottomless pit" at the exact middle of the Tribulation. 

     [2]   This means that God's "two witnesses" will be killed, the same day the "beast" is brought up, at exactly  the middle of  the  Tribulation.

     [3]   This means that the "covenant" of Daniel 9:27 will be broken on  that same day, exactly at the middle of the Tribulation. 

     [4]   This means that the daily "sacrifice"  and the "oblation" of the Jewish people, being conducted in their rebuilt Tribulation Temple, will be made "to cease" on that exact same day, at the middle of the Tribulation.

     [5]  This means that the setting up of "the abomination of desolation" will begin on that same day, exactly at the middle of the Tribulation. 

     [6]   This means that "the beast" will begin his slaughter of the Jews [for assassinating him] with burning hatred on that same day, exactly at the middle of the Tribulation.

     [7]   This means that "the beast" will also begin beheading  all who "profess" Christ, on that exact same day at the middle of the Tribulation. 


     Now for those "scholars" and "intellectuals" who just can't figure it out, 1,260 days for the ministry of God's "two witnesses," and another  "forty two months" for the reign of "the beast" AFTER he has killed God's "two witnesses," calculates [adds up] to.......


for the length of the Tribulation Period! 





     Dear readers, the time for the resurrection and rapture of all New Testament believers [with the exception of John], and the beginning of the terrible Tribulation period is at the doors, Matthew 24:33.  The rapture MAY take place before this weekend is over.  If any reader  wants to escape the terrible seven years of  death and destruction which is going to come upon humanity LEFT BEHIND on the earth following the resurrection and rapture,  they had better make their "calling and election" [salvation in Christ] sure RIGHT NOW!  2 Peter 1:10-11.  Read John 14:6, Acts 4:12, 16:30-31 and Romans 10:8-13.   

     May our gracious Lord God add His blessings to this study! 


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