The Greek for tribulation—0Ai^i;—is used forty-two times in the New Testament. It has been translated by the words tribulation (21 times), affliction (17 times), anguish (1 time), burden (1 time), and trouble (3 times). There are two common meanings for the term: (1) trial of any kind and (2) the (great) tribulation. The tribulation indeed is one of the major highways of prophecy, which may be traced through Scripture as follows: Deuteronomy 4:29-30; Jeremiah 30:4-7; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:9-26; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 3:10; 6:1-19:6. See also Psalm 2:5; Isaiah 2:10-22; 13:9-16; 24:2123; 26:20-21; 34:1-17; 43:1-6; 49:15-24; Jeremiah 25:29-38; Ezekiel 30:3; Amos 5:18-20; Obadiah 1:15-21; Zephaniah 1:7-18; Zechariah 12:1-14; 14:1-4; Malachi 4:1-4.
The great tribulation is the period known as Daniel's seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27), the order of events being the same in Daniel as in Matthew 24 and in 2 Thessalonians 2. The final week or heptad is seven years in duration, which is proved by the fact that it was exactly 69*7 years between the order to rebuild Jerusalem and the cutting off of Messiah. This remaining seventieth "week" of years belongs to Israel's age and will be characterized by the same general conditions as obtained in the past Jewish age. The time is to be shortened a little (Matt. 24:22). It is known as "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:4-7) out of which Israel will be saved.
The great tribulation is the time of God's unavoidable judgments on a Christ-rejecting world (Ps. 2:5). It is characterized by:
1. The removal of the Holy Spirit together with the Church from the earth (2 Thess. 2:7).
2. The casting of Satan into, thus restricting him to, the earth (Rev. 12:9-12).
3. The development of sin which was hitherto restrained (2 Thess. 2:11).
5. Termination by the second coming of Christ, the battle of Armageddon, and the smiting stone of Daniel 2.
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