Q. It has been common among talk of the end times to use the phrase “The Great Tribulation.” And it is assumed that this phrase is referring to only the last half of the final 7 year time period before Christ’s return. This is assumed because of the word “The.” But when Jesus used this phrase in Matt. 24:21, He never included the word “The.” Without the word “The,” the phrase “great tribulation” is much less precise, and doesn’t specifically refer to a time period named “The Great Tribulation.” This would allow the time period to refer to the entire 7 years of the 70th week. I would appreciate your comments on this issue.
A. In Matt. 24:15-21 Jesus said a time of Great Tribulation would follow immediately after the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet. He was referring to Daniel 9:27 where we’re told it will take place in the middle of the 70th week. From the various time constructs in Daniel 12:7, Rev. 11:2, Rev. 12:6, and Rev. 12:14, it appears this time of great tribulation will last 3 1/2 years.
Matt. 24:29 says immediately after that time of tribulation the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky. Shortly after that the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of Earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds (Matt. 24:30). Based on these references, I’d say the Great Tribulation is quite well defined.