Q. I’ve written a few times before and I have a new question. I’m hearing a lot these days from the pre-wrath rapture camp that the Tribulation period is only 3.5 years instead of the traditional view of being 7 years long. They say that the Bible does not support a 7 year tribulation, but instead a 3.5 year tribulation. I do know that the Bible describes the last 3.5 years of the tribulation period as a time of “great tribulation”, but it was my understanding that the seal judgments are also part of God’s wrath, judgment, etc. and they clearly occur at the beginning of tribulation period. Do you support the tribulation period being 7 years long? Or if you don’t, could you please address this issue?
A. Your request for clarification of end times events is a good one since there’s a lot of confusion. Basically it boils down to this.
What many refer to as “the Tribulation Period” should really be called Daniel’s 70th week. It’s the missing 7 years from the 490 year period described in Daniel 9:24-27. I believe it was first referred to as the Tribulation Period by those who advocate the so-called mid-trib rapture position, but I could be wrong.
The Great Tribulation is the last half of Daniel’s 70th week and is variously described as being 3.5 years, or 42 months, or 1260 days long. These are all equivalent periods if you use the original 360 day year.
In the Book of Revelation the time of God’s Wrath is first mentioned as having begun in chapter 6 in conjunction with the Seal Judgments. The Trumpet Judgments are also part of God’s wrath. They’re found in Rev. 8-9 so they also precede the Great Tribulation which begins with the anti-Christ’s ascension to world power in Rev. 13. Only the last cycle of Judgments, called the Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath in Rev. 16, occurs during the Great Tribulation. What the pre-wrath rapture folks don’t seem to understand is that with the Bowl Judgments His wrath is concluded, not begun. If the Church is going to be raptured before God’s Wrath begins, then the Rapture has to take place in Rev. 4, right where the pre-trib folks have said all along.