Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, by Albrecht D...

The Great Tribulation

How do we determine whether the
great tribulation is past or future?

To answer this question, we will
consider parallel passages from
Daniel 12:1–2 and Matthew 24:21,

A very weak case is made for the
Dispensationalist position on the
matter of eschatology in that it
argues that Matthew 24 is yet to
be fulfilled.

In order to pull this interpretive gymnastic maneuver, they must do a

long jump from the first century to the present day or the future when a new temple can be rebuilt. Until then, they are lacking the major context for he fulfillment of their prophetic theory.

From this assumption, they allege that the great tribulation of Matthew 24 is future. However, a comparison of Daniel, Mathew 24 and Romans show the opposite, i.e. that it is now past.

Let’s begin where we have agreement. Both Dispensationalists and Preterists agree that Daniel 12:1–2, speaks of the great tribulation found in Matthew 24:21.

In fact the Matthew 24:21 is quoted almost word for word from Daniel 12:1. Daniel’s prophecies are a key to a proper understanding of Matthew 24. Jesus admonishes that the readers of Daniel understand, in order to know the time of the end.

Introduction of the Resurrection

Daniel 12:2, introduces the resurrection. It speaks of those who sleep in the dust of the earth awaking from that sleep. So, following the great tribulation is the resurrection, an event clearly marked for the time of the end.

While Matthew 24 does not explicitly mention the resurrection, it is generally agreed that resurrection is necessarily implied in Matthew 24:31. Why? It’s because this verse continues the coming  (Parousia) of Christ in the clouds (v. 30).

Further, it is the time in which the Lord gathers the elect at the sound of the trumpet. Since this trumpet is placed in connection with the Lord’s Parousia, it is the last trumpet. Thus, the connection with the resurrection. See 1 Cor. 15:52, 1 Thess. 4:16, Rev. 11:15; 2 Tim. 4:1).

In essence, what we have said is that Daniel 12:1–2, finds it’s equivalent in Matthew 24, verses 21 and 31.

How This Affects the Great Tribulation

According to Daniel, the great tribulation precedes the resurrection. The same order for the events hold true in both Daniel 12 and Matthew 24. The resurrection is immediately after the “tribulation of those days,” i.e. the great tribulation.

All Events Happen in Christ’s Generation

While Christ spoke about the events of Daniel and the need to understand them, he is emphatically clear on the time of their occurrence.

“Assuredly I say to you, this generation will in no wise pass away till all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:34).

Earlier, Christ taught that some then living would yet be alive at his coming, (Matt. 16:28). These verses for ever destroy the concept of a future great tribulation and Parousia. See the post, “Did Paul Time the Great Tribulation?”

To learn more about these and other topics, see our videos.