The seven year Tribulation period is a prophetically declared time of God’s final work on the Nation of Israel. In Daniel 9 the archangel Gabriel reveals God’s timeline for the Nation of Israel from Daniel’s time within the Empire of the Medes and Persians until the end of times. This schedule has been routinely referred to as Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. Each “week” on this schedule is a period of 70 years – so this prophecy is God’s schedule of significant events for the Nation of Israel within a 490 year period. This period begins with the declaration to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (we see this in Nehemiah 2) and the 483 year ends with the “cutting off of Messiah” – the crucifixion. The prophecy clearly sets aside a break or pause after the 483 year (69th week) in Daniel 9:25-26.
Jesus told his followers and the multitudes that God was moving His program away from the Nation of Israel and moving His program to a new organization – the Church (The Parable of the Vineyard in Matthew 21). Pentecost and the beginning of the Church of Jesus Christ began just weeks after the crucifixion. Therefore – there are 7 years of prophecy that are still to be fulfilled concerning the Nation of Israel. This seven year period is the Tribulation period. The Church age will come to a dramatic close (the taking away or Rapture of the Church) and the Tribulation period will begin thus fulfilling these last 7 years of prophecy from Daniel 9.
It is during these 7 years that a number of key events happen concerning Israel:
- The eyes of Israel are opened concerning Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
- Two of their former prophets are brought back. These are commonly believed to be Elijah and Moses though some believe they are Elijah and Enoch. (Note that it was Elijah and Moses with Jesus at the Transfiguration) Revelation 11:3
- There are 144,000 Jewish missionaries that go forth (12,000 from each tribe) Revelation 7:4-8
- Many, many Israelites accept Jesus as Savior.
- The Anti-christ commits the “defamation of desolation” on the altar in the new temple at the halfway point of the Tribulation. This leads many Israelites to see the prophecy fulfilled and turn towards Jesus Christ. Revelation 11:2
- The nations of the world converge upon Israel at the end of this seven year period (Armageddon) and are stopped by Jesus Christ Himself who establishes His kingdom.
The seven year Tribulation Period is a time when Satan uses the Anti-christ to move forward his agenda. The Tribulation Period is a time when God brings His judgement upon the earth. It is a time when the Church has been removed and sin reigns. But most importantly and often overlooked is that the Tribulation Period is a fulfillment of Daniel 9 and God’s prophecy towards the Nation of Israel.
Here is Bob Shelton’s chart on Daniel’s Seventy Weeks: