The timing of the Great Tribulation from a Pre-Wrath perspective.
Tribulation and persecution are promised for the church.
Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
From the beginning of the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom, Jesus promised His disciples that they would be persecuted, see Matthew 10:22-23. When Jesus was asked about His coming, He reaffirmed this ongoing persecution and tribulation as the gospel of the kingdom would be preached in the midst of this persecution and tribulation, see Matthew 24:9-14.
First point. When does the Great Tribulation begin? The beginning of the Great persecution of saints begins at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week (a future seven year period). Matthew 24:15-21 gives the basic outline. When you see the abomination of desolation, then flee because there will be great tribulation (thlipsis). Tribulation has already been defined in this passage as persecution for the name of Jesus Christ. There was already tribulation for the name of Jesus, not beginning with Daniel’s 70th week, but since the time that the 12 disciples had been sent out and all throughout church history. The phrase “Seven Year Tribulation Period” is not biblical. Since Jesus pointed to the prophet Daniel as the source for the term “abomination of desolation”, we should turn there for our framework.
Daniel tells us the timing of the abomination of desolation. Daniel 9:27 states that in the middle of the week (seven) that he shall cause the sacrifice and offering to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate. This is in accordance with the abomination of desolation language of Daniel 11:31. “They shall take away the regular burnt offering, and they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate.” The abomination of desolation requires that some type of sacrifice be taken away and something abominable to God be put in its place. In Daniel 8, the transgression of desolation during the Greek empire caused someone to ask how long, and the answer given to “how long” is “how long until the sanctuary is cleansed?” Therefore, when we read about the abomination of desolation in Daniel 12:11, we understand from Daniel 9:27 that it occurs in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week. We understand from Daniel 12:11 that from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away and abomination of desolation set up (two things occurring in tandem) there shall be 1290 days.
Daniel’s 70th week is seven years. Half of Daniel’s 70th week is 3.5 years, or 42 months, or 1260 days. Revelation 12:6 with 12:14 interprets the enigmatic phrase in Daniel of “time, times, and half a time” to mean 1260 days. When the “Man” answers in Daniel 12:7 in response to the question “How long until the end of these wonders?” – the response given is “for a time, times, and a half”. Then later in Daniel 12:11, there are numbered from the abomination of desolation 1290 days, which is 30 days longer than 1260 days. We saw the phrase “time, times, and the dividing of time” earlier in Daniel 7:25 in relation to the little horn. In Daniel 7, the context is the authority of the little horn, which we know to be the antichrist. If you notice, there are two parts to his authority in Daniel 7:25. The first is that he persecutes the saints of the Most High. The second is that he intends to change times and laws. Then comes the phrase “they shall be given into his hand for time, times, and the dividing of time”. The word “they” in that verse has been interpreted by many to mean that the saints are given into his hand for time, times, and the dividing of time which we know to mean 1260 days. However, those translators are jumping the gun. What is given into his hand for that time period is the times and laws. His authority en toto lasts 1260 days. This is corroborated with Revelation 13:5 which states that authority was given unto him (the beast, the antichrist) to continue 42 months, which is pretty much 1260 days.
So far, we have a great tribulation that begins at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week. We have an antichrist whose authority lasts for 42 months, or 1260 days. But we have an end point of 1290 days for the abomination of desolation. The 1290 days is for the purpose of setting a time when the sanctuary will be cleansed from the abomination of desolation. The authority of the antichrist will have already expired and he will have been judged according to Daniel 7:11, 26.
Second point. What about the end of the great tribulation? Jesus stated that the great tribulation begins at the abomination of desolation. People in Judea are commanded to flee, which should tell us something about the locale of the abomination of desolation. This Great Tribulation will be more intense than any other tribulation/persecution that has ever happened. When He states that those days will be cut short in Matthew 24:22, it should make the most sense that it is the persecution of the elect that is being cut short since He states that if these days were not cut short then no flesh (meaning no elect) would be saved. Jesus also states that the reason that the days are shortened is because of the elect. Turning back to Daniel 7:25, there is nothing in the verse which prohibits the time of the persecution of the saints not lasting the full 3.5 years. The total authority of the antichrist is 3.5 years (or time, times, and the dividing of time), but Jesus clarifies and states that will be cut short.
There are some striking parallels between Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:5-7. In both passages he speaks great words against God. In both passages he makes war against the saints. And in both passages, his entire time of authority is 42 months. The phrase in Daniel 7:25 “time, times, and the dividing of time” we know to mean 1260 days by comparing Revelation 12:6 with 12:14.
In Matthew 24:29, after the tribulation (which means this is the cutting short of the great tribulation) come the cosmic signs and the coming of Christ, which includes the gathering of the elect which we know to be the rapture of the church, see Matthew 24:29-31. This will be at a day and hour that no man knows, see Matthew 24:36. Paul testifies that the man of sin will be destroyed at the coming of Jesus Christ, see II Thessalonians 2:8-9. This coming of Christ must occur before the 42 months of authority have expired. Daniel, Jesus, and Matthew all testify that this coming will be after the great tribulation. We know that the great tribulation, which is intense persecution against those who believe in Jesus Christ, is cut short. This persecution cannot last the entire 42 months since the antichrist must be destroyed by Jesus Christ at His coming. Therefore, the coming of Christ is at a day and hour that is unknown within the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. The general time frame in relation to the other events within Daniel’s 70th week can be known. This is why Paul could write, “But of the times and seasons you all have no need that I write unto you. You know that the Day of the LORD comes as a thief in the night. When they say ‘peace and safety’ then comes sudden destruction. You are not in darkness that the day will overtake you like a thief.” See I Thessalonians 5:1-5.
Since we know that the Day of the LORD begins after the cosmic signs, see Joel 2:31, it should be no surprise that the Day of the LORD occupies the rest of Daniel’s 70th week when Christ cuts the persecution of the saints short. The Day of the LORD is something that is initiated at the coming of Christ according to I Thessalonians 5:1-11, II Thessalonians 2:1-4, and II Peter 3:4, 10. The Day of the LORD is a day of wrath, see Zephaniah 1:14-15. As such we are promised to be spared from that eschatological wrath, see I Thessalonians 5:9. Other passages worth consulting are Isaiah 13:6-13 and Isaiah 2:10-22.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman
P.S. As far as the 1335 days mentioned in Daniel 12:12-13, the only thing we can surmise is that there is blessing associated with it. Given that Daniel is told he would rise to his inheritance at the end of days (reference to the resurrection of the righteous), the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom seem to be in view, see also Daniel 7:18, 27, 12:2-3.