The Tribulation Of The Last Days: What was Jesus talking about when he mentioned a coming "tribulation," and then tied it to the "last days"? We will first consider a very brief overview of the Bible's reference to tribulation; followed by a more detailed consideration, including additional scriptures that help us also understand what "Armageddon" is; Help us realize Armageddon is actually the solution to the "tribulation."

Overview: Tribulation is a time of trouble which the Bible foretold would come upon mankind during a period the Bible refers to as "the last days." Rather than being a plague brought by God, (James_1:13) the troubles of tribulation are brought by mankind's disobedience to God; being a direct result of mankind's abuse of the earth and of their fellow-man. The Bible teaches God has actually been holding back the destruction of the tribulation; (Revelation 7:1-3) so as to allow as many as possible from among mankind to repent and gain life. As wicked or ignorant individuals and groups continue to assert good is bad and bad is good, (Isaiah 5:20-23) and in so doing to refuse God's counsel, conditions will continue to get worse because of that disobedience to God. God is the one, you see, teaching us to benefit ourselves. (Isaiah 48:17) But, if no one is willing to listen...    People can only learn what they are exposed to, and the only good which men are exposed to comes primarily from God's word. Individuals can only learn to be upright by being exposed to others who are upright. (Proverbs 27:17 ; 1 Corinthians 15:33) Mankind can not learn to be loving toward others by being exposed to hatred. (Mat_5:43-48 ; Rom_12:17-21) Conditions in the earth are being made so violent through the expression of hatred toward others, it will reach a point where nothing good can be produced from society; Just as it was in Noah's day. (Genesis 6:5) Such conditions left unchecked, people would be put under so much duress they could not even think clearly to make any effort to be righteous. (Ecclesiastes 7:7) At what the Bible calls the time of the end, then, during this period of tribulation brought upon us by mankind's disobedience to God, [when the earth has again become filled with violence as in Noah's day, (Genesis 6:13)] God will act: The angels who have been holding back (restraining) the destruction (the tribulation) are told to let it go. (Revelation 7:1~14) Without those angels holding back the winds of destruction, the "tribulation" will start to run its course. It is likely doing so today. For those who have developed faith in the Christ and his teachings, their faith will protect them to survive the tribulation in harmony with God's purpose. (Hebrews 10:39) Jesus said it was the word he had spoken which would judge us all. (John 12:48) With Jesus's words in our ears, then, we exercise faith; Or we fail to do so. Christ was fond of saying: "Go in peace, your faith has made you well." (Mark 5:34) He would also say, "May it happen to you according to your faith." (Matthew 9:29 ; Matthew 8:13) According to the Bible, then, a good conscience based upon faith in Jesus's teachings will allow individuals to have faith which can act as a conduit for God's holy spirit. (John_16:23) God's spirit can, in turn, protect and preserve alive those who are faithful. The indiscriminate destruction of the tribulation will fall on those who have not sought protection through faith in Christ Jesus, such faith becoming the mark in their foreheads for preservation. (Ezekiel 9:4) Soon, during this period of tribulation as God protects the righteous, all who will remain alive will be those who have faith for protection, along with some who have survived by chance or good fortune; But having survived without faith and without God's protection. Some of those who have survived will thus be wicked individuals. The wicked will note the life of loving kindness by those who have faith in Christ. (Eze_38:8-39:10) They will then desire to kill and take from the righteous, just as the wicked always have. (John 7:19b-24 ; John 15:20b-21) When the wicked reach out against the righteous who are being protected by God, it will bring about the end of the tribulation in what the Bible refers to as Armageddon. (Zechariah 2:7-11) Armageddon will not be indiscriminate. It is a war in which Christ and the angels (Revelation 19:11-16) kill everyone who has not been marked in their forehead for survival. Such individuals are marked by mentally resting their hope in Christ through faith. (Ezekiel 9:4) Being repentant, [having the repentant attitude which drives individuals toward faith - the faith which is the mark in their forehead for salvation], does not mean simply having a fear of dying. It means we must join Jesus in recognizing all his Father's ways are perfect. (Romans 4:24 ; John 5:19; John 4:34 ; John 5:36 ; Deuteronomy 32:4) We must thus be determined never to disobey our Father under any circumstance; just as Jesus is determined never to do. (Matthew 26:39 ; Hebrews 10:5-7 ; Mark 10:18) We must recognize from the evidence presented over 6000 years of Bible recorded history, that any disobedience to God is a turning toward badness. We must recognize that any disobedience to God will always harm someone. We must be people who can be trusted never again to cause the same kinds of problems that led us to this tribulation. We are likely far into that tribulation today. Those who have faith, hope in protection and salvation (Luke 21:28) while being delivered into paradise. (Isaiah 11:3-9 ; Matthew 24:36-39 ; 1 Peter 3:20)

Let us reconsider the tribulation and Armageddon in more scriptural detail:

We hear religious people speak often of the tribulation of the last days, or even say we are living in the last days. What are the last days, and what is the tribulation? Is the tribulation the same thing as Armageddon? Some will be pleased to provide you a day and an hour for the "end." Most want you to give them money in exchange for their insight. Do not be misled! (Matthew 24:23-28) No one knows the day or hour. (Matthew 24:36) All we are able to know (by means of faith) today, is what Jesus clearly taught us through the Bible. Jesus said terrible times would accompany his second appearance, and that tribulation would actually be a sign of his coming in kingdom power. (Hebrews 9:28) Jesus said conditions would be so bad, that if God did not cut those days short, no flesh would be saved. (Mark 13:20) Please take special note of this Bible teaching: God must cut the wicked days of tribulation short, or everyone would be killed. What might bring about such horrible conditions on earth, and should we be in fear of them? Or, should we rather find hope in them (hope to lift our heads up)? (Luke 21:28)

No one (who is righteous) wants harm to come to others. God does not want that either! (2 Peter 3:9) The simple fact is, however, rebellion against God's laws and standards is bad, and it always causes harm. (Job 21:16 ; Isaiah 48:17) That answers the question so many ask, then: Where does bad come from? God did not create wickedness! Bad actually comes from abuse of a wonderful gift given us by our creator: The gift of freedom as sons (Romans 8:15) and daughters of God. Jehovah could not, at one and the same time, give us the free will to become his friends without also giving us the power to become his enemies, by our free will choice to abuse that same freedom. We have the ability, by abusing our gift of free will choice, to actually become resisters of what Jehovah is doing in creation. This does not make Jehovah responsible for the badness chosen by such an individual. The defect is their own! (Deuteronomy 32:5) God has, for example, given you the power of procreation (if you have health and youth). When you produce a son or daughter, you have hope they will become an upright person; and they do have the choice to become such. If they choose to be become bad, by doing harm to others, you are not responsible for their choice (assuming you have been a good and loving parent). The gift of the freedom to become upright and moral sons and daughters of God is too wonderful nearly to comprehend. We are not robots, acting within the bounds of some predetermined program, but have the opportunity to choose to become friends of the God and Creator of all we can know. (Proverbs 27:11-12 ; James 2:23) That same wonderful gift made room for us to create bad, by choosing to resist the God of righteousness - choosing bad by our being disobedient to him. God is perfect! (Deu_32:4) Any disobedience to God's perfect law of love is bad. (Jam_2:8 ; Gal_5:14)

How, though, is this tribulation Jesus spoke of brought about? (Mark 13:19) Men have misused God's gift of freedom to act rebelliously against the directions of our creator since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden. Since then, acting against God's law, and the common sense which He gave us, we have stripped away the rain forests that protect against flooding. We have polluted the earth, it's air and it's oceans. Many live immoral life styles that spread both disease and despair; fueling the breakdown of the family unit. Others live shamelessly in opulent luxury, while they watch their brothers in Adam starve, [or watch them live through the slow motion starvation of famine] thus flaming hatred. Mankind has pumped untold billions of gallons of oil out of the earth, leaving great empty spaces and/or taking away any lubricating effect the oil might have on earth shift. Has a significant portion of the earth's water been diverted to fill those emptied caverns, and what impact does that have? Men have built, and continue to develop and build, weapons that can bring destruction on an unimaginable scale. If they can develop a weapon they know will destroy all life when used, they will most certainly do so. Some assert they already have. They have a name for it: The doomsday machine. They have detonated nuclear explosive devices on, and down inside, our earthly home. In the dark ages, men burned others alive at the stake, or boiled them alive in pots, while they held the Bible in hand as justification for their wicked acts. Many "religious" people continue that same spirit of judgmental hatred for others today. Religious bigotry is responsible for unimaginable acts of destruction and hatred. Just as the Bible says, "man has dominated man to his injury." (Ecclesiastes 8:9) All this abuse has harmed not only mankind, but the earth itself. Today we face floods, earthquakes, weather disasters, famine, war, and disease; that are all of our own making. We live in a world so vile there are people alive who will steal little children and sell them into sexual slavery. They starve and abuse them, and satan can only imagine what else. Some assert they maintain so called "orphanages," where those with enough wealth can harvest body parts for themselves or loved ones. Who can fully enjoy life knowing these horrible things are happening? There is a saying: "When a good man is hurt, all who would be called good must suffer with him." Who can lay down tonight without thinking about all this suffering? All this badness impacts all who are righteously inclined! When Jesus said if God did not cut those "last days" short, no flesh would be saved; he was saying we would destroy ourselves completely if left to our own devices. (Mark 13:20) Thus, the Bible foretold tribulation of the last days is of our own doing. The Bible indicates God has been holding back the destruction of that tribulation, so individuals might educate themselves by means of his word [the Bible], and choose to serve him rather than continuing as part of the problem. By choosing to serve God, we have opportunity to accept protection for our very lives. (Revelation 7:1-2 & 13-14)

Mankind's judgment is thus brought upon him by his own disobedient actions. God will stop, or has stopped, holding back the destructive forces of the tribulation man has brought. Without that restraint, the tribulation will escalate, forcing all sensible persons to consider repentance. At the appropriate time, God will end the tribulation by means of the battle of Armageddon, so as to finally and forever bring wickedness to an end. What will remain is peace and happiness for all who are wise. Salvation from this tribulation will come to the righteous by their faithful obedience to God's word, just as it did with Noah and his family. (Matthew 24:37) Saying the tribulation is brought upon mankind by his own badness is not to imply God will not destroy the wicked! The Bible teaches He has done so in the past, and it teaches He will again. Only though, as a last resort, and after he has given every person the opportunity to repent and change. When the righteous have been carried safely through the tribulation by their faith, God will end the tribulation [cut those days short] in the battle of Armageddon:

Armageddon then, is very different from the tribulation. The battle of Armageddon is the destruction of the wicked by God, and is "the end" of this wicked world system of things. Armageddon, or "the end," is to us what the flood was to Noah: While the flood meant destruction for the world, (2 Peter 3:6) it meant deliverance for Noah and his family. Faith in Christ Jesus is our Ark, and "our days" correspond with the days during which the Ark was being constructed. (Matthew 24:37-39) The wicked only know how to fight and do harm. The Bible defines, and evidence indicates, the wicked are not happy and can never be happy. (Psalms 1:4) Their destruction is likely a kindness even to them: It puts them out of their misery. While the "tribulation" is brought by mankind's disobedience, "Armageddon" is brought by God, and is his action against the wicked. (2 Thessalonians 2:8 ; Revelation 19:21) Armageddon thus proves to be the solution to the tribulation. All this Bible news, the news about looming disaster, and more importantly about the hope of deliverance through Christ Jesus: This all amounts to the "good news of the Kingdom." (Matthew 24:14) This "good news" needs to be told to all people, so they might have the chance to be protected through the tribulation and to survive Armageddon; And then to live on forever in the promised paradise. We might - you might - speed us to the end, and more quickly bring peace, by helping to warn people: By simply telling people "this good news of the Kingdom." (Matthew 24:14) By sharing truth, you can help both yourself and any who will hear, to survive. You can also become friends with Jehovah; the provider of this salvation. (James 2:23) We join John in saying: "Amen, come quickly lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:20)

As we live through the tribulation, all should be cautious not to judge someone who suffers loss or dies to be a bad person. In his day, Job was the most righteous man in all the earth; (Job 1:8) but there was a time when God did not protect him because he was caught in an issue raised by satan: Job 1:9-12 Jehovah had judged Job to be an upright man, and knew He would very soon fix anything satan caused Job to suffer. Because of his faithfulness, Job was blessed after his abuse by satan and even now awaits a resurrection to the hope of eternal life. (Eze_14:14 ; Luke_14:14) The foremost example is Christ Jesus: As a perfect man and God's own son, even Jesus was not protected from dying the most terrible death conceivable [except a death outside God's favor of course]. These examples illustrate God's protection of life extends only when it is in harmony with his grand purpose of salvation, and at his chosen time. We should thus understand, there may be individuals who are not wicked, but still suffer or die during the tribulation. Those individuals will later receive a resurrection. Remember: The "tribulation" is not a judgment as to who are wicked, but is an opportunity for the righteous to demonstrate their integrity; and may also prove to be for their salvation and protection. "Armageddon" on the other hand, will be a judgment against the wicked. Of course, there will be wicked persons who die during the tribulation as well. The tribulation is brought about by man and by sin, and is indiscriminate in it's destruction. The righteous will start [or have started] to receive protection as the tribulation escalates. In any case, the judgment of who are wicked is wisely left to God through Christ. (2_Thes_1:6-10) Armageddon will not be indiscriminate, but will precisely target all remaining wicked individuals. (Revelation 6:16-17) No righteous person will be harmed by Armageddon.

We were not favored to live when we could see Jesus walk on water, or see Moses split the red sea to protect God's people. We may be even more fortunate, however: We may be favored to be alive to see the end of this wicked system, and to be among those who will "never die at all." (John 11:26) We may be favored to live on into eternity in the paradise being created. (Isaiah 11:6-9) All need to be helped to understand: Faith gained through Bible knowledge means life everlasting. (John 12:50) Tell everyone you know! Direct them to this website and share what the Bible really teaches.

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