I have received a question about the great tribulation and the wrath of God:
It is not clear for me the verse that says that God has not destined us for wrath. This will mean that the great tribulation is triggered by the antichrist, and the wrath of God will be after the great tribulation. Is there a difference between the wrath of God and the wrath of the antichrist who will make war with the saints?
Indeed there is a difference between the great tribulation and the wrath of God.
The great tribulation
When we speak about „the great tribulation” in the context of the prophecies, it means that tribulation of which we find written in the book of Matthew chapter 24 and in the book of Daniel chapter 12, and about its intensity it is said that it will be a time of distress „such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time”.
According to the text from Matthew 24 and Daniel 12, the great tribulation begins with the settlement of the abomination of desolation in the Temple, and this happens in the middle of the seventieth week of Daniel), and ends with the coming of the Lord Jesus:
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. … But immediately after the tribulation of those days „the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken”. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. . (Matthew 24:15-22, 29-30)
Now at that time (when the last king, namely antichrist, will pitch his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain – Daniel 11:45) Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. … „I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.” (Daniel 12:1, 7)
So, the great tribulation is related with the activity of the antichrist and is directed against the people of Israel.
The wrath of God
According to the text from the book of Revelation 11: 14-18, the wrath of God begins with the seventh trumpet and ends with the 7 bowls, before the coming of the Lord Jesus:
The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly. Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth!” (Revelation 11:14-18)
Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.. (Revelation 15:1)
We see that the wrath of God begins with the seventh trumpet, which is the third woe announced for those who dwell on the earth:
Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”. (Revelation 8:13)
If we pay attention to what happens when the bowls are poured, we see that their plagues will affect the whole earth. At the last bowl all the cities of the nations will suffer and the city of Babylon will remembered before God to punish it:
The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. (Revelation 16:19)
From Revelation 11 we learn that the wrath of God will come after the tribulation begins, because the seventh trumpet will sound after at least three and a half days after the Antichrist will sit in the Temple:
When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
- The wrath of God begins a little later after the beginning of the great tribulation.
- The great tribulation is from the side of the Antichrist against Israel, and the wrath is from God (Revelation 15: 7, 16: 1) against those who dwell on the earth.
- The great tribulation and the wrath of God will end at the second coming of the Lord Jesus.
Translated by Marcela Tasca