Chapter 5c and 14a
The Great Tribulation
Now before we move forward and enlarge this discussion, it will be necessary to take a brief and short detour from the central theme of this section. It will be most critical to briefly discuss an issue of paramount importance.
There exists among Christians a huge misconception that needs to be nipped in the bud right at the get go. Nothing in Angelfall will make sense otherwise. This misconception automatically blocks the entire view of the reality of Angelfall. For many Christians, the following discussion is going to be rather mind boggling, a rude awakening of sorts. It will change almost everything out there currently being taught—particularly by those who are the proponents of Bible prophecy and who teach concerning the end times (i.e., primarily pre-millennialism). There is a need in the Christian Church for a major adjustment and a complete overhaul.
This has to do deal with a supposed future time on earth called "the great tribulation."
NOTE: There is an entire section in Angelfall that deals with the subject of Bible prophecy (see Chapter 13a).
To begin this discussion, I would like to quote a very generic yet powerful statement that I heard recently from another Christian brother. It applies precisely to what we are going to be talking about.
The purpose of God's truth and revelation, is not to substantiate our illusions, but to eliminate them. Do not seek confirmation from God as to your own thoughts or perception of things, but seek instead to be disillusioned; seek to be rid of all your illusions about God, all your misperceptions of Who He is, and what He is doing, and what He is going to do. Seek to know Him and His will no matter how contrary it seems to everything you have heard and learned and experienced up to this point. The Bible calls us to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus; and this growth is only possible through revelation. With this revelation comes adjustment, and that adjustment is continuous and it is ongoing, until we are perfectly and completely aligned with God's heart and mind, His purpose, His will, and His kingdom. (Chip Brogden)
The Common Perception
There are many schools of prophetic teaching and all sorts of end time scenarios floating around out there. But one thing they all have in common (with the exception of the ultra preterist teaching), is that there is going to "soon" arrive a time upon the earth called "the great tribulation."
This is a concept that virtually 100% of evangelical Christians accept without question. It is the cornerstone of virtually all prophetic teaching. In the prophecy chapter of The Original Code in the Bible, I had made the following statement.
How many times have you heard a Christian brother or sister ask this question: “Do you believe the rapture is going to take place before the great tribulation, or at the end of the great tribulation?” In reality, this may be the wrong question, because what if there is no such thing as a literal three and one-half or seven year “great tribulation”? No one seems to even question that idea. It is a foregone conclusion for 99 percent of all born-again Christians. Theomatics completely destroys the idea that there is going to be a future period on earth called "The Great Tribulation"—a specific period lasting three and one-half or seven years. Chapter 17 of Theomatics IIis devoted to a complete discussion of this (see p. 212).
The Words of Jesus
Three times during His earthly ministry, Jesus talked about the stars falling from heaven, the sun being darkened, and the moon not giving its light. This is mentioned in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Only in the Gospel of John is this not mentioned. The stars of course are directly related to the concept of angels (in chapters 5a and 5b we discussed the symbolic significance of the sun and the moon and the stars).
Here is Matthew's account.
"Immediately after the TRIBULATION of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Mat 24:29,30).
And in Mark's gospel.
"But in those days, after that TRIBULATION, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken" (Mark 13:24,25).
And in Luke.
"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth DISTRESS of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring" (Luke 21:25).
"After the Tribulation of Those Days"
In the gospel of Matthew Jesus specifically mentioned that the stars of heaven would fall "AFTER the tribulation of those days." And again in Mark the sun would be darkened and the stars would fall "AFTER that tribulation."
When one reads the above verses, it seems apparent (on the surface at least) that the sun being darkened, and the moon not giving its light, and the stars falling—this is some far off future event that is destined to occur JUST BEFORE Jesus returns to planet earth. That is the standard evangelical (pre-millennial) interpretation of these verses.
Along with the topics of the Antichrist and the rapture of the Church, no concept has been presented with more "certainty" and "clarity," and been universally accepted without question by Christians the world over—than the concept of "the great tribulation". So when people read the words of Jesus about the "tribulation of those days," they commonly think that he is talking about the supposed future great tribulation of the supposed Antichrist.
As thousands of books have been written on the subject Bible prophecy, countless radio and T.V. ministries over the years, nobody has even stopped for two seconds, taken a deep breath, leaned back in their rocking chair, and carefully examined and thought through what is been taught and swallowed—hook, line, and sinker. For some sovereign reason God has allowed this conception (or misconception) to exist within the Christian Church.
1260 Days, 42 Months,
Time, Times, and Half a Time
The whole concept of the Great Tribulation (or a specific time frame) is based primarily upon seven passages from the Bible. The following information may seem a little academic, but it is important to point out some pertinent facts before an individual can begin to understand this issue objectively.
In Revelation chapter 11, it speaks concerning the two witnesses. It says that the gentiles or nations of the world will trample the Holy City: "The holy city shall they tread under foot FORTY AND TWO MONTHS" (Rev 11:2). But the next verse says that: "I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy A THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY DAYS, clothed in sackcloth" (Rev 11:3).
The interesting thing to observe from the above, is that here two expressions are given—42 months and 1260 days, which mean identically the same thing time wise, i.e. three and one half years of linear time. The question has to be asked, "Why did God present it that way? Why not just use one expression and say it literally—"three and one half years?" Period.
Chapter 13 of Revelation is the famous beast chapter. Here it mentions that the beast would speak great things and blasphemies: "And power was given unto him to continue FORTY AND TWO MONTHS" (Rev 13:5). But in the prior chapter 12, it talks about the woman who confronts the same seven headed beast, and who "fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there A THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND THREESCORE DAYS" (Rev 12:6).
Here again we see the 42 months and 1260 days. An interesting observation is that in both of these instances, the 42 seems to relate to the bad side of things, and the 1260 seems to relate more to a more positive aspect.
Now there is yet another expression used in the Bible that means essentially the same thing as the 42 months and 1260 days. It appears twice in the book of Daniel and once in Revelation chapter 12. In Daniel 7:25 it talks about the little horn, and says "he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until A TIME, TIMES, AND THE DIVIDING OF TIME" (Dan 7:25). And then in chapter 12 of Daniel, it talks about the angel Gabriel, "And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for A TIME, TIMES, AND AN HALF" (Dan 12:7).
We know that this expression relates to three and one half years, because the expression "time" in the Bible can symbolically represent "one year" (see Dan 4:16 where "seven times" refers to "7 years").
Now here is the interesting part from the New Testament. In Revelation 12 it specifically says that the woman fled into the wilderness for 1260 days. But in verse 13, it states,
"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for A TIME, TIMES, AND HALF A TIME, from the face of the serpent" (Rev 12:14).
So we see right here that all three of these expressions of 42 months, 1260 days, and "time, times, and half a time" mean essentially the same thing in sequential earthly linear time.
In the book of James it uses yet another fourth expression. Here it says that "Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of THREE YEARS AND SIX MONTHS" (James 5:17).
There must be a definite reason God wrote His Word in this manner, and common sense should tell any thinking person that there must be SOME DEEPER SPIRITUAL AND SYMBOLIC ASPECT TO ALL OF THIS—that goes far beyond God simply giving a prediction about some future events that only relate to a literal and specific earthly time period of a three plus years (or relates only to the nation of Israel as many prophecy proponents teach).
Yet there are some other interesting facts and parallels concerning all of this. The ministry of Jesus upon earth evidently lasted for three and one half years. But He was in the tomb for three and one half days. In Revelation 11, where it talks about the two witnesses, their ministry lasted symbolically the same three and one half years, but after they were killed, their bodies lie in the street of the city of Sodom (obviously symbolic) for three and one half days (the same exact parallel as Jesus). Here too, there is some definite and deliberate symbolical design with these numbers. The three and half years vs. three and a half days is obvious proportionate symbolism.
Daniel's 70th Week
Another huge and important issue related to all this, concerns the infamous "Daniel's 70th week" prophecy lasting 490 years (see Daniel 9:24-27). Much prophetic speculation has been articulated over this passage. This period of seven years or the 70th week (the last week of the 70 weeks or 490 years) was divided into two halves consisting of three and one half years each. Many Bible prophecy proponents teach that there is a 2000 year gap between the 69th and 70th week, and have labeled the 70th week as "the great tribulation of the Antichrist." It is the belief of a number of other Bible students that this prophecy was COMPLETELY FULFILLED by Jesus Himself (the animal sacrifices ended in the middle of the 70th week at the crucifixion). It was approximately three and one half years after the crucifixion that Peter had his vision and took the Gospel to the house of Cornelius and the Gentiles. Thus the 70th week was completed for Daniel's people. The Jewish age was now over with. This prophecy does not have a "2000 year gap" arbitrarily imposed by many dispensationalists—the 70 weeks were evidently contiguous (that is, if the prophecy was designed by God to have a literal/historical fulfillment and is not just symbolical).
What Does All of This Mean?
Now the thing we must understand here, is that virtually everybody out there who teaches anything about Bible prophecy and the end times—they have taken all of these passages concerning the 42 months, 1260 days, time, times, and half a time, STRIPPED THEM OF ANY MEANING OTHER THAN A LITERAL AND FUTURE TIME PERIOD, and bunched them all together, throwing them into one finite box, and come up with a spectacular doctrine called "the great tribulation"—the idea that there is going to be future literal time slot of three and half years when virtually everything mentioned in the Book of Revelation will be fulfilled in one fell swoop. Bam!
In reply, it is important to point out that the Bible nowhere attaches the expression or word "tribulation" to any of these time periods, which are most likely symbolic expressions exclusively and entirely.
First off, if a person really thinks about it, is seems really strange that God gave us chapter after chapter from the book of Revelation and Daniel (and other portions of the Bible), all of which only have a literal application lasting a little more than three years of earth time. Something about cramming a huge percentage of the entire Bible and world history into a single apocalyptic three year time slot simply does not sound right or even seem logical. The spiritual depth of the Bible must certainly go way beyond simply giving newspaper facts about times and events lasting barely more than three years.
Along with the two verses in Matthew and Mark about the "tribulation of those days," there is one other verse that is linked to those two in order to substantiate the concept of the great tribulation. This is probably the main verse used.
In the book of Revelation it talks about the 144 thousands. Theomatics proves that this is in reference to spiritual Israel or the Church—all of God's people from all the ages. In our theomatics books there are entire chapters that show this design (see Theomatics II, Chapter 12 on the "144 thousands," p. 309). In reference to this great number of people, here is what it states in the book of Revelation.
"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, THESE ARE THEY WHICH CAME OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them" (Rev 7:13-15).
What happens here is that the pundits of Bible prophecy completely and arbitrarily assume that the above verse is talking about those who come out of the three an one half year period of time (i.e., "Scofield's Jewish evangelists," or "144,000" literal male Jewish virgins (who have never had sex or ever told a lie during their lives), and they evangelize the world during the so called great tribulation after the church has been "raptured" to heaven). This is where the term "great tribulation" comes from (and also Mat 24:21). Whereas what these 144 thousands is really referring to, is ALL CHRISTIANS OF ALL AGES, who come out of tribulation of this entire world—in general—the 144 thousands is strictly symbolical in meaning.
Tribulation in General
The word "tribulation" is used in the book of Revelation five times, as well as numerous other verses in the Bible. All of these have nothing to do with specific dispensational time period whatsoever, and is only talking about tribulation in general. Again, to say that Rev 7:14 is talking about the 1260 days or 42 months is a totally subjective and arbitrary assumption. Here are the other four mentions in Revelation. The generic meaning is obvious.
"I John, who also am your brother, and companion in TRIBULATION, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev 1:9).
The following are the words of Jesus.
"I know thy works, and TRIBULATION, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" (Rev 2:9).
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have TRIBULATION ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev 2:10).
"Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great TRIBULATION, except they repent of their deeds" (Rev 2:22).
The term "tribulation" throughout the Bible can refer to any specific time or any manner of stress. The Greek word for it is THLIPSIS. The same identical word is translated in many verses as "affliction" (see Mark 13:19). It appears over forty times in the New Testament and has a very BROAD application.
There is not even a single shred of evidence that God ever uses this term specifically in reference to a clearly delimited period of time. This whole concept of the great tribulation is an invention of men who are trying to figure out the future world events and make everything fit "dispensationally."
NOTE: There is a very large chapter and an entire Section here on Angelfall—see Section 14 that deals with this subject of the 1260 days and 42 months, and shows numerous theomatic patterns that prove that the tribulation and Daniel's abomination of desolation is related to the stars and the rebellion in heaven. Most importantly, theomatics has also revealed the meaning of the "time, times, and half a time." This is discussed extensively as well (see Chapters 14b and 14c of that section 14).
There is one other famous passage that should be addressed—the following words of Jesus from Matthew 24.
"And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For THEN SALL BE GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Mat 24:19-22).
While numerous people have tried to apply the above passage to the last days "great tribulation of the Antichrist," there is a general consensus among Bible interpreters, that the overall chapter of Matthew 24 was for the most part fulfilled in a literal manner in 70 AD, when Titus the Roman invaded Jerusalem and the Jewish nation was virtually wiped off the map. That was the "end of the age" for the Jews and Israel, and this interpretation is undoubtedly a correct one. The prophecy Jesus gave in Matthew 24 that "stone would not be left upon stone," was fulfilled literally in 70 AD. The preterist viewpoint on Bible prophecy uses these facts in Matthew 24 to basically say that all prophecy (including the entire book of Revelation) was fulfilled in the past in an EXCLUSIVE historical manner. In certain respects the preterist viewpoint is just as false and heretical as the futurist pre-millennial or dispensational one. Neither one recognizes the spiritually/symbolic aspect which theomatics positively confirms, and neither one has any knowledge of the angelic connection to the big picture.
Yes, there are SOME literal fulfillments in Bible prophecy, but they are far less common than people would like to believe. God's objective with anything literal is not an end in itself, but its purpose has an ultimate spiritual meaning and application. This principle is most foundational.
The Reason For This Discussion
The reason we are making such a big issue about a "last days great tribulation," is for two reasons. (1) The futurist concept relative to all this is so ingrained into the thinking of most Christians. And (2) because this will be the main argument that pre-millennial/evangelical critics will try to use against the entire message of Angelfall and the pre-existence premise. They will bring forth the argument that the casting down of the angels is still a future event that has not yet even occurred, and the heavens will not be cleansed until just months before Jesus returns to planet earth, i.e. it will not happen until we are actually into the "last days" seven year "great tribulation." Thus according to them, all these verses about the stars falling from heaven cannot possibly be related to men born upon earth, but are "events yet to come."
That conclusion is completely baseless and false and 100% in error. Here is why.
What is the Actual Meaning of "Great Tribulation?"
What theomatics clearly indicates and proves, is that the expression "tribulation" applies to the broad spectrum. THE GREAT TRIBULATION JESUS IS TALKING ABOUT IS THE ORIGINAL REBELLION IN HEAVEN WHICH CARRIES RIGHT OVER TO THIS WORLD AND ITS INHABITANTS. ALL TRIBULATION HAS ITS ROOTS IN THE ORIGINAL SIN AND FALL. AND ALL OF MANKIND'S SORROW AND SUFFERING IS DUE TO THE ORIGIN OF THAT VERY REBELLION. IT'S MEANING AND INTERPRETATION IS THEREFORE BROAD AND ALL INCLUSIVE.
When Jesus said that "after the tribulation of those days" the stars would fall, He was talking about the time before, during, and immediately after earthly Adam's creation. The stars began falling back then (or even at another relativity point in space time). Of paramount importance, is the fact that Jesus Himself clearly indicated that Satan's fall from heaven was both a PAST (and perhaps present) event at the time He was on the earth. In the following verse, the Greek verb for "I beheld" (åèåùñïõí) is imperfect. act. and NOT future. These words of Jesus nails the issue—it does not indicate a future fulfillment but rather a present and prior/past one.
"And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I BEHELD Satan fall from heaven as lightning" (Luke 10:17,18).
As people are born into this world, that process of the fall is continuously unfolding itself and taking place as God's angels round up like cattle the rebellious beings in the universe who are at war against their Creator (see Mat 24:31 and Mat 13:41).
God then takes the spirits and souls of the fallen ones and places them into linear earth time when they suddenly reappear as infants in embryos. Theomatics confirms this fact conclusively. All tribulation in this lifetime is related to original sin and rebellion in heaven and its carry over effect in the life of each person on this earth.
The fall from heaven is the great tribulation that the redeemed white robed saints come out of.
IMPORTANT: See Section 14 for a complete discussion on the actual meaning of the great tribulation.