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Holman Bible Dictionary

Tribulation

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Trouble or pressure of a general sort; in some passages a particular time of suffering associated with events of the end time. In this sense it is described as tribulation surpassing any trouble yet experienced in human history (Matthew 24:21 ).

Such a reference to “the great tribulation” as Revelation 7:14 (NIV) is seen by some (amillennialism) to refer historically to persecution faced by Christians of the latter part of the first century, but also symbolic of tribulation that occurs periodically throughout history. Others (premillennialism) take such a reference to the great tribulation to refer to an end time period. Dispensational premillennialism connects such a seven-year tribulation with the seventieth week of a prophetic framework taken from Daniel 9:24-27 . A distinction is usually made between the two halves of the seven years. The last half, often called the Great Tribulation, is measured variously as three and a half years (Daniel 9:27 ), forty-two months (Revelation 11:2 ; Revelation 13:5 ), 1,260 days ( Revelation 11:3 ; Revelation 12:6 ), or “a time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14 ). Distinctive to this view is the teaching the church will be raptured at the beginning of the tribulation period.

Historic premillennialism sees the period as a future time of intense trouble on earth prior to Christ's return, but holds the church will go through the tribulation. The church must endure the tribulation, but not God's wrath. See Dispensation ; Eschatology ; Future Hope ; Millennium ; Rapture ; Revelation, Book of; Seventy Weeks .

Jerry W. Batson


Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Tribulation'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/t/tribulation.html. 1991.

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