Tribulation Confusion (Part 3)
Question: Do the terms “the Day of the Lord” and “The Great Tribulation” refer to the same event?
As has been shown in the first two articles, the Day of the Lord and the Great Tribulation are not one and the same. Understanding the difference helps to unravel some other scriptural puzzles.
For instance, the Bible clearly teaches that the Day of the Lord involves the outpouring of God’s wrath upon mankind. Yet the Scripture also teaches that those who are genuine followers of Jesus will not experience God’s wrath, for Jesus has already taken God’s punishment for our sin upon Himself:
1Th. 5:9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
But once we understand that the Great Tribulation is not the result of God’s wrath it then becomes clear that the Church will suffer persecution—as it always has—during the Tribulation, but that we will be Raptured after the Tribulation, rescued from God's wrath, when the Antichrist is destroyed by Jesus’s appearing, as the first act of the Day of the Lord:
2Th. 2:8 And then the lawless one [the Antichrist] will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
So, to sum up—
The Great Tribulation will be triggered by the refusal of Jews and Christians to worship the image of the Antichrist set up in the Temple [which has yet to be built] (Matt. 24:15-2; Dan. 9:27; 2Thess. 2:4).
The Lord’s Return in the sky in great power and glory takes place “immediately after the Tribulation,” accompanied by cosmic upheaval and the destruction of the Antichrist (Matt. 24:29-30; 2 Thess. 2:8).
The Rapture of the Church, according to Jesus, will take place “at that time” [ie., at Jesus’ Return following the Tribulation], as we are gathered from the whole earth “to meet the Lord in the air” (Matt. 24:31; 1Thess. 4:17).
The Day of the Lord will commence with Jesus’ appearing and our being gathered to Him, at which time God’s wrath will be poured out upon rebellious mankind and the earth will be purged of the effects of sin (Is. 13:9; 2Thess. 2:8).
The Church is called to suffer, yes, but not to experience God’s wrath. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians:
Phil. 1:29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him…
Jesus is coming back, and we who are alive at that time will be gathered to meet Him to meet Him in the air, to be changed and made like Him in the twinkling of an eye. This is our blessed hope, as Paul said to Titus (Titus 2:13). Between that day and this, we…wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath (1Th. 1:10).