When is the Tribulation, What Precedes it, and What Inaugurates it?

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In order to learn the answer to these questions concerning the Tribulation we'll start with what has become one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible.

Daniel 9 is one of the main texts for any end times study.  This is just a fantastic passage of Scripture.  It lays out for us a basic Chronology from 445 B.C. all the way up through and including Armageddon in just four verses.

This is the passage of Daniel’s 70 weeks.  This is going to be foundational for the rest of our understanding concerning the End Times Chronology.

You cannot understand the timing of the End Times Chronology if you do not understand this passage.

Please realize that the book of Revelation does not have a monopoly on End Times doctrine.

Let’s look at...

Daniel 9:24-27

"Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. [25] So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. [26] Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. [27] And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."

You have to look at this passage as a huge picture of events that covers well over two thousand years in four verses.  This is just a fascinating passage of Scripture!

What you just read told you at least eleven significant things:

  1. The time allotted for God’s people, Jerusalem, and the accomplishment of six major things—we’ll go over these in a minute (v.24)
  2. A year that the Messiah would be on the earth (v.25)
  3. That Jerusalem would be rebuilt (v.25)
  4. The year that the Messiah would be crucified (v.26)
  5. That Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed again (v.26)
  6. That there will be war until the end (v.26)
  7. Where the Antichrist will come from (what people group) (vs.26,27)
  8. What precedes the Tribulation (v.27)
  9. What inaugurates the Tribulation (v.27)
  10. That there will be an abomination (v.27)
  11. That the Messiah will utterly destroy the Antichrist (v.27)

I tried to summarize everything on this page or group of pages, but it just didn't work.  It needs to be gone through systematically in order for it to make sense.  I apologize I couldn't figure out a way for it to make sense in this site.

My book walks you through this entire passage in great detail.  You'll fill in almost half of the End Times Chronology from the information in these 4 verses.

I spent hours trying to get it on here, but had to settle for answering the main questions in the heading only.

Before we start with verse 27 look at the first two words of the passage...“Seventy weeks…”  In Hebrew, that literally reads “Seventy sevens”.

This is a Hebrew idiom in prophetic Scriptures, and one week equals seven years.

In the book I walk you through the first 69 of Daniel's 70 weeks and it takes several pages just for that part, so I just couldn't include it here.  But what you need to know for this is that the 70th week is yet in our future.  69 of the 70 weeks have been prophesied and recorded in history, but there is a gap between the 69th and 70th.

These verses tell us what will start that 70th and final week.  You're going to want to understand this!

In light of that let's look at...

Verse 27

“And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week…”

Who is the “he”?  Pronouns usually refer back to the last person described.  Who is that in verse 26?...the prince who is to come.

What will the prince who is to come do?  He will make a covenant with the many.

What is the duration of this covenant to be?  For one week, which is how many years?...7 years.  Remember that Hebrew idiom in prophetic Scripture...one week equals 7 years.

Let’s continue in...

Verse 27b

“...but in the middle of the week he [the prince who is to come] will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering…”

What would the middle of the week be?...half of 7 years is 3½ years.

What happens at the 3½-year mark?  Let’s let the Bible speak for itself, “he [the prince who is to come] will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering…”

What does that imply?  It implies that halfway through the 7-year covenant the prince who is to come breaks the covenant

The Prince Who is to Come

Who is this prince who is to come?  There are three common views, which have been put forth, as to who the “he” is of Daniel 9:27.  I can't go through them here, but I will give you the conclusion...the "he" of Daniel 9:27 is the Antichrist.

So, the Antichrist makes a covenant with who for one week (seven years)?...the Jews.  How do we know that?  Well, what people group has the context been referring to?...the Jews.

Also, his breaking of the covenant involves stopping sacrifices and grain offerings.  Who in this context are the only ones who make these kinds of offerings?...the Jews.

And where do they make these offerings?...in the temple.  Is there a temple today that the Jews are making sacrifices in?...No.  So what does that imply?...a rebuilt temple.  Remember, Daniel's 70th week is yet future to us.

What will be the sign that tells us the gap has ended?  After Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed in verse 26 (70 A.D. in the 69th week) what is the next event we read about in verse 27?...the prince who is to come (the Antichrist) makes a firm covenant with whom?...the Jews.

We don’t know that date, because the Bible hasn’t told us.  Nevertheless, we do know what we’re looking for next now, don’t we?

We’re looking for a covenant made between the Jews and a person who we will know to be the Antichrist.  And how long is the covenant for?...1 week or 7 years.


  • When is the Tribulation?  We don't know because the Bible doesn't tell us a date for its beginning.
  • What Precedes the Tribulation?  The covenant made as described above.
  • What Inaugurates the Tribulation?  The breaking of the covenant described above.

Now we know what to look for next concerning the Tribulation!  When you understand these truths in the Word it will bring you certainty and security.

If this is a bit confusing for you I walk you through this entire passage step-by-step in my book and it is very helpful to fill out your own End Times Chronology as you go along which you receive when you purchase the book.

It is so exciting to see the Word lay this out right before your eyes as you fill in that End Times Chronology.  When you do that it sinks in and really takes hold.  These truths concerning the Tribulation are very important to understand.

Overwhelmed by all the theories about the End Times?  Whose end times prophecy is right?

Are the books of Daniel and Revelation confusing to you?

Having trouble keeping up with all the current world news that might pertain to the Last Days?

Understanding the End Times Chronology which God gave us will solve each of these problems for you.  It took me over 2 years to solve these problems for myself and my family.  Now you can do it in the time it takes to read this book - The End Times: What You Need to Know and Why

To journey through the key end times prophecy Scriptures in detail (such as in Daniel and Revelation) and diagram the entire End Times Chronology purchase a resource or host a seminar.

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