Tribulation v Great Tribulation
Jesus warned his disciples that they would encounter tribulation in this world (John 16:33). This ‘trouble’ would be characterized by the hatred and persecution of the world (John 15:18-21). How should we respond? Well, just as Jesus did, with humility and patience (1 Peter 2:20f). Regardless of how we’re treated, we are to seek to live ‘peaceful and quiet lives,’ praying for and submitting to the ruling authorities (1 Tim 2:1-2).
Yet this ‘tribulation’ is not the same as that which Jesus warned was coming in Matthew 24. How do we know?
In Matthew 24 Jesus was asked about the signs of his coming again. His response? Right before he comes, there would be a time of unprecedented global distress (Matt 24:21).
This distress will be so bad that unless it was cut short, none would survive (Matt 24:22).
This coming tribulation is connected with the ‘Abomination of Desolation’ that was foretold in Daniel 9:27 (Matt 24:15), an event that has not occurred yet.
Jesus said he would return immediately after this tribulation, meaning he was talking about a definite, defined period of time.
This teaching mirrors what we see in Revelation 6-19.
Christian, respond with grace and patience to life’s troubles while looking for the blessed hope of Jesus’ return to keep us from the hour of trial coming on the whole earth (Rev 3:10).