This One Verse Destroys The Theory Of A Future Great Tribulation Period

Written By J.A. Hardgrave

It seems almost every week I get presented with the idea that “The Great Tribulation Period” is still in our future.

I always respond with one simple Bible verse that contradicts this view and usually causes the person to change the subject entirely, because the evidence is 100% clear as I see it. 

Let’s look at one of the main Bible passages that references “The Great Tribulation Period” in the New Testament that usually gets brought up in discussion. 

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21

In Matthew 24:4-33, Jesus gives the disciples several signs they needed to look for, one of them being “The Great Tribulation Period”. 

I would entertain the idea that the great tribulation period were future, if it were not for what Jesus said right after giving the signs on the Mount of Olives. In my opinion, this one verse destroys the theory of a future Great Tribulation Period.

“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till ALL these things take place.” Matthew 24:34

Wait a minute. J.A., are saying that The Great Tribulation Period happened before the generation Jesus was speaking to passed away? 

Of course not!

I would never make such a bold claim in 1,000 years.

I’m not saying that.

Jesus is. 

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just taking Jesus at His word. 

If Jesus said The Great Tribulation Period would take place within His generation, I believe Him. 

But which event could possibly match the description Jesus gave of The Great Tribulation Period that happened within one generation? 

After all, He did say the great tribulation would be “such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”.

Whatever was going to happen, had never happened before, and nothing like it would ever happen again in the same manner for the rest of human history. 

History tells us from the writings of Josephus that between AD 66-70 the Jews experienced an unprecedented tribulation when 1.1 million of them were violently slaughtered by the Roman armies under General Titus. This time period appears to fit Jesus’ description considering what this time period cost the Jews covenantally speaking.

The temple buildings were invaded,burned, and ultimately destroyed, fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:2. “And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the Temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the Holy House; but, as for that House, God had for certain long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of the ages: it was the tenth day of the month Lous, upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon; although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus’s retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the Holy House fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning in the inner court of the Temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the Holy House itself.
At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the Holy House, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward the Jews made a great clamour, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered anything to restrain their force, since that Holy House was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard upon it. –War 6.4.5 249-253

The Romans crucified so many people, they ran out of crosses.

Josephus also records “So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest, when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies.” -The Wars of The Jews Chapter 11

I just listed only a few of the terrible events that transpired during this time period.

Some may ask “What about the Holocaust which was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazi regime during World War 2?”

If we look at the events of AD 70 in only terms of the number of people who were killed, the Holocaust was by far much worse. 

However, if we consider what the events of AD 70 meant covenantally for the Jewish people and the Old Covenant world as a whole, nothing like this had ever happened before, and nothing like this will ever be repeated in such a manner again considering the Old Covenant is now obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), and there are no New Testament Bible verses that predict the temple will be rebuilt. 

Consider how terrible it was to see the Levitical priesthood that carried out the temple service under the law brutally slaughtered, rendering the Old Covenant temple service completely inoperable.

Consider how saddening it was for the temple that Jews considered “God’s house” to be dismantled and burned to the ground along with all the sacred books of the law.

Although the example is not perfect, for those of you who live in America, imagine if the White House, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and other significant documents were burned to a crisp.

The White House is where the President lives and operates from to run the country.

Likewise, the temple was the center of the Old Covenant world and order. Hundreds of laws in the Old Covenant required a standing temple and a functioning Levitical priesthood.

No Temple, No Old Covenant.

What I am saying is that nothing like this had ever happened since the inception of the Old Covenant world, and will never happen in such a manner again. 

It can’t. 

The only way for such events to transpire again would be for God to cancel the New Covenant, and then reinstate the Old Covenant so He could then end it again. 

This won’t happen because that would completely undermine the finished work of Jesus Christ’ death burial and resurrection which created a new and better covenant. Hebrews 8:6.

Some may say “Yes, I agree the events of AD 70 were indeed the great tribulation, but that was just a type and shadow of a yet future “greater” tribulation that will occur in the whole earth.”

This idea is commonly referred to as “double fulfillment”.

Again, I appeal to the words of Jesus to show that’s not possible. 

Jesus said “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, NOR SHALL EVER BE.” 

The great tribulation has come and gone, and while there will always be tribulation for God’s people in a general sense around the globe, Jesus states “the great tribulation” would happen before His own generation passed away, so thus we shouldn’t confuse “The Great Tribulation” with general tribulation we will always face as carriers of light in a dark world.

Why does our interpretation of the great tribulation period matter?

Because many are looking for the earth to spiral into world-wide tribulation at any moment which shapes and negatively impacts their world-view, replacing hope and optimism towards the future with fear and uncertainty.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the verses I presented.

If you agree the future is bright and the great tribulation is passed, please pass this blog on and join me in helping restore optimism and hope towards the future in the body of Christ.

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  1. John Thompson - March 2, 2017 @ 5:49 pm

    Very good read. I liked the examples and it all was well thought out. Couldn’t agree more!

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