Jesus said there would be “great tribulation” before His return. (Matthew 24:21) But will it be a “post tribulation” return or a “pre tribulation” return? Well, it’s nice when everything is really simple but things aren’t always that way. So, to introduce “pre” and “post”, we’re going to have to back up. We’re going to back up to Abraham, 4000 years ago. Abraham is called “the father of faith”. The God of Abraham is the God of three religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
And each of the three religions with one supreme God all teach and believe in an ultimate kingdom of God that will come to earth. In fact, although I’m a Christian, the videos on this web site are based on a prophet who wasn’t Christian. Daniel was Jewish. We could get into that and quibble but the point here is that all three religions who worship the God of Abraham each look forward to a future kingdom of God on earth.
But, when? How? Where? Being a Christian, I can tell you what Jesus said about that when He was asked. Numerous times He was asked about when the Kingdom of God would come, or even when He Himself would return to earth.
And actually, Jesus chose to refer back to specific places in the book of Daniel to be precise about His answer. The two best chapters on this subject are Matthew 24 and Mark 13. Matthew 24, verses 29 to 31 are the climax of Jesus’ description of His return to earth. He describes His coming in the clouds of heaven to gather together His elect. Matthew 24: 29-31 is utterly packed with information and glory, as well as some mystery about some parts.
But for the moment, let’s zero in on the first words of that passage. Jesus is specifically marking clearly when this event will take place. Matthew 24:29 begins like this, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days…”
“Immediately after”, that’s clear enough. “Immediately after…” what? “…the tribulation of those days.” What tribulation? If you look a little earlier in the text, Jesus has already explained it. Back in verse 21, it begins “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world…”.
It’s almost like when you have to chew your food slowly. To understand this, even though it‘s pretty simple, you have to “chew” it slowly. Jesus told when He would gather His people: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days”.
In trying to find out more about that time and what He was talking about with “tribulation”, we can look back to verse 21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world...”
We may not understand it all, but we can still believe it. He said He would return. This would happen immediately after a time of trouble such as the world had never seen before. And we can even go back a bit further in Matthew 24 to read of a sign or signal that would mark the beginning of that time of great trouble. In verse 15 of Matthew 24, Jesus said, “When you shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place…” and that verse ties directly into verse 21 which says “Then shall be great tribulation.”
My advice: don’t try to immediately understand all this if it’s your first time to hear it. I certainly didn’t. I didn’t doubt it; I just didn’t understand it all at the first.
But trying to put it in the simplest terms, Jesus described the circumstances of His return. He said it would be “immediately after” a time of trouble that would be worse than any the world has seen till that time. And He described a signal of the beginning of that trouble saying “when” you see the abomination of desolation [yes, you don’t understand that, that’s normal] “then”will be that great time of trouble. In my Bible years ago I marked those three phrases, When in verse 15, Then in verse 21 and immediately after in verse 29.
Finally, we can now talk about “pre” and “post”. For those who study this subject, there has been a big debate about whether Jesus’ return to this world will be “Post tribulation” or “Pre tribulation”. Since He Himself clearly stated in the verses we’ve just looked at that His return would be “Immediately after the tribulation of those days”, my view, and the view that’s put forward in this video series, is what’s called a “post tribulation” view. In the next part of this series on “Pre” and “Post”, I’ll aim to tell you why this is important.