Revelation and seven years of tribulation

My friend, a Christian, tried to explain to me how some will have another 7 years to repent after judgement day, and be saved. She says it states this in Revelation. Please help me understand where she is coming from and direct me on how I can help her interpret this message correctly.

Answer: 

 

Your friend is echoing ideas of something called dispensational premillennialism.  That is a false teaching that inserts numerous events prior to the end of the world.  One of those events is a so-called great tribulation of seven years.  Scripture does not teach a special period of seven years of tribulation at the end of time. It teaches that the whole New Testament era will be a time of tribulation for the church (Acts 14:22) with an intense period of tribulation at the end. The three and one-half years described repeatedly in Revelation (time, times, and half a time, forty-two months) is a figurative expression for the whole New Testament era. This is especially apparent in Revelation 12, where the three and one-half years begins with Christ's ascension and ends with his return.

People who believe in dispensational premillennialism do allow others (especially the Jews) to have a second chance to be converted.  That sounds like the view of your friend.

Your friend needs to know that people have one time of grace, one time for God to bring them to a confession of sins and a confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.  When that time of grace ends at death or, if people are alive on the earth when Jesus returns visibly to this world, then there is immediate judgment (Hebrews 9:27; Matthew 25:31-46).  There are no second chances.  That is why Scripture repeatedly urges people to focus on their salvation now, today (2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:12-4:7).

Because your question is associated with multiple false teachings regarding the end times, you would do well to read a good explanation of what the Bible teaches about the end of the world.  Northwestern Publishing House recently published such a book.  It is called “End Times:  Jesus is Coming Soon” and is available on NPH’s website.

God bless your witnessing efforts as you relay the truths of God’s word to your friend.

Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.


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