Apostolic Preterist

7yr or 3 1/2 Tribulation

Is the tribulation period 7 years long or 3 1/2 years long?

Just how long is the tribulation period?


The prevailing thought in modern-day prophecy teaching is that the tribulation period is seven years long.  This understanding comes from Daniel’s seventieth week.  As we have already learned each of the seventy weeks is actually seven years with each day representing a year.   In the seventieth week the one we know as Anti-Christ confirms a covenant that is actually seven years long thus the teaching of a seven year tribulation period.  However, according to Scripture the tribulation period is three and a half years long. The first 3 1/2 years of the 70th week being when Jesus the messiah preached the new covenant. He was then cut off (killed) in the mist of his 70th week. Let us look closely at the evidence of a three and a half year tribulation period.  We will begin in Mathew 24:15 & Mark 13:14.


Mathew 24:15, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso reads, let him understand:)”


Mark 13:14, “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that reads understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:”


Our Lord clearly states here that when they (first century church) would see this abomination of desolation that Daniel spoke about is when the tribulation period begins.  Because Jesus said just a few verses later in Mathew 24:21,


Luke 21:20-22 20And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

The soldiers that surrounded Jerusalem was the Roman army. They surrounded Jerusalem in 66 ½ A.D this was the beginning of the 3 ½ year tribulation that ended when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 A.D.


For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”


 Mark 13:19 records the same thing.  The verses between Mathew 24:15 and 24:21 explain that when they were to see the abomination of desolation that those who live in Israel were to flee immediately. This conversation between our Lord and His disciples can be found in Mathew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.


So our Lord makes it perfectly clear that it is when they would see the abomination that there would be  great tribulation as never before.  We also know that this act is done in the middle of the seventieth week which would be three and a half days in.  We also have established that each day in the week is actually a year so this act of abomination actually is three and a half years after the messiah confirmed (preached ) his new covenant.

 Jesus Christ the messiah started preaching his new covenant message of salvation when he was 30 and stopped when he was cut off (killed) at the age of 33 1/2 in the mist of his week (Daniels 70th week). The abomination was killing their messiah. That is why the desolation that was to come was called the abomination of desolation. Which above in Luke said was soldiers surrounding Jerusalem. This happened in 66 1/2 A.D- leading up to the 70 A.D desolation.  

We also know that the tribulation period is three and a half years long because Daniel says in verse 12, 

And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away (this happened when Jesus was crucified. It was the only sacrifice God would accept forever), and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”


1290 days is three and a half years.  Daniel also says in verse 7 of chapter 12,


And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by him that lives for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.


The use of the word time here by Daniel in the Hebrew language is a word that reflects an appointment of an event set every year therefore a time represents the period of a year, times would be two years and half a time would be in the middle of that period of time or half a year.  Thus we have another piece of evidence that the tribulation period is three and a half years long not seven. 


Also Revelation 11:2 & 13:5 shows us that this great tribulation period is three and a half years long.


But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” <Three and a half years>


And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”  <Three and a half years.> 



As you can see this period of time we call the tribulation is actually three and a half years long and not seven.  There is no where in Scripture that indicates that the first half of the seventieth week is a tribulation in fact we will soon see that Revelation 11 actually shows us that the first half of the seventieth week belongs to the two witnesses.



1- The great tribulation started when the first century church saw the abomination that makes desolate.

2-- The abomination that makes desolate occurred in the middle of the seventieth week. The abomination was killing their messiah and the desolation was Jerusalem being destroyed in 70 A.D

3-- In Daniel's weeks each day of the week equals 1 year of time.

4-- Time, times and half a time equals three and a half years.

5-- Scripture refers to this same period of time as days, weeks, months and times.

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