We have now reached MID-TRIBULATION. To understand the Mid-Tribulation scene, before we look more at the unfolding story in Revelation which will give us the precise timings, let us first go back to Daniel 9, 2Thessalonians 2 and Matthew 24 - the foundational Scriptures for this time.
Daniel 9:27: He (the antichrist - the Roman dictator) will confirm a covenant for a week (seven years), but in the middle of the week (at Mid-Tribulation) he will cause the sacrifice and offerings to cease and on the wings (on the pinnacle of the Temple), he will set up an abomination (so that it forms an outward sign or covering signifying that it now belongs to him) that causes desolation (this act of defiance against God brings down the desolating judgements of God announced by the 7th Trumpet), until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (the Abomination will stand until the antichrist comes to his end at the Second-Coming of Christ).
Thus the Middle of the Tribulation is marked by antichrist breaking his treaty with Israel. He marches into Jerusalem and takes over, replacing Israel's Temple worship (which was part of this covenant) with his own religion. The Abomination of Desolation put on the pinnacle (high point) where everyone can see and is probably an image of himself (see Rev 13:14,15). He also enthrones himself in the holy of holies (thus claiming possession of the Temple within and without - the abomination is the outward sign of his inward presence, thus making it a temple unto himself, a counterfeit of the true Temple of God). This is when he demands to be worshipped as God.
This event is described in 2Thessalonians 2:3,4: And the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes (all other religions) and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God. This religion was prefigured in the required worship of Roman emperors as gods and the corresponding worship of the Roman empire that they represented. 2Thessalonians 2:8-12 describes antichrist’s activity in the Great Tribulation. He will be destroyed by Christ at the Second Coming (v8). But first he will succeed in deceiving most of the world into accepting his false-religion (namely those who rejected the Gospel in the first-half of the Tribulation - v10-12). He will do this by showing the world satanic signs and lying wonders (v9). These wonders, which he does in conjunction with the false-prophet are described in Rev 13:12-15. Most notably the world will have just seen him be miraculously resurrected from a deadly wound (v12,14). There will be fire from heaven (v13) and other great signs (v14) and there will be image of antichrist set up, that will seem to come alive and speak interactively (v15). All these wonders are for the purpose of deceiving people into worshipping the antichrist (v12,14). Combined with the threat of death (v15) and economic loss (v16-18), this causes most of the world to follow and worship the antichrist (v3,4,8,12,14,16).
Matthew 24 also tells us about the events at Mid-Tribulation: When you (Israel) shall see the abomination of desolation spoken by the prophet Daniel standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) then let those in Judea FLEE TO THE MOUNTAINS ....then shall there be GREAT TRIBULATION such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be and unless those days were shortened no flesh would be saved (Matthew 24:15,21,22). Jesus (interpreting Daniel’s prophecies of 9:27 and 11:45-12:1) is describing how the Great Tribulation will start and gives instructions for believers in how they should respond.
This is the proof that the Great Tribulation begins about mid-way through the 7 years, and that its start is marked by the Abomination of Desolation. This is the sign to all believers in Christ to immediately flee to safety.
Comparing Matthew 24 and Revelation:
TIME MATTHEW 24 REVELATION
The first half of the Tribulation v7-14 Revelation 6-9
The Great Tribulation v15-28 Revelation 10-18
The Second Coming of Christ 24:29- 25:46 Revelation 19
THE POLITICAL BUILD UP TO MID-TRIBULATION
1. A Revived Roman Empire arises, which includes Europe (the 7th Head of Revelation 13 and 17).
2. It becomes TEN KINGDOMS with TEN KINGS (the Ten Horns of Daniel 7).
3. The Tribulation begins with the Rapture of the Church, the sudden disappearance of a billion people, destabalises the world-scene.
4. Antichrist, as the Rider on the White Horse (Rev 6:2) is the catalyst for the first world-wide conflict, near the start of the Tribulation (Rev 6:3-8). Israel, feeling threatened, enter into a 7-year covenant with the antichrist, who is part of Revived-Rome (Daniel 9:27). Israel submit to him, trusting in him for protection. This is his foothold in the Middle-East. He may even have a standing force in Israel.
5. As Mid-Tribulation approaches, we have the 2nd world-wide conflict of the Tribulation as antichrist (the little horn) makes his move to seize the leadership of Revived Rome, defeating and subduing 3 of the horns (kings) who resist.
Daniel 11:36-12:1 describes antichrist and this battle-campaign leading up to Mid-Tribulation, when he overcomes the 3 kings and then captures Jerusalem in his bid for world-dominance.
After describing Antiochus, the type of antichrist (v21-35), the prophecy jumps to antichrist describing his character (v36-39): Then (at Mid-Tribulation) the king (antichrist) shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath (the Tribulation) has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honour a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honour with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god (the dragon), which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.
Thus, he will enjoy great success as he rises to world-dictatorship.
Then we see his conquest of the Middle-East and beyond (v40-45). First Egypt (South), then Syria (North) attack Israel (v40a): At the time of the end the king of the South (the first king that opposes him) shall attack him; and the king of the North (the second king that opposes him) shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.
This is the pretext for him to invade the whole region of the Middle-East and North Africa, including Israel (v40b-43).
Only Jordan is spared for the sake of the fleeing Woman (believing Israel): He shall also enter the Glorious Land (he will invade Israel), and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon (modern-day Jordan). He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.
Then he goes out to quickly put down challenges from the East and North (v44): But news from the East (the third king that opposes him) and the North (the second king) shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. He has great success in putting down all resistance.
About this time (just before Mid-Tribulation) antichrist has a miraculous resurrection. Combined with these decisive victories, this leads to the 10 kingdoms and all the nations submiting to him at Mid-Tribulation (Revelation 13:3,4,12; 17:8-14).
At Mid-Tribulation, he establishes his base at the Temple-Mount (v45): And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas (the Mediteranean and the Dead Seas) and the glorious holy mountain (the Temple-Mount); yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him. This is when he breaks his covenant by capturing Jerusalem, and desecrating the Temple, turning it into the centre of worship for his new world-wide religion (in which he is god). Shortly before he takes over the Temple, he receives a deadly wound, but is resurrected from the Abyss (Rev11:7), which accelerates his rise to world-dictatorship. But his time of dominance is short (three and a half years) before his certain destruction by Jesus Christ, which no one can prevent.
6. He puts the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15). His takeover of the Temple in v45 is the time when he puts up the Abomination of Desolation, which initiates the Great Tribulation, a time of unparallel Tribulation, especially for Israel, although at this time God provides a deliverance (escape) for a believing remnant of Israel: At that time (the time of 11:45, when antichrist takes over the Temple and puts up the Abomination) Michael shall stand up (throwing satan out of heaven -see Rev 12:7), the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people (Israel - Michael helps to foil satan’s plans of exterminating her); and there shall be (begin) a Time of Trouble (Tribulation),such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time (the Great Tribulation - Jesus used the same words in Matthew 24:15-22 to describe the Great Tribulation that will start when antichrist invades Israel at Mid-Tribulation). And at that time your people (Israel) shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the Book (Daniel 12:1, the next verse after 11:45-thus the warfare of 11:36-45 when antichrist overcomes the 3 kings, leads into the Great Tribulation in 12:1). This is a time of Great Trouble and danger, especially for Israel, however God will also provide a Great Escape (deliverance) for her. Jesus confirms all of this in His interpretation of these verses in Matthew 24:15-21. Satan will try to exterminate Israel, but God will protect the fleeing remnant (Rev 12:15), and ultimately Jesus Christ will return to deliver believing Israel.
This is when antichrist declares himself to be god - the only god to be worshipped, declaring the lie that there is no Creator God: The man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God (2Thessalonians 2:3,4). Those who rejected the TRUTH of the Gospel in the first half of the Tribulation will believe the LIE and submit to this great delusion of worshipping antichrist as the most highly evolved being: The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of THE TRUTH (man's creation by God, and salvation through Christ), that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe THE LIE (evolution), that they all may be condemned who did not believe THE TRUTH but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2Thessalonians 2:9-12). In the Mid-Tribulational Interval, the previously dominant world-apostate religion (the harlot of Revelation 17) is destroyed (17:16), to bereplaced by the new religion of antichrist worship, which is confirmed by satanic signs and wonders and enforced by the Mark of the Beast now that he controls the global economy. Anyone who does not submit cannot buy or sell and is killed. When it is established, those who had rejected the truth will take the Mark of the Beast and worship his image, and be eternally damned as a consequence (Rev 13:12-18, 14:9-11).
7. The 3rd World-Wide Conflict is the gathering of the nations at Armageddon at the end of the Tribulation. This is when Jesus returns! Daniel continues to describe the end of of the Trouble in v2,3, describing the resurrection of the saints at the Second-Coming, the time of ultimate deliverance and salvation of God's people. Verse 6 asks: How long is this time of Great Trouble (Tribulation) of Daniel 12:1? Three and a half years (Daniel 12:7). 1260 days of world-power is given to the antichrist, before he is destroyed at the return of Christ. Then v11 speaks of 1290 days from the Abomination to the cleansing and restoration of the Temple at the Second Coming. These periods must end at the same time, which means there must be an interval Mid-Tribulation of 30 days from the setting up of the Abomination, before the final 1260 days start. Thus it takes 30 days from this Temple Desecration for the antichrist to establish his worldwide dictatorship and religion. The 1335 days to the Millennium of v12, reveal a further interval between the Return of Christ to the official start of the Millennium (see Part 4).
Let us now return to the sequence of events as given in the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 10:1-11. Near the end of the 6th Trumpet, just before the 7th Trumpet sounds which initiates the Great Tribulation, there is an important heavenly Interlude(Revelation 10) where a mighty Angel, who is surely Christ Himself, comes down from Heaven (signifying an intensification of the spiritual warfare). The close of the first three and a half years is therefore marked by the coming of this Angel. He comes with an opened book containing revelation of the events and judgements of what must come next in the remainder of the Tribulation:
I saw still another mighty Angel coming down from Heaven, clothed with a cloud.
And a rainbow was on his head (the Holy-Spirit of grace radiating out of Him),
His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire (compare the vision of Christ in Revelation 1).
He had a little book open in his hand. Just as Christ held the big Scroll in Revelation 6, which determined and revealed the events of the Tribulation, so now He holds a little book, an extract from the bigger one. The fact that this book is opened, rather than sealed, signifies that the events described in it are about to happen). And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land (v1,2). This signifies the coming of a new stage of God’s dominion to the earth (the Gentile nations and Israel). In particular, it means that Christ is at this time on earth exercising dominion, restraining evil and controlling the important events of the Mid-Tribulational Interlude.
And cried with a loud voice, as when a Lion roars (The commanding voice of a King - He is the Lion of Judah). When He cried out, 7 Thunders uttered their voices. Now when the 7 Thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, Seal up the things which the 7 Thunders uttered, and do not write them (v3,4). We obviously don't know the details of this, but it confirms this Angel is God speaking (the Angel of the Lord in the Old-Testament is Jesus Christ) and that He is exercising dominion and judgement in the earth: At this also my heart trembles, and leaps from its place. Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that comes from His mouth. He sends it forth under the whole heaven, His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend (Job 37:1-5, also Psalm 29:3).
Clearly this could be no ordinary angel, it can only be Christ Himself.
The Angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up His hand to Heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the 7th angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets (v5-7).
The coming of this Angel marks the start of a Mid-Tribulational Interval of time that involves much activity and change. He swears that: There will be no more delay, but that in the days of the sounding of the 7th angel, who is about to sound (the 7th Trumpet), the mystery (the Tribulation judgements that had previously been sealed) of God would be finished (10:6,7). This confirms:
(1) That the 7th Trumpet contains all the remaining judgements, including the 7 Bowls (see also 11:15-18).
(2) That the sequence of Trumpets is chronological (see also 8:13, 9:12; 11:14).
(3) That as the 7th Seal moved things up a gear, so does the 7th Trumpet (see also 11:15-18).
Then the voice which I heard from Heaven spoke to me again and said, Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the Angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.So I went to the Angel and said to him, Give me the little book. And he said to me, Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth. Then I took the little book out of the Angel's hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And He said to me, you must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings (v8-11).
The remainder of the Book of Revelation (from chapter 11-19) reveals the contents of this opened book (10:8-11) - namely the remaining events of the Tribulation. John has already prophesied about the First Half of the Tribulation, now he must prophesy again about the Second-Half (v11). Thus John’s prophecy of the Tribulation is neatly divided into two partswhich coincide with the two Halves of the Tribulation: (1) Revelation 6-9 describes the First Half,
and (2) Revelation 11-19 describes the Mid-Tribulational Interval and the Second-Half.
Revelation 11 introduces the Two Witnesses.
Their Ministry (v1-6): Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, Rise and measure the Temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the Temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles.
(And they will tread the holy city underfoot for 42 months).
And I will give power to my 2 witnesses, and they will prophesy 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth.
(The 42 months and 1260 days of 11:2,3 describe the two halves of the Tribulation - the writer used two different ways, in adjacent verses, to describe two equal lengths of time, to indicate that two different time-periods are in view, which need to be distinguished, namely the first and second halves).
These are the 2 olive trees and the 2 lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
Their Death and Resurrection (v7-13): When they finish their testimony (of 1260 days), the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these 2 prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now after the 3-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from Heaven saying to them, Come up here. And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake 7000 people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of Heaven. The 2nd woe (6th Trumpet) is past; and, behold, the 3rd woe(7th Trumpet) comes quickly. The 7th angel sounded... (v14,15).
We have been following the story of the first half of the Tribulation. Now we learn that these 2 witnesses have been ministering during this time (for 1260 days), for immediately after their death and resurrection (in v13), the 7th Trumpet sounds which initiates the Great Tribulation (in v14). The 2 witnesses are introduced at this point because it is their death and resurrection (v7-13) that are the next key events of the story, closing out the time of the 6th Trumpet. 11:1-6 is therefore a flashback giving us background information, describing their ministry leading up to this point. Thus in the chronology of Revelation, the coming of the Angel (Rev 10) after the main judgements of the 6th Trumpet (Rev 9) coincides with the death of the 2 Witnesses (11:7), after they have completed their 1260 days of ministry. Thus the coming of this Angel can be dated to the opening of the next day after the 1260 days of their ministry are fulfilled.
These 1260 days begin from when Israel enters into covenant with the antichrist, and when they finish the first half of the Tribulation is over. His coming therefore marks the beginning of the Mid-Tribulational Interval. Thus at the close of the first-half of the Tribulation (after 1260 days), Revelation 10 records the coming of an Angel with a book that reveals what is to happen next (Revelation 11 onwards). Meanwhile on earth the 2 witnesses will have just completed their ministry of 1260 days. Therefore we would expect the next key event to be the killing of the 2 witnesses by the antichrist, and this is exactly what is recorded in 11:7. The witnesses are raised up again after three and a half days and ascend to heaven. Therefore 11:7-13 describes the first 4 days of the Mid-Tribulational Interval. The ascension of the witnesses in the 4th day, followed by a great earthquake (11:13), marks the close of the time of the 6th Trumpet: The 2nd woe (6th Trumpet) is past; and, behold, the 3rd woe (7th Trumpet) comes quickly (11:14).
* TRUMPET 7 = WOE 3
The next day the antichrist desecrates the Temple proclaiming himself as god, and the 7th Trumpet is sounded from Heaven, initiating the Great Tribulation: The 7th angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever(Rev 11:15). The Trumpet signals the next stage of God's programme to establish His Kingdom, and an intensification of His judgements: And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth (Rev 11:16-18). God's Temple in Heaven is revealed with signs of coming judgements in response to the desecration of His Temple on earth: Then the Temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His Temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail (11:19).
During the Great Tribulation antichrist, empowered by the devil, becomes the world-dictator. Within the 7th Trumpet are the 7 Bowls of God’s Wrath (Revelation 16-19) which are probably near the end of the Tribulation (perhaps in the last year) and are judgements upon antichrist’s kingdom, particularly for the evil done since Mid-Tribulation when antichrist set up his satanic empire.