The Precursor to the Great Tribulation

28 min read

What is a precursor? It is something that precedes, suggests, or announces something to come. In a formal sense, a precursor is something that happened or existed before another thing, which makes some prophecies, in essence, precursors of coming events. If you think about it in light of these definitions, it opens up another way to look at verses of scripture that seem only to be partially fulfilled or fulfilled on more than one occasion.

We find a perfect example of this in Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.” By the time Hosea penned this, Israel had long since been called out of Egypt. And yet we find this prophecy fulfilled again in Mathew 2:15, “This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my Son.”A past event and the announcement of a future event in the same verse.

A more subtle version of this is found in Mathew 22:42-44, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He? “David’s,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord’? He says: The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”

Not all prophetic passages are or contain precursors, but we need to pay particular attention to the ones that do. Some prophecies mention events that sound similar or precisely like events that have already happened, and we have the historical account to verify them. When we find these, it is a warning history is about to repeat itself, and when the foretold prophecy comes to pass the second time, the outcome will be broader in scope and likely more catastrophic.

While precursors and symbols are similar and work hand in hand to help us understand prophecy, they are not entirely the same. A symbol stands for or suggests something else because of association or resemblance to, especially, a visible sign of something invisible.

Determining the meaning of symbols is another part of prophetic interpretation. Symbolism is the method God has chosen for relaying prophetic events in visions to those who see them. Symbols can be timely and timeless, encapsulating future events in one or two images instead of a lengthy composition.

The precursor I am referring to is the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the spiritual activity (via symbolism) leading up to it beginning in early 63 AD.

The two most common reasons for misinterpretation of prophecy are as follows. First, we always feel compelled to construct timelines for prophecies from an unknown starting point, relying only on symbolic interpretation. I mentioned this error in my previous article, Notes on Revelation.

The second reason is that we often overlook that visions of future events experienced by the seers contain indeterminable time gaps. What they see, characters, and images are three-dimensional, but how much time passes between the events they witness is not specified symbolically.

So, what they see could cover vast periods but be compressed into a concise vision. Imagine determining distances in the darkest space without reference points like stars. When the prophet describes these visions in words, the result is sometimes two events, years, decades, or centuries apart in the same verse. This lack of reference explains the number of verses of scripture that contain partially fulfilled prophecies.

This unknown time-lapse does not mean we cannot understand prophecy, for it was left there for us to understand. And we do not know the time lapse between the two unless specifically indicated. Some biblical prophecies contain exact timelines, like those in the Book of Daniel, but they are relayed to the seer literally, not symbolically.

If you are wondering what this has to do with the Great Tribulation and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, it is this. The first seven-year tribulation described in Revelation has already happened. It began in late 62 AD and ended in 70 AD. The tragic events surrounding Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD are a precursor of the yet-to-come Great Tribulation.

History writers generally agree on the dates of the Wars of the Jews as beginning in 66 AD and concluding in 73 AD at Masada. And since this is a seven-year period, it fits nicely in the accepted tribulation period, placing more emphasis on timelines than on the flow of events. But let me say God has His timetable, and man has his. And without exception, by the time history recognizes and records the severity of an event, in the spirit, it is already halfway over. It has only yet to unfold in the physical.

Another matter we must address is the difference between historical and spiritual timelines. Some events and dates critical in spiritual issues are not the same as those that history determines as essential. In other words, we find spiritual dates and events folded within the historical dates and events.

Let’s look at a couple of examples we should be familiar with. According to most history books, World War I lasted just over four years, from 1914 to 1918 (yet the Turkish-Italian war and war in the Balkans had begun in 1911). Folded within those dates was a war within a war. With the world’s attention on the European theater, Turkish Muslims took this opportunity to slaughter 1.5 million Armenian Christians between 1914 and 1915. This genocide continues to this day without repercussions for the guilty.

A second example is World War II. The historical timeline is six years, 1939-1945. But Nazi-organized hostilities began against the Jews in earnest in 1938, ending with the slaughter of some six million of God’s chosen people. The discovery of the death camp atrocities was almost unknown by the Allies until the war’s final months.

The two previous examples show a gap between the spiritual importance of dates and events versus the historical. Those who lived during these times and experienced their horrors would be justified in believing it was the Great Tribulation described in Revelation. But neither was because Jerusalem is missing from the equation. Jerusalem will be at the center of the last Great Tribulation, just as it was during the 70 AD precursor.

So, no, the last Great Tribulation described in Revelation has not occurred yet. But the precursor of that event has, as history, testifies to. Remember, the book of Revelation warns of events ‘soon to take place1, and the soon-to-take place commenced in 62 AD. It does not specify how often these events will occur in repetition, growing in scale with each passing, but all will happen at least once. Others, more than once.

The question naturally follows, ‘Why was the precursor of 70 AD necessary’? It marks the beginning of the ‘time of the Gentiles,’ which could only begin once God permanently took away the daily sacrifice, which He accomplished with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. As I previously noted, God has His timetable, and history has its.

We will use a fulfilled prophecy, constructing our chain of events in reverse order. We can do so because the ending point, 70 AD, is well established as a historical fact. From there, we will use the symbolic references found in Revelation to give us a different view of events as they unfolded—a spiritual one that will add depth to the prophecy surrounding Jerusalem’s demise.

Hopefully, The result will enable you to see the prophecies found in the book of Revelation can be fulfilled and still yet to come in the same prophetic utterances or visions. When I first set out assembling this article, it began as an article about the sacking of Jerusalem, culminating with the Temple’s destruction. But it quickly became more about a new prophetic understanding of Revelation. One key to understanding Revelation is that it contains several precursors, which may seem to be bits and pieces at first glance. But these bits and pieces describe the same thing from a different aspect. Hopefully, this will lead to new looks and investigations into Biblical prophecy.

There are specific verses in scripture that are absolute enough in their meaning to use to construct a timeline. Still, I believe the Bible teaches that we should learn to recognize spiritually essential events when they begin and not waste our time trying to predict when they will start. This lack of spiritual observation is precisely what Jesus rebuked the Pharisees about -their inability to accurately decipher the times (prophetic events).2

While the Pharisees and Sadducees were on the lookout for the coming Messiah, they completely missed the fact that the Messiah was standing right before them. They felt sure they understood the prophetic timeline and signs of the coming Messiah. But, to them, Jesus didn’t fit into their prophetic interpretations of the coming Messiah and was overlooked.

Ironically, the first people who correctly deciphered the prophetic signs and recognized the birth of the Messiah were three Gentiles (the three wise men), not the learned Scribes and Pharisees.

Standing on the temple mount, “Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly, I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”3

Jesus plainly says, ‘Every stone of the Temple will be torn down.’ This prophecy came to pass on Passover of 70AD, precisely as foretold. Now, we have one end of the prophetic timeline established: the end. So, now let us look back over the preceding events to find the starting point. Spiritually speaking, we know tribulations are approximately seven years long, which brings us back to late 62 -early 63 AD. Now we have the period established, we can bring symbolism into the picture to decipher the chain of events as they unfolded and will unfold again.

Jesus was very emphatic when describing the events that would unfold during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, and we will take a closer look at those later. But first, We will use the first portion of Revelation chapter six as our lens to view the chain of events leading up to the Temple’s destruction in 70 AD. The first four horsemen offer us an accurate, spiritual, and unique view of Jerusalem’s destruction and a clue to its origin.

Prophetic symbolism leans more toward traits and types than actual descriptions, but the characters’ action has the same outcome. We know who the rider on the white horse is in Revelation Six, but the symbolism affords us insight into the type and traits of the symbolic character depicted.

The event that kicks off these seven years begins not in Jerusalem but in Rome. Let’s start with Revelation 6:2, “I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”

Many theologians have concluded that the man on the white horse is the antichrist, which is correct but incomplete. The man on the white horse in Revelation 6:2 does depict an antichrist, the first one, in the person of Nero Caesar, as history confirms. Numerology also demonstrates Nero Caesar as the antichrist in Revelation 13:18.

There has been some argument about the number in Revelation 13:18 as to whether the famous number of the beast is 666 or 616. One early church father, Irenaeus, decided this number was 616 and was not a name but a timeline divided into three periods. While that may be, this number is the ‘number of a man,‘ as the verse states. And literal always trumps symbolic when reading the scriptures. Some early manuscripts read 616, and others 666. The fact is they are both correct. 666 in Hebrew equates to Nero Caesar, and 616 in Greek to Nero Caesar.

We find several other traits in the description of this horseman that point to Nero and items that indicate the beginning and manner of the coming Jerusalem’s destruction.

First, we see a crown is given to the rider. During Roman times, crowns were awarded to those victorious in battle. Nero was given the crown of Caesar following his father’s death, Tiberius Claudius. He didn’t earn the position; he was not of noble Caesarian blood nor acquired it by triumph in battle. He obtained it from a scheming mother’s actions, who convinced Claudius (her husband) to adopt him as a youth.

Secondly, there were no Roman conquests during Nero’s reign, nor is there any account of Nero being present at any battle. During the first part of his reign, the only war was just a lingering stalemate with Persia (The Parthian Empire). So what did this horseman conquer? Nothing; he “went about conquering and to conquer.”

Third, the rider on this horse has a bow. A bow is not a weapon of conquest but a siege weapon. The weapon of conquest is the sword, which this rider doesn’t have. The fact that his rider is carrying a siege weapon is prophetic of the coming siege of Jerusalem. The rider being an archer is also worth noticing. In the Roman armies of Nero’s day, archers were not the elite of the Roman army. Their ranks mainly were men without talent or training -conscripts whose sole duty was to shoot arrows in the air toward enemy positions, creating havoc on the enemy’s lines. It doesn’t require any skill to shoot arrows in the air at a large group of soldiers. Aim and accuracy were not a factor.

The character of these conscripts, disliked by the professional soldiers of the legions, matches Nero’s character. He was an adopted bastard child, disliked by much of the Roman citizenry and hated by most experienced soldiers. While these soldiers were protecting the empire’s boundaries, Nero, the chief of Rome’s moral and financial decay, squandered Rome’s resources and ignored the threats to the empire.

The bow is also a weapon of distance. In that regard, one can inflict damage on a target often out of sight from the shooter. The first antichrist fires an arrow from Rome at a mark in the middle of Palestine, the bullseye being Jerusalem.

The long-standing war with the Parthian Empire finally concluded via a peace treaty in early 63 AD. While the ‘good news’ of the wars end spread throughout the empire, the arrow shot from Rome struck Jerusalem, and the seven years of tribulation began almost wholly unnoticed by those who should have known.

How often in scripture do we find actions initiated in the spirit, which went unnoticed until those same actions are already producing the intended results? When these same spiritual actions become apparent, there is no stopping them. Spiritual war broke out. The assault on Christians had begun.

Some traditional sources say it began with the death of our Lord’s brother, James. James the Just, the bishop of the body of believers (the church) in Jerusalem. While Rome focused on Nero’s indulgences, the Jewish leadership took this opportunity to attack Christians. This single event, unheralded in the history books, was where the arrow found a home and opened the door for the second horse in Revelation 6.

By this time, the remaining apostles had departed from Jerusalem, and most had even left Judea, scattered throughout the Roman Empire. By then, Peter and Paul were both in Rome. And the apostle John, with Mary in tow, had moved to Ephesus.

Meanwhile, in Rome, Nero’s debauchery went unchecked, spending Rome’s wealth on sadistic and sensual parties for the elite of Roman society, buying friends from the upper echelon while being despised by the general population. Rome’s low-income, heavily populated areas were set on fire to gain additional property for his lavish lifestyle in 64 AD. Nero was responsible for the fires, and the citizenry knew it. But Nero needed a scapegoat to save face and deflect blame, and Christians fit the bill perfectly.

So “Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their (so called) abominations, called Christians by the populace.”4 This declaration of guilt would be the first all-out government-sponsored persecution of Christianity. It wasn’t the famed persecutions you read about in the Roman coliseum, for it didn’t exist yet. No, these persecutions were on a more granular level. Christians were crucified in the Circus Maximus, fed to wild dogs in street spectacles, and set on fire as night torches. The Roman historian Tacitus hated Christians, and his history reveals his ‘they got what they deserved’ attitude towards them.

While Christians endured torture, Jews were being run in and out of Rome, rebellion was taking shape in Palestine, and the tribulation had begun on two fronts. An apocalypse took place for Jews and Christians from a common enemy, the man on the white horse.

The Jewish revolt in Jerusalem was gaining momentum. Up to this point, the rebels and their battles with Rome were outside the city. Gessius Florus (or Floras), the procurator of Judea, is responsible for making Jerusalem the center of the revolt. Florus first brings up fictitious charges against 13 High-ranking Jews; he then demands 102,000 denari be handed over from the temple treasury. When the Jews refused, Florus sought to take it by force. The Roman garrison was understaffed for the task and driven out of Jerusalem by the Jews.

It was now 66 AD, the Jews were in full revolt against Rome, and Vespasian’s mission was to bring Judea back under Roman control. But amid the operation, Nero dies, and the Senate summons Vespasian to Rome. In 68 AD, Nero, his mission as an antichrist complete, kills himself. Even the manner of his suicide reveals his cowardliness. Nero, lacking the courage to carry out the deed himself, commits suicide with assistance, being helped by one of his faithful followers. So, like Judas, who found no place for repentance, Nero joined him.

Conducting the war with the Jews would now fall to Vespasian’s son Titus. It wasn’t long until Titus would march on Jerusalem itself. While some assume the red horse in Revelation 6 symbolizes Titus, leader of the Roman army, I’m afraid I have to disagree.

While Titus is the Roman general who sacks Jerusalem, most of the damage done to the people of Jerusalem was at the hands of the Jews themselves. This self-destruction is the arrival of the red horse. Examine carefully the words of Revelation 6:4, “And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.”

The key here is ‘that men would slay one another.’ Not that they would be war casualties, but they would slay one another. Titus’s arrival at Jerusalem in 69 AD brings the war to the Tabernacle’s doorstep, the tribulation’s focal point. The evils of the populace of Jerusalem would contribute more to their demise than the Roman army. Around the time the siege of Jerusalem began, the city was amid a power struggle between three groups of zealots, little more than gangs, albeit significant-sized gangs, with little in common except a shared despisal of their Roman conquerors. Josephus refers to them as treacherous factions. Jews who had previously lost battles with the Roman army in the Northern part of the country comprised these groups. Defeat would drive them south until they finally reached the walled city of Jerusalem.

Much of what we know about the siege of Jerusalem, in fact, almost the entire Jewish revolt, is due to the eyewitness account of Josephus. Ironically, Josephus was one of the Jewish revolt leaders in Galilee at the start of the hostilities. He was captured and then turned into a Jewish / Roman historian. Josephus would not only be an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem; he would, on several occasions, be used by Titus to compel the zealots to surrender, thereby saving their city and Temple.

The three factions each control different city parts. The first was Eleazar, who held the Temple Mount by fortifying the inner court of the Temple grounds. The layout of the Temple and its courts made it a place easily defended. Eleazar’s men also had control of the provisions (via offerings of the faithful) of the Temple, which included an abundance of foodstuffs, Passover being close. Even though they were at odds with the other two factions, Eleazar allowed the faithful access to the Temple courts to bring their sacrificial offerings according to the customary Mosaic sacrificial rights.

The second group of zealots controlled the lower city of Jerusalem, where most of the poorer population resided, and the bulk of the city’s water supply came from. John of Gischala led this group, and his men were known as Galilean robbers. According to Josephus, they ‘plundered the populous.’ So, John’s supply of provisions came from looting the people.

Simon Bar Giora led the third faction. His group consisted of approximately 10,000 Jews and 6,000 Idumeans. They controlled the upper portion of the city known as the City of Zion. Simon’s group had their storehouses of provisions. The Temple Mount between the upper City of Zion and the Lower city became the battleground between the factions. The priests would be the first causalities of this conflict. The blood that now stains the courts is no longer the blood of the sacrifices but of the priesthood. So, while Titus laid siege to Jerusalem, the three factions were at war with one another. Revelation 6:4, ‘that men would slay one another,’ is coming to pass, not by the hands of a conquering army but by their own hands. They were fighting amongst themselves and with the Romans.

As the conflict continued, John and his faction attacked Simon’s faction and set fire to their corn-storehouses. Of course, Simon retaliated and set fire to those of John. Eleazar, caught in the middle, also loses the Temple’s supply. With all the stored grain destroyed, one must ask, How incredible was this stupidity? Josephus informs us of the consequence of this, “as if they had, on purpose, done it to serve the Romans, by destroying what the city had laid up against the siege, and by thus cutting off the nerves of their own power.”

“Accordingly, it so came to pass, that all the places that were about the temple were burnt down, and were become an intermediate desert space, ready for fighting on both sides; and that almost all the corn was burnt, which would have been sufficient for a siege of many years.”5 it destroyed any hope of fending off the Roman army.

With their food supply destroyed and Titus having laid siege to Jerusalem, permitting no one to leave, this ushers in the third horse. “Then I looked and saw a black horse, and its rider held a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what sounded like a voice from among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine.”

This horse represents famine, not a natural consequence of war but a self-inflicted consequence by the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Interestingly, this rider is carrying a pair of scales. You would naturally think the scales represent scales for the weighing out of food, which fits considering famine being at the center of this catastrophe.

A quart of wheat or three quarts of barley for a denarius or a day’s wage. A day’s pay for enough food for one person to eat for one day. But what good is that? Does it matter how much it costs if there is nothing to buy? And do not harm the oil and the wine? The oil and the wine are of little value when no grain exists. So why the scales?

The scales have another meaning here besides the weighing out of grain. In Strong’s original published concordance, the rendered word is balances but has an asterisk beside it, indicating the translation was not definite. In most English translations, the Greek word zugos (Strong’s 2218) means yoke but is rendered balance-scales because of context and the word grain, usually sold by weight, in the same sentence. Yet this context is questionable because the verse clearly states the grain mentioned by volume.

Strong knew the implication of this term was more than just a scale used in commerce. In Hebrew, it speaks more of a balanced yoke, a heavy burden placed upon one’s neck like the one seated on the neck of a pair of oxen. This translation also fits and is the most likely because of the burden famine was. This interpretation also makes a significant implication.

We cannot help but link two Old Testament references to this type of scale of burden. The first is, “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment:”6

And the second is “TEKEL; You have been weighed in the balances, and are found wanting.”7

Both are appropriate to what is happening here with this third horse’s arrival. The Jews are experiencing the judgment of God for theircontinual disobedience and the rejection of Jesus Christ. They are sharing the burden of famine brought about by their own hands. As if weighed in the balance of justice, they are indeed found wanting.

Famine would ultimately kill more than would die in battle during the siege. The death toll was so high that the stench of the corpses in the houses and on the streets forced those still alive to toss the dead bodies over the walls into the valleys below, between themselves and the Roman armies.

Starvation brings us to the fourth horse, “Then I looked and saw a pale green horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, by famine, by plague, and by the beasts of the earth.” 8

The consummation of disaster. War brings famine. Famine brings death from starvation and disease. Men with all hope gone begin killing one another over a morsel of food. Beasts of the earth? Rats and other disease-carrying varmints added to the misery of a people under siege by the Roman army. Another kind of army attacking those on the brink of starvation.

Beasts in the Bible aren’t always lions or other large predators; the Bible also refers to insects as an army. “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you.”9 Rats and fleas were the beasts that were responsible for the Black Plague of the Middle Ages. Despite their size, their ability to destroy was evident in the death toll.

Even after all of this self-destruction, the Jews refuse time and time again the surrender offered by Titus. How sad is it man chooses his demise and cannot turn away from self-destruction? Thanks be unto God that through Christ, we can avoid the self-destruction sin brings about.

The armies of Rome, led by Titus, finally breached the walls and stood in the courtyard of the Temple. Josephus tells us that Titus refused to allow the legions to destroy the Temple. To him, the war was over; there was no longer a point to continue the destruction. But the judgment of God would not be denied. A single soldier, on the shoulders of another, tossed a small torch through one of the windows of the Temple. The fire burned so hot that the metal that covered the walls and doors melted, and fire consumed the wood underneath.

The daily offering was gone, never to be restored. The Temple, which was the central point and focus of the Jewish religion, is no more. The empty rituals, carried on after the first coming of the Son of God, the true Messiah, rejected by the Jews, were finally exposed to all to be of no worth to God, for God Himself just delivered the death blow to ritual sacrifice.

Most ignored the signs warning of the coming destruction in the heavens. Men never gave pause to these warnings of wonder but continued in their extermination of one another and the rejection of Christ. The first was a visitation of Halley’s comet in 66AD, appearing in the shape of a sword, ironically three and one-half years into the seven-year tribulation.

A second is recorded by Josephus when he tells of a bright light that appears in the ninth hour of the night, surrounding the altar for about half an hour. So bright that it seemed as if it was daytime. He states, “This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes as to portent those events that followed.”

Another event is the eastern gate of the inner Temple opened by itself. A gate so large it took several men to open and close it with difficulty. He states, “This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy as if God opened the gate of happiness. But men of learning understood it, that the security of the holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened to the advantage of their enemies.”

Josephus and Tacitus recorded this last heavenly sign: “For, before the sun setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds surrounding the cities.”1011

Josephus gives a very chilling description of the inside of the Temple before its destruction, and if even partially true, reveals just how far the priesthood deviated from God and how much they had compromised with the religions of their conquerors. Here are a few excerpts.

“There was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a contexture that was truly wonderful. Nor was this mixture of colors without it’s mystical interpretation, but was a kind of image of the universe.”

“This curtain also had also embroidered upon it all that was mystical in the heavens, excepting that of the twelve signs, representing living creatures.”

“Now the seven lamp-stands signified the seven planets.”

“Now the twelve loaves that were upon the table signified the circle of the zodiac.”12

What is genuinely unnerving about this description is the similarity to a vision of the interior of the previous Temple by Ezekiel, “So I entered and looked, and behold, every form of creeping things and beasts and detestable things, with all the idols of the house of Israel, were carved on the wall all around.”13

Josephus reflects on the spiritual condition of the Jews as the cause of their demise, for he said, “most wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy intestine hatred! For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou long continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulcher for the bodies of thy own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine! Yet mayst thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction.”14

The number of dead in Jerusalem, excluding 97,000 sent into slavery, was just above one million. The conquest of Jerusalem came at Passover when Jews from all over the Roman Empire converged on the city. These numbers give a glimpse of the judgment of God passed upon a people who were connected so intimately with him for centuries and yet rejected and murdered His only begotten Son sent to save them from their sins.

The historical time frame of the Jewish revolt is 66-73 AD. But as we have shown, it begins in 63 AD, and by 70 AD, the end had come. Titus, victorious, arrives and is honored in Rome in 70 AD carrying with him captives and enough treasure from the Temple Mount to construct the famed Roman Coliseum.

The end had come, and the Jews were ignorant of the fact because they were ignorant of the beginning. A danger to all who lay too much emphasis on timetables cobbled together with symbols alone.

The first four horsemen of Revelation 6 give us a unique look at the physical destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Yes, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD was the first great tribulation. Still, as I said when we started, it was a precursor of tribulations to follow, culminating in the last Great Tribulation.

And if the previous tribulation is but a preview of what is to come, God help those alive and without him during those days. Jesus warned those of His day, which echoes to us today, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, those days will be shortened.”15

There will be another look at the tribulation through a different lens in the following article.

1 Revelation 1:1

2Mathew 16:2-3

3Mathew 24:2

4Tacitus Book 15

5Josephus; Wars book 5.1. 4

6Ezekiel 4:16

7Daniel 5:27 NKJV

8Revelation 6:8

9Joel 2:25

10Josephus Wars Book 6.5.3

11Tacitus Histories Book 5.13

12Josephus Wars 5.5.4-5

13Ezekiel 8:10

14Josephus Wars 5.1.3

15Mathew 24:22

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