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Do the three woes/terrors of revelation happen toward the end of the 7-year tribulation/42 months?

Revelation 8:13 NKJV

And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"

Revelation 9:12 NKJV

One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.

Revelation 11:14 NKJV

The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

Revelation 12:12 NKJV

Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.

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    Where is the 7-years of tribulation mentioned?
    – Dottard
    Dec 9, 2023 at 2:24
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    – agarza
    Dec 9, 2023 at 4:20
  • It mentions it in revelation 11. 42 months Dec 10, 2023 at 0:29

3 Answers 3

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I think trying to calculate exact time intervals for these things is a mistake, given that so many numbers in Revelation are symbolic.

However, I understand "the tribulation" to mean the persecution of the church, on the basis of "I share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom" (ch1 v9).

And I understand the devastating events from ch8 onwards as God's wrathful reaction to the persecution of the church,the further "vengeance" being demanded by the martyrs in ch6 v10, and requested by the prayers of the fresh set of injured saints in ch8 v4. So these events would be coming at the latter end of the tribulation period, whatever it was.

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By tacking on to the question, "towards the end of the 7-year tribulation", blinkers have effectively been pulled around the vital matter of when the 3 woes/terrors happen. An assumption has been inserted. What if the answer to it can only be "No"? That would be no answer at all. Ah, but if the intention of the question is to find out when the 3 woes/terrors happen, that enables explanations! As one comment shrewdly asks, "Where is the 7-years of tribulation mentioned?" Certainly not in the verses you have cited.

Revelation chapter 8 introduces the first mention of any woes, and we learn that there are three of them. They commence after the first four trumpets have sounded and begun their effects. Here is an important point to sort out when the woes start, based on this exposition of the whole book of Revelation:

"The first four trumpets afflict the earth, the sea, the waters, and the heaven. In so doing, men die, but this is indirect, it is the effect upon mankind of the calamities which the sound of the trumpets calls down upon the face of the earth and of the heavens. The remaining trumpets, however, directly affect men: hence they are accompanied by a 'woe'. They are sounded against mankind intentionally... These are not literal events." The Revelation of Jesus Christ, John Metcalfe, p. 224, http://www.johnmetcalfepublishingtrust.co.uk/contact_us.htm

There is a build-up of events over the age with each trumpet sounding, building up to an immense crescendo by the seventh, and final one. It's not that one sounds, then stops for the next one to start. No. Approaching Christ's return, there will be a cacophony on Earth - bedlam - but harmony in God's heaven. All who read the Revelation with understanding will be elevated to view this world's darkening, chaotic scene as from the top of the holy mountain, looking down to way below, whereas the ungodly on Earth will be trying to look up, shaking their fists at God who brings those woes upon them. As said several times, they will curse God all the more-so, and refuse to repent (e.g. Rev. 9:20-21). Heaven will be as brass to them (Deut. 28:23).

The fifth and sixth angels, the sounding of their trumpets, and the falling upon mankind of the first two woes, follows in the 9th chapter. The last trumpet (the 7th) equals woe number 3, but is not reported until chapter 11. More from the book:

"The fifth trumpet [with the 1st woe] is to torment men; the sixth [with the 2nd woe] to kill men; and the seventh brings the second death to all mankind. That is, to all mankind not sealed with the seal of God in their forehead." (Ibid. p. 228)

It follows from that that those of the living who are sealed as belonging to God are still on the Earth when the third woe arrives but, as shown below, are swiftly gathered up safely.

The way to understand when the climax is reached is to find out when the first reaping of the one harvest begins, for the Day of Judgment starts at the second reaping - the vine of the Earth being trampled, the 'blood' of its 'grapes' flowing. See Rev. 14:14-20 then Mat. 13:18-30 & 36-43. However, nobody on Earth can know when that will start. There is no mention of seven literal Earth-years of tribulation. Indeed, all the signs, the times and the visions are symbolic, not literal. We only know from observing increasing plagues poured out from heaven, resulting in increasing wrath of the ungodly against all things godly, that the sudden point of no further chance to repent will be upon them. That is all we need to know. That is all every saint on Earth has ever needed to know since John got the visions. Our Lord is not telling us when, only that we must live in a prepared, obedient state every day of our lives. He may return tomorrow, or next year, or in 100 year's time. We do not need to know. Read Acts 1:6-7 - as true today as it was nearly 2,000 years ago. What we do need to know, to be prepared and not found wanting, is in the book of the Revelation, written to encourage us through increasing tribulations, that had already started in John's later years. (Rev. 1:3 & 3:11)

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  • Very clear and thus edifying and salutary. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 10, 2023 at 7:37
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Yes:

[Dan 12:7 NKJV] [7] Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who [was] above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that [it shall be] for a time, times, and half [a time]; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these [things] shall be finished.

Note that the complete destruction of the 2nd Temple, Jerusalem, the Sinai Covenant, the Sanhedrin, the sacrificial system marked the end of the Great Tribulation. Jesus said the same:

[Luk 21:20-24 NKJV] [20] "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. [21] "Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. [22] "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. [23] "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. [24] "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

A "time" is a year. time + times + 1/time = 3.5 years, which is how long the rebellion of the Jews c. 70 AD/CE lasted.

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  • It was my understanding that the 7 year tribulation pertains to the second coming of christ? Is this not the case Dec 8, 2023 at 23:42
  • It does, but the "second coming" occurred c. 70 AD/CE, at the destruction of the 2nd Temple.
    – Ruminator
    Dec 8, 2023 at 23:51

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