Qn 13. Is Hell for real ?

After my previous post titled ‘Theocracy to tyranny’, I happened to engage in a friendly conversation with the moderators of the group called ‘Theology for today’ on LinkedIn, where I had posted the article but we unexpectedly ended up debating the existence of hell. These liberal Christians were stubbornly unconvinced that there was a hell, inspite of me quoting Scripture after Scripture but they became increasingly abusive and expelled me from their theological group because they could neither win their argument with rhetoric nor could they find a Scripture to support their false notions.

Their argument was that if God is merciful, would he let men suffer for eternity, for a finite life of sin, much beyond the ‘cost of their sin’ ? Would he send men to hell even for the slightest of infractions? Their idea of paying for the ‘cost of sin’ was like serving a term in a state penitentiary and once the term was over, the state of the soul would be reversed. When I quoted to them that ‘the wages of sin is death …’ ( Romans 6 : 23 ), they immediately caught me on this verse to substantiate their belief that there is no hell because the verse in context did not refer to ‘hell’, while being oblivious of the fact that there were numerous other Scriptures that poignantly referred to hell. That showed how ignorant they were of Scriptures and the best they could do was to quote back the verse I had quoted to them, when asked to quote alteast one Scripture in support of their argument. Had they quoted the verse completely, it would have proved just the opposite of what they believe because the verse goes on to say, ‘… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus’, which means everyone who is not willing to believe and receive this free gift of eternal life, will invariably remain in the state of death. However ‘death’ means just simple physical death to them but the Bible differentiates between ‘Spiritual death’ (the state every soul is born into since the fall of Adam until it is reversed at rebirth – Romans 5 : 12 – 16 ), ‘Physical death’ ( the state everybody is destined to experience irrespective of their faith – Hebrews 9 : 27 ) and ‘Eternal death’ ( the state of eternal separation from God for those who have rejected this salvation – Revelation 20 : 14 -15 ). The Bible calls ‘eternal death’ as the ‘second death’ which is also an euphemism for the ‘lake of fire’. The Greek word ‘Gehenna’ which was translated as ‘hell’, borrows the imagery from the place outside the walls of Jerusalem, where the garbage from the city was burnt ; where the fire was never put out. Therefore Jesus said, ” It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worms does not die and the fire is not quenched.” ( Mark 9 : 48, Isaiah 66 : 24 ) These liberals think it is absurd for the Bible to say that men will be cast bodily into hell because after all mortal flesh wouldn’t last in that ‘eternal fire’. But Jesus spoke about the bodily resurrection of all men when he said, ” Do not be amazed at this for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” ( John 5: 28-39 ) ‘So will it be with the resurrection of the dead … If there is a natural body there is also a spiritual body.’ ( 1 Corinthians 15 : 42 – 44 ) If their worms do not die in that eternal fire, then probably their bodies won’t either !

Why would Jesus often refer to hell, if it were not a real place ? ( These liberals claim to believe in Jesus but make him out to be the biggest liar by saying there is no hell.) Jesus said that the ‘eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels’ ( Mt 25 : 41 ) and therefore God is not willing that any man should go to hell. Every sin has been atoned for in Christ Jesus but if men reject this sacrifice, there is no sacrifice left to atone for the sin of having rejected Christ. ‘Whoever believes in him is not condemned but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in God’s only begotten Son.’ ( John 3 : 18 )

If ‘atoning for the sins of the whole world’ ( 1 John 2 : 2 ) and ‘appealing to men to be reconciled with God’ (2 Corinthians 5: 20 ) weren’t acts of God’s mercy, then what do these liberals consider as mercy ? Filling up heaven with rebels who have rejected God’s salvation, because they think he is too loving to cast men to hell ? “Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mathew 10 : 28 ) ‘Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God.’ ( Romans 11 : 22 ) If men end up spending eternity in hell, they will only have the devil to blame for deceiving them, if not themselves for believing him! Suffice to say that God doesn’t send anyone to hell for the slightest infractions but they will send themselves to hell for rejecting God’s offer of eternal life ! If Scripture doesn’t convince them that Hell is for real, I earnestly hope that at least rationalism will awaken them from their stupor, before it’s too late ! Does not the attributes of the physical world around us teach us that they exist in opposites, with one having dominance over the other ? There is light over darkness, height over depth, big over small, strong over weak, and so on. Then why not apply the same logic and reason to the spiritual realm? Why is it preposterous to believe that hell really exists ? If there is no hell, then logically there can’t be a heaven, which means there are no judgments or rewards because there aren’t any laws since there is nothing good or evil, right or wrong, for there is no God or Satan. Therefore to deny part of the truth means to deny all of it but to believe the whole truth means to believe all of it. Amen.

Qn 12. If Rapture happens before tribulation, how can the words of Jesus in Matthew 24 : 31 come true ?

And he shall send his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” ( Mt 24 : 31 )
You might have noticed that in this passage from Matthew, he only mentions about the gathering of the elect who are dead, from the ends of the heavens and not the gathering of the elect who are living, from the ends of the earth, probably because none of the elect survived the tribulation. The only ones who will be protected during the tribulation and escape from being beheaded are the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel ( Rev 7 : 4 ) because they had the seal of the living God on their foreheads ( Rev 7 : 3 ). They are the first fruits from among the Jews and they will be ‘snatched’ (Greek : Harpazo, the same word used in 1 Thess 4 : 17 to denote Rapture ) upto God (Rev 12 : 5 ) and will be seen with the Lamb ( Rev 14 : 1-3 )
As said earlier, the gathering of the saints who are dead in Christ and those who are still alive and left, at his secret coming in the clouds, will happen at Rapture and they will be with the Lord forever ( 1 Thess 4 : 17). So they are not the ones who need to be gathered again at the second coming of Jesus because they will have been with him during the tribulation and they will be also be with him at his second coming ( Rev 19 : 14, Jude Vs 14 ) But it is the tribulation saints ( both Gentiles and Jews ) who will be beheaded during the tribulation, who needs to be gathered ( not in the heavens but on earth because it will happen after the second coming of Jesus, when he takes his seat on the throne in Jerusalem – Lk 1 : 32, Mt 25 : 31 )

Here then are the references about the elect who will be beheaded :-
I saw under the altar souls of those ( mostly Gentiles ) who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.’ ( Rev 6 : 9 )
And I saw … those ( mostly Jews ) who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps .. and sang the song of Moses …’ ( Rev 15 : 2 – 3 )

Here is the reference of these two groups being gathered together :-
And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead ( the wicked in Hades ) did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.’ ( Rev 20 : 4 )
( The wicked people who survive the tribulation, will go into the millennium but from among them and their children, many will be gathered by Satan , at the end of the thousand years, for the final rebellion against God – Rev 20 : 8 – 9)

So coming back to your question: Will all the elect be slain? It is not explicitly said so in the Scriptures but it is implicit .
Then I heard a voice from heaven say,” Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” ( Rev 14 : 13 )
But if some of the elect escape from being beheaded and survive the tribulation, they will have to be gathered ( not in the heavens but on earh because it will happen after the second coming of Jesus, when he takes his seat on the throne in Jerusalem ), before the Millennial rule of Christ, provided they never worshipped the image or took the mark of the beast (Rev 14 : 9 – 11 ). Probably that could be the reason why Mark also added : ‘from the ends of the earth …’ ( Mk 13 : 27 ). But that reference doesn’t alter the course of events nor support the arguement for a post-trib rapture.

Qn 11. Does not Revelation 6 : 11 say that only those who are predestined to be martyred will be killed and not everyone?

Then each of them was given a white robe and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.’ ( Rev 6 : 11 )

The full number of Gentiles have to come in, before Israel will be saved ( Ro 11 : 25 ) and those who didn’t get saved before rapture were saved during the tribulation and that is the number Rev 6 : 11 refers to. Indeed the number of Gentiles who will be saved during the tribulation is know by God and they are the ones being addressed as ‘brethren’.
If we go by your assumption that all of them were not slain, shall the same apply to Rev 13 : 15, which says the beast that came up from the earth ‘ caused all who refused to worship the image to be killed’ ? So the ones who escaped earlier in Rev 6 : 11, will now face the inevitable martyrdom or should we assume again that some of them escaped for 1 Thess 4 : 17 to be fulfilled ? If so, when are they going to be raptured? At the second coming of Jesus ? Why go up when Jesus and all the holy ones are coming down ? ( Rev 19 : 11)

All through the Bible we see that when God judged the wicked, the righteous escaped his wrath. Ex : Noah from the Floods, Lot from Sodom, the Hebrews from the plagues in Egypt, Rahab from the fall of Jericho etc and these narratives unequivocally back up this Scripture :
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1Thess 5 : 9 )

But the strongest argument for a pre-trib rapture is the fact that the ‘man of lawlessness’ cannot be revealed unless the person of the Holy Spirit leaves the earth ( 2Thess 2 : 6 ) and the Holy Spirit will not leave without the Bride of Christ going along with Him. ( Just as Eliezer, the servant of Abraham would not return without taking along with him Rebecca as a bride for Issac, the ‘offspring’ of Abraham, so also the Holy Spirit will not return without taking along with him the Church as a bride for Christ, the ‘seed’ of Abraham.)
Together they wait for the appointed time ! ‘The Spirit and bride say, “Come!” (Rev 22 : 17 )

Qn 10. How can Christians abandon their faith if they are raptured ?

The truth of the matter is, not all are going to be raptured but only those who have the Holy Spirit in them or in other words are born again.
Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.’ ( Eph 1 : 13 – 14 )
I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of the water and the Spirit.” ( Jn 3 : 5 )

Unfortunately many Christians are not born again and they will find themselves left behind. Some might abandon their faith whereas many will realize the truth and will take a stand for Jesus and will be saved.

When he opened fifth seal, I saw under the altar souls who have been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained … they were told to wait a little longer until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.’ ( Rev 6 : 9 – 11 )
After this I looked and there before me was a multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.
“Who are they and where did they come from? … These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
( Rev 7 : 13 -14 )
And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God … They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.’ ( Rev 20:4 )
Both the raptured saints and the tribulation saints will reign with Christ.

Many think that the dispensation of grace ends before the tribulation but it actually ends with the tribulation because multitudes of Gentiles are going to be saved during the first half of the tribulation and thereafter a remnant of the Jews during the second half of the tribulation. In short, the grace for salvation is available until the second coming of Jesus. If it is not for grace, how can these tribulation saints stand for Jesus, even to the point of being beheaded ?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.’ (Eph 2 : 8)

Qn 9. Is the parable of the ten virgins referring exclusively to the Jewish nation?

The context in which Jesus said this parable was Mt 24:3
Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age ?”
At that time the Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom … The bridegroom was a long time in coming and they all became drowsy and fell asleep…” ( Mt 25 : 1 – 12 )
Just because Jesus used a Jewish custom to predict the state of the Church, in the last days, it doesn’t make the parable exclusively for the Jew. Even if it is, the warning is relevant to both the Jew and the church.
Keep watch because you do not know the day or hour.” ( Vs 13 )
So what difference does it make?

Qn 8. Is the wedding supper, the seven years in heaven ?

We read about the announcement of the wedding supper in the 19th Chapter of Revelation, towards the close of the 7 years. Why not earlier, soon after Rapture ?
Let us rejoice and and give him glory ! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean was given her to wear … Then the angel said to me, “Write : Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” ( Rev 19 : 7 – 10 )
Since both the Raptured saints and the Tribulation saints together make the bride of Christ, the wedding will have to wait until all of the tribulation saints are beheaded.
So the wedding supper is not the entire seven years but towards the end of it. Since it happens in heaven, it is definitely not in the Millennium or even at the second coming of Jesus.
( The Raptured saints will have experienced a bodily resurrection, earlier at Rapture but the Tribulation saints will experience a bodily resurrection only after the second coming but before the Millennial rule of Christ. (Rev 20 : 4 )
It shouldn’t surprise us then that the tribulation saints too will be found wearing fine linen at the wedding of the Lamb because John had seen earlier in his vision, these souls in heaven and they were found wearing white robes and holding palm branches even before they experienced a bodily resurrection. )
When the fifth seal was opened, I saw under the altar the souls who were beheaded … Then each of them was given a white robe …’ ( Rev 6 : 9 – 12 )
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.’ (Rev 7 : 9 ) … These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. ( Rev 7 : 14 )

Qn 7. To whom does the Bible refer to as ‘least of my brethren’ ?

The phrase ‘least of my brethren’ refers to the Jewish and Gentile believers because they share a common destiny.
“… who are my brothers ? … For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother …” ( Mt 12 :48 – 49 )
( So the Gentile who believes is included but the Jew who doesn’t believe is excluded according to this verse. Therefore Jesus himself addressed the believer as his brethren.)
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.’ ( Hb 2 : 11 )
For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are descendants are they all Abraham’s children.’ (Ro 9 : 6 – 7 )
A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.’ ( Ro 2 : 28 – 29 )
There are three distinct people groups that God is dealing with and they are the Jews, the Gentiles and the Church which consist of believing Jews and Gentiles. However the proponents of replacement theology doesn’t recognize the Jew anymore and all the promises pertaining to the Jews are misappropriated for the Church. That is anti-semitism!

Qn 6. Will the Raptured saints and the Tribulation saints be rewarded together at the second coming of Jesus ?

The only references we have are the following and from these we have to make an inference :
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you …” ( Mt 12 : 11 – 12 )
In his great mercy he has given us new birth … into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept on heaven for you …’ (1Pt 1 : 4 )
These New Testament passages do reveal that there is a reward in heaven but it doesn’t tell us when it will given. But this Old Testament passage does hint of a possible time :
As for you, go your way till the end.You will rest and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” ( Dan 12 : 13 )
So could it be that the Raptured saints will receive their reward in heaven but the Tribulation saints, who will come to life to rule with Christ for a thousand years, will receive their reward on earth, before the Millennial rule of Christ ? It should be or else, how is the reward distinct for those who are faithful now ?

Qn 5. Will believers be judged or rewarded ?

For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God ?’ ( 1Pt 4 : 17 )
For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.’ ( 2Co 5 : 10 )
For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat … each of us will give an account of himself to God.’ (Ro 14 : 10 – 12 )

So believers will have to stand before judgement seat of Christ, but it is not for condemnation, ‘for there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live according to the Spirit’ ( Ro 8 : 1 ), but to be judged and rewarded accordingly.

When will this happen ?

God has appointed Jesus as the Judge of the living and the dead ( Acts 10 : 42 ). So there are two groups that needs to be judged. The ‘judgement of the dead’ will happen only after the 1000 year rule of Christ.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it … And I saw the dead … standing before the throne … The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the book … each person was judged ( not for reward) according to what he had done … If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’ ( Rev 20 : 12 – 15 )
But the ‘judgement of the living’ will happen before the Millenial rule of Christ, when he takes his seat on his throne together with his Apostles, on the thrones set for them.
I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” ( Mt 19 : 28, Lk 22 : 30)
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had authority to judge.’ ( Rev 20 : 4 )
The three parables we read in Mathew 25 also gives us an insight into the timeline of events. The ‘parable of the ten Virgins’ ended with the door being shut and the foolish virgins being left behind while the virgins who were ready went in with the bridegroom to the wedding banquet, denoting rapture. (Mt 25 : 10 )
Soon after this, Jesus said the ‘parable of the talents’, wherein he spoke about judgement of his servants, the Church.
After a long time the master returned to settle accounts with them”. ( Mt 25 : 19 )
Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” ( Rev 22 : 12 )
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” ( Mt 16 : 27 )
All these passages indicate that the saints will be judged and rewarded at the second coming of Jesus. Paul had this blessed hope when he said : ‘Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day – and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.’ ( 2 Tim 4 : 8)

After he said the ‘parable of the talents’, Jesus ended his conversation with ‘parable of the sheep and goats’.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations ( meaning all the people in the nations who will survive the tribulation and will be still alive ) will be gathered before him and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and goats on his left … Then the King will say to those on his right … whatever you did for one of the least of these ‘brothers of mine’ you did for me … Then he will say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me … into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” ( Mt 25:31-41 )
So the remnant of the living, left alive on earth after the tribulation, will be judged according to their works ( Vs 35 – 36 ) and then it will be decided who will go into the Millennium and who will not!
The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will weed out of his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” ( Mt 13 : 41 – 42 )
They will be tormented with burning sulfur … the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” ( Rev 14 : 9 – 11 )

Qn 4. When will the Antichrist be revealed ?

The Antichrist will mimic Christ in every possible way, even following the same time line.
Jesus was 30 years old when he began his ministry’ ( Lk 3 : 23 ).The first year was the year of his inauguration and the second year was the year of his popularity and the third year was the year of opposition, after which he was killed at the age of 33 & 1/2 years following which ‘he was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead’ ( Ro 1 : 4 ) and was worshipped ( Mt 28 : 17 ) and was given all authority in heaven and on earth. ( Vs 18)

So also when the Antichrist ‘rides out as a conqueror bent on conquest’ (Rev 6 : 2), he will probably be 30 years old and will gain popularity in the years that follow. But after 3 & 1/2 years, he will receive a fatal wound, probably from an assassination attempt, but will be miraculously healed and thereafter will receive great authority and will be worshipped.
And I saw a beast coming out of the sea … The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshipped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast and they also worshipped the beast …’ ( Rev 13 : 1 – 4 ).
Then I saw another beast coming out of the earth … He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived … and cause all who refuse to worship the image will be killed. ( Rev 13 : 11 – 15 )

Just as it was revealed only after 3 & 1/2 years into his ministry, that Jesus was the Messiah ( Mt 16 : 20 ), following his death and resurrection, so also will the man of lawlessness, the man doomed to destruction, the Antichrist be revealed only half way into the tribulation when he claims to be the ‘Messiah’, following his fatal injury and recovery, thus mimicking Christ’s death and resurrection.
He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.’ ( 2 Thess 2 : 4 )
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’. In the middle of the ‘seven’, he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” ( Dan 9 : 27 )

Qn 3. Are there other scriptural references about the Antichrist making a covenant with Israel other than the one in Daniel 9:27 ?

This is the last hour and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many have come’. ( 1Jn 2 :18 )

Since the ones who came before were forerunners, it would be Scripturally sound to apply those passages pertaining to them to the one to come. Two passages in Daniel, that scholars believe match the description of Antiochus IV of Syria, who was the the Jew’s worst enemy in history until Hitler, does speak prophetically about the coming AntiChrist.
“… a master of intrigue will arise. He will become very strong but not by his own power … he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed but not by human power.” ( Dan 8 : 23 – 25 )
He will invade a kingdom when it’s people feel secure and he will seize it through intrigue … after coming into an agreement … will act deceitfully and with a few people will rise to power… his armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation ( Rev 13 : 14 ). With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the ‘covenant’ but the people who know their God will firmly resist him … he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard of things against the God of gods. ( Rev 13 : 5 – 6 ) He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed for what has been determined has to take place … yet he will come to his end.” ( Dan 11 : 21 – 45 )

Since the AntiChrist is the ‘false Christ’, he will do everything possible to deceive the elect.
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive the elect – if that were possible.” ( Mt 24 : 24 )
So it makes sense for the AntiChrist to make a covenant with the Jews because they will not believe him to be the ‘Messiah’ unless he does.

Qn 2. Is there a scriptural basis for a ‘7’ year tribulation ?

Since the book of Revelation doesn’t specify that the tribulation lasts 7 years, it is obviously based on the passage in Dan 9 : 27, where it says : “And ‘he’ will confirm the covenant with many for one ‘seven’ and in the midst of the ‘seven’ shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease …” But there exists an ambiguity about who this ‘he’ is ! Some believe ‘he’ refers to the ‘prince of the people’, the Antichrist who too will arise from the territory of the erstwhile but resurgent Roman empire, while others believe that ‘he’ refers to ‘Messiah the Prince’ mentioned in Vs 25. So they interpret that Jesus made a covenant with Israel for one ‘seven’ at the start of his ministry ( though there is no scriptural reference to back this view other than Dan 9 : 27 ) but he was rejected and crucified 3 & 1/2 years later, leaving Israel with just another 3 & 1/2 years, which would be the second half of the seven years, after which they will be restored.

It then makes sense that the Antichrist too will enter into a seven year covenant with Israel at the start of his reign, in a bid to deceive the elect, if that were possible but will violate it midway. In that case both these interpretations seem to be compatible and run parallel to each other without creating a clash in our understanding. So either way the ‘7’ year timeline seems to be consistent.

Qn 1. Where does the Bible call the 7 years as ‘tribulation’ ?

The only time we come across the word tribulation’ in the Bible is in Rev 7 : 14, when John the Apostle was told by one of the 24 elders : “These are they who came out of the great tribulation…” It is the translation of the Greek word ‘thlipsis’, which means trouble, distress, oppression, tribulation. But there are many other passages that refer to this period of time.

There will be a time of distress such as not happened from the beginning of nations until then.” ( Dan 12 : 1 )
For then there shall be great distress unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.” ( Mt 24 : 21 )
I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” ( Rev 3 : 10 ) etc.

So the word that is used in the book of Revelation to collectively address this period of time has been translated as ‘tribulation’.