Let’s take a close look at the N.T. word, “Tribulation.” There are two Greek words that mean tribulation in our English Bibles. The first is the Greek “thlibo”. The 2ed one is “thlipsis.” Between the two, they are used some 19 times in the N.T. We also have the plural, tribulations used 3 times, by Paul.
Synonym’s for the word tribulation are, troubles, suffering, difficulties, problems, concerns, hardships, trauma, setbacks, or pain caused by physical blows to the body etc. You get the idea.
Tribulation is usually the cause of trouble, pain and suffering, both physically and mentally.
How the word is used in the New Testament? We find it 5 times in the gospels. Paul uses it 8 times in his epistles and John uses it 5 times in Revelation, and once in Acts.
Tribulation is connected with other nouns, “anguish, distress, persecution, recompense and the number 10, as in “10 days” twice. It is also used with the adjectives great, patience, joyful.
Let’s look at the Greek “Thlibo.” This word means to press, press upon as the lips by a kiss. Also, to be pressed by a crowd of people, or a thing pressed together as a narrow way,
Matthew 7:14, “Narrow is the way.” As a metaphor it means to oppress with evil, to afflict, to distress.
1 Thessalonians 3:4, Paul is writing to the church at Thessalonica. “We told you before that we should suffer tribulation,” meaning trouble from the Romans and the Jews.
2 Thessalonians 1:6, “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense (pay back) tribulation to them that trouble you.”
The Septuagint for Hebrew, is "Distress." It’s found in Deuteronomy 28:53-55, “Thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates.” The Hebrew is found in, Exodus 22:21, "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him--.” And in 1 Kings 8:37, "If their enemy besiege them ---."
The 2ed word for tribulation is, “thlipsis. It means pressure, compression, affliction, anguish, distress, calamity etc. It’s used as a trope, meaning pressure from evils, afflictions and distress. The Septuagint for Hebrew is found in, Deuteronomy 4:30, "When thou art in tribulation (distress).”
The Hebrew is found in Nehemiah 9:37, "Great distress." Often by metonymy, meaning to put one work for another, it points to evils by which one is pressed, afflicted, distressed and calamities.
Matthew 13:21, "When tribulation -- ariseth."
Acts 7:10-11, “A great affliction.”
Revelation 1:9, John writes, “who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation = (persecuted by men).”
Revelation 2:9, Jesus said, “I know thy works; and tribulation.”
Most of the afflictions and tribulation seen above come from man. Men like Nero, Domitian, Diocletian, Severus, Mohamed, Hitler, and many others who have vexed the Jews and the Christians over the centuries.
But now let’s examine that tribulation that come from God. You will shall see the end results are so much different than the tribulations that come from men. And when the word “great” is applied to the tribulation that comes from God, it gets even worse.
First, the warning, Revelation2:22, “Behold, I (Jesus) will cast her (those who follow in the deeds of Jezebel) into a bed (sickbed) and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation--.”
When it begins, Revelation 6:17, “For the great day of his (God’s) wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Who God will use to punish; Jude 6, “the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he (God) has reserved (them) in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment (God’s judgement) of the great day.”
Now let’s get to the heart of the matter. Throughout history men have persecuted, tortured, and murdered others for the sheer pleasure of it, or to exterminate whole races of people as did Hitler and as did the emperors of Rome attempting to wipe-out all Christians.
And today, many Muslim nations are preparing their armies for that final battle, for that great day of tribulation. There’s a hatred that goes well beyond man’s ability to hate, it’s a hatred whose founder is the devil and his antichrist. They are preparing an army of fallen angels and mortals who will follow them to their doom.
Let’s see what the differences are between the tribulation men put on other men, and that tribulation which comes from the LORD.
Let’s begin with the two witnesses of Revelation 11 who are sent by the LORD. They will have the authority and the power to inflict great tribulation upon the people of the earth. They will be able to destroy anyone by fire who attempts to hurt them. They have power to shut off the rain for 3 ½ years. They will turn all fresh water to blood and smite the earth with every plagues. “That’s a lot of tribulation to start off with!”
Now in Revelation 9:2, God will send one of his angels to turn loose from hell, locusts having the power of scorpions. They are commanded to hurt only those who carry the mark of 666 on their foreheads.
And here is where it gets nasty!
Verse 5-6, Men, “shall be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a man. Verse 6, “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”
They can pray to die, attempt suicide, but they will not die because God commanded it!
Revelation 9:14, The LORD will then send upon the earth his angel who will turn loose four angels that have been bound in the river Euphrates. And with them will come an army of 2 hundred million creatures. And when these creatures are turned loose by God’s angel, they will come with their army and slay 1/3 of the population of the earth; the estimated number would be over 2 billion people.
Let me conclude, we have all had tribulation in our lives, some greater than others. Many have been tortured, jailed and murdered for their faith by evil men. But the tribulation God sends on those, who follow the devil and his antichrist and who receive the mark of the beast, 666, will suffer like no others have ever suffered; and they will not be able to die. They will pray, “let the mountains fall on us,” but it will do them no good.
So, when you discuss the word tribulation, let’s examine closely the text it lies in, and the context the word is placed into.
Written by Phil LaSpino: Taken from seekfirstwisdom