Before we understand the timeline that occurs before, during, and after the great tribulation, we must first understand the grand timeline.
Dispensationalism, as a system, results in a premillennial interpretation of Christ’s second coming and usually a pretribulational interpretation of the rapture. To summarize, dispensationalism is a theological system that emphasizes the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy, recognizes a distinction between Israel and the Church, and organizes the Bible into different dispensations or administrations.
Dispensationalists understand the Bible to be organized into seven dispensations: Innocence (Genesis 1:1—3:7), Conscience (Genesis 3:8—8:22), Human Government (Genesis 9:1—11:32), Promise (Genesis 12:1—Exodus 19:25), Law (Exodus 20:1—Acts 2:4), Grace (Acts 2:4—Revelation 20:3), and the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:4–6). Again, these dispensations are not paths to salvation, but manners in which God relates to man. Each dispensation includes a recognizable pattern of how God worked with people living in the dispensation. That pattern is 1) a responsibility, 2) a failure, 3) a judgment, and 4) grace to move on.
Innocence: God’s command during this time (years unknown)
- Replenish the earth with children (Genesis 1:28).
- Subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28).
- Have dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:28).
- Care for the garden (Genesis 2:15).
- Abstain from eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).
Between the first (Job 38:4-7) and second dispensations came the war in Heaven with Satan and his followers cast out (Ezekiel 28:12-19, Isaiah 14:12-17, Daniel 8:10, 12:1, Luke 10:18, John 12:31, Revelation 9:1; 12:3-4, 7-9, 12). Many people read Revelation chapter 12 as something that will occur in the future, but reading the entire passage, or rather chapter, you begin to see that the vision is telling a story of the war that broke out in heaven and the consequences that would happen, that being the dragon trying to kill Mary so she would not give birth to Jesus.
Conscience: God’s response to the end of the age of innocence (lasted 1656 years)
- A curse on the serpent (Genesis 3:14-15).
- A change in womanhood and childbearing (Genesis 3:16).
- A curse on nature (Genesis 3:17-19).
- The imposing of difficult work on mankind to produce food (Genesis 3:17-19).
- The promise of Christ as the seed who will bruise the serpent’s head (Satan – Genesis 3:15).
Human Government: God’s promise to Noah and family (roughly 325 years)
- God will not curse the earth again (Genesis 9:11).
- Noah and family are to replenish the earth with people (Genesis 9:1).
- They shall have dominion over the animal creation (Genesis 9:2).
- They are allowed to eat meat (Genesis 9:3).
- The law of capital punishment is established (Genesis 9:4-5)
- There never will be another worldwide flood (Genesis 9:11).
- he sign of God’s promise will be the rainbow. (Genesis 9:13-17)
Promise: God’s promise through Abraham (lasted roughly 430 years)
- From Abraham would come a great nation that God would bless with natural and spiritual prosperity (Genesis 12:2, 15:1).
- God would make Abraham’s name great (Genesis 12:2).
- God would bless those that blessed Abraham’s descendants and curse those that cursed them (Genesis 12:3).
- In Abraham all the families of the earth will be blessed. This is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and His work of salvation (Genesis 12:3).
- The sign of the covenant is circumcision (Genesis 17:10).
- This covenant, which was repeated to Isaac and Jacob, is confined to the Hebrew people and the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis 17:12).
Law: This dispensation will continue during the Millennium, with some modifications (lasted almost 1500 years)
- What is involved temple worship directed by priests
- God gives direction spoken through His mouthpieces, the prophets
Grace: As of this writing, we are in it now (occurs between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel 9:24. Lasted almost 2000 years)
- It starts with the coming of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and ends with the Rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
- This dispensation is worldwide and includes both Jews and the Gentiles. Man’s responsibility during the Dispensation of Grace is to believe in Jesus, the Son of God (John 3:18)
- In this dispensation, the Holy Spirit indwells believers as the Comforter (John 14:16-26)
- it will end with the Rapture of all born-again believers from the earth to go to heaven with Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
Following the Rapture will be the judgments of God lasting for seven years (Matthew 24:21, Jeremiah 30:7, Daniel 12:1).
Between this time will be the 7-year tribulation (Jacob’s week ( Genesis 29:28 ) and trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, Daniel 12:1)). The word “shabuwa” can mean seven days or seven years.
Millenial Kingdom: This comes after the Great Tribulation and lasts for 1000 years
- This Kingdom will fulfill the prophecy to the Jewish nation that Christ will return and be their King (Zechariah 14:4).
- The only people allowed to enter the Kingdom are the born-again believers from the Age of Grace and righteous survivors of the seven years of tribulation (Revelation 21:27, Mark 13:13).
- Satan is bound during the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:2)
- This period ends with the final judgment (Revelation 20:11-14)
- The old Heaven and Earth is dissolved and melted by fire ( 2 Peter 3:10-13), and the New Heaven and New Earth of Revelation 21 – 22 will begin
What Satan and the rest of the fallen angels have been doing since the fall
- Satan and his followers have been hard at work influencing humanity to go against God (Genesis 3:1-4).
- They have tormented us through physical means (Job 2:7, 1 Samuel 16:14, Luke 13:15-16) and through the environment and other people (Job 1:13-19, Matthew 8:23-27, John 8:42-47).
- Satan and devils trick people into thinking that God speaks to them and gets his kids to do the same (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) thus deceiving us to stray (1 John 4:1-6).
- They have set up various communication methods so people can have access to information (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).
- Satan himself has authority over the Earth, given to him by God for a time, and can give things in this world to whom he chooses (Luke 4:5-6).
- Satan influences media, with music (Ezekiel 28:13) being a favorite of his to move in his direction.
- Satan and his fallen angels possess people and animals (Mark 5:1-13; 12:43-45, Luke 8:26-33; 22:3, John 13:2, 27 (It’s important to note in the John passages, and it applies to all instances, that there must be a seed planted, then it takes root (James 1:13-15), then Satan and his devils can enter a man, the example being Judas.)) and work together as a unit (Matthew 12:25-26).
- Several of the fallen angels took it upon themselves to have sex with the women of the earth (Genesis 6:1-2, 1 Corinthians 11:10 (KJV only)) and were put into chains until the judgment (2 Peter 2:4).
- The fallen angels still have battles and try to hinder prayer from believers (Daniel 10:12-13, Ephesians 6:12).
- They resist Christians who work in and for the Kingdom of God (Mark 8:23-25, 1 Peter 5:8). The condemned angels’ final goal for all of humanity is to steal everything we might have, to murder us, and to destroy our lives (John 10:10, Luke 10:30).
- They can keep the Gospel from unsaved folks (Matthew 13:3-4) and will cloud our understanding of the Bible (Proverbs 4:19, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Isaiah 6:9-10).
- Though Satan and his Devils are hard at work in this world, they are restrained (Thessalonians 2:1-12) until the great tribulation begins (Jeremiah 30:7, Daniel 12:1, Matthew 24:21-22), then, they will bring about their kingdom on earth for a time.
It’s important to note that in all the things that Satan and his devils have done to humanity, they are not in Hell, but are in the heavens (space, sky) and on the earth, while we pay the consequences for our actions and sin nature. Basically, they’re a bad date that eats everything, leaves us with nothing and leaves us the check.