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The Prophetic Gap Between the Rapture and Tribulation Period

It may come as a surprise to some, but the Rapture is not the triggering event for the start of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27 triggers the 7-year tribulation period) thus, there has to be some amount of time (a Gap period) between the Rapture of the Church and the Tribulation period beginning.  I have been conducting an extensive study on this lately and have presented some observations below.  Hopefully this will bring some clarity to an otherwise cloudy and (for the most part) unaddressed topic.

As always…all of this is not meant to try and set an absolute date for the Rapture, but stir everyone into contemplating how close the time may be to our redemption, and agree or disagree, it points to some very interesting information that may be worth further study and prayerful consideration.  Note: Yes its long, but its worth the read!  Additionally, this should be read in conjunction with our recent post of Rosh HaShanah and its Link to The Bride of Christ

Let me begin by stating I absolutely hold to a pre-tribulation, pre-millennial dispensational system of theology and I believe these thoughts do not conflict in any way with that theology, nor is it in conflict with any scripture (that I am aware of), nor is it extra-Biblical teaching. As always, be a good Berean and search the scriptures for yourselves to see whether these things are so...filter this information through the lens of the divinely inspired Word of God, which is the final authority, as is the sovereignty of the One who spoke the Word, and the absolute perfection of the Word spoken - it needs nothing added to it or taken from it.

Ok, that said and understood, I have always had a difficult time in my finite mind trying to fit all the coming end-time events into the traditional parallel or concurrent timeframes of a 7-year pre-trib Rapture, and the 7-year Marriage of the Bride of Christ (Church) to the Lamb (Christ); 7-years of Tribulation on earth, multiple prophetic wars (which have been addressed on this website) which are pre or post rapture and pre-or during the tribulation, etc.  Everything just does not fit a parallel or concurrent timeline very well, and accordingly to what many old school prophetic pastors have preached (which is they are both concurrent 7-year periods). I believe many things just have been glossed over and not well thought through and addressed to make sense. Recently, through further study, I believe a framework that makes better sense and is supported by scripture and a number of Bible scholars exists and is presented herein.

The following will look at a potential one to three-year Gap between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation period…other Gap periods may also be possible and are supported in the links at the end.

[The source below, as edited, is a reprint of the thoughts of Pastor Kelly Sensenig of Berean Bible Church] see Bible Gaps

There is a prophetic gap we must talk about that exists between the Rapture and the Tribulation Period. We must remember that there will be an unknown duration or gap of time between the Rapture and the official beginning of the Tribulation Period. The Rapture will precede the Tribulation Period (Rev. 3:10) but it does not begin the Tribulation Period. The signing of the seven-year covenant with Israel begins the Tribulation Period (Dan. 9:27). We don't know how long this time frame is between the Rapture and beginning of the Tribulation Period.  Is it days, months, or years? Probably the latter since it will take time for various events to unfold within the world. We know there will be a duration of time that exists between the Rapture and Tribulation Period. During this gap of time some specific events will occur that will set the stage for the Tribulation Period to begin. Because these events are post-Rapture they do not harm the doctrine of imminency in relationship to the Rapture (Phil. 3:20; 1 Cor. 16:22; Rev. 22:12).

1. The seven year covenant of the Antichrist. 

This particular event is also pre-tribulational but not a pre-Rapture event. It has to be. The Antichrist will naturally mandate this covenant before the Tribulation, while at the same time this covenant will be the event that triggers the beginning of Daniel’s final week of seven years. Again, the Bible says the Antichrist will “confirm” or make a firm covenant (Dan. 9:27) with “many” - many nations. This will be a covenant that is forced upon the Jews and other surrounding nations which contains strong guarantees. It will probably guarantee the Jews peace in the Middle East, protection, and public freedom to reinstate their ancient Jewish worship without Arab conflict.

The signing of this covenant with Israel is an important time marker. It takes place during the interim gap of time and actually marks the beginning of the Tribulation Period. It is the key event that starts the Tribulation Period for the Bible tells us that the covenant will be made for “one week” (Dan. 9:27) which Daniel confirms is a week consisting of seven years. This time reference corresponds to the Tribulation Period (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 12:6). In some way all the events that transpire in the prophetic gap of time between the Rapture and Tribulation Period will lead to the signing of this covenant with the Jewish nation. This will then be the time marker that officially begins the seven year Tribulation Period.

There are several other prophetic events, which could conceivably take place after the Rapture (post-Rapture) but before the commencement of the Tribulation Period (pre-Tribulational). However, one cannot dogmatically assert that they will occur during the gap of time.

2. The apostasy of the professing church.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ (Lord) is at hand (is present on earth or has come). Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the Tribulation Period) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” 

One event that must take place is the formation of the apostate church. Immediately after the Rapture, the true Church will be gone and only an apostate church will remain on earth. This apostate church will rally together creating an ecumenical end-time harlot system that is against God (Rev. 17:1-5). In essence, Paul says that the Church saints could not be living in that period of time, known as the Day of the Lord (Tribulation Period), until “a falling away” or more specifically “the departure” of apostasy occurs. This is a specific apostasy awaiting fulfillment after the Rapture following the exodus of God’s people back to their homeland in Heaven. It’s possible that the apostasy will occur after the event called the Rapture but before the Tribulation Period begins. Nevertheless, it’s equally true and probable that Paul is specifically looking at the Tribulation Period as the time when the apostasy will be realized, as many people come to faith in Christ (Rev. 7:9-14) and are persecute by the harlot church (Rev 17:6).  As soon as the true Church is raptured the only thing that will be left is the organized apostate church of leavened Christendom (Matt. 13:33 – “till the whole was leavened”).

3. The appearance of the Antichrist.

Paul suggests that the Antichrist must also be clearly revealed and identified, as such, for an individual to be living during the Tribulation Period (Day of the Lord). Of course, it’s possible that the revelation of the Antichrist will occur during this interim, or prophetic gap of time between the Rapture and Tribulation Period, when Paul says “and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3). The Antichrist’s revelation will occur after the Rapture or our “gathering together unto Him” (2 Thess. 2:1). Paul is careful to make this important time distinction. First the Rapture will occur (2 Thess. 2:1) and then the man of sin will be revealed (2 Thess. 2:3). There is no Scripture that suggests the identity of the Antichrist will be known prior to the Rapture. Instead, the revelation of Antichrist, following the Rapture, will set the stage for the Tribulation Period to begin (Dan. 9:27).

It’s possible to conclude that the revelation of the Antichrist will occur before the Tribulation Period begins (2 Thess. 2:3), during the time when Europe and the Middle East are divided into ten kingdoms (Dan. 7:24). Of course, we do know that those who come to faith during the Tribulation Period will be able to determine who the Antichrist is by the numerical value of his name (Rev. 13:18). The fact is this; the Antichrist may emerge as the “little horn” (Dan. 7:8) and quickly rise to power during this interim time period, so he can enforce a covenant with the Jewish nation for seven years (Dan. 9:27). He will need to be revealed and have political clout during this interim time before confirming the seven-year covenant with the Jewish people, which marks the actual start of the Tribulation Period.

It’s true that the Antichrist’s rise to power can take place during the interim period of time, as he gains political clout in the world, but his actual revelation and the reunification of the Old Roman Empire will likely occur during the Tribulation Period, just as it gets underway, following the signing of the covenant (Dan. 9:27), in fulfillment of Bible prophecies that relate specifically to the Tribulation Period (Dan. 2, 7; 2 Thess. 2:3). 

4. The departure of the Holy Spirit.

2 Thessalonians 2:7

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (holds back or restrains) will let, until he be taken out of the way.”

This verse teaches that when the true Church is raptured the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence in the world, through the residency of the Church, will be removed from planet earth. When the Church is removed the Holy Spirit will no longer have a restraining effect upon evil and sin through the presence of God’s people. This means sin and deception will run rampant and be similar to the days before the Flood.

Genesis 6:5 says:

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Please understand that the Holy Spirit’s presence will not be removed from the world but His restraining of evil and wickedness will be “taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7). The removal of the restrainer (the Holy Spirit) will obviously occur during this prophetic gap of time that is post-Rapture and pre-tribulational. Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence must be taken out of the world before a person could be living in that period of time known as the Day of the Lord.

Paul is saying that the Church could not be living in the Day of the Lord since the Restrainer has not yet been taken out of the way. Paul is teaching that the Holy Spirit’s restraining ministry will cease in the world to signal that the Day of the Lord is about to commence upon planet earth. The Holy Spirit is the Restrainer in this world. It is through God’s people, the New Testament Church, that the Holy Spirit restrains sin in some measure. However, when the true Church is raptured the restraining ministry of the Spirit will no longer be felt in this world, as it once was during this present period of time in which we live. The Holy Spirit will remain on earth but His restraining effect upon sin will no longer be operating in the world during the Day of the Lord.  

The conclusion is simple. The Church could not possibly have entered the time period known as the Day of the Lord (Tribulation Period) since the events mentioned above, which were prophesied to transpire, specifically during the Day of the Lord, had not yet occurred. Since none of the events, which are mentioned above have actually occurred, the Church could not possibly be living in the Day of the Lord. Of course, the absence of the Holy Spirit and the other events mentioned (the apostasy and revelation of Antichrist) could take place in the interim period of time or the prophetic gap of time that exists between the Rapture and Tribulation Period and carry over into the seven years. Nevertheless, it’s equally true and more likely that these specific events (the apostasy, restraining of the Holy Spirit, and revelation of Antichrist) are said to occur and be experienced specifically during the Tribulation Period (2 Thess. 2:3), when the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, as it relates to the end times will once again be in play.

5. The resurgence of the Roman Empire under ten kings.

This event may also be pre-tribulational but not a pre-Rapture event. The Bible teaches that ten kings will eventually merge together in an attempt to bring together and reorganize the old Roman Empire (Daniel 2:41-44; 7:7, 24). Daniel 7:24 speaks of ten kings “that shall arise” which indicates an attempt to reunite and bring back to life the old Roman Empire. These ten kings will want to keep their individual policies and have their own personal authority. However, the Antichrist who arises on the scene will see to it that they yield their authority and military might to him. We see the groundwork of this formation taking place today in the consolidation of the European nations. Of course, it’s also possible and even more likely that these events will quickly transpire at the commencement, or beginning of the Tribulation Period, which will set the stage for the seven years to be fulfilled.

6. The reunification of the Roman Empire under the Antichrist.

This event may also be pre-tribulational but not a pre-Rapture event. After the Rapture and before the Tribulation Period begins the Antichrist may unite the old Roman Empire (Daniel 7:8, 20, 24). He arises “after them” (the ten kings) according to Daniel 7:24 in order to become the sole leader of the ten kingdom and kings. The Antichrist will not be content to be just another rival. He will want to control the other kings and their countries. These rulers will possess an alliance together but lack one thing – a Caesar to rule over them. Not until a Caesar rules over these countries can the Roman Empire be officially reunited together in strength and military power as it was in its original form.

Eventually these ten kings will come under the Antichrist’s power for the duration of the Tribulation Period (Rev. 17:12 – “one hour”). These are kings and kingdoms that were once part of the original Roman Empire when it was at its zenith. These ten nations and kings will give their allegiance to the Antichrist for the seven-year Tribulation Period resulting in the reunification of the Roman Empire under one reigning Caesar – the Antichrist. Bringing together the Revived Roman Empire puts the pieces of Bible prophecy together for the Tribulation Period to begin. It could be that the reunification of this empire will give the Antichrist all of the political clout and sufficient power he needs to force Israel and other nations into a treaty (Dan. 9:27). At one point, the Antichrist will take control of this new world empire and this will give him the ability to make a covenant with “many” nations (Dan. 9:27) in order to solve the Middle East crisis. 

Once again, it’s also possible that the Antichrist rises to the position of power over these kings (rulers or other European and Middle East countries) at the offset of the Tribulation Period, which will be a time period when world events are transpiring at a rapid pace. This reunification of the Roman Empire will then set the stage for the next event to occur. 

7. The invasion of Israel by a northern army.

The Bible predicts that Russian and Islamic allies will invade Israel in the future (Ezekiel 38-39). When “Gog shall come against the land of Israel” (vs. 18) God will destroy them in the mountains of Israel (vv. 19-23). When God verses Gog – God wins! This invasion may also take place during a unique time period that can be explained as post-Rapture (after the Rapture has occurred) but pre-tribulational (before the Tribulation Period begins). Russia with her Islamic allies will invade the land of Israel and be destroyed by God in the mountainous terrain surrounding Israel.

This event could also be a pre-tribulational invasion but not a pre-Rapture invasion. This means that it definitely won’t occur before the Rapture and destroy the truth of imminence but may occur prior to the actual beginning of the Tribulation Period. However, it’s also equally possible, and perhaps more probable, that this event will also occur at the very beginning of the Tribulation Period and become another marker that the end time events have begun.

The key to understanding when this invasion occurs is a seven-year time reference regarding the clean-up and fuel generated from their destruction (Ezek. 39:9). Both prophecies that mention the seven-year time frame of the Tribulation Period are linked to Israel’s final salvation and restoration (Dan. 9:24-27; Ezek. 39:7, 22). This tells us that both of these time references are speaking of the Tribulation Period and the kingdom glory that follows. It would appear that Israel will bury the dead for seven months (Ezek. 39:12) and then use the weaponry as fuel fire throughout the seven-year Tribulation Period (Ezek. 39:9). As Jews flee to the mountains (likely Petra) for refuge (Matt. 24:16), during the second half of the Tribulation Period, this fuel fire will be helpful to them as they seek to maintain life.

One could conceivably place this event after the Rapture (post-Rapture) but before the actual beginning of the Tribulation Period (pre-tribulational) and have no problem with either the seven months or seven years that are connected with the prophecy. The invasion from the North and the seven-month burial connected with the dead can be fulfilled in an interim period of time before the Tribulation Period begins, and once it begins, the seven year prophecy concerning the burning of weaponry will come to pass. Seven years is a clear prophetic sign marker that is no doubt pointing to the seven-year Tribulation Period. The Antichrist could possibly use the timing of this destruction of Israel’s enemies as a catalyst or way to assure Israel peace and give him the final political clout he needs to make the seven-year covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:27), which is the time marker that begins the Tribulation Period.

The signing of the covenant with the Jews and nations (Dan. 9:27), along with the destruction of the armies in northern Israel (Ezek. 38:19-23-39:1-6), sets the stage for seal one (peace and safety) to begin at the offset of the Tribulation Period (Rev. 6:1-2; 1 Thess. 5:3). The rider on the white horse (Antichrist) gallops on to the world scene promising peace and no more threats of war in the Middle East. An invasion and destruction of Islamic soldiers at the beginning of the Tribulation Period also provides the backdrop for the rise of a one world church without the threat of radical Islam (Rev. 17:1-5), the reconstruction of the Tribulation temple (Rev. 11:1-2), and the quick formation and consolidation of the ten-nation confederacy under the Antichrist (Dan. 2:42-44; 7:24; Rev. 17:12), which eventually paves the way for the world dictatorship and worship of the Antichrist (Rev. 13:3-18), since the threat of Islamic invaders are out of the picture. 

8. The period of peace and false security.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord (Tribulation Period) so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

When the Antichrist takes over the ten kings and becomes a dominant power in the Middle East, at one point following the Rapture, there will be a period of peace and false security.

Hampton Keathley states:

“Because of fear of a nuclear holocaust, population explosion, environmental destruction, etc., the world will be crying for “peace and safety.” This man will come on the scene with great persuasive power, personality magnetism, craft and oratorical skill, and he will persuade the West (Europe and probably the Americas) that he has the answer for peace. (The Americas are likely to be included because they are a part of the harlot system which he controls.) He will gain his ascendancy to power as a peacemaker (Dan. 8:25; 1 Thess. 5:3; Rev. 6:2; Dan. 9:27).”

Perhaps the Antichrist will claim that he was the power and brains behind the Russian/Islamic defeat in the mountains of Israel (Ezek. 38-39) and as a result the other seven kings will give their allegiance to him (Rev. 17:12). He will boast about peace in the Middle East and promise to protect Israel from military invasion of her enemies by forcing a seven-year peace treaty and protection policy for Israel in the Middle East that “many” countries must adhere to (Dan. 9:27).

The world will seem like it’s entering a time of peace and utopia. People will think that the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” has finally arrived. But the false peace and security, which may occur during the interim period of time (between the Rapture and Tribulation Period), will be short lived. The world’s sense of security will be shattered by the commencement of the seven-year Tribulation Period. When the people of the world will be talking about peace and safety (“when they shall say, Peace and safety”), the destruction of the Tribulation Period will suddenly hit with a devastating force and vengeance upon all earth dwellers (“then sudden destruction cometh upon them”). The world will be thrust into a time of terrible judgment described as birth pangs (Matt. 24:8, 21) and “try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10).

Once again, this event may also occur at the offset of the Tribulation Period. At the very beginning of this period of time the world will be lulled into thinking that peace in the Middle East has finally arrived and now the world can function together peaceably. With the militant Arab nations out of the way and a person in charge of the peace process in the Middle East, the world may think it has finally entered the Age of Aquarius.


9. The rebuilding of the tribulation temple.

The signing of this Jewish covenant will evidently result in the reinstatement of Jewish worship since during the middle of the Tribulation Period Daniel teaches that the Antichrist will break his covenant with Daniel’s people (Dan. 9:27). This means that a Tribulation temple (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3-4) will be rebuilt, and it may actually be constructed before the beginning of the Tribulation Period, so it is ready to go when the covenant is made with the Jewish nation. The Biblical data is not sufficient to dogmatically state that the rebuilding of the temple will take place during the interim period of time between the Rapture and beginning of the Tribulation, during this prophetic gap of time. All that we know is that the temple will be functioning by the middle of the Tribulation Period (Rev. 11:1-2) and that it will be overtaken by the Antichrist during the middle of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 25:15).

If Israel begins to engage in temple worship when the covenant is signed (Dan. 9:27), this would indicate a rebuilding of the temple prior to this covenant agreement. If temple worship is going to be up and running at the offset of the Tribulation Period and last for three-and-one-half years, there would need to be a prior erection of this building structure. This building of the temple can occur during the interim period of time that follows the Rapture and precedes the commencement of the Tribulation Period. The Jews will quickly erect their temple structure under the protection of the new Middle East hero and return to their ancient Jewish worship. The signing of the covenant will then ensure their freedom of worship for three-and-one-half years (Dan. 9:27). Preparations for the temple are already being made today and the stage is being set for the Tribulation temple to be erected under the authority of the end-time Antichrist.

Once again, it’s equally true that the temple could be rebuilt during the first three and one half years of the Tribulation Period. The Jews could begin sacrificing without having the temple fully completed, but then quickly finish the temple, which will be used for the duration of the first three and one half years of the Tribulation Period. This too, is a probable scenario.

Some Conclusions on the Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy

The stage will likely be set for end-time prophecy to be fulfilled during an interim period of time, which will occur between the Rapture and official start of the Tribulation Period. During this gap, which is an undetermined period of time, all the preparations and planning will be made and all the props will be put in place for prophetic events to be fulfilled during the Tribulation Period. For instance, the European nations will come together and have their talks; the Antichrist will be a player in the world ready to seize the opportunity to bring the ten kings and their countries together and establish a binding covenant with Israel and many other nations in order to make peace in the Middle East (Dan. 9:27). With these events beginning to take shape in the world, the Islamic nations and Russia to the north will be getting very uneasy and filled with anger, since Europe and the Middle East is siding with Israel.

It’s apparent that the gap of time that occurs between the Rapture and the official beginning of the Tribulation Period, with the signing of the covenant in the Middle East (Dan. 9:27), will set things up for the seven-year Tribulation Period to begin. However, it seems better to view the actual fulfillment of prophetic events, such as the reunification of the Old Roman Empire (“the ten horns out of the kingdom” – Roman Empire - Dan. 7:24), along with the rise and revelation of the Antichrist, the new world Caesar (“the prince that shall come” - Dan. 9:26), and the Islamic invasion of Israel, to occur very early during the seven-year period of Daniel’s 70th week, since this is when the Bible actually predicts these events will unfold in the world.

We live in a time period that can be viewed as a “prophetic skip” or a “great parenthesis,” as Harry Ironside said, which is comparable to an interlude, when prophecies are put on hold and not being fulfilled, as they relate to Israel and the end times of the Tribulation Period. This period of prophetic interruption falls between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27). The only prophecy being directly and literally fulfilled today is the prophecy of the “last days” (2 Tim. 3:1) as it relates to the spiritual decline during the Church Age. The fulfillment of all other prophecy will be suspended during this gap of time and will not begin to be fulfilled until the Rapture and the Tribulation Period begins. 

The prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation definitely envision the seven-year Tribulation Period (Daniel’s “one week” of seven years – Dan. 9:27). This specific period of seven-year Tribulation is seen in such phrases as “latter years” and “latter days” (Ezek. 38:8, 16), which are the same expressions used in the Old Testament in reference to Israel’s final time of distress, in connection with the Tribulation Period and her final restoration to the Millennial Kingdom (Isa. 2:2; Jer. 23:20; 30:24; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1).

Other phrases such as “the end of the age” (Matt. 24:3, 14) and “the tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29) mark a specific period of time that could be termed as end times, as well as the specific “times and seasons” (1 Thess. 5:1) related to the “day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:2), all point to the seven-year Tribulation Period. Since these terms relate specifically and only to the Tribulation Period, one should not dogmatically assert that the events, such as the reunification of the Roman Empire (Dan. 2, 7), Gog’s northern invasion (Ezek. 38-39), and the rebuilding of the temple (Rev. 11:1-2) will take place in the gap of time that exists between the Rapture (post-Rapture) and beginning of the Tribulation Period (pre-Trbulational). In fact, although the Antichrist will likely rise to power in the interim time period, he will not be actually revealed as the “man of sin” (2 Thess. 2:3) and identified as such (2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 13:18) until the specific seven years unfold, which is the time when knowledge of end time events, in relationship to their prophetic fulfillment, will be specifically known.

Daniel 12:4

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

Paul’s teaching about the events associated with the Day of the Lord (2 Thess. 2:3) was given to remind the saints that they could not be living during the period of time known as the Day of the Lord, since it’s during this exact time, when the apostasy will be witnessed, the restraining presence of the Holy Spirit will no longer be felt, and when the Antichrist will be revealed (“then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed”).

After the Islamic threat is out of the way (Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38, 39, et. al.) and the Middle East crises is seemingly fixed, a time of world peace and celebration will occur throughout the earth (1 Thess. 5:1-3), as a result of the rider on the white horse galloping on to the world scene and promoting peace (Rev. 6:1-2). The rebuilding of the Jewish temple will also begin to take place (Rev. 11:1-2) and things will look like they are improving in the world. However, without warning and with a sudden vengeance, God begins to unfold the judgments of the Tribulation Period, beginning with the seal judgments. Everyone will know that all is not well and that the “wrath of the Lamb” is being experienced throughout planet earth (Rev. 6:16-17).

In summary, the seven years gets under way with the ratification of the covenant (Dan. 9:27), the reunification of the Roman Empire (Rev. 17:12, 17), and the last of the Islamic caliphate has been destroyed by the God of Israel (Ezekiel 38-39). These events will seemingly transpire together at the commencement of the Tribulation Period. They will be world-changing events that officially mark the beginning time period of the seven years (“one week” – Dan. 9:27) that will be systematically fulfilled, as outlined in the Book of Revelation with the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments, which are catastrophic judgments that will be poured out upon mankind.

Paul concludes that it’s during this time (the Tribulation Period) when the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence is removed, the harlot church begins to bloom, and the hideous man of sin is revealed (2 Thess. 2:3). In addition, those living during this specific time period, who are studying Bible prophecy, will know that the personal Antichrist has been revealed (Dan. 12:4; Rev. 13:18), the Spirit’s restraining presence to suppress evil in the world has been lost (2 Thess. 2:7), and that a harlot, apostate church (2 Thess. 2:3; Rev. 17:1-5) has risen to replace the true Church, which has been raptured into Heaven (John 14:1-3).

Now, the question is “how long is the Gap?  In straightforward terms, the Bible does not specifically say, however, consider the following as possibilities.  I believe some period DOES exist and it is likely years verses months.  God is a God of order and significance in His numbers throughout the Bible.  Below I will present (just) some thoughts on a 3-year Gap (10-year Rapture to 2nd Coming total), a 2-year Gap (9-year total) and 1-year Gap (8-year total) periods …a longer or shorter period could also be the case.

Three Year Gap - Ten Years Total Period

Ten is one of the perfect numbers, and signifies the perfection of Divine order.  Ten generations of man lived on the earth before the flood waters came and swept away all those who were disobedient (not hard to see a fit here!) … 

Source for the (edited) information presented below:

Smyrna and the Length of the Global Testing
Three Year Gap - Ten Years Total Period

Smyrna was one of seven churches Jesus addressed in the Book of Revelation. Smyrna means myrrh or bitterness. When crushed, myrrh produces a sweet fragrance. It was used in the holy ointment (Exod. 30:23), perfumes (Esther 2:12; Psalm 45:8; Song 4:6; 5:5, 13) and in embalming (John 19:39). Of the seven churches that Jesus addressed in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Smyrna received the shortest letter from the Lord – only four verses (Rev. 2:8-11). They were the suffering church of the first century – and perhaps may characterize the persecuted church throughout the Church Age. Jesus foretold that these believers would experience tribulation and poverty (v. 9). Some would be thrown into prison, tested, and have tribulation ten days – ultimately to be martyred (v. 10).

Many commentators believe the ten days may refer to ten years. These include: William MacDonald, Geneva Bible Notes, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown, British Family Bible, Halls, Thomas Scott, and others. This is based on the fact that in Scripture a day often represents one year.  Adam Clarke writes: “As the days in this book are what is commonly called prophetic days, each answering to a year, the ten years of tribulation may denote ten years of persecution; and this was precisely the duration of the persecution under Diocletian, during which all the Asiatic Churches were grievously afflicted.”

Might Smyrna also provide a foreshadow of the final period of testing? We know from Daniel 9:24-27 that there is a final seven year period during which the Lord will deal particularly with the Nation of Israel. This period is called “the time of Jacob's trouble” (Jer. 30:7).

However, the Tribulation period is also called “the time of the Gentiles” (Ezek. 30:3) when God “will punish the world for its evil” (Is. 13:11). Most interestingly, Jesus refers to this period as “the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. 3:10). Just as Smyrna was “tested” for ten days, might the world be tested for ten years?

The Numbers Seven and Ten

The number seven is the most repeated and significant number in the Bible. Starting with the Creation week in Genesis, and found throughout the Bible culminating in the final Book (Revelation), seven represents completion, perfection, fullness.

The second most significant number in the Bible is ten. Examples include the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), the ten plagues (Exodus 7-11), and the final ten kings (Dan. 7:24; Rev. 13:1; 17:12). Here are some other examples:

“Because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice” (Numbers 14:22).

“Then it came about, after about ten days, that the LORD struck Nabal, and he died” (1 Samuel 25:38).

“These ten times you have reproached me; You are not ashamed that you have wronged me” (Job 19:3).

“So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us” (Nehemiah 4:12).

“Please test your servants for ten days” (Daniel 1:12-15).

More examples include: Ten generations from Adam to Noah (Genesis 5); Laban changing Jacob’s wages and testing him ten times (Genesis 31:7); a ten year famine and testing period for Naomi (Ruth 1:4-6); the disciples were commanded to wait ten days in Jerusalem until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1 & 2). See also: 1 Samuel 1:8; 1 Samuel 25:5.

From these examples we see the number ten can signify law, judgment, completeness, testing. How appropriate then if this age concluded with a ten-year period of worldwide testing and judgment in parallel with (the final) seven year testing of Israel.

Concerning this possible ten-year period, it is also interesting to note that the Feast of Trumpets begins on the 1st day of the 7th month, and is followed by the Day of Atonement concluding on the 10th day of the 7th month. This period of time is known as the “Ten Days of Awe” or “Ten days of repentance”. Because the first four feasts coincided with Christ’s First Coming, many believe that the Fall feasts will coincide with key Second Coming events. The Feast of Trumpets is a time of remembrance, repentance, re-awakening, and revival and therefore may coincide with the beginning of this final period.  The Day of Atonement is a time of affliction, brokenness, and cleansing. If this prophetic model is correct, then the Feast of Trumpets may coincide with the commencement of the re-awakening/testing and then Tribulation; then ten days later (ten years?) the Great Tribulation ends when Christ returns at the evening of the Day of Atonement.

In summary, as Smyrna suffered tribulation for ten days (ten years), the world may suffer tribulation for ten years. After an approximately three year period, God will focus primarily on Israel, and test them in parallel for the final seven years before the 2nd coming of Christ. Therefore a total of ten years between the beginning of “the hour of trial” and the Second Coming is possible and seems to agree with the Bible’s last day’s prophetic picture. The Rapture would precede this global testing and tribulation period.

Also see Don Koenig’s comments for a 3.5-Year gap  BTY, I could easily support a 3.5-Yr period (as falling into a general 10-yr Gap) and Bill Salus also supports a minimum of 3.5 Yrs (see more on him further below) and see Mark Greenwood 3-year gap

Two Year Gap - Nine Years Total Period

Rosh Hashanna is also known as Yom ha-Din (Day of Judgement) and is a 2-Day period of Judgement

God's judgment on Rosh Hashana is far more profound than common judgment. He is not only looking to see if our activities are meritorious or not, He is measuring our deeds in the perspective of eternity. Those actions that are noteworthy then become part of God, so to speak, and the others evaporate, as if they never existed (Bema Seat Judgment).  Thus Rosh Hashana is a day of judgment on who will enter this most exclusive club of eternity along with which deeds, and what is to be discarded.  We usually think of our actions as being either good or bad. But in a certain sense, there is an even worse option than bad: namely meaningless.

On Rosh Hashanah all of mankind pass before Him like sheep -they pass by Him one by one, one after the other, yet He scrutinizes them all with a single glance…

Rosh Hashanah was ordained as a day of judgment for two reasons:

1. This is the day the world was created. The world was created by Elokim, the name used when the attribute of justice is exercised.

2. This is the day Adam was judged, he repented, and he was forgiven. Yom Teruah is “the sixth day” when Adam was created. This is also the day when Adam will be reborn into an indestructible body.

The teaching of the Jewish Sages that each person is judged on Rosh Hashanah does not refer to whether a person will merit Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden, if he is worthy, or Gehinom and eternal destruction if he is unworthy. Rather, man is judged on Rosh Hashanah concerning only this world: Whether he is worthy of life and peace, or death and affliction.

Two days then here, may represent 2-years - this would make a 9 total years from Rapture to the 2nd coming with the Tribulation period a 7-year period years 3-9.

The number 9 symbolizes divine completeness or conveys the meaning of finality. Christ died at the 9th hour of the day, or 3 p.m., to make the way of salvation open to everyone. 

It is the last of the digits, and thus marks the end; and is significant of the conclusion of a matter.

It is akin to the number six, six being the sum of its factors (3x3=9, and 3+3=6), and is thus significant of the end of man, and the summation of all man's works. Nine is, therefore, THE NUMBER OF FINALITY OR JUDGMENT, for judgment is committed unto Jesus as "the Son of man" (John 5:27; Acts 17:31). It marks the completeness, the end and issue of all things as to man—the judgment of man and all his works.

"th orgh mou" (tee orgee mou), my wrath, = 999 (Heb 3:11).

The solemn amhn (ameen), amen, or "verily," of our Lord, amounts also to 99, summing up and ending His words.

The Judgments of God in Haggai 1:11 are enumerated in nine particulars.

Enough has been said to show that the signification of the number nine is judgment, especially divine judgment, and the conclusion of the whole matter so far as man is concerned.

But nine is the square of three, and three is the number of Divine perfection, as well as the number peculiar to the Holy Spirit. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that this number denotes finality in divine things.

One Year Gap - Eight Years Total Period

Eight is 7 plus 1. Hence it is the number specially associated with Resurrection and Regeneration, and the beginning of a new era or order.

Christ rose from the dead on "the first day of the week," that was of necessity the eighth day. And it is remarkable that the Bible contains the record of Eight individual Resurrections.

The Feast of Tabernacles lasted eight days, with a special reference to the Incarnation (John 1:14).

The transfiguration also took place on the eighth day (inclusive reckoning) after the first announcement of Christ's "sufferings," and it was the showing forth of the "glory" which should follow at His coming again.

Eight is the dominical number, for everywhere it has to do with the LORD. It is the number of His name, IHSOUS, Jesus:

I =10

H =8

S =200

O =70

U =400

S =200


Regardless of a 1, 2, 3 year or more Gap, a certain gap will exist and is likely occupied with the post-rapture and pre-trib prophetic events as described above by Pastor Kelly Sensenig, and below by Bill Salus.

Sources:  More on the study of numbers in scriptures: and


NOTE:  Other information on the End Time Pilgrim by Gavin Finley and the Post-Trib view, is not supported by Watchman’s View - This information linked and below is supportive of a possible Tribulation period, per the Metronic cycles presented, and not to support any date or year of the Rapture.

It has been calculated that the Tribulation period must be a total of 86 moon cycles, not 87, but 86. 


If we use the lunar cycles to count out the days between the next two feasts. Since the present lunar cycle from new moon to new moon is 29.530589 days then our 86 moons will give us a total of 86 x 29.530589 = 2539.63 days from a Tishrei new moon to another Tishrei new moon seven years later. Since the Day of Atonement is on the 10th day of the moon and this is 9 days further along than Rosh Hoshanah, (which occurs on the 1st day of Tishrei), then we must add 9 days to our Tishrei to Tishrei span. This will then give us to our timespan measuring out the number of days between the Feast of Trumpets in year one and the Day of Atonement 7 years later. This will be 2539.6 days + 9 days = 2548.6 or 2549 days. The next day, counted out from the Feast of Trumpets 7 years before, or 1290 days counted out from the mid-70th Week Abomination of Desolation, takes us to the Day of the Lord right at the 2550 days.

86 MOONS MATCH UP PERFECTLY THE TIMESPAN BETWEEN THE NEXT TWO FEASTS OF ISRAEL THAT ARE DUE FOR FULFILMENT. FROM TISHREI 1, (THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS), IN CERTAIN YEARS AND TERMINATING ON TISHREI 10, THE DAY OF ATONEMENT, DAY OF RECKONING, DAY OF JUDGEMENT SEVEN YEARS LATER THE TIME ELAPSED IS EXACTLY 2550 DAYS. THIS IS THE EXACT NUMBER OF DAYS, (1260 + 1290 DAYS), WHICH ENCOMPASSES THE 70TH WEEK OF DANIEL. There are a number of 7-year periods going forward that this holds true: 7-year periods beginning in 2017, 2019 and 2022.  All other 7-year periods going forward, and after 2019 with 86 moons fall outside the prophetic timeline of possibility, indicated by the 1948 birth of Israel and the Matthew 24:32-34 parable of the fig tree, and +80 years for reason of strength in Psalm 90:10.  Since 86 moons is referring to the tribulation period, the only starting periods that fit are a Tribulation start year of 2017 and 2019.  Rosh Hashanah 2017 would seem like the best fit due to its alignment with the Revelation 12 sign, and it also corresponds to the Christ Angle of the Great Pyramid ( – this could then indicate the beginning point of the Tribulation.   However, it is my belief these signs may indicate the Rapture with the start of the Tribulation possibly in 2019 (thereby a period for the GAP).  IF the Tribulation were to begin Rosh Hashanah 2017 then the Rapture would need to occur FIRST - possibly on Pentecost (June 1) which leaves only about 112-113 days of GAP period, which does not seem to be enough time for the post-rapture pre-trib events to occur.

IF the Rapture were to occur on Pentecost or Rosh Hashanah 2017, and IF a 2-year GAP span is God’s plan the Tribulation would potentially begin Rosh Hashanah 2019, otherwise you would need to jump to 2022 indicating a 5-year GAP.

This also assumes that Rosh Hashanah is the appointed time (moedim) for the Rapture and start of the Tribulation - see Mark Biltz sermon on this below.  However, Pentecost also provides a very convincing picture and argument for the Rapture - see “Does Scripture Support a Pentecost Rapture?”  Don’t let his 2015-16 dating cause a doubt – many believe in the Hebrew Torah Calendar, that 5777 is the Jubilee year.

BTY, Pentecost could fulfill Matthew 24:36 as no one knows the date of Pentecost until the Omer countdown is marked each year (Leviticus 23:15-17)… it is the festival without a date.  Additionally, After the 7 weeks of the spring harvest, the next day, the 50th day, is Pentecost.  This day is also the eighth day of the seventh week. This 8th and 50th day combination pictures the first resurrection when the saints will be raised from the dead and made immortal (1Corinthians 15:20 - 23, John 3:3 - 12, Revelation 20:4 - 6). 

A Watchman’s View From The Wall

"And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!" Mark 13:37

~ A Watchman ~

Our commentary on Rosh HaShanah and its Link to The Bride of Christ as a logical Rapture time.

Note:  The Revelation 12 sign (see (and linked charts and and occurring September 23, 2017…if this was (as it “seems” to indicate) the mid-point of the Tribulation, then the tribulation would have had to begin in March of 2014 (and IT DID NOT), therefore, I believe this sign is not the midpoint but may potentially be a marker for something else - consider this study by Lu Vega “GESTATION OF THE CHRISTS - THE DUALITY OF PROPHECY - A Parallel Timeline of an Advent and Birthing”

PostScript Thoughts

With the Rapture occurring (rightly so in Biblically supported order) prior to the start of the Tribulation, the period of time of the Saints in Heaven HAS to be longer than seven years - now not sure why I thought it was 7-years, as scripture does not really say it is ONLY seven years. The events for the Believing Church (Bride of Christ) after we have been Raptured are threefold: 1) a judgment of our works by God, the BEMA seat of Christ, to determine degrees of reward; 2) the Marriage of the Bride of Christ to the Lamb (Christ), celebrating the spiritual marriage of the Church (Christ's Bride) to her Savior (note: a marriage in scripture is seen to last one week [Genesis 29:27-28]...A prophetic week is seven years, therefore the marriage ceremony will cover a period of seven years, likely the last 7-years with the first one, two or three the Bema Seat Judgment of the Saints; and 3) the Church's preparation to follow the King of Kings into the Battle of Armageddon at the conclusion of the Tribulation.

This does not all need to be fit into a parallel or concurrent 7-year period, and as the proofs above indicate, it could be up to a total of ten-years or longer.  It is a certain amount of time which could be one, two, or three years for the BEMA Seat examination and rewards; a seven-year period for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, et al.; and a certain (relatively short) amount of time for Christ to prepare the Church to follow Him in the Final Battle of Armageddon.

During this same period of time (for arguments sake let's say 9-years, although could certainly be shorter or longer), on Earth, the LAST seven of a potential 9-year period would be the Tribulation - the initial two years (just after the Rapture of the Church and prior to Daniel 9:27 which starts the 7-year Tribulation period), a number of things could be occurring prior to the seal, trumpets and bowl judgments (as addressed above): the building of the Third Temple, collapse of governments and economies, the wars of Jeremiah 49, Isaiah 17 & 19, Psalm 83, Zechariah 12 (not necessarily in that order) and culminating with Ezekiel 38 & 39 likely (in my opinion) just prior to Daniel 9:27 and Revelation 13 (this accommodates a 7-year period for burning the implements of War in Ezekiel 39:9). Whether or not the Jeremiah 49, Isaiah 17 & 19, Psalm 83, Zechariah 12 wars occur prior or soon after the Rapture of the Church (within the Gap period - maybe some in both periods), it could provide a reasonable period of time for Israel to have a real period of peace and safety, taking down of their walls, etc. prior to the Russian lead Confederation of Islamic Nations coming to war with Israel (Ezekiel 38 & 39) – as it states Israel is living at this time in peace and safety without wall or gates (one needs a reasonable period of time for this - its not days, weeks or a few months).

Personally, I believe the massive land reclamation of Israel by the hand of the IDF in the wars of Jeremiah 49, Isaiah 17 & 19, Psalm 83, Zechariah 12 (see map: and the God of Israel (by His hand) utterly destroying the armies of Gog & Magog, is the impetus for the Antichrist to want to "confirm" an earlier peace agreement with Israel and the greater Arab Nations, to keep Israel from continuing its destruction of its enemy neighbors, and further expansion of its then greatly increase borders.  The Peace Agreement may be more for the protection of surrounding countries than for the protection of Israel!

The take away on all of this - we are in a zero to 2-year window for our Harpazo – my opinion, its very likely zero to one! ... THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!

Update 3/21/17:  Bill Salus – website has a new book out “Apocalypse Road: The Post-Rapture / Pre-Tribulation Period Thesis” which is worth the read as it answers many questions concerning where we are on the prophetic timeline and what is ahead.  Here are a few excerpts below: additional info here and the latest here

Entire Sermon on this here “Revelation for the Final Generation”

I believe Salus has an excellent handle on his exegesis of end time prophecy (his website articles, videos and and books are very good) and his Thesis (in this new book) on a GAP between the Rapture and Tribulation is excellent and has a sound Biblically backed basis.  In my thinking it solves the disagreements on Pre-Trib vs. Mid-Trib Rapture.  See Bill Salus THE POST RAPTURE / PRE-TRIBULATION THESIS here:

Additional “Gap” thoughts from others:
Anne Graham Lotz

Don Koenig ~

Al Gist ~

Bill Salus ~

Nathan Jones ~

Mark Greenwood ~

David Bay ~

Amy Van Gerpen ~

Gary Stearman ~

Thomas Ice ~

Will there be a Gap after the Rapture?