Daniel 11 and 12 are two of the most amazing chapters in the Bible. Through a careful reading, we can discover the geographic location of the kingdom of the Antichrist, whose wrath the Tribulation really is and the timing of the gathering of the Church to Christ upon His return (the rapture).
The Tribulation: God’s wrath or Satan’s
There’s this idea circulating in the Church that believers won’t be here during the Tribulation because we are not destined to suffer God’s wrath. While it’s true, we are not destined to suffer God’s wrath [John 3:36; Romans 5:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9], Daniel 11 tells us that the Tribulation is Satan’s indignation against Jews and Christians not God’s wrath on an unbelieving world.
Daniel 11:36 NASB “Then the king (the Antichrist) will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.
Indignation is wrath. Here’s the same verse from some of my favorite Bible Translations. In some it actually says “wrath” and “fury”.
(BBE; Bible in Basic English) And the king will do his pleasure; he will put himself on high, lifting himself over every god, and saying things to be wondered at against the God of gods; and all will be well for him till the wrath is complete; for what has been purposed will be done.
(ESV; English Standard Version) “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.
(KJV; King James Version) And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
(LITV; Literal Translation of the Holy Bible) And the king shall do according to his will. And he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god; he shall even speak marvelous things against the God of gods and shall prosper until the fury is completed. For that which is decreed shall be done.
(YLT; Young’s Literal Translation) `And the king hath done according to his will, and exalteth himself, and magnifieth himself against every god, and against the God of gods he speaketh wonderful things, and hath prospered till the indignation hath been completed, for that which is determined hath been done.
Here’s how Strong’s Concordance defines the word that is used in these verses:
From H2194; strictly froth at the mouth, that is, (figuratively) fury (especially of God’s displeasure with sin): – angry, indignation, rage.
A primitive root; properly to foam at the mouth, that is, to be enraged: – abhor, abominable, (be) angry, defy, (have) indignation.
Certainly God has indignation toward people [Zechariah 1:12] but it’s never against believers and so the key to knowing this really is Satan’s wrath is identifying who this indignation is directed against. Daniel tells us in verses 11:32-35:
“By smooth words he (the Antichrist) will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. “Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for many days. “Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. “Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time. [Daniel 11:32-35 NASB]
Who are “the people who know their God” if not the Church? Here we have the Antichrist, who is in power at this time, persecuting the Church. This is the Tribulation. And, surely, to be refined, purged and made pure, one must be a believer [Rev 3:18].
As I said above, no believer will ever suffer God’s wrath. Therefore, if Satan is specifically targeting believers, the Tribulation cannot be God’s wrath. The Man who is the instrument of God’s wrath on an unbelieving world isn’t introduced until Revelation 19:11.
I’d also like to add, and this is just my hunch, that this idea of a pre-Tribulation rapture is only prevalent in areas of the world where the Church suffers no persecution. There are many of thousands of Christians in the Middle East right now being tortured and killed for their belief in Jesus Christ by the religion of the coming Antichrist, Islam. This is tribulation and a snaphot of what the Tribulation will be like. Would anyone say these people are suffering God’s wrath? I hope not. The only difference between what is happening to these people now and what will happen during the Tribulation is that it will be so much more intense because the Antichrist will be in charge of it, hence the Great
Tribulation [Matthew 24:21].
Every place in the Bible that addresses these things always confirms what Christ has told us in the Olivet Discourse and rightly so. His words are the plumb line by which we measure all others.
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. [Matthew 24:29-31 NASB]
Jesus places the gathering (rapture) within the context of His Coming after the Tribulation [Matthew 24:29-31, 37-42].