How to Tell If We’re Living in the Tribulation


How will we know that the tribulation has definitely begun?

This is an important question to address because many speculate about when the tribulation will begin or what people will see before it begins.

It would be useful for us to have clear signposts to look for so we do not get caught off guard when the tribulation begins or get caught up in premature claims that the tribulation has already begun.

I will provide a few definitive signposts that can help us assess whether the tribulation has begun or is about ready to begin in this article.

Signpost 1: A Very Charismatic Leader Arises

The Book of Daniel indicates that the Antichrist will begin his rise to power from relatively humble beginnings. Daniel 7 refers to Antichrist as a “little horn” when he begins his rise. This portrayal suggests he will be lesser in stature than other leaders (horns) initially:

“(20) And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows…(24) And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” (Daniel 7:20, 24)

The Antichrist will not be an ordinary political leader. The Bible emphasizes that he will be very charismatic; he’ll speak “very great things”:

“And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.” (Daniel 7:20)

I view Adolf Hitler as a forerunner of the Antichrist. Hitler rose from nothing to become the most infamous person in history. Eye-witnesses indicate that Hitler had an extraordinary level of charisma. He was so charismatic that many people (including his generals) said that he had a hypnotic effect on them.

It’s likely that the Antichrist will be even more charismatic than Hitler. Therefore, you should look for a leader who can hypnotize large crowds and can hypnotize people one-on-one as he rises to power.

Signpost 2: The Covenant with Many

The confirmation of the covenant with many may be the most visible signpost that’ll alert people that the tribulation has begun. Daniel 9:27 indicates that this event will occur at the start of the tribulation (or 70th week):

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)

It’s very likely that people alive at that time will hear about the covenant since the Mideast attracts a lot of media attention.

The Bible gives us clues about what we can expect from the covenant. Here are four things we should look for in the covenant:

1. The Length of the Covenant

Daniel 9:27 suggests that the covenant is intended to last for “one week” (or “one seven” in Hebrew). A prophetic week is seven years long, so a person should look for an agreement that is seven years long.

2. The Signee

Daniel 9:27 mentions that “he” will confirm a covenant with many. This implies that one signee of the deal may be a person instead of a political organization.

Some argue that the person could work for an organization like the United Nations. However, Daniel 9:27 later says the same “he” will halt temple sacrifice and set up an abomination that causes desolation. This suggests that “he” will work on his own behalf.

I believe “he” is the Antichrist. Therefore, you should look to see if one of the key signees is a man working on his own behalf instead of working for a political organization. You should be extra suspicious if “he” gets much of the credit and accolades for being the driving force behind the agreement.

3. The Nature of the Covenant

Many speculate about the details of the covenant. I believe Isaiah 28 reveals the true nature of the covenant. The chapter gives the covenant an ominous nickname: the “covenant with death”:

“(14) Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. (15) Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:” (Isaiah 28:14-15)

The Antichrist may promise to protect Israel as part of the deal. Isaiah 28:15 indicates that Israel’s leaders will be overconfident about their safety as a result:

“Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:” (Isaiah 28:15)

Therefore, you should look for a covenant that many (including Israel’s leaders) claim will bring peace to Israel and the Mideast. But be aware that any peace created from such an agreement will not last long.

4. The Timing of the Covenant

The tribulation most likely will begin between late October and middle November of a given year. As a result, the confirmation of the covenant with many is likely to occur during this time frame.

Therefore, you should be particularly alarmed if a covenant is confirmed between late October and middle November and meets the other criteria mentioned above.

Signpost 3: A War Leader Dominates His Opposition

The Book of Daniel depicts the Antichrist as a war leader who will dominate anyone who crosses his path, including the strongest of opponents:

“(36) 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. (37) Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. (38) But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. (39) Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.” (Daniel 11:36-39)

You can probably identify that the Antichrist is rising to power when you see him fighting and defeating very strong opponents.

Signpost 4: Extreme Global Famine & Widespread Death

Revelation 6:5-8 describes extreme famine and death impacting the entire world. The famine will be so extreme that the price of wheat and barley will skyrocket to unprecedented levels:

“(5) And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. (6) And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)

Meanwhile, death will become so commonplace that a 25% of the world’s population will die from various causes, including from disease:

“(7) And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. (8) And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death [disease], and with the beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:7-8)

You should be able to conclude that you’re living in the tribulation when you see extreme global famine and observe the death of a quarter of the world’s population within a short time span.

A Potential Signpost: The Third Temple

The Antichrist cannot set up the abomination that causes desolation and demand worship at the midpoint of the tribulation unless:

  • The Third Temple is built in Jerusalem
  • Temple sacrifice is underway.

Some speculate the covenant with many will lead to the building of the Third Temple. However, the Third Temple may be built before the tribulation begins.

The Third Temple’s construction and completion would be a major sign that major events may soon unfold because there has not been a temple of God in Jerusalem since the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 A.D.

The start of temple sacrifice would be even a greater sign that the Lord is readying to proceed with His end time plan.

We’re Not in the Tribulation Yet

I do not believe we are living in the tribulation because we have not yet seen the signposts I’ve listed. There’s not yet a “solution” to the problems in the Middle East. In addition, there has not been a highly charismatic leader who has dominated the strongest military opponents in the world recently.

If you would like to learn more about identifying the Antichrist, click this link for an article on the topic.

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If you liked the insights found in this article, I encourage you to check out my book: Prophecy Proof Insights of the End Times. It’s truly a comprehensive book about the end times that contains biblical insights that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.

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“How Can We Tell When We Are Definitely in the 70th Week of Daniel?”

Just count the years.

In the year 1535 AD, Suleiman the Magnificent ordered the reconstruction of the wall of Jerusalem.
69 weeks x 7 = 483 years.
1535 AD + 483 years = 2018
We are now in the 70th week!


This may change the expectations of some that think that a peace treaty is required for the Temple to go up. All it requires is for God to confirm the last seven years of the covenant He made with Israel for 490 years. I believe they own the City of David. They can put the temple up when they want, if they do.


Wayne, as the word “confirm” means to strengthen, do you not see this covenant as being something that already exists and gets confirmed or strengthened by the antichrist, but rather as merely being created by him? I always tended to believe that there is a covenant already in existence that has to be confirmed or rebooted in some way. If it already has to exist, then that would alter how we view the matter.

Marjia Afroj
Marjia Afroj

We furthermore hope there is a single
well-respected origin. I do believe Josephus is usually a person to see, however the international locations transferred even with his period. Find out more result what is real estate


Thanks for posing the question. I’ll probably address it in an upcoming article


what about the European Neighborhood Policy and then the Lisbon Treaty? Could that the be treaty that promises peace with Israel and Many, and the Lisbon Treaty be the confirmation? 


I also wish there was a single authoritative source. I think Josephus is someone to look at, but the nations moved even after his time.

Steven Curtiss
Steven Curtiss

I wish that there was an authoritative source on the location of all the tribes. I get so many different locations for the same tribe that I don’t know who to believe. I do know that the City of Meshech changed its name in 1147A.D. to Moscow which is directly Noth of Jerusalem which leads me to believe that the tribe of Meshech is modern Russia. I am also lead to believe that Tubal settled the city of T’bilisi in the Soviet state of Georgia. These two are brothers as mentioned in Genesis 10:2 which makes sence that they would… Read more »


This was brought my attention before. I mention it in this article:


Israel’s PM planning to visit Washington D C in May 2011 to discuss peace talks…

Extract from AFP :

“JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may move up a trip to the United States and present an interim peace plan to head off growing pressure on the Jewish state, Israeli radio reported Monday.

Citing sources close to the prime minister, the radio said Netanyahu had been expected to present the plan during a May 22 visit to Washington”

Israel planning some renovation works (Building the 3rd temple?)

Extract from Reuters :


Extract from CNN : “The letter sent to European governments and EU institutions, asks EU foreign ministers to reiterate that they “will not recognise any changes to the June 1967 boundaries and clarify that a Palestinian state should be in sovereign control over territory equivalent to 100% of the territory occupied in 1967, including its capital in East Jerusalem”. It also asks ministers to set the Israeli government an ultimatum that, if it has not fallen into line by April 2011, the EU will seek an end to the US-brokered peace process in favour of a UN solution, according… Read more »


Right, there would most likely have to be war before there is temporary “peace”.


I agree with you that we are not there yet. One thing that I would like to toss out is that to have a peace treaty signed there would have to be a war. I know right now Isreal is not at peace, but they are also not at war in the traditional sense. Any leader that brought “peace” to the Middle East would be a hero to the world, but if Isreal was attacked by its neighbors, and one person signed a peace treaty with Isreal and her neighbors, and as part of the treaty allowed the rebuilding of… Read more »