Whether you believe a 7 year tribulation is symbolic or 7 actual years, it really does not matter. All men go through tribulation great and small and we cannot measure our "tribulation" against another's. Your "tribulation" could be tonight, tomorrow or next month. And what is tribulation? Prosperous times have been known to cause many men to fall away from the faith.
But what should we "know" as we encounter tribulation? What we should know does not differ whether we are in tribulation or not, because men have fallen away from the faith in "prosperous times", too. So, whether it is tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Prosperous times could well be called times of "peril" for many.
WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW WHEN WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF TRIBULATION IS THE SAME THING WE SHOULD KNOW EACH AND EVERY DAY:
We should know that the death and resurrection of Christ is the restoration of the very presence of God within man by the faculty of the Holy Spirit manifested as Jesus Christ within man.
"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Rom 8:9)
Christianity is engaging with Christ not "Christian religion" which is a "front" for the activities of Satan's world system whereby many have been deceived. Their apostasy is exposed in Revelation.
And, Christianity is the Life of Christ dwelling in the Christian (not in a static mode) by dynamically revealing the life, character and ministry of the Lord Jesus through the Believer. His life is to be manifested in our speech, behavior and actions.
Satan's forces will always try to draw you away from Christ to his counterfeits of institutional-ism in all of its forms. This is the constant temptation as he tempts spiritual Christians with "spiritual" (religious) enticements. We are to walk by faith and not by sight and live in the present recognition of Christ's victory on the cross (John 19:30).
No matter how difficult the road each of us is on, we are called to manifest Christ in our behavior and we are charged with enduring and persisting.
Rev 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience,
Rev 2:3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Rev 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
Rev 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
And we are to endure in the midst of suffering and manifest the Lord's character in our behavior in the midst of hostility, persecution, betrayal, hostility and even death.
Rev 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation,
Rev 7:14 ...And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation,
But are we willing to allow the Lord Jesus in us to continue to be mistreated? To be unjustly persecuted? To be subjected to death? Or like Peter, will our flesh rise up and deny Christ or even spare Him (really sparing our-SELF) from death?
Mat 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
In the midst of all the calamity and chaos will you be able to discern what the Spirit is saying?
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
Rev 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
Rev 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
Rev 2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Rev 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Rev 3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Do you think the Lord is trying to "drive something home" to us?
Our only response to religion must be to "come out". We must disassociate ourselves of any involvement and repent.
Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Rev 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Please read Rev 18:4-9.
We must repent from serving two Masters and halfheartedly responding to the Spirit of Christ in us. To trying to play both sides and living in two worlds.
We must remember that we have received everything we need in Christ to overcome.
Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
We have the sufficiency of His grace to overcome.
Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
Rev 2:7 ...To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Rev 2:11 ...He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Rev 2:17 ...To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name...
Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life...
Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God...
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne...
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. We rely on Christ THE Overcomer to bring us safely home.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
The only way to do this is to recognize that we are not adequate for anything, but rather recognize the adequacy of Christ's life and as we do this we pray.
Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
Rev 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
and we witness
Rev 1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Rev 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
and we praise God
Rev 7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
Rev 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
Rev 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
Rev 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
Rev 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
Rev 19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
Rev 19:3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
Rev 19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
Rev 19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
Rev 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
"We are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit and have no confidence in the flesh." (Phil 3:3) Our confident expectation of hope over all the power of the enemy is Jesus Christ.
The Book of Revelation is a book for every hour, and every day. It has a very practical message for the people of God living in the midst of a "crooked and perverse generation" and waiting for Christ's return. There is no mention of a rapture, no mention of a seven year tribulation and even the few passages speaking of Christ's return are very general in nature and provide no real details. What God does provide in Revelation is the ASSURANCE of Christ's victory over this world system and the importance of the Life of Christ being evident and present in the Christian's life.
The book of Revelation is "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" (Rev 1:1) and this is Who our life should center on each day, no matter your difficulty or peril.
We are in this battle together, saints.
May God bless all of you as you fight the good fight of FAITH!!