Question: Having served my last tour in the international political arena in the D.C. area, I completely concur with your answer re the Tribulation in TBC Jan. '06--up to the last sentence, which says: "I believe that the Great Tribulation under Antichrist...will begin immediately after the Rapture." However, does not the signing of a 7-year security treaty with Israel mark the actual start of the "Great Tribulation" period (Daniel:9:27)? Considering the chaos which ensues from the Rapture, it would seem that the Antichrist...will need several days (maybe even weeks or a few months) to consolidate his power and convince Israel and her enemies to sign the 7-year covenant with him—or else. Thus...it would seem prudent to assume that some time will elapse between the Rapture and the 7-year Tribulation.
Response: What you say sounds reasonable. The common teaching today is that it could take years, for which I find no basis in Scripture. This idea reduces the Rapture almost to a non-event for earthlings. However, the Hebrew in Daniel 9 says that the Antichrist will impose the seven-year covenant upon the "many" (i.e., not just upon Israel but the world). He will not merely "confirm" it, as the KJV says. According to 2 Thessalonians:2:6-8, the only hindrance to Antichrist being "revealed" is the presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling the members of the body of Christ here upon earth. We can't even imagine the terror at every level of society and government caused by the mass disappearance of millions—nor the incredible satanic power and seduction immediately displayed.
Since it is the worldwide crisis of a mass disappearance, terror, and his satanic power that will catapult Antichrist into world dictatorship, I believe that his takeover will be within a few hours at the most—not days or weeks.