I do not know, nor do I think any man knows for certain, when the Great Tribulation will start.
But I can speculate. I can estimate.
There has been some discussion about how soon the tribulation may start, discussion about certain prophesied events, such as a peace deal, that must take place three and a half years before the tribulation. If the Bible indicates that some event must take place three and a half years before the tribulation, and if that event has not happened yet, then obviously the tribulation cannot happen sooner than three and a half years from now. I am not sufficiently studied in these particular prophecies to voice an informed opinion, so I won't approach it from that angle.
Instead, I will look at general conditions.
It is not wrong to look at conditions and form estimates of how much time we may have. Christ said we should be able to look at the signs of the times, and understand them (Matthew 16:2-3, 24:32). It is not wrong to estimate and to speculate as long as we realize we don't really know exactly and as long as we do not take our estimates and speculations too seriously.
So, as I remind myself that I could be wrong in my estimates, I will share my thoughts on this.
I would estimate we have about ten to fifteen years before the tribulation begins.
I am basing this on three major trends or events that I think will take place before the tribulation begins, which have not taken place, and will take some time to be accomplished:
1. The United States must become much weaker. We are certainly becoming weaker as a nation in many ways. Yet, militarily, we are still the strongest nation that has ever existed on the face of the earth. We have the greatest aircraft carrier force of all nations. Only Russia has a comparable navy, but they do not have any carrier force that can compare with ours. We have greater ability to project our military in distant places on the earth than any other nation. We still have a vast nuclear arsenal, including missiles with multiple warheads installed in about 40 nuclear submarines, plus intercontinental ballistic missiles, the combination of which can wipe out cities and military installations anywhere on earth within minutes. We are still the richest nation, despite our economic problems.
Any nation or combination of nations that launched a major attack against us now would be committing suicide.
2. Europe must become much stronger. They must become unified. Presumably, unity can happen rapidly under the right circumstances, but it takes time to build up a strong military. They just aren't there yet. They are in no position to challenge the United States militarily, nor will they be for several years.
3. The Ezekiel warning message has not been preached to all Israel by the Church. I estimate there may be about 300 million to 400 million adult Israelites who will go through the tribulation who will need to hear a warning message. Perhaps, 1.5 million or 2 million alive today have heard that warning. That is about one half of one percent. We should reach about 100%. We should give the warning message to 300 or 400 million people. They need to hear that God is going to punish the United States and other Israelite nations for their sins in the tribulation, that those sins include Sabbath breaking and not keeping the annual holy days and festivals of God, and that 90% or more of the people will die in the tribulation if they do not repent. They need to hear that warning so they can remember it in the tribulation and know that God was fair to warn them.
Now, if you think that the Church of God will get that warning message out to about 400 million people and that Europe will become stronger than America in just the next 2 or 3 years, I would like to know how. Keep in mind the scattered, divided condition of the whole Church of God right now, and it becomes even more unlikely that God would suddenly bless and empower the Church in the preaching of the gospel and the Ezekiel warning, not before the Church goes through some serious repentance, which I do not see happening at the moment.
I do not say it is impossible. All things are possible for God. But based on the way things are going, I think it is extremely unlikely.
Ten or fifteen years. Enough time for God to shake up the Churches of God and gather the few true Philadelphians among us into one or two groups, then bless those Philadelphians to do a powerful warning work. Enough time for there to be a worldwide economic crisis that will really bring the United States down and force the Europeans to take drastic steps to achieve unity. Time for Europe to rise up out of that economic crisis as the strongest power on earth.
Time enough for God to use our warning to test every Israelite individually, to see, AFTER we warn 400 million people, which ones repent, which ones laugh, which ones despise the warning, which ones should be spared, which ones to keep alive into the millennium, and which ones will die in the tribulation (Ezekiel 20:37-38).