Tribulation (Strong's Concordance #G2347) or great tribulations, means distress, misery, affliction and / or persecution followers of Jesus Christ are to expect as a matter of course. The New Testament sometimes uses this word to denote a period of trial, trouble and testing that will soon come to all mankind before the arrival of Jesus Christ to rule the world. Different views place the time of the tribulation at different points in relation to the millennium. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John describes the great multitude of people who come out of the Tribulation.
"These who are clothed with white robes, who are they, and where did they come from?" . . . "They are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation; and they have washed their robes, and have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7)
To some teachers of prophecy, the above verses are referring to a specific time frame called Tribulation. Based on a comparison of relevant prophetic scriptures, many people feel this time of trial will last 7 years. While some reference the entire 7 year period as the (Great) Tribulation, others refer only to the last half or three and one half years as being the Tribulation. This is done because it is believed the last half of the seven year period will bring far worse suffering and trial than the first half.
Additionally, many try to figure out WHEN this time of global suffering and trials will occur. What is known as Jesus' Olivet prophecies, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, are used to help determine exactly when the end will come and the Second Coming occurs. When Jesus was asked by his disciples what would be the signs of his coming to earth during the end time he stated several events. He first warned them to WATCH so that they would not be fooled. Then he said the following.
6. And you shall hear of wars . . . For it is necessary that all these things take place . . . 7. For nation shall rise against nation . . . there shall be famines and pestilences . . . (Matthew 24)