Tribulation

Concise Bible Dictionary:

Besides the application of this term to any time of distress, and its special reference to this dispensation, respecting which it is said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:3333These 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. (John 16:33))—the Lord spoke of a distinct period of distress, such as never had been, or should be again (Matt. 24:21-2921For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25Behold, I have told you before. 26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:21‑29)). These verses refer to a great tribulation that shall fall upon the Jews in a future day: (compare Jer. 30:77Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. (Jeremiah 30:7) and Dan. 12:11And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)). In Revelation 7:1414And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14) a great multitude is referred to that have come out of the great tribulation, but these are from the nations, hence this tribulation is not the same as that which will fall specially on the Jews, though both may take place at the same time. In Revelation 2:2222Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:22) a “great tribulation” is spoken of, but it is doubtless general, and not the same as the above.

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

The “great tribulation (Matt. 24:2121For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)) refers to the terrible persecution that will be leveled at the faithful Jewish remnant during the latter half of the 70th week of Daniel (Dan. 9:2727And 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 is also called Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:77Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. (Jeremiah 30:7)), “the time of trouble” (Dan. 12:11And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)), and “the hour of trial” (Rev. 3:1010Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)). It will last 1260 days (Rev. 11:3; 12:63And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)
6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. (Revelation 12:6)
).
The cause of this persecution will be a direct result of the faithful remnant of Jews refusing to take the mark of the Beast and to worship its image (Rev. 13:14-1614And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (Revelation 13:14‑16)). This will draw out the bitter hatred of the Beast and the Antichrist, and they will unleash the most terrible persecution against them that the world has ever known (Matt. 24:2121For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)). They will "make war with the saints" and will "overcome" many in martyrdom (Rev. 11:7; 12:13-17; 13:7, 157And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)
13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17And 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. (Revelation 12:13‑17)
7And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)
15And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (Revelation 13:15)
; Psa. 12:11<<To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.>> Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. (Psalm 12:1); Isa. 57:11The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. (Isaiah 57:1)). The apostate Jews in the land, who will receive the Antichrist and worship the image of the Beast, will help in the persecution against their brethren. W. Scott mentions that this terrible period of persecution will be “shortened” by the Lord some 17½ or 18 days for the elect’s sake (Matt. 24:2222And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:22)). This is seen in the fact that the latter 3½ years of the prophetic week, which is 1278 days (42 months), will be reduced to 1260 days (Exposition of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, p. 172).
In the middle of the prophetic week, the personal Beast (“the little hornDan. 7:8, 20-218I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. (Daniel 7:8)
20And 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. 21I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; (Daniel 7:20‑21)
) will rise up and take over the office of the Roman prince at the head of the western confederacy of ten nations—“the beast” (Rev. 13:11And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Revelation 13:1)). (These western powers can also be referred to as the revived the Roman Empire.) Upon taking office, this new leader of the empire will breach the terms of the covenant (“the protection of abominations”) which will have been made with the unbelieving mass of the Jews (Dan. 9:2727And 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)). The empire under this diabolical man will then seize control of the land of Israel and hold it as being part of the empire. He will abolish all Jewish worship to make way for a new kind of religion“the abomination of desolation”—which is the worship of the beast and its image (Dan. 12:1111And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. (Daniel 12:11); Matt. 24:1515When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (Matthew 24:15); Rev. 13:14-1614And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (Revelation 13:14‑16)). As a result, things will become very dark spiritually in the realm of the Beast—the West (Rev. 8:1212And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. (Revelation 8:12)). The true knowledge of God will be abolished in his realm and there will be a famine for the Word of God (Amos 8:11-1211Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: 12And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. (Amos 8:11‑12)).
As mentioned, all in the realm of the Beast who refuse to receive the mark of the Beast and to worship the image will be persecuted. For many, it will be unto death (Rev. 13:7, 157And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)
15And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (Revelation 13:15)
). On account of the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel being given up to the wickedness of idolatry that the Antichrist will bring in, and the persecution that will arise, the Jewish remnant will be forced to flee to the mountains, the caves, and the dens of the earth for safety. They will be hunted beyond measure (Psa. 42-72 – 2nd book of the Psalms; Matt. 24:16-2116Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: 17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:16‑21); Rev. 12:6, 14-156And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. (Revelation 12:6)
14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. (Revelation 12:14‑15)
). The persecution will be so severe that people will hesitate to tell their thoughts to their spouses or members of their family for fear of being turned over to the authorities. A dearest friend will not be trusted (Jer. 9:4-54Take ye heed every one of his neighbor, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will walk with slanders. 5And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. (Jeremiah 9:4‑5); Mic. 7:2, 5-62The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. (Micah 7:2)
5Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. 6For the son dishonoreth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house. (Micah 7:5‑6)
; Matt. 10:21-2321And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. (Matthew 10:21‑23)).
Some of the Jewish remnant will flee into the mountains of Judea for shelter (Matt. 24:1616Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: (Matthew 24:16)). Others will flee eastward into the land of MoabJordan today (Isa 16:3-4; 13Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. 4Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. (Isaiah 16:3‑4) Sam. 22:34; Psa. 44:1111Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen. (Psalm 44:11); Psa. 61:22From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2)). Others will go north to the Hermon mountain range in southern Lebanon (Psa. 42:66O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. (Psalm 42:6)). Although most of the remnant will flee, a small number will remain behind in Jerusalem. God will use them to maintain an adequate testimony there for Himself (signified by "the two witnesses") in the face of the idolatry. They will be miraculously protected by God for the full duration of their testimony of 1260 days, and then He will allow them to be martyred (Rev. 11:3-133And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:3‑13)).
The Great Tribulation will be brought to a close by the attack of the King of the North and his Arab confederacy (Dan. 11:40-4240And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. 41He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. 42He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. (Daniel 11:40‑42)). The apostate Jews who persecute the remnant will be slaughtered by the attacking armies. Their king (the Antichrist) who promised safety for the Jews will flee from his post in the land (Zech. 11:1717Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened. (Zechariah 11:17)) and will leave the bewildered apostate Jews who have trusted him to be slaughtered (Isa. 8:21-2221And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness. (Isaiah 8:21‑22)). As many as 10 million apostate Jews will be killed by the attacking armies! (Zech. 13:88And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. (Zechariah 13:8)) After this, the Lord will appear from heaven to judge Israel’s enemies. He will restore and bless the nation (the surviving remnant of Jews and the real among the ten tribes) according to the promises of the Old Testament prophets (Rom. 11:26-2726And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:26‑27); Hos. 6:1-31Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. 3Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:1‑3); Mal. 4:22But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)).