The Great Tribulation is a time of great suffering in the world that will happen just before the end of time. There will be wars, plagues and persecution for those who love Jesus. At the end of the Great Tribulation Jesus will return.
There are many prophecies in the Bible about a time of great tribulation before the end of the world. In Matthew 24: 21-22 , Jesus talks about a great tribulation like never before in the world. The Great Tribulation is one of the signs of the end times.
Some events described in the Bible that are likely to be part of the Great Tribulation are:
- Wars of many countries – Joel 3: 9-11; Revelation 19:19
- The coming of Antichrist – 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4
- The “terrible sacrilege” – Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24: 15-16
- Plagues, famine and natural disasters – Revelation 16: 8-11
- False prophets – Matthew 24: 23-24
- Persecution of Jews and Christians – Matthew 24: 9; Revelation 13: 5-7
See here: who is the antichrist?
When will the Great Tribulation happen?
No one knows when the Great Tribulation is going to happen. The Bible only says it will be just before the end of time. There are many theories but we will only know for sure when it has happened. The Great Tribulation and the end of the world can happen at any time.
Nor does the Bible say how long the Great Tribulation will last. Some people use passages from the book of Daniel to say that it will last seven years. On the other hand, God has a different notion of time than ours ( 2 Peter 3: 8 ). The time indications in Bible prophecy are usually symbolic. The Bible only says that the Great Tribulation is going to be “shortened” ( Matthew 24:22 ).
See also: what does the Bible say about the end times?
Will the Church go through the Great Tribulation?
There are 3 currents of opinion about what will happen to the Church during the Great Tribulation. These theories suggest that the rapture will happen:
- Before the Great Tribulation– the saved will not go through the Tribulation but those who stay will still have the opportunity to repent
- During the Great Tribulation– the Church will only go through part of the Tribulation but will be raptured before the worst events
- After the Great Tribulation– the Church will only be taken at the end of the Tribulation, when Jesus returns and the world ends
Find out here: what does the Bible say about the rapture?
The Bible can be interpreted to favor any of these opinions and we will not know the truth until it happens. Whether or not they go through the Great Tribulation, all of Jesus’ followers suffer tribulations in their lives but whoever remains faithful to the end will be rewarded ( Hebrews 10:35 ).
The most important thing we need to know is that Jesus will return and the Tribulation will pass. We need not be afraid, because God protects us in all situations. All suffering will end ( Revelation 21: 3-4 ).