What is…

also known as: distress, affliction, trials


This world refers to trouble or affiction of any kind.

Moses, as inspired by God, told the children of Israel,

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them. —Deuteronomy 4:29-31 ESV

In speaking to His disciples about his parable of the sower, Jesus Christ explained,

As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. —Matthew 13:20-21 ESV

The Apostle Paul reported to the church at Corinth,

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. —2 Corinthians 7:4 KJV

Tribulations upon the wicked

In Romans 2:9 “tribulation and anguish” are the penal sufferings that shall overtake the wicked.

In Matthew 24:21, 29, the word denotes the calamities that were to attend the destruction of Jerusalem.

Tribulation upon followers of Christ

Jesus Christ said to His disciples,

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33

Tribulation helps followers of Christ develop the virtue of patience—“and patience, experience; and experience, hope” (Romans 5:3). The Apostle Paul informed the Corinthian church that our merciful God comforted him and his companions “in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). For these reasons, Paul reported,

“I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” —2 Corinthians 7:4

The Great Tribulation

3½ years of very “great tribulation” on Earth will precede the coming Millennium of peace during which the kingdom of God will become a physical reality on Earth for 1,000 years.

During The Great Tribulation, Satan (the Great Deceiver of the whole world—Revelation 12:9) and his Anti-Christ will marshall a worldwide regime attempting to thwart God and His people.

The Anti-Christ will falsely claim to be doing what is good and vital for mankind—a solver of difficult world problems. By forming a global totalitarian regime, he will gain control of the world’s food, energy, healthcare, all goods and services—a power monopoly, seemingly to bring peace and prosperity, but actually enormously evil. No one will be able to “buy or sell” without his “mark” (Revelation 13:17).

Perhaps most will receive it gladly, due to many tempting benefits and advantages it offers. However, one of the Anti-Christ’s chief goals is to identify, find, and destroy all of God’s people—all who refuse his identifying “mark.” The Anti-Christ may use every means provided by modern technology to achieve his purposes, through global surveillance and continual analysis of global data networks—and through the efforts of millions of ungodly souls he will control and influence in his great deception.

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Article Version: June 18, 2019