Great Tribulation

Jesus told His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33; cf.15:18-19). The followers of Christ can expect to suffer tribulation at the hands of those who are of the world because the world not only hates Christ, but all those who believe in Him. This tribulation was experienced by Christ’s first disciples and will be experienced by His disciples throughout this age until He returns to deliver them (2Th 1:5-10). There will be an intense time of tribulation toward the end of this age when the Anti-Christ makes war on the saints. This final period of tribulation is known as “the great tribulation” (Rev 7:14).
There was a time of great tribulation experienced during the Jewish-Roman war (66-70 A.D.) when Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed by the Romans. Jesus warned His disciples to flee Jerusalem when they saw the abomination of desolation (Mat 24:15-19) or as Luke put it, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies” (Luke 21:20). By fleeing Judea, they avoided a great time of tribulation which came on those who remained (Mat 24:20-21). When Jesus predicted this time of great tribulation, He was not predicting “the great tribulation” which will occur at the end of the age and encompass the whole earth. The tribulation He predicts here would be local (Judea), and happen at the time of the Roman siege (70 A.D.). Jesus uses hyperbole, as other Biblical writers did (Exo 11:6; Eze 5:9), to indicate that the tribulation will be great. He says, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”