The Tribulation is the name given to the event or events referred to in the Olivet discourse, specifically Matthew 24:21 and other passages of the New Testament.
Among futurists there are differing views about what will happen to Christians during the Tribulation:
Pretribulationists believe that all Christians (dead and alive) will be taken bodily up to Heaven (called the Rapture) before the Tribulation begins. According to this theory, every true Christian that has ever existed throughout the course of the entire Christian era will be instantaneously transformed into a perfect resurrected body, and will thus escape the trials of the Tribulation. Those who become Christians after the rapture will live through (or perish) during the Tribulation. After the Tribulation, Christ will return to establish His Millennial Kingdom.
Prewrath Tribulationists believe the Rapture will occur during the tribulation, halfway through or after, but before the seven bowls of the wrath of God.
Seventh Trumpet Tribulationists believe the rapture will occur during the tribulation, halfway through or after, but before the seven bowls of the wrath of God. Specifically, at the sound of the Seventh Trumpet (Rev. 11:15, 1 Cori. 15:52).
Midtribulationists believe that the Rapture will occur halfway through the Tribulation, but before the worst part of it occurs. The seven year period is divided into halves - the “beginning of sorrows” and the “great tribulation”.
Posttribulationists believe that Christians will not be taken up into Heaven, but will be received or gathered by Christ into the Kingdom of God on earth at the end of the Tribulation. “Immediately after the tribulation … then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man [Jesus] … and he shall gather his elect” (Matthew 24:29–31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27). The idea of a post-tribulation rapture can also be read into 2 Peter 3:10-13 where Christ’s return is equated with the “elements being melted” and “the earth also and the works therein shall be burned up.”
Christian preterists believe that the Tribulation was a divine judgment visited upon the Jews for their sins, including rejection of Jesus as the promised Messiah. It occurred entirely in the past, around 70 AD when the armed forces of the Roman Empire destroyed Jerusalem and its temple.
The historicist view applies Tribulation to the period known as “persecution of the saints” (Daniel 7, Revelation 13).
Historicists see Matthew’s reference to “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:29) as parallel to Revelation 6:12-13, having ended when the signs and wonders began in the late 18th century.
Historicists are prone to see prophecy fulfilled down through the centuries and even in today’s world. Thus, instead of expecting a single Antichrist to rule the earth during a future Tribulation period, Martin Luther, John Calvin and the other Protestant Reformers saw the Antichrist as a present feature in the world of their time, fulfilled in the papacy.
What is the catholic view of this “tribulation”? catholic.com/library/Rapture.asp
Is tribulation a special time in the human history? Catholics believe there will be no rapture until the end of this world, but what about this tribulation period? Or is it metaphorical?