Is There a Difference Between The Tribulation and The Great Tribulation?

Posted by Elfriede

The Tribulation will happen after the rapture and be a seven-year period in which the Antichrist will rule.

Why do we say that?

The New Testament tells us that all Church Age believers will be raptured before the Tribulation begins.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-4, 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7; 2:1-8; Romans 11:25-26; Revelation 4:1).

In 1 Thessalonians 4 verses 16 to 18 we learn that the dead in Christ will rise first and then those who are alive and remain shall be caught up meaning raptured to be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Continuing with the theme in chapter 5 verses 2 to 4 we understand that immediately after the day of the Lord which comes as a thief in the night [the rapture] sudden destruction comes upon all the people that are left behind!

1 Thessalonians 5:2-4
2For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

Further in Revelation 3:10 we learn that believers will be kept from the Tribulation period.

Revelation 3:10
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

Revelation 3:10 is addressed to the church at **Philadelphia (its name means “Brotherly Love”)** who have faithfully kept God’s Word and have been righteous and faithful in all the counsel of God. *By having been true believers they will be raptured, and they will be kept out of the Seven-year Tribulation Period.* This is the church which goes by the principles and prescriptions of the New Testament.

The Tribulation period starts right after the rapture of the Church.

How long is the Tribulation period?
The answer to this question is found in the Book of Daniel.

Daniel 9:27  
Then he [Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant [treaty] with many for one week [seven years]; but in the middle of the week [three-and-a-half years] he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate [or desolator].

Warren Henderson explains in his book Infidelity and Loyalty pg 391: “The Hebrew word shabua is translated “week,” but literally means “seven”, much like our English word dozen means twelve of something. The “something” is determined by the context. … Based on how the final week is described elsewhere in Scripture, we are able to conclude that a week is speaking of seven years”.

The Great Tribulation

The Great Tribulation covers the last part of the Seven-year Tribulation period. It will be a time of terrible trouble on earth (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; Zephaniah 1:15; Matthew 24:15-22).

And according to Jesus, in Matthew 24:21, people’s tribulation will intensify.

Matthew 24:21
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

The Antichrist will start his seven-year career right after the rapture and deceive people into believing that he is the great peacemaker.

Daniel 11:21b  
he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue…

But in the middle of the Tribulation the Antichrist will show his true colors marking the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

Daniel 11:36-37  
36Then the king [the Antichrist] shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. 37He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all.

2 Thessalonians 2:3c-4  
3cthe man of sin [lawlessness]is revealed, the son of perdition, 4who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Matthew 24:5  
“For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”

The Antichrist will be the final Gentile world ruler [Revelation 13:7].

Revelation 13:7
7It was granted to him to make war with the saints [the 144,000 who come to Christ during the Tribulation including the ones they minister to who will believe] and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation [one world government—globalism].

The Great Tribulation is the last half of the full seven-year Tribulation period. We are so very thankful that the Lord will rapture his children [all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ] before the beginning of the Tribulation period.

Glory be to God!

*Quotations and paraphrased quotations marked * quoted text * taken from The Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald Copyright © 1989, 1990, 1992, 1995 by William MacDonald. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

**Quotations and paraphrased quotations marked ** quoted text ** taken from The King James Study Bible. Copyright © 1988 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Author: Mike and Elfriede

For the past 15 years Michael Copple has studiously devoted his life to the Lord by preaching the Gospel and moderating Bible studies. He is a 1958 Eagle Scout, holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering, and achieved the highest US Air Force enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant with over 26 years service, one year of which was with Forward Air Control duties in Vietnam. For three years he was the senior enlisted member of the US Air Force Academy Wings of Blue Parachute Team; he has performed over 2,000 parachute jumps and accumulated over 15 hours of freefall. During his parachuting years Mike experienced a mishap of being a “hung jumper” outside the aircraft, and serious parachute malfunctions like a deadly seesaw night jump entanglement with another jumper, and an 85 mph wind shear which almost took his life. This experience inspired and qualified him to author the novel Calling from the Sky. A former world-wide electronic service engineer for 16 years with a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, he and his wife Elfriede currently live in the Canadian Rockies surrounded by 6 National Parks. Besides studying God's Word, they both like to exercise, cross country ski, hike, garden, and walk their dog Kansas. Visit him at

2 thoughts on “Is There a Difference Between The Tribulation and The Great Tribulation?”

  1. Good blog – hope many will find it, read and heed as time is very short now to be saved. I say that because as we get closer to the rapture of the church, more information is given to us as signs and clues including the long promised to be open – book of truth, mostly in daniel 11. Also, the uses the wonderful technology of this age to track the 6001st year which is coming up shortly. Thanks for the blog and allowing my post.


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