Trials and Tribulations
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 10:16-22 KJV)
"For then shall be great tribulation"
The English word tribulation is derived from the ancient Latin word tribulum which was a device used for threshing grain. Threshing was a necessarily violent process (as it still is, as made evident by the number of farmers who are tragically injured or killed each year by getting accidentally caught in the mechanical workings of a combine or other sort of threshing machine) in which grain was furiously beaten and "thrashed" to separate it from the straw and chaff. From that, tribulation came to mean a severe trial or catastrophic event. It's used to translate the original Greek word of the New Testament (pronounced) th-lip-sis which means anguish or persecution.
Christians have been subjected to tribulations right from the start:
"Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22 KJV)
There will be however only one great tribulation i.e. "then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time" (see below). This is what Jesus Christ about it:
"And as He sat upon The Mount Of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of The End Of The World?"
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My Name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this Gospel of The Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand: Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains [see Who Should Flee Into The Mountains?, also Sodom and Egypt]: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's [see What Does "Election" Mean In The Bible?] sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before."
"Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be [see Why Did They Face East?]. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together."
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect [see The Gatherings To Come, also When Will You Be Judged?] from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:3-31 KJV)
Fact Finder: How is "tribulation," a separating of "wheat from chaff," used in the Messiah's teaching about the "baptism of fire"?
See Baptism Of Fire