In Christian eschatology, the Tribulation is a period of immense suffering, greater than anything before in history, which some claim will occur before the end of the world. Many Christians believe that it will last seven years in all, usually divided into two periods of 3.5 years each. This is based on the phrase found several places in the book of Daniel, "time, times, and half a time."
Among Christians who believe in the Tribulation, there are differing views about what will happen to Christians during the Tribulation. According to Pretribulationism, all Christians then alive will be taken bodily up to heaven (called the rapture or Parousia) before the Tribulation begins, although many who become Christians before the rapture will live through (or perish during) the Tribulation. After the Tribulation, Christ will return. Midtribulationism believes that the rapture of the faithful will occur halfway through the tribulation, after it begins but before the worst part of it occurs. Posttribulationts believe that Christians will not be taken up into heaven until Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation. In pretribulationism and midtribulationism, the rapture and the Second Coming (or Greek, paraousia) of Christ are separate events; while in posttribulationism the two events are identical.
See also: end times