The tribulation is the period during the end times wherein God judges Israel and the world for their unrighteousness and prepares to establish Jesus as the King of the world. Scholars using different methods of interpretation have arrived at many different opinions as to the timing and duration of the tribulation. But by using a literal method of interpretation and reading the prophecies in a literal sense wherever possible, it becomes evident that the tribulation lasts seven years and will occur between the rapture of the church and the millennial kingdom.
Daniel gives the timing of the tribulation. In Daniel 9:24-27 (NIV), Gabriel explains to him, “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’…” Daniel’s prophecies were so accurate that many skeptics believe the book must have been written historically—after the events occurred. But the date they propose as authorship is 200 years before Christ and cannot take into account this particular passage.