It says in Matthew 24:21 that there will some day "be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall." There are multitudes of signs all around us that indicate this time is getting close. Some believe that it is already beginning. There is also coming a time, according to I Thessalonians 4:17, when all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will be "caught up together...to meet the Lord in the air..." This is referred to as the rapture, from the Greek word, "rapturo." With this are three different beliefs that have to do with when this event will occur relative to the tribulation: pre, mid, and post. The pre-trib position, says that Christians will not experience any of it; the mid-trib people say that believers will witness part of it, and the post-trib view argues that the rapture will occcur after this period. The Tribulation Period will last for seven years. Who is correct? That is not going to be debated here, but no matter which position a person takes, there is a connection between the tribulation and the rapture. Matthew 24 gives a progression of events prior to this time, many of which are happening right now.There is too much to mention here. I suggest you read this chapter and make your own observations. Note the words and phrases that denote sequence: "then (verse 9)... at that time (verse 10),... then the end shall come (verse 14),... then let those who are in Judea"(verse 16). Within this context could read today's headlines! After all the things listed verse 21 says, "for then there shall be a great tribulation." Luke 21, a parallel passage, lists similar things with some additions, but ends with "when you see these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (verse 28). If we put Matthew 24:21 together with Luke 21:28 it could read: "...there shall be a great tribulation...so your redemption is drawing near." Can one know when the tribulation officially begins? Many Bible scholars believe it will start with peace in the Middle East, based upon Daniel 9:27, the week in this verse meaning seven years. But the peace agreement with the anti-Christ will be broken at the halfway point of three and a half years. A webpage dated August 2014 quoted the Jerusalem Post: "Israel insists on demilitarizing the Gaza Strip for rockets and missiles, and this declaration of a cease-fire would last between five and seven years." We are clearly in the pre-tribulation days. World events are already unfolding according to God's divine plan and prophecies are being fulfilled. The question is, will we see the signing of a peace accord? The temple rebuilt? The identify of the anti-Christ? We just can't know. However, as close as we are to the tribulation, if the rapture does not occur before this period then perhaps it will very soon after it has begun. We should not assume that we will not witness ANY of it, and therefore be satisfied with a weak faith and little endurance. On a scale of 1 to 10 we just don't know how bad things will get up until the time of the rapture. We must be strong in the faith, watchful, and prepared for difficult times. Matthew 24:13 says "he who endures to the end will be saved." One thing for sure is that God's timing for the rapture in relationship to the tribulation will be perfect!