A literal seven-year period that is the culmination End Times according to the beliefs of most Fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christians, and well as many Evangelicals and Charismatics. The Tribulation is and marked by wars, plagues, and cataclysms, as well as the emergence of the Antichrist, and finally the bodily return of Jesus Christ to defeat the Antichrist and his armies at the Battle of Armageddon and inaugurate his divine reign over a 1,000-year-long kingdom on Earth.
Belief in the Tribulation, during which it is prophecied many key events occur in Israel, has even affected American foreign policy through the influence of the Christian Right.
(see the Tribution as a chronological chart (4.5MB) as rendered by a Fundamentalist Christian family on their website)
usage. Generally "the Tribulation"
(see Frontline's "Apocalypse!" glossary)