You have seen the nature of the Tribulation in four different categories: a day of destruction and disaster, a time of trouble and distress, a day of vengeance and wrath, and a time of fear and terror. However, we need to be mindful that all of the different categories will be present and intermixed in all of the Tribulation. Also, know that many of the horrors will be present at the same time, overlapping each other. While there is a great earthquake, causing great fear, at the same time people will be suffering from malignant sores, and also from the pain of scorpion stings. And while many are sick and dying from polluted and poisoned water, they may also be suffering from the terrible heat of the sun.
And then, besides the pain of the body, there will be a deep-down anguish of soul caused by isolation and aloneness, and the loss of friends. This inner pain and despair may be what Zephaniah was trying to describe (in Zeph. 1:15).
A day of trouble and distress,
A day of destruction and desolation,
A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
And then, I think there will be a great inner suffering caused by a sense of guilt, and from disappointment one may feel about his life. And I suppose this inner suffering will be heightened as the wrath of God comes upon the earth, as they will be more aware of their sins and their pending punishment. Isaiah 2:19 says,
And men will go into caves of the rocks,
And into holes of the ground
Before the terror of the Lord.
Also, in Isaiah 13:6-9 it says,
Wail, for the day of the Lord is near!
It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore all hands will fall limp,
And every man’s heart will melt.
8 And they will be terrified,
Pains and anguish will take hold of them;
They will writhe like a woman in labor,
They will look at one another in astonishment,
Their faces aflame.
9 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
Of course, those who repent of their sins will have their anguish eased by the forgiveness of God. But those who do not repent, but continue in sin and to blaspheme God out of a hardened heart, God will give them over to a depraved mind (Rom. 1:26-28); and their pain and misery will continue on and on.
Furthermore, it is quite clear from Scripture that the pain and trouble of the Tribulation will get progressively worse from judgment to judgment. The trumpet judgments will be of greater intensity than the seal judgments, and the bowl judgments will be of greater intensity and destructiveness than the trumpets. It is hard to imagine such great Tribulation, but we must believe it. There is no way to get around it, to explain it away. It will happen.
Lastly, I must say something about the devastation that the Tribulation will cause on the earth. I suppose many don’t think about it, or dismiss it. But Scripture seems to emphasize it over and over. Isaiah 24:1 says, “Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface, and scatters its inhabitants.” And He does this by both natural means and supernatural means, as He brings great earthquakes and volcanoes and fire and wind and falling stars and demons! It will be so terrible that mountains will be moved, or will disappear (Rev. 6:14, 16:20), and cities will fall (be destroyed). And I think most of the earth will be unrecognizable. It will be torn apart by earthquakes, devastated by high winds (hurricanes and tornados) and hail, and burned by fire everywhere.
I know that many (or some) will survive it somehow, somewhere; but I think, for the most part, the earth will be laid waste.