Since Gordon Fee has already dated the Apocalypse at either a late first- or early second-century based on the “tension between church and state that dominates the book, which did not occur in Asia Minor until this time,” it came as no surprise to read his conclusion on “The Great Tribulation”:
This latter word[tribulation] is a most unfortunate—and quite unnecessary—carryover from preceding English translations, since it was co-opted over a century ago by some interpreters to refer to a specific time period. But time is of no interest at all to John in the present sentence. Rather he is referring specifically to the great trial that the church of his own time is experiencing, and about which he speaks prophetically as something that will get far worse before it ever gets better. Thus what was intended primarily as a word of assurance to his readers has been co-opted by later interpreters to refer to something that is yet to come. (Revelation, pp. 113-14, bold added)
Perhaps Fee would have preferred “great hardship” (CEB) or “great ordeal” (NRSV), since the Greek thlipsis “has been co-opted by later interpreters…”
And this understanding of “The Great Tributlation” is already conditioned by Fee’s understand of “what must soon take place” and “because the time is near,” having “mostly to do with the somber events awaiting the churches of John’s day” (p. 2).