MATTHEW 24:9-26  


 

MATTHEW 24:9-26
V. THE TRIBULATION

Matthew 24:9
THE FINAL BIRTH PANGS

1. THEN: This is the Greek word, tote, and indicates chronological progression. It refers to what will occur AFTER the events leading up to 70 AD, and AFTER the “beginning of birth pangs.”

2. they will deliver you: The verb is paradidomi in the aorist tense. It refers to an historical point of time when a “new” societal environment will exist for the believers in Jesus – the elect. The subject, THEY, refers to the people of the world under the influence and guidance of the man of lawlessness of 2 Thess. 2:3-4; the beast out of the sea of Revelation 13:1-8, who is often referred to as the antichrist.

3. YOU: The YOU refers to the disciples AS representatives of the first advent saints (or the church), who will, in a future generation, witness the rise of the antichrist.
It could happen in the first generation after the resurrection of Jesus, as Paul indicated in 2Thes. 1:6-10, or it could happen in any subsequent generation, as long as the conditions that Jesus will explain are in place.

4. to tribulation: The KJV translation, “to be afflicted,” is quite wrong. This is the noun, thlipsis, without a definite article. It should be translated either as “a tribulation” or simply, “tribulation.” But it should not be translated as an infinitive of a verb, “to be afflicted.”
This refers to the period of time that will be characterized by the oppressive reign of the beast of Revelation 13, who is often described as “the antichrist.”

The terms "the tribulation" (Matthew 24:29) and "the great
tribulation," (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14) both refer to a
period of intense persecution that will begin in the future, at the midpoint of Daniel's 70th week (Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 13:3-7; Daniel 9:27). At that time, Michael the archangel will remove his restraint upon Satan’s influence in the world (mystery of lawlessness, 2 Thes. 2:7; Dan. 12:1). Then the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), known also as the beast (Revelation 13:3-4), the willful king (Daniel 8:23), the prince who will come (Daniel 9:26), and the (or “a”) antichrist, will begin his oppressive reign (Revelation 13:5) and the persecution upon both Christians and Jews (Revelation 12:13-17; 13:7; Dan. 7:25). This will occur NOT as an expression of God's wrath, but as an expression of Satan's wrath (Revelation 12:12) and man's hatred (Matthew 24:9) toward God and His people on the earth.

Although there have been times of tribulation and persecution throughout history (Acts 14:22), the Tribulation will be of greater intensity than any other time before or after (Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1). This persecution is so horrific that, unless it is cut short, "no [persecuted] flesh would be saved" (Matt. 24:22), that is preserved alive.
It is taught in the Old Testament at Jeremiah 30:4-7, Daniel 11:36-39, and 12:1.

At Daniel 12:1, Gabriel describes to Daniel, “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands (guard) over the sons of your people, will stand aside. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.”

Some of the events that will occur during the tribulation are described in Matthew 24:9-14.
After describing a little bit about the tribulation, Jesus then told the disciples, “THEREFORE” when you see the abomination (verse 15). This becomes another chronological trigger that helps pull the passage together. The “therefore” tells US what to look for as the starting point for the tribulation described in verses 9-14.

4. And they will kill you. And you will be hated by all nations: This does not refer to the persecution within the early church that resulted in the death of many Christians, as described by Luke and discussed above. Nor does it refer to the various periods of persecution that will occur in subsequent history. It refers to the killing of Christians that will occur ONLY after the antichrist sets up the abomination of desolation in the Holy Place of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

According to Revelation 13:7, “it was given to him (the beast) to make war with the saints and to overcome them.” And since according to verse 8, “all who dwell on the earth will worship him,” these will be the tools of the beast to carry out his persecution agenda. Of course, this "all" is a generic all and does not refer to absolutely everyone. At 2Thes. 1:6, it is “those who afflict you” who will be visited with their own affliction when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
At Daniel 7:25, it is described as “he will wear down the saints of the Highest One.”
At Revelation 12:17, “And the dragon was enraged with the woman (national Israel) and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring (the brethren of Jesus) who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

6. On account of My name: This hatred and killing is ON Christians BECAUSE they are Christians. It is because they are called by the name of Christ and represent Him in their witness and testimony during the time of the tribulation.
This is not talking about national Israel, for they will not be persecuted FOR CHRIST.
Nor does it refer to the Jews of Revelation 12:6, 13-16, who escape into the mountains to hide from the beast, for these are not “saints” (believers), but orthodox Jews who resist beast worship based on RELIGIOUS standards, not Christian standards.

VERSE 10
SPIRITUAL APOSTASY

1. And then many will fall away: The TIME word, tote (then, at that time), occurs again. The verb is skandalidzomai, and it means to be intimidated, ashamed and “scandalized” through their association with Christ, and thus, to stumble and fall. It occurs as a future passive indicative. The passive voice shows us that these people will RECEIVE an influence or effect in their life that causes them to stumble over the things of Jesus Christ and to turn away from those things. Thus, they will FALL AWAY and as a result of that they will even betray other Christians – both family and friends. Because of this assistance given to the beast, he will probably let them live even without taking the mark of the beast. However, if any of these Christian back-sliders attempt to take the mark, it will not be permitted by God. Instead, He will discipline them with physical death, because regardless of their failures, they are still held secure in the hand of Christ based on their initial moment-in-time decision to trust Him.
See Topics:
WORSHIPPING THE BEAST
THE MARK OF THE BEAST
SALVATION SECURITY
DIVINE DISCIPLINE

2. And will deliver up one another and hate one another: the issue of ONE ANOTHER, here is that it is Christian betraying Christian. The strong influence of false doctrine; especially the false teaching, signs and miracles from the antichrist and his associate The false prophet, will most certainly deceive EVEN THE ELECT (Mat. 24:24; 2Thes. 2:9).

THE FALSE TEACHER INFLUENCE

VERSE 11
(Mark 13:12-13)
“And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead (planao) many.”

“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect,” (Mat. 24:24)
The significance of “mislead, if possible, even the elect” at Mat. 24:24 does not mean that the elect will NOT be deceived, but it means it will be with difficulty and it is a hard thing to imagine.

However, the history of the church from its inception in 70 AD to the present, has known many examples of such a falling away or apostasy.
 
In fact the very same kind of STUMBLING (skandalizdomai) happened to the disciples at the time of the crucifixion (Mat. 26:31).
The principle is seen at Mark 4:16-17 in the case of a believer who does not have good teaching and preparation for persecution pressure.
“And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only  temporary; the, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away (stumble – skandalidzomai).”
Even the emotionally zealous believer needs to be careful; to WATCH OUT (verse 24:4), lest he also fall away as did Peter at Mark 14:29, “But Peter said to Him, though all may fall away, yet I will not.” And at verse 31, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You! And they all were saying the same thing too.” And of course, we know what happened to him (Mark 14:30), and to the others (Mark 14:50, “and they all left Him and fled”).

Warnings by Paul are sobering. “Let him who thinks he stands WATCH OUT (blepo) lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
And Peter, well aware of the dangers, gives similar warnings. After telling us that there will be false teachers who distort the scriptures, he writes, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,” (2 Peter 3:16-17).
And the writer of Hebrews warns us, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ lest any one of you become hardened by the deceitfulness of the sin nature,” (Heb. 3:13, BFT).
And at verse 4:11, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.”

Thus, Paul prophesied that such a falling away would be prevalent as the history of the church progresses. “But the Spirit specifically says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” (1 Timothy 4:1). Here, Paul used a stronger verb, aphistāmi, to indicate a departure from the standards of Christian truth.

In fact, this is the very same word group that Paul used at 2Thes. 2:3 to echo what Jesus taught, that such a FALLING AWAY or apostasy from the faith would occur DURING the time prior to His second coming and the inception of the day of the Lord.
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for (it – the day of the lord - will not come) unless the apostasy (apostasia – noun) comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.”


MORAL APOSTASY

VERSE 12
“And because lawlessness is increased, the love of many will grow cold.”

The word, lawlessness, is anomia and refers to the general rejection of the divine laws of morality that have been established by God for the proper and orderly function of the human race. Lawlessness is anarchy, which can be described from Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel; EVERY MAN DID WHAT WAS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES.”
And this is why the beast of Rev. 13, is called “the man of lawlessness,” (anomia) at 2Thes. 2:3.

The partner of anarchy is the absence of “love” for others. The lawless one will do anything and everything to promote his own interests and comforts and security, no matter what the cost to other people within his society. This is not talking about Christians losing their “first love,” as at Rev. 2:4, or the absence of the “love of God” in general, as at John 5:42.
It refers to the absence of common love for humanity and one’s fellow citizen within his society. It applies primarily to the unbeliever, just as verse 10 refers to believers.
However, since these moral laws are divinely designed, it is also the absence of love FOR God that encourages lawlessness. This is seen at 1 John 3:17, “But whoever (a believer) has this world’s goods and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
In other words, whether with a believer or an unbeliever, the absence of the love of God as an influence in the life will allow the sin nature to influence the soul toward LOVELESSNESS and lawlessness.

This moral lovelessness and lawlessness, is described by a long list of attitudes and actions at Mark 7:21-22.
“For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”


PHYSICAL DELIVERANCE VIA THE RAPTURE
VERSE 13
But the one who endures to the end will be delivered:

The END, in this case looks specifically to the end of the tribulation. The end of the tribulation will occur when a sovereign decree from God the Father will cut short the tribulation from its EXPECTED duration of 3 ½ years. But when the tribulation is cut short and the Lord arrives in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, this will begin the time period known as THE END OF THE AGE. The end of the age is the TIME PERIOD during which God will carry out His Messianic agenda of establishing and conducting the 1000 year earthly reign of Jesus.

This will occur at an unknown day and hour and be evidenced ONLY by the signs in the sun, moon and stars that will occur at that time. Verse 29, “IMMEDIATELY after the tribulation of those days . . .”

This statement refers to physical deliverance from the tribulation through the visible return of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Mat. 24:30-31). Paul describes this as His revelation from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire (2Thes. 1:7).
Endurance refers to staying physically alive during the great persecution of the tribulation. Of course, those who are killed for their faith, will go into the presence of Christ in the third heaven, and will be part of those described at Revelation 6:9-11 and referred to at 1Thes. 4:13-17 as “the dead in Christ.”

Later at Matthew 24:22, Jesus taught that if the tribulation is not “cut short,” then no flesh would be left alive. This refers to BELIEVING flesh, or rather PEOPLE who had NOT taken the mark of the beast, many of whom will trust in Christ after the rapture. It does not, in fact it CANNOT refer to “salvation” at that point, for the length of the tribulation has nothing to do with HOW someone is saved. It is only the believers who will be rescued at this time as Jesus will “gather His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven” (Mark 13:27). All who are left on the earth will be unbelievers until such time as some of them trust in Christ.

This means that all believers will be gathered from EVERYWHERE on the earth and taken to the third heaven into the presence of God the Father, where they will be ushered into the special dwelling places that Christ has prepared for them (John 14:1-3). “And thus, we shall always be with the Lord,” (1Thes. 4:17). This refers to the STATUS of our eternal position in Christ, and our home in the New Heavenly Jerusalem. It does not mean that 24/7 we will be standing next to Him. There is no conflict with Jesus remaining in the clouds of the sky while He pours out the Day of the Lord judgments, and the saints residing in heaven at the same time.

The gathering of the elect out from the earth (rapture) after the tribulation has been cut short by the sovereign decree of God the Father, constitutes physical deliverance out from the persecution that has been waged by the beast. Paul calls it RELIEF at 2Thes. 1:7. “And to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.”

Jesus taught this two times as we have already seen at Matthew 10:21-22. There, he makes the transition from normal church age persecution to the specific persecution during the future tribulation, by the statement, “you will not finish with the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.”

Controversy revolves around the issue of whether this “endurance to the end” is the basis for SALVATION, or is limited to physical deliverance through the rapture.
This is resolved simply by applying -
THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION SECURITY.

If a person does not accept the doctrine of salvation security, then he will have the tendency to apply this statement to salvation. If a person accepts the doctrine of salvation, that is, the fact that no believer can ever lose his salvation, then this statement must refer to the physical deliverance from the earth. In view of these differences, it must remain unresolved except as presented here.

THE RESCUE OF BELIEVERS

The nature of the tribulation and the rescue of believers from it is described by Paul at 2Thes. 1:6-10 (NASB).
”For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed--for our testimony to you was believed.”

This faithful consistency in the face of thlipsis is a testimonial beacon to the believer's status as a child of God, and to God's grace provision for the believer, which is the basis for that believer’s faithful devotion and endurance.

Verse 6, “Since indeed, it is just for God to repay with affliction those who are afflicting you,”

The construction, "since indeed," is eiper, which is a particle of recognized reality. Paul states here the certainty of God's repayment to those who are the persecutors of believers. The word repay, is antapodidomi, and means to give back to someone in recompense for actions or service rendered. The verb has two objects and two indirect objects (actually 3, including "us as well"). On the one hand God is paying back something to the persecutors, and on the other hand, he is paying back something to the believers. Both playbacks will be initiated by the same event of Christ's glorious descent from heaven in the clouds of the sky. At that time, He will give rest to the believers by removing them out from the affliction, and he will give affliction to the unbelievers by pouring out his wrath upon the world.

This truth is taught by language of principle rather than a specific promise to the Thessalonians that it will indeed occur in their lifetime. This language of principle is the same thing that Jesus used when He gave the promise to the disciples at John 14:1-3, for the promise that He would come again and receive them to Himself never occurred in their lifetime. But it could have, and indeed will in the lifetime of a future generation of believers.

The principle here, that "it is just for God to . . ," applies to whatever group of believers are alive on the earth at the time that Jesus returns. At the time of writing, the affliction (tribulation, thlipsis) that is being endured by the Thessalonians, and indeed, by other believers in other locations (including Paul, 2 Thes. 3:2; 1 Thes. 3:3-4) is not THE tribulation that Jesus taught about (Matthew 24:9-22), but it could easily escalate into that period of time if the man of lawlessness were to be revealed. In such a case, the principle stated in verses 6 and 7, would be applied and Jesus would return to both deliver (give relief to) the believers out from the world, and to render affliction on the unbelievers left in the world.

THE WORLD WIDE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL
VERSE 14

1.And this gospel of the kingdom: The gospel is the gospel of SALVATION.
The idea and term, “gospel of the kingdom,” refers to this entrance and access into God’s kingdom through faith in the Messiah. That’s what Jesus was talking about at John 3:3 and 5, when He told Nicodemus that one could ACCESS the kingdom of God only by being born again.
See Topic: THE GOSPEL


2. Will be proclaimed in the whole world: This is describing either a REQUIREMENT or a CUT-OFF point or BOTH. There is no way to determine whether this proclamation is a cut-off point, but it is certainly a requirement. Even the use of the temporal adverb, tote, does not require an immediate coming of “the end.” And of course, from the standpoint of human perception, there is no way to determine when this proclamation will be fulfilled.

3. For a witness to all the nations: The major point is that all nations will hear the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ before the day-of-the-Lord judgments will be poured out on the earth.
Prior to this, the issue is not whether all nations or all cultures hear the gospel, but whether ALL who WANT to know about God have been given the opportunity to hear the gospel throughout history.
In fact, to date, probably NOT ALL cultures have heard, but the gospel is spreading to cultures and tribes all over the world. However, EVERY individual who has ever expressed an interest in learning about the God of creation, has been given that opportunity.
The details of this do not fall within the scope of this study, but they can be found at the topic, GOD CONSCIOUSNESS.

4. and then shall the end come: The temporal adverb, tote, indicates an event that follows upon the world-wide proclamation of the gospel. It does not require an IMMEDIATE occurrence. However, it does indicate that God’s justice has been satisfied, and there is nothing to delay God’s agenda from moving to its completion stage. This then, brings us to the END of the tribulation and the time when God will manifest the appearance of His Son, “which He will bring about in His own time” (1 Timothy 6:15).

 
THE START OF THE TRIBULATION
VERSE 15

1. Therefore: This is the adverb, oun, and introduces a resultant exhortation that comes from 
the FACT that the tribulation was just described in verses 9-14.


2. When you see THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, which was spoken of through Daniel the
prophet: This takes us BACK to Old Testament prophecy concerning the tribulation. 


I have already discussed the time period known as the 70th week of Daniel, but to summarize: The 70th week of Daniel refers to the final seven-year period of the
490 years that God has
allotted to Israel in order to accomplish His purposes in preparation for the Messiah's 1000-year 
earthly reign (Daniel 9:24). It is 
  separated from the first 69 weeks of years (483), which ended 
at the Messiah's first advent, by an unknown period of time. This final "week" will begin when 
a powerful political genius ("the prince who is to 
  come") establishes a seven-year covenant with 
"the many" (Daniel 
  9:27a, “And he will establish a covenant with the many for one week”).

It will end seven years later, just prior to the 7th trumpet of Revelation 11, when the two witnesses are killed in the streets of Jerusalem, 75 days before the Messianic reign will officially begin (Revelation 11:3-7, 15; Daniel 12:11-12). This seven-year period of time is never designated in Scripture as "the tribulation," although the tribulation will begin at its midpoint.

THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK

Close to the midpoint of the week, Michael will kick Satan and his angels out from physical access to heaven, and Satan will come to the earth with great wrath. He will accomplish the assassination of the world ruler, and will then bring him back to life and empower him to carry out his evil intents on God's chosen people Israel (still in unbelief) and on God's spiritual family, the church. (Rev. 12:16-17; 13:7)

Rev. 13:3-4

and {I saw} one of his heads as if it had been slain,
and his fatal wound was healed.
And the whole earth was amazed about the beast;
and they worshiped the dragon,
because he gave his authority to the beast;
and they worshiped the beast, saying,
'Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?'

He will then use that “beast” to persecute the Jews and the Christians (Rev. 12:13-17; 13:7).

Prior to this, the "mystery of lawlessness" which is "already at work" in the world (2 Thes. 2:7), will have been restrained from such intensity of oppressive action against Israel, by Michael, the guardian angel of Israel.

See Topic: THE RESTRAINER

But once the battle in heaven takes place and Satan is kicked down to the earth, Michael, the restrainer, stands aside (Dan. 12:1) which now allows him to carry out his own agenda as a final "last ditch" attempt to defeat the plan and character of God.

Rev. 12:12, "having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time."

REMOVAL OF THE RESTRAINT
The result of Michael’s restraint being removed is described at 2Thes. 2.

(1) The world ruler will don the cloak of self-deification:

Verse 4, "who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."
Rev. 13:5
"And there was given to him a mouth
speaking arrogant words and blasphemies;"

Dan. 11:36-38
And the king will do as he pleases,
and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god,
and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; . . .
And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers
or for the desire of women,
nor will he show regard for any {other} god;
for he will magnify himself above {them} all.


(2) He will do this through the empowerment from Satan:
2Thes. 2:9-10, "the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders and with all the deception of wickedness . . ."

Rev. 13.2, and the dragon gave him his power - -
Dan. 8.24, and his power will be mighty,
but not by his own power.

THE REIGN OF THE BEAST
According to Rev. 13:5, this "Gentile" world ruler known as the beast out of the sea will reign in his kingdom for 3 1/2 years, "and authority to act for 42 months was given to him.".

Since the center of world attention will be the Middle East at that time, the beast's self-promotion will also center in that area and relate directly to the covenant that was made with Israel at the beginning of the week.
From this "central" location, he will then use the agency of the 2nd beast (the false prophet) to create and universalize an image of himself to serve as a "rallying point" for beast worship (Rev. 13:11-15).

All of this activity actually constitutes an aggression on the part of the beast that literally "takes THE peace from the earth." Peace was extended to “the many” with the establishment of the 7-year covenant of Daniel 9:27a. This is represented at the 1st seal of Revelation 6:1-2.

The removal of THE PEACE is represented by the 2nd seal at Rev. 6.3-4.
And when He broke the second seal,
I heard the second living creature saying, 'Come.'
And another, a red horse, went out;
and to him who sat on it, it was granted
to take THE PEACE from the earth,  (The Greek has the definite article – THE).
and that they (men) should slay one another;
and a great sword was given to him.

When he breaks the covenant, several things take place.

1. He appoints a Jew as dictator over Palestine and makes
him a prophet to carry out his religious program.

A. The beast out of the LAND: Rev. 13.11-17
B. Dan the serpent: Gen. 49.16-17
C. The worthless shepherd: Zech. 11.15-17
D. The false prophet: Rev. 19.20; 20.10; 16.13
From Rev. 13.11f we see that he
looks like a lamb and speaks like a dragon.

2. He proclaims himself to be God: 2 Thes. 2.4

3. Through the false prophet he institutes beast worship.
2Thes. 2.4; Rev. 13.14-15; Dan. 9.27; 8.23-26; Rev. 11.1-2
See Beast worship  and   The Mark of the Beast

4. This then begins the attack on Israel (Rev. 12.10) which
officially initiates the great tribulation. (Mt. 24:15, 21)

Matthew 24:15
STANDING IN THE HOLY PLACE

Although the great tribulation is a "world-wide" oppression (Rev. 13:7), it centers in Jerusalem from where the beast will first initiate his system of worship.
As he promotes himself as God he will take his seat in the Jewish temple "of God" and display himself from that arena to actually be God.

2Thes.2:4
so that he takes his seat in the temple of God,
displaying himself as being God.

The “Holy Place” refers to the Jewish temple, and specifically, the inner sanctuary.
At the time that Jesus taught this, the Jewish temple in Jerusalem was standing and functional. He had already taught that it would some day be destroyed, for “not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down (verse 24:2).”

The temple and the city were destroyed in 70 AD, but in the future the sanctuary will be rebuilt in Jerusalem as a result of the covenant of peace that is established with “the many” in the Middle East. Daniel 9:27.

In fact, it is probably this specific act of desecration of the temple in Jerusalem which constitutes the "breaking of the covenant" that was established for "one week" (7 years). In order to promote his own deification and system of worship he will certainly need to "do away with" the worship system of Israel.

And this is the abomination of desolation that Jesus mentioned here in our passage at Matthew 24:15, as what will signal the beginning of the tribulation.
And as Jesus stated, it was prophesied by Daniel the prophet.

Dan. 9:27b (BFT)
But in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering;
and on the wing of abominations, causing horror - even until a completion,
and (until) what is decreed is poured out on the one who causes horror.
(literal translation)

Daniel 12:11
And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished,
and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1290 days.

Also, since the great oppression by the beast will focus on the destruction of the Jewish people who oppose him, it is designated as the "time of Jacob's distress" at Jer. 30:5-7.

"For thus says the LORD, I have heard a sound of terror,
Of dread, and there is no peace.
Ask now, and see, If a male can give birth.
Why do I see every man {With} his hands on his loins,
as a woman in childbirth? And {why} have all faces turned pale?
Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it;
And it is the time of Jacob's distress,
But he will be saved from it."


It also takes us FORWARD to Paul’s prophecy in 2 Thes. 2:3-4.
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for (it will not come) unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

WARNING TO FLEE

Jesus, in His prophetic discourse on Olivet, actually gave warning to ANYONE who would be living in the Judean area at this time, so that they might flee when they see the "the abomination standing in the holy place."

Matthew 24:16-21,
"then let THOSE who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days! But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall."


THOSE IN DANGER

It is important to recognize that while this is a general warning addressed to "those who are in Judea," it has direct application to anyone in the area who will be reading God’s word; the believers. However, any Jews and Gentiles who are in the area might also take warning and get out. Even without being privy to this specific warning found in the Bible, some people might LOGICALLY get the idea to “get out of Dodge.” But my point is that we must be careful to preserve the INTENDED recipients of this teaching as being those who believe in Jesus (the elect of verses 22, 24 and 31), and as having only an indirect application to the Jewish nation.  

THE MINISTRY OF THE PERSECUTED

There is an exception. The Christian who is in a position to maintain an evangelistic ministry should NOT run and HIDE. He is to get out of harms way as the persecution progresses from city to city, but he is to maintain his testimony. Jesus taught this at Matthew 10:23

"Now whenever they persecute in this city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you shall not finish with the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes." (BFT)

(A) But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next:

This does not mean to run away into seclusion, but simply to remove yourself from the direct rejection and persecution of the particular city in view. You then move on to another city and continue to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. This began to be fulfilled about 7 years after the cross, when because of the persecution initiated by Saul of Tarsus, "a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria," (Acts 8:1).

(B) for truly I say to you, you shall not finish {going through} the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.

But Jesus extends this principle from the years of the early church right up through the tribulation to the return of Jesus at the Day of the Lord. The man of lawlessness will begin his oppressive reign, by setting up the abomination in the temple (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4), and will begin to "woo" the Jews into his "fold." At this time, there will be the need for a huge campaign to get the Jews of the land as well as throughout the whole world to re-embrace the TRUE Messianic promise and the orthodoxy of their heritage before they commit themselves to the religious system that the false prophet will institute via the mark of the beast. The functional believers of the church will have a specific evangelistic impact to the Jews at this time as stated in this verse.

"Now whenever they persecute in this city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you shall not finish with the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes." (BFT)

NOT A WORLD-WIDE INSTRUCTION

It also needs to be pointed out that this warning to flee is directed ONLY to those who are living in Judea. It is not addressed to believers throughout the rest of the world. Believers in other locales will have the decision of “flight or fight” based on their FAMILY situations. A single person who has no responsibilities to spouse or children can, and perhaps should, choose to be an evangelistic voice to those who will be tempted to take the mark of the beast. Of course, this will place them in danger of being martyred, but this is part of Christian way of life in times of apostasy. “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philip. 1:29). “And indeed, all who desire to live reverently in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2Tim. 3:12).

But for those who must care for wife and children, they should not leave or lead their families into jeopardy by personally confronting those who are persecuting. For “if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith; and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Of course, a wife and husband can agree mutually to minister “within the fire” but they it is wrong to expose the children to that fire.

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS

1. Flee to the mountains: Of course, the believers who heed this warning can “flee” to any place they want. But it seems that escape is an urgent matter and time is crucial. Thus, it seems reasonable for them to get to the safest location they can find, which seems to be the mountains that are to the east of Judea across the Jordan River and the Dead Sea.

The Israelites who are faithful to the Mosaic covenant will also flee. They will recognize the nature of the man of lawlessness and flee to the most likely location for protection. According to Revelation 12:6 and 14, this will be in the WILDERNESS. It is part of God’s plan to keep these unbelievers of Israel safe so that they will be in a place to recognize Jesus as the promised Savior and trust in Him when He arrives in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. At that time, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:31).”

According to Daniel 11:41, when the King of the West (the beast) invades the Palestinian area, three places will not be attacked; Edom, Moab and Ammon. There is a stretch of mountains just on the other side of the Jordan and the Dead Sea that is probably the area of safety to which both believers and citizens of Israel can flee. This mountainous area that extends from a few miles below the end of the Dead Sea to several miles above the top of the sea, is still considered wilderness.

2. If you are at home, do not collect your possessions to take with you: There is not time to gather everything up, nor is there time for one to be slowed down by transporting the possessions. In addition, all the various possessions will be of little value to those who have taken refuge in the mountainous wilderness area East of Judea.

3. If you are away from the home, do not return home to get clothing or anything else. Again, time is of the essence, and must not be wasted.

4. Pregnancy and child care are out of one’s control, but is mentioned so that those who find themselves in that situation, might be even more diligent to flee quickly, even though progress will be considerably slower than otherwise.

5. Winter conditions will also slow one’s progress and extra care must be taken. Jesus expresses the urgency of the situation by encouraging those who are PREPARING for the time period of the tribulation, to HOPE that the need for the exit might not be in winter.
The word, PRAY, although is the same word that is used for praying to God FOR something (proseuchomai), It is also the word for basic FAITH-REST prayer or trust that things will be “ok.”  The idea then is not that these people PRAY to God that it will not happen in winter, but that they are simply HOPING that it does not happen in winter. Furthermore, the unbelieving Jews of Israel who will be fleeing, will not be qualified to enjoy “prayer access” so any praying to God will be useless anyway.

6. In Israel at the time of the 7-year covenant, the Sabbath ritual will be observed. This means that extensive travel would be forbidden. Thus, as in the case of winter conditions, progress will be greatly slowed. Likewise, Jesus encourages the attitude of hoping and trusting that the need for fleeing would not occur on the Sabbath day.
This does not mean that the believer is under any Sabbath ritual observances during the church age. It simply indicates that if they are in Judea, then any Sabbath-breaking activity would not be allowed by the local citizenry, and there will be rigid restrictions on all travel resources.

THE SEVERITY OF THE TRIBULATION
Matthew 24:21
“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.”

It is called GREAT, only to emphasize the magnitude of the affliction. It is not used to identify this time as something DIFFERENT from the same noun that is used at verse 9. In fact, at Mark 13:19, the word “great” does not occur. It reads, “For those days will be a tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation that God created, until now, and never shall.” It is STILL a time of severe persecution type affliction, but is not to be designated OFFICIALLY, “the great tribulation,” as distinct from “the tribulation,” for the two terms refer to one and the same event.

This statement elevates the severity of the tribulation above and beyond ANYTHING that has ever occurred in all of human history. There is no need to mention the travesties of persecution and genocide, for no matter what, when the beast begins his oppressive persecution of Jews, Christians and non-beast worshippers, it will be the most intense attack of man on man since the beginning of history, and will never be surpassed. 

If God does not put a stop to this activity of the beast, it will result in the death of EVERYONE who does not worship the beast. The only ones left alive on the earth would be those who have taken the mark of the beast, and there would be NO ONE left to go into the Messiah’s earthly kingdom.

THE CUTTING SHORT OF THE TRIBULATION
Matthew 24:22
“And unless those days are cut short, no life would be delivered; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.”

At Daniel 11:36 through 12:12, the angel Gabriel explains to Daniel some of the events of the last half of the 70th week of Daniel. At verses 12:6-7, the question as to how long until the end of these wonders, is answered with the time span of 3 ½ years (as is commonly understood by “time, times, and half a time”). This is also described as 42 months or 1260 days. This clearly establishes that the tribulation mentioned at Daniel 12:1 will begin at the mid point of Daniel’s 70th week and not the BEGINNING of the week. And it further indicates the meaning of the breaking of the covenant at the midpoint of the week as mentioned at Daniel 9:27.

Daniel 12:6-7

“How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” “It would be for a time, times and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.”
This refers to the end of the 70th week. It is at that time, AFTER the trumpet judgments have been executed on those who have been “shattering” the holy people (Israel), that the final wrath of God will be poured out via the bowl judgments. (Rev. 11:7, 14-19; 15-16).
Daniel 12 indicates that the END of the beast’s reign will be in 3 ½ years (“times”).
It then tells us that there will be an additional 30 days before the temple is cleansed from the abomination of desolation. Dan. 12:11. By comparing this with Revelation 11, 15-16, and 19, we learn that the 70th week will have been completed with the sounding of the 7th trumpet. We learn that the beast’s reign will have OFFICIALLY come to an end at that time, and that it is during the next 30 days, that the bowl judgments will be poured out on the beast’s kingdom.
At Daniel 12:12, Gabriel further explains that there will be yet an additional 45 days until the Messiah’s kingdom officially begins.

 
So, according to these factors, those who study the Scriptures would expect the tribulation of Dan. 12:1 and of Matthew 24:9-21 to last for the same length of time as remains in the 70th week. However, Jesus gives some NEW information never before revealed. Jesus taught that the time of tribulation would be CUT SHORT or “amputated” so that not every one would be killed.
It is immediately after the shortening of the time for the tribulation that the Day of the Lord will arrive, which will be evidenced by (1) the signs in the sun, moon and stars, (2) the sign of the Son of Man, and (3) the actual arrival of the Son of man in the clouds of the sky.

We have learned:
1. The 70th week of Daniel is 7 years long.
2. The midpoint of the week marks the beginning of the tribulation.
3. The second half of the week is 3 ½ years long (1260 days; 42 months).
4. The reign of the beast begins at the midpoint of the week.
5. The reign of the beast is 42 months (1260 days, 3 ½ years).

However, although the beast’s reign does in fact last for 1260 days, his ability to enforce his Messianic agenda of beast worship will be interrupted and impeded by the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

This will happen at an unknown day and hour prior to the end of the beast’s reign, and therefore, prior to the end of the 70th week. According to the teaching of Jesus, the tribulation will be cut short BEFORE He arrives in the clouds of the sky.
The actual END of the tribulation, then, will be determined by a sovereign decree from God the Father. And IMMEDIATELY, the “Day of the Lord” signs, and the sign of the Son of man will announce the second coming of Jesus.

Accordingly, the term, “all these things” at Daniel 12:6-7 should be taken as referring to the events of the second half of the week and not the duration of the tribulation. The prophecy of those events is given at Daniel 11:36ff and refers to the activity of THE KING in general. Furthermore, a comparison of Daniel 12:11 with Revelation 11-19, shows us that THE KING (the beast) will be present on the earth for an additional 30 days before he and his influence (the abomination) are destroyed.  

Thus, while the 70th week must continue for its established duration, the tribulation itself will be interrupted. It will be “cut short” and brought to an end by the sovereign decree of God the Father at some unknown day and hour before the end of the week.

Accordingly, it can be rightly said that “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only,” (Mat. 24:36, 42, 44).
Thus, the image of “the thief in the night” is taught be Jesus at Matthew 24:43.
“But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.”
And verse 44 makes the application to His coming. “For this reason you be ready TOO; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think.”
Because of this the disciples and the apostles adopted the “thief in the night” image and used it in their writings.
Paul: “For you yourselves know accurately that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” 1 Thes. 5:2
Peter: “But the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief.” 2 Peter 3:10
Jesus to John: “Behold, I am coming like a thief” Rev. 16:16

NO FLESH DELIVERED

If God does not put a stop to this activity of the beast, it will result in the death of EVERYONE who does not worship the beast. The only ones left alive on the earth would be those who have taken the mark of the beast, and there would be NO ONE left to go into the Messiah’s earthly kingdom.

“But for the sake of THE ELECT those days will be cut short.”

The “elect” refers to those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
It refers not only to those who trust in Christ BEFORE the rapture, but even more so to those who WILL TRUST in Christ AFTER the rapture – the FUTURE “elect.”
The issue of deliverance here is NOT the rescue of church age saints out from the tribulation. Whether a church age saint is martyred or remains alive to be raptured at the arrival of Jesus does not affect the blessing of “face to face” with Christ.
In other words, even if ALL believers are killed prior to the rapture – it does not matter. This does not affect the plan of God at all.
The concern is that there will be people left on the earth to trust in Christ and be alive to go into the Messiah’s earthly kingdom – the millennium.

THE ELECT

There are some who teach that “the elect” refers to the nation of Israel, but this adjective (eklektos) refers to BELIEVERS and not to the chosen nation. Consistency is required in arriving at the right interpretation of this word in the context of Matthew 24. The word is used 23 times. Outside the Gospels, it is used one time for Jesus and 13 times for believers. In the gospels it is used one time for Jesus and 9 times for believers. Many teach that the gathering of the elect at Matthew 24:31 refers to the gathering of believing Israel into the land of Palestine after Jesus defeats His enemies at Armageddon. However, the gathering prophesied there is not a gathering to an earthly location, but a gathering IN THE SKY. This will be covered in more detail later, but the language in both Matthew and Mark indicate this to be the case.
Matthew 24:31, “from the four winds (on earth) from one end of the sky to the other (in the air).”
Mark 13:27, “from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”

The rapture is part of God’s plan. It is the removal of all living believers (the elect) from the earth so that God can once again begin to use ISRAEL as the evangelistic agent. When the church is removed as God’s present evangelistic agent, it does not matter, in principle, whether they have all died prior to that removal or not. The issue is that there be on the earth living Jew and Gentile who will be able to trust in Christ (become elect) after the rapture. It is for the sake of THESE that the days of the tribulation will be cut short.

If the beast’s oppression is allowed to continue, then he would eventually kill EVERYONE who is not a beast worshipper. This would effectively prevent the Messiah from having a people (Jew and Gentile) to rule over in His earthly kingdom. It would abrogate the promises of God in the Old Testament that were given to both Israel and the Gentile nations.

If Satan can succeed in neutralizing just ONE factor of God’s character and plan, he will nullify the divine indictment that was placed against him when he rebelled against God in the beginning. He would escape his destiny with the lake of fire.
For details see: THE ANGELIC CONFLICT

So, this preservation of the elect has in view the FUTURE elect, who will believe in Christ AFTER the rapture. If there is NO FLESH left alive, then there will be no one to BECOME elect (believe in Christ) after the living believers are removed at the rapture.

THE FALSE ANNOUNCEMENTS
Matthew 24:23-26

Matthew 24:23
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold here is the Christ; or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him.”

They will use supernatural “signs and wonders” that will even affect some believers.

Verse 24
For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect ones.”

IF POSSIBLE

The charisma and the false miracles of these announcers will be very persuasive. The phrase, “if possible” does not mean that believers will NOT be influenced, but it means that it will be with difficulty that believers will be convinced. Some will, but most will either (1) have the knowledge of truth already within them or (2) be convinced of the truth by other believers who are with them.

The Greek construction is the particle, ei (if), and the adjective dunatos in the accusative case. It is NOT a TRUE conditional clause. A conditional clause requires a verb. Furthermore, it is not a 2nd class condition (one that indicates that the action will NOT occur), because that would require the presence of a “negative” (not) in the Greek, and there is not one present. It is simply an idiom that expresses a RARE or IMPOSSIBLE occurrence.

The adjective, dunatos, comes from dunamai, which means to have power or ability (we get the English word dynamite from this).

The construction occurs 7 times in the New Testament.

Mat. 26:39 and Mark 14:36, “if possible, let this cup pass from me, but not as I will, but as You will.”

Here, the idea is that IF there is ANY OTHER WAY to accomplish the work of salvation, let’s do it that way, but I am willing to follow through with the plan as previously designed. Since we know that the work of salvation required the sacrifice of the Messiah, it is NOT possible for the cross to be avoided.
So, this can be viewed as a POSSIBILITY from the temptation for Jesus to find an escape clause in the Messianic commission. 


Acts 20:16   “For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus in order that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.”

This certainly does not communicate an impossibility. However, it indicates something that might be difficult if EXTRA precautions (hurrying) were not taken, in order to facilitate the timely arrival in Jerusalem.

Rom. 12:18   “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

This is not an impossibility. But it does indicate that the thing in view is not guaranteed, no matter how much effort you put into it. We cannot MAKE someone else be at peace with us.


Gal. 4:15   “Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness, that if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.”

However, here, it is certainly an impossibility for the Galatians to take their own eyes out and give them to Paul.

So then, when we get to -
Matt. 24:24   “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

Mark 13:22   for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, if possible, to lead the elect astray.

Since the construction is used in cases that are both possible and impossible, we should view the situation in the light of the bible’s entire context, showing that it IS POSSIBLE for the elect to be deceived. This was shown to be the case earlier in connection with verse 4. As for what kind of translation can be given to this, probably, “if possible” is still best, but it just needs to be explained.
So when we read the translation, “if possible,” we ask ourselves the question, “Well, is it possible?” And the answer is yes, it is not only possible, but it will be a reality for some believers, as indicated previously at verse 10. “At that time many will all away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.” MOST of the believers during this time will be focused - BUT - notice the warning in verse 26, “if THEREFORE, they say to you . . . do not believe them.”
And let us remember what Jesus said at the very beginning of this discourse (v. 4), “See to it that no one misleads you.”

This attack from false prophets is different from what was mentioned in verse 5 and verse 11.
At verse 5, Jesus said that one of the historical trends throughout the coming years would be the presence of those who (1) claim to REPRESENT the Messiah, “come in My name,” and (2) claim to BE the Messiah, “I am the Christ.”
Of course, in either case, the false teacher will be advocating doctrine that is contrary to what was taught by Jesus, and what would be taught by the apostles.
Paul called this that which is “contrary to sound teaching” at 1 Timothy 1:11.

At verse 11, Jesus said that during the tribulation there will be many false prophets in general. These will likewise, teach false doctrine contrary to that which was taught by Jesus and what will be taught by the apostles.

Here, at verse 24, the focus is on those who claim the actual PRESENCE of Jesus, and who try to get people to COME to specific locations.
The reason for this is
(1) to bring believers into areas where they can be detained and killed by the followers of the beast.
or
(2) to coax Jews, Gentiles and even believers who are hiding in the mountainous wilderness East of Judea, to come down, and thus likewise be detained and either be converted to beast worship, or be killed.

Verse 25
“Behold I have told you in advance.”

God has always been faithful to provide His people with the information they need to hand any and every crisis in life. The principle is found at 1 Corinthians 10:13.
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”
The “way of escape” is NOT some supernatural ZAPPING of ability or power or even knowledge. It is the provision found in the revealed word of God, which is available to every believer who wants it. But the choice to LEARN it and to USE it is always a volitional issue. God will not STOP the believer from making the wrong choice, but will always provide IN ADVANCE the spiritual truth needed to endure – IF the believer will follow the instructions found throughout the Bible and summarized at 2 Peter 3:17-18, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this BEFOREHAND, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

So just as Jesus warned, “Therefore, be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:42
“For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” Verse 44.

In addition, once the END-TIMES begins with the establishment of the 7-year peace treaty, many unbelievers, both Jew and Gentile, will be much more likely to begin reading the scriptures, including the this portion in Matthew. And even though the warnings are directed to Christians, when the covenant is broken at the midpoint of the week, many Jews in Judea, will likewise heed the warning found here and flee to the mountains. And yet, just as prophesied, there will be many who ignore this instruction; many who listen to the false teachers; many who distort the scriptures and come up with convoluted theories of the end-times. But, just as Paul instructed the Romans concerning some doctrinal issues, “Let each one be fully convinced (dressed, prepared) in his own mind.” Romans 14:5

Verse 26
“If therefore they say to you, ‘Behold, He is sin the wilderness,’ do not go forth, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.”

During the time of the tribulation, there will be many reasons for both believer and unbeliever to venture forth into the face of danger.
Here, the reason is to FIND the Messiah and find deliverance from the oppression of the beast.
(1) This will be a temptation to the believers who are hiding in the mountains, and who have no doctrinal foundation to know better.
(2) It will be a temptation to unbelievers in general who are also hiding. For even though they have not expressed personal trust in Jesus, they will know about the AGE-OLD promise of a Messiah, and will want to embrace him.
(3) And for the Jews, who have specific prophecies of a coming Messiah, the temptation will be even stronger.

But without the knowledge that Jesus presents here, all three groups will equally be vulnerable to this temptation, and many will listen, and go forth to their own destruction.
As suggested earlier, once the END-TIMES begins with the establishment of the 7-year peace treaty, many unbelievers, both Jew and Gentile, will be much more likely to begin reading the scriptures, including this portion in Matthew, and especially the book of The Revelation. And even though the warnings are directed to Christians, when the covenant is broken at the midpoint of the week, many Jews in Judea, will likewise heed the warning found here and flee to the mountains. And they will also heed this information and NOT go forth in response to the claims of the false teachers.

However, the false teachers will be able to use supernatural “signs and wonders” that will even affect some believers. This happens even today with many of the characteristics of “the mystery of lawlessness” that is ALREADY at work in the world. Mat. 7:22; 2Thes. 2:7-9.

THE ATTACK ON THE JEWS

At the time of the tribulation, Satan’s primary focus will be on the Jewish people, to destroy them from the face of the earth, and thus prevent God’s plan from being fulfilled. “And when the dragon (Satan) saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child (Jesus). . . And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. Revelation 12:13, 15.

God will provide a place of protection for them in the mountainous wilderness until the duration of the 70th week. Rev. 12:6, 14.
“And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for 1260 days.”

As noted above, according to Daniel 11:41, when the King of the West (the beast) invades the Palestinian area, three places will not be attacked; Edom, Moab and Ammon. There is a stretch of mountains just on the other side of the Jordan and the Dead Sea that is probably the area of safety to which both believers and citizens of Israel can flee. This mountainous area that extends from a few miles below the end of the Dead Sea to several miles above the top of the sea, is still considered wilderness.

However, many of the Jews who are hiding in the mountains will be tricked and come down only to be delivered up to the sword of the beast's army.

The major participant in this campaign to get Israel out of the mountains will be the Arab people who reside in the land area of ancient Edom, Moab and Ammon. These peoples as special allies of the beast will mount a specific and intense oppression upon the Jewish peoples who have fled into the wilderness during the great tribulation. It is because of this attack by the Arab peoples that these 3 areas will come under special judgment at the Day of the LORD.

In Obadiah 9-14, we see the promised judgment on the people of EDOM and a specific warning to individuals NOT to be among the ones who participate in this campaign of greed and deception.

"Then your mighty men will be dismayed, O Teman, In order that everyone may be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter. Because of violence to your brother Jacob, You will be covered {with} shame, And you will be cut off forever. On the day that you stood aloof, On the day that strangers carried off his wealth, And foreigners entered his gate And cast lots for Jerusalem - You too were as one of them. Do not gloat over your brother's day, The day of his misfortune. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah In the day of their destruction; Yes, do not boast In the day of distress. Do not enter the gate of My people In the day of their disaster. Yes, you, do not gloat over their calamity in the day of their disaster. And do not loot their wealth in the day of their disaster. And do not stand at the fork of the road To cut down their fugitives; And do not imprison their survivors In the day of their distress."


In Zephaniah 2:8, we see that the reason for MOAB and AMMON to participate in the campaign is in order to possess their land when it is over.

"I have heard the taunting of Moab and the revilings of the sons of Ammon with which they have taunted my people and become arrogant against their territory."

And Ezekiel 35:1-9 gives us some very unique specifics concerning EDOM:
Verse 5,

"Because you have delivered the sons of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment OF THE END. . ."

And for all the nations who have participated in oppressing Israel during this time of distress there will be a recompense at the Day of the LORD.
Obadiah Verse 15,

"For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head."

CONTINUE TO MATTHEW 24:27-51
 
 

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