How can I understand the prophesies of the Olivet Discourse (Part 6)

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It has been six months since I last wrote about this Bible passage. Sorry! Looking forward to seeing this through. You might want to read through parts 1-5 even if you don’t normally re-read stuff.

Last time we explained Matthew 24:15 and the abomination of desolation. Understanding that will help us understand Matthew 24:15-22.

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. (NIV)

You can also read Mark and Luke’s account of this occasion (Mark 131:14-23; Luke 21:20-26).

The abomination of desolation will occur in the future, and this Bible passage serves as a warning to the Jewish people alive during the tribulation. Remember this whole lesson Jesus is giving is in response to his disciples question (Matthew 24:3).

Run!

The warning to these people is to run! Flee! Don’t stop for anything? Don’t take time to grab provisions. These people alive during the tribulation should also actually pray that this will not happen during winter because what a miserable flight it would be in winter weather. Jesus acknowledges this will be miserable to run like this for women who are nursing a baby. Running and fleeing for your life does not go well when the baby wants to nurse.

The Great Tribulation

Next Jesus begins to describe the second half of the tribulation which is called, “The Great Tribulation.” Daniel 9:27 describes the Abomination of Desolation and then Daniel 12:11 specifies the duration of time after it:

“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (NIV)

In other words, the abomination of desolation will happen halfway through the seven year tribulation.

Relief for the Elect

Jesus then says, ““If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22 NIV) Although there will be intense danger for God’s people during this time, God apparently provides some relief and protection by limiting the daylight hours of operation. Surely night time raids will be conducted against God’s people, but the effectiveness of these raids will be limited to the point that some of God’s people’s lives will be saved.

Jesus uses the word “elect” or chosen ones to describe his people here. Sadly there has been much disagreement over election and what it means. If we but allow God’s sovereignty its full meaning, we can find great comfort even in extreme situations such as what this passage is describing will come. “Elect” is used of God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments, and here in the tribulation the focus is Israel. However, there will be some gentiles that are included in this as well.