The great harbinger prior to the Great Tribulation Period is the antichrist rising up to espouse great abominations, the most heinous of which being that he will exalt himself as god to begin the greatest false worship system ever known.

Passages About the Abomination of Desolation

He speaks, acts out, and commits great atrocities on behalf of the final beast of the end-times (we will explore the details of this beast in Chapter 28). Being empowered by the devil’s spirit of this beast, we see God grant permission to allow the unholy trinity to conquer the saints (Daniel 7:21 = Revelation 13:7).

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 we see the antichrist taking away all other forms of worship and replacing all other religions. He makes the greatest statement that he is god. This will be the time where he cuts off worship at the temple (or tabernacle) in Jerusalem, the famous mid-point of Daniel’s 70th week. It is the period that other false religions are also cut off (Revelation 17:16), so it is not only sacrifices of the Jews that are suspended.

Daniel chapters 2, 7 and 12 are easier to understand so we can establish a background about the abomination. Let’s skip ahead to chapter 12 of Daniel to see the ending summary that the angel gave to Daniel before we return to the difficult section about the 70 weeks prophecy.

Daniel 12:11-12 “And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days.”

Much comfort can be taken from this heartening summary at the end of Daniel about the beginning and ending of the Great Tribulation Period, but it doesn’t help put all the pieces together by itself. There are still unresolved questions and the fate of many hanging in the balance. Christ also mentioned this abomination, so let’s see what He had to say in the Olivet Discourse. Matthew 24:14-29 is placed in this crucial timing area.

Verse 14 describes what happens prior to the abomination. This is the age in which we now live (the time of the Gentiles). The gospel message of the kingdom age established on earth needs to be preached to the entire world before the end will come.

Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Verse 15 references Daniel’s prophecy as our starting point of the Great Tribulation Period kicked off by the Abomination of Desolation.

Matthew 24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place…”

Who is “you”? This is who Christ called the “generation” mentioned in Matthew 24:34 (similar to Luke 21:32). The generation of people means Israel at any point in time, as referenced in Matthew 23 (see Chapter 1 for more information, but it is clear Christ was not talking about his disciples seeing the abomination event in 70 AD.) Matthew 23 provides clear meaning of the same root-term “generation” context of Matthew 24 so the disciples know that the people of Israel will exist to see the last days.

Verse 15 calls out to us loud and clear in terms of our role to recognize that Scripture is the vehicle delivering a message directly to us thousands of years later. “Let the reader understand. This means the intent is for the reader, not the apostle who wrote it down or an early audience since they would not be alive during the greatest tribulation. This statement ties into wisdom mentioned in Daniel 12:8-10, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, Revelation 13:18, and 17:9-10.

Verses 16 through 20 of Matthew 24 get into the details – “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…” First, the generation of “Israel” living in the end times needs to see the abomination. Then they are to flee, as wrath is about to be poured out onto the earth. This passage is very similar to Luke 21 of His Temple Mount message where Christ spoke of destruction of the second temple in 70 AD. The Temple Mount message was not the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. Luke 21 was a different message given at a different time and location (on the Temple Mount, not the Mount of Olives as was stated in Matthew 24 and Mark 13).

Luke 21:24 mentions destruction of the second temple in relation to the times of the Gentiles beginning. Matthew 24:14 speaks to the time of spreading the gospel throughout the earth before the final abomination occurs. Matthew reported that the abomination will not occur until after the gospel is spread, so there is an association of the times of the Gentiles to the spread of the yet-to-come kingdom gospel.

There have been abominations in the past but there is only one final, great abomination, which is a focal point of the seventy weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 and related passages speaking of the same event – Daniel 7:8, 11, 25 = Daniel 12:11-12 = Matthew 24:15 = 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 = Revelation 13:5-6

Verse 21 of Matthew 24 states, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.”

Therefore, people will need to leave Judea (like the warning prior to the AD 70 event that was described in Luke 21). There are similar statements to Matthew 24:21 in Jeremiah 30:7, Daniel 12:1 and Joel 2:2. It is the greatest tribulation in human history. The holocaust or destruction of the second temple by the Romans do not match the events described in the prophecies at the end of this age.

The key timing association is verse 15 of Matthew 24 stating “when” with association to verse 21 stating “then.” “When” the abomination is seen “then” there will be great tribulation. This leads into verse 22 with “those days” (meaning a shortened Great Tribulation Period).

Verse 22 states, “And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”

It is most unlikely that this statement refers to the 70 AD destruction of the second temple by the Romans, since those people mentioned in Luke 21 were simply warned to flee Judea before that time. There would have been no need for cutting days short, since these people of the Luke 21:21-22 reference simply migrated away to other countries, as shown throughout history by the Church spreading out (away from Jerusalem). However, great tribulation days will be cut short in the future.

Verses 23-26 of Matthew 24 provide the same warnings of false signs and wonders as in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:13. The beast, its image, and the false prophet are connected to the authority of Satan. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect…” 

The progressing of events is unmistakable, beginning with the coming of the abomination, the rise of this false religious system and false god, and then leading to its acceptance by masses of unbelievers. These followers will be part of demonic activity and will perform false signs. Authority is granted from God > satan > beast > antichrist and many who will worship satan will be granted authority to perform false wonders. Revelation 16:13-14 shows where the ability to do signs comes from. It is by demonic activity like this example to sway the kings of the earth to fight against God during the 6th bowl judgment period that we will discuss more about later.

In Matthew 24:24, we can see the elect is still on earth (otherwise, they could not be deceived). This is another reason that there is no pre-trib rapture, as the Church is always mentioned as being on earth in the Olivet Discourse, Thessalonians, and the book of Revelation. The elect are not gathered until Matthew 24:31 at the second advent.

We see in verse 27 of Matthew 24 that “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” It will be visible for all to see when the real second coming occurs, like in Isaiah 40:5, Revelation 1:7 and related second advent appearance passages. Before that great event will be a counterfeit messiah and counterfeit signs presented. We are to be wise so we do not fall into satan’s traps, as mentioned in Matthew 24:24.

Verse 29 transitions this important passage into the actual second coming itself. Immediately after the tribulation of those days…” Christ comes right after the Great Tribulation period. There is never any verse that states Christ comes before tribulation to save the elect. Instead, we are told we need to have patience, even if it means death or captivity. Also, see Revelation 13:9-10. Perhaps now, considering these dire warnings and catastrophic threats, we can better understand Daniel’s prophecy in 12:12 about being blessed for waiting until the 1335th day.

We are now ready to learn about detailed time sequences since we have a general understanding about the Abomination of Desolation that begins the Great Tribulation Period and the following events. We will plunge into Daniel chapters 2, 7, 9 and 12, along with their associations to the beast and antichrist, in the coming chapters.


Revelation Explained Copyright © 2022 by K.J. Soze. All Rights Reserved.

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