Events During the Second Half of the Great Tribulation

Matthew 24:15-28 and Mark 13:14-23

Late in the afternoon on Wednesday the thirteenth of Nisan

DIG: What event will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation? What will change for the Jews half way through the Great Tribulation? Why would Jesus ask the Jews to pray that their persecution would not take place in the winter or on the Sabbath? What is Satan’s plan? Who will be able to see Christ’s return? Where does Yeshua return to?

REFLECT: When you read the terrible (but necessary) things that Isra’el will go through it breaks your heart. But for Jewish and Gentile believers the Bible teaches that God has not intended that we should suffer wrath, but that we should gain deliverance through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah (1 Thessalonians 5:9)? Can you share the Gospel with someone this week and help them escape the wrath of Ha’Shem?

The first event tied to the breaking of the seven-year covenant (see my commentary on Revelation Bz – The Signing of the Seven-Year Covenant with the Antichrist), is the abomination that causes desolation (see my commentary on Revelation Dr – The Abomination That Causes Desolation) that will mark the beginning of the second half of the Great Tribulation. Even though the first half of the time of trouble for Jacob (Jeremiah 30:4-7) will see a great deal of chaos, it will seem somewhat tame compared to the second half as the birth pains get more and more intense. Isra’el will be duped by the antichrist into thinking that he is protecting her and her people with the signing of the seven-year covenant. That will all change 42 months later.

Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14, finds Jesus referring to Daniel’s prophecy, saying: So when you see the abomination that causes desolation standing in the most holy place spoken of through the prophet Daniel, let the reader understand. This abomination will involve two stages. The first stage is when the antichrist claims the Tribulation Temple as his own (see my commentary on Revelation Bx – The Tribulation Temple), sits down in the most holy place and declares himself to be God.The second stage is when the false prophet makes an image of the antichrist and places it inside the most holy place to be worshiped (see my commentary on Revelation Do – The Beast Out of the Earth: The False Prophet). At that point the spiritual scales will fall from the eyes of the Jews and they will finally recognize the true identity of the antichrist. He is the one spoken of through the prophet Daniel (Matthew 24:15b).

Up to the mid-point in the Tribulation, Isra’el will consider the antichrist an ally. But the abomination will cause an additional 42 months of desolation, as two thirds of the Jews will be killed. The abomination that causes desolation will be the signal for the Jews to escape to Bozrah (see my commentary on Revelation Ds – The Woman and the Dragon). Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains (Mattityahu 24:16; Mark 13:14). That will start the second half of the Great Tribulation where Satan and the rest of the Gentile world will attempt to hunt down and destroy Isra’el for the last time. The Adversary, the great dragon, the devil, will try to accomplish what Hitler only dreamed about - final solution to “the Jewish problem.”

There was something that the Jewish people called “the road of the roofs.” It was flat and usually paved with brick, stone or other hard surface, surrounded by a banister, which according to Jewish law, had to be strong enough to bear the weight of a person. Consequently, people could make their escape, passing from one roof to another, until at the last house, then descending down the stairs that led down its outside without having to enter a house. To this “road of the roofs” our Lord no doubt referred to when He said: Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 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 (Matthew 24:17-19; Mark 13:15-17)!1332

Pray that your flight will not take place in winter (Matthew 24:20a; Mark 13:18). Why not in the winter? After all, it seldom snows in Isra’el anyway. The reason for this prayer is that the Jews will be escaping toward the mountains in the east. Most of the escape routes will force them to use wadis, which are dry riverbeds that only fill up with flash floods when it rains during the winter months. Isra’el receives no rain between April and October. From October through the winter months up until April, Isra’el receives all its rain for the year. But when it does rain, many of these wadis instantly become filled and are very dangerous to cross. Many have drowned because they are caught in these riverbeds during a flash flood. If the abomination that causes desolation happens during the winter months, it would make their escape to the east much more difficult. So prayer is encouraged that it would not happen during the winter.

Pray that your flight will not take place on the Sabbath (Matthew 24:20b). Why not on the Sabbath? There is no public transportation in Isra’el on the Sabbath. The buses are all locked up and the trains do not run. Unless an Israeli has his or her own transportation, he or she will find it very difficult to escape. An example of this problem was seen during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. The Arabs attacked on a holy day when there was no public transportation. This made it extremely difficult for the Israelis to mobilize their forces and get them to the front lines. So prayer was urged that it would not happen on the Sabbath.1333

At this point, worldwide anti-Semitism will break out. The Adversary’s plan to annihilate the Jews once-and-for-all will have begun in earnest. For those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now - and never to be equaled again (quoting from Daniel 12:1). Here we have evidence that these warnings are primarily to the last Jewish generation. Yeshua quotes passages from the TaNaKh that emphasize that this will be a time of extreme distress for Isra’el (Jeremiah 30:7). But Isra’el will survive this terrible period, though greatly reduced in number. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:21-22; Mark 13:19-20). Certainly Isra’el and the Jewish people are the original chosen people and the object of His teaching here. While there is always some wider application to the Gentile nations, the immediate application is to Israel’s part within the Great Tribulation.1334

A counterfeit messiah will characterize the second half of the Great Tribulation. At that time if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Messiah!” or, “There He is!” do not believe it. There will be many counterfeit signs and wonders performed by both the antichrist (Second Thessalonians 2:8-10) and the false prophet. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. At that time, even believers will not ultimately be able to trust in signs and wonders that they hear and see. The true measurement of a God-given sign or miracle must be the entire Word of God. It is too easy to be deceived by man-made (or satanic) false signs. Jesus warns that last Jewish generation will need to be discerning in the midst of the false signs and wonders of the last days. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, “There He is, out in the wilderness,” do not go out; or, “Here He is, in the inner rooms,” do not believe it (Matthew 24:23-26; Mark 13:21-23). They are to be discerning and not to believe the lies.

Then, in the greatest darkness of Jewish history, the greatest light breaks through. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Jesus Christ will not be hiding from Isra’el and the world, but will return in such obvious fashion that it will be like a dramatic flash of lightning. This will no doubt be the Shechinah glory (see my commentary on Isaiah Ju – The Glory of the LORD Rises Upon You) that is often seen at crucial times in the revelation of ADONAI. You won’t have to guess if He has come back or not (Matthew 24:27). Everyone will be able to see Him.

Then Jesus gave a hint as to the place of His Second Coming. He said: Wherever there’s a body, that’s where you find the vultures (Matthew 24:28 CJB). The body refers to Isra’el, while the vultures refer to the Gentile nations coming against her. The exact place is known as Bozrah (in Hebrew) or Petra (in Greek). That is where the body will be (Micah 2:12-13); that is where the vultures will be gathered (see my commentary on Isaiah Kg – The Second Coming of Jesus Christ to Bozrah); and that will be the place of the Second Coming (Habakkuk 3:3).

 

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