Chapter 09: Matthew 24:15-22
by K. Allen Orr on October 28, 2020
Returning back to “home base”–that being the Olivet Discourse, we come to Matthew 24 verse 15 which begins a new paragraph. At this point our Lord has completed the outline listing conditions His followers should prepare to experience and now focuses His teaching on events. In the next two paragraphs (verses 15-31) He keys in on five major events, but His perspective remains the same. His instruction maintains the perspective of the impact these events will have on His followers, believers, the elect, saints.
“Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) (Matt. 24:15).
This new paragraph begins with the word “therefore” which means “consequently; accordingly”. It plays the important role of linking information presented in the previous paragraph to information that will be presented in this new paragraph. The word “therefore” acts as an advisory for information that is forthcoming to be understood in light of the information just given. This new paragraph will build upon the foundation established in the previous paragraph which furnished Christ’s overview of conditions affecting His followers. It is critical to remember that the conditions listed in verses 4-8 help to “set the stage” and impact the events in this new paragraph.
While I am listing the Abomination of Desolation as the first of five upcoming events mentioned in the Discourse please remember that some scholars also include this term as one of several designations referring to the Antichrist or the Dictator Beast of the 8th Beast Empire as well. Abomination of Desolation can apply to both a specific <em”>person and/or a specific event. This person/event is a major pivot point in the Discourse as a great deal hinges upon a proper understanding of this term. As such it is certainly worthy of an extended documented study to properly address the subject. We will touch upon this subject again when our journey leads us to II Thessalonians chapter 2. Meanwhile, I request the liberty to provide a “thumbnail” sketch of information to provide a proper frame of reference for the context within which this falls rather than an extended study at this time. This means it will remain largely undocumented for now but solely for time’s sake, not any hidden agenda on my part. My views on this subject have been shaped by numerous authors and teachers, but most strongly by author Robert Van Kampen and his monumental work, “The Sign of Christ’s Coming and the End of the Age”, a book I highly recommend.
At present, I side with those who follow the persuasion that at some point in the future a political and military figure will initially arise to power by becoming the leader, ruler or head of three countries in the area of the Soviet Union and/or possibly Germany. This man will become the one often referred to as the Beast or the Antichrist and will eventually enlist an additional seven (Islamic) countries to form a ten nation confederation. This ten nation confederation will comprise the Eighth Beast Empire, an assumption developed from interpreting major passages in Daniel and Revelation. According to the vision Daniel recorded in chapter 9, at some point during his rise to power Antichrist comes to the aid of the State of Israel in the midst of a severe national crisis. Israel’s national leaders will embrace some type of seven year treaty, covenant, pact or agreement extended by the Beast whereby he evidently offers protection and security by means of his formidable military prowess. At that time the majority of Jews will believe this man to be benevolent and will feel that peace will pervade in this area that has known strife and unrest for centuries; yet a portion of Jews will be skeptical and suspicious.
It is the enactment of this seven year covenant that initiates Daniel’s 70th week of years. The scriptures prophesy Jews will brag as if they have made a “covenant with death”, that death has agreed to leave them alone. Unfortunately, the Bible also says their covenant with death shall not stand, it shall not prevail. True to God’s Word, 3 1/2 years after “making a firm covenant” with the State of Israel, the Antichrist will attack Egypt, then return to encompass Israel with his troops and military equipment. He will then personally enter Jerusalem making his way to the temple or possibly a type of worship center which may be referred to as the “Great Synagogue” where, once again, oblations and grain offerings and sacrifices will be made. Once inside, he who IS the Abomination of Desolation will commit the ACT or the event of the Abomination of Desolation. He reveals his true identity, which he had kept secrete until that time and when the Jews discover the ruthless dictator with whom they have made a treaty with, the Bible says they are both “horrified” and “terrified”! At this same time Satan is permanently booted out of heaven along with all the angels that sided with him in rebellion against God. Satan comes to earth “having great wrath, knowing he has but a short time” and possesses and indwells the Antichrist, initiating the historical period of Satan’s Wrath.This “son of perdition” publicly declares that he is god and demands that the whole world worship him as god, as well as take his mark on the hand or forehead. He and his forces will attempt to eliminate all who refuse, focusing particularly on the Jews first, then in quick progression, professing Christians. Anyone caught who refuses to worship the Beast is slaughtered–plain and simple; death, by beheading.
This concludes the “thumbnail” sketch of the Abomination of Desolation. Now, how does this apply to the Olivet Discourse? Just as the event of the signing of the treaty or agreement between Antichrist and the State of Israel kicks off the historical period we refer to as Daniel’s 70th Week of Years, the event of the Abomination of Desolation kicks off a shorter though significant segment within it known as the Great Persecution/Tribulation, brought out in verse 21. Though this event has world-wide consequences there is extraordinary significance for those in Jerusalem and Judea as they are the very first to be impacted.
then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains (Matt. 24:16).
About the time Antichrist first enters the Jewish temple (or synagogue) to declare he is god and demands to be worshiped as such, his military forces will be embarking on maneuvers in preparation for an assault, referred to by some as the Jerusalem Campaign. The focus will include a large part of Judea, as well as Jerusalem. The designation helps to distinguish this from two later conflicts referred to as the Jehoshaphat Campaign, and after, the famous Armageddon Campaign. I readily confess I have no idea what protection the mountains of Judea will afford to those who flee there, yet the warning should be heeded nonetheless. Some would raise an issue that since the Lord singles out this geographic location, His discourse must of necessity be addressing Jews, not Christians. My response to that is there is much scriptural prophecy regarding the Jews and Jerusalem, but they don’t have an “exclusive” on this period. It is not coincidental that this area of the world has remained a focal point throughout the church age. Just because certain events pivot around Jerusalem or Israel doesn’t mean only Jews are in the spotlight during the end times.
Matt. 24:17 let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house;vs. 18 and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. (NASB) It is obvious Christ is admonishing that when the Abomination of Desolation takes place, time is up! The change brought about will be sudden, dramatic and very thorough. But perhaps not unexpected by the informed, as it follows the prophecy presented in Daniel. When I first looked thoroughly into these verses I wondered why Jesus would issue this explicit warning since the Abomination of Desolation is said to be so obvious and observable? I believe there could be earnest evangelism in Israel occurring during this first 3 1/2 years of Daniel’s 70th Week and especially in Jerusalem. During that time it will seem to the Jews to be the dawning of a golden era. Under a false sense of security they will experience the freedom of religious expression as once again, as in ancient days of yore, they make sacrifice and offering to the Lord God of Israel. It will be with great difficulty Christian evangelism will reap any harvest, though Messianic Jews and missionary teams may plead with great urgency. Included in the call for spiritual awakening will be an admonition to beware the false “covenant with death” the Jews will have made with the dictator beast, with the impending disaster that will occur in the middle of the 7 year agreement. When the Antichrist, this gentile, brazenly desecrates the temple by entering the Holy of Holies, declaring to be god, thousands of Jews, who at this point will have rejected Jesus Christ as Messiah, will be horrified and terrified. They will begin to recall certain prophecies and admonitions, and attempt to escape. I found it interesting to note how Jesus subtly changes His focus from only believers, to also include anyone in that area, anyone with enough insight to perceive what was happening. This is another illustration of the compassion of our Lord. The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance. He who has an ear, let him hear…
Matt. 24:19 “But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days!vs. 20 But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; (NASB)These verses express our Lord’s pity toward those desperate to escape. History records the previous dealings of the world’s most ruthless conquerors of all time. Scripture indicates Antichrist’s brutality will exceed them all. With lustful vengeance he will pursue his goal of eradicating those Jews who refuse to worship and take his mark, pouring out utter contempt upon women, children and infants who find themselves trapped within the confines of the military perimeter. To be honest, I don’t believe most of the Jews will even be given the opportunity to take the mark of the Beast at that time. Should the flight necessitate traveling in winter or on the Sabbath day it shall prove to be all the more difficult for various reasons.Those attempting to hide within the confines of Jerusalem will experience severe hardship with the majority eventually facing starvation, as they will be unable to buy or sell without the mark of the Beast. It brings to my mind previous historical accounts of when Jerusalem was besieged and certain ones resorted to cannibalism out of desperation.
for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall (Matt. 24:21).
In verse 21 we read the words, “for then”. These words link the context of this verse to something. What is “for then” linking verse 21 to? The answer is, the Abomination of Desolation of verse 15. We can rightly conclude the Lord informs us the Abomination of Desolation initiates the Great Persecution/Tribulation. As the description indicates, it will be a notable event and also an historical period of time as well.
“Tribulation” is of course the translation of the Greek word THLIPSIS, which was covered back in verse 9. Recall the primary meaning is “affliction” yet the word has also been translated using the words “persecution” and “tribulation”. When considering the context of verses 9-13, then adding the context of this new paragraph beginning in verse 15, it takes no imagination to plainly see this will indeed be a period of unprecedented persecution. It certainly cannot be in reference to mere tribulation, of generalized, indiscriminate calamity which befalls mankind. The Noadic flood was an event that wiped out the whole world except for eight people and an ark full of animals! We could also cite the seven bowl judgments of the Wrath of God which occur during the last thirty days of the Day of the Lord period, which doesn’t begin until after the Great Persecution/Tribulation is cut off. The sheer calamity the earth will experience, along with those that “sit on the earth” (i.e. the wicked, the rebellious and ungodly), during that time would come in second to the flood. No, the Lord’s emphasis here is in reference to the greatest persecution against the Jews and against those who claim to be His followers. Jesus is talking about the greatest persecution of God’s people that has ever happened in the past, or would ever occur in the future, not the greatest calamity the world in general would ever experience.
This term, this translation “great tribulation” occurs in only three passages of scripture. As such it provides us with a fairly rigid set of parameters. Let’s take a revealing look at the other two passages containing this important term, returning again to the book of Revelation. We shall briefly look first at chapter 2. In order to be sure we have the proper context in mind we will read verses 18-26, even though verse 22 is where our term appears.
Rev. 2:18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:
vs. 19 ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.
vs. 20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
vs. 21 ‘And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality.
vs. 22 ‘Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.
vs. 23 ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
vs. 24 ‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you.
vs. 25 ‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.vs. 26 ‘And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS;’ (NASB)
I want to offer a couple quick points. First, it is important to take special notice that there is no definite article attached to this reference of “great tribulation”. I am referring to the fact there is no “the” before the term, meaning, this reference does not of necessity have to be referencing “THE” Great Persecution/Tribulation of Matthew 24:21. It could actually be in regard to generalized calamity, albeit as part of a divinely designed process of administering God’s discipline. And understand it is the “compromising” believer and the people of the “professing” church that have been pursuing a type of spiritual immorality that will be cast into “great tribulation”. It will include those within the “professing” church that have not truly committed their lives to Christ, yet they engage in some form of religious practice contrary to the teaching of the scriptures. These people will be spiritually unprepared, mis-taught, misguided, misinformed. They will not possess Christian virtues and principles of faith that will be essential for discerning the historical setting of Daniel’s 70th week of years. And yes, I do believe this passage has direct application to that future period, particularly the Great Persecution/Tribulation. These compromising believers will not be afforded the protective arm of Christ the Lord that will be provided for the faithful saints characterized by the church of Philadelphia in Rev. 3:10 (Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing). In a later chapter of our journey we will make a very detailed study of this controversial verse. Sufficient for the moment to say it stands in stark contrast against the compromising believers of the church in Thyatira.
Another point I find very interesting is the Lord tells the saints of this church to hold fast to what they have–until He comes. The Greek word here is a form of the word HEKO which means, to come and be present! When will the Lord come and be present? At His PAROUSIA!
Let us take a look at the final passage containing the phrase “the great tribulation”, found within the paragraph of Revelation 7:9-17. It is important to note that the context of this passage places it as occurring after the opening of the 6th seal but before the opening of the 7th seal of the large scroll of chapter five. This scroll plays a major roll through chapter sixteen. Were you aware that all seven seals were located on the outside of the scroll? Years ago I was taught they were contained within the scroll and as the scroll was unrolled, it would come to a spot where a seal had to be broken to progress further into the contents of the scroll. That teaching extends from a misinterpretation of John’s account of the vision and a lack of understanding of the role of seals upon ancient documents. Do you know what seals on the outside of scrolls designate? Seals signify or represent conditions or qualifications that must be met prior to legally opening the scroll. The only one who has the authority to break the seals and divulge the contents of the scroll of Revelation chapter 5 is Jesus Christ as the Lion and the Lamb!
Revelation chapter 6 records the vision of the breaking of the first six seals. Chapter 7 provides a little break in the action to provide some key information regarding additional drama associated with the breaking of the sixth seal. The beginning of chapter 8 reveals what transpires at the breaking of the seventh and final seal, thus completing all the conditions and qualifications required to actually open the scroll and reveal it’s contents.
vs. 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
vs. 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
vs. 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
vs. 12 saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
vs. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?”
vs. 14 And I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
vs. 15 “For this reason, they ate before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them.
vs. 16 “They shall hunger nor more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;
vs. 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.” (NASB)
It is very tempting to cover this passage in detail now but I will refrain, as I prefer to establish more of the outline of events from the Olivet Discourse first. But notice in verse 14 in the original Greek text the elder states it is the great tribulation this great multitude has just now come out of–all together, all at once. The definite article “the” helps to establish the fact John is referencing the same period of Great Persecution/Tribulation the Lord first introduced in the Discourse. Later we will see at the PAROUSIA the Lord will send forth His angels to gather the elect, the saints, the genuine Christ followers. Verse 11 states “all the angels were standing around the throne–right along with this new group called the “great multitude”. These are not souls and they are not trickling in one after another over the course of weeks, months or years.Contextually, we now find that at this point the Revelation is presenting the period of the Great Persecution/Tribulation as being complete, over, and a new period is about to begin. As already mentioned, the new period about to begin is the Day of the Lord. However, there is still more for us to discover about our present subject of the Great Persecution/Tribulation back in Matthew. “And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short (Matt. 24:22).
First of all there’s that little word “and” again. It is going to perform the important function of linking the train of thought or information presented in the previous sentence (verse 21), to the new sentence (verse 22). Therefore, when we come to the phrase “those days”, how are we to interpret which time period is being referred to? The answer is, “those days” refer to the period of the Great Persecution/Tribulation of verse 21. Grammatically and contextually there is no room for debate. Verse 22 says something is going to happen to “those days”; they are going to be “cut short”. Yet many of the books and messages on End Time Prophecy state very matter-of-factly the period of Great Tribulation begins in the middle of the seven years of tribulation period and continues to the end–and thus is 3 1/2 years in duration. But there are no verses of scripture that teach there is a period of time known as “seven years of tribulation”, nor are there any verses that state the great tribulation lasts 3 1/2 years. So what do the scriptures teach us about this period?
As we investigate the English phrase “cut short” we discover it comes from a form of the Greek word, KOLOBOO (pronounced: kaw-law-baw’-oh. The first three O’s are short, the last is a long O.), and it means to “cut short or amputate, to curtail, to dock”. In extra-biblical usage, with very few exceptions, it was used extensively in reference to those who lost a body part for some reason, such as during warfare or an accident. Jesus is instructing His followers there will come a point during this future period when it will suddenly be “cut short”, it will be “amputated” or “cut off”. The greatest period of persecution and affliction against God’s people will cease–it will stop! The idea is the number of days of persecution will be restricted, abruptly halted and will no longer be permitted to continue. It’s like God gets to a point where He suddenly says, “Enough! No more!” And that will be it; there will be no more.
Let’s check out a parallel passage. The gospel of Mark records who is actually responsible for “cutting off” this period of tremendous persecution, this time of Satan’s wrath.
“And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect whom He chose, He shortened the days (Mark 13:20).
Who shortens those days? The answer is, the Lord. Don’t loose sight of this key point as it fits right in with things we will discover a few verses later. But now let me ask another question. Is there the slightest hint here or anywhere else in the Bible, this verse is teaching Daniel’s 70th week of years is being cut short, or even that only the final 3 1/2 year period is being curtailed or docked or cut short? No, of course not. But many well-intended, godly teachers and authors seem to do a lot of fancy footwork trying to skirt around the plain and simple message of this verse, while others seem to simply ignore it’s meaning.
What would be the consequence if the Lord did not cut short the period of the Great Persecution/Tribulation? The answer is, no life would be saved, or, a more accurate translation would read no “flesh” would be saved. To me it is an important difference. There are separate components that comprise the essence of man. There is the physical body, the soul and in the case of the born again Christian there is the human spirit as well. “Flesh” then, would tie in with the physical, bodily portion of the essence of man. Doesn’t this verse seem related to a previous verse we covered in Matthew 24? I believe it complements verse 13: “But the one who endures to the end (of the Great Persecution/Tribulation), he shall be saved (physically rescued, delivered).
Verse 22 is not saying that if the Lord does not shorten the period of Great Persecution/Tribulation there would be no physical human life left alive on planet earth, that somehow Satan and his demons would destroy and kill everyone! The Greek word SARX, translated “flesh”, is associated with “the elect”. It is the flesh of “the elect” that wouldn’t survive. But the Lord has promised that He will rescue and physically deliver and save many of those that faithfully endure, who bear up courageously until the end of this period. So we discover that it is for the sake of “the elect” our Lord will “cut short, curtail, dock” the period of Great Persecution/Tribulation. This further validates the teaching against interpreting the Great Tribulation as a period of general calamity experienced by the world. Not only is that interpretation wrong, it is misleading. It is used to manipulate and to promote a theological bias that is not scripturally sound.
Verse 22 presents us with another key word in our study of the Olivet Discourse. I would like to refresh the principle I presented near the beginning of our journey, which states vocabulary shapes the way we think, and the accuracy of the definitions we ascribe to various words, terms and phrases will to a large degree, affect the accuracy of our thinking. As we examine the English word “elect”, we find it is translated from the Greek word EKLEKTOS (pronounced: ek-lek-tos’), which literally signifies “chosen, picked out”. New Testament usage include rare references to Christ and elect angels (as opposed to fallen angels) but most commonly it is used in reference to believers. When the writers of the Gospels use the word EKLEKTOS in reference to believers it is always in the context of the PAROUSIA of Christ. When the writers of the Epistles use the word in relation to believers it is always in the context of believers within the Church! Therefore I do not believe the Lord had in mind Jewish converts who would come to a saving faith during the so-called seven years of tribulation when He referred to “the elect”. I do believe He had in mind the same group the writers of the Epistles addressed–the body of born again believers, the true, faithful bond-slaves of Christ.
I am not saying the Lord is going to cut short this period for the sake of the general Church because the general Church is composed of both the genuine Christian and the imitation believer, those who profess to be Christians but never truly embraced Jesus as their personal Savior and became born again. During this time the Church will undergo serious testing and evaluation. The impostors will be weeded out from the genuine. Let’s look at a few verses that aid in the understanding of the importance of testing in the lives of the elect/chosen.
I Peter 1vs. 1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen (EKLEKTOS)vs. 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.vs. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,vs. 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,vs. 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.vs. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,vs. 7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (NASB) I Pet. 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE (EKLEKTOS), A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (NASB)
Do you recall earlier in our journey I mentioned God had sidelined the nation of Israel and initiated a new agency to carry on the stewardship responsibilities…and the Church of Christ is that new agency? Did you notice when reading this last verse Peter ascribes four characterizations pertaining to Old Testament Jews–as characterizations now befitting the Church? And be sure to notice how Peter links the testing, evaluation and the overt proving of the faith of the elect…by means of various trials and even intense suffering denoted as testing “by fire”. The genuine, purified faith that emerges from passing tests and trials is said to result in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. This is in reference to the PAROUSIA when Christ will return in great power and great glory, and every eye will see Him!
The point I am making is EKLEKTOS is plainly a term that applies to born again believers, bond servants of Christ, bonafide Christians…and it is for the benefit of that group within the church that the period of Great Persecution/Tribulation is “cut short”. Certainly many Jews will suffer during this time as well; we briefly touched on that already. Jeremiah referred to this period as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (or “distress”). Daniel 12 informs this will be “a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.” What we need to realize is the church and the nation of Israel go through this period as separate entities. The church and the nation of Israel have some common ground that helps the two groups relate to each other in certain ways yet they are obviously quite distinct from each other. A problem arises however, when certain teachers arbitrarily decide God doesn’t deal with both groups at the same time. This is done in an effort to keep the church totally out of Daniel’s 70th week of years.
Didn’t God deal with both groups leading up to and including the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D.? All the while the gospel of Christ was being spread and people were becoming born-again Christians a tremendous amount of persecution was being waged against both Christian and Jewish communities. Didn’t God continue to deal with both groups at the same time as Christian missionary activity continued during the 20th century, adding more souls to the Lamb’s Book of Life, while at the same time the “dry bones” of Ezekiel came together, as the Jews regained their homeland once again in 1948 for the first time since the diaspora of 70 A.D.? And then the Jews even regained the holy city of Jerusalem in 1967, during “the Church Age”. Bible teachers and authors of books may trivialize these important points but the plain fact remains that scripture teaches God has an agenda for the Jews and an agenda for the Church. Just as in the past two thousand years, God has dealt with both groups simultaneously, although much differently, during Daniel’s 70th week of years God will continue to deal with both groups simultaneously, although much differently.
The proof text is found in Revelation 12, particularly verses 13-17. It is a symbolic description of Satan being booted out of heaven, having great wrath, knowing he has but a short time to thwart God’s plan and promises. It is at this time he indwells the Antichrist (the Beast), just prior to the Abomination of Desolation, whereupon he first persecutes “the woman” who represents a select group of Jews within the nation of Israel. This group receives supernatural protection for 3 1/2 years–the second half of Daniel’s 70th week of years. Although there is no evidence to suggest this group of Jews have embraced Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, neither have they embraced the Beast or his treaty with the leaders and majority of people of the State of Israel. God will deal with this group during this period of “protective custody”. Once the dragon discovers this group of Jews are effectively shielded from annihilation and harm, he turns his attention and attack against “the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (verse 17b). There again we see the two groups being dealt with in the same period of history–Israelites and Christians…simultaneously…plain and simple.