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The Great Tribulation

Updated: Feb 3

October 16, 2022—Leaving the temple in Jerusalem, a Man sat on the western side of the Mount of Olives. However, four men had followed Him to where He was sitting. These men knew He was sent from God, but they did not know that they were talking to their Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The men were Jesus’s disciples consisting of Peter, James, John, and Andrew. They asked Jesus about the signs of the end times.


Jesus answered them and He described several different signs consisting of physical, geological, and heavenly activities. However, considering these various signs, I have posted articles during the month October 2022. Also, I have summarized these signs into groups as shown below so we can review them together.

  1. The Great Tribulation

  2. The Coming of the Son of Man

Today, I will be discussing the distresses that Jesus Christ spoke of, which are entitled as “The Great Tribulation” within the Holy Bible.


The Signs of the Tribulation

In the Holy Bible, the signs of the end times are discussed in the books of Matthew 24, Mark 31, and Luke 21. “The Great Tribulation” is described within Matthew 24:15-28, and Mark 13:14-23. The book of Luke entitles “The Destruction of Jerusalem” in Chapter 21:20. Under these titles, the signs are fairly consistent and include:


A. The ‘Abomination of Desolation’

B. Tribulation

C. Shortened Days


These signs are described below in the order that you read above. However, the book of Luke has an outlier that is discussed in Section E. below.


A. The Abomination of Desolation

Jesus Christ stated that “when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken by Daniel the prophet…then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Mark 13:14 and Matthew 24:15-26). You will notice that I left out a few sentences from the Holy Bible. This is because there were slight differences between the books of Matthew and Mark. According to the book of Matthew, the abomination of desolation will be “standing in the holy place.” (Matthew 24:15). However, in the book of Mark, the ‘abomination of desolation’ will be “standing where it ought not” (Mark 13:14). The book of Luke does not mention the ‘abomination of desolation.’

You may be asking “Who is Daniel,” or “What is the ‘abomination of desolation’?” Firstly, Daniel was a prophet that lived during the Babylonian Exile. The exile was a time period in which the Israelites were either killed or captured by the Babylonians (also called Chaldeans) under the command of their King Nebuchadnezzar. For the ones that were captured, they were brought to Babylon (modern day Iraq) where they remained for seventy years. Daniel lived toward the end of this time period.


However, while he was in Babylon, Daniel received visions and spoke of prophecies. The prophecy we are concerned with is where he mentions the ‘abomination of desolation.’ This can be found in Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 12:11. Different biblical translations put this as either a person or an object. Therefore, I am going to rely on the King James Version Translation:


And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Daniel 11:31


And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

Daniel 12:11



Some Christians believe that this was partially fulfilled by Antiochus IV, or by the events surrounding by the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. However, Antiochus IV lived before Jesus, and Jesus referenced Daniel and the ‘abomination of desolation’ as a future event. Others believe that both events partially fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel. Yet, there are some who believe that this has yet to occur and will occur in the form of the Antichrist.



Temple, "Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem"
"Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem" by Francesco Hayez. Oil on canvas, 1867. This painting depicts the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Many were killed, and some were brought paraded in chains to Rome.


B. Tribulation

For in those days, there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.” (Mark 13:19). The book of Matthew 24:21 agrees with this statement but mentions “great tribulation.” However, the book of John states, that “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). The modern-day definition for tribulation is “a cause, or state of great trouble or suffering” (Oxford Languages). However, Jesus Christ assured us “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace” and to “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).


However, Luke takes a slightly different approach, “For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Luke 21: 22). Certainly, God is righteous, and His judgments are fair (Daniel 9), and “His mercy endures forever “(1 Chronicles 16: 34, and 41). Yet, the tribulation appears to be the abomination of desolation that will be standing where it should not be, which is the “holy place” God’s temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14). Once that occurs, Jesus said:


Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

Matthew 24:16-20


C. Shortened Days

After these words, Jesus Christ stated, “And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.” (Matthew 24:22, see also Mark 13:20). This shows God’s mercy and forgiveness because even though we have sinned and the tribulation will be terrible, God chose to shorten the days for those that believe in Jesus Christ as their savior to be saved. Hallelujah!


Think of it like this, the verse in Matthew 24:22 aligns with another passage, "The fear of the Lord prolongs days, But the years of the wicked will be shortened." (Proverbs 10:27). The tribulation will be brutal such as we have never seen before or will ever see after. Yet, God’s mercy allows the days to be shortened because if God can shorten the days of the wicked, what will He do during the Great Tribulation other than shorten the days for the sake of those that believe (the elect). Hallelujah!


D. False Prophets

The Gospel of Matthew says, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5). Similarly in Mark, the Holy Bible states that, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.” Luke 21 mirrors these words, but adds on, “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.” (Luke 21:8).


To determine if this has occurred, we need to first determine if people have come forward claiming to be Jesus. Then, we need to confirm if they had or have any followers. The passages reflect these two things, in that many will come claiming to be Jesus, and that the false Christs and false prophets will deceive many.


In 1 John 2:18, we learn that the spirit of the Antichrist was present in the world in his time, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that theAntichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.” In addition, there have been several men and women, which have claimed to be Jesus Christ going back to the 18th Century to the present. In fact, there is an entire Wikipedia page that lists these people. Of the people claiming to be Jesus, some had followers. Sadly, some of these false Christs have led people to commit murder and suicide.


However, take heart beloved, for Jesus Christ said that false Christs and false prophets must happen before the end of the age.


E. Armies

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.” (Luke 21:20). This verse is controversial today. Some believe that this occurred when Titus led the Roman army to besiege Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Verse 24 explains that that “they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all nations.” During the siege, many Jews were killed, and some escaped through tunnels and even sewers. Roughly seven hundred Judean prisoners were led captive and paraded through Rome.


However, here is something to consider; the verse in Luke speaks to armies not one army. The Roman army is one army even though it had many legions. So, what must we do? We look at other books within the Holy Bible.


The books of Matthew and Mark do not speak to Jerusalem being surrounded by armies. Therefore, we continue to read Luke, and we learn that “And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:20). Does this verse (20) occur in Matthew or Mark? No, it does not. Does it occur in John? No. How about anywhere else in the Holy Bible? Well, sort of.


Paul speaks to the times of the Gentiles, “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25). This means that Gentile rulers will continue to rule until Jesus returns. While Paul speaks the “fullness of the Gentiles,” there is no other passage (that I could find) that speaks to armies surrounding Jerusalem at the end times. Therefore, let us take Jesus’s advice by watching the signs and praying for no one knows when the time is that He will return (Mark 13:33).


Accepting Jesus

In the name of Jesus, I pray that you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and be led to pray and read the Holy Bible. That you will receive the spiritual gifts of wisdom and understanding. And if you have not accepted Jesus Christ in your life as your savior, then I pray that you accept Him as your Savior now by praying this:


God, I confess that Jesus came in the flesh and blood, paid the price for my sins, died on the cross, rose on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and sent the Holy Spirit to help me understand Your ways. For that, I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord, and I welcome the Holy Spirit in my life. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen!

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