“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto
them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth
therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Mt.3:7-8).
Thought 1. The danger is so imminent that Christ said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk.17:32).
Thought 2. There is a great stress here: when life is threatened, our minds need to be focused upon doing what we
can to save our lives. As we walk day by day, what we should really be thankful for is our lives and not things.
Thought 3. Note to whom Christ speaks, who are the ones to forget worldly possessions and comforts of home: His
disciples, His followers. Was He thinking of the materialistic comforts that characterize so many of His followers?
DEEPER STUDY # 2
(24:17) House—Rooftop: in ancient days, the rooftops of houses were flat; they were used for rest, meditation, and neigh-
borly visits. Most houses had steps both inside and outside that led up to the roof. When the abomination is seen, the danger
is so imminent that a person should flee from his roof immediately, using the outside stairs.
(24:21) Great Tribulation: there is the great tribulation that will be unparalleled in history.
1. In 66-70 A.D., Jerusalem experienced one of the most terrible sieges in all of history. In 66 A.D. the Jews revolted,
and the Roman army was swift to attack. However, the city was difficult to take, primarily for two reasons. It sat upon a hill,
well protected by the terrain, and the leaders of the revolt were religious fanatics. Well over a million people had fled into the
city behind its protective walls.
As the siege wore on, the predictions of Christ were literally fulfilled. Outside the walls was the Roman army and all the
maiming and killing of war. Inside the walls, neighbor after neighbor faced famine, pestilence, false deliverers (messiahs),
betrayal, murder, revolt, rebellion, and hatred. And all took their toll. Josephus says over 1,000,000 people died and 97,000
were taken captive. The horrors of the siege are well described by him (see notes—Mt.24:7; 24:10; 24:11. See Josephus,
Wars. 5. 12:3; 6. 3:4; 6. 8:5.)
“It appears to me that the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, if they be compared
to these of the Jews, are not so considerable as they were” (Josephus, Wars. Preface 4).
2. In the end time, the world will experience great tribulations unparalleled in history. Note that Christ does not de-
scribe the great trials beyond what He has already said in v.5-12. A quick glance at the great tribulation period covered in
Revelation will give some idea of the trials (see all of the following. Cp. Dan.12:1-2.)
g159 Thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake (Rev.8:5; cp. Rev.8:1-5).
g159 Natural catastrophes (Rev.8:6-12).
g159 Demonic-like locusts or plagues (Rev.8:13-9:11).
g159 Demonic-like army (Rev.9:12-21).
g159 Angry nations who destroy the earth (Rev.11:18; cp. Rev.11:14-19).
g159 An evil political ruler (Rev.13:1-10).
g159 A false and evil religious ruler (Rev.13:11-18).
g159 Terrible destruction and suffering, both upon nature and men (Rev.16:1-21).
g159 An evil, deceptive world power (Rev.17:1-18:24).
(24:22) End Time—Great Tribulation: there is the promise that the days shall be shortened for the elect’s sake. Note
that Christ said two things.
1. The days of “the great tribulation” shall be shortened. What is meant by shortened?
g159 Shorter than what God would usually allow for such great sinfulness.
g159 Shorter than what the enemy expected.
g159 Shorter than what others would expect of a ruling government against such revolting fanatics.
In dealing with Jerusalem, God in His providence used His power to shorten the days for Israel’s sake. In the midst of
judgment, He was merciful—Israel was not totally annihilated. The siege was shorter than expected. Many have listed the
natural causes that led to the shorter siege.
g159 Division and factions. The Jewish leaders were divided from the first. They never could form a cohesive policy.
g159 A disastrous fire. The fire destroyed too many weapons and provisions for the city to continue fighting.
g159 Rampaging gangs. These were set on self-preservation by any means: stealing, assaulting and killing. They
are well documented by Josephus.
g159 Treason and betrayal. Some even surrendered their fortifications without a fight.
g159 The quick attack by Rome. Rome sent the armed force under Titus much quicker than expected.
g159 Weak fortifications. Herod Agrippa had intended to strengthen the walls of Jerusalem, but he never did.
The believer, of course, sees God’s hand in these natural causes. God worked all things out for good in order to shorten the days
and to fulfill His Word. Despite the terrible tribulation, some lives were saved—saved because God was compassionate (2 Pt.3:9).
In dealing with the end time, the tribulations upon the earth and its inhabitants will also be shortened.
“Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having
great wrath...[but note]... because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12).
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