Summary: Even though nearly 2,000 years have gone by, Jesus wants his disciples of all time to understand how this era of human history ends. And that includes you. Let’s answer three basic questions that arise from a reading of this text.
The Great Tribulation
1. Eschatology is the study of the Bible’s teaching about the End Times — it is about the end of the world as we know it; culminates in New Heaven and New Earth.
2. A friend says to a seminarian, “What subjects are you studying at school?”
The young theologian says, “You know, the usual, Biblical Texts, Church History, Ministry and Systematic Theology.”
The friend asks if he has studied anything on eschatology in his Systematic class.
The seminarian responds, “I think I missed that class. I don’t know much about the subject, but it’s not the end of the world.” [source: heologicalsweets.wordpress.com]
3. Although the rapture — the coming of Jesus to the clouds — fits into the End Times, the broad picture is a 7 year Tribulation, Jesus return to reign for 1,000 years (during which time Satan is bound), and then a New Heaven and New Earth.
4. The first part of the 7-year Tribulation will be an intensification of the kinds of things have been happening all along, sort of a double meaning. The second half of the Tribulation, the last 3 and ½ years are the Great Tribulation, our focus today.
5. We can see Jesus’ words as applicable for all time, but, by way of interpretation, they are directed to the end time Jews who come to believe in him.
Main Idea: Even though nearly 2,000 years have gone by, Jesus wants his disciples of all time to understand how this era of human history ends. And that includes you. Let’s answer three basic questions that arise from a reading of this text.
I. What is the ABOMINATION of Desolation (14a)?
A. The last 3.5 years out of the SEVEN For more info, http://www.gotquestions.org/tribulation.html
B. What is the Abomination of DESOLATION?
Daniel 9:27 with interpretative comments in squared parenthesis:
And he [the Antichrist] shall make a strong covenant with many [the Jewish nation] for one week [literally, “seven,” here referring to years], and for half of the week [3 and ½ years] he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations [by demanding he be worshipped in the temple as God] shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 with interpretative comments in squared parenthesis:
Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness [the Antichrist] is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God [the Abomination of Desolation].
C. Application: The world tries to force us into its MOLD
• When Antichrist rules, almost everyone will follow the herd.
• That’s the way the world works today; the Bible says not to love the world, not to covet the approval of godless society.
• The world is the world system, what we call the culture.
• Since junior high and before, we have felt the pressure to conform to what’s cool. Some resist. Most do not. Following Jesus means being a non-conformist.
II. What Are the Jews in Jerusalem to DO When They See the Abomination (14b-18)?
Who is Jesus addressing here? The Jewish people who have or do come to faith in him during this time period…
A. They are to FLEE immediately (14b-16)
B. Jesus taught them to pray to escape COMPLICATING hardships (17-18)
1. Only 1/3 of the Jewish people will survive, according to Zechariah 13:8-9
2. Right now, over 6 million Jews in Israel, almost 6 million in U.S., over 1 million in Europe and another 1 to 2 million scattered (14-15 total)
C. Where might they find SAFETY?
Revelation 12: 1-6
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.