Summary: The message of Jesus on the Olivet Discourse is a message that is helpful to the church no matter where we are on the prophetic calendar.
THE GREAT TRIBULATION
TEXT: Mark 13:14-23
Mark 13:14-23 (KJV) But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:  And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:  And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.  But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.  For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.  And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.  And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:  For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.  But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
I. INTRODUCTION—CURRENT EVENTS
REMOVED DUE TO THE PERSONAL NATURE OF THE INTRODUCTION.
II. A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE PREVIOUS VERSES
-Before I go to this passage, I would like to briefly cultivate some ground, we went through a few months ago. Mark 13:1-13 can be called “What Shall Be the Sign?”
• Mark 13:1-4—The Destruction of the Temple
• Mark 13:5-6—The Deception of Many
• Mark 13:7-8—The Devastation of the World
• Mark 13:9-13a—The Distress the Persecuted
• Mark 13:13b—The Deliverance of Believers
-This is just a simple way to look at this passage so it will lodge in your mind. . . Destruction. . . Deception. . . Devastation. . . Distress. . . Deliverance. . .
III. THE GREAT TRIBULATION—MARK 13:14-23
-Some points about this passage of Scripture:
• This is a portion of a sermon the Lord gave to His disciples called the Olivet Discourse.
• There are similar accounts in Matthew and Luke.
• Matthew and Mark concentrate more on end-time events.
• Luke focuses more on the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD but with other prophetic implications.
-The portion of Scripture we have read deals with the Great Tribulation. In fact, all of this is dealt with in Revelation 6-16 in much greater detail. During the Great Tribulation, the entire world will have the full measure of the wrath of God poured out on it.
• Evil without restraint because the Spirit of God has been removed—2 Thess. 2:7
• Demonic activity will increase dramatically—Rev. 9:1-11
• 144,000 Jewish evangelists will be preaching—Rev. 7
• Two powerful witnesses will be on display to the whole world—Rev. 11
-This passage that we have in Mark 13:14-23 is actually the last half of the time called the Tribulation. The whole will be seven years in length but the Anti-Christ will set up his rule in Jerusalem in the middle of this.
-Again, I am borrowing Dr. John MacArthur’s outline from his commentary on Mark 9-16.
A. Mark 13:14a—The Perversion of the Anti-christ
Mark 13:14a (KJV) But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) . . .
-What fuels the whole matter of is the presence of deception. That must be the matter of every one of our prayers. “Lord, don’t let me be deceived!” The menacing thing about deception is that it feels like what is right.
-Our prayer ought to be. . . Lord, help me to live my life in such a way that I am not deceived. Give me the ability to see! Help me to take Scripture into my heart in such a way so that I do not fall to the thousands of voices and influences that are vying for my attention.
-Deception has always been one of the devils most useful tricks. He has the ability to get man to believe his lies and take them for the truth.
Matt Emmons was one shot away from claiming victory in the 2004 Olympics. He was competing in the 50-meter three-position rifle event. He didn’t even need a bull’s-eye to win. His final shot merely needed to be on target. Normally, the shot he made would have received a score of 8.1, more than enough for a gold medal. But in what was described as “an extremely rare mistake in elite competition,” Emmons fired at the wrong target. Standing in lane two, he fired at the target in lane three. His score for a good shot at the wrong was zero. Instead of a medal, Emmons ended up in eighth place. That is what happens when you get confused about the targets. (Adapted from Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman, p. 69.)