The Greatest Tribulation


“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”  Matthew 24:21-22

The context of Matthew 23-25 is very clearly first century. Many interpreters are forced to put gaps and parentheses and qualifiers into Jesus’ warnings because they won’t recognise what happened in the last years of the Old Covenant.[1] 

Surely there have been greater tribulations since the Jewish war? World Wars I and II trump it easily when measured for human suffering and body count.

The key is the elect. It was the greatest tribulation of all time — for the people of God. The warnings were spoken to disciples. Jesus was only concerned with the faithful. The Jews who had hardened their hearts like Pharaoh for a full generation were not the issue. They were the “vessels for destruction.” It was the saints who were the issue, and their suffering was precious.

After the “tribulation of those days” means after the massacres of Christians. That is when the Old Covenant curses fell for the last time. Lot had left Sodom. That is when the tribes of the Land would mourn, and they did. This was not the great tribulation. It was Day of the Lord.[2]

After AD70, Satan was bound from gathering the nations against the church. There are battles here and there, but nothing on a worldwide scale. Until, of course, he is released and tries it again. In that future day, the saints won’t be massacred as firstfruits. Satan and his followers will be destroyed immediately, and the second resurrection will follow.

[1] This includes many moderate preterists, who spiritualise or generalise the first resurrection. It was a one-time, imminent, physical event that all the apostles looked forward to. Then the hyperpreterists, who get the first resurrection right, spiritualise the second resurrection! Go figure.
[2] I guess this answers the pre-wrath/post-wrath rapture question. It was pre-wrath. The saints were harvested as grain and grapes (Rev. 14) before the seven Atonement bowls were poured out. The saints from both Old and New Covenants entered to govern in heaven. See Jesus’ New Broom.

Share Button

5 Responses to “The Greatest Tribulation”