Matthew 24-25 - Great Tribulation

Matthew 24:15-36 Great Tribulation - Mr. J. Hay


Verse 15 marks the shift from the first half of Danielʼs 70th week to the second; the “abomination of desolation” standing in the holy place will signal the transition. The mention of the holy place (v15), Judaea (v.16), and the Sabbath day (v.20) indicates that the setting is Jewish.

Verses 16-18: Urgent Evacuation.

Whether at leisure (v.17), or in employment (v.18), there is no time to gather up what might be regarded as the bare essentials for flight.

Verse 19: The Vulnerable.

Expectant and nursing mothers.

Verse 20: Prayer.

That neither climatic conditions nor religious scruples would in any way impede their escape.

Verses 21-22: Great Tribulation (see Rev.7.14).

The world has never experienced such horrors formerly, nor would anything future eclipse it; this period of time will be an age of unparalleled trouble for the planet, “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world” (Rev 3.10). If allowed to continue, it will result in the extinction of humanity, but as ever, God will take into account the need of His own people, and “shorten” the days.

Verses 23-28: The Public Nature of Christʼs Appearing.

The extreme conditions will provoke men to look around for a deliverer, hence an upsurge of claimants to Messiahship or prophetic status. Miracles will appear to authenticate their claims.

Some of these charlatans will have their base of operations in remote places, “the desert”. Others will be holed up secretly in centres of population, “the secret chambers”. By contrast, the coming of the true Christ will be public and obvious, as observable as a flash of lightening. It will result in tremendous carnage, (v.28).

Verses 29-31: The Son of Man Coming.

When will He come? “after the tribulation” and celestial phenomena, “THEN…”.

How He will come? “with power and great glory”, in contrast to the apparent weakness and humiliation of His first advent at Bethlehem.

What will ensue? 1) Extensive mourning. 2) The gathering of “his elect”.

Verses 32-36: The Parable of the Fig Tree.

The fig tree is one of the metaphors of Israel. Presently the fig tree is cursed and withered. One day it will put forth leaves, in the natural sphere an indication of the imminence of summer, but applied to Israel, observers will see in her resurgence, an indication that “he is nigh” (RV).

The Lord here states that every word that He spoke will have a fullfilment, but the precise timing of events is the exclusive domain of the Father. (See Acts 1.7).