Matthew 24:22 (KJV) “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”
Those days were shortened. The Jews did survive despite relentless persecutions by Roman and the nations of the world. The meaning here is that the siege of Jerusalem with all the calamities attending it should be ended before the people were completely destroyed. However, the nation would not escape the severity of God’s justice their grave sin deserved.
“For these be the days of vengeance (of God), that all things which are written may be fulfilled” Luke 21:22 (KJV).
CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT. Over the centuries the Church has been conditioned to think of this “Great Tribulation” as a future, End-Time event. We tend to read Scripture with ourselves at the center, which is not at all the case. Jacob’s Trouble is Israel’s trouble, not ours. It is punishment for their gross infidelity. In 70 A.D. Rome, acting as God’s agent, destroyed their nation and changed the name of the land of Judea to Palestine—with the intent of erasing Israel from the map, from the face of the earth, and from history. The people and the land were devastated. Rome physically removed the Jews who escaped the massacre and sold them into slavery or deported them to other territories. Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina and in 136 A.D. Hadrian built a temple to Jupiter on the ruins of the Jewish Temple.
God ended the Roman persecution by scattering Israel throughout the whole earth, not allowing them either to take root as a nation or to be assimilated into other cultures. Only by the hand of God have the Jews survived through the past two millennia as a unique and peculiar (treasured) people. From the destruction of their nation…70 A.D. through 136 A.D…. until 1948 they remained the “wandering Jew,” a people without a homeland. No other people in the history of the world, after the loss of their homeland and language, have ever retained their ethnic and national identity, recovered their language, and returned to the land of their forefathers. Today, we see prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes as the Jews slowly return to their land just as God has promised.
Truly, God did cut the days of Israel’s persecution by Rome short, or no flesh of Israel would have survived the Roman persecutions. Yet, that cannot be said of the end time because God, at just the right moment, raptures the ecclesia and seals the elect of Israel. The time of Jacob’s Trouble isn’t only the Roman persecutions but also includes their persecution by Constantine’s church, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisitions, the Holocaust under Hitler, the Soviet ostracism, all of anti-Zionism, an innumerable host of other irrational, demonic atrocities committed against them by Christendom and manifested in the demonic Islamic hatred of Jews and their satanic jihad to conquer and enslave the entire world, by eradicating any and everything pertaining to God. The time of Jacob’s Trouble and their Great Tribulation have stretched over millennia.
“For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines. All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. 15 Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee” Jeremiah 30:11-15 (KJV).
The return of Israel to the land begins in Ezekiel 37 (in 1948) and climaxes in Isaiah 49:22 when the surviving gentiles, after “the testing of all who live on the face of the earth,” carry God’s people back to the land on their shoulders. God Himself will return with them to protect and cherish them:
“Again the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain (Kingdom) of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.” Zechariah 8:1-8 (KJV)
Understand exactly what Jesus is saying in these few verses. Look at them from an Eastern, not Western, mindset. All Scripture is for us but not all Scripture is to or about us. Hard for us to understand that prophecy was written to Israel, not to the Church. Someone once said that we are like the character in Carly Simon’s song, “I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you?” That is the arrogance of the Western mindset, it’s all about us. Let’s take another look at these two verses.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be (NEVER AGAIN). 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake (stay in context—the elect is faithful Israel, not sinful Jacob) those days shall be shortened” Matthew 24:21-22.
As we read His words, keep in mind that from verse 15 Jesus has been revealing the “Great Tribulation” that would fall from God upon Israel by the Roman. Verse 21 and Daniel 12:1 say that there will never again be tribulation on the people of Israel worse than what came from the Romans. That does not mean there will not arise Hitlers, Islamists, communists, and other God-haters – even antichrists. Some cloaked in the guise of Christendom who persecute Jews in Christ’s name. The Jewish people and the nation of Israel are always in grave peril. Prophecy quite clearly states that there will be an end-time purging of their nation. However, that final purging is not to destroy them, but to purify them, to burn off the dross and reveal the treasure, “the remnant,” the people of God, “… they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” Daniel 12:3. That is exactly what purging is, a cleansing, the removal of the dross. God promises that at that time, “all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (notice how the term “Jacob” is again used for unbelieving Israel): “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Romans 11:26-27 (KJV).
Rome was the instrument of God’s “vengeance,” of His anger against Israel’s infidelity which is cut short by the diaspora. But His chastisement of Israel does not end until the end of Daniel’s 70th week, Revelation 6:12-17. Shortly to come!
Exploring Scripture~because it matters-it really does!
As we read, we should always adhere to the Biblical context. Being like the Bereans, we do not simply accept on face value the things we have been taught but return to the Scriptures to verification. After all the tribulation of verse 21, it is followed by an interesting little word — “then.” Where is Jesus going with this?