Matthew 24:22 reads, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (NKJV). When Matthew speaks of “those days” he is speaking of a very specific time period known as the “Great Tribulation.” In verse 21 these very words are used to describe this awful time, “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.” This begs the question, “When does the Great Tribulation begin? We have the answer in verse 15, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place…” A time is coming when a future temple will be built in Jerusalem and an idol will be set up for men to worship and God calls this act of idolatry the “abomination of desolation.” We read of this in Daniel 9:27, “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the WING OF ABOMINATIONS shall be one who MAKES DESOLATE, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.” Now let’s read Revelation 13:15, “He was granted power to give breath to the IMAGE OF THE BEAST, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” Putting these two passages together we learn that the IDOL that is set up in the temple will be the IMAGE OF A MAN who people are called upon to worship or else they will be killed. This act of forcing people to worship a mere man will signal the Great Tribulation, which will cause God to judge Israel and the whole world will devastating judgments (the book of Revelation describes, in great detail, these judgments).

We saw that the Great Tribulation will be the worst period in human history and if “those days” weren’t cut short no one would survive; in other words, if it went on indefinitely, every human being would die. Yet we also saw that “for the elect’s sake,” the Great Tribulation will be cut short (it will last 3 ½ years according to Revelation 13:5). Who are the elect? They are Israelites who will turn in repentance and faith to God during that terrible period of time. For their sake God will cut short this period of judgment.  The Apostle Paul speaks of this in Romans 9:27-29, “Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, THE REMNANT WILL BE SAVED. For He will finish the work and CUT IT SHORT IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, because the LORD will make a SHORT WORK upon the earth.’ And as Isaiah said before: ‘Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had LEFT US A SEED, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah’.” This quotation from Isaiah had a partial fulfillment in Old Testament days when God, in mercy, saved a remnant of His people from utter destruction from their enemies. But Paul applies it to the future when another faithful remnant of Israelites will be passing through the Great Tribulation. Because of them, God will “cut it (the Great Tribulation) short in righteousness”; He will end His judgments on the earth by sending His Son to redeem His elect, the faithful remnant in Israel. This is borne out in the following passages:

“Immediately after THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS….the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).

“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 9:26).  (347.3)  (DO)