But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days! But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall (Matthew 24:19-21).
Luke's account gives additional details:
Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people, and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:23-24).
As is pointed out in Matthew, the Great Tribulation was to take place, not at the end of history, but in the middle, for nothing similar had occurred "from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. " Thus the prophecy of the Tribulation refers to the destruction of the Temple in that generation (a.d. 70) alone. It cannot be made to fit into some "double-fulfillment" scheme of interpretation; the Great Tribulation of a.d. 70 was an absolutely unique event, never to be repeated.
Josephus has left us an eyewitness record of much of the horror of those years, and especially of the final days in Jerusalem. It was a time when "the day-time was spent in the shedding of blood, and the night in fear"; when it was "common to see cities filled with dead bodies"; when Jews panicked and began indiscriminately killing each other; when fathers tearfully slaughtered their entire families, in order to prevent them from receiving worse treatment from the Remans; when, in the midst of terrible famine, mothers killed, roasted, and ate their own children (cf. Deut. 28:53); when the whole land "was all over filled with fire and blood"; when the lakes and seas turned red, dead bodies floating everywhere, littering the shores, bloating in the sun, rotting and splitting apart; when the Roman soldiers captured people attempting to escape and then crucified them — at the rate of 500 per day.
"Let Him be crucified! Let Him be crucified! His blood be on us, and on our children!" the apostates had cried forty years earlier (Matt. 27:22-25); and when it was all over, more than a million Jews had been killed in the seige of Jerusalem; close to a million more were sold into slavery throughout the empire, and the whole of Judea lay smoldering in ruins, virtually depopulated. The days of vengeance had come with horrifying, unpity-ing intensity. In breaking her covenant, the holy city had become the Babylonish whore; and now she was a desert, "the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird" (Rev. 18:2).
If He did not rise, but is still dead, how is it that He routs and persecutes and overthrows the false gods, whom unbelievers think to be alive, and the evil spirits whom they worship? For where Christ is named, idolatry is destroyed and the fraud of evil spirits is exposed; indeed, no such spirit can endure that Name, but takes to flight on sound of it. This is the work of One Who lives, not of one dead; and, more than that, it is the work of God.
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Preparing for Armageddon, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Strikes, the Zombie Apocalypse, and Every Other Threat to Human Life on Earth. Most of us have thought about how we would handle various types of scenarios that could signal the end of the world. There are plenty of movies on the subject, psychological papers, and even survivalists that are part of reality TV shows. Perhaps you have had dreams about being one of the few left and what you would do in order to survive.