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"...for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
--1 Corinthians 2:10b Mo Letters from David Berg and the Children of God / The Family

What is the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24?

The words "great tribulation" appear three times in the King James Version of the Bible. But are they all referring to the same event?

Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

I don't think these three Scriptures are all talking about the same event. You may dispute that. But this article is specifically about the tribulation Jesus was talking about in Matthew 24:21.

What do most evangelicals today teach about the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24? Some teach it's a future event of God's judgement on the wicked, and God's people will escape it in the Rapture. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think this is what John MacArthur teaches.

Others say the Great Tribulation is about the wicked persecuting the saints! They say this because they do not believe the Bible teaches a pre-tribulation rapture. I think so too. But is this really what the great tribulation of Matthew 24 is all about?

I hope you agree with me that the Bible is its own best interpreter. If that is true, shall we not look at what the two parallel passages of the other two synoptic Gospels in Mark and Luke have to say?

Mark 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.

Mark 13:19 is similar to Matthew 24:21 but rather than say "great tribulation" it says "affliction". Affliction on whom? Let's see what the Gospel of Luke has to say.

Luke 21:22-24 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

I hope you can see from the verses in Luke 21:22-24 that this is talking about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. It's talking about the wrath of God through the Roman army on the unbelieving Christ-rejecting Jews. How do I know that only Christ-rejecting Jews are the ones who are afflicted and slaughtered by the Romans? Because Jesus told His followers to flee Jerusalem and Judea when they see the Romans coming!

Luke 21:20-21 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. {21} Then let them which are in Judæa flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

And by the way, "Jerusalem compassed with armies" is the same thing as the abomination of desolation of Matthew 24:15!

Matthew 24:15-16 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) {16} Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

I hope you can see clearly that the parallel passage of Matthew 24:15-16 is Luke 21:20-21, It clearly defines the abomination of desolation as the armies of Rome. Rome was an abomination to the Jews and its armies made their capital city of Jerusalem desolate. It clearly tells Jesus' disciples what to do when they see the armies coming: To flee Jerusalem and Judea and run to the mountains. All the Christians who knew believed and obeyed Jesus' commandment were saved from slaughter by the Romans. The Christ-rejecting Jews believed the false prophets that they would be saved by running into the temple. They were all killed by the Romans! And this is all confirmed by secular history and the writings of Josephus.

To sum up: The great tribulation of Matthew 24 occurred in 70 ad. It was God's judgment through the Romans for rejection of their Messiah, Jesus Christ. It was a past event that will never happen again! Why do I think so? Because Jesus said so!

Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Mark 13:18-19 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. {19} For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.

Jesus told the high priest that he will see the Son of Man at the right hand of power.

Matthew 26:64-65 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. {65} Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

When do you think the high priest saw Jesus sitting at the right hand of power? It must have been when the high priest was still alive! I believe it was most likely during the attack on Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. It was 40 years later and the high priest was most likely still alive. When he saw Jesus up in the clouds, how could he not help but think God was punishing him and his people for rejecting Jesus of Nazareth as the very Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah!

Tess and James Arendt
James & Tess Arendt

My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom. My full bio.

If you like this website, you can show your appreciation by sending me a gift toward my support. My wife Tess and I moved from the island of Guam USA in June 2023 to the city of Allen in the province of Northern Samar, one of the poorer provinces in the Philippines. My only work is maintaining my websites, Deep Truths, and James Japan which costs me $300 per year now. And Tess is ministering to the local people giving them regular Bible Studies in three groups, children, teenagers and adults.

Photos of Tess's Bible study.

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Comments (2)

Topic: great-tribulation-matthew24.html
0/5 (0)
Daniel Clarke (Brisbane, Australia) says...
James, you cannot place the great tribulation mentioned in Matthew 24 at 70AD because “IMMEDIATELY AFTER the tribulation of those days …” is when Jesus appears n the clouds and the Rapture happens. (See Matt24:29-31 Rev6:12-13 KJV)
Daniel, I understand where you are coming from because I read the same Mo Letters as you have about Matthew 24. But now I believe Dad was misled by C.I. Scofield in his interpretation. Dad confessed he was indeed influenced by Scofield's eschatology in “THE DAILY SACRIFICE!” ML# 2902 7/93, He confessed that if Scofield is wrong, he is also wrong about the doctrines from  Scofield which he retains and holds as truth. Please read it for yourself from

I no longer look at any of Matthew 24 as an Endtime event. The tribulation spoken of in Matthew 24 was not the tribulation of the saints, it was the tribulation of the unbelieving Jews by the Roman army. If you compare Luke 21 with Matthew 24 it becomes clearer. Please see my class about it.

I'm not giving you something out of my own mind. I'm sharing what the early Protestant Reformers also taught and believed up to the end of the 18th century. Some mainline Protestant denominations like the Presbyterians still teach it. Dad was influenced by the Pentecostals who like the Baptists were under the influence of C.I. Scofield. Dad did reject some of Scofield's teachings such as about a secret pre-trib rapture, the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven (really no difference) and the doctrine of the Jews still being God's people, but unfortunately he is was influenced by some of Scofield's eschatology such as the interpretation of the 70th Week of Daniel, Matthew 24, and prophecies in Ezekiel and the Book of Revelation. I have come to see these prophecies in a new light, which is really not new at all but what the Protestant reformers used to teach. This is not the same thing as Preterism. It's called Historicism. I don't expect you to immediately accept everything I am telling you know, I just hope you might be willing to investigate the history of the popular Endtime doctrines for yourself. If you do, you will see most of them started with John Nelson Darby from 1830 which means the doctrines are not yet 200 years old.

I believe what's happening today is spiritual Armaggedon, the Devil's attack on the saints through mandatory vaccinations of what is not a real vaccine at all, but a bioweapon designed to KILL US. I hope you didn't get vaccinated. I didn't. I think that because you live in Brisbane you are facing the tyranny far more than I am in Guam. It's not that bad here. I never wear a mask outside and have never been told by the police I need to wear a mask or be arrested. Tell me please, did any prophet of God predict the Devil would use a fake pandemic to take away our civil liberties? Can we really "know the future in advance" as it says on your website? We know only what the Bible clearly tells us. We know Jesus is coming again to stop the madness. But when? A little less than 7 years after a rebuilt Temple of Solomon? Does the Bible really teach that? It turns out it's another one of Darby's and Scofield's interpretations which the evangelical world swallowed. 

21st January 2022 7:33am
Daniel Clarke (Brisbane, Australia) says...
James, let's take a look at your summation objectively. If I'd never read nor been influenced by a Mo letter or the C I Schofield Bible, and had only referred to the KJV Bible, then I could only conclude that Matthew 24 refers to Endtime prophecy, as Jesus was answering his disciples' question, "What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?" This event (Christ's return) has NOT happened yet, and therefore Matthew 24 about Endtimes and the return of Jesus. In Matthew 24, ... Read More
Daniel, again I say I understand your viewpoint because that's what I believed too until I learned the views of the Protestant Reformation leaders. May I please point out a few things that you might want to consider?

1. We should understand that the three synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke are all talking about the same prophecy in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. And if that is so, it behooves us to compare those three chapters with each other and see what light we can glean from them.

2. Based upon the merit of comparing Scripture with Scripture, let's look at what Mark and Luke have to say about Matthew 24:3:

Mark 13:4  Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

Luke 21:7  And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

Notice that neither Mark nor Luke say "end of the world." I believe this is a case where the KJV translators got it wrong. A better translation would be, "the end of the age". Meaning the end of the Jewish age which ended when the Lord sent the armies of Rome to destroy the Jews and Jerusalem for their rejection of Him. From that time on no Jew has been able to track his or her bloodline to their ancestors as they used to be able to do. The records were all destroyed.

I shared the "end of the age" interpretation with a Family sister who was a top leader and who I had known for decades. I could tell it gave her food for thought. You may still not agree with that interpretation, but please know this is how Bible commentators up to the end of the 18th century used to interpret Matthew 24:3

Luke clearly identifies what the Abomination of Desolation is;

Luke 21:20  ¶And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

How much clearer can it get? Luke says, "Jerusalem compassed with armies". What armies? The armies of Rome which destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD. And who was tribulated by them? The unbelieving Jews.

Luke 21:20  ¶And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21  Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

Who fled to the mountains from Judaea? The followers of Christ who knew and believed Jesus' prophecy! They all escaped the Roman armies and survived.

22  For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

Days of vengeance on whom? The unbelieving Jews who did not flee the Roman armies but stayed in Jerusalem and even fled into the Temple.

Brother, it all makes a whole lot of sense to me to see it in this light. And because most evangelical Christians do not interpret Matthew 24 as the end of the Jews as a people and a religion as far as God is concerned, they believe false doctrines that Israel is still God's chosen race of people and support a nation which is by definition antichrist. No wonder God has cursed America with so much evil and false ideologies coming from the Biben administration. And it looks like Australia, New Zealand and Canada may be suffering even more under the medical mandates than America. Jesuit-based evil doctrines have flooded the English-speaking evangelical world! If you still see the prophecy of Daniel 9:27 as something that is still not fulfilled but will be fulfilled in the future, you will not see that the Beast of Revelation 13 is solidly entrenched and ruling the world right NOW!

27th January 2022 10:25am
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