Instructions for the Tribulation
1. The Sign of the Tribulation (v.14)
2. The Urgency in the Tribulation (v.15-17)
3. The Extent of the Tribulation (v.18-20)
Josephus tells the story of that terrible siege in the fifth book of The Jewish Wars. He tells us that 97,000 were taken captive and 1,100,000 perished by slow starvation and the sword. He tells us, ‘Then did the famine widen its progress and devoured the people by whole houses and families. The upper rooms were full of women and children dying of starvation. The lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged. The children and the young men wandered about the market places like shadows, all swelled with famine, and fell down dead wheresoever their misery seized them. As for burying them, those that were sick themselves were not able to do it. And those that were hearty and well were deterred by the great multitude of the dead, and the uncertainty when they would die themselves, for many died as they were burying others, and many went to their own coffins before the fatal hour. There was no lamentation made under these calamities … the famine confounded all natural passions … A deep silence and a kind of deadly night had seized upon the city.’
4. The Deception in the Tribulation (v.21-22)
5. The Loving Warning of the Tribulation (v.23)
The Roman historian Dio describes just such a deluded allegiance. He was amazed at the Jewish resistance to the very end of the war when obviously everything was lost.
The Jews resisted [Titus] with more ardor than ever, as if it were a kind of windfall [an unexpected piece of luck] to fall fighting against a foe far outnumbering them, they were not overcome until a part of the Temple had caught fire. Then some impaled themselves voluntarily on the swords of the Romans, others slew each other, others did away with themselves or leaped into the flames. They all believed, especially the last, that it was not a disaster but victory, salvation, and happiness to perish together with the Temple.