Just as Our Lord’s Great Prophecy (Matthew 24) applies now to the close of the Gospel Age, it also applied to the close of the Jewish Age.
Jerusalem was sieged by the desolating Roman armies, bringing about a time of intense distress on the people. The famine and internal anarchy of this bleak period are legend. An opportunity for flight came in A.D. 68 when Roman forces returned to Rome. However, flight required faith and a willingness to suffer the pains of a refugee. Flight was the last and only remedy for the Jews. The flight was more difficult for those with children and those during the winter season (verses 19-20). Those were days of great distress and affliction. Had not the Lord intervened, the opportunity for this difficult flight would not have come. But for the “elect’s sake” [the faithful Jews] (verse 22) he did intervene, so that they were not swept away in the carnage that followed.
If we relate these same verses (Matthew 24:19-22) to the end of the Gospel Age, we can see that the Lord is the refuge for the true Christian fleeing Christendom. The flight will be difficult. Pray that it be not in the wintertime but in the more favorable summer time of harvest. The original Greek text (Matthew 24:22) in Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, reads, “And unless those days were cut short [cut off, amputated, Greek koloboo] No One could survive; but on account of the chosen, those days will be limited.” This translation implies that the Lord will cut the forces gathering for the last debacle. He will “hold back the four winds” to allow the saints living at the very end of this age to make their calling and election, until their sealing is complete.
Since we interpret Matthew 24:22 as meaning that there are still some “foot” members of the church on the scene during the very last days of the harvest who are in the process of working out their calling and election, the Lord will hold back the forces of Armageddon for their sakes or, on account of them, so that they can complete what they have started.