|“Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day; For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”|
If this “great tribulation” refers to 70 AD (and I’m convinced that it does) then the focus on the 20th century “holocaust” that suggests that particular tribulation is the greatest of all Jewish tribulations is unbiblical. Such a 20th century focus also does the work of minimizing the reason for this “great tribulation” of AD 70 that was found in the just punishment of the Jews for their crime in the crucifixion of the Christ and replaces it with a focus on the putative innocence of the Jews at the hands of those reported to have been Christians.
That what God calls “The great tribulation” as recompense for the Jewish crime of the slaughter of their Messiah has been the standard reading of Scripture up until the second half of the 20th century.
Many respected exegetes and theologians throughout history married this promised “great tribulation” as consequence to deicide just as they married the self-maledictory oath of Mat 27:25,
‘Then all the people answered and said, Let His blood be on us and on our children.’
with the blood of 1.1 million deaths in AD 70 at the hands of the Roman Armies.
Evidence of this connecting of AD 70 with the Jewish self-maledictory oath as standard Christian interpretation is seen in the examples below,
C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), wrote,
‘For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Read the record written by Josephus of the destruction of Jerusalem, and see how truly our Lord’s words were fulfilled. The Jews impiously said, concerning the death of Christ, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” Never did any other people invoke such an awful curse upon themselves, and upon no other nation did such a judgment ever fall. We read of Jews crucified till there was no more wood for making crosses; of thousands of the people slaying one another in their fierce faction fights within the city; of so many of them being sold for slaves that they became a drug in the market, and all but valueless; and of the fearful carnage when the Romans at length entered the doomed capital; and the blood-curdling story exactly bears out the Savior’s statement uttered nearly forty years before the terrible events occurred.’
And again in the pages of the Geneva Study Bible,
‘The destruction of Jerusalem was more terrible than anything that the world has ever witnessed, either before or since. Even Titus seemed to see in his cruel work the hand of an avenging God.’ (Commentary on Matthew, p. 412-413).
Matthew Henry offers,
“The Jews’ curse upon themselves has been awfully answered in the sufferings of their nation.”
If this reading is accurate then when we read in
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.
it informs us that the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was a greater tribulation than what is called today, “The Holocaust.”