HOW ARE THE DAYS OF MATTHEW 24:22 “SHORTENED?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
We read in Matthew chapter 24: “ For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
This chapter outlines the events leading up to Christ’s Second Coming. Verses 4-14 of Matthew chapter 24 are the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week (see Daniel 9:24-27—a “week” here equals seven years, like our English word “dozen” means 12). Verses 15-22 are the midpoint. Verse 23 onward is the second half, leading up to the Second Coming itself (verses 30-31, for example). For more information on timing, note these quick facts: Revelation 11:2 speaks of 42 months or 1260 days (3½ years), whereas Revelation 12:6 and Revelation 13:5 concern another 42 months (3½ years). Overall, these are the final seven years of Daniel’s prophecy, that which will occur after our Dispensation of Grace runs its course and we the Church the Body of Christ have been removed from Earth. Remember, the 490 years of Daniel chapter 9 concern Israel and Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24)—not us!
We understand these seven years are halved—divided in two. For several reasons (beyond the scope of this study), Divine wrath progressively intensifies and conditions increasingly deteriorate. Revelation chapters 6–18 cover all seven years, with the Antichrist arising in chapter 6 and Jesus Christ returning in chapter 19. Read these passages in order, and notice the escalating judgment and suffering! There will be great wars, various horrific diseases, astronomical anomalies, devastating earthquakes, carnivorous animals eating people, evil spirits tormenting human society, extreme drought and famine, Israel’s believers in Jesus Christ being imprisoned and executed for refusing to follow Antichrist, and numerous other crises. Matthew 24:21 summarizes the second half of Daniel’s 70th Week, in Jesus’ words, as “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Those concluding 42 months are particularly noteworthy. We see them in terms of years in Revelation 12:14: “a time  and times [+2], and half a time [+½].”
“Shortened” in Matthew 24:21-22 is not to be taken in the sense of reducing a day to 23 hours instead of its usual 24, subtracting years from the seven, removing days from months, making a month less than four weeks, or anything of the sort. Otherwise, we start “readjusting” the entire 490-year period predicted in Daniel 9:24, redefining these “weeks,” and increasingly losing their precision with every modification. If the Bible speaks of “a thousand two hundred and threescore  days” (Revelation 11:3), individual days are important here and thus cannot be deleted.
Here is how we are to understand Matthew 24:21-22: “ For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” The severity of Daniel’s 70th Week becomes so great, the loss of life inflates to such an extent during its last half, that if God does not restrict it to a mere 42 months, no one would be left alive! In order for “flesh” (physical bodies) to be “saved” (delivered, surviving), He limits that latter half to 3½ years. An exact schedule has been established, so Daniel’s 70th Week cannot and will not go on indefinitely. If Almighty God permitted those dangerous days to go beyond that allotted time frame, no flesh would be saved. Again, the issue here is not soul salvation (justification unto eternal life, forgiveness of sins). It is physical salvation—a deliverance of flesh-and-blood bodies. Consequently, members of Israel’s Little Flock (“the elect”) are alive and waiting for Christ to come back for them!
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