15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath day. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elects sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in heaven, and then the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
In Jesus’ prophecy, after the abomination of desolation is set up, we see a time of great trouble ensuing on the earth. The presence of the abomination of desolation is actually a God given sign—when you see it—then know not only that there will then be a time of great trouble; but also, of the nearness of the coming of the Son of Man immediately after. And the troubles will be so intense and catastrophic that Jesus said, unless those days were shortened no flesh would be saved. In the NIV it says, no flesh would survive.
Jesus in his prophecy just sketches us an outline saying there will be a time of great tribulation after the abomination of desolation is set up, followed immediately after by the appearing of the Son of Man in the heavens to gather the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. It’s the revelation in Daniel that adds the details: the who, why, and where of the abomination of desolation; the last king from the north; even when and how long these astonishing things will last!
Let’s put some color to the sketch, and fill in the details as we go to the passage that Jesus makes reference to in Daniel.