Q. I understand that the first abomination of desolation rendered the temple unfit for used in about 167BC and that the altar to the pagan god Zeus Olympus was set up in about 168BC by Antiochus Epiphanes prefiguring a similar abomination that Jesus Christ predicted would be erected in Matthew 24:15. In Revelation 13:5-7, the antichrist is seen in the future to make war with the church! Before the rapture, will the present church undergo prosecution like in the days of the first abomination when worshipers in the temple in Jerusalem were falling by the sword, burned, captured, or plundered?
A. Rev. 13:7 says the anti-Christ will be given power to make war against the saints and to overcome them. But in Matt. 16:18 Jesus said the gates of Hell will never overcome the Church. Therefore the saints in Rev. 13:7 are tribulation believers not the Church. Rev. 13:7 takes place shortly after the beginning of the Great Tribulation, and by then the Church will already be gone.
However, we should all remember that the Church has always undergone persecution, and is experiencing some of the worst right now. On average more Christians are dying for their faith in the world today than did during the Roman persecution of the 1st and 2nd centuries.
The only persecution the Church will escape is that which takes place during the last seven years before the 2nd Coming, the period known as Daniel’s 70th Week, or the time of God’s wrath.