Question: When is this great persecution that is being talked about in Matthew 24. Also when it says that the gospel shall be first preached to all nations. Is this talking about before the rapture (for there are many that say that Jesus can not come until everyone hears the gospel) or is this refering to the time of the great tribulation?
Answer: This persecution spoken of here is mainly focusing on Israel during the 7 year great tribulation. Mathew 24:14 says "and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a WITNESS unto all nations; and THEN! SHALL THE END COME! The END Meaning the end when Christ returns with all the saints with Him and destroys the armies of the antichrist and saves Israel; and NOT THE GREAT CATCHING AWAY OF THE CHURCH OR (RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH) which will take place before the 7 year tribulation can begin.
1Thessalonians 2:6-8 says ’’and now you know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time. For the mistery of iniquity does already work; only HE who now LETS (HOLDS BACK OR RESTRAINS) will LET (HOLD BACK or RESTRAIN) until HE (THE CHURCH) be taken out of the way. AND THEN shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming!”
Many people try to place an event before Christ can come back for His church, whether it's the preaching of the gospel to all nations or the rebuilding of the temple, ect, but we are to look for Him to come at any moment WHILE preaching the gospel and warning those about the wrath to come. Jesus said in Luke 21:36 "Watch therefore and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT SHALL COME TO PASS, and to stand before the Son of man”
In Mathew 24:15-22 Jesus is warning those jews during the 7 year tribulation. He tells them when they see the abomination of desolation in the temple (that is when the antichrist breaks his 7 year peace treaty with Israel and sets up his image in the temple in the middle of Daniel's 70th week 3 1\2 years into the great tribulation) to "run into the mountains". Jeremiah 30:7 describes this as "a time of JACOBS TROUBLE and has nothing to do with the church. It is the time when God will ultimately bring Israel back to Himself.
Zeck 12:10 says ”and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for Him as one that mourns for his only son!” Praise God! Amen.