Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short
This is an amazing passage because it clearly talks about God altering the time-stream so that a particular event does not happen. The idea that Jesus speaks of is that history – once started down the path of the tribulation – will be moving towards the complete destruction of all believers. That is what will happen and yet for the sake of the elect, God keeps that from happening so that not every believer dies in the persecution and destruction that is going on.
This is a fascinating case because it seems clear that God could alter the severity of the persecution if He wanted, but He does not. He allows it to take a course which will lead to the ultimate death of every believer, but then at the end He alters its course. He wants it that severe but not to flow completely where it is going.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.