Jesus continues his teaching using eschatological, apocalyptic language. Preachers used to use passages like this to scare me to death and keep me from sleeping for a few nights. Jesus is teaching his disciples to trust God and persevere.
Let’s divide the passage in two.
Some would like to place this section totally into the future, but, in my view, that is untenable if you know history at all. There was a terrible war that lasted from AD 66 to 70 wherein the Romans put down all rebellion and reduced Jerusalem and the Temple to ruins. Can’t ignore that.
My view is that this situation is in the mind of Jesus as he teaches, but there may be more. What about the time between the destruction of the Temple and the second coming of Jesus? We could look that this passage and say there will be continued tribulation. God’s people among the Jews will suffer along with the rest, all because of the leaders who were misleaders. Christians through the ages will suffer for the name of Jesus.
In my view, the “abomination of desolation” probably refers to the misuse of the Temple apparatus by the priestly class, using it for power rather than worship. The prophets had warned about what God really wanted and the priests continued with the status quo. Judgment starts there. The destruction of the Temple is the beginning of the end. What Matthew did not know is that 2000 years later we would still be waiting for the end of the end.
In the meantime there are lots of false prophets and false messiahs to lead people the wrong way. They are everywhere.
Jesus says there are no secrets involved in this coming. It will be like a lightning flash that lights the whole sky. You won’t miss it.
So don’t look for esoteric secrets or hidden messiahs. Wait for Jesus with patience and persevere through whatever comes. It will be worth it.
Your kingdom come!