What shall be the sign of thy coming?
What shall be the sign of... the end of the world?
What they Believe
When Jesus came unto His own, that is the Jewish nation Israel, His way was prepared by John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness, saying, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-3). There were in those days some who were “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25) and “the kingdom of God” (Mark 15:43) according to the promise of God to David, who was set “to be ruler over my people, over Israel” (2 Samuel 7:8). The Lord told David, “Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime” (2 Samuel 7:10).
The Lord told David, “that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son...” (2 Samuel 7:12-14, Luke 1:32-33). And in a prophetic utterance David replied, “but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come.” (2 Samuel 7:19)
Now indeed, God did establish David's house through his son Solomon (1 Kings 2:24), which because of gross sin and idolatry was divided and in time, both divisions were carried away into captivity by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. But David said, “thou hast spoken ALSO of thy servant's house for a great while to come.” God was not only speaking of the physical seed of the house of Israel, He was also speaking of His “servant's house” far off in the future, who is introduced in Isaiah 42:1-7 and Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12, namely Jesus Christ, “a son over his own house” (Hebrews 3:6), speaking not of the house of Israel, God's earthly people, but a spiritual nation, with an heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1), who are distinct from that of Moses' ministry to the Hebrews and the house of Israel (Hebrews 3:1-6), which by the way, did not annul all the promises of God to the nation Israel.
So, we must understand, that God's people Israel, were promised a place of their own to dwell in. God promised to David that He would make Him a house, a royal dynasty if you will, and of his seed one would sit upon the throne of his kingdom forever.
Now at the time, there was a counterfeit kingdom which Satan offered to Christ (Luke 4:5-7). All roads led to Rome in that day, not to Jerusalem, and the proxy kings during the life of Christ were Edomites, of the Herodian dynasty, not any of the line of David.
Surely those who were familiar with the Scriptures must have been anticipating the time of the coming Kingdom, for Messiah was scheduled to appear at any moment according to the prophecy of Daniel's 70 weeks (Daniel 9:24-27). Since the time of their Babylonian Captivity, Jerusalem was being trodden down of the Gentiles. But now there was a spark of hope, that perhaps a new day would dawn for God's people Israel, and it came in the form of a man clothed with camel's hair and skins, eating locusts and wild honey, to whom Jesus would profess, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11).
After Jesus was baptised of John, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) As He went forth “preaching the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23; 9:35), He performed many mighty signs and miracles saying that these were the works His Father sent Him to do (John 5:36), thereby authenticating that He was the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:30-31). A growing crowd was acknowledging that He was the Son of David and just days before His Passion, He was presented to them as their coming King (Matthew 21:5). Multitudes acknowledged Him as such (Matthew 21:9), but this sorely displeased the religious rulers (Matthew 21:15) who, for some time now, had been seeking how they might destroy Him (Matthew 21:38; 12:14, John 7:1).
In the final days before His Passion, being vehemently rejected by the religious rulers, He laid out one of the fiercest condemnations of them for their hypocrisy (Matthew 23). Their fathers were guilty of the blood of the prophets and they would fill up their measure so that the blood of all the saints would be upon them in their generation. The cup of their iniquity was now full after centuries of God's longsuffering, and the imminent destruction of their city and Temple was nigh at hand.
Jesus concluded His indictment saying, “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple” (Matthew 23:38-39; 24:1).
Herein is a brief context of the time and days leading up to Matthew 24 that prompted His disciples to ask the three questions at the beginning of His Olivet discourse. All three of these questions were answered, and not necessarily in the order they were asked. So, let us be reminded of the admonition of the apostle Paul to Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) It is implied here that the truth can also be wrongly divided, so to get it right takes not just a casual read over, but careful study. This is the difference between milk and meat. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:13-14).
Jesus concluded, after His long discourse on the parables of the kingdom, saying, “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52) It will be near impossible to get a clear understanding of the kingdom of heaven without an in-depth knowledge of both the Old and New Testaments. Much of the New Testament is taken directly out of the Old Testament, so without the background context, it is rather easy to go down the wrong path. Unfortunately, many “New Testament Churches” spend very little time expounding the great truths of the Bible found in the Old Testament, and the resulting derangement is in part the reason why there are so many false views out there today.
The first question the disciples asked Christ was, “when shall these things be?” Jesus had said, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:38) In parable, Jesus had already told them of the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 22:7). He had just wept over Jerusalem for their staunch rejection of the King of glory. But their question came as a direct result after “his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple”, to which He replied, “...See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2) It is here they asked, “...when shall these things be?”, that is, the destruction of the city and their Temple.
Jesus had said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:23) The house of worship, wherein the Lord would dwell, was no longer “my house”. The Glory, veiled in human flesh, departed from the temple and now calls it “your house” and that it “...is left unto you desolate” indicating His departure from it, never to dwell therein again.
Matthew, Mark and Luke all record portions of the Olivet Discourse, and the answer to the timing of the destruction of the Temple is primarily dealt with by Luke. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:20-24)
This is what happened in A.D. 70, when the Roman armies under Titus Vespasian invaded Judaea. They laid siege to the doomed city Jerusalem, and destroyed the Temple so that literally, not one stone of the Temple was left standing upon another. This was also foretold in Daniel 9:26, first “Messiah [shall] be cut off”, then the Roman armies “shall destroy the city and the sanctuary”.
The murder of Christ on Calvary's hill called for vengeance and wrath upon this people and that nation, in their generation. Although stern retribution was poured out upon the Jews and their rulers for the murder of their Messiah, and they were scattered to the four corners of the world, this event also opened up a new chapter and a new day, the day of grace, whereby salvation is now extended to the Gentiles (Acts 15:14), that is, redemption and pardon of sin by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. The preaching of the glorious gospel of the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) was now to be preached in all the world and in every nation beginning at Jerusalem.
The second question they asked was, “what shall be the sign of thy coming”? As already discussed, Jesus had foretold the coming destruction of their city and Temple. He said, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple” (Matthew 23:38-39; 24:1).
This reminds us of another sad day in the history of Israel, where the glory of the Lord departed from the Temple (Ezekiel 8:6; 9:3; 10:4, 18-19; 11:23) because of Israel's gross apostasy. Their Temple was then destroyed and they were taken into Babylonian captivity for 70 years (Jeremiah 12:7; 22:5; 25:11). “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) What is a temple but sticks and stones if the Lord of glory abide not therein? Who shall defend the city if the Lord depart from it (Psalm 18:2). Jesus said, “your house is left unto you desolate... and departed from the temple" (Matthew 23:38; 24:1).
He told them, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” This is likely what prompted them to ask, “what shall be the sign of thy coming”? Perhaps there were other things Jesus said that were on the back of their minds also (John 14:1-3, Luke 19:11-12, Mark 13:34-37), along with many of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Seed of David who would establish the everlasting Kingdom centered in Jerusalem.
Just earlier, as He entered Jerusalem on a donkey, the multitude “...that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:9) But just days later, this same mindless crowd, being persuaded of the rulers of Israel, condemned Him to be crucified (Matthew 27:20-22), and they “...killed the Prince of Life” (Acts 3:13-15). Jesus could have called for 12 legions of angels (Matthew 26:53-54), but for this hour was He come, to lay down His life, to be a sacrifice and a sweet smelling savor unto God, not only for the Jew, but for salvation unto the ends of the earth (Acts 13:47).
“For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that He should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.” (Acts 13:27-31)
Jesus departed from the Temple and would no longer be seen of the nation Israel, as just days later He would depart from them in death. He would only be seen of His own after His resurrection. Then He would ascend back to His Father's house, where He would go and prepare a place for His Bride, the Church, whom He would betroth with the pledge and promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit who would abide with and within every believer until He catches them away to be with Him forever, when they shall partake in the marriage of the Lamb.
But to the Jews in Jerusalem, He said, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:38-39) Israel should not see their Messiah again UNTIL they say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” While Israel has been trickling back into the Promised Land, and is now a sovereign state, she is still dead in trespasses and sins, and does not yet appear ready to say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” “...blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25), but we can see that day drawing nigh when they shall call upon the blessed name of the Lord.
Jesus gave many signs of His coming, but for Israel, it would be primarily that sign spoken of in Matthew 24:29-30, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes [Gr. phule; tribes, kindred] of the earth mourn [Gr. kopto], and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
It should be noted that of the 31 times the word “tribes” is used in the New Testament, it refers to the 12 tribes of Israel. And if you are not sure, look to the Old Testament Scripture that Jesus was quoting (Zechariah 12:9-14; 13:1). And again, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds [Gr. phule; tribes, kindred] of the earth shall wail [Gr. kopto; mourn] because of him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:7) Both of these verses in Matthew and Revelation are direct quotes from Zechariah 12:10 and refer to “the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem”.
Jesus told them, “if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:23-27)
His Second Coming will be no secret event. Every eye shall see Him (Revelation 1:7). As “the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:27) Some have claimed the Pre-trib rapture is false because it claims there are two Second Comings. This is ridiculous. The Rapture and the Second Coming are two separate events. In the Rapture, the church is “...caught up ... in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), the Second Coming is Christ's return to the earth with His saints at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19).
Jesus was “...the stone which the builders rejected” (Psalm 118:22-26), and because of His rejection He said, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:42-45, Isaiah 8:14-15). Some have said that this “nation” is the Church. That is not so. While there may be an application, as we see in 1 Peter 2:3-10, the Church is an “spiritual house”, not the promised house of David (2 Samuel 7:11, 16) which at the present time is “fallen down” (Acts 15:14-17) during the “times of the Gentiles”. But God promised to restore Israel when they turn to Him in repentance and hearken to His Word, “And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers” (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). They “...shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:3) Israel, one future day, shall bring “forth the fruits” of the kingdom in their season.
The violent thought they could take the kingdom by force and seize upon His inheritance, but the kingdom would now be postponed as Christ goes to a “far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return”. This same “stone” that the builders rejected, would be the “stone” that one day will return and smite the kingdoms of this world, and His kingdom shall fill the whole earth (Daniel 2:35, 44-45).
This is what we see in the text of Daniel, as Christ goes back to His Father and was “...given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom” (Daniel 7:13-14), even the title deed to the whole earth as we see given to Him in Revelation chapter 5. This was also foretold in the second Psalm, “I shall give thee ... the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:7-8). He hath “made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2) and has therefore been “appointed heir of all things”.
Now in Daniel's vision, he saw, “one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days” (Daniel 7:13). After the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus told Mary Magdalene, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). There is no question that the “Ancient of days” was His Father. He had come down from the glories of heaven, and as He promised, was going back to His Father's house to prepare a place for those who believed on Him (John 14:1-4). He would dwell with them yet for 40 days showing “...himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) and then ascend back to His Father, 10 days prior to Pentecost.
When Jesus ascended up into heaven, “...while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." Just then, two men appeared testifying, “...this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9, 11). When Jesus was on His mock trial, “...the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:61-62).
The High priest knew that the Messiah (Christ) would be the Son of God (Psalm 2:2, 7). The Jews also knew that the Christ would proceed from the bowels of David and reign over the nations (Psalm 132:11, 17, John 7:42). Now when Jesus answered the High priest, he also knew the reference from Daniel 7:13, and Psalm 110:1. David said, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1), but here David calls Him Lord, and that He is the One who is set at God's right hand.
He is not just David's Son, He is not merely a descendant of David, He is David's Lord. He is “...the root and the offspring of David” (Revelation 21:16), He is the only begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus proved that He is both Lord and Christ, set on God's right hand. He is “...declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). This is how Paul interpreted the Second Psalm saying, “...he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33). The Son of man is the Son of God, He is David's Lord, and when He returns, He will be coming in “the clouds of heaven” from His Father's throne to make His enemies His footstool.
Now when He does return, Jesus said, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). Jesus Christ is that sign (Luke 2:34, Matthew 12:39-40), the crucified and risen Lord coming in the clouds of heaven, who is set for the “fall and rising again of many in Israel”. John said in the Revelation, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds [Gr. phule; tribes, kindred] of the earth shall wail [Gr. kopto; mourn] because of him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:7) The Jews were responsible for “piercing” Him, and when they see their Messiah coming, they shall mourn because of Him (Zechariah 12:10).
This shall be THE sign to Israel, and shall undoubtedly remind them of the numerous times the LORD of Glory appeared to them in the Old Testament. “Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory.” (Ezekiel 10:4, Exodus 16:11; 24:16; 40:34-35, Numbers 16:42; 1 Kings 8:11, etc.)
His Second Coming will be no secret event. Every eye shall see Him. As “...the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:27) The sun and the moon shall be darkened and in a flash of light, the heavens shall open and He shall return in the clouds, in great glory with “all His saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13).
When He returns the second time, it will not be to a virgin's womb, nor to be born in a manger, it will not be to suffer and die for the sins of the world and rise from the dead. This He did once and fulfilled at His first coming. His sufferings must come first, but His second coming will be in great power and glory.
We are told He is coming to set up His Kingdom. He told His disciples to pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven.” When He returns, He will be coming to judge the world in righteousness, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, to execute judgment against “that Wicked”, whom He “...shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). He shall “...smite the nations” (Revelation 19:15) and “,...destroy the sinners thereof out of it” (Isaiah 13:8-9), and “slay” His “enemies” (Luke 19:27) who would not have Him to reign over them.
In the meantime, He is at His Father's right hand, interceding for us daily (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25), but when He returns, it will be to “make thine enemies thy footstool.” “Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure... Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel” (Psalm 2:5, 9).
Just as a “cloud received Him out of their sight”, when He returns, He shall be coming in the clouds. We see the “heaven open” and the brightness of His coming, “above the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13), even “the brightness of the LORD'S glory” (Ezekiel 10:4), as He appeared on the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17:2; 2 Peter 1:16-18), coming with all His saints to execute judgment (Revelation 19:11-21).
“Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14-15).
At this time, “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)
Let us first understand, that they did not have in mind the end of the world as some would think when there shall be a new heavens and earth. The word for “world” here is “aion”, which is a period of time, and also translated as “age”. They were asking, what shall be the sign that we are at the end of this present age before Christ returns to set up His kingdom?
Just before the ascension of Jesus back to heaven, His disciples still had this question on their minds. Jesus had been with them 40 days after His resurrection, “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). When the day came for Christ to depart from them, they had only one burning question on their mind, “they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) Jesus had been telling them about the kingdom of God, He told them to wait in Jerusalem, and perhaps it was at this time they remembered His parable of the nobleman, which He spoke “...because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” (Luke 19:11-12)
At any rate, after their conversations with Him, this left them with no question in their mind, after Christ divulged to them “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God,” that this present age would draw to a close, and that Christ would restore the kingdom to Israel. But for now, Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:7-11)
Jesus shall come again and restore the kingdom to Israel. There is no question about it as there is a multitude of passages in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures pertaining to this truth. This was still the message after Pentecost, “Ye men of Israel... Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:12, 19-21)
So the disciples in Matthew 24 wanted to know what signs there would be to indicate that this present age was coming to an end. We shall break this up into several sections.
First, Jesus spoke concerning the general course of history that would precede and lead up to the end of this present age. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:4-8)
There are several noteworthy points that we should not glance over here. The very first thing on the list was deception. Paul had told Timothy concerning the last days that “...evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:1, 13) Deception would wax worse and worse, and so, there would be a steady descent down the slippery road to total delusion and apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
Many imposters and counterfeits would arise from within and without (Acts 20:28-31). These deceitful workers are really ministers of Satan who appear as ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Neither is this anything that is necessarily new for the first century church in Thyatira was already tolerating “that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” (Revelation 2:20) Even as Peter said, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you... And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2 Peter 2:1-2)
Secondly, this deception would come in the form of many, coming in the name of Jesus, saying that they are Christ. In a general sense, Christ means Anointed One. So many would come in Jesus name saying they are Christ, His anointed ones. This seems to be a popular trend within the modern day Charismatic Movement. They are not coming saying they are Jesus Christ, they are coming in the Name of Jesus, saying “I am Christ”. There is a difference. We should make mention that every true believer is anointed of the Holy Spirit, so there is not a special class of “Christians” that have any anointing other than that of the Holy Spirit when they are born again (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:27) and “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13).
There would also be “wars and rumors of wars”. It is interesting to note that never before this past century have we seen, not one but two world wars, and every day there is rumor of another world war right on the horizon. Wars and rumors of wars would be the characteristic of this present age, but in this generation, warfare has increase to a new level with the sophistication of our weapons and the ability to mass transit whole armies to the other side of the world, in a short time frame.
The armies of the world are no longer limited to swords and spears. Because of nuclear, chemical, and biological weaponry, the “weapons of mass destruction”, there is now a real possibility to fulfill that which Christ said, “except those days should be shortened [before His Second Coming], there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:22). Although this may have an application here, I think the direct context is saying (Matthew 24:15-22), that there would not be any of the seed of Israel left on earth.
At any rate, these are not to trouble the believer. He should not have a panic attack or any anxiety because Jesus said, “...all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet”. He went on to say, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”. Not only would the kingdoms of this world be rising up against one another, but within these kingdoms there would be terrible racism and internal anarchy. The word “nation” comes from the Greek word “ethnos”, which is where we get our idea of ethnic group. Before these last days, most of the nations or people groups abode in their own country of origin, but Daniel was told that at “the time of the end: many shall run to and fro” (Daniel 12:4). The nations are now getting mixed up migrating to other parts of the world. Many countries are experimenting with “multiculturalism” and it does not appear to be working, primarily because of a drift away from Biblical values resulting in love waxing cold, hatred in the hearts of men, resulting in many being so easily offended. This is a real and horrible trend.
Jesus also said there would be “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Daniel was told that in the end of time, “knowledge shall increase” and today we have much data and information available whereby we can trend and chart the frequencies and intensities of all these factors. Jesus concluded this section by saying, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” This word “sorrows” has the idea of birth pains and is so used in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, where it is used to describe the days leading up to the Day of the Lord, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
If anyone has experienced or been a witness to birth pains, they know that they arrive suddenly, and then increase in frequency and intensity until the child is born. Furthermore, when a woman becomes pregnant, although she does not know the day or the hour, she is very much aware of the “times and the seasons”, her “due date” if you will, when the child is expected to come into the world. Even before the pains begin, they are suspicious that they could start at any time as they see the day approaching.
At any rate, by the time the first six seals are opened during the beginning of the tribulation (Revelation 6:1-17), we see that wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes has reached a level never before seen in all of history, so that by that time one quarter of the earth's population has perished. In today's terms, that is several billion people. Furthermore, even the enemies of God by that time are forced to admit that, “...the great day of his wrath is come...” as they witness the earth reeling to and fro like a drunkard because of her iniquity (Isaiah 24:19-22).
So, in Matthew 24:4-8, Jesus gives us a general outline of what is called, “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) leading up to the end of the age. At this point He now proceeds to give them what may be termed, signs, not for the rapture, but of His Second Coming which will end this present world order.
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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.” (Matthew 24:9-14)
Now I think at this point, there is a new focus that comes into view that is indicated by the word “Then.” And certainly, in this portion we could make many applications to the day we live in. But Jesus says, “Then shall they deliver you up.” Jesus had just described the present course of history like that of a woman travailing in pain. When the time of birth draws nigh, when the birth pangs intensify, the woman is usually taken to the delivery room. Jesus says, “Then shall they deliver you up.”
First we must ask, who is “they” and who is “you”? Jesus was talking to His disciples, and just before this Jesus was speaking of the nations and the kingdoms. “Then shall they deliver you up”. We must understand that at this time the disciples were strictly speaking Israelites. They were Jews. There was not a Gentile among them. The church did not exist at that time, not until Pentecost, after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. It was not until Pentecost that His disciples were baptized into the body of Christ which is the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, Colossians 1:18, 24, John 7:38-39). Even after Pentecost there was still a transition period between the old and new covenants (Hebrews 8:13), which had the oversight of the apostles, who guided the church under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit until the canon of Scripture was complete. We can read all about this period in “The Acts of the Apostles”.
Nevertheless, it is at this point in Matthew 24 that they shall enter the delivery room. It is the time that Jeremiah spoke of pertaining to the children of Israel. The Lord first says, “I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers” (Jeremiah 30:1-3). Israel will first be brought back into the land.
He then goes on to say, “...these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” (Jeremiah 30:4-7) After they are brought back into the land, they shall enter the delivery room.
This is what Paul is talking about, when the Day of the Lord comes. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). The prophet Isaiah said the same thing (Isaiah 13:8-9).
So, before Christ ascended to heaven, He was “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). His disciples then asked, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) Jesus replied, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:7). For now the restoration of the kingdom to Israel would be delayed. They were to wait in Jerusalem for the Comforter to come, that they might be empowered to witness for Christ unto the ends of the earth. But concerning “the times and the seasons”, “that day” would come as a thief in the night, at which time Israel shall travail in pain to be born and the Kingdom of God shall come into view.
Let it be understood, that when the Lord speaks concerning the “times and the seasons” (Acts 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:1), He is speaking of removing kings and setting up kings (Daniel 2:21, Revelation 11:15). The Second Psalm speaks of this time. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (Psalm 2:1-6)
After WWI, the Jews began to trickle back into their ancient homeland. Jesus said, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake”. This certainly gives us sharp imagery of the Holocaust of the Jews during WWII, and we have not even entered the time of Jacob's Trouble. The imagery of Ezekiel's “valley of dry bones” are like the images right out of the holocaust that seemed to trigger the return of the Jews back to their land in unbelief (Read Ezekiel 37).
Jesus said, “...then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another… And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Iniquity, many offended, betrayal, hatred, and cold lovelessness will be the gross darkness that will sweep the land in that day. Today, we are definitely trending in that direction. Think of all the snowflakes today who are so easily “offended” by anyone who has a slight disagreement with them. These spoiled babies cannot handle the least bit of controversy. The slightest difference with anyone triggers a major meltdown. They need their baby cribs and soothers and safe spaces so as to not trigger a meltdown. To make things worse, all the alphabet networks are there to promote their sulking.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Let us be clear, salvation does not come by enduring to the end, holding on, standing fast, or any other self effort. The wages of sin is death! That is it. You cannot pay for your sins by “enduring”. Salvation is not an endurance race. Salvation is offered to mankind only on the basis of Christ's atoning death for our sins and His resurrection from the dead, and whosoever will believe and call on Him for salvation shall be saved. There is no other way! There is none other Name whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). You either receive the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior of your soul or you don't. During the time of Jacob's Trouble, many will be purged (Zechariah 13:8-9), "He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it" (Isaiah 13:9). “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
The disciples had asked Jesus about the “end of the world”. During the Time of Jacob's Trouble many would perish, but those who would endure to the end of that time, these are they who would see Jesus coming in the clouds, returning to save His people Israel. They shall call upon the name of Jesus, and He shall hear them, and return to deliver them. At that time He says of Judah and Israel, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 24:7; 31:33; 32:38, Ezekiel 11:20; 37:23, 27, Zechariah 8:8; 13:9)
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem… In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” (Zechariah 13:9-14; 14:1)
In that day, Israel shall finally find repentance and believe the gospel. But, remember for now, “that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27)
During that time Jesus said, “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.” Jesus had also told His disciples, “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” (Matthew 10:23). Although their commission was to go into all the world and preach the gospel, the completion of this task would not be fulfilled until the time that the tribulation saints take the testimony of Jesus unto the uttermost parts of the earth, when the focus will be on the coming kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13-14).
At that time none shall miss the voice of His call, and if any had missed hearing from the ministers of the gospel during that time, we read, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Revelation 14:6-7)
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand: Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)
Luke had given the answer as to when the imminent destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple would take place. Let us look at this again. He said, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:20-24)
We need to recognize that Luke and Matthew are focusing on two different events in time. When Matthew made similar statements, he was not speaking of the first century destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Luke was saying to watch for armies encompassing Jerusalem as the signal to flee from the imminent destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Matthew was not speaking of the destruction of the Temple, he was saying to flee when they saw the Abomination of Desolation stand in the “holy place”. Matthew was not speaking of the time that Israel would “be led away captive into all nations”, as Luke was, not at all. Rather, he was looking to that future time when Israel would be brought BACK from their captivity (Jeremiah 30:3, Ezekiel 39:25-29, Joel 3:1-2, Amos 9:11-15, Zephaniah 3:18-20).
They would be back to the land in unbelief as can be carefully observed in Ezekiel 37:1-28. Matthew was referring to that future time commonly known as the Great Tribulation. He says, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” If you want to know as to whom this time pertains read Daniel 12:1, Jeremiah 30:7, Joel 2:1-2, etc. This is referring to “them which be in Judaea” and they are to “flee into the mountains” when they see “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place”.
This takes place during the “time of Jacob's Trouble”. Jacob is Israel. Daniel was told, “Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city” (Daniel 9:24). Daniel's people are the Jews, the holy city is Jerusalem. Daniel was told that in the Seventieth Week, the final 7 years that were determined upon Daniel's people (the Jews) and Jerusalem, that “...in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27) Three and one half years into the final Seventieth Week, Antichrist shall set up an idol of himself in the newly built temple at Jerusalem and shall demand the world to worship him or be killed (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Daniel 8:11; 11:36, Revelation 13:14-15). This is when those that are in Judea are to flee to the mountains.
Daniel addressed this time again in chapter 12 where He was told about “...the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered” (Daniel 12:1, Matthew 24:21). This “time of trouble” is “Jacob's Trouble”. This will take place at “the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4). Jesus disciples wanted to know the “signs ... of the end”. He referred them to what the Prophet Daniel had spoken, “...the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up” (Daniel 12:11, Matthew 24:15). Daniel was told at that time, “the children of thy people ... shall be delivered”, and “shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7). Who is Daniel's people? “Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Romans 11:26-27)
Daniel was told, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24-27) Seventy Weeks (490 years) would go by where God would be dealing specifically with Daniel's people Israel, and Jerusalem. During the last “week”, Jerusalem would become a cup of trembling to all people round about (Zechariah 12:1-3) and Israel would go through “the time of Jacob's trouble”, the “great tribulation”. This would be the most intense birth pangs Israel would ever experience. Daniel said, “the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined... even until the consummation” (Daniel 9:26-27), that is, the end of the final seven years or consummation of Daniel's “Seventy Weeks”. But by the end of that last week, the last seven years, at the end of this present age, Israel's rebellion would be over, their sins would come to an end, and they would find reconciliation for their iniquity. This would mark the beginning of a new age, the righteous reign of Jesus Christ whose kingdom and dominion is everlasting (Daniel 7:14). Then shall the kingdom be restored to Israel fulfilling all of God's promises to David and His people Israel.
After Pentecost Peter said, “Ye men of Israel... God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:12, 18-21) When Israel repents and calls upon the name of the Lord for salvation and cleansing of sin, Daniel's vision and prophecy shall be finally sealed.
The anointing of the “most Holy” (Daniel 9:24) likely refers to the cleansing of Temple in Jerusalem that was defiled and made desolate by Antichrist and his abomination (Exodus 40:9-10).
This would mark the end of this present age, which if not shortened, there would be none saved. By the middle of the Tribulation we see that half of the world's population has perished (Revelation 6:8; 9:15, 18). There has always been a remnant of believers, and for their sake those days are shortened (Isaiah 1:9).
“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” (Matthew 24:23-26)
Here we have described what I believe is this last days “signs and wonders” movement, also known as the “Charismatic Movement”, which never existed until the turn of this last century. When the Pharisees came seeking a sign from Jesus He said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 12:38-39). How many there are today that are seeking after a little magic show, some new revelation from their “false prophets”, who give the people what they want rather than sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Jesus had already told them that the course of this age would be marked by false Christs and false prophets deceiving many (Matthew 24:5, 11). But during the tribulation, “false Christs, and false prophets” shall be multiplied, and they shall be empowered by Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) to “shew great signs and wonders”. These lying deceivers shall reach the height of their deceptions when the world produces two of its most vile Charismatic leaders, the False Prophet and the Antichrist, whom the Lord shall cast alive into the lake of fire (2 Thessalonians 2:8, Daniel 7:11, Revelation 19:20; 20:10).
In the Revelation we read, “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:9-15)
But “in that day” the Lord shall bring to nought “the false prophet” (Revelation 19:20) and the “seducing spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1) that indoctrinated the deceived. In that day, the seducing spirits and doctrines of demons shall be no more. “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive” (Zechariah 13:2-4).
There shall be many satanic miracles and deception during that time. The cults will all be competing for the deluded crowds, saying Christ is here or there. Or in the desert or secret chambers. During this time the gospel of the kingdom will be going forth by those 144,000 Jews, and there will be much anticipation for the coming Christ. Many shall be trying to lure the sheep, like the cults, into some place of seclusion or secret location (Jude 1:19) to draw men away after themselves. Some who hold to the Preterist view say that the Second Coming of Christ has already taken place in the first century, a secret advent of sorts. But when Christ returns it will not be so.
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:27-31)
When Christ returns it shall be with His saints to execute judgment upon the ungodly (Revelation 19:11-21, Jude 1:14-15, Zechariah 14:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13). The wicked shall be judged at the Battle of Armageddon (Joel 3:1-2, 9-17, Zechariah 12:2-3, 9; 14:1-4, Revelation 16:14-16; 19:15, Isaiah 34:1-8; 66:15-16, Jeremiah 25:29-33, Zephaniah 1:14-18). This will not be a long drawn out war. When Christ returns judgment will be executed speedily (Ecclesiastes 8:11-13). It will not be as our present legal system of endless court dates and appeals and mistrials and injustice. As quick as lightning flashes across the heavens, so shall their carcasses be found for the fowls of heaven. He shall slay the wicked and all the vultures shall be filled with their carcases (Ezekiel 39:17-23, Revelation 19:17-18, 21, Psalm 110:5-6; 9:17, Job 39:27-30). This shall take place at the end of the seven years of tribulation.
When He returns, He shall also "gather together His elect" (Matthew 24:31) from the four corners of the earth. This section has become the point of contention for those who hold to the various positions regarding the timing of the rapture, and who is referred to as the "elect".
Some erroneously believe this refers to the rapture of the church, because they believe that the church must go through the Tribulation, and that the church has replaced Israel. Because they have listened to their false teachers, the whole of Scripture must be wrested from its plain reading.
The Scriptures are clear, that after the Tribulation, at the end of "Jacob's trouble", at the end of Daniel's 70th week, Christ will physically return to planet earth to save the remnant of Israel at the Battle of Armageddon. At this time "he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:31) Much of what Jesus taught throughout the course of His 3-1/2 year ministry came right out of the Old Testament, including the above verse.
The whole of Scripture makes it very clear, that the reference to the “elect” in Matthew 24:31 is referring to the Jewish nation Israel. The “great sound of a trumpet” marks the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week and the Time of Jacob's Trouble. First, we must understand, Jesus said that Israel “shall be led away captive into all nations” (Luke 21:24). This happened in the first century. Although Israel has become a nation 70 years ago, 2/3 of the world's Jews are still in the land of their captivity.
Moses stated on this wise, "the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers." (Deuteronomy 30:3-5) When the Lord returns, He will gather the children of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered.
The prophet Isaiah said the same, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:11-12) The Lord had brought Israel back the first time from their Babylonian exile, and this was just a small remnant. The “second time”, He will gather them from the four corners of the earth, from one end of heaven to the other. This will take place in the last days as a result of their worldwide dispersion by the Roman armies in the first century AD (Luke 21:24).
Furthermore, Isaiah said, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem." (Isaiah 27:12-13) For the elect's sake, the days are shortened (Matthew 24:21-22), and the remnant who were marked for annihilation by Antichrist and “ready to perish”, are gathered at the sound of the trumpet, and Christ shall gather Israel, as a hen gather's her chicks under her wings, and they shall finally cry out, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:39)
This is what Jesus said, "he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:31) You cannot miss the language, Both Moses and Isaiah were speaking of Israel. Jesus also is speaking of Israel. God calls Israel “mine elect” (Isaiah 45:4, 17). He even gave the nation their surname even though they have been disobedient. They had followed other gods and many of them were secular at this time in Isaiah. But He still calls them “mine elect”. Why should we think they are no longer His elect? In Matthew 24:31, Jesus is quoting Old Testament prophecies about Israel to Israel. I don't see how this can be misconstrued to mean the Church. The Church did not even exist when Christ was telling them these things on the Mount of Olives. Context is key. If we do not compare Scripture with Scripture (Isaiah 28:9-10), the Old with the New, and keep it within context we will never get it right.
When Christ returns, He “will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12) He shall send forth His angels and “the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just” (Matthew 13:49). Not all of earth's inhabitants will have perished at Armageddon. After this, He will judge the nations, of them who were not destroyed at the Battle of Armageddon. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32). Only the righteous of those nations shall enter into life eternal (Matthew 25:46, Zechariah 14:16, Revelation 21:24).
Now Israel shall also be judged. First we must remember, that although the Jews have been partially gathered back into their homeland, and Israel has once again become a nation, today, 2/3 of the Jews are yet in the land of their captivity. Furthermore, today, the majority of the Jews do not believe and are blind (2 Corinthians 3:13-16). But at the end of the tribulation, He will gather them together and judge them and rule over them. Jesus shall send His angels and gather His “elect from the four corners of the earth”.
“As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD... I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers.” (Ezekiel 20:33-38, 41-42)
Matthew 24:31 is clearly not the rapture of the church, neither is the word for rapture used. The church will be "caught up" (raptured; Gr: harpazo) before Daniel's 70th week, not to the land of Israel, but in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Israel is “gathered” from "the outmost parts of heaven", "from the four corners of the earth", "from all the nations." Where? "...into the land which thy fathers possessed" ... “into the land of Israel”. If this was a rapture verse, it would be more akin to the rapture that Philip experienced when he preached to the Ethiopian Eunuch, and afterward "the Spirit of the Lord caught away (raptured; Gr. harpazo) Philip... [and] was found at Azotus" (Acts 8:39-40). It was from one physical place on earth to another physical place on earth.
Furthermore, it is quite easy to see that the whole of Matthew 24 is in a Jewish context, concerning the Temple, the daily sacrifice, them which be in Judea, those who observe the Sabbath, those upon whom the “great tribulation” is determined, that is, Daniel's "people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered" (Daniel 12:1).
None of these pertain to the Church, which we must emphasize, did not even exist during Christ's Olivet Discourse. The context is totally Jewish. In Matthew 24:3 the disciples had NOT asked a question about the Lord's coming and the church. At that time they had no real concept of the church, although truth concerning it had been given to them (Matthew 16:13-20; 18:1-20). They had asked a more general question about end-time events, especially Jewish end-time events, which the Law and the Prophets clearly spoke about concerning Israel.
This is what the Lord will do when He returns, He will judge the nations, and He will gather Israel as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31) There is no mention of a rapture here, or being "caught up" (Gr. harpazo) (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), neither is there any indication that the dead in Christ are raised, nor is there mention of the elect being translated into bodies like Christ's.
These “elect” are not “caught up” at the “shout” of the Lord, no, this group are “gathered together” by angels. In this passage it does not say where they are gathered, they are simply gathered together from the 4 corners of the earth, perhaps to the Mount of Olives where we are told His feet will touch down when He returns (Acts 1:9-12, Zechariah 14:4-5) to save Israel from annihilation at Armageddon. It is also interesting to note, that the phrase “gather together” (Gr. episunago; Strong's 1996) is used only seven times in the Bible, three times in the following verse. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered <1996> thy children together <1996>, even as a hen gathereth <1996> her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37)
Now, we should remind ourselves that 2/3 of Israel are still in the nations of their captivity. How often the Lord would have “gathered” them, but “they would not”. And they shall not be gathered until they say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”.
We should also note, that when the Antichrist defiles the temple with the abomination that makes desolate and takes away the daily sacrifice, that them which be in Judaea are to flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:15-21). This will take place in the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation. This is when the serpent is cast down to the earth. We are given a glimpse of this in the Revelation.
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:13-17)
The whole of Revelation 12 is so fantastic, its imagery, its message, transferring us to and fro through the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and knowledge that is too great. The characters of the woman, the seed, the dragon, the angels, and the events, of great war erupting in heaven and upon the earth. The woman undoubtedly signifies Israel (Revelation 12:1, Genesis 37:9-10). But we have imagery that goes way beyond that to the very beginning, of the woman and her seed, that being Eve, the mother of all living, and the promised Seed, being Christ (Genesis 3:15), but also the godly woman Mary who in the fullness of time brought forth and gave birth to the incarnate Christ. And in this wondrous sign, we can see therein that the seed also represents the remnant of believers, first of Israel, the wife of Jehovah, but also the Bride of Christ the Church throughout history.
Now much could be written about all of these, but the primary focus in this specific chapter is Israel. The Church has been raptured before the “time of Jacob's Trouble” and the 7 year tribulation. During this time God will be dealing primarily with the people of Israel and Jerusalem. Many of the Jews will finally see Jesus during this time, will repent and be converted and hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ. While many shall be purged and Israel shall be refined, God will protect His people supernaturally as He did in the days of their deliverance from Pharaoh and Egypt.
Now Ezekiel said to Israel that He would, “bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered... And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt” (Ezekiel 20:33-38).
This would be “like” their experience from the “land of Egypt”. This illustrious wonder reminds us of another time when Israel was protected from Pharaoh, a type of Satan (Read Ezekiel 29:2-5) and nourished by God in the wilderness during the Exodus. “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself” (Exodus 19:4-6, Revelation 12:14). This will be what the Lord does for Israel during the time of their “great tribulation”. Listen to His call to the remnant of His people Israel, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” (Isaiah 26:20-21; 27:1)
The imagery used by the Lord in the Revelation is fantastic, He likens the wrath of Satan “as a flood after the woman”. Without some familiarity of the Old Testament, one is sure to get this imagery wrong. “Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof. Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow. For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates... Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.” (Jeremiah 46:7-10; 47:2)
Israel's iniquities had hid the face of the Lord that He would not hear (Isaiah 59:1-2), but one day they shall call upon the name of the Lord, and He shall hear them. “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” (Isaiah 59:16-21; 60:1-3)
In that Day, darkness shall cover the earth and the people. When this “flood” comes against the remnant of Israel, that is when the Lord shall return to Zion. In their darkest hour, the Lord shall arise with healing in His wings, and the light of the glory of the Lord shall shine upon them. They shall be brought under the covenant and His spirit shall be upon them, and His Words in their mouth forever. At that time, many Gentiles shall also see the glory of the Lord arisen upon them and shall come to the Light and the brightness of His rising upon Israel. Please take the time to read Luke 2:34, Acts 15:15-18, Ezekiel 38:8; 39:7-8, 21-29, Romans 11:25-33.
Furthermore, when Daniel was given his prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, he was told, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24) This time period would be consummated after the final Week, the last seven years pertaining to God's dealing with the Jews and Jerusalem. We are told, “the end thereof shall be with and a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:26-27)
A seven year covenant will be made by Antichrist with the Jews. This covenant he will break after 3 ½ years when he shall declare himself to be god and set up an idol of himself in the rebuilt Temple at Jerusalem (2 Thessalonians 2:4, Revelation 13:14-15; 14:9-11). This is when the Jews which are in Judea are to flee to the mountains. This is when Satan becomes wroth and begins his great persecution and war against the Jews (Daniel 7:20-22, 25-27, Revelation 13:5-7), until the consummation of Daniels 70 Week vision and prophecy, when Christ returns to save His people Israel and slay that Wicked one, that is, the Antichrist and his followers. Jesus said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains... For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:15-16, 21). This shall take place mid-tribulation, at which time is the signal for Israel to flee to the wilderness wherein she shall be led under the wings and shadow of the Almighty, and protected for 1260 days or three and a half years.
Let us see what God will do to this great flood that Satan casts out after His people Israel. “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” (Revelation 12:15-16)
This excellent imagery is again taken from the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and Pharaoh in the form of a song, “Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.” (Exodus 15:6-13)
This is like what happened to the house of Korah. “And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.” (Numbers 16:31-33, Revelation 12:16)
Israel for the time present is in part blinded (Romans 11:25-27) because of unbelief and the hardness of their heart. But one day they shall turn to the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:14-17). Jesus had lamented over His people saying, “how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). But they “would not” (Please read Deuteronomy 32:8-21, Romans 10:19-21;9:22-27; 1 Peter 2:6-10). “How often”!" But they “would not”. Because of their blindness, salvation has come to the Gentiles. “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” (Romans 11:11)
When Simeon beheld that little baby, the Christ Child, He prophesied, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against” (Luke 2:34) “Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid”. Israel shall rise again. They shall say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord”. HOW OFTEN He would have gathered them, He loves them, they are the apple of His eye. They are ever in His focus, even though they are a stiff necked and hard hearted people. How about you? God is long suffering not willing that any should perish.
Israel He hath set aside, and one day they shall be carried on eagles wings in the everlasting arms of Jesus Christ. But for now, salvation is come to the nations of the world in the intermission between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel's prophecy. We find out that all those who have overcome the world, sin and the Devil have done so “by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). One day Israel shall recognize that it is only by the blood of Jesus Christ shed for sinners that death shall pass over them. “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He made a way in this wilderness that we are so briefly sojourning. Today is the day of salvation. Do not pass Him up. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) that we might have life, He took our death that we might have His life, a life that is more abundant than we can ever imagine this side of heaven.
On a side note, what I have found, is that most post-tribbers, in order to try and make their scheme work, they say that the seven seals, the seven bowls, and the seven trumpet judgments are all happening in parallel. This is clearly not so. The seven bowls are preceded by the seven trumpets, which are preceded by the seven seals. The Scriptures are quite clear that the seventh seal comprises all of the seven trumpet judgments. This is obvious for the seventh seal presents the seven angels with the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:1-2). Likewise, the seventh trumpet comprises the seven vials or bowl judgments (Revelation 11:15; 15:7), so we can see that all of these judgments are in a sequential order.
Also, the timing of the sun and moon darkening is very important to post-tribbers. The sun and moon darkening is just one among numerous events that happen prior to the Lord's Second Coming to the earth as Luke says, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26)
When the Tribulation begins, there will be many frightful scenes coming upon the earth (Luke 21:11). It will be a time of trouble such as the world has never witnessed, “distress of nations, with perplexity”, so much so, that men's hearts will fail them. The Lord described “that day” saying, “I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.” (Micah 5:15)
There will never have been a time heard of like this ever before. By the time the six seal is opened, one quarter of the world's population has perished through wars, violence, famines, and plagues and pestilence (Luke 21:11). At that time there is a great island moving global earthquake that takes place. This worldwide tectonic convulsion causes volcanic eruptions to spew great quantities of smoke and dust into the upper atmosphere, “pillars of smoke”, causing the sun to be darkened and moon's appearance to be blood red (Joel 2:30-31, Zephaniah 1:15, Isaiah 13:9-12, 13, Revelation 6:12-14).
When the earth dwellers see all these things coming upon the earth, they hide “themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)
It also appears that the sun and moon may go dark more than once in the last days (Revelation 6:12; 8:12; 9:2). Nevertheless, while the sun and moon darkening may be one of the signs of His coming, it is not THE sign. Rather it is His COMING IN THE CLOUDS, not here or there, not in the desert, not in the secret chambers, but IN THE CLOUDS.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And THEN SHALL APPEAR THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:29-30)
We have further revelation of this in the book of Daniel. “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man CAME WITH THE CLOUDS of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)
Furthermore, when He comes with the clouds, this is His Second Coming, NOT THE RAPTURE. At His second coming, every eye shall see Him, and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, as He comes with power and great glory. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:7) This happens when the heavens opens and He returns to earth to fight the kings of the earth and their armies who are gathered round about Jerusalem for “the battle of the great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14). They have gathered to destroy His people Israel (Joel 3:1-2, Zechariah 12:2-3, 8-9; 13:8-9; 14:1-3). “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Revelation 19:11). He comes to vex the kings and rulers of the earth in His wrath (Psalm 2:1-5, 9).
After the ascension of Christ into heaven Israel was clearly told, “Ye men of Israel... Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:12, 19-21) It is clear that when Christ returns “they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds” (Matthew 24:30), in fact, “every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
Israel had pierced their Lord (Acts 3:12-18), but He died and rose again to save them from their sins, which they have not yet come to realize. And when He returns, He is coming to save them from their enemies (Luke 1:68-75). When the night sky lightens with the glory of His appearing, they “shall wail because of Him”. It is interesting to note, that the word “kindreds” (Greek: phule) in Revelation 1:7 is the word for “tribe”, and of the 31 times it is mentioned in the New Testament, it is speaking of “the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28).
This is further understood when we see that this is a quote from the prophet Zechariah. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” (Zechariah 12:9-14; 13:1)
Those of you who believe in the evil doctrine of “Replacement Theology”, those of you who hold to the nonsensical post-trib or pre-wrath rapture fallacy, you have been deceived by your false teachers. When Christ returns, it will be to save Israel, at which time she shall find national repentance (Ezekiel 11:16-20, Zechariah 12:10-14; 13:1, 8-9, Ezekiel 39:21-29, Romans 11:25-27). Christ will return with the Church who has been raptured before Daniel's Seventieth Week.
I have talked to many post-tribbers, and although their theories vary somewhat between these individual groups, it seems that most believe the Rapture takes place somewhere close to mid way through the 7 year Tribulation, but before the Day of the Lord's wrath. They believe that the first half is tribulation and the second half is wrath, hence the term, post-trib, pre-wrath. To come to this conclusion there is some pretty fancy wresting of the Scriptures. They take an assortment of Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments to come up with their version, primarily Matthew 24:29-31, Joel 2:31, Revelation 6:12-17; 7:9-14. Although I have a hard time following what they believe, here is the general sense of it.
First of all, they use Joel 2:31 saying, “the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” They believe that the sun darkening and the moon turning to blood is the sign of the Lord's return and use Matthew 24:29-31 to support their position. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
By isolating these verses they conclude that Christ returns “after the tribulation” at which time the sun and the moon will be darkened, which they believe takes place “before” the “day of the Lord” which is a day of “wrath”. Hence the term, “post-trib, pre-wrath”. Now they conclude that when Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming, the Rapture takes place at the same time. They believe that Matthew 24:31 refers to the rapture of the church. “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
To confirm their ideology, they use Revelation 6:12-17 which deals with the opening of the sixth seal where we read that the sun and the moon are darkened. Remember, they believe this happens before the “Day of the Lord”. We then read that the inhabitants of the earth cry out that “the great day of His wrath is come”. It is at this point that they conclude the rapture must have taken place. So they must conclude that the first 5 seals are when the great tribulation is taking place, but after this, the Day of the Lord and the “wrath of the Lamb”. They then hop, skip and jump over the 144,000 Jews that are sealed for their ministry, to Revelation 7:9-14 and conclude that the great multitude mentioned here is the church that has been raptured out of the great tribulation. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands... And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9, 13-14)
That in a nutshell is the jest of their rapture theology. Now, I believe we have dealt with most of these verses in our commentary on Matthew 24 above, but there may be a few more things we need to touch on. First of all, we believe the Day of the Lord starts at the beginning of Daniels 70th week (7 years tribulation) which is determined upon Israel and Jerusalem, not the Church. This coincides with Christ receiving the seven sealed scroll from His Father, the title deed to the earth, and He begins to open the seven seals. We believe that the rapture happens before the Day of the Lord, which is a day of “wrath” (Isaiah 13:9, 13, Ezekiel 7:19, Zephaniah 1:18) which “God hath not appointed us to” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
Now, post-tribbers believe that the Day of the Lord starts only after the sixth seal is opened. Both camps believe that the Church is not appointed to wrath, which begins with the Day of the Lord. But in the context, when Paul tells the church at Thessalonica that we are not appointed unto wrath, he says, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3) And just prior to this He says we are “caught up” to be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18), which all agree refers to the Rapture.
But here is a point that they seem to be overlooking. The Day of the Lord comes suddenly, like a thief that is not expected, when they are saying “Peace and safety”. If you read Revelation 6:1-11, prior to the opening of the sixth seal, we can hardly say this is a time of “Peace and safety”. The whole world is convulsing in wars, famines and pestilences that wipes out several billion people as the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride forth. When the second horseman rides forth, power was given to him to “take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another” (Revelation 6:3-4). Does that sound like peace and safety? Sounds to me like “strong delusion” if you think it does. When the sixth seal is opened, there is a great earthquake and pillars of smoke darken the sun and moon. This is the icing on the cake where the kings of the earth and the whole world finally admit, that the great day of His wrath has come. Not that it just arrived, but that the world has been reeling in it already for the first few years of the tribulation.
But doesn't Joel say the sun and moon are darkened “before” the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31)? Does this mean there is a contradiction? What we need to do is read the whole of Joel chapter 2 in its context if you want to understand the timing of the Day of the Lord pertaining to the sun and moon darkening. Let's have a quick look. “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the DAY OF THE LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand” (Joel 2:1).
Joel then goes on to describe the events of the Day of the Lord in verses 2-10 which includes the sun and moon darkening. “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: THE SUN AND THE MOON SHALL BE DARK, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for THE DAY OF THE LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:10-11)
Here it says the sun and moon darkening takes place within the Day of the Lord. But Joel also states that the sun and moon are darkened at the Battle of Armageddon (Joel 3:9-17), which takes place at the end of the seven year tribulation.
Isaiah says the same thing when he describes the Day of the Lord, “Behold, THE DAY OF THE LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: THE SUN SHALL BE DARKENED IN HIS GOING FORTH, AND THE MOON SHALL NOT CAUSE HER LIGHT TO SHINE. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.” (Isaiah 13:9-13)
It is pretty straight forward and unmistakable. But now I hear you saying, Wait, the prophet Joel says the sun and moon are darkened BEFORE the Day of the Lord, in Joel 2:31, and indeed it does, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, BEFORE the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.”
So what is it? How can we clear up what may appear to be a contradiction? For the record, the Scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35), so the contradiction is always in the minds of men. Is the sun and moon darkening included in the Day of the Lord, or before the Day of the Lord? It is easy to figure out when we understand that “Before” can have two meanings, the one pertains to TIMING, meaning “preceding” or “prior to”, which refers to a sequential order as in, King David was born “before” his son Solomon.
The other meaning of “before” relates to location, such as, to stand “before” someone, which means in the presence of, in the face of, in the front of, or ahead of. In the OT Hebrew, the word translated “before” in Joel 2:31 is the word “paniym” and almost always has reference to location such as, “Hezekiah prayed BEFORE (Heb. Paniym) the LORD”
Here is how it is used elsewhere in Joel, “And the LORD shall utter his voice BEFORE (Heb. Paniym) his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (2:11)
The very first two times this word is used in the Bible, is in Genesis 1:2, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the FACE (Heb. Paniym) of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the FACE (Heb. Paniym) of the waters."
Here is another example, “And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood BEFORE (Heb. Paniym) Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the PRESENCE (Heb. Paniym) of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:46)
You see, this word “before” in Joel 2:31 does not necessarily mean to precede, as in the timing of an event, which post-tribbers lean on so heavily to prove their doctrine. The sun and the moon darkening “before” the Day of the Lord, could very well mean, in the face of the Day of the Lord, or in the presence of the Day of the Lord, so that it is one of the many cosmic events that happens during the day of the Lord, and more than once (Revelation 6:12; 8:12; 9:2).
It is just one among numerous cosmic events that happen prior to the Lord's Second Coming to the earth as Luke says, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26) They are to let His people know that there is light at the end of that dark tunnel, so that, “...when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
One more thing we should make mention of. Post-tribbers believe Matthew 24:31 refers to the rapture of the Church. Now we have dealt with this already in this article so we will not mention it again, other than, they try to tie it to Revelation 7 saying that those who “came out of great tribulation” (Revelation 7:9, 14) is the Church who are raptured at that time. This is utter nonsense. There is no mention of a Rapture, no mention of the resurrection of the saints. If we read through the Revelation we find out that these are those saints who were martyred during the Tribulation. Prior to this we read, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:9-10)
Those in chapter 7 are also given “white robes” and are those who are “killed as they were”. Furthermore, the Bride of Christ is distinct in that they are clothed in “fine linen, clean and white” (Revelation 19:8).
One more point that we could consider in light of the post-tribbers claims. They claim the church goes through the Great Tribulation but are raptured before the Day of the Lord. But both the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are described as a time of trouble that will have no comparison in history. I do not think it is that easy to brush off the precise wording regarding the Day of the Lord and the Tribulation. Joel says concerning the “Day of the Lord” that “THERE HATH NOT BEEN EVER THE LIKE, NEITHER SHALL BE ANY MORE AFTER IT” (Joel 2:2) In regard to the “GREAT TRIBULATION”, Matthew describes it as a time that there has never been the like, “NOT SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO THIS TIME, NO, NOR EVER SHALL BE." (Matthew 24:21) I repeat, these are not two competing events for the worst time ever in history, they are one and the same. The Day of the Lord starts with the seven year tribulation. It starts with the “beginning of sorrows” and the plagues intensify like birth pangs from that time forward as the unrepentant harden their hearts until Christ returns to earth.
One final point. Jesus said, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 24:44) And again, “Take ye heed, WATCH and pray: for YE KNOW NOT WHEN THE TIME IS. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to WATCH. WATCH ye therefore: for YE KNOW NOT WHEN THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE COMETH, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, WATCH.” (Mark 13:33-37)
Pre-tribbers hold that the coming of Christ to rapture the church is imminent, and believe they should be watching at all times for the coming of the Lord (Titus 2:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:10). Post-tribbers believe that He cannot rapture the Church today for they believe that the church must first go through the Great Tribulation. Jesus said that this attitude comes from an evil heart (Matthew 24:48). This was similar to the same false teaching that Paul had to correct Thessalonica.
In his second epistle he wrote about, “...the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him” that they might discern between these two separate events. It appears that someone had forged a letter by Paul saying the Day of the Lord had arrived (2 Thessalonians 2:2, Philippians 2:11).
He said, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
Here he says, before the day of the Lord comes, there would be “a falling away first”. This term “falling away” means “departure”. There will be a departure before Antichrist will be revealed. When can we know from the Scriptures that Antichrist has arrived on the scene? When he confirms a seven year covenant with the Jews (Daniel 9:27).
Now the term “falling away” appears only one other time in the Scriptures in Acts 21:21, where it is translated “forsake”, where some alleged that Paul was teaching the Jews that were among the Gentiles to “depart” from Moses. In the context, the departure was from the Law of Moses, but in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2, the “departure” is in reference to our “gathering together unto Him”. Only then can Antichrist be revealed.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he 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” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8). So the Rapture comes “first”. When the Spirit born Church is “taken out of the way”, “then shall that Wicked be revealed”. Then, at the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week, at the end of the Great Tribulation, Christ shall return with His saints, who were raptured before the Day of the Lord. This is the Second Coming when He shall return to save His people Israel and destroy Antichrist and his armies (Isaiah 11:4, Daniel 7:10-11, Revelation 19:19-21).
Furthermore, Paul had told them about this before (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This is recorded in His first epistle to them. He first speaks to them about the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). He then goes on to speak of the “time” of the Day of the Lord, which is a day of darkness and wrath reserved for His enemies (Joel 2:1-2, Amos 5:18, 20, Zephaniah 1:14-15, Nahum 1:2, Ezekiel 30:3, Obadiah 1:15). So he comforts them with the fact that “that day” would not overtake them, for we are not appointed unto wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5; 9:11).
Haven't heard much from you in a long time. Did you ever study the book of John and Hebrews? If so, did it answer your questions?
Hi Paul, I wrote another article to address your position called "After the Tribulation". You can find it here. https://www.accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/afterthetribulation.html
I'll definitely check it out. The reason we were talking about studying john and Hebrews is because of your position on the differences for Israel verse gentiles. There is no separate plan we are all one in those who believe in Jesus.
Today that is a fact. We are all one in Christ via the baptism of the Holy Spirit. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many." (1 Corinthians 12:12-14) "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." (Romans 12:5)
Today, all believers are members of His Body, the Church, whether Jew or Gentile. "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:18)
But, you must understand, it was not always this way. The Church was a mystery, hidden in times past. "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel" (Ephesians 3:1-6).
"Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:24-27)
The Gentiles "were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:12-13)
But as the preaching went forth to the Jew first, Paul seeing that they had become hardened, "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:46-48)
So for now, "I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." (Romans 11:25-28)
For now, God has set aside the Jew, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. He will be dealing specifically with them once again during the time of Jacob's Trouble, the Seventieth Week of Daniel, the Great Tribulation. At that time Israel shall be saved.
"Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:12-17)
This we believe will happen after the Church is "caught up" to be with the Lord.
Okay we are in agreement in some of what you said. My questions to you are 1. Who is Israel at the end times that you referred to? What tribe are they? Are they saved through Jesus blood? In your opinion of course. 2. What is Daniel referring to in the sevenith week? Has it haopened already? I ask these questions to better understand your position.
1. a) The physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Jews.
b) The Lord knows exactly the tribe of each of those that will be saved.
c) They will be saved when they repent and believe the gospel.
2. I highly recommend that you read the article that I mentioned earlier to help you to understand re: Daniel's Seventieth Week: https://www.accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/afterthetribulation.html
1b. Where are the tribes today? Do pepole who claim to be Jewish know what tribe they are from?
1c. Did you you say in other threads that today Jews and gentiles are the same? Which came from the mystery God revealed to Paul.
2. We can talk about the Daniel thing separately I guess.
1. b) You can look most this up yourself on the internet. There are about 15 million Jews world wide. About 6.5 million in Israel and another 6.5 million in the USA. The rest are still dispersed throughout the nations of the world. I only know one Jew. He says he is from the tribe of Judah. God knows the lineage of us all. DNA has come a long way in determining our ancestral roots also. God seals 144,000 Jews during the Tribulation (Revelation 7:3-8).
1. c) The Jews and Gentiles are not the same (1 Corinthians 10:32). The body of Christ which is the Church consists of all nations, whether Jew of Gentile (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Colossians 1:24).
Today, the Church consists mostly of Gentiles. For the first 8 years after Pentecost though, the Church consisted primarily of Jews. But this is consistent with the Scriptures as the gospel was to the "Jew first". But after the nation was hardened, the gospel began to go out beyond Jerusalem (Acts 1:8). The first Gentile converts to believe the gospel were those of the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:1-11:18; 15:14). This was almost impossible for Peter to believe. But after his miraculous vision, he had to declare, "what could I do to withstand God".
So "blindness in part" is happened to the Jew UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles be come in (Romans 11:25-27). One day the veil that is over their eyes shall be removed when they turn to Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:14-17) but that will only be after their time of trouble, when God turns again to deal with the Jews and Jerusalem during Daniel's 70th Week (Daniel 9:24). The prophet Hosea said, "I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early." (Hosea 5:15) Not until they go through their time of trouble (Daniel 12:1) shall they seek the Lord. He shall then return to save them from their enemies. Then shall the Lord fulfill all the kingdom promises to Israel. This is what Peter was talking about at the council in Antioch. "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." (Acts 15:14-18)
2. Yes, if you read that article, it will save you a lot of guess work and questions. Comment on that page.
Thank you for your response. Here is what I know for sure and my understanding about some other things.
1b. Yes, there are still millions of Jews in our world today. I worked with a very high population of them for 15 years. Your friend is guessing he's from the tribe of Judah because none of them know for sure. In fact, all the ones I talked to, which is thousands, say no Jew knows. To them it doesn't matter because all the tribes were lost thousands of years ago. They don't even know if their ancestors converted or are from the lineage from Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. The reality, according to the bible in hebrews, is we are all from the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Through Jesus. That is exactly why when people test their dna everyone has a percentage of jew in them.
1c. The Jews and gentiles aren't the same? What was the mystery God revealed to Paul again?
I have to respectfully say a lot of the theories you share don't appear to match with the whole message of the bible. I would encourage anyone reading these threads to really study the whole bible so they can understand the whole message. It's all about Jesus. Everything points to him. Those who believe in him wI'll have eternal life. It's that simple. With that lense study the bible. It will definitely help to understand some of the more difficult verses that people use to come up with inaccurate theories.
It is good that you recognize the Jews in the world today. It is irrelevant whether a Jew knows for sure what tribe he is descended from today. The fact of the matter is that God knows, and during the tribulation He seals 144,000 of them, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (Revelation 7:3-8). In the Kingdom, the twelve apostles shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:29-30). But the only Israelites who enter the kingdom are those who endure to the end of the tribulation and acknowledge Christ as their Messiah and Redeemer at His Second Coming (Zechariah 12:10-13).
Only those Israelites who are saved by faith, the same faith of Abraham, participate in God's ultimate promises to the nation of Israel. Likewise all who come to Christ by faith, whether Jew or Gentile, are spiritual children of Abraham, saved through the promised seed.
I do not know where you get the idea that "we are all from the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob". You say according to the bible in the book of Hebrews. It is nice to sound spiritual, but unless you give Scripture reference, you will not be taken seriously.
Paul taught the Galatians that Christ was Abraham's Seed, and if we are Christ's, we too are Abraham's seed. (Galatians 3:16, 27-29) Today, those who are saved, whether they be Jew or Gentile, are baptized into Christ by the Spirit, and become members of Christ's body the Church. Our identity is now "in Christ" and are become son's of God by faith, the same faith that Abraham had while yet being uncircumcised.
In the coming kingdom, the Church will have the role of living and reigning with Christ. In the Millennium, the Church will have glorified resurrected bodies like Christ. Whereas, those who are saved and endure to the end of the 7 year tribulation will enter the millennium in bodies of flesh and repopulate the earth. Israel at that time will be exalted as the head of the nations, and will be distinct from Christ's body the Church, which is His Bride.
When you say, "everyone has a percentage of jew in them", you need to back this up with scientific evidence. We all have some of the same DNA because we are all the descendants of Noah and his family and ultimately Adam and Eve.
Did you read, "After the Tribulation"? https://www.accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/afterthetribulation.html It will definitely clear up for you the false notion that Daniel's 70th week is already past. It will help you to understand that that final week is yet future and is one and the same 7 years as the tribulation.
It will help you through the false Roman Catholic teaching that the Church is now Israel. Although there was a Reformation, sadly, many of the "Protestant" denominations, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Reformed, Lutheran, etc. carried over the error of "replacement theology". Most of the CULTS also claim to be a continuation of Israel in one form or the other. For example, the Worldwide Church of God, founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, claimed that 10 of the tribes of Israel had been lost and had re-surfaced today in England and America and had been restored in his cult. This is called British-Israelism, and there are other heretical groups that teach a form of it, such as the Mormons. Jehovah's Witnesses also apply things from the book of Revelation that are for Israel directly to itself, such as the sealing of the 144,000 from the 12 tribes in Revelation 7.
The apostle Paul identified three categories of people, the JEWS, the GENTILES, and the CHURCH (1 Corinthians 10:32). Obviously, then, Israel is not the same as the church.
God is not done with Israel, the Jew, which are called Hebrews. To deny this is to remain in ignorance of the Scriptures and of all His good promises to the physical seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob which He has spoken of by all His holy prophets and apostles.
Through Moses He promised them they would be scattered to the nations for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15, 25, 37, 64-67), but also promised them that He would turn their captivity and gather them from the nations where He scattered them (Deuteronomy 30:1-6). It should be noted that Jesus quoted verse 4 along with Isaiah 27:12-13 pertaining to Israel in Matthew 24:31, which the "replacement theologians" claim that it is the rapture of church (nonsense!). The prophet Hosea said the regathering of Israel would take place in the "latter days" (Hosea 3:4-5). Moses also said they would return from their captivity and go through their "tribulation... in the latter days", but "will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them."
(Deuteronomy 4:29-31). (Read Romans 11:26-27)
All of God's promises to Israel in the Old Testament will be literally fulfilled.
a. Israel will be restored to the land (Zechariah 10:6-12).
b. Israel will be brought through severe judgment during the Great Tribulation and one third of the Jews will call upon God's name (Zechariah 13:8-9).
c. Israel will repent and will be redeemed (Zechariah 12:9-14; 13:1).
d. Messiah will return and defeat Israel's enemies and rule from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-21).
Do you not believe all that the prophets have spoken? Do you not believe the apostle Paul when He says, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." (Romans 11:25-28)
Paul does not want anyone to remain ignorant about this mystery. Christ came to Israel but was rejected (John 1:11). Christ was crucified and raised from the dead and ascended back to heaven. A few years later the armies of Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the Jews were scattered among the nations (Luke 21:24 Note word "UNTIL") and for 2,000 years she did not have a home of her own. Israel has been blinded because of her rebellion against God. During the Church Age, God is calling out people from among all nations to form the Church. See Acts 15:13-18. When God is finished with this work, the Church believers will be Raptured out of the world and God will turn His attention back to fulfilling His covenants with Israel during those final seven years which were determined upon Israel and Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24-27).
Don't be ignorant, do not spiritualize the Scriptures, and take heed to the whole council of God, and I am sure we will come to an agreement regarding the difference between Israel and the Church.
I had to think about how to respond to what you said and do it in a timely manner. First, I see you have a passion for God's word. As do I and many other people who read these threads. Are these people ignorant because they have a different opinion than you? So I'm not going to sling mud here however I do have to say I think some of what you say is misinformed. The things I've been saying in the other threads is the message of the bible as a whole. I would have to put bunch of verses to show what I was talking about and explaining the context as well. I think it's better to give the message and allow people to have the Holy Spirit show them the verses. That is the best way to learn. So with limited time I will give resources so some of what you said.
Only those Israelites who are saved by faith, the same faith of Abraham, participate in God's ultimate promises to the nation of Israel. Likewise all who come to Christ by faith, whether Jew or Gentile, are spiritual children of Abraham, saved through the promised seed. (You're answering the same thing I was saying about those who believe in Christ are from the seed of Abraham. Here is a great video to explain https://youtu.be/rSUo_3_eL7g).
I do not know where you get the idea that "we are all from the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob". You say according to the bible in the book of Hebrews. It is nice to sound spiritual, but unless you give Scripture reference, you will not be taken seriously. (See video above).
There is no such thing as the Church age as you mentioned. This video will explain https://youtu.be/HKaoJsPGuuY
This video will help explain the message of the bible in simple terms. It will answer a lot of the questions we have been talking about https://youtu.be/cqQMAvnr5C8
I would rather see you put together a "bunch of verses to show what I was talking about and explaining the context as well." This way I could see if you are really engaged, rather than posting a bunch of video's that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.
Why don't you try by yourself to put down, through your own study, a Scriptural reply? Need to be more like the Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)
Have you not yet read "after the Tribulation"??
I should also mention, when you speak so vaguely, when you speak of "inaccurate theories", or say, "a lot of the theories you share don't appear to match with the whole message of the bible." Or, "I think some of what you say is misinformed." Or, "There is no such thing as the Church age as you mentioned."
When you make such empty claims, without any detail or personal Scriptural exegesis, it is not doing your position any service. Even when you say, "Okay, we are in agreement in some of what you said", you do not say what you agree with, so it really makes it hard to carry on this conversation. The Lord says, "Come now, and let us reason together". Cutting and pasting articles and videos off the web is not reasoning together.
I am going to respectfully disagree with you. It seems to me you're piecing verses together that fit your agenda and missing the context. Plus you never answered my questions about how many times Jesus spoke with Gentilies all over the gospels. Also His "headquarters" were in the northern kingdom, Galilee (Capernaum). How come you never talk about that?
You theories are so confusing to me and others as well I have some questions for you so I can better understand where you are coming from. It appears you are confused as well.
1. Do you think the tribulation and wrath are the same thing?
2. What comes first in your opinion. The rapture or the battle of Armeggedon?
3. Have you ever read and studied the books of John and Hebrews? If so, what are the messages of these books?
4. According to the bible and your experiences with Jews today. How open have they been to learning and accepting Of Jesus? What is the difference between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom? When were the Israelites first called Jews? How did they get the name? Are the people in Israel today really Jews? If you think so, what tribe are they from?
Maybe this will help us to have better conversations so we can focus on certain topics and find others to discuss with some focus verse just throwing out a bunch of scripture. What do you think?