'

MATTHEW CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

INTRODUCTION

When will the massive temple buildings in Jerusalem be utterly destroyed? What signs will be evident when He is coming?

What signs will mark the end of this present world system?

Chapter 24, and for that matter chapter 25, contain our Lord's answer to His disciples' three questions about His appearing as the Messiah King to establish His millennial kingdom on the earth and the events surrounding this appearing.

When read and taken in the light of all of the passages related to the doctrines spoken of in our Lord's answer, we then have as clear a picture as possible today of the events leading up to our Lord's return and of the destruction of the temple. Author John MacArthur aptly describes the Jewish mindset at the time that the disciples asked our Lord their questions:

[The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 24-28; Moody Press; Chicago; 1989; pp.7-8]:

"In the minds of the Jews of Jesus' day, the time was ripe for the Messiah's coming. They had suffered persecution and subjugation for many centuries and were at that time under the relentless power of Rome. When John the Baptist appeared on the scene, reminiscent of the preaching and lifestyle of Elijah, the people's interest was intensely piqued. And when Jesus began His ministry of preaching, with unheard of authority and of healing every sort of disease, many Jews were convinced that He was indeed the Messiah. When He rode into Jerusalem on the colt, the crowds were beside themselves with anticipation, and they openly hailed Him as the Messiah, the long awaited Son of David (Matt. 21:9).

At that point, however, Jesus' ministry rapidly and radically departed from their expectations. According to their thinking, the next steps would be the gathering of the nations against the Messiah and His dramatic and effortless victory over them.

That idea apparently was also still in the minds of the Twelve. Jesus' many predictions that He must suffer, die, and be resurrected had simply not registered with them. In some way or another they either had discounted those teachings or had rationalized and spiritualized them into being something other than literal, physical, and historical realities...........................

In fairness to the disciples, the Old Testament prophets also saw the Messiah's coming and establishing His kingdom as a single event. The church age was a mystery to them, a mystery, as Paul explained, 'which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested' (Rom. 16:25-26). Because Israel had obviously experienced tremendous tribulation, because Jesus declared Himself to be the Messiah and identified John the Baptist as His forerunner, and because He had accepted the Messianic acclaim of the people a few days earlier, the disciples understandably thought that the sequence of events would continue as they expected. They were now certain that Jesus' next move would be to demonstrate His inexorable power over the nations that would soon rise up against Him."

[Mt 24:1-3]:

(v. 1) "Jesus left the temple and was walking away when His disciples came up to Him to call His attention to its buildings."

(v. 2) " 'Do you see all these things?' He asked. 'I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.' "

(v. 3) "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, 'when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'" Our Lord has just finished speaking strongly to the Jewish leaders, finishing with a statement that the house of Israel will be left desolate - will be laid to waste:

[Mt 23:37-39]:

''' " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, 'Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.' " '''

This message did not immediately sink into the minds of the disciples for as they walked by the awesome and magnificent temple buildings they called His attention to the wonder of those buildings as if our Lord had not spoken a word - especially a word which would adversely effect those very buildings.

BKC p.77, (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Walvoord & Zuck, Victor Books, 1988), perhaps expresses the disciples' mentality: "What could possibly happen to such impressive buildings, especially to the temple of God?"

John MacArthur states, (Op. Cit., p.8):

'''As they were leaving Jerusalem, "the disciples came up to point out the buildings" to Jesus. The other two synoptic Gospels point out that they were pointing to "the temple" in admiration, saying, "Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!" (Mark 13:1; cf Luke 21:5).'''

''' "The temple" and its adjunct "buildings" stood on the top of a mount. A massive retaining wall on the south and west sides helped support the mount itself as well as the temple. The temple was awe inspiring by any standards, but to a group of common men from rural Galilee it must have been a breathtaking marvel. They could not conceive how such an enormous structure could have been built or decorated so magnificently. The Roman historian Tacitus reported that it was a place of immense wealth, and the Babylonian Talmud said, 'He that never saw the temple of Herod never saw a fine building.' Some of the stones measured 40 feet by 12 by 12 and weighed up to a hundred tons, quarried as a single piece and transported many miles to the building site.'''

'''The disciples were perhaps wondering how such an amazing edifice, especially one dedicated to the glory of God, could be left desolate, as Jesus had predicted.'''

As Jesus continues to walk away from the temple and toward the Mount of Olives, He brings His disciples back to reality when He responds directly to their awe about the temple buildings:

[Mt 24:2 KJV]:

" 'See ye not all these things?.......

[In other words, "do you really see everything - not only the buildings but what is going on in the world around them?" Note that the Greek word for "things" is neuter whereas buildings in the Greek is feminine, thus indicating that our Lord is not referring to the buildings but to His earlier discourse about the house of Israel becoming desolate]

[Mt 24:1-3 cont]:

[Mt 24:2]:

"Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.' "

Scripture records no further conversations especially between the Lord and His disciples from the point in time when Jesus began walking away from the temple until He sat down somewhere on the Mount of Olives. That is to say, little of import was said after He prophesied the temple's utter destruction. He went through the eastern gate of Jerusalem, crossed the Kidron valley and then finally ascended the nearby Mount of Olives and sat down.

During this time of travel the disciples evidently were pondering what our Lord had just said. Heretofore, they had been convinced that the Lord was going to bring in the kingdom momentarily: Here are several passages which illustrate the point that people in general as well as the disciples thought that our Lord was going to bring in the kingdom of God immediately:

[Lk 19:11]:

"While they were listening to this, He went on to tell them a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once."

Even after our Lord's Resurrection during His appearances with the disciples and just before His Ascension into heaven, the disciples still asked:

[Acts 1:6]:

"So when they met together, they asked Him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?'"

Returning to Matthew chapter 24:

Mt 24:3 then indicates that there was a private moment which the disciples sought with Jesus in order to ask the question:

[Mt 24:3]:

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, 'when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'

The disciples seemed to express in their threefold question an imminency in their expectation of the coming kingdom.

They asked:

(1) When will the temple be destroyed.

(2) What will the sign of your coming to bring in the kingdom.

(3) What will be the sign of the end of the age?

MacArthur states, (op. cit., p.10):

"The "coming" that the disciples had in mind was not a second coming. They saw His "coming" just as the Old Testament prophets had seen and predicted it, compressed into an unbroken series of events that would occur over a relatively short period of time.

"Coming" translates "parousia" which has the basic meaning of presence and secondarily carries the idea of arrival. The disciples' question might therefore be paraphrased, "What will be the sign of Your manifesting Yourself in Your full , permanent presence as Messiah and King?"

There is apparently no prevailing thought in the disciples' minds that our Lord would be leaving even for a short period much more that He would not return for several thousand years. And then the final part of the disciples' threefold question:

(3) What will be the sign of the end of the age?

What will indicate that the end of the present world system has begun to occur?

The phrase "end of the age" does not refer to the end of a particular time period in history. Rather it points to the final end of the present world system.

Lets compare Mt 13:37-43 to fix the meaning of the term "end of the age":

[Mt 13:37-43]:

"He answered, 'The One who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are the angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.' "

[Mt 24:3a]:

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, 'when will this happen, [the destruction of Jerusalem]:

Matthew does not answer the first question of when will the temple be destroyed relative to 70 A.D. The book of Matthew does not focus on the 70 A.D. period of time when the temple will be destroyed. Matthew's focus remains on the time of the tribulation and into the kingdom age and on the King Himself: the Lord Jesus Christ. So Matthew skips our Lord's answer to the first question relative to 70 A.D. and moves on to questions two and three. Luke however does record our Lord's answer to this question:

[Lk 21:6-7; 20-24]:

(v. 6) " 'As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.' "

[And then after recording our Lord's answer to the disciples' first question as to when the temple of Jerusalem will be destroyed in the immediate future, author Luke then proceeds to record the disciples' second and third questions and our Lord's prophetic answer]:

(Lk 21:7) " 'Teacher,' they asked, 'when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?' "

(Lk 21:20) "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.

[In 70 A.D., just about 40 years later, Roman Emperor Titus had Jerusalem besieged. Many who heard our Lord's words may have still been alive at that time and recalled His prophecy. Note that author Luke records our Lord's answer; and the answer is historically a two-fold one:

1) Fulfillment in the immediate future

and

2) Fulfillment again in the distant future.

This same thing will happen in the Tribulation period when the Roman empire is under the Antichrist. (Prophecies in the Bible often have short term and long-term fulfillments indicated within the same prophetic statement)]

(Lk 21:21) Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the city get out, and let those who are in the country not enter the city.

[People in Judea in 70 A.D. and then again those who live there during the future Tribulation are to flee into the mountains - not to go into the city. Josephus the Jewish historian recounts how during this awful siege in 70 A.D. the Romans so thoroughly blockaded the city that starvation led to mothers eating their children, death became so common that corpses were regularly thrown over the Jerusalem walls, and thousands were finally slaughtered, others taken into slavery or dispersed once the Roman Army broke into the city. This is also a picture of what will happen in the Tribulation period]:

(Lk 21:22) "For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written."

[Note that the phrase "all that has been written." must refer to all that "has been written" in Scripture about the future destruction of Jerusalem in the Tribulation period as well as that which happened in 70 A.D. Therefore this statement includes the destruction of Jerusalem in the future tribulation period as described in O.T. Scripture, which period occurs just before the kingdom begins. For much of what has been written in Old Testament Scripture as well as New Testament applies to the end times and not to 70 A.D. or any time that has already become history. Cp Dan 9:25-27; Rev 11:1-2.]

(Lk 21:23) "How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people".

(Lk 21:24) "They will fall by the sword and be taken as prisoners to all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."

Note the phrase "until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." is yet future and cannot apply to just the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem because the times of the Gentiles were not yet then and still are not yet fulfilled. See commentary on Dan 9:25-27 & Rev 11:1-2 below.

As Dr McGee expresses it, (op cit., p. 342):

"Again the Lord is drawing a miniature picture of what it is going to be like in the last days. There are those who claim it could not happen a second time. It happened once, friend; that is a matter of history. The Lord said it would happen, and it did. He said it will happen again, and I believe He is right."

~~~dan9v27

[Dan 9:24-27]:

(v. 24) "Seventy 'sevens'.........................

[70 x 7 - 490 years. Daniel would be thinking in terms of years because a number of other Scripture passages indicate that 70 years was a period of time in which God dealt with the nation Israel, (Cp Jer 25:11-12; 2 Chron 36:21). The Israel people thought in terms of sevens, ("heptads"):

one week - seven days

every 7th yr-sabbath rest year(Lev25:1-7)

the Year of Jubilee - the next yr after seven 'sevens' or 7x7 - 49 years(Lev 25:8-12)

Therefore "Seventy 'sevens' " must mean seventy sevens of years or 70 x 7 = 490 years. "Seventy sevens" could not mean days or weeks, that would be too short of a time for all of the events in the prophecy to happen. And history proves this out since 490 days and 490 weeks have already transpired without the fulfillment of the prophecy occurring. If days were meant rather than years then the words in Hebrew which are translated in English as "of days" would have also been added as it was in Dan 10:2-3.

It must mean sevens of years also because Israel had not been letting the land lie fallow every seventh year as commanded by God, (Lev 25:1-7). This made a total of 70 sabbatical years which were not honored by this time in Israel's history. It would now require 490 years of time for God to enforce this command as per His Word, (Lev 26:34-35), and provide for the land being left fallow every 7th year, (70 sabbatical years missed x 7 = 490 years)

Finally, the most basic of proofs that "seventy 'sevens'" refers to years is to test it out by calculating it by years and then examining what happened in the future to see if the prophecies were precisely fulfilled. The following verses do just that when the timespan of years is calculated in:

(v. 24 cont.) "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."

[So God has decreed that there will be a period of 490 years of Jewish history until there will be:

1) a "finish" to "transgression" - a finish to Israel's willful disobedience will be brought to an end.

2) "an end of sin" - the Hebrew word hatam" = "an end of" = a completion of in the sense of ending. The context of this passage in Daniel combined with the examination of other passages which are about the same doctrine, (see *** below), indicate that the phrase "an end of sin" means a sealing up of - a final ending of the problem of unpunished sin with the satisfactory amount of punishment.

(***The concept of sealing up of sin is clearly taught in Dt 32:34 & Job 14:17).

3) atonement "for wickedness" = payment for sins - this specifically refers to our Lord's once for all time atonement for the sins of the whole world, (Ro 3:21; I Jn 2:2; Hebrews chapter 9).

4) a bringing in of "everlasting righteousness"

"to bring in" - in the verb form in this passage "to bring in" = to cause to come in. This refers to the causing to come in by God of a period of everlasting righteousness. This can only refer to that period of time in history beginning with the millennium. There is no other period in history which has everlasting righteousness.

5) a sealing up - a fulfilling, finally, of all "visions and prophecy" in Scripture. All visions and prophecies in Scripture will be sealed, i.e. fulfilled and completed and thereby sealed up as completed, no longer applicable for fulfillment.

6) An anointing of - the enthronement of "the Most Holy", the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of Lords. This will occur beginning at the period of the millennium.

[Dan 9:24-27 cont.]:

(v. 24 cont.) "Seventy 'sevens' [490 years] are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."

So this 490 year period which leads into the millennium will begin at the time when king Artxerses issues a decree to rebuild Jerusalem:

(v. 25) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem...

[Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of Babylon, issued a decree to permit Nehemiah to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. King Artaxerses did this on the Jewish calendar month and day of Nisan 1, 445 B.C., (cp Nehemiah 2:1-8)]

(v. 25 cont) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One...

["Anointed One" = "Christos" (Greek) = The Lord Jesus Christ]

[...until the Anointed One, the Ruler, comes = until our Lord appears in His First Coming to present Himself as Ruler of the world. He will inevitably be rejected as Ruler and crucified]:

(v. 25 cont) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the Ruler comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens' ...

["there will be seven 'sevens'" = 7 x 7 = 49 years]

["and sixty-two 'sevens'"' = 62 x 7 = 434 years = a total of 483 Jewish calendar years x 360 days/yr = 173,880 days]

(v. 25 cont) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the Ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens' It [Jerusalem] will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble....

["times of trouble" = Jerusalem was rebuilt back in ancient times by Nehemiah in "times of trouble" and it will also be rebuilt during the tribulation period "in times of trouble" - a double fulfillment of prophecy which is typical in God's word. Note that here is where a quantum leap of time is about to take place in this passage in the book of Daniel]:

(v. 26) After the sixty-two 'sevens'...

[After the period of 434 years - which occurs after the period of 49 years, i.e. after a total of 483 years]

(v. 26 cont) "After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One [Jesus Christ] will be cut off but not for Himself. ["karat" = cut off, executed as a criminal]

["but not for Himself" = He was executed as a criminal, but not executed for something He did Himself. The Messiah Jesus Christ, (Christ = "Anointed One"), died for our sins, not for anything He did Himself. At the end of the stipulated period of 483 years which begins from the time when Nehemiah received the decree from Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem on Nissan 1, 445 B.C. At the end of this 483 year period to the very day is our Lord's presentation of Himself as Messiah when He rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey - Sunday, April 6, 32 A.D., (Mt 21:1-11). Shortly thereafter, the text says: "After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off..." So after this presentation of Himself as Ruler on Palm Sunday April 6, 32 A.D., the Lord Jesus Christ, the "Anointed One" would be crucified as a criminal as the prophecy in Daniel predicted. Note that there is a time span of approximately 2000 years between the preceding part of verse 26 when our Lord was crucified, which we have just discussed, and the next part of verse 26 which follows. The text in the book of Daniel does a quantum leap in time of approximately 2000 years from when our Lord was "cut off" - crucified - to the period in which the Antichrist lives: the Tribulation, bypassing our age - the church age]:

(v. 26 cont.) [Then] The people of the ruler [the Antichrist] who will come will destroy the city [of Jerusalem] AND THE SANCTUARY. [of the temple] THE END [of human history as we know it] will come like a flood. War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

(v. 27) He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many [Israel] for one 'seven'

[This seven years when added to the previous total of 483 years - 490 years. This is the period of time indicated in Daniel 9:24, ("Seventy sevens" = 70 x 7 = 490 yrs). This 490 year period will pass and then there will be the end of the age - the end of human history as we know it. It will also be 490 years of the period of the Mosaic Law until the end of the age of human history as we know it today and until our Lord's Sedond Coming. Our Lord's Second Coming will have been interrupted by approximately 2000 years of the church age - of the age of grace. Note that Scripture and history have proven out that this last seven years of the 490 year period of the Mosaic Law Age are interrupted by approximately 2000 years of the church age]

(v. 27 cont.) In the middle of the 'seven...

["the 'seven'" = the last 7 years of the tribulation period - the last 7 years of the Mosaic law period]

(v. 27 cont.) "In the middle of the 'seven', he [the Antichrist] will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up AN ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.' "

So the Antichrist will be the main impetus behind the persecution of believers - both Jewish believers and Gentile believers. Notice that he puts himself up as god in the temple in Jerusalem to be worshipped and will not stand for anyone worshipping the one true God of the universe. He will persecute all who will not worship him, Jews and Christians alike.

Note that the words "THE END will come like a flood": in Daniel 9:26 quoted in column one; and note the words "until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." in Luke 21:24 quoted on page 4. These two phrases indicate that the end of the Gentile control of the world and the beginning of the kingdom - with Israel as the ruling nation and our Lord as Ruler - has not come yet. And it obviously did not come in 70 A.D. So what our Lord prophesied as happening to Jerusalem and the temple is yet future. At that future time, Jerusalem and the sanctuary will again be destroyed.

This time by the Antichrist.

Note also that Daniel prophesies that "THE END" (when the Anointed One Jesus Christ returns) will come in 490 Jewish calendar years, (Dan 9:24). According to history only 483 years have passed from the month of Nisan, (March-April) 445 B.C. when Nehemiah was given a decree by Persian ruler Artaxerxes to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to the 10th of Nisan, (April 6), A.D. 32, ("Palm Sunday"). April 6th, A.D. 32 was the time of Passover when the Anointed One, Jesus Christ officially offered Himself as and was rejected as the Messiah by Israel, (Mt 21:1-11). At that time He was "cut off", i.e. crucified, (the punishment a criminal would receive). This temporarily suspended the ticking away of this 490 year prophecy - interrupted by 2000 years of church age.

There are therefore SEVEN years to go in this 490 year period before our Lord's Return. This is a 490 year period which is a period especially marked by the Mosaic Law rule of life including temple worship - all exclusively focused on the nation Israel - the church not at all being involved in this future 7 year period. This last seven years has been separated from the first 483 years by approximately 2000 years of Church age history. The 490 year clock will again start ticking as soon as the church age is completed at the Rapture.

Dave Hunt commented on the prophecies of Daniel in the December 1992 edition of the periodical entitled "The Berean Call", (Bend, Oregon, pp. 1-2):

'''Through the writings of Jeremiah, Daniel learned that the Babylonian captivity would last 70 years (Dan 9:2). God had commanded that each seven years the Hebrew slaves should be set free, debtors forgiven and the land given a one-year sabbath of rest (Ex 21:2; Dt 15:1,2,12; Lv 25:2-4). For 490 years Israel had disobeyed this precept. As judgment, Jews became slaves of Babylon while their land rested the 70 years of sabbaths it had been denied. [490 = 7 x 70]

While confessing this sin, pondering and praying, Daniel was given the revelation that another period of 490 years (70 weeks of years) lay ahead for his people and for Jerusalem (9:24). At the end of that time all of Israel's sins would be purged, all prophecy fulfilled and ended, and the Messiah would be reigning on David's throne in Jerusalem. These 70 weeks of years (490) were to be counted "from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem" (v. 25). That crucial date is given to us in Scripture.

Nehemiah tells us that it was "in the month Nisan [March], in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king" ...[Nehemiah 2:1-8]... ...that he received the authorization to rebuild Jerusalem. When the day of the month was not given the first day was intended.

There were several Artaxerxes, but only one, Longimanus, who ruled more than 20 years - from 465-425 B.C. Thus we have the key date from which this incredible prophecy was to be calculated: Nisan 1, 445 B.C.

At the end of 69 of these "weeks" (7 x 69 = 483 years) "Messiah the Prince" would be made known to Israel (Dan 9:25) and then "be cut off [slain] but not for Himself" (v. 26). Counting 483 years of 360 days each (the Hebrew and Babylonian calendar), a total of 173,880 days from Nisan 1, 445 B.C., brings us to Sunday, April 6, 32 A.D. ON THAT VERY DAY, now celebrated as Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey and was hailed as Messiah the Prince! (Zechariah 9:9 was fulfilled at the same time.)...............

...........April 6, 32 A.D. was, on the Hebrew calendar, 10th of Nisan. On that day the passover lamb was taken from the flock and placed under observation for four days to make certain that it was "without blemish." During the same four days, Christ, Whom John the Baptist had hailed as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29), was likewise on display before Israel. On the 14th of Nisan, "the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel was to kill it [the passover lamb] in the evening [between 3:00 and 6:00 P.M.]" (Ex 12:3-6). It was during that precise time period that Jesus died on the cross!'''

This still leaves seven years of history under Mosaic Law focused spiritually on the nation Israel until Jesus comes again! Those remaining seven years are none other than the seven year Tribulation period.

~~~dan9v27

[Mt 24:3 cont.]:

Let us now consider the text in Matthew with respect to our Lord's answer to the disciples' three questions. Keep in mind that Matthew's focus is on the future tribulation time and our Lord's second coming:

(Mt 24:3) "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, 'When will this happen [when Jerusalem will be destroyed], and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'

It is also especially evident in Revelation chapter 11 that Jerusalem will again be trampled upon in the future tribulation period. This correlates with Luke's account of the temple's destruction in Lk 21:20-24 which states that Jerusalem will "be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled":

[Rev 11:1-2]:

"I [The Apostle John] was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, 'Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshippers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. THEY WILL TRAMPLE ON THE HOLY CITY FOR 42 MONTHS.' "

This passage in Revelation speaks of a literal historical happening: the trampling on Jerusalem for 3 1/2 years beginning at the midpoint of the 7 year tribulation period.

This seven year tribulation period then completes the required seven years of the 490 year period until the end of the age and the beginning of the kingdom. This 3 1/2 years or "42 months" will mark the end of world domination by Gentiles, the end of the tribulation period and will mark the beginning of our Lord's Return and the ushering in of the kingdom which Matthew focuses on. (Cp Rev 13:5; Dan 7:25; 12:11).

Matthew's answers to the disciples' last two questions focus historically on the period of the tribulation. There are a least seven evidences in Scripture in this passage by Matthew pointing to a yet future period rather than 70 A.D. or any other period other than the tribulation:

(1) "Birth pains" which have not yet occurred in history as our Lord described them - especially not all in the same period of time:

[Mt 24:3-8]:

(v. 3):

" 'All these are the beginning of birth pains' "

John MacArthur states it this way, (op cit., p.15):

"...labor pains do not occur at conception or throughout pregnancy but just before birth. The figure of birth pains therefore would not have been appropriate to represent either the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred very near the beginning of the church age, or the church age as a whole.....

.....labor pains do not begin until shortly before delivery time, and they occur with increasing frequency until the baby is born. In the same way, the events connected with the Lord's Return will not begin until just before His Return, and they will occur with increasing rapidity, building to an explosion of catastrophic events. The same epoch is pictured in the book of Revelation, as the seal judgments unfold over a period of perhaps years (See 6:1-8:1-6), the trumpet judgments over a much shorter period of time, perhaps weeks (see 8:7-9:21; 11:15-19) and the bowl judgments over a period of perhaps a few days or even hours (see 16:1-21)."

(2) "endure until the end" - This phrase in Mt 24:14 sets the time of our Lord's answer to the future and another age. For the disciples did not live to the end of the age. Furthermore, all church age believers will be raptured before the end times begin, (end times - the tribulation period), (I Thes 4:13-18). So this phrase can only apply to saints of the tribulation period whose faith in Christ as Savior and faithful walk with Him providentially secures their endurance and thereby preserves their physical lives to the end of the age so that they will be alive and able to enter into the kingdom as the first subjects of our Lord's earthly reign. (Unfaithful believers and divinely appointed martyrs will have already physically perished and will have already entered into the Lord's presence in heaven).

(3) "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations...." - This phrase in Mt 24:14 rules out any period of time in history heretofore, (up to this time). The gospel has yet to reach billions of people even today with mass media technology.

Therefore as our Lord implied in verse 14 and as verified in Rev 14:6-7, there will yet be a future worldwide instantaneous and miraculous declaration of the gospel of the kingdom to every individual on the face of the earth. This has never happened before:

[Rev 14:6-7]:

(v. 6) "Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people.

(v. 7) He said in a loud voice, 'Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship Him Who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.' "

[Note that the contexts within this passage and other passages indicate that God will continuously provide the complete gospel of salvation via His angels and man during this period of tribulation]

(4) "the abomination of desolation: (v.15) - is yet future, (Dan 9:27), and is predicted to occur just before our Lord returns. This rules out what happened in 70 A.D.

(5) The fifth indicator is the conditions of the world which our Lord describes as leading up to the end of the age. These conditions of tribulation are to be the WORST EVER in human history. The book of Revelation describes these same conditions in greater detail.

(6) Number six indicator is historically yet future:

[Mt 24:29-30]:

" 'Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' "

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

(7) And finally, indicator #7: verses 32-35 of Matthew 24 in which our Lord speaks of a fig tree:

[Mt 24:32-35]:

(v. 32) " 'Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.

(v. 33) Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

(v. 34) I tell you the truth, this generation [the generation that is living during the time of these end time events] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

(v. 35) Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.' "

MacArthur comments, (Op Cit p.16):

'''Just as the budding leaves of a fig tree signal that summer is near, so the occurring of these events Jesus mentions here will signal His imminent return. "This generation", that is the generation living during the time of those endtime events, "will not pass away until all these things take place." The signs of Matthew 24-25 will be fully experienced within one generation, a generation that could be no other than the generation living when Christ returns.'''

The events of Matthew 24-25 are "unique to the end times in detail, in sequence, in scale and in extent. Some of the events such as the disruption of the physical universe (24:29), will be completely unique." (MacArthur, Op Cit., p.16).

Many have focused on our Lord's use of the word "you" (2nd person) and state that this applies exclusively and only to the disciples - to their generation. However, it is standard proceedure for prophetic statements to be made in such a way that it is pictured as happening in the present times - that those actually hearing the prophecy from the lips of our Lord or a prophet is pictured as living in the end times. Those who would actually be addressed as living through whatever is prophesied are not even born yet but the statement addresses them as if they were.

MacArthur puts it this way, (Op Cit., p. 17):

'''The Old Testament prophets frequently addressed messages to people yet unborn, some of whom would live hundreds of years in the future. God picked up the prophet as it were, and transported him to the time of which he was to prophecy, and he spoke as if he were standing directly before those future generations...............

Jesus was saying, in effect, "You who are alive at that time....."

Compare the following prophecy:

[Zech 9:9 was written in the 6th century B.C. - BEFORE CHRIST, yet the author writes as if people of his time are observing something 600 years in the future!]: [Zech 9:9]:

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion [Israel]! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

Cp Isa 33:17-24; 66:10-14.

Let's move on to the next few verses in Matthew chapter 24:

Verses 4-8 of Matthew chapter 24 parallel to a comparable extent the events following the opening of the seven seals in Revelation chapter six so we will quote the comparable verses of Revelation 6 with the corresponding Matthew text.

[Mt 24:4-5]:

"Jesus answered: 'Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many."

And the ultimate deceiver, the Antichrist who will deceive many

[Rev 6:1-2]:

"I [John the Apostle] watched as the Lamb [Jesus Christ] opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider [the Antichrist] held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest."

Scoffield, (Oxford NIV Scoffield Study Bible, 1967, Oxford University Press, p.1320, footnote #1):

"The rider on the white horse is not Christ. Those who identify this rider with Him consider the passage a prophecy of conquest by the Gospel. But no crown was given to the Lord as the proclamation of the Gospel began, and the terrible world events which accompany the other three riders (vv. 3-8) do not imply an earlier conquest by Christ."

[Compare Dan 9:26b-27]:

"The people of the ruler [the Antichrist] who will come will destroy the city [of Jerusalem] and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven' [with Israel for 7 years]. In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. [Thus breaking his covenant with his evil treachery] And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

Our Lord commands, as reported in Mt 24:4-5, that one who is living in the end times of the tribulation should be on his guard that he not be misled by any of the numerous false Christs who will appear on the scene - numbers like never before. Many will indeed be deceived:

[Mt 24:23-24]:

"At that time......

["At that time" refers back to Mt 24:21 which pictures a period of "tribulation unequaled from the beginning of the world"]

.......At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect - if that were possible."

Jesus is warning all men living at that time - during the tribulation - about this "birth pain" which signifies that the age of the Gentiles is in its final days. This does not include a direct warning to people living in other ages. Believers of the church age for example will either have died or been raptured before the tribulation begins, (1 Thes 4:13-18).

With the number of deceivers in the tribulation so much the greater than in any other age - with that number will grow the number of vulnerable people who being subject to such staggering catastrophes on the earth they will desperately seek anyone with answers - right or wrong - ultimately they will be subject to the Antichrist. Believers of the church age through whom God the Holy Spirit worked as a restraining influence will have been gone in the Rapture, (2 Thes 2:7 & 4:13-18).

Evil will now have its uninhibited day.

[Mt 24:6-7a]:

(v. 6) " 'You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.'

(v.7a) Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom..

[Rev 6:3-4]:

"When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, 'Come!'

Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword."

There will be such a degree of hot wars, economic and political wars and just plain rumors of conflicts everywhere that this is why Scripture reflects this condition of this "birth pain" in a form of the future tense of the Greek verb 'mello' which carries the idea of future, relentless, incessant, hearing of and occurrences.

MacArthur, (op cit., p. 18):

"Following the analogy of labor pains, the implication is that the conflicts will increase both in number and intensity as the return of Christ approaches, until they explode into a grand holocaust of bloodshed and carnage."

No one who lives on the earth during the tribulation period will escape the consequences of wars and rumors of wars. All nations and all kingdoms will be involved.

[Compare Dan 11:36-45]:

(v. 36) " 'The king....... [of the Roman empire, the 10 as yet future European nations, (cp Dan 7:24). At this point in Daniel's prophecy he leaps ahead in time from Antiochus Epiphanes whose career was described in vv.21-35, overleaps the church age to the end times and begins describing the future Roman empire of 10 European nations and the one who only could be the Antichrist]

(v. 36 cont) " 'The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.

(v. 37) He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers....

[This ruler will be the final ruler of the last Gentile empire - the final Roman Empire and will be a Gentile himself. Compare: "the little horn" in Dan 7:8, 24b. He has no allegiance to any of the religions of his fathers - to any of their gods.]

(V. 37 cont) He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers, or for the one desired by women.....

["He will show no regard......for the One desired by women" - no regard for the Messiah. The Antichrist repudiates the messianic hopes of Israel in order to place himself as god over them. It was the traditional hope of every woman that she would give birth to the Messiah as prophesied in O.T. Scripture]

...............nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all.

(v. 38) Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses [war]; a god unknown to his fathers [Satan] he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.

(v. 39) He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price,

(v. 40) At the time of the end the king of the South [Egypt with Libyians and Nubians, v. 43] will engage him in battle, and the king of the North [Russia + allies, Ez 38 & 39] will storm out against him with chariots and calvary and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.

(v. 41) He will also invade the Beautiful Land. [Israel]. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Amon [Jordan] will be delivered from his hand.

(v. 42) He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape.

(v. 43) He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission.

(v. 44) But reports from the East and the North will alarm him,

[a great army from the East, 200 million strong, (China already has an army that large), moving to battle the Antichrist and another from the North, (Russia again), coming to do battle in the valley of Armageddon, Rev 9:16]

(v. 44 cont) and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many.

(v. 45) He will pitch his royal tents between the seas

[he will now set up in Israel between the Mediterranean & Dead Seas]

(v. 45 cont) "He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain [Jerusalem]. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him."

[Mt 24:6-7a cont.]:

(v. 6) " 'You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.'

(v.7a) Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom..

MacArthur writes, (Op. Cit., p.20-21):

"Consistent with Daniel's description, Zechariah prophesied that the Lord "will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle." (Zech. 14:2-3)........

But before the Lord comes to acomplish that final conquest, the Antichrist and the forces of the north, south, and east will engage in ruthless combat and succeed in slaughtering a third of the world's population. In the face of that unparalleled carnage man's last vestige of hope will vanish and stark terror will rule the day. Only believers who hold fast to the Lord will have the divinely-given strength and courage to avoid being petrified with fear."

[Mt 24:7b-8]:

"There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."

[Rev 6:5-6; 12-14]:

[Famines - Rev 6:5-6]:

"When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, 'A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and wine!' "

[Earthquakes - Rev 6:12-14]:

"I watched as He opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place."

Famines and earthquakes have occurred throughout history but not to the great extent as those which are the birth pains of the end times: "A quart of wheat for a day's wages........every mountain and island was removed from its place." - as indicated in the parallel passages in Revelation. And consider this earthquake which will occur just before our Lord's second coming:

[Rev 16:18-20]:

(v. 18) "Then there came flashes of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.

(v. 19) The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of His wrath.

(v. 20) Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.

(v. 21) From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible."

Note the accompanying signs in Rev 6:12-14, previously quoted, which occur at this future time - they have definitely not occurred in history yet and are therefore yet future:

(Rev 6:12b) "The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,

(Rev 6:13) and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.

(Rev 6:14) The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place."

[Mt 24:9-12]:

" 'Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me."

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,

[Rev 6:9-11]:

"When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, 'How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?' Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed."

The context implies a widespread - worldwide handing over: "you will be hated by all nations". The "you" does not apply to the disciples to whom our Lord was speaking nor to church age believers who are ALL raptured out of the world (1 Thes 4:13-18; 5:9) before the tribulation of God's wrath begins with the opening of the first seal and our Lord's release of the rider on the white horse (Rev 6:1-2). Our Lord is speaking prophetically to all people who become believers during the end times - ESPECIALLY JEWISH BELIEVERS. That period of time about which our Lord was prophesying is the 7 year tribulation period and no other age because the entire scenario that Jesus Christ is painting in His prophecy fits no other age.

The Greek word "paradidomi" in verse 9 which is translated "will be handed over" is used as a technical term for being arrested by those in authority, (cp Mt 4:12 - same word). How widespread the persecution will be to have public authorities directly involved in the arrest of tribulation believers! The persecution of believers will never be so widespread or so pervasive as in the tribulation time. The temporary or localized persecutions of the past - even in ancient Rome - do not qualify under this description of persistent, worldwide, pervasive, persecution of Jew and Gentile alike. These persecutions will originate largely from the Antichrist who breaks his covenant with Israel and reverses his role as protector of the Jew to persecutor!

Mark provides more details:

[Mk 13:9]:

"You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of Me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them."

And from the Old Testament, Daniel prophesies about the same period in which these persecutions will occur relative to the actions of the Antichrist:

[Dan 7:25]:

"He [the Antichrist] will speak against the Most High [God] and oppress His saints and try to change the set times and the laws. [i.e., institute his own system of absolute rulership] THE SAINTS WILL BE HANDED OVER TO HIM FOR A TIME, TIMES AND HALF A TIME"

["TIME" = 1yr + "TIMES" = 2yrs + "HALF A TIME" = year = 3 1/2 years total]

[Compare Dan 9:24-27, (again)]:

(v. 24) "Seventy 'sevens'.........................

[70 x 7 - 490 years. Daniel would be thinking in terms of years because a number of other Scripture passages indicate that 70 years was a period of time in which God dealt with the nation Israel, (Cp Jer 25:11-12; 2 Chron 36:21). The Israel people thought in terms of sevens, ("heptads"):

one week - seven days

every 7th yr-sabbath rest year(Lev25:1-7)

the Year of Jubilee - the next yr after seven 'sevens' or 7x7 - 49 years(Lev 25:8-12)

Therefore "Seventy 'sevens' " must mean seventy sevens of years or 70 x 7 - 490 years. "Seventy sevens" could not mean days or weeks, that would be too short of a time for all of the events in the prophecy to happen. And history proves this out since 490 days and 490 weeks have already transpired without the fulfillment of the prophecy occurring. If days were meant rather than years then the words in Hebrew which are translated in English as "of days" would have also been added as it was in Dan 10:2-3.

It must mean sevens of years also because Israel had not been letting the land lie fallow every seventh year as commanded by God, (Lev 25:1-7). This made a total of 70 sabbatical years which were not honored by this time in Israel's history. It would now require 490 years of time for God to enforce this command as per His Word, (Lev 26:34-35), and provide for the land being left fallow every 7th year, (70 sabbatical years missed x 7 - 490 years)

Finally, the most basic of proofs that "seventy 'sevens' " refers to years is to test it out by calculating it by years and then examining what happened in the future to see if the prophecies were precisely fulfilled. The following verses do just that when the timespan of years is calculated in:

(v. 24 cont.) "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."

[So God has decreed that there will be a period of 490 years of Jewish history until there will be:

1) a "finish" to "transgression" - a finish to Israel's willful disobedience will be brought to an end.

2) "an end of sin" - the Hebrew word hatam" = "an end of" = completion of in the sense of ending. The context of this passage in Daniel combined with the examination of other passages which are about the same doctrine, (see *** below), indicate that the phrase "an end of sin" means a sealing up of - a final ending of the problem of unpunished sin with the satisfactory amount of punishment.

(***The concept of sealing up of sin is clearly taught in Dt 32:34 & Job 14:17).

3) atonement "for wickedness" = payment for sins - this specifically refers to our Lord's once for all time atonement for the sins of the whole world, (Ro 3:21; I Jn 2:2; Hebrews chapter 9).

4) a bringing in of "everlasting righteousness"

"to bring in" - in the verb form in this passage "to bring in" = to cause to come in. This refers to the causing to come in by God of a period of everlasting righteousness. This can only refer to that period of time in history beginning with the millennium. There is no other period in history which has everlasting righteousness.

5) a sealing up - a fulfilling, finally, of all "visions and prophecy" in Scripture. All visions and prophecies in Scripture will be sealed, i.e. fulfilled and completed and thereby sealed up as completed, no longer applicable for fulfillment.

6) An anointing of - the enthronement of "the Most Holy", the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of Lords. This will occur beginning at the period of the millennium.

[Dan 9:24-27 cont.]:

(v. 24 cont.) "Seventy 'sevens' [490 years] are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."

So this 490 year period which leads into the millennium will begin at the time when king Artxerses issues a decree to rebuild Jerusalem:

(v. 25) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem...

[Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of Babylon, issued a decree to permit Nehemiah to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. King Artaxerses did this on the Jewish calendar month and day of Nisan 1, 445 B.C., (cp Nehemiah 2:1-8)]

(v. 25 cont) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One...

["Anointed One" = "Christos" (Greek) = The Lord Jesus Christ]

[...until the Anointed One, the Ruler, comes = until our Lord appears in His First Coming to present Himself as Ruler of the world. He will inevitably be rejected as Ruler and crucified]:

(v. 25 cont) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the Ruler comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens' ...

["there will be seven 'sevens'" = 7 x 7 - 49 years]

["and sixty-two 'sevens'"' = 62 x 7 = 434 years - a total of 483 Jewish calendar years x 360 days/yr = 173,880 days]

(v. 25 cont) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the Ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens' It [Jerusalem] will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble....

["times of trouble" = Jerusalem was rebuilt back in ancient times by Nehemiah in "times of trouble" and it will also be rebuilt during the tribulation period "in times of trouble" = a double fulfillment of prophecy which is typical in God's word. Note that here is where a quantum leap of time is about to take place in this passage in the book of Daniel]:

(v. 26) After the sixty-two 'sevens',...

[After the period of 434 years - which occurs after the period of 49 years, i.e. after a total of 483 years]

(v. 26 cont) "After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One [Jesus Christ] will be cut off but not for Himself. ["karat"= cut off, executed as a criminal]

["but not for Himself" = He was executed as a criminal, but not executed for something He did Himself. The Messiah Jesus Christ, (Christ = "Anointed One"), died for our sins, not for anything He did Himself. At the end of the stipulated period of 483 years which begins from the time when Nehemiah received the decree from Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem on Nissan 1, 445 B.C. At the end of this 483 year period to the very day is our Lord's presentation of Himself as Messiah when He rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey - Sunday, April 6, 32 A.D., (Mt 21:1-11). Shortly thereafter, the text says: "After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off..." So after this presentation of Himself as Ruler on Palm Sunday April 6, 32 A.D., the Lord Jesus Christ, the "Anointed One" would be crucified as a criminal as the prophecy in Daniel predicted. Note that there is a time span of approximately 2000 years between the preceding part of verse 26 when our Lord was crucified, which we have just discussed, and the next part of verse 26 which follows. The text in the book of Daniel does a quantum leap in time of approximately 2000 years from when our Lord was "cut off" - crucified - to the period in which the Antichrist lives: the Tribulation, bypassing our age - the church age]:

(v. 26 cont.) [Then] The people of the ruler [the Antichrist] who will come will destroy the city [of Jerusalem] AND THE SANCTUARY. [of the temple] THE END [of human history as we know it] will come like a flood. War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

(v. 27) He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many [Israel] for one 'seven'

[This seven years when added to the previous total of 483 years = 490 years. This is the period of time indicated in Daniel 9:24, ("Seventy sevens" = 70 x 7 = 490 yrs). This 490 year period will pass and then there will be the end of the age - the end of human history as we know it. It will also be 490 years of the period of the Mosaic Law until THE END OF THE AGE OF HUMAN HISTORY AS WE KNOW IT TODAY AND UNTIL OUR LORD'S SECOND COMING. Our Lord's Second Coming will have been interrupted by approximately 2000 years of the church age - of the age of grace. Note that Scripture and history have proven out that this last seven years of the 490 year period of the Mosaic Law Age are interrupted by approximately 2000 years of the church age]

(v. 27 cont.) In the middle of the 'seven...

["the 'seven'" = the last 7 years of the tribulation period - the last 7 years of the Mosaic law period]

(v. 27 cont.) "In the middle of the 'seven', he [the Antichrist] will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up AN ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.' "

Note that the words "THE END will come like a flood": in Daniel 9:26 quoted in column one; and note the words "until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." in Luke 21:24 quoted on page 4. These two phrases indicate that the end of the Gentile control of the world and the beginning of the kingdom - with Israel as the ruling nation and our Lord as Ruler - has not come yet. And it obviously did not come in 70 A.D. So what our Lord prophesied as happening to Jerusalem and the temple is yet future. At that future time, Jerusalem and the sanctuary will again be destroyed. This time by the Antichrist. Note also that Daniel prophesies that "THE END" (when the Anointed One Jesus Christ returns) will come in 490 Jewish calendar years, (Dan 9:24). According to history only 483 years have passed from the month of Nisan, (March-April) 445 B.C. when Nehemiah was given a decree by Persian ruler Artaxerxes to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to the 10th of Nisan, (April 6), A.D. 32, ("Palm Sunday"). April 6th, A.D. 32 was the time of Passover when the Anointed One, Jesus Christ officially offered Himself as and was rejected as the Messiah by Israel, (Mt 21:1-11). At that time He was "cut off", i.e. crucified, (the punishment a criminal would receive). This temporarily suspended the ticking away of this 490 year prophecy - interrupted by 2000 years of church age.

There are therefore SEVEN years to go in this 490 year period before our Lord's Return. This is a 490 year period which is a period especially marked by the Mosaic Law rule of life including temple worship - all exclusively focused on the nation Israel - the church not at all being involved in this future 7 year period. This last seven years has been separated from the first 483 years by approximately 2000 years of Church age history. The 490 year clock will again start ticking as soon as the church age is completed at the Rapture.

So the Antichrist will be the main impetus behind the persecution of believers - both Jewish believers and Gentile believers. Notice that he puts himself up as god in the temple in Jerusalem to be worshipped and will not stand for anyone worshipping the one true God of the universe. He will persecute all who will not worship him, Jews and Christians alike.

[Mt 24:9-12 cont.]:

(v. 9) " 'Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me."

(v. 10) At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,

(v. 11) and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

(v. 12) Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold"

[Mk 13:9]:

"You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of Me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them."

Persecution of tribulation believers - of both Jewish believers and Gentile believers - will be worldwide from all sectors of society: unbelieving Jews will persecute believers, ("synagogues"); and unbelieving Gentiles will do likewise, ("local councils... governors and kings"). All of this will be viciously promoted by the Antichrist.

BKC, op. cit., p.76-77:

"At the middle point of the seven-year period preceding Christ's second coming, great distress will begin to be experienced by Israel. The Antichrist, who will have risen to power in the world and will have made a protective treaty with Israel, will break his agreement at that time (Dan 9:27). He will bring great persecution on Israel (Dan 7:25) and even establish his own center of worship in the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Thes 2:3-4). This will result in the "death" of many Jews... This will result in the "death" of many Jews and "many" people departing "from the faith". Believing Jews "will" be betrayed by nonbelievers (Mt 24:10), and "many" will be deceived by rising "false prophets" (cf. Mt 24:5; Rev. 13:11-15). "Wickedness" will "increase" causing "the love of most" people (for the Lord) to "grow cold."

The birth pains of worldwide persecution of saints, will be followed by another and closely ensuing birth pain: widespread denial of their faith by true believers and also by false professors of faith in Christ as a result of the persecution, (Mt 24:10). Many believers will physically perish in the Tribulation and go home early to be with the Lord as a result of their unfaithful behavior and God's resultant discipline of them. This is just as it happens today in the church age. Sad to say, there is nothing like the hatred a fallen believer can demonstrate toward a faithful saint:

[Mt 24:10]:

"At that time many will turn away from the faith.............................................

[which signifies that they had saving faith in the first place. It is either saving faith which is "the faith" that is described here or it is no faith at all - THAT AFTER ALL IS THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION]

[Mt 24:10 cont.]:

NIV: "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other."

KJV: "And then shall many be offended, and shall betray [deliver up] one another, and shall hate one another."

MacArthur states, (Op. Cit., p.26):

"The defecting false believers.................

[MacArthur states 'The defecting false believers' because he maintains (contrary to Scripture) that believers do defect and were never truly saved because of lack of commitment to the Lord. This is neither Scriptural nor true]

[MacArthur cont.]:

"The defecting...believers....in the end time will not be satisfied simply with leaving the church but will join in its persecution.

"They will deliver up one another and hate one another, (Mt 24:10). God's people will be betrayed by those who once were a part of their fellowship but who become offended at Christ when the cost rises too high......... [As the Apostle Peter once did, (Mt 26:69-end), but he never lost his salvation or had to prove it out by committment in order to have eternal life]

[MacArthur cont.]:

"God's people will be betrayed by those who once were a part of their fellowship but who become offended at Christ when the cost rises too high. Both to save their own skins [their physical lives] as well as to vent the hatred for the things of God they have always had in their hearts....................

[Note that if they had the things of God in their heart which is a result of trusting in Christ as Savior then according to God's Word they were and will always be saved, even inspite of their turning from their faith. See "]

[MacArthur cont.]:

"God's people will be betrayed by those who once were a part of their fellowship but who become offended at Christ when the cost rises too high. Both to save their own skins [their physical lives] as well as to vent the hatred for the things of God they have always had in their hearts they will turn informer and persecutor. At that time, Jesus said, "brother will deliver brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death." (Mark 13:12; cf Luke 21:16). Not only within the assembly at large but within individual families, those who do not truly belong to Christ will turn against those who do.................... [and many of those who truly do belong to Christ will also persecute their own brothers in Christ] .........even to the point of betraying their own children and parents into martyrdom."

Scripture states in numerous passages that it is at one solitary point in time that an individual is saved for eternity when he trusts alone in Christ alone - without any evidence of discipleship of Christ required whatsoever. This is especially true when one is first born again and has not yet developed one's newly born capacity to be a disciple. (Compare Eph 1:13-14; 2:8-9; Jn 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; I Jn 5:9-13; Gal 3:2; etc). At the point in time when a person exercises his faith in Christ as Savior, Scripture says that he is permanently indwelt and sealed by God Himself - God the Holy Spirit. The believer becomes permanently 'in Christ' and thereby his salvation is absolutely guaranteed no matter what the believer does. Let's examine this critical passage about the indwelling Spirit:

[Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And you [the Gentile believer] also.......

[also = in addition to the Jewish believer]

(v. 13 cont) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation ........................ [at that moment in time when you heard the gospel of salvation]

(v. 13 cont) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, HAVING BELIEVED.......................

[AT THAT VERY MOMENT IN TIME WHEN YOU BELIEVED]

(v. 13 cont) ...HAVING BELIEVED, YOU WERE MARKED IN HIM [IN CHRIST], WITH A SEAL, THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT, WHO IS A DEPOSIT GUARANTEEING OUR INHERITANCE UNTIL THE REDEMPTION ........ [God the Holy Spirit is our deposit guaranteeing eternal life in heaven until the final act of redemption - our transformation into righteous beings for all eternity]:

(v. 13 cont.) ...HAVING BELIEVED, YOU WERE MARKED IN HIM [IN CHRIST], WITH A SEAL, THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT,

(v. 14) WHO IS A DEPOSIT GUARANTEEING OUR INHERITANCE UNTIL THE REDEMPTION OF THOSE WHO ARE [NOW AT THIS MOMENT] GOD'S POSSESSION [FOREVER] - to the praise of His glory."

Note that there are numerous passages which urge believers not to live like the unbelieving world - otherwise there will be discipline and loss of rewards. Cp. Eph 5:1-14; Gal 5:16-21). To continue on in Matthew chapter 24.....

Related to the two birth pains of worldwide persecution and apostasy is the deception of so many people who have no anchor of faith in Christ to secure themselves to and no divine viewpoint from the Bible to rely on in such disastrous times - including wayward believers:

[Mt 24:11]:

"And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people."False prophets have appeared throughout history but not like in the end times when people will be willing to grab onto anything in light of the overwhelming series of endless disasters that will have been occurring on the earth. Without the restraining of God the Holy Spirit primarily through the body of believers of the church age who have been translated to heaven in the Rapture, there will be little restraint of evil and false doctrines:

[Rev 9:20-21]:

"The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshipping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood - idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts [ "magic arts" - "pharmakia" ], their sexual immorality or their thefts."

"pharmakia" - sorcery, magic arts closely related to the use of mind-altering drugs.

ENDURING TO THE END:

There are mentioned three causes of apostasy in our Lord's discourse on the Mt of Olives: persecution and false doctrine through false Christs, false prophets which have been previously mentioned and then the third: love of sin.

[Mt 24:12]:

"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,"

Without restraint, the temptations to sin will be magnified and many will choose to succumb rather than resist and flee.

MacArthur, (Op. Cit., p.27):

"The lawlessness will be diabolically aggressive and unabashed. Rather than trying to hide their sins, people will flaunt

them, and such gross evil will draw many people, including some professed [and also true] believers, away from whatever interest in the things of God they may once have had."

[II Tim. 3:1-5]:

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."

[Mt 24:13 NAS]:

"but the one who endures to the end, it is he who shall be saved."

"saved" - "sothesetai" - to be saved, rescued, to be preserved safe and unharmed, delivered from physical death In this context salvation to eternal life is not in view:

(1) Many believers in this period were martyred and spoken of as in heaven before the period of the tribulation ends (Rev 15:1-4). Obviously those believers who were martyred did not endure to the end yet they were saved in the sense of eternal life.

(2) Those believers who endured to the end would of course be eternally saved. But would this exclude the believers who were martyred for their faith because the martyred believers did not physically endure to the end? No. The word saved refers to being delivered from physical death which everyone else will suffer at the end of the tribulation who did not trust in Christ as Messiah Savior.

Compare other passages in Scripture which deal with the physical life or death of a believer based on how faithful or unfaithful is one's walk with God:

[Jas 2:14]:

"What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works?

Can that faith save him?"

What use ("ophelos" = profit, advantage) is it, fellow believers, for anyone to profess to have faith ("pistin" = profess,affirm), if he has no DIVINE GOOD WORKS to show for it? Answer demanded by context and greek grammar - NO GOOD AT ALL

James then asks the question: "Can such faith save him?"

Answer demanded by context and grammar: NO!

James is not talking here about salvation from hell. He and his readers were born again (Jas 1:18), they had faith in the Lord of glory (Jas 2:1), they had the privileges of prayer (Jas 4:2-3), and he repeatedly calls them his brethren (Jas 1:2,9,16,19; 2:1,5,14-15; 3:1,10,12; 4:11;5:7,9,10,12, & 19). Born again believers are always in view in this passage.

In chapter one of the Book of James, the author establishes the context and meaning for James 2:14 ..............

((Jas 2:14) "What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no workCan that faith save him?" ):......... Here are a number of passages in James chapter one which establish the meaning of Jas 2:14:

[Jas 1:12]:

"Blessed is a man

[a man who is a believer cp 1:2-11]

who perseveres under trial

[only believers are put under trial- Jas 1:2-4]

for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life

[only believers receive the crown of life & only if they are faithful]

which the Lord has promised to those who love Him,

[Believers will not all be faithful in their love for the Lord. Jesus said to Philip and by application to all believers: "If you love Me you will keep My commandments" (Jn 14:15). Many believers will not keep our Lord's commandments. Scripture testifies to this in many places, cp I Jn 1:8; Gal 6:1-3; Jas 1:19-21; I Cor 3:1-3; Eph 5:1-14)]

[Jas 1:13-15]:

'''Let no one [believer] say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one [believer] is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully matured... [apotelestheisa = having come to an end, to maturity]

...and when sin is fully matured it brings forth [physical] death [in that believer]. [Jas 1:18-21]:

(v. 18) "He chose to give us[believers]birth... [becoming spiritually born again]

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth

["the word of truth" = the gospel]

that we might be a kind of first fruits of all He created.

(v. 19) "So that,...........

["hoste" = so that, as a consequence of your salvation, your new birth -refer back to v.18]

(v. 19 cont) "So that...

[as a consequence of your salvation]

So that, my beloved brethren,

[my beloved brethren believers]

let every man [believer] be quick to hear, [a ready listener] slow to speak, slow to anger;

(v. 20) for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

(v. 21) Therefore [you believers] put aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in a humble spirit receive the word [which] implanted [in your heart] is able to save your souls" ["your souls" = "psuchas" = your physical lives]

["psuchas" = souls = the essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death, (Cp. Mt 10:28). In this context, the "soulish life" which is lived on earth, (life as directed by one's soul), will be saved if the believer turns from living a sinful life and thereby will not die physically before his time].

[Cp Lk 6:9]:

"And Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do evil, to save a life, [ d soul], or to destroy it?"

The word for "life" in Lk 6:9 above, ("psuchen"), is the same word that is translated as "souls" in Jas 1:21, ("psuchas"). Compare also Mk 3:4 same word "psuchen" = translated as life.

James tells fellow believers in verse 1:21 quoted in column #1 on this page to put aside all immoral behavior and obey God's word "which [God's word] "is able to save your souls." [with the result that one does divine good works]. He refers to saving your life relative to physical death, to rewards in heaven and to the true value of your soul - your physical life - to God on earth....instead of wasting your life on earth with the temporal, immoral or trivial.

Jas 1:19-21 is definitely not a salvation passage. The two conditions given, not practicing sinfulness and receiving God's word with respect to living righteously are repeatedly given in Scripture as conditions FOR BELIEVERS TO MEET FOR DISCIPLESHIP & NOT FOR UNBELIEVERS TO SATISFY IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. James and all the authors of Scripture call upon believers to avoid sinning and to apply God's word in order to grow as believers, to please God, to avoid temporal discipline and to lay up treasure in heaven. Compare the following passages to verify that Scripture does indeed instruct and command believers not to sin and to stay in fellowship with the Lord: Acts 20:27-38; Ro 12:9-15:3; I Cor 9:24-27; 2 Cor 5:9-10; Eph 4:17-31; I Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:21-36; Titus 3:1-8; Heb 13:1-9; Jas 5:7-12; and finally, I Pet 1:13-16; 2:1-2.

The key to understanding James' epistle is understanding that James is saying that believers are to serve God and not instead serve themselves or instead their fellow man. James is telling fellow believers in 1:19-21 that they must give up their sinful lifestyles and start obeying God's word in order to save themselves from losing their lives on earth - from physical death which includes the cutting short of the time the soul spends on earth in the physical body doing the Lord's work. For the soul departs from the body upon physical death. If nothing was produced by that soul while in the physical body due to a sinful lifestyle then that soul has wasted himself and will have nothing to show for his time on earth - his life will have been worthless.

Nothing he did will be saved in heaven for all eternity!

Thus we have arrived at the true meaning of James 2:14 which was discussed on page 16:

[Jas 2:14]:

"What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?"[from premature physical death and loss of eternal rewards?]

[Mt 24:13 NAS cont.]:

"but the one who endures to the end, it is he who shall be saved."

Compare other passages which deal with the subject of the physical death of a believer, of not "enduring to the end" of one's appointed years on earth due to a sinful lifestyle. The following passages indicate the consequences to a believer for a persistently sinful lifestyle, a life without much divine good production:

[I Cor 8:9-11]:

A Christian perishes, (dies), due to a weak conscience and his consequent sin

[I Cor 11:28-30]:

A believer dies physically because he violates the sharing in the Lord's supper with serious mental attitude sin. [I Jn 5:16-17]:

The sin that leads to physical death IN A BELIEVER is indicated as a truth.

[Lev 10:1-2]:

Aaron's sons Nadab & Abihu die immediately of their sin before the altar of the Lord.

[Acts 5:1-11]:

A husband and his wife physically die due to sin.

Although immediate death of believers due to sin is not the norm, Scripture warns that sin will cut a life short:

[Ez 18:4, 20]:

The soul that sins shall (physically) die, ("nephesh" = soul, the invisible & immaterial life principle of a living being. Cp Gen 2:7.

[Pr 10:27]:

The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

[Eccl 7:17]:

Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool - why die before your time?

[Pr 11:19]:

"The truly righteous man....................

[the believer who stays in fellowship with the Lord]

attains [longer physical] life,

["life" = "hayl" (Hebrew) = physical life]

but he who pursues evil, [whether believer or unbeliever] goes to his [physical] death" [before his time].

[Pr 14:27]:

"The fear of the Lord.......

[fearing & thereby obeying Him]

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,

["fountain" = a source, a well, a spring]

[life = "hayl" (Hebrew) = physical life]

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death,"

[snares of death d those traps, i.e. lures, which tempt a believer to sin and thus hasten one toward physical death].

[Jas 1:15]:

Sin when it is full grown in the believer brings forth physical death.

[Jas 5:19-21]:

The believer who enables another believer who is sinning as a matter of course in his life to turn his life around will save that sinful believer's soul, i.e. save his physical life.

There is much to be said for the value of the inner peace and joy which obedience to God's word brings. This inner peace and joy provides a longer life of better quality than the life-shortening-depreciating value of turmoil, guilt, bitterness, anger, etc which disobedience to God's word brings.

Finally, let's ask the question if any of this benefit to longer life can apply to unbelievers or even to salvation unto eternal life in heaven. Is James speaking to unbelievers in his letter? Is James speaking about eternal life? All of the exhortation James does to his readers to repent and clean up their lives cannot apply to unbelievers. Unbelievers cannot accomplish this because they cannot please God, they are slaves to sin and do not have the capacity to repent and clean up their lives, (compare Ro 8:5-8). Therefore James' appeal must be to fellow brethren believers. Furthermore, since the destiny of every believer is eternal life in heaven no matter what, (Jn 5:24, 6:47; Ro 8:1; Jas 1:18; Eph 4:30 and I Jn 5:9-13), then James cannot be referring to eternal damnation-death in hell. He is not therefore referring to salvation to eternal life but to saving oneself from physical death.

So, returning to our passage in Matthew:

[Mt 24:13 cont]:

"but the one who endures to the end, it is he who shall be saved."

The believers of the tribulation period who are faithful - who endure in their walk with God to the end - will physically survive the tribulation ordeal and will continue to remain physically alive in their natural bodies and begin life in the millennium period under Christ's rule. Not so for unfaithful believers who will not physically survive but go home to be with the Lord prematurely, suffering a tremendous loss of eternal rewards in heaven. Also, those believers whom God has chosen to be martyrs will also not physically survive until the end, but will receive the tremendous crown of rewards for giving up their life for the Lord and all that that entails in eternity. Finally, at the end of the tribulation, physically surviving unbelievers will be put to death by our Lord and then cast into the Lake of Fire for eternal condemnation.

[Mt 24:14]:

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

As previously indicated, this verse rules out any period of time in history heretofore. The gospel has yet to reach billions of people even today with mass media technology. Therefore as our Lord implied in verse 14 and as verified in Rev 16:6-7, there will yet be a future worldwide instantaneous and miraculous declaration of the gospel of the kingdom to every individual on the face of the earth. This has never happened before:

[Rev 14:6-7]:

"Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, 'Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship Him Who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.' "

Note that the context within this passage and other passages indicate that God will continuously provide the complete gospel of salvation via His angels and man during this period of tribulation.

Note that the gospel of the kingdom, albeit the gospel of salvation, focuses on acceptance into the imminently coming kingdom on the basis of fearing God and then finally - trusting alone in the Messiah Jesus Christ alone as one's Savior. This is the gospel with a slightly different emphasis than the free grace gospel of Paul's epistles for example.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary makes this distinction, (Op. Cit., p.76):

"...the "gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world" during this period as a testimony to all nations.

Though this will be a terrible time of persecution, the Lord will have servants who will witness and spread the good news concerning Christ and His soon-coming kingdom. This message will be similar to that preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the disciples at the beginning of Matthew's Gospel, but this message will clearly identify Jesus in His true character as the coming Messiah. This is not exactly the same message the church is proclaiming today. The message preached today in the Church Age and the message proclaimed in the tribulation period calls for turning to the Savior for salvation. However, in the Tribulation the message will stress the coming kingdom, and those who turn to the Savior for salvation will be allowed entrance into the kingdom. Apparently many will respond to that message..."

The fact that many who live during the future Tribulation period will respond to the gospel by trusting alone in the coming Messiah Jesus Christ alone is evident from the following passage in the book of Revelation:

[Rev 7:9-10, 13-14]

(v. 9) "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

(v. 10) And they cried out in a loud voice:

'Salvation belongs to our God, Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb'

(v. 13) Then one of the elders asked me, 'These in white robes - who are they, and where did they come from?'

(v. 14) I answered, 'Sir, you know.' And he said, 'These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' "

This passage refers to a great multitude of people who became believers DURING THE TRIBULATION and who died before our Lord's Second Coming. They are at this time in heaven before the seventh seal is opened on earth during the Tribulation period, (Rev. chapters 8 & 9). Imagine, then, how many more believers remain on the earth during that time!!

[Mt 24:15-20]:

"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand - then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath."

[Mt 24:15]:

"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand -" Let us return to the passage that our Lord refers to in Daniel that leads up to "the abomination that causes desolation":

[Dan 9:24-27]:

(v. 24) "Seventy 'sevens'.........................

[70 x 7 - 490 years. Daniel would be thinking in terms of years because a number of other Scripture passages indicate that 70 years was a period of time in which God dealt with the nation Israel, (Cp Jer 25:11-12; 2 Chron 36:21). The Israel people thought

in terms of sevens, ("heptads"):

one week - seven days

every 7th yr-sabbath rest year(Lev25:1-7)

the Year of Jubilee - the next yr after seven 'sevens' or 7x7 - 49 years(Lev 25:8-12)

Therefore "Seventy 'sevens' " must mean seventy sevens of years or 70 x 7 - 490 years. "sevens" could not mean days or weeks, that would be too short of a time for all of the events in the prophecy to happen. And history proves this out since 490 days and 490 weeks have already transpired without the fulfillment of the prophecy occurring. If days were meant rather than years then the words in Hebrew which are translated in English as "of days" would have also been added as it was in Dan 10:2-3.

It must mean sevens of years also because Israel had not been letting the land lie fallow every seventh year as commanded by God, (Lev 25:1-7). This made a total of 70 sabbatical years which were not honored by this time in Israel's history. It would now require 490 years of time for God to enforce this command as per His Word, (Lev 26:34-35), and provide for the land being left fallow every 7th year, (70 sabbatical years missed x 7 - 490 years)

Finally, the most basic of proofs that "seventy 'sevens' " refers to years is to test it out by calculating it by years and then examining what happened in the future to see if the prophecies were precisely fulfilled. The following verses do just that when the timespan of years is calculated in:

(v. 24 cont.) "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."

[So God has decreed that there will be a period of 490 years of Jewish history until there will be:

1) a "finish" to "transgression" - a finish to Israel's willful disobedience will be brought to an end.

2) "an end of sin" - the Hebrew word "hatam" = "an end of" = a completion of in the sense of ending. The context of this passage in Daniel combined with the examination of other passages which are about the same doctrine, (see *** below), indicate that the phrase "an end of sin" means a sealing up of - a final ending of the problem of unpunished sin with the satisfactory amount of punishment.

(***The concept of sealing up of sin is clearly taught in Dt 32:34 & Job 14:17).

3) atonement "for wickedness" - payment for sins - this specifically refers to our Lord's once for all time atonement for the sins of the whole world, (Ro 3:21; I Jn 2:2; Hebrews chapter 9).

4) a bringing in of "everlasting righteousness"

"to bring in" - in the verb form in this passage "to bring in" - to cause to come in. This refers to the causing to come in by God of a period of everlasting righteousness. This can only refer to that period of time in history beginning with the millennium. There is no other period in history which has everlasting righteousness.

5) a sealing up - a fulfilling, finally, of all "visions and prophecy" in Scripture. All visions and prophecies in Scripture will be sealed, i.e. fulfilled and completed and thereby sealed up as completed, no longer applicable for fulfillment.

6) An anointing of - the enthronement of "the Most Holy", the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of Lords. This will occur beginning at the period of the millennium.

[Dan 9:24-27 cont.]:

(v. 24 cont.) "Seventy 'sevens' [490 years] are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."

So this 490 year period which leads into the millennium will begin at the time when king Artxerses issues a decree to rebuild Jerusalem:

(v. 25) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem...

[Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of Babylon, issued a decree to permit Nehemiah to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. King Artaxerses did this on the Jewish calendar month and day of Nisan 1, 445 B.C., (cp Nehemiah 2:1-8)] (v. 25 cont) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One...

["Anointed One" - "Christos" (Greek) - The Lord Jesus Christ]

[...until the Anointed One, the Ruler, comes, d until our Lord appears in His First Coming to present Himself as Ruler of the world. He will inevitably be rejected as Ruler and crucified]:

(v. 25 cont) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the Ruler comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens' ...

["there will be seven 'sevens'" - 7 x 7 - 49 years]

["and sixty-two 'sevens'"' - 62 x 7 - 434 years - a total of 483 Jewish calendar years x 360 days/yr - 173,880 days]

(v. 25 cont) " 'Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the Ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens' It [Jerusalem] will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble....

["times of trouble" - Jerusalem was rebuilt back in ancient times by Nehemiah in "times of trouble" and it will also be rebuilt during the tribulation period "in times of trouble" - a double fulfillment of prophecy which is typical in God's word. Note that here is where a quantum leap of time is about to take place in this passage in the book of Daniel]::

(v. 26) After the sixty-two 'sevens',...

[After the period of 434 years - which occurs after the period of 49 years, i.e. after a total of 483 years]

(v. 26 cont) "After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One [Jesus Christ] will be cut off but not for Himself. ["k arat" - cut off, executed as a criminal]

["but not for Himself" - He was executed as a criminal, but not executed for something He did Himself. The Messiah Jesus Christ, (Christ - "Anointed One"), died for our sins, not for anything He did Himself. At the end of the stipulated period of 483 years which begins from the time when Nehemiah received the decree from Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem on Nissan 1, 445 B.C. At the end of this 483 year period to the very day is our Lord's presentation of Himself as Messiah when He rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey - Sunday, April 6, 32 A.D., (Mt 21:1-11). Shortly thereafter, the text says: "After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off..." So after this presentation of Himself as Ruler on Palm Sunday April 6, 32 A.D., the Lord Jesus Christ, the "Anointed One" would be crucified as a criminal as the prophecy in Daniel predicted. Note that there is a time span of approximately 2000 years between the preceding part of verse 26 when our Lord was crucified, which we have just discussed, and the next part of verse 26 which follows. The text in the book of Daniel does a quantum leap in time of approximately 2000 years from when our Lord was "cut off" - crucified - to the period in which the Antichrist lives: the Tribulation, bypassing our age - the church age]:

(v. 26 cont.) [Then] The people of the ruler [the Antichrist] who will come will destroy the city [of Jerusalem] AND THE SANCTUARY. [of the temple] THE END [of human history as we know it] will come like a flood. War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

(v. 27) He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many [Israel] for one 'seven'

[This seven years when added to the previous total of 483 years - 490 years. This is the period of time indicated in Daniel 9:24, ("Seventy sevens" = 70 x 7 d 490 years), which will pass until the end of the age - the end of human history as we know it. It will also be 490 years of the period of the Mosaic Law until THE END OF THE AGE OF HUMAN HISTORY AS WE KNOW IT TODAY AND UNTIL OUR LORD'S SECOND COMING. Our Lord's Second Coming will have been interrupted by approximately 2000 years of the church age -

of the age of grace. Note that Scripture and history have proven out that this last seven years of the 490 year period are interrupted by approximately 2000 years of the church age]

(v. 27 cont.) In the middle of the 'seven...

["the 'seven'" = the last 7 years of the tribulation period - the last 7 years of the Mosaic law period]

(v. 27 cont.) "In the middle of the 'seven', he [the Antichrist] will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up AN ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.' "

So the Antichrist will be the main impetus behind the persecution of believers - both Jewish believers and Gentile believers. Notice that he puts himself up as god in the temple in Jerusalem to be worshipped and will not stand for anyone worshipping the one true God of the universe. He will persecute all who will not worship him, Jews and Christians alike.

Note that the words "THE END will come like a flood": in Daniel 9:26 quoted in column one; and note the words "until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." in Luke 21:24 quoted on page 4. These two phrases indicate that the end of the Gentile control of the world and the beginning of the kingdom - with Israel as the ruling nation and our Lord as Ruler - has not come yet. And it obviously did not come in 70 A.D. So what our Lord prophesied as happening to Jerusalem and the temple is yet future. At that future time, Jerusalem and the sanctuary will again be destroyed.

This time by the Antichrist.

Note also that Daniel prophesies that "THE END" (when the Anointed One Jesus Christ returns) will come in 490 Jewish calendar years, (Dan 9:24). According to history only 483 years have passed from the month of Nisan, (March-April) 445 B.C. when Nehemiah was given a decree by Persian ruler Artaxerxes to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to the 10th of Nisan, (April 6), A.D. 32, ("Palm Sunday"). April 6th, A.D. 32 was the time of Passover when the Anointed One, Jesus Christ officially offered Himself as and was rejected as the Messiah by Israel, (Mt 21:1-11). At that time He was "cut off", i.e. crucified, (the punishment a criminal would receive). This temporarily suspended the ticking away of this 490 year prophecy - interrupted by 2000 years of church age.

There are therefore SEVEN years to go in this 490 year period before our Lord's Return. This is a 490 year period which is a period especially marked by the Mosaic Law rule of life including temple worship - all exclusively focused on the nation Israel - the church not at all being involved in this future 7 year period. This last seven years has been separated from the first 483 years by approximately 2000 years of Church age history. The 490 year clock will again start ticking as soon as the church age is completed at the Rapture.

[Mt 24:15 cont.]:

"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand -"

[Dan 9:27]:

"In the middle of the 'seven', he [the Antichrist] will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.' " ["ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION" = AN ACT THAT IS SO DESPICABLE, SO DETESTABLE AS TO CAUSE TO RUIN, TO CAUSE TO BE UNUSABLE OR LAYED TO WASTE. See Mt 24:15 above which refers to this very thing.]

Thousands of years ago, in 167 B.C., the sanctuary in the temple in Jerusalem was desecrated by Antiochus IV Epiphanes when he placed an image of the Greek pagan god Zeus in the temple to be worshipped. Furthermore he abolished the daily sacrifice as the Jews did it and replaced it with the sacrifice of the blood and broth of swine - OF PIGS!! - even forcing the Levitical priests to then eat the pork. These things are what was the "ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION." in 167 B.C. But they are just a picture of what our Lord refers to in Matthew 24:15 which is yet future.

Let's examine the passage in Daniel which leads up to the detestable acts of Antiochus Epiphanes and see how the ''ABOMINATION" is then to be repeated approximately 2000 years later by the Antichrist:

[Dan 11:3]:

"Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do what he pleases."

The context of this passage commences in verse 2 with an historical account of the next four rulers of the Persian Empire beginning from the time when Daniel was in Media-Persia under the rule of Darius. Then it goes directly to an account of the rise of "a mighty king": Alexander the Great of Greece who conquered the known world like no other man in history, (335 B.C.).

Here in chapter 11 of the Book of Daniel the prophecy is so detailed and has been so astonishingly fulfilled to the last detail - 100% - that many critics of the Bible insist on ignoring the irrefutable evidence of the early date of its authorship and demand that it was written after the history took place - they refuse to believe in the supernatural: that Daniel perfectly foretold such events in history.

[Dan 11:4]:

"After he (Alexander) has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven.[term for the four points of the compass] It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.

Dr. McGee states, (Op. Cit., Vol. III, p.596): "Alexander the Great was a world ruler and probably the greatest military strategist the world has ever seen, but he died an alcoholic [of malaria and complications from alcoholism] in 323 B.C. His own posterity did not inherit his vast kingdom. Four of his generals divided the empire into four geographical areas, each ruled by one general. The division was roughly this: Cassander took Macedonia; Lysimachus took Asia Minor (modern Turkey); Seleucus Nicator took Syria and the remainder of the Middle East [including Palestine -Israel]; and Ptolemy took Egypt. All four families warred among themselves. Eventually they all lost their kingdoms when the Romans marched east."

Out of this period of warring families emerged a despicable ruler by the name of Antiochus IV, (Cp Dan 8:9-14, 23-25 - "the little horn"). Antiochus IV was a descendant of General Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals who received rulership over Syria and the remainder of the Middle East which included Palestine. Antiochus IV named himself Antiochus IV Epiphanes and at times he entitled himself Theos Epiphanes. Theos means god and epiphanes means illustrious. This and other reasons which we are about to investigate are why he is spoken of in God's word as a "vile" or a "contemptible person":

[Dan 11:21]:

"He will be succeeded by [He: Seleucus IV Philopater (187-176 B.C.), son of Antiochus III the Great,(223-187 B.C.), descendant of one of Alexander the Great's generals: Seleucus I Nicator, (312-281 B.C.) will be succeeded by Antiochus Epiphanes. Seleucus IV heavily taxed the people and died of poisioning at the hand of his own brother Antiochus Epiphanes. His reign very short:

(In the previous verse: Dan 11:20b): "....he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle"........

[Dan 11:21 (cont.)]:

"He [Seleucus IV] will be succeeded by a contemptible person [Antiochus Epiphanes] who has not been given the honor of royalty [he did not come to the throne by rightful succession but by murdering his brother in 175 B.C.].

He will come into the kingdom when its people feel secure,

[in a time of tranquility]

and he will seize it through intrigue.

[Dan 11:21-24, Amplified Bible]:

(v. 11:21) "And in his place or office [in Syria] shall arise a contemptuous and contemptible person, to whom royal majesty and the honor of the kingdom have not been given. But he shall come in without warning in time of security and shall obtain the kingdom by flatteries, intrigues and cunning hypocritical conduct.

(v.11:22) Before him the overwhelming forces of invading armies shall be broken and utterly swept away; yes, and a prince of the covenant also swept away.

[Antiochus defeated the invading Egyptian armies and then broke a covenant to rule in agreement with high priest Onias III - "the prince" referred to above, thus destroying Onias' power]

(v.23) And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall work deceitfully, and he shall come up unexpectedly and shall become strong with a small [number of] people.

(v.24) Without warning and stealthily he shall come into the most productive places of a province or among the richest men of a province [of Egypt - which is not under his rule], and he shall do that which his fathers have not done nor his fathers' fathers; he shall distribute among them plunder, spoil and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time [the period decreed by God]."

Historical accounts outside of the Bible confirm the biblical account that Antiochus Epiphanes became ruler by murder; intrigue and treachery, (v.21); bolstered by his turning aside an invading army. This army came from Egypt in 170 B.C., (v.22). According to historical accounts, this army which came from Egypt was under Ptolemy VI. Ptolemy VI was seeking to regain territory that Antiochus now controlled. After defeating Ptolemy VI, Antiochus proclaimed himself king in Egypt, (a bit prematurely). Antiochus then cemented his rulership by deposing Onias III, the high priest. Onias III is referred to as "a prince of the covenant" in verse 22. He makes an alliance with a small group of wealthy powerful people to keep himself in power, (v. 23); and continues to work by intrigue and deceitfulness. He then redistributes the wealth of a number of provinces in his realm and in neighboring Egypt, (v. 24). And then he begins to devise a strategy of finally conquering all of Egypt, (v. 24):

[Dan 11:25-27]:

(v. 25) "And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south

[south = south of Palestine = Egypt. Author Daniel's perspective is of course Palestine or Israel, so the kingdom of the south refers to the kingdom of Egypt.]

(v. 25 cont) And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army; but he [the king of the south] shall not stand, for schemes shall be devised against him [the king of the south].

(v. 26) Yes, those who eat of his [Egypt's ruler's] rich and dainty food shall break and destroy him...

[Egypt is defeated by Antiochus' armies aided by the betrayal of Egypt's own ruler's inner circle brought about by Antiochus' intrigue and treachery, (vv.25-26)]

(v. 26 cont) ...and his [Egypt's] army shall drift or turn away to flee, and many shall fall down slain.

(v.27) And as for both of these kings, their hearts and minds shall be set on doing mischief; they shall speak lies over the same table, but it will not suceed; for the end is yet to be at the time appointed."

Egypt's defeated ruler Ptolemy VI and the victor, Antiochus Epiphany will sit down after the battle at the peace table speaking lies to one another - both having future designs on one another. Antiochus still desiring to totally defeat and conquer and then rule Egypt; and Ptolemy having the same desire over Antiochus' realm,

(v. 27). But a sovereign God has His plan which is the Roman Empire:

(v. 28) Then shall [the vile northern conqueror Antiochus] return into his land with much booty, and his heart and purpose shall be set against [God's] holy covenant [with His people Israel], and he shall accomplish [his malicious intention] and return to his own land [Syria].

BKC, (Op. Cit., p.1369):

"[Dan] 11:28. Antiochus carried great wealth back to his homeland from his conquest. On his return he passed through the land of Israel. After his disappointment in Egypt (he had hoped to take all of Egypt but failed) he took out his frustrations on the Jews by desecrating the temple in Jerusalem........

[History records that Israel was creating trouble against Antiochus' rule which most likely had to do with resistance to worshipping his pagan gods including Zeus] ....Evidently he opposed (set his heart ...aganst) the entire Mosaic system (the holy covenant). After desecrating the temple, he returned to his own country."

[So the people of Israel were once again enslaved, the temple was defiled and whatever treasury in the temple was taken.]

[Dan chapter 11 cont]:

(Dan 11 v. 29) "At the time appointed [God's own time] he shall return, and come into the south; but shall not be successful as were the former invasions of Egypt."

(v. 30) "For the ships of Kitttim, (of the western coastlands) [Kittim = Cyprus = western coastline ships which were in ROMAN HANDS] shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved and discouraged and turn back [to Palestine] and carry out his rage and indignation against the holy covenant and God's people; he shall do his own pleasure; he shall even turn back and make common cause with those Jews who abandon the holy covenant [with God].

BKC, (Op. Cit., p.1369):

"[Dan] 11:29-30a. Two years later (in 168[B.C.]) Antiochus moved against Egypt (the south) again. As he moved into Egypt, he was opposed by the Romans who had come to Egypt in ships from the western coastlands (lit., "ships of Kittim"; ...i.e., Cyprus). From the Roman senate Popillius Laenas took to Antiochus a letter forbidding him to engage in war with Egypt. When Antiochus asked for time to consider, the emissary drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and demanded that he give his answer before he stepped out of the circle. Antiochus submitted to Rome's demand for to resist would be to declare war on Rome. This was a humiliating defeat for Antiochus Epiphanes (he will lose heart) but he had no alternative but to return to his own land."

And here is the passage that refers to "the abomination that makes desolate:", which phrase is referred to in Mt 24:15:

(Dan 11:31 Amplified Bible): "AND ARMED FORCES OF HIS [Antichous'] SHALL APPEAR [IN THE HOLY LAND], AND THEY SHALL POLLUTE THE SANCTUARY, THE [SPIRITUAL] STRONGHOLD, AND IT SHALL TAKE AWAY THE CONTINUAL [DAILY] BURNT OFFERING, AND THEY SHALL SET UP [IN THE SANCTUARY] THE ABOMINATION THAT ASTONISHES AND MAKES DESOLATE

[ANTIOCHUS PROBABLY PLACED AN IDOL-ALTAR OF ZEUS RIGHT THERE IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD TO BE WORSHIPPED INSTEAD OF GOD HIMSELF].

(v. 32) "And such as violate the covenant [apostate Jews] he shall pervert and seduce with flatteries; but the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm, and do exploits [for God].

BKC, (OP. CIT., p.1370):

"11:30b-32. For a second time (cf. v.28) Antiochus took out his frustration on the Jews, the city of Jerusalem, and their temple. He vented his fury against the holy covenant, the entire Mosaic system (cf. v. 28), favoring any renegade Jews who turned to help him (cf. v.32). He desecrated the temple and abolished the daily sacrifice. [In 167 B.C., (v. 31)]. Antiochus sent his general Apollonius with 22,000 soldiers into Jerusalem on what was purported to be a peace mission. But they attacked Jerusalem on the Sabbath, killed many people [over 100,000!], took many women and children as slaves, and plundered and burned the city.

In seeking to exterminate Judaism and to Hellenize the Jews, he forbade the Jews to follow their religious practices (including their festivals and circumcision), and commanded that copies of the Law be burned. Then he set up the abomination that causes desolation. [v. 31]. In this culminating act he erected on December 16, 167 B.C. an altar to Zeus on the altar of burnt offering outside the temple, and had a pig offered on the altar. The Jews were compelled to offer a pig on the 25th of each month to celebrate Antiochus Epiphanes' birthday. Antiochus promised apostate Jews (those who ...violated the covenant cf. v. 30) great reward if they would set aside the God of Israel and worship Zeus, the god of Greece. Many in Israel were persuaded by his promises (flattery) and worshipped the false god. However, a small remnant remained faithful to God, refusing to engage in those abominable practices. Antiochus IV died insane in Persia in 163 B.C."

Antiochus Epiphanes was a foreshadowing of the future Antichrist. Both come to power in the same way: through deceit - through a false program of peace and then treachery, blasphemy, vicious bloodshed and persecution.

Incidentally, the word "desolate" which refers to the condition of the temple after the "abomination" has occurred - the word "desolate" is defined as to make wretched, contemptible, deplorably bad; to be unusable in the sense that God's holiness has been so offended in the place of the temple - especially in the inner sanctuary - that one can no longer worship God in that temple until the abomination is removed and the temple cleansed both ceremonially and actually. So the temple will have virtually no true believers who are in fellowship with God who will come and worship the Lord God in the temple while the "abomination" remains. Therefore the temple, though not being destroyed, nevertheless becomes a waste, a desolation, ruined and unusable with respect to the temple's purpose which is to worship the one God Jehovah.

Let's continue examining Daniel chapter 11 with respect to another future "abomination that makes desolate" The prophetic passage in Daniel chapter 11 continues on an historical journey in ancient times until it makes a lightning leap - a quantum jump through 2000+ years of time in one single bound. Watch carefully for the indication that we have gone from the distant and ancient past to the future in one sentence:

[Dan 11:32-36]:

(v. 32) "And such as violate the covenant [and such Jews who violate the Mosaic Law = apostate Jews]

(v. 32) "And such as violate the covenant he shall pervert and seduce with flatteries; but the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm, and do exploits [for God]. (v.33) "And they who are wise and understand among the people

[and those Jews who are wise in the teachings of the Scriptures of God]

shall instruct many and make them understand, though some

[some of them who are faithful to God's word]

though some shall fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and plunder, for many days"

[Many Jews will refuse to submit to the pagan religious system of Antiochus and will be persecuted and even martyred because of their faithfulness to God].

(v. 34) "Now when they fall..."

["fall" - kasal - stumble, referring to severe suffering]

"Now when they fall they shall receive a little help. Many shall join themselves to them with flatteries and hypocrisies.

[There will be those who are insincere who will join forces ("receive a little help") with God's true people only to weaken them with the same type of flattery and hypocrisy that Antiochus resorted to.]

Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Op. Cit., p. 1370):

"This has in view the rise of the Maccabean revolt. Mattathias, a [Jewish Levitical] priest, was the father of five sons. ...In 166, Mattathias refused to submit to this false religious system. He and his sons fled from Jerusalem to the mountains and began the Maccabean revolt. At first only a few Jews joined them. But as their movement became popular, many joined them, some out of sincere motives and some from false motives. The suffering that the faithful endured served to refine and purify them."

(v.35) "And some of those who are wise, prudent and understanding shall be weakened and fall;

[thus then the insincere among the people will lose courage and become deserters. It will be a test.]

(v.35) "And some of those who are wise, prudent and understanding shall be weakened and fall;to refine, to purify and make those among [God's people] white, EVEN TO THE TIME OF THE END; because it is yet for the time [God] appointed."

Note that the term "TIME OF THE END" is a technical term in which Scripture defines and describes in detail as that period of time which refers to when our Lord returns to end the age and begin His Millennial rule on earth. (Cp Mt 13:37-43).

At this point in time all of the prophecies concerning Antiochus IV Epiphany and the many conflicts between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids have been fulfilled in detail. So further prophecy is yet future, the following prophecy does not reflect anything in past history:

[Dan 11:36-38; 12:10-11]:

(V. 36) "And the king...

["the king' here refers to the Antichrist - the king of the Roman Empire, cp Dan 7:24]

At this point in Daniel's prophecy author Daniel leaps ahead in time from Antiochus Epiphanes whose career was described in vv. 21-35 to a future period. Daniel leaps in time over the church age to the "end times" and begins describing the one who only could be the Antichrist]:

[Dan 11:36-38; 12:10-11, (cont.)]:

(v.36): "The king [the Antichrist] shall do according to his will; he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation [God's wrath] be accomplished; for that which is determined [by God] will be done."

That time when the indignation of God's wrath is accomplished can only be the time of the end when God's wrath is finally poured out upon all humanity, (Rev. chapters 6-19). This is that time when the Antichrist is king. In Dan 8:25, a parallel passage speaks of a man who will stand up against the Prince of princes - the Lord Jesus Christ. This man who will stand up against our Lord can be none other than the Antichrist as prophesied in Revelation, Daniel & Matthew 24:15:

[Dan 8:25]:

"And through his policy he shall cause trickery [much like Antiochus Epiphany only worse] to prosper in his hand; he shall magnify himself in his heart and mind, and in their security he will corrupt and destroy many. He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes [the Lord Jesus Christ] but he shall be broken and that by no [human] hand. [ Cp Rev 19:19,20].

Truly, this man is the Antichrist of the future tribulation period.

[Dan 11:36-38; 12:10-11, (cont.)]:

(DAN 11:37) "He [the Antichrist] shall not regard the gods of his fathers..."

[This ruler will be the final ruler of the last Gentile empire - the final Roman Empire and will be a Gentile himself. Compare: "the little horn" in Dan 7:8, 24b. He has no allegiance to any of the religions of his fathers - to any of their gods:] (v. 37 cont.): "He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers, or Him [to Whom] women desire [to give birth], or any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all."

[The Antichrist has no regard even for the Messiah - the One, tradition has it, that Jewish women desired to give birth to. For it is prophesied in O.T. Scripture that the Messiah would be born of a woman, (Gen 3:15; 15:4-6; Isa 9:6-9; etc). The Antichrist will strive to be worshipped as a god himself]

(v.38) "But in their place he shall honor the god of fortresses,[he will promote military strength], a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold and silver, and with precious stones and pleasant and expensive things."

McGee states, (Op. Cit., p. 601):

"I am sure you have seen pictures of ...heathen idols with their multi-tiered crowns with all kinds of fortresses on them which represent the kingdoms of this world. Antichrist will honor the god of fortresses who has the kingdoms of the world. Who is that? Well, it was Satan who offered to Christ the kingdoms of this world, and our Lord rejected his offer. Apparently, Satan had a right to make that offer. Antichrist will accept that offer. Antichrist will accept the offer and become the world's dictator."

[Dan 11:36-38; 12:10-11, (cont.)]:

[Dan 12:10-11]:

"Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, [trust in Christ as Messiah & Savior] and be tried, smelted and refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, But the teachers and those who are wise shall understand.

(v. 11): "And from the time that the continual burnt offering is taken away, and the ABOMINATION THAT MAKES DESOLATE IS SET UP, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." And so here is another "ABOMINATION THAT MAKES DESOLATE" which occurs in history future and is not the same as that which Antiochus Epiphany had performed.

Compare this with Rev 13:14-15:

[Rev 13:14-15]:

"And because of the signs (miracles) which he [the false prophet] is allowed [by God] to perform in the presence of the [first] beast [the Antichrist], he deceives those who inhabit the earth, COMMANDING THEM TO ERECT A STATUE (AN IMAGE) IN THE LIKENESS OF THE BEAST which was wounded by the small sword and still lived."

"And he was permitted also to impart the breath of life into the beast's image so that the statue of the beast could actually talk, and to cause to be put to death those who would not bow down and worship the image of the beast." Considering Paul's words to the Thessalonians, there is left no doubt that the Antichrist truly does set his image up in the temple to be worshipped:

[II Thes 2:3-4]:

(v. 3) "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day....

["that day" - the Day of the Lord - i.e., the period of the Tribulation & His Second Coming, v.2]

(v. 3 cont.) "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the apostasy.................

["apostasy" - apostasia - the apostasy of the church from the faith - or more likely - the Rapture, since "apostasia" means departure, (departure from the faith or departure from the earth depending upon context). It makes more sense in this context to interpret "apostasia" to mean Rapture since Paul has already taught about the Rapture, (I Thes 4:13-18) and the subject of the passage's context is one of concern why the Rapture has not yet taken place, v.2:1. There also is a lack of evidence that Paul had yet taught about the apostasy of the church from the faith during the end times. The second letter to the Thessalonians is very early on in Paul's ministry with them and it is not likely that he taught them about the end time apostasy.]

[II Thes 2:3-4 (cont.) ]:

(v. 3 cont)"Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the apostasy [The Rapture] occurs and the man of lawlessness [The Antichrist] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

[Therefore Paul says, 'Before the Antichrist appears on the scene, the church will be raptured, (caught up), off the face of the earth, leaving a world of unbelievers behind to be terrorized and ruled by the Antichrist for a season'. (Recall that many of these unbelievers will eventually trust in Christ as Savior during these awesome times)]

[II Thes 2:3-4 (cont.) ]:

(v. 4) HE WILL OPPOSE AND WILL EXALT HIMSELF OVER EVERYTHING THAT IS CALLED GOD OR IS WORSHIPPED, SO THAT HE SETS HIMSELF UP IN GOD'S TEMPLE, PROCLAIMING HIMSELF TO BE GOD."

[And so the Antichrist will have his image erected - most likely from where his headquarters are set-up - in Jerusalem...... in the temple sanctuary. Just as Antiochus set up an image in the temple sanctuary and it was described as an "ABOMINATION THAT MAKES DESOLATE" so that same phrase in Dan 12:11, quoted in column One on this page, refers to Antichrist's image erected in the temple sanctuary in the future Tribulation.

Our Lord confirms this by His statement which we are studying and which Matthew quotes:

[Mt 24:15]:

"So when you see standing in the holy place 'THE ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel....." Again, this is yet future - this worst of all abominations in the Temple - it was not fulfilled by Antiochus or anyone else.

Dr. McGee states, (Op. Cit., vol IV, p.128):

"...our Lord is undoubtedly referring to the second abomination of desolation to which Daniel alludes (see Dan. 12:11), and I believe that it will be an image of Antichrist which will be set up in the temple. During the Tribulation the temple will be rebuilt and the nation of Israel will be back in Palestine. Obviously, our Lord is speaking of the temple rather than the church, because the church has no holy place."

Incidentally, it had been revealed to Daniel that the temple would be desecrated in Antiochus' time for 1150 days, (Dan 8:14), or from December 16, 167 B.C. to the temple's restoration sometime in 163 B.C. by Judas Maccabeus when sacrifices were in full routine and Judah had received freedom to worship without interference from ruling authorities. By contrast, however, the period of time when the temple will again be desecrated, this time by the image of the Antichrist, will be 1290 days - a different period of time which as yet has not been fulfilled. And as our Lord is speaking through His disciples, 2000+ years into the future, to mostly Jews in Jerusalem who will experience the "abomination", He warns those in the area of Jerusalem and throughout Israel to flee:

[Mt 24:15-20]:

(v. 15) "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand -

(v. 16) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

(v. 17) Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house.

(v. 18) Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak.

(v. 19) How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!

(v. 20) Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.

[Mt 24:16]:

"Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."

Let's look at a parallel passage in Luke 21:21-22:

[Lk 21:21]:

"Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the city get out, and let those who are in the country not enter the city."

[People who lived in Judea in 70 A.D. and then again those who will live there during the future Tribulation are to flee into the mountains - not to go into the city. Josephus the Jewish historian recounts how, during the awful siege in 70 A.D., the Romans so thoroughly blockaded the city that starvation led to mothers eating their children. Death became so common that corpses were regularly thrown over the Jerusalem walls. Thousands were finally slaughtered, others taken into slavery or dispersed once the Roman Army broke into the city. This is also a picture of what will happen in the Tribulation period]:

[Lk 21:22] "For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written."

Note that the phrase "all that has been written." must refer, if Scripture is true, to "all that has been written" in Scripture about the future destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore this statement includes the destruction of Jerusalem in the future tribulation period as described in O.T. Scripture. This period occurs just before the kingdom of heaven begins. For what has been written in Old Testament Scripture applies to the end times and not just to 70 A.D. Cp Dan 9:25-27; Rev 11:1-2. Notice that our Lord's statement in Mt 24:16 refers to Judea - the people of Israel fleeing to the mountains of Judea - to Jews and not to church age believers from all over the world.

The prophet Zechariah indicates that not all Jews will survive their flight out of Judea in the future end times:

[Zech 13:8-9]:

''' "In the whole land," declares the Lord,

"two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it.

This third I will bring into the fire;

I will refine them like silver

and test them like gold.

They will call on My name

and I will answer them;

I will say, 'they are My people,'

and they will say,

'The Lord is our God..' " '''

Notice that Zechariah states that ALL of surviving Israel will call on the name of the Lord:

"They will call on My name

and I will answer them;

I will say, 'they are My people,'

and they will say,

'The Lord is our God.."

This has never happened in history yet, not even in 70 A.D.!! So this is yet future.

[Mt 24:17-20]:

Let's review Matthew verse 16 and its tie in with 17-20:

(Mt 24:16) Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."

[There is a geographical focus in the above verse - Judea. This cannot be spiritualized into anything other than the area where Jews reside and make any sense. Our Lord was addressing His disciples in private. These disciples were Jews without sophisticated education. If He meant anyone beside the Jews in His prophecy He certainly wasn't making Himself very clear to His listeners. His focus was very narrow - the Jews who are from Judea. There also must be mountains nearby to flee to - thus including Judea in which reside the Jews and eliminating many areas that do not have this topography]

(v.17) Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house.

[The area of Palestine is one of the comparatively few areas that have houses that have a flat roof and an outside stairway to that roof. Often these roofs are connected so that one might "flee" across the connected buildings. The flat roof was used for many activities due to the climate and the style of architecture and the preferences of the people. This verse refers to such a type of housing construction .... again limiting the focus to a field of geographical areas which includes the Jews.]

(v.18) "Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak."

(v.19) "How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!"

(v.20) "Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath."

[So, again we are focusing on the Palestinian area which is largely agricultural - hence the fields - an area which has winters such that travel during the winter season would be more difficult. Geographical areas which do not coincide so far with these verses are therefore not applicable to this passage and therefore the people from those "non-qualified" areas are not being referred to.]

[Certainly there will not be time enough to retrieve any belongings inside or even to grab extra clothing. Pregnant women will be at the worst of perils since they are slow in going. Even the mild winters in Judea might cause one not to escape and therefore perish as one of the two-thirds who will die. If it is the Sabbath some legalistic Jews might very well stop one from fleeing and "breaking the (their) Law" - maybe even with stones. Note that this is another prooftext that our Lord is truly referring to the Jews who keep the Sabbath and not to Christians who do not, (Cp. Cor 3:6-11). The Lord is referring to a time when the Law is again in effect as a rule of life for the nation Israel. (Recall that it was never a means of salvation for anyone, [Ro chapter 3]).]

[Mt 24:21]:

"For then there will be great distress, UNEQUALED FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD UNTIL NOW - AND NEVER TO BE EQUALED AGAIN."

This verse begins with "For then". "For" means 'because' - connecting this verse with the scenario of earthly disasters and tragedies discussed in the previous 20 verses as well as the verses immediately preceding.

"then" is a term for time: then d at that time, at the time when all of these things will happen which are described in the previous verses: at the time of the Tribulation. The "then" however refers most directly to verse 15: (Mt 24:15) "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,'

"THEN"

(Mt 24:21, paraphrase) 'THE EARTH WILL BE IN SUCH TRIBULATION SUCH AS THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN OR WILL EVER SEE'.

So one may safely conclude that these historical events which our Lord speaks of have not yet occurred and we are not in the millennium yet. For the end times must come before the millennium begins as Scripture historically predicts. Compare Rev. chapters

6-19 which describe the chronological events in heaven and on earth during the end times leading to the end of the age, events which occur during the seven year tribulation period. This is followed historically by the millennium as indicated in Rev. chapter 20 which speaks of our Lord's 1000 year, millennial, reign, (Rev 20:4-6). According to Scripture, even the scale of events of World War II will be exceeded. The world will never see such natural disasters, calamity and slaughter of humanity - Jews

and Gentiles, believers and unbelievers, (Mt 24:21).

MacArthur writes, (Op. Cit., p.44):

"The abomination of desolation will mark the beginning of the great tribulation, the last three and one half years................

[The beginning of the last 3? years of the 7 year tribulation period is marked by the occurrence of when the Antichrist places his own image in the temple in Jerusalem to be worshipped instead of God. This 3? year period is specifically named "the Great Tribulation" in Rev 7:14; Compare with Rev 6:16 and Dan 12:11]

"The abomination of desolation will mark the beginning of the great tribulation, the last three and one half years before Christ appears to rule the world from His throne in Jerusalem. That great tribulation will be such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. No time or event in the history of Israel fits the description of the holocaust Jesus is here speaking of. The horrifying time is further described in some detail in Revelation 6-16, where the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments exhibit the escalating intensity of God's wrath upon sinful, rebellious mankind. Both the books of Revelation and of Daniel make clear that the Antichrist will tyrannize the world for "a time, times, and a half a time" (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev 12:14), that is, a year, two years and a half year, or [a total of] three and one half years (Rev 11:2; 13:5). Clearly, the events described by our Lord, by Daniel, and by John [in Revelation] must refer to the same great holocaust at the end time, just before the millennial kingdom is established on earth.

God's message for Israel is that things are going to get immeasurably worse before they get better. That nation and its people will suffer treachery, desecration of the rebuilt temple, indescribable persecution, and brutal slaughter that will be totally unparalleled in history."

Dr. McGee speaks on the subject of the church going through the tribulation, (OP. Cit., vol IV, p.129):

" 'For then shall be great tribulation' - in Revelation 7:14 the literal translation is 'the tribulation the great one.' placing the article before the noun and the adjective for emphasis. In other words, this tribulation is unique; there has been nothing like it in the history of the world, and there will never again be anything like it. And notice that our Lord is the One Who labels the end of the age as the Great Tribulation. (If you want to find fault with it, talk to Him, not to me.)

'Such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.'

Since that is true, believe me, people will know it when it gets here! I hear people today talking about the church going through the Tribulation, and they don't seem to realize how severe it will be. In fact, some folk say that we are in the Great Tribulation at the present time! Well, things are bad in our day, I'll grant that, but this period can be matched with many other periods in history. When the Great Tribulation gets here, there will be nothing to match it in the past or in the future."

[Mt 24:22]:

"If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."

If no humanity survives this worst of all periods then the battle is won - by Satan! There will be no survivors to live on into the millennium under the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ, as God has promised in His word. But God is sovereign and He will see to it that those days are cut short so that those He has chosen for this tribulation period to believe in Him and then live on into the millennium will physically survive and do just that. Believers who are martyred during this period or who are unfaithful to God and physically die as a result and all believers from previous ages, (all of whom are in heaven), will be part of our Lord's entourage as He rules with them from Jerusalem. All of this entourage of believers will have resurrection perfect - bodies like our Lord's. And then those faithful tribulation saints who physically survive the tribulation will continue to have mortal bodies. They will live much longer under much improved earthly conditions and thereafter receive their immortal bodies when they die physically.

With respect to the Rapture: This passage reaffirms that the Rapture must take place before the Tribulation begins. Note that survivors of the tribulation will be in their natural bodies and will live on into the millennium to carry on the normal activities of humanity, (Isa 65:20-25). If all of the tribulation saints were raptured at the time of the second coming and given immortal bodies there would be no one to occupy the earth in mortal bodies and fulfill these prophecies of the millennium because the rest of the earth's inhabitants were unsaved and therefore put to death, (Mt 25:31-46).

The term elect in Mt 24:22 has great doctrinal significance. It is mentioned here in Matthew and for the first time in the New Testament. It refers here to those elect - chosen to be believers both Jew and Gentile - who are alive during the tribulation period. For the sake of the study of this passage, suffice it to say that our Lord is referring to all believers, both Jew, (Isa 45:4) and Gentile (Rev. 17:14) during the tribulatiuon period. All chosen, i.e. elect ones, will believe. And the converse is sadly true: that all who are not elect will choose not to believe in Christ as Savior despite God's desire that they accept His Son.

Compare II Pet 3:7-9:

"By the same word ............

[by the same word which God destroyed the world in the great flood, (vv.4-6)]

"By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, NOT WANTING ANYONE TO PERISH, BUT EVERYONE TO COME TO REPENTANCE."

Those fortunate and eternally grateful individuals from all ages from Adam and Eve to Abraham to Moses in the period of the Law to church age believers like you and I to the elect of the Tribulation period and the elect of the 1000 year Millennium period will hear the gospel and realize its eternal value and then in a moment in time choose to believe of our own free will.

Compare Jn 3:16:

"For God so loved the world.....

[notice He loved the world - everyone in the world in all ages]

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,......

[to die on the cross and satisfy the sin problem of every individual on the face of the earth whoever lived, (I Jn 2:2)] that whoever

[that means whoever - elect and nonelect - ALL individuals]

that whoever believes in Him....

[notice: belief is ALL that is required - just a simple childlike trust in Him to be your Savior and nothing or no one else]

that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

[that whoever believes in Him, at the moment of believing, enters a state of never perishing. AT THE VERY MOMENT OF BELIEF IN HIM BEGINS ONE'S ETERNAL LIFE. One's eternal life does not commence sometime in the future, conditional on 'good' behavior, nor conditional upon of additional acts of water baptism or repentance. One's eternal life begins right then in one's mortal body which will sometime be exchanged for an immortal one in heaven when one who has believed most assuredly goes to be with the Lord.]

And then there is God's sovereignty and infinite power relative to one's salvation:

[Ro 8:28-30]:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, WHO HAVE BEEN CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.

For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. AND THOSE HE PREDESTINED, HE ALSO CALLED; THOSE HE CALLED, HE ALSO JUSTIFIED; THOSE HE JUSTIFIED, HE ALSO GLORIFIED."

So if one were to literally pass through a gate into heaven one might see on the sign overhead some wording that might say:

"WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN ME SHALL

HAVE ETERNAL LIFE"

And as a believer passes through the gate into heaven and looks back at the sign on the inside of the gate he might see wording on the other side of the sign which reads: "CHOSEN TO BELIEVE BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD"

The Lord Jesus Christ affirmed the doctrine of election when He said:

[Jn 6:39]:

"And this is the will of Him Who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day."

The word elect does not not always apply to the church:

1)Elect angels 1 Ti 5:21;

2)Believers of the tribulation period ('tribulation saints') Mt 24:22;

3)All of the elect human beings from the beginning of time up until the Rapture Mt 24:31;

4)Specific people such as

Enoch Gen:5:24;

Noah Gen 6:8-9:29;

Abraham Gen 18:17-19;

Isaac Heb 11:17-19; Ro 9:5-9;

Jacob Ro 9:10-13;

all Jews during the period of the Law WHO ARE BELIEVERS WHO TRUSTED ALONE FOR THEIR ETERNAL LIFE IN GOD'S KINGDOM IN THE PROMISE OF A FUTURE MESSIAH- SAVIOR THROUGH ABRAHAM Ro 9:1- 8, esp vv6-8; 11:1-10;

5)The nation Israel (those who are the remnant of believers as the O.T. prophets so often declared Jer 23:1-8 & Dt 7:6.

Without God's election, all men would choose to disobey God and not trust in Him for eternal life (Ro 1:18-32 & 3:9-18 & 8:6-8). Therefore the only way a man can have eternal life is if God has elected him to believe instead of him choosing to disbelieve: [Phil 1:28-29]:

"For it has been granted to you [believers] on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him,"

All men of all ages who are believers are therefore of God's elect, of which there are different kinds of elect, some are Gentile, some are Jewish, some are Church.

[Mt 24:23-25]:

(v. 23) At that time if anyone says to you,

'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There He is!' do not believe it.

(v. 24) For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect if that were possible.

(v. 25) See, I have told you ahead of time."

["At that time if anyone says to you"= At that time, i.e., during the time of the tribulation which is yet future, if anyone says to you. In other words, this verse is saying that if you were in the future living on earth during the tribulation time and someone says the following to you:.....]:

(v. 23) At that time if anyone says to you,

'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There He is!' do not believe it.

(v. 24) For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect if that were possible.

(v. 25) See, I have told you ahead of time."

Miracles and miracle workers will abound during the tribulation times - especially the the Antichrist, his followers, and the false prophet. These receive their works from the mighty power of Satan; produced to deceive many. The elect will, however, not fail to trust in the true Messiah Jesus Christ due to the overriding infinite power of a sovereign God and so will not be deceived by placing their trust for salvation elsewhere and never trusting in Christ at all. This is not to say that a number of tribulation believers would not then become unfaithful and also be deceived due to their sin nature and the mighty persecutions going on. But even when many believers do just that, God is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself - He will continue to keep even His unfaithful believers unto salvation:

[II Tim 2:11]:

'''Here is a trustworthy saying, "If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown [disinherit us from rewards] us; if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself."

"Here is a trustworthy saying, 'If we died with Him" =

All who trust in Him at some time in their lives....at that time they die with Him in the sense that upon believing they are identified with our Lord's death on the cross for their sins. And as a result, all believers will then live with Him for all eternity, (Ro 6:3-4).

"If we endure, we will also reign with Him" = If we endure in our faithfulness we will then be rewarded in heaven with a corulership authority. If not, then we will not be so rewarded when we get to heaven.

"If we disown Him, He will also disown us" = If we who are believers secure in our salvation, (Eph 1:13-14), actually become so unfaithful as to disown our own Lord and Savior then He in turn will disown us - disinherit us from what He provided for us in eternal life in heavcn to own - to inherit -

NO REWARDS, A DISINHERITED ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN]

"If we are faithless, He will remain faithful" = He will remain faithful to His promise to save us who at one time expressed our faith in Him but then became faithless.

"For he cannot disown Himself.' " = He cannot disown Himself. God has indwelt each believer at the point of salvation and all believers are now part of the body of Christ - they are His - they are of Him - they cannot be denied for God the Holy Spirit PERMANENTLY indwells them as a guarantee for their salvation, (Eph 1:13-14)]

[Mt 24:25]:

"See, I have told you ahead of time."

Our Lord is anticipating that what He says here will be available for individuals to hear centuries into the future - so that those living in the end times will hear it and act accordingly. And here is still more warning to future individuals especially about false prophets and false Christs:

[Mt 24:26]:

"So if anyone tells you, 'There He is, out in the desert,' do not go out........ [from your protected place of hiding] or 'Here He is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it."

From the Word of God written centuries ago to individuals living in the end times, the Lord Jesus Christ is telling them how they can specifically act in order to save their physical lives: 'Do not come out of your protected hiding place when "anyone tells you, 'There He is, out in the desert or here He is in the inner rooms.' " but instead wait unto the true Lord Himself comes. Tribulation saints are to watch for the signs of our Lord's Coming.

[Mt 24:27]:

"For as lightening that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."

Now let's review a verse studied earlier which sheds light on Mt 24:27:

[Mt 24:3]:

"So what will be the [true] sign of your coming, the disciples asked"

The disciples, being Jews and totally uninformed about the mystery of the Rapture and the church, only had our Lord's PAROUSIA in mind - His Second Coming - to establish His reign on the earth. So our Lord specifically answers their question about the signs accompanying His Second Coming.

So verse 24:7 says, you who are still living during the tribulation time don't look for the Lord to come into or from a limited area such as an area in the desert or inside a room in a building. Our Lord's coming will be miraculously visible EVERYWHERE on earth. Like lightening is visible everywhere on the horizon, so the glory of our Lord's coming will be that much more visible - EVERYWHERE ON THE EARTH.

[Acts 1:9,11]:

(v. 9) "After He [Jesus] said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight."

(v.11) " 'Men of Gallilee,' they [angels] said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go to heaven,' "

[Rev 1:7]:

"Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; [the Jews of the tribulation period who represent those in ancient days who had our Lord crucified] and all the peoples [who are unbelievers] of the earth will mourn because of Him [i.e., the judgment they know that He brings] So shall it be! Amen."

[Mt 24:28 & Lk 17:37]:

"Wherever there is a carcass, there will vultures gather."

Another sign which indicates that our Lord is imminently due on the scene of the earth for His PAROUSIA will be the devastating and unimaginable amount of human carnage all over the earth. This will not be just symbollic of an earth gone dead with sin but an actual reality which will stun the sense of many who remain alive after all of God's wrath continues to pour out on rebellious mankind. Luke puts this verse in a more completed context:

[Lk 17:30-37]:

(v. 30) "It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.

["It will be like this" = It will be like the destruction of Sodom, (Lk 17:28-29)]

(v. 31) On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.

(v. 32) Remember Lot's wife! [i.e., Sodom and Gomorah]

(v. 33) Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

["will preserve it" = by submitting to the sovereignty of Christ - to His plan of salvation and then to His His discipleship - a person living during the tribulation will preserve his life from physical death. The physical life of those who become believers and then who remain faithful under our Lord's sovereignty - losing their lives in submission to His plan for their lives - will be preserved throughout the tribulation period. Unfaithful believers will lose their lives before the Second Coming. The unfaithful believer who acts out of his own flesh to preserve his own life, never having trusted in Christ for salvation or direction will lose his life - many at the time of our Lord's Second Coming]:

(v. 34) I tell you, on that night [of the Lord's Return - His Second Coming] two people will be in one bed; one will be taken [to die] and the other left [on the earth to live].

(v. 35) Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.' "

[The one who is the unbeliever will be taken and physically killed and sent to the Lake of Fire and the other who will be a surviving faithful believer will be left to live on into the millennium.

NOW HERE IS THE KEY TO THE CONTEXT OF THIS PASSAGE IN THE NEXT VERSE]:

(v. 17:37a) 'Where, Lord?' they asked

[As previously asked in v. 35: " 'Where will the one who is taken be taken to?' the disciples asked."]

(Lk 17:37b) "He replied, 'Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather."

THOSE THAT ARE TAKEN WILL BE TAKEN AND SLAIN. THEREFORE THE EARTH WILL LITERALLY BE FILLED WITH MILLIONS OF DEAD, ROTTING, HUMAN CARCASSES - FOOD FOR THE VULTURES.

Matthew now gives a tremendous visual scenario of the precise moment the whole world - all of mankind, both dead and alive, has been anticipating. This will "be the most momentous event of all time."

[Mt 24:29]:

"Immediately after the distress of those days........

[immediately after all of this tribulation wrath that God has poured out upon the earth]

................the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken,'

[Compare Lk 21:25-26]:

"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.

Men will faint from terror , apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken."

[Rev 6:12-14]:

"I watched as He [Jesus Christ] opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goathair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place."

[Truly, God's word is true down to the smallest point in Scripture]:

[Col 1:15-17]:

"He [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn............

[prototokos = firstborn = refers to priority of position rather than of origin. Cp. Ps 89:27]

........firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER."

Note that "IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER." All things - every single molecule, atom, particle, energy mass, light beam, etc, in the universe is held together moment by moment by the great God of the universe: the Lord Jesus Christ. This includes His absolutely sovereign control of every particle and fiber of your own personal being. Such unimaginable power demonstrated in His Second Coming will shake the hearts of rebellious man and cause him to faint, some unto death.

[Mt 24:29 cont]:

"Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken"

Compare how the peophet Isiah described the events of the world leading to the coming of the Messiah:

[Isa 13:6-10, 13]:

(v. 6) "Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

(v. 7) Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt.

(v. 8) Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.

(v. 9) See, the day of the Lord is coming - a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger - to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it

(v. 10) The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.

(v.13) Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of His burning anger.

[Isa 34:4,8]:

(v. 4) "All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree."

(v .8) "For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause."

Luke reports what our Lord said about events leading up to His Second Coming:

[Lk 21:25-27]:

(v. 25 ) " 'There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.

(v. 26) Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

(v. 27) At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."

At His Second Coming the Lord Jesus Christ in His absolute sovereignty as God has withdrawn just a small amount of His power from every corner of the universe and look what is happening:

(A) "heavenly bodies" are shaken.

(B) "Stars" literally "fall from the sky".

(probably meteor showers)

(C) Somehow the sky recedes like a scroll and rolls up.

(D) "The sun" literally goes dark.

(E) "The heavens tremble"

(F) The whole moon turns "blood red" and does not give its normal light.

(G) "Every mountain and island.....removed from its place." (Rev 6:12-14).

(H) The sea will roar and toss uncontrollably.

(I) "The earth will [literally] shake from its place" [be shaken out of its orbit and its axis]

MacArthur, (Op. Cit., p.51):

"Jesus here describes the heavenly setting of His appearance. The whole universe will begin to disintegrate, apparently with great rapidity............................................

During that time the powers of the heavens will be shaken by Jesus Christ, the One Who "upholds all things by the word of His power" (Heb. 1:3). Just as He created everything, and without His full sustaining power, gravity will weaken and the orbits of the stars and the planets will fluctuate. Astronomers can predict coming stellar events centuries in advance only because of the absolute consistency of the divinely ordered and uniform laws that control the operation of the stars and planets. But when the Lord withdraws the least of His power from the universe, nothing in it will function normally, and every aspect of the physical world will be disrupted beyond imagination. All the forces of energy, here called powers of the heavens, which hold everything in space constant, will be in dysfunction. The heavenly bodies will careen helter-skelter through space, and all navigation, whether stellar, solar, magnetic, or gyroscopic, will be futile because all stable reference points and uniform natural forces will have ceased or else become unreliable."

AND THEN THE SON OF MAN WILL APPEAR:

[Mt 24:30]:

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

"Son of Man" = The term "Son of Man" occurs in numerous passages and is used in Scripture meaning "God the Son", the second Person of the triune God, in His role as the representative Man with respect to His mission, (Mt 11:19; Lk 19:10), His death and resurrection, (Mt 12:40; 20:18; 26:2); and second coming, (Mt 24:30; 37-44; Lk 12:4)

[Dan 7:13-14]:

"In my [Daniel's] vision at night I looked and there before me was One like the SON OF MAN coming with the clouds of heaven. [clouds d angels, Ps 104:1-4] He approached the Ancient of Days [a special name for God the Father] and was led into His presence.

[Cp. Dan 7:9]

He was given authority, glory and sovereign power: all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped Him. [Only God is to be worshipped] His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away; and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Since only God Himself is eternal in essence then One Who reigns over an everlasting kingdom and Who gives eternal life, (Ref. Jn 10:28), i.e., the Son of Man, must be God Himself. It is in the name of the Son of Man in which universal judgment is committed to Him, (Jn 5:22;27), and in Him is fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of blessing and salvation through a coming Man - a GodMan, (Gen 1:26; 3:15; 12:3; Ps 8:4; 80:17; Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; 32:2). All this is a function of God and God alone! So Whoever bears the title of "Son of Man" is God. Jesus Christ claimed that title over and over again; and He fulfilled that title in every detail.

MacArthur states, (Op. Cit., p.112-113):

"The sovereign judge over the separation of the sheep and goats will be Christ Himself, the Son of Man. Jesus had earlier declared that "not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father" (John 5:22). God the Father has delegated all judgment authority to the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The most common title Jesus used of Himself was the Son of Man. That title affirmed His incarnation, His identity with mankind, His time of humiliation and sacrifice. It reflected His condescension, His submissiveness, His humility, His meekness, and His gracious love for fallen humanity.

[It is enlightening to note that our Lord truly acted as a Man - a representative Man - under the direction of the sovereignty of God the Father and guidance and power of God the Holy Spirit. He imposed upon Himself the limitations of His humanity. He did not exercise His Deity - His sovereignty - over the will of man in His earthly life, and He was often subject to the whims and wills of men but under the protection of the Father and the Spirit. He operated as a Man would Who was perfectly under divine protection and guidance with respect to His assigned mission. An example for all believers to follow.]

[MacArthur, p. 112-113, cont.]:

"That title also tended to be less offensive than 'Son of God.' To have referred regularly to Himself as the Son of God would have aroused additional and needless hostility from the Jewish religious leaders, and they would have given even less heed to His teaching than they did. In a similar way, to have referred regularly to Himself as King would have aroused the hostility and opposition of the Roman authorities, who were quick to suppress any hint of insurrection. In addition to those reasons, for Jesus regularly to have used any such exalted title of Himself would have tempted His followers to be presumptuous and arrogant, missing His message of spiritual salvation. It would have greatly increased their already staunch conviction that, as Messiah, He would soon overthrow the Roman yoke and establish His earthly kingdom on the throne of David. In addition to those reasons, His referring to Himself as Son of Man provided a profound contrast with the titles and roles He will have when He comes in glory. It suggested a clear distinction between His two comings.

On the other hand, His referring to Himself both as Son of Man and as heavenly King (vv. 34,40) reinforced the truth that He is indeed both. The condescending, humble, and humiliated Son of Man will return one day as the glorious, sovereign, reigning, and judging King of kings and Lord of lords .....................................................

For a long while the Jewish people, and certainly their religious leaders, knew that Jesus claimed to be a kind of king, because He claimed to be Messiah (see Luke 23:2). It was because they hoped that, as Messiah, He would conquer Rome and reign over a delivered Israel that they had acclaimed Him during the triumphal entry. [Palm Sunday]

There was no misunderstanding among Jews that Jesus claimed to be Messiah, the coming great King. Nor could there be any misunderstanding that He claimed to be God's own Son.

[Recall that there were a number of sharply differing factions among religious Judiasm who differed almost violently in how they interpreted Scripture including terms such as Son of Man and Messiah, etc. The one common denominator was to rid themselves of Roman oppression. Our Lord represented to them at times the posssibility of accomplishing self-rule through Him, especially with the way the people at first followed Him. Shortly after, however, the leaders began to realize that our Lord represented a mindset, (divine viewpoint), that was diametrically opposed to theirs, (human viewpoint), which indeed threatened their own power base. So they sought to rid themselves of Him]

"But publicly, Jesus nevertheless was always judicious in the way He made such claims. He did not want to needlessly incite the ire of His enemies.

Now, however, in privacy with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, He unambiguously declared that He, the Son of Man, would one day take His rightful place as the great King and Judge."

[Mt 24:30, cont.]:

"At that time the SIGN of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

The Greek word which is translated "sign" in Mt 24:30 is in the subjective genetive case which indicates that Jesus Christ Himself is the embodiment of that sign - He is the sign Himself. He will manifest Himself in His full glory - the glory of Almighty God made manifest to mankind and creation in many ways including an unimaginably brilliant, pervasive, omnipresent light.

Many will run in terror and hide but some from all nations will mourn over their sinful condition at the approach of the Son of God and believe in Him as Savior.

MacArthur, (Op. Cit., p.55):

"The clouds into which Jesus ascended and on which He will return seem to be distinctive. The Psalmist wrote of God using clouds as His chariot (Ps. 104:3), and Isaiah pictures "the Lord....riding on a swift cloud." (Isa. 9:1). But whether the clouds of the sky on which Jesus appears are natural or supernatural, His use of them at that time will be extraordinary and unique. In the midst of black chaos, He will use those clouds to manifest Himself in His complete divine majesty."

No one on the face of the earth will fail to recognize Who He truly is

[Rev 1:7]:

"Look, He (Christ) is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen."

Rev 1:7 truly does describe Christ's Second Coming in a universally visible and knowable manner. Although many state that the Rapture is described right in this passage and in Matthew 24, it however is NOT established that the rapture and Christ's second coming are the same event or part of the same sequence of events such that the rapture would have those characteristics of Christ's Second Coming.

If Rev 1:7 occurs after the 7 year tribulation period..............................

This is not directly stated in this passage but it is so indicated in the parallel passage in Matthew, (Mt 24:21-31, esp. v29-30), which directly describes the same event as occurring after the tribulation.

If Rev 1:7 occurs after the 7 year tribulation period..............................

............................then both passages occur after the Tribulation and neither passage can include the church or the Rapture because church age believers are not to be subject to the wrath of God which is poured out in the greatest quantity history has ever known during this tribulation period. Compare I Thes 5:9; Rev 3:10. The passages which describe the Rapture, the catching away of church age believers up to our Lord in the air, do not include any descriptions which one could conclude make the event of the rapture universally visible and knowable or related to the events which are described in Rev 1:7 or its sister passage in Mt 24:21-31. Compare ICor 15:51-54; IThes 4:13-18; Jn 14:3; 2Thes 2:1.

[Mt 24:30-31]:

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations will mourn........................

["Son of Man" = Jesus Christ, Son of God & Son of Man, Dan 7:13-14, Mt 11:19, 12:40, 24:37 etc]

(v. 24:30) "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, [clouds = angels, (cp Ps 104:1-4)] with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds [from all points or directions], from one end of the heavens to the other."

[from one end of heaven to the other the saints who are already in heaven will be borught from all points in heaven to the earth by the angels]

Notice that Scripture says that Christ will gather all the saints which would comprise those who are in resurrected & immortal bodies (1 Cor 15:51-54) including Old Testament and church age saints from heaven and not the tribulation saints who are still physically alive in their mortal bodies on the earth - not in heaven. Scripture is not specific as to whether the saints from heaven will be gathered at precisely the same instant that the mortal saints are to be gathered. Also, if the mortal tribulation saints are to remain on the face of the earth to live on into the millennium and repopulate the earth and die in their time, (Isa 11:1-9; 35:1-10;65:18-25; Amos 9:13-15; Zech 14:16-21; Micah 4:1-4), then it is questionable as to whether the tribulation saints who are still physically alive on the earth would be raptured - gathered up into the heavens above the earth where their physical bodies would not survive. Mt 24:31-46 indicates that all the nations will be gathered before our Lord, saved and unsaved. This may be the time when the elect who are living on the earth in mortal bodies will be gathered to our Lord. Compare the parallel passage in Mark 13:26-27 which emphasizes a gathering of the elect from both earth and heaven:

[Mk 13:26-27]:

"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens". There will be the sound of a great trumpet and a great shout and the expression of the unimaginably great power and glory of God - for this is Christ's Second Coming!

[Mt 24:30-31cont]:

(v. 30) "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds, of heaven, with power and great glory.

(v. 31) And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

And with our Lord will be all the saints of all the ages past and those tribulation saints who did not survive and are in heaven gathered by the elect angels from the farthest points of the heavens - an immense army of millions. (Jude 14, Rev 19:14). All of the surviving tribulation saints will likewise be gathered up by the angels but Scripture is silent as to whether the gathering time and place of the mortal tribulation saints on the earth will be at the same time(s) and to the same place(s) as the gathering of the elect from heaven. Note that this passage does not specifically state the location that this army of all of the saints and angels will be gathered to.

[Rev 19:19 states]:

"Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse (Christ) and His army."

Presumably Christ's army will be with Him until the end of the tribulation.

*** Let's investigate Scripture here to determine if Mt 24:30-33 is speaking about the Rapture or includes anything at all to do with the Rapture.

If 1 Thes 5:9 and Rev 3:10 both state that believers of the church age will not be subject to wrath. (And these passages do state that church age believers will not be subject to wrath)

And if Titus 2:13 says:

"While we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" signifying a hope of blessedness not of wrath (And it does)

Then

The doctrine that the church has to go through the tribulation and be decimated by the catastrophies and judgments that occur - including multiple thousands being martyred leaving only a fraction of the world's population surviving is false.

It is difficult to support the concept that the CHURCH AGE believer's "blessed hope" is that of being subject to God's wrath and multiple thousands being martyred while waiting for the Lord's return, thus having to go through the tribulation until He comes at the end. No, believers of the church age await the Lord's return for them when He will meet them in the air before the tribulation begins, (1 Thes 4:13-18). This is what Paul refers to as the "blessed hope" of the church age believer.

The Apostle Paul also stated in 2 Thes 2:1-12 that the Thessalonians were not in the time of the tribulation inspite of false reports to the contrary. Paul then reaffirmed that they would not go through it by indicating that certain events had not yet occurred which would only be part of that terrible time. Paul's comforting message to the Thessalonians would seem untrustworthy and unbelievable if the Thessalonians who were alive at the time of his letter were not to see their loved ones who already died until after they potentially went through the tribulation (which has always been imminent). This would NOT then be a comforting message and therefore would not belong in Scripture if the saints were not to be raptured before the time of God's great wrath.

If all believers are saved solely by grace through faith because their Lord Jesus Christ received the wrath that was due to them for their sin then why would the church be further subjected to wrath? So why be subjected to the wrath that is due to the world that has rejected Christ?

If the church is to be purified by going through the tribulation wrath, (which Scripture does not support at all but many offer this as a reason for posttrib rapture), what about the 95% of the church age believers who are already in heaven and have avoided the purification. Were they that much better Christians than those poor believers who face catastrophes, disasters, deprivation, fugitive living and martyrdom such as the world has never seen? I wouldn't wish or preach or pray or impose that on anyone who has been saved by grace and neither does the Bible!!!

The Judgment Seat of Christ which is the judgment for believers (2 Cor 5:10) seems to take place in heaven rather than on earth and is not related to any of the events that will occur at the time of the Second Coming. Although several judgments are indicated at the Second Coming no reference is made to the church being judged at that time.

2 Thes 2:7 states that the coming of the man of lawlessness will not occur until after what is holding back or restraining sin "is taken out of the way". That restrainer is the church indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. The only agent which can restrain sin is God, and historically this has been God the Holy Spirit's job. If He is removed and the believers of the church age are permanently indwelt by the Spirit then the church must be removed also -IN THE RAPTURE!

If the 24 elders in heaven, (Rev 4-5), represent the church as judged for their divine good for rewards and glorified, then a pretribulation rapture is required because chapters 4 & 5 in Revelation relate to the period BEFORE THE TRIBULATION & SECOND COMING.

The wedding feast announced in Rev 19:7-10 implies that the Groom, Jesus Christ, has already come for His bride, the church, because the feast is on the final stage in the oriental order of marriage. Therefore the church must have been taken out of the earth in order to be in heaven with the Lord before His Second Coming and before the Tribulation!

Surviving believers of the tribulation will be in their natural bodies and will live on into the millennium to carry on normal activities of humanity, (Isa 65:20-25). If all of the tribulation saints were raptured at the time of the second coming there would be no one to occupy the earth in mortal bodies and fulfill these prophecies of the millennium because the rest of the earth's inhabitants were unsaved and therefore put to death.

Even if the surviving elect of the tribulation period were to be raptured into the air and thus have to be supernaturally preserved in their natural bodies throughout the rapture, which would bring them up through the earth's upper atmosphere; what would be the point of rapturing up to the heavens and then back down to the earth hours later after our Lord had completed His work of judgment? The judgment following Christ's second coming when the sheep (saved) will be separated from the goats (unsaved) [Mt 25:31-46] would then be seriously in question if the rapture takes place in connection with Christ's Second Coming to earth. For the separation of believers from unbelievers would have already taken place via the rapture of the elect before Christ arrived on earth so that this judgment (sheep from goats) would be unnecessary.

The judgment of the people of the nation Israel, when saved will be separated from unsaved, (Ez 20:34-38), would also be unnecessary if all of the elect - all believers - have already been raptured up beforehand, including believers of the tribulation period, leaving no one except unbelievers on the earth.

[Mt 24:30-31, (cont)]:

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, AND ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH WILL MOURN......."

[AND ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH WILL MOURN......." = At this point let's look at Zech 12:10-13:1:

"And I [God - God the Son, Jesus Christ] will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on Me the One they have pierced

[Notice that this passage comes from the Old Testament and God is the One speaking through the prophet Zechariah. So if God is the One Whom they pierced, and Jesus Christ is the One Whom the Jews pierced, then Jesus Christ is God. Cp Isa 53:5] and they will MOURN for Him as one who mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one who grieves for [the dying of] a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great,

[Notice: Jews are weeping & mourning at the discovering that they as a nation, as a people, crucified their own Messiah 2000 years ago!]

[Zech 12:10-13:1, (cont.) ]:

like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves; the clan of the house of David and their wives; the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives. the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of the house of Shamei, and all the rest of the clans and their wives.

On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity."

John Walvoord writes the following on Rev 1:7-8, (BKC, P.929):

"Readers are exhorted to look for He is coming. This is His second coming which will be with the clouds (cf.Acts 1:9-11). Every eye will see Him even those who pierced Him. Though the literal executioners and rejectors are now dead and will not be resurrected until after the millennium, the godly remnant of Israel 'will look on [Him], the One they have pierced' (Zech 12:10). This godly remnant will represent the nation." [in their weeping and mourning for their Messiah-Savior Whom they crucified].

[Mt 24:32-35]:

(v. 32) Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. (v. 33) Even so, when you [who are living at the time] see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

(v. 34) I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

(v. 35) Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

"this generation" = those people who will be going through the awesome distress in these future times referring to the future tribulation period. As most parables in Scripture are simple analogies, so the parable of the fig tree is also. The fig tree for example does not represent the nation Israel as some insist. Those parables that are more complex are always accompanied with detailed explanations or are already explained elsewhere in God's word. To provide unproven detail to this simple analogy in order to allegorize this parable simply opens the door to do this anywhere in the Bible, thus adding human viewpoint - man's reasoning - to what God has said in His word.

Our Lord is simply saying to those who would be in the midst of the events which He just described as the signs of His coming and of the end of the age to take heart that His return is imminent - 'right at the door" - just as summer is right at the door when one sees the budding and new leafing of trees. This passage indicates that the generation of people living at the time that the tribulation period begins will not all die out before all of the signs prophesied occur and the Lord returns. And there are tremendous rewards for ALL believers who look foward to the return of their Savior:

[2 Tim 4:7-8]:

"I have [Paul] fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.."

MacArthur comments on the allegorizing of the parable about the fig tree in Mt 24:32-35:

"Unfortunately, this parable, like many others, has often been made confusing and misleading by those who view it as a complicated allegory rather than a simple analogy. Some interpreters, for instance, contend that the fig tree represents Israel. A popular version of that view is that the budding of the fig tree refers to Israel's becoming a political state in 1948. Because Jesus does not identify the fig tree as Israel, that meaning would have been totally obscured to the disciples and to every other believer who lived before the twentieth century. In that view, Jesus would not have been employing the parable to clarify His meaning but to conceal it. Some who hold to that interpretation suggest that the budding of leaves on the fig tree represents a spiritual revival in the new state of Israel, But modern Israel, though very much alive physically, is one of the most secular nations on earth. As a state, it is very resistant, if not hostile, to the gospel."

At times the fig tree is a symbol of Israel in Scripture, (Jer 24; Hos 9:10). At other times it is not exclusively Israel or including Israel at all, (Mt 21:19-22; Lk 13:6-9; 21:29-33; Jn 1:50; Jas 3:12). The context of the individual passage is all important.

An important technique all diligent students of the Word of God must use is the examination of parallel passages. For example, this passage in Mt 24:32-35 has a sister passage in Lk 21:29-36:

(Lk 21:29) "He told them this parable:

'Look at the fig tree and all the trees.

[You will notice that Luke provides more detail to the parable and includes "all the trees" not just the fig tree!]

(v. 29, cont) "' Look at the fig tree and all the trees

(v. 30) when they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.

(v. 31) Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

(v. 32) I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."

["this generation" = This generation of people who are living then and are going through THIS series of catastrophic events]

(v. 33) Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

[Then our lord says to those believers who will be living in the end times]:

(v. 34) "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you [believers who are living in those times] unexpectedly like a trap. [Our Lord is addressing His disciples who are believers, applying this command to them as if they were living in the end times. So according to the context He is addressing believers in the end times]:

(v. 35) For it will come upon all those [believers & unbelievers] who live on the face of the earth.

[For the end times will come upon all those alive at the time - no one on the face of the earth at that time will escape running into the wrath of God]

(v. 36) Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen,

[faithful believers will be protected with the exception of those God has chosen and given grace to be martyrs]

(v. 36, cont.) Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

[pray that you believers will stand before the Lord and be counted as worthy to receive a "well done good and faithful servant", (Mt 25:21), and all the rewards inherent with good service].

[Mt 24:35]:

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

Heaven and earth will truly pass away 1000 years after our Lord returns, (2 Pet 3:10; Rev. 21:1). This is simply an expression affirming the absolute reliability and veracity and eternality of our Lord's word - God's Word - Scripture. (Cp. Lk 16:17; Jn 10:35; Ps 19:9; 12:6).

[Mt 24:36-41]:

(v. 36) "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

(v. 37) As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

(v. 38) For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking , marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;

(v. 39) and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

(v. 40) two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.

(v. 41) Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left."

Let's review this passage verse by verse:

[Mt 24:36-41]:

(v. 36) "No one knows about that day or hour..[of our Lord's return - Mt 24:3] not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father.

["No one knows...nor the Son" = No one knows the day of the Second Coming not even the Son in His humanity, not of course the Son in His omniscient Diety...]

(v. 37) As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."

["As it was in the days of Noah" = As it was when Noah was on the earth when God suddenly created a flood which destroyed the unbelievers and left the believers - only Noah and his family - alive on earth. As it was in the days of Noah so it will be when Christ comes to judge the sheep and the goats at the judgment of the nations. He will put to death the goats (unbelievers) and leave alive the sheep (believers of the tribulation period) to live on the earth in their mortal bodies, thus commencing our Lord's millennial reign. Cp Mt 25:31-46; Ez 20]

(v. 38) For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;

(v. 39) and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

[This could not be speaking of the rapture in this passage because the rapture will not come to take all the believers to their destruction! Nor will church age believers be left on the earth in immortal bodies]

(v. 39 cont) and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the [Second] coming of the Son of Man.

(v. 40) Two men will be in the field; one will be taken, and the other left.

["one will be taken" = and put to death as in the days of Noah]

"and the other left." = on the earth to live on in the millennium in his mortal body - as in the days of Noah and his family]

(v.41) Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken, and the other left.

["one will be taken" = One will be taken, i.e, judged and put to death.

"and the other left." = and the other will be left on the earth to live on into the millennium in the kingdom age with our Lord as Ruler]

The parallel passage in Luke (17:26-37) indicates that the one which will be taken away will be a dead body:

[Lk 17:26-37]:

(v. 26) " 'Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.

(v. 27) People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

(v. 28) It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.

(v. 29) But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

(v 30) It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.

(v. 31) On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.

(v. 32) Remember Lot's wife!

(v. 33) Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

(v. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.

(v. 35) Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.'

(v. 36 - omitted: not in the best manuscripts. Verse 36 appears to be a scribal addition in order to include the same account as in Matthew 24:40. Luke did not include this in his Gospel so it should be left out. For God, as the Editor of His Word should have the final say).

(v. 35 cont.) Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.'

(v. 37) 'Where Lord?' they asked. [will they be taken]

He replied, 'Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.' "

Those who will be taken will be put to death and the vultures will feed on their carcasses.

There is absolutely NO reference to the church in any Scripture passage which also describes events of the tribulation. The church is completely absent from the passages in which the context is the tribulation period. The tribulation period is described in God's word as distinctly Jewish and not church age in character and context.

Both points.................................

(Point #2 was prophesied in Daniel as the 70th week and is srill unfulfilled in God's prophecy of the history of the nation Israel before the Millennium, [Da 9:20-27])

Both points 1 & 2 strongly support the doctrine of the pretribulation rapture of all church age believers!

[John Walvoord states the following in his book "The Rapture Question", Dunham Publishing, 1957, p.38]:

"On the basis of the usage of the word ecclesia in the new testament and the obvious contrasts in the character of the church to believers in either the Old Testament or the future millennium, the conclusion is clearly drawn that the body of believers in the present age which comprises the church has a distinct place in God's plan and program and as such is contrasted to saints who will come to know Christ in the tribulation period or in the future millennium. When therefore the question is considered whether the church will go through the tribulation, the last generation of the church living on earth at the time is in view and must not be confused with those described as saints or with Israel or with the elect in the tribulation period.

It is significant that none of the truths discussed as distinctive of the church are found in the description of saints in the tribulation. Never are tribulation saints referred to as a church, or as the body of Christ, or as indwelt by Christ, or as subject to translation (the rapture), or as the bride. As the church is a distinct body with special promises and privileges, it may be expected that God will fulfill His program for the church by translating the church out of the earth before resuming His program for dealing with Israel and with the Gentiles in the period of the tribulation."

[Renald Showers comments on this as follows, ("Israel My Glory," Apr/May '94 (periodical), "The Timing of the Second Coming of Christ," pp. 20-21)]:

"It should be noted that the order of events at the Second Coming of Christ after the Tribulation will be the reverse of the order of events at the Rapture of the church, when the saved will be taken from the earth to meet the Lord in the air and the unsaved will be left on the earth (Jn 14:3-2; 1 Th 4:13-18). Thus, Jesus was not referring to the Rapture of the church in His Matthew 24 discourse.

Some who object to this interpretation point out that the word translated "took" in connection with the flood (v.39) is different from the word translated "shall be taken" for the removal of people from the field and mill at the Second Coming (vv. 40-41).

The latter phrase refers to Jesus receiving saints to Himself in the Rapture of the church (Jn. 14:3). In light of this, they conclude that the first word refers negatively to taking the unsaved in judgment by the flood, but the latter phrase refers positively to taking saints from the field and mill at the Rapture of the church.

However, two things should be observed. First, the latter phrase ["shall be taken"] is also used in a negative sense in the Bible. For example, it was used when the Devil took Jesus to tempt Him (Mt 4:5, 8) and when Jesus was taken to be crucified (Jn. 19:16). Second, there is a reason for the different words in Matthew 24. God used an impersonal substance (water) to take the unsaved of Noah's day in judgment, but at Christ's Second Coming personal beings (angels) will take the unsaved from the field and mill and cast them into their place of judgment (Mt. 13:40-42, 47-50)......

...Christ presented two practical implications of His teaching for the people of the Tribulation period. Because they will know with certainty that they are in the time period immediately preceding Christ's Second Coming and that their generation will not pass away before His coming but they will not know the precise day or hour of His coming, they should do two things: watch, or be on the alert continuously (present tense), for Christ's Second Coming (v. 42) and be ready, or prepared for it, by accepting Jesus as their Savior (v. 44).

[Mt 24:42-44]:

(v. 42) "Therefore [believers in the Tribulation period] keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

(v. 43) "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

(v. 44) So you must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him."

MacArthur comments, (op. cit., p.77):

"It goes without saying that Jesus was not comparing Himself in character to a thief but was comparing His coming to the stealth and unexpectedness of a thief's coming. The New Testament frequently compares to a thief's coming (Luke 12:35-40; I Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 3:3; 16:15), for the obvious reason that, as Jesus here points out, a thief never tries to rob a place where he knows he is expected, and certainly not at the exact time he is expected.

In one sense, however, Jesus will come in the role as well as with the unexpectedness of a thief. As far as the ungodly are concerned, He will come and take away everything they have, all the things they have cherished and trusted in instead of Him..............it seems impossible that most people in that day will not be expecting Jesus' coming. In light of the absolute destructiveness and horror of the signs of the end time they will witness, how could they not turn to God for help and mercy? How could they possibly attribute those things simply to natural causes? Yet most of them will be so overwhelmingly blinded by sin and self-will that no amount of evidence will cause them to seek God. Instead, hostility toward God will reach a fever pitch never known before on earth, not even during the times of Noah."

McGee comments on the two different kinds of watchful readiness for the church age believer and the tribulation saint, (op. cit., p. 132):

"Watch [Mt 24:42: "Keep watch]............

Watch is the important word, and it has a little different meaning from the watching that the child of God does in waiting for the Rapture. Today we have a comforting hope. In that future day it will be watching with fear and anxiety. In the night they will say, "Would to God it were morning," and in the morning they will say, "Would to God it were evening." Today we are to wait and long for His coming. In that future day they will watch with anxiety for His return."

Although one familiar with prophecy in Scripture can know the limits and sequence of events of the Tribulation period leading up to our Lord's return in a general sense, no one will know the precise day or moment when our Lord will cut short the momentum mankind with a 'little help' from Satan and his fallen angels create toward mankind's total destruction.

[Mt 24:22]:

"If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."

CLICK HERE...{short description of image} ...FOR CONTINUATION OF OUR LORD'S DISCOURSE ON THE MT OF OLIVES, (MT 25).