Red Sky In The Morning

Part 1


          Over the past thirty years I would always renew magazine and journal subscriptions for the longest or best renewal rates available, however, in the last five years I began to limit my renewals to the regular one year or basic renewal rate.  My age had nothing to do with my decision.  My decision was influenced by the ever increasing occurrences of the signs of the coming Messiah.  This post is a reminder of what Jesus said to the Jews in Matthew 16:2-3 about their problem with understanding the "signs".  I have been watching hundreds of signs which confirm the NEARNESS of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. 

          Eighteen years I began monitoring global news at a dozen web sites on the Internet.  Back then I could cover all the important news in 3 or 4 hours, reading or scanning around 300 news reports on any given day.  Today, it can take up to eight hours or even longer, depending on which day of the week it is and I'm reading or scanning between 1,200 and 1,500 news reports a day. 

          The reason that most people misconstrue or misunderstand the Olivet Discourse is a combination factor of ignorance [lack of information] and related to their lack of any formal training on knowing and using the established methods by which you seek the clearest understanding of the Bible.  There are a number of basic rules of inquiry and interpretation.  These are foundational and central or key to understanding the prophetic Word. The first is called the
"Golden Rule of Interpretation":

1.  The
"Golden Rule of Interpretation" is like a cornerstone of a building.  When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.  If you happen to watch Dave Reagan's "Lamb and Lion" program on Christian television, he quotes it slightly different but just as meaningful and just as important.

2.  The second law is called
"The Law of Double Reference".  This law observes the fact that often a passage or a block of Scripture is speaking of two different persons or two different events that are separated by a long period (gap) of time.  In previous posts, I identified - listed no fewer than 24 of these gaps.  But in the passage itself, they are blended into one picture, and the time gap between is not presented by the text itself.  Zechariah 9:9-10 is a good example of the "Law of Double Reference".  Verse 9 speaks of Jesus' First Coming and verse 10 speaks of Jesus Second Coming. This law should not be confused with another rule known as Double Fulfillment.  The Law of Double Reference differs from the Law of Double Fulfillment in that the former states that while two events are blended into one picture, one part of the passage refers to one event, and another part refers to a second event.

3.  The third law is the
"Law of Recurrence".  It often involves two blocks of Scripture.  The first block presents a description of an event as it transpires in chronological sequence.  This is followed by a second block of Scripture dealing with the same vent and the same period of time but giving further details as to what transpires in the course of the event.  An example of the "Law of Recurrence" is that of Ezekiel 38:1-39:16.  Ezekiel 38:1-23 provides us an account of the invasion of Israel from the north and the subsequent destruction of the invading armies.  The second block Ezekiel 39:1-16 repeats some of the first block along with added details.

4.  The fourth law is
"A text apart from its context is a Pretext".  A verse can only mean what it means in its context and must not be pulled out of its context.  When apart form its context, it is often presented as meaning something it cannot mean within the context.  The guide to the signs in Matthew 24 & 25 are examples where it is best summed up in those two chapters.  Four of the disciples asked three key questions of the Lord.  But not to overlook in our understanding of the Olivet Discourse, do not forget to include the account as recorded in Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:5-36. 

          No passage is more misunderstood and mistranslated than that of the famous Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 & 25.  It is the proverbial example of errant and abusive exegesis.  Prophecy pundits, teachers, and alarmists inevitably fall on their faces when attempting to use Matthew 24 & 25 as a proof-text that the Church will go through the seven-year Tribulation period or some portion of it.  In their rush to judgment, they do not do their homework, and would mislead us into thinking that it is all about the Church.  If you will kindly give some thought to what I am about to show you, it will become evident that Jesus wasn't necessarily saying all of this to the folks of the end of days.  First, let's take a look at the questions the four disciples ask of Jesus. 

          By the time I have completed this article, we will see all four basic principles noted above, demonstrated in our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse.  Collectively, the data, information, history, will lead the reader to recognize that the Olivet Discourse is nearly all about the Jewish people, and not about the Bride/Church.

What is the sign for the fall of Jerusalem?  They are asking what will be the precursor to the judgment of Jerusalem, which they did not know was coming in 70 AD.  Luke 21:7 is more specific about this question.  They want to know "when" and "what shall be the sign". 

What is the sign of the Second Coming?

What is the sign of the End of the Age?

          The order and manner by which Jesus deals with these questions is indicative of things missed by folks, even today!   This fact is not an accident, nor an oversight.  It is far more significant than most might think, and thus begs intense examination and study if we are to discover its real meaning.

          Jesus Christ answers their questions, but not in the same order that they are asked!  The order that He answers the question is as follows:

++The third question is answered first.  What is the sign of the end of the ages?

    ++The first question is answered next.   What is the sign for the fall of Jerusalem?  Luke is the one who shares Jesus' answer regarding the first question in Luke 21:20-23.  Luke is consistently the gospel writer who deals with Jerusalem and its fate, and the other two, Matthew and Mark have ignored Jesus' answer to this question completely.

    ++The second question is answered last.
  What is the sign for the Second Coming?

          The Jews were notorious for their wanting signs of an impending event.  76X in the Bible, there is some sort of reference to the "sign" being relied upon or sought out.  53X the term "signs" is noted.  Jesus even chided them on this obsession in seeking signs.  Drawing upon the rising and setting of the Sun in Matthew 16:1-4 Jesus points out the error of their ways on signs.

          The list below of signs can be useful in our understanding of the premise of my post on this series but I am suggesting the order leads us to a different but much clearer understanding to the larger issue that has evaded modern interpretations for so long.  The Olivet Discourse is largely misunderstood because Jesus gives us a near and a far view of distant prophecies, as to His prophetic role.  He proclaims God's will for His own generation, first and foremost.  But, God's will for future events both near and far off is revealed as well.

          Many use Matthew 24:29 as a basis to infer or teach the Church will go through the Tribulation.  I am here to tell you they are totally wrong in their view.  They violate a number of the principles noted at the beginning.  Such folks are erroneously misguided and in this series we will explore the evidence to prove my point. 
Their greatest mistake is to assume Jesus is speaking to the Church of today.  Remember my three "W's" "Who" is speaking?  "Who" is being spoken too?  "What" is being spoken about?

          It is generally agreed that in Matthew, Jesus is presented at the Jewish Messiah, King of the Jews.  The Gospel of Matthew is written to the Jews.  All Bible scholars recognize this fact.  This remains the primary tenet of the book and any message to the Christian community of the Church is incidental, or secondary in importance.  While it is written to the Jews, it does not mean that there are things that are important for our learning. 

          The Gospel of Mark identifies Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and Servant of Jehovah God.  It is written to the Romans, and western Gentiles.

          The Gospel of Luke presents Jesus Christ as the Son of Man.  It is written to the Greeks.

          The Gospel of John presents Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God.  It is written for the Church at large.  Its central message is to confirm "belief" or to "believe" in Jesus Christ.  But interestingly, the Gospel of John makes no mention of the Olivet Discourse.  Are you aware of the fact that the Gospel of John emphasizes Jesus' conversations and discourses?  He dealt with the things Jesus said more than what He did.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell more about Jesus' actions.  Neither of the three synoptic writers heard Jesus' Olivet Discourse, yet they recorded his alarming predictions.  John, along with Peter, James, and Andrew composed the audience for the Olivet Discourse -(Mark 13:3; Matthew 24; and Luke 21), and yet John makes no reference to it in his Gospel!

          Does all of that not strike you as puzzling?  Why would he omit Jesus' prophecies about the overthrow of the nation of Israel and the destruction of their magnificent temple and the city of Jerusalem, all of which Jesus said would transpire in the lifetime of those that lived there at the time?  We know that John wrote the Gospel of John, three epistles, John 1, 2, & 3, along with the book of Revelation, and yet how can we explain his lack of even mentioning this tremendously significant event in Jewish and Biblical history?

          It is no accident that the Olivet Discourse is not recorded in the Gospel of John.  The reason is that John shares the portion of the Olivet Discourse for the book of Revelation.  This is radical exegesis for many untrained in Biblical Theology.  I'm not alone in stating that the book of Revelation is a fifth gospel.  I have had the opportunity over the past thirty years to discuss this fact with several esteemed theologians that are expert scholars on the Apostle John and there is much credence to this view.  I have named quite a few important points above in why there is an explicit absence of the Olivet Discourse in the Gospel of John.  The Apostle John wrote about Jesus' words of the Olivet Discourse in his book of the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, the book of Revelation.  The imagery and details provide far greater detail and imagery in the book of Revelation.  This "gap" has precedent elsewhere in the Scriptures, at least 24 previous times throughout the Old and New Testament.  I shared these "intervals" or "gaps" in my posts last year on the Daniel's 70 week prophecy. 

          Misunderstandings over the Olivet Discourse are clouded and muddied by conventional hermeneutics.  The fact is the line between the Old and New Testament is really not an accurate division of the portions of the Bible which it represents.  The Olivet Discourse was actually delivered prior to the death of Jesus which in reality places it and most of the history recorded in the Gospel accounts as a continuation of Israel's Old Testament narrative; an important piece of information but framed in the wrong context. 

          Referring to the Fourth Law of Interpretation, "A Text Apart from it Context is a Pretext".  The confused teaching on the Olivet Discourse destroys the proper understanding and leads to several errant assumptions.  Typically, Matthew falls into this situation.  When folks try to define prophecy through this lens or framework, it leads to confusion and disorder.  Matthew is the Gospel to the Jews, first and foremost, and using the three
"W's" pertaining to the speaker, those spoken to, and what is being spoken about, it is all Jewish.  Even the reference to the "Elect" is speaking about the Jews.  It's not about the Church at all.  People who attempt to force this issue to be the Church are overlooking so much that speaks specifically to or about that of Israel.  The four Apostles or disciples, Peter, James, John, and Andrew were all Jewish patriots, and who were concerned about his final return to Israel to establish the recently rejected "Davidic" Covenant Kingdom -(Matthew 24:3; Acts 1:3-6).  When the entire discourse is studied alongside Daniel 7-12 and  Revelation 6-19, it provides the most revealing picture into the Tribulation period or the Time of Jacob's Trouble -(Jeremiah 30:7) found anywhere in Scripture.  This epoch of evil ONLY makes sense as it is studied in its proper context. 

          The Olivet Discourse provides signs that the Jews require, center around Jerusalem, contains language affecting the Jews alone (i.e., the synagogue, Judea, Sabbath, Abomination of desolation, etc.), and will be immediately followed -(Matthew 24:29) by the glorious return of Israel's Messiah King to Earth where He will rescue Israel; destroy the Antichrist; and his kingdom; hold a sheep and goat judgment; and inaugurate the prophesied Jewish Davidic Covenant Kingdom for one thousand years.  This is the only setting for the Olivet Discourse.

          From the Bible we know that Israel exists from prophecy.  Through the prophets, Israel was given land, laws, and special commissioning through at least five Covenants outlining and guaranteeing her future; this includes both the Old and New Covenant promises that Israel at some point in the future will render the obedience that was required of her under the Old Covenant -(Deuteronomy 5:1-3; Jeremiah 31:31).

          If we are to "rightly divide the Word of Truth between Old and New Testaments" we must recognize that where a testament is, there must be of necessity, be the death of the Testator.  For a testament is of force only after men are dead: observing it is of no strength at all while the Testator liveth -(Hebrews 9:16-17).  Hebrews 9:16-17 means that the major part of the four gospels - including the Olivet Discourse were all under the Lord Jesus and even the disciples were all under the Old Covenant, further affirming the Olivet Discourse is delivered in its proper Jewish setting.

          The conventional dichotomy between Old and New Testament is more accurately divided into what should be defined as prophecy and mystery.  The first part, prophecy has to do with the purpose God has for the Earth and Christ's reign upon it, which includes the "elect" nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem -(2nd Peter 1:16-19).  This is the kingdom of heaven that will in the future be set up on Earth, literally.  The mystery is that body of truth proclaimed by the Apostle Paul, concerning heaven and the exaltation of the Body of Christ in heaven, together there with the Christ -(Ephesians 2:4-10; 3:1-4).

          All the traditional views of this dichotomy have erred in their view largely because they are adherents of "Replacement" theology.  They have assumed far too much in their reading into the pretext of replacing Israel with the Church.  Jesus' answer to the three questions reveals something lost in the discussion.  He answers the third question first.  What is the sign of the Second Coming?  He then answers the first question next.  What is the sign for the fall of Jerusalem?  Luke is the one who share Jesus' answer regarding the first question in Luke 21:20-23.  Luke is consistently the Gospel writer who deals with Jerusalem an its fate, and the other two writers ignore Jesus' answer to this question.  The second question is answered last.  What is the sign for the End of he Age?

          Clearly the subtlety here is such that it is easy to just slide on past over the questions without ever noting the order of the questions and without ever noting the order in which Jesus answered the four disciples.  Yet, there is much more to this innocuous detail distinction. 

Here is a list of "signs" that 'Dake's Bible' shares:

      1.    Deceptions -(Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 24)
      2.    False Christs -(Matthew 24:5, 23-26)
      3.    Wars and rumors of wars -(Matthew 24:6-7)
      4.    Famines -(Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:5-6)
      5.    Pestilences -(Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:8)
      6.    Earthquakes -(Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:12-17)
      7.   Anti-Semitism -(Matthew 24:9; Mark 13:9, 13)
      8.   Offenses -(Matthew 24:10 compared with Matthew 18:1-10)
      9.   Betrayals -(Matthew 24:9; Mark 13:12)
    10.   Hatred -(Matthew 24:10; 2nd Timothy 3:1-9)
    11.   False prophets -(Matthew 24:11, 24; Revelation 13)
    12.   Lawlessness abounding -(Matthew 24:12)
    13.   Love decreasing -(Matthew 24:12-13; 2nd Timothy 3)
    14.   Increased missionary work -(Matthew 24:14)
    15.   Abomination of desolation -(Matthew 24:15; Daniel 9:27; 2nd Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13)
    16.   New Jewish nation in Judea -(Matthew 24:9, 15-26; Ezekiel 37; Daniel 9:27)
    17.   New Jewish temple -(Matthew 24:15, 26; Revelation 11:1-2; Daniel 8:9-13; Daniel 9:27; 11:45; 2nd Thessalonians 2:4)
    18.   Great tribulation of 3-1/2 years -(Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 12:1-19:21)
    19.   Martyrdom -(Matthew 24:9, 22; Daniel 8:24; Revelation 11:7; 15:2-4; 20:4-6)
    20.   Flight of Jews from Judea -(Matthew 24:16-21; Revelation 12:6, 14; Isaiah 16:1-5; Psalm 60:4-8; Daniel 11:40-45; Ezekiel 20:33-               38; Hosea 2:14-16)
    21.   Increased satanic powers -(Matthew 24:24; 2nd Thessalonians 2:8-12; Revelation 13; 16:14; 19:20)
    22.   Surfeiting -(Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:28; 21:34)
    23.   Sex crimes -(Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:27)
    24.   Procrastination and lethargy -(Matthew 24:39)

          I have taken the time to provide this list here for your consideration and thought analysis.  How would you break this list down, or which ones do you believe are Jewish issues or Church issues?

I am suggesting that the
"elect" referred to are the Jews and not the Church, because:

      1.    Jesus is answering a Jewish question or questions.
      2.    False Messiahs primarily concern Israel.
      3.    Anti-Semitism proves it.
      4.    The travail of Israel.
      5.    The abomination of desolation concerns Israel only.
      6.    The Jewish temple.
      7.    Flight of Israel.
      8.    The Sabbath is Jewish.
      9.    The great tribulation.
    10.    The Jews are the only people to be gathered.
    11.    The coming of Christ Jesus is to deliver Israel.
    12.    Judgment of the nations is based on treatment of Israel.
    13.    The eagles eating carcasses was predicted to be at the time of Israel's deliverance.
    14.    The Church will be Raptured before Antichrist.

          Jesus answers first, what are the signs of the end of the age?  The Greek word that is translated "world" is actually "age" in this verse.  The Jews of that day recognized two ages, the age they were in, and the Messianic Age.  Jesus describes the characteristics of the Church Age in Matthew 24:4-6; Mark 13:5-7; and Luke 21:8-9.  The first two things that Jesus mentions are not signs of the last days, but rather are characteristics of the Church Age.  These two are:

    ++First, there will be a rise of false messiahs.
    ++Second, there will be wars that occur throughout the whole age.  In Matthew 24:6, Jesus speaks of wars and
        rumors of wars.

The first point is validated by the claims that followed during the Church Age.

          After Jesus' claim to be the Messiah (the first one in Jewish history to do so) came a line of false messiahs beginning with Simon Bar Kochba in 132 AD.  I'm noting only the more well-known claims here.

          Then in the 1700's, Shabbat Zvi claimed the title of Messiah.

          In the 1800's there was a man named Jacob Frank from Poland who claimed to be the Messiah, and there were others to follow in Jewish history.

          In the recent past, there was Menachem Schnerson, of the Lubavitchers, who died in 1994.  Many but not all Lubavitcher's now still believe he is the Messiah, even though he is dead.  He did claim to be the Messiah when he was alive.

          Likewise, in the Christian world there have been those with messianic claims, such as Rev. Sun Yong Moon.  In the New Age movement there are multitudes of messianic claims, both personified by celebrated gurus and in teachings about "Christ Consciousness".

          The second characteristic of the Church Age is the ongoing of wars that will occur throughout the whole age.  Jesus notes this in Matthew 24:6.  Wars and rumors of wars refer to local wars in particular, not world wars.  But local wars are not significant regarding the end of the age, as Jesus says, "But the end is not yet".  This is not a sign of the last days, it is a general characteristic of the Church Age as are the rise of false messiahs.

          One needs to align Matthew's account of the Olivet Discourse, chapters 24 and 25 with the accounts of Mark and Luke.  The preponderance of commentary made by many Bible teachers is to address only the Olivet Discourse from Matthew, without ever examining the larger puzzle account.  In so doing, the bulk of those that come to false assumptions and erroneous conclusions about the Olivet Discourse misunderstand and misinterpret the meaning of the important message about the end of days.  One example of this errant understanding has the Church going through the Tribulation because of how they read Matthew 24:29-31.

          I chose to do this as a post separately because it it a central issue regarding the various views and positions held on the timing of the Rapture.  I actually considered including it within my series on "Pre-Tribulation Truth" because it supports and validates the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and when properly exegeted, supports totally the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.  I believe that I will only require a second part to this portion to complete my study.  This post refutes the likes of Jim Bakker, Michael Snyder, Irvin Baxter, Carl Gallup, John Little, Rick Wiles, and a whole host of ignorant [lack of knowledge] folks that are not trained in the methods of theological analysis.  They invariably fail to read the signs as given and to who they were given unto!

          Jesus goes from saying, "What are not signs" - "These things that must come to pass, but the end is not".  -(Matthew 24:7-8), which aligns with Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:10-11.  The rise of nations against nation are world wars, along with the rise of famines and earthquakes.  In Matthew 24:8 Jesus calls these the beginning of travail, or birth pangs, of the end of the age.  Luke 21:22 adds pestilence, and terrors, and great signs from heaven.

          So what Jesus is saying is that when you see wars break out between not just individual localities but on a nation to nation scale, then that is the beginning of the end times.  Jesus is using a Hebrew "idiom" of His day, found in other rabbinic writings to describe world wars, "nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom".  This is the beginning of the last days as per Jesus' definition.

From 1914 to 1918 was World War I.  It was the First World War.  It had the direct result of birthing the Zionist movement.

From 1939 to 1945 there was World War II, which led to the establishment, or re-birth, of the nation of Israel.  In relation to God's purpose for Israel.  World War II resulted in the creation of the Jewish nation in 1948.  This was the first time the Jewish people would have a nation since the Roman's destroyed their government in the years surrounding 70 AD.

          To see a nation come back into existence after nearly 1,900 years is a huge miracle, setting the stage for the fulfillment of prophecy and the return of the Lord, when the nation's religious leaders shall say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord".  This does not address the particulars or details as to how this all came about.  I am merely addressing the larger facts of the prophecy of Isaiah 66:8.

          We, who, having been born into this era, often fail to recognize the enormity of the miracle of Israel's rebirth as a nation.  Bible scholars just 100 years ago were "allegorizing" the prophecies regarding Israel because they could not envision this happening.

          In regard to famines, there have been many severe ones in the 20th century.  In 1920 there was a famine in China, where millions died.  In 1921, there was a famine in Russia where millions also died.  We have seen more recent famines in our lifetimes in places such as the Sudan and Ethiopia.  Food shortages in the third world are common place.  A Vatican spokesman at the June 2015 Bilderberg Group said there are 6-billion too many people on the planet.  The world's population is as of the latest statistics, just over 8.2-billion.  The Vatican spokesman infers that we have to eliminate 6-billion.  The details of that speech are even more terrifying! 

          As to earthquakes, there has been a steadily increasing number of them, in part because of better reporting of them but also as we look at Jesus' words they are a sign of the beginning of the end times.  Recorded earthquakes are interesting to examine:

From 37 AD to 1,000 AD - There are only five major recorded earthquakes.

From the 14th century there are 157 recorded earthquakes.

From the 15th century there are 174 recorded earthquakes.

From the 16th century there are 253 recorded earthquakes.

From the 17th century there are 278 recorded earthquakes.

From the 18th century there are 640 recorded earthquakes.

From the 19th century there are 2,119 recorded earthquakes

From the 20th century there are over 200,000 recorded earthquakes

Both the number and intensity as well have been on the rise without question.

          Because the three Synoptic Gospels contain both similar information as well as unique information, the Olivet Discourse has to be scrutinized in their collective totality.  Luke 21:12-19 notes personal experiences relative to the Apostles,  Luke notes things in consecutive order, stated by Luke 21:12, "But before these things" ... Before what things?  Before the signs of birth pangs of the end of the age which Jesus has just given them.  So before these things, the Apostles will have to face NINE experiences which Jesus tells them to expect to come their way.

    1.  The will be rejected by their own Jewish community.  -vs. 12.

    2.  There will be rejection by Gentile governors and kings.  -vs. 12.

    3.  Both of these persecutions will provide opportunities for testifying in Luke.  -vs. 13.

    4.  They will be given what to speak by the Holy Spirit when brought before a court of law to defend the faith, they do not need to rely on themselves to figure out what to speak.  -vs. 15.

    5.  In spite of the opposition they will encounter, they will have success in their testimony, not being able to be gain-sayed, or rebutted.  -vs. 21:15.

    6.  Families, even their own, will be torn apart, even to the point of their own family members betraying them to death.  -Luke 21:16.  Of the original eleven disciples, ten would die a martyr's death.

    7.  They will be hated by the majority of people for the sake of the Gospel.   -(Luke 21:7).

    8.  They shall have spiritual security.  -(Luke 21:19).

    9.  The Gospel will be preached in the whole world, beginning with them, His Apostles.  -(Colossians 1:6).

          We turn now to Luke 21:20-24, the sign of the fall of Jerusalem.  This was the first question that was asked of Jesus, and Luke gives us Jesus' answer.  In Luke 21:20, the sign is that Jerusalem is to be surrounded by armies.  This is the precursor to destruction and judgment.  In 66 AD, Jerusalem was surrounded by armies, after the procurator Florus had seized, or stolen, money from the Temple treasuries and widespread revolt broke out amongst the Jewish people.

          Gaius Cestius Gallus (d. 67 AD) was Legate of Syria from 63 or 65 AD.  He marches into Judea in 66 AD in an attempt to restore calm at the outset of the great Jewish revolt.  He succeeded in conquering Beit She'arim "the New City", in the Jezreel Valley, at the time, but was unable to take the Temple Mount.  During his retreat to the coast region, he was closely pursued and harassed until being forced to battle near Beth Horon, and only succeeded in making his escape to Antioch by sacrificing the bulk of his army and a large amount of his war materials.

          The Jewish revolutionaries were encouraged by their victory and armed themselves for a massive national revolt against Rome.  Emperor Nero appointed General Vespasian, who would become the next emperor, to crush the rebellion.  During the short interval between Gallus' attempt to seize Jerusalem and Vespasian's siege of Jerusalem, which allowed the messianic Jews to flee, as per Luke's instructions here.  During this lull, 20,000 messianic Jews from Jerusalem joined 80,000 others from other parts of the country and they fled to the city of Pella, and of the Decapolis cities in the region of the Galilee.  The messianic believers in Jesus survived the judgment predicted by Jesus, as they followed Jesus' words as laid down here.  No messianic Jews perished by all existing accounts.

          The fact is that 1.1 million Jews are believed to have perished in the judgment of 70 AD, begun by Vespasian, and finished by his son Titus, when Vespasian was recalled back to Rome to be crowned emperor upon Nero's death.

          Jesus mentioned the times of the Gentiles in Luke 21:24, an age in which the city of Jerusalem is under control of Gentile kings.  The time of the Gentiles begins with the first destruction of Solomon's Temple, and the cessation of an heir of David to sit on the throne in Jerusalem at that time.

          The first of Tisha B'av (known as the 9th of Av) commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temple's destruction on the exact same date in Jewish history.  It is a day for judgment and mourning in the Jewish calendar, usually falling in July or August.  This is an interesting aspect of the period of which Jesus was commenting but deserves its own focus apart from this post subject. 

          The next phase of the Olivet Discourse is the Tribulation found in Matthew 24:9-28.  Jesus was speaking of things which will lead up to the Second Coming in this passage.  First, He addresses events of the first half of the Tribulation period, about which He says:

    1.  There will be persecution of the saints in Matthew 24:9, even unto death.  This correlates with the Fifth Seal judgment in Revelation 6:9-11.

    2.  There will be many false prophets leading many astray.  See Zechariah 13:1-2 which deals with the last days of Jerusalem.

    3.  Sin will increase because the restraint of lawlessness has been released.  See 2nd Thessalonians 2:6-7.

    4.  Those Jews who survive to the end will be saved, in Matthew 24:13.  This refers to those Jews who survive the Tribulation.  Zechariah 13:8-9 says one-third of the Jews will survive the Tribulation and come to faith.

    5.  The Gospel will be proclaimed to all the nations, in Matthew 24:14.  In Revelation 7:1-8, the 144,000 Jews set aside to do this work will preach the gospel in all the world before the end comes.

          Concerning the second-half of the Tribulation, Jesus says a number of important things that often get glossed over in interpretation.  This comes as a result of our western Christian interpretation of the Bible.

1.  In Matthew 24:15 Jesus references the abomination of desolation from Daniel 9:27; 12:11.  Luke, in writing "Let him that reads understand", which means that one should be referring to the book of Daniel for a full understanding.  The abomination of desolation will occur in TWO stages:

    ++First, the Antichrist will take over the Jewish Temple and sit in the Holy of Holies, and he will declare himself to be god.  Rule out this person being a Muslim.  Author Joel Richardson and now Perry Stone has been leaning toward this view; Joel states the Antichrist will be a Muslim, and Perry Stone has been inserting this thought in his teaching for about a year or two now.  Muslims are just as much opposed to bacon and ham sandwiches as the Jews!  It makes no sense for a Muslim Antichrist to place a pig on the altar.  If you want to really offend a Muslim, mail them a slice of bacon in a bubble pack envelop.

2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4, "Let no one in any way deceive you,
for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, ["The Departure", i.e. the Rapture] and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God".  

          Critics at the Pre-Wrath Rapture babble site are always attacking Bible College and seminary education as if it was a waste of time and all that one has to do is simply open the Bible up and read it for themselves and wall la you know what it means.  How naive and infantile.  This is absurd, and reflects a child mindset.  It speaks as much for itself as it does for its mouth piece.  I have taken individual courses in seminary on all the Gospels.  In the courses on the Gospels, I was required to do sentence-diagramming of the entire books.  In every case, we diagrammed the entire book, not just in English, but in the Greek text as well.  Breaking down an entire book into its grammatical structural forms is tedious, demanding; but I would never consider it a waste of time in order to obtain the most accurate and truthful understanding possible. 

    ++Second, the false prophet will make an image of the Antichrist and stand in the Holy of Holies.  Revelation 13:14-15 reads, And he deceives those who dwell on the Earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the Earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.  And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed."

          The placement of the abomination of desolation will be the signal law for the Jews to flee out of the land of Israel.  Jesus places the emphasis on speed and urgency.  Three difficulties are so noted:

    ++First, pregnant women and those nursing infants will have difficulty.

    ++The second difficulty is the possibility of its being winter time (mid-October to mid-April) as the wadis would be full of water. Highways in Israel are often covered by water from the ever-flowing wadis in the rainy season.
    ++A third difficulty is the possibility of its being on the Sabbath Day (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday), as all public transportation will be closed.

          The reason for the flight is the attempt of Satan to energize the enemies of Israel to destroy the Jews.  In Matthew 24:22, Jesus notes that if those days had not been shortened (suddenly cut short) no flesh would be saved.  God will not allow the Great Tribulation to go one day past the allotted time of 1,260 days, 3-1/2 years.  Israel will survive this attempt to destroy it, although many will die. Zechariah 13:8-9 and chapters 12, 13, and 14 speak of the last battle, when the Lord will come to defend His people at the end of the Tribulation period.

          In Matthew 24:23 there is a warning against following false messiahs.  The false messiahs and false prophets which will arise will perform false signs and wonders.  Jesus is warning His people not to be deceived as the signs will be "great" even enough to deceive the elect.  Rumors of the Lord's return will arise but the Jews are to remain in hiding.  His true return will be as visible to all as lightning in the sky.

          Jesus gives a hint as to the place of His Second Coming:  "Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather".  It is found in the context of the place of His coming in Matthew 14:26-28.  The body refers to Israel, who is in hiding, and the vultures refer to the Gentile armies that are gathered against Israel.  Numerous Scriptural references identify the fact that this event will occur at Bozrah (Petra in Greek).  The word "Bozrah" means "Sheepfold".  Typology of the "sheepfold", "Shepherd parable", and other references affirm Christ Jesus will not allow the "elect" to be destroyed by Satan.  These include a few passages:

    -Isaiah 63:1-2
    -Isaiah 34:5-6
    -Jeremiah 49:22
    -Habakkuk 3:3
    -Zechariah 12:7-9
    -Zechariah 14:3-5
    -Micah 2:12-13
    -Revelation 12:6
In Part 2 of this post I will deal with what was the Second question asked of Jesus.  He answered the question, What is the sign of the Second Coming?

          According to the prophets, Israel has ahead in her future, a time of intense persecution linked to the day of the Lord called the time of Jacob's Trouble -(Jeremiah 30:7).  Bible scholars understand that this period is for Israel because Jacob is Israel -(Genesis 32:28).  In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus Christ referred to this period as "The Great Tribulation" -(Matthew 24:21, 29) and some sixty years later promised that the Church would be exempt from it -(Revelation 3:10).  However, while many of the prophets refer to it, only Daniel provided the time-frame for it as a prophecy concerning 70 weeks of years that was revealed to him by the angel Gabriel in the 6th century BC.  This prophecy is strictly for Israel, and centers around Jerusalem, and it details some of the most definitive information in all of Scripture, including the promise of a coming King and kingdom, the exact day of the King's presentation and rejection, the cessation of the prophetic dispensation, the precise duration of the coming time of trouble -(Daniel 12:1), coinciding with a Jewish-Islamic seven-year peace treaty brokered by the Antichrist and then broken by the Antichrist in the middle of the week.

          As noted previously,
the absence of the Olivet Discourse in the Gospel of John is our clue to understanding the entire absence omission of the Olivet DiscourseIt's not in the Gospel of John because the Bride/Church is NOT here


Pastor Bob