Matt.24,25; Mark 13; Luk.21
The Olivet discourse is the teaching that our Lord Jesus gave to His disciples while sitting on the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley overlooking the Temple Mount. It is recorded in Matt.24,25; Mark 13 and Luk.21. Of all these three passages of the Scriptures, Matt.24-25 account is the most sequential. We shall use the record in Matthew as the baseline. We shall bring in relevant sections of Mark and Luke to corroborate the teachings in Matthew. The Olivet discourse is prophetic in its entirety, and presents a clear picture of the end time scenario. We shall also compare it to the sixth chapter of the Book Of Revelation which it amazingly parallels to a fairly good extent.
The Mount of Olives is so named because there are olive gardens on the mount in the time of Jesus as it is today. It is located on the east of the Temple Mount, directly opposite the Eastern Gate of the Temple Mount, across the Kidron valley below. On the lower slope of the mount, and in the valley is the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. From the Mount of Olives, one can see the bottleneck tomb of Absolom, the rebellious son of David. It is a mausoleum; he was not buried there (2 Kin.18:17,18).
The Eastern Gate to the Temple Mount today is permanently locked, and there some are Arab and Muslim graves in front of the gate. Today the Jordanian Muslim Waqf administers the Temple Mount, though the State of Israel has sovereignty over the Temple Mount. When the Jews regained control of Jerusalem from the Jordanians after victory in the Six Day War of 1967, Moshe Dayan, the then Defense Minister of Israel handed over the keys to the Temple Mount to the Muslim Waqf as a gesture of goodwill and reconciliation. The Muslim Arabs believe that the Jewish Messiah will enter the Temple Mount through the Eastern Gate (Zech.14:4). They also believe that as long as it is under lock and key, and there are graves in front of it, the Jewish Messiah will not come, because a Jew is defiled by stepping on or passing over a grave(Luk.11:44). This is one of the reasons why the Muslim Arabs find it extremely difficult to give up the Temple Mount apart from the fact that Mohammed is erroneously believed to have ascended to Heaven from the Temple on a white stallion.
In Jesus’ day, the Temple Mount was occupied by the Second Temple built by the returning exiles from Babylon in 515 BC. It was extensively and lavishly refurbished by Herod the Great. The second Temple was destroyed by the Roman general Titus in 70 AD. Today the Temple Mount is occupied by the Mosque of Omar (the Golden Dome), built by the Ayyubid Sultan Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din in 1193 AD, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, built by the Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir in 1035 AD. The wailing Wall, the kotel in Hebrew which means diameter is the western retaining wall of the Temple built by King Solomon. In the plaza in front of it, Jews and Christians gather to pray.
It was the spring of 32 AD. Jesus was with his disciples in the temple. He taught the Jews and His disciples a whole lot of things in the temple. Those are the Temple Mount Discourse. Those are beyond the scope of our discussion in this article. As He was exiting the temple with His disciples, one of them pointed out to Him the beautiful stones of the temple. This was the second temple built by the returning exiles and extensively and lavishly refurbished by Herod the Great. As one ascends up to Jerusalem, the white limestones of the temple sparkle in the sun. They were beautiful indeed and a wonderful sight to behold. No wonder His disciples were enthralled and enamored by this amazing and breathtaking sight. The temple was adorned and decorated with beautiful stones and gifts(Luk.21:1).
“And Jesus went out and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the temple”(Matt.24:1).
And as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples saith unto Him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here”(Mark 13:1).
And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, He said,”(Luk.21:5).
While the disciples were enthralled with the beautiful stones, decorations, and embellishments of the temple, Jesus was engrossed in taught concerning the future of the temple, the Holy City, Jerusalem, and the Jewish people. They have rejected Him, their true Messiah. They rejected Him because they did not know Him. It was for the same reason that the people of the world rejected Him. It is for the same reason of spiritual blindness that both Jews and Gentiles reject Him today. The evil one, the god of this age has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Cor.4:4).
“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them(Matt.13:14,15).
In contrast, amazingly though, they shall receive the false Messiah who shall come in his own name, whilst rejecting the true Messiah who came in the name of the Father.
“But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye received Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye shall receive”(Jon.5:42,43).
Unknowingly though the scornful leadership of Israel shall receive the antiChrist who shall come in his own name. They shall sign a 7-year peace agreement with him(Dan.9:27). This is the covenant of apostasy and the agreement with Sheol or Hell(Is.28:15-19).
The people of the world did not know Him. His own people did not know Him either. Therefore they rejected Him. But as many as received Him, He gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. These are not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”(Jon.1:10-13).
Jesus reacted to their observations of the beauty and exquisite decorations of the temple by calling their attention to their observations.
“See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down”(Matt.24:2).
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down”(Mark 13:2).
“As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down”(Luk.21:6).
The phrases “see ye not all these things”, “Seest thou these great buildings,” and “as for these things which ye behold” are used to call attention to what is to be said about what is seen. What followed is of utmost importance. It is to be underlined and underscored and noted. Not one stone of the great buildings of the temple shall be left one upon another that shall not be thrown down in the day of visitation. And so it was that in 70 AD, the Roman general Titus destroyed the temple, burned it down to the ground. The city of Jerusalem itself was destroyed after a long siege. Thousands of Jews lost their lives in the siege, about a million were taken captive to Rome, sold into slavery, and the rest dispersed across the globe. Believers in the land of Israel who took the warning of the Lord seriously escaped to Pella in Edom before the siege of Jerusalem. The last Jewish holdout in the Jewish revolt of 66-74 AD was the fortress of Masada which fell to the Roman legion in 74 AD after about a thousand occupants committed suicide.
Related to the prophecy of Jesus concerning the destruction of the temple is the prophecy of Daniel that stated unequivocally that the Messiah was to come before the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.
“And after three score and two weeks shall the Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy both the city and the sanctuary, and the end therefore shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determine”(Dan.9:26).
After the 69th week, in the interlude between the 69th and the 70th week, the Messiah was to be crucified for the salvation of others. Thereafter shall the city of Jerusalem, and the sanctuary, that is the temple will be destroyed by the people of the prince that shall come. The prince himself is the antiMessiah, and his people, the Roman army commanded by General Titus. Jesus the Messiah was crucified on the execution stake in 32 AD, after the completion of the 69th week of Daniel, and the temple was destroyed in 70 AD.
Jesus, the Messiah Himself also prophesied about the destruction of the temple. Every word was fulfilled to the letter. Any Messiah that shows up for the first time after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD is a false Messiah. Orthodox Jews shy away from Daniel 9 as they also do with Isaiah 53. It is astounding how blindsided they are to these Scriptures. The veil of Moses is still over their faces in the reading of the OT Scriptures. But when they shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be removed(2 Cor.3:14-16). Herein is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah as touching their spiritual blindness, deafness, and lack of understanding as we have stated above(Is.6:9,10). We must also remind ourselves that the spiritual blindness of Israel is partial; it shall expire at the fullness of the Gentiles. Thereafter all Israel shall be saved(Rom.11:25, 26).
The fulfillment of these prophecies underscore the fact that no word of God shall go unfulfilled.
“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven”(Ps.119:89). “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away(Matt.5:18).
“Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it”(2 Thess.5:24).
“For my thoughts are not your thought, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts then your thoughts. As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that cometh out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”(Is.54: 8-11).
“The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it shall surely come, it will not tarry”(Hab.2:3).
” God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?”(Num.23:19).
“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent”(1 Sam.15:29).
“Let all men be liars, God remaineth true”(Rom.3:4). “And in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall be established”(2 Cor.13:1).
“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world”(Matt.24:3).
“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter, James and John and Andrew asked Him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?(Mark.13:3,4).
“And they asked Him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?”(Luk.21:7).
The Question Of The Disciples
After the Temple Mount Discourse, as Jesus was exiting the precincts of the temple, His disciples called His attention to the beauty and decorations of the temple. Jesus told them in no uncertain terms that the temple was going to be totally destroyed as also prophesied by Daniel. Jesus passed through the Eastern or Golden Gate of the Temple, walked across the Kidron valley and ascended to the summit of the Mount of Olives, and sat down overlooking the Temple Mount and Temple. Some of His disciples came to Him privately to enquire further concerning His comment about the destruction of the temple. Matthew told us simply His disciples came to Him privately. Mark named them as the Apostles of the Inner Circle, Peter, James, John, in addition to Andrew. Luke told us some of His disciples came to Him. From these we infer and conclude that not all the twelve Apostles were present. Probably some were still walking around the temple precincts admiring the ornamented stones of the temple. We gather from the foregoing that this was a private discussion between The Master, and some of His Apostle, the Apostles of the Inner Circle in addition to Andrew.
Their question to Jesus went beyond the comment made by Jesus concerning the destruction of the temple. They wanted to know when these things shall be, that is, when the temple was going to be destroyed. They also wanted to know “what shall be the sign of His coming, and of the End of the Ages.” This part of the question may be a carryover from the Temple Mount Discourse. The question in Mark was a little bit more pointed: “Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?”
There are two important Greek words used here which we need to understand. The first is “semeion” which is commonly translated sign. It is singular. There is only one sign of His coming and of the End Of The Ages. The other word is the Greek word “sunteleia” which is translated as the End Of The World in KJV. It is a compound word. We must understand that there are three Greek words rendered world in the English translations of the Bible. The first is “cosmos” which refers to the physical planet Earth or the inhabitants therein.
“For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten son that who so ever believeth in Him shall not perish but have the live of the Age to come”(Jon.3:16).
What God so loved is not the physical world, the planet Earth, “ge”but the inhabitants of the Earth. It is from this word that the English words cosmic and cosmetic and their cognates are derived. It also refers to the embellishments of the world, the garishness of the world, it’s organization, the cosmeticus etc. The second Greek word is “oikoumene” which refers to the inhabited world. It is derived from the Greek word “oikos” which means house.
“For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”(Rev.16:14 KJV).
The third word is “eion” which refers to the moving world, and is better translated age. Jesus promised to be with us till the end of the ages.
“teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”(Matt.28:20 KJV).
In Jadaism, there are two ages. The present age(olam haze) and the age to come(olam haba). The life of the age to come “zoe eioneis” is what is translated as eternal life in the KJV in Jon.3:16 quoted above. It is better translated as the life of the age to come. For if the unbeliever would not live for ever, why would he be punished for ever. This is a very important concept, because the point of transition from the present age to the age to come is the eschatological End Of The Ages. There is only one sign of Christ’s second coming and of the End Of The Ages, inasmuch as His coming occurs at the point of transition from the present age, literally in Hebrew, this age(olam haze) to the age to come(olam haba). This sign is given in the sun, moon, and stars(Matt.24:29).
The Response of Jesus
Jesus did not answer their question directly. A complex question requires a complex answer. The question was a complex one but not complicated. The answer also was a complex one but not complicated. In His answer Jesus did not refer to the destruction of the temple any more. He had told them the temple was going to be destroyed plain and simple. He did not tell them when it was going to be destroyed. There are questions that only time will answer. This was one of them. Jesus did not bother to tell them the time of the destruction of the temple because they were going to witness it. The temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Some of the twelve Apostles were still alive at that time.
I have had a similar experience with Jesus. There was a time I was with our Lord Jesus in the company of other brethren. He was leaning on a tree in a garden, and we gathered around Him. I got up very close and asked Him a question. It was a question all of us were interested in. He did not answer my question directly. He simply looked at me, and I was no longer at ease in His presence. Quite frankly, I was a little bit ashamed, because He was somewhat taken aback by my question. His look meant, “and you of all people.” When I woke up, for it was in a night vision, I wondered why Jesus did not answer my question directly, but His look made me a little bit ashamed, like I should have known the answer. I also wondered why all the other brethren did not insist He answer the question since we were all interested in it. I did not know whether the others felt the same shame that I did.
After some time, I understood that it was a question that time would answer. There is really no benefit in getting the answer to such question ahead of time. No matter how much we study, there is no substitute for sagacity, the wisdom we acquire as we grow up, as we gain experiences in this life. There are things Jesus wants us to learn through experience rather than by divine revelation. We may have a revelation and never experience it in this life. The word of God, and the wisdom of God that control us are those we have experienced. The saints with experience are more trusted that those who do not. Are there any of us who do not look back and realize we would have handled certain situations in the past differently were they to reoccur in the present? I do not mean that we should depend on our experience, but rather our experiences make us more dependent on God, because, in the end, whatever He says comes to past.
A Note Of Warning
The first thing that Jesus said to them was to sound a note of warning:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many”(Matt.24:4).
“And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed that no man deceive you: For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many(Mark 13:5,6).
“And He said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them”(Luk.21:8).
When Jesus said, “take heed that no man deceive you,” it is because there is a tendency for men to be deceived. Right now the spirit of deception is on the rampage in the world. It will continue to increase in order to establish the rule of the antiChrist in the not so distant a future. Deception will become the order of the day, more blatant, crazy, stupid and glorified. Our brother Apostle Paul writing to his son in the Lord Timothy said:
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived”(2 Tim.3:13).
When Jesus said, “Let no man deceive YOU!,” He meant: no individual – father, mother, sister, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, niece, wife, husband, friend or foe, no group of men, professional or expert or amateur, no human organisation or institution, religious, social, medical, political etc: and no human government. They are all serving “the god of this world”(2 cor.4:4) and “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of dis obedience”(Eph.2:2). They are his mouth pieces and social media handles to deceive humanity into accepting the Beast and his dystopian rule and reign of terror.
If the Rapture has already taken place, and the saints are no longer here, who is the antiChrist antagonizing? If the saints have been taken away to Heaven, why is there a preponderance of false christs. Who are they trying to deceive? If the Rapture has already taken place, and some who are left behind now affirm their faith in Christ, this sort of believers would be difficult to deceive. They know the true Christ has already taken his own. Any person who poses as Christ after the Rapture would be false. Besides the Churh Age closes with the Rapture. Anyone who believes in Jesus after the Rapture is certainly not part of His Bride. It may be possible for some to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour after the Rapture, but they will certainly not be part of the Church.
There would be very little chance of these saints being deceived. It is a matter of live and death. The true Christ is already gone with his saints and they know it. They would rather die than have the false christ. This would be the worst case scenario if the Pretribulation Rapture Position were true. I have searched the Scriptures hundreds of times over to see if there is any hint of this kind of scenario. There is none. Pretribulation Rapturism is a theological concoction, a fabrication to anesthetize the saints to the dangers of the Great Tribulation in order that the antiChrist may make a mince meal of them. Its origin is in the Dark Void, the Satanic Centre of demonic programming. What baffles me is that the best and most brilliant minds in biblical scholarship are touting a biblically unsupported doctrine with no scriptural justification whatsoever.
But we know that these false christs, and false prophets shall perform many signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect(Matt.24:24). Who are the very elect here? Are Jews only the very elect in this dispensation? Are the elect not both Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus?
Give none offense neither to the Jews, nor the Gentiles, nor the church of God(1 Cor.10:32).
Are the church not the very elect, a called out people, of both Jews and Gentiles? If what Jesus meant here was that after the Rapture, some saints shall be left behind to face the ire of the antiChrist, He was indeed a very poor communicator. But that cannot be allowed to stand because we can see that in all of the Scriptures, Jesus stated His position unequivocally. He said what He meant, and meant what He said.
Anyone who claims to be a believer in Jesus the Messiah, and is left behind after the Rapture has taken place is not a believer at all. He is a false believer, and shall face the wrath of God(Jon.3:36). In the right sense of the word, no one will be born again after the Rapture has taken place. The Church Age has closed. What follows the Rapture is the wrath of God. No false christs or prophets shall have the bravado to go about to deceive any or seek the allegiance of men after the wrath of God has begun. Neither the antiChrist nor any other personality on Earth shall be able to deceive any after the Rapture has taken place. All men shall know at that time that Christ has rescued His own, and is about to punish them for their evils. Anyone who is branded with the Mark Of The Beast after the Rapture of the Church does not do so in ignorance. He does so in the full knowledge that the Messiah has come and taken His own. The Rapture shall be no secret affair(Matt.24:29-31).
Besides, were the disciples not representative of the Church? If Jesus warned them not to be deceived, did it not by way of extrapolation apply to us today who are His body? It is ridiculous for anyone to say that what Jesus spoke to the disciples applied only to Jews in the 70th week of Daniel. Am yet to see Jews who break bread and drink the wine of the Holy Communion other than those who believe in Jesus, neither is the Olivet Discourse part of the Jewish daily reading of the Scriptures in the synagogues. We should stop this nonsense of relegating the Olivet Discourse and the whole gospel of Matthew to the Jewish waste Paper Basket.
(1) The Emergence Of False Christs
After sounding a note of warning, the first thing that Jesus said would happen will be the emergence of false christs.
“Many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and shall deceive many.”(Matt.24:5).
There will be a preponderance of false christs who shall deceive many with their exotic signs and wonders which shall be very difficult to refute. The only way out is to be warned ahead of time as we are now.
Biblical scholars have identified a parallel between the Olivet Discourse and the seals of Revelation 6. The emergence of false christs in the Olivet Discourse parallels the emergence of a rider upon a white horse with an empty bow(a bow without arrows in it), who went about conquering and to conquer. This is the first seal.
“And I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seals, and I heard as it were the noise of thunder, and one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering and to conquer”(Rev.6:1,2).
On the religious scene, there are many false christs. On the political scene, there is only one ultimate antiChrist, the absolute ruler of the Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan who signs a seven year peace agreement with Israel. There are many antichrists yet there is only one ultimate antiChrist.
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antiChrist shall shall come, even now there are many antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us”(1 Jon.2:18,19).
By the nature of the terminology, these false christs are coming out of Christendom. If they come out of Islam, Buddhism or Confucianism etc, then they are false mohammed, false buddha, and false confucius etc. Which Christian is going to listen to a Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist who claims to be Christ. Everyone would know he is false. But if the believers are here, and they are coming out of Christendom, then there is a greater chance they might deceive some professing Christians. That is why they are able to deceive anyone. If the Church have already been taken away to Heaven, everyone would know they are false christs. It would be extremely difficult for them to deceive anyone.
Of late some like Walid Shoebet and Joel Richardson have come out with the theory of a Islamic antiChrist. Walid has argued that because the people of the Prince that shall come who destroyed the City Jerusalem and the sanctuary, the Second Temple, was the Roman Tenth Legion(Legion X fretensis) which was composed mainly of Turks and Arabs who came from the region of Turkey, the antiChrist will come out of Turkey. Every Empire recruited soldiers from conquered nations after they are absorbed and assimilated and can be trusted not to rebel or mutiny. The fact the Roman Tenth Legion commanded by the Roman General Titus was composed mainly of Turkmen and Arabs from the region of Turkey does not mean that the antiChrist shall come from Turkey.
Some biblical scholars differentiate The Coming Prince in verse 26 of Daniel 9 from the He in verse 27. The Prince they identify as the Roman General Titus and the He of verse 27 as the antiChrist who is yet to emerge. More accurately, it may be the phenomenon of double reference is implied here. Otherwise, it would be grammatically senseless to refer to the antiChrist as he in verse 27 if he had not previously been referred to as the Coming Prince in verse 26. I personally think that the antiChrist is the Coming Prince of verse 26 as well as the he of verse 27. It therefore means that the antiChrist shall come out of Rome. Indeed the antiChrist is a Japhethite from Magog(Ezek.38:2,3). Therefore the antiChrist is a magogite.
The scenario painted by the passage in 1 John quoted above makes nonsense of that assumption. It is really not worth arguing about. If a Muslim becomes the antiChrist, he must have converted to Christianity first, still he has to be a magogite. Considering the fact the antiChrist will claim to be God(2 Thess.24), other Muslims will most probably kill when he declares himself God. World Jewry and Israel will not accept a Jew who is a Muslim as the Messiah of Israel. He could be a secular Jew and nonobservant but certainly not a Muslim.
The ultimate antiChrist will sign a 7-year peace agreement with the many from within Israel.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week”(Dan.9:27a).
This is subtle peace diplomacy. The antiChrist tries to conquer the whole world by deception, through treaties and agreements and covenants. It is not only with Israel. He does so with other nations to bring them into his political ambit. This is the same as the emergence of false christs on the religious scene who try to lure many into deception. This peace agreement with the many from within Israel marks the starting point(terminus-a-quo) of the 70th week of Daniel. With it, the 70th week of Daniel, the last seven of Daniel’s 70 sevens, the last seven years of this present age will be inaugurated.
The 70th week has begun, and there are false christs and false prophets. But where is the wrath of God? If the 70th week begins with the wrath of God, then God is responsible for the emergence of a preponderance of false christs and false prophets. Do you see the enormity of starting the wrath of God at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel? This is what Pretribulationists tell us, that the wrath of God begins with the inauguration of the 70th week of Daniel. And that because God has not appointed us to wrath(1 Thess.1:10;5:9), the Church must be raptured before the 70th begins. But the wrath of God does not begin until way into the second half of the 70th week, after the Great Tribulation is cut short by the cosmic disturbances, after the Church is raptured and the 7th seal broken.
(2) Wars And Rumours Of Wars
As we have pointed out, the Lord did not just tell them the sign of His coming and of the End Of The Ages. He led through a series of events, in sequential order that will culminate in the sign of His Coming and of the End Of The Ages, in order that they might not be deceived by anyone who claims to be the Christ before these events come to pass, or during the process of fulfillment of these events. The second in the series of events, are wars, and rumours of wars.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end(End Of The Ages) is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”(Matt.24:6,7a).
“And when ye hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for these things must needs be; but the end(End Of The Ages) is not yet. For nation must rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”(Mark 13:7,8a).
“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end(End Of The Ages) is not by and by. Then said He unto them, nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”(Luk.21:9,10).
We see here that all the three synoptic gospels are unanimous in their testimony that the second event in the series leading to the End Of The Ages, and the sign of His coming are wars and rumours of wars. Nations shall rise against nations, and kingdoms against kingdoms. Since the Olivet Discourse parallels Rev.6, the second seal must correspond with wars and commotions. We can see that this is indeed the case.
“And when He had broken the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another, and there was given him a great sword”(Rev.6:3,4).
We can see here that at the breaking of the second seal, a rider upon a red horse emerges. This signals war. He was given a great sword. Power was given him to take away peace from the earth, and that they should slay one another. This is in perfect agreement with the sequence of events in the Olivet Discourse. The antiChrist who is the supreme personality amongst men that drives these movements has changed tactics from subtle peace diplomacy to war, because deception could only lead him so far. There will be nations that will not be warn over by deception and subtle peace diplomacy and peace overtures. He must go to war with these nations to force them to submit to his authority.
The nations of the world shall be on edge one against another. For flimsy reasons, and sometimes for no reasons at all, kings shall go to war one against another. This shall be so, for peace has departed from the earth. Some will be motivated by greed and spoils of war, others by age old grievances and animosities. It would be somewhat ridiculous if Jesus, in the course of addressing His disciples, who are representatives of His body, the Church, tells them, be not terrified, if the Church would not be here during these events. He tells them, the end is not yet. The End here is referent to the End Of The Ages, the starting point of the wrath of God. It is at this point, before the wrath of God is poured out on the wicked inhabitants of the earth that the Rapture occurs, because the Church is exempt from the wrath of God(1 Thess.1:10; 5:9). Jesus said, “I am with you unto the end of the ages”(Matt.28:20).
(3) Famines, Pestilences And Earthquakes
“And there shall be famines, Pestilences, and earthquakes. All these are the beginning of sorrows”(Matt.24:7b, 8).
“And there shall be earthquakes in diverse places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginning of sorrows”(Mk.13: 8b ).
“And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences”(Luk.21:11a).
Once again, the three synoptic gospels are unanimous as touching the third event in the series. The third is a cluster of events. There shall be famines, Pestilences, and earthquakes. These are natural consequences of war. In continuation of our comparison of the Olivet Discourse with Rev.6, we see that the third seal, the pale horse and rider parallels the third event in the Olivet Discourse.
“And when He had broken the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine”(Rev.6:5,6).
At the breaking of the third seal, a black horse and rider emerges. It is famine. Wars would naturally lead to famine. As cities and nations are destroyed, so are businesses. The populace are in motion. As refugees flock from one area to another, whatever is left is eaten up even as by locusts. The insanitary conditions of war would lead to epidemics, and pandemics of communicable diseases. These would take their toll on human population and lifestocks.
Wars can worsen climate change, create erratic weather patterns, leading to tsunamis, swelling of the oceans, excessive monsoon rain, cyclones, flooding, landslides, extreme temperatures, and extreme dearth. The famine will be so severe that a man’s daily wage can scarcely put food on the table for his family. A pair of balances represents the dire situations that some would face on earth at that time. Weighed food is a condition of severe famine Lev.25:26; Ezek4:16,17). A balance scale would be used to weigh food in severe famine. The Greek word translated penny is “denarius.” In the Roman Empire, it was a man’s daily wage. It would not be sufficient for the daily needs of the family.
With the current level of development in military technology, any world war would devastate the earth. It could result in earth tremors, earthquakes, and tsunamis. It would be utter delusion for anyone to think that some day the world powers would dump their nuclear, chemical, and biological arsenals into the oceans and go to sleep. Some pacifists would urge us to believe that. Unilateral disarmament is very dangerous, because some notorious war mongers and warlords could take advantage of it. Let us not deceive ourselves that there will be no nuclear exchanges. Even with the employment of weapons of mass destruction, they will not be able to wipe out man from the Earth. Some day the nations of the world will be embroiled in horrific war. But the end is not yet: these are the beginning of sorrows.
The 70th week of Daniel is divided into two equal halves of three and one-half years each. The three events enumerated here bring closure to the first three and one-half years. The first three and one-half years is dubbed the beginning of sorrows or the beginning of birth pangs. The imagery is that of a woman in labour. The first half is the beginning of labour pains. The second half is the real labour pains that leads to the delivery of the baby. It is the real travail of woman in labour(Rev.12:2). The Olivet does not deal with events in the heavens. So, the other events that occur in heaven at the midpoint of the 70th week like war in the heavenlies, and the eviction of Satan and wicked spirits from the starry heaven and the Dark Void are not mentioned. We have come to the end of the first half of the 70th week of Daniel, the beginning of birth pangs. Logically what follows is the real labour pains or the travail which is the Great Tribulation. Let us go back to the Olivet Discourse to see that it is so.
(4) The Great Tribulation
Matt.24:9-14 is a panoramic view of the Great Tribulation. It presents an overview of the Great Tribulation without specific details. Once we understand this, it becomes clear that the Great Tribulation begins in verse 9, though the Great Tribulation is not mentioned till one gets to verse 15. Verse 15 begins the periscope on the Great Tribulation. Once this observation is made, it becomes clear too that the Parallelism between the Olivet Discourse and Revelation 6 is maintained; for the Great Tribulation follows the famines, Pestilences, and earthquakes which bring closure to the first half of the 70th week, the beginning birth pangs.
(a) Panoramic View Of The Great Tribulation(Matt.24:9-14)
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake”(Matt.24:9).
“But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to the councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them”(Mak.13:9).
“And fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake(Luk.21:11b, 12).
Luk.21:11b is very interesting.
“And fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”
These are cosmic disturbances. But verse 12 makes it clear that cosmic disturbances shall be preceded by the Great Tribulation.
“But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake”(Luk.21:12).
This also is in perfect harmony with Rev.6 where the Great Tribulation, the fourth and fifth seals(Rev.6:7-11) precede cosmic disturbances, the sixth seal(Rev.6:12-14). It is pertinent to remind ourselves here that the fifth seal is concurrent, coincident and simultaneous with the fourth seal. It is a heavenly scene. It does not advance the chronology of the end times. It is a heavenly reflection of the killings going on here on Earth under the fourth seal, the Great Tribulation. The souls of the martyred saints are arriving in Heaven at the same time they are killed on Earth. There is no distance in the realm of the spirit. The Olivet Discourse does not include this piece of information. That heavenly scene is only recorded in Rev.6:9-11 in the whole of the Scriptures. The fourth and fifth seals are chronologically concurrent; therefore the fifth seal is not recorded in the Olivet Discourse. The reason is that in the Olivet Discourse Christ was dealing strictly with the sequence of events on Earth, whereas in the Scroll of Revelation, the earthly as well as the heavenly scenes are revealed and exposed. The fifth seal promises the wrath of God. The fifth seal differs from the other seals in that it is a heavenly scene, concurrent, coincident, and simultaneous with the forth seal, and recapitulative and does not advance the chronology of the seals. On the other hand, all the other seals are consecutive and progressive.
The Great Tribulation has begun. Although the Great Tribulation shall be worldwide, its epicenter shall be Jerusalem. The antiChrist has relocated his headquarters to Jerusalem in the middle of the 70th week(Dan.11:45). He has made his debut at the rebuilt Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, and unveiled himself as dead man come back to life. He has declared himself God, and demanded all men bow and worship him(2 Thess.2:3,4,8). Satan and his hordes of fallen evil angels has been cast down to the earth having been evicted from the dark void and starry heavens(Rev.12:7-10). Satan has great wrath(Rev.12:12). He has possessed the antiChrist, and given him his seat, power, and great authority(Rev.13:2).
All institutions must comply with the orders of the antiChrist or be destroyed. Some will comply, others will not. But the majority of them will. It does appear that at the beginning of the Great Tribulation all nations will acquiesce in the decree of the antiMessiah. So, believers shall be hated of all nations for my name’s same(Mk.13:13). Therefore Jews and believers in the Messiah who fail to comply shall be afflicted, persecuted, hounded, hunted down tormented and killed. They shall be brought before rulers and kings. These are the subordinates of the antiChrist, his acolytes and cronies. Some Churches and synagogues will be turned into tribunal where they will be tried and justified if they recant or condemned if they fail to capitulate to the authority of the antiChrist. Many shall be offended, and shall hate and betray one another(Matt.24:10; Mak.13:12). Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many Matt.24:11).
If the Rapture has taken place, anyone on Earth who claims to be a prophet apart from the two witnesses will most probably be false. Here again the enormity of the pretribulation Rapture view is glaringly exposed. Why is it that the vast majority of people on Earth at this time cannot distinguish the true prophets from the false prophets. If the Rapture has taken place before the 70th week, the true prophets of Christ also would have been raptured. Thereafter anyone claiming to be a prophet, other than the two witnesses whose ministry lasts the entire length of the second half of the 70th week(Rev.11:1-14), Christ, or has knowledge of His whereabouts would be false. Everyone already knows the Rapture has taken place, and the saints are gone; it is no secret phenomenon. Even some pretribulationists acknowledge that. The disappearance of millions or perhaps billions of believers from the Earth in a twinkling of an eye shall be no secret at all.
Because iniquity shall abound due to the preponderance of evil angels cast down to the Earth from the dark void and starry heavens at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel who have demonized and possessed many earth-dwellers, the love of many shall wax cold(Matt.24:12). He that endures unto the end shall be saved(Matt24:13). The end here is the eschatological End Of The Ages, the point of transition between the Present Age(literally This Age) and the Age To Come; at which point the Son Of Man appears in the heavens and raptures the Church after he has cut short the Great Tribulation with cosmic disturbances. At this perilous time, some believers shall take it upon themselves to go about preaching the gospel of the kingdom to their own detriment, as a witness to all nations. Then shall the end(of the ages) come(Matt.24:14). Verse 9-14 of Matt.24 is a panorama of the Great Tribulation. It presents an overview of the Great Tribulation without going into specifics. On the other hand verses 15-28 is a periscope on the Great Tribulation; it presents a detailed view of the Great Tribulation.
(b) Periscopic View Of The Great Tribulation(Matt.24:9-28)
Having painted a broad picture of the Great Tribulation, Jesus now goes into great details to give us a picture of the nitty-gritty aspect of it – the specifics.
“when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whosoever readers let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of the house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes”(Matt.24:15-18, cp. Mk.13:14-16).
Here our Lord Jesus tells us that the Great Tribulation shall be sparked by the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet(Dan.9:27). What is the abomination of desolation or the abomination that maketh desolate? It is the importation of the image of the antiChrist into the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. It is the extreme point of abomination. It is the height of sacrilege, the zenith of affront on the God of Israel. It is not only that an image of the antiMessiah is brought into the Holy Of Holies of the Third Temple, the antiChrist and his acolytes, unconverted and uncircumcised Gentiles, without covenantal relationship to the God of Israel will violate the sacredness of the Holy Mount by threading on the precincts of the Temple. This event occurs at the same time that the antiChrist makes his debut at the temple, precisely at the midpoint of the 70th seven of Daniel. It is at the same time that he relocates his headquarters from somewhere in Europe to Jerusalem(Dan.11:45). At the same time, he surrounds Jerusalem with his armies ready to kill anyone who opposes him or refuses to cooperate with him or fails to take his mark of allegiance.
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are Judaea in flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not those that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled”(Luk.24:20-23).
Although the antiChrist shall station a protection force in Jerusalem from the time he signs a seven-year peace agreement with Israel, he shall massively surround Jerusalem with his armies and those of his ten nation confederation at the midpoint of the 70th week. This is the Jerusalem Campaign.
At the same time, the antiMessiah sits in the Temple of God displaying himself as God(2 Thess.2:1-4). Our brother Paul reminded the Thessalonians that when he was with them, he told them these things, that unless the restrainer is taken out of the way, the antiMessiah shall not manifest. The removal of the restrainer occurs precisely at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel, after Satan and his hordes of fallen demons are cast down to the Earth from the Starry heavens and the Dark Void by Michael the archangel of God in charge of war, and the angles of God under his command(Rev.12:7- 12). It is at this time that Satan filled with Great wrath persecutes the woman that brought forth the man child(Rev.12:13). Because the woman was given a hiding place in the wilderness, the dragon goes to make war with the remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus the Messiah(Rev.12:14-17). The woman is the 144,000 and perhaps some other Jews that make it to the Judaean and Edomite wilderness and the rose red city of Petra in modern day Jordan which is biblical(OT) Sela. In the NT, it was called Pella. The remnant of her seed who keep the commandments of God are observant Jews, whilst those who have the testimony of Jesus are the professing Christians.
We can see that although the influence of and persecution by the antiChrist shall be worldwide; for power was given him over all kindreds, tongues and nations(Rev.13:7b), it shall be worst in the land of Israel, and in her holy city Jerusalem because the antiChrist shall make Jerusalem the capital of his evil empire. Jerusalem is the city of The Great King(Matt.5:35). He imitates Christ. Since Christ shall reign over the whole world from Jerusalem in the Millennium, the antiMessiah also tries to do the same. That should not surprise us inasmuch as he claims to be the Christ. He is a silly copycat. That is precisely the reason why on the close up on the Great Tribulation, most of the warning was given directly in relation to Jews who dwell in Jerusalem. But we must not lose sight of the fact that these apply to Jews and Christians all over the world and anyone else who will not cooperate with the decree of the antiMessiah to brand all inhabitants of the Earth as citizens of his evil empire.
(1) Nursing Mothers
“Woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days”(Matt.24:19, cp. Mk.13:17; Luk.21:23).
In reality, it is going to be very difficult for nursing mothers in those days. In times of war, famine, and pestilences, nursing mothers, children, and the elderly suffer the most. They have less resistance to sicknesses and diseases. They are not strong enough to move fast. They are very vulnerable. They cannot easily forage for food. During the Nigerian Civil War, more women, children, and the elderly in Biafra died from the ravages of war-malnutrition, and sickness and disease- than soldiers from the enemy fire at the war front.
Christian couples who understand the end times should avoid pregnancy and childbearing from the moment the antiMessiah signs a 7-year peace treaty with Israel. We have only three and one-half years from that time to prepare hideouts or safe havens. Christian couples should not burden themselves with childbearing from thence forward.
(2) Great Distress And Wrath
Luke the evangelist linked this warning directly with the Great Distress.
“But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! For there shall be Great Distress in the land, and wrath upon this people”(Luk.21:23).
The phrase Great Distress is the same as that translated Great Tribulation in Matt. 24:21. So this warning is in relation to the Great Tribulation which begins at the middle of the 70th week of Daniel. He also said that there shall be wrath upon this people. The phrase this people refers to observant Jews and Christians, the remnants of the seed of the woman who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. This wrath is it from God or Satan? The Scripture does not leave us in doubt. Scripture must be compared with scripture, and scripture must interpret scripture.
“Woe to the inhabitants of the Earth and of the sea! For the Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time(Rev.12:12b).
Comparing scripture with scripture, and letting scripture interpret scripture, we see that this wrath is of Satan, and is directed towards the inhabitants of the Earth and of the islands of the seas, but more so towards the children of Israel and believers in the Messiah.
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the Earth, he persecuted the woman who brought forth the man child”(Rev.12:13).
The woman is Israel(Rev.12:1-2), and the man child is Jesus (Rev.12:5). The dragon is Satan, the supreme personality of evil, the archenemy of God and His children (Rev.12:3,4 ). The woman was given two wings of a great eagle to fly to a safe haven in the wilderness(Rev.12:14). And when the dragon attempted to drown her with a flood, God opened up the earth which swallowed the waters(Rev.12:15,16). The dragon was left to vent his wrath on the remnant of the seed of the woman who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus The Christ(Rev.12:17). Undoubtedly, the remnant of her seed who keep the commandments of God are the observant Jews, and the ones who have the testimony of Jesus Christ are the Christians. These are the two major groups of people that will refuse the mark of the Beast.
“And they shall fall, by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”(Luk.21:24).
Jews, Christians, and all nonconformists in the land of Israel shall fall by the edge of the sword because of their refusal to be branded citizens of the kingdom of the antiMessiah. They shall be led away captive into all nations. The leaders of the ten nation confederation shall be delighted to have Jewish and Christian captives. Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Technically the times of the Gentiles ends at the end of the 70th of Daniel. But the Gentiles nations and their kings themselves are not totally vanquished until 30 days later at the end of the battle of Armageddon(Rev.19: 11-21).
We can see from here the enormity of attributing the Great Tribulation to the wrath of God, claiming it began with the inauguration of the 70th week of Daniel. That will make God responsible for the emergence of the false christs, wars, commotions, threats and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes, and the killing of his own children by the antiChrist as well as the emergence of false prophets who shall attempt to deceive His very elect, all these in an attempt to keep the church out of the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist.
(3) In The Winter
“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter”(Matt.24:20a, cp. Mk.13:18).
It is good for us to pray now that our flight shall not be in the winter as Jesus has commanded us. But if the signing of the peace treaty takes place in summer, we can be pretty sure our flight shall be in the winter. It shall be precisely three and one-half years later. If it takes place in the winter, there shall be increase in death toll due to exposure to the elements. Once again, nursing mothers, children, and the elderly are the most vulnerable.
(4) On The Sabbath Day
“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day”(Matt.24:20).
The observance of the sabbath in Israel amongst Orthodox Jews is near madness. The Israeli El Al Plane cannot take off or land from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. To turn on the light bulb is to break the sabbath. To ascend the elevator is break the sabbath. To drive a car is to break the sabbath. The sabbath day journey is little more than half a mile. The Orthodox Jew will walk so far and no more. If the abomination of desolation shall occur on the sabbath day, the Orthodox Jew shall travel no longer than a sabbath day journey, 2,000 cubits, about 800m. But Christ’s warning is to flee from Jerusalem as far as possible. Were the flight to occur on a sabbath day, with Jerusalem surrounded by the armies of the antiChrist, there shall be a horrific carnage amongst observant Jews who shall not be able to flee far from Jerusalem in order not to break the sabbath. But the Christians and people of other faiths amongst the inhabitants of Jerusalem have no such scruples; they shall be able to flee as far as possible.
(5) The Severity Of The Great Tribulation
“For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”(Matt.24:21).
“For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not since from the beginning of the creation unto this time, neither shall be”(Mk.13:19).
The Greek word “thlipsis” translated tribulation in Matt.24:21 is the same translated affliction in Mk.13:19. This same word is sometimes translated trouble or distress. The Great Tribulation shall be very severe, more so in and around Jerusalem where it shall turn into a great carnage if it falls on the sabbath day in the winter. It is the time of Jacob’s trouble(Jer.30:7). There has not been anything like it in the history of humanity upon the Earth, neither shall there be any like it afterwards. The Holocaust shall pale in comparison. This time it shall not be in Eastern and Western Europe only but also in the land of Israel itself, and everywhere else on the planet Earth.
The Orthodox Jew accuses us of theological antisemitism because we warn ahead of time that evil of this scale and magnitude shall occur in the land of Israel under the reign of the antiMessiah. But the Scriptures are unequivocal in warning of a coming Great Tribulation which shall be worst in the land of Israel than anywhere else in the world simply because the Israeli Jews shall be lulled into complacency having signed a peace agreement with the son of destruction(Dan.9:27; 2 Thess.2:3).
The land of Israel shall enjoy relative peace for the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel being protected by the most powerful and sophisticated armies in military history stationed in Israel by the antiMessiah while he attempts to bring the rest of the world on their knees to himself. Suddenly, without warning, at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel, Israel shall be overwhelmed and overpowered by her supposed protector and benefactor to bow to the image of the Beast or die.
The prophet Isaiah referred to Israel’s peace agreement with the antiMessiah as “covenant with Death,” “agreement with Hell”(Sheol).
“Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men that rule this people which is Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with Death, and with Hell are we in agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made Lies our refuge, and under Falsehood have we hid ourselves;”(Is.28:14,15).
The prophet Isaiah refers to the leaders of Israel at that time as scornful men that rule this people in Jerusalem. Like Neville Chamberlain who thought the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler was going to bring peace to Europe, the leaders of Israel will think their agreement with the antiMessiah shall bring Israel much needed peace and security, not knowing it shall not be worth the piece of paper on which it shall be written. Like Hitler had no intentions of keeping the Munich agreement, the antiChrist shall have no intentions of honoring the terms of the peace covenant with Israel; it shall be like the Treaty Of Huddaybiyyah(629) which Mohammed had no intentions of keeping but only to hoodwink the Quraish tribe into complacency until an opportune time.
The prophet Isaiah continued:
“And your covenant with Death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with Hell shall not stand; When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report”(Is.28: 18,19).
Another translation says: “when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, ye shall become its trampling place” and “It shall be so terrifying to understand the report. The antiMessiah shall be very thorough in his persecution of Israel. In both the Jerusalem campaign(Luk.21:20) and the Jehoshaphat campaign(Joel 3:1, 2), his armies shall throughly search the city with candles in order to ferret out those who do not take the Mark Of The Beast, to coerce them into submission or death on refusal. It shall be so terrifying for those who do not take the Mark Of The Beast.
They shall be subjected to all kinds of indignities; captivity, rape, public flogging and scourging in synagogues and churches, and prosecution in public tribunals, confiscation of wealth and impounding of property, demolition of homes, torture and humiliation, and death. Some of those who refuse the mark of the Beast shall be fed alive to wild beast, frayed alive, buried alive, and others enmolated at the stake.
“But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to the councils: and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them”(Mk.13:9).
Believers who refuse to be branded with the Mark Of Allegiance to the antiChrist shall be brought before kings and rulers to be tried for insubordination and subversion. It shall turn out for a testimony against their adversaries.
“But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that shall ye speak: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost”(Mk.13:11; Luk.12:11,12).
It is quite comforting to know that we shall not lack words to defend ourselves. We shall have no earthly counsels. The Holy Ghost shall give us counsel; He shall speak through us in defense of the faith.
In Matt.10 before Jesus sent out His disciples on evangelistic mission throughout all the land of Israel, He addressed them. He instructed them on what to do, and how they are to conduct themselves( vv.1-15 ). Scholars of Biblical prophecy are agreed that Jesus looked beyond the immediate period to the 70th week of Daniel. Verses 16-42 parallel Christ’s instruction to His disciples in the Olivet Discourse concerning the Great Tribulation. In spite of the severity and the horrors of the Great Tribulation, some Jewish believers anointed of God shall go about persuading their Jewish countrymen as well as others in the land of Israel to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and saviour, and not to consent to be branded with the Mark of loyalty to the antiMessiah.
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be therefore as wise as serpent and as harmless as doves”(v.16).
This will be a very dangerous mission that will cause most of them their lives. Therefore they must be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. They must beware of men who will no doubt deliver them up to the councils and tribunals hurridly set up to try nonconformists and antigovernmental subversives. Some synagogues and churches shall be forcibly taken over by the security apparatus of the antiMessiah. Others shall willing acquiesce in the decree and wishes of the antiMessiah.
These evangelists in the land of Isreal and elsewhere in the world shall be publically humiliated in order to deter others from opposing the antiMessiah. They shall be scourged in synagogues and churches as public examples. They shall be brought before governors and kings for the sake of the name of the Lord. It shall be for a testimony against these Jewish agents of the antiMessiah and the Gentiles(18). The same counsel that was given to the disciples in the Olivet Discourse was also given them in this pre-mission address.
“But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in the same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you”(19,20).
Their answers when questioned at the tribunals shall not be premeditated. It is be at the spur of the moment, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
“But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding”(Job 32:8).
Because the antiMessiah shall encourage and legalize all kinds of evil, the social fabric of the family and society shall be destroyed. The Judeo-Christian mores on which our society is built shall be rubbished. He shall legalize abortion, gay marriages, homosexualism, lesbianism, LGBTQ+, incest, bestiality, adultery, idolatry, pedophelia, rape, occultism and witchcraft etc. These evils destroy the social fabric of the family which is the backbone of every society.
Therefore, “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death”(Mk13:12).
“And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death”(Matt.10:21).
“Think not that I am come to send peace on Earth: I came not to send peace but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law a against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household”(Matt.10: 34-36, cf. Luk.12:49-53).
What will motivate a father to deliver his son to be executed by the powers that be, and the daughter the mother and vice versa? Just to ingratiate himself to them? It shall be like in the communist era at the height of the Cold War. Members of the same family shall be informants against one another to the state security apparatus. “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
The Great Tribulation shall be worldwide, therefore,
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”(Mk.13:13:).
“And ye shall be hated of all nations for my names’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved”(v.22).
The end is the eschatological End Of The Ages, the point of transition between the present age and the age to come, at which point God Almighty intervenes in human affairs to pour out His wrath upon the living wicked earth-dwellers who worship the Beast and his image, and take over the rulership of the Earth. Verse 23 is very interesting in that it clearly indicates that this teaching of Christ went beyond the evangelistic mission on which He sent His disciples while He was here on Earth to the time of His Second Advent.
“But when they persecute in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son Of Man be come”(23).
These Jewish believers who shall be commissioned by Jesus to proclaim the message of the gospel to their kinsmen shall not have gone over all the cities of Israel before Jesus shall appear to take His own. It underscores the severity of the Great Tribulation. The State of Israel today is a very small place, about the size of the State of New Jersey in the US. And these men cannot cover all of it in their evangelistic efforts before the Son Of Man appears in the heavens. It shows how difficult and dangerous it shall be to preach at that time. No one would do it except the one were mandated by God; for the price thereof is death.
Jesus reminded them that a disciple is not above his master nor a servant above his lord. It is enough that a disciple be as his master, and a servant as his lord. If they have called the Master of the House, Jesus, Beelzebub(Master Of the Flies), what shall they call them of his own household?(v.25). Their expectations should be reasonable. If the world had rejected Jesus and called Him names, they should not expect the world to receive them with open arms. If they called Jesus Beelzebub, we should not expect their accolades. Believers, especially those who have the audacity to go about persuading others to refuse being branded shall receive all kinds of labels: demons, vermin, roaches, vandals, rebels, terrorists, murderers, criminals, subhumans, cheats, liars, subversives, hoodlums etc. For example, the unvaccinated are terrorists, they are killing people says Joe Biden. It will be if you are not branded with the Mark of allegiance to the Beast, you are killing people, you are a terrorist and a murderer. You will hounded and hunted down and killed like a wild and ferocious animal.
Jesus admonished them not to be afraid of man who only has power to destroy the body. After that, there is nothing more he can do. The person to fear is God who after He has destroyed the body has power to cast the spirit and the soul into Hell for eternity.
“Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; hid that shall not be known. What I tell in darkness, that speak ye in light: what you hear in the ear, that speak ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell“(vv. 26-28; Luk12:2-5 KJV, emphasis added).
There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed. We are to declare boldly the counsel of the Lord. The good news of the salvation in Jesus Christ is to be declared openly to the people of the world. This gospel of the kingdom must be preached to the whole world, then, shall the end come. Men may kill our bodies for speaking the truth, they cannot kill our spirits and our souls. Our spirits and souls are beyond the reach of man. There is only one who has the power to do that. He is God.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them cannot fall on the ground without your Father. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows”(vv.29,39; Luk.12:6-10 ).
We are of more value than many sparrows. The very hairs of our head are counted. As far advanced as medicine is, no man has painstakingly counted the number of hairs on man’s head. But God knows them all. And not one of them can fall to the ground without His permission. He is able to take care of us. He is able to keep His own. Nothing can come upon us except that which has passed through the security of His love. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. If none of them can fall to the ground without His knowledge, then nothing can come upon us without His knowledge. If God takes care of the sparrows, what about us His chosen ones? If God cares about the world, what about us His sons and daughters in the faith? We must know therefore that if He has not ordained us to be killed or taken into captivity, none of these shall fall upon us. This is the faith, patience, and comfort of the saints ( Rev.13:10 ). But we do not know who is ordained to captivity or to be killed with the sword and who is not. This secret belongs to God(Deut.29:29).
We cannot deny Jesus. We must confess Him boldly either way, life or death. Quite frankly, death is inevitable. If we refuse the Mark of the Beast, the antiChrist shall kill us. But that’s all he can do, kill us and destroy our bodies. He cannot send us, our spirits and souls to eternity in the Lake of fire and brimstone. If we receive his Mark, Jesus will not only kill us physically, He will also send our spirits and souls to eternal Hell Fire. In Jesus, there is a probability that we may not be killed physically; for Jesus will not permit the antiChrist to kill all believers. One generation of believers shall be raptured. They shall be transfigured to receive a glorified eternal immortal resurrection body without passage through the intermediate process of death. That’s why He will cut short the Great Tribulation.
In the antiChrist physical death is inevitable, so also is eternity in Hell Fire. Therefore reason would that we should choose Jesus. In reality, in Christ there is no death. Physical death is the gateway to glory. Death is the servant that opens the door that ushers us into eternal glory. Outside of Christ, there is no life, and physical death is the gateway to eternity in Hell Fire. That is why Jesus said:
“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
We must not only choose Him, we must boldly confess Him before men.
“Whosoever therefore that shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven”(vv.32,33; Luk.12:8,9,10).
“It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: If we deny Him, He will also deny us: If we believe not, ye He abideth the faithful: He cannot deny Himself”(2 Tim.2:11-13).
The teaching therefore that because Jesus loves us, He cannot permit us to suffer; or that because He died for us, He cannot demand us to die for Him is false. “It is appointed us not only to believe in Christ but to suffer for His sake”(Phil.1:29).
We must not love anything else more than Him. In comparison to our love for Him, it should be as though we hate our family members. Sometimes the wishes of our family and loved ones for us run foul and counter to the will of Christ for us. We must jettison theirs and choose Christ’s. If out of love or fear of offending them we choose theirs over and above that of Jesus, we are not worthy of Him.
“He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and He that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me”(vv.37,38).
Whatever His will, plan and purpose for our lives portend, we should accept it with serenity of soul and equanimity of heart, and mind, knowing that His will for us is the best; it is thought of good, not of evil, to give us a future and a hope(Jer.29:11). It pays to obey God. The losers are the disobedient. The winners are the obedient.
“He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth He that sent Me. He that receiveth a prophet in the of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward”(vv.40-42).
As these men and women go about preaching the gospel of the kingdom, anyone who receives them has received Jesus. Anyone who gives them a cup of water has given it to Jesus. Anyone who shows them mercy or kindness has shown it to Jesus. Anyone who visits them in prison or cares for them when they are ill has done so to Jesus. Those who receive them are not necessarily believers themselves. Some of them may be but others are not. Those who are believers shall be raptured. But those who are not believers, who have not the Mark Of The Beast shall not be raptured.
Those of them who survive after the Armageddon Campaign shall be gathered in the land of Israel to be justified in the Sheep And Goat Judgment. Their treatment of the brethren of the Lord, those of the household of Israel who shall go about persuading their countrymen not to take the Mark Of The Beast, some of whom shall lay down their lives; and the believers who shall go about proclaiming the Good News Of The Kingdom Of God, some of whom also shall pay with their lives, shall be the criterion for either condemnation or justification at the Sheep And Goat Judgment. The Goats, those who do not have the Mark Of The Beast, who showed no mercy or kindness to these preachers and the persecuted Jews, shall be condemned and executed.
The Sheep, those who do not have the Mark Of The Beast, who survive Armageddon, who showed kindness and mercy to these preachers, and the brethren of the Lord, shall be justified to enter the Millennium to repopulate the Earth. The Sheep And Goat Judgment shall take place in the early part of the Millennium, or perhaps earlier during the 45-day Restoration Period of the Kingdom when all Gentile survivors of the wrath of God which culminates in the battle of Armageddon shall be gathered to the land of Israel, to separate the Sheep from the Goat. The Sheep shall be justified to enter the Millennium and repopulate the Earth. The Goat shall be condemned, executed, and their eternal souls incarcerated in Hell for eternity. He that has ears to hear with.
(6) Amputation Of The Great Tribulation
“And except those days should be shortened, there shall no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened”(Matt24:22).
“And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh shall be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom He had chosen, He had shortened those days”(Mk.13:20).
It shall be extremely difficult if not totally impossible for any believer in Christ to survive the Great Tribulation without being branded citizen of the The Beast’s evil empire if the Great Tribulation were allowed to run its full course of three and one-half years allotted to the antiChrist to reign. Without the Mark Of The Beast, no one can buy or sell. The antiMessiah shall stockpile food, medicine and other supplies, and use them as bargaining chips. The society shall be cashless. Purchases will be done online. There will be electronic monitoring of all transactions. Modern computer and telecommunication technologies have made that possible. Communications will be strictly monitored. Those without the Mark Of The Beast cannot access their accounts and deposits in banks. Their wealth shall be confiscated and their property impounded. They shall be left with nothing to take care of themselves, families, and loved ones.
Google has mapped out the whole world including ocean floors. Where can one hide? Without a safe haven prepared ahead of time, it will be practically impossible to get food and shelter. What about those with health conditions that need frequent medical care and check up? What about the physically challenged and disabled, the mentally ill, the geriatric, nursing mothers and children? It shall be absolutely horrendous.
The antiChrist’s allotted time to reign is a short period of three and one-half years, but it is a long time not to be resupplied; it is a long time to be without medical care, especially for those with health challenges. If God allows the Great Tribulation to run its full course of three and one-half years, no believing flesh, Jew or Gentile shall survive the Great Tribulation, more so in the land of Israel, especially in its holy city, Jerusalem. But God has promised in His word that a segment of believers shall be raptured alive without passing through the intermediate process of death.
“We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed”(1 Cor.15:51b; cf. Matt.16:28, Luk.9:27).
It therefore follows that one generation of believers shall receive glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies without experiencing physical death. Therefore the Great Tribulation shall be amputated to enable some surviving believers to be raptured alive.
The Greek word translated cut short in the KJV is “ekolobotheisan” derived from “koloboo.” It is a term used in orthopedic surgery. It means to amputate. Just like the orthopedic surgeon will amputate a diseased part of a limb to save the life of the patient, so will God amputate or cut short the Great Tribulation in order to save alive some who have not been branded with the Mark of allegiance to the antiMessiah. Those who do not have the Mark of the Beast are composed of both believers and unbelievers. The believers amongst them will be raptured, but the unbelievers will not be raptured.
The Gentile unbelievers who do not have the Mark of the Beast, who survive the battle of Armageddon will be gathered to Jerusalem for the Sheep and Goat Judgment. Those of them who survive this judgment, the Sheep, shall repopulate the Earth in the Millennium. The Jews who do not have the mark of the Beast who survive the Great Tribulation shall be saved when Jesus appears physically on mount Zion to reclaim God’s rule over the Earth usurped by Satan when Adam fell from grace, shortly before the blowing of the 7th trumpet, precisely on day 3 of the 30-day Reclamation Period Of The Kinhdom.
(7) Preponderance Of False christs And False Prophets
“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not”(Matt.24:23-26).
“And if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, Lo, He is there; believe him not: For false christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold I have foretold you all things”(Mk.13:21-23).
The enforcer, the second beast, also called the false prophet, the head of the One World Religion instituted to worship the First Beast, the antiChrist, shall raise an army of false christs and false prophets to deceive, if it were possible the very elect. The False prophet himself shall perform notable miracles, signs and wonders. He shall cause the image of the Beast to Speak. He shall make fire come down from heaven in the sight of men like Elijah did. His sole aim would be to hoodwink the inhabitants of the Earth including and especially believers to receive the Mark Of The Beast(Rev.13:11-18).
The minions of the second beast, the false christs and prophets, shall perform outstanding and notable miracles which shall be very difficult to refute. Some shall claim to be Christ, others shall claim to know His hidden location, in the secret chambers or in the deserts, and shall back up their testimony with powerful miracles and exotic signs and wonders, which shall not lend themselves easily to refutation, their sole aim also being to deceive the very elect, to lure them out of hiding, and to coerce them to recant and submit to branding with the mark of the Beast or be killed on refusal to be branded.
One question that comes to mind is if the true believers have been raptured some years previously, as pretribulationists urge us to believe, why this overwhelming impersonations of Christ? Why the preponderance of false prophets whose sole aim is to deceive the very elect? Who are the elect? Jews only? Are the elect not Jews and Gentiles who profess faith in the Messiah Jesus?
“Give none offence neither to the Jew, nor to the Gentile, nor to the Church of God”(1 Cor.10:32 ).
The word of God classifies humanity into three groups, the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God. Are the Church not called out people from amongst both Jews and Gentiles? Are the elect Jews only? Since the Rapture shall not be a secret phenomenon even as some pretribulationists have noted; for millions of peoples from all colours and races, nations and languages shall disappear from the Earth at the Rapture: why would anyone be deceived by these false christs and false prophets postrapture? Why would there be so many false christs and prophets postrapture? Who are they trying to deceive after the saints have been taken away? Those left behind after the Rapture are already deceived having rejected Christ by rejecting the good news of the kingdom of God. My submission is that if the Rapture has taken place before the Great Tribulation, all the unbelievers left behind who have not taken the Mark of the Beast know of a surety that anyone claiming to be Christ or a prophet of the God of Israel will definitely be false.
The Coming Of The Son Of Man
“For as the Lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son Of Man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there shall the eagles be gathered together”(Matt.24:27,28).
In the Olivet Discourse Jesus warns us that His coming shall be no secret at all as the false christs and prophets would have us believer. He shall neither hide in the secret chambers nor in the deserts. It shall be like lightning that shineth from the east to the west. It shall be visible in the whole heavens. Why? Because it shall be preceded and heralded by the cosmic disturbances which shall frozen the Earth and darken the heavens. It is the appearance of the coming of the Son Of Man that shall dispel the darkness and defrost the Earth.
“Behold, He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him: and all the kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen”(Rev.1:7).
Every eye shall see, even those who crucified Him on the execution stake, the Romans; and the Jews who denied and betrayed Him. His coming to rapture the Church and to punish the living wicked earth-dwellers shall be no secret at all, being preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances. And the living wicked earth-dwellers shall wail because of Him. Why? Because they suddenly realize He is coming to punish them for their evils. He shall pour out His wrath upon them, and who shall be able to stand in the Day Of His Wrath?
“And the kings of the Earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne , and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great Day Of His Wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”(Rev.6:15-17).
The living wicked earth-dwellers shall realize that the wrath of Lamb is about to be poured out on them, and who shall be able to stand? The answer is no one. The wrath of the Lamb is different from the wrath of Satan. What has been going before, the Great Tribulation is not God’s wrath but Satan’s which is directed against the children of God. After the cosmic disturbances which God shall use to cut short the Great Tribulation, He shall rapture the Church, and pour out His wrath on the living wicked earth-dwellers who worship the Beast and his image. So, the wrath of God is directed against the children of the wicked one.
The Cosmic Disturbances
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken”(Matt.24:29).
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers in heaven shall be shaken”(Mk.13:24,25).
“And there shall be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the Earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken”(Luk.21:25,26).
The cosmic disturbances shall make it virtually impossible for the Great Tribulation to go on. The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light. The stars shall disintegrate and their fragments shall impinge upon the Earth causing wild fires. The whole Universe shall be darkened and the Earth frozen. There will be power failure. Communications shall be severely hampered. Folks will be trapped in their houses unable to get out due to heavy snowfall and thunderstorms. Roads shall be blocked by snow and fallen trees. Cars and houses shall be buried by snowfall and earthquakes. Every one shall be concerned with personal safety. It will be extremely difficult for anyone to go about looking for those who are not branded. How can anyone go about trying to enforce some laws in a situation that poses so grave a danger to oneself?
The Sign Of The Son Of Man: The Shekinah In The Heavens
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son Of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son Of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”(Matt.24:30).
“And then shall they see the Son Of Man coming in the clouds with great power and great glory”(Mk.13:26).
“And then shall they see the Son Of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”(Luk.21:27).
It is at this juncture that Christ answers the question of his disciples, what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the ages? There is only one sign of His coming, and of the End Of The Ages. That sign is in the heavens. It is the Shekinah in the heavens. It is the appearance of the Son Of Man in the heavens. It is His appearance in the heavens that brightens the universe darkened by the cosmic disturbances. It defrosts the Earth frozen by the cosmic and celestial disturbances. It is not a secret sign. He is coming with great power and great glory. Every eye shall see Him. He is coming with an entourage of angels.
“For then shall He dispatch His angels with the sound of a trumpet to gather His elect from one of the heavens to the other”(Matt.24:31).
Then all the tribes of the Earth shall mourn because they know He is coming not only to take away His own, but to pour out His wrath upon them, to reward them for their lies, fornication, adultery, murders, idolatry, theft and witchcraft of which they were not repentant(Rev.9:20,21). The evangelist Luke gives us additional information here which makes it very clear and interesting.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh”(Luk.21:28).
Jesus told His disciples, “when these things begin to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads.” What does it mean to look, and lift up your heads? It means look towards heaven, and be happy, and joyful. Why? Because your redemption draweth nigh. Because your salvation, your rescue is near. Your redemption is at hand. It is about to begin. It is overhanging about to occur. This verse in Luke destroys the doctrine of imminence which states that no prophesied event shall take place before the Rapture. That the Rapture shall be signless; in other words, the Rapture can occur at any moment. The Scriptures makes it clear here that the Rapture cannot occur until the sign given in the sun, moon, and stars, until the appearance of the Son Of Man in the heavens. And this sign itself cannot occur until the Universe has been darkened and frozen by the cosmic disturbances. It is the Shekinah, the appearance of the Son Of Man in the heavens, the sign of His coming, the Lightning that shineth from the one part under heaven to the other(Luk.17:24), from the east to the west, that shall dispel the darkness and defrost the Earth. This is the sign of His coming, and of the Ends Of The Ages. It is at this juncture in the eschatological timeline that the Church is raptured, and the End Of The Ages inaugurated. At this juncture, the seventh seal is broken, and the wrath of God is poured out on the living wicked earth-dwellers.
In the Olivet Discourse Jesus addressed His disciples. Did they experience these things in their life time? Apart from the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD which some of them witnessed, they did not see any of these other things. Theologians across the broad spectrum of eschatological views are agreed that we have not yet entered the 70th seven of Daniel. The second person plural pronoun ye indicates that this was meant for their ears. But they did not witness them. It therefore means that Jesus was also looking beyond them to the church and Israel in the latter days. Were they the representatives of the church? Sure. Did they also represent Israel? Sure. If they did not represent Israel, Jesus would not have cut the New Covenant with them in the upper on Mount Zion on the day of Passover(Matt.26:28; Mk.14:24; Luk.22:20). The New Covenant was promised to Israel not the Church(Jer.31:31-34; Ezek.11:19). The Church did not exist at that time. You cannot cut a covenant with one who does not exist. The Church is the product of the New Covenant which God cut with Israel not its precursor. The New Covenant which God promised the house of Israel was instituted with these men, not with the Sanhedrin, not with the Hight Priest of Israel at that time, nor the Jewish religious leaders, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, nor the politicians, the Herodians.
If they did not represent the Church, they would not have been filled with the Holy Spirit at the inception of the Church on the day of Pentecost(Acts 2:1-13). So, they were representative of the Church. They were also representative of Israel. We cannot choose one and throw away the other. To say because they represented Israel, and therefore the Olivet Discourse has nothing to do with the Church is false. It is theological gimmickry which cannot be allowed to stand. We cannot relegate the Olivet Discourse and the Gospel of Saint Matthew to the Jewish wastepaper basket. It is intellectual dishonesty. It is theological skullduggery.
Israel as well as the Church shall enter into the 70th week of Daniel to experience the horrors of the Great Tribulation. The Church shall be raptured before the wrath of God is poured out on the living wicked earth-dwellers. The faithful remnants of Israel, the 144,000, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel shall be given protection from the wrath of God by being branded by the angels of God with the seal of the Almighty, prior to the inauguration of the Day Of The LORD at the breaking of the seventh seal(Rev.7:1-8; 8:1-6). The rest of Israel shall be purged, purified, and cleansed by the trumpet judgments. Israel however shall be exempt from the bowl judgments which shall be directed against the antiChrist and his minions. Unbranded Gentiles also shall not be specifically target in the bowl judgment. Any damage to them will be a collateral one.
The Rapture Of The Of Church
“And He shall send His angels with great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”(Matt.24:31).
With Christ’s appearance in the heavens, the trumpet shall sound with the voice of the archangel, the dead in Christ shall rise first, and we who are alive and remain shall be changed.
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”(1 Thess.4:15-18 KJV).
With the object of Satan’s wrath removed, the Great Tribulation comes to a close. We can see that the sequence of events in the Olivet Discourse parallels that in Rev.6, 7 & 8. The Revelation account gives more details like the fifth seal(martyrs under the altar), which promises wrath on the living wicked, the sealing of the 144,000, and the great multitude which no one could number(the raptured saints arriving in heavens). These details deal with heavenly events which the Olivet Discourse does not cover, Christ gave only earthly details in the Olivet Discourse in relation to the question of the disciples which concerns earthly events. After the Great Tribulation is the cosmic disturbances which interrupt it.
The cosmic disturbances which portend wrath, serve notice to the living wicked earth-dwellers that God is about to punish them for their evils(Rev.6:12-17). Between the cosmic disturbances and the breaking of the 7th seal is an interlude which protects from the wrath of God. Before God pours out His wrath upon the living wicked earth-dwellers, He seals the 144,000 from the household of Israel for protection from the wrath of God. He raptures the Church because we are not appointed unto His wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus the Christ(1 Thess.1:10; 5:9).
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left”(Matt.24:40,41).
The Greek word translated taken here is “paralambano” which means “take alongside with,” “take to oneself.” This is obviously a reference to the Rapture not Armageddon and the subsequent Millennium as some pretribulationists would urge us to believe. Here the parallelism ends. The rest of the Olivet Discourse is admonitions to the disciples to be wise, faithful, fruitful, prepared, and watchful, and the final Sheep And Goat Judgment which is found only in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew in all of the Scriptures.
The Lesson Of The Fig Tree: Sign Of Approximation
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”(Matt.24:32-35).
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away”(Mk.13:28-31).
“And He spoke to them a parable: Behold the fig tree and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away”(Luk.21:29-33).
There are some that urge us to believe that the fig tree symbolizes Israel. And Israel became independent again in 1948 after nearly two thousand years in exile. When the fig tree begins to bud, we know that summer is near. When Israel begins to thrive as an independent nation, then the Rapture can take place at any moment. The fig tree may well be the symbol of Israel. For several centuries, there were believers who wondered aloud how end time prophecies were going to be fulfilled when there were no independent nation of Israel , and no temple. Admittedly, end time prophecies centered around the nation of Isreal and her Holy City, Jerusalem(Dan.9:24). Therefore the resuscitation of Israel as an independent state in her ancient homeland in Eretz Yisrael was a supernatural fulfillment of prophecy, and a practical step in the right direction, as would be the rebuilding of the temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, any time it takes place.
Was the major thrust of the parable of the fig tree the symbolism of Israel? That would be very doubtful; for that would mean that all the trees symbolize Israel as does the fig tree: for Christ called attention to not only the fig tree but also to all the trees, inasmuch as it is not only the fig tree that begins to bud in the Spring: “Behold the fig tree, and all the trees.” The symbolism here is a reference to a natural seasonal observation. In temperate countries, in Autumn which American call Fall, all the trees are denuded of their leaves, and they remain bare of leaves throughout Winter. In the Spring, as the temperatures begin to rise, and the weather becomes warmer, and rain falls the trees begin to bud. The people are cheerful again and will say, “Summer will soon be hear.” I have heard Americans say this in the Spring. This is the exact analogy that Christ made in this parable. Just as people “will see and know” in the Spring when the trees begin to bud, that Summer will soon be here: in like manner, believers, who are in expectation of the coming of the Messiah, shall see and know, when these events outlined in the Olivet Discourse begin to unfold that the coming of the Lord draweth near, that the Kingdom Of God is nigh at hand.
These events are, the emergence of false christs, wars, commotions, and rumours of war, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, the Jerusalem Campaign, the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist, the Jehoshaphat Campaign, and the cosmic disturbances. When ye shall see these things come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your redemption draweth nigh. Jesus went on to say: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” He also underscored in the strongest terms that “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Here is the clincher. It is now sixty some odd years since Israel gained independence. Although a generation is reckoned differently in various dispensations, it is now more or less generally reckoned as forty years. Considering the inviolability and infallibility of the word of God, we cannot but conclude that the fig tree in this parable does not refer primarily to the re-establishment of the state of Israel, but a general reference to natural seasonal observation. If it were not so, the words of Jesus would be of none effect. This cannot be allowed to stand.
It is therefore a sign of approximation that Summer is near. Likewise these events signal the nearness of the time of His coming. The budding of figs and all the trees in the Spring does not tell us the Day and the Hour that Summer will begin, but the general time period. So, also these events do not tell us the Day and the Hour of our Lord’s Second Advent, but the general time period.
“But that Day and the Hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only”(Matt.24:36).
The words in Mark are even more wonderful:
“But of that Day and that Hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only”(Mk.13:32).
What Jesus says neither He nor the angels in heaven know, but the Father only, let us not think we can access this knowledge by flights of Higher Mathematics. No height of spirituality will grant us access to this divine secret. Jesus did not say that we the saints cannot know the time of His coming, that is the general time period of His coming, but the Day and the Hour. The Day and the Hour of His coming constitute a divine secret.
“And the secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law”(Deut.29:29).
We know that Jesus is God, and knoweth all things. But as the Son , He has ceded certain decisions to the Father. It is only the Father who will decide on which Day and in what Hour He will come.
As It Was In The Days Of Noah
For the believers who are watching, the coming of the Lord cannot happen on us unawares. We can learn a lesson of the fig tree. When we see the events of the 70th week begin to unfold, we know of a surety that the coming of the Lord draweth near. But as for the people of the world, it will come upon them unawares, like the flood upon the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, the people of Noah’s day. It will come like a thief in the night(1 Thess.5:2). We are not children of darkness, neither are we in darkness that that day should come upon us unawares(1 Thess.5:4). We are children of light, we are children of the day; we are not of night nor of darkness(1 Thess.5:5). We must not sleep. We must not slumber. We must watch and be sober. They that sleep sleep in the night; and they that are drunken are drunken in the night. Because we are of the day, not of darkness, nor of night, we must put on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ(1 Thess.5:5-10).
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son Of Man be”(Matt.24:38,39).
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son Of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all”(Luk.17:26-28).
This was exactly the state of affairs in the days of Noah. Noah preached about the coming of the deluge for 120 years, and worn no converts other than members of his immediate household. They received wages in assisting him to build the Ark, but did not enter into it. They were overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness. They were intoxicated with drugs and alcohol, homosexualism, lesbianism, bestialism, gay marriages, and eroticism of all sorts. Selfishness and greed led to the vilest forms of violence and brutality. Like ISIS in Syria and Iraq, greed and selfishness are clothed with the veneer of religion. For flimsy excuses, they murdered one another.
As it was in the days of Noah when the nephelim were here, there is every attempt to corrupt humanity through gay marriages and all forms of sexual perversion, incorporation of animal and plant genes into the human genome, human-machine-demon interface, and drug intoxication which leads to demonization. Details of the prevailing conditions in the days of Noah before the deluge are beyond the scope of this commentary. Interested students should consult my articles: “Conditions Prior To The 70th week of Daniel” and “As It Was In The Days Of Noah” posted on our website: mtzionheritage.wordpress.com
Why will it come upon them unawares? Because they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. This is not the ordinary eating and drinking we all do on a daily basis. Luk.21:34,35 explains what was going on in the days of Noah.
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, so that Day come upon you unawares.”
The people of the world have no hope. They are humanists and atheists. They do not believe in the existence of God let alone worship Him. They do not believe that their spirits and souls are eternal. They do not believe in life in the afterlife. They are not expecting the coming of the Lord. In the midst of the troubles on Earth at that time, their attitude shall be one of “let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die”(1 Cor.15:32). Men shall give vent to the vilest expression of moral turpitude. Drukenness, excessive eating and drinking and banqueting, and the most ludicrous acts of sexual immoralities and depravity, nudism and eroticism. It is also possible that some believers may slide into this state of moral decay, and the cares of this life “and so that day come upon you unawares.” The cares of this life may not be sinful. They may be legitimate. But we must not allow them to overwhelm us. We must not suffer ourselves to be overburdened with them.
The Lord also compared the prevailing condition on Earth at that time to that of the days of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain, Zeboim, and Adamah.
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be when the Son Of Man is revealed”(Luk.17:28-30).
The state of affairs on Earth in the days of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah was the same as in the days of Noah the world over. It was a state of total moral depravity. Men did not believe in God neither did they believe in His moral absolutes and standards. Every man was a law unto himself. Every man did what was right in his own eyes. It was a state of total anomie: a state of normlessness. But there is one important point we must take note of here.
“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.”
The Lord was calling the attention of His disciples to the fact that the very same day the saints are taken away in the Rapture, the wrath of God will begin to be poured out on the living wicked earth-dwellers. In the selfsame day Noah and his family entered the Ark, the flood came and destroyed those left outside the Ark(Gen.7:13). The Rapture of the Church, and the beginning of outpouring of the wrath of God occur the same day at the coming of the Lord. And the coming of the Lord occurs after the tribulation of those days, after the cosmic disturbances, when the Shekinah, the sign of His coming appears in the heavens(Matt.24:29-31). This is the same sequence of events we find in Revelation 6, 7 & 8. After the sealing of the 144,000 in Rev.7:1-8, the Church is raptured(Rev.7:9-17) – the multitude which no man could number – and then the outpouring of the wrath of God begins in Rev.8.
It is therefore biblically unjustified for anyone to teach that after the Rapture, the antiChrist will arise to persecute those left behind. Shortly before the Rapture, the antiChrist will be paralyzed, masterly inactivated by the cosmic and celestial disturbances and the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens. The only two things he will be permitted to do will be to kill the two witnesses at the expiry of their ministry at the end of the 70th week and to gather his armies for destruction 30 days later at the battle of Armageddon.
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”(2 Thess.2:7-12).
After the removal of the restrainer, the antiChrist will manifest and persecute the saints during the Great Tribulation. But as soon as the Lord appears in the heavens, he is masterły incapacitated. What follows is the Day Of The Lord. The antiChrist cannot persecute the saints in the Day Of The Lord. In that Day, only the Lord is exalted. In that Day the haughtiness of men and the loftiness man shall be bowed down. In that Day, men shall throw away their idols, the demonized images of the Beast which they have made for themselves to worship in their homes, offices and cars, being instructed by the enforcer, the second Beast, also called the false prophet(Rev.13:14), to the moles and the bats to hide in the rocks and mountains from the glory of the Lord when He arises to shake terribly the Earth(Is.2:8-18).
Be Prepared And Be Watchful
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son Of Man cometh”(Matt.24:42-44).
In the light of the above scenario, the believer therefore must be prepared and be watchful. The coming of the Lord shall be like a thief in the night. The thief can come at any watch in the night. Therefore the good man of the house must not slumber nor sleep lest his house be broken into. The night begins with the cosmic disturbances that darken the heaven and frozen the Earth. From that point in the eschatological timeline, the coming of the Lord becomes imminent. Imminence here means that the generation of believers that enter into the 70th week of Daniel to experience the horrors of the Great Tribulation shall be the generation of believers that shall witness in the flesh the Coming of the Lord after the Great Tribulation and the cosmic disturbances that deluge the heavens.
“There be some of you standing here who shall not see death before the Son Of Man comes”(Matt.16:28; Mk.9:1). This is the preview of the Kingdom. It was fulfilled on the mountain of transfiguration(Matt.17:2;Mak.9:2). Jesus was also looking forward to the time of the rapture when a generation of believers in this mortal body of ours shall be translated and given a glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies to meet the Lord in the air(1 Thess.4:17; 1 Cor.15:50-54).
At other times before, we should be expectant. To be expectant means that any generation of believers can enter into the 70th week of Daniel to experience the horrors of the great tribulation and be raptured prior to the beginning of the wrath of God. Because we do not know the day and the hour of His Coming, we must be prepared and be ready, and watchful. Anyone who has kept watch at any time knows it is not particularly easy on the flesh, more so at the beginning. The body would rather take its rest and go to sleep, and not to stay up late into the night and pray. One must be determined to keep awake knowing it shall be over after a while. Not only that, the consequences of slumber are incalculable. If thieves enter into a strongman’s house at night and find him asleep, his life is in their hands. His survival would be at the mercy of his enemies. Who would like to be in such a state. We must not be found sleeping on our watch. We must not be founding sleeping on our duty post. We must gird our loins and be strong and steadfast.
Be Wise And Faithful
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant servant whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when HE cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That He shall make him ruler over all His goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, my Lord delayeth His coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”(Matt.24:45-52).
“Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom His Lord shall make ruler over His household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that He shall make him ruler over all that He hath. But if that servant say in his heart, my Lord delayeth His coming: and shall begin to beat the menservants and the maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and shall cut him in sunder, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more”(Luk.12:42-48).
In this parable, the lord referred to is the Lord Jesus the Christ. The servants are the saints, particularly the church leadership. The unfaithful servants are the hypocrites. The blessed are the faithful and wise servants. The suddenness of His appearance is in relation to the unwise and unfaithful servant. The wise and faithful servant knows the general time period of His coming being instructed out of the word. He is faithful. He is watching and waiting. He knows the times and the epochs. However, he does not know the day and the hour. Therefore he remains watchful. So, the time of the Lord’s coming cannot happen upon him unawares. When the Lord comes, He finds him watching and waiting at his duty post.
But the unwise servant, the unfaithful and hypocritical servant is not watching and waiting. He has slipped into debauchery and raucous living. He is inebriated. He thinks the Lord is not coming again. He is beating up those under his care. He fleeces them. He manhandles them. He scatters them(Jer.23:1-4). Here the Lord addressed the Apostles themselves who would become the leaders of His house, and by way of extrapolation the leadership of the Church in the end times. The ministers of the gospel are the servants of Christ. They are to take care of the body of Christ and give them their meat in due season. A minister of the gospel should study to show himself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth(2 Tim.2:15). Ministers of the gospel should burn the midnight oil to search the Scriptures in order that they may feed the flock of Christ not with stale bread but fresh one. Those who minister to the body of Christ must seek fresh anointing in order that they may maintain the glow in the spirit, and minister to the body with fresh anointing. “I shall be anointed with fresh oil”(Ps.92:10).
They must not indulge in excessive drinking: in contrast, they must be always filled with the Spirit(Eph.5:18). They must eat in due season, for strength and not for drunkenness(Eccl.10:17). They must not be slothful in their commitment to the things of God. They must be fervent or aglow in the Spirit serving the Lord(Rom.12:11). When Jesus appeared to some of His disciples by the Sea of Galilee after His resurrection, He said unto Peter, “feed my lambs,” “feed my sheep”(Jon.21:15-17). Paul addressing the Ephesians elders said:
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His blood”(Acts 20:27).
The ministers of the gospel are to feed the flocked of God whom the Lord Jesus has purchased with His blood. They should not shun to declare to the saints all the counsel of God. They should teach them publicly and from house to house(Acts 20:20). They should keep back nothing that is profitable to the body of Christ. Our brother Paul is a good and perfect example in this regard. Despite the temptations that befell him by the lying in wait of the Jewish infidels, with humility of mind and many tears he served the Lord. It is required of a steward that he be found faithful(1 Cor.4:2). The leadership of the Church must be held accountable for the spiritual wellbeing of the congregants. If the word of God has been rightly divided to them, they will apply it properly. The word of God must be rightly interpreted to the congregation. At no time should the pastors give the congregation just what they want. This is the spirit and principle of commercialism and consumerism. Give the people what they want, and make your money. Tell them what they want to hear, they will keep coming.
The leadership of the Church should not be concerned primarily with how much they are making. Monetary gains should not be the primary object of the ministry. There are too many vanities in this world. A lot of the things we care about in the Church are heavenly irrelevant. The fantastic buildings we put up do not weigh any thing in the scale of the heavens. They serve nothing but human ego. The pastors must know they are accountable to God. They must not fleece the sheep(Jer.23:1). They must not do things that will cause the sheep to scatter. They must not drive them away nor overdrive them lest they miscarry(Gen.33:13). The shepherds must not cause the sheep to go astray(Jer.50:6). There is no merit in putting up magnificent church buildings when some members of the local assembly are destitute. It is not right for the church to have billions in her account while some members of the body are naked and go to bed on empty stomach. We must realize that the antiChrist will one day confiscate the finances of the Church. He will one day impound all Church properties. The leaders of the church should not be preoccupied with putting magnificent structural edifices while poverty and destitution wreak havoc in the lives of some members of the body.
Those that are well off in the body should cater to the needs of the less privileged. The abundance of the one should supply the want of the other, in order that there may be equality in the body; that those who have not should be as they they have, and vice versa(2 Cor.8:14). This is not to encourage laziness and idleness in the body. Those who do not work should not eat(2 Thess.3:10). But if any man provide not for own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel(1 Tim.5:8). We should work with our hands(1 Thess.4:11). And God has promised to bless the work of our hands. The Scriptures make it clear we should work, except for those who are in the fivefold ministry.
Those who are the fivefold ministry are already fully occupied. They cannot leave the word of God to serve tables, but rather must devote themselves to the ministry of the word of God and prayers(Acts 6:2,4). Unless they so desire as did our brother Paul, they should not be burdened with secular engagements. There should be no thieves amongst us(Eph.4:28). There should be no busybodies who meddle with the private affairs of others(2 Thess.3:11). They should work and eat their own bread(2 Thess.3:12). Whatever is the case, we should not be weary in well doing(2 Thess.3:13). There should not be any who goes about fleecing others in the name of charity. There should be no borrowers amongst us; those who borrow and do not pay. The wicked borroweth and payeth not, but the righteous is merciful and giveth(Ps.37:21,26, 112:5).
At no point should the minister consent to the people to lead them astray. When Moses was held up on the mountain, the children of Israel approached Aaron saying, “as for this man Moses, we do not know what is become of him. Make us gods”(Exod.32:1). Aaron consented unto them, and there came out the golden calf. They substituted the God of Israel with a graven image(Exod.32:2-4). They made a proclamation; they called for a celebration. They offered sacrifices to the graven image. They ate, they drank, and they rose up to play(Exod.32:5,6). Idolatry will always lead to debauchery if unchecked. Idolatry is associated with debauchery and sacred prostittution. Excessive eating and drinking as many people do on Valentines’ Day will always end in sexual orgies. Bacchus is the god of wine and banqueting. Excessive wining and dining will result in gratification of the flesh.
Unfortunately some of these things are slipping into the Church through the back door; birthdays, burial ceremonies, naming ceremonies, house dedications, lavish wedding receptions etc. I have attended a couple of these in which some young men gorged themselves with food and got drunk. The consequences of idolatry in the Sinai plagued Israel for many years. Although these people were under the cloud, passed through the sea: and were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and the sea; and did eat the same spiritual meat, and did drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ; with many of them God was not pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
“Now these things were our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication as some of them also committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye as some of them also mumured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinkers he standeth take heed lest he fall”(1 Cor.10:6-12).
Although the admonition here primarily concerns the leadership, every member of the body of Christ is involved. We are all vulnerable. None of us is exempt. At no point should we begin surfeiting and drinking, or begin to bully those under our care. After a bout of alcoholic bing, a man will look at a beautiful maiden, and his heart will utter perverse things.
“Thine eyes shall behold a strange woman, and thine heart shall utter perverse things”(Prov.23:33).
This sort of spiritual carelessness is likely to set in after we have prospered in the works of our hands, and have gotten wealth and riches. We may begin to entertain the thought in our hearts that the coming of the Lord is no where in sight. We have worked hard. We have labored. We have gotten wealth and riches, and the good things of this world. We can begin to reason like the rich fool. We have ample goods laid down for many years. Let us eat, drink, and be merry(Luk.12:19). At that point we have slipped into scientific uniformitarianism.
“Where is the promise of His Coming?” What does it matter whether the Lord delays His Coming or not. Ours it is to be watchful and faithful. Whatever time He comes, we must give account of ourselves to Him. So, we must be faithful and watchful.
“For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation”(2 Pet.3:4).
A man in this state cannot be as the men of Issachar who have understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do at each point in time(1 Chron.12:32). A man like this cannot understand the times and the seasons or epochs. We must be like the Philadelphians who keep the word of His patience. If we keep His instructions concerning perseverance, He will keep us from the our of temptation which shall come upon all world, to try them that dwell upon the earth(Rev.3.10).
When we have gotten wealth and riches we are likely to begin to throw our weight about, and to oppress those of our brethren who are not blessed as we are with the perishables things of this world. The true test of faithfulness is not in penury but in wealth, riches and honor. The love of money is the root of all evils(1 Tim.6:10). Wealth provides countless opportunities to do good and also to do evil. The right choices may become harder to make when we have a lot of wealth and influence.
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition”(1 Tim.6:9).
The only way to counter this is to abide in the word, be aglow in the spirit, be prayerful and be freshly anointed always. We must not lose sight of the fact that what God rewards is faithfulness not office. At His return, if He finds us so doing as He has commanded us, He will put us in charge of all that He has(Matt.24:47). What a great reward indeed that will be. Well, if at His Coming He finds any of us unfaithful, He appoints him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth(Matt.23:51). The servant who sinned in ignorance shall be punished sparingly, but the servant who sinned in the full knowledge of the command of his Master shall be severely punished. Because to whom men commit much, of him will much be required(Luk.10:47,48).
The Parable Of The Ten Virgins: Be Wise, Prepared And Watchful
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go out to meet Him. 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day when the Son Of Man cometh”(Matt.25:1-13).
A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. In a parable all the components do not need to be interpreted individually. What is must important is the central teaching of the parable. In the Ancient Near East, a parable is usually given in the course of teaching as an illustration of the central message of the subject matter under discussion. The parable of the ten virgins was given by our Lord to emphasize the importance of His teaching in the Olivet Discourse. This parable was quite understandable to the disciples being based solely on Jewish marriage custom and practice. The number ten is significant because it forms a quorum. Today in some Jewish communities, it takes a minimum of eight to form a quorum. In Hebrew numerology and Gematria, ten is the number of wholeness. It stands also for perfection, divinity and the Trinity, being the sum sum of 7 and 3. When Boaz married Ruth, there were ten witnesses(Ruth 4:2). In ancient Israel, girls were given away in marriage as virgins. Therefore a bride is almost always a virgin. After the payment of the dowry, the virgin is said to be betrothed.
Usually the bridegroom returns to his father’s house to build a house for his bride. It takes about a year or thereabouts. In the interim, the bride gets ready to receive the bridegroom at any time he shows up. The bridegroom usually shows up at night in the company of other young men and maidens and family members and friends. As they approach the residence of the bride’s family, a loud noise is made to announce his arrival. The bride ever ready in the company of other virgins and maidens with lamps and fanfare rushes out of her father’s house to meet the bridegroom who thereafter takes her to his father’s house after a lavish reception.
The imagery here is that of Christ and his betrothed, the church. Evidently, the bridegroom is our Lord Jesus Christ(Ps. 45:1-17; Song.1:1-8:14). Christ has paid the bridal dowry. He has purchased us with His own blood( Luk.22:19,20; Acts 20:28; Eph.1:14; 1 Pet.1:19). He has returned to His Father’s House in Heaven to prepare a place for the church, his betrothed(Hos.2:19).
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In My Father’s house there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And wither I go ye know, and the way ye know”(Jon.14:1-4).
When the Heavenly Jerusalem where Christ shall dwell with His bride is ready( Rev. 21,22), He shall come again to receive His own(1 Thess.4:15-18; 1 Cor.15:50-52). The new covenant is faithful and inviolate. It is an unconditional covenant. It’s fulfillment is inevitable being contingent upon Christ’s singular and superlative love for man.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believe that in Him should not perish but have life of the age to come”(Jon.3:16).
Believers are now betrothed to Christ. The solemnization is reserved for the Great Day, when the bride, the lamb’s wife shall have made herself completely ready(Rev.19:7,9). The bridegroom is not only a king, He is the King of kings. The virgins therefore must be maids of honor, virgins without number(Song.6:8). Meanwhile, the the Church is to make herself ready to meet the bridegroom whenever He shows up(v.10). There must be no blemish in her(Eph.5:27). But the Church is a mixed multititude. Not all professors of Christ are true believers(Matt.13:47-50). There were ten virgins; five were wise and five foolish(v.2 ). They all had lamps, and their lamps were burning. The wise virgins had enough oil reserve to last them through the night of waiting, but the foolish virgins did not have enough oil in their vessels(vv.3,4). Th wise virgins were prepared, but the foolish were unprepared. The wise were ready but the foolish were not. The bride must make herself ready(Rev.17:7,9). Believers are also representated as companions of Christ(Ps.45:14), children(Is.54:1; Jon.21:5), and ornaments(Is.49:18).
The 144,000 who follow the Lamb wherever He goes are referred to as virgins(Rev.14:4). But they are not part of His bride, the Church. The imagery of virginity denotes purity and devotion. We are to be presented to Christ as pure virgins(Cor.11:2). There should be no idols in our lives. Our devotion must be complete and unquestionable. Believers must build themselves up in the faith.
As new born babes, we may be carried on the shoulders of older brethren for a while. As new born babes, we are to ingest the sincere milk of the word that we may grow thereby(1 Pet.2:2,3). But a time cometh when every man must stand on his feet. We cannot beg others for strength and grace. Christ is the primary source. We all draw life and strength and grace from Him. The life, strength and grace we draw from Him are only sufficient for each one of us alone. We cannot, and must not share them with others.
There are those who receive Christ with joy, but over the years have not built enough strength and grace through the ingestion of the word to last them through the hours of darkness. Like Aaron’s rod we must spend a full night in the darkness. Thereafter we shall bud, bloom blossoms and yield almonds(Num.17:8,9).
As virgins, believers are to attend unto the Lord without distractions(1 Cor. 7:35). We must do Him honor. We must be to Him a name and a praise when He comes to be glorified in the saints. If we serve Him, we must follow Him(Jon.12:26). We must love Him with passion in our hearts. We must love as He loves us. “we love Him, because He first loved us”(1 Jon.4:19). His love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us(Rom.5:5). If we love Him, we must keep His words. His Father will love us, and they will make their abode with us(Jon.14:23).
Our office is to meet the bridegroom. This we must perform as a joyful duty. It must be our happiness. We must uphold His name, and tell it forth. We must tell forth the praise of the exalted Jesus. We must be expectant of His coming. We must not only believe in His second Advent, we must love and long for His appearing. To get ready for the bridegroom, our whole life must be consumed with His second coming. It must be the pivot of our conversation in a dark and dying world. It is the climax of our faith in Him. It is the point of convergence of our whole life in Him. We must not give it second place. It is the constant reference point of our whole life on Earth. All our activities must tend towards it. It must be the reference point of our lifestyle, conversation, conduct and value system.
We believers in the Messiah must have oil in our vessels. Our duties and profession must have the freshness of the Spirit. “I shall be anointed with fresh oil”(Ps.92:10). “As Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, by the glory of the Father shall we walk in newness of life(Rom.6:4). We must be led by the Spirit, empowered and guided by the Spirit. Our light must not go out at all throughout the night of our profession. We are children of light. We are children of the day. We are not of night nor of darkness(1 Thess.5:5). We must not be drunken like children of night and darkness. We must neither sleep nor slumber as do sons of night and darkness. We must shine as light in the midst of the darkness of this world. Our lights must shine forth(Phil.2:15).
We as virgins expecting the arrival of the bridegroom must be wise. Wisdom is profitable to direct(Eccl.10:10). Wisdom excelleth folly as far as light excelleth darkness(Eccl.2:13). True believers are the wise virgins, and the false brethren are the foolish virgins, the hypocrites. True Christianity is true wisdom. Sin is folly, more so the sin of hypocrisy. They are the greatest fools who are wise in their own estimation, worst sinners who feign themselves holy and just. He that winneth soul is wise(Prov.11:30). Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body(1 Cor.6:13). Our bodies are the members of Christ. We cannot take the members of Christ and make them members of an harlot. He that is joined unto the harlot is one body. He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that commiteth fornication sinneth against his own body. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us, who we have of God, and we are not our own. We are bought with a price: therefore we must glorify God in our bodies and our spirits which are God’s(1 Cor.6:14-20).
In the parable of the builder, the foolish virgins are represented as the foolish builder that built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall thereof(Matt.7:27). Whosoever heareth the admonitions of the Lord and doeth them, shall be like the wise man that built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, the flood came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon the rock. Our foundation must be laid deep upon the rock which is Christ. Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid. And that foundation is Christ(1 Cor.3:10,11). They drank of that rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ(1 Cor.10:4). Our hearts must be established with the truth of the word of God, and not with food which has not profited those that are preoccupied with it. Faith is the word of God that controls us. We must be rooted in the word of God. The image of Christ must be recreated in us.
We must be rooted in His disposition. We must have that stock of sound knowledge that issues in settled resolutions that keep us afloat in the sea of trials of the present. We must not act on external inducements without the benefit of concrete foundations in the word of God. We must have the benefit of sound judgement. We must have prospect of and make provision for what is to come. We must not only take our lamps for the present show, we must also have enough oil in our vessel for after use. We must not act at all to please men, but to be approved of Christ before whom we will stand in judgment to give account of our lives.
We must not sacrifice the spiritual and the eternal on the altar of the temporal. Our eyes must be focused on things not seen as yet, rather than those things which are seen; for those things which are seen are temporal, but those things which are not seen are eternal(2 Cor.4:18). We must lay a good foundation for the time to come(1 Tim.6:19). We must guard our hearts with all diligence; for out it are the issues of life(Prov.4:23). We must stand on and be guided by good principles within our hearts. Our hearts are the vessels out of which flows the oil of life to keep us burning. A good man out the the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things. An evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil things. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth spirit(Matt.12:34).
Our tongue is the indicator of the heart. It is a reflection of the heart. The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord(Prov.16:1). Our actions spring from the motivations of our hearts. Therefore our hearts must be renovated with the word of God. It must be recreated in the image of Christ. We must be transfigured into His image even as we bask in His glory in His presence.
“We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of of the Lord”(2 Cor.3:18).
Our light must shine before men in good works. To eviscerate its temporality, it must be rooted in deep and fixed active principle in the heart of faith in Christ, and love towards God and man. Our eyes must be transfixed on what is before us. We must look right on, and our eyelids straight before us(Prov.4:25). We must prepare for the long haul; for the bridegroom might tarry long. The siege might be long. And time might begin to drag. We must be partakers of His fullness, and grace for grace(Jon.1:16). He is the great and good Olive tree(Zech.4:2,3,12). Verse 5 is very interesting: “while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”
Since the Ascension, there has not been any generation of believers who did not believe that Christ would come again in their lifetime. Since the Ascension, His appearance is more likely now than ever before, inasmuch as Israel has regained her independence and control of her Holy and Royal City, Jerusalem. The red heifer(para aduma) has been found and is being cloned. Any moment from now, the Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah could be reassembled from prefabricated materials, the three power base coalition formed, and the seven year peace agreement signed between Israel and the Man Of Sin.
But He has tarried in our eyes. There is always good reason for Him to tarry. The vision is for an appointed time(Hab.2:3). There are intermediate counsels and purposes to be accomplished. The elect from the foundation of the world must be called in, God’s longsuffering must be manifested, and the faith and patience of the saints must be tested. The harvest must be ripened.
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord like a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”(2 Pet.3:8,9).
God’s reckoning of time is vastly different from that of man. He may tarry past our time but not the due time appointed of the Father(Matt.24:36). The prophesies regarding His First Advent also took thousands of years in fulfillment. He was thought long by those who waited for the consolation of Israel. But there were those like Simeon and Anna who patiently waited for and witnessed the consolation of Israel(Luk.2:25-38). So also shall it be in regard to His Second Advent.
“Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, we shall be changed”(1 Cor.15:51).
Forbearance is no acquittance. The vision is for a appointed time, at the end it shall speak and not lie. The year of our redemption is fixed in the heart of the Father. For the unwise, it shall be at the midnight hour when they looked not for Him, when they are most disposed to take their rest. At the midnight hour the firstborn of Egypt were destroyed and Israel delivered(Exod.12:29). Many times death comes when it is least expected.
To the rich fool God said, “tonight thy soul is required of thee; and all the things you have gathered whose will they be?”(Luk.12:20).
And while He tarried, they all slumbered and slept. The foolish as well as the wise virgins slumbered and slept. Slumbering and sleeping is not really always as result of lack of wisdom and fixed good principles of the heart. It springs from the weariness of the flesh to which are all vulnerable. But the difference was in their preparations. The wise had prepared for the exigencies of the time, but the foolish virgins did not. At midnight when the cry was made, the wise virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. They had extra oil for their lamps, but not enough for them and their foolish companions. The lamps of the hearts of the wise virgins were burning while they bodies slumbered and slept. We cannot and should not judge the state of the heart from external appearance. God does not look at the outward appearance. He looks at the heart; for out of the heart are the issues of life(Prov.4:23).
At the garden of Gethsemane, the disciples could not watch with the Lord one hour; they slumbered and slept(Matt.26:40-46; Mk.14:37-41; Luk.22:46). How hard would it be then to remain awake for an age or a lifetime. The time of His coming is embedded in the sovereignty of God. It is in the power and authority of Almighty Father. Our duty it is to go forth and meet Him whenever He comes. In death, we are to go out of our body to meet Him. In the daily affairs of life, we are to go out and meet Him in our affections and duty. At the end of the ages, He cometh with the observation of all. His coming shall not be in secret. He shall not come to the desert or the secret chamber. A cry shall be made. The Shekinah shall appear in the heavens and the trump of God shall be sounded by the archangel. Every eye shall see Him, and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen(Rev.1:7).
When the Lord tarries, He tarries for the wise to repent. When He cometh, He cometh for the redemption of the wise also. When He cometh, may we be found in peace(2 Pet.3:14), may we be found so doing ( Matt24:46 ), and may we not be found naked(2 Cor.5:3); and may we not shrink from before Him at His coming(1 Jon.2:28). We must not because of delay intermit our care or abate our zeal. Our works must be perfect before Him. We must not leave our first love(Rev.2:4). We have begun in the Spirit, we must not end up in the flesh. It is hypocrisy that breaks out in open apostasy(2 Pet.2:20). We must not be found apostates.
The profession withers, the credit of it is lost, and hope fails. The candle of the wicked shall be put out in obscure darkness(Job 21:17). Those who kindle fire, and compass themselves about with sparks: and walk in the light of their fire, in the sparks which they have kindled, shall lie down in sorrow(Is.50:11). The gains of hypocrisy shall not stand as exhibits in the day of judgment. If we do not live the life of the righteous, we cannot have the benefit of it in the day of judgment. There is no occasion for vouchers on the last Day.
The sovereign Lord of the Universe, the judge of all mankind knows the true character of every man. There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed or made manifest. Every secret must be exposed. Whatever is spoken in the secret chamber shall be proclaimed upon the housetop(Matt.10:27; Luk.12:3). If grace sanctifies us now, it will save us on the last day. Can we buy oil when the market is over? Can they obtain grace on the last day who made no use of it in their lifetime? Those that are saved shall have grace of their own obtained from the Lord of life. Granted, we derive benefit from the companion of the saints: corporate faith and prayer may redound to our advantage. However our personal sanctification is indispensably necessary to our individual salvation.
Profession of faith without salvation is utter hypocrisy. My righteous one by his faith shall live(Hab.2:4; Rom.1:17). Those that have most grace, have none to spare. Salvation is not transferable. The best of us have need to borrow from Christ, but have none to loan our neighbours. The wise virgins had oil enough for themselves. It would be utterly unwise to share theirs with their foolish neighbours. There is no work of supererogation or the imputation of righteousness by one saint upon another. The advice of the best of saints to their neighbours is ” go to them that sell and buy for yourselves lest there be not enough for you and I.” While they went to buy, the bridegroom came(v 10).
They cannot have grace on the last day who made no use of it previously. “Those that were ready entered, and the door was shut”. If we were not ready on the last day, we cannot be made ready afterwards. Now that the bridegroom is taken away, we must fast(Matt.9:15); for when He cometh, it shall be an everlasting feast. The bridegroom will escort the bride to his home(Jon.17:24), and shall rejoice over her(Is.62:5). “They that were ready went with Him to the marriage”. This is eternal glorification or consummative sanctification. To go in with Christ to the marriage is to be in His immediate presence. Such is the most intimate of fellowship and communion we can have with Him. It is an eternal state of rest, joy, and abundance of everything. Those who enter heaven have made themselves ready for Him. “And the doors were shut.” It was fitting to shut the doors to keep out the hypocrites. It was fitting to shut the doors in order to guarantee the security of the redeemed who have become pillars in the house of God, in order that they may go no more out(Rev.3:13).
When Adam was put out of paradise, God set cherubim on the east of the Garden of Eden with flaming swords to guard the tree of life(Gen.4:23). When the wise virgins went in with the bridegroom to the marriage, the fate of the foolish virgins were unalterably fixed. They were shut out for eternity. When Noah went into the Ark with his family, and God shut them in, the fate of the outsiders were unalterably fixed; they perished in the deluge. When Esau disposed his birthright, he lost it for ever, though afterwards he sought it carefully with tears, he found no place of repentance(Heb.12:16,17).
There is no repentance after the rapture for anyone who shall be part of the bride of Christ. They may have the audacity go to the gate of Heaven and demand entrance, they shall not be admitted. The vain confidence of the hypocrites may carry them far in their expectation of Heaven’s bliss, their self-conceit and hypocrisy shall deny them admittance. They are lifted up to heaven in a fond conceit of their own goodness, but they like Lucifer shall be thrust down to Sheol(Is.14:15). We are to call upon the Lord while He may found, seek Him while He may be near(Is.55:6,7). When the summer is past, and the harvest ended, we can no longer be saved(Jer.8:20). And the harvest is the end of the ages, and the reapers are the angels(Matt.13:39b).
After the Rapture, the Marriage Of The Lamb to His bride shall take place in Heaven after the Bema Seat Judgment of the works of the saints when they are crowned every man according to his works. The marriage of the Lamb shall be one of the two events that shall take place in heaven during the 30-day Reclamation Period. No one will be born again in the true sense of the phrase as we are today after the Rapture. The Rapture marks the close of the church age. But pretribulationism teaches that some hypocrites in the Church, and some people of the world shall be born again after the Rapture and go through the Great Tribulation. But we see here that when the Master has come and the door is shut, there shall be no more admittance. Pretribulationism therefore is a theological fabrication without biblical basis. The concept that some people shall be saved, and become part of the Church after the Rapture is a theological concoction without biblical justification. It is intended to hoodwink the saints into spiritual slumber and somnolence, that the day of the Lord may come upon them unawares. It is Hell’s soporific hemlock. It is intended to put our lamps out, and to give us no oil in our vessels for after use. It is utter foolishness for anyone to think that if one is not raptured, one can still become a believer afterwards and make Heaven, become part of the church and attend the marriage of the Lamb.
“Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, open to us. But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not”(vv.11,12 ).
Verily I know you not is equivalent to God swearing in His wrath that they shall not enter into His rest, although the works were finished from the foundation of the world(Ps.95:11; Heb.3:11,18). It is utter foolishness for any one to think that the hypocrites who call Jesus Lord, Lord, but do not His will shall be given a second chance after the Rapture of the Church to enter Heaven contrary to the scriptures.
“Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in That Day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out demons, and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity”(Matt.8:21-23).
We see here that no one left behind can be rescued afterwards. It is theological gimmickry to teach otherwise. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the some man cometh”(v.13). Just as Jesus has taught His disciples in the Olivet Discourse(Matt.24:50), He illustrated in the parable of the ten virgins that no one knows the day and the hour of His coming. Though we can know the general time period as illustrated by the parable of the fig tree, we cannot know the day and the hour of His coming. Hence, the need to be prepared. We can see that the main thrust of the parable of the ten virgins is preparedness.
The Parable Of The Ten Talents: Be Fruitful
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that has receive the five talents went and traded with the same, and made other five talents. 17 And likewise he that received two, he gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou delivered unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done , thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make the ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His Lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make the ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I know that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the earth: lo, thou hast that is thine. 26 His Lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knowest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received my own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from that, and give unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.(Matt.14-30).
11 And as they heard these things, He added and spake a parable, because He was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.12 He said therefore, A certain noble man went onto a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them occupy till I come14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him , saying, we will not have this man rule over us.15 And it came to pass, that he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man gained by trading.16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound has gained ten pounds.17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities18 And the second came came, saying, Lord thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him Be thou also over five cities.20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21 For I feared thee because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down and reapest that thou didn’t not sow.22 And he said unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knowest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming, I might have required my own with usury? 24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.25 ( And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds. )26 For I say unto you, unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.(Luk.19:11-27).
Our Lord Jesus being the good teacher that He is always illustrates His teaching with parables. In the Mid East at that time a parable is a good way to emphasize the central truth of a message. In this parable our Lord Jesus is the noble man who travelled to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom. Obviously, this parable is about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the centerpiece of the Olivet Discourse. In the parallel passage in Luke quoted above, Jesus is said to have spoken the parable to correct the notion of some in his audience that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
He was also approaching Jerusalem where He delivered the Olivet Discourse, where He would be crucified. The restoration of the kingdom to Israel was the expectation of the Jews, especially their leadership, because they desperately wanted deliverance from Roman domination and oppression. This same expectation was also uppermost in the minds of His disciples. After His resurrection, His disciples demanded of Him, “will thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”(Acts 1:6b). The expectation of immediate deliverance from Roman domination was predominantly responsible for the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah of Israel by the Jewish leadership. They were expecting a conquering Messiah, Messiah Ben David. Though He is the conquering Messiah, He came first as the suffering Messiah, Messiah Ben Jeseph.
In the Lukan account also, His citizens sent an embassage against Him, demanding that He not rule over them.
“He was in the world, the world was made by Him, but the world knew Him not. He came unto His own: His own received Him not”(Jon.1:10,11).
“The first man is of the earth earth: the second man is the Lord from heaven”(1 Cor.15:47).
Adam, the first man failed as God’s representative in the earthly realm of His Universal kingdom. In the temptation in the Garden of Eden, Adam disobeyed God: he ate the forbidden fruit. He failed. He was disqualified. On the other hand, in the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus did not give in to the Devil. He obeyed the Father. He succeeded where Adam failed. Adam was in the Garden of Eden where there was abundance of everything and he failed: Jesus was in the wilderness where there scarcity of everything, and he succeed. So, He is qualified to receive the title deed of the Earth. But the majority of the inhabitants of the Earth, motivated by His archenemy, Satan, do not want Him to reign over them. Therefore they sent an embassage against Him that He should not reign over them.
Satan makes his representation in the court of Heaven inasmuch as he is the accuser of the brethren. Not only that, His own people, the Jews do not want Him to reign over them. Right up to the present, the majority of the Jewish people do not accept Jesus as their Messiah. Therefore when He comes the second time, having received the kingdom from the Father, and having defeated and evicted Satan and his minions from the Earth’s premises, He shall execute those who refuse to have Him rule over them(Luk.19:27).
Oh no! The kingdom of God will not immediately appear; the citizens of the kingdom must be tested, their faithfulness and fruitfulness proven. In the Lukan narrative, there were ten servants, and they were given a talent apiece. The Greek word translated pound here is “mina,” the equivalent of about $15-20 in today’s worth. In the area of faith God starts all of us equally.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith”(Rom.12:3).
In this context, every man here refers to believers, not to every person in the world; for all men have not faith. Paul prayed that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith(2 Thess.3:2). But every believer has the measure of faith. It therefore behoves us to individually grow our faith. We are to trade with our faith to make it grow. There are some believers that think that because some other believers have so great faith(Matt.8:10; Luk.7:9), God has given them that measure of so great a faith to begin with. No, He did not give them that measure of GREAT FAITH to begin with. He gave to everyone of us the same measure of faith to begin with. We see here that God starts everyone of us equally with the same measure of faith. He gives all of us a level playing field. It is the responsibility of individual believers to develop their faith to the level of so great a faith like the centurion(Matt.8:5-13). We are to exercise our faith muscle to make it grow. If we fail to do that we will be weak in faith; our faith muscles will be flabby. Our father Abraham was not weak in faith, but strong, so he gave glory to God even when the promise was not yet fulfilled(Rom.4:19,20).
In the account in Matthew, the servants were given different amounts of talents. One was given five, another two, and yet another one talent. With regards to natural abilities, we are variously endowed. Every man has his proper gift of God: one after this manner, and another after that(1 Cor.7:7). So, there is no point complaining about and envying those who have more natural abilities than we have, or in whose lives and ministries more number of gifts of the Spirit are in manifestation. As touching spiritual gifts, believers are also variously endowed.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestations of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal…..”(1 Cor.12:4-14). There are some who think our natural abilities are not divine endowments. I beg to differ. God knows the end from the beginning. We were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. God knew we would be born again. He knew we would one day harness our natural abilities and put them to work in His service. There is not a single one of us who has not more natural endowments and spiritual gifts than he needs. Sometimes, it is not a matter of what we can do, but what He wants us to do: for in and of ourselves we can do a lot of things.
Whoever does anything just because he can, will soon get into trouble. We do things not just because we can, but because they are profitable in the kingdom, and He has commanded us. Our natural abilities as well as our spiritual gifts are to be harnessed, recruited, and channeled towards the accomplishment of His plans and purposes for our lives. In other words, we are to trade with these gifts and talents, and bear fruits unto His glory. It is obvious we are all differently endowed and gifted. Some have more natural abilities and more number of spiritual gifts than others. Whatever the number of gifts we have, what matters is how fruitful we are in trading with those gifts. God is not unjust to require us to render account of a gift which He did not bestow on us, or a talent with which we are not endowed. To whom much is given, to him will much be required(Luk.12:48).
We are all required to bear fruits based on our endowments and spiritual gifts. Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. Every branch in Him that bears fruits, He prunes it that it may bear more fruit(Jon.15:1,2). In order to be fruitful, we must abide in Him. The extent to which we abide in Him, to that extent we are fruitful. No branch has life of its own. Every branch takes its life from the root of the tree.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing”(Jon.15:5).
“He called unto Him His servants, and delivered unto them His goods”(v.14).
The imagery here is that of a merchant. He is about to embark on a journey. He delivers unto his servants his goods. They are to trade with them and make gains. This implies we are in a state of work and business, as much as we are in a state of expectancy; for there is indeed a day of reckoning. One was given five talents, another two, and yet another one. There is great fairness here; every man was given according to his several abilities. God does not require of us more than we are able. His demands on us are fair and just. His commission upon our lives are proportionate to our several abilities. They are in accordance with our natural endowments as well as the gifts of the Spirits which in His sovereign will He has bestowed upon us.
It is therefore necessary that we habitually prepare for His coming, and work hard, and be diligent in whatever He has committed into our hands. We must be diligent in our present work and service to Him. We are to do this for His glory primarily, and for the good of our souls, and the good of others, especially those who are of the household of faith.
“Do good to all men, especially those who are of the household of faith”(Gal.6:10).
From whatever angle we view this parable, whether from the angle of cosmopolitics as in the Lukan account or solely business as in the Matthan account, the Master is Jesus, who is the sovereign Lord of the Earth. He is the absolute owner of the Earth. He is the proprietor of all persons and things on Earth, as well as in the heavens, and more so the Church, on whose members He has bestowed gifts, into whose hands He has committed His goods. His servants are not the rabble of the world. They are Christians. They are those who have expressed faith in Him. They are His own servants, born in His house, bought with His blood. They are to be devoted to His praise, and employed in His work.
It is likely that ministers of the gospel are intended, but every believer has natural endowments. Every believers has gifts of the Spirit whether he knows it or not. There is no excuse to be idle. No believer in the eyes of God is jobless. There is not cogent or tenable reason to be slothful.
“Of His fullness have we all received, and grace for grace(Jon.1:16).
We received from Him in order to work for Him. The reason for the privileges we have in Him is that we may do His business. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. We are stewards of the manifold graces of God, and of the mysteries of Christ. He ascended into heaven: He led captivity captive, and obtained gifts unto men. He committed unto us His truth, promises, and His powers. These are His great depositum, the “parakatatheke”(1 Tim6:20; 2 Tim.1:14).
At His ascension, He left His goods with His Church. He said unto them occupy till I come(Luk.19:13b). Be in charge. Trade with my goods and make gain. We are not all of the same mold. We are cut out for different things. After He has given commandments to His Apostles, He retired into heaven. He shall come again to reign, and we shall render account to Him: for every one of us shall give account of himself to God(Rom.14:12).
In this parable in the Olivet Discourse, two of the three servants were diligent, faithful and fruitful, and there were only three of them. In the Lukan account also two of three were diligent, faithful and fruitful, though there were ten of them. There may have been others in between; for the seed that fell on good ground yielded fruits, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some an hundredfold(Matt.13:23). God’s expectation of us is an hundredfold increase, and these two servants met that expectation. If we are diligent and faithful and put to use the talents bestowed on us for the purpose for which they are intended, accomplishing in totality God’s will and purpose for our lives, we would have made an hundredfold increase.
We believers in the Messiah are spiritual tradesmen. We are to be totally committed. We are to take pains to learn our trade, and be diligent to follow it up by making it our business. We are to lay out our plans for its advancement. All the affairs of our life should bend towards the attainment of our spiritual goals. We must remember that the stocks are not our own but our Master’s. And we shall render account thereof on the day of reckoning. Therefore all the endowments of mind, our reasoning, wit, education and learning must be made subservient to the will of the Master. Our estate, interest, credit and power and influence must be improved and directed towards the honor of Our Master. Our opportunities in life, the ordinances of the Scriptures, and our religious observances, our spiritual gifts and graces must be exercised in such a way as to trade with our talents.
We are to double our efforts in order to double our stock. He that had five talents, gained five other talents. He that had two talents gained two other talents. The hand of the diligent maketh rich(Prov.10:4). There is a great deal to be gained by industry. The returns are in proportion to the talents received. From him to whom He gave five, He expects a gain of other five. He that sows plentifully must also reap plentifully. Those to whom He commits greater talents and gifts take greater pains because they have a larger stock to manage. From those to whom He gave two talents He expects an increase of two talents.
The larger the endowments and spiritual gifts, the greater the expectations. We should not compare ourselves to others. If we measure ourselves to one another, we are not wise(2 Cor.10:12). Because we are variously endowed and gifted, our productivities vary also. What is most important is that we must double our stock. What is much in one’s hand may be too little in the other’s.
The performance of the third servant was very dismal. He buried his talent in the earth(v.18). In the Lukan account, he laid it up in a napkin(Luk.19:20). This is the same as burying it in the earth. The napkin is actually a shroud, a burial cloth which signals death. He did not misspend or misemploy it. He did not embezzle or squander it as did the prodigal son(Luk.150:13); he buried it for fear of its being stolen. He had no intentions of trading with it in order to increase it. Treasure heaped together does no good to any body(Eccl.6:1,2; Jam.5:3).
“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but tendereth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered. He that withholdeth the corn, the people shall curse him, but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it”(Prov.11:24-26).
Spiritual gifts and talents must be put to the use for which they were intended. In the Olivet Discourse, the unprofitable servant is he that has only one talent. In the account by Dr. Luke, every one of the ten had one talent apiece. It is also likely that there are those with more than one talent who bury them. If the servant with one talent was unprofitable and received a summary sentence, how much more those with multiple talents who are unprofitable. How much more will they be counted offenders that have many talents and bury them.
Those who trample underfoot the greatest advantage will receive the severest punishment.The unprofitable servant accused his Lord of being an hard man, reaping where he did not sow, and gathering where he had not strewed(v.24; Luk.19:21). Well! If he knew all these about his master, why did he accept the talent in the first place? Having accepted it, why did he not put it into the bank so that it would have yielded interest(vv.26,27; Luk.19:23)? Of course his accusations of his master were false. The problem of this servant was aggravation of sloth. The slothful man will always find excuses.
“There is a lion without; I shall be slain in the street”(Prov.22:13, 26:13). The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold, therefore shall he beg in harvest and have nothing(Prov.24:4). The slothful man is a great waster. “He that is slothful is brother to him that is a great waster”(Prov.18:9). If one neglects one talent, how then could one be productive with many talents. The issue was not the paucity of talent but the slothfulness of the unprofitable servant.
The slothful is wise in his own conceit. He approached his master with a plea. I have not increased your goods like others, but I have not made it less. Here is that that is thine.
“The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason”(Prov.26:16).
He had confidence in the validity of his plea, but it was ruled as vain and frivolous. He meant to convince his master that he was not a spendthrift of his estate. Obviously he was not, but he did not increase either.
We are stewards of the manifold grace of God. No matter the delay we must stand before Him to render account on the day of reckoning. If we have done well, Christ will commend us, well done, thou good and faithful servant. If we own and honor God in this age, He will own and honor us in the age to come. If we with patient continuance in well doing seek His glory, honor, and peace, we shall have praise of Him on the day of reckoning(Rom.2:10). There are masters who will not praise their servants no matter how well they have done. Christ is not one of them; He is the exact opposite. Christ will commend His servants that do well whether their praise be of men or not. We should not be concerned with praise of men but of God. We should not seek the honor that cometh from men but from God. It is not whom men commends but whom God commends. Those who honor Christ in this life, He will honor. He has a crown(2 Tim.4:8), a throne(Rev.3:21), and a kingdom(v.34) for His faithful servants.
The faithful servants shall be made rulers over many things and enter into the joy of their Lord(vv.21, 23). Like Lazarus, there are beggars here on Earth, in this age, who shall be rulers here on Earth, in the age to come, in the Millennium. God’s servants are princes. The faithful shall have dominion. There are few things in which the saints are serviceable to God, but there many things wherein they shall be glorified with God. The charge we receive from God, and the work we do for Him in this world are little compared to the joy that shall be set before us.
“The sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us”(Rom.8:18). “For our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal”(2 Cor.4:17,18).
Our tears shall be wiped away. All the springs of comfort shall be opened to us. All the fountains of joy shall be unstopped for us. Jesus shall be the fountain and Centre of our joy. The joy of the Lord shall be ours for ever. The Lord himself shall be our exceeding joy. We shall be heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. We shall own everything with Him equally in eternity. The glories and treasures of heaven shall be ours as they are His. We shall have access to the interminable and inexhaustible, limitless, unlimited, and illimitable treasury and treasures of heaven.
The servant with ten pounds was given authority over ten cities, and the servant with five talent over five cities(Luk.19:17, 19). We shall reign as kings with Christ over the Earth in the Millennium(Rev.5:10, 20:4). The unprofitable servant was dispossessed of the one talent. It was given to him that had ten. Besides, he was cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is wickedness to use this just punishment of the unprofitable servant to justify dispossession of the poor of whatever little goods they may have in this age. He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want(Prov.22:16).
The Sheep And Goat Judgment
31 When the Son Of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: 32 And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:33 And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.34 Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come , ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison , and ye came to me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? Or thirsty and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger , and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.41 Then shall He say unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels:42 For I was hungry, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: , sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not.44 And then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
With the antiChrist’s army and the armies of the others kings and kingdoms of the earth destroyed at Armageddon, and anyone with the mark of the beast executed, all that will be left of the nations would be the ones who do not have the mark of the beast. Before any of these can enter the Millennium to repopulate the earth, they must pass through the Sheep and Goat Judgment to determine their eligibility to enter into the millennial reign of the Messiah. Jesus shall personally conduct this judgment from His Throne in the Throne Room of the newly built Millennial Temple at the center of the holy area at the summit of renovated and elevated Mount Zion. It shall occur when He comes in His glory with His holy angels, just as we have pointed out after the Battle Of Armageddon(Rev.19:11-21).
All nations shall be gathered unto Him in Jerusalem. All survivors of the day of His Wrath who were not immediately executed as a result of not being beast-marked shall appear before Him in Jerusalem. None of the Gentiles who appear at the sheep and goat judgment shall have the mark of the beast. Any survivors of the wrath of God who bears the mark of the beast shall be immediately executed. All His angels will be with Him. It therefore follows these survivors shall be miraculously gathered to Jerusalem, considering the devastation caused by the final wrath of God.
It shall take 45 days to gather all surviving Gentiles to the land of Israel for this judgment. It is within this 45-day period, the Restoration Period, that the Earth will be renovated. Jews who survive the wrath of God would not be required to appear at this judgment, having accepted Him as their Messiah when they see His nail-pierced hands(Zech.12:10-14), shortly before the sounding of the seventh trumpet when the mystery of God is finished at the completion of the spiritual kingdom of God. Of course, Jews who survive the day of His Wrath, who are beast-marked, shall be executed instantly like all others. But the plain truth is that no one with the mark of the beast will survive the wrath of God; for the wrath of God abides on any one who is beast-marked(Rev.14:9,10).
The Greek word translated nations in KJV is “ethnos” which could also be rendered heathen, peoples, or Gentiles. The Hebrew equivalent is “Goyim” which is used by Jews to refer to non-Jewish peoples. It is not a reference to independent political states. It refers to individuals of all ethnic groups other than the Jew. So the sheep and goat judgment is the judgment of individuals of all ethnic groups other than the Jew who survives the day of His wrath, rather than independent nation states. No Jew will be judged at the sheep and goat judgment. God’s wrath would have destroyed anyone who has the mark of the beast(Zeph.1:17).
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name”(Rev.14:9-11).
When the first avenging angel poured his bowl into the earth, it became a noisome and grievous sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast, and upon them who worshipped his image(Rev.16:2). Most probably therefore, no one with the mark of the beast shall survive the Day Of His Wrath which ends with the seventh and final bowl judgment at Armageddon. However if any man who is beast-marked is left alive after the Battle of Armageddon, the one shall be instantly executed; for no man with the mark of the beast shall appear at the sheep and goat judgment much less enter the Millennium.
Besides, those who appear at the sheep and goat judgment do not seem to know why they are being judged. This is not what one would expect of those who have denied Christ and were beast-marked. It is therefore obvious that it will be Gentiles who rejected the mark of the beast, who acknowledged the antiChrist as God, nor Christ as Messiah, who somehow survived the wrath of Satan during the Great Tribulation, and God’s wrath during the day of the Lord, who will be required to make their way to Jerusalem during the 45-day Restoration Period to appear at the sheep and goat judgment. The basis of this judgment will be the Gentiles treatment of Jews and Christians in hiding during the great tribulation by the antiChrist.
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the lest of these my brethren, you have done it unto me”(Matt.25:40).
Their treatment of these Jews and Christians would be considered as their treatment of Christ Himself. “Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as Ye did it not to one of the least of these, Ye did it not to me”(Matt.25:45).
The witnesses at this trial will be surviving Jews who have just been regathered from the Diaspora, and perhaps resurrected saints who will reign with Christ in the Millennium. The reason why I include Christians among His brethren is because the Dragon shall make war with the remnant of the offspring of the woman who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ(Rev.12:17). Just as Jewish remnants in their mortal bodies gathered to the land of Israel from the Diaspora at the end of the Battle of Armageddon shall be present to witness the sheep and goat judgment, so also shall the resurrected saints in their new glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies be present to witness; for they shall reign with Christ for a thousand years.
“Bring forth the blind people that have eyes and the deaf that have ears. Let all nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, it is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen; that Ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am He: before me there is no God formed, neither shall there be after me”(Is.43:8-10).
The Jewish witnesses will not be objects of Christ’s judgment. When the nations are gathered, the Gentiles will be permitted to present their witnesses from amongst the Jewish survivors in order that they may be justified. The surviving Jews from amongst the Gentiles are God’s witnesses that He is just in His acquittal or as the case may be His condemnation of the Gentiles. The resurrected saints shall also be witnesses that He is just in His acquittal or else condemnation of the Gentiles as the case may be. Those who have harmed Jews and Christians or otherwise refused them assistance in their time of distress shall be condemned whether or not they are beast-marked.
“Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, Ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”(Matt.25:41).
Those who befriended Jews and assisted them, the righteous Gentiles shall be spared, and go into eternal life, but those who did not shall go into everlasting punishment(Matt.25:46). It is not enough not to take the mark of the beast. It is not enough not to harm believers. Indifference towards persecuted Jews and Christians merits one the status of a goat. Christ shall say to them,
“inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteousness into life eternal”(Matt.25:45,46).
The cynical ones who believe that the fact that they are not beast-marked merits salvation shall be condemned. On the other hand, those who are not beast-marked, who lay no claim to salvation shall be justified. Although these gave drink to His thirsty brethren, fed the hungry, clothed those who were naked, visited the prisoners, invited the strangers and destitute amongst them into their homes, they did not believe it was sufficient to earn them salvation, nor did they believe they were doing it to Jesus. They expressed wonder as to when they did all these. Salvation is by grace alone through faith, and that also the gift of God. These righteous Gentiles were also elected before the foundation of the world(Eph.1:4,5;2:8,9).