We are now transitioning from scriptures and context that relate to The Day Of The Lord to those that relate to The Tribulation Period In Scripture. Although this point of transition subject has been touched on briefly in a previous connection, it is necessary to set forth the teaching of the Scriptures on this important eschatological doctrine. All verses in this article come from the New American Standard Bible.
II. The Tribulation In Context.
A. In the teaching of “end times terms,” it is important to consider the context of each verse of scripture. As I have written in a prior article, the Old Testament Jewish prophets wrote of: end times, last days, latter days, day of the Lord, etc., the context always related to the times of the Tribulation or Kingdom Age of the Millennium. Additionally, the Gospel writers, as well as the Jewish Apostles on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17), addressed the prophecies that were spoken and written by the Old Testament Jewish prophets.
B. The Jews in the Old Testament pre-gospel times had been taught by the Jewish prophets about the times of the Tribulation and Kingdom Age. The Gospel era Jews began being taught by Christ and His disciples, of the end times of the Tribulation and Kingdom Age. On the Day of Pentecost, the Jewish prophets told the Jews, who were in Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of Pentecost, of the aforementioned end times. The church, and everything about Christ and the church, had been a mystery to all Jews (Eph 5:32) until they began being taught about this mystery by Jews (Apostles and their disciples) who were believers in Christ, beginning on the Day of Pentecost. Gentiles had never received any teaching on the end times, or Christ, or the church, until the believing Jews began to evangelize the Gentiles. Gentiles of all prior ages had never been privy to the Word of God that was solely between God and His chosen people, who were the Jews (Deu 14:2).
C. From the second chapter of Acts, forward, such words as ” last days and day of the Lord, “are used according to their context. The “perilous times” of 2 Tim 3:1, relate to the times which lead to the Rapture of the Church and Tribulation. This end times subject was preached by born again Jews and Gentiles to Jews and Gentiles (saved and unsaved) who were present on earth after Acts 1:26 (Day of Pentecost), and the beginning of the dispensation of grace. The subject of Matt 24:3-31, was taught by Christ to His disciples (privately, Mt 24:3, also perilous times), about the conditions that will be present on earth during the Tribulation. This teaching of Christ was “from a Jews, Christ,” to Jews, Disciples,” about conditions that will affect Israel and Jews (Jer 30:7; Dan 9:27) who will be left behind on earth after the Rapture. The Jews who will be affected, as well as Gentiles, will have not been born again at the time of the rapture of the church (John 14:2-6; 1 Cor 15:50-54; 1 Thes 4:16-17; 2 Thes 2:3…”apostasy;” Greek=”aposticia” meaning “falling away,” but more naturally “departure away first.”). God does not react to human behavior, which would make Him a “God of reactions.” Instead, God is a God of Sovereign plans, which He will implement, regardless of human behavior.
III. Key Last Days Scriptures.
A. Isaiah 2:2. Kingdom Age. Millennium.
“2 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.”
B. Daniel 10:14. Tribulation.
“Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the latter days, because the vision pertains to the days still future.”
C. Joel 2:28-32. Tribulation. Cited by Peter on Day Of Pentecost (Acts 2:17).
1. Joel 2:28. Note. “after this.” I.e., after Israel’s future repentance and restoration (Zech 12:10; 13:1) in conjunction with the second advent of Christ, as written by the portents of verse 30 (see note on Acts 2:16-21). The Holy Spirit will then be poured out on all classes in Israel who belong to the believing remnant (v. 32). For Peter’s use of this passage on the Day of Pentecost, see note on Acts 2:16-21.
2. Scripture. Joel 2:28-32.
The Promise of the Spirit
“28 “It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will have dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
29 And even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
The Day of the Lord
“30 I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire, and columns of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
32 And it will come about that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
Will be saved;
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
There will be those who escape,
Just as the Lord has said,
Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”
D. Acts 2:17. Day Of Pentecost. Last Days Connection.
1. Acts 2:17. Note. The fulfillment of the following prophecy will be in the last days, immediately preceding the return of Christ, when all of the particulars (e.g., v. 20 and Rev 6:12) of the prophecy will come to pass. Peter reminded his hearers that, knowing Joel’s prophecy (above Joel 2:28-32), they should have recognized what they were seeing as being a work of the Holy Spirit, not a result of drunkenness. (Ryrie Study Bible).
2. Acts 2:17. Prophecy of “last days” during tribulation.
“And it shall be in the last days, God says,
‘That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
And your young men will see visions,
And your old men will have dreams;”
3. Notice that Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17 relate to Jews and Israel, as to their repentance toward Christ, on the day of Pentecost; and during the Tribulation, which will happen prior to the return of Christ from Heaven (second coming of Christ) to physically stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech 12:2-3, 10; 14:1-5; Mt 24:29-31; Rev 19:11-21); and not in the air at the rapture (1 Thes 4:16-17).
E. 2 Timothy 3:1. Church Age. Dispensation of Grace. Preceding Rapture and Tribulation.
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.”
IV. Jews In The Tribulation.
The following verses show that Matthew 24:3-29 relates to Israel, and not to the church.
1. Mathew 24:14. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (This is not the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:1-8), but of the Kingdom which John The Baptist, Christ and His disciples preached to first century Israel, when they rejected (Matt 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:5-7; 6:9; Lk 10:1, 9).
2. Matthew 24:15-16. “15 Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place—let the reader understand— 16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.” (This is purely related to Jews. Daniel the prophet, the Holy Place, the abomination of desolation, have nothing to do with Gentiles. Personally, I am not planning on fleeing to the mountains.).
3. Matthew 24:20. “Moreover, pray that when you flee, it will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.” (The Sabbath was of no concern to Gentiles when this passage was written, and is of no concern to Gentiles today, or when the Tribulation occurs.).
4. Matthew 24:21. “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again. ” (The events of this verse can not happen prior to the Tribulation, with it being the worst thing ever to happen since the beginning of the world, and still have a Kingdom Age (Millennium) to follow. Consider the Noahic Flood, and the following “day to day” living conditions would not be able to take place during the Kingdom Age of the Millennium. (Amos 9:14, “I will also restore the fortunes of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the desolated cities and live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit.”)
5. Matthew 24:29-30. “29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”(This passage shows that “after the Tribulation,” the world will mourn when they see the return of Christ…there will be great cataclysmic eruptions taking place. In sharp contrast to the events of this passage, is joy in the rapture of the church. Consider Titus 2:13:”looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” There is nothing joyous about the “left behind world” mourning when Christ returns from heaven “for judgment” on the earth in Matt 24:29-30.
V. What Are You Waiting For?
A. There are many people who are waiting for “the last days.” But, please let me say that, as it relates to 2 Timothy 3:1, “we’re there, already.” Just listen to the news events of these days, and you will realize that we definitely are in “perilous times.” But, for believers in Christ, there is coming an event that will remove us from the earth, and the “must more perilous times” of the Tribulation. The event, the rapture of the Church, will have us taken by Christ from earth to Heaven (John 14: 2,3,6), where we will receive spiritual rewards (2 Cor 5:10), and will have a very important position in the Marriage of the Lamb in Heaven (Rev 19:7-8), as well as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9), which will take place when we return to earth with Christ from heaven at the end of the earth’s seven years of tribulation (Mt 24:29-30), in the beginning of the Kingdom Age of the Millennium, where we will rule and reign with Him for 1,000 years (Rev 20:6).
B. Believers in Christ are not told to look for the antichrist, or the Tribulation; but both “are on the waiting list” for all who have not been born again, who do not believe in Christ (John 3:18).
C. Consider the things that are waiting for those who find themselves in “the last days” of the Tribulation.
1. As opposed to believers in Christ, being in the Presence of God (Rev 4-5), unbelievers will be the targets of the Tribulation judgments of God, which will be released through His angels and Christ. The Tribulation judgments will be unleashed on all unbelievers who will be left behind from the Rapture. Please understand that these judgments are Godly ordained judgments that will be directed at unbelievers, as opposed to conditions that affect all who live in our world today.
a. Christ will unleash the Seal Judgments on the earth (Rev 6:1-16).
b. Angels will unleash the Trumpet Judgments on the earth (Rev 8:5-13; 9:1-21).
c. Angels will unleash the Bowl Judgments on the earth ( Rev 16:1-21).
2. As being believers in Christ, therefore the bride of Christ, we will not come under the wrath of God during the Tribulation (1 Thes 1:10); Christ will not beat up His bride. We have our born again spirits indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit (Jn 14:20), who teaches us the things of Christ (Jn 14:20; 16:7-8). As being the born again bride of Christ, we have a new Spirit (2 Cor 5:17), which is as righteous as the Spirit of Christ (2 Cor 5:21). There is nothing of the Tribulation that can make a born again believer in Christ more righteous. We have no reason to be in the Tribulation, as the Tribulation (all of it, Rev 6:1-19:21) is designed for “those who dwell on the earth,” (Rev 3:10), who are “earth dwellers” (Rev 3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:8, 14, 17:8). Believers in Christ have made heaven their place of choice, and therefore is where our citizenship lies (Phil 3:20).
D. As a believer in Christ, my salvation is secure in Christ (John 10:28-30). I know that through my belief in Christ, that by believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; that I have life in His name (John 20:31).
E. As a believer in Christ, I am not looking for, or waiting for, the last days of the Tribulation. I am eagerly “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” (Titus 2:13). Amen.
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Israel In The End Times