Immediately after the great distress
Verse 29 of Matthew 24 provides a clear timing.
This verse is the beginning of a few verses that describe 'the end'.
“Immediately after the distress of those days” there will be signs on the sun, moon and stars.
Joel gives the same description of the signs in these bodies, which signs will happen before the great and
dreadful day of the Lord comes. (Joel 2:30-31)
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky,”
What that sign will be is not clear from these verses. Perhaps the answer can be found in Revelations.
“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.”
In the Old Testament the ark was already an image of Jesus.
“and all the nations of the earth will mourn”
Compare this text also with Revelation 6. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man will hide in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
They call to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
“They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”
Here is what the angels had already predicted: “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
“And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Who are those elect?
There are two possibilities.
In Deuteronomy among others, we read: “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”
Isaiah says that God says to the Word (Jesus): “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
This is what the LORD says--the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel--to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
In this way the salvation came to the people. In this way salvation came to us.
We can also read in Peter among others, that the foreigners, i.e. people who do not belong to Israel: are “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”
Has God rejected his people Israel? "By no means!" Says Paul.
If God has not rejected Israel, than both Israel and the Christians are elect of God.
If so, in the 'speech on the Signs of the End of the Age' we read: "And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. ", then this can be for both, the people of Israel and the believers.
About the people of Israel is prophesied the following including:
" ‘O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’ See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth."
“Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’
About Christians we read among others: “According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.
Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
When the Lord gathers His elect, which will be both Israelites and believers from the nations.
The Israelites 'in the flesh', the natural people, will be gathered in the land Israel.
The believers turned into 'spirit', the spiritual people, will meet the Lord in the air.
The reference in 1 Thessalonians 4 to the clouds, reminiscent of Acts 1 and
Matthew 24 / Luke 21 / Mark 13.
The Lord will come in the clouds.
We will come to meet Him in the air, in the clouds.
Luke goes on with: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Of what things does Luke speaks here?
The text actually begins at 21:20
“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies ..."
And at Matthew and Mark: “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ ...”.
“.... stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
This salvation can refer to both peoples: The natural and the spiritual people.
Jesus wants the disciples, and later us, to understand this well, thats why He gives an example, a parable.
He talks about the fig tree. When that buds you know that summer is nigh. So you need, when you see predicted things happen, know that the end is near.
“ I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
Possibly, this sinful generation, but also: this generation of Israel. Another
possibility is: this generation that sees these things happen (like ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing in the holy place), this generation which will live at that time will not pass away until all these things have happened.
When this will happen is unknown. But Jesus doesn't want the disciples to be totally unaware about what will happen so He described the signs.
He also wants them to learn something and He does it with two examples.
Both examples are true and relate to God's wrath and punishment and salvation of His elect.
The first example deals with Noah and the time in which he lived.
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Just as it happened in the days of Noah.
What happened then?
The people who lived before the flood ate, drank and were married until the day that Noah entered the ark. Noah warned them a long time before, that they should repent,
because otherwise the punishment of God would be upon them, but they didn't care. They were just eating, drinking and marrying, as if God had not warned.
So it will be just before Jesus comes back. The people will live as if God will do nothing, but suddenly, God will still perfect His plan.
Noah went in the ark on the day of God's wrath, on that day he was removed from the destruction by God.
Jesus says: The same way it will happen when the Son of men comes.
The day that He comes will also be the day of His wrath.
And just like Noah was saved on that day, Gods people will be saved from the wrath.
We read in Revelation that the ark of the covenant will be visible.
The second example deals with Lot, who is saved from the wrath that befell Sodom and Gomorrah.
Everything went well in those city's. Lot was just extracted before God destroyed all in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Luke says: “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”
The people will on that day, that Jesus is coming, eat, drink, buy, sell, plant and build, but on the day that God's people will be initiated, on that day the wrath of God will explode.
“...and who can stand?” at that day...
On that day, or as Luke says: night, there will be two in one bed, one will adopted and the other left behind.
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
Is this Divine arbitrariness?
No! Jesus said: “he who believes has everlasting life.”
Anyone who believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life. ”For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
“On that day no-one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no-one in the field should go back for anything.
Remember Lot’s wife!
Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
In Hebrews we read: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.
...how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Be on guard! Be alert! You won’t know when that time will come.
But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Now, brothers “you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
“But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.”
Jesus wants to make clear with many examples how those last things will happen. Recently he gave the example of the owner of the house and the thief, now another example:
It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the cock crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
In this example Jesus is the one who is “going away”.(“A far journey” in KJV)
We moeten waken en niet slapen. Want over hen die slapen k“While people are saying, “Peace and safety”, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” says Paul.
So you must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”
“.... They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow-servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.
The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.
He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Also in this section of that slave and the return of the lord, we can see that the faithful and sensible slave does have an idea when his master can be expected. From the wicked slave Jesus says his master will come back the day that he does not expect, and at an hour that he does not know.
In other words, the good and wise slave will know this.
About the wicked slave Jesus goes further:Matthew 24:50
...He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
That Jesus does not just give an example, but this example is used, to show awareness how the return of the Lord will be and how we must be prepared, is evident from the last lines of this example.
Jesus here talks clear on the punishment that sinners will get.
“The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
This penalty will be carried out after the millennial kingdom.
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.
For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Schedule on "the last things" according to
Matthew 24 and Revelation 6
With the following question:
Will the church go through the great tribulation?
The disciples asked: "what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Aaioon=century-era.)
The Lord answered as follows and note the great similarity between the revelation that is recorded in Matthew 24 and the revelation that Jesus gives to John on Patmos: Revelation 6.
5 “Watch out that no-one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!”
6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.
7b There will be famines
5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.
7b and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.(KJV)
7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”
8 All these are the beginning of birth-pains.
8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me...... 21 For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equalled again.
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow-servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
(The verses 15 to 28 are a further explanation of Jesus of the verses 9-14.) Verse 9 explanation in verse 11 Verse 11 explanation in verses 23 till 26 Verse 14b explanation in verse 27 15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’, spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- 21 For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equalled again.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig-tree when shaken by a strong wind.
30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
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