The rapture part 3
Today marks our 3rd lesson on the rapture. In our first 2 lesson we looked at what the dispensational premillennialist teach such as Hal Lindsey and Billy Graham. I examined their 2 major proof texts where they get their rapture theory from and I showed that rapture as they teach does not exist as the teach it. We also examined how they believe that Jesus will set up a physical kingdom on the earth in the near future and once again I showed many scriptures that showed that the kingdom is spiritual in nature and that it began on the day of Pentecost.
So, my goal for today is to examine Mat. 24 and Mat. 25. Mat. 24 is a chapter that has been misunderstood by many and those who teach the rapture theory believe that there are signs by which we can known the Jesus is about to return and of course they believe that those signs are happening now and that Jesus will come very soon within our generation.
Before we begin looking at Mat. 24. I would like to lay down some basic guidelines that you should follow in order to figure what going on in any given chapter within the Bible. One of the most important things you must do is to look at the context so you can know what is going on. This means you need to look at the previous chapter as it may give you great insight on what going on. Also, it important to examine any other verses or parallel accounts of the contents of the chapter you want to examine. Finally when you are examining a more difficult chapter try and find verses within that chapter that might help you to unlock the true meaning of that chapter. I will be using these basic guidelines to show what Mat. 24 really teaches.
So, the first thing we need to do is to find out what is
going on in Mat. 23. In this chapter Jesus is in
"Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' guilt. 33 "Serpents, brood of
vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 "Therefore, indeed, I send
you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify,
and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to
city, 35 "that on you
may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous
Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the
temple and the altar. 36
"Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this
generation. 37 " O
Jesus is making very
clear that these Jews had rejected Him and the blood of the prophets would
be on their head. Here Jesus is pronouncing a judgment upon these Jews and
He tells them that this judgment will come upon this generation and that God
has left their house desolate. In other words God’s presence was no longer
in the temple. This judgment that Jesus is talking about here was the destruction of
Now with this in mind I want to show what I believe to be a key verse in understanding Mat. 24.
Matthew 24:34 "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
No matter how you decided to explain Mat. 24 Jesus makes it easy for us to see that the verse preceding verse 34 were to happen in that generation. Just as we saw at the end of Mat 23 we can see that those events in those verse were to occur sometime with in a 30 to 40 year span.
Now what the premillennialist try to do is to change the meaning of generation in our key verse to simply denote the Jewish race. In other words they have Jesus saying that the Jewish race will not pass away until all these things take place. This is how they justify stretching out the time span of when these things are to occur. But even they will admit that the word Generation is rarely used to mean race. Instead the word generation is almost always defined as,
“the sum total of those born at the same time, expanded to include all those living at a given time”
In fact out of the 37 times this word is used in the NT I could not find where it was ever used to refer to a race. Let me give you example of what I am talking about.
Matthew 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations;
It very obvious that
generation here is talking about a time span and not a race because this verse
wouldn’t make any sense if you substituted the word generation with the word
race. Please keep this in mind as we begin to examine Mat. 24. My goal is to
show you that Mat. 24 talk about 2 different events. Verses 1 – 34 talk about
the destruction of
Matthew 24:1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
We learn from verse 3
that when Jesus departed from the temple that He went to
Now this was truly an
amazing statement because at this point they were still building on the temple
area which by they way they didn’t finish until 64 A.D and
In Matthew’s account we see 3 questions.
Matthew 24:3 "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
Luke account shows 2 questions.
Luke 21:7 So they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?"
Mark’s account also shows 2 questions
Mark 13:4 "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?"
This is why its very
important that we look at the parallel accounts in the gospels. Because when we
look at just one we don’t get the complete picture however when we look at all
them then together then we will get the complete picture. For example in Both
Luke’s and Mark’s account we only see recorded for 2 question that only deal
with destruction of Jerusalem. They want to know when will this destruction of
But, then we learn in Mat
24 that the also want to know what will be the sign of your coming and of the
end of the age? Now another end time view which we are not studying today would
suggest this question also refers to the destruction of
So basically we have 2
topics that asked about. When would the destruction of
Now some have suggest that maybe His disciples
thought that the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world would occur
at the same time and that is plausible because throughout Jesus ministry they
had been confused on many matters. Jesus taught them multiple times about his
death and resurrection but yet in John 20: 9 after Jesus death on the cross
they still didn’t understand that he must be raised from the dead. In Mat 13
Jesus spoke several parable about the condition of person heart, the importance
and strength of God’s kingdom and He even gave the 2 different parable about
the end of the world or the end of the age and Jesus even ask them if they
understood what he was talking about and
they all say yes we understand in verse 51. Yet, when we come Acts 1:6 just
before Jesus is about to ascend into heaven his disciples want to know when
will he restore the kingdom to
But, as far I can tell it
doesn’t really matter what they thought at this point because Jesus is going to
make it very clear that the destruction of
In verse 4 – 14 Jesus
warns His disciples not to be fooled by the false signs they would experience
before the destruction of
Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
Here Jesus says that there will be many people who come his name trying to say that they are the Messiah. The Bible records for us in Acts 5:35-37 that some men had claimed to be something great and led some people away to slaughter and historians like Josephus also commented on how false Messiah’s were stepping up during those days.
Matthew 24:6 "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 "All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Again these are things
are going to take place before the destruction of
Now think about this if Jesus was going to give us some sort of signs to look for when the end of time was going to occur don’t you think he would have given us something better than the vague descriptions? When do we not have these type of things occurring throughout history. I also want to point out that the text does not say that these signs will increase during this time but they will simply be happening. Please note the following,
Vincent notes that between this prophecy by Jesus
in 30 A.D. and the destruction of Jerusalem there was an earthquake in Crete in
46-47 A.D. at Rome in 51 A.D. at Apamaia in Phrygia in 60 A.D and at Campania
in 41 -54 A.D. He also note 4 famines during the reign of Claudius in 41 – 54
A.D. One of these famines are taught in Acts 11:28. Also an early writer named
Tacitus (Annals xvi. 10-13) describes hurricanes and storms in
There are more events I
could list but these are sufficient enough to show that they had those things
happening before the destruction of
Matthew 24:9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
The Book of Acts clearly reveals the fulfillment of this prediction. The apostles were beaten and put in prison (Acts 4--5), Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 6--7), there was a great persecution against the church (Acts 8--9), and James was beheaded (Acts 12:1-2) just to name a few.
Now Mark adds this in his account,
Mark 13:11 "But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
This certainly limits these events that were going to happen to the first century because when they were arrested the Holy Spirit would give them the words by which to speak. Now this would be a study all with in itself but we know that 1 Cor. 13 and Eph. 4 and other passages make it clear the miraculous speaking of tongues and the like were limited to the 1st century because only the apostles had the ability to impart miraculous gifts by the laying on of their hands and so this cannot happen today even though there some who claim that they can speak by means of the Holy Spirit or perform miracles today.
Matthew 24:10 "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Again, these are things that will happen
before the destruction of
"Tacitus, the Roman historian, records, `that several Christians at first were apprehended, and then by their discovery, a multitude of others were convicted, and cruelly put to death, with derision and insult!'"
Now when a person get to
verse 13 they might want to apply that to salvation in heaven and it certainly
is true that if we endure as Christians to the of end of lives we will be
saved. But, based on context I do not believe this verse is talking about
salvation of the soul. Luke adds that not one hair of their head would be lost.
Since Jesus goes on from this verse and tells His disciples what they can do to
escape the destruction that is going to take place I believe he saying that
those who endure and don’t allow themselves to be tricked by the false signs
will not lose their physical life at the destruction of
Josephus and others back
this historical fact up because not 1 Christians was recorded of losing their
life during the destruction of
Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
This is another important verse because whatever the end is that these verses have been talking about cannot occur until the gospel is preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations. Those who teach the rapture theory would say that this has not happened yet watch what the Bible says,
Colossians 1:5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world,
Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Also Rom 10:18 and 16:26 all show that the gospel had indeed been
preached to all the world. The Book of Colossians was written around 61 -63 A.D and the book of Romans was
written around 57-58 A.D. which
clearly shows that the gospel had be preached to all the world before the
destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. So, clear we can see that end Jesus is
talking about here it the destruction of
Matthew 24:15 " Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),
The word abomination
means detestable things having to do with idolatry and the word desolation
means destruction. We also note the Jesus says that Daniel spoke of this event.
Now talks about abomination of desolation in chapter 9, 11 and 12. In all 3
chapters this is used to describe the defilement of the temple. But the
specific prophecy Jesus is talking about has to do with 70 weeks of Daniel in
Chapter 9: 24- 27. Now I wish I had the time today to take a look at that
prophecy but I simply do not have time. But, don’t worry because next week we
look at closer. When you read those in Daniel it will I think its pretty easy
to see Jesus and the destruction of
Luke version shows
exactly what Jesus has in mind about the abomination of desolation that they
could see and know the
Luke 21:20 But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.
Also earlier in the book of Luke Jesus makes the same prediction.
Luke 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 "For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 "and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
So without a doubt the
abomination of desolation was Roman army lead by Titus who did this very thing
in 70 A.D which lead to the destruction of
In the very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman Government, and that our country should be made desolate by them. (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 10:11:7)
And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious (sah-dish-us) into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings lying round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple, and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator. (imp-ar-tor) (Josephus, War of the Jews, 6:6:1)
It should be easy for
everyone to see that Jesus is without doubt taking about the destruction of
Jerusalem and some future event that is suppose to place sometime in our life
time. The next verse that follow will continue to show that Jesus is talking
about local event that would only apply the people at
Matthew 24:15 Therefore when you see the
'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the
holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in
Jesus is telling when we
see the army on it way to surround
Verse 17 shows us that
he is talking about those living then in
Matthew 24:19 "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
Again this gives us more
proof the Jesus is talking about the destruction of
Matthew 24:21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.
Now at this point I want to point out little bit
of history. Starting in 66 A.D. the Jews and Romans began to fight one another.
Most believe the Zealots were the instigators of this struggle. Josephus in
book war of Jews Book 2 chapter 19 tells about how the roman General Cestius
This is an ugly scene but was just as Jesus said
it would be. Now it is also interesting to note that not 1 Christian is
recorded as be put to death by the Romans during this siege in 70 A.D. In fact
early writers say that many Christians fled from
Matthew 24:23 "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. 24 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 "See, I have told you beforehand. 26 "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. 27 "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Here Jesus is re-emphasizing his point from earlier. Don’t be fooled by false Christ or false prophets because when Jesus comes it will be like lighting that flashes across the sky. This shows that when Jesus comes everyone will know about it and it also show that it will happen suddenly.
28 "For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
This a proverb the Jesus says here. I believe the carcass is speaking the Jewish nation which was dead immorally and spiritually just as Jesus told them they were in Mat. 23. Now we all know birds of prey will be attracted by a dead carcass and they come in and devour it. This word eagle or vulture in some translation was used in the OT to describe a foreign nation coming upon the Jewish nation for punishment." (cf. Deut. 28:49; Hos. 8:1; Hab. 1:8). So, This is talking about the Romans coming to devour the Jewish nation by destroying their city in 70 A.D.