THE TEMPLE, THE TRIBULATION, AND TIME OF SECOND COMING OF CHRIST #51
The Lord continues His instruction of the disciples. Three questions are ask, two of them are answered in Matthew’s gospel. It is noteworthy that the questions are grouped in threes. The student would be amazed to find how often that number is found in this gospel. The question as to when the temple would be destroyed has been answered, and is given great detail in the gospel of Luke. (Luke 19:41-44; 21:20-24.) The destruction of the temple happened in 70 A. D.
- “The Jews were crucified in such numbers before the walls during the siege that the Romans wanted more room for crosses. Multitudes in the city died of famine until the valleys outside were filled with them. Titus himself groaned and threw up his hands in horror and called God to witness that he was not responsible. No fewer than 600,000 who were thrown out the gates were counted by the Romans. Altogether 1,100,000 Jews died; 97,000 were sold as slaves for trifling prices; 40,000 were freed because no one bought them; and 347,490 more, plus multitudes not counted, perished in many other ways.” Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible
The other two questions are prefaced with a warning about deception. They might be deceived by false prophets, by wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. These are only the beginning of sorrows for the Jews. They would be afflicted, killed, and hated of all nations because they believe the Messianic promises and covenants. This would include the promise of the land to Israel, and the Kingdom given to the Son of David.
Most of Israel reject their own Scriptures, and do not believe the promises of God. Thus, the secular and atheistic Jews will betray and hate those of their own nation. “Nevertheless… it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. “Luke 13:33.
The Tribulation will center on the destruction of the Jewish nation. The Antichrist, Satan, and the false prophet will target them. Two thirds of the nation will be destroyed. One third will remain to fight the Antichrist, and a new nation will be born again. (“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” Zechariah 13:9.) These who endure to the end of the Tribulation will be saved, physically, to enter the Kingdom.
The fourth sowing of the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached by the remnant in all the world. The content will be that the return of Jesus, the Messiah and King is imminent. Then the end of this age will end.
The Lord now gives added details to the Tribulation. Concerning the signs of His coming, none is more evident than that which was spoken by Daniel the prophet. This is none other than the Antichrist who will set up his headquarters at Jerusalem in the last half of the Tribulation. His goal is the final solution, he thinks,to rid the world of the Jewish problem. He will enter the temple and desecrate it. Whatever it is, the Lord warns the Jews to get out of Jerusalem when they witness this abomination. These are probably the Jews who flee as recorded in Revelation 12:6. “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” Revelation 12:6.
Satan returns to Jerusalem to pour his wrath on those who failed to flee. Jesus says, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” The elect are righteous Jews.
One should never believe sighs and wonders unless they are validated by Scripture, and confirmed by the dispensation in which they appear. The only thing that will keep the informed Jews from deception is a knowledge of the Scriptures. One can understand why the masses will be deluded. Most are ignorant of the Bible and right divisions.
We are not sure what this sign is. It may be the appearing itself. Once Jesus comes to Jerusalem, He send his angels to gather His elect throughout the earth back to Israel. The signs mentioned are their clear warning of His coming. The generation at that time will witness all until all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth will ultimately pass away, but the words of Christ will never fail.
As man, Jesus deprived Himself of the knowledge of the day and hour. This is a mystery. He was very God, and very man. Only His Father knew the exact time of His coming.
Jesus did know the conditions that would exist. The world attitude will be exactly as it was in the days Noe entered the ark. They were indifferent to the preaching of Noe, and were ignorant of the time and signs. Such is it today. Most of the world refuses to believe the Scriptures, or the moral condition of the times. They are busy with their plans, their families, and their comfort. “And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
The ones taken are taken in judgment, as the flood waters took away the wicked. Those left, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The parable in Matthew 13 clarifies this event. The tares are gathered into bundles and burned. The wheat is gathered into the barn. The bad fish are gathered up and cast away, the good are kept. This has nothing to do with the rapture of the church. It will have been raptured long before this event. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:43. After the wicked are taken in judgment, the righteous will enjoy the thousand year Kingdom of Heaven.
The reward and warning is for that generation. Those who are wise will not be negligent nor taken by surprise at His coming. This is a works salvation. The faithful will be rewarded. Those who begin to doubt His coming and mistreat his brethren, and backslide into the world will be cut asunder and appointed a portion with the hypocrites.
A right division of the Word, will help anyone see that the church, the body of Christ, is not the subject of Matthew. The theme is the Kingdom of Heaven. It is earthly, literal, and conditional. The church of this dispensation is heavenly, has not earthly promises, and unconditional.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.