Israel in the Tribulation – Part I
One of God’s purposes for the Tribulation period is the preparation of the nation of Israel for the Kingdom to begin at the return of the Messiah in fulfilling the Covenants. Christ gives the answer to the disciple’s eschatological questions with in remarkable chronological order
I. Christ’s teaching His disciples at the Mount of Olives – The chronology is given in Matthew 24:1 – 25; 46.
A. The context –– Judgment and blindness on Israel – Chapter 23
1. Given two days before His death - (Matthew 26:1-2)
2. Given just after the condemnation of the Pharisees – (Matthew 23:13-36)
3. Also just after stating judgment and the “blindness upon the nation of Israel” – (Matthew 23:37-39)
4. Spoken to His disciples still classed as Jews – He was talking to Jews about Jews
5. In chapter 24, He teaches the overthrow of Jerusalem – (Matthew 24:1-2)
B. The Disciples Questions – eschatological significance
1. Undoubtedly the promise of His return sparked the questions - (Matthew 23:39)
2. When shall these things be? – the answer is given in Mark
Luke 21:20 ¶ And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
Luke 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
Luke 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
Luke 21:23 But woe unto 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.
Luke 21:24 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.
3. What shall be the sign of your coming, and the end of the world (age)?
a. Matthew 24 and 25 was written to answer this question.
b. It is answered in strict chronological order
C. The Interpretation – (from Gaebelein, The Gospel According to Matthew Pages 175-176)
1. The Amellennialist view
“The most widespread interpretation of this part of the discourse is that it was all fulfilled in the past. The great tribulation is a thing of the past and the Lord Jesus Christ came again in the destruction of Jerusalem. (This is the foolish spiritualizing method, destroying the Word and eternal Covenants.)”
2. The Post-Tribulation Rapturist view
“Another mode of explaining these first predictions of the Olivet Discourse is to apply them to this Christian age in which we live. …..They tell us that the Lord describes this entire Christian age and especially the closing of it, the end. Then they maintain that the church is to remain on the earth in this end of the age. and to pass through the great tribulation, and therefore the the exortations contained in this chapter are meant for Christian believers living in the end of the age…”
3. The Pre-Tribulation Rapturist view
“There remains the third way of interpreting these words of our Lord: It is to look upon these predictions about the end of the Jewish age as being still future. This is the right and only key to understand these verses…..the Olivet Discourse of our Lord is a prediction of how the Jewish age will end”
D. The Tribulation Period
The First Half of the Tribulation
Revelation Chapter 6
The First Seal – revealing a false Christ on a white horse, who establishes a temporary peace. Revelation 6:1-2
The First Prophecy – “Many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ”. Matthew 24:5
The Second Seal – revealing a man on a red horse to whom is given a great sword, and who will take peace from the earth…that they should kill one another. Revelation 6:4
The Second Prophecy - ….”wars and rumours of wars….. nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”. Matthew 24:6-7
The Third Seal – revealing a man on a black horse with balances in his hand (depicting famine) Revelation 6:5-6
The Third Prophecy - …”and there shall be famines…..” Matthew 24:7
The Fourth Seal – revealing a man, (death) on a pale horse killing with sword, hunger and beasts. Revelation 6:6:7-8
The Fourth Prophecy – “…and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Matthew 24:7
The Last Half of the Tribulation
All these are the beginning of sorrows. Matthew 24:9
Daniel 9:27 - 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place…..Matthew 24:15
The Fifth Seal – the souls that were slain for the Word of God, who from under the altar cry, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on earth.” Revelation 6:9-11
The Fifth Prophecy – “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.” Matthew 24:9
E. The Lord’s Outline of Tribulation Events
1. The first half of the week, Israel will experience the chastisements of the events of Matthew 24:4-8 and the seals of Revelation 6.
2. They will dwell in relative safety under the false covenant – Daniel 9:27
3. In the middle of the week great persecution will break out Matthew 24:9, Revelation 12:12-17.
4. This will be by the great desolator – Matthew 24:15 II Thessalonians 2, Revelation 13:1-10.
5. This great desolator will cause Israel to flee from the land – Matthew 24:16-20.
6. Unbelieving Israel will be deceived by the false prophet – Matthew 24:11, Revelation 13:11-18.
7. This unbelieving Israel will go into apostasy – Matthew 24:12, II Thessalonians 2:11
8. Believing Israel will be a witnessing people, carrying the good news that these events show the coming of the Messiah. Matthew 24:14.
9. The Tribulation period will terminate with the coming of the Messiah – Matthew 24:27
F. The Second Coming of the Messiah – Matthew 24:30-37
1. It will take place immediately after the tribulation of those days – Matthew 24:29
2. It will be preceded by signs – Matthew 24:30
3. Here the sign is not revealed, while many signs have preceded – Matthew 24:4-26, but a unique sign will show the second advent.
4. This coming will be sudden – Matthew 24:27
5. This coming will be evident – Matthew 24:30
His power and glory will be manifested throughout the earth.
G. The Regathering of Israel
1. The event to follow the second coming is regathering of Israel – Matthew 24:30
2. They had been scattered because of the anger of Satan – Revelation 12:12
3. They had been scattered because of the desolation of the beast – Matthew 24:15
4. According to the promise, they will be back on their land, Palestinian Covenant – Deuteronomy 30:3-4; Ezekiel 20:37-38; 37:1-14.
5. This regathering is through a special ministry of angels – Matthew 24:31
6. The “elect” of Matthew 24:31 is in reference to the saints of that program that God is now dealing with, Israel. Daniel 7:18, 22, 27.
H. The Parables shed light on the Tribulation
1. The parable of the fig tree – Matthew 24:32-35 – “The certainty of His Coming”
a. When the things of which Christ had just spoken, including the beginnings of travail, begin to come to pass, it is certain that He is near, even at the doors.
b. The generation is the generation of Jews at this time
2. Exhortation to Watchfulness – Matthew 24:36-51 –
a. Reference to the days of Noah - After showing the certainty of His Coming, an exhortation to watchfulness – be prepared. – Matthew 24:36-39
b. The Two in the field – the unexpectedness of His return is emphasized – Matthew 24:40
c. The Two at the Mill – Again emphasizing the unexpectedness – Matthew 24:41-42
d. Again in Goodman and The faithful and unfaithful servants – Matthew 24:43-50
3. The parable of the ten virgins – Matthew 24:25:1-13 – The key to this parable is verse 10: “and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”
a. The ten virgins represent the remnant of Israel after the church has been taken. The five wise virgins are the believing remnant , the foolish virgins the unbelieving who only profess to be looking for the Messiah’s coming in power.
b. The virgins do not represent the church
1. The use of “then” in Matthew 25:1, continues the events of Israel’s as the interruption in Matthew 24:32.
2. The Lord is returning to the marriage feast, He must be accompanied by the bride – those watching on the earth can not be the bride
3. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, but not used exclusively in the church age.
4. The wise and unwise went to meet the bridegroom – definitely not the rapture
5. In Revelation 19:7-16, the weeding supper follows the wedding. Luke 12:35-36 teaches that while the marriage is in heaven, the marriage feast is on the earth. – the parable then shows the Bridegroom and the bride returning from the wedding. going to the marriage supper on earth, to which the five wise virgins will be admitted, the unwise will be excluded.
6. The key is verse 10, “they that were ready went in with him to the marriage [feast].” – The Lord is teaching that following His second advent, and the regathering of Israel, there will be a judgment of the living Israel, to determine who is going into the kingdom, and who is excluded.
4. The parable of the talents – Matthew 25:14-30
a. Further illustrates that Israel will be judged at the Second Advent to determine who will go into the Millennium
b. When the Lord Appears – this parable along with Ezekiel 20
1. He will reckon with the remnant of Israel (Ezekiel 20)
2. He will determine who will receive the kingdom blessing – enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” is the entrance into the land – Matthew 25:21, 23; Ezekiel 20:40-42
3. The fate of the unprofitable servant who was cast inro outer darkness is the, “They shall not enter into the land of Israel” in Ezekiel 20:37,38
I. The Judgment of the Gentile Nations – Matthew 25:31-46
A. To Determine who, of the Gentile Nations, will “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” – Matthew 25:34
B. A judgment on the living individual Gentiles after the Second Advent
C. Not to be confused with the judgment of the dead at the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15
D. It has been preceded by a great revival during the tribulation by the believing remnant and the 144,000.
E. This judgment is in response to that preaching.