The Passion of Christ – Part Five – Mark 13:1-37

 

Thus far in our section on The Passion of Christ we have seen Jesus’ passion flows from the love of God (Mark 9), Jesus’ passion for evangelism (Mark 10), Jesus’ passion for building faith (Mark 11), Jesus’ passion to give an answer (Mark 12) and now we will see Jesus’ passion for prophetic preparation and warning.    

 

Jesus’ Passion to Use Prophecy to Provoke Interest that Fosters Preparation

 

Mark 13:1-4 – “Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately,4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”  [1]

After His warning about the scribal religious pretenders (Mark 12:38-44) Jesus departs from the Temple confines where He has been teaching. His disciples accompany Him as He travels east from the City of Jerusalem, down the Kidron Valley, over the Brook Kidron and up the slopes of the Mount of Olives which oversees the City and where the Temple was situated. 

 

As they leave His disciples convey their awe of the massive Temple structure. The disciples are impressed with the size and magnificence of the Temple (Mark 13:1; Matthew 24:1). Remember, at this point in history there was no Dome of the Rock, just the Temple of God on this huge platform in the City.  Josephus the Jewish historian tells us that the foundation stones of the Temple were 20 feet high, 20 feet wide and 40 feet long. It’s estimated these stones weighed approximately 110 tons each. These massive carved stones were so perfectly fit together that a knife could not be wedged between them. These huge foundation stones can bee seen today in Jerusalem. He goes on to describe the Temple in the following way:

 

Now the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men’s minds or their eyes; for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn away, just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were coming to it at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white. On it stop it had spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it. Of its stones, some of them were forty-five cubits in length, five n height, and six in breadth. (Quoted in The Evidence Bible  page 1269 from The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, The Works of Flavius Josephus)

 

How did Jesus feel about this structure?  His response is noteworthy, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mark 13:2; Matthew 24:2).   Jesus was not impressed with the massive manmade structure anymore than He was impressed with the outward show of religiosity demonstrated by the Pharisees and scribes. Instead Jesus said a time would come when every stone of this Temple will be torn down. The disciples were dumbfounded. The Temple was so imbedded in their way of life that to hear that it would be destroyed moved them to associate such demise with the “end of the age” (Matthew 24:3). This is what drives them to inquire, ““Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”  (Mark 13:4). In Matthew’s account the sense of the disciple’s inquiry is a bit more specific saying, “And what will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?”  (Matthew 24:3).  

 

The Immediate Historical Fulfillment

 

Jesus’ prophetic words are faithful and true. That is why Jesus holds the title of “Faithful and True” (Revelation 3:14; 19:11; 22:6). True to His prophetic prediction, in 70 A.D., less than 40 years after Jesus spoke prophetically about the Temple’s destruction, the Roman general Titus invaded Jerusalem to put down an uprising.  It was then that the city was destroyed. It was also at this time that the name of the land was changed from Israel (lit. “Governed by God”) to “Palestine(lit. “Land of the Philistines”).

 

Historical documents tell us that initially Titus commanded his soldiers to not desecrate the Temple confines. But in the razing of the City and Temple area a drunken soldier threw a torch into the Temple, which started an intense fire.   The fire was so hot that the gold inlays of the Temple melted and seeped into crevices of the structure. The soldiers began pulling apart the Temple stone by stone to get at the gold. When they were finished not one stone was left on another! The massive structure had been destroyed and Jesus’ prophecy fulfilled just as He said it would be. Josephus describes the event this way:

 

They carried away every stone of the sacred temple, partially in a frenzied search for every last piece of gold ornamentation melted in the awful heat of the fire. They then plowed the ground level, and since it had already been sown with its defender’s blood, they sowed it with salt. (Quoted in The Evidence Bible page 1229 from Josephus’ Wars of the Jews).

 

The wall was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. (Quoted in The Evidence Bible page 1269 from Josephus, The Wars of the Jews.)

 

You can count on the prophetic word of Jesus to thoroughly and completely, to faithfully come to pass just as He says. Jesus is always true to His word. That should give us pause to take seriously what He taught prophetically in His Olivet Discourse. But it should also move us to be hopeful because He will come back just as surely as what He said about the Temple came to pass. Jesus’ prophetic word gives us hope (Romans 15:4, 10).

 

But Wait, There’s More to the Story

 

This was not the end-all in regards to the prophetic word of Jesus given in Mark 13 (Matthew 24; Luke 21). Realize that this was only the beginning. The events mentioned by Jesus in this chapter point us to a more future fulfillment. That Jesus was giving a prophetic word that included and was concerned with a far distant time beyond the 70 A.D. destruction of the Temple is seen in the following references.

 

First, Jesus referred to a period of Tribulation that would be unmatched and the worst in all of history.  Jesus said:

 

  • Mark 13:19 - “For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.” [2]

While the 70 A.D. fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple was a horrific event that saw serious genocide against the Jewish people, it was not the worst in history and therefore could not be the complete fulfillment of what Jesus was referring to. In World War II the Nazis murdered over 6 million Jews and millions others. Even that is not the worst in history because Jesus said the Tribulation He spoke of would surpass all other tribulations in severity. There is a Tribulation period to come on earth that will surpass all others.

Second, Jesus referred to a cataclysmic solar, lunar and universal upheaval. Jesus says:

  • Mark 13:24-25 - “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;25 “the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” [3]

There was no cataclysmic solar, lunar, or universal upheaval associated with the 70 A.D. destruction of the Temple and fall of Jerusalem. Therefore, Jesus must be referring to events that are to be fulfilled in a yet future time.

Third, Jesus referred to His Second Coming. Jesus said:

  • Mark 13:26 - “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” [4]

Since Jesus did not return in the clouds in power and glory, the fulfillment of His word is still future and beyond the 70 A.D. events.

Fourth, Jesus speaks of the gathering of the elect. Jesus said:

  • Mark 13:27 - “And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.”  [5]

After the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple there was no gathering of the elect “from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.” Jesus is speaking about events that are in part to be fulfilled in the future.

Fifth, Jesus speaks of the rebirth of Israel. Jesus said:

  • Mark 13:28 - “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.” [6]

That the “fig tree” refers to Israel is in line with other portions of Scripture which use the fig tree to symbolically refer to Israel (Jeremiah 23:8; Romans 11:32). At the time of Jesus prophecy Israel was still a nation. After 70 A.D. Israel was scattered and dispersed as a nation. Jesus’ reference to the fig tree is an allusion to the rebirth of Israel. Interestingly, Israel was reborn as a nation and returned to her land on May 14th, 1948 and took Jerusalem back in 1967.

These five facts tip us off that what Jesus refers to in the Olivet Discourse is not only referring to what was fulfilled in 70 A.D., but has implications for future prophetic fulfillment as well.

Don’t Be Deceived

Jesus exhorted the disciples to guard against being deceived over and over again in the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13:5, 9, 14, 21,22,23,29, 33, 35, and 37). With this exhortation in mind, we who look at this passage some 2000 years after Jesus initially taught it need to keep a few things in mind here.

First, Jesus is speaking to His Jewish disciples. The Olivet Discourse pertains primarily to Israel, not the Jewish-Gentile Church. This is very important! That Jesus is speaking primarily to Israel is evidenced in His reference to Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 Weeks which is specifically and only referring to God’s plan for Israel in the latter days (Daniel 9:24-27). If we look at Jesus’ teaching as pertaining to the Church we mistakenly conclude that the Church will go through this Tribulation of all tribulations referred to here by Jesus.

That the LORD is speaking in regards to the trouble Israel in particular, (not the church) will encounter in this Tribulation is evidenced by a number of things in this passage.

 

First, that Jesus makes reference to the “abomination of desolation,” which is taken from Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy which pertains specifically and exclusively to Israel, supports the view that these verses are aimed at Israel and not the Gentile church (Mark 13:14-18; Matthew 24:15). The phrase “abomination of desolation” is an excerpt from a prophecy found in the book of Daniel who prophesied to the exiles of Israel in the sixth century B.C. This quote of Jesus comes from a very distinct and incredible prophecy of Daniel which has come to be referred to as The Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy and pertains exclusively to Israel. We will discuss this in greater detail below.

 

Second, if Jesus were talking about a church that would become predominantly Gentile in the future, He would not have concerned Himself with stipulations about the Sabbath. While the Sabbath is not mentioned in Mark’s account of the Olivet Discourse, it is in Matthew’s account (Matthew 24:20). The Sabbath was something that God arranged by eternal perpetual covenant with Israel (Exodus 31:12-18). The early church began meeting on the first day of the week, Sunday (the day after the Sabbath) to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus on a weekly basis (as mentioned in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2). Mention of the Sabbath pertains particularly to Jews.

 

Third, Jesus’ use of the word “elect” seems to support a reference to Israel (Mark 13:22, 27; Matthew 24:22, 24, 31). In both the Old and New Testaments Israel is referred to as the “elect” of God as we see in the following verses:

 

·         Isaiah 45:4 – “For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.”   [7]

·         Isaiah 65:9 – “I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, And from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there.”  [8]

·         Romans 11:28 – “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.”  [9]

While some argue that the “elect” can refer to Christians, it seems that the context here supports the view that Jesus is speaking particularly to Israel here.

Fourth, Jesus uses the symbol of the fig tree, which is an accepted Biblical symbol for Israel (Mark 13:28-31; Matthew 24:32-35). Based on the imagery used in Jeremiah 24 and elsewhere in the Bible, it seems very clear that Jesus is speaking of Israel when using the “fig tree.” 

Second, the Church does not go through the Tribulation. The Olivet Discourse of Jesus (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) is a detailed prophetic description by Jesus of the period in history known as The Tribulation. The Tribulation is a particular seven year period in history during which God pours out His wrath on a Christ-rejecting world in part to fumigate and prepare the world for the return of His Son Jesus to set up His Kingdom which will reign for 1000 years on earth (Revelation 20).  It is this humble teacher’s belief and understanding that the Church does not go through the Tribulation based on the following reasons.

 

The Church does not go through the Tribulation

 

If Jesus is speaking to Israel and not the church in this passage, then where is the church? I believe the church will not go through the Tribulation period described here by Jesus (see Revelation 6-19). If the church does not go through the Tribulation, then where is it during the Tribulation and why doesn’t it go through the Tribulation? Let’s answer these questions one-step at a time.

 

First, Christians do experience trials. Any disciple who has been a Christian for any amount of time accepts the reality that Christians experience trials and the Bible teaches us this too (John 16:33; James 1:2-5; 1 Peter 1:6-9; 4:12-19; 5:8-11). Jesus said:

 

  • John 16:33 - “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  [10]

While the Christian does have trials or “tribulation” in this world, (which is obvious), the source of trials during the Tribulation is markedly different than those we experience now.

 

Second, while Christians do experience trials in life, they are saved from God’s wrath. Part of the good news of the gospel is that a believer will not experience the wrath of God. The Bible teaches that believers are saved from God’s wrath (Genesis 18:23-33):

 

·          Romans 5:8-9 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”  [11]

·         Romans 8:1 – “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”  [12]

·         1 Thessalonians 1:10 – “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  [13]

·         1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 – “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”  [14]

Third, the Tribulation is a period where God pours out His wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. Satan is the author of trials and tribulations for the believer in our world now (just ask Job – Job 1-2). Now in Revelation 12:12 it does mention that Satan has come down and is wrathful because he knows his time is short, but Satan’s wrath is only incidental and secondary to the wrath of God during the Tribulation. But during the seven-year Tribulation period it will be God who brings the trials and tribulations to earth. The Bible clearly teaches that the Tribulation is a period in history where God purges and fumigates the world of sinners as preparation for the coming Millennial Kingdom of His Son Jesus. The Tribulation is a time when God pours out His wrath on earth to accomplish this task. We see this in the following verses taken from Revelation 6-19, which is the most definitive description of what occurs during the Tribulation period: 

 

  • Revelation 6:16-17 – “and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!17 “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”   [15]
  • Revelation 11:18 – “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”   [16]
  • Revelation 14:19 – “So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.”   [17]
  • Revelation 15:1,7 – “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. . . . 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever.”  [18]
  • Revelation 16:1 – “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”  [19]
  • Revelation 16:19 – “Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.”  [20]
  • Revelation 19:11-16 – “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  [21]

The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath will be poured out on a Christ-rejecting world.

 

Fourth, if Christians are saved from God’s wrath and the Tribulation is a time of God’s outpoured wrath, then Christians will not experience the Tribulation. In the book of Revelation Jesus promises that the church would be removed before the Tribulation. We see this in the following verse:

 

  • Revelation 3:10 - “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”  [22]

Furthermore, in the most detailed account of the events of the Tribulation given in Revelation 6-19, the church is not mentioned! The absence of the church in these chapters, which focus on the events that are happening on the earth, supports the view that the church is not on the earth during this time. The church is conspicuous by her absence and is in heaven with Jesus.

 

Fifth, in response to the question of how the church will be spared going through the Tribulation, the means by which Christians will be spared the events of this period is the Rapture, Jesus’ means to remove the church from the world before the Tribulation. The Bible teaches the church will be “caught up” (Greek HARPADZO) and meet Jesus in the air. We see this mentioned in the letter of the Thessalonians where it states:

 

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”  [23]

Because the rapture saves believers from the wrath of God to come, it is the blessed hope of the church:

 

  • Titus 2:13 – “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”  [24]  

 

Sixth, Jesus instructed disciples to pray to escape the Tribulation. In Luke’s parallel account of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus says to watch and pray that they would escape the future time of God’s outpoured wrath:

 

·         Luke 21:36 - “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  [25]

Jesus would not have instructed His disciples to pray to escape the wrath to come unless it was possible. If disciples were destined to go through the Tribulation as some teach (e.g. those who hold to a Post-Tribulation Rapture theory) then Jesus instruction is not only misguided but also cruel. And Jesus is not cruel!

 

Seventh, Jesus promised to take His disciples to the place He has been preparing since His ascension. He said this in the following verses:

 

·         John 14:1-3 - “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”  [26]

In these verses Jesus promises to take His disciples to be with Him where He is, heaven. This is what happens at the Rapture of the Church. Some say the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus are one and the same. But that causes a great number of problems scripturally. If Jesus is referring to the Second Coming in these verses then when He says He is coming to receive the disciples to Himself so that they can be with Him where He is it would mean they would meet Him in the clouds briefly and then do a U-turn and return to earth with Jesus to set up His kingdom on earth. That is nonsensical. No, Jesus is speaking of the Rapture in these verses. The Rapture and the Second Coming are particularly distinct (though sometimes the phrase Second Coming can be used as an umbrella reference to both the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the Tribulation).

 

But I want you to think of something else.  If Jesus created the universe in six days, imagine what He has prepared for us if He has worked for 2000 years! Are you ready Disciple? Are you ready for the Rapture? Be ready and let the prospect of going to be with Jesus be your blessed hope and fuels your endurance.

 

The Church does not go through the Tribulation because they have been forgiven and will not experience God’s wrath. Instead, the church will be raptured, snatched up to Jesus who comes to meet them in the clouds and take them to heaven with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

 

Why Should We Care About the Olivet Discourse?

If we are part of the Church and the Church does not go through the Tribulation, and Jesus is speaking primarily to Israel and not the Church, then why should we care about this teaching? We should care about Jesus teaching because it is Jesus’ teaching, but also because while the Church is not around for the fulfillment of this Tribulation, the Church will be around leading up to this period in history and much of what Jesus warns about is being developed right now! In other words, while the events predicted by Jesus are not full blown right now, they are in place and are developing so that we see and can be influenced by the evil that is already started and will later become the worst in all of history. We need to watch and pay attention to Jesus teaching now because we are in the latter days and we can see what He warned about developing on the horizon of history.

The “When” and the “What” of Jesus’ Prophetic Word

The question of the disciples was twofold:

·         Mark 13:4 - “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” [27]

This twofold question gives us an outline of how we and every generation of Christians should approach the times in which we live.

First, we need to understand that only the Father knows when this End Times scenario will come. Jesus said:

·         Mark 13:32 - “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” [28]

Jesus clearly teaches only the Father knows when all of His prophetic plan will be fulfilled. We can know the season, but not the exact day or hour of the End. Paul wrote:

·         1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 – “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”

Interestingly, the word “times” comes from the Greek term CHRONOS (Strong’s #5550) which refers to “an indefinite amount of time” (Matthew 2:7; Luke 1:57; Acts 15:33). The word “seasons” is translated from the Greek term KAIROS (Strong’s # 2540) which also refers to an “indefinite period of time; epoch” (Revelation 12:12). The time is indefinite in that we do not know when exactly it will begin, but we can know it generally in that it does have characteristics like a season or period of time. Like Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter we can know generally when they are coming by looking at the natural changes that occur in association with these seasons. Similarly, we can know the general time of the latter days by looking at what is going on in the world. That is what the Lord through Paul is telling us. Therefore we should watch and live with the expectation that Christ could return at any time for His church at the Rapture and that the Olivet scenario taught by Jesus could begin.

Second, because only the Father knows when all these events will occur, we need to have a sense of urgency and watchfulness about the times in which we live. The disciples who associated the destruction of the Temple with the latter days asked Jesus about when these things would happen. They were obviously concerned and wanted to know how much time they had to prepare. Both Paul and Peter died before the destruction of the Temple and both exhorted believers to be watchful for prophetic fulfillment. Below are two examples of their exhortations to be watchful:

·         Romans 13:11-14 – “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  [29]

·         2 Peter 3:9-15 – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,” [30]

While Paul and Peter exhorted Christians to be watchful prior to the destruction of the Temple and fall of Jerusalem, John, who lived until nearly thirty years after this event continued to exhort believers to be watchful. This further proves that what Jesus spoke about the Olivet Discourse has a yet future fulfillment. But it also makes the point that even Christians in the present day should be watchful for the return of Jesus.

John wrote what Jesus said to the church at Sardis:

  • Revelation 3:2-3,10 - “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.3 “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.10 “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” [31]

The book of Revelation was written toward the end of the first century nearly thirty years after the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. Yet John records that Jesus exhorts the church at Sardis to continue to be watchful  for His return (compare reference to “thief” in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).

John also wrote:

  • 1 John 2:18 – “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.” [32]
  • 1 John 2:28 – “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” [33]
  • 1 John 3:2-3 – “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” [34]

John’s first epistle was also written at the end of the first century. This is further proof that every generation of Christian is to have a watchful attitude.

Third, since we do not know when Jesus will return to Rapture His Church and  when the Olivet scenario will begin, we ought to take heed to what signs  Jesus said would characterize the latter days leading up to and  coming to full bloom in the Tribulation. We need to pay close attention and be vigilant to watch the development of the signs around us that Jesus spoke about. We need to be vigilant and discern the “season” in which we live (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). As we see the pieces to the prophetic puzzle fall into place, we can get a greater sense of how close they are, we can see the season by looking at the prophetic foliage.

RPMs – Revelations Per Minute

There is another point to be made here. It is not just that we see these various signs happening because one could argue that false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and natural upheaval, famines, troubles, persecutions, and the spread of  the gospel have been occurring throughout history. So what’s the big deal, what’s the difference? The difference is in the intensity and frequency of the signs.

 

In the opening verse of the book of Revelation it states:

 

  • Revelation 1:1 – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,”  [35]

An interesting and important word used in this opening verse is the word “shortly.” The word “shortly” is translated from the Greek phrase EN TACHE (Strong’s # 1722 & 5034) that means “speedily; quickly; shortly.” We get the English word tachometer from these words. The idea here is that just as a tachometer measures the increase in RPMs (i.e. Revolutions Per Minute)in an engine, the rapidity, frequency, and intensity of the events leading up to the end times will also be ever increasing. In a sense RPMs can be sued to refer to Revelations Per Minute. When we look at our world today there is no doubt that we are very close, very close in deed, to the end times Jesus spoke of in Mark 13? Want proof? Read on.

MARK THAT ACTION: Jesus has a passion for prophecy so that we will be interested in future events and be edified by our preparing for His return. We may not know when these events will occur, but we can get a sense of the season in which we live by alertly observing what signs are seen around us. Heed the prophetic word of Jesus He so passionately taught.

Jesus’ Passionate Prophetic Word on the Signs of the End Times

Mark 13:5-13 – “And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you.6 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.7 “But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.8 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.10 “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.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.12 “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.13 “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”   [36]

As we draw closer and closer to the Tribulation period and the end of the age, what will the world look like? What can the world expect to experience as we approach the end of the age? As we answer these questions, keep in mind that we will see many of these things as we are in the deteriorating world prior to being raptured out of the world before the Tribulation period.

 

First, false messiahs (Mark 13:5-6; Matthew 24:4-5). Jesus said:

 

·         Mark 13:5-6– “And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you.6 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.

 

It’s interesting that there were no claims to messiahship prior to Jesus. Why? Think of it this way, have you ever seen a counterfeit $3 dollar bill? $30 dollar bill? $300 dollar bill? No. Why not? Because there is no such thing. A counterfeit can only be made if an authentic original exists. In the same way, until Jesus the authentic Messiah came, there was no Messiah to counterfeit. The New Testament repeatedly warns about those who teach “another Jesus” or “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). We are to be aware of pseudo or antichrist figures (1 John 2:18-19; 4:1). Are these on the rise? The website Prophecy Central (www.bible-prophecy.com) noted the following on some recent false “Christs” in the news:

 

Dec. 3, 2002 - The Raelian sect is associated with Clonaid, which claims responsibility for inspiring production of the first human clone.. The Raelian headquarters includes a campground and museum, and a sign in bold neon-green letters that says "UFOLand." It has tear-shaped buildings, designed to evoke the form of alien spacecraft, and a billboard stating, in French and English: ``The Messiah is Alive Amongst Us.''

Source:The Miami Herald

 

Aug. 19, 2002 - Sergei Torop, [previously a traffic cop in a small Russian town] known to his followers as Vissarion, came by horseback to the Siberian hamlet of Petropavlovka, near the border of Mongolia, to deliver his annual address to thousands of Russians who believe he is Jesus. Dressed in flowing red velvet robes and sporting long dark hair, Vissarion has appeared before his growing band of followers every year on the anniversary of his revelation in 1989 that he was Christ returned.

Source:Sydney Morning Herald

 

Another potential false Christ is referred to as Maitreya. On a New Age website entitled Share International the following invitation is written:

Many now expect the return of their awaited Teacher, whether they call him the Christ, Messiah, the fifth Buddha, Krishna, or the Imam Mahdi. Millions now know that the Teacher who fulfills all these expectations is already living among us.

Maitreya, the World Teacher, has not come alone, but with a group of wise Teachers who have long guided humanity from behind the scenes.

They are returning to the everyday world to help us solve our most critical global problems. Maitreya is not a religious leader, but an educator in the broadest sense. 

He is here to inspire us to create a new era based on sharing and justice, so that all may have the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, health care, and education. 

His open mission in the world is about to begin. As Maitreya himself has said: 'Soon, now very soon, you will see my face and hear my words.

Who is Maitreya? His identity has not yet been divulged. But these words that express expectation of a “Teacher” demonstrate that the groundwork is being laid for the arrival of the leader of the End Times. Yes, there are false christs in the world today and many of them seem almost comical to the student of the Bible. But a time is coming when a very persuasive, deceptive influential charismatic leader will rise to power who will make the claim of being God and people will believe him; his title? Antichrist! (2 Thessalonians 2).

 

Secondly, wars and rumors of wars (Mark 13:6-7a; Matthew 24:6-7a). Jesus said:

 

·         Mark 13:7-8a – “But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. . . .”

Is such a sign applicable to our world today? Can we see any indication that such a sign is on the rise? The War Atlas, (a publication of The Club of Rome which is a part of the European Economic Community) reports:

 

·         Since WW II there has not been a single day of peace on the planet.

·         There are 32 million soldiers on active duty (570 million in reserve).

·         50% of world’s scientists are working on weapons

·         40% of all money spent in the field of science is to research and develop weapons.

·         USS Pennsylvania, (an atomic submarine costing 3 billion dollars) carries 24 missiles each with 15 separate warheads (each can be individually targeted) and has 40 times more killing power than all combined weapons detonated in World War II.

·         For every person on earth there is 40 tons of TNT.

 

In the January 2002 issue of Whistleblower magazine, David Kupelian, in an article entitled Preparing for the Next War,” writes the following:

 

“Americans have been conditioned somehow to go into denial about the nuclear threat. Perhaps it’s the standard Hollywood depiction of a nuclear detonation as causing the annihilation of everything – the end of the world – that causes most Americans reflexively to roll their eyes.

 

The truth is: 1) There are currently thousands of nuclear weapons in the world; 2) They are coveted by dictators, jihad madmen and would-be superpowers; and 3) they are constantly under development (or their acquisition is being negotiated) by unstable regimes run by megalomaniacal leaders.

 

If we’re going to face the fact that evil people are striving mightily to obtain, and use on Americans, the most devastating weapons possible – and after Sept. 11, who could doubt their willingness to do so – we must also understand that their favorite, and ultimate, weapon is the nuclear bomb. Nothing else will do.

 

A nuclear bomb is what turns a psychopath into a superpower leader. Not smallpox, not anthrax, not sarin gas, not jet fuel. A nuclear bomb is to a hate-filled, charismatic figure like bin Laden what a 12-gauge shotgun is in the hands of a 15-year old girl facing an attacker: It’s the great equalizer.” [37]   

 

In the same issue of Whistleblower (January 2002), Brian T. Kennedy, in an article entitled, The Urgent Need for Ballistic Missile Defense, writes:

 

“We should also note that ballistic missiles can be used not only to kill and destroy, but to commit geopolitical blackmail. In February of 1996, during a confrontation between Mainland China and our democratic ally on Taiwan, Lt. General Xiong Guang Kai, a senior Chinese official, made an implicit nuclear threat against the U.S., warning our government not to interfere because Americans “care more about Los Angeles than they do Taipei.” With a minimum of 20 Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles currently aimed at the U.S., such threats must be taken seriously. . . .

 

China possesses the DF-5 ballistic missile with a single, four-megaton warhead. Such a warhead could destroy an area of 87.5 square miles, or roughly all of Manhattan, with its daily population of three million people. Even more devastating is the Russian SS-18, which has a range of 7,500 miles and is capable of carrying a single, 24-megaton warhead or multiple warheads ranging from 550 to 750 kilotons.

 

Imagine a ballistic missile attack on New York or Los Angeles, resulting in the death of three to eight million Americans. Beyond the staggering loss of human life, this would take a devastating political and economic toll. Americans’ faith in their government – a government that allowed such an attack – would be shaken to its core. As for the economic shock, consider that damages from the Sept. 11 attack, minor by comparison, are estimated by some economists to be nearly 1.3 trillion dollars, roughly one-fifth of the GNP.”[38]

 

In the February 2004 issue of Whistleblower magazine the entire issue was devoted to a discussion of the nuclear threat in the world and was entitled, Return of the Nuclear Threat. In this issue were articles stating that there are 30 to 40 countries in the world capable of making nuclear arms. At the time of the writing of this study a hot topic of the day was the nuclear capabilities of Iran and North Korea. Another article stated that there were at least 38 “dirty bomb” warheads missing from an old weapons storage facility in the former Soviet Union. This article stated, “Less than 110kg of active ingredients could yield 10 kilotons of explosive power – a Hiroshima-size weapon. Even if the terrorists didn’t get the recipe quite right, a 1-kiloton yield could still devastate a city. And forget the suitcase: a truck will do, or a container ship to float the bomb into an American port.” (Paul Leventhal p. 36). Still another article in this issue of the magazine claimed that Osama bin Laden purchased 20 suitcase nuclear bombs for 30 million dollars from ex-KGB agents (page 39). On top of all this another article in the issue entitled What About China? stated, “According to long-time China expert Steven Mosher, Chinese President Jiang Zemin said to his central military commission, the leading generals in the People’s Liberation Army, air force and navy, that they should, ‘. . . prepare for war with the United States by the year 2008.’” (Page 16).

 

In the August 2004 issue of NewsMax magazine an article Reports Cite China as No. 1 Threat (by Charles R. Smith Page 32) had the following further information on China:

 

The U.S. government in June cited China as the No.1 threat to global security for the second time in less than a month. Both the Pentagon and the commission on U.S.-China Economic and Security Review cited Beijing as a major threat to U.S.  national security. The two reports noted that growing military capability of China combined with its predatory economic policy is aimed directly at the United States. . . .

 

The commission report also noted that China continues to proliferate advanced weapons to many of its client states, including North Korea, Pakistan and Iran. In addition, China now appears to be willing to trade weapons for oil. . . .

 

The commission report also revealed that Russia has sold China a more advanced version of the deadly Sunburn cruise missile. In addition, the commission noted that China is pursuing an advanced laser weapon for use against Taiwanese and U.S. forces. “it ahs recently been reported that China has successfully developed a laser cannon with a range of more than one hundred kilometers and might have already deployed it in Fujian Province facing Taiwan.” . . .

 

The commission’s report painted a deadly and growing picture of  the Chinese threat, with a possible conflict only a year away: “The China Affairs Department of the Democratic Progressive Party published a report on China’s basic military capabilities in which it said that Beijing had developed a ’sudden strike’ strategy to attack Taiwan. This story discussed a scenario in which an attack would consist of an initial seven minute shock and strike missile barrage that would paralyze Taiwan’s command system, followed by seventeen minutes in which Taiwan’s air space will be invaded by fighter jets. Within twenty-four hours of the strike, 258,000 Chinese troops could be deployed in Taiwan.” . . .

 

China currently is third in total defense spending, behind the U.S. and Russia, with nearly $100 billion a year now budgeted for the PLA. . . . The Pentagon report also waned that Chinese military strategists are considering the use of nuclear weapons against U.S. and Taiwanese forces. According to the Pentagon, a nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude would create an “electromagnetic” shock wave that would disrupt U.S. communications and scramble sophisticated military computers.

 

Chinese authorities have reacted explosively to the recent reports, especially over the U.S. commitment to Taiwan. . . .

 

Could China be part of the 200 hundred million man army from the east referred to in the book of Revelation? (Revelation 9:13-21).

 

The news doesn’t get any better. In the September 2004 issue of NewsMax magazine an article entitled Author: Al-Qaida has Nukes Inside U.S.  (by Stewart Stogel) stated the following:

 

A new book written by a former FBI consultant claims that al-Qaida not only has obtained nuclear devices, but also likely has them in the U.S. and will detonate them in the near future.

 

These chilling allegations appear in “Osama’s Revenge: The Next 9/11 – What the Media and the Government Haven’t Told You,” by Paul L. Williams (Prometheus Books).

 

Williams claims that al-Qaida has been planning a spectacular nuclear attack using six or seven suitcase nuclear bombs that would be detonated simultaneously in U.S. cities.

 

“They want the most bang for the buck, and that is nuclear,” Williams told NewsMax. “I expect such an attack would come between now and the end of 2005. . . .

 

Williams’ contention is not far from what U.S. intelligence believes, a source close to Homeland Security Secretary tom Ridge has told NewsMax. The source said Ridge claimed that U.S. intelligence believes terrorists already have smuggled into the U.S. actual atomic devices, as opposed to so-called “dirty nukes,” which are simply conventional bombs that help spread radiation.

 

The article goes on to say,

 

Shortly after Sept.11, Taliban leader Mullah Omar claimed the BBC that the main intent of al-Qaida was the “bigger cause,” which he described as the “destruction of America.” Asked pointedly if this meant the use of nuclear weapons against the U.S., he responded “This is not a matter of weapons. We are hopeful for God’s help. The real matter is the extinction of America. And, God willing, it will fall to the ground.

 

In light of this information and articles, it seems clear that we are living in an age of wars and rumors of wars.

 

Third, earthquakes (Mark 13:8b; Matthew 24:7). Jesus said, “And there will be . . .  earthquakes in various places.”  “In 1980 the eruption of Mt. St. Helens was equivalent to 500 atomic bombs and 400 million cubic tons of dust shot up into the air. In 2004 one of the major news stories was Mt. St. Helens volcanic activity arising again.  Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are on the rise.

 

A BBC news article entitled Nature – Humanities’ Gravest Threat dated August 9th, 2004 made the following statement:

 

Giant tsunamis, super volcanoes and earthquakes could pose a greater threat than terrorism, scientists claim. Global Geophysical Events, or "Gee Gees", as they are nick-named, are not being taken seriously enough, they say. The global community needs to monitor these risks, and develop strategies to cope in the face of a catastrophe. However, we are making good progress in reducing the threat of asteroid impacts, the researchers said during a briefing at the Royal Institution, UK. . . . Since 9/11 we have become acutely aware of the threat of terrorism. Governments worldwide are battening down the hatches and ratcheting up the security.

 

But, in terms of grave threats, are we really looking in the right direction?

Giant walls of water that can devastate coastal cities, volcanoes so big that their ash crushes houses 1,500km (932 miles) away, giant earthquakes and asteroid impacts. These are very rare events and, if we are lucky, nothing like them will happen in our lifetimes.

But in the longer term, Gee Gees may be our undoing if we do not take action. According to researchers, careful preparation could potentially save thousands of lives. . . .

"In any one year the chances of one of these things happening is probably much less than 1%," said Bill McGuire, director of the Benfield Grieg Hazard Research Centre. "But in the longer term it is 100%. "We need to raise awareness, identify threats and improve surveillance. We need to plan what we will do if these things happen." [39]

 

Sounds like good advice. The best way to plan is to build your life by faith on the rock Jesus (Matthew 7:24-27).

 

Fourth, famines (Mark 13:8c; Matthew 24:7). Jesus said:

 

·         Mark 13:8c- “. . . and there will be famines, and troubles. These are only the beginnings of sorrows.”  [40]

Studies of the global environment show that deserts increase 14.8 million square miles per year which leads to less and less land to produce the food necessary to feed an ever growing world population. In the U.S., topsoil measures 3 inches. Topsoil in the U.S. used to be like it is in Canada, 10 feet. Globally there is less food in storage than there was in 1920. The world is constantly experiencing a state of famine in various areas of the world. We are living in an age of famine.

 

Fifth, troubles (Mark 13:8). Jesus said, “and troubles . . . .”  The word “troubles” is translated from the Greek term TARASSO (Strong’s #5015) and means, “to agitate, trouble, take away ones calmness of mind, to cause one inner commotion, to render anxious and distressed, to strike one’s spirit with fear and dread.” [41] Can anyone doubt that such a feeling is on the rise in the world today? One look at the poor souls depicted on TV as begging for the lives so that they won’t be beheaded by terrorists is enough to verify that we are living in a time of great trouble.

 

It seems that there is a massive amount of things going on in the world that give us cause for trouble and anxiety. The 2004 presidential election was a source of great anxiety. The persistent possibility of a terrorist attack is scary. Even something like the price of gas going ever higher causes us trouble. Speaking of gas, I friend of mine directed me to a website called Peakoil.info When I went to the site it had the following troubling information complete with colorful graphs:

 

Did you know that energy experts are predicting the collapse of modern civilization within the next two decades? The people making these forecasts are not lunatics – they’re professionals: energy analysts, geologists, executives. The availability of oil is the number one problem. Natural gas is not far behind.

 

The point at which world oil production reaches capacity and can no longer increase is referred to as “peak oil.” World demand for oil has been increasing annually by approximately 1.9%. So far, world production has been able to keep up and prices have remained relatively stable. However, the earth’s oil supply is limited and the ability to increase the flow will son level off and then decline. The forecast for natural gas is similar. Although one half of the world’s original oil reserves will still be in the ground at peak oil, rising prices will devastate or fragile economies. The ever-widening gap between supply and demand will rapidly drive prices up beyond our ability to pay.

 

The price of virtually everything else will climb as well. Most of what we buy is delivered over great distances by fuel-thirsty trucks. IN fact may of he products themselves are derived form oil. The rapidly increasing production and shipping costs will translate into higher and higher prices on store shelves. As discretionary income is gobbled up, industries such as tourism, sports and entertainment will collapse. Crime and civil unrest will increase.

 

Will more oil be discovered? Yes. However, the rate of discovery has decreased dramatically over the past few decades and we are currently using four barrels of oil for every one barrel discovered. This cannot continue indefinitely. How long could a household last that generated only $1,000 per month while continuing to spend $4,000 per month?

 

New discoveries of oil peaked in 1964. New discoveries of oil in the U.S. peaked in 1930! No alternative form of energy currently available comes close to replacing oil. Even if one suddenly appeared, there is not enough time for the current delivery infrastructure to adjust. Peak oil is approaching at a time when government and consumer debt are at all-time highs. The current annual U.S. budget deficit is $520 billion (over half a trillion). The natural debt is well over $7 trillion. The odds of withstanding the coming economic upheaval would appear to be extremely low. Experts predict that at some point, electrical grids will begin to fall. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

 

At best, peak oil means permanent economic depression – shrinking economies. However, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that our complex and fragile industrial societies are destined to collapse into chaos, anarchy and mass starvation.

 

Hmmm, that’s not a very bright picture and certainly is cause for some troubling concerns. Perhaps someone, a charismatic figure, an ace diplomat and intellect can rise up and bring us all together; maybe an ANTICHRIST! Just a thought.

 

Sixth, persecution (Mark 13:9-13; Matthew 24:8-10). Jesus said there would be a time of great persecution of Israel in the future. Certainly when we examine history the facts bare out that Jews have been the focus of persecution more than any other people group. World wars and jihads have demonstrated this truth. But a time of persecution of the Jews is coming that will surpass even that worked by the Nazis in World War II. We see signs of such persecution when we look at how Christians are often treated in various parts of the world.

 

In the December 16th 2004 issue of WorldNet Daily the following article entitled Saudis Imprison Christian Convert- Muslim Kingdom Bars Citizens from Forsaking Islam (Printed by permission) stated the following:

 

Saudi religious police arrested a 30-year-old citizen who converted from Islam to Christianity. Emad Alaabadi, who has a wife and four children, is in prison in Jeddah after his Nov. 29 arrest in the town of Hufus, reports International Christian Concern, a Washington, D.C.-based human-rights group.

Alaabadi was driving his children home from school Nov. 29 when he was intercepted by police. The police escorted him home to drop off the children then took him to prison in Hufus before being transferred to Jeddah.

The Saudi man made contact Dec. 4 with his mother in Australia, who said he sounded very weak. ICC said if Alaabadi's case is like others, he probably has been tortured as the religious police attemp to reconvert him to Islam. Saudis are forbidden by law from converting to another religion. The kingdom bars all public expression of religion, except for its strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. No church buildings are allowed, and religious police have cracked down at times on worship in private homes. The Washington group has a report that three or four others also were arrested in connection with Alaabadi's case. . . .

International Christian Concern (www.persecution.org) noted that in a news story from Norway’s Forum 18 news service (article by Felix Corley, Ed.) published December 17th, 2004, stated that in Azerbaijan, “A Protestant Pastor has described what Christians want to Forum 18 News Service as "we want freedom – freedom in society, freedom of faith and freedom to worship, freedom from the state so that it no longer interferes." One example of many incidents was a police raid in which the police halted a worship service, questioned all those present, and later tried to recruit the church leader as an informer. That congregation has been unable to meet for worship since. Police raids and harassment take place throughout Azerbaijan, with many believers involved being too frightened to speak out. As one pastor put it, ‘sometimes their own relatives don't even know they've become Christians.’. . .”

Persecution is often covered up for political expediency by governments. Jesus said,

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10). [42] We need to pray for the persecuted brethren throughout the world. Israel at present is experiencing terror attacks on almost a daily basis. We live in a world rampant with persecution of Christians and Jews.

 

Seventh, the gospel will be spread throughout the world (Mark 13:10; Matthew 24:13-14). Jesus said:

 

·         Mark 13:10 - “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.”  [43]

This is a verse that has been often misinterpreted and greatly abused. The return of Christ is not dependent on our  preaching of the Gospel throughout the world. The return of Christ will occur according to the Father’s set time. Many use Matthew 24:14 as a call to missions, but the Gospel will be preached throughout the world during the Tribulation by 144,000 apostle Paul-like messianic evangelists (Revelation 7), two witnesses (Revelation 11), Tribulation saints  (Revelation 12) and angels who fly throughout the world warning against the antichrist (Revelation 14:6-7).

 

It’s interesting that in Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, he made the following comment in the opening lines of his letter:

 

·         Colossians 1:3-6 – “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;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, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;”  [44]

Here we see that Paul was able to say that the gospel had been heard “in all the world.” This means that there is no outstanding activity that needs to be accomplished in order to usher in the return of Jesus. If there was, then Christ’s return could not be said to be imminent. It is misinterpretation of scripture to say that the rapture cannot occur for any reason. Jesus could come back at any time, even before you finish reading this study. Are you ready disciple?

What do we do now?

When we look at the world today in light of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24, it seems clear that we are closer to the end today, than ever before in the history of mankind. If that is so, what should we do? Jesus tells us.

Enduring to the end

 

In Mark 13:13 (Matthew 24:13), Jesus speaks of endurance saying, But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Now of course this pertains first to believing Israel who will go through the Tribulation.  But there is application for the saint of the present too.

 

The word “endure” is translated from the Greek term HUPOMENO (Strong’s #5278) meaning, “to stay under; remain under; have fortitude; persevere; endure patiently; abide; endure; and suffer.”  We get a clearer sense of the word by examining it more closely. HUPOMONE is a word formed by joining the prefix HUPO to the term MENO. The preposition HUPO (Strong’s #5229) can mean, “by” or “under.” The word MENO is translated, “abide.” To “abide” (Strong’s #3306 – MENO) means, “to continue; abide; stay; dwell; be present; remain.” Therefore when you add the prefix HUPO to the term MENO you have the idea of continuing-under/by; abiding-under/by; staying-under/by; dwelling-under/by; remaining-under/by.

 

Other verses which use this term give us further insight and a few of them are as follows:

 

·         Matthew 10:22 -  “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures [HUPOMONE] to the end will be saved.”  [45]

·         1 Corinthians 13:7 – “[Love] bears [HUPOMONE] all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  [46]

·         2 Timothy 2:10 – “Therefore I endure [HUPOMONE] all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”  [47]

Jesus connected ongoing salvation with an enduring faith (Matthew 10:22). So important is endurance that it is used to characterize the greatest attribute of God‘s love (1 Corinthians 13:7). This last verse quoted shows that the apostle Paul was motivated to endure by the calling and commission of Christ. It also shows us that Paul had a handle on Christ likeness because Jesus exemplified to the utmost what endurance is all about.

Jesus is our Model of Endurance

Jesus is our ultimate example of endurance as He endured suffering and shame for the sake of the gospel as it says in Hebrews:

  • Hebrews 12:2-3 – “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured [HUPOMONE] the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured [HUPOMONE] such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”  [48]

As we see the endurance of our blessed Savior it moves our heart in the Spirit. As we look at Jesus we are reminded of our great personal saving relationship with Him. Jesus referred to enduring by relying on Him in this personal relationship when He used the word “abide.”

Enduring means Abiding

 

Jesus used this word to instruct the disciple on how to endure and persevere when He stated: 

 

·         John 8:31-32 – “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [49]

Abiding in Christ is not something we do with discipline, intestinal fortitude or our own strength. No, abiding is done by relying on Jesus, staying by Him, continuing by Him, dwelling by Him, abiding by Him in the personal saving relationship He has blessed you with. Jesus explains this when He says:

·         John 15:4-8 - Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  [50]

Abiding in Jesus is simply living by the Spirit in close relationship and communication with Him. Abiding in Jesus is an ongoing, moment by moment process by which we endure to the end of this life. In this sense, Jesus must become our all in all. The apostle Paul expressed this well when he said:

 

·         Acts 17:28a -  “for in Him we live and move and have our being, . . . ”  [51]

Jesus is our all in all, He is our reason for living and that ultimately is what abiding in Him is all about. Abiding in Jesus is staying so close to Him that we stick to Him like glue. Abiding in Jesus means we are with Him and He with us at all times everywhere we go.  There is one other way this is expressed.

Enduring is Putting On Christ

Jesus said the disciple needs to endure. We have described endurance as abiding by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit in our personal saving relationship with Jesus. Another way to describe this is found in the writings of Paul. Paul went on to write to the Romans that the disciple is to “put on Christ,” in other words; by faith we are to depend on His righteousness. Paul was inspired to put it like this:

·         Romans 13:11-14 – “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  [52]

If some 2000 years ago Paul was making this statement to the Romans, how much more is it true for us today? Disciple, endure in the abiding presence of Jesus! Put Jesus on like a garment that is part of you and press on.

Blessed Endurance

We need to understand that this endurance of abiding in Jesus is not a hardship but a blessing! It isn’t as though we abide in Jesus kicking and dragging our feet. There is no better way to live than to endure and live abiding in Jesus. James the half-brother of Jesus speaks of the blessedness of enduring in our faith when he is inspired to write:

·         James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  [53]

·         James 5:11 – “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”  [54]

James goes so far as to say that even though Job experienced suffering, in the end endurance was well worth it and blessed. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, no matter of hell begins to break loose around us, in His strength, we will endure.

A first century “saying” is appropriate here which states:

·         2 Timothy 2:11-13 – “This is a faithful saying: 1 For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”  [55]

We may falter in our abiding, but Jesus will always be there for us to help us onward and through hard times. Abiding in Jesus is a blessed way to live one’s live, no matter the circumstances.

MARK THAT ACTION:  Jesus gave us signs to help us prepare for the end times. We should heed these signs, endure and be prepared for the state of affairs in the world as we approach the Tribulation. Our attitude should be that we will endure in our relationship with Jesus no matter what. Our endurance should be settled in our heart by faith so that no circumstance, trial or difficulty with cause us to waver or forsake our Lord.

Jesus’ Passion to Prophetically Apply Scripture

Mark 13:14-18 - “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15“Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16“And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 17“But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18“And pray that your flight may not be in winter. [56]

Jesus had a passion to apply the prophetic word and use it to prepare His saints for what lay ahead. That is what we see in these verse. Jesus is applying a portion of scripture from the book of Daniel and putting it in its proper prophetic chronological order so that it can be understood and become a source of edification for those who listen to Him.

As mentioned earlier, we know that Jesus is now speaking of Israel in particular because He refers to a portion of Scripture that concerns Israel exclusively.

In Daniel 9 the prophet is inspired to write:

 

·         Daniel 9:24-27 - “Seventy weeks are determined 1 For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”   [57]

This prophecy was given by inspiration through the prophet Daniel and says that “Seventy weeks are determined for your people,” which refers to Daniel’s people who were the Israelites or Jews. The “Seventy weeks” refer to seventy “sevens” (i.e. Hebrew SHABUWA – Strong’s 7620 – “sevens”) and is interpreted to refer to seventy sets of seven year periods or 490 years. Therefore what Daniel is being inspired to tell us here is that God is saying there are 490 years determined for Israel to accomplish His purposes for the people (Daniel 9:24a). What are these purposes? First, “to finish transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring everlasting righteousness,” which refers to the coming of Messiah Jesus, His atonement on the cross and everlasting righteousness brought by His resurrection (Daniel 9:24b). This period of time will also mark the end of prophecy (“to seal up vision and prophecy”) and end with the establishment of Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom (“to anoint the Most Holy”).

In Daniel 9:25 and 26a we have an exact prediction to the day of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and His substitutionary atonement at the crucifixion. (See the author’s study on the book of Daniel – God is My Judge – for details.)

In the second part of Daniel 9:26 and in verse 27 it speaks of another “prince who is to come” which is a reference to the antichrist who will ultimately destroy the city and sanctuary which are rebuilt during a seven year covenant of peace made with Israel and then betrayed half way through, (another Temple will be constructed during the Tribulation period as mentioned in Revelation 11:1-2). The second part of verse 27 which states, “on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,” refers to the antichrist’s betrayal of the covenant previously made with Israel (Daniel 9:27b). This occurs at the midway point of the Tribulation.

The Tribulation therefore is also known as “the seventieth week of Daniel.” This seventieth week begins with this seven year covenant diplomatically arranged by antichrist with Israel and will likely allow for them to reconstruct the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Halfway through the seven-year covenant antichrist will betray and break the covenant by desecrating the Temple; He will desecrate the Temple or perform the “abomination of desolation” by proclaiming himself to be God in the Temple (see 2 Thessalonians 2).  The second half of the Tribulation or seventieth week is known as the Great Tribulation because it will be a time of all out persecution of the Jews by antichrist. So you see, by Jesus referring to this prophecy in Daniel, He is identifying a prophetic word that pertains specifically and exclusively to the Jews.

 

Historical fulfillment of the abomination that causes desolation

 

There was an series of events in history prior to the birth of Christ which fulfilled in part Daniel’s prophecy. Around 170 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria became enraged at the Jews for not acknowledging him as the embodiment of the Greek god Zeus. As a result he ordered the destruction of Jerusalem. In one day 100,000 Jewish men were slaughtered, women raped and the city looted. The culmination of Antiochus’ deplorable action was when he entered the Temple and butchered a pig on the Temple altar. He forced the priests to drink the blood of the pig and eat raw pork. He finished this abominable act which caused desolation of the Temple by smearing the pig’s blood on the Temple walls. Daniel 11:31 speaks of this historical event as the abomination of desolation.

 

The future prophetic fulfillment of the abomination that causes desolation

 

But there is also a future prophetic event referred to in Daniel 9:27 where such an abomination of desolation is associated with the person of antichrist in the seven year period of the  Tribulation. According to Daniel 9:27 as mentioned above, the antichrist will make a seven year peace agreement with Israel which he will break at the halfway point. He will set himself up as “God” in the rebuilt Temple and repeat an act likened by Jesus to the historical abomination of desolation.

 

In 2 Thessalonians it describes the nature and impact of this abominable act by stating:

 

·         2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 – “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”  [58]

The antichrist will come to Jerusalem and desecrate the Tribulation Temple (see Revelation 11:1-2) but pronouncing that he is “God.”

 

MARK THAT ACTION: Jesus had a passion to apply the prophetic word practically. We too should seek to understand and apply God’s prophetic word in life.

           

Jesus’ Passion to Use Prophecy to Prepare People for the Tribulation

 

Mark 13:19-20 - “For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20“And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. 21

 

These days Jesus is giving a prophetic word on will be like no other in all the history of humanity. They will be the most severe and hard on those who are on the earth.

 

The bulk of Mark 13 (and Matthew 24 and Luke 21)  addresses the events which occur during the time known as the Tribulation. The Tribulation is the seven-year period preceding the 2nd Coming of Jesus. The Old Testament refers to this period in history as THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE (Jeremiah 30:7). In Matthew verse 21 Jesus mentions “great tribulation.” THE GREAT TRIBULATION (Matthew 24:21) is the second half of the seven-year Tribulation marked by the abomination of desolation performed by the antichrist (see above) and will be a time of even greater intense trials for those on earth as compared with the first half of the Tribulation. The Tribulation is a time when the wrath of God will be poured out on a Christ-rejecting world. During this time the LORD is dealing with Israel in particular. During this time in End Time events, the Church is absent having already been raptured before the Tribulation

 

“. . . such as has not been since the beginning of the creaton which God created until this time,  nor ever shall be . . .”

 

In Mark 13:19 Jesus says, “such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.”  As we study this passage some may be thinking, “Wait a minute, haven’t these signs been present throughout history? What makes our time different from the immediate times of Jesus?” While the signs mentioned by Jesus have been present throughout history, we need to realize that Jesus tells us that the End Times He is talking about is special and unique. There will never be another time like the times Jesus describes in Mark 13 (or Matthew 24 and Luke 21)! The end times described by Jesus will be marked by a greater intensity and severity than any other time in history.

 

MARK THAT ACTION: Jesus has a passion to help us be prepared to face the ever darkening times in which we live and we should heed His prophetic warnings.

 

Jesus’ Passion to Prophecy Has a Purpose

 

Mark 13:21-23 - “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23“But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.”[59]

 

What we have seen thus far in Jesus’ description of the 70th  Week of Daniel, the Tribulation is that, as it says here, the Tribulation will be like no other time in history. A particular source of danger for believers during this time will be false prophets. Jesus said: 

 

·         Mark 13:21-22 - “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, her eis the Christ! Or ,’Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, event the elect.”  [60]

Jesus actually mentions the rise of false prophets more than once (Mark 13:5-6 and 21-22; Matthew 24:5, 11). If He mentioned false prophets and deception with this emphasis, He must have felt we needed to be doubly aware of the danger such false prophets hold.

 

When leaving the Ephesian church the apostle Paul gave the following warning:

 

·         Acts 20:29 - “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” [61] (See 2 Peter 2).

This warning is just as pertinent in our day and age. This is exactly what the Spirit foretold as he inspired the apostle Paul to write:

·         1 Timothy 4:1-2 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”  [62]

False ministers of religion are proliferating at a rapid rate. One reason for this is the use of the Internet. In an article posted on Sun Sentinal.com we see the cheapening of ministry and the absence of any consideration for the calling of God. The article is entitled Web sites offering 'instant ordination' in mail-order ministries By Mitch Lipka and Marian Dozier (Staff Writers) a story is related how anyone can pay $200 and get a certificate of ordination to be a minister. Is there any doubt why the ministry is oftentimes in such disarray in our day? [63]

But don’t’ miss the point here, Jesus said:

·         Mark 13:23 – “But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.”[64]

 Prophecy is a passion of Jesus because it is a way of preparing believers to take precautions and protect themselves from the pitfalls of the Tribulation and times leading up to it. Jesus has a passion for prophecy because it is one of His ways to lovingly guard and protect His flock.

MARK THAT ACTION: Jesus has a passion to prepare us beforehand to go through trying times leading up to the Tribulation of the End Times, we need to pay attention and live according to His prophetic word.

 Jesus’ Passion to Use Prophecy to Prepare People for His Second Coming

Mark 13:24-27 - But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25“the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27“And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.”  [65]

Here is the greatest event in human history, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth in power and glory. This is the event that puts all false prophets, all atheists, all doubters out of business. There will be no denying the truth of God and His word when Jesus actually, not allegorically, returns to the earth to set up His millennial kingdom (see Revelation 20).

At His Second Coming Jesus will send out the angels to collect His elect, those Israelites left alive in the aftermath of the Tribulation. At this point He will separate the believing Israelites from the unbelieving.

Now notice that the Second Coming of Jesus takes place after the Tribulation. In Jude and in Revelation those saints who had been previously Raptured by Jesus are depicted as returning with Jesus to the earth to serve the Lord in His new Kingdom (Jude 14; Revelation 19:14). That is what Jesus wants us to be ready for.

MARK THAT ACTION: In light of all that Jesus has passionately prophesied about the End Times and His Second Coming, we need to be ready for the imminent Rapture of the Church and pray for those who will go through the Tribulation and see His Second Coming.

Jesus’ Passion to Prophecy about Israel

Mark 13:28-30 – “ Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29“So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! 30“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” [66]

God scattered Israel because of her sinfulness (Deuteronomy 28:64-67). But God also promised to raise up Israel (i.e. “the fig tree”) again (Jeremiah 23:8; Romans 11:23) and on May 14, 1948 He fulfilled His promise when the nation of Israel was revived.  This was an unprecedented historical event. Never before had a nation been destroyed and then be reunited and this after two thousand years of wandering!

 

NOTICE!Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”

 

Note what Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Mark 13:30; Matthew 24:34). This creates an interesting interpretive issue that we turn to now.

 

What is a “Generation”?

 

Some say a Biblical “generation” is 38-40 years based on Numbers 32:13 and Deuteronomy 2:14 which state:

 

  • Numbers 32:13 - “So the Lord’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.”  [67]
  • Deuteronomy 2:14 - “And the time we took to come from Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the Valley of the Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, just as the Lord had sworn to them.”  [68]

If what Jesus says is true, (and I believe it is) and the “generation” Jesus was talking about is 38-40 years, then 38-40 years from 1948 would mean that Jesus should have returned between 1986-88. I do not believe the “generation” Jesus is talking about here is 38-40 years since he did not return. If you remember, there were a number of books written around this time in history about Jesus expected return. One was called, 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988. Of course Jesus did not return in 1998 and prognosticators who claimed He would had to eat their words as well as be grouped with other false prophets (see Deuteronomy 13 and 18).

 

 Some say a Biblical “generation” is 51.4 years. Bible teacher and Pastor Jon Courson of Applegate Fellowship in Jacksonville, Oregon makes the following comment here:

 

“There is a principle in Bible interpretation called the Principle of First Mention which says: You will usually find important foundational understanding about a subject in the place it is first mentioned in Scripture. Where is the Greek term, ‘generation’ first mentioned? Turn to Matthew 1:17. ‘So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.’ (Matthew 1:17). Sharpen your pencils and think with me: Christian and Jewish theologians alike universally agree that, based on Biblical genealogies, Abraham was called by God in the year 2085 B.C. Genesis 2 tells us he was 75 years old at that time, which means Abraham was born in 2,160 B.C. Matthew 1:17 tells us there were 42 generations (14+14+14) from Abraham to Christ. So, if you divide 2,160 - the year of Abraham’s birth - by 42, you get 51.4. Thus, Scripturally, there is validity for a Biblical generation to be 51.4 years. Keep your pencils handy: If you add 51.4 years to May, 1948 - the year of the rebirth of the nation of Israel - you come to September or October, 1999. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. And every year between now and the year 2,000, Rosh Hashanah falls in September. You say, ‘It sounds like you’re coming perilously close to date-setting, Jon.’ Close! Quite frankly, I’m not ashamed of that. Jesus told us that no man knows the day or the hour, but of the times and season we are not to be ignorant. (1 Thessalonians 5:1). Hebrews 10:25 says we are not to forsake assembling ourselves together so much the more as we see that day coming. 1 Thessalonians tells us that the return of Christ will surprise the world - but not us (1 Thessalonians 5:5). “ (Tree of Life Bible Commentary - Matthew Vol. Two Ch. 14-28by Jon Courson, p. 243-244).

 

The only problem with such an estimation is that Jesus did not return in 1999. Does this mean Jesus was mistaken? Is there any other alternative to the time span referred to by a “generation”? Yes, I believe there is.

 

Is a Biblical Generation 100 years?

 

In Genesis we read the following:

 

  • Genesis 15:13-14, 16 – “Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.14 “And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. . . . 16 “But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”   [69]

Here 400 years are divided into “four” generations. The simple math (400 divided by 4 = 100) attests to a Biblical generation as being 100 years. Since the other two possibilities have been discounted due to Jesus not returning, then we can say that it is most probable (but not absolutely) that a Biblical generation is a period of 100 years. That means that sometime between now and 2048 (1948 +100 = 2048), Jesus Christ could return at His 2nd Coming. That also means that since the Rapture of the church occurs before the 7-Year Tribulation, that we would knock off seven years from 2048 and say that the Rapture could occur between now and 2041. Are you getting excited? Are you beginning to sweat? Don’t go too fast here. This is only a possibility. There is still one more option. 

 

A Generation as a Group

 

The word “generation” can also refer to a group of people. Warren Wiersbe comments on this interpretation:

We think of a “generation” as a body of people living at the same time in history. But to what “generation” was Jesus referring in Mark 13:30? Not the generation then living in Judea, because they did not see “all these things” actually take place. Perhaps He meant the generation living during the Tribulation period. But since the Tribulation covers only seven years, why refer to an entire generation? For that matter, several different generations live together during every period of history.

The Greek word translated “generation” can also mean “race, stock, family.” On several occasions, Jesus used it to refer to the Jewish nation (Mark 8:12, 38; 9:19); and that is probably how He used it in Mark 13:30. The chosen nation, God’s elect, would be preserved to the very end; and God would fulfill His promises to them. His Word will never fail (Josh. 21:45; 1 Kings 8:56; Matt. 24:35). We as believers do not depend on signs; we depend on His unchanging Word, the “sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19–21). [70]

Whatever we take out of the Olivet Discourse of Jesus, we should watch to not impose our predetermined views and beliefs on the passage, but always look at it prayerfully in the Spirit not going further than the text says.

Watch Israel!

Don’t miss the point Jesus is making here. The important thing he is stating here is that the nation of Israel is an integral part of God’s prophetic plan and therefore a barometer of where we are on the prophetic calendar. Israel is an important sign for us to examine for a number of reasons.

Biblical Facts on Israel

Bible teacher David Hocking has compiled a short summary outline of Israel in the Bible with the following facts:

1. The term “ISRAEL” is used 2566 times in the Bible – more than any other subject next to the Lord Himself.

 

2. The term “ISRAEL” refers to:

 

(1) The name which “Jacob,” the grandson of Abraham, received from the Lord – Genesis 32:28; 35:10

 

(2) The unique “nation” which was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Genesis 12:2;35:11

 

(3) The people who came out of bondage in Egypt and were given the 613 commandments of God – Deuteronomy 4:1, 7-8

 

(4) They are called “the children of Israel” 644 times of which 14 usages are in the NT.

 

(5) The twelve tribes who descended from the sons of Jacob – Genesis 49:28

 

(6) The ten northern tribes after the kingdom of Saul, David, & Solomon was divided in the days of Rehoboam – I Kings 12:16-21 (Southern kingdom consisted of two tribes – Judah and Benjamin, and were called “Judah” from which the name “Jews” came, although the word “Jews” is also applied to captives of the northern kingdom. The word “Jews” is used 257 times in Bible, of which 175 usages are in the NT. The term is used in the gospel of John to refer to the religious leaders – calls them “the Jews” – John 5:10, 16, 18; 7:13; 19:6-7.)

 

(7) The land which was promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Genesis 17:8; 26:3; 35:12; Psalm 105:8-11; Ezekiel 37:11-14

 

(8) The nation and people who will be living in the land when the Messiah returns and will believe on Him – Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:25-27

 

(9) Those Jews who became believers in the Messiah and are called “the Israel of God” – Galatians 6:16

 

3. God refers to Himself as “the LORD God of Israel” 108 times, and as the “God of Israel” 203 times.

 

4. The NT separates people into three categories: Jews, Gentiles, and the church of God – I Corinthians 10:32

 

5. The church of Jesus Christ is composed of both Jews and Gentiles who have believed in Him – I Cor. 12:13;Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:11-18; 3:6

 

6. The nation of Israel will never cease to exist – Jeremiah 31:35-37 and will be given their land forever – Amos 9:15. Israel has never been forsaken by God – Romans 11:1-2 cf. Psalm 89:29-37; Lamentations 3:31-32

 

7. During the tribulation, 144,000 from the tribes of the children of Israel will be  protected by God and used by Him to spread the gospel to the whole world – Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-6

 

8. During the coming tribulation, Israel will be protected and nourished by the Lord – Revelation 12:14-17

 

9. When the Messiah comes, only 1/3 of those in the land at that time will call on the Name of the Lord – Zechariah 13:8-9

 

David Hocking goes on to comment:

 

The church has NEVER replaced Israel in God’s prophetic program. The word “Israel” is

separate and unique – the means by which God reveals His character and attributes of love and faithfulness to the entire world – Deuteronomy 7:6-9. Jesus (Hebrew – Yeshua) told the Samaritan woman that “salvation is of the Jews” – John 4:22. All true believers are “children of Abraham” by faith in the Messiah of Israel – Romans 4:11; Galatians 3:7.

God’s Passion to Use Israel in Prophecy to Reveal Himself

The Bible reveals to us a passion by God to use Israel as an instrument to reveal Himself. He does this by way of prophetic fulfillment regarding Israel. We see this in the following Biblical prophetic points:

First, the nation of Israel is God’s tool to make Himself known to the world. In the book of Isaiah it states:

  • Isaiah 43:10a – “"You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, . . .” (See also Isaiah 43:12; 44:8)

God has chosen to use the nation of Israel to prove His existence and reveal Himself to the world. One way He has done this is through the preservation of Israel and especially the reestablishment of Israel as a nation in 1948.

Second, the nation of Israel is Gods’ tool to glorify Himself to the world. We see this in the following verses:

  • Isaiah 46:13 – “I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.”
  • Isaiah 49:3 - “And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, In whom I will be glorified.’”

In describing the events of Armageddon, the LORD explains how He will use Isreal when through the prophet Ezekiel He states:

  • Ezekiel 38:23 - “Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.” ’

Third, the nation of Israel is God’s tool to reveal Himself via prophecy. One of the proofs of God’s existence is prophecy. In Isaiah it states:

  • Isaiah 46:9-10 – “ Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’”

God proves he is real and true by speaking prophetically through prophets. God has used the nation of Israel in particular to reveal Himself prophetically. The following are a few examples of God’s prophecy regarding Israel:

  1. God promised a Land to Israel through their patriarch Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 13:15; 15:7; 26:3-5; 28:13; Leviticus 25:46; Joshua 14:9).
  2. God brought Israel as a “chosen people” into this Land (Exodus 6:7-8; Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2).
  3. God warned Israel if they practiced idolatry and immorality He would evict them from the Land (Deuteronomy 9:4; 28:63; 1 Kings 9:7; 2 Chronicles 7:19-20). They persisted in sinning in this way against God and His patient grace and He did indeed allow them to be overcome by their enemies and evicted from the Land .
  4. God declared Israel would be scattered throughout the earth and they were as a result of their sinfulness (Deuteronomy 28:64; 1 Kings 9:7; Nehemiah 1:8; Jeremiah 9:13-16; 44:2-17; Amos 9:9; Zechariah 7:14).
  5. God warned that when Israel was scattered that they would come to be a curse and byword because of their sinfulness in forsaking God (Deuteronomy 28:37; 2 Chronicles 7:20; Jeremiah 29:18; 44:8). This has come to pass throughout history as Jews are persistently maligned and the subject of slurs, jokes and hated and persecuted perpetually.
  6. Despite their being targeted by merciless persecution, God promised that His chosen people would not be utterly destroyed and would continue as an identifiable ethnic and national group (Jeremiah 30:11; 31:35-37). History has proven this to be true.
  7. God promised to bring Israel back to the Promised Land in the Last Days and He did this on May 14th, 1948 when Israel was reestablished as a nation  (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 30:10; 31:8-12; Ezekiel 36:8-10, 22, 24, 33-38).
  8. God promised that in the Last Days, Jerusalem, the capitol of Israel, would become a “cup of trembling” (KJV) and a burden to the people’s of the world (Zechariah 12:2-3, 6-8). Jerusalem and Israel a nation the size of Rhode Island, are the center of the International controversy and tension proving God’s word of prophecy to be true. [71]

Israel plays a pivotal role in Gods prophetic plan. That is obvious from God’s emphasis on this people in the Scriptures.

MARK THAT ACTION: Jesus has a passion for Israel, so should we! God has used Israel as a prophetic sign to reveal Himself to the world throughout history and we should therefore pay close attention to what transpires in Israel to get an accurate forecast of the season in prophecy in which we live.

Jesus’ Passion to Give a Permanent Prophetic Word

Mark 13:31 – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” [72]

Some people would try to dismiss or manipulate the word of Jesus via allegorization. But scripture should be interpreted literally whenever possible. The words of Jesus are dependable and they aren’t going away. His prophetic word is sure and we can live confidently by it. The apostle Peter taught this when he was inspired to write:

·         2 Peter 1:19-21 – “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” [73]

Jesus word is reliable and you can trust your life to it.

MARK THAT ACTION:  Jesus prophetic word is permanent and we should revere it and seek to have the Spirit apply it to us in a life changing way.

Jesus’ Passion to Prophecy is Limited

Mark 13:32 - - “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  [74]

 

The Triune Godhead chose to limit the information of Jesus’ prophetic word here. In His humanity Jesus was not privy to the exact time all these things would occur. One commentary states here:

 

This openly expressed limitation on Jesus’ knowledge affirms His humanity. In His Incarnation Jesus voluntarily accepted human limitations, including this one (cf. Acts 1:7), in submission to the Father’s will (cf. John 4:34). On the other hand Jesus’ use of “the Son” title (only here in Mark) instead of the usual “Son of Man” revealed His own awareness of His deity and sonship (cf. Mark 8:38). Nevertheless He exercised His divine attributes only at the Father’s bidding (cf. 5:30; John 8:28-29).[75]

 

We cannot know the “day” or the exact “hour.” To get caught up in date setting is to disregard Jesus own words here. Not even He knew the day or hour of His coming. But having said this, the apostle Paul does exhort us to be aware of the times when he is inspired to write:

 

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 – “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.”  [76]

While we cannot know the exact day and hour Jesus will return, we can know and should be aware of the “season” or the general climate of the world that will precede His coming. And as we look at the world around us in the light of Jesus words in His Olivet Discourse, there can be no doubt that “Soon and very soon we are goin’ to see the King!”

MARK THAT ACTION: Jesus didn’t set dates prophetically, neither should we.

Jesus’ Passion to Prophesy Exhorts us to be Watchful

Mark 13:33-37 - “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35“Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36“lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37“And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”[77]

There are a few things we need to take from these final words of Jesus if they are to have their full effect on us.

 

First, Jesus passion for prophecy is aimed at making us watchful. Jesus ends His discourse with an exhortation for the listeners to be watchful. Three time sin these final few verses Jesus exhorts to watchfulness (Mark 13:33, 35, 37). Jesus exhorts the disicples to “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the hosue is coming – in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning – lest suddenly he find you sleeping.” Jesus likens the need for watchfulness to a person being ready for his master to return from a long trip. They have been entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the door. Why does someone watch the door? To see when their master returns; but also to guard it against thieves until their master returns. To catch a thief, you have to be vigilant. The apostle Paul was inspired to say something similar to this when he wrote:

 

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 – “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”  [78]

 

Secondly, Jesus passion for prophecy should motivate us to be reliable. Jesus is calling the disciples to be dependable, reliable in keeping that which the master, Jesus, has entrusted to them. Jesus has entrusted His prophetic word to the disciples and now we too are the keepers of His prophetic word. Reliability is a trait of faithfulness. The apostle Paul was inspired to write:

 

  • 1 Corinthians 4:2 – “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” [79]

 That verse should be the believer’s motto. We need to be reliable and faithful in our interactions with people so that “by all means some might be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22). God’s word calls us to live in a way that is worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27-30). We are to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:11-16). Our incentive to be reliable is to be so, for the Lord who will reward us upon His return (Colossians 3:23-24).  

Third, Jesus passion for prophecy is designed to warn us. Jesus speaks of the possibility of being found asleep by the master. How ashamed would you be if when Jesus returned for you, you were spiritually asleep? To be asleep when your master returns is to be embarrassed at being caught red handedly irresponsible. In Proverbs it states:

 

  • Proverbs 6:9-11 – “How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep—11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs 24:33-34)
  • Proverbs 10:5 – “He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.”

Sleep is good, if it is from the Lord and not so excessive that it leads to neglect of the Lord’s work. When Jesus uses sleep in this passage it is in contrast to watchfulness and conveys the thought of spiritual dullness or insensitivity. Jesus said the harvest of souls is plentiful but the laborers were few and that we ought to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into the harvest to reap a crop of souls (Matthew 9:37-38; Mark 4:29; Luke 10:2). What a tragedy it would be if a soul was lost because we slept and what a point of shame it would be for the Lord to return and find us in that neglectful sleep! Jesus has a passion to prophetically warn us so that won’t happen.

 

Ron Rhodes in his book Reasoning From the Scriptures notes the following about how people spend their time:

 

I recently heard a speech in which a Christian leader said that the average 70-year-old man has spent a total of :

24 years sleeping,

14 years working at a job

8  years engaged in various amusements

6 years sitting at the dinner table

5 years in transportation

4 years in conversation

3 years in education

2 years in studying and reading.

 

His other four years were spent in miscellaneous pursuits -- except for the hour he spent every Sunday at church, as well as about five minutes per weekday engaged in prayer. This amounts to a tremendous total of five months that the average 70-year-old man gives to God over his life span. Five months!

 

It is with this kind of sobering reflection in mind that theologian David C. Needham once commented:

"Out of all the eternal ages of our existence as God's children, these tiny  years here on earth have a destiny that can never be repeated. The Bible tells us that in the stench of a sick and rotting world we are perfume bottles for the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15). In the gathering darkness we shine as stars

(Philippians 2:15). If only we could grasp the awesome implications of these few years!"

 

How about it? When you are seventy years old, will hindsight be kind or cruel to you?

 

Jesus is coming back and when He does, will He find us laboring with all our heart in the power of the Spirit by the grace of God, or will He find us fast asleep not showing a care for the countless souls passing off into a Christless eternity?

 

MARK THAT ACTION: Jesus exhorted us to be watchful and ready and responsible, so we should seek prayerfully for the Spirit to help us heed His call to watchfulness.

 

Conclusion

 

Jesus has a passion to prepare His followers to be ready for His return and He has shown us every possible precaution to take through His prophetic word. Jesus is like a teacher who gives His students the answers to the test ahead of time so they can score well. Now you might think that is cheating but it really isn’t. I teach a college class at our church and in some of the courses where I utilize testing I pretty much give my students the answers to the questions that will be on the test. Why do I do this? Because the objective of teaching is to have the student learn. If scoring well on a test is the incentive a student needs to commit the information to memory, then why not use it? Jesus wants us to pass this prophetic test and be watchful, ready and responsible until He comes. Jesus says, “See, I have told you all things beforehand.” (Mark 13:23) Now we have a choice, we can go to sleep and let our opportunity to score well on the test go by or we can wait watchfully with great expectation for the return of our Lord and ace our test. The choice is yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1][1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[3]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[4]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[5]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[6]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[8]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[9]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[15]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[18]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[19]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[20]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[21]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[22]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[23]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[24]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[25]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[26]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[27]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[28]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[33]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[36]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[37] David Kupelian, Whistleblower Magazine, January 2002 issue. Volume 11, No. 1. p. 6

[38] Brian T. Kennedy, Ibid., p. 9-10

[39] http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/3549812.stm

[40]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[41]Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

[42]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[43]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[44]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[45]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[46]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[47]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[48]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[49]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[50]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[51]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[52]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[53]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[54]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[55]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[56]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[57]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[58]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

 

[59]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[60]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[61]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[62]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[63] Sun-Sentinal.com May 7, 2001 posted article.

[64]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[65]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[66]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[67]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[68]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[69]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[70]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[71] A good book on the role of Israel in prophecy is A Cup of Trembling by Dave Hunt, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 1995.

[72]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[73] The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Thomas Nelson: Nashville

[74]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

cf. confer, compare

[75]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. 1983-c1985. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Victor Books: Wheaton, IL

[76]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[77]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[78]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[79]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.