The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
Comments for Study 26
Memory Verse: 26
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I. Dreadful Tribulations in the Last Days (14-33)
>1. What did Jesus mean by "the abomination that causes desolation"? (see Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; 2 Th. 2:4) (Try to figure it out! Think about it in light of inverted creation order.)
* Daniel 9:27 "He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.""
* Daniel 11:31 ""His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation."
* Daniel 12:11 ""From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days."
* 2 Thessalonians 2:4 "He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."
* "the abomination that causes desolation" -The abomination that causes desolation is an idol which a man will set up.
* "abomination" -causes extreme dislike.
* "desolation" -wasteland.
* "does not belong" -The Most Holy of Holies in the temple. Only the high priest, descendants of Levi, were allowed to go in the this area, and that only once a year after they had been purified by the sprinkling of blood. (Heb. 9:1-8) Mark did not say this because his intended readers were Romans who would not understand the meaning if he wrote Most Holy Place.
* The abomination has been fulfilled twice since Daniel's time. The Greek Antiochus first profaned the temple in December, 164 B.C. The second was after Jesus' ascension, the 66 A.D. Jewish revolt against Rome, and just before the 70 A.D. destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. According to Jesus' words it will happen again, just before his second coming. Revelation reveals it will be halfway through a seven year peace treaty between Israel and the Antichrist.
* Since it has happened already twice and will happen again, the abomination that causes desolation is evidence of man's spiritual problem. This is mainly man not putting God first in worship, service, and in his life. It is inverted creation order.
* Both pre-tribulationists (believe rapture before the seven years) and post-tribulationists (believe rapture at the end of the seven years) generally agree:
1) the events center around the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. did not exhaust Jesus' prophecy (here), with the result that a time of future tribulaltion immediately before the return of Christ is yet to be fulfilled.
2) the events center around the destruction of Jerusalem did, however, constitute a fulfillment precursive to a larger and final fulfilment at the end of the age. (The Church and the Tribulation, Robert H. Gundry)
* The pre=tribulational interpretation of the Olivet Discourse rests on the additional assumption that later New Testament teaching fills the gap in the discoure regarding a pre-tribulational rapture. The post=tribulational interpretation rests on what is believed to be confirmation of natural inferences from the discourse in sequent New Testament teaching. (The Church and the Tribulation, Robert H. Gundry)
* Considerable discussions on who the Olivet Discourse is directed towards, whether the church and/or the Jews has been written. The nature of the discussion is often filled with what will happen when. By defining "this part" and "that part" to either the church or the Jews people can make their time line of events look plausible. The fact is that Jesus was talking to his apostles who were Jews and members of the church. It must be remembered that Jesus was answering their questions and therefore it is for both Gentile and Jewish members of the church.
* When the Jewish leadership rejected Jesus' authority Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." (Matthew 21:43-44) The people Jesus was referring to have been all those who have accepting him since he said this, both Jews and Gentiles. Then Jesus pronounces woes and judgement on the Jewish religious leaders (Matthew 23; John 12:37-40). Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple (previous study and this) which implied the scattering of the Jews. Jesus speaks of the future starting from just after his death, resurrection, and ascension. The preaching of the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles started with Peter and continued through today and will continue thru the tribulation until Jesus comes again.
>What did Jesus teach about the attitude his people must have toward material things? (14-16)
* Mark 13:14-16 "When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation' standing where it does not belong--let the reader understand--then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak."
* "let the reader understand" -Inserted by Mark. Mark wrote with his readers in mind. He had a plan and point to his writing.
* "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" -This fleeing is meant for those in Judea, the land promised to the tribe of Judah and Benjamin; the two tribes that formed the southern kingdom after Israel split in two nearly seven hundred years before Jesus lived. Of course Simeon was also in this area, but their name disappears from history before the Babylonians took Judah into exile.
* This is not the rapture of the church, the congregation/body of Jesus. This will happen after a seven year treaty has been signed between the antichrist and Israel.
* "on the roof of his house" -The cool place during the early evening hours in the middle east in ancient times was a "porch" set up on their flat roofs. The roof either had a hole in it or a ladder was placed on the outside of the house so people could go up there to cool off. The roof often had a canopy supported by poles over it and cushions for relaxing in the shade. (Acts 10:9-22)
* Many Christians fled to the mountains when the Roman army came to Jerusalem. (Hebrews 13:12-14)
* The Letter to the Hebrews was written a few years before 66 A.D. Chapter 13:11-14 states, "The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."
* Don't worry about earthly goods or what we need, especially when tragedy is about to strike.
* We can use the material things in this world, but we are to get attached to them or depend on them. We are to depend and trust in God. Repeatability the prophets just before the exile told Israel and Judah to not trust in things in this world.
* Material things can have a possessive power to the sinful human psyche. So the believer in Jesus must train himself in normal times. A simple life is a good trainer. Sentimental value in items are OK, but can lead to dependency in worldly items. It is better to avoid building up sentimental items which is also costly and time consuming.
>What did he say about the terror of the last days? (17-19)
* Mark 13:17-19 "How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now--and never to be equalled again."
* "dreadful" -striking terror, unpleasant
* "pregnant women and nursing mothers" -the most vulnerable
* "pray that this may not take place in winter" -has anyone prayed for this? I have.
>3. Will only unbelievers go through terrors of the last days?
* God will be with his people if they believe and trust in him. If they follow Jesus' instruction. Psalm 34:15-19 states, "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all."
* When God’s wrath is poured out on the unrepentant and unbelievers, he will not pour it out on his beloved ones, his forgiven bride. Many verses back this up, for example Exodus 12:12-13. Also, God protected Noah and his family, and Lot and his family before those judgements. 2 Peter 2:5-9 states, “if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-- if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.” See also Matt. 24:37-44, Luke 17:24-36, Heb. 11:5, Gen. 5:24, and Jude 1:14-15)
>How does the presence of God's people benefit everyone? (20)
* Mark 13:20 "If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them."
* "If the Lord had not" -The Lord Jesus himself is doing this. Satan will try to change the appointed times, but will fail. Jesus however will do this.
* "cut short... those days will be shortened" -This is confusing and can be understood several ways. Does he mean the twenty-four hour day will be less hours as some have claimed? This seems unlikely because it would imply the world would spin faster. Though God stopped the earth for Joshua or made it turn backwards for Hezekiah, this does not seem to be the case here.
Another possibility claimed by some is that Jesus is saying that he will stop what man is doing as "those days" refers to the time of the great tribulation. Thus, when the armies of the world meet in Megido to attack Israel at the end of the seven years of tribulation Jesus will stop them. In other words, the Lord Jesus will stop their war by coming in the sky with the glory of the Lord and wiping them out. (Ezekiel 38 seems to indicate this.) Jesus said that he will do this because if he didn't no one would survive the great war against God's people.
One other possibility is that during the latter part of the seven years the prophetic clock will be stopped by his sudden unexpected coming before the seven years are finished. He will come before they are finished to protect his people, this stopping the prophetic clock. Then he will start his 1,000 year rule (Millennium). After the 1,000 years finish the prophetic clock will start up again and the seven years will be finished. The way that Daniel was told about the seventy weeks makes this a possibility. Already once after 69 weeks the prophetic clock was stopped for two thousand years. Few Israelites and Jews (if any) before Jesus' coming understood that Daniel's seventy weeks prophetic clock would stop after 69 weeks. The two thousand years age of preaching the gospel was a great surprise even to the apostles. So it is possible that the 70th week will be interrupted too. This I believe to be the most probable.
* "for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen" -The Lord Jesus has always acted on the behalf of his people. He is always with the elect. Because his people are in the world, in a country, in a state, in a city, then those areas are blessed by the Lord Jesus.
* "elect" -"eklektos" in Greek meaning chosen, by implication also favourite.
>4. Why do you think Jesus emphasized the work of false christs twice? (5, 21-22)
* Mark 13:5 "Jesus said to them: "Watch out that no one deceives you."
* Mark 13:21-22 "At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect--if that were possible."
* We must be on our guard because these false Messiahs will be very convincing and successful at what they do.
* The elect know Jesus and his teachings. They eagerly seek out his meanings and live by his commands. Bible study is very important and is a vital part of watching and discerning.
>What is the difference between false christs in verse 5, 21, and 22?
* Several on a small scale verses the final one who will deceive most in the world.
>5. Will there be any new revelation about the last days? (23; Heb. 1:1,2)
* Mark 13:23 "So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time."
* A common theme of the small scale ones has always been we have a new and/or changed revelations. The final will have this too.
* Jesus has revealed all in his word, both new and old testaments. No new revelation is needed. We do need understanding which comes from the Holy Spirit through prayer, fasting, and clear literal Bible study.
>What attitude must his people have? (23)
* 1) Be on our guard.
2) Faith in God that Jesus will and has helped us.
3) Clear discernment based on the Bible.
* I remember Billy Graham being asked the question, "If it was revealed to you that Jesus would return in seven years what would you do?" His answer was, "I would study the Bible for six years and then preach one year." I'm not entirely sure about the years, but the point he was making is that he would study the Bible a long time to confirm before he would act.
II. "Men Will See the Son of Man" (24-37)
>6. How did men treat Jesus the first time he came to this world? (Is. 53:1-3; Jn. 1:9-11)
* Isaiah 53:1-3 "Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
* John 1:9-11 "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him."
* He was a man with flesh and bones like any other man. That is why he often refered to himself as the Son of Man.
* He was rejected by the religious leaders.
* At the beginning of his three year ministry many of the common people accepted him and flocked to him. However, by the end of his ministry many of those who had been following him left him because they said his teaching was to hard. (John 6:60, 66-68)
>7. What will happen just before the Second Coming of Jesus? (24,25)
* Mark 13:24-25 "But in those days, following that distress, "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'"
* "But in those days" -the days of the great tribulation. The seven year period before Jesus comes will start when the antichrist signs a seven year treaty with Israel. Halfway through this seven period the antichrist will break this treaty. All this is explained in Revelation, Daniel and a few other prophets. That is when the abomination that causes desolation is set up in the Most Holy Place in the Temple (or Tabernacle) in Jerusalem on the temple mount. The last three and a half years are the great tribulation that these events will happen.
* "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light" -Some believe that this will be due to volcano eruptions, meteors, large explosions, cities burning during wars, and/or forest fires. Others believe God will make them grow dark super naturally (miracle). A new understanding of this is explained by Pastor John Hagaee's in his book and three DVD series titled "The Four Blood Moons". He explains that in 2014 and 2015 on Passover and Sukkot during both years the moon will have a partial eclipse that will turn it red and in between these four there will be a total eclipse of the sun on the first day of the Hebrew calendar.
* "the stars will fall from the skys" -Some believe this will be meteors. Revelation 8:10-11 states, "The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water-- the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter." The Old Testament prophets also spoke of stars falling.
* "the heavenly bodies will be shaken" -There are different opinions as to the meaning of this. Some say the heavenly bodies are the planets and starts. Others day these are fallen angels.
* Jesus quoted Isaiah 13:10 and 34:4.
* God will pour out seven years of wrath and judgment. (Rev. 6-18, Dan. 9:24-27, Jer. 30:7, Is. 34:2) During the seven years a few will repent and accept Jesus as their King and Bridegroom. Many if not all Jews will also accept Jesus as the Messiah. (Rev. 7 & 14) During the seven years the man of lawlessness will be revealed, deceiving many, uniting them against the Kingdom of God and all who belong to it. (2 Th. 2:1-12)
At the very end of the seven years all the armies of the earth will gather together in the valley of Megiddo in Israel to battle each other and Jesus, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. (Ps. 2) The battle is referred to as Armageddon. (Rev. 16:16) When the armies are gathered together Jesus will return to earth marking the beginning of the next age, the Millennium. (Rev. 12:16-21)
Jesus' enemies have been telling people that Armageddon is the end of the world. This is a lie. Armageddon is not the end of the world. It is the end of this age and the beginning of the greatest age mankind has ever experienced, the Millennium. (Rev. 19)
* The signs in the sky (lowering of lights) reminds me of how lights are lowered before a play begins, or before a local sports team comes out of the locker room. Then when the main attraction comes the lights come on so the stage and players are covered in a bright light so that all will see them.
>How will his second coming be different from his first?
* Mark 13:26-27 "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens."
* "At that time" -The sun, moon, and starts will be an announcement that Jesus is coming in glory.
* "men will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky" -Jesus' reply to the chief priest during his trial says the same thing. "The high priest said to him, 'I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied. 'But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matthew 26:63-64)
* "coming" -In Greek this is "erchomai" which can also be translated "falling" and "appear". It implies continual movement. Jesus does not say how long he will be coming down on the clouds of the sky until he finally steps down on the Mount of Olives. It could be a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. His slow or fast lowering toward the earth will not be more than a year. Post=tribulists repeat what Jesus says here, when Jesus appears we will be raptured. Since Jesus will be in the clouds for awhile as just stated, the rapture will not be exactly at the end of the seven years and could even be just after six years. This is based on a literal understanding of Jesus' words here.
* "coming on the clouds of the sky" -Jesus will be coming in glory to judge the nations and save Israel and Judah. The cloud of heaven is the bright shining glory of the Lord. Glory is "kabad' in Hebrew meaning a bright sinning cloud surrounding the LORD God. The glory of the Lord came on Mt. Sinai just after the Lord led the Israelites out of Egypt (Ex. 16:7-10, 24:16-17), in desert Tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38; Lev. 9:6, 23; Num. 14:10), and in the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Ki. 8:10-11; 2 Ch. 5:14, 7:1-3, Isa. 6:1-4). Jesus coming in the glory of the Lord is prophecies by Isaiah (Is. 4:2-6; Isa. 35:1-2; 40:4-5; 59:19-20; 60). Ezekiel also saw the glory of the Lord. (Ez. 1:25-28; 3:12, 22-23; 9:3-4; 10:3-4, 18-22; 11:22-23; 43:1-5; 44:4). Luke 2:9 says the glory of the Lord shown over the shepherds when they angles said Jesus was born. Paul calls Jesus the "Lord of glory" in 1 Cor. 2:8 and the "radiance of God's glory" in Hebrews 1:3.
* Jesus revealed his past glory and future glory while on the mount of transfiguration. (Matt. 17:1-17) John the Apostle stated at the beginning of his gospel, "We have seen his glory..." John also saw Jesus in the glorious resurrected body and recorded it in Rev. 1:7-18 and 4:1-11.
* "with great power and glory" -A contrast to the first coming.
First, weakness. Second, power.
First, humility. Second, ruler.
First, normal birth (though not conception). Second, supernatural entrance.
First, to save his people. Second, to set up his kingdom.
* Luke adds Jesus making a very important statement after his statements in verses 26 and 27. Luke 21:27-28 record, "At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Jesus makes it very clear here that when Jesus appears our redemption (deliverence, salvation, rapture, translation) will follow.
>8. What will his Second Coming mean to "his elect"? (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
* 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words."
* "And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four wind" -This refers to the rapture. One of the main disagreements is when this will happen. Pretribulationists say the rapture is at the beginning of the seven years. Most people today fall under this belief even though it counters with the time flow Jesus told the apostles here. Mid-tribulationists say the rapture is in the middle of the seven years which also goes against the time flow here. Post=tribulationists believe the rapture is at the end of the seven years, just before Jesus appears as he says here to his apostles on the Mount of Olives. Every view believes that Jesus will not appear again on the earth in his resurrection body until the end of the seven years. The only way Pre and Mid can justify their time lines with this is to state there are two raptures. Post-tribulation states that when Jesus appears in the sky as Jesus teaches here, the rapture takes place. So all believers dead or alive will meet him in the sky, and then Jesus leads them to Jerusalem where he will reign for one thousand years.
A few people believe that since the word rapture is not in their English translation of the Bible, then there is no rapture. They are ignorant of the fact that rapture is Latin which when translated into English means "caught up". "Caught up" is in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. If we had a Bible in Latin translation of the Bible (like the Vulgate, a late 4th-century Latin translation) it would have rapture in it. If we had a Spanish, Chinese, or any other language translation it would also not have rapture in it. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 states, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words."
* "from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens" -Two places are mentioned which is confirmed in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. "Ends of the earth" are those who are alive when Jesus comes. "Ends of the heavens" are those who have fallen asleep (died physically but not spiritually). These two statements is why Paul wrote, "according to the Lord's own word".
* "his elect" -In Greek elect is "eklektos" implying they are chosen. These are Jesus' people, both dead and alive, the ones he chose to be his bride. They are gathered implies they are in different places. Here it is clear that some are on the earth and some are in heaven.
* "he will send his angels" -Jesus sending is angels to do his work is the same as the centurion believing that if Jesus just said the word, then his son would be healed. Jesus didn't need to go to his house to do it himself. So Jesus' comment here coincides with 1 Thessalonians which says, "the Lord himself will descend..." and does not define who will do the gathering.
* Revelation 20:4-6 "I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."
>To unbelievers? (1 Thes. 5:1-3)
* 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."
* Someone had been teaching the Thessalonians believers in Jesus that the Lord had already sent his angle to collect his people and they had missed it. They were greatly distressed. Paul was reassuring them that the person who had taught this was wrong.
* 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 "But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled."
* Jesus' coming could happen any second, at any time. Many have believed this since the apostles questions here and then again in Acts 1.
* Zechariah 12:10-14 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives."
* John 19:37 speaking of Jesus' crucifixion stated, "and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."
* Revelation 1:7-8 "Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'"
>9. How can we be sure of his coming again? (28-31; 2 Pet. 3:3-7)
* Mark 13:28-31 "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."
* "from the fig tree" -The fig tree and olive tree are often symbols of Israel and Judea in the Bible. (Hos. 9:10, Matt. 21:18-20, Mark 11:12-20, Luke 13:6-9, Rom. 11:13, 17-24, Ezek. 37:5-27, Jer. 11:16-17) Israel originally consisted of twelve tribes when they entered and conquered the land God promised them. Just after the reign of Solomon, David's son, the twelve tribes split into two nations; the northern and the southern kingdoms of Israel. (1 Kings 12) The northern kingdom consisted of ten tribes of Israel and was called Ephraim (Hos. 4:17, 5:3, 7:1), Samaria (Hos. 7:1, 8:5-6, 13:16), house of Joseph (1 Kings 11:28), and house of Israel (1 Kings 12:21, Jer. 31:31). The southern kingdom consisted of the other tribes of Israel and was called Judea. The two kingdoms grew to hate each other through most of their existence. (1 Kings 11-12, and 2 Chron. 10)
Assyria conquered the northern kingdom and brought them into captivity around 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17:7-23) Most never returned to the land God promised them. They lost their national identity. They intermarried with the other nations of the world. The ten tribes' DNA is scattered throughout the world. By Jesus' time the land of the northern tribes was called Samaria (Luke 17:11, John 4) and Galilee of the Gentiles (Matt 4:15). God divorced the northern kingdom, an unfaithful wife. (Jer. 3:6-8)
The southern kingdom was defeated by Babylon and taken into captivity in 605 B.C., 597 B.C., 596 B.C., and 581 B.C. (2 Chron. 36) Though they were an unfaithful wife, God did not divorce the southern kingdom. (Ps. 89:1-3, 28-37) Starting in 538 B.C. some Jews began returning to the land God promised them. First, they rebuilt the Temple and then Jerusalem's walls with Artaxerxes’s decree in 445/4 B.C (Nem. 2:1-8). They often called themselves Israel although the reborn nation was only two and one half tribes of the original twelve tribes of Israel (Judea, Levi, and half the tribe of Benjamin). By Jesus’ time they were an occupied nation whose leader was never Jewish nor David's descendant. (Luke 3:1)
Jesus told his disciples that Judea would again fall. In 70 A.D., forty years after his death and resurrection, Judea ceased being a nation when the armies of Rome attacked and burned Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city, tore down the Temple, the center of the Jewish religion, and devastated all the other towns and villages in Israel. The short Roman military campaign forced most Jews to quickly leave Israel’s borders and scatter into many countries throughout the world. Most kept their national identity and longed to return to the land God promised them. For many years the land was uninhabited other than a few Gentile nomads and scattered peoples. (Luke 21:24)
Many Jews began returning to the land of Israel at the ending of World War I in 1918. From the beginning of the Jewish return to the Promised Land it has been a time of war and trouble. The amount of Jews returning rose dramatically when the Nazis and Soviets persecuted and murdered Jews before, during and shortly after World War II (1939-1945). By 1948 Jewish population amount and hearts were ready to be a nation again. Jews there proclaimed freedom from British rule and called their land Israel. Most see this as the fulfillment of Jesus' words concerning Israel the fig tree sprouting leaves.
Yet Jesus' prophecy goes beyond Jews (and all Israel) returning to the land of their forefathers and establishing again an Israel nation. God's compassion is for people. Since the early 1970s many Jews have accepted Jesus as the Messiah. Not since Jesus established the church (when at that time the church was comprised of almost all Jews) has this happened. Surely this is more of a fulfillment of Jesus’ words than Israel being established as a nation.
Jesus words concerning Israel being fulfilled stirs hope that the physical Kingdom of God on this earth is near. Our King's coming is near. We know that Jesus will soon come and establish his physical kingdom on this earth answering the believers prayers, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” During the current age the King rules in the hearts of a few; in the soon to come age, the King will rule in heart and in physical form in his world wide government. The King's coming kingdom is his bride's hope.
* 2 Peter 3:3-7 "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men."
>In light of Jesus' Second Coming, how should God's people live? (32-37)
* Mark 13:32-37 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'"
* "No one knows about that day or hour" -The day he is referring to is the day mentioned in verse 35 "heaven and earth will pass away". The first question the disciples had asked "when will this happen" Jesus did not answer. Many have predicted dates for the rapture, the time of the tribulation period, and the end of the world. They all have been wrong and brought much disgrace to the people of God. Stop predicting dates and start preaching the gospel. Jesus did not command us to predict dates; he commanded us to preach the gospel.
* "not even the angels in heaven" -The angels know a lot, yet they do not know all.
* "nor the Son" -The Bible does not reveal the dates of heaven and earth passing away. Revelation 19 (fourth to last chapter) tells of Armageddon. Revelation 20 tells of the thousand year reign or Christ and the saints, Satan being set free from Hades and deceiving the nations for an unstated time, Satan's final doom, and the judgment of people, death, and Hades. Then Revelation 21:1 states, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea." How long the events of chapter 20 take is not known because none of Scripture records the day or hour of these events.
* "Son" -Two of Jesus' many titles are Son of Man and Son of God.
* "only the Father" -Jesus called God his Father because when he was conceived in and entered Mary's womb she was a virgin. Hebrews 1:5 says, "For to which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father?' Or again, 'I will be his Father, and he will be my Son'?"
* "you do not know on what day your Lord will come" -Jesus tells his bride, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed,” (Rev. 16:15) and “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book”. (Rev. 22:7) Again he states most assuredly, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:12-15)
The Morning Star is the name given to the planet Venus when it brilliantly appears in the East (morning sky) before sunrise. Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary, “(Jesus) is the foundation of all light… as such has given to his churches this morning light of prophecy, to assure them of the light of that perfect day which is approaching.” Henry Morris wrote in his book The Revelation Record, “This is, thus, a blessed reminder to all His people in the churches, that they should watch through the night for His coming, not being led astray by Lucifer, who had aspired to rise above God but whose rebellion would soon be put down.”
Jesus wants his bride to always be ready and eagerly wait for his coming to take us away to be with him for eternity; at any moment, any day, any hour, and any second. (1 Cor. 15:51-52, Phil. 3:20, 1 Thess. 1:10, 1 Tim. 6:14, James 5:8) The trumpets blasts and the bride being taken away (rapture) is the next occurrence in the Hebrew calendar. This is when Jesus will appear in the heavens (though not touching the earth; Acts 1:9-11) and his angels reaping the harvest of believers (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Then we shall see him with our own eyes (Psalm 17:19, 1 John 3:2). The above verses are not the only place that Jesus tells us this. Many of his parables teach us this. (Matt. 13:30, 21:34, 25:19, Mark 4:29, 12:2) Imminence means something is about to happen. Jesus'’ bride has always looked to his coming to take them away imminently; including the apostles, Clement, Cyprian, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Letimer, A. W. Tozer, Billy Graham, etc.
* "each with his assigned task" -not all tasks are the same; yet all have tasks.
* "watch" -Before Jesus comes to take us away the true believers continually pray and stay spiritually alert in joyous anticipation. The watching here is a bit different.The Greek word for watch has eight different meanings. When the sign of the Son appears they will watch in anxiety and fear.
* Several points in this study is taken from the manuscript The Believer's Future- Hope That Inspires