Article

"Are We Living in the Last Days?"
By GARRETT PAUL PARRISH
www.BibleProphecyFulfilled.com

     


In Acts 2:16 we are told that, this is that” which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days…” The following description of “that” is what follows through to verse 21, as Peter quotes from  Joel 2:28-32. This scripture is being fulfilled in their very presence, and Peter doesn't hint at, or suggest that this is part of that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.”  God was now testifying in Jerusalem that he was now beginning to pour out His Spirit upon all peoples, not just those Old Covenant people within the tiny boarders of Israel.  Part of Joel's prophecy is also quoted in Romans 10:11-13, There was now no difference between the Jew and the Greek  (I wish today's Bible teachers would get this clear statement.) for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  Now whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  God was now going forth out from Jerusalem (another point I wish today's Bible teachers would get.) , to Judea, to Samaria, to the uttermost part of the world. These Jews went back into all the world (Roman World), and were used to distribute the Spirit upon all flesh.  The ministry of the Spirit was now going global, not just within the boarders of Israel. Now all families of the earth would be blessed through Abraham's seed, which is Christ. (Gen.12:3,7, Galatians 3:16) Israel was now delivering the kingdom of their Messiah, which was that stone to crush all other kingdoms.  It would be propelled at the feet of the great image, the Roman Empire, and would break the Empire to pieces with the wind of the Spirit carrying it and blowing it away.

     The rest of this quote from Joel has to be included as part of this is that” which was spoken by the prophet Joel.  Acts 2:19 as well as Luke 21:11 speaks of “wonders in heaven” as another aspect of this scripture being fulfilled right here in the first century.  In the year 60 A.D. a large comet, went over head troubling to the core all those in authority within Rome, and within Israel.  In 66 A.D., Hailey's comet went over head causing even more concern in the land.  Josephus records cloud formations at this time clearly forming images of chariot armies invading.  The blood fire, and vapour of smoke clearly speaks of the city's destruction for told of by Jesus.  Even in parables Jesus warned that He would “send His armies (As the sovereign ruler over all things.), and destroy those murderers, and burn up their city!” (Matthew 22:7The Roman armies clearly fulfilled this prophecy.

     Acts 2:19-21 says, “The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call  on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  We already covered the ramifications of this scripture's fulfillment with the Spirits blessing now gone world wide, allowing whosoever to be saved, made whole, and born again by the Spirit. What about the reference to the sun and the moon? Many images come to our western minds, relating in the hard cold scientific facts of astronomy when we hear these terms.  To a Jew living in the first century it brought up something entirely different.  They generally knew the Old Testament scriptures like the back of their hands, and sometimes even putting them to memory.  What ever the Old Testament scriptures said in reference to these words (sun, moon, and stars) is what would come to mind for these Jews living in the first century.  Using the law of first mention, the first mention was the creation account with the sun ruling the day, and the moon and stars ruling the night. 

     After this, Abraham sees his descendants as the stars, which would be nations taking part in rule upon the earth. (Gen. 15:5) Then we have Joseph's dream when Joseph's father is interpreted as being the sun, his mother the moon, and his brothers the stars. (Gen. 37:9,10) They would all someday come down from ruling over him, and bow down, making obeisance before his rule and authority. His father Jacob, knew that the references to the sun, moon, and stars of the dream were referring to Jacob, his wife, and his other sons, submitting and bowing down to Joseph's rule and authority.

     In Ecclesiastes  12:2  Solomon exhorts the youth in verse 1, to remember their creator in the days of their youth.  He then says, “While  the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds (We'll talk about “clouds” later) return after the rain.” All would agree here that Solomon is in no way referring to the firmament.  Rather, while you still have the energy, glory, and power of your youth, use it for honoring God. Again, the first mention of the natural sun, moon, and stars in Genesis 1:16-18 ,tell us that they are to rule over the day (sun), and over the night (moon, and stars).  The principle might be seen in 1 Cor.15:46.  After the natural/physical account in Genesis of the sun, moon, and the stars, there is not much use of these terms in the rest of the scriptures in relating to the physical realm, unless it is clearly spelled out for us. 

In Isaiah 13: 9 ,we see the word of the Lord for Babylon, about 700 years BC, and the coming judgment pronounced upon that land. It says, “ the Lord COMETH …wrath…lay the land desolate…destroy…”

Isaiah 13:10  say's, “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”  It would be lights out for Babylon with it's rule and authority over others.  This judgment would be carried out by the Medes according to verse 17.  It would not be carried out by the US or Israeli Military using tactical nuclear weapons against Iraq.  This was speculated on New Year's Eve 2002, as the Iraq war was pending, by a very popular Bible Prophecy teacher of our day.  (The seed of Chucky, producing the bride of Chucky)

     Isaiah 60:19,20, referring to the New Jerusalem, also quoted in Revelation 21:23, says,  “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.  Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” Is the Lords light a physical light ? Genesis 1:3's “light” was before the formation of physical light in Genesis 1:14Genesis 1:3 is quoted in  2 Cor.4:6 with the same idea as John 1:5, 8:12 and Mt.5:14

     In Ezekiel 32:7, 8 , we read of a judgment, which is against  Pharaoh, king of Egypt. (Vs.2)  It says, “And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.  All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God.”  All would agree that nothing happened to the physical sun, and moon, nor did it to the physical heavens in this judgment upon Pharaoh.  Just as nothing did when Babylon was judged in Isaiah 13.  It was simply lights out for their glory and rule.

     Jeremiah 15:9 says in regard to a judgment upon Jerusalem (vs.5)that, her sun is gone down”.  Even in our day we have such songs, as by Elton John when he says, “Don't let the sun go down on me…”, which of course, is a none physical reference to the sun

     Obadiah verse 4, speaks concerning judgment upon Edom (vs.1) and says, “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord.”

     Micah 3:6 Is a cry for judgment against Israel's leaders (vs.1) and says, “Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.”  Did physical darkness come over them?  All would agree to say, “NO!” Even today most flags around the world use this imagery of a sun, moon, or stars symbolizing ruling authority of the day, or night. “Falling stars” , of course, symbolize a rapid descent, falling from a place of glory, honor, authority and power. (Mt.6:13)

      

     Here's a list of similar scriptures describing judgment in reference to THE HEAVENSbecoming dark in relation to a nation's doom: Psalms18:6-14 Is not referring to a nation, but to the leader of a nation.  It's about David's personal deliverance from Saul. None of these apocalyptic descriptions  transpired in the natural/physical realm. Yet, it refers to THE EARTH shaking (vs.7), THE HEAVENS bowing (vs.9), and DARKNESS, and THICK CLOUDS (vs.9-11) and thunders in THE HEAVENS, HAILSTONES(Rev.16:21), and LIGHTENING (vs13,14, Mt.24:27,Rev.4:4).

Psalms 37:6, Isaiah 5:30, 9:1924:17-23, 50:3, 58:10 (“thy, {Israel's} darkness shall be as the noonday.”), Isaiah 34:4,5-There's no physical scroll here, the ruling  host “of heaven”, their host, in Idumea was to “fall' from its place of rule and  be brought down by the sword. Continuing the list is: Jeremiah 4:23-29 (Judgment against Jerusalem), Joel 2:10,30,31, 3:15,16, Amos 5:18, Habakkuk 3:6-11.

     Because of the vast number of references in the Old Testament to the sun, moon, and stars in a none physical since, but rather in a figurative, apocalyptic usage of prophetic language, we must also interpret   New Testament language, which uses these same terms, in the same manner. Therefore, in Acts 2:16-21 we understand that Peter meant what he said, and said what he meant, when he said, this is that”, and not “this is part of that”, with the rest to be fulfilled thousands of years later. So the sun, and the moon reference in verse 20 is in regard to the changing of the guard, in the bringing down of the present day ruling authority in Israel, the Roman Empire, and the entire world would now begin to feel the penetration of being hit by this stone, Whose kingdom would fill the earth with His knowledge and rule. (Dan.2:34,35, Isaiah 11:9Christianity has ruled the world by the way, just examine history. You might say, “yea, but there's a lot of bad and ugly to go with the good of that rule. But, from the big picture perspective, that's just one slice of a very large pie. Yes, it is a bad one, but a relatively small piece in comparison to the whole. We must consider the compassion of feeding the hungry, the building of hospitals, care for the “write offs”  of society, have all been lead by Christian Charity! Consequently, the most powerful nations economically, politically, militarily, have always been, and will always be those with the strongest influence of Christianity. (Mt.6:33, Psalm 35:27)  To the degree of faithfulness to the truthfulness of scripture, is same degree of righteousness, which will exalt that nation.  Jesus is the ruler of all nations! (Rev.12:10, Prov.14:34) Satan is not the god of this age! (Eph.3:21, 1Cor.10:11) Only those with the “evil report” will try to convince you otherwise.  Those with the faithful report say, “ Let's slay those giant evils within the culture at once.” They continue in their perspective to say, “can't you see the grapes, the working of the spirit to bring  the kingdom, the land of milk and honey, into the culture?  Those with the evil report would say, “those giants are supposed to be there, their part of the last days, worse and worse, darker and darker fulfillment of Bible Prophecy.”

     So are we living in the last days? Acts 2:16-21 said that the last days were being fulfilled in the first century, remember “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days…”, which was fulfilled right there in the first century.  To spell it out, this is that scripture's fulfillment.”  Hebrews 1:1,2 says that, “God…Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” Those last days, not some distant last days millenniums away, in a time period longer than the entire span of the Old Covenant itself. 

     One of the most popular passages relating to the “last days” is found in the Olivet  Discourse in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21It's the most familiar passage, used in “The Late Great Planet Earth”, and was even made into a song by Johnny Cash,  “Matthew 24  is knocking at the door.”  To understand the context of this chapter we must read the previous four chapters ,starting in Matthew 20.  The parable of the householder who hires laborers  into his vineyard. The “others standing idle at the eleventh hour” ,are the gentiles. (vs.6)  “The first”(vs.10), who murmured, were the Jews. (vs.10,11

     Matthew 21 intensifies the rebuke.  Jesus “cleansesthe temple by casting out the corruption within. His house was to be a house of prayer, for all nations (“for Gentiles” , quoted from Isaiah 56:7), but you have made it a den of thieves.  (Mt.21:12,13The temple was expanding its boarders to include all nations to worship in the new temple/tabernacle/body of Christ, “…the second man, the Lord from heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:47)  Worshipers were instructed by Jesus, to forsake the OLD Jerusalem, the OLD temple, and the OLD man.  (Gal.4:25,26- Physical Jerusalem represents Old Covenant bondage!, Jn.4:21-24, Col.3:9, Rev.18:4, 11:8, 18:2-Come out of Babylon, the great city where our Lord was crucified, because this city is going up in flames. Come out of the Old Jerusalem/Old Covenant into the New Jerusalem/New Covenant.-Gal.4:25,26)

Matthew 23:38 refers to their house being left desolate.  Matthew 24 starts with his disciples pointing out to the temple buildings, perhaps suggesting, “ you don't really mean all of these buildings left desolate?” Jesus replies with, “See ye not all these things?  Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” The temple and it's corrupt system revolved around keeping the law, which was the system of the Old Covenant. This is the context of these five chapters (Matthew chapter 20 thru 24), and is really the underlining theme of the New Testament scriptures!  The Old covenant must vanish away, so that the New could be seen clearly by all.  Many were living in limbo between the two covenant “systems.”  (Hebrews 8:13, 9:8)

     The next point in Matthew 21:19, is when Jesus cursed the fig tree.  (Also found in Mark 11:13,14,21-24)  It say's, “And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever.  And presently the fig tree withered away.”   The disciples then marveled, and Jesus responds, “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Let's look at some such  prayers  made by some of his disciples in Revelation 8:2-9Verses 3-4 are the prayers arising as incense. Verse 5 is the answer to those prayers, as the censer filled with fire hit's the “land”. (Not “globe“, or ”Kosmos”)  Verse 7 says that hail and fire (words describing judgment), mingled with blood ,“were cast upon the land.”  Verse 8 says, “as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea.”  The sea is the place of darkness and the abyss, the place of judgment.  What mountain is this?  In Matthew 21, they are in view of The Mount of Olives from Jerusalem, and the Olive Tree is also representative of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, as well as in the New Testament book of  Romans chapter 11.  And what do we know about Mountains from the rest of scripture?  Here are some verses that conclude the usage of a “ mountain”, as it refers to a kingdom or a nation: Psalms 46:1-6, Isaiah 41:14-16, 64:1-4, Jeremiah 51:24,25, Hebrews 12:22,28. (Mount Zion is a kingdom)

     What nation is being cast down  to the abyss in  fiery judgment?  Later in Matthew 21:31, Jesus tells the chief priests, “That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”  Then he gives the parable of the vineyard in Matthew 21:33-46The householder of the vineyard is looking for fruit.  Isn't that what he cursed the fig tree for, lack of fruit?  This parable tells of the husbandmen  being lent the vineyard (Israel) ,and beating the servants (The Prophets who were looking for fruit), and ultimately killing the householder's son.  And the chief priest's word's would come to pass as verse 43 says, that the householder “ will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.”  Jesus then spells it out for them and says, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” After telling them that He would grind them to powder, “they perceived that he spake of them.” (vs.45)  What nation is that kingdom going to be given to?  “A holy nationis what Peter tells us we are being built together as, forming a spiritual temple of living stones.  The other temple, the temple made by hands, is coming down!  (1 Peter 2:9, and 2:5, Galatians 6:16, Phil.3:20, Hebrews 9:8)

     In Matthew 22  Jesus begins with the parable of the marriage feast. Similar to the vineyard, here the King's servants are treated spitefully, and killed for just inviting those who were already on the guest's list, that is those within Old Covenant Israel.  Verse 7 says, “But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”  Did not God in His sovereignty direct those wicked Roman Armies, “His Armies” to fulfill His purpose, and burn their city, Jerusalem?  (Revelation 17:16,17

     Those murderers in chapter 22 are also addressed in Matthew 23Jesus gives the seven (complete) “woes” upon the scribes and Pharisees.  Complete “woeness” and judgment was pronounced upon them. We should also note that seven  seals were opened in The Book of Revelation, to reveal this same coming   judgment.  Impending doom was sure to come upon “that generation.”  Matthew 23:30 speaks of the blood of the prophets and this present generation's connection to their fathers, who killed the prophets.  They were all of the same father, from his seed, that is the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning. (John 8:44Satan's seed is clarified when Jesus called them serpents, and a generation of vipers. (Mt.23:33In Mt.23:34 Jesus emphasizes again that they shall kill and crucify prophets, wise men, and scribes sent by God…and persecute them from city to city (Mt.10:22,23, 24:9)

      In Mt.23:35,36, the seven woe's of judgment chapter, Jesus, the “can we all just get along prophet” , utters the most terrifying words probably ever spoken to any people, at any time in history!  He says, “That upon YOU (In that generation) may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of  righteous Abel unto the blood of Zecharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.  Luke 11:51 spells out this death penalty upon this people (at this time) even clearer, when he says that the blood shed and it's penalty would be “required of THIS GENERATION.” (Again, it was the seed of Satan, the murderer from whom they had descended from. (John 8:44, Romans 9:6) “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning…”  Again, this same satanic reference to them is here in Mt.23:31, as Jesus refers to them as serpents and vipers, and them which killed the prophets) Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon THIS GENERATION!”  (Mt.23:36)

     Matthew 23:37 Jesus says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee…” Yes, this is the city to be burned. (Mt.22:7)

     Matthew 23:38  He then address their housing situation. Remember back in Mt. 21:23, when He said that they had made this house a den of thieves?   He then astounds even His own disciples as He says, “Your house is left unto you desolate.  For I say unto YOU, YE shall not SEE ME henceforth , TILL YE shall say, Blessed is he that COMETH in the name of the Lord”  The greatest wonder of the world at that time was Herod's temple in Jerusalem.  It was everything and more to a first century Jew.  Jesus just told them that it was going to be destroyed.  He then tells them that YE shall see His COMING judgment upon it. (Mt.23:39, Mt. 26:64

 Matthew 24:1 says, “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.” Jesus then leaves the disciples after dropping this bomb on them, and they in turn pursue him to inquire further concerning this matter.  They begin by showing him the buildings of the temple, so as to say, you don't really mean these buildings?  For one thing, each stone was about the size of a large pickup truck or two, weighing much more, of course. 

 Matthew 24:2 continues, “And Jesus said unto them, See YE not all these things?  Verily I say unto YOU, There shall not be left here on stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Jesus' reply was like saying, “ You heard me right, and I'm looking at what your showing me and DO YOU SEE all these things?”  Verily I say unto YOU, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Matthew 24 continues with many YE'S and YOU'S.  Remember, that there are no THEY'S in the Olivet discourse. Keep in mind that the original audience, in this face to face discussion, never changes.  The disciples are listening to Jesus expound in answering  THEIR question? The YOU'S  addressing His disciples,  don't change into THEY'S thousands of years after these original hearers. 

 Matthew 24:3, the question goes as follows: “Tell US, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (age)? First off, Jesus is telling them, because they say, “Tell US.”  He's telling them in their day, not us in our day.   We must remember the principal, that scripture is written for us and not to us. (1 Cor.10:11Jesus for tells of the events leading up to the end of the age.  It was  THEN  AT  the end of the ageHebrews 9:26, written about thirty something years later, tells of the “NOW IN the end of the age.” 

     “These things(verse 3), what things?  These things in relation to the destruction of the temple.  That's all that has been mentioned up to this point.  Verse 33 mentions the same these things.” Verse 34 mentions “these thingsas well.  It says, this generation will not pass, until all these things be fulfilled.”  These things are the same these things as are mentioned in the previous chapter of Matthew.  “All these things shall come upon this generation.”  (Mt.23:36)

Mark 13:4 say's in a parallel account, “Tell US, when shall these things be?  And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled.” So far in Mark, nothing but the temple is in play hereNo mention of His coming, and the end of the age etc.. Mark begins in a parallel account, in detailed description, of the same things that Matthew does.  The same wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, the same gospel going out, the same abomination of desolation, the same persecution, the same false Christs, the same sun, moon, and stars being darkened, and the same coming in the clouds.  All of this above briefing of the chapter is his answer (vs.5,”And Jesus answering them…'') , with no question from the disciples about his coming, or the end of the age.  He answers them and tells them that ALL THESE THINGS would come to pass , only in relation to the temples destruction!  Does anybody out there get this point!!!

     The end of the age is that age of the Old Covenant with its sacrificial system, which was to be abolished (Daniel 9:27), and God's people were to transition into the Messianic Kingdom and Covenant.  A Kingdom and Covenant to which there was no end. (Isaiah 9:7, 55:3, Jeremiah 32:40, Hebrews 13:20.)  Matthew 24:3's end of the age can be clearly seen in the epistles as we see in Hebrews 9:26, “…NOW (Mt.24:3 says “then”, that is, in the future, about 40 years off) once at the end of the age…”   2 Corinthians 3:13 speaks of this end of the old covenant system.  “...Israel could not stedfastly look to THE END of that which is abolished.”  Hebrews 8:13 says concerning the old covenant, “…first old.  Now that which decayeth and waxeth OLD IS READY TO VANISH AWAY.”  It had not entirely vanished/passed away, until there was not left one stone upon another (Matthew 24:2).  Interesting here that the single Greek word for “ready to vanish away” is “eggus”, which is the same word used in Revelation 1:3 ,and 22:10, for “at hand.”  The timing for both fits perfectly with the destruction of THE GREAT CITY Jerusalem/Babylon (Revelation 11:8, 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 1 Peter 5:13) in A.D. 70. And no, the book of Revelation was not written in the 90's, but in the 60's around the same time that all other scripture was completed.  For more information, I recommend the reading of “Before Jerusalem Fell”, by Kenneth Gentry.                

     This brings us to our original question.  Are we living in the last days?  The question should be the last days of what?  It's got to be one of three things.  The planet, the Old Covenant, or The New Covenant? Is  it the last days of the planet?  Hal Lindsey, with his best seller “The Late Great Planet Earth”,  would have us to believe so.  But, what do the scriptures tell us. (Acts 17:11)

             Ecclesiastes 1:4 says that, “the earth endures forever.”  

             Psalms 78:69...”like the earth which he hath established for ever.”

             Psalms 104:5...”Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.

             Ephesians 3:21...”Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus through out all ages, world 

              without end.  Amen. (The “Church age” has no end, neither does the planet with which it's upon.) 

              Even Jack VanImpe, the raging prophetic madman, understands this point.  The reason  for his

              batting one for a thousand and getting this single point correct, is due to a letter from David                   

              Chilton informing him on the matter. Other than this point,  his name still remains to be Jack Van

               Incorrect. 

            

            

But, 2  Peter 3 and Revelation 21 speak of a NEW HEAVENS”, and a“NEW EARTH” replacing the “old heavens” and the “old earth.”

     2 Peter 3 verses 3 and 4  starts by saying, “there shall come in the last days scoffers…  saying , Where is the promise of his coming  for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (Old creation)  Verse 5 and 6 tell of the old heavens of Noah's day and it's passing through judgment. 

     2 Peter 3:7 then gets into THE HEAVENS AND EARTH which are now, are similarly being kept and reserved for fire until the day of judgment.”  'Fire' is the purging judgment of God.

     2 Peter 3:8, 9 tells us that God is not hurried toward judgment, but as in Ninevah's 40 days, He's hoping rather for repentance. 

     2 Peter 3:10 says that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. This phrase is used a number of times, along with similar exhortations towards alertness. (Matthew 24:42,42, 25:13, Luke 12:36-48, Revelation 3:2, 16:15, 1 Thes.5:6)

     2 Peter 3:10 continues with THE HEAVENS shall pass away…”   As we saw with the Old Testament imagery and prophetic language of the sun, moon, and stars, so we see THE HEAVENS interchangeably used throughout scripture in the same manner.  Their none physical darkening meant judgment upon that land.  To recap, let's revisit some of those passages.

     Psalm 18:7 says that , THE EARTH shook”.  This to describe David's deliverance from Saul. 

     Psalm 18: 8 says smoke (Acts 2:19) went out of his nostrils.  Was this smoke chemically measurable?  Did it proceed from physical nostrils?  I would say, NOT!

      Psalm 18: 9 tells of how God “bowed THE HEAVENS also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet”.

 Did anything happen in the physical heavens when David was delivered from Saul? He came down, isn't He already everywhere?  Yes, but this is prophetic language communicating to finite man the workings of the invisible God in the earth.  I've experienced miraculous deliverances in my own life. Afterwards, I could only say that God moved HEAVEN AND EARTH for me.  He did so by opening doors and giving me favor, after which  I could only say that God moved HEAVEN AND EARTH on my behalf!

     Isaiah 5:30 and if one look unto the land, (also often translated as earth, wrongly so most of the time, particularly in the New Testament)  behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in THE HEAVENS thereof.” This passage is referring to a judgment against Israel, ie, the land.

     Isaiah 58:10 In regard to a call for Israel to fast, Isaiah says to …satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:” The noon day is THE HEAVENS at its brightest time, and so would it be a bright day in Israel, if this light as experienced in, but they would not, and would experience great darkness upon the land.

     Jeremiah 4:23-29 Here Jeremiah is proclaiming a coming judgment upon Jerusalem, and the entire nation of Israel. He describes it by using such imagery as “THE EARTH being without from, and void; and THE HEAVENS, having no lightThe mountains trembling, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger.”  When we examine the coming of the lord in the New Testament, we'll see that the Greek word for “coming” is Parousia, which is defined as coming presence”.

     Jeremiah 4:27 clarifies the locality of this judgment, that it has nothing to do with the earth , in the since of the globe, but it's upon “The whole land”. That is, the land of Israel.

     Jeremiah 4:28 says, “For this shall THE EARTH mourn, and THE HEAVENS above be black…”  Nothing transpired in the physical HEAVENS here, only in the land in which this judgment was invoked.   Verse 29 clarifies that the judgments are centralized to “The whole city” of Jerusalem. 

     Ezekiel 32:7 says of Pharaoh, “And when I shall put thee out, I will cover THE HEAVEN, and make the stars thereof dark.”

     Ezekiel 32: 8 says that, “All the bright LIGHTS OF HEAVEN will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land…”

     Joel 2:10 uses this same apocalyptic, prophetic language.  It says,  “THE EARTH shall quake before them: THE HEAVENS  shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:”  This is a judgment in Israel, verse 1 (in Zion), in which the Lord COMETH.

      Joel 2: 30, 31 This verse brings us back to our beginning text quoted in Acts 2:16-21Verse 30 says, THIS IS THAT (The fulfillment of that.) which was spoken of by the prophet Joel; “And I will show wonders in THE HEAVENS and in THE EARTH, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.”  Verse 31 continues with, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” A changing of the guard was taking place, in which the present ruling authority was being put out, and put down.  (Gen.37:9,10)

      Hebrews 12:22 Speaks of a Mountain, the same one we are told of in Daniel 2:35, which fills the whole earth.  Daniel  2:44 says it's a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, and will crush and consume all other kingdoms.  Mount Zion, being a kingdom in Hebrews 12:28, is a kingdom that we are receiving.  Back in verse 22 we are come to it  (Not someday we will come to it) , and it's also referred to as a city.  The city is the heavenly Jerusalem.  Paul says of this Jerusalem that is above, that it is clearly, without any question or controversy, the New Covenant!!!  Galatians 4:24, 26  The Old Jerusalem, that for them, “now is”, (For us, “then was.”) was the Old Covenant, which was in bondage under Mount Sinai's Kingdom, the then present Nation of Israel and the law!

     Hebrews 12:24 brings in this same point speaking of the New Covenant.

     Hebrews 12:25, 26 both use the terms “HEAVEN AND EARTHand the shaking thereof.  These are in relation to God's covenant with Himself being in HEAVEN, and man on the EARTH.  He unites the two by  bringing His Kingdom to the earth.  (Matthew 6:10, Revelation 21:1-3All other Mountains/Kingdoms, such as Mount Sinai/The Old Covenant, would be shaken to pieces. (Daniel 2:34,44, Psalms 2:9)

     Hebrews 12:29 says, “For our God is a consuming fire.”  This brings us back to our passage in

2 Peter 3:10 , which says, THE HEAVENS” shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, THE EARTH also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

      Remember, to the Jew who knew Old Testament imagery, and apocalyptic language, THE HEAVENS, meant something completely different than it did even to the Greeks of their day, as it might to us with a “western mindset”, based upon mathematical and scientific hard cold facts.  When Daniel 4:26 says that, THE HEAVENS DO RULE” , a Greek would be thinking about Zeus, and Jupiter. Today, when we in the west hear such language, we might be thinking in terms of space, distance, and something to do with the physical heavens related to astronomy.  Thinking that God is somewhere out there beyond the stars etc..  Of course, he is everywhere, therefore “THE HEAVENS RULING” has  nothing to do with a physical relationship to the firmament.  God is spirit, and rules from the invisible realm, reaching into the visible, and is not far from anyone of us. (Deut.30:11-14, Romans 10:7,8)  The word is near to us, in him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28) He uses the physical HEAVENS as a metaphor to communicate His authority, rule and reality.   For example, Isaiah 55:8,9 says, “For as THE HEAVENS are higher than THE EARTH, so are my ways higher than your ways , and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  We are low lives, without the intervention of his higher life and higher thoughts.  James 3:17 speaks of wisdom from ABOVE, as opposed to that which is EARTHLY in verse 15.

     So, THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTHmust be interpreted from the Old Testaments use of the terms.  The Covenant begins with Abraham who is told that his seed (Christ, not physical descendants-Gal.3:16) would be multiplied (Corporate Christ-all nations blessed-Gen.22:18) “as the stars of HEAVEN, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore/EARTH…” (Gen.22:17)  Moses addresses the Covenant people (Covenant people, meaning God in HEAVEN joined with man on the EARTH.) in the following manner, “Give ear, O HEAVENS, and I will speak; and hear, O EARTH, the words of my mouth.” (Deut.32:1)  Isaiah does the same thing when he says, “Hear, O HEAVENS, and give ear, O EARTH…” (Isaiah 1:2)

Isaiah 51:6, 16 really clarify the terms in relation to God's Covenant with man. The puritan theologian, John Owen, sees this passage in Isaiah as clearly revealing to us that 2 Peter 3 was fulfilled in the establishment of the New Covenant.  

     Isaiah 51:6 says, “Lift up your eyes to THE HEAVENS, and look upon THE EARTH beneath: for THE HEAVENS shall vanish away like smoke, and THE EARTH shall WAX OLD LIKE A GARMENT, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”  What does the full revelation of scripture, which is the New Testament, tell us about something WAXING OLD?

     Hebrews 8:13 says, “…A new covenant, he hath make the first old.  Now that which decayeth and WAXETH OLD is ready to vanish away.” (It's interesting here, that ready to vanish awayis a single Greek word used also in Revelation 1:3,when it says, “…for the time is at hand.” Greek: “eggus”.)

Does the New Testament tell us anything about an OLD GARMENT?  It does so in Matthew 9:16, which is in reference to the Old Covenant.

     Was not the Old Testament over when Jesus died on the Cross.  In truth it was, but this fact was not yet clear to all.  Things were quite murky for most in Israel concerning the faith as it pertained to various aspects of the law.  This passage in Hebrews 8:13 says that the old was ready to vanish away, but had not entirely done so as of yet. Only after the destruction of the temple, could it be made manifest and clear who the true son's of God where.  Who were the wheat, and who were the tares?  Was it those who were still under the Old Covenant Law, or those who were trusting in Jesus alone?  Again, there was much murkiness.  The next chapter in Hebrews say's that, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:” The temple had to come down first! (Hebrews 9:8What is the clear theme of eschatology?  The destruction of the Old, and the CREATION of the New.  The destruction of the Old COVENANT, Old TEMPLE (Mt.24), Old MAN, Old WINESKINS, Old GARMENTS (Mentioned in the passage above in Isaiah 51:6), Old BOTTLES, Old WAY (Heb.10:20), Old CREATION (2 Cor. 5:17 refers to the individual, Rev. 21:4, 5, to the corporate), Old AGE (Mt. 24:3, 1 Cor.10:11-“…ends of the age (Not world) are come”), Old JERUSALEM (Gal. 4:21-31), and the Old ISRAEL. (Mt. 3:9, John 8:33, 39,41,44,Rom. 2:28, 29, 4:3,11, 9:8, Gal. 3:16, 6:16, Colossians 3:10,11, Rev. 2:9, 3:9) 

In Isaiah 51:16, God says, “And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered THEE in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant THE HEAVENS, and lay the foundations of THE EARTH, and say unto Zion, Thou art MY PEOPLE.” Heaven brought to earth is the establishment of God's covenant people.  In Revelation 21:1-3 we see the same thing with a NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH, which is the New Jerusalem/The Bride/The New Covenant, which is the New Temple/Tabernacle with GOD IN HEAVEN DWELLING WITH MEN ON EARTH! (Galatians 4:22-31)

     The HEAVENS, and the EARTH have everything to do with God descending into a covenant relationship with man on the earth.  Again, it's all about Him revealing  Himself through His presence from HEAVEN, with men on the EARTHIt's His will being done on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN. (Mt. 6:10His kingdom coming and His will being done, is also about the kingdom's expansion out from Jerusalem as Jesus commissioned his disciples. “All power is given unto me in HEAVEN and in EARTH.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…I am WITH YOU ALWAYS…” (Mt.28:17-20)

     In Matthew 16:16-19 , this covenant of God in heaven and man on earth can be clearly seen.  Jesus states that He will build his church upon the revelation of who He was, the Messiah/Christ, the Son/express image of the living God. This revelation comes from HEAVEN (vs.17).   Heavens authority is exercised  upon the EARTH, within THE CHURCH/GOD'S COVENANT PEOPLE. The key's are the authority given to lock the door and keep out the darkness, and to open doors of opportunity that no man can close.  (Rev. 21:27, 22:14, 3:8)

     Mathew18:17-20  Continues along these same lines.  The church (vs.17) is given authority to administer the left foot of fellowship to the openly unrepentant.  This authority is from God in HEAVEN, and administered through man on the EARTH.  Thus, what's bound/stripped of authority on EARTH by two or three Covenant members, is backed up with HEAVENS AUTHORITY.     Also, whatsoever is loosed is given authority to exercise heaven's authority in God's will being DONE (vs.19) ON EARTH.  That is, “done for them by my Father which is in HEAVEN.” 

 

     Mt.1:23 Emmanuel, God with usEphesians 1:3... “spiritual blessings IN HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ”, (Ephesians 2:6) “…and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together IN HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ Jesus.” These heavenly places are taking place on earth.  These  saints in Ephesus had not died, and left the earth, but THIS WAS HEAVEN'S AUTHORITY AND INFLUENCE BEING EXPERIENCED ON EARTH!

Take also into account that the law, the prophets, and the Psalms, address the covenant people as THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH! 

Deuteronomy 32:1 “Give ear, O ye HEAVENS, and I will speak; and hear O EARTH, the words of my mouth”.  The verse prior reveals to whom Moses is addressing, “And Moses spake in the ears of all THE CONGREGATION OF ISRAEL…” God in HEAVEN is joined with man on EARTH in covenant.   

Isaiah 1:2 “Hear, O HEAVENS, and give ear, O EARTH, for the Lord has spoken…”   Isaiah is addressing Judah and Jerusalem, the covenant people (Isaiah 1:1).   

Isaiah 51:16 “…that I may plant THE HEAVENS, and lay the foundations of THE EARTH, and say unto ZION, THOU ART MY (COVENANT) PEOPLE.” The puritan theologian John Owen uses this verse to explain 2 Peter 3's, “THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH.   

Psalms 50:4, 5 “He shall call to THE HEAVENS from above, and to THE EARTH, that He may judge HIS PEOPLE.  Gather MY SAINTS together unto me; those that have made a COVENANT with me by sacrifice.” 

Hosea 2:18-21 “And in that day will I make A COVENANT for them…And I will BETROTH (covenant) thee unto me forever…I will even BETROTH (covenant) thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.  And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear THE HEAVENS, and they shall hear THE EARTH.” 

Joel 2:30 “And I will shew wonders in THE HEAVENS  and in THE EARTH, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.”  This verse is right in the middle of the passage quoted by Peter in Acts 2:16-21, where Peter says, this (the outpouring of the Spirit at the beginning of the new covenant) is that (Joel 2:28-32) which was spoken by the prophet Joel…”  This event is that passage of scripture's fulfillment!  The old heavens and earth of the old covenant system (the temple, city, and nation)would go up in smoke (blood and fire and pillars of smoke - Matthew 22:7) as the new covenant was being established on the earth.   

Joel 3:16 “The Lord also shall roar out of ZION, and utter his voice from JERUSALEM; and THE HEAVENS  and THE EARTH shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of HIS PEOPLE, and the strength of THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.”

  

Isaiah 49:13 “Sing, O HEAVENS; and be joyful, O EARTH; and break forth into singing O ISRAEL…” 

Zechariah 12:1 “The burden of the word of the Lord for ISRAEL, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth THE HEAVENS and layeth the foundations of THE EARTH, and formeth the spirit of man within him.” 

Matthew 5:17,18 is the clearest of all revelation on this matter of “HEAVEN AND EARTH.”  

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till  HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (By Him)

     Timing has everything to do with Bible Prophecy Fulfilled. Till is a timing word here. Plain as day here, Once I fulfill the law, the“HEAVEN AND EARTH” ,of the old covenant, WILL PASS!”  The Old Covenant rule upon the earth will pass after He fulfills every jot and and tittle of the law and the prophets. Did he or did Jesus not fulfill every jot and title of the law and the prophets? Yes, He did, therefore HEAVENA ND EARTH HAVE PASSED! His words would not pass (Mt.24:35), but would be the foundation of the New Covenant temple made without hands, a house that would endure all storms (Mt.7:24-27), in an EVERLASTING COVENANT!  

     Revelation 21:1-5 says that this new temple/tabernacle of God is with men.   It is the NEW HEAVEN and  NEW EARTH, while the former/old things are PASSED AWAY! Behold, I make ALL THINGS NEW… IT IS DONE! “…A New Covenant He hath made the first OLD.  Now that which decayeth and waxeth OLD is ready to (it did pass away in A.D. 70) VANISH AWAY.”  (Heb.8:13)  The Old tabernacle/temple was about to pass away and  the New Temple of Jesus' Body/Temple/Tabernacle/Church was about to be made manifest to all.  (Heb.9:8)

    2 Cor. 3:7 “written…in stones…which glory was PASSING AWAY.” 

   2 Cor. 3:11 “For if what is PASSING AWAY  was glorious…”

    

     In  2 Peter 3, we should now have a completely different understanding from our western minds, to that of the Old testament scriptures, as well as the New Testament scriptures which draw from the Old, and their usages of the terms HEAVEN AND EARTH.”

2 Peter 3:10 goes on to tell us that the THE HEAVENS SHALL PASS AWAY with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, THE EARTH also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Now do these terms mean something different to us after examining the Old Testament's uses of them?  This approach to scripture is simply interpreting scripture with scripture.  We must stand back, and not run with our own thoughts and understandings.  We should pause and ask ourselves, “what do we know about this or that term, from the rest of scripture?

     But this passage speaks of the elements”  melting and burning up.  “Yes, this is talking about thermonuclear war.”  Wait! Pause!  Where else is this term elements used in the scriptures?  Answer, the Greek word is “Stoicheion.It's definition is: Rudiments, philosophies, and  principlesIt's used in the following verses:

Galatians 4:3,  “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:”

Galatians 4:9, “…how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage.

Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Colossians 2:20 states, “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances.”

*Note that the “world” is truly, the “age,” that is, the Old Covenant age, as well as the age in which gentiles ruled the world, as seen in Daniel's statue/Great Image. We who are in Christ are truly “Jews” in the Jewish Messiah's Kingdom “age.” (Dan.2, Romans 2:28,29, 9:8, Rev.2:9, 3:9)

Hebrews 5:12 says, “…ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.”

John Lightfoot (1859) states, concerning 2 Peter 3:10, the following, “ The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, &c. Compare this with Deuteronomy 32:22, Hebrews 12:26: and observe that by the elements are understood the Mosaic elements, Galatians 4:9, Colossians 2:20: and you will not doubt that St. Peter speaks only of the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Nation, and the abolishing of the dispensation of Moses.” (Vol.3 p.452) 

C.H. Spurgeon states, “Did you ever regret the absence of the burnt offering, or the red heifer, or any one of the sacrifices and rites of the Jews?  No, because though these were like the OLD HEAVENS AND EARTH to the Jewish believers, THEY HAVE PASSED AWAY, AND WE NOW LIVE UNDER A NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH, so far as the dispensation of divine teaching is concerned.  The substance is come, and the shadow has gone: and we do not remember it.” (C.H. Spurgeon, MP vol.38 p. 354) 

Concerning the most complete book on Bible Prophecy ever written, The Parousia, by James Stuart Russell, Spurgeon says the following, “Though the author's theory is carried too far (he no longer believes this), it has so much truth in it, and throws so much new light upon obscure portions of the Scriptures, and is accompanied with so much critical research and close reasoning, that it can be injurious to none and may be profitable to all.” (October 1878 issue of The Sword and the Trowel Magazine) 

Just a quick, and I believe a very relevant, thought here.  I often hear how that the reformers and their descendants (Spurgeon was such a descendant) didn't really see and understand “Israel” and the “Last Days/Bible Prophecy”, and were given to “replacement theology” (No, “fulfilled theology”, it is today's futurists who actually replace Jesus with Israel).  Might they ever consider that perhaps the reformers saw and understood something that they are not presently seeing, that is, a kingdom and dominion mentality, which enabled the reformers to turn the world upside down and build the foundations of present day western civilization!  What a contrast with today's defeatist mentality of a darker and darker, worse and worse, doomsday forecast, which becomes self fulfilling.  This is a direct result of futurism/pre-millennialism, with its death row mentality resulting in short term goals!  What one believes about the future effects what one does and how one does it, even if it's a sub-conscious belief that may have infected one decades prior, perhaps going back to a class in Bible seminary.  No more John Bunyan's, John Locks (a preterist preacher who laid the foundations for the free enterprise system, picked up by Adam Smith…),  Rembrandts, Michael Angelo's, or Handles' “Messiah”, now it's “The Late Great Planet Earth”, “Left Behind”, and “The Omega Code”!!!  And we wonder why the youth are leaving the Church in droves?  Could it be that the greatest hope and goal being given to them is to disappear off the face of the earth in a rapture (which is crap for sure) just before every thing blows up!!!!!!   

 

2 Peter 3:12 goes on to tell us of THE HEAVENS, or present ruling authority/authorities of this the old rule, will be “…dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.”  They will PASS AWAY”, verse 10

2 Peter 3:13 says, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for NEW HEAVENS and a NEW EARTHWHEREIN DWELLETH RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 

In Matthew 3:15 Jesus says to John the Baptist, the last Old Testament Prophet pointing to Jesus and The New Covenant, “…for thus it becometh us TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  Jesus fulfilled this righteousness of perfection, which was the Old Covenant's standard.  “To be found in Him, not having mine own RIGHTEOUSNESS, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the RIGHTEOUSNESS which is OF GOD by faith.”  (Gal.3:9)  “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM. (2 Cor.5:21)   

Daniel 9:24 says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to BRING IN EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS.  This was brought in, and many Christians today are still looking for this passage of scripture to be fulfilled.  I can't find one theologian before 1830, when Darby's dispensationalism took off, that sees anything in this passage as not already being fulfilled in the first century.  (This passage, Daniel 9:24-27, contains the 70th week, and the Abomination of Desolation)  This doesn't mean that there weren't some Koresh's of the past that might have stated such things. 

This everlasting righteousness is clearly stated here to be brought about through the sacrifice that establishes the new covenant, to which is said to be an EVERLASTING COVENANT. (Hebrews 13:20)

It is linguistically impossible to have a period of  “last days” within an everlasting covenant.  

Therefore, we've examined that the last days were not regarding the last days of the globe. Neither are they in reference to the “last days” of the New Covenant, as we've just examined above.  So then, we must conclude with our investigation that the “last days” are the last days of the Old Covenant, which was for told of by the prophets.  The Old Covenant people would be transitioned into a new age of the Messiah's kingdom, in the New Covenant.  It's the year 2007 for a reason.  The New Covenant is that reason! 
 
 

“But what about the rest of Matthew 24, you only covered the first few verses?”

Matthew 24:4 says, “Take heed that no man deceive YOURemember in verse 2,  he is speaking to the disciples face to face, and says, “verily I say unto YOU…” In verse 3 they say, “Tell US…”

Matthew 24:5 says, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ: and shall deceive many.”  The book of Acts, the Epistles, and even Josephus tell us clearly that this did happen.  (Acts 8:9-24)

Matthew 24:6 states that, YE shall hear of wars and rumours of wars…”  Is there an increase in wars in our day?  In 2007 there are some 30, or so, armed conflicts in the world.  This is the least amount of wars in the world since post  World War Two. How are wars today in our world related in any way to any sign of increased wars of the “last days”?

Matthew 24:7 continues about war. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom, against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”  This is simply the progression of warFirst, the fighting, then the economic turmoil, and disruption of the growth and trade of food, which brings famine.  What follows next is death, and rotting corpses bring about pestilences. 

The Wars within the Roman Empire during the 60's were about half a dozen.  These were civil wars between rivaling Roman Military and political adversaries.  One civil war brings enough chaos for an empire, we could only imagine what this many would be like.

The wars brought famine, the famine death, and death pestilence 

What about earthquakesHas there been an increase in earthquakes? Let's examine history to see some of the devastation brought on by earthquakes.  

                                Date AD:                             Location:                          Deaths: 

                                532                                       Syria                                   130,000  

                                678                                       Syria                                   170.00

                                856                           Iran:Qumis Damghan                   200,00

                                893                                  India: Daipul                           180,00

                                893                                  Iran: Ardabil                           150,000

                              1138                                   Egypt, Syria                            230,000

                              1139                                 Iran: Gansana                           100,000

                              1290                                 China: Chihili                           100,000

                              1556                                       China                                   830,000

                              1641                        Iran: Dehkwargan, Tabriz               300,000

                              1662                                       China                                   300,000

                               1669                          Sicily: (Etna eruption)                  100,000

                               1693                       Sicily: Catania and Naples              100,000   

                               1703                              Japan: Hokkaido                       100,000

                               1721                                  Iran: Tabriz                           100,000

                               1730                                China:Chihili                           100,000

                               1730                              Japan: Hokkaido                       137,000

                               1731                                China: Peking                          100,000 

                               1737                               India: Calcutta                          300,000

                               1780                                 Iran: Tabriz                             100,000

                               1850                                      China                           300-400,000     

                               1876                       Bay of Bengal (tsunami)                   215,000

                               1908                        Italy: Messina/Reggio                      110,000 
 

Today there is an increase in technology so as to monitor earthquakes more precisely, not an increase in actual earthquakes.  

Before we continue through the chapter, lets skip ahead to what's known as time indicators.  After all, if timing is excluded from Bible Prophecy, then Mosses' only test for distinguishing between the true and the false is excluded.  Anything can simply be pushed into the future.  Nothing can be proven without this test.  Genesis  18:21-22, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21Here are some examples of the precision of prophecy in the Bible. They all say for example, that such and such an event will happen within an exact amount of time.

  
 

 Years: 

      1     “this year”  Jeremiah 28:16,17

           “within a year” Isaiah 26:16

      3       “within three years” Isaiah 16:14

      3 ½   “shall they tread under foot forty and two months”  Revelation 11:2

      7       “What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great…”

                Genesis 41:28,29

     15       “And I will add unto thy days fifteen years.”   2 Kings 20:6    

     65      within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. Isaiah 7:8

     70      “…shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years….when the seventy years are accomplished…

                Jeremiah 25:11,12

     80      “The days of our years are seventy years, and if by reason of strength they be eighty years, yet…” 

                 Psalms 90:10

    100     “…for the child shall die an hundred years old”   Isaiah 65:20

    120     “…his days shall be an hundred and twenty years”  Genesis 6:3

    400     “…thy seed…a stranger…foreign land…shall afflict them four hundred years.”  Genesis 15:13

    483      “from the commandment to restore…unto the Messiah…shall be seven weeks, and threescore

                and two weeks.”  Daniel 9:25

    490     Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy city…”   Daniel 9:24  

Does God who created time, deal with man who is in time, vaguely or precisely with measures of time?    

Do we weasel out of the only standard for deciphering prophecy (Deut.18:21-22) by saying that a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day?  Is not this God's perspective?  If this method were true, then the reverse would be true as well.  And that would leave us with The Thousand Year Reign of Christ having the duration of one day.  Should this method be applied to undo clear time references, which are to be taken literally?  Can God tell time? If we followed the “thousand year model of interpretation”, we would be left to say that the book of Revelation's statement's about the events within being done shortly, quickly, and that they were at hand, could really mean that they were “far off.” (Revelation 1:1, 3, 16:15, 22:6, 10, 12, 20)  Therefore, when Ezekiel speaks of events that are said to be far off”, could not “far off” really mean “at hand”, anytime, or tomarrow (Ezekiel 12:22-28)?  It could, if a day is as a thousand years with God, who really can't be clear with us.   The fact is, that God can be clear with us, and when he say's, “This captivity is LONG”, we can clearly understand that God considers 70 years to be a LONG time for man, whom He created in time.   (Jeremiah 29:28) 

So, lets examine some futher weaseling in relation to timing verses within eschatology: 

In Matthew 24:34, Jesus says, “Verily I say unto YOU, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”  The word Greek word for generation is “genea”.  It is used about 38 times in the New TestamentToday's teachers of Bible Prophecy, for the most part, will tell you that it could mean race, but does not mean so anywhere in the New Testament, except for right here, they contend.  In case your keeping score at home, that's 37 to 1.  In anyone's book, unless your Frank Riech, this game should be over.  Go to Las Vegas and play against those odds.  A few verses before the Olivet Discourse, in Matthew 23:36, Jesus even uses the very same phrase, this generation”, and says, “All these things shall come upon this generation.”

 

This same phrase, “this generation” is used about 17 times in the New Testament. Not one time is it speaking to any other generation, except for the present one being addressed.  “Except this passage here in the Olivet Discourse,” according to most Bible Prophecy teachers today.  To them it means race here, or they just change “this generation” , to “that generation” who sees Israel become a nation etc… You must change the words, to change the meaning, because the present words of the text would confuse ones preconceived ideas about the passage.  

Here's a list of passages, that is by no means exhaustive, using the phrase this generation”, or simply using generationto address that present generation in the first century. You will be able to see that no other generation is being addressed accept for the one being spoken to, unless otherwise noted.     

Matthew 3:7 “…O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to comeThis generation would experience that coming wrath of God's judgment.

Matthew 11:16  “But whereunto shall I liken this generation?

Matthew 12:41  “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation…”

Matthew  12:42  “The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation…”

Matthew 12:45  “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Matthew 16:4  A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign…”

Matthew 23:33  “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers”

Matthew 23:36  “All these things shall come upon this generation.

Matthew 24:34  This Generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled”

Mark 8:12  “There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

Mark 8:38  “…ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous , and sinful generation…”

Mark 9:19   “He answered him, and saith, O faithless generation…” 

Luke 7:31  “Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation?

Luke 9:41  “…O faithless and perverse generation.

Luke 11:30 “.. as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.”

Luke 11:31  “..queen of the south shall rise up in judgment with the men of this generation …”

Luke 11:32  “The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation…”

Luke 11:50  “That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

Luke 11:51  “…the blood…It shall be required of this generation.”

Luke 17:25  “But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation

Acts 2:40  “…Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Hebrews 3:9,10 “…forty years.  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation.(God clarifies here, that He is not speaking about the present generation, and uses “that generationin solidifying the context of

“when your fathers…”)  
 
 

So Matthew 24 has a time frame, and it's within the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. Therefore, the earthquakes in Matthew 24:7 also must be within this same time frame.

The following is a list from some of the history of earthquakes taking place within “this generation,” to whom Jesus was speaking.  From the time of Jesus death in the early 30's,  to 70 A.D. (The span of a generation, about 40 yrs.), earthquakes did increase.  Just prior to 70 A.D., there were earthquakes in Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome, Judea, and Pompeii

     Henry Alford compiled this list leading up to 70 A.D., with the destruction of the temple, and of the city of Jerusalem. 

1. A great earthquake in Crete, A.D. 46 or 47.

2. One at Rome on the day when Nero assumed the “manly toga.” (To much info here Henry, spare us the details) A.D. 51.

3.One at Apamaea in Phrygia, mentioned by Tacitus, A.D. 53.

4.One at Laodicea in Phrygia, A.D. 60.

5.One in Campania.  Seneca, in the year, A.D. 58, writes: “How often have cities of Asia and Achaea fallen with one fatal shock!  So many cities have been swallowed up in Syria, how many in Macedonia!  How often has Cyprus been wasted by this calamity!  How often has Paphos become a ruin!  News has often been brought us of the demolition of whole cities at once.”

     In Bible Prophecy we like to say that it's all about Location, Location, Location.  That is, these events are not global.  The other emphasis , of course, is timing into which the word is fitly spoken to.  (Prov.25:11) 

     Flavius Josephus, the captured Jewish General, and Roman Historian, speaks of earthquakes within Israel at this time.  He describes an earthquake in Judea, as follows, “that the constitution of the universe was confounded for the destruction of men.”   He expounds on this quake, and writes that the Judean earthquake was “no common” calamity, indicating that God Himself had brought it about for a specific purpose.   

Matthew 24:9 says, “Then shall they deliver YOU up to be afflicted, and shall kill YOU: and YOU shall be hated of all nations, for my name's sake.”  This was clearly the first century persecution to be experienced by themMatthew 10:22, 23 says this same thing.  “And YE shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.  But when they persecute YOU in this city, flee YE into another: for verily I say unto YOU, YE shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be COME.” Jesus being God, would come in judgment, within  the lifetime's of  those in that generation to whom He was speaking.  This is just another passage of scripture for telling of events, using time indicators in an exact manner!

Matthew 24:10 says, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”  This speaks of betrayal, and turning each other in to the persecuting Jews and Romans.

Matthew 24:11  “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”  Acts 13:6 says, “…they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-Jesus:”  Mark 13:5, 6 Speaks of false Christ's deceiving.  1 John 2:18 Says ... it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”

Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the LOVE  OF MANY SHALL WAX COLD.”  Was this lack of love prevalent at all in the first century?  2 Tim.3:1-4  Say's, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves,…Without natural affection…, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”  Note how the passage continues to give us a timing context.  In verse 8, we read, “NOW…..THESE ALSO RESIST THE TRUTH, MEN OF CORRUPT MINDS…Verse 9 continues, “…THEIR FOLLY SHAL BE MADE MANIFEST.  Verse 10 is the clincher, “….BUT THOU…..!!!” Paul here is contrasting MEN IN HIS DAY who are in folly with THE MEN IN HIS DAY WHO HAVE FULLY KNOWN HIS DOCTRINE!  THESE LAST DAYS LOVERS OF THEMSELVES, COVETEOUS…, ARE PRESENT AND CONTRASTED WITH THOSE WHO HAVE FULLY KNOWN PAULS DOCTRINE!!!  Remember the text in Acts 2:16,17 “…this is that” scripture in Joel being fulfilled before your eyes, “in the last day's...” And Hebrews 1:2 says, “…in THESE last days”  I wonder if iniquity abounded at all in the first century?  “The love of many waxing cold can be seen in Matthew 10:22, “And YE shall be HATED OF ALL MEN…”

Matthew 24:13  says, “But he that shall ENDURE UNTO THE END, THE SAME SALL BE SAVED.”   

Matthew 10:22 says the same thing,  “…he that ENDURETH TO THE END SHALL BE SAVED.”  Are these two scriptures speaking of separate events, in separate millenniums? This prophetic passage in Matthew 10, also has a time indicator in it.  Matthew 10:23 says, “ …YOU shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”  Who is this referring to? 'YOU' first century apostles.  WHEN would it be fulfilled?  In their lifetimes before they would had gone through all of the cities of Israel.  WHEN would His coming Judgment happen in Matthew 24:13?  At this same time, within that generation!

Matthew 24:14 States, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the WORLD for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

We must examine the word used here for the “WORLD.”  It is the Greek word “Oikoumene”. with the definition of: Land, the terrene part of the globe, specifically the Roman empire:-earth, worldIts used in Luke 2:1, where a census went into all the WORLDThe “Oikoumene” world, the Roman World. Not  throughout the globe into Japan, China, and North America. Did the gospel go through out the Empire?  Colossians 1:5,6, 23 says that it did. It states, “…the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the WORLD…” Verse 23, “…the gospel., which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven…”  

Romans 16:25, 26 says, “…the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, MADE KNOWN TO ALL NATIONS for the obedience of faith:” Not all nations of the globe, but as in Acts 2:5 we are told that there were gathered in “ Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”  That is every nation under Roman rule. Acts 24:5 says the same thing in when it says, “…among all the Jews throughout  THE WORLD…” AgainOikoumeneis usedThey were scattered through out the land, not the globeActs 17:6 says, “…these that have turned the WORLD upside down…” “Oikoumene” again. 

Revelation 3:10 says, “…the hour of temptation/tribulation, which shall come upon all the world  '(Oikoumene”) , to try them that dwell upon the land/not globe.” (“Kosmos” is the Greek for globe, it's not mentioned in Revelation in regard to the book's judgments)

So the Gospel went into all the Roman World. Romans 1:8 also testifies to this; “your faith is spoken of throughout the whole WORLD.” “Land” here, not Kosmos/Globe. Finally, Romans 10:18 states, “Have they not heard?  Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the “WORLD.” “WORLD” here is also the Greek word “Oikoumene”.  

Matthew 24:15 says, “When YE therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand.When did this happen?  Verse 34 tells us when it happened, before “this generation” passed away.  The last part of this verse says, “let the reader understand”.  Jesus says that the reader of this scripture from Daniel 9:27 needs to understand it.  It's not a matter of playing crystal ball.  Speculation and imagination are excluded.  Proverbs  2:3 says, “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding…” Proverbs 1:5,6 says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.”  Revelation 13:18 says, for the READERS IN THE FIRST CENTURY, to have wisdom and understanding in deciphering who the beast was.  If it were referring to someone in our day, it would have been nothing but a cruel hoax for those first century believers suffering the world's worst persecution. Why would they waste their precious little time scrambling for an enigmatic meaning intended for those living in the distant future? 

     So understanding Bible Prophecy is a command of Jesus, “whoso readeth, let him understand.”   Understanding is therefore, attainable. What are some things we know from this time period in history?  First, lets look at the phrase abomination of desolation.” Abominationin the Greek is “bdelugma”, which simply means detestation, to be disgusted, idolatry.

Desolationjust means destructionDo we know of a destruction that would make first century Old Covenant Jews disgustedI think we do.  In Luke 21:20, Jesus says, “And when YE shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the DESOLATION thereof is nigh.” Would the sight of their city, temple, and people being destroyed, be perhaps somewhat troubling to them? Might that be something that they might even detest, and be disgusted over?  Does not Jesus warn them, “Behold, YOUR HOUSE  is left unto you DESOLATE. (Mt.23:38) The house/temple meant more to them than life itself. 

     Who, or what stands in the holy place? Mark 13:14 says, “But when YE shall SEE the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where IT ought not…”  This passage in Mark uses Gender neutral “it”.  Matthew 24:15 does not use gender either, “the abomination of desolation…stand in the holy place.”  When Rome/the Gentiles trampled the city, and temple, having their time (Luke 21:24, Rev.11:2), the Roman Armies were acting as one in the body politic of “Rome.”  Anit” (Rome) stood where it should not.  According to Old Testament law, it was an abomination to have these Gentiles standing in the temple.  Josephus speaks of what the Gentiles did within the temple.  In “Wars of The Jews 6, 6, 1,” he states, “The Romans planted their eagles on the shapeless ruins, over against the eastern gate, offered their sacrifices to them, and proclaimed Titus Imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy”.

     Other happenings of the day,  prior to Titus' armies entering the temple, was the taking over of the temple by the Jewish Zealots, and Roman Armies during the Civil War.  F.W. Farrar says of this event, “The blood of St. James, shed by priests and Zealots, stained the Temple court at Jerusalem, in the year A.D. 63.  Three years had not elapsed before the marble floor of the Temple swam with the blood of more than eight thousand Zealots, who stabbed each other in internecine massacre.  Hanam, the prime mover in the martyrdom, perished miserably.  He was seized by the Idumeans, murdered, and his corpse was flung out naked to dogs and beasts.  Six years had not elapsed before priests, swollen with hunger, were seen madly leaping into the altar flames.  Seven years have barely elapsed before city and Temple sank into charred and blood-stained heaps, and the place,the nation, the ritual of Judaism were for ever swept away.” 

     Many would say that the “man of sin” in 2 Thes. 2:3, 4 was one of these individual Zealots (John of Gischala - “The one doomed for destruction”), corrupt temple priests, or Roman military leaders.

I would argue towards the corporate Rome understanding. The Roman poet Ovid (43 B.C. - A.D.18) writes of Augustus and says, “the State is Caesar.” The state's military is Caesar.

2 Thes. 2:3, 4 says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a falling away (Hebrews 6:6-returning to offer animal sacrifices) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

Jesus says standing in the holy place.  The Roman Armies stood after trampling through the temple.  But Nero, the man of sin, was dead by '68, and the Roman Armies came in '70.  Nero was the sixth (that's fitting)  Emperor, as we are told in Revelation 17:10, 11. There are seven kings discussed in this passage, yet  an eighth is added at the end in an enigmatic way.  What do we know about the number eight?  The eighth day is the beginning of the new week.  Eight were saved on the ark to “resurrect” the human race.  The leper was cast out until his eighth day sacrifice.  A women on her monthly cycle was unclean until the eighth day. Circumcision was on the eighth day, showing the new beginnings of a covenant life with God.  And Jesus Christ's Hebrew numeric value is 888, while  Nero's is 666. Eight is the number for beginning a new.  In Revelation 17, the seventh king would  continue for only a short time.  Galbo did so for only 7 months.  Vespasian would once again bring some stability to Rome, and would keep the beast, that was Rome, on the same path, and in the same ways, as was epitomized in Nero.  Remember that the Emperor was Rome.  The Emperor Vespasian's seat of authority, “sat” in the Jewish temple. It was no more of a physical sitting than was Moses' seat , referred to in Matthew 23:2.  Remember that the state was one with the Emperor/Beast.  The “man of sin”/“Beast” was Rome, and Rome was the “man of sin.”  Really, just a counterfeit for Christ, and the Corporate Christ, the Church.  The state would be revived to begin a new after Nero, to continue in the ways of Nero the beast.  It would continue as the corporate beast, with an individual Emperor as the head man of sin, the face of the Beast that was Rome.   Even today we would say that Hitler conquered Poland, and France, and reached as far north as Leningrad.   Yet, Hitler the individual was not there on the front lines standing in these lands, but was rather sitting in authority over the war back in Berlin.   

     Another way to look at the passage in 2 Thes. 2:3, 4 is to look at the word “temple” used here.  I give all of the credit, or blame for the following view to Terry Kashian, who brought this point up to me.  The word here for temple is “Naos”, which can be used to describe the place of worship within the heart. Here is a shortened version of the Vine's definition of “Naos”: By Christ metaphorically, of His own physical body, John 2:19, 21.  In Apostolic teaching, metaphorically of The Church, the mystical body of Christ, Eph.2:21; (2) of a local Church,  1 Cor.3:16, 17:2, 2 Cor. 6:16; (3) of the present body of the individual believer, 1 Cor. 6:19.  If this last definition is what Paul is referring to, then it could be the edict of the Roman Emperor requiring all citizens to hail Caesar as Lord.  This would then be referring to the worshipping the beast within, from the allegiance of an individual's heart/temple, which was intended for the worship of God alone. State worship was required, even in every day commerce, “that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark of, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name”.  The “mark” of ownership is allegiance to, and worship of, the beast, which was Rome and it's head, Caesar.  Could this act be the “man of sin”,  sitting in the temple/heart, the place intended for God's sitting and ruling upon it's throne?  This interpretation for 2 Thes. 2:3, 4, would separate the passage entirely from the passage in Matthew 24:15, and the “Abomination of Desolation”.    

There is one point about “The Abomination of Desolation”, which we know for sure.  That it happened within the time period of THIS GENERATION(Mt.24:34), the generation living at the time of Jesus' three and a half year ministry.  More precisely, it was at the time when they saw Jerusalem compassed with armies, then they knew the DESOLATION of their city and temple was nigh.  (Luke 21:20)  I have only one question about this passage for today's Bible Prophecy teachers.  The question is, How in God's name can you HONESTLY force a rebuilt temple thousands of years into the distant future, when the very discussion/discourse of Mt 24 (beginning in 23:38) is rooted in the context of the destruction of the temple, the temple that Jesus and His disciples had just been looking at?  (Mt.24:1,2) The very temple in which He had just said that not one stone would be left upon another?  It was this statement that inspired the disciples to ask him as to when would these things be? (Mt.24:2, 13:4)  Thousands of year off?  Absolutely, literarily, linguistically, and HONESTLY,  impossible!  Such conclusions are utter nonsense and rubbish, and could ONLY be imposed upon the text by a preconceived notion towards a perverse model and system of interpretation! 
 

Matthew 24:16  says, “Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:”  Continues on with this same subject of  “The Abomination of Desolation”. This fleeing did occur, as believers departed out of the city to a place called  “Pella.”   (Luke 21:20-21Notice the location, Judea, not Georgia.  Jesus is not referring to something worldwide here.  If they were to flee to the mountains, and nuclear war was to obliterate the planet, what good would that fleeing accomplish?

Matthew 24:17 says, “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:”  Again the time indicator here is that it was the custom at that time to build a livable, accessible deck upon the top of ones house.  (Acts 10:9) When peter was upon the housetop, he wasn't breaking up tile or anything,as one would do today.  The housing styles have changed.  

Matthew 24:18 says, “Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” Jesus continues with fleeing instructions to the disciples, with whom he was speaking to face to face.

Matthew 24:19 continues, And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!”  Those days” (Parallel account in Mark 13:19) are the same as “these days” of vengeance in Luke21:22, (Whose vengeance? The householder in Mt.21:33, 41, and the King's in Mt.22:2,7) and the same as“the days” are coming in Luke 23:28-30.  This passage in Luke  says , “But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children, For, behold the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.”  It's a quote from Hosea 10:8/Is.2:19, and is also quoted in Revelation 6:16.  Therefore, they must be the same paps, the same rocks, falling upon the same people (the daughters of Jerusalem),  in the same daysAlso, here in Mt.24:19, we see Jesus changing the audience He was addressing from YOU to THEM , because the disciples were not nursing mothers.   

Matthew 24:20 says, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:” This is in reference to Sabbath  laws, restricting travel.  Of course, winter would hinder traveling. The futurist view implodes here as well.  What good would traveling about Israel do for anyone, if this tribulation period involved world wide nuclear war as the futurist view maintains it does? 

Matthew 24:21 states, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”  Those days of great tribulation, or “affliction” as Mark says. (Mk.13:19)  For the sacrificial system, its house and city to be made desolate, things would become very tumultuous for this people at the epicenter of this transition from the Old Covenant system, to the New Covenant's establishment. (Daniel 9:24-27, Mt.23:37,38)  Again, it's for this Old Covenant people.  As Daniel was inquiring as to their future, particularly out of the present distress of Babylonian captivity. He looks to Jeremiah's prophecy to see how long this captivity was to last.  (Jeremiah 25:11,12)  Daniel was praying, and confessing his sin, and the sin of his people, Israel. (Daniel 9:20)  God gives him understanding well beyond simply those 70 years, and goes into the distant future, to the full consummation of his Old covenant people.  They would then transition into the age of the Messiah's everlasting righteousness through the blood of the New Covenant. (Dan.9:24-27)  Daniel was told that this Old Covenant people has 70 times 7 years left after a certain decree/commandment was given to rebuild their city, Jerusalem. Emphasis must be made, that it's all about seventy weeks being determined upon “THY PEOPLE”.  (Dan.9:24, 25At the end of this 490 years, the result would be to finish transgression, to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness through the New Covenant, by the Messiah being “cut off”. (Heb.13:20Interesting here, that all sin was to be made an end of and reconciliation and forgiveness was to be brought in through the New Covenant.  Remember the answer to Peter's question in regard to forgiveness?  “Up to seven (complete) times shall I forgive”, asks Peter.  Jesus' responds instructing him to forgive 70 times 7 in order to release complete and unlimited forgiveness.  This is what Peter's Lord would do for his people by bringing in unlimited forgiveness, once and for all! (Heb. 9:26)  This would come through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant.  The destruction of the city (Daniel 9:26) and  its sacrificial system (Daniel 9:27) would bring an end to this peoples covenant, and bring in the Messiah's kingdom/covenant.  This transition would be a difficult one, particularly for those expecting a political Messiah, ruling in a physical kingdom of this world. (John 18:36) It's still difficult for today's pre-millennial believers to grasp this kind of kingdom! (Lk.17:20)

     Daniel 12:1 says that this is to “be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time THY PEOPLE shall be delivered…”   This worst ever tribulation would be for His people, in that land, at that time, in the last days of the sacrificial system.  This was the time of the transition of this people, city, and nation into the Messiah's kingdom, city, and nation.  ( Galatians 4:24,26, 6:16, Mt.21:43, 1 Pet.2:9, Heb.12:22)

     What about NAZI Germany, which had more numbers than did 70 A.D.?  Again, its speaking of Daniel's Old Covenant people. Just a friendly reminder, the Old Covenant is passed away and God's covenant people have transitioned into the New Covenant.  Remember, the date 2007 speaks loudly to us of this reality.   The severity of the 70 A.D. desolation of the city of Jerusalem was beyond any suffering of any people in history.  Read Josephus, and you'll hear of such things as women cooking their own babies to eat them, this due the famine brought on by the Roman army's besieging of the city.  In the preterist/past fulfillment understanding, there is no inevitable tribulation for Jews, which consists of a holocaust, exceeding the Nazi holocaust, in which 2/3 of Israel's population is to be killed.  That is the futurist view of Bible prophecy being fulfilled.  Also, the preterist view carries no judgment upon any certain people today for the crucifixion of Christ.  Those responsible experienced the wrath in the first century, with no people group predetermined to do so in the twenty first century. 

    Another point to be made is to how could one ever determine who is a descendant of Abraham's physical seed anyway?  Intermarriage, and countless conversions to “Judaism” does not allow for a determination of a single race of people.   Also, all the genealogies and records of the tribes were destroyed, by the sovereignty of God, when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D..  This is because Abrahams seed was now fulfilled in Christ.  (Gal.3:16, Mt.3:9, Jn.8:33-41, Rm.2:28,29, Rev.2:9,3:9)

If you want to insist somehow that “Jews” today are still God's Old Covenant people, which covenant is still somehow in effect  today, then consider the following.  In Ezekiel 5:9,  God prophesies  concerning the coming full effects of the Babylonian captivity, and says, “And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.”  We might say today, “Your going to get the worst spanking of your life! This cannot be true if you had made this statement previously.  This is of course, if you will not understand hyperbole, which is much more common in Non-Western cultures.  Also, the degree to which sufferer's in 70 A.D. suffered is beyond our imaginations, and spoken of in detail by Josephus.  Percentage wise, as well as the severity of 70 A.D compares to no other sufferings.  The same thing is said of Egypt in Exodus 11:6, when they are told, “And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.” According to pre-millennial eschatology, the entire globe is to suffer it's worst calamities.  With Egypt being a part of the globe, how can both be the worst ever for Egypt? However, I believe this is a mute point, because the Old Covenant System, with it's blood covenant people, has been transitioned into the New Covenant's system/economy and Blood Covenant People, with it's finished sacrifice ONCE AND FOR ALL!  (Matthew 3:9, John 8:33,39,41,44, Romans 2:28,29, Romans 4:3,11, 9:8, Galatians 3:16, Col.3:10,11, Rev. 2:9, 3:9.)  Let's be renewed about what is new, and about what is getting very old!  (2 Cor. 5:17, Col 3:10, Rev. 21:4, 5)

Matthew 24:22 “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.”  In verse 19 we covered what days we're talking about.  Matthew24:20, 21 tell us what people were talking about.  Zechariah 13:8 says, “…two parts therein shall be cut off and die, but the third shall be left therein.  Josephus estimated the population of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. to be about 3 million.  The historian Tacitus estimates the population to be much less.  With the mass exiting of the city increasing continually in the years and days proceeding the Roman besieging, one could easily put the number at 1.5 million or so. There was most likely a steady exodus from the city ever since the New Testament evangelist's, and later their letter's, went forth warning of the impending doom upon it.  This would be why we see the Church in Jerusalem needing much aid and assistance.  Even the sharing of community wealth resulted from the city's economy going through the floor. (Acts2:44,45)   With the exodus, one could only imagine the fall of property value.  The climax was when the Roman Army's surrounded the city, all those heeding the words of Jesus got out.  (Lk.21:20,21, Rev.18:4)  History tells us that about 1.1 million Jews were killed in the Roman invasion.  No one can give the exact number, except for God.  I believe He does so in Zechariah 13:8.  Do the math, and stop assigning millions of people in Israel today to an inevitable annihilation!

    No reference to nuclear war here regarding shortened days and no flesh being saved.  It's as simple as this, if the slaughter being carried out by the Romans had not been shortened, no flesh would have been saved, but all would have been taken as corpses. (Lk.17:36,37, Mt.24:28)  Instead, many thousands were spared and enslaved by the Romans after the days were shortened and not extended, which would have led to none being spared.  Remember, that it's tribulation for THY PEOPLE/OLD COVENANT ISRAEL, not for the globe!  (Dan.12:1

Matthew 24:23 “Then if any man shall say unto YOU, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.” Again, Jesus is speaking to them face to face, “Then if any man shall say unto YOU…”  When Jesus is referring to someone other than the disciples, He clarifies it. In John 17:20 He says, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”  Were there false Christ's in their day?  Read the notes in verse five. This also says that looking for Jesus in a physical way and location can lead one astray.  Luke 17:22 says, “And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it…”

Matthew 24:24 “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” As the temple literally was burning, Josephus records, “Of so great a multitude, not one escaped.  Their destruction was caused by a false prophet, who had on that day proclaimed to those remaining in the city, that “God commanded them to go up to the temple, there to receive the signs of their deliverance.” There were at this time many prophets suborned by the tyrants to delude the people, by bidding them wait for help from God, in order that there might be less desertion, and that those who were above fear and control might be encouraged by hope.  Under calamities man readily yields to persuasion; but when the deceiver pictures to him deliverance from pressing evils, then the sufferer is wholly influenced by hope.  Thus it was that the impostors and pretended messengers of heaven at that time beguiled the wretched people.” (Jewish War, bk.vi.c.v.s2., Acts 13:6)

Matthew 24:25 “Behold I have told YOU before.” The warnings are throughout the epistles as well.  Working of  lying wonders are mentioned in 2 Thes. 2:9. Even among the many statues and images of Nero, Rome would send it's workers to pipe voices through the statues to try and make it appear as though the image was speaking. (Revelation 13:15)

Matthew 24:26 Wherefore if thy shall say unto YOU, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.”  Once again looking for Jesus in a physical  way, in a physical location. ( 2 Cor. 5:16)

Matthew 24:27 “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The Greek word for coming is parousia.  Its simply means COMING PRESENCE. His coming presence would strike fast, fierce, and be visible for all to discern, perceive, and understand.  Revelation 1:7, with every eye seeing him, is not referring to mechanical sight, but perceived insight.  His coming presence would set things right, by His judgment upon that wicked generation and it's corrupt system of death.  Even Caiaphas would see/discern  this parousia/coming presence upon figurative clouds of judgment.  (Mt.26:64, Isaiah 19:1, Psalms 18:11-14 This passage in Psalm 18 has CLOUDS and lightnings in figurative since, describing David's deliverance from Saul.

Matthew 24:28 “For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” The cross reference to this can be found in Luke 17:37Luke 17:34-37 says, “I tell you in that night there shall be two in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  And they answered him, Where Lord?  And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.  Know first that the entire “Left Behind” book series (65 million sold) is based upon this passage of scripture. What does “one taken, and the other left,” really mean here.  WHERE ARE THEY TAKEN? THIS IS THE QUESTION BY THE DISCIPLES, WHERE LORD?” Can it get any clearer as to what they are asking?  WHERE DOES JESUS SAY THEY ARE TAKEN? TO BECOME CARCASES!!! “ Taken” is a bad thing here.  It's not being taken in a rapture, but  as captures to be slaughtered!  In Matthew 24:39,40 it says, “And knew not until the flood came, and TOOK them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  Then shall two be in the field; the on shall be TAKEN, and the other left.  Two shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be TAKEN, and the other left.”  Being left here is the preferable option. It was the Roman Armies,  whose troops were broken down in to groups of “eagles”.  They would even have an eagle tattooed  upon their arms and would raise a pole with an eagle on it as they went to battle.  We already mentioned one such pole being erected within the temple. This was just another pagan practice in worship to one of their many god's.  It was the Roman Armies who would TAKE them to become carcases!  Those TAKEN  in the flood became carcases in the same manner of a judgment. 

     Once again, the pre-millennial futurist gospel” is exposed for what it is, the BAZARO GOSPEL.  Taken is good in this “gospel“, and being left is bad.  What's good is bad , and what's bad is good with this twisted “gospel”.

Matthew 24:29  “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of THE HEAVENS shall be shaken:”  We're back to the sun, moon, and stars mentioned in our examination of Acts 2:16-21After this tribulation period, 64 A.D to 70 A.D., when the dust had settled,  the ruling authorities would be rearranged.  Romans 13:1 refers to these authorities as powers, as does this verse.  Again, “THE HEAVENSare darkened over various ruling authorities through out the Old Testament. Ultimately, THE HEAVENS do rule, and God is orchestrating the ruling authorities.  (Daniel 4:26Refer back to the notes on Acts 2:16 for a list of the many Old Testament scriptures about the sun, moon, and stars being used in a figurative, non physical manner.  (Here's just a few, Gen. 37:9,10, Ecc.12:1,2, Is.13:9,10, Ez. 32:7, 8, Amos 8:9

Genesis 37:9,10 “…I have dreamed a dream more and; and, behold the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me…Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?” We see the prophetic, apocalyptic language beginning all the way back in Genesis.  First was the natural sun, moon, and stars, to rule the day and the night.  First the natural, then the spiritual (1 Corinthian 15:44).  “And God made two great lights; the greater light (sun) to rule the day, and the lesser light (moon) to rule the night; he made the stars also. (Genesis 1:16)  So those who had ruled over Joseph, would one day bow to the rule and authority of Joseph.  Therefore, we understand that the sun, moon, and stars are used in the scriptures figuratively and metaphorically to communicate ruling authority.

Ecclesiastes 12:1,2 “…in the days of thy youth…While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain.”  This usage of the sun, moon, and stars, communicates once again the strength and authority in ones youth.  It is not communicating a thing to do with astronomy.

Isaiah 13:9,10 “Behold the day of the Lord cometh cruel both with wrath and fierce anger to slay the land desolate and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.  For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”  These words are communicating a judgment against Babylon (Isaiah 13:1), and all scholars would agree that these words are not to be taken astronomically, but figuratively concerning Babylon.  It was lights out for Babylon, the Medes would bring them down (Isaiah 13:17)!  If this prophecy was using figurative and prophetic language familiar to the Jewish mind, then why can't we understand the same prophetic language that Jesus, a Jewish prophet of prophets, is using when He quotes this passage in Matthew 24:29? Jesus is communicating through prophetic and apocalyptic language intended to be understood figuratively???!!!  It was lights out for a particular nation in Jesus' day, BABYLON, THE GREAT CITY, JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Revelation 11:8, 14:8,16:19, 17:5, 18:2,10,18,19,21, 19:2, Isaiah 1:21, Jeremiah 3:8,22:8, Lamentations 1:1)

EZEKIEL 32:7 “And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud and the moon shall not give her light.  All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over the, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God.”  This passage is describing a judgment against Pharaoh king of Egypt (Ezekiel 32:2).  Did anything described here happen in the physical heavens, to the sun, moon, and stars, when Pharaoh was judged?  No, it was lights out for Pharaoh's glory and rule!

AMOS 8:9 “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth (land) in the clear day.”  This is a judgment against the land of Israel, where her glory and light would be put out and brought down!  

By the way, a question for staunch literalists here, what would happen if a single star would fall from heaven and strike the earth?  Here's a hint, our sun is a star, right?  You see these same stars in Rev.6:13

Such uses of these terms meant something entirely different to a Jew in the first century, than it does to us westerners in the twenty first century today.  God's highest (“heavenly”) authority upon earth, his covenant people, experienced a changing of the guard.  The Old Covenant spiritual Egyptians/persecutors (Revelation 11:8, Galatians 4:29) could not stop the bringing forth, birthing ,and deliverance of the New Covenant Spiritual Israelites. (Mt.3:9, 21:43, John 8:33,39,41, 44, Romans 2:28,29, 4:3,11, 9:8, Gal.3:7,16, 4:22-31, 6:15,16, Col.3:11,  Heb.12:22, Rev. 2:9, 3:9)  These New Covenant/New Jerusalem citizens became “fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.” (Exodus 1:7)  Again, this is not “replacement theology”, but rather EXPANSIONIST THEOLOGY to broaden the boarders of God's covenant people to the uttermost parts of the earth!  Through this theology, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea!”  (Isaiah 11:9The great commission  has never changed.  Adam was instructed to, “Be fruitful , and multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it, and take dominion…”                 (Gen.1:28)  Abraham was told “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.  (Gen. 13:14,15, John 4:35, Gal.3:16)  The LAND FOREVERhas transitioned from a physical promise land, as has “CIRCUMCISION FOREVERinto an everlasting covenant, which is now within the heart. (Gen.17:7-13,Rom.2:28, 29, Gal. 6:15) THE LAND IS NOW PEOPLE, MADE FROM THE LAND/DUST, WHO ARE GODS BOUGHT LAND/FIELD! (Mt.13:44Many will say, “But Israel didn't possess all the land that God promised them, so this needs to happen in the future over in the middle east in order for “Bible Prophecy” to be fulfilled.”  Joshua 21:43-45 says, “AND THE LORD GAVE UNTO ISRAEL ALL THE LAND WHICH HE SWARE TO GIVE UNTO THEIR FATHERS; AND THEY POSSESSED IT, AND DWELT THEREIN…ACCORDING TO ALL THAT HE SWARE UNTO THEIR FATHERS…THERE FAILED NOT OUGHT OF ANY GOOD THING WHICH THE LORD HAD SPOKEN UNTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL; ALL CAME TO PASS.

     IF TODAYS BIBLE PROPHECY TEACHERS COULD ONLY SEE THAT GOD'S HEART IS NOT BEATING OVER SOME LAND/SAND OVER IN THE MIDDLE EAST! RATHER, ITS LONGING OVER INDIVIDUALS CREATED FROM THE LAND/DUST, WHICH HIS HEART LONGS TO POSSESS!  WE NEED TO GET OUR HEADS OUT OF THE SAND!

     Joshua is given the same charge in his generation, Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.”  (Joshua 1:3Jesus has now expanded the charge, with the power to carry it out from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, Lk.24:45-47)  So are we now to be faithful in our generation, in our sphere of influence, to expand our boarders from our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth!  “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and TEACH ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: TEACHING them to observe all things whatsoever  I have commanded you: and, Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  The disciples fulfilled this in their generation. (Col.1:5, 6, 23, Romans 1:8, 16:26, Acts 24:5)  Will we in ours? Or, are we TEACHING disciples about flying out of here, rather than steady plotting to take the land little by little?  He is with us no differently than He was with those first century disciples. Are the giant evils of immorality, the media, the education system, and terrorism to big for God?  Are they supposed to be there, as part of “Bible Prophecy”?  Are we spreading the EVIL report of worse and worse, darker and darker unto the imperfect day?  (Prov.4:18)  Have we misunderstood THE TEACHER'S HEART and understanding concerning His word?  HAVE WE TAUGHT  that the kingdom's tree of life is really a refuge for EVIL(Mt.13:33, Dan. 4:11,20, 21, Ez. 17:23, 31:4)  Have we taught that the leaven, which spreads HIS kingdom is really the spread of EVILWhen it's rather the permeating power of HIS kingdom?  We have received another gospel, the gospel of prevailing EVIL, in truth the bazzaro gospel!

     The changing of the guard was also taking place with the Roman authorities/powers as well.  The shaking of their powers was at work with much political instability.  Many civil wars even broke out during this tribulation period, and Rome was feeling the penetration of the “Stone cut out without hands” beginning to penetrate its empire, the feet.  This penetration would sink deeper and deeper into Rome's forehead, and transform this giant's thinking forever.  Rome would shortly be broken to pieces, and become like chaff, and carried away by the wind of The Spirit. This Stone would become a mountain (kingdom), that filled the whole earth , and consumed all other kingdoms!  (Daniel 2:35,44)  

Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth/land mourn, and they shall see the Son of man COMING in the CLOUDS of heaven with power and great glory.” (Mt. 6:13The clear cross reference to this verse is Revelation 1:7. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pieced him: and all kindreds/tribes of the earth/land shall wail because of him.  Even so, Amen.”

     First we have to understand how a Jew in the first century would understand the phrase, “COMING in/with the CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”   

Isaiah 19:1The burden of Egypt, Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift CLOUD, and shall COME into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at , HIS PRESENCE and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.” The Greek word for the COMING of the Lord in the New Testament is PAROUSIA,” which means COMING PRESENCE. In this pronounced judgment upon Egypt,  the Lord is COMING IN CLOUDS of judgment into Egypt.  Not physically, but His presence is going to set things right there by judging Egypt through the armies of another nation.  We will examine many other Old Testament scriptures using the imagery of clouds in an apocalyptic way, a little bit later. It's simply prophetic language conveying coming judgment.  The Sun won't be shinning for that land that is to be judged.  Darkness will cover it etc.. The coming judgment upon the tribes of the land would be with figurative clouds of judgment, orchestrated by the Son of Man.  In Matthew 26:64, Jesus says to Caiaphas the high priest, “…nevertheless I say unto YOU, Hereafter shall YE SEE the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and COMING in the CLOUDS of heaven.”  There would be this SHAKING OF THE POWERS THAT BE. (Luke 21:26, Romans 13:1, Hebrews 12:26.27) Caiaphas would be dethroned from his “seat” of authority, and The Great High Priest Jesus, would be SEEN/PERCEIVED by all the tribesIt would be “SEEN” that He was the Messiah, and that they need  therefore,  mourn in repentance, as one mourns for his only son. This last part about mourning  for him , as one mourns for his only son, is from the rest of the passage in Zechariah 12:10, which is being quoted in Revelation 1:7One major point in understanding this passage in Revelation 1:7 is the definition of the word “SEE”, when it says “EVERY EYE SHALL SEEHimThe word for SEE” is “OPTOMAI”, which is only used a few times or so, in the New Testament.  It is defined as being different from seeing merely with mechanical vision.  It means to DISCERN CLEARLY, to experience, TO PERCEIVE with UNDERSTANDING.  The TRIBES, which aren't around today by the way, would discern and perceive that Jesus was the Messiah at the time of the city's, and temple's destruction.  THE BLINDNESS TO ISRAEL/THE TRIBES (Romans 11:25) WOULD BE LIFTED, SO MUCH SO, THAT EVEN THEIR CORRUPT HIGH PRIEST WOULD SEE”/ PERCEIVE JESUS' AUTHORITY ON THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER!

Matthew 26:64 “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto YOU, Hererafter shall YE SEE the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and COMING IN THE CLOUDS of heaven.”

     Here is a list of Old Testament Scriptures where “COMING IN CLOUDS” is used to describe coming judgment.

Exodus 13:21 “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of A CLOUD, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:” The cloud was to bring blessing, shade and leading for the people of God.  It was seen by the Egyptians as a sign of coming judgment. 

Exodus 19:9  “And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a THICK CLOUD, that the people may hear…”  Here, in giving the people the law, which was the ministration of judgment and death, the people are on the receiving end of the condemnation that comes from the law. (2 Cor. 3:7)

Exodus 24:15,16 “And Moses went up into the mount, and a CLOUD covered the Mount. And the GLORY of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai…” Here, the CLOUD OF GLORY was to bear witness to the establishment of the Old Covenant, with it's judgment pronounced upon allIn like manner, Jesus would come in CLOUDS OF GLORY to confirm to all that the Old Covenant System of the Law and it's house, had been transitioned into His house, one greater than that temple (Mt.12:6), that is, the temple of His Body, the Church (Colossians 1:24).  Jesus' body is the temple not made with hands!

1 Kings 8:11,12  “ So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the CLOUD: for the GLORY of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.  Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.”  The Lord's glory would dwell in this temple with the ministration of judgment and condemnation, thus the darkness. (2 Cor.3:7) When this Old Covenant temple would be brought down, it would be the Lord's glory expanding from the temple's  limited confines, to dwell in a temple not made with hands. This temple in every nation, to cover the earth with the knowledge of the Lord.  (Heb.9:8, 2 Corinthians, chapters 3 and 4) After the temple would be brought down in 70 A.D. , it would be clear as to who the true Son's of God were. Were they the Old Covenant Jews, or this new “sect” that was testifying that there is a New Covenant, which doesn't require one to live under the law?  The wheat would be clearly seen and the tares exposed at the end of the age (Mt.13:38,39) with the destruction of the Old Covenant temple. All of the murkiness would become crystal clear. 

Psalm 18:11,12  He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and THICK CLOUDS of the skies.  At the brightness that was before him his thick CLOUDS passed, hail stones and coals of fire.” This Psalm is David's description of his deliverance from Saul.  Nothing happened here with the physical elements.  Psalm 18:6-19 uses all of the usual apocalyptic language and imagery.  The earth shook (vs.7), the smoke went out of His nostrils (vs.8), He bowed THE HEAVENS (verse 9), with hail stones (Rev.16:21) and lightnings in verse 13 and 14.  Prophetic language and imagery are at work here, as David was a prophet (Acts 2:30). This Old testament usage of such terms, as is mentioned in this chapter, must be understood when approaching the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation.  Otherwise, one can easily walk away with the Koresh/Manson commentary on eschatology.

Psalm 104:3 “Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the CLOUDS his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:” God is spirit, and functions from the invisible realm into the visible.  His word uses physical imagery which we can relate to, such as dark clouds etc., in order to bring us understanding concerning His doings. 

Isaiah 19:1  “The burden of Egypt, Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift CLOUD, and shall COME into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at HIS PRESENCE  (Parousia, coming presence in the Greek) , and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.”

Isaiah 64:1-3  “Oh that thou wouldest rend THE HEAVENS, that thou wouldest COME down, that the mountains might flow down at thy PRESENCE, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy PRESENCEWhen thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou CAMEST down, the mountains flowed down at thy PRESENCE.”  No clouds here, but His COMING PRESENCE (Parousia) in judgment.

Ezekiel 30:3, 4  “For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is near, a CLOUDY DAY; it shall be the time of the heathen.  And THE SWORD SHALL COME upon Egypt…” Again, CLOUDS are used to describe coming judgment, by the sword, upon a nation. That is, by the armies of another nation.

Ezekiel 32:7  “And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a CLOUD, and the moon shall not give her light,”  It was lights out for Pharaoh, king of Egypt. (vs.2)

Ezekiel 38:16  “And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a CLOUD to cover the land;” An invading army is described as a CLOUD.”

Ecclesiastes 12:1,2  “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while…the sun, or the light of the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the CLOUDS return after the rain:”  “The CLOUDS returning”  is a negative thing here, which as we've seen above ,could only be referring to judgment. 

Joel 2:1,2  “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord COMETH, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of CLOUDS and of thick darkness…”  No questions here about CLOUDS OF JUDGMENT.

Micah 1:3  “For, behold, the Lord COMETH forth out of his place, and will COME down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.”  No clouds here, but coming down to make things right by abasing the exalted.  

     In conclusion, a Jew in the first century understood the Old Testament imagery of  “COMING IN THE CLOUDS.  As for westerners in the 21st century, we must pull our head's out of the CLOUDS to SEE this!  

Matthew 24:31 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”  The angel's sent are not angelic beings here, but rather messengers of  The Gospel, which went into all the “world”/Oikuamene.”  Refer back to the notes on Matthew 24:14They would gather a harvest at the end of the Old Covenant age. (Mt.13:39) Those of us in the “Full Preterist camp”, as well as those with a pre-millennial post tribulation rapture understanding, are the only positions to connect the most obvious of connections here.  That is, that the CLOUDS AND COMING of Matthew 24:30, and the TRUMPET AND GATHERING of  Matthew 24:31, are referring to the same event, which uses the same terms in 1 Thes.4:13-18

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18Those in the Partial (partially correct) preterist” camp, as well as those in the(now) popular “pre-tribulation camp”, have some real “splanin” to do. They leave us with another THE COMING OF THE LORD” (1 Thes.4:15/Mt.24:30), in different CLOUDS                               (1 Thes.4:17/Mt.24:30), in a different GATHERING (1 Thes.4:1/Mt.24:31)sounded off by a different TRUMPET (1 Thes.4:16/Mt.24:31)!  How many times can He appear a second time?  These popular views leave us with a serious math problem!  Those with the consistent preterist view do not have such a problem.  This is the same coming in judgment upon that generation.  God comes through out history to make things right by intervening and ruling in the kingdoms of men. In chapter two of Revelation (2:16), Jesus warns of His coming to set things right in the church.  One thing remains strange about the pre-trib rapture propagators.  And that is, the question of how they would label those of us in the preterist camp as heretics, because we see an invisible, not a bodily or physical COMING of Christ in 70.A.D.?  This is beyond hypocritical, because they themselves believe in an invisible, not a bodily or physical COMING of Jesus in  1 Thes.4, when it speaks of  “THE COMING OF THE LORD”   (1 Thes.4:15).  This is A COMING  of Jesus for His Church in the rapture, they maintain.  Yet, in this COMING, “THE COMING OF THE LORD”,  they too believe in A COMING that is not bodily or physically, but rather AN INVISIBLE COMING OF JESUS!   

(For more details about 1 Thessalonians 4 , and the term “air” there, and the “we” who would experience this event, go to one of our articles, which includes this chapter, or go to “Radio Teachings” with this chapter listed in it's title.)

Acts 1:9,11 Says “…he was taken up; and a CLOUD received him out of their sight …Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so COME   IN  LIKE MANNER AS  ye have seen him go to heaven.”   Again, God/Jesus is            COMING IN CLOUDSof Judgment as we see Him doing throughout the scriptures.  A major point here may be made in the simple definition of the Greek word for in like manner as.”  The Greek word is TROPOS.”  Strong's Greek Lexicon defines tropos in the following manner:  “a turn, i.e. (by implication) mode or style (especially with preposition or relative prefix as adverb, like) ; FIGURATIVELY, department or character.--(even) as, conversation, (+like) manner, (+by any) means, way.”

The etymology of the English word TROPE is derived from this root word TROPOS.  Webster's (on line) defines TROPE as follows: “Etymology: Latin tropus, Greek TROPOS, turn, way, style, TROPE, from trepein, to turn. 1 a): a word or expression used in a FIGURATIVE SENSE; figure of speech. <The usual horror        

                 movie tropes>

           b): a phrase or verse added as an embellishment or interpolation to the sung parts of the mass in the  

            Middle Ages.  .”  Dictionary.com defines it in the following way: “Literary or rhetorical device, AS METAPHOR, or metonymy use of words IN OTHER THAN THEIR LITERAL SENSE,  NONE LITERAL SPEECH.”  One such example of the word being used in this manner is when Jesus says, “O Jerusalem…how often would I have gathered thy children together, EVEN AS (TROPOS) a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” (Mt.23:37)  Jesus was not desiring to be transformed into a large hen in order to gather Jerusalem.  Instead, He was METAPHORICALLY communicating His desire to tend unto the city, the city who would not be gathered to Him, and would therefore suffer desolation. So TROPOS is used in Acts 1:11 concerning His COMING in CLOUDS of Judgment upon the same city, it's temple and nation, in that Generation.

    “Oh but we interpret this passage literally.”  To press the literal is to arrive at the same conclusion.  I'll explain. If Jesus is to come in like manner, then he will come invisibly because that is what they saw. They saw a cloud receive Him out of their sight.  (Acts 1:9)  Also, according to the literalist interpretation of Rev.1:7, every eye shall see him, is referring to physical, mechanical “seeing”.  (This is not the case by the way, the word for “see” is Optomai, which means to discern, perceive, and understand, not to mechanically “see”.) Only a small group saw Him ascend, if the literal is pressed here, then there would be a contradiction with every eye seeing him coming in the clouds.  This, because the hard core literalist would have the exact manner of the ascension played out in Jesus coming in like/exact manner in the clouds, with the same small group gathered in the same literal spot.  That is, if hard core literalism is consistently followed to the letter. 

    Another problem for the literalist pressing for the exact manner is that the coming of Jesus in Rev.19:11-16 says that He is riding a white horse, wearing many crowns, with a sword coming out of His mouth, with “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords” written on His vesture and on His thigh. Was He described as riding a white horse, wearing many crowns, with a sword coming out of His mouth, with “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords” written on His vesture and on His thigh in His ascension?  No, therefore we must conclude that the figurative language of “in like manner as” (Tropos) is to be taken in a non-literal and non-exact sense. We must take Tropos literally as it is defined to mean non-literal.  The very word literal is taken from the word literature.  What does the rest of the literature, the whole council of God's word, tell us concerning COMING IN THE CLOUDS?  And, what is the true meaning of each individual word, such as tropos within that literature, tell us?  It tells us that Jesus would COME in the CLOUDS, in LIKE/FIGURATIVE (TROPOS) manner. 

 TROPOLOGY is the practice of trope in language.  One definition of TROPOLOGY is simply spelled out as FIGURATIVE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.”  Another defines it as “The use of FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE in speech writing.  A treatise on FIGURES of speech, or TROPES.” 

Acts 1:9,11 has Jesus disappearing in a CLOUD.  He would then be seen COMING IN LIKE/FIGURATIVE MANNER.  That is, COMING IN THE CLOUDS of judgment.  These must be the same CLOUDS and the same COMING as is seen in Mt.24:30.

 

“So the “SECOND COMING” already happened?”  To start from scratch, we must avoid all non-biblical terms.  I will quote George Eldon Ladd who points this out, “The words “return” and “second coming” are not properly speaking Biblical words in that the two words do not represent any equivalent Greek words”. (George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope, p.69)  We must return to “Sola Scriptura”, and forsake Sola Scriptura y tambien.  “Second Advent” is another example of this, yet we can conclude that the New Testament highlights one primary “coming” of Jesus.  Yet, Jesus is God and King (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 1:5-ruler of the kings of the earth- NOW) who comes (parousia-coming presence, it literally is NOT defined as, “COMING BODILY, PHYSICALLY, OR VISIBLY”, but as “coming presence”. Take this word literally, Mr. Literalist) at various times, to various peoples (and individuals), communities, and countries, for various reasons, putting some down, while exulting others (Jeremiah 1:10). 

F.W. Farrar (1886) uses one of these unbiblical terms, in it he has in mind the eminent event coming upon the first century reader of the New Testament, “The Coming of the Lord”.  He states, THE FALL OF JERUSALEM WAS IN THE FULLEST SENSE, THE SECOND ADVENT OF THE SON OF MAN, which was primarily contemplated by the earliest voices of prophecy.”  (Vol.2, p.489)

George Fox (Founder, Society of Friends, Quakers) states, “By which SECOND COMING thou and you understand His outward coming, …Now we say, He did come according to His Promise, in a spiritual and inward way of appearance in their hearts”.  Keep this in mind with 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “When He shall COME to be glorified IN HIS SAINTS…”  Those in the first century would experience the glory, within themselves, of the victory of Jesus' vindication (Isaiah 61:2-Luke 21:22) and that of His exultation (Dan.7:13-Son of man came UP with the clouds of heaven-Matthew 24:30)!!!  Note that Jesus does not descend in clouds in Daniel 7:13, but that He comes UP to be exulted and honored before the Ancient of Days! 

Matthew 24:32   “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, YE know that summer is nigh”  It was not for them to know the times, or seasons, until after they had gotten the spirit and matured, then they would know(Acts 1:7, 1 Thes.5:1)  Is Jesus trying to convey something here to His disciples about the re-birth of the nation of Israel in 1948 by figuratively mentioning Israel with the term “fig tree”?  The parallel account in Luke21:29-32 tells us, “And he spake to them a parable: Behold the fig tree, AND ALL THE TREES; When they now shoot forth, YE see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.  So likewise YE, when YE shall see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.  Verily I say unto YOU, THIS GENERATION ( NOT “THAT GENERATION” ) shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” 

     With this parallel account, it is clear that Jesus is not emphasizing the kind of tree, by referring to the fig tree in this parable, but rather “these things”/events mentioned in the previous verses. If the main point of the passage was in regard to the type of tree, the fig tree, then Luke would have mentioned it! The time for the kingdom's full establishment (Lk.21:31) would follow “these things.” These things would be the sign, just as clear as when a” tree brings forth leaves, summer is near, so would the kingdom of God be near,  immediately (nigh at hand) following the unfolding of “ these things”, mentioned in the previous verses up to this point in the chapter.  To insist that the fig tree is always referring to Israel, is to only confirm that it was to be cursed, and that no fruit would grow on that nation henceforward FOREVER!  (Mt.21:19)  And that kingdom of God had been taken from that nation, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  (Mt.21:43)  Also, if the fig tree is referring to Israel, then all the trees would be referring to all the nations.  With this interpretation we are left with “when Israel becomes a nation, and all the nations become nations.”

Matthew 24:33  “So likewise YE, when YE shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”  “These things here are the same “these things” in verses 3-32. We must see that in verse 3 the disciples ask Jesus about these things”, only in the context of the temples doom.  Again Mark's “these things(Mk.13:4) are the same things to do only with the temple, with no mention of the sign of Jesus' coming, and the end of the age.  Only the temple is in play in Mark, and if you can handle the truth, only the temple is in play in Matthew 24!

Matthew 24:34  “Verily I say unto YOU, THIS GENERATION shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”  The phrase, THIS GENERATIONis mentioned about a 17 times in the New Testament.  All would agree that not one time is it referring to a race, or some distant generation in any other passage of the New Testament. “But in this passage of the Olivet Discourse, it means something different here”, say those   with a pre-millennial, and preconceived notion toward the futurist view. The use of the phrase THIS GENERATIONis even different here from it's usage a few verses before the “Olivet Discourse”,  in Matthew 23:36 , they maintain.  Can we reason together?  The word GENERATION/“Genea” is used about another 20 times in the New Testament, and never means race, or some distant generation, in any of those passages as well. “Genos”, not genea, is always used when referring to race or genealogy. Can you say denial here?  Are they saying, “I object your honor” as Jim Carey does in “Liar Liar.” “Why are you objecting”? Asks the judge, “because this evidence is devastating to my case”, declares the now truth telling  lawyer. How could so many be misunderstanding this passage, if it's so undeniably clear.  How could so many in NAZI Germany be so mislead?  The answer is “long enough and  loud enough” said Hitler, and people will believe anything.  Doctrines of men, and traditions of men have substituted for Sola Scriptura.  The Pope and Priest have been replaced by Protestant Popes of Prophecy, and Last Day's PROFITS, and pastors with a gospel of world wide disasters!  This change from priest to pastor is an example of true replacement theology.   Where have all the Berean's gone, that will say, “LET GOD BE TRUE AND EVERY MAN A LIAR! (Acts 17:11, Romans 3:4)  Is the crowd/majority in the wrong once again, and the remnant pointing out the truth of these matters?

 

“To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe:”  (Philippians 3:1) 

Matthew 3:7  “…O GENERATION of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matthew 11:16  But whereunto shall I liken THIS GENERATION?

Matthew 12:41  “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with THIS GENERATION…”

Matthew 12:42  “The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with THIS GENERATION…”

Matthew 12:45  “Even so shall it be also unto THIS WICKED GENERATION.”

Matthew 16:4  “A WICKED AND ADULTEROUS GENERATION seeketh after a sign…”

Matthew 23:33  Ye serpents, ye GENERATION OF VIPERS,…”

Matthew 23:36  “All these things shall come upon THIS GENERATION.”

Matthew 24:34  THIS GENERATION shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

Mark 8:12  “There shall no sign be given unto THIS GENERATION…”

Mark 8:38  “…ashamed of me and of my words in THIS ADULTEROUS, AND SINFUL GENERATION…”

Mark 9:19  He answered him, and saith, O FAITHLESS GENERATION…”

Luke 7:31  Whereunto then shall I liken the men of THIS GENERATION ?”

Luke 9:41  “…O FAITHLESS AND PERVERSE GENERATION.”

Luke 11:30  “…as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to THIS GENERATION.

Luke 11:31  “The queen of the south shall rise up in judgment with the men of THIS GENERATION.”

Luke 11:32  “The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with the men of THIS GERERATION.”

Luke 11:50  “That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of THIS GENERATION.”

Luke 11:51  “…the blood…It shall be required of THIS GENERATION.”

Luke 17:25  “But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of THIS GENERATION.”

Acts 2:40  “…Save yourselves from THIS UNTOWARD GENERATION.” 

Hebrews 3:9,10  “…forty years.  Wherefore I was grieved with THAT GENERATION.”  God clarifies here, that He is NOT speaking about “THIS” PRESENT GENERATION, by using THAT” GENERATION  within the context of “your fathers.” 

     Are WE living in the last days?  No, the New Testament writings referring to the “last days” are in relation to the last days of the Old Covenant system of the law, and it's old temple, city, and nation. It's not referring to the last days of the earth, of time (Rev.10:6 “time no longer” , is “delay no longer.” Daniel  12:4,9,13 speaks of “the time of the end” of something, that something being the Old Covenant. Note, that it does not say, “the end of time” , but rather, “the time of the end.”), or of the New Covenant.  The transition from the Old to the New was a tumultuous one for the people living at the time of this cataclysmic change.  The Old Covenant people themselves would have to transition and adapt in relating to God very differently.  All of their outward practices that they had observed in the visible, were now to be SEEN and experienced inwardly, thru the spirit, in the invisible realm.  All of this with in an invisible, spiritual kingdom, that didn't involve a physical overthrow of the Roman Empire.  A now invisible King, ruling from a spiritual city (Galatians 4:22-31, 6:16, Hebrews 12:22), gathering his people in a spiritual temple, in a spiritual nation (1 Pet. 2:9, Mt.21:43) ,was not what the doctor/doctrine of the day ordered. Neither is it in our day. 

      Yes, the same misunderstanding of this kingdom is at work today.  When did Jesus ever talk about a physical utopian kingdom?  Yet, millions of Christians are on the organizing committee to make sure that this indeed comes to pass in the Middle East.  They maintain that all opposing forces must be overthrown by the sword to insure this carnal concept of a kingdom.  They contend that Israel is God's favored Nation, and that the Arab nations are not.  Why is it that Muslims are the least likely people to ever consider the gospel of Christ? Maybe this is a big part of the reason!  Maybe, the Christian Church, particularly in the United States, is laying out this stumbling block for about ONE BILLION MUSLIMS! Is not this attitude towards Middle East foreign policy similar to that of the Crusaders? Did they not believe that the “Holy Land” must be secured first, in order for Jesus to set up this same carnal concept of a kingdom? 

     The gospel of the kingdom is the EXPANSION of the kingdom, going FROM the limited confines of the boarders of Israel, to the Messiah's reign, which would cover and fill the earth. (Daniel 2:35, Isaiah 9:7, 11:9,10)  Yes, all nations would be included in this kingdom, which was also difficult for first century Jews to accept.  Perhaps this same difficulty remains today for millions of evangelicals.  They would say, “After all, those Arab nations are part of Bible Prophecy, and are predetermined to be destroyed by God, because He's for Israel, and we must support Israel in every way so as to help God fulfill these prophecies. And by the way Arabs, Jesus loves you.”  Is His House not to be a HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS(Isaiah 56:7)  Was not His kingdom to expand FROM Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria TO the uttermost part of THE EARTH. Why do we think that the increase of his kingdom/government is really decreasing? (Isaiah 9:7) Why are we thinking that His kingdom is going backwards, back to Samaria, Judea and will eventually get back to PHYSICAL JERUSALEM, it's “headquarters”?   WAS THIS NOT THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE OLD COVENANT? (Galatians 4:24-26)  Are not Bible Prophecy Teachers of the day returning to this Old Covenant bondage, and it's city/headquarters?  This backwards, Bizarro Gospel must be stopped!

       The Covenant that promised circumcision in an everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:13) , was transitioned into an inward circumcision of the heart. (Romans 2:29)  The covenant that promised land (Genesis 17:8 ) transitioned into the purchased possession of the land/field (Matthew 13:44) of peoples hearts, people of all nations, tribes, and tongues! (Rev.7:9THE EARTH IS THE LORDS AND THE FULNESS THEREOF; THE WORLD, AND THEY THAT DWELL THEREIN!  ALL LIMITATION S AND BOUNDARIES OF GEOGRAPHY, ETHNICITY, AND RACE, ARE LIFTED AND EXLUDED (Rom.3:27), AND NOW IT'S ALL ABOUT THEY THAT DWELL THEREIN! Psalm 24:1Now its, WHOSOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED, FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JEW AND THE GREEK, AND THE ARAB!  FOR THE SAME LORD OVER ALL IS RICH UNTO ALL THAT CALL UPON HIM!!! (Romans 10:11,12, Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21)