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Joined: 14-March 06
Concerning the Tribulation, most people would like to turn straight to Matthew 24 and use it as a 'guideline', if you will, to discern the signs of the times. Allow me to offer you a different take on the matter here - keep in mind that I'm indifferent, I like to study both sides of the fence. "Study to show thyself approved", amen? Moving on.
It's highly possible that Matthew 24 verses 4-35 is Jesus speaking directly to the disciples on the mount of Olives concerning the destruction of Judaeism, or the Temple. Look at 24:3. "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" When the disciples asked, "when will these things be," it was with reference to the destruction of the temple. The destruction of the temple occurred in A.D. 70 when Rome, led by Titus, destroyed Jerusalem. The temple was burned. The things made of gold that resided in the temple melted as the temple burned and the gold ran down into the cracks between the stones. Every stone was toppled from its place as people searched for the gold. The destruction of Jerusalem is referenced in Matthew 24:15-22 and more clearly spoken of in Luke 21:20-24 as Christ taught that those in Jerusalem should flee for their lives.
In verses 15-16, we read "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) Then let him which be in Judaea flee into the mountains. I ask you this: If "every eye shall see, and every ear shall hear", if no one can escape from the 'tribulation of the saints', why would Jesus instruct those in Judaea to flee into the mountains? Look at verses 17-22. In a nutshell, the Lord tells them not to return for anything in their homes, to only run away - He tells them "Woe!" to the woman who is nursing in those days, for surely that would slow their escape from Roman persecution. He tells them to pray that their flight be not in Winter, because they would be travelling on foot. He tells them to pray that it be not on the Sabbath Day, because in their custom they weren't allowed to travel more than a mile on foot that day. In 22, "... but for the elect's sake, those days will be shortened." Why would our Lord shorten the 'days of tribulation'? He is coming to judge the entire world only once, and when He appears (Matt 4:30-31) He will gather the elect, dividing the wicked from the just.
You believe that, don't you? Good! Here's my next point...
If God will be seen by all eyes in the heavens and heard by all ears with the trump of the Archangel, why would Christ ask them not to take notice of the false Christ's and prophets? When the Lord appears ALL SHALL KNOW. My belief? The Romans know well the suffering of the Jews at this point. They've beseiged Jerusalem and have destroyed their temple. The Romans could very well be planning traps for the Jews. "Hey, the Lord has come to end your suffering, come and see!" Makes sense, doesn't it? The Romans weren't exactly known for their belief or reverance of God, were they? No, definitely not.
I drew a line seperating verses 35 and 36. The end of verse 35 is the end of the Lord's words concering the tribulation of Jerusalem. 36-44 speaks concerning our signs of the coming of the Lord.
36: "But of THAT day and hour (emphasis mine) knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." That day. Not "those" days of Jerusalem. He didn't say "these days", He specifically said "that" day. Look at 37-39 "But as the days of No'-e were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that No'-e entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.
What is Jesus telling us here? His coming shall be like the days of Noah. When we read about eating, drinking and marrying we can understand that the people have no idea of what's to come. They knew nothing until the flood came and took them...
... So also shall the coming of the Son of man be.
44: "Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." How can we be ready? Read the Gospel. Study it. Preach it. Spread it. Continue your walk with the Lord, stay sober and vigilant. Who were saved in the days of Noah? Only those on the ark. The Church is the modern ark, those on board will meet the Lord in the air on the day of His return.
I'm not asking you to believe as I believe. I'm not close-minded to either side, but I do lean more towards what I just said to you all. The tribulation, the rapture... well, those are topics for you to decide for yourselves. Just remember:
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." --2 Tim. 2:15
Share your thoughts on the subject - and keep in mind, let this place stay flame-free. No harsh debating, offer your side of the story and agree to disagree if that's what it comes to. Debates are for the Theology forum. I'll split this thread into there on request.