We're going to take a short pause in Revelation and skip back to see what Christ said about the last days. These are recorded in several of the gospels and are generally known as the Great Olivet Prophecy. They were given as he toured the temple at Jerusalem and immediately after as he departed. We'll take a look at the scriptures from Luke first since that covers the prophecy He gave while still in the temple. Then I'll switch back to Mark and Matthew to complete this lesson.
It is important to get the time frame of these prophecies in mind. These were the last major public teachings of Christ before His crucifixion. After that, we see some more attempts to kill Jesus, followed by the Passover meal, and His trial and death. I'm not going to try to say that we should give special significance to them because they were His last recorded lessons. The Sermon on the Mount would probably do us a whole lot more good to understand and put into practice than the Olivet prophecy. But God saw to it that this information was included in the Gospels.
I'm not going to have a lot of commentary on this lesson. My primary purpose will be to try to help you sort out what was immediate prophecy and what is yet to be fulfilled. There are two major problems in interpretation that I'll try to straighten out. The first is that it was all fulfilled in 70 A.D. with the destruction of Jerusalem. The second is that large portions refer to the rapture of the church.
Like most of the parables He told, the prophecy seems to be a lesson in two parts. The first part was given in public and the second part was given in private to the disciples. Luke first records the public prophecy which foretells what would happen in 70 A.D. along with some of the private part that the disciples heard. The other two gospels records seem to give more weight to his continued teaching lesson given to the disciples in private and as such seem to point to a tribulation period prophetic utterance rather than a description of what was about to happen to Jerusalem in 70 A.D. In some respects the destruction of the temple (and Jerusalem) in 70 A.D. can be thought of as a type of what was to come when the rest of the prophecy replayed.
21:1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
21:2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
21:3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
21:4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
I included the first of the chapter just to set the stage for where much of this chapter occurs. This section was given while He was still down on the temple grounds where He could point out the people giving their gifts to the treasury in the temple. Never underestimate the widow's mite. Many churches and ministries are supported on this Earth by the widow's mite. That is said as a glory to the widows, but also to the condemnation and shame of the rich of the world who waste their money on themselves instead of giving generously to God of their first fruits.
The Destruction of the Temple Foretold
21:5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
21:6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
As the people pointed out the riches of the Jewish religious system, they reveled in the absolute strength and permanence of all they saw, Christ rebuked them and told them that all the things that they trusted in would pass away. He declares here that everything that they see will be destroyed and that literally the portion of the temple they were viewing and wondering over would be taken completely apart and destroyed, leaving no stones put together.
When the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., Josephus declares that all the stones were taken apart and plowed under. That would be quite a shock to any religious person's system. But Christ wanted them to put their focus on building a living Church. His church would not require massive fixed infrastructure. He envisioned a moving fluid church able to dynamically go, touch, change, and grow, meeting the people's needs on a daily basis and reconfiguring itself through the direction of the Holy Spirit as needed to stay real and responsive to Him.
He wasn't interested in building monuments to Himself that would have to be built and maintained from then on. That philosophy was largely lost some century or another since He was crucified. Now there are churches everywhere, and congregations that are stuck trying to pay for and maintain the infrastructure. These permanent things do have their advantages, but they are, at the same time, millstones around the church that keep it from becoming what God had in mind.
At the point of these prophecies coming true in the tribulation age, much of the reality for what was due to happen to the Jewish church will have also happened to the New Testament church. The Church itself (the people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and who are awaiting His appearing) will be gone. I would like to say that the rapture would leave every Protestant and Catholic church, whether denominational or independent, empty when the next Sunday rolls around. Sadly, I suspect that there are a few churches out there which are nominally Christian which will be conducting business as usual the next Sunday, with almost no one missing.
Over the 7 year tribulation period though, all of the buildings will have had to suffer the pouring out of God's judgment just as all the rest of creation. They will have had fire, earthquakes, hail, meteor strikes, along with looting and vandalism from those left behind. They may not be literally plowed under like the Jewish temple was, but I suspect they won't be in very good shape either. Putting your trust in the infrastructure as opposed to getting to know Christ personally will be a tragic mistake for many. Infrastructure isn't permanent. God is.
Any church will also be a target of the Antichrist. Depending on your prophetical interpretation, that could cover all world wide churches or it could just cover some of them. The people who turn to Christ during the Tribulation period won't be going to the grand church buildings for support. They're likely to be hiding in basements trying to keep a low profile so they aren't turned in to the authorities.
The Long Term View
21:7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
21:9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
21:10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
21:11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
The disciples want to know when this is going to happen and what signs to look for. People always want signs so they can get ready! Christ wasn't big on signs (Mark 8:11-13), but He does give a two pronged answer.
This passage speaks of the end times and the tribulation period that we have spoken of in Revelation. Today, we see a few of these things coming to pass. I got an e-mail message just this week declaring that an individual has proclaimed himself to be the Christ. Well, sorry to burst his bubble, but he didn't come in any clouds in the sky and the rapture hasn't happened, so he doesn't qualify. He's not the one. End of story! Many of these other items mentioned happen in measure today. They are nothing compared to the measures of the tribulation period.
He then goes on to talk of the tribulation specific things that must come to pass. There will be wars as the Antichrist forms his kingdom. There will certainly be commotions as the rapture occurs. The commotions here come from the Gr. akatastasia for instability, confusion, disturbance and disorder. Christ tells them to not be afraid because the end will not yet come. He mentions the great earthquakes happening in unexpected places. He mentions the famine and pestilence poured out in the judgments of God. He mentions the heavenly signs (the sun darkened, the sun's heat increased, meteor showers, possible comet impacts, et cetera). He says that all of these things must happen before He returns.
The Short Term View
21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
21:13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
21:14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
21:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
21:16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
21:17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
21:18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
21:23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
In Dake's view, He then drops back to a short term view giving prophecy of near term consequence to the people. He says that before all these things occur, His people will be persecuted. Warnings that He gives for how to comport yourself are useful even for today. Sometimes our greatest witness efforts aren't when we try to give a nice condensed birds-eye Gospel tract message. I'm sure that anyone reading this will be thinking "I'm sure he never gave a condensed version of anything!" and that would be largely true. But the best Gospel impact we can have remains when we let the Holy Spirit be our mouthpiece.
Christ warns that even relatives (parents, children, friends and the like) will be pointing out Christians. He does give the encouragement that during the time of imminent destruction of Jerusalem, no Christians will perish if they heed the prophecy He is giving. He then gives a specific sign to look for that will point to the imminent destruction of Jerusalem. Specifically, He says that when the army encompasses the city the end time is at hand. Here, Dake's stance is that He is speaking specifically of the Roman army.
He warns the Christians to flee to the mountains. He ends this section with warnings that many will be killed and taken away captive. He warns that many pregnant women will likely be killed. He finishes with the warning that the Gentiles will trod on Jerusalem and that it will not be restored to Jewish control until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Dake notes that this is similar to the prophecies of Mt. 24, but distinct from it. Here, Jerusalem is trodden down. There, the Antichrist will be stopped in the process of taking Jerusalem the second time - see Zech. 14 for references.
Dake notes this about the great distress of the Roman occupation.
The Jews were crucified in such numbers before the walls during the siege that the Romans wanted more room for crosses. Multitudes in the city died of famine until the valleys outside were filled with them. Titus, himself groaned and threw up his hands in horror and called God to witness that he was not responsible. No fewer than 600,000 who were thrown out the gates were counted by the Romans. Altogether, 1,100,000 Jews died; 97,000 were sold as slaves for trifling prices; 40,000 were freed because no one bought them; and 347,490 more, plus multitudes not counted, perished in many other ways.
The numbers above come from Josephus.
Dake may be correct in moving this part of prophecy back to the time of the Roman occupation. Certainly, all that was mentioned here did come about. There were many killed and the warnings He gave applied. But I think that it could also be a parallel prophecy to the Tribulation view just as accurately.
The other passages in Mark and Matthew have additional details not recorded here which would imply that everything was concerning the future rather than 70 A.D., but all three mention the desolation of Jerusalem coming soon. Certainly, the Jewish capital was lost as a purely Jewish entity at the time of the Roman occupation. The temple was indeed destroyed. But the Jewish capital will be restored for a time before the Antichrist takes over and a new temple will be built. This could apply then as well.
It will then be under control of Gentiles again until Christ returns. Then an earthquake will come and level most of Jerusalem, splitting the city into three pieces. That destruction could just as easily demolish the temple that the Antichrist has defiled as the immediate destruction by the Roman legions. There is precedent for a prophecy having both immediate application and future parallel application in many passages in the Old Testament and I believe this to be the case here as well.
Back to the Tribulation View
21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
21:26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
21:29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
21:30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Regardless of the time frame for the previous passage, with these verses the focus is now shifted back to the future, describing the things going on in the word that will cause fear and distress for the people during the tribulation period. Again celestial events that we have studied in Revelation are mentioned. The waves or tsunamis are noted also. Then, as people are despairing what do they see?
They see the Son of man, Jesus Christ, returning to the Earth in a cloud with power and glory! Christ tells the people to look up when they see Him coming because they know that their redemption from the forces of the Antichrist is at hand. He speaks another parable to the people and tells them to take note of the fig tree. When you see the changes in the fig tree, you can know that summer is at hand. Likewise, when the things that He has mentioned come about, everyone can know that the Kingdom of God is at imminent.
This is not the rapture, as some teach, but the actual setting up of Christ's earthly kingdom at Jerusalem. He goes on to say that once these things start happening, they will happen within one generation (or a short time). His words remain for ever and ever - Hallelujah!
21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
21:37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.
21:38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.
The section in Luke 21 ends with a strict warning to all who miss the rapture. He warns them to live upright lives without indulging in all the sins that will be promoted by the world. This is so that you will be able to counted worthy to escape the wrath that is to come during the tribulation.
If you will remember during that period there are 144,000 Jews who are sealed and protected from the ravages poured out by God onto the inhabitants of the Earth and they are taken to heaven before the worst is poured out. He asks people to be sure they are ready if they miss the rapture of the church (as Jews who don't accept Christ will) in the hopes of being counted among this 144,000. Clearly, not all will qualify.
Even if they aren't saved by that means, He warns them to be ready to flee to Petra when the appointed time comes so they aren't left behind to face the wrath of the Antichrist in Jerusalem at the end of the age. They must also remain true to God so as to not accept the mark of the Beast or worship His image to be free from certain other plagues. As is recorded in the section in Matthew, there will be a judgment of the nations that will occur after He sets up His earthly rule. People must live upright and righteous lives to escape the consequences of that judgment.
For completeness, I'm going to include the text of the Olivet prophecy from Mark as well for reference. It closely parallels Matthew's text.
Destruction of Temple Foretold
13:1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
13:2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Timing and Signs of Second Coming
13:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
13:4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
13:5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
13:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
13:7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
13:8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
13:9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
13:12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
In this passage and in Matthew which follows, there are two statements that make it clear that in these cases Christ is speaking of the final end times and not 70 A.D. Specifically, He speaks of the gospel being already spread to all nations. Second, He speaks of the abomination being set up in the temple which will occur at the middle of the 7 year period of Daniel's prophecy, and will initiate the Great Tribulation of the last 3 1/2 years.
In the scripture in Luke, Christ mentions the imminent surrounding of Jerusalem by the Romans as being the time to flee in 70 A.D. In these passage, He points out the desecration of the Temple by the Antichrist as being the time to flee. This helps to differentiate the two prophetical passages.
Time to Flee to the Hills?
13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
13:15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:
13:16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
13:17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
13:18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
Great Tribulation and Satan's Response
13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
13:21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
13:25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
Christ mentions God's divine mercy in shortening the time of tribulation so that there will be some people left at the end.
The Second Coming
13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
13:28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
The elect here are the Jewish people, not Christians, gathered back together to be an eternal nation.
Exact Day and Hour of Second Coming not Known by Man
13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
13:34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
13:36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
13:37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
This parable is different than the others recorded in Matthew, but has the same theme - Watch and be ready!
Destruction of Temple Foretold
24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
24:2 And Jesus said unto them, 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.
Timing and Signs of Second Coming
24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
24:14 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.
Again we have the indication of the gospel preaching being done to all the world. As we have studied in Revelation, this will be done by angelic forces in addition to whatever we have been able to accomplish as Christians before the rapture occurs. The angels will complete what we, in our self absorbed Christian focus, have been unwilling to do.
Time to Flee to the Hills?
24:15 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:)
24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
Great Tribulation and Satan's Response
24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
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.
24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
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.
24:25 Behold, I have told you before.
24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
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.
24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Here, we have an additional description of the Second Coming. As the lightning that is flashing in the east can be seen in the west, the Son of man's arrival will be spectacular. The reference to the carcase here is to the bodies left at Armageddon.
The Second Coming
24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
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.
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:
24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Dake notes that He left the earth in clouds, and that He returns in clouds. The people who are in Jerusalem will see with their own eyes the majesty of His return with His angels to rule. No doubt with the communication technology we have today, the whole world will see His coming "Live" in the "We interrupt this sinful program to bring you this shocking development..." type of thing! They will mourn because they will see that the gospel message and warning that the angel messenger proclaimed were true and did come about, just as was prophesied.
Exact Day and Hour of Second Coming not Known by Man
24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
He has been patiently waiting as Earth has developed and as time has passed for the conditions to be right. Although at this point we cannot know the day nor the hour when Christ will set up his rule on Earth, as the prophecy of Revelation and Daniel begin to unfold, the scripture is quite clear on durations and times. There may be confusion about the day and hour solely due to the mess the world is in and the Antichrist not being able to get the word out as to when he signs the peace treaty with Israel. After that is done, the clock starts ticking and God will be on His own schedule that He has already prophesied. He won't keep anyone waiting or guessing if they have studied His Word.
Final Conditions on Earth as time of Second Coming Approaches
24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
The conditions on earth for the majority of the people are foretold to be just as vile and corrupt at the time that Christ returns as the days of Noah were. There was one big party until the day that Noah entered the ark. The rest were caught unawares, even after all the preparation that they had been able to watch on a daily basis by Noah. Then the flood hit and it was too late. As with the warnings in the other scriptures recording this prophecy, Jesus warns His people to not give in to the drunken excesses of the time, but to live uprightly and turn to Him.
Be Ready and Faithful so Not Lost in Final Battle for World
I don't know if Peter, James, John, and Andrew's eyes glazed over at this point, but he continues with three parables to try to push the point home. Watch and Be Ready! This will be especially important because those who are affected by this parable will have already missed the rapture!
I'm not going to go into the details of the parables, but you can read them yourself. I've included the scriptures below. Remember that their main point is to be ready, watch, and to use the talents that God has give you for Him and to not bury them within yourself and hide them away. The time to get the word out is now so that fewer people will go through the tribulation period at all!!!
24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
24:41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
25:9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
25:16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
25:17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
25:18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
25:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25 and Post Second Coming Events
The next section gives some additional details of prophecy about what Jesus will do once His kingdom is set up on the Earth.
25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
This last section of chapter 25 talks about the judgment of the living nations after the time of Christ's second coming. Christ shall set on His throne with the holy angels and judge all the nations, separating them into the evil and the good.
Dake has this comparison and commentary on this judgment time.
Not every person in all nations for many will not know Christ has even landed on the planet earth until later (Isa. 2:2-24, 66:19-21; Zech. 8:23). It will be an individual judgment of all involved with Israel, when Christ comes to set up His kingdom and not a judgment of the wicked dead.
Contrasts between the two judgments
Judgment of nations. (Mt. 25:31-46) Judgment of wicked (Rev. 20:11-15) Living nations the wicked dead Before millennium after millennium Christ the Judge God the Judge On earth in heaven Two classes one class Some saved none saved Some destroyed all destroyed No resurrection a resurrection No books opened books opened Basis: persecution of Jews all sins of all kinds of all men One generation many generations Gentiles only Jews - Gentiles Angels help none mentioned Some go to hell all go to hell Some enter kingdom none enter it Separation of good from bad no good judged here To determine who continues to live on earth none here will ever live on earth again Some enter eternal life none enter eternal life
The purpose of this judgment is to determine who shall enter the kingdom (Dan. 7:9-14, 22; Rev. 11:15), and to give the meek the earth as promised. The reason and basis of the judgment of the nations (v. 40). God will curse or bless according to how men have dealt with Israel. He will forever respect and fulfill the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:1-3)...
Continued notes on verse 40 - Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me... The brethren of Jesus according to the flesh (Mt. 10:6; Jn. 1:11; Rom. 9:5)
Some will be sent to the lake of fire and eternal punishment (v Mt. 24:41, 46, 13:39-50, 24:51; Rev. 14:9-11, 19:20, 20:10). These will make the first fruits of the second resurrection, which is that of all the wicked dead (Rev. 20:4-6, 11-15). Due to their judgment and entrance into eternal hell here, they will not be resurrected and judged again in Rev. 20:11-15.
The primary nature of these passages clearly point to the second coming and not the rapture of the church. Too often, we hear people talk about the state of the world and say that the rapture is at hand. It may very well be, but the majority of the prophecy by Jesus here concerns the second coming. You can approximately date the rapture of the church as being around 7 years before the second coming, but that is an indirect accounting. The wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, and the like should be correctly moved to occurrences during the tribulation period. All the things like that which occur today are mostly a result of the fallen nature of the creation (and occasionally God's judgment). Once the rapture occurs, then you can start counting this prophecy as coming about directly.
Next week we switch back mostly to Revelation 19-20, with several scattered scriptures from other prophetical passages (Ezek 28; Isa. 34; Joel 3; Zech 14; Isa. 24; 2 Pet. 3 and the like). This will complete Earth's second sinful career that started in Gen. 3. The last lesson we'll take the last two chapters describing the ages to come.
Submitted by William Haller on