I have to assume that many of you just stumbled upon this page and have not been following the series. With that in mind, I must recap.
Matthew 24 is the preeminent source of prophecy for end time’s event in the Gospels. These words, from Jesus mouth, are worthy of our attention.
Everything in scripture has a context, but some things can be used outside of the context and still carry a valid meaning for your personal issue. That is not the case with Matthew 24, for it is about a specific time, and it is almost upon us.
The question asked was from the lips of the disciples, and was a question that had an intentional and direct Jewish mindset. They asked Jesus when the temple would be destroyed, what kind of signs could they expect to see, indicating His return as the Messiah, and when this would happen. Did you catch that part about the Messiah? When you read John’s gospel, you get a sense that they did not understand that he was the Messiah, but really their question was not wrong, He would come back some day in that role, but not any time soon as far as they were concerned.
He knew when the temple would be destroyed. How vital that was to the real question I do not know, but he did not give them a specific timing on that. What he spoke about, at depth, were the signs preceding His return to earth. Scripture tells us that not even the Son knows the day or the hour, but Jesus told them, “it is given unto you to know”. If not even Jesus knew the precise timing, can we? No, but scriptural evidence, common sense, and attention to your surroundings, should get any of us in the ballpark.
Matthew 13:11 KJV He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Mark and Luke’s gospels recorded essentially the same thing.
Mark 4:11 KJV And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
If I take the time to look at a passage like 1Corinthians 2: 9-12, then I open a rather distinct door that allows me to understanding the ways and purposes of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-12 KJV But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man, which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit, which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Legalism will try to tell you that this applies only to the revealed word of God (the words written and collected in these books we call the bible), but how can that be, since the context of the verse has everything to do with the Spirit (an intangible aspect of God). Notice how it tells us that the Spirit (we often presume of man) searches the deep things of God; that idea can work for man because the Spirit of God comes into man when he receives Christ, and even more specifically when the Holy Spirit comes into a person. There is a distinction between the two events and I will show you.
Acts 8:14-17 CEV The apostles in Jerusalem heard that some people in Samaria had accepted God's message, and they sent Peter and John. When the two apostles arrived, they prayed that the people would be given the Holy Spirit. Before this, the Holy Spirit had not been given to anyone in Samaria, though some of them had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Peter and John then placed their hands on everyone who had faith in the Lord, and they were given the Holy Spirit.
In this example, some in Samaria had accepted God’s message. Okay, that should imply that they received Christ, and therefore received the Spirit of God too. When then would Peter and John feel the need to go there and lay their hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit, because it is something over and above.
The word deep also implies the full extent, and that includes the timing (at least within the ball park) of what is to come. If the meaning of Spirit, as used here applies to the Holy Spirit, then it makes sense, as an aspect of God and like Jesus, God itself, which in turn would search out the deep things of God since it is God. However, what good does that do us unless that same Spirit is conveying that information back to us. Fortunately, this verse tells us that the Spirit (of God) that has searched out the depths of God has revealed them to us. Now that should be a source of excitement to you, unless of course you take the legalist point of view and decide that the depths of God are nothing more than the words on the pages of the bible, which most of the “religious” community do not read, and fewer understand. If you take the open-minded approach and not just read your bibles, but make it a daily aspect as important as eating, where you dissect it, challenge it, absorb it, and find out what it is saying to you, then I say yes, the Holy Spirit will show “it” to you.
It is entirely up to you. You can listen to wisdom, the voice of the Holy Spirit, and pay attention to the signs going on around you, or, you can be legalistic, and argue against every point I make. The choice is yours. If I am right, then we need to be preaching a victorious message about our eternal hope in the arms of the Father. Explaining how we are free from the wrath that is coming upon the earth, instead of the gloom and despair we so readily preach, as we try to beat the fear of God into people, in trying to get them to repent of sins, that God has already forgiven.
Do I know the exact time and date of when He will return in Glory as the reigning messiah? No, no man knows that, but with intelligence, and clues, we can come close.
That was a long introduction to the passages I wanted to cover. Open your bibles to Matthew 24, and let us pick up at verse 15.
Matthew 24:15 KJV When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso reads, let him understand:)
Jesus refers to a prophecy by Daniel. I am going to dig this up for you, but you have to take off your legalistic hat. Keep in mind the context of what Jesus is talking about, an end time’s event. As followers of Christ, we will not experience this event.
The Life Application Study Bible gives us this:
What was "the sacrilegious object that causes desecration" mentioned by both Daniel and Jesus? Rather than one specific object, event, or person, it could be seen as any deliberate attempt to mock and deny the reality of God's presence. Daniel's prediction came true in 168 B.C. when Antiochus Epiphanes caused an altar to be erected on the altar of burnt-offering, on which was sacrificed a pig to Zeus on the sacred Temple altar (Dan_9:27; Dan_11:30-31). Jesus' words were remembered in A.D. 70 when Titus placed an idol on the site of the burned Temple after destroying Jerusalem. In the end times the Antichrist will set up an image of himself and order everyone to worship it (2Th_2:4; Rev_13:14-15). These are all abominations to God.
As you can see there are three events, two of which have happened, all of which will be deemed the abomination.
- Antiochus Epiphanes desecrating the temple in 168 B.C.
- The temple being destroyed in 70 A.D.
- However, there is another desolation of the temple, and as of yet, there is no temple.
Daniel 11:30-35 KJV For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore, he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people who do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
Where else can we find this theme in scripture?
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NIrV Don't let anyone trick you in any way. That day will not come until people rise up against God. It will not come until the man of sin appears. He is a marked man. He is sentenced to be destroyed. He will oppose everything that is called God. He will oppose everything that is worshiped. He will give himself power over everything. He will set himself up in God's temple. He will announce that he himself is God.
What do we have around us, as we speak, that opposes everything that is called God? To answer the question you have to think with a “Christian” worldview. Although we call him God, and I think he is okay with that, his name is Jehovah, Yahweh, and Hebrew names I struggle to pronounce, and yet the one name God never introduced himself by was Allah (along with a few others.)
If the “he” of 2Thessalonians 2:3,4 is a staunch follower of Islam, and a person that has a global authority, then he can decree that there is no god but Allah, and demand that he alone must be worshiped.
Now how would he enforce that? Only by an overwhelming and well armed force, much as we have witnessed in the Middle East, and northern African nations.
If we apply the knowledge and logic aspect, as I mentioned earlier, to what Islam believes, then this picture becomes clearer.
Most of what I am going to show you comes from Wikipedia. Pay attention (if you read it) to keywords that are common to our understanding of the gospels. I am giving you all this because this person is the false prophet that will set up the abomination in the new temple at 31/2 years into this time known as the Great Tribulation, time of wrath, and day of the Lord.
`Îsâ Ibn Maryam ( Arabic: عيسى, translit.: ʿĪsā ), known as Jesus in the New Testament, is considered to be a Messenger of Allah and al-Masih (the Messiah) in Islam who was sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā'īl) with a new scripture, al-Injīl (the Gospel).
The belief that Jesus is a prophet is required in Islam, as it is for all prophets named in the Qur’an. This is reflected in the fact that he is clearly a significant figure in the Qur’an (appearing in 93 ayaat [or, verses]), though Noah, Adam and Moses appear with even greater frequency. It states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event that occurred by the decree of Allah.
To aid in his ministry to the Jewish people, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles (such as healing the blind, bringing dead people back to life, etc.), all by the permission of Allah rather than of his own power.
According to the Qur’an, Jesus, although appearing to have been crucified, was not killed by crucifixion or by any other means; instead, "God raised him unto Himself".
Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered a Muslim (i.e., one who submits to the will of Allah), as he preached that his followers should adopt the "straight path" as commanded by Allah.
Islam rejects the Trinitarian Christian view that Jesus was God incarnate or the Son of God, that he was ever crucified or resurrected, or that he ever atoned for the sins of mankind. The Qur’an says that Jesus himself never claimed any of these things, and it furthermore indicates that Jesus will deny having ever claimed divinity at the Last Judgment, and Allah will vindicate him.
The Qur’an emphasizes that Jesus was a mortal human being who, like all other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread Allah’s message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with Allah, emphasizing a strict notion of monotheism (tawhīd). An alternative interpretation of this theology is held by Messianic Muslims.
Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Qur’an and in Islamic literature, the most common being al-Masīḥ ("the Messiah"). Jesus is also, at times, called "Seal of the Israelite Prophets", and because, in general Muslim belief, Jesus was the last prophet sent by Allah to guide the Children of Israel. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter's coming.
Muslims believe that Jesus will return to earth near the Day of Judgment to restore justice and to defeat al-Masih ad-Dajjal ("the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist).
According to Islamic texts, Isa was divinely chosen to preach the message of monotheism and submission to the will of Allah to the Children of Israel (banī isrā'īl).
You need to keep it clear in your head that what I just gave you is what the Qur’an teaches, and Islam believes. It is only meant to show you that Islam is looking for similarly named personages to show up at corresponding times with what we see in scripture, and, if you allow yourself the freedom to see these characters fulfilling some of these roles, the scriptures about end times that eluded you will begin to make sense.
Revelation 13:11-17 KJB:PCE And I beheld another beast [this is the man with so many titles: the lawless one, the son of perdition, the false prophet, and beast] coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that, as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [Emphasis, mine]
Answer me this; what is the “Holy Place” that Matthew 24:15 refers? This is the third temple that must be rebuilt. What is up there now, and who controls it? The second most holy site to Muslims, the dome of the rock, and they own the temple mount. If you understand their attitude, and pay attention to events that happen in Jerusalem, then you know that they will not relinquish the temple mount under any normal circumstance. How will Israel be able to build a third temple on that mount? Short of God’s intervention, it is not happening, therefore something huge has to happen.
One of the methods of interpretation is to let scripture interpret scripture. Since we already have a huge head start, and that is the context of the question and the answer, then let us continue to pursue the passages that meant to define what will take place as a result of this abomination period.
Matthew 24:16-21 CEV If you are living in Judea at that time, run to the mountains. If you are on the roof of your house, don't go inside to get anything. If you are out in the field, don't go back for your coat. It will be a terrible time for women who are expecting babies or nursing young children. And pray that you won't have to escape in winter or on a Sabbath. This will be the worst time of suffering since the beginning of the world, and nothing this terrible will ever happen again.
Jesus told his disciples, “If you are living in Judea at that time”, well of course none of them would be. The abomination committed by Antiochus Epiphanes had happened over 168 years earlier, and yet it was an event hugely significant because it mirrored something that was to come. What Jesus described was the Great Tribulation, an event exclusive to the last 3-1/2 years of this 7-year period.
One of things that denotes this as the Great Tribulation is this: Matthew 24:22 KJV And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
Whoever this hellish tyrant is, he will try to have everyone that is not a follower of Allah killed. How can I be so bold to say that?
- Revelation 13:11-12 CEV (11) “I now saw another beast. This one came out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. (12) It worked for the beast whose fatal wound had been healed. And it used all its authority to force the earth and its people to worship that beast.”
- Now you must have an understanding of what the beast that sustained a fatal wound but was healed is. Started as the Rashidun Caliphate in 632 A.D. Islam continued overpowering and dominating the middle east, Europe, and Northern African nations until the demise of the Ottoman empire in 1922. The world thought Islam was dead at this point, but they were wrong. The Muslim Brotherhood quietly came back to life, starting in Egypt in 1928. Islam erupted on the scene with a full and relentless force with the Iranian revolution of 1979, where they overtook the American Embassy. Islam is your beast whose fatal wound had been healed.
- Revelation 13:15 BBE “And he had power to give breath to the image of the beast, so that words might come from the image of the beast, and that he might have all those who did not give worship to the image of the beast put to death.” Because the passage calls it a he, we get confused. Revelation 13:11,12 speak of a beast, but there it is an ideology. Here, the “he” is the Antichrist character that we all seem to comprehend. Islam calls this guy the Mahdi, or 12th Imam. He, at least for 3-1/2 years will come off as a statesman, but as you can see he gives tremendous power to the second person, we call the false prophet.
- “He” has access to the altar within the newly built temple, but no seems to be caring about that or paying attention. Doesn’t that strike anyone else as odd? Unless he is exactly as the Islamic prophecies describe him: A Jew, which happens to be a Muslim (does that even sound right?), of the lineage of Aaron and therefore entitled to be a priest (there’s a huge clue), someone who performs extraordinary signs – like calling fire down from the heavens.
- Under Islamic prophecy, he will be the enforcer of Sharia, and will demand that all bow their knee to Allah. This may be what we are seeing in Revelation 13:15
A time of violence; so violent that God has to shorten time or no one decent will survive. And while April of 2014 has proven to be deadly for thousands of Christians living in Syria, that region, and Northern African nations, it is only drop in the bucket, in comparison to what is coming.
Where is the hope in this? Oh, it is there, we may get into it in part seven, but for the believer that will not be here during this time of horror, our hope is in Christ returning to gather us home to himself, obviously right before the worst of the seven-year period breaks out.
You can have this solid hope in you as well by accepting Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and invite him into you heart.