Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Thirty-three: Great Prophecy of the End Times - part one   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter Thirty-three:

The Great Prophecy of the End Times - part one



     
MARY ANOINTS JESUS' FEET

     The apostle John in his Gospel account relates to us that
six days before the Passover, Jesus was in Bethany, the town
where Lazarus (the man Jesus raised from the dead) was living. He
was at a supper meal. Martha, Mary's sister, was serving, and
Lazarus was also present, sitting at the same table with Jesus.
     Mary took a pound of very costly ointment and started to
anoint Jesus' head and also His feet, and wiped His feet with her
hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the
ointment. But Judas Iscariot (the one who betrayed Jesus later)
said, "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred denarii
(a large sum of money in our terms today), and given to the
poor?"
     We may think that Judas was kind hearted, especially towards
the poor, but John informs us that he did not say this because he
cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he was
also in charge of the money box the disciples had, for their
living expenses, he would steal from it at times. 
     It is good to here realize that Jesus and His disciples had
a "bank account" as we might call it today. They were obviously
given money from many different people and sources, to help them
with physical expenses (such as food) as they travelled up and
down Palestine doing the work of God.

     Jesus replied to Judas' statement, "Let her alone, do not
trouble her. For you will always have the poor with you, and
whenever you will you can do good to them; but you will not
always have me here. She has done what she could; she has
anointed my body beforehand, for burying me, preparing me for
death. And truly, I say to you, wherever the Gospel is preached
in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of
her."

     When the people heard that Jesus was there in Bethany, they
came in large numbers, not only to see Jesus, for some were
already questioning and having second thoughts about Him, because
He was not doing what they expected Him to do, gather all the
Jewish men together to form an army to fight the Romans.  They
came also to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 
Many were though wanting and starting to believe in Jesus, and
the power that the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees had over
the people was diminishing.  So those groups of men were planning
to also put Lazarus to death along with Jesus (Mark 14: 3-9; John
12: 1-11).

THE MOUNT OF OLIVES PROPHECY

     It is now only three days until the Passover and the fateful
events of the night and day of the fourteenth of Nisan, the first
month in the calendar that the Jews used, corresponding to our
March/April (see a good Bible Dictionary under the article
"calendar").
     Jesus had been on this third day before the Passover, in the
Temple, once more teaching the things concerning the Kingdom of
God. He was now leaving the Temple, when His disciples, at least
one of them, said, "Teacher, look at the wonderful stones and
what wonderful buildings are within the Temple structure."
     Jesus answered, "You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell
you, there will not be left one single stone upon another that
shall not be thrown down."

     The disciples were astonished once more at His remarks and
they pondered and mused among themselves as they walked along,
what that remark was really meaning.
     Jesus reached the Mount of Olives, and stopped to look at
all He could see, as well as have a short rest. It was then that
some of the disciples, namely, Peter and James and John and
Andrew asked Him privately this question:

     "Tell us Lord, when will this be that you spoke about
concerning the stones of the Temple, and what will be the sign of
your coming and the close of the age?"

     We need to notice very clearly, for it is written by Matthew
in very plain to understand words. The disciples were asking
Jesus to tell them about the signs that would signal His
RETURN....and the END OF THE AGE!
     What we are about to read, the words of Jesus, as recorded
in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, is MAINLY and for mostly, an END TIME
prophecy. It has only a smaller fore-running local event of what
happened to the Temple and Jerusalem, in 70 A.D. What happened in
70 A.D. did NOT fulfil this prophecy, for TODAY we still have
part of the wall of the Temple in existence in Jerusalem. It is
called the "Wailing Wall." Hence in 70 A.D. not EVERY STONE, was
"will not be left one stone upon another, that will not be thrown
down" as Jesus had said would come to pass, BEFORE His COMING
AGAIN and the END of the age!
     This prophecy of Jesus' is most certainly for the END TIMES,
yet ahead of anyone reading this New Testament  Bible Story!

     Jesus said, "Take heed that no one leads you astray. For
MANY will come in my name saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they
will lead MANY astray."

     At the end times it is the MANY that would come saying that
Jesus was the Christ. They would come in His name, claiming they
were ministers of Christ. But they would be false ministers,
leading MANY, not the few, astray. And so it is today we have
dozens and dozens, even hundreds,  of "religious" organizations
claiming Jesus is the Christ. But Jesus Himself said, the MANY
would be false ministries and false preachers, leading the many
into a false Christianity.

     Jesus continued, "And you will hear of wars and rumors of
wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but
the end of the age is not yet. For nation will rise up against
nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines
and earthquakes in various places; all this is but the BEGINNING
of sufferings."

     We have in the last 100 years seen all this fully come to
pass. More earthquakes then ever, more famines than ever, more
nations fighting nations than ever in the past. All this Jesus
said had to come to pass, but the end of the age was not just
yet, more specific things Jesus would now go on to name and
foretell, would be the signs of the stones of the Temple in
Jerusalem being cast down so not one would be left upon another
(the stones of the Wailing Wall still stand, which was once a
part of the Temple of Jesus' day), and the coming of Jesus again
to earth.

     Continuing with Jesus' words, "Then they will deliver you my
disciples, up to tribulation, and beat you in the churches, and
you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear
testimony before them. Some of you they will put to death. And
you will be hated by all nations for my sake. Do not worry
beforehand how to answer your accusers; for I will give you the
words and wisdom to speak through the power of the Holy Spirit,
which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or
contradict. And at that time many will fall away from the truth,
and betray one another. You will be delivered up even by parents
and brothers and kinsmen and friends. Family members will betray
one another even to death. And at this time many false prophets
will arise and lead many astray. And along with all this,
wickedness will be multiplied and the love of most people
will wax cold."

     This period, when all this will happen, will be the last few
years before Jesus returns, as the book of Revelation explains
and amplifies.  

     Jesus went on to say that those who would endure to the end,
stick it out, keep the faith, no matter what the cost, would be
saved.
     And He said that before the end of the age came, the Gospel
would be preached throughout the whole world as a witness to all
nations. Some of that would be done by the servants of Christ,
some of it done by the two great witnesses that the eleventh
chapter of the book of Revelation speaks about, who will come to
Jerusalem for the last three and one half years or forty-two
months, and from there will witness for the truth of God. Then
the final world-wide witness will be by an angel that will
declare the Gospel to all that dwell upon the earth, to every
nation, every kindred, and tongue, and people (Revelation 14:
6,7).

     Jesus said that after those specific events we just read
about, then the end of the age and His return would come. Then
the Kingdom of God would be established upon the earth.

     Now Jesus, steps back in time somewhat, and talks about a
specific event that will lead up to and trigger this last days
persecution of God's spiritual children, as well as the physical
people of the tribes of Israel.
     
     "When you see," Jesus said, "the abomination that makes
desolate, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it
should not stand, standing in the holy place..."

     We are not to guess what this is that Jesus has reference
to. First, the Greek words for "holy place" are NOT unique. The
Greek for "holy" is the common word used throughout the New
Testament, and means, "consecrated, pure, holy, saint" - it is
the Greek "hagios." The word for "place" means just that -
"place, spot, location."
     Jesus was saying something will make desolate a holy place,
a holy location, or holy spot on the earth.
     Secondly, we do not have to guess what this is, or come up
with many different ideas, theories, interpretations, as many
have done in the last 200 years. The Bible "interprets itself."
Luke in his Gospel account of what Jesus said here, gives us the
meaning.  We find it in Luke 21: 20, "But when you see JERUSALEM
SURROUNDED BY ARMIES, then you will know, its DESOLATION IS AT
HAND."

     Jesus, was saying that what Daniel had foreseen and what he
wrote about for the end times, was the DESOLATION of JERUSALEM! 
     Jerusalem was God's chosen HOLY PLACE. It was and still is
the HOLY CITY! It is the city that God has chosen to have His
headquarters in under the reign of Jesus Christ during the
millennium or one thousand year period of Revelation chapter 20.
     An end time power, the "King of the North" as Daniel calls
it (the book of Revelation calls it a "Beast" power, with a
"beast man" as army leader and "false prophet" as religious
leader) will come against the "King of the South" at the end time
and will defeat him, and then march on into the "glorious holy
mountain" and plant his seat or tabernacle of dwelling "between
the seas" (between the Mediterranean sea and the Dead sea) in the
very holy place, or holy city of Jerusalem (Daniel 11: 40-45).
     Jerusalem will be surrounded by the armies of this Beast -
King of the North power about three and one half years, or forty
two months, or 1260 days, before Jesus returns to earth. This end
time power will then march into Jerusalem and destroy most of the
city. There will be great desolation of the holy city, and then
the final wall (Wailing Wall) of the Temple that stood in Jesus'
day, will come crashing down, and the prophecy will be fulfilled
where Jesus said that not one stone of the Temple would stand on
another stone.

     When that event happens Jesus went on to say, "Then let
those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let him who is
on the housetop not go down to takes things from the house, but
flee. Those who are inside the city better flee, and those out in
the country-side better not enter the city. Those in the field
had better not return to their homes to gather things, but they
better flee. For these will be the days of vengeance, to
fulfil all that is written.
     Alas for those who are pregnant and with child, and for
those who are still nursing their child! For great distress shall
be upon the earth and wrath upon THIS people in Palestine; they
shall fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away as captives
into all nations; and this city of Jerusalem shall be trodden
down and made desolate by the Gentiles, until the times of the
Gentiles are fulfilled, until God has allowed the Gentile armies
to do their devastation and evil.
     You my disciples need to pray that your fleeing will not be
in the winter nor on the Sabbath day. For this will be the time
of GREAT TRIBULATION such the like that the world will never have
seen, no not from its very beginning, and never will see the like
ever again. If those days were not shortened, no HUMAN BEING
WOULD BE SAVED ALIVE; but for the sake of  the ELECT, those days
God will shorten."

     There can be no mistaking about the time Jesus is here
talking about. It was not the time of 70 A.D. It was not the time
of the middle ages, not the time of the first world war, not the
time of the second world war. No matter how bad those times were,
the time that Jesus is talking about (as we shall see further as
we proceed into the context of the next verses and what Jesus
said) is still ahead of all who are reading these chapters in
this Bible Story. Jesus is clearly talking about a time just
prior to His visible second coming in glory. It will be a time of
tribulation and distress and suffering, like the world
has never seen since man was created upon it. As Jesus said
unless those days would be shortened not one single human being
would be left alive on the face of the entire earth. Only in the
last 50 years have we had the weapons of mass destruction that
could indeed kill every man, woman, and child, from off the
planet.
     This prophecy of Matthew 24 is, without question, an end
time prophecy, for the last three and one half years (the 42
months, the 1260 days, the times and time and half a time, of the
book of Revelation).

     Jesus further said, "Then, at that time, if anyone says to
you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There He is,' do NOT believe
it! For false Christs and false prophets will rise up and even
show GREAT signs and wonders, so great as to lead many astray, so
deceptive they will be that IF it was possible they would deceive
even the VERY ELECT! You need to take heed; I have told you and
warned you of all these things beforehand.
     So, if they say to you, 'Ah, look, He is in the wilderness,'
do not go out to look; if they say, 'Look, He is in this inner
room,' do NOT believe them. For when I COME AGAIN, it will be
like as LIGHTNING comes from the east and shines as far as to the
west. Yes, that is what my coming will be like. The Son of man
will come in a cloud with GREAT POWER and GLORY! Now, when these
things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because
your redemption is drawing near. Wherever the body is, there
the eagles will be gathered together."

     Once more Jesus has warned His true followers that at this
end time, the last three or four years especially, many false
prophets and religious teachers would arise. Some will be able to
perform great and might miracles. The false prophet of the book
of Revelation will be able to bring fire down from heaven. Many
will come at that time claiming Jesus has returned, but Jesus
said He will not come in such a secret manner that people have to
tell you He had arrived and is over in this wilderness area or in
a particular room somewhere.
     Jesus said His coming will be like the LIGHTNING comes from
the east and flashes to the west. As a young lad growing up in
England I witnessed such events. Some of the thunder and
lightning storms would come upon us very suddenly. Within minutes
the sky would be dark with huge black clouds, then loud thunder
would roll across the heaven, THEN SUDDENLY the lightning would
flash at on side of the sky and flash across to the other side.
It was all very SPECTACULAR and QUICK!
     Jesus said as His disciples were watching these last day
events unfold, they were to realize their redemption was near. He
was referring to their being made immortal in the resurrection at
His return. The resurrection spoken about in 1 Thessalonians 4
and 1 Corinthians 15. 
     Jesus used the analogy of a carcase and the eagles or
vultures gathering together around it. We have either seen that
in person some time, or seen it in a movie or documentary on
eagles and vultures. We are to get from that analogy the main
thought, not the specifics as such. Jesus was not thinking about
the carcase being dead, or the meal the vultures would have. The
point He was making was the one carcase being there would draw
the birds to it.
     He had just mentioned the redemption of His followers, and
that redemption was the time of HIM (the one person body, or the
one carcase of His analogy) coming to earth again, with glory as
the glory of lightning, and the resurrection of all the saints
taking place, their redemption glory, and they then coming to
where He was, just as the vultures come to where the carcase is.
Jesus and His followers would COME TOGETHER. We see this
perfectly explained by the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians
chapter four.
     Jesus will come like the glory of lightning to the clouds,
to the air of this earth. It will be a spectacular event, not
something secret or un-noticed. And when He comes the
RESURRECTION (or changing from flesh and blood to immortal spirit
for those saints alive at His coming - 1 Cor. 15) of the saints
takes place, their redemption is complete, and they gather
together where Christ is in the clouds, and so will be with Him
forever more.
     The prophecy of Zechariah 14 finishes it all for us. In that
very day on which Jesus comes in glory, with the saints (who have
been resurrected or changed from human to divine), Jesus and the
saints land on earth, at the Mount of Olives, and start to
establish the literal Kingdom of God on earth. The reign of Jesus
for 1,000 years on earth begins.

     Jesus now once more back-tracks some in the time period of
the last three or so years of this age. The great tribulation has
come and is just about over, Jesus has not yet arrived, His
coming like lightning is yet to happen. He wants to here tell His
disciples about another spectacular event that will happen, that
must happen, an event that they will see in the heavens above,
and then know that His coming is very close at hand.
Jesus gave definite signs for His servants to watch for during
the last years of this age, leading up to His return and their
completed redemption in the resurrection.

     Jesus said, "Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days
the SUN will be DARKENED, and the MOON will not give its light,
and the STARS will fall from heaven, and the powers of HEAVEN
will be SHAKEN! THEN, after those signs of the heavens, the sign
of the SON of man in heaven shall appear, then all the tribes of
the earth will mourn, and they will then see the SON of man
coming on the CLOUDS of heaven with POWER and great GLORY; and He
will send out His angels with a LOUD TRUMPET call, and they will
gather together His ELECT from the four winds, from one end of
heaven to the other end of heaven."

     Yes, this is what I just explained above, the time of
completed redemption of the saints. The time of the resurrection
of the saints to meet Christ in the air, in the clouds.
We notice that the angels will have a part in bringing the saints
to where Jesus is, gathering them together, like the eagles
gather to where the carcase is, so the saints are gathered by the
angels to be brought to where Jesus is in the clouds of heaven. 
     Before this takes place Jesus gave His people the sign of
the "heavenly signs" to watch for, so when they saw the sun
darkened, and the moon not giving light and the stars falling
from heaven, AFTER the great tribulation, after a time of
distress such as never before on earth, then they could know
their completed redemption in the resurrection at the coming of
Christ in glory, was NEAR at hand.
     The sign of the Son of man in heaven that shall appear,
maybe the sign that is talked about in Revelation  11: 19. The
sign of the Temple of God in heaven opened and the ark of His
testament shown. We notice the context of Rev.11: 19 is the sound
of the SEVENTH AND LAST trumpet, the time of the RESURRECTION of
the saints, the time for Jesus to COME AGAIN and rule the nations
of the earth. All fits together with 1 Cor. 15; 1 Thes. 4; Zech.
14; and Rev. 19 and 20.

     Jesus really wanted His people to get the picture, and to
get in their mind some very important points within this whole
last days scene. He went on to tell us:

     "I want you to learn the lesson from the fig tree; as soon
as its branches become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know
that summer is near. So likewise, when you see all these things
I've told you about, coming to pass, then know that the end is
near, even at the gates. Truly I say to you that this age of
mankind will not pass away until all these things come to pass.
Heaven and earth and physical mankind will one day pass
away, but my words will never pass away, so you can be assured it
will all come to pass what I am telling you about. 
     You need to take heed to yourself, lest your hearts be
weighed down with wickedness and drunkenness and with the cares
of this life, and that time come upon you suddenly like a snare;
for it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth
suddenly, they will not be expecting it. But you my disciples,
need to pray and watch at all times that you have the strength to
be counted worthy to escape all these things that will take
place, and to stand before the Son of man when He comes.
     Of that specific day and hour when I come again in glory, no
one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son of man, but
ONLY my Father. 
     I tell you this, as were the days of Noah, so will be the
coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood
they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,
right up until the day that Noah went into the Ark, and they did
not know until the flood came and swept them away, so will be the
coming of the Son of man. 
     So take heed, watch and pray, you do not know when that day
will come. It is like a man going on a journey, and when he
leaves he puts his servants in charge, each with his work to do,
and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. You need to
watch, for you do not know when the master of the house will
come, in the evening time, or at midnight, or at the time when
the cock crows, or later in the morning. Watch, lest he come
suddenly and find you asleep. 
     When that day comes for me to return, two men will be in the
field, one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be
grinding at the mill; one will be taken and the other left. Watch
therefore, you do not know WHAT DAY your Lord is coming."

     This whole context is the VERY DAY, the literal 24 hour day,
that Jesus will come again from heaven back to this earth. So
when He said one would be taken and the other left, He was not
talking about some "secret rapture" - an invisible silent,
unseen, coming of His, that some people teach, to snatch away the
saints while leaving others behind.
     All kinds of silly scenarios have been imagined by people
who teach and believe in the so-called "secret rapture" of the
saints, to be secretly snatched out of the world and taken
to heaven, while the great tribulation falls on all that are left
on earth. Such ideas lead to people driving their car and they
all of a sudden disappear, or they are driving a school bus and
they as a Christian suddenly disappear as they are caught up to
heaven in a secret rapture. You are left to imagine the horror
that takes place on the school bus when the driver suddenly
vanishes.

     Jesus is here in the whole context talking about the VERY
DAY of His coming again. And as the book of Revelation clearly
shows there will be Christians on the earth at that time. Jesus
in this context of this great prophecy also makes it clear that
Christians will be on the earth when He returns in glory. Some
will be in the wilderness in safety from all the destruction
around them. Some will be called and converted only when the
tribulation of the last days is under way, and they will be in
different nations, doing different things, with many unconverted
people around them. 
     When the day comes for the Father to send Jesus back to
earth, as we have seen the RESURRECTION or CHANGE for the living
saints, will take place, ON THAT VERY DAY, as Jesus reaches the
clouds of heaven above us. The saints will be gathered by the
angels, they will be taken from the grave as they are raised to
immortal life, and taken from wherever they are on earth, in the
field, in the bed, working at the mill, if still alive (but the
live Christians will as we have seen, be changed from mortal to
immortal - 1 Cor.15), and taken to be with Christ in the clouds.
     One taken and one left is to do with the RESURRECTION of the
saints on the very day that Jesus returns, the day that the
Father sends Him back to earth to establish the Kingdom of God on
earth for a thousand years.
     And God will make sure that the Christian taken in the
resurrection will not be driving a bus, or flying a plane, or any
such thing, that would endanger innocent lives when they are
suddenly not there.

     Jesus gave emphasis to His people to WATCH! He went on to
say, as He amplified the point of watching, "Watch therefore, for
you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this,
that if the householder had known in what part of the night
the thief was coming, he would have watched and have not let his
house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the
Son of man is going to come at an hour you do not expect.
     Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has
set over his household, to give them their food at the proper
time? Blessed is that servant who when his master comes will find
so doing his job faithfully. Truly, I say to you, he will set him
over all his possessions. 
     But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is
delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and
drinks with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come
in a day when he does not expect him to come and at an hour he
does not know, and will punish him and put him with the
hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth" (Mat.24:
1-51; Mark 13: 1-37; Luke 21: 5-38).

     We see that Jesus was very concerned that His disciples
would always be WATCHING! The watching Jesus had in mind was far
more than just watching world news and world events, in order to
tell whereabouts we are in Bible Prophecy. Jesus had in mind that
His followers should always be watching their LIVES, their
CONDUCT, and watching that they remain faithful to the calling
God. Then no matter when Jesus comes they will be ready to
inherit and to enter the Kingdom of God. 

     We need to remember that for each one of us personally, the
day of Christ's coming is just as close as our death, for the
very next thing for us after death is to awake in the
resurrection at the coming of Jesus. We will not know the passing
of time, we will not know how long we have been asleep in death.
And most of us do not know when we shall die. So we need, as
servants of God, to always be ready, so we can meet our Lord
in the clouds and forever more be with Him.

             ..................................

Written January 2003


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