Chapter 24 of Matthew contains a fascinating and revealing
discourse by Jesus concerning the close of our age. It is most
significant that the people primarily addressed in this chapter
are not members of the Church, but are unquestionably adherents
of Judaism. This fact supplies us with one of the powerful evidences
that the Church will have to have been caught up to meet the
Lord Jesus in the air at the Rapture prior to this time being
written of as is promised in I Thessalonians 4:15-18.
There are those who do not regard what is clearly shown in
Matthew 24 and therefore convolute the teachings of this chapter.
Preconceived ideas cloud the truth because it is rightly understood
by them that if the Lord is truly favorably addressing Jews who
are practicing Judaism during the Tribulation, then something
dramatic must have brought the Church Age to an end.
During the Tribulation God not only looks upon Judaism with
favor, but in Malachi 4:1-4 He in fact calls for believers to
remember the Law of Moses. Either the Law of Moses will be restored
as a practice of worship among the Church or else the Church
is gone and a dispensation like that during Christ's earthly
ministry will have been restored.
The Scriptures of God settle this problem by proclaiming the
following: in Romans 9:31-33 we are told that the problem with
those practicing Judaism from Jesus' day until now is that they
have been pursuing the law of righteousness by the works of the
law and not by faith in Christ the Savior.
Romans 10:8-13 & Colossians 3:11 tell us that once a Jew
comes to Jesus with faith during this age of grace he becomes
a family member of the Church where God does not recognize any
distinction in placement before Him between nationalities, or
even the sexes according to Galations 3:28.
This point is emphasized repeatedly in God's Word for a reason.
Simply put, in one's standing before the Lord in faith there
is no such designation as a Jewish Christian or a gentile Christian.
During the time when Matt. 24 will be transpiring we find
this common identity in the Church has mysteriously been eliminated
as Jesus separately speaks to Jews at the end of the age who
are being called to salvation in verses 9-15, 16 & 20.
Jesus first warns these people He is addressing in verses
9-14, that they will be hated and killed by all nations for His
name's sake, but if they endure to the end they will be saved.
The call for them to endure to the end verifies that these are
believers who are to await His return.
This harmonizes perfectly with Revelation 12:11 & 17 and
Zechariah 14:1-5; "And they overcame him by the blood of
the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not
love their lives to the death...And the dragon was enraged with
the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring,
who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus
Christ" - "Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, and
your spoil will be divided in your midst.
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of
the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations,
as He fights in the day of battle.
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall
be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley;
half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of
it toward the south.
Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain
valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from
the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the
LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You."
Those who insist that Jews are not being addressed in Matthew
24:9-14 do so because, if Jewish followers of Christ are truly
being singled out by the Lord then this would contradict their
held belief that the Church will remain on the earth during the
In order for Jewish believers to be recognized, the fullness
of the Gentiles coming into the Church that Paul spoke of in
Romans 11:25-26, will have to have been accomplished. Once again
a designation between Gentile and Jewish believers will be made,
and it takes place at that exact point in time.
The Apostle Paul wrote of that moment when the fullness (of
suddenly contrasted) Gentile believers will culminate and only
then will the hardening of Israel come to an end. Paul then writes,
"...and so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: the
Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness
from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, When I take away
With the final number of the now recognized Gentile believers
of the Church having been brought to completion, God will once
again focus fully on the final number which completes Israel's
salvation. Thus Isaiah 49:6 will be fulfilled. Simply put, Christ's
clear identification of Jewish believers in Matt. 24 means that
they are not members of the Church during the Tribulation Period.
If the Church were still present on the earth during that time
it would be impossible for any believer to not automatically
become a part of the body and bride of Christ, neither a Jew
nor a Gentile.
Scripture more than adequately explains this sudden transition
in the identification of believers. The Church Age will have
come to an end and the unified body of believers who comprised
the eternal bride of Christ will have been removed in the glorious
catching up to the Lord commonly referred to by Christians as
I Corinthians 15:47-532 tells us, "The first man was
of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust;
and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, "we"
shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit
the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we
shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead
will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal
must put on immortality."
Once the Church is removed the Law of Moses will continue
to fulfill its intended role of bringing the Jews to their Messiah
as we are told in Galatians 3:21 & 23-24. We quote, "Is
the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For
if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly
righteousness would have been by law...But before faith came,
we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which
would afterward be revealed.
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that
we might be justified by faith."
The critical question which must be answered with a definitive
yes or no in order to validate this study is, "Is it covenant
practicing Jews who are being singled out by Christ as believers
in Him at the close of this age in Matthew 24?"
Our question can only be answered with an unqualified yes
as we continue reading from verses 15-20 in Matt. Ch. 24. In
verses 15-16 the people being addressed during the Tribulation
are warned to watch out for the "abomination of desolation"
spoken of in Daniel 9:27 when it is seen standing in the Holy
place. The Lord tells those who are in Judea to flee to the mountains
when this event takes place.
For people to be warned in Israel to flee at the sight of
an abomination standing in the Holy Place can only mean these
people are Jews being addressed and the Holy Place can only be
the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Some maintain that this event was fulfilled before Christ's
coming while others say Christ Himself fulfilled this prophecy
at His first coming. There are even those who say that this passage,
along with II Thessalonians 2:4, reveals that Satan will somehow
set up residency in some holy place to the Church or else will
actually indwell believers in Jesus Christ during the Tribulation.
These teachings are full of errors and are scripturally unsound.
The clear time frame revealed to us in Matt. 24 by Jesus is that
this "Abomination of Desolation" is an event which
will take place at the close of the age just prior to His return
to the earth.
The idea that over concerned Jews in Israel will be distressed
about some kind of defilement to a God-centered Holy Place of
the Church is the product of nothing more than a fertile idolatrous
imagination. I Corinthians 3:16-17 & Ephesians 1:13 &
14 throughly refutes not only this idea of an earthly holy site
to Christians, but also the false teaching that Satan can inhabit
a believer together with the Spirit of God, or even more heretical
that God can be displaced by him.
Quoting we read, "Do you not know that you are the temple
of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.
For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are...In Him
you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel
of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed
with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our
inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession,
to the praise of His glory."
As has been declared by Scripture, the Holy Temple of God
during this age of grace is found within all believers and each
and every believer is eternally sealed with the promise of God's
indwelling Holy Spirit. Believers are divinely assured that God's
Spirit will reside within them as an abiding guarantee of their
eternal inheritance in the Lord, keeping them until the day their
blood-bought bodies are redeemed.
God is not dwelling in any building or some obscure location
other than within the believing Church during this dispensation,
and He is not going to vacate, or make room for Satan to occupy
a blood-washed Saint of the cross under any circumstance. God
declares He will destroy the physical body of a believer in
the worse case scenario of unrestrained sin.
How can anyone believe in light of this scriptural fact that
God would allow Satan to indwell a believer?. There is no revolving
door involved once the Lord enters into a believer. The Lord
has declared in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you nor
Returning to Matthew 24:15-16, where those of Israel are told
to "then" flee to the mountains at the time when the
Holy place is defiled, we must realize the Jews are fully prepared
at this time to rebuild their Temple on the Temple Mount at the
earliest possible moment.
Articles such as the Oct. 3, 04 Colorado Springs Gazette
which headlined, "Jewish settlers buying real estate in
Arab neighborhoods, Settling into east Jerusalem," reveals
the ongoing quest for the realization of the Jews biblical vision
of a Jewish Jerusalem with their Temple restored upon the Temple
Mount at its heart.
The article went on to reveal that this is not just the desire
of a fanatical fringe group, but stated, "After a relative
lull in Jerusalem during the 1990's government-sponsored activity
has resumed...East Jerusalem, including the Old City with is
major Jewish Christian, Muslim holy sites, is one of the most
sensitive battlegrounds in the Palestinian - Israeli conflict."
In Matt. 24:19-21 we find a powerful summation to the fact
that the Lord is addressing Jewish believers during the Tribulation.
Jesus first addresses the dire situation of the pregnant and
nursing women during those days.
Then in verse 20 He continues to warn of the difficulty which
will be encountered by those who will be affected by their adherence
to the Old Testament Sabbath laws. We quote, "And [Jesus
said] pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath."
Notice first that Jesus put the issue of the Sabbath as being
a handicap for these people on par with one trying to travel
in the winter or even being a woman in labor.
Then we must especially notice that Jesus did not tell these
people to repress the importance they placed on the Sabbath laws
and disregard them.
This once again proves first of all that the Church is not
being addressed and secondly that believing Jews outside of the
Church Age are once again obeying God's command to remember the
Law of Moses during the Tribulation.
No matter how much some legalists try to argue that the Church
is still bound to the Old Testament Sabbath laws, Scripture
unequivocally refutes such a notion. Not only are members of
the Church not bound to Sabbath requirements, but in Colossians
2:16 believers are instructed directly to, "...let no one
judge you in food or drink, or regarding a festival or a new
moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the
substance is of Christ."
The Old Testament law was a mountain which condemned us all
under sin. Jesus allowed that mountain to crush Him upon the
cross to exact the toll of God's wrath for sin. Believers who
have trusted in Christ now only live under the shadow of that
mountain through the absolute freedom given to them by the grace
of their Savior.
On the other hand, after the Church is gone and God calls
for Jewish believers to "remember the law of Moses' (Mal.
4:1-4), we then find a people who will indeed have difficulty
if they must flee during a Sabbath day.
Even in this present day Orthodox Jews can be unduly affected
in regard to travel on a biblical holy day. As hurricane Jeanne
approached Florida's east coast in Sept., 04 a Rocky Mountain
News article which headlined, "Hurricane: Yom Kippur could
hamper evacuations" brought to life the reality of the problems
Orthodox Jews can face during a time of danger on a holy day.
We quote, "The timing of the storm raised concern for
Jews observing Yom Kippur. The holiest day on the Jewish calendar
began Friday and ends at sundown today. During that period, observant
Jews usually do not work or carry cash and many do not travel
by car, all of which could hamper their hurricane preparations.
The National Hurricane Center advisory even asked people to
consider that Jewish neighbors may not be listening to radios
or watching television and may be unaware of the situation.
"I don't know if I will evacuate or not," physician
Armand Braun said as he stocked up supplies at a grocery store
in Satellite Beach. "Jewish law says you put Jewish requirements
aside if there is any danger."
Jesus then says in Matt. 24:21, in refutation of those who
say that this prophetic passage will not be taking place during
the Tribulation Period at the close of the age, "For then
there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the
beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be."
These are the final days on earth of the soon to be Raptured
In this message I touched briefly on the fact that by God's
promise, a person who puts His faith in Jesus Christ during this
allotted time will receive a full pardon for all their sins.
This includes past, present and future sins.
When Jesus shed His blood on the cross for all of your sins
they were all future sins at that time, He didn't overlook the
ones you will be doing later in the day or tomorrow for that
matter. If He did, then only those who called out to Him with
their dying breath would be saved. Jesus left no sins unpaid
The only sin that won't be forgiven is the sin of not having
faith in God's only begotten Son Jesus Christ and that one sin
will seal your eternal fate in Hell.
Don't put it off, there is nothing more important.