LIFE OF THE MESSIAH – 016
DR. ARNOLD G. FRUCHTENBAUM
VII. THE OFFICIAL PRESENTATION OF THE KING
H. The Judgment by the King
Paragraph 137 – Mark 12:38-40; Matthew 23:1-39; Luke 20:45-47
We come to paragraph 137, the judgment by the King and the denunciation of Jesus of Israel. This whole chapter of Matthew 23, the most detailed of the three accounts, mainly because he traces the consequences of the unpardonable sin more than Mark, Luke and John do, but this whole chapter is one theme and that’s the renunciation and denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees of the leadership of Israel of that day. And with this lengthy denunciation His public ministry comes to a close three years after it began; it began at Passover time and it ends at Passover time. It’s still Tuesday of the last week.
We can divide this into three broad divisions; first of all, He speaks to the disciples and multitudes about the Pharisees; and He will say five things about them. The first point happens to be in Matthew 23:1-3, the true nature of Pharisaism is hypocrisy, a point He has made more than once before. Now Matthew 23:2 says, “The Scribes and Pharisees sit at Moses’ seat: all things therefore whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not after their works; for they say, and do not.” And what happens has been happening in some circles and the Messianic movement is part of it, but not the only part, is that the Jews here says that we have to do what the rabbis tell us to do. Well, if the rabbis would tell you quit believing in Jesus, then what do you do? Unfortunately some Messianic Jews have renounced their faith using this same logic.
But notice the term seat of Moses,” he’s dealing with a specific issue and on the board here you can see the stone seat, that was discovered in the synagogue of Chorazin and there are Hebrew inscriptions on the seat and the Hebrew says “the seat of Moses.” Because it has to do not with religious laws which He Himself, as we already saw, consistently kept on disobeying, He would not admonish us to obey the religious laws of the Pharisees. But to “sit at Moses’ seat” has to do with the application of case law; it’s in case of two litigants coming together. Now Judge Judy would not be allowed to sit on this seat, they always have to be a male Pharisee. By the same principle, the other two litigants coming together, whatever the judge says that’s the final verdict, there’s no further appeal. And so when two litigants come and the judge makes the decision how to apply case law to one side or the other, they must go ahead and fulfill what the judge says. But this has to do with civil case law; it does not religious practices, that’s a totally different issue.
Now the second point is in Matthew 22:4, they are guilty of making the Mishnah a burden upon others while they find ways to get around it.
Thirdly, in Matthew 22:5-7 they are self-seeking and self-righteous, because when they do obey points of the Mosaic Law they are not being motivated to obey these laws based upon a love of God, the only true motivation for being obedient. But they’re being obedient only for the sake of looking at being seen by the men, how spiritual they are. And so in Matthew 22:5 he says, “they make broad their phylacteries,” phylacteries are small black boxes and to this day all Orthodox Jews, in their morning prayers tie one around their forehead, and they tie one on their left hand if they are right handed, on the right hand if they are left handed. This is in obedience to Deuteronomy 6:8. Inside the box are three passages of Scripture: Exodus 12:2-16; Deuteronomy 6:5-9, the famous “Hear, O Israel” passage, and also Deuteronomy 11:13-21. Now this was the right thing to do but they made these boxes unusually large just to be seen of others.
He also mentions at the end of Matthew 22:5, “enlarge the borders of their garments,” this is where it refers to tassels that all Orthodox Jews wear on the corners of their garments. Here again this is in keeping with a divine commandment of Deuteronomy 22:12; it’s the right thing to do but they made them unusually long just to be seen of others. And the point He makes is that if they are motivated by only to be seen of others that’s the only reward they’ll get; there’ll be no reward coming from heaven.
Then fourthly, in Matthew 22:8-12, they are guilty of desiring man-exalting titles, He points out they loved to be called father, brother (?), master, teacher, rabbi, these were not merely titles of position or authority, if that’s all they were they would not be a problem. But in Pharisaism having these titles gave the person with the title a lot of authority over a disciple, far more authority than the Bible allows a person to have over another. And in fact, the rabbi was supposed to be the most important person in your life and the rabbinic writings say that if both your parent and your rabbi are taken into captivity and offered up for ransom, you must first work to ransom the rabbi and then you can ransom your parent. But a believer in the Messiah must be characterized by opposite tendencies.
Now the fifth point is found only in Mark’s account, Mark 12:40, they are guilty of prostituting their religion because by means of prayer they hide their covetousness and the covetousness is seen in how they foreclose on homes of widows. In the Mosaic Law the widows were to receive special protection. And so no Pharisee would foreclose upon the home of a widow until he prayed about it first. So by means of these prayers they hid their covetousness and their covetousness was the means of prostituting their religion.
These are five things He says to the disciples and to the multitudes about the Pharisees.
But now in the second part of the passage He will address the Pharisees directly. He pronounces seven woes upon the Pharisees. Now while these seven woes upon the Pharisees are for a variety of different sins, they’ll form a circle. The first woe and then the seventh woe will deal with the same sin.
The first woe in Matthew’s account is found in Matthew 23:13; here they are condemned for two reasons. First of all, they are rejecting His Messianic claims; then second they’re leading the nation to reject them as well.
The second woe is for turning proselytes into far worse legalists and He points out they went everywhere to convert people to Pharisaism, but these converts to Pharisaism often were more zealous with their legalism than they themselves were; that’s in Matthew 23:15.
The third woe is in Matthew 23:16-22, for switching priorities, and (?) a priority of the consecrated and not the consecrator. He pulls out two examples here. The first example from rabbinic theology is if you swear by the temple you don’t have to keep your oath; if you swear by the gold in the temple you do have to keep your oath. But what makes this gold so special? As to its makeup it’s no different than gold found elsewhere in the world. What makes the gold special is where it was placed, in the holy temple; the temple sanctifies the gold, not vice versa. But here they switch priorities.
The second example, if you swear by the sacrifice then you don’t have to keep your oath, if you swear by the oath you have to keep your oath; if you swear by the sacrifice on the altar you didn’t have to keep your oath. But what makes the dead body of that animal special, after its makeup it’s no different than the body of the same kind of animal elsewhere in the world. What made it special is where it was placed, upon the holy altar. The altar sanctifies the gift, not vice versa. And by this means of swearing the kind of oaths that you have to keep or don’t have to keep, they switch priorities given priority to the consecrated, not the consecrator.
The fourth woe is in Matthew 23:23-24, for camping on the minor points of the Law while ignoring the major points of the Law. And He says in verse 23, “Ye tithe mint, anise and cumin, these were three of the smallest seeds known in Israel for the first century. They were careful to tithe even the smallest seed. This was not the wrong thing to do because it’s says this you ought to have done, the problem is they ignored the more important aspects of the Law, such as “judgment, and mercy, and faith.” And so they camped on the minor points of the Law ignoring the major points of the Law.
The fifth woe is in Matthew 23:25-26, and that is for being far more concerned with the external demands of the Law than the internal demands of the Law. He compares them with those that after eating they wash the outside of their cup and saucer, leaving the inside dirty. But from the inside they’ll eat again and the old will corrupt the new.
Now what’s in the third, fourth and the fifth woe, five times He calls them blind; five times. First of all in Matthew 23:16, “ye blind guides.” Second, in verse 17, “Ye fools and blind.” Third, verse 19, “Ye blind.” Fourth in verse 24, “Ye blind guides.” And fifth in verse 26, “You blind Pharisee.”
The sixth woe is for hypocrisy because outwardly they appeared to be very spiritual and religious; but inwardly they are corrupt. He compares them with “whited sepulchres,” and in this day in Israel every year all sepulchres receive a fresh white coat of paint. The purpose for that has to do with members of the tribe of Levi; a Levite could not walk over a grave or come in contact with a tomb. So as the Levites are walking down the road to make sure these tombs are very visible to them, every year these tombs get a fresh coat of white paint to make sure they’re very visible. And so on the outside they look white and fresh and clean, sparkling almost; nothing inside has changed, still within in you have unclean corrupting dead men’s bones. All of these religiosities and all of these thousands of new rules give the appearance of how religious they are. It changes nothing in the internal man.
Now with the seventh woe he elaborates upon the first woe, and the seventh woe is found in Matthew 23:29-36. He points out they’ll be held accountable not only for just His Messiahship, also for the blood of the Old Testament prophets. Now everything the prophets were going to say about the coming of the Messiah by now had been said. And the Old Testament canon was already closed for about four and a half centuries. Furthermore, John the Baptist came as the forerunner announcing the soon coming of the King, and He Himself proclaimed His Messiahship and authenticating it with miracles and signs and wonders. In spite of it they rejected His claims. And to reject His Messiahship automatically means to reject the Old Testament prophets and no one can claim, not even the Orthodox Jew can claim to believe the prophets and reject the Messiahship of Jesus. It’s a package deal; to believe one is to believe the other, to reject one will be to reject the other.
Now one thing to keep in mind is that the order of the Bible that Jesus uses, the Jewish order, not how we have it today in the Christian Bible. The number of books between the Jewish and Christian Old Testament is the same; the number is the same, the order is not the same. The first book of course is the same Genesis; the last book in the Jewish order is not Malachi but 2 Chronicles.
Now notice in Matthew 23:35 He names two men; Abel found in the first book, Genesis; and then a Zachariah found in 2 Chronicles, the last book of the Jewish order. And by naming these two men He’s says you will be held accountable for everything from Genesis to 2 Chronicles. This was a Jewish figure of speech meaning the whole body of revealed written truth. Much as we would use a similar figure today, we say from Genesis to Revelation, our figure of speech for the whole body of revealed written truth.
Now look at Matthew 23:36, “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon” and notice those two words yet again, “this generation.” This generation, guilty of the unpardonable sin, would now be held accountable to the whole body of revealed written truth.
In the third division He closes His public ministry with a lament. In Matthew 23:37 He summarizes His three year ministry to Israel, He often wanted to spread His hands out and give the (?) the Messianic protection predicted by the prophets, but He says “ye would not!” Literally in the Greek “ye will did not,” when they rejected Him. So in Matthew 23:38 their house, their temple, is destined to lie desolate, it will be destroyed forty years hence.
And now look at the last verse, Matthew 23:39, it’s still addressed to the Jewish leaders, notice what it says, “For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye,” ye Jewish leaders, “ye shall say, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.” As I mentioned previously that is the official Messianic greeting; they would never say these words of Jesus unless they first accepted Him to be the Messianic King.
So in verse 39 He lays down the precondition to the Second Coming. He won’t come back until the Jewish people ask Him to come back. One of the key differences between the rapture and the Second Coming lies right here; the rapture has no pre-conditions at all, it could happen at any moment of time, it could happen tonight. The Second Coming does have one key pre-condition which is Israel’s national salvation. Until the whole nation comes to faith there will be no Second Coming. We’ll say more about this in our closing comments when we finish our series on Saturday.
They couldn’t understand the pre-condition to the Second Coming until they understand three important things. First of all, to fully understand the biblical foundations of anti-Semitism and why Satan has always had this long war against the Jews, tried to destroy the Jews at every opportunity. Satan knows that once Jesus comes back his career is over. He also knows that Jesus will not come back till the Jews ask Him to come back so if he can succeed in wiping out the Jews before they have a chance to plead for Messiah’s return there will be no Second Coming and Satan’s career will be saved forever.
That’s why there’s always been this continuous war against the Jews since the days of Abraham, and that’s like things like The Crusades occurred; that’s why the Russian Pogroms occurred; that’s why the Nazi holocaust occurred; and that’s why Revelation 12 says that once Satan is confined in the Tribulation and knows his time is short he spends all his energy to try to wipe out the Jews once and for all. Anti-Semitism in any form, whether it’s active of passive, whether it’s ethnic, whether it’s nationalistic, whether it’s religious, whether it’s economic, physical, social, or theological, it’s part of the satanic bandwagon to avoid the Second Coming.
A second thing you must understand is why Satan has used one name more than any other name to persecute Jews. And since the fourth century 95% of all persecutions of the Jews were in Jesus name, in the name of the Church and the cross—95%! Satan knows the name they have to call upon to bring Him back so He has a strategy to make the name odious and in the Jewish community it has become odious. So in the Jewish community when a Jew accepts Jesus he’s not merely changing what he believes, or his religion, or his faith, he’s joining the people who are responsible of killing your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your cousins. And this is part of the satanic strategy to avoid the Second Coming.
And that leads to a third point, why it’s important to be faithful in carrying out Jewish evangelism and Jewish missions, because part of the ministry to the Jewish community is to distinguish the Jesus of Scripture from the Jesus of Jewish and Church history, sort of breaking through all of that faulty programming they can finally come to see who the real Jesus.
Sadly, in our day there are several evangelical groups that have all kinds of programs for Israel, although good programs but they have a policy not to share the gospel with the Jews to avoid offending them. And they say God told them to do this; God did not tell them to do that. The one thing Satan doesn’t want Jews to get is the gospel and they fall into Satan’s trap. I’m all for doing nice things for Israel but not at the cost of the gospel. And the proclamation of the gospel cannot be compromised under any circumstances and that’s what has taken place. And so if you pick a Jewish ministry to support make sure whatever else they may do on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people they don’t compromise on finding opportunities to share the gospel for Jewish people.
I. Instruction at the Treasury
Paragraph 138 – Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4
Paragraph 138, now the area He was teaching was the area of the treasury; the treasury section had 13 large, what you would call offering boxes, and they were boxes for different specific needs of either the temple or the people. And you can donate into any of those boxes. And as He went out He pointed out to His disciples how those who were wealthy were bringing a lot of money but they didn’t really hurt their ability to have money to spend. But you have a widow here who offers two mites, which was the absolute minimum allowed to be put in. Now the wealthy could give all this money, they didn’t have to trust God to provide for them, but when she gave everything she had she had to trust the Lord that she would get to eat again, and to sleep under roof again. But this shows the difference in what He just taught in paragraph 137; it provides an example between mere externalism and (?) internalism. Because of internal righteousness before the Lord she was able to externally willing to pay all that she has. But the others were merely external with no internal changes.
VIII. The Preparation for the Death of the King
Paragraph 139-152, we now come to the eighth main division of His life, the preparation for the death of the King. Now paragraph 139 is a very extensive prophecy He gave of both near prophesies and distant prophesies. When I have a conference on the Olivet Discourse we spend five full sessions on this paragraph alone. What we’re dealing with tonight, developing the life of Messiah, so we cannot go into all those same details and bring in other passages of Scriptures. And so we’ll simply survey this, I’ll give you the various points for each of the divisions on your outline; we cannot take time to bring in everything and go through all the details.
Now the correlation between this paragraph and what precedes is earlier He said they won’t come back until Jewish people asked Him to come back and now He’ll show the circumstances that will bring Israel to request His return. He raises the question, what will be the circumstances for the setting up of the kingdom. What will be the circumstances that will set up the Messianic Kingdom in the future? It marks the end of His prophetic ministry. After this He will go in a transition from the office of a prophet, the office of a priest. He was a prophet, He is now a priest, in the future He’s yet to be King; King of Israel and King of the world.
The Prophecies of the King
Paragraph 139 – Mark 13:1-37; Matthew 24 and 25; Luke 21:5-36
1. The Historical Setting – Mark 13:1-2; Mathew 24:1-2; Luke 21:5-6
Now on your outline I’ve divided this into fourteen subdivisions, like I said, we’ll simply have to summarize these fourteen subdivisions as we proceed. So paragraph 139, the prophecies of the King.
The historical setting is in Matthew’s account, Matthew 24:1-2, they are now leaving the temple compound for the last time. The disciples point out to Jesus the buildings that made up the temple compound. Notice they especially focus on the stones that were used; end of Mark 13:1, “what manner of stones.” And Luke says in Luke 21:5, “how it was adorned with goodly stones and offerings.”
And actually what they were looking at was in the process of being built Herod the Great began the redoing of the temple compound in the year 20 BC. And while the temple building itself was done rather quickly because of its importance, the rest of the compound was in the process of being built even as these words were spoken. In fact, it will not be finished until the year 64 AD; again, it began 20 BC and they continued to work until AD 64, about 84 years. It was finally finished in 64 and then six years later it was all destroyed by the Romans. And indeed at this point of time in the land of Israel the stones that were used were the larger stones for buildings ever known. A lot of them measured ten to twelve feet and were quite heavy, but they found several other stones that measured something like 25 feet. It’s a real mystery how they got these stones on top of the other.
And Jesus says to them, in Matthew’s account, Matthew 24:2, “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down,” He prophecies in keeping with what has been His motif since paragraph 61, a common destruction of the entire temple compound area. The way this was quite literally fulfilled is that in the closing segments of the war in the year AD 70, against the order of Titus, a Roman soldier threw a torch inside the first room of the building, and while the temple walls were covered, overlaid with gold, the gold was overlaid with these curtains and wall coverings. As they caught fire they began to melt the gold and the liquid gold began to seep between the stones, later when they get to the stones for the gold to be in the stones they have to remove one stone from the top of another and so you don’t find any remains of any of these temple buildings that were in the temple compound. The western wall or the Wailing Wall was not the wall of a building, it was the compound wall that surrounded the temple compound; the prophecy is applied only to buildings and not to the outer wall.
2. The Three Questions – Mark 13:3-4; Matthew 24:3; Luke 21:7
But that raises point two, the three questions on the part of the disciples which are at the same time three requests for sign. The place is, as Mark 13:3 points out, is the Mount of Olives, hence it’s called the Olivet Discourse. And notice He again takes the position of a rabbi, in Matthew 24:3 He sat down; He always taught in a sitting position. While Matthew simply says the disciples asked Him, Mark specifies it came from four disciples, Peter, James, John and Andrew.
And what they’re asking for is basically three requests for signs. Matthew puts it this way in Matthew 24:3, “Tell us, when shall these things be?” the antecedent of “these things” is the prophecy of verse 1 and 2, the destruction of Jerusalem. “Tell us, when shall these things be?” Secondly, “What shall be the sign of Your coming,” what’s the sign the Second Coming is going to occur? And then thirdly, “and of the end of the world,” better, “the end of the age.” What is the sign the end of the age has begun.
And Luke gives us a more detailed version of the first question. In Luke 21:7, “And they asked Him, saying, Master, when therefore shall these things be? And what shall be the sign when these things are about to come to pass?” These are three questions they raise which are three requests for signs. He will answer all three questions but not necessarily in the same order in which they fell. He’ll answer the third question first; the first question second, the second question third; three, one, two.
Now keep in mind the Jewish frame of reference of that day; there are only two ages, the age in which we now live and the age to come. The age to come is always the Messianic Kingdom. The point of the last question is what is the sign that this age is about to end and a new age, the Messianic age, is going to begin.
Now all three Gospel writers provide answers to all three questions. It is Luke who focuses on the first question, about the sign of Jerusalem’s destruction. And keep in mind, Jerusalem happens to be one of Luke’s four main concerns and therefore he would teach us some things about what Jesus said concerning Jerusalem. Mark and Matthew both ignore His answer to the first question and focus more on the second and third question.
3. The General Characteristics of the Church Age
Mark 13:6-7; Matthew 24:7-8; Luke 21:10-11
He answers the third question first with a sign; the end of the age has begun. Under point three He answers the question negatively, two things that do not indicate the end has begun. These are characteristics of the whole church age period; they’re not indicative of the end days. First of all, He says the rise of false Messiahs.
When I was a student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem I did my paper on pseudo-Messianism and I pointed out in the paper the first one in Jewish history that claimed to be the Messiah was Jesus Himself. After him came a long line of false Messiahs beginning in the year 132 AD, with a man named Simon Bar Kozeba, who became known as Simon Bar Kokhba, and as late as the early 1800s by a man named Jacob Frank from Poland. And between Bar Kokhba and Jacob Frank there are many false Messiah’s in Jewish history, and probably the most famous one that had the largest following around the world was a man named Sabbatai Zevi, in the 1600s.
Among the Gentiles also there have been the rise of false Messiahs here and there; at the present time this one man named Reverend Moon who claims to be the second coming of Jesus. He has a large following in both the East and the West. But no matter how many movements or how large the movement is, no matter how much attention they get, this will characterize the whole age, it’s not a sign of the last days, and eventually Reverend Moon will undergo his own lunar eclipse and disappear from the scene.
The second thing that will characterize the whole age is in Matthew 24:6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars,” this refers to local wars and because you have a local war here, a local war there, is not a sign of the last days. And to assume that if anything happens in the Middle East it must be significant in some form and sometimes it is but often it’s not. In the first Gulf War several books came out trying to prove that the first Gulf War fulfilled certain prophecies but the Bible nowhere spoke of a war between the USA and Iraq. It was certainly significant politically but not biblically or prophetically.
So keep in mind, simply because something happens anywhere in the world, in the Middle East in particular, it’s not a sign of the last. But the whole age will be characterized by the rise of false Messiah’s and local wars, and notice what he says at the end of Matthew 24:6, “for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet.” It’s not a sign of the last days.
4. The Sign of the End of the Age
Mark 13:8; Matthew 24:7-8; Luke 21:10-11
Under point 4 He will answer the question positively, “what’s the sign of the end of the age?” It’s a clear answer if you can understand the Jewish writings of that period but if you don’t understand it you don’t quite get what He’s getting at. Matthew says in Matthew 24:7, “For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places.  But all these things are the beginning of travail.” The word “travail” is the word that means birth pang. It’s a term that is used of the series of birth pangs a woman undergoes before giving birth to a baby. And the last days of this age, (?) a series of birth pangs before the birth of a new age, the Messianic age. See, he’s focusing on the very first birth pang which is in verse 7, “nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom.” And that was a Hebrew idiom of that day, a Jewish idiom of that day, dealing with a world war and the contrast is this: that when you see a world war in contrast to local wars, that’s the sign the last days have begun.
Let me quote you a couple of sources from ancient times; first quote: “At that time war shall be stirred up in the world, nation against nation, city against city, much distress shall be renewed against the enemies of the Israelites.” Second quote: “When you shall see kingdoms rising against each other in (?), kingdom against kingdom, nation against nation, then give heed and note for the footsteps of the Messiah.” This, by the way, is where they got the name for the title of my prophecy book, from this quotation of rabbinic writing. The “footsteps” refers to a series of all the events that will bring about the return of the Messiah, wherein Judaism, of course, the only coming.
And so the phrase, “nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom” in first century context was a worldwide conflict. It was based upon its usage in the Old Testament, for example, Isaiah 19:1-2; in Egypt, it points out there will be total conflict throughout Egypt, nation against nation, city against city. You also see it in 2 Chronicles 15:3-6, where it deals with the nations of the Middle East, and again, nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, city against city, total conflict among all the nations of the Middle East. So the phrase was used of total conflict in the area of the context: for Isaiah, Egypt; for 2 Chronicles the Middle East. In this context several times the focus happens to be on the world, so in Matthew’s Gospel you see the world mentioned in Matthew 24:14, 21, 30, 31 and 35. And in Mark’s Gospel, Mark 13:27, 31. Luke’s Gospel, Luke 21:26, 33, and 35.
So that answers the third question, what is the sign the last days have begun. When you see a world war in contrast to local wars so I do agree with those who hold we are in the last days and that would begin the last days in 1914-1917 with the First World War, and the Second World War was a continuation of the First World War. And both world wars had a very decisive impact on Jewish history. And when you determine where we are prophetically it doesn’t matter how things affect the USA and Washington is not the holy city, but it determines how Jewish history is affected and the events of World War I gave impetus to the growth of Zionism. The events of World War II set the stage for the establishment of Israel three years after the Second World War ended.
5. The Personal Experiences of the Apostles
Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-19
Now point five, the personal experiences of the apostles. Normally He follows a chronological sequence of events, but now and then He breaks the chronology but He tells you way or another. Look at Luke’s account, Luke 21:12, and notice what he says here: “But before all these things,” so the events that now come up in verses 12 onward are events that will precede the beginnings of the last days, “before all these things.” So there you have a chronological sequence reversing the order.
And He tells them altogether nine basic things. Number one, they will be rejected by the Jewish community. Secondly, they’ll be rejected by the Gentiles. But thirdly, though they’re being persecuted by both Jews and Gentiles, periods of persecution will provide them opportunities to testify. Fourthly, the gospel will be proclaimed in spite of opposition, it will be proclaimed everywhere, a point Paul affirms in Colossians 1:6, 23, the gospel is proclaimed to all nations, and everywhere they’ve heard the message. The fifth point He makes to them is that when they’re brought before any kind of court of law, whether it’s a Jewish court of law or a Gentile court of law, they do not need to worry about how they’ll give their defense; when the time comes they’ll be given divine utterance and they’ll be able to speak and defend the faith and the others won’t be able to withstand it.
Now people have used this passage here often as an excuse for not studying before giving a lesson. On more than one occasion when I was in a Sunday School class the person got up and said I didn’t have time to prepare my lesson but I’ll claim God that He’ll fill me and I’ll simply open my mouth and He’ll speak. After a few words I could tell it’s not the Spirit speaking because the Spirit can never be quite that shallow. This is not dealing with preparing your Bible studies; this has to do with a court of law when you have to defend your faith.
He already told them they would be rejected by both the Jewish and Gentile societies; now it gets more personal under point six, they’ll be rejected by their family, in Mark 13:12 for example. Seventhly, they’ll be hated by all, in fact of these eleven apostles that are going to stay with Him, ten are going to die the death of a martyr. Now while their physical salvation is not guaranteed, the eighth point is that spiritual salvation is guaranteed. And nine, in spite of opposition coming from Gentiles and Jews and family members, they’ll win many souls to the Lord.
6. The Sign of the Fall of Jerusalem – Luke 21:20-40
Now point six, the sign of the fall of Jerusalem, now He’ll deal with the first question, which is answered by Luke. And the answer is found in Luke 21:20, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded…” “compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand.” When you see the city surrounded by armies, then know that her destruction is at hand.” And then he gives a warning to Jewish believers of that day, the days between 66 and 70 AD, they are not to take up swords to help defend the city; rather they are to find a way to abandon it. If they are outside the city not to go in to help defend it. So those in must get in, those outside not go in.
From Luke 21:22, “For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. He points out at the end of verse 23, for example, “For there shall be great distress upon the land, and wrath unto this people,” the people here would be the Jewish people.
And he points out this is also a mark of the continuity of the times of the Gentiles that will continue until the times of the Gentiles is finally fulfilled, in Luke 21:24. The times of the Gentiles is a period of time when Gentiles hold down (?) of the Jewish people, which began with the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC when the last Davidic king that sat upon the throne was removed; there’s not been any Davidic king upon any throne; when the last Davidic king was removed that began the times of the Gentiles, both historically and prophetically of four Gentile empires. And the times of the Gentiles only end once you again have a Davidic king sitting upon the throne of David.
Now the way the fulfillment came initially is in the 66 AD the Romans came and besieged the city of Jerusalem, assuming they were facing only a local revolt. And the Messianic community of Jerusalem took that to be the sign that Jesus was speaking about and they had to leave the city, but with the Romans were sitting out there, they could not do so. But the general of the Romans, Cestius Gallus, G-a-l-l-u-s, began to realize that the revolt was much more extensive and Jewish forces were cutting his supply lines. He was forced to lift the siege and return back to Caesarea. And so temporarily the city was no longer under siege and so the Messianic community took the opportunity to abandon the city; they were joined by Jewish believers from Judea, from the Galilee, from the (?), they went to a city called Pella, P-e-l-l-a, just south of the Sea of Galilee, by the east side of the river, and therefore outside the war zone. A total of 1,100,000 Jews were killed in the Roman war between 66 and AD 70; 1,100,000 Jews killed but not a single Jewish believer lost his life because of his obedience to these admonitions here.
7. The Great Tribulation
Mark 13:14-23; Matthew 24:9-28
a. The First Half – Matthew 24:9-14
Now point 7, the Great Tribulation, small “a”, the first half. Now here you have a similarity of wording and people make the assumption that because of similarity it must be the same but note the timing element. If you have your Harmony you’ll notice that he gives the sign of the last days, “nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom” in Matthew 9:7-8 and in Luke 21:10-11. But what Luke says in Luke 21:12, “But before all these things,” so Luke is describing something that happens before “nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom.” But Matthew says in Matthew 9, “Then shall they deliver,” and what he describes things will happen after “nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom.” So what Mark and Luke describe happens before; what Matthew says happens after, and they give two different timing elements.
In the first half He mentions five things. First of all, in Matthew 24:9 it will be a time of the persecution of the saints; this will include the fifth seal saints of Revelation 6:9-11. Secondly, in Matthew 24:11 there will be the rise of false prophets. Third, in Matthew 24:12 there will be the increase of sin because the restraint of lawlessness will be removed. In Matthew 24:13 His fourth point is the Jews who survive to the end of the Tribulation will be saved, that includes both physically and spiritually; the Jews who survive to the end of the Tribulation will be saved but the percentage is only one-third, Zechariah 13:8-9. Two-thirds of the Jewish population will be killed but one-third survives and comes to faith. When they come to faith that will trigger the Second Coming. Now fifthly, in Matthew 24:14 He points out the “gospel of the Kingdom” will be proclaimed throughout the world, “for a testimony to all the nations” before the end comes. And the way this will be accomplished is spelled out in Revelation 7:1-8, the witness (?) of 144,000 Jews, and by means of the 144,000 Jews they’ll succeed in proclaiming the gospel throughout the world.
b. The Second Half – Mark 13:14-23; Matthew 25:15-28
Moving on to small b, the second half of the Tribulation, what He does here is give us eight basic events. First of all, what triggers the midpoint in the second half is what He calls “the abomination of desolation,” in Matthew 24:15. And that’s when antichrist will take over the Jewish temple, seat himself in it, proclaim himself to be God Almighty, call upon the whole world to worship him as God and to signify the acceptance of his deity have taken the mark of 666. I don’t recall if I already told you this here or not but in case I didn’t, the fact his number is 666 points to him being a Gentile. If he was Jewish the number would have been 599.
Now secondly, the abomination triggers Israel’s flight from the land. And the President of Israel will continue to exist, through constant turmoil until the mid point of the Tribulation. But the mid-tribulation they will collapse and there will be one more forced exile from the land. The emphasis here in Matthew is on a sense of urgency, so that if you’re on the housetop, for whatever purpose, don’t go off the roof and don’t go inside the house to get any possessions; as soon as your foot touches the ground, make your way out of the country. Of if you happen to be out plowing in the field and you have this event occurring, don’t go back to your living quarters to take so much as a coat; from the place you are plowing make your way out of the country. At this point worldwide anti-Semitism will break out in full force and the satanic goal described in Revelation 12, to annihilate all the Jews before they can plead the Messiah’s return, begins in earnest.
And He points out three difficulties of making a quick escape. First of all, women in advanced pregnancy having to carry young babes will have difficulty getting away quickly. A second difficulty in Matthew 24:20 is in the winter. Now it seldom snows and so what is the problem with winter. There are several differences between the United States and the state of Israel. One of these differences happens to be the weather patterns. Here in America we receive rain all four seasons so rain falls here winter, fall, summer, spring. Not so in Israel; it has a very fixed rain season pattern. The rain season begins at the end of October; rains will fall in November, December, January, February, they will begin to peter out in March and die out by mid-April. So mid-April to mid-October no rain falls.
Another difference is the way highways are built. The Americans build their highway, for example, and they come to a water gully, even if it’s a dry water gully the American way is to build a bridge across it. Not so in Israel; they (?) in these water gullies and up out again. These water gullies are called wadis, w-a-d-i; a wadi is dry all of summer, it’s also dry most of the winter, but in the rainy winter months where rains fall in the mountain range of Israel water comes rushing down these wadis with tremendous force and carrying tons of rock and debris, often destroying these highways. When I lived in Israel on more than one occasion I had to make a major detour or to back to where I came from because a wadi had destroyed the road I was traveling on.
When the Jews have to flee the land they have to flee by means of these wadis and if it happens in the winter it will make the escape that much more dangerous. How dangerous it could be was made vivid a few years ago when forty French tourists were walking down a wadi heading for an archeological site; it was not raining where they were hiking at the moment but it had been raining elsewhere. The waters came down and 38 of the French tourists drowned; only 2 survived. So “pray that your flight be not in winter.”
And a third difficult is if it happen on the Sabbath day because in Israel on the Sabbath day, which is from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, all public transportation closes down; no buses, no trains are running. Unless you have your own automobile it will make your escape that much more difficult. This is the three areas that they’ll have difficulties to get away quickly.
His third point in Matthew 24:21, this is a time of worldwide anti-Semitism and the worldwide campaign to annihilate all Jews to avoid the Second Coming, as detailed in Revelation 12, begins in earnest.
Nevertheless, fourthly, in Matthew 24:22 the Jewish people as a people will survive. Two-thirds will perish but one-third will survive. The way verse 22 reads, “except those days had been shortened,” people have taken this to mean it will last exactly seven years, or the second half will last exactly three and a half years but that would violate other passages that give us an exact time period; the 1,260 days. But the wording here means simply to be suddenly cut short. The period of persecution will not be allowed to continue one second beyond its allotted time element. The allotted time is 1260 days; once that is reached they will be suddenly cut short, not allowed to continue one second beyond that period of time. That’s why the Jews will survive.
Now fifthly, in Matthew 24:23 will be the rise of false messiahs, one in particular, the antichrist.
Sixthly, there will be the rise of more false prophets. There are also false prophets in the first half but this time these will be given satanic power for signs and wonders to deceive many.
His seventh point in Matthew 24:25-27 is that if you hear of any rumor that He’s come back, He’s here, He’s come back, He’s dead, don’t believe it because the Second Coming won’t be like the First Coming; it will be quite visible for the whole world to see and there’ll be no doubt what has occurred. Therefore, don’t come out of hiding and expose yourself to danger.
Then point eight, as far as the place, He gives a cryptic answer in Matthew 24:28, “Wheresoever the carcass” or body “is, there shall the eagles,” the vultures, “be gathered together.” Now if you have a Harmony go back to paragraph 120, if not, turn to Luke 17. Luke 17 in your Bibles or paragraph 120; you’ve got a more detailed element there that’s worth looking at to understand what verse 28 is driving at.
Paragraph 120 or Luke 17:37, “And they answering,” after He describes His Second Coming, “And they answering say unto Him, where Lord?” Where will the Second Coming occur? “And He said unto them, Where the body is, thither will the eagles,” or better, “the vultures also be gathered together.” Now this is based upon Old Testament knowledge; a cryptic answer given based upon Old Testament knowledge. The body is the body of Israel; and the vultures refer to Gentile armies. So when the Second Coming occurs that wherever the body of Israel is, that’s where the Gentile armies come and where the Gentile armies come, that’s where the Second Coming will occur. We know that from other passages to be a Hebrew named city called Bozrah, B-o-z-r-a-h, better known today by its Greek name as Petra. Petra is Greek, Bozrah is Hebrew. And that will be the place of the Second Coming. You’ll see this in Isaiah 34:1-7; Isaiah 63:1-6; Micah 2:12-13; Habakkuk 3:3.
8. The Second Coming – Mark 13:24-26; Matthew 24:29-30; Luke 21:25-27
Now point 8, the Second Coming. Note four things here; first of all, right after the Tribulation there’s going to be a total blacking out with no light coming to the earth from the sun, moon and stars; a total blackout. There’ll be five blackouts in the last days; one will come before the Tribulation starts; the second, third and fourth will be during the Tribulation; this one is immediately after the Tribulation.
Secondly, it will cause perplexity on the earth, especially among the nations in Luke’s account, Luke 21:25-26. And there will be anarchy, confusion. Thirdly, there will come the sign of the Second Coming, and the sign of the Second Coming is that the Shechinah glory light will disperse this darkness around the world, and that’s the way the whole world will see the Second Coming; the Shechinah glory light will disperse the darkness enveloping the whole world. And fourthly will come the Second Coming of the Messiah, in Matthew 24:30.
9. The Regathering of Israel – Mark 13:27; Matthew 24:31
Now point 9, this will in turn lead to the regathering of Israel. Now posttribulationists use these passages from Mark and Matthew to teach a postribulational rapture of the Church, but notice that’s not the focus. Matthew 24:31, “He shall send forth His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one of heaven to the other.” The word “elect” is not only a term used for the Church saints, it’s used in three different ways.
For example, it’s used of the elect angels, angels that did not fall. It’s used, secondly, of all of us who are believers, we’re members of the elect. But the third way it’s used is of Israel as the elect nation; in this context that’s the focus, Israel is the elect nation. And verse 31 is simply a paraphrased quote of Isaiah 27:12-13, where the final regathering will be with the sound of a great trumpet. What Isaiah says is going to happen, Jesus says is going to happen, only with the… following the Second Coming. So verse 31 is not the rapture of the Church, it’s of Israel’s regathering from the four corners of the earth.
Now Mark says something similar but not quite the same wording because he has a different passage in mind, and in Mark 13:27, “He shall send forth His angels, and shall gather His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” His background is Deuteronomy 30:4-5 which talks about the regathering of Israel, both from the four winds of heaven and the four corners of the earth, because with Israel’s final restoration following the Second Coming, what we’re going to see then is a regathering of living Israel, the Jews who survive the Tribulation, and resurrected Israel, those are the Old Testament saints like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So both living Israel and resurrected Israel will be able to enjoy the land together.
So then, if we go back to the Old Testament backgrounds in Mark 27 and Matthew 31 we see He’s talking about Israel, Israel’s final regathering.
10. The Exhortation – Luke 21:28
Now point 10 you have the exhortation found in Luke’s account, in one verse, Luke 21:28, where He says “when ye see these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draws nigh.” Now the question is, in Luke’s context, what does “these things” refer to? And it goes back to Luke 21:10-11, “these things” refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Which meant that once AD 70 occurred and that was the end of that generation because of the unpardonable sin, any generation that will accept Jesus will see Him returning. No generation since then has done it so far but the Tribulation generation will do so.
That’s the point of this exhortation; once AD 70 passed, as far as Israel is concerned, any generation that accepts Him will bring in the Kingdom; as far as we Church saints, with AD 70 done there is no prophecy that needs to be fulfilled before the rapture. The rapture has been imminent ever since AD 70.
11. The Parable of the Fig Tree
Mark 13:28-32; Matthew 24:32-35; Luke 21:2933
Now under point 11 we have the parable of the fig tree. This is a parable that has been terribly misused and used for the purpose of date setting. And I’d say about 1986 several books came out trying to prove that 1988 is the rapture year, because that would be forty years after Jerusalem and Israel was established. And the most popular book was called 88 Reasons Why the Rapture will come in 88. I got so many questions from so many people I couldn’t answer them all so I finally put together a manuscript called 88 Reasons Why the Book is Wrong. So 88 came and no rapture, so he wrote a follow-up book called 89 Reasons Why the Rapture will come in 89. I guess the 89th reason was he failed to come in 88. Fortunately he did not write a book called 90 reasons why the rapture will come in 1990.
Now just between you and me I believe that should have already happened if people would simply quit setting dates for it. Once somebody sets a date for the rapture, just to spite that person God postpones it. So if you really want the rapture to come soon don’t set any dates for it.
Now those who use the parable of the fig tree as a date setting device make two mistakes. First of all, they make the assumption the fig tree here is a symbol of Israel but it’s not. He’s using the fig tree literally as an illustration but not as a symbol of Israel. Again, He uses the fig tree literally as an illustration but not to teach… not symbolically of Israel. To see this, just compare with Luke’s account; where Matthew only mentions the fig tree, notice what Luke says in Luke 21:29, “”And He spoke to them a parable: Behold the fig tree, and all trees.” Well (???) if the fig tree is Israel who are these other trees if the different nations keep coming up when you begin your forty year countdown.
The second mistake they make is assuming the word “generation” has to mean forty years; sometimes it does mean that but it’s not a technical term for it. It can mean twenty years, it could mean forty years, it could mean sixty years, eighty years, and there’s one specific case it means 100 years, and that’s Genesis 15. In Genesis 15 God says to Abraham,  “know for certain that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs; they shall serve them; they shall afflict them four hundred years,” then  “in the fourth generation”  “they shall come out with great substance.” Four generations, four centuries—how long is a generation there? A hundred years. But most of the time it’s used the same way we tend to use it in our day, meaning contemporaries. When I talk about my generation as over against my father’s generation I don’t imply there’s forty years between us; there’s only 22 years between us; I mean his contemporaries over against my contemporaries. That’s the way the term is used here.
So what is the fig tree parable used for? He says, from the fig tree and all the other trees, know this, that once the leaves begin to come forth it’s a sign that summer is coming. Then He makes the application of the illustration in Matthew 24:33, “Even so ye also, when you see all these things, know ye that he is nigh, even at the doors.  Even so, when ye see all these things,” what is the “these things” in Matthew’s context? It’s not Israel becoming a state in 1948, that’s been nowhere in the context. What the context goes back to is Matthew 24:15, “when you see the abomination of desolation” and now here, “when you see all these things.” And the abomination occurs at the mid point of the Tribulation and keep remembering that the abomination signals Satan’s final attempt to annihilate all Jews living at this point of time; that’s what it signals. And that’s the key here. So the generation He’s talking about is not the generation of 1948. It’s not the generation of 1967; some people have used they Six Day War as a criteria and they have predicted the rapture will come sometime in 2007; it didn’t.
We’re dealing here with the Tribulation generation; the point is that when the Jews see the abomination of desolation, they see the final attempt to annihilate them, it won’t succeed. The same Jewish generation that sees the abomination is still living when Christ comes back three and a half years later. So Matthew 24:34, “This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished.” What generation is He talking about here? This a key verse for those who are preterists; those who believe the prophecy has already been fulfilled, almost entirely, except for the Second Coming in AD 70, there are no future prophecies except maybe the Second Coming that need to be fulfilled because they claim that “this generation” has to refer to the generation of Israel in Jesus’ day. Now if this was inside a historical context it was seen (?) previously as in a historical context, like in Matthew 23:37, it does refer to the generation of Jesus’ day.
But here we have a prophetic context; the generation here is not the generation of AD 70; it’s the generation that sees the abomination of desolation. The same Jewish generation that sees the abomination will still be here when Christ comes back three and a half years later. And back in Matthew 24:15 remember he mentioned Daniel by name, because Daniel clearly spelled out that from the abomination until the Second Coming is going to be 1260 days. From the abomination to the Second Coming is exactly 1260 days. When the abomination hits they can know if they count off 1260 days, then Christ returns.
Now Matthew focuses on the Second Coming but Luke focuses more on the results of the Second Coming, the end of Luke 31:31, “know that the kingdom of God is nigh.” With the Second Coming the Messianic Kingdom will finally be established. So again the principle of the fig tree parable is this: the Jewish generation that sees the abomination of desolation sees the beginnings of the final attempt to a holocaust to wipe out all the Jews that are living are still here when He comes back three and a half years later, and therefore the satanic goal to annihilate all Jews is doomed to failure.
12. The Rapture – Matthew 24:36-42; Luke 32:34-36
The next segment, which on your outline identifies it as the Rapture, let me point out the majority view in our circles today… the majority view is this refers to His Second Coming; that’s the majority view today. The majority view used to be, much earlier, to be the rapture but now most see it as the Second Coming because in context it seems to fit better; He’s been doing the Second Coming previously so this seems to be a continuity of the Second Coming passage. I still hold to the rapture position, I’ll give you my reasons as we proceed through the text.
Let’s begin with Matthew 24:36, it’s the word “But;” in the Greek there’s two different Greek words, peri de p-e-r-i, d-e. peri de; the peri de construction is a contrastive; it means He’s been talking about one subject up until now; now He’s introducing a new subject, the peri de construction. The most frequently use of it is in 1 Corinthians where often it reads as “now concerning.” Every time Paul begins a new topic he says “now concerning,” “now concerning,” “now concerning,” the Greek is always peri de. So he stops talking about what he’s been dealing with, now he’s talking about something different. So yes, He has been dealing with the Second Coming, now He’s dealing with a different event, as the peri de construction shows.
Secondly, He points out in Matthew 24:36, as to the question of when, no one will ever know. The angels in heaven do not know, the Son in His humanity does not know, only God the Father knows. Which raises a question: if the angels in heaven do not know the timing of the rapture, even the Son of Man did not know in His humanity the time of the rapture, how come all these people writing books today seem to know the timing of the rapture? They’re claiming more knowledge than the angels in heaven or Jesus Himself.
Now keep in mind some day the Second Coming will be a datable event; the rapture will never ever be a datable event; never! But the Second Coming some day will be a datable event; it happens exactly seven years from the time the covenant is signed until seven years have run their course; it happens exactly 42 months, or 1260 days after the abomination of desolation. So once you’re in that period you can fill out, you can compute the date the Messiah will return. Some day the Second Coming will be a datable event; the rapture will never be a datable event.
Thirdly, in Matthew 24:37-39 the rapture comes when things are quite normal here on earth. There are no special signs. We saw previously in the context of the Second Coming things are very abnormal on earth. There’s a blackout, there’s convulsions throughout nature in the heavenly sphere, there is anarchy among the nations, there is fear; in the Second Coming things are very abnormal. But at the time of the rapture things are going on very normally, people are “marrying and giving in marriage,” “eating and drinking,” these are everyday normal conditions.
Now fourthly, when He finally comes it will mean a separation of the believer from the unbeliever. The believer will go into the Messianic Kingdom; the unbeliever will be excluded. Then fifthly, the supplication to be watchful for the purpose of escaping these things. (?) means of salvation to stand before the Son of Man.
Now in Luke’s account, Luke 21:35-36 he’s been describing the terrible days of Tribulation, and at the end of verse 35 he says, “for so shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of all the earth.” Notice how all inclusive that verse is. It will come upon everybody and all over the earth. In other words, it’s impossible to escape the Tribulation judgments… impossible to escape the Tribulation judgments here on earth. There is a way of escaping, but not to be here on earth; look at Luke 21:36, “But watch ye at every season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” There is a way of escaping but notice not to be here on earth, in verse 35, but to stand before the Son of Man, which happens at the rapture of the Church, we stand before the Son of man. That’s the means of escaping, that’s what the rapture will do.
13. Parables Urging Watchfulness, Readiness and Labor
Mark 13:33-37; Matthew 24:43-25:30
Now what He does in the closing…Matthew 24 and the first of chapter 25, He gives five parables urging three things: watchfulness, readiness, and laboring. Now I’d say probably the first three parables are being watchful for the rapture and the last parables are watchful for the Second Coming.
a. The Parable of the Porter – Mark 13:33-37
The first parable, the parable of the porter, given by Mark, focuses on being watchful. These are three descriptive terms for those who believe at that point of time. He says in Mark 13:33, “Take heed, and watch,” end of verse 34, “watch;” verse 35, “Watch therefore;” end of verse 37, “Watch.”
b. The Parable of the Master of the House – Matthew 24:43-45a
The second parable is the parable of the house in Matthew’s account, Matthew 24:43-45; here the focus is on readiness. Verse 44, “Therefore be ye also ready,” the emphasis being on readiness.
c. The Parable of the Faithful Serving and the Evil Servant – Matthew 24:45b-51
The third parable, in Matthew 46 to the end of chapter 24, the issue is on laboring while you’re being watchful and ready. And the believer will be characterized by watchfulness, readiness and laboring and the unbeliever will not be characterized by being watchful, ready, or laboring. And so the unbeliever ends up in the place where there will be gnashing of teeth, one of the descriptive terms for the lake of fire. Weeping is for the lost state and gnashing of teeth is for the pain.
d. The Parable of the Ten Virgins – Matthew 25:1-13
The last two parables focus on the kingdom of heaven, in verse 1 for example, and this will be more targeted for the Second Coming and the fourth parable is the parable of the ten virgins. Now these are ten virgins that are waiting for the groom to return with the bride. It fits the Jewish wedding ceremony in the sense that once the groom leaves to go and fetch the bride, the virgins of the city or town of the groom would be at the edge of town waiting for him to return. Because they could not know whether he will come back at daytime or nighttime they were to have lamps just in case he came at night, they need the light to escort them into the town and the place where they’ll be getting ready for the wedding.
Now five of these virgins are wise, they have oil, but five, he says in verse 4, “took no oil with them.” And oil is a common symbol of the Spirit so five virgins have the oil, five virgins do not have the oil, so five are believers and five are not believers. And while they went looking the groom came and therefore the wise virgins entered the wedding feast, which is a symbol of the Messianic Kingdom, while the foolish virgins were excluded. They were not watchful, they were not ready. The ready factor enters in verse 10, “they that were ready,” and verse 13, “Watch therefore.”
e. The Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30
The fifth parable is the parable of the talents. Here the focus again on laboring. The contrast is between the servants who are believers and the one servant, second line of Matthew 25:26, the “wicked and slothful servant.” And he’s the one that ends up in the place of outer darkness: “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Normally fire in our experience is the fire that provides both heat and light. But the fire of the lake of fire will provide torment; it will not provide any light. It’s a different kind of fire: torment, yes; light, no. So everybody who’s unbelieving ends up in eternal darkness and torment. Some time when you witness to somebody and they want to get flippant and say well, I prefer to go to hell, that’s where my relatives will be, my answer is your relatives may be there, you’ll never see them, you’ll hear them gnashing teeth and they’ll hear your gnashing of teeth but you won’t see them, so let me give you a better option.
14. The Judgment of the Gentiles – Matthew 25:31-46
Now in the parabolic method of teaching you give one or two or several parables, then you make the application. The application comes to the last segment, point 14, the judgment of the Gentiles in Matthew 25:31-46. The background here is Joel 3:1-3. Joel 3:1-3 also tells us where this judgment occurs, in the valley of Jehoshaphat; the valley of Jehoshaphat is the valley between the Mount of Olives and the old city.
The timing of this judgment, Matthew 25:31 is at the Second Coming. It says he gathers all nations, the same Greek word which means Gentiles so it’s wiser to make this Gentiles, not nations because every nation is a mixture of believers and unbelievers. So it’s better to say all Gentiles are gathered together, and they’re split into two separate groups, called the sheep Gentiles and goat Gentiles. The sheep Gentiles are the believers of the Tribulation who show their faith by their pro-Semitic works, and they are the ones that will enter the Messianic Kingdom and they’ll populate the Gentile nations of the Kingdom; it’s over these sheep Gentiles that we church saints will co-rule over in the Messianic Kingdom. He calls them the righteous ones in verse 37, which is identification of believers.
He will then turn to the goat, the goat Gentiles, the unbelievers who showed the lack of faith by their anti-Semitic works who aided and abetted the program of Jewish annihilation so there’s judgment, they’re confined and sent to hell. Initially it determines who enters the Kingdom and who does not; the ultimate goal is in Matthew 25:46. For the unbeliever eternal punishment, the righteous into eternal life.
We’ll have to quit here, I was hoping to get through paragraph 148, we’ll see what happens tomorrow; this was a rather long paragraph. I’ll take about ten minutes for questions and then give you a rabbi story if I remember any of them. This was a rather long paragraph.
I’ll take about ten minutes for questions.
[So the apostles were aware that there will be a Second Coming] At this point they were not aware of it, they weren’t even aware that He was going to die yet. And that’s why they put in… the way they worded it in the Jewish terminology and He, of course, picks it up. They would not have understood to what He said to them until after He rose from the dead. But a lot of the things here they just simply don’t understand themselves.
All right, let me give you two stories, they come from Russia, one from the Czarist period and one from the time of the communists. During the czarist regime the Russian military, of course, was very anti-Semitic; in fact there are stories in historical writings where the Russian armies would come into villages and kidnap all of the Jewish boys from about the age of 8, 9, and 10, and after they served in the Russian army for 30 years before ever coming home again. And that’s the background, and the story is a Russian rabbi, Jewish rabbi in Russia, sitting on the train in one of these typical… where you have four to six people, two benches that face each other. And the rabbi was there all by himself, there was nobody else going to sit with a rabbi or a Jew, and suddenly the door opens wide and there’s a Russian officer in his military regalia, he sees the Jew sitting there and he’s not going to sit with him so he slams the door shut and tries to find somewhere else to sit; all the seats are taken. It’s going to be a very long ride on that train. With no choice he decides to go where the rabbi was and he sits down opposite the rabbi, facing each other. He kept giving the rabbi dirty looks and scowling at him and so on. The rabbi ignored those things. But finally the man spoke up and said what makes you Jews so smart. The rabbi said, I beg your pardon. Well, we Russian officers were discussing this the other day; we noticed that the Jews are smarter than the Russians are, what makes you Jews so smart. The rabbi said what makes us smart is we eat a lot of herring. Eating herring makes you Jews smart? Oh yes, said the rabbi. We eat herring three times a day, that’s why we stay smart, I have a jar of herring in my hand which I will eat later on today so I can stay smart. The officer asked the rabbi, would you sell me that jar of herring and the rabbi said yes, you can have it for 25 rubles. He gave 25 rubles to the rabbi, the officer took the herring and ate it up real quick, and when he was finished he says you know, back in Moscow I could have gotten the same amount of herring for only 5 rubles. The rabbi said see, you’re smarter already.
In communism there’s not that many rabbis around, a few that are around are always followed by agents of the KGB, and this one agent assigned to this one rabbi always noticed that he would go out to Gorky Park every morning and look at these documents that had strange writing on them. And the agent felt that maybe the officers in the Kremlin might want to know what this rabbi is doing. So he approached the rabbi and said, rabbi, what is the strange writing that you seem to be trying to master. The rabbi said oh, this is modern Hebrew, I’m trying to speak modern Hebrew, learn how to speak it. And the agent says well, rabbi, you’re an old man, why do you want to study a new language now? The rabbi said well, I applied for an extra visa to be able to leave the country, but if I get the extra visa I won’t be able to go to Israel; they speak the language there so I want to speak the language when I get there. The agent said well, rabbi, I hear from my contacts in the Kremlin and they decided to turn your request down. You will die here in Mother Russia; you might as well give up on learning a new language because you’ll never get to Israel. The rabbi said no, no, no, I still need that language because if I die here I go to heaven, they speak that language up in heaven, and maybe I’ll be able to speak it when I get to heaven. Well the agent thought he’d be smart with the rabbi and he says rabbi, suppose you end up in hell. The rabbi said well that’s no problem, I already speak Russian.