The Second Half of the Tribulation—Target: Israel
Matthew Lesson #153
February 5, 2017
“Father, we’re so thankful for Your Word, for Your Word has revealed to us Your plans, Your purposes. Starting from the very beginning of Genesis, we’ve come to understand who we are as human beings in Your image and in Your likeness.
“We were created for fellowship to serve You, and yet because of Adam’s sin, the human race has come under condemnation, under corruption from sin. Yet You in Your love and Your grace provided a perfect solution through Jesus Christ.
“This beginning of history mirrors in some ways what must take place before history ends, and that is the full resolution of the problem of sin and the problem of rebellion in the person of Satan and the angels, working out all of Your promises that You have made in history in prophecies. So we understand that we are also to learn of the scope of this plan and what these details involve.
“Father, as we study in Matthew 24, reflecting upon this great end-time of judgment where the earth is cleansed of sin for the preparation of the establishment of Christ’s perfect Kingdom, we pray that we might come to understand more about this time and also that we may be prepared in our own souls to answer and explain to others what Your plans and purposes are.
“We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
Open your Bibles to Matthew 24, and today we’re going to be looking at Matthew 24:9-14, which describes the second half of this seven-year period predicted by Daniel in Daniel 9, that this last seven-year period was related to Israel. We will see little bit more about that. So we’re focusing on, this second half.
We’re told by Daniel in that passage in Daniel 9:24 and following that what kicks off this last period is there’s going to be a peace treaty signed between the prince who is to come, which is another title for the future Antichrist, that He will sign a treaty with Israel and that treaty will guarantee or protect them for a period of time.
That, from what we’ve studied, seems to be the first half or 3½ years of the Tribulation. Then he is going to violate that covenant, at which time everything changes for Israel. That is the focus here in these verses: how that will change and the dynamics that shift from the first half when Israel is living in peace.
But even though Israel is living in peace, there are wars and rumors of wars or reports of wars that go on around the world, as the Antichrist is consolidating His power. But Israel is like an island of peace. Unlike today, when that seems to be the focus of everybody’s concern in the Middle East, during that period of time, Israel will have peace and stability. So we’re looking at this second half of the Tribulation.
Just to remind you a little bit of the context, Matthew 24 flows out of what happened in Matthew 23, where Jesus announced through seven woes condemnation upon the Pharisees. When He ended He announced that their house—that is, the temple, in Matthew 23:38—was left to them desolate, that it would be destroyed.
He further explains this in the first part of Matthew 24, where He says to His disciples, “From the Mount of Olives, look back, see the temple buildings, not one stone will be left upon another. All will be thrown down. All will be destroyed.”
So they asked Him while He has taken His seat there on the Mount of Olives, they “came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us (first question) when will these things be?’ ”—When’s the temple going to be destroyed? “ ‘And (second question) what will be the sign of Your coming?’ ” Not the signs of Your coming, but the sign.
We see that this term “sign” is used later on in relation to the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:30, “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear.”
There are certain things that will take place prior to that sign. That’s what a lot of people talk about is signs, but the Bible doesn’t call them signs. They are just the things that precede the sign.
What Jesus is doing here is instructing His disciples about His future coming, that He’s coming to establish His Kingdom, and the events that immediately precede it.
Now this is important. I’ve gone through this for several weeks, that Matthew is all about the coming of the Kingdom. It came initially with Jesus at the first coming. It was John the Baptist, as the forerunner of the Messiah, who announced to Israel, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
He is announcing the Kingdom is near, it’s time to change your mind; it’s time to turn back to God. It is time to be prepared, for the Messiah is coming who will establish His Kingdom.
What happens during the three years of Jesus’ ministry is the people and the leadership reject Him as Messiah and reject the King. They do not repent. But that’s the message, and that’s the message in Matthew as we will see.
What happens is: that was John’s message; that was Jesus’ message during the first part of His ministry; same message “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He sent His disciples out in Matthew 10 to the tribes of Israel and Judah, not to the Gentiles.
He prohibited them. He said, “Don’t take this gospel of the Kingdom to the Gentiles, only to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” It was a Jewish-based message because it’s a Jewish-based Kingdom when the Messiah returns and establishes His Kingdom. All of this has to be understood within that.
1. He’s talking to them as Jews about Jewish prophecy.
Even though His disciples will become the apostles and the foundation of the church, at this point, He is talking to them as Jews about Jewish prophecy. He is talking through them to the Jewish people.
2. The Olivet Discourse is the last thing Jesus will say in His ministry about Israel.
Then it’s the next night—remember this is only a couple days before the Cross—the next night, He’ll talk about the church.
3. In the Olivet Discourse, nothing is said about Church-Age believers or has direct application for Church-Age believers.
Because it’s the next night He will talk to them about the church. That’s the first time He begins to teach about how things will be different in the Church Age.
4. All living Church-Age believers don’t have to worry about going through this time because this they will be raptured and taken to Heaven.
According to 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, they will be taken to Heaven when the Lord returns in the air. “Then those who are dead in Christ will rise first, and we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, and thus we shall ever be with the Lord.”
There is no Tribulation in the big sense. There is no seven-year period of Daniel’s intense time—those last seven years—because they’re related to Israel and not related to the church .
This is a chart that we’ve gone through. This is the last week, the last seven-year period. They’re called weeks because in Hebrew, it says seven periods of seven, so that got translated as weeks. Seven periods of seven or 70 periods of seven comes out to be 490 years that was to be decreed for Daniel and His people and His holy city, which is Jerusalem.
So it’s not talking about Washington. D.C. It’s not talking about London or Los Angeles or Berlin or Rome or any other place. It’s talking about: this is God’s plan for you, your people, and your holy city.
After 483 years—after the 69th week—it says, “after this the Messiah is cut off.” So there’s going to be a pause. God hits the pause button on the countdown in Israel’s timetable. After He hits the pause button, certain things happen. The Messiah is cut off, the second Temple will be destroyed by the people of the prince who is to come, which is the Antichrist.
Then an unspecified amount of time will come until this coming prince enters into a treaty with Israel. That starts the flow again. That’s hitting the forward button, and that introduces this last seven-year period that’s referred to as the time of Jacob’s Trouble, because it specifically focuses on concluding God’s plan for Israel. Israel was another name for Jacob in the Old Testament—Jacob, the son of Isaac. His birth name was Jacob; God gave him a second name, Israel.
In Matthew 24:4–8, what we’ve studied so far is that that was described as the beginning of labor pains. In verse 6, though, Jesus said, “when you see this, the end is not yet.” It hasn’t happened yet; we haven’t come to the end.
This is just the beginning of labor pains. Something is going to be given birth to. What’s being given birth? The Kingdom. But before the Kingdom can come, these labor pains on the earth have to take place. It is a time of God’s cleansing judgment on humanity in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom.
Second half, we see increased labor pains; then in verse 14, which is the section we’re studying this morning, Matthew 24:9–14, Jesus says, “Then the end will come.” Very important terminology.
1. The first 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week are the beginning of sorrows.
2. The second 3½ years in Daniel’s 70th week is increased persecution of Jews under the Antichrist. Matthew 24:9–14
Anti-Semitism is going to go on steroids. Anti-Semitism will break loose like it has never broken loose before in human history. The anti-Semitism of the Holocaust under the Nazi regime is going to pale in significance. The anti-Semitism that occurred in Spain beginning in 1492 when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the Jews from Spain, and if they didn’t leave they were tortured, and their property was confiscated from all whether they left or not. That is going to be nothing.
This is going to be a worldwide systematic approach to eradicate all Jewish people from the face of the earth. This is worldwide anti-Semitism in a way that has never happened before. We will look at this in more detail next Sunday because it comes out more in the next section from Matthew 24:15 and following.
The first part of the Discourse that we’ve seen already from verses 4 to 8, Jesus warned His disciples. He said, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” It will be very easy to be deceived during this period. People who do not know the Word of God, people who have not been taught the Word of God, will easily be led into deception.
This happens a lot today. This is a problem in the Church Age because you have many false teachers. The Scripture calls them false teachers in this age, not false prophets. False prophets are mentioned in this passage, but false prophets show that this is specifically talking about Israel.
In fact, there are only a couple of times in the New Testament, in the epistles of Paul where He mentions false prophets, and those references are historic. They refer either back to the Old Testament or to something that is happening within the framework of Israel, not something that’s related to the Church Age.
So they’re warned, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” This is a major problem. “There will be deception,” from the Greek verb PLANAO, which is where we get our word “planet,” meaning to wander, to be led astray.
That’s important because when we get down into the middle of the section we’re studying this morning, the Scripture reads that there will be many who will be offended. That’s not what the text says. The Greek says there will be many who will be entrapped.
The word there that is used is a word that would refer to the trip stick in a trap. That was its original meaning. The idea is that there will be many who will be entrapped. They will fall into this deception that was warned about in verse 4.
In Matthew 24:6 Jesus gave another warning, and He said, after saying you will hear of wars and rumors of wars, He says, “See to it.” See the previous warning also used a synonym for seeing, BLEPO, which means to watch out. In verse 6 He uses the synonym HORAO, also meaning to see, to pay attention, to be on the alert.
“See that you are not troubled.” The word there for “troubled” is a distinctive word in the New Testament. It is only used a few times, each of which is a context of this period that we call The Great Tribulation or The Tribulation. It means to be terrified, to panic, to be scared to death, to hardly be able to sleep, and when you do you wake up in a sweat because you are so frightened about your very life and being able to survive.
There’s this warning in verse 6, “See that you are not troubled.” Why? Because we know that God’s in control. We can relax. No matter how horrible it might get around us. That’s a great application for us today because the intensity in the heart of the persecution, the suffering, the adversity that we see today is nothing in comparison to what it will be during this horrible time in the future.
Yet, if Jesus tells them in that horrible time, “Don’t be fearful, don’t panic, don’t be terrified,” then that means that even more today we are not to be terrified. We are not to give in to anxiety.
This is what Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall defend Your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
That’s a lesser level of anxiety, so it applies even more to this level, so that we can learn from this and we can relax.
We saw in that first section—the beginning of birth pangs—that false messiahs will arise. There are those who will rise up like THE false Christ—the false prophet. He’s one of many. False messiahs will arise: that is a particularly Jewish concept. We’re not warned about false messiahs in the Church Age. We’re warned about false messiahs only in that end-time period.
Many will be deceived by them into thinking that the end has arrived. But Jesus says this is only the beginning of labor pains. The end isn’t here yet. This will likely be directed at Jewish people—the false messiahs—because of this increase in anti-Semitism during the end times during Daniel’s 70th week. There will be wars and rumors of wars, and famines, pestilences, and earthquakes that develop. That summarizes Matthew 24:4–8.
I also pointed out last time and went to Revelation to show that this parallels the events that John describes that he saw in the first six seal judgments that are described in Revelation 6.
It’s not a one-to-one correspondence. Some people have asked, “Well, wait a minute. There are certain things that Jesus mentions that aren’t there. There certain things are mentioned there that Jesus doesn’t mention.”
Jesus is just giving a summary of what it is going to be like in that first half. He is not giving all the details. John is the one who’s given that responsibility to reveal that there are these six seal judgments, that they’re consecutive, and what each one involves. He gives the specifics.
Jesus is just giving the summary, the outline, and He concludes in Matthew 24:8 by saying, “All these are beginning of sorrows.”
In Matthew 24:9 He says, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation ...”—first time we see that word in this passage—“… they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
This seems to relate to a specific persecution to Jewish believers in the second half of the Tribulation. Not that there’s not persecution in the first half towards all Christians. But Jesus is talking to them as Jewish Christians—as Messianic Jews—that they’re representing Israel.
He’s talking to them as Jews about Jewish prophecy, and He says, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation ...”—that is, those you represent, Jewish believers in the second half—“… they will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations.”
The fact that they will be hated by all nations isn’t talking about just Gentile Christians being hated by people, but there’s always this animosity that we find even in the Old Testament between Jews and the nations—as a term representing the Gentiles. So in many cases, this terminology here should be translated not “nations” but “Gentiles”.
An important word here is the word “then.” The word “then” in the Greek is the word TOTE. TOTE, like many words, has different uses. It can mean “then at the same time.” This word is used several times as you go through Matthew 24.
It has led some to look at the first meaning, the primary meaning listed in the lexicon that this is saying “then at the same time.” If you take all of these as “then at the same time,” what you end up is saying that everything in Matthew 24 basically happen simultaneously. That’s a real problem.
The second way in which “then” is used, according to the major lexicon BDAG, is to introduce a sequence of events to what follows next in time. And I want to show you this because this is a major debate that goes on in trying to understand the chronology of this passage.
Matthew 24:4, which sets the context for this first section, verses 4 through 8, which I just reviewed, is followed by Matthew 24:9 that says,
“Then they will deliver you up,” and
“Then many will be offended and betray one another,”
“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”
What I’m saying is these three “thens,” which are in these three consecutive verses, are indicating a series of events that happen in the second half. They are not saying “at this time”—that is, the time of Matthew 24:4–8, these things will happen. That is a very popular view.
In fact, I was just reviewing Dr. Ice’s papers on the Olivet Discourse, and this is one of the things that we had a lot of discussions over, and he has now changed his view that this “then” is important and that my arguments—or the arguments of this position, because there are many others who take this view—that this is a much better way to understand the passage.
Because Matthew uses this word TOTE more than anybody else, and especially in this context, he frequently uses it to relate to consecutive action.
For example, in Matthew 22:15 we read, after the expression of opposition from the other groups, “Then the Pharisees went …”—after Jesus had finally refuted them, after what He had done. “Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.”
In Matthew 22:21 we read, “They said to Him …”—this is after the discussion about taxes—“They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then He said to them …” The “then” is translated “and” in Matthew 22:21. It’s consecutive; it’s a discourse. They ask the question, He responded, they ask question.
Matthew 23:1, “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and the disciples.” It’s the next event following the debates in Matthew 22.
Matthew 24:9 continues this, and as I’ve just pointed out, in Matthew 24:9–11, all use the word there as consecutive action.
Then we come to Matthew 24:14 who uses “then,” “And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations …”—that comes first—“… and then the end will come.”—that comes second. See, these are consecutive descriptions.
Matthew 24:16. “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
So it’s used contextually for “this comes first, that comes next; this comes after that.”
Matthew 24:21 continues this progression of action, and it’s seen in Matthew 24:21, 23, 30. All clearly consecutive action. That’s important because of just trying to put together the complexities of this particular passage.
4. Therefore, Matthew 24:4–8 describes the first half of the Tribulation, and Matthew 24:9–14 describes what comes next in the second half.
It must focus on the intensified hostility toward Jews in Israel during the second half.
Once the Antichrist breaks the covenant, when he enters into the temple, we’re told that he will bring a cessation. He will end the daily sacrifices. So he’s violating the Mosaic Law, he is entering the temple setting himself up to be worshiped as God—that’s described in 2 Thessalonians 2. Once He does that, then this is what is described as the abomination of desolation and what’s described in verse 15.
Now Matthew 24:15 and following comes back: verses 9 through 14 are giving an overview, verses 15 and following come back to talk about specifics. That’s typical of Hebrew writing.
In fact, I saw an example of that in Revelation 12 in the first, I think it was, seven or eight verses in Revelation 12 that I read this morning, it gives this overview of what’s happening in Heaven with the serpent being cast out, and he drags ⅓ of the stars with him.
That’s the overview, and then around verses 9 or 10, it shifts and it starts giving us the specifics of what happens. That’s standard Hebrew narrative.
Genesis 1 covers all seven days of creation. Genesis 2 comes back and just gives us the details of what happened on the sixth day. You can see example after example of this in Scripture. So we get the overview of the second half in verses 9 to 14, and specifics in 15 and following.
Jesus is warning Jewish believers in the second half of the Tribulation of the persecution that will come upon them, that they will be delivered up to tribulation, they will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
The word that’s translated “tribulation” is the Word THLIPSIS in Greek, which just means adversity, and it’s use many places to describe the kind of general suffering, adversity, difficult times, that people will go through living in a fallen world. We will become sick, we will become fatally ill, we will grow old, and we will suffer pains and difficulties and all kinds of aches and illnesses that we didn’t have when we were young.
We’re going to live under oppressive governments, corrupt governments, governments that overtax people, all kinds of problems. We will live in regions of the world as Christians where we are brutalized, as is happening in Syria and happened in Egypt and is happening in Iraq and Iran and many other parts of the world, in Africa where Christians are being persecuted.
But this is talking about an intensified type of adversity that will come in the future. It’s used generally for all suffering.
In John 16:33 Jesus said. “These things I’ve spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation …” We’re going to have adversity. But Jesus promises us stability and tranquility and peace no matter what those other circumstances are; He says: “… but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”
The Rapture isn’t an escape from adversity or even an escape from serious suffering and persecution and hostility in some parts of the world. Some people have that impression, that idea. I’ve never heard anybody teach that, but I’ve heard some people say that that was a characteristic view at one time.
2 Corinthians 6:4, Paul says, “In all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience …”—that is, endurance—“… in tribulations, in needs, in distresses.”
Paul went through all kinds of adversity. In fact, right before he died, Paul was imprisoned in one of the most horrific pits of imprisonment called the Maritime Dungeon in Rome.
He’d been deserted by nearly everybody who he had ministered with, all of his associates. He was isolated, they deserted him, and he was all alone in that horrible, filthy pit in the Maritime Dungeon. He went through, difficulty, adversity, persecution.
Romans 12:12 says that we are to “… rejoice in hope, and be patient in tribulation ...” This is going to characterize us, our lives.
Romans 15:4, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of Scriptures might have hope.”
We can have hope by enduring this tribulation.
Three times the word though is used in Matthew 24 to describe this intensified adversity of Daniel’s 70th week.
So Matthew 24:9 says, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations.” The Greek Word there is ETHNOS. Often that is a translation from the Hebrew of goy. It refers to the Gentiles.
When we read nations, we think countries and official government policy. I think this is more basic than that. They will be hated by all Gentiles. This will be anti-Semitism on steroids turned up to its greatest intensification in all of human history. And there’s a reason for that.
It goes back to what I read in Revelation 12, and that is because God promised a kingdom to Israel. Satan opposes God. Satan was defeated at the Cross. His only opportunity now to finally win is to destroy the Jewish people. By destroying them, it would prevent God from fulfilling His promises—if Satan can destroy the Jewish people before God fulfills His promises.
Anti-Semitism—any belief that is anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist—is going to bring the judgment of God, Revelation 12:3. God made a covenant with Israel, an eternal covenant, that still is in effect, and He said, “Those who bless you, I will bless. Those who curse you, I will curse.”
Any nation that is anti-Semitic, that makes decisions that are hostile to the existence of Israel, the Jews, and the Jewish state, will come under the judgment of God. This will shift in the second half of the Tribulation.
Old Testament prophets warned about this in Jeremiah 30. That whole first half of the chapter talks about this end time period, but in Jeremiah 30:7, Jeremiah says,
“Alas for that day is great, so that none is like it …” Notice, again and again we will see that this period is spoken of in the Scripture as unique. Nothing like it has ever happened in human history. He says—“… none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble.” That’s that last 70th year of Daniel’s timetable. “But he …”—that is Jacob, Israel—“… will be delivered out of it.”
That’s not talking about spiritual salvation. That’s talking about physical deliverance, as we will see in a minute.
Jeremiah 30:11, “‘For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you, but I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.’ ”
There will be judgment upon Israel, but they will be delivered from total destruction.
Daniel 7:25 speaks of this in regard to the Antichrist, the little horn in Daniel 7:
“He shall speak pompous words against the Most High …”—blasphemy against God—“… he shall persecute the saints of the Most High.” That’s not Church-Age Christians; the word “saint” refers to the believer of any era or any dispensation. This is talking about the believers during the Tribulation period.
“He shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law.” We’re going to read in just a minute, when we get to Jeremiah 30:12, that lawlessness reigns. He will try to change times and law. “Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half time.” We saw that same phrase in Revelation 12 referring to the second half of the Tribulation.
Daniel 12:1, Daniel said, “At that time …”—that is, at this time of the end—“… Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people”—talking to Daniel about the Jewish people—“…. and there shall be a time of trouble …”—just like we read in Jeremiah 30, Jacob’s Trouble—“… such as never was since there was a nation …”
Once again, it’s a unique period of worldwide destruction. “Such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered,”—notice it’s talking about a physical rescue there—“everyone who is found written in the book.”
Matthew 24:9–10, Jesus goes from saying in verse 9, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
That word “offended” is the Greek word SKANDALIZO, which is where we get our English word “scandal” or “to be scandalized.” It originally had the meaning of a part of the trap, the tripwire.
Maybe when you were a kid you tried to trap a bird, and you took a box, and you propped it up with the stick, tied a string to the stick, and if the bird went to the bait under the box, you would pull the string, and that trip post would come loose, and the box would fall down and trap the bird.
That was referred to by the term “SKANDALOS.” That’s a tripwire; it’s a trap. The idea here is they would be entrapped by sin or fall into the trap of deception, which is what is in the context. So there will be many, many Jews who will be deceived by the false messiahs and the false prophets.
As a result of that and because of the hostility of the Antichrist, they will betray one another. That’s the Greek word PARADIDOMI, same word used to describe Jesus’ betrayal by Judas Iscariot. It is used in John 13:2, 11, 21; 18:2. They will betray one another.
This is not talking about believers—I believe this is talking about unbelieving Jews. They will betray one another, they will turn against one another, and they will hate one another. A total fragmentation of society worldwide: not just among the Jews in Israel, but worldwide. This is focusing on what happens among the Jews.
Matthew 24:11 says, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”
“False prophets,” once again, a Jewish-oriented term. False prophets is not a problem for Church-Age believers.
In the Church Age, Romans, 1 Corinthians, many other places talk about false teachers, but not false prophets. In 1 John 4:1 there is a reference to false prophets, but if you pay attention to the Greek verb, it’s a perfect tense verb which means past, completed action. So even in that passage, it is talking about something that previously happened and he’s talking about the Old Testament.
Matthew 24:11, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” Massive worldwide deception, people following these different claims to Messiahship and false prophets, especially the false prophet.
The false prophet is the henchman—the Jewish henchman for the Antichrist. He is the one who is going to insist that people have to take an oath, get a tattoo or some mark of the beast, and they can only engage in commerce if they have that mark of the beast.
To take it, it’s not like, “Oh, I’m going to fill out this credit card application.” There’s going to be an oath of allegiance that is clearly of spiritual value, that you’re swearing allegiance to the god, the Antichrist. It’s going to be clear that it’s a spiritual issue, not just some sort of getting the ability to do business.
In Matthew 24:12 Jesus says, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
This describes this general period as a time where all law breaks down on the one hand, it also implies spiritual rebellion that will come about. The word there is ANOMIA, from the word A meaning “not” and NOMIA meaning “law.”
1 John 3:4 talks about lawlessness being sin, and sin is lawlessness. This goes beyond that, because it picks up on phrases like in Daniel 7. I pointed out that the “little horn” is going to try to redo times and laws. He’s going to try to change things.
Like in the French Revolution, they tried to change from a 7-day week to a 10-day week. It just didn’t work. But that’s what the Antichrist is going to try to do, to change the fundamental laws of God’s creation.
We learn about that in passages like 2 Thessalonians 2:3, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day …”—talking about this “Day of the Lord” which describes the whole period of the Tribulation—“… that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first …”
I take that as the Rapture, not to be translated “falling away” but “departure” “… comes first …”—the departure of the church—“… and the man of sin …”—he is called the man of lawlessness, ANOMIA in the Greek—“… the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition.”
2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken of the way.”
So Daniel 7 and 2 Thessalonians 2 both describe the Antichrist as someone who is lawless. This is more than just somebody who is spiritually rebellious. It’s an intensified form that’s again unique to that period.
Because of that, the love of many will grow cold. The word there is PSUCHO. The verb, and it means not only to grow cold, but to make dry.
There’s going be such hostility, such persecution, such instability, everything in everybody’s life is going to be falling apart. You have all the great intensified judgments of the last series of bowl judgments described in Revelation: that people are not going to care about anybody else.
They’re only going to care about survival. They’re not concerned about friends or family or anybody else. They just want to survive, and so everyone will end up fighting against one another.
But there’s a promise of hope in Matthew 24:13, “… the one who endures ...”—or survives—“… to the end will be saved.” I can do a whole message on this because this has been historically misinterpreted and misapplied.
You can go back to Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo in the 5th century AD, and he was the first to make a major interpretation of this related to salvation, that if you persevere in your faith, if you can trust in Christ to the end of your life, only then will you be saved.
He took the word saved as referring to justification. But that doesn’t fit the context. Nothing in here’s talking about how to get into Heaven.
The Greek word SOZO, which is the word used or translated “saved”, has as one meaning spiritual salvation, to spend eternity in Heaven. But that’s not based on doing anything.
Ephesians 2:8–9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It’s the gift of God not of works …”
That means your salvation isn’t based on endurance, your spiritual salvation is based on faith in Christ, trusting in Jesus alone for salvation.
But this word SOZO is used in many regular senses, such as deliverance from a difficulty, being rescued from a bad situation, even being healed from a disease or being helped. It has also the idea of being preserved or being kept from harm.
The context is all the horrors of the Tribulation period and what Jesus is saying is if you survive to the end you will be rescued, you will be delivered. Well, what’s going to rescue you? It’s going to be the coming of Jesus at the Second Coming. He’s the One who will rescue them, and they will go into the Kingdom.
Dr. John Walvoord, past President of Dallas Seminary and one of the foremost prophecy experts in the 20th century said:
“The age in general, climaxing with the second coming of Christ, has the promise that those who that endure to the end, that is, survive the tribulation and are still alive, will be saved, or delivered by Christ at His second coming. This is not a reference to salvation from sin, but rather the deliverance of survivors at the end of the age as stated, for instance, in Romans 11:26, where the Deliverer will save the nation Israel from their persecutors.”
The Old Testament taught this. Daniel 12:1, a verse we’ve already referenced. “… Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people …”—that’s Israel—“… and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered.” Same idea.
Luke 21:18–19, a parallel passage to the one we’re looking at, Jesus says in reference to the persecution, “Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance, you will gain your lives.” It’s talking about salvation from the difficulty.
Romans 11:26, which Dr. Walvoord mentioned, “So all Israel will be saved.” This is the physical deliverance of the Jews at the end of the Tribulation. We will get into this next time: it is national salvation. They are only in the wilderness because they’ve listened to Jesus who said, Matthew 24:15, “When you see the abomination of desolation … flee to the mountains.”
Unbelievers won’t flee to the mountains. Only those who have trusted in Jesus will flee to the mountains. Those who flee to the mountains, then, corporately, will call upon Jesus to save them—that’s the national salvation from people who are already individually saved, who have trusted in Jesus.
Romans 11:26 isn’t talking about individual justification, it’s talking about the salvation deliverance of the nation.
Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
This verse is often ignored or it’s taken out of context. The way it’s taken out of context, you will hear many missionaries who have raised many funds saying, “We need to go out to every tribe, every tongue, every nation in the world because Jesus can’t come back until everybody on the planet has heard the gospel.” That’s not what this is talking about.
This is not talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is talking about the gospel of the kingdom, and the gospel of the kingdom is different. In other words, we don’t have to get the gospel to every single person on the planet before the Rapture because the evangelism that takes place in the Tribulation period is going to be supernatural and exhaustive. Everyone will hear the gospel of the Kingdom.
First we have to understand that “the Kingdom” here is not talking about the gospel of the church. The word “Kingdom” is used 53 times in the Gospel of Matthew. Stan Toussaint, who was one of my professors at Dallas Seminary and specialized in this, wrote an article in the late 1980s called “The Kingdom and Matthew’s Gospel” based on his dissertation and said:
“Every time the term kingdom is used theologically in Matthew, it refers to the same thing, the kingdom yet to come on this earth inaugurated and governed by the Messiah.”
It doesn’t talk about the church at all. It’s the message that John the Baptist and Jesus and the disciples gave at the beginning of His ministry, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Because if they had believed, if they had repented, the Kingdom would have come. But it didn’t, so it was postponed.
Toussaint asked the question, “What is this ‘gospel of the kingdom?’ It must be the same good news as was described in Matthew 3:2, Matthew 4:17, 23, and Matthew 9:35. Entrance into the coming kingdom was based on repentance …”—changing your mind about God and turning back to Him for deliverance—“… that was and is the gospel of the kingdom.”—in expectation that the Messiah would bring in the Kingdom—“In the context, however, it would also portray the nearness of the kingdom during the Tribulation period.”
Dr. Pentecost, another great professor and student of God’s Word says in his work on the life of Christ, “During that time that the politico religious system of the beast …”—that’s the Antichrist—“… is in absolute control, the gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world. The gospel of the kingdom was preached by both Jesus and John (Matthew 3:2 and Matthew 4:17). This was the announcement of the good news that the kingdom was near.”
See, gospel means good news. EUANGELIZO means to proclaim the good news. The good news at that early stage in Jesus’ ministry was “The Kingdom’s going to come! We’re going to have the perfect King!” They said, “No, we don’t want it.”
In the Tribulation they go back to that message. Now, that message also includes the gospel of Jesus. But it’s more than just believing Jesus to be justified, it is believe in Jesus to be justified, accept Him, and the Kingdom is coming, and it’s almost here. We’re in the final countdown.
So the gospel of the Kingdom is not the same as the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it includes the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is oriented to the good news that Jesus is coming to establish His Kingdom.
Throughout all of human history, salvation is the same: Believe in the promise of the Messiah in the Old Testament who will save us from our sins. During the life of Christ, there was the same message. After His death on the Cross, it was believe in Christ who died on the Cross for your sins.
The gospel of the Kingdom is different, though. It is a good news about the Kingdom: that it is coming.
Today we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. But in the Tribulation everyone will hear. In fact, in Revelation 14:6–7 we read John saying, “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven …”—angelic evangelism—“I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth, to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’ ”
Angels are going to announce the gospel to everybody. Nobody’s going to miss out. There’s not enough missionaries and missionary organizations to get the gospel to every single human being, but the angels will do it before Jesus returns.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things to be reminded of Your faithfulness, the way You provide for us, the way You will protect those during the Tribulation period, and those who are martyred, and those who survive still will be protected by You in terms of Your plan and purpose.
“Father, we pray that if there’s anyone listening who has never trusted Christ as Savior will come to a clear understanding of the gospel. Right now, that you must believe Jesus died on the Cross for your sins, and by believing in Him and Him alone, you have eternal life that can never be taken from us.
“It is ours eternally, not based on anything that we do, but based on everything Christ did on the Cross. He died for us, He saves us, He secures us and we can never lose that. Father, we pray that you would make these things very clear to each one who listens.
“In Christ’s name, amen.”