We are not in the end-time tribulation.

Is the coronavirus a sign of the great tribulation and are we in the “end times” according to Matthew 24? Let us find out in this detailed study.
I began studying the “end times” about 20 years ago and have held both the traditional futurist viewpoint and the minority preterist interpretation at different times in my life.

 

The preterist teaching says that ALL prophecies were fulfilled in the 1st Century while some Futurist teachings say that everything will happen in our future.
Both have some truths in them but are not fully accurate. The truth is in between.
The truth is that we are not in the “great tribulation”.
We will see that the great tribulation did take place in the 1st Century but we look forward to the future 2nd coming/resurrection and the new heaven and earth.
If we look at history, we see that there were worse pandemics in world history.
Only 100 years ago, there was a flu pandemic that killed 20-50 million people.
There were plagues in the 13th century that killed 200 million people.
The two world wars killed almost 120 million people in total.
Many millions were killed in the crusades, persecutions in the last 2000 years.
Far worse things have happened in past generations than today.
But none of those generations saw the great tribulation! Why is that?
The book of Revelation gives us the answer:
Revelation 1 NKJV
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

 

Let us understand the context:
Who was John writing to?
7 actual churches in Asia under the Roman empire like the Ephesians, etc.
It was written to 7 churches in the 1st Century – the churches of the Apostolic generation with specific instructions for them in Revelation chapters 2-3.
These 7 churches DO NOT exist anymore.
The book of Revelation was NOT directly written to the 21st Century church OR any church in the last 1900 years.
Revelation was written for our benefit but not all of it was written to us directly.
When were the events supposed to happen?
Was it only talking about events in the 21st century?
No – it was primarily telling the churches in the 1st Century that it was going to happen soon in their lifetime as indicated clearly in those verses above.
When was the tribulation?
John was already experiencing it in the 1st century!
Revelation chapters 1-19 described the great tribulation in their lifetime followed by a long gap (Millenium) and the final future resurrection to come at the end of the world.

 

It was the generation of the 12 Apostles who were experiencing the tribulation.
Paul told the Churches in the 1st century that they were already in tribulation!

 

Acts 14:22
22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 

 

They were already suffering tribulation in Rome, Corinth, Thessalonica, Galatia and all over the world in the Roman Empire that ruled over many nations, including Israel.

 

Romans 8
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword

 

Note how Paul refers to all the events mentioned by Christ in Matthew 24 (tribulation, famines, persecution, peril, war/sword) as things happening in the “present time”
this proves that they were already experiencing the great tribulation in the 1st century.

 

Romans 5
 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 12 “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer”
2nd Corinthians 7 4 I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.
1st Thessalonians 4
that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.
2nd Thessalonians 1
 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;

 

James wrote to the 12 tribes of Israel about their various trials in their lifetime:
James 1
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trialsknowing that the testing of your faith produces patience
Peter also wrote to the 7 churches in Asia who were already in the tribulation!
1 Peter 1
“To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, ASIA and Bithynia
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”

 

The book of Revelation shows that the Church in the 1st century was undergoing great tribulation when the 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel were saved from the destruction of their nation and religion (old covenant).
Revelation 7
 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. 144000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed….
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb

 

If John was writing all of this to the 1st Century churches then clearly the great tribulation already ended in their lifetime.
Its because the great tribulation does not span 2000 years but was supposed to be a short period of time of 3-1/2 years or 42 months. (Revelation 11:2, 13:5, Daniel 7:25).

 

What happened in the 1st Century?
The destruction of the nation of Israel by the Romans just as Jesus predicted would happen in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13.
Matthew 24

“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”………“Then they will deliver YOU up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake…..34 Assuredly, I say to you, THIS generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

In Matthew 24, the disciples asked 3 questions – but they were all talking about the same event as in Mark 13, there’s only one question:

Mark 13 “ “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when ALL these things will be fulfilled?””

They asked Him when it would happen and the “sign” of ALL things would happen.

When?” – It would happen within “this” generation. Who was Christ talking to? The 12 Apostles – it was in their generation, in their lifetime.

“Signs” were earthquakes, famines, disease, wars, and persecution of the 12 Apostles culminating with the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies.

Earthquakes? We have a lot more technology now that detects earthquakes globally than compared to the past, so we may not really have known the full extent of earthquakes in the past 2000 years. There were many earthquakes in the Roman Empire in the 1st Century according to Josephus the historian.

Wars? There were 2 global world wars almost 100 years ago and yet it was not the tribulation. That generation has already passed away. The wars today are fewer and smaller compared to the World Wars of the previous generations. According to Josephus, there were many wars in the Roman Empire in the 1st Century.

Christian persecution?  There is not much persecution in North America, Europe, South America, Australia (those nations hold the largest Christian populations in the world). The persecution is mostly found in the nations where Christians are a minority. In other words, Christian persecution in the 21st century is very low compared to the 1st Century when every church was persecuted all over the world.

Famine/Diseases/Death? Worldwide mortality, hunger, and poverty are at their lowest levels in many centuries. Life-expectancy, treatment of disease, medical care is at the highest quality in man’s known history. But in the 1st century, it was a lot worse.

Failing moral values? The Roman empire was infamous for its horrible brutality by using public crucifixion as a method of execution because of the high rates of crime. They tortured Christians publicly in sporting arenas using lions and wild animals. The people lived in much worse sin than we have today. (See 1st Corinthians 5 to see a small example). There was no equality for women in those days and slavery was considered good practice – such was the moral poverty in Biblical times. Yes, things are bad now but clearly, we live in a far more civilized society than in the 1st Century.

History shows that Matthew 24 was fulfilled in the 1st Century:

Historical records from Josephus the ancient Jewish historian, show that there was an unusual amount of wars, earthquakes, famines, diseases in the Roman Empire and especially in Israel in the 1st Century. There were many false Messiahs who ruled over Israel in the years of 66-70AD when the Jewish zealot armies tried to take over Jerusalem before it was destroyed by the Roman Armies in 70AD – all within one generation of Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24. It was the worst time in the nation of Israel. During that time family members betrayed each other and society was at its lowest depths in the history of Israel. There was no love but constant hatred and violence in those days. Josephus wrote that it was the worst calamity that befell any nation.

The 1st Century was the time of “great tribulation” or “Jacob’s Trouble”.

Jesus told the 12 apostles that they would go through the tribulation and that “this generation” would not pass away until the great tribulation took place when the Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. He was talking about the “end of the Age” and not the end of the world. The “age” was that of Israel’s Law of Moses which ended in 70AD.

That is why Christ told THEM to sell all their possessions and be ready in Luke 12:32-42. He was not talking to us in the 21st century! The proof is that none of us are selling our possessions and giving to the poor.

In Luke 21, Mark 13 and Matthew 24, our Lord Jesus told the Apostles that “this generation” would see all those things. In the Bible, one generation is approximately 40 years (Psalm 95:10, Numbers 32:13, Matthew 1:17). Guess how many years were between Christ’s ministry and the destruction of the Temple? Exactly 40 years. Jesus began His ministry in the year 30AD and the Temple was destroyed in 70AD – exactly one generation fulfilling the prophecy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus was clearly speaking to the generation of the 12 Apostles. Most Christians in the world at that time were killed by Jewish and Roman persecution and most of the Apostles were martyred in that generation (except John).

Jesus said that the generation of Israelites who witnessed Him were the wicked and perverse generation because they saw Him for 3.5 years and yet did not believe!

Luke 11 WEB “29 When the multitudes were gathering together to him, he began to say, This is an evil generation. It seeks after a sign. No sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah, the prophet. 30 For even as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so the Son of Man will also be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and will condemn them: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, one greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, one greater than Jonah is here.”

Acts 2 WEB ” 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” 40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!

This is why Jesus promised that the generation of the Pharisees would see all of this happen because they crucified Christ and killed the apostles and prophets:

Matthew 23

29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation…..37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate;”

So then clearly the great tribulation already happened in the 1st Century.

Jesus also clearly said that this great tribulation will NEVER be repeated on the earth after the 1st Century (clearly indicating that the world was not going to end immediately after the great tribulation)

Matthew 24 “21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, NOR EVER SHALL BE.

Jesus did not say that there would be no problems in the world after the great tribulation. He said that such a great tribulation will never happen after the 1st Century. History is proven right because God’s people have never suffered so much before the 1st Century OR after that time. Persecution will always remain but the 1st Century was the worst ever time that will never be repeated.

Matthew 24 “15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains

The abomination of desolation happened when the Jewish antichrist sat in the Temple as the false Messiah in 66-70AD and the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem in their lifetime/generation – that is why those in Jerusalem were told to leave the city and those in Judea were warned to flee to the mountains!

Luke 21 “20 When YOU see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written…..32 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”

If the world was going to be destroyed during the tribulation then there was no point in fleeing to the mountains! So then these passages were only about the destruction of Jerusalem and not the world. Christ said that all old testament prophecies would be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple in the generation of the Apostles. The prophecy of Matthew 24 was about 70AD when the Roman armies besieged the city of Jerusalem and burnt it down, destroying the Temple as Christ confirms here:

Luke 19 ” 41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.””

When Jesus was carrying the cross, He prophesied that this event in Revelation (6th seal) would happen when Jerusalem was destroyed because they rejected Christ.

Revelation 6 WEB “16 They told the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of his wrath has come; and who is able to stand?”

Luke 23 WEB “26 When they led him away, they grabbed one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it after Jesus. 27 A great multitude of the people followed him, including women who also mourned and lamented him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to tell the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and tell the hills, ‘Cover us.”

Most Bible scholars agree that the Book of Revelation is mostly focused on the 12 tribes of Israel scattered in the nations and THEIR LAST DAYS. Therefore some modern Christian teachings say that the book of Revelation will be fulfilled when the church is raptured and God will deal with Israel “again” during the future tribulation.

But there is a big problem with that idea as we can see below:

James wrote to the 12 tribes of Israel scattered in the nations who were ALREADY in the LAST DAYS, more than 1900 years ago!

James 1 ” James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:”

James 5 “You have heaped up treasure in the last days….. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest YOU be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!

Who was James talking to? Not people today, but the Israelites 2000 years ago! They were ALREADY living in the LAST DAYS of old-covenant Israel in the 1st century.

We also see that here in Hebrews 1:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophetshas in THESE LAST DAYS spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”

The epistle was written to HEBREWS (Israelites) talking about THEIR LAST DAYS. God spoke to Israel for 1500 years through the Law and Prophets but in THOSE LAST DAYS, He sent Jesus to them.  It was the last days of ISRAEL and not the planet.

What was the writer telling them to do? To flee the old covenant and the earthly Jerusalem and look for the heavenly Jerusalem by faith in Christ in the new covenant. Why was that? It was because the earthly Jerusalem and the old covenant system were about to be destroyed in their lifetime.

Hebrews 13 ” 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”

John told the 1st-century church that they were already living in the last hour!

1st John 2 “18 Little children, it is the LAST HOUR; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us;”

The “last hour” meant that they were living right before “the end”. It was not the “end of the world” but “the end of Israel”. The antichrist was already living in their lifetime and was a Jew who left the church and denied Christ and led many people astray.

There is no future antichrist coming because Paul was talking about the Temple in his lifetime – the antichrist sat in the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem before it was destroyed.

2nd Thessalonians 2 “3 that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”…….And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

There is no scripture about the 3rd temple in Jerusalem. If we stay within context, the Bible was talking about their generation and the 2nd temple in Jerusalem. The “coming” of the Lord here is not the final “2nd coming” that will judge all nations in our future but it was the judgment of Israel in AD70.

The Old Testament prophesied that Elijah would come again to restore Israel before their land was destroyed in AD70:

Malachi 3 NKJV ” Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the Lord An offering in righteousness.”

 

Malachi 4 NIV “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

It was John the baptist who came as “Elijah” telling Israel to repent before it was judged in AD70.

Matthew 11 WEB “As these went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you. 11 Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptizer; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptizer until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 If you are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, who is to come.

Revelation chapters 1-19 were all about the Last Days of Israel and her 12 tribes in the 1st Century! Those were not about the end of the world but it was only the judgment of Israel in the 1st Century. The Gospel had been fully preached to the nations where the Jews were scattered for the purpose of saving the full remnant of Israel. When the Jews rejected the gospel, the Apostle Paul preached to Gentiles in those lands. After the gospel was preached to all Israelites in that generation, then the “end” came for their nation. That was when “all Israel” OR the 144,000 believers were saved in Romans 11:26 / Revelation 7:4.

But after the tribulation, Revelation 20 describes the Millenium followed by the end of the world at the final resurrection/2nd coming of Christ when all nations will be judged.

That will be followed by the new heaven and earth in Revelation 21-22.

The “coming” of the Lord in Matthew 24 was about the judgment of Jerusalem in AD70 through the Roman armies.

All the parables of Christ in Matthew-Mark-Luke were about the “coming” of the Lord in judgment over Israel in 70AD.

AD70 was not the 2nd coming / final resurrection.

It was not the “end of the world” but it was the end of Israel.

That period in the 1st Century was known as the great tribulation of Israel or Jacob’s trouble. What happened at that time?

  • Satan gave his power to the beast and false prophet to persecute the church (Revelation 12-14). Who were the children of the devil and messengers of Satan? It was the Pharisees/Judaizers/false-messiahs/false-apostles (John 8:44, 2nd Corinthians 11:1-15) – Christ and Paul called the unbelieving Israelites as the children of Satan – who persecuted and killed Christians all over the Roman empire (1st Thessalonians 2:14-16). Jesus called these unbelieving Israelites the “synagogue” of Satan (Revelation 2:9, 3:9)
  • The beast and the false prophet were the Jewish political and religious leaders of that time who persecuted Christians throughout the Roman Empire and they also fought over Jerusalem from 66-70AD for 3-1/2 years OR 42 months as specified in Revelation 11 where Jerusalem was trampled for 42 months before it was destroyed in AD70 when 1 million Jews were killed in the 3-1/2 years of the great tribulation.
  • The two witnesses were two Jewish Christian Apostles who had witnessed the risen Christ. The word “witness” is the word “martyr” in Greek and the same word Christ used to describe the 12 apostles in Acts 1:8. These two witnesses/Apostles preached in Jerusalem before being killed by the Jewish beast.
  • The mark of the beast was the false worship of Roman Emperor Nero and the Jewish Passover (Rev 13:16, Exodus 13:3-10). But the true worship is to honor Jesus and take the Lord’s Supper. Most Christians in the Churches were killed for not worshipping the beast in the 1st century.
  • The mark of the beast was NOT about microchips/RFID/one-world government because John was writing to 7 churches in the Roman Empire in the 1st century.  It was relevant to THEM and not us. Those 7 churches do not exist today. The book of Revelation is filled with Old Testament symbolic language written to Jewish Christians who lived in the 1st century – they decoded the book using their mastery of the old testament. (Today most of us Christians do not know the old testament because we were NEVER under the old covenant, to begin with! This is why there are so many conflicting ideas about Revelation in the Church today because we try to interpret it using 21st-century events. But God is not the author of confusion. If it was written to the 1st-Century people, then it was most likely about their lifetime.)
  • Revelation 6 talks about the 6 seals of the great tribulation. This is the exact parallel passage of Matthew 24, Mark 13 which describe judgment upon Israel.
  • Revelation 7 & 14 show that only the 144,000 believers from the 12 tribes of Israel were saved from the earth. This is clear evidence that the timeline of Revelation 1-19 dealt with Israelites – and if Israel was already in their last days when Christ came, then clearly most of the book of Revelation was about 1st-century events!
  • In Revelation 17-19, it talks about the destruction of the great prostitute Babylon the mother of harlots who killed the Christians. Jesus described the judgment of Jerusalem and the Pharisees in the same language in Matthew 23. Therefore Jerusalem was the Babylon of Revelation 17-19 that was destroyed in AD70. Isaiah 1:1,21 also tells us that Jerusalem was called Babylon, the prostitute.
  • The beast and false prophet were thrown into the lake of fire in AD70 (Revelation 19:19-21) and nobody else. This was the end of the satanic Israelite persecution that almost wiped out Christianity in the 1st century.
  • After the 1st Century, the 1000 years/Millenium began when Christianity grew tremendously and spread to the nations – resulting in 2.4 billion Christians today.
  • In the future, we are expecting the 2nd coming of Christ when the rapture/resurrection takes place just immediately before the end of the world.

During the great tribulation in the 1st Century, most Christians died – and most of the apostles were martyred except John who survived. Jesus told the 12 Apostles that they would go through the great tribulation and NOT the people in the 21st century:

Matthew 10 “5 These TWELVE Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. ….21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 YOU will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Jesus promised that some of the Apostles would remain alive until that “coming” in 70AD

Matthew 16 “28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

The coming of the Lord in the “clouds” was the judgment upon Israel that was promised to happen to the High Priest who accused Jesus:

Matthew 26 WEB ” 62 The high priest stood up and said to him, “Have you no answer? What is this that these testify against you?” 63 But Jesus stayed silent. The high priest answered him, “I adjure you by the living God that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. Nevertheless, I tell you, after this you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of the sky.65 Then the high priest tore his clothing, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy.”

The “coming of the Lord” was a term for the destruction of a nation just like the destruction of the Babylonian kingdom by the Persians in the old testament (Isaiah 13:1-10). Therefore a “coming of the Lord” happened in AD70 when Israel was judged within that generation (Matthew 24) during the great tribulation. It was the “coming” of His new covenant kingdom that removed the old covenant kingdom of Israel.

This “coming” was promised on the generation who crucified Him when there would be great mourning in Israel by the 12 tribes of Israel who pierced Him.

Revelation 1 WEB “7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth (LAND) will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.”

Zechariah 14 WEB  “10 I will pour on David’s house, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they will look to me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and will grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for his firstborn. 11 In that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12 The land will mourn, every family apart; the family of David’s house apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13 the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart; 14 all the families who remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.”

This is also spoken of in Revelation 19:11, 22:7,12,20 when Christ’s “coming” destroyed Babylon/Jerusalem. Jesus also told the 7 churches in Asia that He was coming (Revelation 2:5,16,25, 3:3,11) during the great tribulation.

Revelation 22 ““Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll…..20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

The book of Revelation talked about the “soon coming” of Christ that would happen to destroy the city of Jerusalem (Revelation 17-19). The city of Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple was still existing when the book of Revelation was written as described in Revelation 11. The “coming” of Christ in Matthew 24, Mark 13 all deal with the destruction of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem within the generation of the 12 Apostles. All of the 12 Apostles were unanimous that the “coming” of the LORD would happen within their lifetime.

Therefore when we take all the scriptures together, it is clear that the “coming of the LORD” was in AD70 and that Revelation was written before AD70.

The SOON “coming” was the judgment upon Israel in AD70 at the end of the great tribulation and that is why John said it was coming “soon” three times in Revelation 22.

This “coming” was very similar to the judgment that came upon Israel in the Old Testament times by the Babylonian army which was described in these terms:

Isaiah 66:6,15-16

“Hear that uproar from the city (Jerusalem), hear that noise from the temple!
It is the sound of the Lord repaying his enemies all they deserve. …..15 See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For with fire and with his sword the Lord will execute judgment on all people,
    and many will be those slain by the Lord.”

This is very similar to what we see in 2nd Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 19 when Christ’s coming destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in AD70.

Revelation 19 “11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns…..15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

2nd Thessalonians 1-2 “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. …..And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

This coming was NOT the FINAL 2nd coming of Christ that will happen in the future in all His glory at the end of the world to judge ALL nations at the resurrection.

That disciple who remained alive until the event of 70AD was John as he wrote in his gospel. History and tradition show that John died many years after 70AD.

John 21 ” 23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.”

The Holy Spirit inspired John to write the final gospel to the world in the “Gospel of John”. This Gospel is very different compared to the other 3 gospels:

  • It has NOTHING written about the great tribulation, antichrists, earthquakes, wars, diseases, great persecution – these are found only in the 3 other gospels.
  • It has nothing written about the destruction of Jerusalem. In fact, John’s gospel is the only one that says God is no longer worshipped in Jerusalem in John 4.
  • It has nothing written about the “end time” parables of Christ.

Why are all these differences so important? It’s because the other 3 gospels had extensive references to those things that were specific to Israel’s last days until 70AD – this proves that those other 3 gospels were written before 70AD.

But the Gospel of John was written to a Gentile audience AFTER 70AD and AFTER the great tribulation and AFTER the antichrist was judged.

It is the most well-known Gospel book in the world and contains the most famous scripture of all time (John 3:16). It is the only Gospel that focuses so much on the simple faith in Christ. John said that he wrote the gospel so that the world would believe in Christ (John 20:31). It is the simplest Gospel meant for a Gentile audience who do not know about the great tribulation, law of Moses, parables, Jerusalem, Temple, etc. John’s Gospel does not talk about the great tribulation but it does talk about the resurrection on the last day (John 6:39-54).

The book of Revelation talks about TWO resurrections:

At the end of that great tribulation in AD70, the FIRST resurrection of the martyrs took place – only those Christians who died for refusing to worship the beast and receive its mark, were resurrected to join Christ and reign with Him in heaven for a 1000 years.

The SECOND resurrection will happen for all of humanity on the LAST DAY of the world.

Revelation 20

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand yearsBut the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrectionBlessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

This 1st resurrection took place in AD70 and then began the 1000 years/Millenium. This Millenium was NOT about Christ’s reign, because Christ already began to reign at His resurrection and ascension (Matt 28:18-19). Christ reigns forever and its not restricted to just a mere Millenium (Isaiah 9:7). The Millenium is ONLY about the reign of those 1st-century martyrs with Christ in heaven. The Millenium is the period after the 1st-century tribulation and before the end of the world. The Millenial reign was the great reward for the Apostles and the 1st-century martyrs who gave up their lives by not worshipping the beast. Today we are living on earth while the martyrs reign with Christ in heaven during this Millenium.

Paul wrote that those who endured the great tribulation would reign with Christ.

2nd Timothy 2 “if we endure, we will also reign with him.”

Romans 8 “if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

The devil who had deceived the nations was bound/restricted after AD70! The proof is that we have not seen such global persecution of Christians ever since the 1st century. The 1st century was the worst period for Christianity where all apostles except John were killed, and most Christians died as martyrs. Satan was bound/restricted in AD70 at the beginning of the 1000 years.  What was he bound/restricted to? He was prevented from deceiving all the nations like he did in the 1st century. History will show us that there has never been a global attack on Christianity as it happened in the 1st Century.

We are living today in that symbolic 1000 years/Millenium. This is not an exact 1000 year period because Peter stated in 2nd Peter 3 that the 1000 years is a long unknown period only known to the Lord (one day like 1000 years, etc).

In the great tribulation in the 1st Century, Christianity was almost wiped out. But just look at how God turned the tables – In the great tribulation, it was Rome who helped the Israelites to try to kill Christians, but later it was Rome in the 3rd century who adopted Christianity. In the 3rd century, the Christian faith was formulated by the Church fathers and the Bible was canonized. The churches spread the faith to the nations and today we have 2.4 billion Christians in the world as a result. This is proof that we are living in the Millenium where Christianity has spread to all nations.

What we surely know is that we can look forward to the 2nd coming of Christ / the final resurrection in the future when the 1000 years end.

Nobody knows the day or the hour but we can be prepared by continuing the faith in Christ and not falling away into unbelief. The gospel will go to all nations and then the final resurrection will happen just before the end of the world described below:

Revelation 20

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Satan will be completely unrestricted in the future to deceive all nations and try to eliminate Christianity but there will not be a repeat of the great tribulation because God will protect His beloved city and the camp of the saints.

There are two possibilities here:

  • the Beloved city is the Church, the camp of the saints. This means that there is only one entity (Church) that is attacked in the last days of the planet. It’s because the old covenant ended on the cross and God has no special covenant with Israel.
  • the Beloved city is Jerusalem and the camp of the saints is the Church. With Israel back in their land in 1948, it is possible that the beloved city is Jerusalem. This does not mean that God is still honoring the old covenant. But that He has mercy on them and wants them to finally believe in Christ. It is possible that satan deceives the nations to attempt an attack on Jerusalem and also eliminate Christianity in the last days before the great judgment day of God.

We will not be harmed in this future attack by satan in Revelation 20. Its because we will be resurrected/raptured and the world will be destroyed by fire as mentioned in 2nd Peter 3:7-12. The unbelievers will join Satan in the lake of fire.

How do we know that this Resurrection happens just before the world ends?

Paul says that when the Resurrection happens, then death and hades will be defeated!

1st Corinthians 15

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Death and hades will be defeated at the end of the 1000 years in Revelation 20:14-15 when the Church is saved from Satan’s final future attack.

The dead in Christ will be raised and all those who are alive will be raptured/transformed into glorious immortal bodies and be in heaven with the Lord.

Then the new heaven and earth will be revealed after the current world is refined by fire to remove Satan and the unbelievers! The Church will come down from heaven and we will live on the earth forever with God and our Lord Jesus Christ without any more death, pain or curse!

Revelation 21

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husbandAnd I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away……..26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

The believers from all nations will enter the New Jerusalem during the resurrection and live forever by eating from the tree of life!

Revelation 22

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”

So dearly beloved in Christ, DO NOT FEAR.

We are living in troubled times and things may get worse but this too shall pass.

There is no more great tribulation or mark of the beast!

Better days are coming for the Church!

The Body of Christ will be stronger, overcoming all of these problems just like it overcame world wars, great depressions, great pandemics in the past 1900 years.

One day in the future, Christ will be revealed in heaven and we will partake in the RAPTURE / RESURRECTION and a new heaven and earth to come where there will be no more death and we can see our Father and Jesus face-face and live forever.

We keep trusting in JESUS our Lord, He is our Righteousness and every blessing, in all the days of our life both in good times and uncertain times knowing that He will never leave or forsake us!

IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.
A BRIEF SUMMARY:
– The Great Tribulation already happened in the 1st century.
   It was mainly focused on Israel (Matt 24, Revelation 7, 17-19, Luke 21, Mark 13)
– the beast and false prophet (Jewish leaders) were thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 19) at Christ’s coming of judgment on Israel.
– The first resurrection of martyrs happened. This was only for those believers who did not worship the beast. They reign with Christ in heaven for the Millenium (Rev 20).
– Nobody else was resurrected at that time.
– The Church grew after the 1st Century and spread to all nations for the last 1950 years
– We are living in the Millenium period of Rev 20.
   A period where Satan is bound/restricted and Christianity spreads to all nations
– In the future, after the gospel has gone to all nations, Satan will deceive the nations to rebel against Christianity but will not be able to destroy the Church.
At that time, the 2nd coming of Christ will take place in the heavens
when He will judge ALL nations.
Christ will raise the last trumpet, the dead in Christ will rise into heaven.
Those believers who are alive will join Christ in heaven to be saved from the final wrath.
– Fire will come down from heaven to destroy satan and the unbelievers.
– The world will be burnt by fire and a new heaven and earth will be revealed.
– The Church will come down from heaven with to be with Christ and God on earth forever without any more death, pain or tears. (Rev 21-22) AMEN.

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