Understanding the End Times by Pastor Don
Friday’s Bible study was powerful. Pastor Don has been teaching on the end times. We read three of the Scriptures that deal with Jesus’ teaching of the end times (see links below).
He told us to be good Bible scholars we have to read these passages asking ourselves 1. Who is talking? 2. Who is he speaking to? 3. What is he speaking about? 4. Are we talking about the natural or the supernatural, or the spot where natural and supernatural cross over?
These passages are both prophetic and have historical outcomes as well. So when you read the passage start thinking about if Jesus is talking about now, before, the near future, or end times.
If you want to replicate the Bible study, I suggest you read the following passages before you read further. For taken all together they make one teaching.
When we read Luke 21 out loud, the person reading it hesitated at reading the last two verses, Luke 21:37-38 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.
Pastor Don said the last two verses do not seem to fit the narrative, but they give very important information. In the daytime Jesus taught in the temple and at night he stayed at Olivet, the very place He is going to come down to when the second coming occurs, the Mount of Olives. When we went into Israel, we went through a tunnel dug under the Mount of Olives, and through the Mount of Olives also runs a fault line. The Bible Prophecies
Zechariah 14:4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley, half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.
The tunnel that has been dug under the Mount of Olives will ensure that this prophecy will be fulfilled.
After we read all the Scriptures, Pastor Don asked us who Jesus was speaking to. We decided He was speaking to the disciples, and most specifically the inner circle of disciples.
What was He talking about? Two things, the end times and also what specifically was going to happen to the disciples. The end times is a necessary adjunct to what will happen to Christ.
The Church is so interested in the Bride of Christ and the Rapture they are missing what Jesus had to say. They try to take the above three chapters and make them all end times scriptures, but a good portion of them had to do with AD 70, what was going to impact the disciples. Most of what is talked about in these scriptures has already happened, only a few verses really apply to the end times. The apostles, and many saints suffered tribulation for their faith.
When we went to Israel we saw the steps that Jesus would have taught at.
Those steps would have been the Southern Gate. We also saw the Eastern Gate.
The walled up gate.
Heather’s note: The Eastern Gate has been walled up, and the muslims have placed a cemetery (see the left of the above picture) so anyone approaching the Eastern Gate would have to walk through the cemetery, as if that would stop the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The cemetery was put there because the priests were considered defiled if they touched a corpse or went through a cemetery. Since Jesus is coming in the clouds, He would have no need to walk through a cemetery, this muslim ploy will not work.
And the view that He would have seen while teaching.
Pastor Don (left) explaining about the stones’ sizes.
If you look closely at the stones, you will see the lower ones are bigger than the upper ones. That is because there has been one temple built upon another temple. The disciples were asking about the Temple, and Jesus would tell them not one stone would remain, that all the stones would be thrown down.
What happened in AD 70 is that, within the Temple, the walls were overlaid with gold. The Temple was so grand the Roman soldiers were told not to destroy the Temple. During the rebellion, Nehemiah’s tunnel (see picture below)
was used by the Israelites to sneak out of the city and attack the Roman Soldiers. Usually when Rome laid siege to a city, the Romans won with minimal loss of life. But in this case the Israelites killed 20,000 Roman soldiers. Soldiers would have lost their friends and comrades. Unfortunately, the Israelites were divided by sects and because of sectarian fighting they could not agree on one plan to fight together to defeat the Romans. This would lead to the downfall of the Israelites and the destruction of the Temple. Pastor Don said one Roman Soldier, Marcus, lost his friend and got angry, setting the Temple on fire. The fire burned so hot that the gold melted off of the walls and flowed into the crevices between the rocks. The temple was destroyed, and all the riches within it. So to reclaim something from the loss, the Roman Soldiers tore down the temple stone by stone to scrape out the melted gold. Thus the prophecy that Jesus gave in these passages came to pass.
Mark 13:1-2 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here? And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you not see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
This is referring to the above incident in AD 70. False teachers use these passages today to tell people that the church has no need of buildings.
This is the question that Jesus was answering Peter, James, John and Andrew (see verse 3).
Mark 23:4 Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled? What things? What Jesus was talking about before this verse – the destruction of the Temple.
Matthew 24:3 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Luke 21:7 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”
Jesus answered their question, and it is a fulfillment for the Israelites, not the Church. We, the Church think these verses are all about us, but only a few really apply to the Church, the rest apply to Israel. The fulfillment of Jesus involves the Body of Christ, the Church, the Jews, the apostles and the believers. Only one to two short verses imply anything about the rapture.
Jesus’ mission was to the Israelites. He was not sent to give a message to the Church, that was what Paul’s ministry involved. Jesus was sent to the tribe of Israel. The parable of the fig tree refers to Israel. Jesus was giving one last chance to Israel with these passages, before God sent tribulation. The tribulation mentioned here is the tribulation the Israelites faced for rejecting Jesus and for the death of the prophets, and it occurred in AD 70.
Matthew 23:37 Oh 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!
Luke 21:8 And He said, “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am He,” and, “The time has drawn near.” Therefore do not go after them.
This passage is a jump to the future, for at that time, Christ was not established as a byword for the Church.
Luke 21:9-11 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified, for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately. Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
This is toward the End Days, for in Jesus’ time Rome was the only power that was, and there were not wars and rumors of wars. But before all that, in the apostles’ day:
Luke 21:12-20 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
Luke 21:12-20 refers to the time of the disciples. But the Church has interpreted this passage as the end times, but that is not what Jesus is talking about. This is a reference to AD 70. Remember Jesus was answering His disciple’s question about when the temple was going to be pulled down. Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies at AD 70, bent on pulling them down.
Luke 21:22-23 (again referring to the time of AD 70). Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
This is not referring to the days of the Great Tribulation. This was a tribulation brought on the people that they called upon themselves.
Remember when Jesus was declared innocent, the people shouted to crucify Him, and said,
During the siege there was a rumor around the Roman campsites that the Jewish women had swallowed their valuables, the gold and the silver. So no pregnant woman was safe. This was an unusual practice, for during warfare usually the women and children were saved. So the soldiers disemboweled the pregnant women looking for treasure. Luke 21:23 talks about “THIS PEOPLE”, but it is not the people at the end times of Revelation. (Heather’s note: it is also important to remember that God saved a remnant of the people who were dispersed around the world – He did not destroy all the Israelites, for if He had done that, He would have gone against His word.)
Luke 21:24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
That is what happened. More than one million Jews died at the sword, but 900,000 (?) were sent around the world. Jerusalem was trampled by the Gentiles until the times were fulfilled. That happened May 6, 1948, when Israel again became a nation. The Jews returned to the land, the dead language was spoken again, and the land which was desolate now bears much fruit.
Then Jesus jumps to End Times events:
Luke 21:25-26 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Pastor Don made a few suggestions about global warming, terrorism. Our news system is speaking into existence many catastrophes for our country when they continually report on possible terrorist activities, and disasters. There was even a time in recent history where Israel saw a blood red moon.
Luke 21:27-28 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Jesus jumped in verses 27-28 to the end of the age, and here we are included. What things is Jesus referring to when he said, “when these things come to pass.” He is referring to all the things in the list.
Luke 21:29-33 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Israel is likened to a fig tree. Pastor Don told us that there are two kinds of figs; false figs and true figs. The false fig looks like a fig, but is hard, bitter and doesn’t produce seeds. It tastes like garbage. True figs are fruitful, filled with seeds and taste sweet.
When Jesus compared Israel to a fig tree, he was saying that there are Jews who are totally hypocritical. They may look like a Jew, but aren’t. The may look like they have the Spirit of God, but they don’t. They may say they believe in God, but they don’t. They may seem like they are not an idol worshipper, but they are.
The fig trees, although all bud, will not all come into full maturity. Notice that in these verses Jesus tells them a PARABLE. This is a type and shadow. There are some false teachers who try to say that all of these verses are types and shadows and won’t come to pass. But here we see that Jesus clearly tells us when He is sharing a parable.
When we see the fig tree budding, and growing in the summer, know that the End Times are near, the harvest is near. In the End Times there will be a period of harvest and revival among the Jews – both the real and the phony. Many will offer themselves and their hearts to God. They will come into the Kingdom of God, and then at the harvest, God will separate the sheep (real figs) from the goats (false figs).
Pastor Don pointed out that we are in a worldwide revival now. That God is moving on the earth. That most countries have now had a chance to hear the Gospel. At one point during a conference in Uganda, every day 300 pastors came to get the Word of God.
We are to look up when we see these things happening.
In verse 21 when it says “generation” the concordance translates that word into “AGE”. This is not referring to the 70 year generation. We have had six days of man’s history, 6000 years, and now the age of man is fulfilled, and there are signs that this age is coming to an end.
Luke 21:34 But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
Jesus is telling the disciples that this could take longer than they think, so they are not to get sidetracked with things that are not godly, but be watchful.
Luke 21:35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
A snare is a well set trap that springs unexpectedly.
Luke 21:36 Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
This is a verse that refers to all the Body of Christ, the Church. It is the only verse that applies to us.
We read Luke 21:36 in the Amplified Keep awake then and watch at all times [be discreet, attentive, and ready], praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things [taken together] that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man.
We want to live our lives in Christ, so that we are counted worthy to escape the wrath.
I will continue this study tomorrow. I am hoping you have a blessed day.
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