Monday, June 9, 2014

The Nature of the End of the Age

The Nature of the End of the Age

     Daniel was specifically told by the angel Gabriel that:
‘Seventy weeks have been determined for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.'’ (Daniel 9:24)  Sixty-nine of these weeks are history and have been accomplished under the Old Covenant economy.  Therefore, it is most likely that the remaining Seventieth Week of Daniel will also be accomplished in like manner, but first, Daniel’s people, the Jews, must once again become a people. This miraculous event occurred over six decades ago when Israel became a nation by surviving the vicious Arabic onslaught in 1948.

     Secondly, in 1967, Israel’s supernatural victory over the Arabic coalition in the Six Day War gave it possession of Daniel’s ‘Holy city’, the city of Jerusalem, putting in place these two prophesied prerequisites necessary for the beginning of the Seventieth Week of Daniel. The world stage is carefully and methodically being set for the end of the age. While many are looking for the emergence of the Antichrist in world politics as the next prophetic event, the Lord Jesus Christ tells us: ‘Elijah is coming and will restore all things’ (Matthew 17:11). As the parallel passage attests: ‘Elijah does first come and restore everything’ (Mark 9:12) both harmonizing with the last prophecy of the Old Testament: ‘Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.’ (Malachi 4:5, 6)

     His ministry of restoration will include the spiritual restoration of Gods people as indicated by Malachi, and the physical restoration of everything necessary to the Old Covenant, ‘holy covenant’ economy (Daniel 11:28-32; Mark 9:12; Matthew 17:11). The temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15; II Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 11:2) will once again be built and sacrifices will be offered as Daniel records in (Daniel 8:11-14, 9:27,11:31, 1211). The Lord Jesus Christ mentions ‘the holy place’ (Matthew 24:15),‘Judea’ (Matthew 24:16), and ‘Sabbath’ (Matthew 24:20) in His powerful discourse on the end of the age showing that the Old Covenant economy will be active during, the Seventieth Week of Daniel.

     Although John the Baptist was the first Elijah-like prophet sent to the Jews (Matthew 11:11-15; Mark 9:11-13) the Lord will send another Elijah-like prophet ‘Before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord’ as spoken by Malachi and affirmed by the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, God will once again send prophets into the earth for He will also send two prophets of judgment (Revelation 11:3-13).  In addition He will cause signs of judgment in the heavens (Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12,13), and utilize His angels to administer His devastating day of the Lord judgment upon the earth (Revelation 8-19). The eschatological day of the Lord is the most prophesied event in the Old Testament and is believed by the majority of prophecy scholars to be the time when God pours out His day of the Lord wrath upon an unbelieving world as outlined in the judgments of Revelation 8-19.

     The chronology of the end of the age given by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 indicates the day of the Lord will begin after the Great Tribulation is shortened by the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to rapture the saints: ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.’ (Matthew 24:29-31)

     This sequence is also revealed in Revelation 6:12-17 with the sign of the day of the Lord [The darkening of the heavens] providing the keynote event:
‘And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind...for the great day of their wrath [day of the Lord] has come; and who is able to stand?’.  

     Joel, whose prophecy focuses upon the day of the Lord, points to the fact that the darkening of the heavens will precede the day of the Lord and therefore it is properly called the precursor or sign of the day of the Lord: ‘The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.’ (Joel 2:31)

     The Lord is carefully preparing the world for this last week or seven years which will accelerate His ongoing program of redemption for mankind. During these last seven years He will redeem and seal the 144 Thousand Jews (Revelation 7:1-8), He will fully redeem the saints by rapture at His Second Coming (Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 7:9-17), and finally He will redeem ‘all Israel’ at the end of the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Romans 11:26; Isaiah 59:20,21; Zechariah 13:8,9; Revelation 14:1).

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