This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
Site Navigation:This left-column outline contains links to website pages and sources pertaining to helping the Body of Christ gain the potential for which God designed it. The menu below pages down to the individual sections of this outline from which you can navigate to other web pages. There is a fourth level to some of the third level or decimal elements of this outline that is hidden, to view this level click on the symbol in the outline; to hide the fourth level, double-click upon it (I found out, the last time I checked, that Mozilla's Firefox browser doesn't support this fourth level expansion feature, sorry).
MATTHEW 24:1-14.... JESUS DEPARTED from the temple area and was going on His way when His disciples came up to Him to call His attention to the buildings of the temple and point them out to Him. But He answered them, Do you see all these? Truly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.
3While He was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and said, Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age? Jesus answered them, Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place; all this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish].
9Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred. And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error. And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, but he who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end.
In these first fourteen verses Jesus gives us a brief outline of the events that lead up to the end of this present age. Verse fifteen goes back in time from the end, and describes events that will begin to take place in the middle of the Tribulation Period. We need to keep in mind that Jesus is speaking to them in relation to the nation of Israel and not the Church, because the Church will be caught up to Jesus in the clouds and taken to heaven before the seven-year Tribulation Period even begins. "Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave]. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him through Jesus those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For this we declare to you by the Lord's [own] word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall in no way precede [into His presence] or have any advantage at all over those who have previously fallen asleep [in Him in death]. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Only the Church will be caught up at this time, and the rest, including the nation of Israel, will have to go through the Tribulation period. What we want to consider from these first fourteen verses is how will the events Jesus mentioned affect the Church before the Lord takes us to be with Him, and secondly do we see these things taking place now – which would indicate that His coming is very close?
The very first thing that Jesus mentions that will be characteristic of this period leading up to and including the end is deception. He tells of wars, famine and earthquakes, but He says don’t worry or be concerned about that. The thing He was most intent upon and warned us about was the overwhelming deception that we would be confronted with and have to endure – all of which has become a very present reality. See the page on this website named Satan’s Vast Network Of Deception And Opposition for more details.
"Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake" (verse 9). Jesus is speaking primarily of the nation of Israel, but if the world hates and afflicts Israel because God chose them as a nation, they will do the same to His Church. Christians who are determined to remain true to God need to examine the times we are living in, and prepare for the deception and affliction that Jesus warned us about!
2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-12.... BUT RELATIVE to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and our gathering together to [meet] Him, we beg you, brethren, not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here. Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition), [Dan. 7:25; 8:25; 1 Tim. 4:1.] who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently against and over all that is called God or that is worshiped, [even to his actually] taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God. [Ezek. 28:2; Dan. 11:36,37.] Do you not recollect that when I was still with you, I told you these things?
6And now you know what is restraining him [from being revealed at this time]; it is so that he may be manifested (revealed) in his own [appointed] time. For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming. [Isa. 11:4.] The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels – [all of them] lying wonders – and by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false, in order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness.
The Day of the Lord is not a single day, but an extended time of God’s judgement upon those who have refused to submit to His righteous order. Those who have found grace, like Noah (Gen. 6:8), will be lifted up above this judgement into the presence of the Lord. There is no reason for the Church to be subjected to God’s wrath, and every reason that the impenitent should be. There are no signs or events that we are to expect before Jesus comes to receive us unto Himself, we are only told to believe that He could come at any time.
In verse two above the day of the Lord indicates a time after the apostasy has come and the Antichrist revealed, known as the Tribulation period. Here again, in verse eight, events seem to immediately follow each other where it is stated "and then the lawless one will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him," whereas we know that about seven years separate these events.
There seems to have been some misunderstanding of Paul’s first letter to this church, and it seems that others had added to the confusion. Apparently some people were concerned that they might have missed the Rapture, and that Jesus was about to return to bring the last time judgements upon the whole world. In the first letter Paul speaks of both the Rapture and the Second Coming, and the prospect of being taking by surprise if they do not keep awake and alert; perhaps some were fearful that they had not been diligent enough. In the second letter Paul relieves their troubled hearts and minds, and he specifically mentions "the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to [meet] Him" (2 Thess. 2:1). Then Paul reminds them that the judgement can’t come "except the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed" (2 Thess. 2:3). Apparently these are things that Paul had taught them previously when he was with them, because he says "Do you not recollect that when I was still with you, I told you these things" (verse 5)? We are very fortunate, because if these Thessalonians had not forgotten Paul’s instructions, we would not have them recorded in God’s Word for our understanding and encouragement.
In verses six through eight Paul mentions a restraining force that he had previously discussed with them, but doesn’t bother explaining in this letter. Paul says "you know what is restraining him" and it will be "only until he who restrains is taken out of the way" that the Antichrist will be revealed. Some people believe the restraining force to be the civil government that God has put in place to prevent lawlessness, some believe it to be the Church indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but of course we don’t know for sure the identity Paul had given these Thessalonians concerning this restraining force.
Based upon the preceding Scripture and comments, it is reasonable to assume that Paul wrote with the following intent. They were worried because they thought the time of judgement had already arrived (v. 2), and they had not been taken up to be with the Lord (v. 1). If Paul had taught them that the Rapture was to occur at the end of the Tribulation, why would they be as upset and distressed as verse two indicates? Therefore, Paul reassures them that the time of judgement could not come until "the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed" (v. 3). Then he reminds them that when the Church is caught up in the air to be with the Lord, the restraining influence against lawlessness will be gone and the Antichrist will be allowed to do his worst. Then God will be free to bring terrible judgement upon the earth because His people will be safe and out of the way; we are encouraged to remember that "God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath, but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:9).
The second coming of our Lord, although it is in two phases (the Rapture of the Church to meet Him in the air, and sometime later to descend to the earth and rescue Israel), only covers a relatively short period of about seven years. During this time there will be drastic changes that take place upon the whole of God’s creation; therefore, it would be perfectly logical to view this transition period as one stupendous and staggering event, which the Scriptures often seem to do. The following is a very basic and general view of the events during this period.
Because the apostasy has become so great (2 Thess. 2:3) God first takes the Church, that He has used to restrain the revealing or the coming of the Antichrist (2:6-8), to heaven. Then the Antichrist, through the power of Satan, is allowed to deceive the whole world and gain control over it because they have refused to believe and obey God (2:9-12).
For the first three and one-half years this Satanic world system appears to achieve some of its goals and objectives, but during the second half of this period God begins to bring His judgements upon them (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; Rev. 6:1-19:21) until those that refuse to repent are consumed and Jesus takes control and rules for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4).
All that we have presented seems to perfectly agree with what Jesus told the disciples in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, and brings us to the middle of the Tribulation Period and the fifteenth verse of this chapter. The appalling sacrilege that Jesus mentions below appears to be what Paul referred to as the Antichrist "taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God" (2 Thess. 2:4).
MATTHEW 24:15-36.... So when you see the appalling sacrilege [the abomination that astonishes and makes desolate], spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place – let the reader take notice and ponder and consider and heed [this] – [Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11.] Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not come down and go into the house to take anything; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his overcoat. And alas for the women who are pregnant and for those who have nursing babies in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.
21For then there will be great tribulation (affliction, distress, and oppression) such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now – no, and never will be [again]. [Dan. 12:1; Joel 2:2.] And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would endure and survive, but for the sake of the elect (God's chosen ones) those days will be shortened. If anyone says to you then, Behold, here is the Christ (the Messiah)! or, There He is! – do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even the elect (God's chosen ones). See, I have warned you beforehand.
26So if they say to you, Behold, He is in the wilderness (desert) – do not go out there; if they tell you, Behold, He is in the secret places or inner rooms – do not believe it. For just as the lightning flashes from the east and shines and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever there is a fallen body (a corpse), there the vultures (or eagles) will flock together. [Job 39:30.]
29Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. [Isa. 13:10; 34:4; Joel 2:10,11; Zeph. 1:15.] Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and beat their breasts and lament in anguish, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliancy and splendor]. [Dan. 7:13; Rev. 1:7.] And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect (His chosen ones) from the four winds, [even] from one end of the universe to the other. [Isa. 27:13; Zech. 9:14.]
32From the fig tree learn this lesson: as soon as its young shoots become soft and tender and it puts out its leaves, you know of a surety that summer is near. So also when you see these signs, all taken together, coming to pass, you may know of a surety that He is near, at the very doors. Truly I tell you, this generation ( the whole multitude of people living at the same time, in a definite, given period) will not pass away till all these things taken together take place. Sky and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
In future pages, the Lord willing, we will present a preview of the book of Revelation, and examine more closely this Tribulation Period, the millennium, and the beginning of eternity.