March 8, 2019 | Bill Wilson
There seems to be confusion among many Christians about the chronology of prophecy as laid out by Christ in Matthew 24 and by the Apostle Paul in his letters to the Thessalonians. This confusion generates responses, at times hostile ones, when statements are made such as “We can’t stop the march of prophecy, but it is far better for America to be on the side of God when the Messiah returns.” It matters because in Matthew 25:32, Christ gathers all the nations before him and separates “them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from goats,” which leads to judgment of individuals.
Some people angrily say, “What does it matter, Christians won’t be around anyway?” According to scripture, it matters.
In answering his disciples specific questions about the end of days, Jesus laid out the chronology by first warning, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” In Mark 13:24 Christ says, “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light.” Verse 26 says, “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” In Matthew 24:29-31 is the same, beginning with “immediately after the tribulation of those days” and “Then” 1) Son of man appears, and 2) gather the elect.
At the time of the writing of Paul’s epistles to the churches, deceivers had already started confusing the saints with false teachings. Paul wrote the Thessalonians to correct these falsehoods, saying in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand, Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
This is very clear about what will occur prior to the gathering of the saints unto Christ: 1) don’t be deceived, 2) falling away, 3) beast (antichrist) revealed, 4) sits in the temple as God. Daniel 9, of which Christ speaks in Matthew 24, is similar: 1) Beast (antichrist) appears, 2) covenant confirmed, 3) temple sacrifice ceases, 4) overspreading of abominations, 5) temple made desolate by beast. The Apostle John gives a very detailed account of the same events in Revelation. Other prophets are also consistent-Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel and more.
Christ, the prophets, and the Apostles such as Paul sought to bring clarity to prophecy, not confusion based on man’s own agendas and interpretations. I am not debating what you believe. I am pointing out what the Bible says in context. In terms of these end of the world prophecies, and the often complex “biblical” narratives and teachings that surround them, wouldn’t it make sense for you, yourself, to check them out in the context of the Holy Scriptures? You don’t need some guy with the gift of gab to tell you what he thinks the Bible means. He won’t stand in your place before the Lord. Only you. Anger solves nothing. Just read the Bible for yourself and ask the Lord to give you understanding.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!