I refer to King James version of the Bible. Please use your own bible if you find KJV difficult to understand, for your own convenience.
It has been several days since I last blogged, but this is probably the way in a active Christian life, even if it does not mean to run down venue doors. Christian life is so much more than that.
I had plans to write about the parable of the fig tree in this post, but I saw that verse 31 of Matthew 24 was slightly a bigger topic than I expected, so I will take verse 31 alone here in this post.
In my previous blog posts, you can read how Jesus presented the events that happen before and which led to the destruction of Jerusalem, in Matthew 24. You’ve also been reading historical writings that this events actually happened in the days immediately before the year AD 70.
We will now turn to verse 31 in Matthew 24, which speaks of the event’s actual coming and its immediate consequence: the beginning of the universal salvation.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: (Matt.24:31)
Many evangelicals, Pentecostals and others, believes that this means the Lord will gather all believers, not just the faithful living on earth today, but including the saints in the Old Testament, the saved Israelites (Jews), the church and the saints in the tribulation period who leading to Jesus’ second coming. (This must be understood on the basis of their mind that we now expect in the future a millennium, and after the millennium, Christ will come once again and gather the faithful.) The church will be, according to their interpretation, raptured at the earlier time of the tribulation.
Dispensationalists divides people into two classes during the Resurrection: the saved and the unsaved. When dispensationalists talking about the resurrection, they must deal with several classes of people when it comes to resurrection, judgment, reward, etc. So, according to dispensationalism, there will be a series of judgments; The martyrs who died during the tribulation, will be judged and rewarded (Revelation 20 : 4), Israel will be judged (Ezekiel 20:33-38) and the Gentiles will be judged (Matthew 25:31-46).
I have participated in the dispensation practice in the past, but have changed my mind when I have seen much of their theology does not match the Bible. When it comes to judgment, I have heard they reel off even more: (1) the judgment of the believer’s sins in the cross of Christ. . . . (2) the believer’s own judgment. . . , (3) the judgment of the believer’s work. . . , (4) the judgment of individual gentiles by Christ’s return to earth. . . (5) the judgment of Israel at Christ’s return to earth. . . , (6) the judgment of angels after the millennia. . . and (7). . . judgment of the wicked dead as the current earth ends with.
This is totally incorrect perceptions. Like the resurrection, there is only one event (Rom.2: 16) and one judgment (Apg.17: 31), which will take place on the last day: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48). In fact, resurrection introduces man to the judgment.
The judgment event is one event which includes both, the just and unjust, but I think it will be a sequence in it as well. It seems that the wicked will be judged immediately before the righteous, according to the order in the event in Mat.13: 30, 41, 43 and Matt. 25:46. Seems to be literally, “with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”
(Psalm 91: 8).
For the just, of course, is judgment not to condemnation, but for future rewards (Rom. 25-10; 1.Kor. 1:4-8; 3:8; 15:32, 58; 2.Kor. 4:16; 5:10; 9:6-8; Gal. 6:5-10; Fil 1:10, 26; 2:16; Kol. 1:5; 3:24; 1.Tess. 3:13; 5:23; 2.Tess.1:7; 1.Tim.2:15; 5:25; 6:18-19; 2.Tim. 2:11).
To understand this better is to look at the angels He sends out with a great sound of a trumpet, which is a (symbolic) statement of the ultimate Jubilee year to come. Christs’ fulfillment of the Old Covenant and the ultimate man’s guilt is forgiven (sins). The day of salvation had come and now the good news will spread to the nations.
In the Old Testament was the sabbath year a God ordained year for rest for the country (Israel). The sabbath years came every 7 years. (Lev. 25:2, 4).
The Jubilee year is build on the sabbath years, and come after seven (7) consecutive sabbath years, or after seven x seven years, which is 49 years + 1 year = 50 years. So every 50th year is a Jubilee year. The Jubilee year was the experience of redemption from bondage and debt.
“And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession. And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another:” (Lev.25:10-14).
For those who are born again will probably see what this means, that you are off from work (to salvation), regained your country (the Kingdom of Heaven) and being born into your (sacred) family. This image of Jubilee is also in Isaiah’s prophecy:
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;”
And in top of that, since the full redemption as described in the Jubilee comes through Jesus Christ, Jesus introduces its fulfillment in his office to read by himself from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue at Nazareth.
“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, «The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.» And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, «This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.»”
Jesus are here talking about the final atonement that starts at His earthly ministry. Let’s look at another scripture that confirms this, as in Mark 1:15: “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel!»”
Jesus Christ, with his service, introduces “the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luk. 4:19), “on the day of salvation” (2. Cor. 6:2) as many prophets and righteous people longed to see (Matt. 13: 17).
Jesus mentioned the trumpet in Mat. 24:31 because there was an announcement of the Jubilee. If you go back to Lev. 25:9, you read: “Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.” (It is here talking about the land of Israel and not the entire world). What is so striking, is the Romans finally broke through the walls of Jerusalem and set fire to the Temple of the tenth day of the seventh month in year 70 AD!
“So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Ab,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon;” (J.W. 6:4:5)
Again we confirm the scripture with the history and visa versa, and can certainly tell that this event have already take place. Daniel prophecy it in Dan. 9:26 “and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary [the temple]”, and Jesus said it to his disiples in Mat. 24:15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” as well in Luk. 21:20-24 “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. . . . And they [the Jewish people] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations:”
According to Matthew 24:31, the angels go out, at the sound of the trumpet, to the nation and announcing joyfully the gospel of liberation. The fact that God’s voice can be very strong and can be expressed as a trumpet, we can find example of in Isaiah. 27:13 and 58:1, Jer. 6:17; Revelation. 1:10 and 4:1. Angels (aggelos) may here be translated as “human messenger” in the same way as in Mat. 11:10. Angels that you see here are those who know Christ as their Savior and will go out to the nations (the world) and proclaim the message of full salvation. (Removal of all the blame).
Although I believe that it here means human messengers, it is not much wrong to say that God’s angels actively contribute here. For the angels of God are faithful in their work with the announcement of the Gospel. They are terribly busy, and they involve themselves heavily in His work of salvation among the people. (Luke 12:8-9; 15:10; Acts. 8:26, 10:3-6, 22, 1. Pet. 1:12; Rev. 14:6).
Then there is the gathering of His elected. We can not get away with, that the first Christians had major problems. The plague of the early Christians were Judaism, which is evidenced in Acts. 10, 11, 15, Galatians, and Hebrews. Unless a radical distinction would soon come, would probably the Christians soon be only a small minority sect of Judaism. But thankfully, and although the mission to the Gentiles began before the fall of Jerusalem, the year 70 AD was the pinnacle of the worldwide mission to the Gentiles. It finally divided Christians from Judaism.
Let’s look at some parables. First Mat. 21:38-45 and the parable of the landowner, who teaching us that Israel’s religious leaders, who condemned Christ will be brought to a terrible end, so that the landowner can “rent out the vineyard to other wine-growers.” Jesus translates this to the religious leaders of Israel as follows: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matt. 21:43).
The second parable is in Mat. 22:1-4, the parable of the wedding party which teaches us that the gospel was first offered to Israel but she refused it and killed His servants (22:2-6). The king became furious and sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then He said to his servants, “The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” (22:7-9). This is also strongly represented in the Great Commission: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Mat. 28:19.
Through human messengers (here referred to as (aggelos) angels) who preach the gospel, God gathers the elect to His kingdom “from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matt. 24:31), which means from horizon to horizon. We can see this use of the heaven direction used in other places as in Deut. 30:4 and Neh. 1:9, c.p. Matt. 8:11 and Luke. 13:28-29.
As we see, the parables of Matt. 21 and 22 and the Great Commission, is maintaining its position in the promise of the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, such as Psalm 22:27: “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.” And Psalm 2:8: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
The fall of Jerusalem was not only judgment of Israel for the rejection of Messiah (Matthew 21:33-45, 22:1-14, 23:37-24:2), even it was the major cause, but it also clears out effective the obstacle to spreading the Christian faith. The first Christians were Jews, and was probably confused and had some problems regarding the ceremonial law and circumcision (Acts 15:1, Gal. 5:1-6; Fil. 3:1-3), and which after the fall of Jerusalem actually was not a big problem anymore, since all such ceremonies were destroyed and the resistance and the persecution of the Jews was also deceasing.
“This happened so that she (the church) could be a true universal church, rather than a race-focused, geographically limited people.”
Bible Verses are from KJV
J.W = War of the Jews, Flavius Josephus.
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