The Great Tribulation, Past or Future?
I am sharing a short series of articles by Terry Cropper of Philadelphia. Terry has done a fine job of investigating and sharing some powerful points about the Great Tribulation, Past or Future? Be sure to read the previous article here.
Matthew 24:10 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. The entirety of 2 Peter 2 is about false prophets and false teachers during that during a particular period of time. “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1)
Paul also gave numerous warnings against the prophets and their false doctrine. Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28-30 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
In Romans 16:17-18, Paul said, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”
In 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15, Paul was greatly concerned that the church in Corinth might be led away and deceived by those who were “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” He said in Ephesians 4:14 that some are “children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” He sadly declares in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate to themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.”
Josephus, False Prophets and the Great Tribulation
Josephus also mentions one false prophet who urged the people to get up on the Temple and await signs of deliverance. He said, ‘A false prophet made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get up on the temple, and there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now, there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose upon the people, who denounced this to them that they should wait for deliverance from God…(Josephus, p. 453)
Matthew 24:12 “And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold. In the New Testament the term “lawless” is used to describe those who knowingly, and deliberately and willfully rebel against God and his laws. They refuse to be under God’s rule and God’s laws. They refuse to surrender to God’s Word and God’s will. They want to follow their own ways. The lawless person cries out in his heart, “not God’s will, but my will be done!”
The Greek word for lawless is ἀνομίαν and thus means (without law or lawless practice lawlessness, work iniquity). In the New Testament (King James Version) this word is translated in different ways (“lawless,” “unlawful,” “wicked,” “transgressor”) but it always conveys the basic meaning of lawless. The Greek word (ἀνομίαν) is also translated in various ways (“unrighteousness,” “iniquity,” “transgression of the law”) but each time it carries the basic meaning of lawlessness.
By reason of these false prophets within, the Church, the love of many for Christ and his doctrine, grow cold and openly deserting the faith 2 Timothy 1:15, “This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14 (NKJV) The years is 33 A.D
Paul’s missionary journeys are completed as he writes from his imprisonment in Rome to the saints in Colsse the year is 64 A.D.…if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians. 1:23).
Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews writes, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Hebrews 4:2 (NKJV)
Jesus told the disciples to preach the gospel throughout the world. Paul freely admitted he had preached “to every creature under heaven.” Paul writer in the Epistle to the Romans “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” (Romans 1:8).
Indeed, the Gospel had been preached to what THEY considered to be the whole world. And “the end” that THEY were anticipating was the end of the Old Covenant world that was centered around the Temple that was destroyed in A.D. 70. At the time of ancient Israel they did not think in terms of the globe as we do today. So they wrote in terms with which they were familiar.
When we use the word world, we use it in a globe sense the whole planet, but to Jesus, Paul and others in the first century people it meant something much less. To those living in first-century it was not the globe but the Roman Empire.
For example a decree from Caesar Augustus, went out that all the world should be taxed. Luke 2:1, KJV And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. Augustus didn’t rule the globe, he ruled the Roman Empire. At that time Augustus, made a decreed that throughout the Roman Empire they should be taxed.
Another good example is when Paul and Silas were accused of turned the world upside down when they preached in Thessalonica. Act 17:6: “But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” They did not turn the globe upside down it was the Roman Empire.
Acts 17:6-7: “And not finding them, they drew Jason and certain brothers before the city judges, crying, These who have turned the world upside down have come here too, (7) whom Jason has received. And these all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”
Paul was accused again before Felix: “…we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world” (Acts 24:5). Of course this was not the globe. There did not have cell phones or social-networking like Facebook all they had was horses at best.
And there is more evidence. “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great (dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar).” (Acts 11:28, KJV). This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.
The Great Tribulation and the Abomination of Desolation
Matthew 24:15-16 “Therefore when you see the “’abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place …, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” This is one of most detailed prophecy of the end time.
The Biblical words usually translated as “abomination” often signifies that which is forbidden or unclean. In Daniel’s prophecies in Daniel 11:31 (cf. 12:11), it is generally interpreted as referring to the fearful calamities that were to fall on the Jews during the time of tribulation. The word “desolation” means to be in a condition that is uninhabitable and devastated. In all biblical uses, the term can be understood as the “abomination causing the desolation.”
“Luke’s parallel statement to show that the abomination spoken of by Daniel would take place when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies. “ “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Luke 21:20 (NKJV) What brings desolation to a city? The army of an enemy. 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. Notice Luke said they will fall by the edge of the sword. Such weapons of warfare would not be appropriate for today’s warfare.
So, what then was “the abomination that would bring desolation to Jerusalem?” When the temple area was taken by the Romans, and the sanctuary itself was still burning, the soldiers brought their legionary standards into the sacred precincts, set them up opposite the eastern gate, and offered sacrifice to them there, acclaiming Titus as imperator (victorious commander).
For more on the Abomination of Desolation and the Great Tribulation, see Don K. Preston’s book, Blast From the Past, the Truth About Armageddon.
The Roman army is called an abomination, for its ensigns and images, which were so to the Jews. Josephus says, (War, b. vi. chap. 6,) the Romans brought their ensigns into the temple, and placed them over against the eastern gate, and sacrificed to them there. The Roman army also made desolate, and lay waste Jerusalem. So the abomination of desolation is not the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem today. It was the destruction of Herod’s Temple in the Jewish War of A.D.70. All this happened during Jesus contemporary generation. All of this definitively answers the question: The Great Tribulation, Past of future?