UPDATED July 1, 2006
You may be wondering: Why the above title? As you will see later, the words are well chosen. It is a subject where, for a lack of thorough study, many find themselves completely bewildered. To study the New Testament without first mastering the content of the Old is like building a house without a foundation. So it is with the topic we are about to take under consideration. The “Death Of A Kingdom & Rebirth Of Another” is a New Testament fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Because of men’s fanciful reasoning, and without being thoroughly established in the whole Word, it is simply amazing the baseless doctrines which have been concocted with the 24th chapter of Matthew. It is the objective here, once we have exhaustively examined this passage, we will never again have any misgivings concerning this and related Scripture. The premise for the 24th chapter of Matthew is laid in the passages as follows:
Jeremiah 26:18: “Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith Yahweh of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.” (Covered with trees instead of houses.)
Micah 3:12: “Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.”
You may be wondering: What do these two verses have to do with Matthew 24, anyway? To show the significance, I will present a running verse by verse commentary of this chapter. Before we get started, though, we need to take under advisement three different views of prophecy: (1) Futurists, who project all prophecy into the future, (2) Praeterists who claim all prophecy was fulfilled by 70 A.D., and, (3) Historicists, who see prophecy as a continuing unfolding panorama. Upon the first Bibles being circulated during the Reformation, the Roman Church was seen as anti-Christ. To avoid the heat, one Jesuit priest projected prophecy forward and another Jesuit priest projected it into the past. The “Futurists” hold the last week of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy was never fulfilled; they chop it off from the other 69 weeks and propel the last week 2000 years into the future when they predict (1) a “rapture”, and then, (2) either a three and a half or seven year period of tribulation representing Daniel’s 70th week. We need to know all this because these various opinions affect the interpretations of Matthew 24.
MATTHEW 24; MARK 13; LUKE 21
The passages named above predict the utter destruction of the Temple and city of Jerusalem. This portion of Scripture represents a monumental turning point in history as it brought to the fore the opposing forces of light and darkness. The Messiah voiced His utter disgust in loathing words against the “Jewish” hierarchy. With a language of awful severity, He denounced their hypocrisy. Truly the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent of Genesis 3:15 were in mortal combat at that time. This passage of Scripture is referred to as the “Olivet Discourse.” For this presentation, I will be weaving in and out of about nine Bible commentaries for which space will not allow designation:
Matt. 24:1: “And Yahshua went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.” Yahshua had completed His work in the Temple, never to return again. As He left, the Glory of His presence departed with Him. He had just placed a curse on the “Jewish” nation by cursing a fig tree that it should never again bear fruit, Matthew 21:19. Mark 11:14. The fig tree represented the bad-fig “Jews” as having a profession, but bearing no fruit. The “Jews” say the Temple was built of white and green-spotted marble. Josephus says the stones were white and strong; fifty feet long, twenty-four broad, and sixteen thick. Josephus’ Antiq. 15:11:3.
24:2: “And Yahshua said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” These are probably the last words spoken as He left the Temple. This part of Yahshua’s prediction was fulfilled in a most literal manner. Josephus says, Wars 7:1:1, “Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the whole city and temple, except the three towers, Phaselus, Hippicus, and Mariamne, and a part of the western wall, and these were spared; but, for all the rest of the wall, it was laid so completely even with the ground, by those who dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited.” So utterly destroyed was the Temple, Titus, the Roman emperor, taking Jerusalem, about forty years after this, commanded his soldiers to spare the Temple when they entered the city, but they in their rage burnt of it what was of a combustible nature; and Turnus Rufus, left general of his army when away, drew a plough over it, as Yahweh had said, Jeremiah 26:18; Micah 3:12 as quoted in the first column, “Zion shall be ploughed like a field.” And when after this Alippius, by the command of Julian the apostate, attempted the rebuilding of it, with the help of the “Jews”, it is reported by diverse sources, that balls or globes of fire rose up from the foundations, destroyed many of the workmen, and made the place inaccessible for any further such attempts. Titus tried unsuccessfully to save the Temple, but his soldiers put it to the torch, thus fulfilling Yahshua’s prophecy. When the fire melted the gold trim, the molten metal ran down between the stones. To get it, the soldiers had removed the stones one by one, just as our Messiah predicted. The judgment was executed in A.D. 70 when the Romans under Titus sacked Jerusalem. Although Jerusalem was to be destroyed, another Jerusalem was being prepared and another people being called. The new city was the Jerusalem which John saw being prepared as a bride for her husband, Revelation 21:2.
24:3: “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples (Peter, James, John and Andrew) came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” There appear here to be three basic questions asked by the disciples (1) When shall these thing be? viz., the destruction of the Temple, the city, and the “Jewish” state”, (2) What shall be the sign of thy coming? viz., to execute these judgments upon the “Jews”, and the establishment of His kingdom and, (3) When shall be the end of the world? There is a double perspective to this discourse, (1) the destruction of the “Jewish” kingdom and, (2) the reestablishment of Yahweh’s kingdom. The disciples and peoples of Judea were in expectation of a Messiah to come and destroy their immediate enemies. Also it should be noted, it is not talking about the end of the world (as in the KJV), but the end of the age (Gk., aion). The Praeterists take the view the “age” ended with the destruction of Jerusalem, but verses 10-14 indicate there must come periods of apostasy followed by a mission to all [Israel] nations, and then only can the end come. This should be evidence these are both short-range and long-range prophecies. Mark 13:34-37 brings into play the need for watchfulness. If these prophecies be only till the destruction of Jerusalem, does that imply there is no longer a need to be watchful? Yet we must take into consideration the meaning at the time. Hebrew interpreters of the Old Testament had clearly seen that the coming of the Messiah would usher in the “age to come”, accompanied by the destruction of the wicked. It must be remembered the twelve asked in the light of their traditional understanding, and Yahshua’s answers in this discourse surely assumed this. Thus the consummation of the age (ASV marg.) refers to the age of which they were a part and had knowledge. Though badly liquidated, a few of the satanic sons of Cain survived, so the final end must be yet to come.
24:4-5: “And Yahshua answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Messiah; and shall deceive many.” Josephus declares, Wars 2:13:2-7, there were many who, pretending to divine inspiration, deceived many people, leading numbers of them out into the desert. Pretending “God” would there show them signs of liberty, meaning redemption from the Roman power, an Egyptian false prophet led 30,000 men into the desert, who being no more than a cheat pretended to be a prophet. Felix prevented the attempted overthrow resulting in many being destroyed, taken alive or dispersed to hide in their homes (see Acts 21:38). It was no more than justice for the Almighty to deliver up that people into the hands of the false messiahs who had rejected and killed the true One. About twelve years after the death of Messiah, when Cuspius Fadus was procurator of Judea, arose an impostor by the name of Theudas, who said he was a prophet, and persuaded a great multitude to follow him with their best effects to the Jordan, which he promised to divide for passage; and saying these things, says Josephus “he deceived many” — almost the very words of our Messiah. A few years afterwards, under the reign of Nero, while Felix was procurator of Judea, impostors of this kind were so frequent that some were taken and killed almost every day (Josephus’ Antiq. 20, chapters 4 and 7).
24:6-7: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” A message by the Messiah to his disciples gives warning of coming dissensions, insurrections and mutual slaughter of the “Jews” and those of other nations who dwelt in the same cities together; as particularly at Caesarea, where the “Jews” and Syrians contended about the right of the city, which ended there in the total expulsion of the “Jews”, about 20,000 of whom were slain. The whole “Jewish” nation, being exasperated at this, attacked neighboring cities and villages of the Syrians, making an immense slaughter of the people. The Syrians in return, destroyed no less a number of the Jews. At Scythopolis (a city established by a fragment group of returning northern Kingdom Israelites who didn’t stay long) they murdered upwards of 13,000. At Ascalon they killed 2,500. At Ptolemais they slew 2,000, and made many prisoners. The Tyrians also put many Jews to death, and imprisoned more. The People of Gadara did likewise; and all the other cities of Syria, in proportion as they hated or feared the “Jews.” At Alexandria the Jews and non-Jews fought, and 50,000 of the former were slain. The people of Damascus conspired against the “Jews” of that city, and assaulting them while unarmed, killed 10,000 of them. This portended the open wars of different tetrarchies and provinces against each other. There was a famine foretold by Agabus, Acts 11:28, which is mentioned by Suetonius, Tacitus, and Eusebius, “which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar”, and was so severe at Jerusalem that Josephus says, Antiq. 20:2, many died for lack of food. Pestilences are the usual attendants of famines, as the scarcity and badness of provisions generally produce epidemic disorders. The fourth sign, earthquakes, in divers places. It means particularly those popular commotions and insurrections which have already been noted.
24:8: “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” The whole land of Judea is compared to a woman in grievous travail. The Messiah intimates that all that had previously been mentioned was only the first pangs and throes, and nothing in comparison to the hard and death-bringing labor which should afterwards take place. These birth-pangs were, once Jerusalem, the Temple, and the cursed “Jews” were dispursed into all the nations, pointing to a happier day for Yahweh’s Kingdom. This period of time was the onset of the birth-pangs bringing forth a new order under Israel’s Messiah-King. This verse looks beyond the convulsions to the redeeming act of Yahshua. With these birthpangs, a kingdom under the cursed “Jews” is passing and a new Kingdom is being instituted under Messiah for true Israel.
24:9: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Yahshua was predicting great personal testing for those who would be unflinching in their testimony for Him. They would be put on trial before religious and civil courts. The arrests and beatings foretold here began to find their fulfillment in the book of Acts (cf. 4:5 ff.; 5:27 ff.), as do also the appearances before rulers and kings (cf. 12:1 ff.; 24:1 ff.; 25:1 ff.).
24:10-13: “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” It is very remarkable that not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, though there were many there when Cestius Gallus invaded the city; and had he persevered in the siege, he would soon have rendered himself master of it. But when he unexpectedly and unaccountably raised the siege, the Nazarenes (later to be called Christians) took that opportunity to escape. While this is quite interesting, the thought is shifting from the dying kingdom of the “Jews” to the birth-pangs of the Kingdom of Messiah. Comment will continue on verses 10-13 in next paragraph.
24:14: “And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all [Israel] nations; and then shall the end come.” The Kingdom message is divided into two different stages as described in Jeremiah 16:16. “Behold I will send many fishers, saith Yahweh, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” The fishers were the disciples called by Messiah. The hunters were archaeologists who discovered Israel’s migrations after being taken captive by Assyria. The fishing period lasted for about 1,800 years until the archaeologists began to find evidence of Israel’s travels. The fisher’s message was: “Yahshua has redeemed Israel by His death.” The hunter’s message is: “We have found Israel’s footsteps.” It is truly this last message which is the “Gospel of the Kingdom.” The Kingdom message started to be told with John Wilson, a Benjaminite, about 1838 A.D. From that time on there has never been a message that divided like the Israel Identity Kingdom message. We shouldn’t be surprised at this for Yahshua declared in Luke 12:51: “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.” This is what we have with Matthew 24:10-13 (quoted second paragraph above). Luke 21:16-17 puts it this way: “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”
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).”
This abomination of desolation (also Luke 21:20-21) refers to the Roman army only in the sense of being Yahweh’s instrument for destroying the sacredness of the Temple, and prophesied by Daniel at chapters 9 & 11. Not that the Romans themselves were an “abomination” for by-and-large, the Romans were Israelites and were the “seed of the woman” of Genesis 3:15 to “ bruise Satan under your feet shortly”, as Paul foretells at Romans 16:20.
24:16: “Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.” This counsel was remembered and wisely followed by the Nazarenes afterwards. Eusebius and Epiphanius say that at this juncture, after Cestius Gallus had raised the siege and Vespasian was approaching with his army, all who believed in Messiah left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other places beyond the river Jordan; and so they all marvelously escaped the general shipwreck of their country — not one of them perished. Only the flight of the Nazarenes from the beleaguered city delivered them from the fate of the “Jewish” inhabitants who stayed. During the lull in the attack, the Nazarenes left and went to Pella. Those who remained either died of starvation, or were sold as slaves. There is a very important point to be made here. This was a time of separation for the Cain-satanic seedline and the true Israelites or the seed of the woman. Therefore, no “Jew” on the face of the world is an Israelite! As Yahshua said Himself, John 10:26: “... ye are not of my sheep.” The Almighty was using a giant sieve to separate the seed of the serpent from the seed of the woman, Genesis 3:15. The Nazarenes went to Pella, and the “Jews” were dispersed into all the nations as a curse and a byword.
24:17-19: “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” The houses in Judea, as well as those of the ancient Greeks and Romans, were flat-roofed, and had stairs on the outside, by which persons might ascend and descend without coming into the house. In Eastern walled cities, these flat-roofed houses usually formed continued terraces and terminated at the gates. He therefore who is walking on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house; but let him instantly pursue his course along the tops of the houses, and escape out at the city gate as fast as he can. Because, when once the army of the Romans sits down before the city, there shall no longer be any possibility of escape, as they shall never remove till Jerusalem be destroyed. Because of this, it will be quite difficult for such persons as are not in condition to make their escape; neither can they bear the miseries of the siege. Josephus says the houses were full of women and children that perished by the famine, and that the mothers snatched the food even out of their own children’s mouths. See Wars, 5:10. How do the futurists explain people on the roofs of their houses if this is something that is supposed to happen at a so-called “rapture” at some future date? It was only back during that time that they had flat-roofed houses leading to the city gate!
24:20: “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.” For the severity of the season, the poor condition of the roads, the shortness of the days, and the length of the nights with all the great hindrances to your flight; and that you may not raise the indignation of the “Jews” by traveling on that day, and suffering death by them for which you endeavored to escape by fleeing. Besides on the Sabbath days the “Jews” not only stayed indoors, but kept the gates of all the cities and towns in every place shut and barred. Yahshua had ordered his followers to make their escape from Jerusalem when they should see it encompassed with armies; but how could this be done? The Almighty took care to amply provide for this. In the twelfth year of Nero, Cestius Gallus, the president of Syria, came against Jerusalem with a powerful army. According to Josephus’ Wars 2:19:3-6, he might have put an end to the war, but without any just reason, he raised the siege and departed. This was the window of opportunity Yahshua had instructed his followers to take advantage of, and many of the principal residents forsook the city like men do a sinking ship. Further, the news of the death of Nero and Galba and the disturbances that followed along with civil wars between Otho and Vitellius, held Vespasian and his son Titus in suspense delaying the besieging until after Vespasian was confirmed and Titus was appointed commander of the forces in Judea. It was in these delays that the Nazarenes and others provided for their own safety, by flight.
24:21: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” It is at this point that the “futurists” try to make their case for their false doctrine of a future “rapture” and the false teaching of either a three and a half or seven year period of tribulation. As you can plainly see, such a thing does not fit the text. No history can furnish us with a parallel to the calamities and anguish of the “Jews”: rapine, murder, famine and pestilence within; fire and sword, and all the horrors of war without. Luke 21:22 calls these the “days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
24:22: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” If the Romans had gone on destroying in this manner, the whole nation of the Jews would, in a short time, have been entirely eradicated. But for the sake of the “elect”, it says, these days were shortened. This passage doesn’t make a lot of sense unless we take former Scripture into consideration. We know that Israel is the “elect”, and the “Jews” are not Israelites. The question is: Why would some of the “Jews” be spared for Israel’s sake? The “Jews” were descendants of the people Israel was commissioned to kill every man, woman and child (Joshua 23:13). Because they failed to do this they were told: “Yahweh will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish ...” The Canaanite-“Jews” were to become Yahweh’s instrument of punishment to bring Israel back under the Covenant. Therefore, it was necessary to spare some of the bad-fig “Jews” from Jerusalem for Israel (the elect’s) sake. This is the reason, and the only reason, Yahweh didn’t let the Romans completely and thoroughly annihilate forever the Cain-Satanic-Edomite-Canaanite-“Jews.” As part of the story is missing in Matthew, we will pick it up in Luke.
Luke 21:23-24: “... for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the non-elect ethnê until the times of the non-elect ethnê be fulfilled.”
Josephus tells us, in the wars which ended in the taking of Jerusalem, by famine and the sword, there perished 1,100,000 “Jews”, and 97,000 were carried into captivity, Josephus’ Wars 6:9:3. This “captivity” spoken of here is not the captivities of Assyria or Babylon, but a separate one for the cursed “Jews”, Isaiah 65:15. The “times of the non-elect ethnê” (Gentiles) was fulfilled when the British under General Allenby took Jerusalem from the Turks, December 9, 1917 as prophesied.
Matt. 24:23-24: “And if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Messiah, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise pseudo-messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” This passage is similar to Matt. 24:4-5, except we should take note the word “elect” means Israelites.
24:25-27: “Behold, I have told you before, Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Adam be.”
Because the Roman army was the instrument in the Almighty’s hand, it is represented as the coming of the “Son of man.” The Roman army entered into Judea on the east, and carried on their conquest westward, as if not only the extensiveness of the ruin, but the very route which the army would take, were intended in the comparison of the lightning issuing from the east and shining to the west.
24:28: “For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” They (the “Jews”) were a dead carcass doomed to be devoured, and the Roman eagles were the commissioned devourers. (See the pitiful account in Josephus’ Wars 7:2-3, 6, 9-11.)
24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” In other words, the tribulation was the terrible process of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. The sun, moon and stars are representative of a shakeup of ruler-ship, some dying with others having a change in status. With the destruction of Jerusalem, this naturally would change the power structure in that area.
24:30: “And then shall appear them,e sign of the Son of Adam in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Adam coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” This is not the Second Advent, but the setting up of the Yahshua’s Kingdom. The power of the “Jews” had been brought to a very low position; so low it would take them 1,700 years to regain their strength. It was now possible for the Gospel message to make its way to and through all Israel lands.
24:31: “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.” This verse signals the rebirth of Yahweh’s Kingdom. With this, the prophecy concerning Jeremiah 19:7-10, and the destruction of the evil branch of Judah at Jerusalem was fulfilled. The “bottle” had been “broken”, never to be restored. The “angels” spoken of here were the disciples taking the Gospel message to the 12 scattered “elect” tribes of Israel. The disciples were depicted as “angles” or messengers. By the fall of Jerusalem, the Kingdom was liberated from the power of the bad-fig “Jews.” By this time, the true Judahites had joined the House of Israel in their migrations into Europe.
This concludes the main part of this study. While it doesn’t cover the entire chapter of Matthew 24, it does present the “Death Of A Kingdom & Rebirth Of Another.” While the main portion of this passage concerns itself with short-range prophecy, there are also long-range predictions. You will remember the disciples had asked Him two questions, “when shall these things be”? and “what shall be the sign of thy coming.”? Surely, Matthew 24:37 is one of the long-range prophecies:
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Adam be.”
It is recorded that Noah was “perfect in his generations” along with his three sons and daughters-in-law (“generations”, Wilson’s O.T. Word Studies, page 184: “an age; a race”). Noah’s family was the last of a line who had not race-mixed in their day. Like today, in the days before the flood, it became politically correct to take a husband or wife not of one’s own race. The same degradation of the sexual instincts is here revealed in its disastrous consequences and is described as “all flesh had corrupted his way”, Genesis 6:12. Then, as now, when the subject of race was mentioned, one would simply shrug their shoulders, and sneer in indifference. Like always, products of mixed marriages are not difficult to recognize. Although there were many in Jerusalem of mixed race, Matthew 24:37 more typically fits today’s multi-culturalism.