Springboarding off of the Apostle Paul’s life focus, clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:2, Pastor Greg launched an “open-ended” message series on January 12th, 2020 – focusing on “Just Jesus.” He is walking us through the entire New Testament, pulling passages from the Old Testament for context, and keeping us focused throughout the year on “Just Jesus.”
This week Greg covers Matthew 24:15-31. Jesus tells us how we can recognize the signs of the end of the age and His return. Greg takes us through a prophecy in Daniel, pulling in context from Revelation and some of Paul’s letters and show us that the rapture and the Second Coming happen simultaneously at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week – what Christians commonly refer to as the seven years of tribulation.
Last week we stopped in the middle of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse. He was answering a question posed to Him by the disciples in Matthew 24: 3
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” ~ Matthew 24:3
Jesus spends the next two chapters answering that question. He blends some prophecies about the past, the present, the near future, and the distant future all together. It takes a lot of CIE Bible study for us to get to the bottom of it and correctly interpret and understand His words. Last week we talked about some of Jesus’ perpetual predictions, starting in His own time, and getting progressively worse, and closer together over time. He said there would be wars and rumors of wars. There will be larger and closer together earthquakes and other natural disasters. Lawlessness will increase. People’s love will grow cold and they will fall away from the faith. False prophets, false teachers, and false Christs will arise.
We know that is exactly what has been happening since the predictions by Jesus, given in 33AD on the Mount of Olives. We pulled up short on Matthew 24:15 last week because it is a massively deep and controversial subject with many different schools of interpretation. We’re going to see that Jesus is referring to the true end of the age events in this verse. That hasn’t begun to occur yet but certainly, we feel like human history is moving ever closer to helping these prophecies come to pass. So let’s jump back into it tonight.
“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) … ~ Matthew 24:15
Obviously, to start out here, we really a lot of context because CIE, context is everything. Matthew REALLY WANTS US pause and think about what is being said here. In fact, he even stops in the middle of his narrative and says: “LET THE READER UNDERSTAND.” Something difficult to grasp and interpret is being stated here by Jesus. Something very crucially important is being said here. Don’t blow by this too fast and miss it. Matthew wants us to know it will take some study and detective work to get the big idea of what Jesus is talking about. Jesus tells us this “abomination of desolation” whatever it is, was previously spoken of by the prophet Daniel. That’s super important context as well.
So, let’s start by talking about what these two words actually mean. In context, what is an “abomination?” What is “desolation?” And what is an abomination of desolation or an abomination that leads to desolation as it could be translated? Abomination is the word Shiqquts in Hebrew. It means disgusting, foul, foul-smelling, especially in an idolatrous way. It is a detestible, wicked, sinful thing or action. In Greek it is the word Bdelugma which means a detestable thing, an abominable thing, an accursed thing. It is such a moral horror that it is a foul stench to God. Desolation is the word Shamem in Hebrew. It means to devastate or to stupify. To destroy utterly, to be made desolate, to lay waste to something. In Greek it is the word Erémósis which means to devastate, to lay waste, to make destitute or barren.
So, an abomination of desolation or an abomination that leads to desolation is something so wicked, so blasphemous, so morally repugnant, so foul, so idolatrous, that it requires swift and ultimate devastating judgment by God. With that in mind, what is the abomination of desolation, standing in the holy place, that was spoken of by Daniel the prophet and when did it happen? Has it happened more than once? Is it yet to happen on some future day? Let’s pull in some more critical context. Back in Daniel 9, there is a prophecy given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel that refers to Seventy Weeks and the Messiah. These weeks actually represent weeks of years. Or 70×7 years. These are events that take place during various parts of a 490 years total, not all concurrent years. These verses provide a sort of “clock” that gives an idea of when the Messiah would come and some of the events that would accompany His appearance. Daniel records the angel Gabriel saying to the people of Israel and Jerusalem:
24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. ~ Daniel 9:24
So this is a prophecy spanning 490 specific years of time.
God has a six-fold purpose in bringing these events to pass.
1) “to finish the transgression,”
2) “to put an end to sin,”
3) “to atone for wickedness,”
4) “to bring in everlasting righteousness,”
5) “to seal up vision and prophecy,”
6) “to anoint the most holy place.”
Notice that these results concern the total eradication of transgressions against God. Defeating and removing the power of sin and the establishing of righteousness.
This phrase “seal up vision and prophecy” means to complete and fulfill all visions and all prophecies. The book of prophecy so to speak will be completely written and closes when all of these events finally come to pass. The most holy place is also known as the holy of holies, the central room of the temple where the ark of the covenant is kept and the presence of God resides with His people. In context there is a finality to all of these things. This is the ultimate, be-all-end-all eternal situation of God dwelling with His people in a world with no sin, no transgressions, no wickedness, only righteousness, forever.
Clearly, we are not there yet, but all of this was put into motion by the coming of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus accomplished the atonement for wickedness by His death on the cross. He broke the curse of the fall. He erased the power of sin. He showed us what true righteousness is. He shared the final visions and prophecies that will one day be fulfilled. So this is really all connected to Jesus. You’ll see more of that as we go along. The prophecy later goes on to divide the 490 years into three smaller units: one of 49 years, one of 434 years and one of 7 years. Look at Daniel 9:25 for the first two segments.
So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks (49 years) and sixty-two weeks (434 years); it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks (49+434=483 years) the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing … ~ Daniel 9:25-26a
Gabriel says this prophetic clock of 490 years would start at the time that a decree was issued to rebuild Jerusalem.
From the date of that decree to the time of the Messiah would be 49 years and then 434 years, 483 years total. We know from history that the command to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem” was given by King Artaxerxes of Persia around 444 B.C. We read all about that in the book of Nehemiah. So, the first unit of 49 years (seven weeks of years) in this prophecy by Gabriel recorded by Daniel, covers the time that it actually took to rebuild Jerusalem, “with a plaza and a moat in times of distress.” The second part of the prophecy refers to an additional 434 years passing (62 weeks of years). Gabriel says 434 years after Jerusalem is rebuilt, the Messiah will be cut off – killed. Converting the 360-day year used by the ancient Jews on their lunar calendar to our 365 day years solar calendar makes this clear.
The prophesied 483 years passing from the order to rebuild Jerusalem becomes 476 years on our solar calendar. Adjusting for the switch from B.C. to A.D., 476 years after 444 B.C. when Artaxerxes ordered Jerusalem and the temple rebuilt, places us at A.D. 33. That perfectly coincides with the year of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem where He publicly declares himself as the Messiah. We just studied that a few weeks ago. And it also perfectly coincides with His crucifixion which takes place a few days later, when the Messiah is cut off by His crucifixion and has nothing. Clearly, Jesus fulfills this prophecy to the exact year. Let’s look at the rest of verse 26
… and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. ~ Daniel 9:26b
After the Messiah is killed, “the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Has this already happened or is this a prophecy of something that is to come? Or both. Scholars are divided. For many years, the Jews believed this prophecy was fulfilled in 168 B.C. when the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes invaded Jerusalem and captured the city. He marched into the Jewish temple, erected a statue of the Greek god Zeus, and sacrificed a pig on the altar of incense. That certainly qualified as an abomination of desolation. But, under the leadership of the Maccabees, the Jews drove Antiochus and his army out. It didn’t lead to any kind of end times or final judgment. The Jews gained control of their land for about one hundred years until Pompey, an acclaimed Roman general, captured the Holy Land again and brought it under Roman rule.
One problem with Antiochus’ abomination is, as we’ve discussed already, the time frame in Daniel 9:24–27 must begin with the decree of Artaxerxes that gave the Jews permission to rebuild their temple in 444 B.C. King Cyrus had allowed them to begin returning from exile in Babylon in 539 BC. So, Antiochus in 168 BC was far too early to fit the first two parts of Daniel’s prophecy. So, we have another option. We know for a fact that Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by General Titus, who would later become the Emporer of Rome in 70AD. Titus invaded Jerusalem to crush a new Jewish revolt. He entered the temple, carried off many temple artifacts to Rome, and destroyed the temple.
Not one stone was left on another, just as Jesus predicted. So his actions could be certainly be understood as another abomination of desolation being referenced by Jesus. Still, as with the problem with Antiochus, we have the same problem with Titus. Because, Jesus from the context of the rest of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus is clearly pointing to a future, and final, abomination of desolation which then leads perpetually and unhaltingly to the end of the age, His return and judgment day. None of that happened in 168 BC or in 70 AD or at any time since. This must be something that will happen in the future. This is a problem for our understanding. When we try to make sense of Daniel’s 70th week of years, after these other 69 weeks of years were completed, it’s a struggle. Because the 70th week doesn’t seem to be occurring right after the 69th week. Even if it was a reference to the 70AD destruction, 33 years passed from the crucifixion to the start of the Jewish war and another 13 years of the war happened until we reached 70AD. Why the 46 year break between week 69 and week 70?
And then, as we said, nothing of Daniel or Jesus’ end of the world events seemed to happen after the temple destruction in 70AD. Therefore, Titus the prince/ruler who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70AD, must simply be an archetype, a foreshadowing, a forerunner to another future ruler, the one we call the antichrist. The antiChrist, also referred to as the Beast in Revelation, will also come to attack Israel one day in the future and commit the ultimate abomination of desolation in a new temple or at least on the temple mount.
Based on other Scriptures, the ultimate antichrist appears to come as a leader of the political rebirth of the Roman Empire, in similar ways to Titus who came before. Some believe the nations in the European Common Market may one day merge into a more structured military entity again and the ruler of this confederacy will be the future prophesied antiChrist. That makes sense but no one really knows for sure. So, while Daniel’s prophecy, at face value, seems to be indicating a consistent line of events, there must actually be a long break between the cutting off of the Messiah at the end of Daniel’s 69th week of years and the final, 70th week of years that we are about to read about. Clearly thousands of years will pass between the prophetic 69th week and the prophetic 70th week.
Look at Daniel 9:27 —-
And he (the prince who destroys the city and the sanctuary in 70AD —- or more likely his future descendent that does the same thing thousands of years later) will make a firm covenant with the many for one week (again one week of years – seven years – he’s going to make a false peace covenant with Israel – even though he has conquered them he will make peace and allow them to practice their religion and sacrifices), but in the middle of the week (3.5 years into this peace covenant) he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” ~ Daniel 9:27
Titus didn’t do any of that in 70AD so again, this must be a prophecy about our future.
Daniel is describing a false peace contract of seven years (1 week of years) made by this later version of a future Roman ruler, who we know as the antiChrist. Halfway through it, 3.5 years in, Gabriel says this person will stop all Jewish religious practices of sacrifice, and then commit many abominations until one final, major abomination takes place. This final abomination that leads to desolation is such a HUGE abomination in God’s sight that it brings about ultimate judgment and destruction of the antiChrist and his armies by God. In context, from many other passages of Scripture – one of which we will read in just a minute, we discern that the antichrist will claim to be God, while sitting within the holy temple and he will demand to be worshiped as God.
Paul references this in 2 Thessalonians 2.
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Paul is describing a future antiChrist figure who will sit down in the Temple and declare himself to be God. Paul is clearly linking Jesus’ abomination of desolation reference and Daniel’s Abomination of Desolation reference to this future antiChrist stealing God’s glory in God’s temple.
That is clearly the most obvious explanation for what Jesus is referring to as a sign of the end of the age and His ultimate return. So, again, our best guess is that we are now living in a huge gap of years between the 69th week and the 70th week from Daniel’s prophesy. The prophetic clock has been paused. The final “week” of Daniel’s prophecy is what we usually call in Christian end-times discussions the Great Tribulation or the seven years of tribulation. Daniel’s prophecy reveals some of the actions of the Antichrist, the “prince who will come.” When this future deceitful Roman ruler comes, halfway through a seven-year peace treaty, he will show his true nature, stop the Jewish people from their legitimate worship and demand to be worshiped as God while sitting in the holy of holies of the temple. This is the ultimate abomination of desolation and makes Antiochus Epiphanes’ and Titus’ abominations minor by comparison. They were just the warmup acts.
Now, unfortunately, this is still problematic, because, since 70AD, there has been no temple. This interpretation and Paul’s prophecy, can’t be correct unless Israel somehow successfully rebuilds the temple on the temple mount at some point in the future. Scholars are divided about when Paul wrote this letter. Some think he wrote it around 51 AD while the Temple was still standing and if so, then Paul may have believed this would come to pass in Herod’s Temple. Others think Paul wrote this letter around 80-115AD which would mean Paul was indicating a belief that a future temple would be rebuilt since he would have already been aware of Titus destroying Herod’s Temple. Of course, now, the giant Muslim Dome of the Rock currently sits on the Temple Mount where the Temple once stood.
So, it would take a major act of war and a million other events I can’t possibly fathom to see the Dome of the Rock destroyed and a new temple successfully built in its place any time soon. I agree that seems to be necessary to happen in some miraculous way for the rest of our Old and New Testament prophecies to come to pass. That seems to be what all of these various prophecies from Daniel, Jesus and Paul are describing. So far, we’ve made it to the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, 3.5 years into the great tribulation. Tying in context from Paul, we realize the antiChrist has just presented himself within the new, third temple of Israel as the messiah, more than that, as God. He is the culmination of all false prophets and all false Christs and he demands to be worshiped. This sets forth the final stages of judgment that we read about in-depth in Daniel and in the book of Revelation. Jesus says when THIS final abomination of desolation occurs, the antiChrist, the beast, has shown his true nature. A massive persecution of the Jews and of the church is about to begin. Jesus gives them some survival advice for when that day comes.
Some scholars still think Jesus was just predicting the events of 70AD and isn’t referring to the ultimate end times here. Certainly, when the destruction of Jerusalem began in 70AD, while many Jews were killed, many Christians survived because they followed Jesus’ warnings that we are about to read and escaped the city before it fell. Jesus says when the abomination of desolation takes place.
then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. ~ Matthew 24: 16-20
His advice certainly applied in 70AD, but again, in the full context of all of Scripture, it’s clear that Jesus was speaking of a future event. Look at verse 21.
For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. ~ Matthew 24:21
Well, that wasn’t the case with 70AD. Worse tribulations have occurred (Hitler’s atrocities to name one) and there seems to be every indication that we still haven’t seen anything yet. That last verse, the completeness of it, the finality of it, is what compels me to believe this has to be a future event. Jesus describes the final, worst of all time, never to be equaled time of tribulation.
The word tribulation is the Greek word Thlipsis. We define it as tribulation or persecution or affliction or distress. It refers to external or internal emotional pressure that constricts or rubs together painfully, especially with a hopeless feeling of no chance of escape. Jesus continues.
Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. ~ Matthew 24:22
Jesus says the days of tribulation will be cut short in some miraculous way by God for the sake of believers of Jesus. Of course, this must refer to the Second Coming of Christ. As we talked last week, the tribulation will be so trying, so painful, that most believers’ love will grow cold. Most will fall away from the faith. God will intervene in this mass persecution and tribulation of believers before every believer gives into the pressure and renounces their faith in Christ. The end of the age will come.
Jesus will return and set all things right in the world. Again, Jesus warns that people will be desperate for salvation in these perilous great tribulation times. They will be susceptible to being fooled by false teachers, prophets, and false Messiahs. He gives a warning similar to what He said a few verses earlier.
Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. ~ Matthew 24:23-27
We talked about this last week. When Jesus returns it will be in a monumental, world-wide, incredibly obvious, and miraculous way. He tells us more about this later in just a few verses. No one will be able to doubt Him at His return.
If they have rejected Him up to that point, the door of repentance is now closed with His return. And He will bring the judgment and wrath of God upon all unbelievers at that time. Jesus alludes to this in verse 28. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. ~ Matthew 24:28 Revelation 19:17-18 says something similar.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” ~ Revelation 19:17-18
Jesus continues in His Olivet Discourse. These next verses are more proof that what Jesus is describing from the Abomination of Desolation forward is all connected in one continuous narrative that coincides with Daniel’s 70th week of years. Look at what Jesus says in verses 29-31. Remember I said a few minutes ago His return will be incredibly obvious to all? Listen to what Jesus describes.
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. ~ Matthew 24:29-31
Jesus is describing what we commonly refer to as the rapture. The great trumpet blast happens and all believers are caught up into the sky to meet Him as He returns. The Apostle Paul describes this as well in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Now, this is again where different spiritual camps argue. Will the rapture happen before the seven years of tribulation? (Daniel’s 70th week of years.) At that 3.5 year mark when the abomination of desolation occurs? Will the rapture happen in the middle of the seven years of tribulation? Or will the rapture happen at the end of the seven years of tribulation? Well, for me, Jesus’ words here in Matthew 24 are pretty incredibly obvious that this happens at the very end. Over the years I have become a post-tribulation rapturist. We get pulled up to meet Him in the sky and return with Him as He returns with the armies of heaven. I’ll walk you through it. In Matthew 24, Jesus says the rapture and His return happen when the great trumpet sounds. In Isaiah 27, Isaiah says the rapture and Jesus’ return happen when the great trumpet sounds. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul tells us the rapture and Jesus’ return happens when the last trumpet sounds. We need some more context here because CIE.
Historically, in the Jewish faith, there are two prophetic trumpets of God. The first trumpet, and the last trumpet. In the story of Abraham, sent to sacrifice his son, Isaac, a ram was caught in the bush as a substitutionary atonement for Isaac. This was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death on the cross for all of us. Jewish tradition says that the left horn of that ram (Prophetically referred to as the first trump) represents the sound of the trumpet blown on Mt. Sinai when God first appeared to the Israelites. The right horn of that ram (prophetically referred to as the last trump) prophetically refers to the resurrection of and the gathering of all God’s people. What we would refer to as the rapture.
When a shofar, a trumpet made from a ram’s horn, is blown, it is blown in one of three ways.
1) Tekiah – Which is a single long blast of the shofar.
2) Shevarim ~ Which is composed of three connected short sounds.
3) Teruah ~ Which is a string of many short-lived, broken blasts made by the tongue.
Yom Teruah is a feast of the Lord, also known as the Feast of Trumpets, also referred to as Rosh Hashanah, also referred to as the Jewish New Year. During a traditional Yom Teruah celebration in Jerusalem, the shofar is sounded in combinations of these three types of patterns, 100 blasts total in a single day. The last long blast of the day, held out as long as possible, longer than any other blast, the grand finale, is referred to as Tekiah Gedolah or the Great Trumpet. It is also referred to as the Last Trumpet since it is the 100th and fiinal blast of the Yom Teruah celebration. The word Teruah means “awakening Blast”, or “awakening shout.”
So, the last trumpet and the great trumpet are the same shofar blast signal. Scripturally and prophetically, the terms refer to two separate but simultaneous events, the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ. That’s why Paul says this in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16
And Jesus says in Matthew 24:31 After He appears in the sky
And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. ~ Matthew 24:31
So, when will the rapture occur? When will Jesus return? Both events happen simultaneously on some future Last Trumpet/Great Trumpet Moment of some future Yom Teruah. We just don’t know what year.
We also can’t know the exact day, because Yom Teruah is actually a two-day event. More on that in a little bit. Traditionally, the ten days in between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur are known as the “days of awe.” The ten days of awe are days of fasting and praying for repentance to Yahweh so that your sins could be forgiven. At the end of the days of awe, on Yom Kippur, your name is either inscribed in the Book of Life or the Book of Death, depending upon whether you have repented of your sins. If you survived until the following Yom Kippur, even if your name was written into the book of death on the previous Yom Kippur, you would have a chance to change your fate by repenting then.
However, once the final Yom Teruah comes and Jesus returns, those final ten days of awe and the final Yom Kippur will be the ultimate judgment of God. Your name and my name will be permanently written into one of the books, either the book of life or the book of death. That’s what Revelation 20:12 is talking about:
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. ~ Revelation 20:12
And this is what Revelation 21:25-27 is talking about when it says this about the New City of Jerusalem on the new created earth.
In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. ~ Revelation 21:25-27
On the final Feast of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, God will create the new heaven and the new earth and will dwell among us. He will tabernacle among His people again, for all eternity. The Feast of Teruah, when the last Trump sounds and when the Great Trumpet sounds, when the rapture and the second coming both occur, is also known as “the day and the hour that no man knows.” That’s because this is such an important feast they wanted to make sure no one missed it. Two independent witnesses have to both witness the initial crescent of the new moon and time had to be given for the news to spread. To make sure they didn’t miss it it is celebrated exactly the same on two successive days. So the last trump and great trump both happen two days in a row. The prophetic last and great trump may actually happen on either one of those days. We don’t know which one.
The history and symbolism of Yom Teruah is also tied to the traditional Hebrew wedding practice where the father of the groom is the only one who knows when he will send his son to go gather up His bride. The groom and the bride stand ready but wait until the father says it is time. So, it was traditionally said that no one knows the day or the hour the son will come for the bride, only the father knows for sure. Jesus is obviously connecting this symbolism for when He will come for His bride, the church. Let me jump ahead a bit in Matthew and then we’ll dig into this more next week. In Matthew 24:36 and 42 —
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone…. “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. ~ Matthew 24:36, 42
So, to recap, on some future day, a ruler who represents the rebirth of the Roman empire will arise. In the spirit of Antiochus Epiphenes and Titus before him, he will be the ultimate antiChrist and he will enact the final and worst abomination of desolation. After a time of conflict with Israel, he will at first seem like a great man, a peacemaker. He will create a false peace treaty of seven years with Israel but halfway through it he will show his true colors, stop their religious practices, and demand to be hailed as God in a new temple in Jerusalem. That’s the ultimate abomination of desolation. This blasphemous act will usher in the final stages of the judgment of God.
Gabriel refers to this again in Daniel 12:11
From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. ~ Daniel 12:11
1290 days is the second half of the 70th week of years. The second period 3.5 years we’ve talked about earlier. On that future Yom Teruah, 3.5 years later, when the last trump sounds, when the Tekia Gedolah – the great tekia blast is blown, Jesus will send His angels to gather all true believers to Himself as He returns to earth. This is the rapture and the second coming and they happen simultaneously. Soon after, a series of judgments begin. The False Prophet and the AntiChrist are thrown into the lake of fire. There is a 1,000 year period of peace – which may just be a single day in Apocalyptic symbolism. Remember Peter told us with the Lord a day is as a 1,000 years and 1,000 years is as a day. It may also be a symbolic reference to the final 10 days of awe. Either way, Satan is bound and isolated from humanity for this period of time and Jesus physically dwells on the earth.
People have an opportunity to choose Jesus or the devil, the book of life or the book of death. Then, after 1,000 years, or a day or ten days, Satan is released again. He draws together all remaining evil people to wage war against God but they are all instantly defeated by fire from heaven on a future Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement. The devil is then cast into the lake of fire with the false prophet and the antiChrist. The Great White Throne Judgment occurs on a future Yom Kippur. The final weighing of every person and angel who ever lived is judged and names are recorded either in the book of death or in the Lamb’s book of life.
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. ~ Revelation 20:15
A short time later, on a future Day of Sukkot, Revelation 21 tells us God will create a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem. There will no longer be any sin, evil, or wickedness. There will no longer be any pain, sorrow, illness or death. Those whose names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will dwell there forever with God.
Now, we cannot know the exact years these things will take place until the antiChrist arises. Next week we will see, that Jesus does tell us, if we are paying attention, we will know the season of His return. For example, we know it will be on a future Yom Teruah, and, let the reader understand, when we see the rise of the antiChrist, we will certainly know the time is very near.