The Destruction of Jerusalem
The Destruction of Jerusalem
Prophecy is a very definite force in the scripture. Many events for future historical events are graphically foretold in the pages of the Bible. It is one of the Bible's most interesting studies. The Old Testament prophets continually foretold the gathering again of the Jews to the Holy Land. Before this could happen, there must be a dispersal of the Jews from the country he occupies to the land that he populated in the days of the New Testament writing (Israel). Jesus foretold this happening to his disciples.
He warned them of these coming events in the not too distant future, so the church could be prepared for trouble and tribulation which shall come upon the earth. In Luke 19:41-44, Jesus told of the coming destruction of the city of Jerusalem. In verses 43 and 44 he said, "For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee, and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."
1. Jerusalem: Jewish Pivotal Point - Jerusalem was the center of activity for the Jew. It was their great city, the center of religion because the temple was there. Jerusalem represented the cultural aspect because their lives revolved so drastically around the Hebrew religion. It was also the center of commerce and had been for many centuries. The trade routes from the north, south, and east converged on this city. Jerusalem was the crossroads of the trade routes of the world.
2. Jesus Wept Over Jerusalem - Jesus was probably on the caravan road between Bethany and Jerusalem and had reached a particular point on the side of the Mount of Olives that he could overlook Jerusalem. He saw the temple in its grandeur sitting on top of Mt. Moriah. He could see the City of David covering the mountain and stretching on down to the Kidron and Hinnon valleys. It was then he stopped, wept, and cried, "0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Matthew 23:37-38).
3. Jerusalem Destroyed by the Armies of Titus - In the year 70 A.D., General Titus and the Roman army laid seige to the city of Jerusalem. The smaller influential towns and cities of the Hebrews had already been subdued. The people of Jerusalem would now feel the strong might of the Roman Empire.
The city was totally destroyed because:
a.) This was God's judgment for their sin.
b.) The Romans wanted to stamp out the Jewish religion.
c.) The Romans wanted to destroy the possibility of the Jewish nation.
The destruction came and was quite a feat within itself. The historian, Josephus, said that some stones were 94 feet long, 10Y2 feet tall and 13 feet in thickness. Jesus told the disciples, ". . .There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matthew 24:2). Destruction was total and complete.
The Jewish Return to Palestine
The Jewish Return to Palestine
The Bible states over and over again that the Jew will return to the desolate land and rebuild that which was destroyed. It is important to look at several of these pictorially described scriptures. "Fear not, for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth." Isaiah 43:5-6
"He that scattered Israel will gather him. . ." Jeremiah 31:10 "And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." Isaiah 11:12
". . .I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive." Jeremiah 29:14
The new nation of Israel is a result of this coming back to Palestine. The Jew returning to his homeland is one of the modern miracles of the 20th century, even though on a smaller scale it had begun in the late 1800's. Israel became a nation on May 15, 1948, in the face of the most drastic attacks of the Arab armies surrounding it. It is a nation to stay. "And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel and. . .I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God"
In 1882 there were 24,000 Jews in Palestine. In 1914, there were 85,000. In 1948, at the declaration as a nation, there were 650,000. Today there are over 3,000,000 Jews in the land of Palestine: The Jew has truly returned home.
The Times of the Gentiles
The Times of the Gentiles
The continuing history of man records that nations rise and fall. Great nations, influencing all the world in culture and commerce have experienced their victories and their defeats. Archeologists today probe the ruins of many nations that used to exist.
There is probably not a story that tells this history so well as the prophetic dream of Nebuchadnezzar.
1. Nebuchadnezzar's Dream (Daniel 2:31-45) - Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon. He reigned during the fall and captivity of the nation of Israel. One night he had a dream that would foretell events over the centuries. Mighty kingdoms would be represented in this dream.
Israel was in Babylonian captivity as a result of her backslidding. God revealed who would rule over her land during the coming centuries. Daniel, who as a prophet of God had gained great respect in the kingdom of Babylon, was called on to interpret the dream. In the dream there was a great metal man. The head was of gold; the breast and arms were silver; his belly and thighs were made of brass; the legs were iron; and his feet were part iron and clay. A stone came striking the feet and broke them into pieces. The image was destroyed and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floor which the wind carried away. The stone then became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Daniel interpreted the dream.
a.) The Head of Cold (Babylon) - The Head of Gold was Babylon which was ruling the Jews and the world at the time of the dream. The kingdom lasted from 606 B.C. to 538 B.C. The city of Babylon was at the zenith of its influence during this time. The hanging gardens of Babylon were one of the seven wonders of the world. The cities 14 square miles were guarded by walls 350 feet high and 87 feet thick. Over 1,000,000 inhabitants of the city never thought it would fall, but it did.
b.) The Breast and Arms of Silver (Medo-Persian) - In 538 B.C. Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians. Darius was the king of the Medes. This kingdom, a dual kingdom, portrayed by the two arms, was to last until 330 B.C.
c.) The Belly and Thighs of Brass (Greece) - Alexander the Great came out of the West with conquest on his mind. He conquered the Medo-Persian Empire in 330 B.C. After Alexander's death in 323 B.C. the empire was divided into four parts among his four generals. The Grecian empire lasted until 160 B.C. when the Romans came conquering.
d.) The Legs of Iron (Roman) - The legs represented the Roman Empire which was to last for many centuries as its Eastern and Western divisions. ;
e.) The Feet of Iron and Clay (Revived Roman Empire) - The feet portray the revived Roman Empire and a ten nation confederacy represented by the 10 toes (Daniel 7:7-8 and Revelation 17:12). These events will all happen in the last days and during them the Anti-¦ Christ will begin his rule of the world. All this will lead to the Great Tribulation and Armageddon.
f.) The Stone (Jesus Christ) - The coming of Jesus Christ at the battle of Armageddon, will destroy all the kingdoms and this world system. God will set up a new kingdom over all the earth for a thousands years. He will rule over the earth as king at this time. This period of time is called the millennium.
Signs of the Endtime
IV. Signs of the Endtime
The 24th chapter of Matthew is of great significance when looking at the endtime. Jesus' disciples asked him privately while sitting on the Mt. of Olives, ". . .Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3).
Jesus answered and outlined several things of major consequence that would happen in the last days. People can now understand from the fulfillment of many of these scriptures that the time of the coming of the Lord is drawing near. Before enumerating these happenings he gave a severe warning saying, ". . .Take heed that no man deceive you" (Matthew 24:4).
Listed below are the events as Jesus spoke them:
"Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many" (Verse 5). There are hundreds of different types of religions today, from Eastern religions to watered down denominationalism; from radio and T.V. voices to staid beautiful cathedrals. A person can easily be deceived and led astray if he does not have a basic knowledge of the Word of God. "Take heed that no man deceive you." Jesus said, ". . .the truth shall make you free."
". . .Wars and rumours of wars" (Verse 6). For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Verse 7). The population explosion to almost 4-1/2 billion people has made it much more difficult to feed the masses of people. This situation is compounded by the most extraordinary weather the world has ever known. Record dry spells have been recorded in many places, while floods have ravaged some normally dry lands. With drought has come famine to many areas of the world. Never since the beginning of time has there been so much frustration in endeavoring to feed the world.
". . .Earthquakes in divers places" (Verse 7). As the earth becomes older and as modern man with his technical knowledge experiments with the earth, the fault lines seem to become more severe. With this movement, within the earth's surface, earthquakes have become more numerous. Many leading geologists and seismologists claim there will be more highly severe earthquakes in the days ahead.
". . .Eating and drinking. . ." (Verse 38). Another phenomenon of this last day is the number of eating and drinking places that have sprung up everywhere. On one street ten years ago there were two eating places, and today there are sixteen plus two taverns.
". . .Marrying and giving in marriage. . ." (Verse 38). In America the divorce rate has risen to about 50% of the marriages. This is not just true in the U.S. but is true in many nations of the world. The signs listed above relate to the populace, who will go on in their normal pursuits of life, thinking things will always go on as before. They will not be aware that Jesus is coming soon. Paul wrote to Timothy about the perilous conditions of the last days giving several signs of that day which is to come:
"For men shall be lovers of their ownselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, (not restraining the sexual appetite), fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of Cod, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. . ." (II Timothy 3:2-5). Paul then gave a direct warning, ". . .from such turn away."
Jesus Comes For His Church
V. Jesus Comes For His Church
The Apostle Paul in writing to the church at Thessalonica told of the great hope that was ahead for the Bride of Christ, the church. This is commonly called 'The Rapture of the Church.' Several things he makes clear to the church concerning this monumental event in I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
• Concerning the dead, we are not to sorrow as one without hope (Verse 13).
• Because Jesus rose again he will raise the dead in Christ also (Verse 14).
• The Lord himself will descend from heaven. There will be a heavenly shout with the voice of the archangel included, and the trumpet of God will sound (Verse 16).
• Those having died after living their lives for Jesus will be raised first (Verse 16).
• The living saints will be caught up together with the dead saints in the clouds (Verse 17).
• All will meet the Lord Jesus in the air, never to be parted again (Verse 17).
• We are to comfort one another with this truth (Verse 18). Jesus, in Matthew 24:40-42, spoke of this tremendous time, and warned of the danger of not being ready. There will be a separation between those who are ready for the rapture and those who are unprepared.
•"Then shall two be in the field, the one taken, and the other left" (Verse 40).
•"Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left" (Verse 41).
•"Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Verse 42).
• There will be a resurrection of the righteous dead.
• Jesus Christ will return for His bride,
• There will be a glorious catching away of the saints of God.
• There will be a wonderful reunion with the saints of God that have gone on before. Paul in writing to Titus said it so well.
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour lesus Christ"