“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that [e]it is near—at the doors! Mathew 24:32-33
The last article about the metrics of Daniel’s prophecy is best reviewed and summarized by the diagram below. The biggest thing to remember is that “weeks” in our English translations is a bad translation of the Hebrew word which is literally “sevens.” Knowing that will help reading the diagram immensely!
Let’s next remind ourselves of the six events Gabriel said would happen in Israel’s time:
Messiah Prince was cut off This is certainly what happened on the Cross. He was indeed cut off, having nothing. He even endured complete separation from His Father in our place – “My God, My God! Why have You forsaken Me?”
The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple This happened in AD 70, forty years after the Crucifixion. Four Roman legions came to do the job. The general in charge, Titus Vespasian, gave orders to leave the Temple alone, but the story goes that an over-excited soldier threw a torch inside, igniting the curtains. The story continues that the soldiers, having heard of the stories of the riches there, literally left no stone unturned, fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy.
The man of sin The Antichrist will come into the world.
The Antichrist will “confirm a covenant with many for one week.” Daniel 9:27 He will make a treaty with Israel that is supposed to be good for seven years. This is the key to understanding when the current “unreckoned time” ends and the Tribulation is at hand. Recall that “week” is “sevens”, meaning seven years. Gabriel warns that
He will break the treaty midweek That is, he will break the treaty midweek, or after three and a half years. The next three and a half years will be the Great Tribulation that Jesus described in Mathew 24:21 and that is described in detail in Revelation chapters 4-19.
The Abomination of Desolation This is the final desecration of Jerusalem in the manner of Antiochus Epiphanes but worse.
Let’s see Mathew 24 for what Jesus tells us about that time:
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
After that, Jesus returns for the 1000 year reign. We won’t know exactly when that will happen, but we have the signs to watch for, and Jesus indeed warned us to watch!
The last sentence of verse 22 above is very important for those who think they will be “raptured out” and not have to face the tribulation. The days would not have to be shortened for the elects sake, if they were already gone! When the Tribulation starts, and the people who believe in a pre-Tribulation rapture are still here, I am sure their faith will be sorely tested as they wonder why they aren’t gone!
There are a few things we can take from all of this. Number one is that we can rest assured that God is in control! Having seen how some of Daniel’s prophecies have already come true, we can calm ourselves knowing how things will play out right until Jesus comes again!
Number two is that we need to get ready now! NOW!! If anyone thinks that have time and will start getting themselves squared away when the Antichrist becomes apparent, they are being foolish. First, how do they know they won’t die somehow before then? Second, the Tribulation will be of world-ending violence, cut short for the sake of the elect. Even the prepared faithful wouldn’t survive without God’s intervention. Accept Jesus now and spend this time increasing your strength in His Word!!
Finally, do we want our friends and family to enter into that time unprepared? Do we want to give them the same chance to survive the Antichrist that we’ve been given? What can you do to help them?
Prayer is the first order of business before anything else, for none of us can do anything outside of God’s power. Live your life and let the light of God shine through you. That is a better witness than words, although words are useful. No one will hear your words, if your action don’t earn the right for their attention!
These are the signs we’ve been given so that we can watch as Jesus said:
32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!