learn to discern
No, we're all going to have to suffer through the Great Tribulation together, nobody gets a free pass. Sorry. In fact, we're pretty sure, the Great Tribulation has already begun, so hold onto your britches, if you think the state of the world is chaotic now, it's only just begun.
We know there are some who fear the scary metaphorical language of the Book of Revelation. We even know some who refuse to even read Revelation because it's so scary. We know pastors who won't teach Revelation because the inspired imagery built into the metaphorical symbolism is too confusing. However, end times eschatological prophecy isn't meant to scare us or confuse us, but rather to prepare us. To arouse our spiritual sensibilities as the time approaches of the Great Day of God Almighty.
We know through prophecy that we will see an increasing of lawlessness, chaos, and calamity around the world, manifested according to a foreseeable timetable of events, and accelerating as the time approaches, like a womans labor pains.
There are those who have a delusional hope of a 'rapture', either 'pre-trib' or 'post-trib' or somewhere in-between. This is a doctrine that has become widespread among evangelical congregations though there is no scriptural support for the teaching.
The End of the Age, or End Times prophecies are connected to larger eschatological postulations which differ, sometimes widely, between the various ecumenical denominations. Jewish eschatology, while it differs noticeably from Christian, also varies somewhat between the various denominations within Judaism. Yet a thread runs through them all.
Since the roots of prophecy and eschatology are all in the Hebrew scriptures, this is where our study should rightly begin. These form the foundation of 'eschatology' which was built upon later, through the Christian Greek Scriptures.
Understand that it is the view of the ecumenical examiner, that no true prophet was ever raised up to speak for God who was not a Jewish son of Abraham. These include the Jewish Christian followers of Yeshua, and Yeshua himself.
"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” - Luke 21:28
In Judaism the "end times" are generally referred to as "End of Days," "The Day of the Lord," "The Messianic End," or simply "The End." It refers to the expectation of the coming victory of the divine will and the establishment of God's divine truth and justice in the world. Jewish eschatology is a subject of debate and disagreement among Jews as much as Christian eschatology is among Christians. We'll do our best to present a fair and accurate ten cent study in brief.
Just as the world of Judaism turned, and survivors were forced into a complete cultural sidetrack after the crucifixion of the Mesiah and the subsequent Roman destruction of Jerusalem, so the entire world of mankind will take a turn, engaging every soul on earth, when the Messiah reoccurs in the world. His second coming will be quite different from His first. When He returns, it will be in glory and majesty, accompanied by an army of angels. There will be no mistaking who He is, and it is written that "every eye shall see Him". Something that could only happen in these days of satellite television.
There is no shortage of signs and prophecies meant to enable us to recognize the times. What we need to worry about is whether or not we will notice these signs and prophecies being fulfilled all around us. Will the prophetic fulfillments and signs of his impending return, be something we won't see except in the rear-view mirror? Know this, all prophecy aside, the Messiah Himself said His return would come as a thief in the night, as an unexpected shock. How could that be?
a brief look at Judaism's "End of Days"
The prophecy of the valley of dry bones is found in Ezekiel 37. Ezekiel had been trained as a Temple priest, until the Babylonian conquest. He was among those taken in the exile and was called by God to prophecy while a captive in Babylon. The account in Ezekiel 37 tells of the intervention of God's Holy Spirit in metaphorically reviving scattered bones, reviving sinew, muscle, organs, flesh, skin and finally, breath. The vision presents the nation of Israel being brought back to life after a long period of time that constituted the death of the nation.
In the Jewish view this prophecy was fulfilled when Babylon was overthrown by the Persians, and the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland. The exile had lasted for a period of seventy years. By Jewish reckoning, it proved Ezekiel as a prophet, but Ezekiel 37 doesn't figure into their end times eschatology.
Many Christian denominations, likewise, consider this vision to have been fulfilled long ago, and no longer applicable to end times prophecy. Others see the Babylonian experience as the minor fulfillment of a larger, greater, end times prophetic vision. The Romans came later, and as a destructive force, made the Babylonians look like slackers. That's a fact. If a seventy-year exile was bad, how much more so is a nearly two-thousand-year diaspora. The land, the Temple, the city of Jerusalem, the Hebrew language and culture, all lost. Truely the valley of dry bones.
The chosen people of God dispersed and scattered around the world and forced to loosely assimilate with foreign cultures in an attempt to coexist. These people who were specifically chosen by God to be a special possession, separate and apart from the nations were scattered among the nations in one of Satan's great diabolical attempts to destroy this possession of God. Through it all, however, they maintained the essence of Jewish culture and tradition. They never lost sight of the land that was theirs, and they preserved the Holy Scriptures through it all.
Then came the cataclysmic tragedy of the holocaust, where some six million Jews were heartlessly, systematically exterminated for the crime of being Jewish. Not a single one of their names is forgotten by God. Satan showed his power on earth and his relentless determination to rid the world of God's elect. But then, Jewish history turned again, and the horrors of WWII provided the motivation to drive a mass exodus leading to the re-establishment of the sovereign state of Israel, May 14, 1948. The draw of Jews to this little patch of real state continues to this day as the flow, particularly from Europe has not yet ceased. Ezekiel's prophecy of the valley of dry bones has found an ultimate fulfillment, which many consider to be the most significant prophetic sign indicating that the world has entered the period of time known as the End of Days.
‘No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. “ ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. - Ezekiel 24
The war of Gog of Magog is another vision described in Ezekiel 38 through 39 and is expected to take place at the End of Days. Israel will be attacked by a vast coalition of neighboring nations. Jerusalem will become the battle ground for this climactic war, in which God will intervene to destroy Israel's enemies. Israel had been trampled on by the nations for some nineteen hundred years, as prophesied. For nearly nineteen hundred years there was no nation of Israel to attack, but with the fulfillment of the 'dry bones' prophecy, the table is set. The enemies, all of which can today be identified as Islamic, are already aligning themselves in preparation for this all-out assault. This invasion was prophesied over 2600 years ago. Islam did not exist in those days, but in these contemporary times they openly profess their devotion to the destruction of Israel and death to Jews. They have given voice to Satan's determination to exterminate the elect of Yahweh. They've given voice to the father of lies.
In Ezekiel's prophetic writings, the great, decisive battle of Gog and Magog immediately precedes the detailed measuring and rebuilding of the Temple (see - Gog and Magog).
Jerusalem and the second Temple were demolished by the Roman legions under General Titus in 70 CE. The Romans devoted a grim and resolute determination to the demolition of the Temple, using Jewish captives as slave labor in the bringing down of one stone after another, and beating the great stones into gravel. They followed a calculated purpose of contemptuous eradication. They were thorough and deliberate. The destruction fulfilled the prophecy Yeshua had spoken to his apostles:
the Third Temple
And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." - Matthew 24:2
The point is, that the second Temple was in fact demolished and the Jewish people were either killed, taken into captivity, or scattered as a people whose homeland had been swept away forever. The need for a third Temple comes from the prophecies that clearly state there would be a temple in Jerusalem that would stand forever. The prophet Ezekiel wrote his book in Babylon, during the exile. A time when the first Temple (Solomon's) had only recently been destroyed during the Babylonian conquest. The second Temple had not even been built yet, and he was getting visions of a temple that would stand eternally. So, there must be another.
"David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore." - Ezekiel 37:24-28
Some may well wonder why anyone would bother building a third Temple in these contemporary times. What purpose would such a sanctuary serve? Surely not for the reinstitution of animal sacrifices. This is where Christian understanding conflicts with one of the primary elements of Jewish End Times prophecy.
The Christian view is that there is no need for stone cutting, an altar, or a physical rebuilding of a temple. The Messiah embodied all that the Temple was, and all that it stood for. His sacrifice abrogated the need for animal sacrifices and took the place of the High Priest forever. Christian understanding is that Yeshua personifies the earthly dwelling place for the Divine Presence of God. In the Christian view, an earthly temple no longer would serve any purpose. Besides, a majority of Christian churches even go so far as to teach that God has rejected the people of Israel, (replacement theology) and the rebirth of the Jewish nation-state was accomplished by the will of men only.
The Jewish view is quite different. The medieval sage and Torah scholar, Maimonides pointed out the eternal significance of the Temple. According to Maimonides, the Temple had two primary purposes:
First - It served as the chosen place for the Divine Presence of God, where He would allow, once a year, the High Priest to enter the "Most Holy" chamber where the Ark of the Testimony was kept and receive "all my commands for the Israelites."
Second - It housed the altar and served as the place where all the required sacrifices where made.
Maimonides had identified 613 mitzvot (commandments) in the Torah, but since the destruction of the second Temple, it's been calculated that 202 of these mitzvot cannot be performed. For the last nineteen hundred years, the Jewish people worship God in local synagogues and through Torah study. Instead of offering animal sacrifices, they now offer prayer, song, repentance, and charity.
There are Jewish organizations in Israel dedicated to the reconstruction of the Temple. Although they have no place yet to begin construction, they have been accumulating all the things they need to begin immediately, if and when they get a go-ahead. The ritual garments and vessels have been crafted, including a magnificent golden menorah and an altar. They've established a school for training the priests who will perform Temple duties. Candidates for this training are DNA tested and certified as descendants of the High Priest Aaron. Even the rare Red Heifer, is being bred in Israel to be sacrificed in the purification rituals.
We are told by both Daniel and Yeshua, that the anti-Messiah will occupy and defile the third Temple at the End of Days, before the return of Messiah. Both describe this anti-Messiah as the abomination that causes desolation. The two mentions from Daniel (actually there are three) appear to have been fulfilled when the Romans destroyed the second Temple. What is interesting is that when Yeshua describes the abomination, as spoken through the prophet Daniel, his words are part of a larger "end times" prophecy. A third Temple.
After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. - Daniel 9:26, 27
His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. - Daniel 11:31
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. - Matthew 24:15,16
In Jewish eschatology this will be the time that Mashiach (Messiah) will come. Mashiach is translated as "The anointed of God," and he will be of the ancestral line of King David, establishing the throne of David, ruling as the prince forever according to the Davidic covenant. In the Jewish view, the Messiah will be a human, chosen by God for this purpose, rather than a supernatural being. He will bring about the Messianic Age, whereby the entire world will recognize His sovereign rule under the authority of the One true God of Israel. The entire heathen world will accept conversion and acknowledge Messiah with tribute. He will then guide the world into an age of peace and justice, ultimately guiding the restoration of the world into a Garden of Eden-like-state of vitality.
Under His rule they will beat their swords into plowshares. - Isaiah 2: 4
The wolf will lie down with the lamb. - Isaiah 11: 6-9
People will again reach the age of 1,000 years. There will be no more pain of childbirth. There will no longer be strife nor illness, plague or trouble. Physical ailments and defects (corruption of the flesh) will be healed. The earth will yield fruits daily, and there will be a spiritual restoration whereby the sons and daughters of Israel will prophecy (speak for God) as a special priestly class.
The Messiah comes.
Resurrection of the dead.
Then he said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.' Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus, says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you home into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done it, says the LORD." - Ezekiel 37
This passage from Ezekiel informs the Jewish belief in the resurrection of the dead. Ezekiel, though, was only expressing a resurrection intended for the Jewish people. However, Ezekiel had a fellow prophet in the person of Daniel, who was with him in the Babylonian exile. Daniel also spoke of a resurrection, but in slightly different terms. In Daniel's version the resurrection was connected with the Day of Judgement:
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." - Daniel 12
Here the concept of the resurrection is extended to include both the righteous and the wicked. Suggesting that the resurrection that occurs on the Day of the Lord will be a general resurrection, including all mankind, who will be raised up for judgment with the wicked being dispatched to everlasting condemnation.
A burning place of shame which came to symbolize judgment and desolation. A bottomless pit, a place of destruction, the realm of the dead. The word "Gehinnom" was a place of evil, where the Canaanite child sacrifices into the fires of Moloch were conducted. Gehinnom is believed to represent a dual function, annihilation and eternal pain. The word refers to a deep valley to the south of Jerusalem, the Valley of Hinnom. It would later become the garbage pit for the city. This became the place where the bodies of dead animals, criminals, and other refuse were cast. Brimstone (sulfur) was used to keep the fires smoldering and burning. It should be noted that the whole of eschatological thought, from paradise to hell, never developed in Judaism into a dogmatic belief, although much of the imagery was borrowed and developed by the Christian church in their apocalyptic writings. Yeshua made reference to Gehenna, usually translated as "hell," in numerous places in the Gospels.
The world to come
Jewish teaching concerning the "world to come" has had many diverse points of view and postulations in times past and so it does today. In the period known as the "late Second Temple" the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead, the Essenes believed in the immortality of the soul, and the Sadducees didn't believe in either.
The Sadducee understanding was based on the fact that when man was expelled from Eden he was deprived from eating of the Tree of Life, or the food of immortality. It is noted though, that the psalmist expressed a repeated hope that God can and will provide eternal life.
A brief look at the Judeo-Christian expectations
Yeshua was first Baptized by John and anointed by the Holy Spirit of God. He was then led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days where He was tempted by the evil spirit of Satan. From there He was led by the spirit into Galilee where He began to teach and preach in the synagogues, saying "Repent, you people, for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near."
He came eventually to Nazareth, His hometown, where He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood to read from the scroll of Isaiah:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." - Luke 4
This brief reading is prophecy fulfilled. (see Isaiah 61:1,2) He was also establishing the central theme of His ministry, that the Kingdom of God has drawn near. To those present in the synagogue, this would have been stunning, as His reputation had already been growing throughout Galilee and he was already developing a following as an extraordinary prophet.
Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are parallel accounts (the synoptic gospels) of what is known as the Olivet Discourse. In this prophetic address the Messiah spells out a clear description of events that would begin following His crucifixion and lead all the way up to His return. The prophetic events that He described tie neatly in with the end times prophecies of Daniel, Revelation and others. The pebble in our shoe is, will we recognize the time of His return based on the prophecies?
Consider, the Messianic prophecies were meant to allow the Jews to recognize the Messiah. There were many and they were detailed and clear, but for the most part they didn't work. Right in front of the Hebrew scholars and trained experts in the Law and the Prophets, there was a lack of understanding needed to properly interpret the words and develop a picture of God's purpose and the purpose of His Messiah. The Messiah they got was not the Messiah they expected. It really wasn't until the prophecies were viewed in hindsight that clarity and light revealed prophecy as prophecy. It was in the rear-view mirror that prophecy was recognized, and even then, mostly denied.
Many an evangelical pastor today will stand and pontificate that as the Messianic prophecies were all written and fulfilled literally, so too it is to be expected that the End of the Age prophecies should be interpreted literally. Fair enough, but the rub is, do we have the understanding and wisdom to interpret and recognize the signs in front of our faces. Or will we only see it clearly after the fact. Could we perhaps be further along with prophetic fulfillment than we realize? Many will say, no, the return of the Lord won't happen until this happens or that happens. Yet scripture reiterates over and over again that the Day of the Lord will come at a time we do not expect, as a thief in the night. Even the scholars and experts will be taken by surprise. Just as it was nineteen hundred years ago.
The coming Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven)
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever; - Daniel 2:44
We know Daniel's prophecy did not apply to the restoration of Jerusalem following the Babylonian exile. Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed again. The kingdom described here, stands forever.
"I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7: 13-14
"Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven." - Matt: 6
"Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. - Matthew: 11
Messiah painted many pictures of the coming kingdom in the form of parables which were generally confusing to His audience of the day. In keeping with the theme of His ministry the parables often began with the words, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like..."
When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that "they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.' " - Luke 8: 10
The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed...
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed...
The kingdom of heaven is like leaven...
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field...
The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls...
The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea...
The kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure...
The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants...
The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning...
The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son...
The kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps...
The kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country...
Of course, there are many more parables and riddles cited by the Messiah, further fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 78:2-4. The Christian view of the kingdom of God is built on the foundation and is essentially consistent with Jewish eschatology. Yet, there is debate among theologians as to whether or not the kingdom has been realized since the Lord's ascension, or if it is yet to be fully instituted at some point in the future. The Messiah's own words suggest it is to come in the future. God's great interventions in human history began with the flood, then Babel and Abraham and Moses, but the greatest intervention fell to the Messiah, and since that time the good news of forgiveness of sins has been made available to mankind through Him. So, the great commission of the church is given time to preach this news and make it known throughout the world. Then the end of this age will come, and the kingdom will be inaugurated with a period of judgment.
Magog is identified as one of the sons of Japheth, one of the three sons of Noah. The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. - Genesis 10
"Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops--many people are with you. "Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them. After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely." - Ezekiel 38
Gog reappears again in prophecy in the Revelation. After Satan has been bound in the pit for a thousand years, he is released once again on mankind. Here it seems "Gog and Magog" represent the unbelieving nations of the earth which are deceived by Satan and organized against Jerusalem.
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire - Rev: 20
Why Satan is released is never explained, except that it suits the purpose of God somehow. How so much of mankind could be so easily deceived after living a thousand years under the kingdom of God is also inexplicable. We shall see.
The return of Messiah will be unexpected and surprising
"knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."
These two passages from 2 Peter 3, were written by the apostle to remind Christians to live in righteousness and welcome the Day of the Lord with wonder and gratification, not with fear.
"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that Day should overtake you as a thief." - 1 Thessalonians 5
In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul reiterates the "thief in the night" imagery adding the facet of man's delusion in declaring a time of peace and security. He also illustrates that the Day of the Lord will be a surprise, even while developing in progressive stages like a woman in labor with accelerating pains and increasing intensity until the moment of birth. This assertion parallels the Lord's parable about the fig tree developing into full bloom.
A couple of thousand years have passed since Yeshua walked the earth as a man. Many have fallen away from the faith due to what seems an unrealistic period of time. The Apostle Peter continued in his letter, reassuring the congregations that they should not let impatience be a cause for losing hope.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. - 1 Peter 3
Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the nations.
..."they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." - Luke 21
The words of the Lord from the Olivet prophecies. These words would be fulfilled some forty years later when the Roman General Titus would demolish Jerusalem and the Temple. Jews that survived the carnage were taken away as slaves and dispersed throughout the empire. Those that had fled in advance of the attack, had nothing to return to. Israel had, for all intents and purposes, been erased. Thus began the great diaspora. Jerusalem would be trampled upon by the nations as a dusty, neglected backwater until 1947 when the Jewish people began to return in large numbers and the modern state of Israel was reborn. Jerusalem itself was captured in the 1967 Six Day War. All of a sudden, the Arab Islamists have decided that Jerusalem is the third most important site in all Islam and have announced their intention to take it back by force.
A worldwide breakdown of righteousness.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! - 2 Timothy 3
Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear can know these days are upon us. The evening news are filled with the accounts and stories showing human decency in serious decline and violence and corruption on the rise as never before in history.
False Christianity will grow and become worse
"Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" - Matthew 24
The Lord, in these words, was not speaking of non-Christians. He was speaking directly of those that would present themselves as Christian leaders. The history of the ecumenical Christian church is awash with deceivers that have risen up and misled many. There is not a church in Christendom that is free of some aspect of misleading theology or doctrine. The churches do many good works and perform many worthwhile functions, all in the name of the Lord. True enough. Yet one must beware of deceptive theology that can lead people into the worship of the wrong God, giving their devotion to an abomination, or deceitful teaching that can lead to permissiveness and impropriety in one's posture and comportment in the faith. For example, worship extended to graven images. Beware indeed of the established order of clergy which commands deference and submission from the trusting laity and can lead into the worst of scandalous conduct. The Lord said:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' - Matthew 7:21,22
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. - 1 John 3
To practice lawlessness is to be outside the Torah, the teachings of God, teachings meant for all those who worship Yahweh, God, whether Jewish or Gentile Christian. Christian eschatology is clearly built upon that of Judaism, which only makes sense, never minding that there are voices on both sides which adamantly deny any connection to the other. They are like wounded brothers. Pray for them. When the Messiah comes, they'll come around.
all End-of-Days eschatology is Judeo-centric, but will engage the entire world of mankind
Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: 'Return, backsliding Israel,' says the Lord; 'I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,' says the Lord; ' I will not remain angry forever. - Jeremiah 3
the War of Gog of Magog
God will return the Jewish people to the promised land of Israel
Gehenna, Sheol, Abbadon, Tophet
Gog and Magog
"Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord." - Ezekiel 38:23
In the final part of the years, after the nation of Israel has been regathered from the nations and brought back to their ancestral land. Gog, along with a great following will come up against Israel. When Gog sets foot on the soil of Israel, the anger of God will be aroused, and divine intervention will demolish the enemies of God's chosen elect. The Christian view of this prophecy again correlates with the Jewish view. (see also - Gog and Magog).
Christian version of eschatology pretty much follows along the same lines as the Jewish version. However, Christian prophecy adds a few more details to the End of Days forecasts.
Yeshua indicated in the Olivet Discourse that all these things He prophesied concerning the End of Days would take place within the span of a single generation (Matthew 24:34). It interesting to note that the LGBTQ community was in the 'closet' not so long ago. In less than a generation they have come out in the open demanding not just toleration, but acceptance, and approval. Demanding censure of any that might express disapproval. Even so far as attacking the Bible as a "hate book". Their lifestyle is now promoted in movies and television, met with approval by the politically correct news media, taught in education at all levels, and protected by government institutions. This total turnaround has happened within the Western culture with the lightning speed of a whirlwind as only one aspect of a world gone mad.
God would return the Jewish people from the diaspora to the land of Israel
The fulfillment of this prophecy in 1948 is considered by most prophecy watchers to be the greatest sign of all prophetic signs.
When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,' says the Lord God." - Ezekiel 39:27-29
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven. - Mark 13:26,27