Not A Matter Of Timing

A quick look at the Olivet discourse in Matt 24 is a good place to start:

-- Click To Expand/Collapse Bible Verses -- Matt 24:14-22
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Mat 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:)
Mat 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Mat 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Mat 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
Mat 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
Mat 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
Mat 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.
Mat 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. (KJV)

The theory goes that the great tribulation follows after the preaching of the gospel to all nations. Not so, for Christ states in detail the answer to three separate questions asked of Him;

Christ answers the first in verses Matt 24:4-6 (as the end is not yet): false Christs and false doctrine and false prophecies are expounded upon in verses 4, 5 and up to verse 7. He continues on to answer that first question in verses Matt 24:7-14 (as there is a satanic backlash) because Christ Himself is come already, (this is not the sign He is already there with them right there and then, and certainly not the sign after all great tribulation, for all those events mentioned are the "beginning of sorrows"). He expounds on these three things in verses 9 to 14, for in the next verse He states "then shall they deliver you..."

Now, the rest is hotly debated, yet the phrase in the (apparent) third question is like to that of the second, because "end of the world" is also equivalent to "end of the age" , the word for "world" being "Aeon" - yet Christ is still revealing "when shall these things be", concerning the destruction of Jerusalem (the fligght not being yet). That word "end" is also misread, but the "beginning of sorrows" has its own end in those that heed Christ's warnings of the destruction of Jerusalem as to come by Titus. The commandment to flee is given those that would heed Him; the result is that those that endure in hardship in the mountains (not in winter or without the free ability to be removed from there as on the sabbath except in all haste) will certainly have to endure, but those that do so will be saved. (And so will remain or be preserved alive.)

Then the early "church" was certainly persecuted (verse 9) many jews opposed them as "thorns in the flesh" (verse 10) and many false apostles arise in Judea in the churches (cf. verse 5). False prophecies then abound as in verse 6 and verse 7 then states these things are not signs, but are to be expected as the natural events they are.

The love of many "waxed" cold: the jews following Christ were caught in the "mystery of iniquity" as they mixed the law and the gospel and many fell away. Surviving this opposition to its conclusion (with the destruction and "end" of the nation of Judea) those that would persevere would be saved in Christ.

So, Christ answers when the end of the age shall be with the sign of His second coming: after the gospel is preached to all nations as stated juxtaposed with the destruction to come. Jesus returns to that alternate subject of Jerusalem's desctruction with advice to flee when the satanic backlash arrives for the discovering of the desolation of the temple that has, sadly, been hidden all those without understanding. This subject matter is so dangerous Christ did not then expound upon it; if he had Satan would surely have raised up a "horn" and destroyed the people of Judea much earlier. Satan could not risk the application of the wormwood device as known so openly - it was a reckless act, albeit discovered too late by the church itself, also causing that backlash in Titus' destruction of Jerusalem.

Only after this, then, in Matt 24:21 does great tribulation truly begin; it was not yet right then in the destruction of Jerusalem, but it continues on to its completion this very day. (A message often misinterpreted from the messenger, but with a truth remaining in it still.) There is no second half of that tribulation to begin over again; the tribulation has remained for the best part of 2000 years already.

The signs of Christ's coming and of the very end of the age are then given, in sequence, in verses 23-28 and culminate in verses 29-30 and the end with the final judgement in the last resurrection is given as in verse 31 onward.

The age ("generation") of Christ's brethren and gospel will not end until all these things be fulfilled (verse 34).

Read on to the great tribulation proper. It begins with the destruction of Jerusalem and does not end with it. The tribulation ends only with the end of the election of grace, as stated in verse 29.

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