When Will These Things Be?
It always amazes me while reading Scripture when the lights come on and you understand something for the first time. It’s that, “Wait a minute…” moment when you have to go back and reread what just caused the lights to go on in the first place.
I was reading in Matthew 24 the other day when verse 27 caught my eye, the verse reads,
“For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:27 NKJV)
Now eschatology has never been one of my strengths but I thought to myself, since when does lightning come from the east and flash to the west? Isn’t lightning random in its appearance? I’ll talk more about this later but that was the thought that triggered this further investigation of the chapter that is often called the Mini Revelation. Therefore I’d like to backtrack just a bit and do a review of the chapter from its beginning to reveal a few nuggets that may have come my way through my Full Moon Rosh Chodesh and Lunar Sabbath perspective… I’ll let you be the judge!
From the beginning of Matthew 24 Yeshua is prophesying the destruction of the Herodian temple.
In verse 3 the disciples ask Yeshua when this destruction of the temple will take place and what will be the sign of His coming and the end of the age.
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him, privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 NKJV)
In verses 4 through 14 Yeshua begins to answer by predicting the ‘beginning of sorrows’, people coming in His name, wars and rumors of wars, nations and kingdoms rising against one another along with famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. ‘They’, evidently those nations, kingdoms and peoples rising against one another will deliver the disciples of Messiah up to tribulation and kill them out of their hatred toward the disciples of Messiah. It also appears there will be within the ranks of the faith a spirit of betrayal against one another. In verse 11 we’re told many false prophets will arise deceiving many and unless I’m reading something into this it seems ‘because’ of these false prophets lawlessness will abound. But then an even stronger statement is made in verse 12 which definitely tells us that ‘because’ of the increase in lawlessness (not keeping Torah) the love of many grows cold. There are many verses in the Apostolic Writings that firmly connect the Law of Moses to the Love of Messiah and Matthew 24:12 makes that point quite well! We’re told that those who endure all of this chaos to the end will be saved and that the gospel will be preached to all nations and then the end will come.
But… the end of what?
My sense of verses 4-14 briefly discussed above would be that they deliver us to the beginning of the Great Tribulation. If the gospel is going to reach you it had better reach you by that end. From our perspective in time, I’m writing in the year 2015, we can clearly see many of the prophecies contained in that portion of Matthew 24 have been at least partially fulfilled and yet there can be no doubt a greater fulfillment is yet to come! My expectation would be that the beginning of the first half of the tribulation period is found near the end of the time period described in those verses. I suppose I’m a bit ‘old school’ but I still believe in a 7 year tribulation period which begins with the signing of a peace treaty for seven years to end the war of desolation (Daniel 9:27). I also believe that peace treaty will be signed in the fall of the year at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. In the middle of that 7-year peace treaty, that is 3.5 years later, at the time of Passover in the spring, the ‘abomination of desolation’ takes place ending the sacrifices on the Temple Mount which will have either begun or will have been about to begin. This is the mid-trib point; it is the beginning of the end of the age! It would be my expectation that if you haven’t prepared for this first 3.5 year period you may end up depending upon the government for your provision and protection which would be a bad mistake in my opinion. Provision and protection are the responsibilities of a husband; I don’t think the government will make for a very good husband! Rely on Messiah; make Him your husband! I do think it is important to be prepared as best you can for this first half of the tribulation period and I am doing whatever I can to prepare within reason. It is bound to be a tough row to hoe! It is from this extraordinarily difficult period that we then enter into the Great Tribulation period! Even after 3.5 years of trial and tribulation it can surely be said, “We haven’t seen anything yet!”
After verse 15 where Yeshua reminds the disciples of Daniel’s prophecy of the ‘abomination of desolation’ the prophecies in Matthew 24 turn to the Great Tribulation, the last 3.5 years of the 7-year tribulation period which is without a doubt still ahead of us. This is where it gets really interesting and where I’d like to spend some time with you. Whereas I feel strongly about the need to prepare for the first 3.5 years of tribulation, both spiritually and materially, I don’t think there is a thing we can do to prepare for the second half of the 7-year tribulation period except ‘spiritual preparation’. The Great Tribulation of 3.5 years will be so bad that unless YHWH provides for you and protects you, you will either die or wish you were dead! My expectation is that there will be a repeat of the falling manna from heaven!
Starting with verse 16 we’re told once we see the ‘abomination of desolation’ take place it’s time to get outa Dodge! That’s mid-western talk for getting out of Jerusalem and probably any and every city! During this incredibly tumultuous time there will be a place of safety or ‘secret place’ for those who are tuned in to Scriptural prophecy. There is a belief that I hold that says, ‘bible history is bible prophecy’. In that light the exodus out of Egypt recorded in the book of Exodus becomes bible prophecy where and when YHWH (Messiah Yeshua) provided for and protected His chosen people, there was safety in His camp. When the end of the exile from the Promised Land occurs that place of safety or ‘secret place’ will be found in the camps of the Greater Exodus as people who ‘believe’ in Messiah Yeshua and understand the prophecies of the Greater Exodus head back to the land of Israel. For those who have pre-empted the exile from the Promised Land and are already in Israel I would think it wise to get out immediately! All hell is about to break loose!
We see this in verses 16 to 21…
“then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those with nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in the winter or on the Sabbath. 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.” (Matthew 24:16-21 NKJV)
As I said, the above seems to reference only those living in the area of Jerusalem and Judea. There are other verses that suggest a place of safety or ‘secret place’ as well, amongst them is Psalm 27:5…
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5 NKJV)
I have to tell you, that sounds like Qumran and or Masada to me! But could either of them be considered a place of safety or a ‘secret place’? Then there are also people who talk about Petra in Jordan. Could that be it? I read the verse above and I think of Qumran because I’m convinced the secret place of His tabernacle has been where the tabernacle of Moses has been buried for safe keeping since the time of Jeremiah and which I believe is Qumran! But that really isn’t what we’re talking about here. Then, when I read “He shall set me high upon a rock” I immediately think of Masada where Jews retreated once before to avoid persecution. But, that really didn’t work out so well! There is however another question that begs to be asked, “Is the ‘secret place’ a specific geological location?” Let's consider the Tabernacle of Moses built in the wilderness in Exodus 35 and at the same time this quote from the verse above, "the secret place of His tabernacle". Ask yourself, what would be the 'secret place' of YHWH's Tabernacle that Moses built? There was a set apart division of that Tabernacle where only the High Priest was ever allowed to enter, it was the Holy of Holies! In the Holy of Holies the High Priest came into the presence of YWHW, Yeshua HaMashiach! I am convinced that it is in His Presence that we have the 'secret place', the place of safety! But can I confirm this?
Psalm 91 has become a powerful portion of Scripture in my life, I am convinced it pertains to the Greater Exodus at the end of the age and I believe it reveals the 'secret place' thought of as the place of safety without any doubt.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress: My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your habitation no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation. (Psalm 91:1-16 NKJV)
That sounds very much like a group of people who have placed their faith in Messiah Yeshua and are walking through the chaos and destruction that takes place during the Great Tribulation unscathed, as the wrath of YHWH is unleashed! Pay special attention to this verse quoted above, I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress: My God, in Him I will trust.” This entire Psalm helps us to see the place of safety or the ‘secret place’ is our faith in and obedience to Messiah Yeshua, which the people who are in camps cling to as they return to the Promised Land through the chaos of the Great Tribulation! There are many quotes I could take from Psalm 91 but the point here is this, If you love Messiah Yeshua, keep His commandments and in doing so you will abide in His presence and in His Presence no harm will come to you as He gives His angels charge over you!
Verse 22 is another that caught my eye…
“And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22 NKJV)
What I find interesting here is that all of the end times prophecies are couched in terms of a restored 360-day year. When this verse talks about the days will be shortened is it referring to the restoration of the original 360-day year and 30-day months? I think it is possible since there is no way to utilize the prophecies when they are couched in terms of a 360-day year unless the 360-day year exists! Does this restoration to the 360-day year take place at the mid-trib point? It would certainly make sense considering the 3.5 year great tribulation period is described as 1260 days, 42 months and time, times and half a time, i.e. a year, two years and a half a year. All of these descriptions of the last half of the tribulation period must equal each other and the only way for that to be is for the year to be restored to the original 360-day count. The question that begs to be answered then is,
“How does a restoration of the original 360-day year come about and when?”
In research that I did for another article, which you may find intriguing, titled ‘The Equinoxes ~ Past? Present! & Future?' I discovered that the ancient sky looked very different back at the time of the Flood of Noah. There were catastrophic celestial events taking place that affected the Earth, tilting its poles. I am convinced that the four gas giants of the solar system, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus were not part of the Solar System at the time of Creation. They were rather brown dwarf stars that probably brought rocky-bodied planets like Mercury, Venus and Mars with them as they were captured by our Sun. If you think about it, as science fiction as this sounds, the Creation narrative would leave you with a description of only the Sun, Moon, Stars and Earth! All other orbs of the current Solar System are invaders that caused great havoc in the Solar System before their orbits were stabilized electrically. I am an ardent believer in an Electric Universe!
In Acts 7:41-43 we’re told that YHWH turned and gave the Israelites up to worship the host of heaven after the Golden Calf incident…
And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:
‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? Yes, you took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’ (Acts 7:41-43 NKJV)
These gods that Israel was given up to worship were planetary gods which have their origin in near Earth encounters that would have scared the daylights out of anyone that witnessed them. Near the time of the Flood of Noah the Earth experienced close encounters with Saturn, Venus and Mars and from that time on are worshiped as gods as well as impersonated as gods by Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz. Saturn is also known as Moloch, Shamash, Chronos, Chiun, Remphan and was the god represented by the Apis Bull of Egypt after which Aaron fashioned the Golden Calf. Venus is represented by Asherah, the Queen of Heaven as well as Ishtar, Medusa and Diana to name just a few. Just before the exodus out of Egypt began YHWH inflicted Egypt with the 10 plagues. Those 10 plagues were designed to show everyone the superiority of the God Moses was serving over the gods of Egypt. It would not surprise me whatsoever if just before the Greater Exodus begins at the midpoint of the 7 year tribulation period just before the start the Great Tribulation everyone one of the planets which have invaded our Solar System and caused so much pagan planetary god worship will be swept from the Solar System and the Solar System will be restored to its original state at the beginning of Creation once again showing the superiority of our God of Creation and Redemption over those planetary gods!
That is not the end of this cosmological history of the Earth however. Back around 700 B.C. something took place which changed the year from 360 days to the present 365.242 days per year. This was when YHWH turned back the shadow on Ahaz’s sundial 10 degrees as a sign to King Hezekiah that YHWH would indeed extend his life another 15 years. The best info that I have read on the subject would have some space body flying past the Sun in a close encounter pulling the Sun off center from its gravitational influence on the Earth thereby retarding the Earth’s position in its orbit around the Sun by 20 minutes each and every day. That scenario avoids the utter chaos that would result from having the Earth’s rotation around its axis disturbed or its speed of orbit around the Sun dramatically and quickly changed which would no doubt result in massive tidal actions and earthquakes. Whatever happened at about 700 B.C. we can expect the reverse of it in the near future! When the year is restored to 360 days via this cosmological event along with the ‘abomination of desolation’ there will be no doubt as to where we are in prophecy, it will dramatically and unequivocally mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation!
How is it that verse 22 says, “for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened”? Could it be because only the elect are studied in these prophecies that require a restored 360-day year in order to make any sense of the prophecies that prepare the elect?
Verses 23-26 then set up verse 27 letting us know that the coming of the Son of Man will be extraordinary, everyone will know the Messiah has returned! It won’t be anyone’s privileged information that they can share with you in private.
I’ll quote verse 27 again for familiarity…
“For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:27 NKJV)
Once again, when I read that I had to wonder since when did lightning come from the east and flash to the west? I began to wonder if there was a greater truth here than the translation was providing me so I began to look up the word translated as ‘lightning’. The word is Strongs G796 which is pronounced as-trap-ay’ and it does mean ‘lightning’ but can also mean ‘of the gleam of a lamp’ according to Thayer, the Strong’s definition has it as ‘lightning’ by analogy ‘glare’: - lightning, bright shining.
That seemed to me to leave a little wiggle room so I looked up the root word which is Strong’s G797 and is pronounced as-trap’-to. According to Thayer the definition is ‘to lighten’, of dazzling objects. The Strong’s definition has it as ‘to flash as lightning: - lighten, shine.
The ‘dazzling objects’ description caught my attention and I looked at the root word of G797 which is probably Strong’s G792. The Thayer definition has it simply as ‘star’ whereas Strong’s define it as ‘a star’ (as strown over the sky), literally or figuratively: - star.
All of this causes me to think the verse would have been translated more properly if Strong’s G796 would have been translated as ‘a great light’! I can think of TWO GREAT LIGHTS, both of which are bright, shining, dazzling objects, similar to a star which are both strown over the sky as they rise and shine from the east to the west. They, of course, would be the Sun and the Full Moon!
All of the above reminds me of this from Malachi…
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble, and the day which is coming shall burn them up,” says the LORD of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,” says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 4:1-3 NKJV)
Is this referencing the Great Tribulation? There are reasons to believe so, the comforting thing is that for those who believed in Him while still in your slavery He shall rise with healing in His wings! My point here is that when Messiah Yeshua shows up He is going to put on a light show that will put all others to shame! There will not be a single person on planet Earth that will not know the Son of Man just showed up! For those who have not believed in Him this will be a moment of great dread, for those of us who have placed our faith and obedience in Him it will be a moment of unsurmountable vindication! But there is more!
For that I must skip to verse 29…
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Matthew 24:29 NKJV)
My first thought was that if my expectation of Messiah Yeshua returning on Yom Teruah is correct then the fact that the moon will not give its light is a rather moot point to be making if the New Moon of Yom Teruah is in fact a Dark Moon Conjunction since it has no light to give. That wouldn’t make sense in my mind. A Full Moon as New Moon would fit the prophecy much better; if the sun is darkened then the Full Moon will not give its light which it would have had to offer if the sun was shining. Nevertheless verse 30 and 31 carries on with the subject at hand…
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31 NKJV)
If I am reading this correctly it appears that Messiah Yeshua returns for His Bride in the middle of the night, or in the middle of this total darkness that results from the sun, moon and stars being darkened. That would perfectly fit the Jewish wedding tradition and the parable of The Ten Virgins when all the virgins have been alerted that the Bridegroom is coming at midnight (the trumpet blast) and the five wise virgins have lamps that burn brightly while the foolish virgin’s lamps have begun to dim or are extinguished altogether. Can you imagine Messiah Yeshua returning to Earth in all His glory and from His perspective far above the surface of the Earth, He looks down upon the darkness of the Earth and sees the burning lamps of His awaiting and prepared Bride! Wow! That’s quite a thought!
Verses 32-34 talk about the parable of the fig tree and those who are able to read the signs of His coming; hopefully that’s what this article is about. I won’t quote those verses here but will rather move on to verse 36 and onward.
Verse 36 gives this intriguing statement…
“But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
But wait a minute! If I know that Messiah Yeshua is coming on Yom Teruah in order to fulfill that Fall Festival, don’t I at least know the day? No… I don’t! Not if there has been an extended period of darkness without light from the Sun, Moon and Stars! That is talking about the The Master’s Clock being disabled from communicating its message of time reckoning! Without the Sun, Moon and Stars shining in the heavens it is impossible for anyone to tell time! No wonder no man knows the day nor the hour of Messiah’s coming! This total darkness probably doesn’t last for too terribly long, less than a week I would think. It would seem without supernatural intervention the Earth would get extremely cold extremely quick without the sun’s light and therefore its heat. Can you imagine Messiah Yeshua returning to planet Earth as a ‘dazzling object’ in the totally dark heavens, this is going to be something we’ll want to see with our own eyes, we must be prepared!
In verses 37-42 Yeshua compares His coming to the days of Noah…
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:37-42 NKJV)
It is a given that here Messiah Yeshua is noting that His coming will be a surprise to many who are not prepared. We know that in the time of Noah there was a great evil, so great that YHWH repented of creating mankind in the first place, His wrath will be poured out upon mankind once more! There can be no doubt that the forces brought to bear creating the Flood of Noah rearranged the face of the Earth, I believe the forces brought to bear as YHWH pours out His wrath during the Great Tribulation will once again rearrange the face of the Earth. I am talking about extreme weather, the likes of which we have never known, every form of severe weather you can imagine amplified to the 10th magnitude, city swallowing earthquakes, relentless ocean roaring tsunamis leaping onto the coastlands snatching everything within their reach, hundreds if not thousands of volcanic eruptions blanketing millions of square miles at a time, continental displacement rendering planet Earth unrecognizable and electrical scarring, as is seen on every planet, moon, asteroid and comet in this solar system, via close encounters with space bodies from outside our solar system. I don’t believe in a present day place of fiery eternal torment called hell but the wrath of YHWH poured out on mankind will be as though hell broke loose on the face of planet Earth. Add to that plagues of locust stripping crops to the ground resulting in famine as well as plagues of disease enveloping the nations. I think you get the picture and yet none of us can, it is so beyond our worst nightmares. But… having said all of that, there is another thing that I know beyond a shadow of doubt about the days of Noah, there were 360 days in every year and so it will be when Messiah Yeshua returns!
For the third time we’re told in verses 43-44 that we will not know the hour of His coming as He comes as a thief in the night…
“But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him. (Matthew 24:43-44 NKJV)
The Bride Groom will come as a thief in the middle of the night at an hour we cannot discern for the lights of heaven have been extinguished, time reckoning has been temporarily shut down.
If I have truly gained any insight in this last reading of Matthew 24, I could always be wrong of course, but if the lights have come on in my understanding of eschatology, at least in a limited sense, then it is only because of my Full Moon Rosh Chodesh and Lunar Sabbath reckoning of time. It would seem to me that most would read these same verses and miss what naturally occurred to me because of the perspective I have relating to the keeping of time according to His timepiece in the heavens, the Sun, Moon and Stars, i.e. The Master’s Clock!
Matthew chapter 24 ends with Messiah Yeshua praising and rewarding the faithful servant put in charge of His household and found doing the will of the Master at the Master’s coming but also a warning to the evil servant who guards over His house. When he sees the Master’s return delayed he turns against his fellow servants and because he doesn’t know when the Master will return he is found in his disobedience and is punished with the hypocrites.
Time is short people…
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near!”
(Luke 21:28 NKJV)