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Establishing a Chronology
for the Last Days
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Building a Framework for the Study of the Prophetic Scriptures

Integrating Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21

Event

Matthew 24

Mark 13

Luke 21

Departure from the Temple

Verse 1

Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!

Verse 1

Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!

Verse 5

Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,

Jesus' Admonition

Verse 2

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.”

Verse 2

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Verse 6

“These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

The Setting

Verse 3

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?”

Verses 3-4

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”

Verse 7

So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

False Signs

Verse 4-6

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. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

Verses 5-7

And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.

Verse 8-9

And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”

Signs common to every age and, which, therefore, do NOT, herald the onset of the Tribulation. See graphic.

Break in sequence indicated by the word "before" in verse 12

(Verses 10 and 11 have been inserted after verse 24 to reflect the sequence)

Verse 12-23

But BEFORE all these things (before the lead-up to The Tribulation, i.e., the "Birth Pangs Era" and The Tribulation itself), they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls. “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.

Persecution of the Early Church

Neither Matthew nor Mark describes the persecution of the early church following the Day of Pentecost and up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the 2nd Temple. Only Luke describes this. Both Matthew and Mark plunge directly into the lead-up to The Tribulation (i.e., the Birth Pangs Era) and The Tribulation itself.

Paranthesis

From the Day of Pentecost up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the 2nd Temple

Matthew skips over the destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the 2nd Temple in 70 AD

Mark also skips over the destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the 2nd Temple in 70 AD

A descriprition of the persecution
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Destruction of Jerusalem

Verse 24

And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Israel destroyed and the Jews scattered among the nations

Prophetic Time-clock ceases - 2000 years approximately

Church Age from the day of Pentecost

and the razing of the 2nd Temple in 70 AD. The Jews are scattered over all the earth

In both Daniel 9:26-27 and in Luke 21:24, a long interval of time is clearly posited. In Daniel, it’s the long interval between the time “Messiah is cut off, but not for himself” - meaning crucified for the sins of mankind (verse 26) - and the ratification of a defense pact between Israel and the Anti-christ (verse 27). In Luke 21, it’s the long interval of time extending from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, her re-establishment as the capital of the resurrected nation of Israel, and her spiritual rebirth - when at last she acknowledges Jesus to be her Messiah and a fountain of cleansing and healing is opened for her (Luke 21:24 and Zachariah 12-13). Basically, it’s the same period of time.

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Following verse 24, the break in Luke's sequence ends

Verses 10 and 11 are placed here because they describe the eschaton - meaning the lead-up to The Tribulation and The Tribulation itself - which Luke broke off from describing in verse 12 with the phrase, "but before all these things (happen)" - meaning before the Birth Pangs Era.)

Verse 10-11

Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

Birth Pangs of the Messiah

Verse 7-8

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (ὠδίν - birth pangs).

Verses 8

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.

This is the lead-up to the Tribula-tion - replete with signs of the approaching Tribulation. See graphic.

It’s during the Birth Pangs Era that the first four seals are broken and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse begin their ride. Revelation 6:1-8. Basically, what we have is apocalyptic language pointing to the sinfulness of mankind - sinfulness that, beginning with the Birth Pangs Era, is now allowed to run its full course (2 Thessalonians 2:3-7): it starts with a lust for conquest, the white horse; then, following the white horse, is the red horse, bloodshed, war, absence of peace, which is the inevitable outcome of the lust for conquest; following the red horse is the black horse, famine and scarcity, which, in its turn, is the inevitable outcome of war; then, in the wake of the black horse, is the chlorine green horse, which is death with hades right behind. It’s the same description we find in Matthew 24:7-8, Mark 13:8, and Luke 21:10-11, but cast in the form of apocalyptic language.

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The Four Horsemen

It’s during this era, the Birth Pangs Era and flowing into the Tribulation itself, that the prophecy Paul records in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 will begin to materialize: “There will be dangerous times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Nothing could be more descriptive of the on-going erosion of ethical standards now underway throughout the world, but especially here in America and in Western Europe.

Luke provides precious little description of either the lead-up to The Tribulation (i.e., the Birth Pangs Era) or The Tribulation itself. The actual description of these two eras is left to Matthew and Mark. Luke’s primary focus is the persecution that occurs following the Day of Pentecost up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the 2nd Temple.

Start of Tribulation

Israel and the Church

Start of Tribulation

Verses 9-13

 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Verse 9

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.

The beginning of Daniel's 70th week - 1st half of the Tribulation. Persecution breaks out in earnest

True to the apocalyptic language of Revelation, the two witnesses of Chapter 11 are symbolic - pointing to Israel, a witness in unbelief, and the church, a witness in belief. The two witnesses begin their ministry at the start of The Tribulation - and though they undergo persecution, quite often resulting in death, their testimony is powerful and compelling; and, during the first 3 1/2 years, resistence to it on the part of civil and military authorities incurs swift punishment. Their ministry produces a world-wide revival - the same revival Matthew records in verse 14 and Mark in verse 10.

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Gospel is preached to the ends of world

Verse 14

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Verse 10

And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.

Verses 11-13

But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

worldrevival
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Note carefully, that in both Matthew's account and in Mark's, Jesus tells us that the gospel is preached "to the ends of the earth" several verses after he describes the start of The Tribulation - which clearly means that the world-wide ministry of the gospel climaxes only during The Tribulation, not before.

The Church

Abomination of Desolation

Verse 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),

Verses 14

“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

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Mid-way through The Tribulation, the Abomination of Desolation occurs. This marks the beginning of the Great Tribulation - marked by terrible persecution.

Israel

Verse 15 presumes the reestablish-ment of Israel and the recapture of Jerusalem; otherwise what Jesus prophesies here can't take place.

The Great Tribulation

Verse 16-22

“then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go 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 who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in 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. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

Verses 15-20

Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter 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 who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter. For in those days there will be tribu-lation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.

The description of the Great Tribulation here in both Matthew 24: 21-22 and Mark 13:19-20 makes it clear that Jesus does not have in mind the tribulation that attended the destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the 2nd Temple in 70 AD. That tribulation, though terrible and horrific, was not so bad that it warrents the description Jesus gives here in both Matthew and Mark: “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

Following the 1st 3 1/2 years, a period Jesus calls the "Great Tribulation will occur. It will run its course for a 2nd 3 1/2 years.

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Second Coming Will Not Be Hidden

Verse 23-27

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Verses 21-23

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.

The Second Coming will be neither hidden nor stealthy. It will be sudden and plainly visible to the whole world.

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Final Assault against Israel

Verses 28

For where the carcass is, there the vultures will be gathered together.

Israel is the carcass - worn down after years of war and international hostility - a pathetic shadow of what she once was - a carcass. The vultures are the gentile nations preparing their final assault against Israel ~ Zechariah 12:1-3.

Final Assault against Jerusalem at

Second Coming

Verses 29-30

“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. 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.

Verses 24-26

“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

Verses 25-26

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

In the Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, the (1) Second Coming, (2) God’s wrath poured out in judgment, and (3) the rapture of the church are all conflated. Breaking it out, however, what we have is (1) the 70th week of Daniel ends (2,520 days) and the church is raptured. (2) Following that, we have the wrath of God poured out for 30 additional days - giving us 1,290 days following the Abomination of Desolation.

Rapture of Church

Verse 31

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.

Verse 27

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.

Verse 28

Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

In the Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, the (1) Second Coming, (2) God’s wrath poured out in judgment, and (3) the rapture of the church are all conflated. Breaking it out, however, what we have is (1) the 70th week of Daniel ends (2,520 days) and the church is raptured. (2) Following that, we have the wrath of God poured out for 30 additional days - giving us 1,290 days following the Abomination of Desolation.