Interpreting Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 like a DispensationalistPosted: March 11, 2009
PDF of class lecture
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Interpreting from the Pre-Trib and Pre-Mil view
I want to start off with saying a few things…
First: I am not a professor (yet) and I hope you can all bear with me.
Second: I am doing this so that you can learn more about your brothers in Christ.
Third: This is a ton of information in a short amount of time, so I will decided the questions in which will be answered during the time of the lecture. If you some how get lost, or I explain things maybe not in a way that you are following a long, then please do raise your hand and allow me to clarify, but I will not have the time to start answering questions and spend time talking through what you can do in your own private study of other views, if you do that. So, with that let us get started.
The first thing I want to look at is the Dispensationalist view. It is important to point out here that all ultra, classical, and progressive dispensationalists hold to both a rapturing of the New Testament church before the tribulation period, and a Pre-Millennium view of Christ’s literal reign on earth. The reasons for these views come mainly from their hermeneutics, which hold to a strong Historical, Grammatical, and Literal Interpretation of all Scripture. This hermeneutic leads to the area that creates the major difference in the lens in which Dispensationalist and Reformed/Covenant Theology differs – that is, the distinction between the church and Israel. From that root comes a totally different mind-set, in which one views not only eschatology, but also the church, and how covenants are fulfilled throughout time. I will give you one example, then we will get started with both Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 from a dispensationalist interpretation. Would you like for me to show you an example of this or not? VOTE?
2 Samuel 7: Covenant made with Israel for David as King à David King à Christ to fulfill Kingship of Israel à Christ rules today on His throne, which you would say is David’s throne, Ephesians 1:21-22. Therefore the Davidic Covenant is being fulfilled.
2 Samuel 7: Covenant made with Israel for King à David Kingà Christ to fulfillà Christ rules on His heavenly throne today à will fulfill what He promised to Israel and sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem and have a earthly reign, Revelation 20.
The same goes for all of the covenants… that what Christ promised His people – both the church and Israel – Christ and His work will fulfill them all literally.
Example: The dispensationalist would say something like this…
Jesus Christ fulfilled both the Mosaic (The Law) and Edenic (Genesis 3:15) covenants literally – in Christ himself, and in His work. Therefore, all covenants promised to both Israel and the New Testament Church (Abrahamic, Davidic, and the New Covenant) will be fulfilled literally by Christ and His work on earth.
You may be able to see this more clearly by looking at how they interpret passages like Daniel 9.
The Pre-Tribulation and Pre-Millennial View of Daniel 9
I. 9:1-27 The Prophecy of the 70 Weeks
Daniel 9, as we know, is the third vision in Daniel’s prophecies. I think to give justice to the dispensationalist it would be far better to look at Daniel 7 and 8, and then come to 9. However, I have been asked to address Daniel 9, so that is what I’ll do. There is much to cover in this passage, as looking at it, the dispensationalist would say something like: “this chapter is the key to understanding prophecy for both Israel and Gentiles.”
A. 9:1-19 Daniel’s Great Prayer
1. 9:1-2 The 70 Years of the Desolations of Jerusalem
Verses 1-2 – Daniel 9:2 states: “In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.”
The dispensationalist sees this as Daniel understanding the prophecy of Jeremiah, and determining that the desolations of Jerusalem would be fulfilled in seventy years. For the sake of your own further study, it would be good to read Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10-14 when you get a chance to. These are the passages that Daniel was able to understand here, and that brought him to pray for the restoration of Israel and the re-gathering of the Lord’s Nation.
As Daniel studied Jeremiah 25:11-13, he saw that God had appointed a period of seventy years for the captivity of Israel (v. 2), at the end of which, Babylon itself would be smitten by a God-directed stroke of judgment. Daniel was gripped by these words in Jeremiah 29:10: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place [Jerusalem].”
Daniel asked himself, “When did those seventy years begin? How soon will they end?” The event here in verse 1 took place in 539 or 538 (“the first year of Darius son of Xerxes [Ahasuerus]”), thus, less than fifty years had elapsed since the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar (587 B.C.) and the destruction of the temple in 586. But for the earliest possible terminus a quo for the seventy years of exile, the year of Daniel’s own captivity in Babylon (604 B.C.) would be the starting point for the seven decades. While 538 might be three or four years short of the full seventy, it was not too soon for Daniel to begin praying.
***Several principles emerge from Daniel’s reference to Jeremiah’s prophecy.
1. Daniel took the 70 years literally and believed that there would be a literal fulfillment of Israel coming back to their Lord.
2. Daniel realized that the Word of God would be fulfilled only on the basis of prayer, and this we see here in the chapter.
3. Daniel recognized the need for confession of sin in order for restoration to occur.
2. 9:3-4 Daniel’s Preparation for Prayer
Verses 3–4 – In view of the recent collapse of the Chaldean Empire and the benevolent attitude of Cyrus the Great toward the religious preferences of his newly conquered subjects, Daniel was moved to claim the promise implied by the number seventy from the passages in Jeremiah he had read. So he implored the Lord God to reckon those years from the year of his own exile, and to ensure the reestablishment of the commonwealth of Israel in the Land of Promise by seventy years from the first Palestinian invasion of King Nebuchadnezzar. Although this passage does not actually mention the predictions concerning King Cyrus that were revealed to Isaiah back in the early seventh century – during Manasseh’s reign – it is fair to assume that Daniel knew about them. Isaiah 44:28 quotes Yahweh as saying, “Who says of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose; saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built, and of the temple, Your foundation shall be laid.”
3. 9:4-14 Daniel’s Prayer of Confession
Verses 4-6 – These people had richly deserved the destruction of their cities and the loss of their property, freedom, and native land; and they lacked any ground of merit on which to entreat God’s favor. The only basis for Daniel’s approach to God was his earnest desire for God to glorify Himself by displaying the riches of His mercy and grace in pardoning and restoring His guilty, but repentant, people to their land in fulfillment of His promise in Jeremiah 25 and 29.
With these convictions Daniel devotes himself to a prayer of adoration and confession (vv. 4-6). It is significant that in this chapter Daniel for the first time uses the sacred word, the covenant name of Yahweh. Even though he found himself exiled from the sacred soil of Israel, Daniel boldly claimed Yahweh’s mercy as the covenant-keeping God of Israel. Although he addressed him as Adonai (“Lord”) in the opening sentence of his prayer and in verse 7, Daniel addresses Him directly as Yahweh (“LORD”) in verse 8, and refers to Him by the same covenant name in vv. 10, 13, and 14. To you, you see nothing; to the Dispensationalist he sees that this is showing the reader that Daniel is showing ISRAEL and not NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH.
In his first words (v. 4), Daniel combines both aspects of God’s nature – His sublime transcendence and His covenant-keeping grace. Daniel glorifies Him as the “great and awesome God” and also as the faithful, promise-keeping God who never forsakes those who love and obey Him. Whatever may have been the grumbling and bitterness of the majority of the exiles over their terrible calamities, Daniel was clear on the holy love and absolute sovereignty of Yahweh. It was not because Yahweh did not care for His people that He allowed them to go down in utter defeat; nor was it because of His inability to withstand the power of the gods of Babylon. It was only because they had forced His hand by the shameless sin.
“We have sinned and done wrong” (v. 5), Daniel confesses as the spokesman of his people. “We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.” (Lured on by the rhetoric of those who had heaped scorn on the old taboos and outworn shibboleths of the past (as they considered the holy standards of the Torah), the Jews had succumbed to the pagan cultures by which they were surrounded.) They were unwilling to repent at the rebuke and warning of God’s prophets (v. 6), like Isaiah and Jeremiah. The whole nation had become involved in rejecting the Lord; there remained such a small remnant of faithful believers that Judah was not worth saving from the coming destruction. Daniel could find no extenuation for their betrayal of their sacred trust.
Verses 7-11a –This paragraph stresses the humiliation of the Hebrew people in the eyes of all the heathen. Back in the days of Moses, it was said of them: “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6). He had promised them military success so long as they remained faithful to Him: “The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you” (Deuteronomy 28:7). They would enjoy the respect of all the nations around them: “Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you” (Deuteronomy 28:10). But now all of that was reversed. From the time when King Josiah died at Megiddo (609 B.C.), the nation met with defeat by the Egyptians and the Babylonians. It was laid waste, and all its inhabitants were killed or exiled as slaves. Instead of respect from the pagan nations round about, the Jews became objects of scorn (vv. 7-8), deprived of property and freedom, and derided for their claim to know the one true God. What made their disgrace even more shameful was their flagrant ingratitude toward their compassionate, forgiving God (v.9), whose pardon and mercy they ridiculed and rejected (vv. 10-11a).
Verses 11b-14 – In this paragraph, Daniel exalts the justice of God in dealing with His people according to all His warnings and promises in the days of Moses (v. 11b; cf. Deuteronomy 28-32). As Daniel put it: “You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster … Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins … The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything that he does; yet we have not obeyed him” (vv. 12-14).
4. 9:15-19 Daniel’s Petition for Forgiveness and Restoration
Verses 15-19 – Daniel goes on to appeal to God’s pity on the exiled nation and her ruined city of Jerusalem (v. 16). He bases his appeal wholly on God’s own honor and glory. “For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary” (v. 17). Like Moses in his prayer of intercession after the golden calf apostasy (Exodus 32:12-13), Daniel was chiefly concerned about the tarnishing of God’s reputation in the eyes of the world (vv. 18-19). If Yahweh allowed His sanctuary and holy city to lie permanently in ruins and His people to remain in exile, then who among the surrounding nations would believe that the God of the Bible was the true and holy Sovereign over all the universe? “Give ear, O God, and hear … For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name” (vv. 18-19). That, in Daniel’s mind, was the worst thing about the tragedy of Jerusalem’s fall and the captivity of Judah – all the pagans would surely conclude that it was because of Yahweh’s inability to protect His people against the might of Babylon’s gods that Israel had fallen and had been driven out of her soil, their land.
B. 9:20-27 Daniel’s Great Prophecy (20-23)
Verses 20-23 – In verse 20 we know Daniel has been praying, and we learn that an angel is sent to Daniel at the very beginning of his prayer. Through verse 21 we know Gabriel touched Daniel about the time of the evening oblation; and verse 23 then confirms Gabriel’s reason of being there – which is to give Daniel a proper understanding of what has been revealed to him. This is essentially the story’s climax as God reveals to Daniel the plan for Israel and the second coming of Christ to establish His kingdom on the earth.
Verses 24-27 – I’ll give you a quick overview:
24 – the prophecy is given as a whole
25 – the first 69-7’s are described
26 – the events between the sixty-ninth seventh and the seventieth seventh
27 – the final period of the seventieth seven
1. 9:24 The Revelation of the Seventy Seven’s of Israel
Verse 24 sets forth the approach of the seventy sevens of years during which God would accomplish His plan of national and spiritual redemption for Israel. The dispensationalist sees three conclusions from verse 24:
1. The term “week” refers to a unit of seven, in this context seven years. Therefore, the prophecy here deals with a time span of 490 years.
2. The seventy years began to count at year 445 B.C. when king Artaxerxes gave official permission to Nehemiah to rebuild and refortify Jerusalem.
3. When the Messiah is cut off, the seventieth week is postponed to the end time – which is still future to our day – and will be concluded with the second coming of Christ and the destruction of the Antichrist.
The dispensationalist believes that the prophecy here does not focus on the church but rather on “your people” (Israel) and “your holy city” (Jerusalem). The hermeneutical stance is the key that unlocks the meaning of many prophetic Scriptures that have remained obscure during the centuries when Israel and the Church have been considered to be essentially the same entity.
2. 9:25 The Fulfillment of the Sixty-Nine Seven’s
Verse 25 is crucial in that it states that from the time the decree was issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah – the Ruler – comes, there will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens. It should be observed that only sixty-nine of the weeks are listed here, broken into two segments. The first segment of seven amounts to forty-nine years during which the city of Jerusalem is to be rebuilt with streets and a trench. Some dispensationalists see the possibility that Daniel intends the prophetic years to be understood in the frame of the 360-day year rather than our 365-day year. If that is the case, it is quite an interesting coincidence that it would bring us to the year 33 A.D. In support of the 360-day calendar, Daniel refers to “the middle of the week,” which is a time period that is described in Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, and 13:5 as lasting 1262 days or 42 months. Since the book of Revelation uses a 360-day year for its calculations it seems reasonable that Daniel did the same.
3. 9:26 Prophesied Events After the Sixty-Ninth Seven
1. Verse 26 specifies the termination of the sixty-nine weeks – the cutting off of the Messiah. That is to say, after the appearance of Messiah as Ruler, 483 years after the sixty-nine weeks have begun, He will be cut off. This accords very well with a three-year ministry of the Messiah prior to His crucifixion.
Verse 26 goes on to say that after the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One [Messiah] will be cut off and will have nothing. This indicates that when Messiah is cut off, His follower’s will leave him; all of them will flee from Him at the time of His arrest, trial, and death.
2. The second sentence of Verse 26 – “The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary” – perhaps would be more accurately translated, “The people of a prince who shall come will destroy both the city and the sanctuary.”
From the standpoint of subsequent history, this would seem to be a very clear reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus in A.D. 70. It was then that the city and the sanctuary were completely destroyed. This event took place forty years after the event of Calvary, or forty-three years after the end of the sixty-ninth “week” – if the 457 B.C. theory is correct for the commencement of the seventy weeks.
The next two sentences indicate what is to happen after the destruction of Jerusalem: “The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” (More literally this might be translated thus: “And the end of it will be in the overflowing, and unto the end there will be war, a strict determination of desolations” or “the determined amount of desolations.”) The general tenor of this sentence is in striking conformity with Christ’s own prediction in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:7-22). There He stated that hardships, suffering, and war would continue right up to the end of the present age, culminating in a time of unparalleled tribulation. It is important to observe that this entire intervening period is referred to before the final or seventieth week is mentioned in verse 27. It is difficult to explain why this is so, if in point of fact the entire seventy weeks are intended to run consecutively and without interruption. It seems far more reasonable to infer that a long period of time of war and desolation is to intervene between the sixty-ninth week (when Messiah appears at His first advent) and the seventieth week, which is to usher in His second advent.
4. 9:27 The Seventieth Seven – Read Whitcomb and the Gaelebin statements on 27.
Verse 27 says, “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
The dispensationalist says here that there is no place in history where such an event can be placed – including not at the crucifixion like some have supposed. Never in the New Testament nor in the history of the church has anyone ever made a ‘seven covenant’ with “the many” in Israel and then terminated it after three and half years. It is important to make mention here that this prophetic event uses the same time units previously described in the end time activities of the “little horn” – which is the Antichrist – found in Daniel 7.
Daniel 7:25 says, “He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”
Daniel 9:27 provides clarification of this event as it looks at the second half of the final 7-year period, which dispensationalists call the tribulation. The second three and half years of the tribulation is when the Antichrist “shall cause a strong covenant with many.” Then for some unexplained reason, “in the middle” of this final seven year period, “he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offerings.” The dispensationalist sees much significance in these words.
First, if the Antichrist is to stop the sacrifices, that means that the sacrificial system must have been previously instituted; because what can stop, if it was never started? They say this is possible because of the “two witnesses” of Revelation 11:3-6. The have irresistible authority in Jerusalem during the first three and half years of the tribulation, and will also be instrumental in arranging the terms of this covenant with the “little horn,” for not until they are killed by him is he able to break the covenant and terminate the sacrificial system.
Secondly, “the middle of the week” not only constitutes the end of the covenant that the Antichrist had made and the temple sacrifice period, but also commences a dreadful period described in these terms: “And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
The wing here refers to the summit or the pinnacle of the Temple, “which has become so desecrated that it no longer can be regarded as the temple of the Lord.” These abominations are spoken of by the Lord as to be in the future from His own day: “When you see the Abomination of Desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet,” says Jesus in Matthew 24:15-16.
Go to pages 233-237 of Walvoord’s commentary and read highlighted sections to end. #’s 1-4 That I have marked.
Dispensationalist – The Pre-Tribulation and Pre-Millennial View of Matthew 24
I. 24-25 The Prophetic Anticipation of Their King
A. 24:1-3 The Inquiry of Jesus
Here Jesus has completed His discussions and debates with the religious leaders, which took place in the previous chapter – which happens to be one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible, as Jesus tells off the religious leaders, the traditionalists, the legalists, etc. Jesus leaves there and we know He is on His way to Bethany, as seen in Matthew 26:6. On the way there He stops at the Mount of Olives, according to Matthew 24:3, and that is where we are at now.
Verse 1 – The disciples point out the buildings of the temple area to Jesus as if to impress Him with their magnificence.
Verse 2 – Jesus responds to them saying, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Here, Christ is saying that the temple will be destroyed, and Jerusalem with it. This statement by Christ would prompt the disciples to ask that which follows in verse 3…
Verse 3 – The disciples asked 1) When will this happen? 2) What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the Age? These are the two questions, which then allow Jesus to give the following discussion. Here the pretribulationist would say that these questions the disciples asked in Matthew 24:3 are related to the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, and the sign of the Lord’s coming at the end of the age (2nd Coming). Therefore, these would have nothing to do with the church, nor is the church present at all in Matthew 24 and 25. Here in this passage as recorded in the book of Matthew, Jesus does not answer the first question, but in Luke 21:20 He does. There, He says, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.” The premillennialist says here that Jerusalem has never been surrounded by “armies” and will not be until the rising up of nations against them, which is foretold in the book of Revelation. They also would say that the disciples would have thought about Zechariah 14:1-2, “Behold, a day is coming for the LORD, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
B. 24: 4-8 The Coming Time of Trouble (Beginning of the Tribulation)
Verses 4–8 – Here Jesus begins to teach about the events leading up to His return to earth. Verses 4-26 outline the literal chronological order of events that will take place before Christ’s coming. Here, verses 4-8 are the first half of the seven-year tribulation period that will precede Christ’s coming. That period is the 70th week of Daniel 9:27. These events will be those that are mentioned in Revelation 6 – the Seven Seals.
This period of time will be characterized by a number of things…
1. Matthew 24:4-5 – False Christs – Revelation 6:1 – 21st seal is the Antichrist
2. Matthew 24:6-7a – wars and rumors or wars; nations raising up against other nations – Revelation 6:3-4 – 2nd seal is warfare
3. Matthew 24:7b – Unusual disturbances of nature, such as famines – Revelation 6:5 – 63rd seal is famine
4. Revelation 6:5-6 are the 4th and 5th seals which bring Martyrdom and Death
5. Matthew 24:7b – Earthquakes – Revelation 6:12-14 – 6th seal is an earthquake
In verse 8, Jesus calls these events the beginning of ‘birth pains,’ meaning that the beginning of the end is done, and the end of the age is to come.
C. 24:9-14 The Coming Time of Trouble (Middle of the Tribulation)
1. Verse 9 – Jesus begins here using a word that shows the chronology of events He is explaining – that word being “Then.” This is referring to the mid-point of the tribulation, where great distress will take place in Israel. The Antichrist will have been raised to power and, as mentioned in Matthew 24:4, will have come to full power and break his treaty that he had made with Israel (Daniel 9:27). Here the dispensationalist sees that Christ is talking to the Jews, meaning that in the time of this tribulation, these people – the Jews – will be killed, as persecution will be on Israel (which is also mentioned in Daniel 7:25). This time will result in the death of many Jews, which is clear in Matthew 24:9.
2. Verse 10 – Here it is understood that believing Jews will be betrayed by nonbelievers, and many Jews will end up being deceived by the rising false prophets. Dispensationalists parallel this with Revelation 13:11-15.
3. Verse 13 – Now Christ addresses those who have remained faithful to the Lord until the end, as He says in Matthew 24:13, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” It is important to make quick mention that this is not a personal effort of perseverance in salvation, but is the literal deliverance of Israel – of those who have come back to their Savior during the tribulation – who will then enter the kingdom with their physical bodies when Christ returns.
4. Verse 14 – Says, “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations.” This will be the terrible time of the persecution of those who have come back to the Lord. The Lord will still have many of His people continue to spread the gospel, and the dispensationalist sees this as being similar to what John the Baptist did in clarifying the identity of Jesus to others. This is the same message that was preached before the church, to the church, and will be preached after the church – that is, “repent and follow Christ.” The only difference is that the message in the tribulation will stress the Kingdom of God, and that those who turn back to Christ will receive the literal fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant; that on His throne in Jerusalem, their King Jesus Christ will give them the kingdom that He so willingly offered before at His first coming. Many respond to those message, and that is seen in Revelation 7:20.
D. 24: 15-26 The Coming of Trouble (End of the Tribulation)
Verses 15-26 – Christ has given the events that will take place during the tribulation, and He now speaks of the greatest sign to come in that period.
Verse 15 – States: “The abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel.” This was spoken in Daniel 9:27. The desolation is referring to the disruption of Jewish worship, which will be reinstated in the tribulation temple. Daniel 12:11 reads, “And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.”
1. Revelation 13:14-15 – Speaks about the Antichrist setting up an image of himself in the temple. This event, they say, will be literal and recognized by everyone at the time. The following verses – Matthew 24:16-26 – speak of the events that will take place at the end of the tribulation: the fleeing to the mountains in verse 16, and the “not taking anything with them” in verses 17 and 18. Dispensationalists believe that this will be a time of great distress, unlike anything that has ever come into this world; and they say that this is the prophecy found in Jeremiah 30:7, which says, “Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.” They (the dispensationalists) would say that in Matthew 24:19 Jesus is showing just how difficult it will be to live during this tribulation.
2. Matthew 24:22 – Brings encouragement as Christ tells His people that these days will be short. Dispensationalists see this as Him telling Israel that the days of tribulation will be terminated. Matthew 24:22 says, “But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” This period is cut short for the simple reason that if it were to continue, all believers of the gospel would die. Those who are redeemed during the tribulation in the House of Israel will then enter into the Kingdom of God at Christ’s physical return. I must note here that because the church has already been raptured before these events, they will be brought down to earth to reign with Christ over His kingdom on earth.
3. Matthew 24:23-24 – Reads, “Then if anyone says to you, Look, here is the Christ! or There he is! do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Here it is seen that Christ is telling Israel that false christs will be around during this time of tribulation preaching messages of salvation and performing miracles, seeking to deceive people, including the elect. If we had more time I would go back and look at some of Christ’s previous statements about false prophets in Matthew 7:15-20; 9:34; and 1 John 4:1.
E. 24: 27-31 The Coming of the Son of Man
Verses 27-31 – The “coming” mentioned here in verse 27 shows that Christ has not yet been bodily on earth a second time. It says here that His coming will be like “lightning,” meaning that all will visibly see the literal coming of Christ to earth. Here the “Son of Man” will come quickly in judgment for those on earth. This coming is displayed from the heavens according to Matthew 24:29, Isaiah 13:10, and Joel 2:31; 3:15-16 and will display the appearing of His “sign” in the sky, as Matthew 24:30 says. This appearance of the sign in the sky will cause the nations to mourn because they will then see that their judgment has come.
Dispensationalists do admit that the sign of the sky is unknown. However, it will be like Daniel 7:13 states: “with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30-31 shows that at Christ’s return He will then gather His elect. These elect are those who have become believers during the Seventieth Week of Daniel and who have been scattered into the number of parts of the world because of the persecution they had faced, as says Matthew 24:16. This gathering will also involve the Old Testament saints, whose resurrection will occur at this time so that they can share in the Kingdom of God and Jesus’ literal reign, which is expressed in Daniel 12:2-3 and 13, which read:
Verses 2 and 3 – “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. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Verse 13 – “But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”
II. 24: 32-51 Jesus’ Confirmation by Parables
I am sorry, but due to time I cannot go through the parables. I do think that if you understand the dispensationalists interpretation of the passages we just looked at, then you will have some idea as to how they would see Christ’s parables of both the Fig Tree and The Faithful Servant.
A. 24: 32-44 The Fig Tree
Read John Walvoord’s Commentary for an example of the Dispensationalist interpretation of what it is exactly that they believe here.
B. 24: 45-51 The Faithful Servant
C. 25:1-30 The Coming Judgment on Israel
D. 25:31-46 The Coming Judgment on Gentiles
I want to end with this thought: that if a Historic-Premillennialist sees no difference between Israel and the Church, and that there is only one nation, one grouping of God’s people, then where would the difference be if they saw otherwise? What would have changed in the interpretation?
Are there any questions?