The Wrath Of God; Matthew/Ezekiel/Revelation

 The seal judgments and Matthew 24:4 -8
( by Tom Gaston )

  There are those who teach that the “first half” of the tribulation period is NOT the wrath of God, but only that the “last half” of the tribulation period is really the “Wrath” of God because it is more severe.   but the reality is this,  that the whole seven year tribulation period is the “Wrath” of God.    This can be proven with Scripture in the book of Ezekiel.
 There are some who assume that just because the “seal judgments” are NOT as severe as the last half of the tribulation period, then they conclude that the first half of the tribulation cannot possibly be the wrath of God.   They are trying to determine when God’s wrath begins by the “severity” of the judgments.  This is a faulty method in trying to interpret as to "when" the wrath of God begins. 
The whole seven years of the tribulation period is God’s wrath,  but the last half of the tribulation period is obviously  more severe than the first half.  The judgments ( 7 seals, seven trumpets, 7 bowls ) all  “compound” upon one another as they unfold and move forward throughout the whole seven years all the way to the end of that period.   Anyone with any common sense can decipher this by reading through the book of revelation.   I want to list the seal judgments below and then I want to show you some Scriptures from book of Ezekiel.
First seal – man on a white horse
Second seal – peace taken from the earth / war
Third seal – Famine
Fourth seal – Rev. 6:8........ death and hades / to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
fifth seal – Martyrs who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus which they bear.
Sixth seal – A great earthquake /  sun blacked – moon like blood ( enormous volcanic eruptions and fallout in the atmosphere / every Island and mountain moved out of their place / The kings of the earth and “every class” of people (Rev. 6:15,16) try to hide in the rocks, caves, and mountains from the “Wrath “ of the Lamb who sits on the throne.
Rev. 6:8 Scripture text (4th seal) comes forth right out of the book of kill with sword and with famineand with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.....etc..
Ezek. 5:11 – 17................”So as I live,  declares the Lord God,  surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary  with all your detestable idols with all your abominations, therefore I will also withdraw, and MY eye shall have NO pity and I will not spare..................One third of you will die by plague or be consumed by famine among you,  one third will fall by the sword around you,  and one third I will scatter to every wind, and I will unsheathe a swordbehind you...........Thus my anger will be spent, and I will satisfy “My Wrath” on them........
 ..........Moreover, I will make you a desolation and a reproach among the nations which surround you, in the sight of all who pass by.................So it will be a reproach, a reviling, a warning and an object of horror to the nations who surround you,  when I execute judgments against you in anger, wrath, and raging rebukes.  I, the Lord have spoken...............When I send against them the deadly arrows of famine which were for the destruction of those whom I shall send to destroy you,  then I shall also intensify the famine upon you, and break the staff ofbread......(Rev. 6:5 -6 ).......Moreover, I will send on you famine,  and wild beasts,  and they will bereave you of children;  plague and bloodshed also will pass through you,  and I will bring the sword on you.  I, the Lord, have spoken.”
Ezek. 6:10 – 12................”Then they will know that I am the Lord; I have not said in vain that I would inflict this disaster on them..........Thus says the Lord God, Clap you hand,  stamp your foot,  and say,  Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, which will fall by sword,  Famine,  and Plague..............He who is far off will die by the plague, and he who is near will fall by the sword, and he who remains and is besieged will die by the famine.  Thus shall I spend “My Wrath” on them.”
Ezek. 7:15, 19..............”The sword is outside, and the plague and the famine are within. He who is in the field will die by the sword;  famine and the plague will also consume those in the city...............( 19 )  They shall fling their silver into the streets, and their gold shall become an abhorrent thing ( James 5:1-3 / during the Day of the Lord / tribulation period ).  Their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the “Wrath” of the Lord.
These verses in Ezekiel are in complete harmony with the coming judgments upon Israel and the world at the opening of the tribulation period ( Rev. chapter 6 ) which is yet future,  as they line up perfectly with the six seal judgments.    You can observe for yourself and determine very easily from the Ezekiel texts that Thesword, the faminepestilence, and wild beasts of the earth are all part of God’sWrath.  Scripture has to line up with Scripture for it cannot contradict itself because God is the author of it.
First seal – man on a white horse.
Second seal – peace taken from the earth / war.
Third seal – Famine.
Fourth seal -  death and hades / to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
fifth seal – Martyrs who are slain because of the word of God for the Testimony of Jesus.
Sixth seal – A great earthquake /  sun blacked – moon like blood ( enormous volcanic eruptions and fallout in the atmosphere / Massive earthquake - every Island and mountain are moved out of their place / The kings of the earth and “every class” of people try to hide in the rocks, caves, and mountains from the “Wrath “ of the Lamb who sits on the throne.
  It isn’t until the “sixth seal” that the world finally acknowledges that God’s wrath has come upon them even though in actuality God's wrath had already begun with the opening of the first seal.  But just because the world did not acknowledge that God’s wrath had started with the opening of the first seal does not mean that the wrath of God had NOT started at that time, but it just means that they did NOT recognize that they had entered God's wrath.  Therefore  It takes massive disturbances within the earth and in the heavens ( Rev. 6:12-17 )BEFORE God has the worlds attention.  Human nature is always this way!  People need to be shocked and terrified into reality before they will admit the obvious is true.
The lack of spiritual insight and understanding of the people of the world who are experiencing these divine judgments with the opening of the "first seal" at that time will obviously NOT be aware that the wrath of God has come upon them.  But it takes the sixth seal ( every mountain and island moved out of their place ) beforethe peoples of the earth finally acknowledge God's Wrath.  Unregenerate mans “late response” in Rev.6:16,17 does NOT mean that the first "five seals " are not the wrath of God and the Scriptures texts inEzekiel which I have presented here shows this clearly without argument.  
 I want to now share some quotes from some excellent and very trustworthy scholars.   The first Scholar is Dr. Renald Showers and the quotes are from His book............”Maranatha our Lord, Come!
Quote:... page 120..........Section ( Man’s wrong conclusion )...............”It is important to note that it is theunregenerate ( man ), who will be living on the earth when the sixth seal is broken, who will say, “The great day of his wrath is come” (Rev. 6:17).  The Apostle John did NOT say this ( did not make this claim);  he simply recordedwhat THEY ( the unregenerate world ) are saying at that time ( End quote ).
 Therefore at the opening of the “first seal” it is obvious that unregenerate man doesn’t understand what is going on in the spiritual realm because they have NO spiritual insight into God’s judgment program which they are now recipients of.  It is obvious that it will take the cataclysmic shaking of the earth ( every island and mountain moved out of there place ) and the cosmic events in the heavens during the sixth seal in order to wake the world up to the fact that what has been taking place all around them “prior to” this sixth seal judgment is God’s wrath, which has come upon the whole world.   Therefore God starting with the sixth seal onward throughout the rest of the tribulation period "now has" the “worlds attention.
Continuing with quotes from Dr. Renald Showers:
Quote:..... page 112........”Christ’s purpose for breaking all seven seals coincides, then, with the definition of God’swrath ( The onslaught of the holy God asserting and establishing His absolute claim to dominion),  the objects of God’s wrath.....which are..."Satan and his forces, including all nations, people, and angels who oppose God ),  the key administrator of God’s wrath in Revelation ( Christ ), and the biblical concept of the “Day of the Lord” ( God’s intervention into world events to judge and evict His enemies and restore His theocratic kingdom rule on the earth through Jesus Christ)....( End quote ).
Quote:... page 114..........”Scholars recognize that when John wrote Revelation 6:8 concerning the sword,faminepestilence, and beasts of the fourth seal,  he had in view Ezekiel 5:17 and 14:21.  For example, Swete ( a scholar ) indicated this correlation between Revelation 6:8 and Ezekiel 14:21.  In addition, Wilhelm Michael is asserted that in Revelation 6:8 is....”unmistakably influenced by the fourfold series” in Ezekiel5:17 “and especially” by the swordfaminebeast, and pestilence” in Ezekiel 14:21 ( End quote ).
  In the Old Testament the two terms used for God’s “wrath” are...........”hema and ap.”  Dr. Renald Showers gives many Scriptures ( that I will not list here because they are too exhaustive ) which uses these two terms, and of which are used in Ezekiel 5:17 and 14:21 where it declares that the swordfaminepestilence, andbeasts of the earth are part of God’s wrath 
Dr. Renald Showers says the following:
quote:.......”It is important to note that these two words ( hema and ap ) for God’s  wrath, which are used for the expressions of God’s wrath in the two Ezekiel passages upon which the fourth seal of Revelation 6:8 is based, are used as well for expressions of God’s Day of the Lord wrath against Israel and the Gentiles ( End quote ).”
  One of the greatest scholars of our day given to the Church by the Lord is Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost who has written a book called............”Things to come.”  In his examination of Matthew chapter 24 he reveals clearly thatMatthew 24:4 - 8 is the first half of the tribulation period, which is in complete harmony with the “seal judgments.”  The Church or Church age ( the inter-advent age between Pentcost and the Rapture )  is NOT in view here in Matthew chapter 24:4 -30 as Jesus throughout this chapter is outlining specifically Israel's judgment period ( conclusion of Daniel's 70 weeks ) which climaxes with Christ's second advent to the earth. 
  The "end of the age" mentioned in Matt. 24:3 by the disciples is NOT a reference to the END of the Church ageas many have misinterpreted, which was NOT in existence at that time, and of which they had NO clue of!  The disciples knew that the Jewish Old Testament prophets prophesied that great destruction and earth shaking events would befall the world and "precede" ( and climax up to ) the messiah's return to the earth.  Therefore the "end of the age" here in context is a reference to the "window of time" known as the seven year tribulation period and the "completion" of  Daniel's 70th week.  This is what Jesus is expounding upon in Matthew 24:4 - 30.
 Now  If one does NOT understand this,  then they will continue to be confused and will continually try and insert the "church age" into Matthew  24:4 - 30.   Many try and apply "when you see all these things"......wars, rumors of war, earthquakes, famine...etc..etc. to the Church age.  This is NOT the case and this is why so many are confused in this prophetic chapter.  Jesus is expounding solely upon Daniel's 70th week and the events which unfold within that time frame which will "end" the "Jewish age" and complete God's prophetic program for national Israel with the second advent of Christ to the earth.  The Church age and the "events" which have taken place throughout the Church  age are NOWHERE IN VIEW HERE!  
 I would say probably about 97% of lay people, pastors, and bible teaches that I have heard teach on this chapter do NOT understand Matthew chapter 24 in its proper context.  They are all "parroting" one another because they have NOT taken the time to study this prophetic text for "themselves" in order to see what this text is really teaching. The result is they continue to "pull out of context" things which are spoken of in this chapter, but of which have NOTHING to do with the unfolding history of the Church age.  Jesus is just simply outlining the progression Israel's prophetic judgment period called Daniel's 70th week, which will conclude with Christ's second advent to the earth.
 Dr. Dwight Pentecoast Things to Come / page 278 and 279 has the following to say on this subject.
( Subject Matthew 24 )...Quote:..........”Consistency of interpretation would seem to eliminate any application of this portion of Scripture ( Matthew 24 ) to the Church or the Church age,  inasmuch as the Lord is dealing with theprophetic program for Israel.  Further,  the difference between interpretation and application would seem toeliminate the view that sees a double application of the passage.   But there is evidence to support that the first half of the week ( Dan. 70th week ) is described in Matt. 24:4 - 8.  The parallelism between verses 4 -8 and Revelation chapter 6 seems to indicate that the first half of the tribulation is here described.  If this is the correct interpretation.... then there must be a perfect harmony between that part of the Olivet Discourse contained inMatthew 24 and the part of Revelation beginning with the sixth chapter.  And such is indeed the case!
The parallelism is observed by the scholar “English”, who writes:
Quote:............”The first seal was opened revealing a man on a white horse, who had a bow, who went forth to conquer.  The Lord Jesus shall come on a white horse, but this is not He,  but a false Christ, who establishes temporary peace......
What is the the first prediction of Matthew 24.........”Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ ( vs. 5)
The second seal was opened revealing a man on a red horse, who should take peace from the earth. 
What is the second prediction of Matthew 24 is found in verses 6 and 7;.......”Wars and rumors of wars.....nation shall rise against nation.”  
The third seal was opened revealing a man on a black horse, who had balances in his hand;  and “a voice in the midst of the four beasts” indicated famine.  
What is the third prediction of Matthew 24 is:..........”There shall be famines” (vs. 7 ). 
The fourth seal was opened revealing one on a pale horse, whose name is Death.......
The fourth prediction of Matthew 24 tells of.......”pestilences and earthquakes.
The fifth seal has to do with those who were slain ( past tense ) for the word of God, who, under the altar, cry,....”How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”  
What is the fifth prediction of Matthew 24?............”Then shall they deliver you ( Israel ) up  to be afflicted, and shall kill you” ( vs. 9 ).
 There are indications that Matthew 24 verse 9-26 describe the events of the “last half” of the week ( Dan. 70th week ).  The abomination of desolation ( Matt. 24:15 ) is clearly stated by Daniel in 9:27 to appear in the middle of the week and continue to the END of the period.  The word “THEN” ( an adverb ) in verse 9 introduces the great persecutions against Israel that were promised them and of which is described in Revelation 12:12-17,  where John reveals that this persecution will last for the last half of the tribulation period (Rev. 12:14 ).
 The Lord’s outline of the events of the tribulation period can thus be determined.  In the first half of the week Israel will experience the chastisements of the events of verses ( Matt. 24: 4 -8 –the seal judgments of Rev. chapter 6 ), although they will dwell in relative safety under the false covenant ( Dan. 9:27 ).  In the middle of the week great persecution will break out ( Matt. 24:9;    Rev. 12:12-17 ) because of the Desolator (Matt. 24:15;     2 Thess. 2;     Rev. 13:1-10 ),  who will cause Israel to flee from the land ( Matt. 24:16-20 ).  
Unbelieving Israel will be deceived by the false prophet ( Matt. 24:11;    Rev. 13:11-18 ) and will go intoapostasy ( Matt. 24:12;    2 Thess. 2:11).   Believing Israel will be a witnessing people, carrying the good news that these events are heralding the approach of the Messiah ( Matt. 24:14).  This period will be terminated by the second advent of the Messiah ( Matt. 24:27 ).  Such seems to be the Lord’s summary of the chronology of thetribulation period ( End quote ).
In conclusion:
   As you can see for yourself Matthew chapter 24 is in complete harmony with the seal judgments.  This chapter has nothing to do with the present Church age ( from Pentecost to the Rapture ) as Jesus is NOT speaking about events which unfold throughout the whole period which we call the "Church age",  but rather instead He is outlining the “End of the Age” which is Daniel’s 70th week / tribulation period.  This text is all about Israel’s prophetic program which will conclude with the return of their messiah to the earth. 
 The phrase "end of the age" must not be confused with the Church age ( age of grace ).  The "age of grace" isNOT the "end of the age" which the disiciples are asking Jesus about as they knew nothing about the Church or Church  age as of yet.  It was not revealed to them until much later.   Therefore the "end of the age" mentioned here in Matt. 24:3 is specifically speaking about the time period known as the 70th week of daniel / seven year tribulation period which concludes Israel's judgment program, and of which begins her physical and spiritual restoration at the time of Christ's return to the earth in order to set up His kindgom.
  Those who do NOT understand that the CONTENT in Matthew chapter 24 has NOTHING to do with the Church age whatsoever will continue to be confused and will always apply ....."when you see all these things" to the historical window of time which we call the "inter-advent age", which is the Church age.  When Jesus stated"when you see all these things" He was making reference to all the judgments and signs that He just got done revealing to His Jewish disiciples in the text, and of which will unfold throughout the whole period of thetribulation period leading up to Christ's second advent to the earth.  
  Those who are teaching Matthew 24 "out of context" due to ignorance will continue to do so until they study and see for themselves that this text has nothing to do with any events which unfold throughout the age of grace.   And their misunderstanding of this prophetic passage will sadly cause them to continue to teach confusion and the misapplication of this prophetic chapter to others.  It is therefore conclusive and clearly seen from the Scripture verses in Ezekiel that God's wrath begins with the opening of the "first seal" judgment, which is in complete harmony with Matt. 24:4 -8 ( beginning of the birth pangs / begin with the start of Daniels 70th week / opening of the first seal judgment ).  This begins God’s wrath upon Israel and the Gentile world who are all in unbelief.   These judgments will compound one upon another until the END of the tribulation period.  When the last “bowl” is poured out,  then there will seals judgmentsseven trumpet judgments, and seven bowl judgments all taking place at once as one judgment does NOT end when another one begins.  
Book by Dr. Renald Showers called ”Maranatha Our Lord, Come!”.....The ISBN # 0-915540-22-3.  This book would be extremely helpful for you along with Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost’s  book called........”Things to come”.....ISBN # 0-310-30890-9.   Both of these books are great study tools which can give one great insight and into portions of prophetic Scriptures which many have misunderstood for so long.
 The birth pangs of the Messiah ( Matthew 24:4 - 8 )
 I want to share some commentary from the book "Maranatha Our Lord, Come!" by Dr. Renald Showers who is an excellent scholar.  But first I would like to say that many are confused on this subject concerning the "birth pangs" and their "time frame." Therefore it must be understood that Israel and the Church at this time have NOT been and are NOT experiencing any of the "birth pangs of the messiah" which is mentioned in Matthew 24:4-8
  These "birth pangs" of the messiah in chapter 24 have NOT been ongoing for the last 2000years, but they are to commence at the opening of the seal judgments / tribulation period.  The Church does NOT need to experience any "birth pangs" of the messiah whatsoever as the Church has already been redeemed.  But Israel will experience these "birth pangs of the messiahbeginning with the opening of the tribulation and throughout that whole period to the very end of it, at which time Christ their messiah will return.  Therefore Matthew 24:4 - 8 in context is NOT talking about events which have transpired and unfolded throughout the whole Church age up to the present.  Many are in great error by trying to do so.  But rather Jesus is revealing that the "birth pangs" which begin at the opening of the tribulation period ( Matt. 24: 4-8 / the first half of the tribulation period ) is the beginning of the "end of the age" which is in direct application to conclusion of Daniel's 70th week.   
Dr. Renald Showers in his book "Maranatha, Our Lord, Come"  makes the following observations and comments on the "birth pangs of the Messiah" on page 21.
Quote: "Ancient Judaism taught that a seven-year period of time will immediately precede the Messiah's coming to rule the world. The Babylonian Talmud states,  quote: "Our Rabbis taught: In the seven-year cycle at the end of which the "son of David" will the conclusion of the septennate the son of David will come." ( End quote )
  Raphael Patai, writing on the Messanic texts, said, quote: "The idea became entrenched that the coming of the Messiah will
be preceded by greatly increased suffering...... This will last seven years. And then, unexpectedly, the Messiah will come." ( End quote)
 According to The Babylonian Talmud, quote: "The advent of the Messiah was pictured as being preceded by years of great distress." ( End quote )
 The "Dead Sea Scrolls" and other literature called the "severe troubles of the seven years" before the Messiah's coming
"The birth pangs of the Messiah."
 Millar Burrows pointed this out in his book on the Scrolls, quote: "A prominent feature of Jewish eschatology, as represented
especially by the rabbinic literature, was the time of trouble preceding Messiah's coming.  It was called "the birth pangs of the Messiah," somtimes more briefly translated as "the Messianic woes."
 Why call these future troubles "the birth pangs of the Messiah"?  Because travail precedes birth, and this travail "precedes the
birth of a new era"---{the Messianic age}  Just as a woman must go through a period of agony before her child is born into the world, so the world will go through birth pangs before the Messianic Age is born into the world.
 Martin Buber wrote in Gog and Magog that "the world -body must be in labor, must suffer great pain, must come to the brink of
death, before Redemption can be born.  For its sake God permits the earthly powers to rise up against Him more and more......
until the struggle be intensified into the "pangs of the Messiah."
 Those birth pangs, according to the Apocalypse of Abraham ( p.82 ), will involve such things as the sword ( war ), faminepestilenceand wild beasts. ( Ezek. chapters 5 - 7 ).   In addition, quote:...."The pangs of the Messianic " times are imagined as having heavenly as well as earthly sources and expressions.  From above, awesome cosmic cataclysms will be visited upon the earth Conflagrations, pestilence, famine, earthquakes, hail and snow, thunder and lightning. 
 These will be paralleled by evils brought by men upon themsleves: insolence, robbery, heresy, harlotry, corruption, opression, cruel edicts, lack of truth, and no fear of sin.  All this will lead to internal decay, demoralization, and even apostasy.  Things will
come to such a head that people will despair of Redemption.  This will last seven years.  And then, unexpectedly the Messiah
will come."  Some rabbis have taught that the Messiah will not come until the birth pangsbecome so severe that the Jews will "despair of the Redemption...... when, as it were, Israel will have neither supporter nor helper" ( end quote ).
  Dr. Renald Showers goes on to say......Quote:......."In light of Judaism's teaching concerning the severity of the birth pangs to precede the Messiah's coming, some rabbis have expressed the wish "not to be alive " when the Messiah comes.  One said, "Let him come, but let me not see him" ( End quote ).
 I want to quote Dr. Renald Showers one last time here so you "all get the picture."
Page 25, paragraph one,  Quote:  "Christ introduced and discussed the "beginning of the birth pangs" in ( Matt.24:4-8 ) before He introduced the abomination of desolation and the Great Tribulation ( Matt.24:15-21 ), and it appears that He introduced and discussed events in "Chronological order" in this section of Matthew 24. This implies that the beginning of birth pangs will precede the abomination of desolation ( of the middle of the 70th week), and the Great Tribulation ( of the second half of the 70th week) and therefore will occur ( thebirth pangs) during the first half of that seven-year period. (End quote)
Closing comments / by Tom Gaston
  So we see here that Matthew 24 is in "strict chronological order."  This means then thatMatthew 25:1 which opens with the word "THEN" is showing the "continuation of the chronology that was just expounded upon by Jesus in Matthew 24which culminated with the return of the Messiah to the earth ( Matt.24:29-30 ).  In Matt. 25:1 Jesus continues with thestrict chronology, and continues moving forward in time and in prophetic theme. This is seen beginning in Matthew chapter 25:1 where the judgment upon Israel, which comes first is likened to the parable of the 10 virgins and the talents (Matt. 25:1-30). Then moving forward in time the judgment upon the Gentiles continues in chronological order, which is depicted by the "Sheep and goats (Matt. 25:31-46). This chronological ordered movement is leading up to the establishment of the kingdom in which both righteous Jew and righteous Gentile will have admittance into the earthly kingdom.
 Now,  Israel is dealt with first when the Messiah returns, being conveyed through the parable of the ten virgins and is also seen in  the parable of the talents. The Gentiles are dealt with second following Israel's judgment and can be seen in the parable of the "sheep and goats," which represents the "saved and unsaved Gentiles."
  The "birth pangs" commence in Matthew 24:4 to 8.  This is the first half of the tribulation period.  Jesus in Matt. 24:9 says: "THEN" they will deliver you up to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on the account of My name."
This word "THEN" is emphasizing the "beginning of the middle of the prophetic week" inwhich Israel's great persecution befalls her ( Jacob's trouble / last half of the tribulation period ).  This is seen in verse 15 of Matthew 24, which is the abomination of Desolation spoken by daniel.
 Matt.24:9 therefore shows the "beginning of the middle of Israel's prophetic week."  Remember that Jesus is giving "an overview" of the whole period from Matthew 24:4-26.  The gospel of the kingdom mentioned in Matthew. 24:14 is virtually the same message that is found in ( Rev.14:6-8 ),  which is fulfilled in the last half of Daniel's prophetic week.
 J. Dwight Pentcost, book "Things to Come" page 472. quote: " The "everlasting gospel" is the announcement that God's eternal purpose is now being accomplished.  The everlasting gospel is substantially the same as the gospel of the kingdom.  It is the good news that the king is at hand to establish the kingdom which was God's eternal purpose." (End quote)
  So Jesus once again is giving an overview of the whole period from verse 4 to 26.  Matt.24:14 says: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come."  This once again is a reference to (Rev.14:6-8) which is fulfilled in the last half of the tribulation period. Rev.14:6-8 says this:"And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel (gospel of the kingdom) to preach to those who live on the earth, and to "every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people." 
 Then in Matthew 24:15 Jesus says: "Thereforewhen you see the abomination of Desolation....etc."  When you see the word "Therefore" it is taking you back to the text that has just been expounded upon prior to this verse.  By doing so Jesus is pointing back toMatt. 25:9 which shows the beginning of the middle of the prophetic week which initiates the "great persecution against Israel."  The word "THEN" in verse 9 follows verse in chronological order and conveys a "commencement" of Israel's persecution which is the next prophetic movement.
 Therefore the "birth pangs" are Jewish and they have no reference nor any application to the church age whatsoever.  Jesus says in verse Matt. 24:8........"but when you see all these things"......Questionwhat things?  false christs, wars, rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, earthquakes," are merely the beginning of birth pangs."  Since the birth pangs in this text refer to Israel's prophetic program, then they cannot have any reference to the church or church age.  National Israel today has NOTexperienced "national redemption" as of yet as she is in spiritual unbelief.  Israel's national redemption will only come AFTER the Church has been removed from the earth at the time of the Rapture
 The apostle Paul in Romans 11:25 -26 .........."that a partial hardedning has happened to Israel UNTIL the "fulness of the Gentiles" has come in ( the completion of the Church )....and THUS all Israel will be saved."   Israel's salvation cannot and will not take place UNTILthe Church is removed.
   The apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 10:32 states......."Give no offense to Jews, or to Greeks or to thechurch of God.  In otherwords, the apostle Paul is showing in this scripture that there is to be a distinction to be made between these three groups of people. Those who do NOT separate Israel's program from the  church's prophetic program are participating in what is known today as "Replacement theology."  Those who do this are not abiding by the rules of properexegesis of the Scriptures and therefore they insert the "Church" ( or church age ) where it is speaking clearly of Israel, and or of Israel's prophetic program which is yet to unfold in the future.  
 Matthew chapter 24:4 - 30 is speaking solely about the "beginning" and the "completion" of Israel's prophetic program and it has absolutely nothing to do with the events which have transpired down through the Church age starting from Pentecost to the Rapture.  The Church is nowhere in view in this text. If only the majority of Christians could see this truth, then this chapter could be fully understood in its correct context in which Jesus is outlining it.
In Christ, Tom Gaston


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