Most believe Darius the Mede was the general who invaded Babylon. This article presents new biblical understanding that it was someone else. So, who was Darius the Mede?
The word “church” isn’t found in Rev. 4-19. Many claim this is proof of a pretribulation Rapture. But is it? Continue reading “Church” isn’t found in Rev. 4-19 – Why?
This is not an article about Gun Control. But fear of guns and the Antichrist rise to power may be related.
In 1 Cor. 15:52, Paul used a term “Last Trumpet” which is not found elsewhere in the Bible. Read this article to see what he likely meant by this term; and what he DIDN’T mean. Continue reading What is the “Last Trumpet?”
The simple answer is when Jesus returns. But when does Jesus return? “When the Great Tribulation ends” is really a more complex question than most think. Continue reading When Will the Great Tribulation End?
There is a verse in Hosea that may seem to indicate that Jesus could return 2000 years after his resurrection in the first century. Is this date setting or biblically sound prophecy? We present all the evidence here so you can be the judge. Will Jesus return after “two days”? It is something every Christian should be aware of and consider.
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this.
The video recommends an additional link to the Great Creation Prophecy which is http://www.thegospelintheendtimes.com/pictures-of-end-times-in-the-bible/creation-narrative-prophecy/
Most Christians know we are to watch for events in the end times. But do they know what NOT to watch for? Might our own theories of the end times deceive the church?
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus instructed his disciples to “watch.” This passage teaches us how to watch and pray in the end times.
On the Night He Was Betrayed
In our last article (READ HERE), we went into great detail on what the command “watch” means in Jesus’s great end time teaching, the Olivet Discourse.
In this article, we will examine the parallels between Jesus’s instructions to his disciples on the night he was betrayed and watching in the end times. It is a great demonstration of how to watch. In Matthew’s Gospel we read:
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” (Matt. 26:36)
Gethsemane is a word that means “Olive Press.” And certainly, both Jesus and the disciples were about to enter a “pressing” time of trial. Jesus was aware of what was to come upon him, but the disciples, however, were clueless. In many ways, this is just like us. Jesus sees the challenges and what we will need to overcome them, but we don’t always see it coming.
Night of the Vigil
Now what is interesting is the night of Nissan 15 (after the lamb sacrifice of Nissan 14) is a night of watching or vigil for all Israel as described in Exodus:
It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations. (Exo. 12:42)
Yet this night of Jesus’s betrayal was, by all accounts, the evening of Nissan 14 right after sundown. However, and this is key, the disciples had just eaten the Passover meal with Jesus. So in that way, I would assume this was the required night of vigil for them. This makes the disciples inability to watch with Jesus, even more egregious . A fine article on the net explains this vigil . In this article we see that the Hebraic concept of this night is a vigil kept by YHWH and Israel, which of course is what was happening in the Garden that night. Jesus was with his people, both should have been watching.
This article also discusses how the Greek word for vigil translated in the Septuagint carries the additional meaning of preparation. So this was to be a night of preparation for the disciples; preparation that they failed to heed and take advantage of. When the testing came, all the disciples fled, and later Peter committed apostasy.
If we consider the events of that night as similar to events in the end times, they are a model of how we are not to fall into apostasy when that future time of trial comes.
A Future Vigil?
Is it possible that the timing of the vigil, the night of Passover, might be significant in the future as well? It absolutely might be. Readers of my book Revelation Deciphered (BUY IT HERE) are aware that it is my guess that the 1260 days of the Antichrist’s reign might end on Yom Kippur. Back dating these 1260 days would land on or about Passover 3 ½ years prior. The event that begins the countdown will likely be the Abomination of Desolation when the man of sin sits in the Temple of God.
Could this be the same event being “foretold” by analogy in the account of the night our Master was betrayed? On that day in the First Century, it was Judas who was revealed as the betrayer. Both Judas (John 17:12) and the coming Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:4) are called the “son of destruction” or the “son of perdition” in Scripture. So Judas is definitely a “foreshadow” of the coming Antichrist. IMO, this makes the night of the vigil and Jesus’s instructions to watch a perfect match with the coming Abomination of Desolation and the Great Tribulation that immediately follows it.
If this is correct, Jews and Christians should be “Watching and Praying” during the “night” of the first three and a half years of the 70th Week of Daniel. IMO, Christians should also consider keeping the vigil on Passover evening between now and that fateful day. Although we are not obligated to “watch” as we’ve been freed from the Law and regulations of Israel, I believe it is an awesome opportunity for churches and small groups to get together and “watch and pray” as part of their ongoing preparation for the tribulation to come. If we do this, it will be a wonderful reminder to us of how to watch.
Interestingly Jesus gave his disciples three chances to “wake up” during that night:
And he (Jesus) came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. (Mark 14:37-41)
In the end times, Christians will also have 3 opportunities to “wake up” before the revealing of Antichrist at the midpoint of the 70th Week of Daniel. What are these three wake-up calls? Why, the first three seals, of course: Deception by False Messiahs, War and Chaos, and Famine. This further analogy between the night of Jesus’s betrayal and the coming end times just re-enforces to me that we should assume that evening in the first century WAS a metaphor for us to use in terms of our preparation for the future Great Tribulation.
Jesus’s specific instruction to the disciples was that they “watch and pray.”
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38)
And this is his instruction to us as well. We will spend the rest of this article examining what this command means. But before we begin that, I want to bring to your attention the Greek word peirasmos which is translated “temptation” in Mark 14:38 above. In our previous article about the Pope and his recent rewriting of the Lord’s Prayer, we discussed this word. In an eschatological setting, it refers to the time of trial, the Wrath of God that is poured out after the sixth seal. So if this passage is an extended metaphor about preparing for end times, we are to “watch and pray” so that we don’t enter the Wrath of God! This would mean not denying Jesus and not taking the Mark of the Beast.
Now obviously, temptation can also mean just that, temptation to sin, and denying Jesus and taking the Mark are obviously sins as well! However, in an end time setting, there is little doubt that every one will likely face the “temptation” to take the Mark. It is succumbing to the Mark and thereby being left behind by the Rapture and entering the Wrath of God that Jesus is warning us about.
How to Watch and Pray
Now we are finally ready to begin to examine this important question. “How” do we watch? If we closely examine the account in Mark, it is pretty obvious that Jesus wanted them to watch in a spiritual way and a physical way. In our previous article we saw most Christians consider the command to watch to be only spiritual:
It is spiritual watching coupled with prayer that gives one the strength to survive temptations and difficult situations.
But if the disciples were physically observant on that night, they would have seen Judas and the temple guards ascending the Mount of Olives with their torches. They would have had time to consider the trial that was about to come upon them and Jesus. They would have had time to pray for the strength to stand with Jesus rather than run. Peter would have had the time to pray about whether using a weapon was a good idea (it wasn’t). In all these ways they would have been able to prepare. They would have been “ready” (“You also be ready.” [Matt. 24:44])
In the same way, during the 70th Week of Daniel, believers will have the chance to observe the first three seals and the rise of the Antichrist. They will have time to prepare themselves for the trial of the Great Tribulation that will be about to come upon the world.
Jesus is clear that we will not overcome the Great Tribulation in the flesh. It is too weak. Our spirits, however, are WILLING to endure whatever comes and obey Jesus. But we need help. That is why we are to watch AND pray. Only the Holy Spirit can empower a believer to overcome the trial ahead.
So this year, consider observing the Passover Vigil with me. Consider staying up to “watch and pray.” Contemplate what will come upon you, your family, and the world, and how you might prepare for persecution, starvation, and martyrdom. A believer who understands that the will of the Father may include these things and seeks the assistance of the Spirit will overcome. Those who don’t “watch” and are taken by complete surprise by the Great Tribulation may not.
Watch and pray.
Alan Kurschner has informed me Dr. Ice, Director of the Pretrib. Research Center, has had a heart attack and will be having open heart surgery next week.
Please pray for Dr. Ice.
“Watch” is Jesus’s most frequent command for Christians to prepare for the end times. What does “watch” mean? What exactly are we to do when we “watch?”
We are beginning a short series on the topic of watching and being watchful in the end times.
WATCH AND IMMINENCE
I have heard it said by pretribulation rapture enthusiasts that this term is a proof of imminence. They say that one can only watch for something or someone if we don’t know when they are coming. They are both correct and mistaken. They are correct that we only “watch” for something when we aren’t sure of the timing of the event. They’re mistaken that this proves their “Doctrine of Imminence.”
First, imminence is a poor term for what pretribulationalists call their “Doctrine of Imminence.” I prefer the term coined by prewrath expert Charles Cooper: “Any-Momentism.” The late pretribribulation rapture theorist Gerald Stanton defined Imminence this way:
“… the certainty that He may come at any moment, the uncertainty of the time of that arrival, and the fact that no prophesied event stands between the believer and that hour.”
This definition has three main points:
- That Jesus will return at an “unknown time”
- That Jesus may come at “any moment,” even today
- That on prophetic events must occur before Jesus returns
Prewrath scholars agree that timing of Jesus’s return is unknown. They disagree, however, that no prophetic events must occur before Jesus’s return. For that reason, we don’t believe Jesus can return until those prophesied events take place. But, and this is important, after all of those events take place, Jesus’s return will truly be imminent.
So when the word “watch” appears in Scripture, it is not necessarily a proof for imminence. It can refer to watching for the signs (prophesied events) of Jesus’s coming, or it can refer to the actual return of Jesus after all those events have taken place.
WHAT DOES “WATCH” MEAN
The word translated “watch” in Scripture is gregoreo. And this word is also frequently translated “stay awake,” “wake up,” or “be alert.” This term occurs 23 times in the New Testament and the majority of these uses are in relationship to the return of Jesus.
But how does one “watch” for Jesus? Do we keep our eyes on the clouds so we don’t miss his coming? Obviously, not! If Christians for the past 2000 years had walked around with their eyes on the clouds, they would have been most ineffective at living out the Great Commission.
Rather, the United Church of God defines it this way on their website:
It is spiritual watching coupled with prayer that gives one the strength to survive temptations and difficult situations.
So in essence, their definition is that it is a “watching out not to sin.” And frankly, in some non-eschatological passages, it does convey this meaning. But is this the only meaning? Could it also carry the meaning of watching out for the signs of Jesus’s coming so that we would know the approximate timing of that return? If it carries that meaning, pretribulationalism is disproved and so in their Doctrine of Imminence.
“Watch” in Mark 13
Mark’s Gospel is said to record the testimony of the Apostle Peter, and Mark 13 is almost the word-for-word account of Matt. 24. However, since Mark 13 doesn’t have the same “problems” as Matt. 24 (pretribulationalists wrongly claim Matt. 24 is only for the Jews), we will examine Mark 13’s usage of gregoreao.
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. (Mark 13:32-34)
This is a wonderful passage to discern if what the United Church of God claims is the only meaning of “watch” is the meaning in eschatological sections of Scripture as well. First, notice this passage concerns “that day.” You may think you know what day “that day” is, but this may be the most misunderstood verse in all of Scripture. Grammatically, “that day” has to refer to the last day Jesus referred to. In Mark, “that day” must be Mark 13:26-27.
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. (Mark 13:26-27)
“That day” cannot refer to a pretribulation rapture under any circumstance. Jesus never refers to a pretribulation rapture in Mark (or anywhere else in Scripture). This precludes this passage from referring to a pretribulation rapture. It also precludes it from referring to a post-tribulation rapture! We know that from the Abomination of Desolation until the descent of Jesus to fight Armageddon in Rev. 19:11-16 will be 1260 days. So this is a “known” day and can’t be “that day” that is unknown.
ONLY A PREWRATH RAPTURE UNIQUELY FULFILLS THE MEANING OF MARK 13:32
In addition, all references to “watch” in Mark 13 after the reference to “that day” must refer to the same day. It is “that day” we are to watch for. Mark 13 doesn’t instruct us to watch for a pretribulation rapture because it cannot be “that day.”
WHEN YOU SEE . . .
But we are still instructed to “watch” (gregoreo). The word is found three times in the last four verses of Mark 13 along with several other important words. One of these words is blepo which means to see something physically that has spiritual consequences. Another word is agnupneu which means “awake and watchful” (it carries almost the same meaning as gregoreo). So let’s see how these words play out in Mark 13. I am substituting the meaning of the words in the ESV translation of Mark 13:32-34.
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Physically observe, keep awake. For you do not know when the appointed time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to watch (gregoreo). (Nelson Translation)
The first thing to observe in this passage is the command to physically observe. What are Christians to physically observe? Why, the signs of Jesus’s coming, of course. Specifically, in Mark 13:14, Jesus said “When you SEE the abomination of Desolation . . . ” This is the great sign that Jesus’s return is near.
Notice what Jesus says in the very next verse after his command to physically observe. He tells us everyone in the Body of Christ has different tasks. Those who are “doorkeepers” or guards are to WATCH. Jesus is clear that not everyone is a “doorkeeper” because he just mentioned that everyone has different roles in the body. First, I think this also shows that the this “watching” isn’t a watching for sin because that is everyone’s personal responsibility. Everyone has that role. Yet, this “watching” is reserved for the “doorkeepers.” This must be the physical observation role Jesus just spoke of.
So who are the doorkeepers? Who is given the role of watching for the signs of Jesus’s coming? In a parallel portion of Matt. 24, we are told:
Therefore be on the alert (gregoreo), for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. (Matt. 24:42-43)
In this passage, it is the “head of the house” who is to be watchful (gregoreo). Who are the heads of Jesus’s household? Pastors, Elders, teachers, Small Group Leaders, and Fathers and Mothers. Anyone who has been given spiritual responsibility. All of these are to “watch” on behalf of their flock for the signs of Jesus’s coming; specifically for the Abomination of Desolation when the man of sin sits in the Temple of God. This event will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Obviously this is an important event for Christians to know has begun! And Jesus has placed the leaders of his church in the position of “doorkeeper” to keep watch for the thief (the Antichrist) so as to alert the Body when he comes.
It is hard to believe that a Christian leader, seeing a man sitting in the Temple of God as if he is god, would not identify him as the Antichrist. It is also incredible to believe that when this man of sin begins to require worship of himself and a public denial of Jesus, that any Christian leader would not recognize this as the Great Tribulation. However, Matt. 24:48 lets us know there will be heads of the house (Christian leaders) who say at that time, “that evil slave says in his heart, My master is not coming for a long time.” One cannot be truly watching in those times and make such a statement. Obviously if the Great Tribulation has started, Jesus’s return is less than 42 months away!
So why would a Christian leader miss that Christians are in the midst of the Great Tribulation and miss that the man of sin is the Antichrist??? It seems incredible. The reasons are probably varied, but I think the main one is that the Christian leader doesn’t expect to see the Antichrist. Pretribulationalists don’t expect him, and those who ignore end times don’t expect him.
What is the effect of missing that we are in the midst of the Great Tribulation? Most likely they will take the Mark of the Beast. And in Matt. 24 we see direct evidence that this fallen Christian leader does just that. In Matt. 24:49 we read that he eats and drinks with drunkards (sinners). Sinners will be eating under the Mark of the Beast, so if he is eating with them, he will have also taken the Mark.
So in conclusion, Jesus teaches that we are to be physically observant during the end times (blepo), and Christian leaders are to be “doorkeepers” and be on heightened alert. And the main sign we are to be looking for is the Abomination of Desolation.
In an eschatological sense, we cannot apply the definition of “watch” that pretribulationalists desire; that it is a watching out to not sin. No, it is quite plain that “watching” is a physical watching for the signs of Jesus’s return with invalidates the theory of Imminence.
In the second installment of this series on watching, we will look at Jesus’s command to “watch and pray” and how it also has end time application.