Sunday, November 22, 2015

The “wrath of God to come”.

 After the death and resurrection, of Jesus. Part 22

By Terry Cropper

Jesus told his disciples the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew. 24:14, KJV). The years is 33 A.D

The year is 64 A.D and Paul’s missionary journeys are completed as he writes from his imprisonment in Rome to the saints in Colosse..…if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians. 1:23).

Jesus said to preach the gospel to every creature. Paul freely admitted he had preached “in all the world” (Romans. 1:8). God being long suffering towards the Jews not willing that anyone should perish gave them 40 years to repent.

New Testament passages regarding God's displeasure and wrath towards those who do not accept the Son and disobey the gospel are extensive. Jesus said, when they see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, those are the days of God’s vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Luke 21:20-22 (NKJV) The Days of Vengeance are the final Days of the return of the Lord. (Luke 21:27)
The ‘sign’ of her ‘desolation’ was to be the advance of the Roman army to her walls. This dramatic event is described as the “times of the Gentiles” which is found only here in the Bible. Where we read, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”. (Luke 21:24)

We go now to Matthew 24:15-16, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. In Luke 21:20-21 we read, “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.

In Luke 21:23 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. We go now to Matthew 24:19-20 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.

Why should they pray that their flight not be on the Sabbath? Here is where we have to be aware of Jewish customs and practices regarding the Sabbath. Jerusalem was a Jewish dominated city which kept 100% of the law of Moses up to 70AD. The Gates of the city would be closed on the Sabbath: (Nehemiah 13:15-22)

The Jews also authorized their own police regarding certain religious matters. They would have prevented anyone from fleeing Jerusalem and Judea while the Romans armies, were marching toward Jerusalem. (A.D. 66). Such fleeing would have been considered a traitorous action by the Jews in front of the Romans. This would hinder the Lord's instructions to the Christians to GET OUT OF THE CITY before the Roman armies destroyed the city as Jesus said in (Luke 21:20).

Jesus said that people who were in Judea at the time of the crisis at Jerusalem would need to immediately flee far away into the hills. Jesus gave the warning in Matthew 24:20 because he knew that the Jews would not allow the kind of escape in troubling times on the Sabbath that his warning required. His warning was not a command to rest on the Sabbath any more than it was a command to rest in winter. These were simply inconvenient times to flee.

Pregnant or Nursing mothers hindered for obvious reasons. Winter would hinder because of exposure to cold and snow. Since the Jews honored Moses’ laws, they believed it was wrong to take long journeys on the Sabbath. They even had a measurement for the maximum distance to be traveled on this day, which was called a “Sabbath day’s walk” (Acts 1:12). This was a short distance. But Jesus’ warning was given in the context of a catastrophe on the city and Judea, which would have required getting much further out of the area than a limited “Sabbath day’s walk” might allow.

We read in Revelation 11:2, “But the court which is without the Temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (three and one half years) . The Greek word translated “tread” is “pleeroo”, the same word used in Luke 21:24 and is translated “trodden” in the phrase, “and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nation: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”. Note that this treading down will be for 3 and 1/2 years, i.e the time of the tribulation.

Scripture fulfillment of prophecy. Lamentations 4:9-10 Those slain by the sword are better off Than those who die of hunger; For these pine away, Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field. The hands of the compassionate women Have cooked their own children; They became food for them In the destruction of the daughter of my people.

The war that brings when the Roman armies surround the city of Jerusalem was a time of tribulation, hunger, pestilence and bitter destruction on the Jews who refused the Gospel of Christ. The sword of the Roman army was without the city. And Roman arrows descended on them.

11.000 perished for want of food. (Josephus 37:B.C A.D. 70 p. 230) The tallest and most beautiful of the young men were saved for the triumphal procession;. The Arch of Titus in Rome still commemorates the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. (PICTURE, Vol. 2, p. 536) Accompanied by his father, Emperor Vespasian, Titus celebrated his victory over Jerusalem by a triumphal procession. Some arches served as city gates, but for the most part their function was only monumental. The design of the arches may have represented the yoke of submission under which captives were forced to march.

A great number were also sent into the provinces to provide amusement in the theaters. (Josephus 37:B.C A.D. 70 p. 230) everyone else over the age of seventeen was sent in bonds to work the Egyptian mines. The Roman general Titus, who conquered Jerusalem and Israel, sent 17,000 adults Jews to Egypt."

Scripture fulfillment of prophecy. (Deuteronomy 28:68 concerning Jerusalem) "And the LORD will take (you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you), 'You shall never see it again.' And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves), but no one will buy you." (emphasis added)

“The cities could be seen full of unburied corpses, the dead bodies of the aged flung down alongside those of infants, women without (a rag to conceal their nakedness) and the whole province full of indescribable horrors. (Eusebius, The History of the Church, 9 105)

Scripture fulfillment of prophecy. (Jeremiah 7:33 concerning Jerusalem) The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. And no one will frighten them away. Then I will cause to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. For the land shall be desolate.

Josephus reckon the number of captive taken during the war at 97,000 and the number of those who perished during the siege at 1,100.000. The number who perished in the whole war are reckoned at the total of 1,337,490 and the number of prisoners at 101,700; but even these estimates do not include all the items of many skirmishes and battles, nor do they take into account the multitudes who, throughout the whole country, perished of misery, famine and disease. In may well be said that the nation seemed to have given itself ‘a rendezvous of exterminations.’ Two thousand putrefying bodies were found even in the subterranean vaults of the city, (F.W. Farrar. pp 487-489).

Titus ordered Jerusalem to be completely leveled and work began. However, he allowed part of the walls to remain in their place. All the stones were thrown down at that time. There was terror within the young man and nursing child. There were dashed into pieces and no longer in the memory of the nations as the chosen people of God. (Deuteronomy 7:6) They cease to exist from among men.

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