THE ANSWER TO WHEN – part 6:
Matthew 24:16, “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17, Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19, And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21, For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22, And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23, Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24, For false Christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25, See, I have told you beforehand. 26, So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27, For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28, Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
These verses are reminiscent of the horrors surrounding the destruction of the first temple in 587 B.C. and are a warning of a coming devastation similar in many ways to the destruction of the first temple, which occurred in A.D. 70 and proved to be as Jesus said.
However, neither the destruction of the first temple nor the of destruction of the second temple fulfilled the prophetic words of Jesus. As it is with many prophecies, the fulfillment may come about over a period of a day or of many days, months, years or even over millennia. This prophecy is unique in that it is unfolding in stages. This is not a partial fulfillment of prophecy but is a foreshadowing and a progressive revelation just as the Bible states, and as time and circumstances within history conform to God’s timing.
The coming Great and Terrible Day of The Lord was foreshadowed in 587 B.C. with the destruction of the first temple and a foreshadowed again with the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70. Jesus words clearly tell us that the fulfillment of this prophecy is a future event.
We can find evidence throughout prophetic scriptures and in the New Testament that this event will find its fulfillment in the future.
Here is what I hope can be a helpful example from natural events to understand a ‘Foreshadowing and a Progressive Revelation of Prophecy’ as seen by the human perspective and contrasted to God’s, or a heavenly perspective.
When Hurricane Irma hit the U.S., it was a category 5 storm; As Irma progressed up the peninsula of Florida, it became a category 4 storm; then as it entered Alabama it became a category 3 storm; and finally, as it entered Georgia, Irma became a tropical storm; and later as it entered Tennessee, it became a rain event.
To those in the various states which hurricane Irma entered, it would have appeared to them that Irma might have been 5 different storms, occurring consecutively; first a Category 5 storm, then, a Category 4 storm, then, a Category 3 hurricane, then, a Tropical storm, and, finally, a rain event. But if viewed “From Above” it was ONE CONTINUOUS STORM, progressively unfolding to its conclusion.
IMPORTANT: And so, it is with events and the significant symbolism of the destruction of the first and second temples as these events are the harbinger to the final event the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord also known as the Great Tribulation as seen beginning with the breaking of the ‘Sixth Tribulation Seal’ (Matthew 24:29-31 and Revelation 6:12). Although, the breaking of each Seal may seem like different events, if viewed “from above” it is ONE CONTINUOUS EVENT (eschatological STORM), progressively unfolding to its conclusion.
NEXT: THE ANSWER TO WHEN – part 7: THE 6TH TRIBULATION SEAL.
THE INTRODUCTION: THE END OF THE AGE?