By Douglas Stauffer and Andrew Ray, Copyright 2017.
This book-form contemporary commentary on Matthew chapters 24 and 25 is included in the SwordSearcher library and includes 60 charts in the Image Viewer.
When the End Begins answers these and many more seemingly perplexing questions: Who will be living in the time likened to the days of Noah and Lot? Who are the elect gathered by the angels just prior to Christ's Second Coming? Why is the prophecy of the Temple's destruction really just a distraction? Upon what specific generation will all the traumatic events of the Olivet Discourse come to pass? Whom do the ten slumbering virgins represent at Christ's Second Advent? How are the sheep identified and why does the Shepherd separate them from the goats?
Unfortunately, many well-meaning, Christ-loving saints have been held hostage by prophecy teachers using questions like these to cast doubt upon God's prophetic promises for the New Testament Church. When the End Begins is a God-given tool to break through the spiritual chains of bondage. Read the book! Heed the warning! Consider yourself bound no longer!
Matthew chapters 24 and 25 record what is commonly referred to as the Olivet Discourse. Sadly, this portion of scripture is one of the most misapplied sections of scripture. In this work, we purpose to address many of the most puzzling issues. Our method will be to simply believe what the Book says and apply these expressed truths within God's intended CONTEXT.
In this Discourse, the Lord purposefully directed the prophecy toward a certain group—the nation of Israel. Likewise, the fulfillment of the prophecy also directly applies to Israel. In fact, it is important to recognize that the New Testament Church was not in existence during the Olivet Discourse, nor will it be on earth during its future prophetic fulfillment. The only hope for doctrinally sound Bible study comes from understanding these truths. It is therefore important for every Bible student to distinguish between NATIONAL Israel and the New Testament Church.
The first volume in this Rapture Commentary Series was entitled "Reviving the Blessed Hope." It examined the prophetic portions of First and Second Thessalonians. Of course, the study's perspective primarily focused upon the Church to whom the Blessed Hope of the Rapture was directed. This particular book focuses upon the Olivet Discourse and considers the people group (the Jews) addressed by the Lord during His earthly ministry. After all, the Jews are the focus of the Olivet Discourse and subsequently of Daniel's Seventieth Week (commonly referred to as the seven-year Tribulation Period).
No doubt we are living today in a tumultuous period identified in the Bible as "perilous times" (2Ti 3:1). Fear and apprehension are escalating. These two emotions motivate people in different ways, but rarely in any consistently positive fashion. This applies especially to discussions revolving around the Bible's End-Times teachings. Rather than diligently searching for the truth, Bible teachers seem more interested in playing things safe, sensationalizing doom-and-gloom "prophecies," and date-setting.
Additionally, some Christians have chosen to prepare for their supposed entry into Daniel's Seventieth Week. They believe that such preparations are like hedging one's bet or "covering all the bases." This mentality is comparable to the man who chooses to believe that he can lose his salvation, reasoning that if he is wrong, he at least erred on the safe side. People fail to realize that playing things safe by accepting false doctrines has a crippling effect upon themselves and upon those whom they influence.
Increasingly, God's children are shying away from acceptance of truth because of the prevailing false perception that the truth cannot be known with any high degree of certainty. Unfortunately, this condition applies directly to the Pre-tribulation Rapture. People are increasingly disinterested, shortsighted, or completely disconnected from the teaching of the imminent return of Christ. This mentality damages the Church in many ways.
Believers must please the Lord which only comes from being firmly anchored in faith rather than being tossed around by every fearful teaching that comes along. Be sure to keep the next point in mind as you study prophecy. Everyone needs to live in the present and yet prepare for the future (and the Lord's return). Jeremiah serves as a great example when the king of Judah imprisoned him for preaching. It may help the Christian to realize these three things:
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that many forms of tribulation and persecution have and will come upon the Church. Unfortunately, scripturally anemic Christians are paralyzed by the seeming conflict attached to the message of the Pre-tribulation Rapture.
After all, if Jesus is soon coming, why plan for a future that may never take place? Interestingly, the Old Testament offers many of these types of perplexing conundrums and offers insights into God's expectations during these times. Jeremiah provides a great example! The Lord instructed him to embark upon some rather "questionable" actions—actions that seemed to contradict the God-given message and the certain inevitability of future events.
Jeremiah preached that the nation was headed into Babylonian captivity. This was not a message that would provoke a man to start a family, build a house, start a new job, or further his education. However, despite God's call and message for Jeremiah, the LORD instructed him to follow a most perplexing course of action—make a land purchase!
Jer 32:7-8 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it. 8 So Hanameel mine uncle's son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.
Think about it! What did Jeremiah do as he waited in prison for the inevitable removal from the land? He bought a field! Why would he do something seemingly so imprudent? He simply obeyed what God had told him to do! Likewise, Christians, fully expecting Jesus could return at any moment, should wholly follow the Lord even when the call or direction seems useless should the Lord return soon. Again, every Christian should watch for the Saviour, wait for the Saviour, AND work for the Saviour until He comes for the Church!
Unfortunately, confusion and uncertainty have had a debilitating effect upon far too many believers. We offer this book as a guide and a source of hope and direction. God's people simply cannot allow themselves to be lulled into a false sense of "whatever will be, will be" because they have concluded that no one can know the truth with any high degree of certainty. Keep these three promises in mind as you read this work:
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.
Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
The Bible points out:
Our prayer is for this book to help believers remove the man-made blinders causing the loss of focus so prevalent today. The solution is quite simple! During times of distress, especially when things seem so hopeless, the Bible always admonishes God's people to direct their focus upward. This is how the people of God experience true victory—they choose to look above for their redemption and hope. We too should continually repeat, "our eyes are upon thee" (2Ch 20:12). Believers would be wise to consistently embark upon this same course of action. We pray that this book assists every reader to focus and stay focused upon the Lord.
This text is part of the SwordSearcher Deluxe Study Library.
Module type: Book
Module abbreviation: StauWTEB