Ron Bigalke  


A Comparison of the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation

Dr. Ron Bigalke

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate parallel events between the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation in a sequential format. Correlation of each event of the Olivet Discourse with its timing in the Book of Revelation informs our understanding of the current age (in regards to signs of the end times or stage setting), and interpretation of the return of Christ, and the judgment at that time.

Sequential and Successive, not Merely Recapitulation

Bigalke:There is an expanding development of the judgments in the Book of Revelation. In other words, there is a sequential relationship between the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. The series of judgments are not parallel and simultaneous in the sense of recapitulation. Each series of judgments is best interpreted as generally chronological to its antecedent. This means the seventh seal judgment leads specifically into the series of the seven trumpet judgments, and the seventh  trumpet judgment leads specifically into the series of the seven bowl judgments.<

The chronological interpretation is accurate. However, the seals are not JUDGMENTS. This is an assumption that is based on (1) a wrong identification of the tribulation period, which is NOT the same as the 70th week of Daniel, but begins ONLY at the midpoint of the 70th week; and (2) the wrong claim that the tribulation involves judgment from God.

The Beginning of the Tribulation (Olivet Discourse and Revelation)

There are two differing views among premillennialists as to the timing of prophetic fulfillment of the birth pangs prophesied in the Olivet Discourse. In his commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Dr. Walvoord referred to premillennial interpreters who understand 24:4-14 "as a unit, describing the general characteristics of the age leading up to the end, while at the same time recognizing that the prediction of the difficulties, which will characterize the entire period between the first and second coming of Christ, are fulfilled in an intensified form as the age moves on to its conclusion." In other words, 24:4-14 are "general signs" whereas 24:15-26 are "specific signs." Generally, this would mean "these [general] signs have been at least partially fulfilled in the present age and have characterized the period between the first and second coming of Christ."[1] However, even within this view, there are some who interpret 24:4-8 as general signs of the period between the first and second coming of Christ; therefore, 24:9-14 would be events concerning the first half of the tribulation.[2]

Bigalke: It is not easy to argue that the birth pangs (false messiahs, wars, famines, and earthquakes) have been lacking in the present age. However, the relation of the disciple's questions in the Olivet Discourse to parallels in Revelation 6 indicate that these signs cannot refer to the current church age. Furthermore, these signs are unique to a period of which the world has never known. Since these signs are events which fit contextually with the tribulation period, they should not be cited as fulfilled (in any sense) in the current age.<

These birth pang-signs do NOT “fit contextually with the tribulation period.” The tribulation CLEARLY begins at verse 9, “then they will deliver you up to tribulation.” That means that the birth pangs must occur BEFORE the tribulation begins. Furthermore, the tribulation is not the same as the 7oth week of Daniel, and does not begin at the inception of the week, but at the midpoint. Clearly, when compared with verse 15, the tribulation of verse 9 must be seen as referring to the same event. The THEREFOR at verse 15 refers to what will have transpired in verses 9-14. In other words, the tribulation of verse 9 is the same event as is referenced at verse 15 with the placement of the abomination in the Holy Place.
In addition, there is nothing in the nature of the disciples’ questions that prevents Jesus from telling about the events that lead up to the tribulation. In fact, the very point of the teaching is so that the disciples, and by way of application, the future generations of the church TO WHOM and FOR WHOM the information is given, might not be deceived into thinking that the TIME for Christ’s arrival is other than specifically prophesied.

Bigalke: For example, famines and plagues are offered as proof of fulfillment, but the truth is they have been occurring throughout the course of human history for thousands of years. The worst famines in history occurred in North China (1876-79) and India (1876-1878). In North China alone, "deaths by hunger, violence, and subsequent disease are estimated at between 9 million and 13million."[3] The worst case of pestilence was the Plague of Justinian (AD 500-650). The effects of the plague left three of every five inhabitants dead. The decline of the city of Constantinople, and the Byzantine Empire, dates from the Plague of Justinian. Not until the ninth century did the Empire begin to recover. "Recurring epidemics of bubonic plague," the Black Death, "killed as many as 100 million people." From 1347-51 "the disease affected every level of society, killing an estimated 75 million people, depopulating more than 200,000 villages, and reducing the European population by perhaps as much as one-quarter" in Western Europe.[4]None can deny the devastation of these select examples, but they will pale in comparison to those of the tribulation. No current frame of reference exists for the judgments and signs of the tribulation.<

Actually, these examples of historical trends may or may not exceed what is to come during the tribulation. But that is not even an issue. The point of Jesus’ words is that when these SEVERE “birth pangs” occur, WE are not to be disturbed or deceived into thinking that the time of His second coming is at hand. The real severity of the tribulation does not revolve around such famines and plagues. The most significant thing about the tribulation is that it is the most severe time of PERSECUTION that history will have ever seen. And it is the beginning of the tribulation that will mark the “signs of the season” that portend the arrival of Jesus. The tribulation will not begin until the man of lawlessness is revealed, when he sets up the abomination in the Holy Place. The historical trends of famines and plagues and wars are NOT the signs of the season.

Furthermore, the tribulation is NOT a time of judgment from God. It is a time of judgment from man and from Satan. There is nothing in the context of the Olivet Discourse that indicates judgment from God will occur BEFORE the arrival of the Son of man at Mat. 24:29-31. The judgment from God begins with the trumpets AFTER the 6th seal, which is when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Bigalke: If the events of 24:4-14 (or 24:4-8) are general signs of disasters as ancient as the human race-representing familiarly distressing scenes of conquest, war, famine, and death-then what is different with the breaking of the first four seal judgments? Obviously, nothing would be different.[5]<

First of all, it is not the events of verses 4-14, but the alternate of verses 4-8, that characterize the historical trends leading up to the time of tribulation. The tribulation will begin at verse 9, “then they will deliver you up to tribulation (thlipsis).” Second, that’s why Jesus gives us the information. It is not the occurrence of famines, and plagues and war that portend the second coming. It is the severe persecution conducted by the man of lawlessness that portends the second coming. But of course, in association with that severe persecution, there will be various famines and plagues as the beast pursues his Messiah Strategy and economic controls.

Bigalke: Another premillennial interpretation of 24:4-14 would understand these prophesied events as occurring solely in the first half of the tribulation. Gaebelein wrote, "The point which we wish to make is the following: If this is the correct interpretation, if Matthew xxiv :4-14 refers to the beginning of that coming end of the age and if Revelation vi refers to the same beginning of the end and that which follows the sixth chapter leads us on into the great tribulation, then there must be a perfect harmony between that part of the Olivet discourse contained in Matthew xxiv and the part of Revelation beginning with the sixth chapter. And such is indeed the case."[6]<

This theory is erroneous because the tribulation clearly begins at verse 9, and verse 15 indicates that this tribulation mentioned at verse 9, will occur at the midpoint of the week when the abomination is set up. There is no “first half of the tribulation.” There is a first half of the 70th week, but the 70th week and the tribulation are not the same time period. The tribulation begins only at the midpoint of the week. The tribulation and the “great” tribulation are one and the same. It begins at the midpoint of the week and will be cut short by the sovereign decree of God the Father at some unknown day and hour before the end of the 70th week.
The attempt to harmonize Matthew 24:4-31 with Revelation 6:1-17 must operate on a proper definition of terms in order to succeed. Furthermore, it must operate on a rigid literal interpretation rather than a loose comparison of ideas and words between the two passages.
Both factors are violated by both the pretribbers and most prewrathers.
As quoted above, Gaebelein wrote, “there must be a perfect harmony between” the two passages involved. A perfect harmony can be found, but since most attempts seek a PRECISE correlation between the two passages, those attempts fail.


Bigalke: The First Half of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:4-20)

I shall repeat at this time that there is no “first half of the tribulation.” It is a misunderstanding of the 70th week of Daniel. There is a first and second half of the 70th week, but the tribulation begins at the midpoint of the week and in fact, does not even last for the duration, but will be cut short by the sovereign decree of God the Father. Mat. 24:22.

The terms "the tribulation" (Matthew 24:29) and "the great
tribulation," (Matthew 24:21; Revelation
7:14) both refer to a
period of intense persecution that will begin in the future, at the midpoint of Daniel's 70th week (Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 13:3-7; Daniel 9:27). At that time, Michael the archangel will remove his restraint upon Satan’s influence in the world (mystery of lawlessness, 2 Thes. 2:7; Dan. 12:1), and the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), known also as the beast (Revelation 13:3-4), the willful king (Daniel 8:23), the prince who will come (Daniel 9:26), and the (or “a”) antichrist, will begin his oppressive reign (Revelation 13:5) and the persecution upon both Christians and Jews (Revelation 12:13-17; 13:7; Dan. 7:25). This will occur NOT as an expression of God's wrath, but as an expression of Satan's wrath (Revelation
12:12) and man's hatred (Matthew 24:9) toward God and His people on the earth.

Although there have been times of tribulation and persecution throughout history (Acts
14:22), the Great Tribulation will be of greater intensity than any other time before or after (Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1). This persecution is so horrific that, unless it is cut short, "no [persecuted] flesh would be saved" (Matt. 24:22).

The Great Tribulation does not extend to the end of the 70th Week but is of unknown duration, being “cut short” (Matthew 24:22) and brought to an end immediately before the return of Jesus (Matthew 24:29-31) in the clouds of the sky (Matthew 24:30) at an unknown day and hour (Matthew 24:36, 42-44) at least 5 months before the end of Daniel's 70th week (Revelation 9:5). It is at this “end” of the tribulation that the rapture occurs and the DAY OF THE LORD begins. The events of the tribulation do NOT include either the trumpet or the bowl judgments, but both of these are expressions of God’s justice upon the kingdom of the beast after the tribulation has ended.

Bigalke: In Matthew 24:4-5, 11; Mark 13:5-6, and Luke 21:8, false messiahs and prophets are mentioned; and, in Revelation 6:2, we read of the rider on the white horse. Revelation 6:2 indicates four significant factors of the horseman of the first seal: (1) the color of the horse is white; (2) the rider holds a bow; (3) the rider wears a stevfano"; and, (4) the rider's conquering according to the verb nikavw.

As opposed to the horseman of the first seal being identified as Antichrist, it would seem best to understand the first seal referring to false messiahs and prophets.

The second white horse rider consistently has a sword throughout the Book of Revelation (1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15, 21); therefore, such divergence with the first white horse rider results in an obvious distinction.

After giving a warning of many false messiahs, Jesus used a future tense (mellw) to indicate that at the time of the false messiahs you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars (Matt 24:4-6). This appears to be an obvious parallel to Matthew 24:6-7a; Mark 13:7-8a; Luke 21:9-10 where we read about "wars and rumors of wars," and nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." A false peace and security, along with religious apostasy (the false messiahs inspire their devotees to insurrection and wars), characterize the beginning of the tribulation that will develop into multiple wars near and away from the land of Israel. All this is yet future and parallels John's description of the second seal horseman in Revelation 6:3-4.

The third seal horseman, or black horse rider, brings famine (a foreboding indication of the pale horse rider). The third seal will likely occur shortly after the second seal judgment since famine often follows open warfare.

The fourth seal horseman, the pale horse rider, brings death. This judgment parallels the synoptic Olivet discourses that prophesy famine, pestilences, and death as part of the beginning of birth pangs. Luke simply mentioned famines, whereas John's usage of thanatos would include pestilences and death in general.<

I had no problem with the parallel theory between Matthew
24 and Rev. 6 until I stood away from it and examined
the two passages from a neutral position.
1. To me the most natural understanding of the
beginning birth pains in Mat. 24 is that it refers to
the events that will characterize human history IN
GENERAL from the time of Christ forward to the
specific event mentioned in Mat. 24, which is at v. 9,
when “then they will deliver you up to tribulation.”
The verses after v. 9 up to v.29 then describe the
events of that tribulation, which will be ended when
Jesus returns in the clouds of the sky.
 The “parallel theory” requires that when Jesus
describes these GENERAL historical trends, he is in
fact describing specifically what happens during the
first 3 1/2 years of Dan’s 70th week (according to
Rosenthal’s book), rather than what can be
historically expected from the resurrection forward as
normal trends.
Remember that He said we are not to be concerned
(expectant?) when we see these things, for that is not
yet the end. In other words, JUST stuff that will
happen throughout history. It is not until v. 9 that
we are to KNOW that we are near the end, because v. 9
is when the trib begins.
Thus, the wars and rumors, the famines and
earthquakes, the disease  - - all this is NOT a sign
of his coming.
“Do not be concerned, for this is not yet the end.”
2. Rev. 6, on the other hand describes some SPECIFIC
events leading up to the return of Jesus in the clouds.
seal #2 refers to a specific person who takes THE PEACE
from the earth. That means that there was some kind of
specific peace in place in order for it to be removed.
Thus seal #1 refers to activity by a specific person
that seems to dominate world politics and power by
going out to conquer. He needs to “conquer” because
the world at that time is characterized by all kinds
of wars - especially in and around Palestine.
It seems most natural for this conquering to be what
brings about the end to all the warfare and
establishes a significant peace. THE peace that will
then be removed later by the person of the 2nd seal.
The person of the first seal is the world ruler who
establishes a peace treaty between the Muslims and
Jews so that there will be peace between them for an
agreed amount of time – i.e., 7 years.
However, 3 1/2 years into that treaty the same person,
having become empowered by satan, will break that
treaty and demand that everyone worship him and satan.
This begins the tribulation.
Seals 3, 4 and 5, then describe what happens as a result 
of the beast breaking the covenant and instituting beast 
worship and stringent economic controls.
Seal #3 describes some kind of economic control. There
is no hint of famine there or food shortages, but
simply price control and therefore supply control. 

This is exactly what happens when the beast takes control 
of resources so that one cannot buy or sell unless they have 
the mark of the beast.
Seal #4 describes a lot of death that comes from 4 sources.
Death from sword: the beast tries to kill anyone who
will not take the mark.
Death from famine: When the beast controls the
resources, it will produce massive shortages for those
outside the beast’s kingdom.
Death from disease: natural result from massive food
shortages (famine).
Death from animals: encroachment of wild animals into
civilized areas because of the massive food shortages.
Seal #5 describes many martyrs, probably with emphasis
on those killed by the beast, but those gathered in
heaven might very well include all the martyrs since
the beginning of the church.
Now - where is the parallel with Mat. 24?
1. many false christs: “many shall come in my name.”
The “parallel theory” makes this correspond with seal
#1. The guy who comes and makes a peace treaty with
the peoples of the Middle East.
Excuse me! MANY does not parallel ONE.
Nor is there anything that makes the guy of seal #1,
someone who comes IN MY NAME. Even when we recognize
that seal #1 refers to the world ruler who LATER
becomes the beast (the antichrist), EVEN THEN, he is
NOT someone who comes in Christ’s name. There is not
even a HINT of “comes in my name.”
The many false teachers refers to the normal
historical trend of messianic imitation that has
existed since the resurrection of Christ.
2. wars and rumors of war: this is MANY. This is
nothing that should get the believer to think that the
end is near, but rather it is NORMAL stuff that will
characterize human history.
Does this parallel seal #2? No. Seal #2 is a specific
action that removes a previously established peace. It
is NOT “wars and rumors.”
In addition, “wars and rumors” are EXPLAINED by “for”
- “nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.”
This is NOT what happens with the rise of the beast
(antichrist). He does not bring war - let alone warS -
when he takes over, he simply ENDS the peace and does
not ALLOW for war as long as he maintains control -
which he does until the 6th seal.
Men slaying one another is not war, but the killing
that comes as a result of not taking the mark of the beast.
The sword that the red horse rider has does not need
to mean war - but the power of death, which he has
through his economic policies.
3. Famines: since the so called “parallel” has already
been torn down, it is simple to see that famine is NOT
the same thing as the economic controls that are
portrayed by the rider on the black horse. Famine
RESULTS in some parts of the earth because of those
controls, but that is specific, whereas the famines of
Mat. 4 are historical trends that portend nothing
significant, and once again, we are not to be
concerned, for this is  “not yet the end.”
4. Pestilences AND EARTHQUAKES: My oh my, how we
stretch and twist to make something fit when it does
not fit! According to the “parallel theory” this (BOTH
items) corresponds with the 4th seal, which is death
from famine, disease, sword and animals.
If one were to be consistent - HERE is where famine
would be matched up.
And I don’t see any earthquakes at the 4th seal.  
But that’s ok - Let’s just include them there anyway
BECAUSE we have to make it a parallel!
Furthermore, Jesus didn’t mention wild animals and
sword in connection with the famine and earthquakes and disease.
I just cannot make a parallel where there is none.
5. The next thing in Mat. 24 is verse 9, then they will
deliver you up to tribulation, and you will be killed, etc.
The “parallel theory” wants this to correspond with
the martyrs of the 5th seal.
Problem: the martyrs of the 5th seal are ALREADY there
in heaven. It is not saying that they are being killed.
In fact, the DEATH of many of these would have ALREADY
occurred in connection with seal #4. That is where
death from SWORD occurs.
The issue with the 5th seal is NOT chronological, but
rather simply a recognition that believers who have
been killed for their faith are in heaven longing for justice. 
Furthermore, it is most reasonable that this group in
heaven includes ALL believers who have been killed for
their faith. And since I doubt that there is a division 
in heaven between those who were martyred and those who died 
naturally, probably ALL believers are in the group longing for justice. 
The focus is simply on the martyrs since they were the direct recipients of 
fatal persecution.
It is told them that they must wait until others are
killed likewise for their faith - and THEN justice will be meted out.
When that is completed during the tribulation, 
then comes the end when Jesus returns 
and raptures all believers and begins to render justice to the unbelievers 
left on the earth.
6. Then will occur the return of Jesus and the inception of the Day of the Lord, 
which is described at Mat. 24:29-31 and at the 6th seal. 
And these two just happen to be TOTALLY parallel because they
ARE IN FACT talking about exactly the same thing.

Bigalke: "For thus says the Lord God, 'How much more when I send My four sever judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague to cut off man and beast from it!" (Ezek14:21). These same four figures are prophesied as God's wrath in several other passages (cf. Lev 26:21-28; Numb 11:33; 16:46; 25:8-11; Deut 11:17; 28:20-26;32:22-25; Jer 15:1-9; 16:4-11; 19:7-9; Ezek 5:11-17; 6:11-12; 7:3-15). The tribulation commences with the outpouring of God's wrath in the seal judgments, followed by the trumpet judgments, and concluding with the bowl judgments. The judgments are sequential and progressive, which means there is no break in the outpouring of God's wrath, and intensify as they are cast upon the earth.<

There is no necessity to see a parallel to Ezekiel or other places that mention one or more of the various afflictions. Many do this in order to make the seals “judgments” from God. Certainly God uses those 4 items to judge mankind, but does EVERY occurrence of such an event constitute an administration of divine judgment? I think not.
Was the famine of Gen. 41:25-36 a judgment from God? No. It was indeed DONE by God, but it was not judgment. If it had been judgment on Egypt, God would not have given instructions “so that the land may not perish during the famine,” (verse 41:36).
There is no mention of judgment in connection with the famine of Ruth 1:1.
The famine of Acts 11: 28-30 is not said to be judgment from God. And there are many other examples.

It should be clear that the beast is given authority to reign and in his oppression through operation MARK, there is great economic hardship. The FOURTH seal rider is not a man, but the personification of DEATH. Death has a hay day via the reign of the beast. Death occurs at the hands of the beast and through the effects of famine and disease which occur because of the economic controls. These are not judgments from God, but results of the oppressive reign of the beast.

The Birth Pangs

Bigalke: This is in keeping with the analogy of birth pangs, since such pains do not occur at the beginning of pregnancy, but at the end. In the same manner, the signs of Matthew 24:4-14 do not occur during the current church dispensation, but only during the tribulation immediately before Christ's return. The Olivet Discourse will instruct Israel and Gentile saints, during the tribulation, that the events of verses 5-6 are not yet the end. It is just the beginning of birth pangs before being able to straighten up and lift up [their] heads, because [their] redemption is drawing near (24:8; Luke 21:28).<

It is an assumption to state that the birth pangs “do not occur during the church dispensation but only during the tribulation.” It is obvious that the analogy does not follow the time factor involved in a literal pregnancy. Time is RELATIVE in God’s eyes and a period of 2000 years for birth pangs is no different from any period of time prior to the actual birth.

Bigalke: The birth pangs of the first half of the tribulation are the beginning of the greater birth pangs in the second half of the tribulation. The entire seven-year tribulation is the period of birth pangs, as Jeremiah 30:6-7 indicates, "'Ask now, and see if a male can give birth. Why do I see every man, with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? 'Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob's distress, but he will be saved from it."<

There is no FIRST HALF of the tribulation. The birth pangs CLEARLY occur PRIOR to the tribulation as Matthew 24:9 indicates. It is AFTER the birth pangs that “then they will deliver you up to tribulation.”  Nor can one claim that the birth pangs occur during the first half of the 70th week, for during that time, there will be a period of PEACE under the umbrella of the 7-year covenant that begins the 70th week.
Thus, his statement that “The entire seven-year tribulation is the period of birth pangs,” is quite inaccurate. Nor can one appeal to Jeremiah 30:6-7, for this does not give us any TIME FACTOR, but only a factual prophecy that there will be a tribulation. And both Daniel (chapter 12) and Jesus at Matthew  24, teach us that the tribulation will begin at the midpoint of the 70th week.

Bigalke: The seven-year tribulation is clearly divided chronologically in the Books of Daniel and Revelation, and characteristically in the eschatological discourses of the synoptics, that is the beginning (less intense experiences) and the more frequent and intense experiences of the tribulation period.<

This claim is based on ASSUMING that the tribulation is the SAME period of time as is the 70th week. This assumption has been shown to be false.

Bigalke: Drawing from extra-biblical sources, Raphael Patai devoted an entire chapter to "The Pangs of Time" and concluded,<The pangs of the Messianic times are imagined as heavenly as well as earthly sources and expressions. From Above, awesome cosmic cataclysms will be visited upon the earth. . . . 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.<

And this source has made the same mistake. There is nothing in the Bible that indicates that the tribulation will last 7 years.

Bigalke: The Jewish understanding of the birth pangs of the Messianic times is certainly consistent with the sequence of the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation. The birth pangs are additional evidence that supports the concept of Matthew 24:4-14 (and the parallels in Markan and Lukan discourses) as indicating events of the first half of the tribulation, which is also parallel to the four horseman of Revelation 6:1-8.<

This ignores the language at Matthew 24:9, which indicates that the tribulation will begin AFTER the beginning birth pangs and as separate from those birth pangs. The “birth” is the arrival of Jesus. The beginning birth pangs will occur prior to the tribulation, and the tribulation will be the FINAL birth pangs, after which the “birth” of the arrival of Jesus will occur (Mat. 24:29, “after the tribulation of those days.”)
I have also already demonstrated that there is NO PARALLEL between the beginning birth pangs and the 4 horsemen of Revelation.

Bigalke: The eschatological discourses of the synoptics warn of persecution and martyrdom during the tribulation (Matt 24:9-10, 12; Mark 13:9, 11-13; Luke 21:11a-19). Mark and Luke stated the comfort given to the faithful during the tribulation is that the Holy Spirit will give them the words to speak. As martyrdom (24:9) is also the fifth seal, John recorded the prayer of those seeking justice from God.<

Of course, Matthew 24:9ff can be compared to the seals, because that IS IN FACT the time of the tribulation. But it is NOT the time of the beginning birth pangs.
And the 5th seal is NOT martyrdom, but shows us believers in heaven who were martyred. It does not say WHEN or HOW they were martyred. It is more likely that those shown to John are a picture of believers FROM all of the church age (if not from all of history) who are told to wait for the additional martyrs before they will be given relief and justice. The OTHERS refers to the martyrs of the tribulation, which when completed, will be ended by the return of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Bigalke: Earthquakes are frequent throughout the Book of Revelation as judgment is about to intensify (Rev 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 16:18). The sixth seal should be correlated around the time of the abomination of desolation at the midpoint of the tribulation.[9] It seems that the sixth seal is used to introduce the great tribulation (24:21), or the second half of the tribulation which begins with the abomination of desolation.<

All this is based on the false assumption that  -
(1) the tribulation is 7 years long.
(2) there is a first and second half of the tribulation.
(3) the 6th seal does not parallel Matthew 24:29-31.
(4) the previous seals are NOT picturing the tribulation.

A more natural understanding is that the 6th seal is describing what Jesus taught at Matthew 24:29-31; an event that occurs AFTER the tribulation of those days.
Matthew 24:29, “But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Revelation 6:12-13, “and there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth. . . and the sky was split apart like a scroll.”


The Seal Judgments

Bigalke: Both Rosenthal and VanKampen gave attention to the similarities between the events of Matthew 24:5-9 and the first five seals of the Apocalypse (Rev 6:1-8). However, their argument is that the first five seals (6:1-11) are not the wrath of God, but that of man through the Antichrist (similar to midtribulationists).[10]<

I have already shown that the similarities are superficial and the parallel theory has no substance. However, that issue has nothing to do with the timing of the rapture. What is an issue, is whether God’s wrath is expressed during the seals or does not occur until after the 7th seal is opened.

Bigalke: Both Rosenthal[11]and Van Kampen[12] argued that God's wrath does not begin until after the sixth seal. After the cosmic signs of Revelation 6:12-14, verses 15-17 provide the reaction of the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man. They will cry to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?" A plain reading of Scripture here should cause one to conclude that the great day of God's wrath has already come and is present during the sixth seal.<

Just because someone states that “a plain reading of Scripture” indicates this or that, does not mean that the statement is correct. I suggest that the plain reading of Scripture indicates that it is only AFTER the visible signs in the sun, moon and stars, that there is evidence of God’s wrath.
(1) The people respond in fear because the signs portend TO THEM that the wrath of God has come.
(2) The wrath of God is DELAYED after the 6th seal is broken in order to seal the 144,000 servants.
(3) The martyrs of the 5th seal are beseeching God for justice and vengeance, and they are told that they must WAIT. That indicates that the judgment of God HAS NOT been expressed yet, and will not be expressed until the OTHER saints are killed, during the time remaining in the tribulation – at which time the tribulation will be cut short by the sovereign decree of God the Father, and Jesus will come in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.


Bigalke: Since pre-wrath rapturists do not believe God's wrath begins until the seventh seal, they must argue, "the aorist tense is, generally speaking, timeless."[13]Rosenthal wrote, " . . . the phrase, 'the great day of his wrath is come' refers, not to a past event, but to an event about to occur, and that in concert with the opening of the seventh seal."[14] Following the sixth seal, God's wrath" is an event that is on the threshold of happening-a future event  soon to occur."[15]The aorist, h\lqen, in 6:17 is in the indicative mood which would confirm the reality of the action (God's wrath) from the standpoint of the world leaders.

The aorist is not timeless as the pre-wrath view requires; rather, the time of action is past. Non-indicative moods may indicate the kind of action as opposed to the time of action. Dana and Mantey stated, "It has no essential temporal significance, its time relations being found only in the indicative, where it is used as past and hence augmented. . . . The aorist signifies nothing as to completeness, but simply presents the action as attained. It states the fact of the action or event without regard to its duration."[16] Robertson concurred, "It is true that in the expression of past time in the indicative and with all the other moods, the aorist is the tense used as a matter of course. . . ."[17] Wallace acquiesced, "In the indicative, the aorist usually indicates past time with reference to the time of speaking (thus, 'absolute time'). . . . Outside the indicative and participle, time is not a feature of the aorist."[18]<

I leave in tact the discussion about the aorist tense for the evidence shows support for a “RIGHT NOW” understanding of what the inhabitants of the earth are expecting.
Most pre-wrathers see the meaning to be FUTURE, that is, is about to happen, and most pre-tribbers see the meaning to extend further back than the 6th seal. But the
NORMAL and NATURAL understanding is that BECAUSE OF the signs in the sun, moon and stars, as well as the great earthquake, there is an UNDERSTANDING that “something” has now come upon them. It is NOT that the wrath of God HAS BEEN on going via the seals. It is that NOW the wrath of God HAS come or IS COMING. That is what the reaction of the people indicates. They are looking at the SIGNS that have just occurred and are viewing them FROM A PAST perspective (thus, the aorist tense) and recognize that because of these things that have just occurred, God’s wrath is now HERE. And, that is exactly what would happen except that God FIRST places a delay on the actual administration of His wrath until the 144,000 are sealed. But the point is that the TIME of God’s wrath is NOW HERE; it HAS COME or it IS COME – all permitted by the aorist and it is EVIDENCED by the 6th seal signs – NOT the events of the previous seals. At least John Walvoord recognizes this on pages 136-137 of THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.
“There are a number of reasons for preferring to take this passage in its literal meaning. While this is not the final breakup of the world as described later in Revelation, when a further period of terrible judgments will be poured on the world, it does seem to indicate that beginning with the sixth seal God is undertaking a direct intervention into human affairs. The judgments of war, famine, and death, and the martyrdom of the saints have largely originated in human decision and in the evil heart of man. The judgment described here, however, originates in God as a divine punishment inflicted upon a blasphemous world. . . . The events are of such character that all are impressed with the fact that the day of the wrath of the Lord has come and their judgment is now about to take place.”

"This Generation" and Time Texts
Matthew24:34, 36 (cf. Rev)

Bigalke: When Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, this [au{th] generation will not pass away until all these [tau'ta] things take place"(24:34), He was referring to the same generation that belong in the distance (eschatologically). By identifying the demonstrative pronouns, it becomes clear that Jesus was referring to the generation that witnesses the events of the Olivet Discourse with His coming in a future time. If Jesus intended to speak of a first century fulfillment then He would have used the relatively future demonstrative, ejkei'nai, for the events that would occur among the generation that would witness His coming. In other words, Jesus was not using relatively far demonstratives to describe what He prophesied of Himself in relatively near demonstratives, as He stepped into the future from His present earthly location. Only the generation witnessing all the events prophesied in the Olivet Discourse will be the generation to witness His return. Commenting on the parallel passage to Matthew 24 in Luke 21, Lukan scholar Darrell Bock assented:

What Jesus is saying is that the generation that sees the beginning of the end, also sees its end. When the signs come, they will proceed quickly; they will not drag on for many generations.<

This conclusion ignores the natural division that Jesus gives in His discourse. The events that THIS generation will see refers to the events that begin at verse 9; the events of the tribulation (which will begin at the midpoint of the 70th week). The beginning birth pangs are NOT the things that will be seen by THIS generation. Those are things that are NATURAL historical trends that will occur all throughout history, and have no significance UNTIL verse 9. That is why Jesus said that when those things (the beginning of birth pangs) occur, “don’t be mislead” and “that is not yet the end.”
The events that will characterize the generation that will see His coming are the events that come AFTER the beginning of birth pangs.
"Beginning birth pains" are those intermittent pushes and shoves which indicate that a pregnancy is moving toward its "end." However, before that "end" can occur, there must be the final birth pains which are the body's actions to bring that baby into the world and "end" the pregnancy.

The "pregnancy" is God's plan to establish the Messiah's reign on the earth via His return at the Day of the Lord.
The beginning birth pains are those historical trends which progress from Messiah's first advent until the revelation of the beast, the man of lawlessness at the midpoint of Daniel's 70th week.
The final birth pains take place during the oppressive reign of the beast which is called the tribulation, the great one.
The end of the "pregnancy" is when Jesus returns at the Day of the Lord and administrates divine wrath upon the world in preparation for establishing His 1000 year earthly kingdom.


The Judgment of Gentiles (Matthew 24:36-25:46)

Bigalke: The One Taken and The Other Left (24:36-41)

In Matthew 24:36, Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. In 24:36-41, Jesus will provide answers as to what the conditions will be like when He does return. "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah (24:37). In the same way, unbelievers did not believe judgment would be coming upon them in the days of Noah, so will the response of the unbelievers be during the tribulation even though they will experience the wrath of God. One will be taken, and one will be left (24:39b). The unbelievers do not truly believe judgment is coming.<

This does not mean that the church is gone. It does not mean that the rapture has occurred. To claim that is just an assumption that really has no basis in fact. And the term “unbelievers” refers to both Jew and Gentile for there is no distinction AT THE MOMENT of the rapture. ALL unbelievers will be left behind.

Bigalke: In keeping with the context of tribulational events, the one taken and the other left in Matthew 24:37-41 is a reference to the separation that will take place when Christ returns to earth. Israel is not included here since her judgment is the tribulation.<

This is partly true. It is IN FACT what will happen when Christ returns to the earth “in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” What pre-tribbers fail to see is that that coming is NOT the coming described in Revelation 19, but the arrival that is referred to at Revelation 6.
At Matthew 24:31, Jesus said that He will gather His elect. When He describes this in more detail, the natural understanding of “one taken” goes back to “gather.”
It is wrong to say that “Israel is not included here” because it most certainly is. Those of Israel who have not trusted in Christ, and any Gentile who has not trusted in Christ will all be left behind.
Some think that this refers to the regathering of Israel back into the land. However, that is not an instantaneous event that occurs at the second coming. It is something that occurs in stages, with the final stage occurring after Armageddon. It is described at Ezekiel 34:17-22, and at that time BOTH believing and unbelieving will be gathered together, and then the separation will occur.

Jesus is talking about an INSTANTANEOUS separation of believer from unbeliever. The only thing that qualifies as fulfillment of that language is the rapture of the church. Later, Jesus describes His coming to be like a thief in the night. This is the language that Paul and Peter adopt as they teach us about the arrival of Jesus to bring relief to the church and begin judgment on the unbelievers.

Bigalke: The one taken is in judgment in death at the second coming and the other left enters into the millennial kingdom. <

This is simply wrong. What Bigalke refers to is the ASSUMED second coming at Armageddon. But there is no instantaneous separation of believer from unbeliever at that time. There is a WAR. Sure, many unbelievers will die at that time. However, multitudes will remain alive all throughout the world. Thus after the war there is a gathering of BOTH believer and unbeliever into one location, at which time the unbeliever will be removed and the believer will go into the millennial kingdom.
This is what is described at Ezekiel 34 and at Matthew 25:31ff. It is wrong to think that “When the Son of man comes” at verse 25:31 will then be followed IMMEDIATELY by this organized separation. It is simply describing the TIME CONTEXT of when this separation will occur. It will occur at the time PERIOD of Christ’s parousia – His presence on the earth. The parousia of Christ is a period of time that begins at the 6th seal when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. It covers the trumpet and bowl judgments, including Christ’s descent ONTO the earth at Armageddon. The specific time of this separation of believer from unbeliever will be after Armageddon.

Biglake: The one taken is in judgment in death at the second coming and the other left enters into the millennial kingdom. The response of Jesus to the disciples' questioning (Luke 17:37; cf. Rev 19:17-18) accurately fits this interpretation alone. In other words, the disciples question when the restoration of Israel will take place and God will judge all her enemies. Jesus has already answered questions in regards to Israel and is now dealing with the judgment of Gentiles.<

The question the disciples ask and the answer that Jesus gives have nothing to do with Armageddon.
The location of this statement about the vultures is place chronologically by Matthew in direct connection with the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. I have already shown this to be the time of the rapture as well – after the tribulation of those days will be cut short from its EXPECTED duration by the sovereign decree of God the Father. Luke does not record these prophetic things in a chronological order as Matthew does.


The next thing that Luke records is at verse 37. The disciples ask, "Where?" and Jesus answers, "Where the body (corpse) is, there also will the vultures be gathered." Remember that Luke is just listing a variety of things that Jesus taught. This question and answer does not belong here RIGHT AFTER Jesus teaches that some will be taken and some left, as if to suggest that the disciples are asking where they will be taken. Matthew records this statement in connection with the coming of the Son of Man like lightning flashing across the sky, but not in connection with the gathering of the elect (Mat. 24:27-28).

"For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west,
so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.
Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather."


So when the disciples ask this question, "Where," they are asking where will be the ARRIVAL of Jesus when He first appears? The answer Jesus gives focuses on Palestine as the center of activity at this time; the headquarters of the beast. The specific answer reflects a common image not only from Jewish culture as can be seen from the Old Testament (Job 39:30; Prov. 30:17), but from the laws of nature as well. What we need to determine is the significance of this image as Jesus relates it to His arrival at the Day of the Lord. It should be clear that those who are taken in the rapture, are not taken to a place where the vultures are eating a corpse. It is also clear that the arrival of Jesus as lightning that flashes across the sky (Mat. 24:27-28) is the same incident of gathering His elect when "one will taken and one will be left," (Luke 17:37). We also know that this event takes place immediately after the tribulation, which through that event, is cut short from its expected 3 1/2-year duration. It is at this time that the wrath of God and of the Lamb will begin to judge the beast and his kingdom. Those who are spiritually dead will be subject to horrendous physical judgments which will culminate in the battle of Armageddon where the corpses of the fallen soldiers will be food for the scavengers of the sky (Rev. 19:17-18). At Mat. 24, when the elect are gathered out INTO THE SKY, the non-elect remain on the earth to go through "the things which are coming upon the world," as Luke 21:26 indicates (parallel to Mat. 24). These Day of the Lord judgments begin and culminate in the land of Palestine, and it is perhaps this that Jesus has in mind when he answers the disciples' question of "where," with "Wherever the corpse (body) is, there will the vultures be gathered." The corpse is the dying body of the beast and his kingdom which is centered in Jerusalem, and his destruction will become final 30 days after the end of the 70th week at the battle of Armageddon.

Bigalke: The Olivet Discourse deals with Christ returning to the earth in judgment before establishing the messianic kingdom. The emphasis does not have to do with the unexpectedness of the time of the Rapture; rather the focus is on unexpected judgment just like the days of Noah (Matt 24:37).[26] <

This statement fails to recognize that the time of the rapture IS the time of judgment. That is what Paul teaches at 1Thes. 5:2-3,
”For you yourselves know that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, peace and safety, then destruction will come on them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

The arrival of Jesus will come like a thief in the night, at some unknown day and hour after the midpoint of the week. This arrival will bring relief to the believers who are suffering persecution at the hands of the beast, and bring judgment upon those who are doing the persecution (2thes. 1:6-10). That’s why the unbelievers mourn and express fear in anticipation of the wrath of God, “for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17; Luke 21:25-27).
But this wrath of God is NOT Armageddon. It is the judgment that comes from the trumpets and bowls. Armageddon is simply the final judgment on the earth dwellers, and will occur at the end of the 30 day period that follows the end of the 70th week.

Bigalke: The wide-ranging progression of events (times and seasons), leading to the day of the Lord, will come like a thief for the unbeliever (cf. 2 Pet 3:3-10). In contrast, the day of the Lord does not overtake the church. For God has not destined us [the Christian] for wrath [the day of the Lord], but for obtaining salvation [deliverance] through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we are awake [the watchful Christian] or asleep [the unwatchful Christian], we may live together with Him (1 Thess 5:2,9; cf. 1:10).<

It is the SAME moment of time; the arrival of the day of the Lord IS the arrival of Jesus. And while the oriented believer will not be caught off guard to be surprised as by a thief in the night, the unprepared believer WILL be caught off guard. That is the reason for Paul’s warning in 1Thes. 5:6, “so then let us no sleep as others do, but let us be alert and in control.”

Bigalke: The coming of the Son of man in Matthew 24:3, 27, 30, 37, 39, 42, and 44 refers to Christ's return to execute judgment and establish His kingdom on earth.<

This is a correct statement. But AT THE MOMENT of His arrival, He will rapture the living believers from the earth, giving them relief from the persecution oppression of the beast (2Thes. 1:6-10).
It is the very same second coming that the apostles write about so often. Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky in power and great glory.
(1) He will gather the elect; the saints who are undergoing persecution.
(2) He will delay judgment until the 144,000 Jews are saved and sealed.
(3) He will begin judgment through the trumpets after the 144,000 are sealed.
(4) He will continue the judgment through the bowls, which will be culminated by Armageddon.
(5) He will separate the living believers from the living unbelievers after Armageddon.
(6) He will remove the unbelievers from the earth and place them in torments in Hades.
(7) He will take the believers into His earthly kingdom.

Bigalke: The messianic title Son of Man never refers to the church; it is a title for the Davidic King who will reign on earth from Jerusalem (Dan 7:13-14). Emphasis then lies upon the signs of approximation preceding the coming of the Son of Man and the parable from the fig tree is given (24:30, 32).When a future generation witnesses all the signs of Matthew 24, then the coming of the Son of Man is approaching, right at the door(24:33).<

This statement is simply FALSE.
SON OF MAN: Mat. 16:27; 10:23; 24:31
The title, Son of Man, is just as valid for a New Testament orientation as any Old Testament orientation.
The use of the title in and of itself does not mean that the church is not involved.
John 3:13-14;  5:27; 6:27;  6:53; 8:28; 9:35; 12:23; 12:34; 13:31; Acts 7:56.

Dr. H. Wayne House: E. The Son of man theme (Dan 7, etc.) in the Olivet Discourse versus the Lord and Savior in 1 Thess. 4
The Son of man theme is found throughout chapter 24 of Matthew (and parallel texts), strongly picking up the theme of Daniel 7 and 9. Such a Messianic designation would not be missed on the disciples nor on the Sanhedrin at Christ's trial (mentioned earlier). This theme is totally missing from the rapture passages in 1 and 2 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians 15.<

But the title Son of Man does not HAVE to be mentioned, and its absence does not prove a thing.
The title is a Messianic title of course. And it is directly related to the fact that the Messiah will be both GOD and MAN, and on that basis provide salvation for mankind through His sacrifice on the cross. That is why Jesus uses that title at John 6:27 and 12:23.
”Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father even God, has set His seal.”
”And Jesus answered them saying, the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
John 6:53, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.”
Should we remove “church” application from these verses? Of course not!
Also John 3:13, 14; and 5:27.
And why does Steven use the title Son of Man when he is about to go to heaven to meet Him? Acts 7:56.
This “son of man” argument has no substance whatever.

Bigalke: If there is still any doubt that this coming is for judgment, Luke 17:34-37 must be read for it answers as to what place one will be taken and the other will be left. Jesus responds, Where the body is, there also will the vultures be gathered. In other words, God takes them in death and feeds their carcasses to the vultures. Matthew 24:28 indicates the timing of this event will be after the coming of the Son of Man (cf. Rev 19:17-19). At the second coming, some unbelievers are taken in judgment and put to death, thereby beginning the process that Matthew 25 reveals will be the destiny of all goats before the establishment of the millennial kingdom.<

This has already been answered above.

The Parable of the Householder (24:42-51)

Bigalke: The parable of the householder (cf. Luke 12:41-48) contrasts the eternal destinies of the faithful and sensible slave and the evil slave when Christ returns to earth at the end of the tribulation.<

His comments about this parable do not relate to the timing of the rapture and do not need to be addressed. Of course, the statement “at the end of the tribulation,” needs to be understand within the context of Mat. 24:22, 29 and 2Thes. 1:6-10, as has already been discussed.

Bigalke: The language cut him in pieces and weeping . . . and the gnashing of teeth has been interpreted as "Oriental symbolism for profound regret" and "the former is a metaphor for judgment."[28] BAGD defined bruvcw as "a sign of violent rage"[29] which could indicate suffering and remorse. However, the noun brugmov" always indicates the eternity state of the wicked. Thayer defines bruvcw as "to grind, gnash, with the teeth" but defines brugmov" tw'nojdovntwn in 24:51 as "a phrase denoting the extreme anguish and utter despair of men consigned to eternal condemnation."[30]<

This is not an issue for the timing of the rapture. Everyone who dies an unbeliever will be consigned to the lake of fire. But that will NOT occur until AFTER the 1000 year reign of the Messiah. Rev. 20:5, 11-15. In the meantime they will reside in hades, in the compartment which has been designated as “torments.”
This parable is dealing with mankind in general, and indicates that the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky is a transitional point for the unbeliever. The unfaithful servant is the one who has failed to fulfill the general responsibility of “man” to represent God’s truth to others. This begins with salvation. The one who has failed to trust in Christ will be left behind at the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky, and for all intents and purposes, his destiny will be “a place with the hypocrites.”

After being rejected by Jesus at His return, the unbeliever is assigned to the place of the unfaithful hypocrite. He does not go immediately to that place, but is simply assigned to it. The final placement in the lake of fire will not occur until the last judgment, and although he will be rejected at the Day of the Lord return of Jesus, he will still have occasion to trust in Christ up until the battle of Armageddon. After that, all unbelievers will be removed from the earth and placed in Hades.

Then, sometime after the experience of flogging, the unbeliever will be assigned to the place of the unfaithful hypocrite, and at that place there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth."

This image simply communicates the extreme sorrow, anger and frustration with what the person is experiencing in this place of judgment.

The phrase, "weeping and gnashing of teeth," only occurs 7 times in the Bible and always in connection with the final disposition of the wicked when he has been cast into the gehenna of fire (Matthew 8:12; 13:42; 13:50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28).

Of course the rapture is not the “end of the line” and as long as people remain alive and do not have the mark of the beast, they have a chance to believe. Thus, 144,000 Jews are converted shortly after the return of the Lord, and if ANYONE can be considered an unfaithful servant to God, it would be the people of Israel.

Bigalke: The parable of the householder also deals with the subject of the judgment of Gentiles. Since God saves all Israel before the second coming, and these judgments occur at the second coming, they cannot be a reference to Israel. Indeed, Jesus will not return until the nation of Israel repents and acknowledges Him as Messiah (Lev 26:40-42; Jer 3:16-17; Hos 5:15-6:3; Zech 12-14; Matt23:39). It is only when Israel cries out for the Messiah that He will return. They will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him (Zech 12:10).<

First of all, ALL ISRAEL will NOT be saved prior to the second coming. All Israel will eventually be saved, but that means that there will come a time when ALL the Jews present on the earth will be saved; NOT that EVERY SINGLE Jew will be saved. The fact remains that after the arrival of Jesus at the 6th seal AND after His descent to the earth at Armageddon, there are still unbelieving Jews on the earth. This is clear from Ezekiel 34:17-22, when just prior to the establishment of the kingdom, the unbelievers must be separated from the believers.
Thus, the claim that Israel cannot be involved with second coming judgments is quite false.

Secondly, prior to the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky, the Jews AS A WHOLE – as a national entity – will recognize that they have failed their God. But they will not recognize and accept Jesus as the promised Messiah until AFTER He arrives.
Lev. 26:40-42 does not say that the Jews will trust in Jesus. It says they will confess their unfaithfulness, and then God will remember the land.
Jeremiah  3:16-17 deals with Israel IN THE KINGDOM, AFTER the Messiah has already returned.
Hos. 5:15-6:3  does not say that they will trust in Jesus as the Messiah. It says that they will acknowledge their guilt and seek His face DURING the tribulation. It refers to the recognition that they rejected the Messiah, but it is not FAITH IN HIM – yet. It is like the Philippian jailer who has come to terms with the fact that Jesus is the Savior, but still must ask, “what must I do to be saved?” Likewise with
Israel, they will come to a realization that Jesus was the Messiah, but WHAT MUST WE DO NOW? Thus, the positive remnant, called “the woman” in revelation 12, rejects the beast and flees into the wilderness. Then after Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky, they will know what they must do – and AFTER His arrival, “they will look on Him whom they pierced.”
It is AFTER the arrival of the day of the Lord, that “whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Joel 2:32). The issue of looking on “him they pierced” has a double application. It refers first to those who see Jesus arrive in the clouds of the sky at His 6th seal revelation. Secondly, it refers to the over-all attitude of the nation when they are established in the Messiah’s earthly kingdom after Armageddon.
Zech. 12-14 deals with the physical descent of Jesus at Armageddon. It does not deal with His arrival in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, as described at Mat. 24:29-31 and 2Thes. 1:7, which will occur at some unknown day and hour after the midpoint of the 70th week.
23:39 refers to the attitude of the Jews during the time of tribulation as described in Hosea 5:15ff. The positive remnant of Israel (the woman of Rev. 12 as well as others scattered throughout the earth) will recognize and seek Jesus as their Messiah. But they will not TRUST in him as the savior from sin until AFTER He arrives.


Bigalke: The judgments of Matthew 24:36-25:46 at the second coming would not pertain to Israel. Since the church has been raptured before this period, and the Olivet Discourse is dealing with tribulational events, then the judgments must be referring to the response of Gentiles in the tribulation to the Messiah before His return.<


The Parable of the Ten Virgins (25:1-13)

Matthew 25 begins with the parable of the ten virgins. The background of the parable of the virgins is the Middle Eastern marriage custom. The marriage contract would come into being while the couple was quite young and unable to make adult decisions. Nevertheless, at this time, the couple was considered legally married. After an unspecified period passed and the couple had matured, the bridegroom would journey to the house of the bride, and take her to his home. The bride and groom would then proceed to the marriage supper, along with all the guests (cf. 22:1-14), at the house of the bridegroom. The wise virgins are those who were longing for the wedding feast at the house of the bridegroom. The marriage supper of the Lamb will take place on earth in the millennial kingdom (Rev 19:7-10).[31]

The marriage supper imagery is a familiar reference to a Jewish person concerning the Messianic kingdom and the bride, Israel. The context negates any connection with the bhvma or the mystery . . . speaking with reference to Christ and the church. <

Mat. 25:1-13
A parable takes a non-personal real life situation and uses it as an illustration to teach a specific spiritual truth.
The illustration itself is only a teaching aid and not designed to identify or correlate with any other place a similar illustration or symbol may occur.
Every parable has one major spiritual truth to relate and each detail in the illustration works together to highlight that spiritual truth without drawing significant attention to itself.

The Ten Virgins
The illustration says:
If you are not prepared when the groom comes you don’t get to go into the wedding feast.

The Spiritual truth taught is:
If you are not prepared when Jesus comes back at the Day of the Lord, you will not go up at the gathering of the elect.

That is all there is to it.
The context which begins back at Matthew 24:1 makes the coming of the Lord the primary subject matter of the discourse, and Mat 25:31 keeps that the subject. The parable is in between and is STILL talking about WHEN the Lord returns.
The only coming that is in view is that of Matthew 24:29-31 when Jesus descends in the clouds of the sky and the elect are raptured from the earth as verses 37-42 indicate. The whole focus in verses 32-42 is being prepared for His coming.
That then is the significance of the parable.

There is no significance to the number 10, or to the virgins,
or to the 5 and 5.
There is no significance to the oil except that it represents the issue of being prepared, as does the word, wise.
There is no significance to the wedding feast; that is simply the backdrop for the “everyday” illustration.
In the illustration, preparation is by having light so you can see your way to the house. Preparation in the spiritual counterpart is simply salvation relationship with God through trust in Jesus as savior.

There is no need to give significance to the details of the illustration, for they only distract from the main issue in view.

What is significant is that those who are unprepared are not relegated to the eternal fire as in many of the other parables (Mat. 24:51;
13:42, 50; 22:13; 25:30), but simply excluded from the blessing illustrated by the wedding feast.

The expression, “I do not know you,” is significant in that it communicates RELATIIONSHIP. The foolish virgins are not allowed into the feast because the groom does not know them. I suppose we could speculate as to why they would want to get in if they don’t know him, but maybe it was a “freemeal” type thing. Anyway, their carelessness would indicate their basic indifference and the fact that they have no PERSONAL reason to be diligent. Thus, he does not know them.
So it is that those who are not prepared for the coming of the Lord through a salvation relationship with Him will be not be accepted; they will be left behind on the earth, while those who are prepared will be gathered as at Mat. 24:31 and 1 Thes. 4:13-17.

The spiritual truth in the context of the Day of the Lord arrival of Jesus “after the tribulation of those days,” is that when those who are prepared (the elect) are gathered at the rapture, the ones who are unprepared will remain on the earth to undergo the Day of the Lord judgments. Yet they still find grace in that experience by having opportunity to trust in Christ as do the 144,000 Jews.


Bigalke: The Olivet Discourse does not even address the church or the issue of the rapture, the parable here is treating judgment at the second coming.<


When Jesus talks about the second coming, he uses the verb, COME and one time, the word revealed.

When the apostles write about it, they use either COMING, APPEARING, REVELATION or PRESENCE, but always it refers to the same event.

Both Jesus and the apostles refer to the second coming in association with an arrival in the clouds, with angels, and in glory. Both Jesus and the apostle Paul places the second coming of Jesus AFTER the time period designated as tribulation (Matthew 24:29-31; 2 Thes. 1:6-10).

The very first time that Jesus mentions His second coming, is when He commissions the disciples to go throughout the cities of Israel and proclaim the gospel (Matthew 10:1-23). He addresses not only the 12 (and/or the 70), but His intent is to give instructions to those believers who will be alive after the resurrection, and in fact, those who will be alive during the persecution from the beast, and witness the return of Jesus.

Jesus chose his disciples not only to assist him in his pre-cross evangelistic ministry, but also to be the foundation builders for the new evangelistic agency, the church. As foundation builders, the disciples were recipients of information pertinent and vital to the church. Jesus did not teach his disciples as members of the nation of Israel, who would remain in the dispensation of Israel, but as those who were to be leaders in the new priestly body.

The information He taught them was pertinent to their lives when it was taught and pertinent to their lives after Jesus ascended and the church began its role as God's official evangelistic agent on the earth. It was indeed information for them and for all those who would believe in Christ through them. It was for the church and for those who would live within the time parameters of the church extending from its inception in 30 AD to "the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20) when Jesus will return and supernaturally gather his elect out from the world.

Everything that Jesus taught, not only to the disciples, but also to the people, was designed to reflect the Divine Value System and how God's people were to live on the earth. Since He was teaching Jews in the context of the national priesthood of Israel (See topic: Dispensations), some of what was said, related to the temple and Mosaic policy, but only what was specifically mentioned as such. Everything else would be standard operating procedure for God's people after Jesus left the earth and He began to build His church upon the foundation of the disciples (Ephesians 2:20). This includes the information in the Sermon on the Mount as well as the Olivet Discourse. Jesus taught in anticipation of the church age; NOT in anticipation of an earthly physical kingdom for Israel.

The term, Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven (which are used interchangeably) refer to the presence and influence of God's authority and viewpoint upon the earth in the realm of the human race. Since God's plan for the ultimate establishment of His authority and viewpoint is progressive in nature, the term can refer to any of several factors that lie within the progressive scope of that plan depending on context. The prayer request, "Let Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10), is not a request for the establishment of the Messiah's physical kingdom, but expresses a compliant attitude for the progressive influence of God's truth in the human realm as the divine plan advances. Although the disciples were anticipating an earthly kingdom, Jesus did not encourage this, but instead, emphasized that the kingdom of God was in their midst; that it was initiated by His birth and baptism; and that His death and resurrection would launch a new administration of kingdom viewpoint on the earth through a new priestly agent. The responsibility of the church is to take that KINGDOM OF GOD teaching from Jesus and spread it throughout the world until He comes back (Mat. 21:33-46; 28:18-20; Acts 1:3; Rom. 14:17; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 5:5; Col. 4:11; 2 Thes. 1:4-5).


The common view of modern dispensationalism, that views the teachings of Jesus as "still dealing with Israel" and as anticipatory of a future earthly kingdom, is inaccurate and misleading. Dispensations does not involve HOW God deals with any particular group of people, but how God administrates the gospel to the world.

See Topic: Prewrath and Dispensations


Questions and comments are always welcome

Return to BIBLE FRAGRANCES index



©Ron Wallace, Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.


Home | Recent Additions | Studies | Commentary


Prophecy | Articles | Topical | About Us