Here is the link to part one for those who have not read it. https://www.raptureready.com/2020/07/07/a-serious-look-at-matt-24-rev-6-in-parallel-part-1-of-2-ron-ferguson/
SIGN NUMBER 6: The purpose of the 6th seal is to stamp the signature of God on the whole period. What has happened on the earth so far could be excused by the sceptics’ arguments, but now we see the direct intervention of God in the affairs of men and what a dread it gives. What torment men of the age will have! They will know once and for all that the great day of His wrath has come, and no one can stand.
Rev. 6:12-17, “I looked when He broke the sixth seal 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 as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place (and all the mountains and islands were moved out of their places). The kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, and they said 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?'”
Matthew 24 no longer traces a chronology of events that parallels the rest of Revelation, but keeps its focus on the tribulation saints, and then on the coming of the Lord in Glory. Matt 24:27, “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.” This coming is dealt with in some detail, and it matches the Rev 19 passage. Part of Matt 24 can also be matched with Revelation such as Matt 24:14 and Rev chapter 7.
The disciples had asked about signs of His coming, and Matt 24:29-31 gives those. “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. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”
These are the obvious signs of His coming that the Tribulation saints will recognize at the time. The “elect” are the Jewish Tribulation saints. The signs have nothing to do with the Rapture, and those who say Israel is now the Church are dishonoring God, who has set out all the future restoration of Israel. In fact, I go as far as to say that it is following the devil’s line to do that, because Satan has always sought the destruction of God’s chosen earthly people. It is sad that some promote this teaching.
In verses 27-30 of Matthew 24, the cosmic signs of the Lord’s Second Coming are given and replicate many of the Old Testament signs for The Day of the Lord. Straight after verse 31 of Matt 24, we have these remarkable verses:
Matt 24:32-33, “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. Even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.”
The disciples had been asking about the signs of the Lord’s coming, and He gave those in verses 4-14 (the beginning ones) and in v 29-31. Now He follows that by the parable, which in its context, has to be understood as belonging to the period immediately before the Second coming. What Jesus is saying is that when you begin to see those cosmic signs mentioned in Matt 24:29-31 (and also in the Old Testament Prophets such as Joel), then it is like the fig tree which heralds summer when the tender branches and leaves are showing. Summer will be His Second Coming outlined in this chapter, and in the Old Testament passages and Rev 19.
I know this passage (v 32-33) is used for the Rapture sometimes, but it does not fit there and is wrong to do so because it drags the Rapture into Matt 24; and there is NO rapture or Church in Matt 24. (Look back at the Introduction.) Perhaps we could say that currently the fig tree (Israel) is budding, because the fig tree is a type of Israel.
SIGN NUMBER 7: Well, the 7th seal in Rev 6 opens into the Trumpet and Bowl judgments, and Matthew does not touch on the details of this severe time of wrath, but covers, as we have seen, the “beginning of sorrows” or “the beginning of the birth pains.”
[D]. THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM: Matt 24:14
Matt 24:13-14, “But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.”
All right, now we must consider this Gospel of the Kingdom to see what it is. This is essential as there is much confusion over it. The term “Gospel of the Kingdom” is exclusive to Matthew, the Jewish Gospel, and has to be understood as the Kingdom to be set up in Israel over which the Lord is the King-Messiah. Remember, neither the Church nor the gospel of grace is in Matt 24.
John the Baptist came preaching that Gospel of the Kingdom: Matt 3:1-2, “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” His message was that the Messiah-King was about to come to set up the Kingdom. Repentance and confession in the waters of baptism meant entry into that Kingdom. John could only have referred to the Kingdom as known in the Old Testament as he is in a sense, the last of the Old Testament prophets. He preached that the kingdom was at hand. That kingdom could only come through a national repentance and acceptance of the rightful King, and that is what John the Baptist preached. There was no way would he be preaching “the Christian gospel.”
Jesus began His ministry the same way: Matt 4:23, “And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” He preached this very same Gospel that John preached – that of repentance and entry into the Kingdom. Here it is mentioned again: Matt 9:35, “And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
The next mention of the gospel of the kingdom, oddly, does not occur again until Matt 24. Why is this? Why did Jesus stop preaching it? What had happened? Well, the Bible is clear on that point also when we look into it. This is the very crucial changing point:
Matt 12:1-4, “At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grain fields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat, but when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, ‘Behold, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.’ But He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions – how he entered the house of God and they ate the consecrated bread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?'”
Okay, what does that have to do with it? When you read the passage in context, you find that the rightful king of Israel, David, is fleeing for His life in REJECTION FROM HIS THRONE, pursued by Absalom, I think it was. Because the nation had rejected the Law and the rightful king, then he could eat what was not allowed to be eaten, as the nation had set the Law aside and made it invalid. OR, to put it another way, the fact that the holy bread was eaten meant that the rightful king was in rejection and could eat blamelessly. What Jesus is doing is carefully paralleling Himself and David. He was now in rejection, so it is quite okay for Him to eat as He did of the grain. Except for a few faithful ones, the nation had rejected His message.
No more would the nation hear the Gospel of the kingdom until the days of the Great Tribulation. Not long after this incident, we now read these very crucial words: Matt 16:21, “From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” There we see the complete change in His ministry and direction, because His own people rejected their rightful King. John 1:11, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” Because of the fall of Israel, salvation has gone out to the whole Gentile world.
Let us look further at this gospel of the kingdom as it will be preached in the Tribulation:
God has assigned 144,000 selected Jews to be sealed to preach this gospel (Rev chp 7). They will naturally all be Jews and will be like the powerful Apostle Paul as he hinted in this great statement: 1Cor 15:7-8, “Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (“Untimely born” means “born before his time.”) The method of Paul’s salvation will be similar to the way God will take up those 144,000 as the Church is no longer on the earth. Every one (or many) of these will be killed for his faithful preaching:
Rev 6:11, “And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also.”
But that preaching is so successful – this gospel of the kingdom preaching – that the kingdom of God (Messianic) is at hand and about to be established on the earth – it is so successful that many are saved, and these are the ones who will enter into His kingdom (which is what Matthew 25 is about). This is the record of those saved through that preaching: Rev 7:9, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands.”
[E]. INSTRUCTIONS TO THE JEWISH TRIBULATION SAINTS: Matthew 24:15-26.
The Lord gives instructions, spoken to His immediate disciples in Matt 24, but actually addressing His Tribulation believers, the Jewish saints, especially those in Jerusalem, who must flee at the appropriate time. But I will not now expand on that for the sake of length, except for this important section: Matt 24:21-22, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.”
Note the description – there is no doubt exactly where we are there in history. The timing is indisputable. This is the Great Tribulation like no other. That needs to be vitally understood. This is right bang in the Tribulation. It cannot be transferred to the Church. It cannot be set in the Church age. Matthew 24 has nothing to do with the Church, for it is Jewish. The elect are Jews in this chapter.
[F]. THE SECOND COMING. Matthew 24:29-44
In the next few verses right up to verse 28, we see the activity of false messiahs as the Second Coming gets closer. I will not expand that part either. Then we very quickly come to the Second Coming itself; but note so carefully exactly how the verse begins: Matt 24:29-30, “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. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”
The Lord mentions “After the tribulation of those days.” As the 7 years draw to a close, then activity will happen just before His coming – After the downfall of religious and commercial Babylon (Rev 17 and 18), false christs, cosmic and stellar signs. There will be no doubting then that the Messiah’s Second Coming is so close. See Revelation 19:1-11 for His coming, but the Old Testament prophets give many references.
A section to look at: Matt 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” The Jewish disciples awaiting His coming at the end of the Tribulation are told that no one knows the exact day or hour. Yes, we know it is 7 years after the rapture, but those 7 years, I suspect, won’t start straight away after the Rapture, but very soon after it, and begin with the treaty of peace the World Leader draws up with Israel for 7 years as well as breaking the first seal. These are literal days and hours. Yes, no one can exactly pinpoint it apart from 7 years.
Now another matter that is misunderstood. It is this passage: Matt 24:37-42, “The coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah, for as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away – so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there shall be two men in the field – one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill – one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
I will say most clearly that this does not mean the Rapture. IT IS NOT the Rapture but is the Second Coming. To apply it to the Rapture is to misapply these verses. Let us look at this to see why.
Firstly, the chapter is set in the Tribulation and develops point after point, relating to the world THEN, and to the Jews THEN, and we are given this passage. To apply it to the Rapture is totally out of place with the context. It is likened to Noah’s day.
The usual interpretation many give to explain those verses is that it is the Rapture and that the Lord comes to take the saved and leaves behind the unsaved. He takes the “Christian” at the mill and in the field and leaves behind the others. In fact, the exact opposite is the truth, and the error comes from making it fit the Rapture which it is not meant to do. Let me ask, “In the time of Noah, who were left behind for the inheritance? Who were taken away in judgment?” Why, even Jesus used this exact term here, “the flood came and took them all away.” Who were taken away? Why, the unbelievers of course, and the righteous were left behind to inherit a new earth (Noah’s family).
Can you see how clear that is? And just to be absolutely sure, the Lord adds the words, “so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.” There you have it – the unrighteous will be taken away in judgment, and the righteous saints are left to inherit the Kingdom Christ sets up on earth, the Millennial Kingdom. The Rapture is the opposite when the righteous are taken and the unrighteous left behind. Matthew 25 follows on with illustrative parables.
Matthew 24 is set in the Tribulation, and once that is understood, then everything in it flows naturally in understanding. The Rapture and the Second Coming cannot be mixed and confused. I hope that was clear, or mostly so.