Rev. Charles Cooper
in Webster's dictionary for 'frustration' is "to cause feelings
of discouragement or bafflement in." This definition properly explains
my present state of mind when it comes to the way Bible teachers
interpret the Olivet Discourse. The Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1-31)
is the primary end-times sermon of Christ in the Gospels and outlines
specific events that lead up to a specific conclusion. It is a conclusion
that stirs up much debate -- thus my frustration. In a local Christian
library, I looked at more than 100 commentaries on the Olivet Discourse
in Matthew's Gospel. On one end of the spectrum, there are those
who do not believe that Jesus said one single word of Matthew 24:1-31
and that none of what is indicated has, is, or will ever happen.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who not only believe
that Jesus said it, but that every single word indicated in Matthew
24:1-31 will be fulfilled in the fullest sense possible. It is baffling
that such wide and diverse opinions about this precious passage
of Scripture permeate the Body of Christ.
two conclusions taught about Matthew 24:1-31 which are particularly
troubling. Pretribulationalists argue that the Olivet Discourse
applies only to the nation of Israel and has no instruction for
the Church of Jesus Christ. Preterists (1) argue that the Olivet
Discourse is a prophecy concerning the destruction of the Temple
in Jerusalem and was fulfilled in A.D. 70. These two groups attempt
to base their faulty conclusions on equally faulty interpretations
of specific textual details. One such error is the careless assumption
that a word means the same thing regardless of where, when and how
it is used in the New Testament. The technical name for this type
of error is illegitimate identity transfer. (2) The unfortunate
misunderstandings and incorrect summations proposed by pretribulationalists
and preterists are manifested through this error in the case of
Matthew 24:14, which says, "And this gospel of the kingdom will
be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and
then the end will come."
verse, pretribulationalists and preterists rob the term gospel
of its intended meaning. They insist that gospel refers to
the "death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for sin."
(3) This incorrect meaning of the term is then used to support a
faulty fulfillment. In the case of the preterists, the false conclusion
is that the text has been fulfilled in the events of the destruction
of the Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The pretribulationalists,
on the other hand, wrongly conclude that the text finds its fulfillment
during Daniel's Seventieth Week and precedes Christ's coming at
Armageddon. It is the thesis of this article that the correct understanding
of the word gospel in Matthew 24:14 points to a future literal
fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse and that the Olivet Discourse
gives a specific outline of the end-times including the timing of
the rapture of the church.
of Matthew 24:14
Toussaint suggests that Matthew 24:4-14 refers to eschatological
times just before the "great tribulation" period. (4) There are
several reasons that this author agrees with Dr. Toussaint's conclusion
that the text is exclusively futuristic and does not relate to the
destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (as the preterists teach) or
to a progressive unfolding of the church age (as John F. Walvoord
initial comparison of this time, in part, as "the beginning birth
pangs," followed by the "hard labor" associated with the great tribulation
of Antichrist, focuses on the conclusion of this time period rather
than the beginning of it. The inception and course of a pregnancy
is not in focus here. Labor pains are intimately connected with
the delivery. Nothing about the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem
concerned the physical delivery of the Jews or the church. Second,
Jesus' use of the term end in verses 6, 13, and 14 deals
directly with the disciples' question concerning the end of the
age. This does not refer to end of the Jewish age; that event occurred
on the day of Pentecost (5) which transpired 53 days later. Matthew
identified the end of the age with the specific time when
God will deliver the righteous and destroy the wicked (Matt. 13:39).
support is Jesus' identification of this time period with the "abomination
of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet" (Matt.
24:15). Mark 13:14 , which is almost identical to Matthew 24:14,
uses "the masculine participle to modify a neuter noun (which) suggests
that Mark found a personification of the abomination in some concrete
figure of history." (6) In other words, the "abomination of desolation"
is a person. Paul identified this person when he writes, "...the
man of lawlessness... the son of perdition who opposes and exalts
himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that
he sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God," (2
Thess. 2:3b-4). Daniel 9:27 indicated that this event would signal
the midpoint of a seven year covenant between the "prince
who is to come," the nations, and Israel. Jesus' indication that
this prophetic portion was yet future relative to the time of His
speaking established a very important timeline concerning the "end
of the age." The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 did not fit
the seven year time frame outlined in the book of Daniel. Equally,
no event or person remotely represented the "Abomination of Desolation."
Therefore, the three and a half years of "beginning birth pangs"
precedes the three and a half years of "great tribulation" (hard
labor), and the Olivet Discourse's fulfillment is yet future.
of the Gospel
24:14 reads, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached
in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end
will come." Some careless readers assume that the term "gospel,"
when used in the New Testament, always refers to "the good
news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of sin so that people can go to heaven when they die."
With this assumption about Matthew 24:14, they hastily concluded
that Jesus taught that when everyone in the world has heard the
"gospel that Jesus saves," the end (of the age) will come. How many
missionaries have been driven by this false notion? This is the
interpretation of this passage by many pretribulational mission
agencies, even though taking this position destroys the very heart
of their "any moment" rapture, imminency!
also use this false notion as one of the primary pillars to support
their position. Preterists teach that every detail of Matthew 24
was fulfilled in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem in
A.D. 70. Notice David Chilton's arguments when explaining the meaning
of Matthew 24:14 when he writes,
glance, this seems incredible. Could the Gospel have been preached
to the whole world within a generation of these words? The testimony
of Scripture is clear. Not only could it have happened,
but it actually did. Proof? A few years before the destruction
of Jerusalem, Paul wrote to Christians in Colossae of "the Gospel
which has come to you, just as in all the world also it
is constantly bearing fruit and increasing" (Colossians 1:5-6),
and exhorted them not to depart "from the hope of the Gospel that
you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under
heaven" (Colossians 1:23). (7)
a classic example of illegitimate identity transfer as well as a
poor apprehension of the New Testament's use of hyperbole -- an
exaggeration. Paul writes in Romans 15:20, "...I have made it my
aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should
build on another man's foundation..." Clearly Paul's goal in ministry
was to preach to people groups who had not as yet heard the gospel
of Christ. He relates to the Romans that his plans were to "come
to you (the Romans) whenever I journey to Spain." The only logical
conclusion is that Christ had not been preached in Spain. There
is not one historical piece of evidence that the gospel of Christ
was preached in Spain before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.
70. Paul is using the same type of language as the crowd does in
Acts 17:6 when they say, "These who have turned the world upside
down have come here too." It does not mean the "world" literally,
but a great number of people in the world. The preterists are wrong
concerning the universal proclamation of the gospel prior to A.D.
70. This rather poor attempt at exegesis grows out of a false assumption
about the meaning of "gospel" in Matthew 24:14.
doesn't mean in this context, is the death, burial and resurrection
of Jesus Christ! Let me explain. to euaggelion (the good
news)"is a compound of eu and aggelia, "good" and
"message." One key to gaining a correct understanding of Matthew's
use of the term gospel is understanding how the term was
used during the time Jesus lived in Israel. This is important because
words tend to change in meaning over a period of time. A good example
of this is the English word "charity." The 1611 King James
translation of the Bible used this word as a translation of the
Greek word agape. At the time the translators were working on the
King James Bible, charity was an excellent word to use because at
that time it meant "Christian love." However, the word has come
to mean "an organization or fund set up to help the needy." The
term gospel has a similar history. Originally, it meant the reward
given to the messenger for bringing good news. By the time of Christ,
the term "gospel" was used to mean the good news that the messenger
had brought. (8) During the time Jesus lived on earth, any good
news was considered a gospel. However, about 30 years after the
death of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul began to use euaggelion
to refer to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for sin.
He writes in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, "Moreover, brethren, I declare
to you the gospel which I preached to you... that Christ died for
our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and
that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures...
" In about 200 A.D., the term gospel came to be a technical term
referring to a biography. (9) Thus, we have the biography (the Gospels)
of Christ in four versions. Understanding the different meanings
a word can have, and when each meaning was popular, is critical
to discovering the intended meaning of a written document like the
Bible. During the public ministry of the Lord Jesus, the term gospel
simply meant good news.
key to discovering the intended meaning of the word gospel
in Matthew 24:14 is the chronology of Jesus' ministry. Luke 16:16
states, "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until (the ministry
of) John (the Baptist started); since then the gospel of the kingdom
of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it." This
verse sets a very important time indicator for us. Luke tells us
that the ministry of John the Baptist initiated a new message in
Israel -- "The gospel of the kingdom of God." This is the same message
Matthew indicates Jesus began preaching after He was baptized by
John in the Jordan River, "Now Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching
in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of kingdom..." (Matt.
5:23). It is important to remember that this time period covers
the very first few days of Our Lord's public ministry. Another very
important time indicator occurs in Matthew 16:21-23 which records,
that time Jesus began to show to 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 again the third
day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying,
"Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But
He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an
offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but
the things of men."
key phrase, "From that time." The Greek language here is very precise
-- Matthew is speaking of a very definite point in time.
As best as can be determined, this statement of Jesus was uttered
near the end of His Galilean ministry which would be about
two years after He was baptized by John in the Jordan River.
"From that time,"(from approximately the mid-point of Our Lord's
public ministry) He began to clearly set forth the gospel of Christ
-- the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for the sins of the
world. Peter's response indicates that this is the first time that
he either heard or understood this message. It is this author's
belief that this was the first time in Jesus' ministry that
He clearly set forth what was to become the gospel of His death,
burial and resurrection for sin. Two facts support this conclusion.
First, the phrase "from that time" means a point in time before
which Jesus did not show His disciples this truth. (10) Second,
Peter rebukes Jesus for teaching the death, burial and resurrection
motif which, after that time, became the heart of the gospel of
4:23 tells us that "Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their
synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom (of God)," which
occurred long before He established the gospel of the death,
burial and resurrection. There is no indication in Scripture that
Peter rebuked the Lord for teaching the gospel of the kingdom.
Instead, Luke 9:2 indicates that Jesus sent the Twelve out to preach
"the kingdom of God." It was Jesus' comments about being put to
death that set Peter's teeth on edge. The difference between Peter's
initial acceptance of the gospel of the kingdom and his initial
rejection of the gospel of Christ argues strongly that they
are not one and the same.
News of the Reign of God
24:14 contains a very important indicator as to which gospel is
intended. Notice, "And this gospel of the kingdom..." The
word kingdom (basileias), for Matthew, points to a person
(God the Father) not a place. The modern reader usually thinks of
a kingdom as a geographical area with a king and his subjects. Such
an idea is immediately misleading when it comes to the New Testament.
D.A. Carson is very helpful at this point when he writes,
is one thing on which N.T. scholars agree in relation to the kingdom
of God, it is that the English word 'kingdom' is now an unfortunate
attempt to render the Greek 'basileia'... a better translation
would be 'reign' or 'sovereignty'... (T)he kingdom of God'...
is not a 'thing'. It is the abstract idea of God being king, his
sovereignty, his control of his world and its affairs... So the
phrase 'the kingdom of God' is telling us something about God
(the fact that he reigns), not describing something called 'the
the words of Vincent Taylor who wrote, "The difficulty of translating
basileia is well known. At present there is a strong tendency...to
render it by 'kingly rule' or 'reign' rather than by 'kingdom' or
is not the term kingdom, but the false ideas the modern reader
may have about what it meant in Jesus' day. The attempt with any
translation is to make the text as understandable as possible while
maintaining God's intended meaning. This does not mean that the
term kingdom has a hidden (allegorical) meaning, but rather
that the term kingdom has acquired a modern meaning that
should not be read back into the biblical text. The kingdom of God
refers to the reign that belongs to God the Father.
Use of "The Kingdom of God"
Gospel indicates four traits about the kingdom (reign) of God. First,
men should pray for it to come. In the model prayer, Jesus instructs
his disciples to pray, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come," (Matt. 6:9-10). Second, men should seek it.
Matthew 6:33 indicates "seek first the kingdom of God..." Third,
Christ casting out demons evidences its authority. Matthew 12:28
says, "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the
kingdom of God has come upon you." Fourth, no look-a-like Christians
will be allowed into it (Matt. 13:41,19:24, 21:31).
emerge from Matthew's Gospel. First, the kingdom of God is both
here and it is coming. Because Jesus Christ is God, His physical
presence on earth meant the reign of God was on earth. Not in the
fullest sense in which it will come, but present none the less.
Yet, the reign of God is future. Mark 15:43 states, "Joseph of Arimathea,
a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom
of God... went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus." God
reigns in heaven today, but one day He will physically come to earth
to reign. At that time, His will shall be done on earth as it is
in heaven (Matt. 6:10). Secondly, Matthew indicates that God will
judge and remove all look-a-likes when He comes. Daniel Patte summarizes
the reign of God clearly when he writes "...(it) refers to the aggressive
manifestation of the power of God which asserts itself against satanic
and demonic powers." The coming of the kingdom of God means judgment
for the wicked (Satan, demons, and man). A judgment which will mean
the removal "all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,"
(Matt. 13:41). Therefore, the good news of the reign of God is yet
future and will involve the judgment of God against all wickedness.
of Matthew 24:14
first part of Matthew 24:14 again, "And this gospel of the
kingdom will be preached in all the world..." The word this
(touto) is a pronoun. (13) It is very important. It functions
like a giant shovel. It scoops up the content of verse 13 and dumps
it into verse 14. Verse 13 of Matthew 24 gives us another very important
part of the good news of the reign of God: "But he who endures to
the end shall be saved." Many make an incorrect assumption
that since "saved," generally speaking in the Scriptures, means
salvation from hell, it must have that specific meaning every
time it occurs in the New Testament. Therefore, when Matthew writes,
"And he who endures to the end shall be saved," some automatically
think of spiritual salvation.
the Greek term for saved (sozo) can mean either physical
or spiritual deliverance. Matthew 8:25 illustrates the point
well. "Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord,
save us! We are perishing!"' The disciples' request was not to be
spiritually saved so that they could go to heaven, but to be physically
delivered so as not to sink into the sea of Galilee. This is the
intended meaning in Matthew 24:13. Jesus promises physical deliverance
to His faithful followers who endure to the end (of the age). This
conclusion has further support in Matthew 24:22, "And unless those
days (of persecution by Satan/Antichrist of God's people) were shortened
(amputated) no flesh would be saved (physically delivered); but
for the elect's sake those days (of persecution) will be shortened."
Saved in this verse refers to the physical deliverance of
Christ' faithful followers rather than their spiritual salvation.
persecution of Satan/Antichrist starts, there is no scriptural support
that many unsaved individuals will turn to God for spiritual salvation
as pretribulationalists believe and teach. Nothing about the great
persecution of Satan/Antichrist will inspire sinners to seek salvation
from God, partially in light of the cost associated with that change!
With regard to unbelievers, Scripture says, "...God will send them
strong delusions, that they should believe the lie, that they all
may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure
in unrighteousness," (2 Thess. 2:11-12). Revelation 13:8 states,
"And all who dwell on the earth will worship him (Antichrist) whose
names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb..."
And Revelation 14:9 states, "...If anyone worships the beast (Antichrist)
and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,
he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God╔ and
he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone..." With regard to
so-called believers, Matthew 24:10-12 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 indicate
that they will fall away from the faith during this time, rather
than face the persecution at the hands of Satan/Antichrist. Therefore,
the elect are those faithful followers of Christ who endure the
persecution of Satan/Antichrist until the end of the age comes,
when the salvation (physical deliverance) of God's elect (the rapture)
will initiate the Day of the Lord's wrath on those who remain.
again confirmed in 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17 where we are told that
it is not just those who are alive, but those "who are alive and
remain" that "shall be caught up." The word translated "remain"
is used two times in the New Testament and is better translated
"survive." It tells the reader that those who are taken alive up
into the heaven at the rapture, have survived something that demands
survival, rather than just being "alive." In other words, the living
survivors will be the ones raptured. James Frame confirms this point:
exact contrast here is not between the living and dead at the
Parousia; not between "we Christians who are alive" at the Parousia
and the dead; but between "we Christians who live," that is, "who
continue to survive until the Parousia," and the dead. (14)
in his magnificent work, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament,
verb is also used for human survivors... It is in this sense that
1 Thess 4:15, 17 contrasts the dead (literally, "those who have
fallen asleep,")... and "we who are (still) alive, those left..."
example of this term is found in the Greek translation of the Old
Testament called the Septuagint. 2 Chronicles 34:21 records Josiah's
instructions to Hilkiah to "Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and
for those who are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the
words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the Lord
that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the
word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this
book," (bold added). These were survivors -- survivors of God's
wrath. The opposite situation occurs in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 --
the surviving believers of Satan/Antichrist's wrath will be the
ones physically delivered at the rapture. Therefore, Matthew 24:13
contains a wonderful promise to the church and supports the prewrath
position that pretribbers are wrong by limiting the application
of the Olivet Discourse to Israel alone.
of God's physical deliverance of the righteous at the end of the
persecution is a part of "the good news of the kingdom." "The good
news of the kingdom" concerns both the physical deliverance of the
righteous and God's judgment/removal of all wickedness at some point
yet future. What a tremendous and glorious promise! The pretribulationalists'
and preterists' false interpretation of Matthew 24:13-14 has robbed
the church of the "blessed hope." That generation of the Body of
Christ chosen to be present on earth during the "great tribulation"
will be raptured in victory. God is not going to sneak in and take
the church leaving the wicked guessing about what happened. The
message of victory will be proclaimed by an angel and God will come
and rescue the survivors and pour out the worst demonstration of
His wrath the world will ever experience.
to the Nations
Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel (good news) of the kingdom (reign
of God) will be preached in all the world as a witness to all
the nations, and then the end (of the age) will come." The phrase
"as a witness to all the nations" can have either of two meanings.
It "can mean 'for an evidence against' or 'for a witness to'." (16)
Is God announcing His coming judgment so that the wicked will have
no excuse or is God announcing His coming judgment so that all mankind
will know that God's judgment has begun? Matthew indicates that
the announcement of the reign of God, where God will punish the
wicked, precedes the coming of the end (of the age) during which
time God's Day of the Lord's wrath will be poured out against all
wickedness. Every indication is that the primary goal of the Day
of the Lord's wrath is to humble man. Isaiah 2:11 states, "The proud
looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed
down and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." The first
order of business will be God's notification of mankind that His
wrath is beginning. There is to be no doubt in the minds of the
unbelievers that the sign in the sun, moon and stars and the events
that follow are anything but the wrath of God. Therefore, the purpose
of the announcement is "for a witness to" all mankind.
of "the preaching of the good news of the reign of God" is to "all
the nations," "in all the world." The Lord Jesus indicates that
the universal proclamation of the reign of God would immediately
precede the end of the age (rapture/wrath of God). All the nations
of the world will be made aware that God' s wrath is about to start,
then the end of the age will come. Revelation 14:6-7 confirms our
interpretation of Matthew 24:14. John writes,
saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel
to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation
and tribe and tongue and people; saying with a loud voice, "Fear
God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has
come; and worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea
and springs of waters." (Bold added)
and Matthew are indicating the same event is supported by three
facts. (17) One, the timing is right. In the sequence of the Revelation
of Jesus to John, the final expulsion of all wickedness prior to
the physical reign of God will then be imminent. Two, the focus
is right. All the nations of the world in Matthew's Gospel becomes
every nation, tribe, tongue and people for John's Revelation. Three,
the content is right. Beginning in verse seven, the angel gives
us the content of the "eternal gospel." The Angel preaches that
the judgment of God is about to start and mankind should respond
with humility. The verb worship (proskuneo) is an
idiom that literally means 'to incline the face to the ground,'
to prostrate oneself before someone as an act of reverence, fear,
or supplication. This is how one normally expresses one's allegiance
to and regard for deity. He prostrates himself in worship. (18)
Thus, for man to worship, he must humble himself.
the proper response to the good news of the reign of God. This is
the same message and response Christ preached from day one of His
public ministry. Mark 1:14-15 says, "Now after John was put in prison,
Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of God saying 'The time
is fulfilled, and kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe
in the gospel.'" Christ's message is rooted in the Old Testament.
Jude 1:14 indicates that "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied...
Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His angels to execute
judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of
all their ungodly deeds..." Immediately following the fall of man,
God began to announce His intent to come to earth to judge the wicked.
It is in this sense that this gospel is eternal. The reason repentance
was, is, and will be a proper response to the announcement of God's
arrival to physically rule on earth is because He delivers the righteous,
but destroys the wicked. To be counted among the wicked will not
be popular when the reign of God begins on earth, therefore, man
should humble himself and give God glory so as to escape the wrath.
Unlike the persecution of Satan/Antichrist when few, if any, turn
to God, some from many nations will seek God during the Day of the
Lord's wrath, (Zech. 14:16; Joel 2:32).
angelic sermon will focus on two inevitable events: that God is
personally coming to physically deliver the faithful survivors of
the persecution of Satan/Antichrist, and that simultaneously he
will initiate judgment against all wickedness. This is the gospel
of the kingdom of God.
and exegetical translation of Matthew 24:13-14 says,
to the look-a-like Christians who fall away because of the persecution
of Antichrist, he (the faithful followers) who endures to the
end (of the age) shall be physically delivered and this good news
of the reign of God -- when God's wrath is poured out on earth
-- will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations,
then the end (of the age) will come.
translation, which includes the contextual details from Matthew
24:13-14, supports the end-time sequence of the Prewrath rapture
position. As Jesus promised and Paul confirmed, the righteous survivors
of Satan/Antichrist's persecution will be physically delivered by
the rapture. Paul clearly taught the Thessalonians that they could
claim the promise that any Thessalonian survivors at Christ's parousia
would be delivered. This deliverance will occur at the same time
the dead are resurrected. Thus, those Thessalonians who were dead
and those who survived until Christ's parousia would be reunited
at that time -- the same time Jesus indicated in the Olivet Discourse.
This proves that the pretribulationalists have incorrectly limited
the Olivet Discourse to Israel alone. The correct translation also
shows that the preterists' position grossly erred in both the timing
of the fulfillment of the events in Matthew 24 and the meaning of
the term gospel. The Olivet Discourse is yet to be fulfilled
and the good news of the reign of God will be preached before the
end of the age comes.
reader understands that the "great tribulation" is the wrath of
Satan executed through the persecution of God's elect by the Beast,
Antichrist, (Matt. 24:15, 21-22; Rev. 12:12-13:7), the end-times
sequence is clear. First, Antichrist begins to execute Satan's three-and-a-half-year
wrath campaign against God's people. Satan's persecution will cause
a great falling away of look-a-like Christians, (Matt. 24:10-12).
After some time, when circumstances are bleak for God's elect, (Matt.
24:22), an angel will proclaim the good news of God's imminent arrival
to rescue the survivors and punish the wicked, (Matt. 24:14, Rev.
14:6-7, I Thess. 4:15,17). Then the sign in the sun, moon and stars
will be given which signals the imminent arrival of the wrath of
God, (Matt. 24:29, Rev. 6:12-17). The earth now wrapped in total
darkness, receives the light of the sign of the Son of Man, (Matt.
24:30). Then Christ comes on the clouds and sends His angels to
gather together the living survivors after resurrecting the righteous
dead, (Matt. 24:31; I Thess. 4:16-17). Finally, at the end of the
age, the wrath of God comes upon the wicked, (Rev. 6:17, 8:5), and
the gospel of the kingdom of God becomes a present reality as God
reigns over the earth.
The word preterist is based on a Latin word "praeteritus,"
meaning "gone by." The basic idea is that of "past." This is a growing
position within the Evangelical movement which adopts the position
that Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation transpired in the past.
Barr, cited by Joseph C. Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings
(Hayesville: Schoettle Publishing Co., 1993), 37.
Paul remarks in Galatians 1:8, "But even if we, or an angel from
heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached
to you, let him be accursed╔" refer to "the gospel of Christ," (Gal.
1:7). Paul's point is that there is only one gospel that saves a
person from sin. Salvation from hell comes only by faith in Jesus
Christ. However, there are other gospels.
Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold the King, (Portland: Multnomah
Press, 1980), 272-273.
See the last issue of Parousia (#7, Spring 1998) for a discussion
of the beginning of the church age at Pentecost.
William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark, NICNT, (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984) 467.
David Chilton, The Great Tribulation (Ft. Worth: Dominion
Press, 1987) 10.
Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1992), 88.
See note 20 in William L. Lanes commentary, The Gospel According
to Mark, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974), 44.
This particular Greek construction is used four times in the New
Testament with this meaning. Matthew 4:17, 16:21, 26:16 and Luke
Vincent Taylor, Jesus and His Sacrifice (London: Macmillian
and Co., 1937) 8.
Daniel Patte, The Gospel according to Matthew: A Structural Commentary
on Matthew's Faith (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987) 177.
touto is a demonstrative, neuter pronoun. Daniel Wallace
writes that "The neuter pronoun is the normal means of referring
to an unspecified concept in Greek." touto, he writes, "regularly
takes a conceptual antecedent." Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics,
Dr. Daniel Wallace, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996),
James Everett Frame, "Epistles of St. Paul to the Thessalonians"
in The International Critical Commentary, (Edinburgh: T&T
Clark, 1960) 172.
Ceslas Spicq, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament, Translated
and Edited by James D. Ernest in Accordance: Software for Biblical
W.D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, Jr, A Critical and Exegetical
Commentary on The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, (Edinburgh:
T&T Clark, 1997), 344.
Joachim Jeremias, one of the greatest New Testament scholars of
this century, agrees that Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 14:6-7 refer
to the same event. He writes, "I have attempted to show elsewhere
that╔ euaggelion is used in the early pre-Pauline sense of Rev.
14:6f., where, in the hour of final fulfillment, an angelic voice
proclaims "the everlasting gospel of triumph'╔ Hence we are to understand
that 'the proclamation to all the world' will not be by men in the
time before the Parousia, but by God's angel at the last day." Joachim
Jeremias, Jesus' Promise to the Nations (London: SCM Press
LTD, 1953) 22-23.
Ceslas Spicq, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament, Translated
and Edited by James D. Ernest in Accordance: Software for Biblical