In the book The Last Trumpet: The Mystery of God is Finished and a New Age Begins, author Robert Johnston explores biblical prophecy and the promises of God that relate to the end times. This excerpt is from chapter 1.
When giving the first commandment to Moses, God declared that love was the key by saying that he was a God who showed kindness “to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Ex. 20:6 NASB). When one looks at what God says and sees only “keep My commandments” first, he or she has already adopted a system of works as a way to be accepted by God. But if one first sees “to those who love Me,” the focus is on God, and keeping his commandments becomes secondary. In other words man could keep the commandments only out of love for God and others. One cannot obtain love for God and others by keeping the commandments; but if one loves God, keeping the commandments and loving others will come naturally, and keeping them will not be burdensome. To do otherwise is to begin the descent into apostasy. “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11).
After the religious leaders left, Jesus turned to his disciples and the multitude, and he began to describe the great apostasy of the scribes and the Pharisees. Religious leaders and all Christians should pay special attention to what Jesus said because 2 Thessalonians 2:3 tells us that this same apostasy, this falling away from loving God, will precede his return (the rapture). Jesus then lists the evidences of apostasy (Matt. 23:4–30) one by one.
Among these are the following:
Leaders place heavy burdens (system of works) on others but do nothing to remove them.
They display their own works to be seen of men, drawing attention to themselves.
Religious leaders love to be called “leaders” and “masters.” They consider themselves higher than others instead of servants to all.
They shut up the entrance to the kingdom of heaven and do not enter themselves.
Jesus then tells the religious leaders that their houses will be left desolate and that they will not see him again until the day they will say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (v. 39). When Jesus said this, he signified that the day would come when the Jews would receive him. The apostle Paul also proclaimed that the day will come when the nation will accept Christ as their Messiah (Rom. 11:26). He wrote to the church in Rome that God had not cast away Israel but had only given them “a spirit (an attitude) of stupor” (v. 8 AMP) “until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in” (v. 25 AMP). Paul also says that if God did not spare the natural branches of his olive tree, he also may not spare us because we have only been grafted into their natural place (vv. 19–21).
JESUS FORETELLS THE END OF THIS AGE
Two days before Passover, Jesus left the temple area and found a place to sit on the Mount of Olives. The Mount stands to the east, high above the city and the temple area. It is where the Messiah’s feet will first touch the earth when he returns on the day of the Lord. When his disciples joined him there, they pointed out the beauty of the temple. Their words prompted Jesus to say in Matthew 24:2 that the day would come when not one stone of the temple buildings would be left on another. The disciples were alarmed that the temple would be destroyed. They asked Jesus to tell them when this event would occur, when he would return again, and when the end of the age would be.
Before we discuss Jesus’ answers, it is necessary to begin our study of the day of the Lord by discussing the end of the age. We must begin here to understand the events leading up to the tribulation period, the events taking place during the tribulation period, and the events taking placeafter the tribulation period.
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