Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Great Tribulation and The Great Tribulation

Matthew 24:15-28 (ESV)
"So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), [16] then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. [17] Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, [18] and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. [19] And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! [20] Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. [21] For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. [22] And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. [23] Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. [24] For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. [25] See, I have told you beforehand. [26] So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. [27] For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [28] Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

So here is a little section that brings upon many all sorts of consternation concerning the end. They are afraid the great tribulation is coming. But there are words of comfort in the end.
First off, this abomination of desolation has happened. The Temple of which Jesus speaks has been destroyed, the burnt offerings cease as the book of Daniel says they will. Perhaps they start again perhaps not. The Great Tribulation? There was great tribulation associated with the destruction of the temple. Great tribulation. Is this the same great tribulation spoken of in Rev? Who really cares. The truth is there was enough tribulation associated with the destruction of the temple, that it qualifies as great. Jesus indicates that it is after this the imposters come. And there have been a great many imposters since the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Some have had more success in leading astray then others. It is strange here as a side note, one that should probably be followed up on, that even the elect are led astray, at least it is possible that even the elect are led away. This goes against the once saved always saved of the reformed. Jesus tells us though, not to give heed to the false prophets. His coming will not be in secret. He will comes so as to be visible to all. And it will come unexpectedly. There is no reason to fear that another temple will be rebuilt and destroyed to usher in “The Great Tribulation.” The Tribulation spoken of here has come and gone.


Scottydog said...

1) Thank you. I must have read this 100 times and always had trouble distinguishing the break from the Jewish War in 70 AD to Christ's return. Breaking it up like this helps, with the word "Then" in verse 23 making a transition. But the waters get muddied again in verses 29 and 30 which seem to tie them together. I guess we'll have to wait for tomorrow on that one?

2) As for leading astray the elect, don't the words, "if possible" imply that it is not possible to lead away the elect? The KJV puts it, "if it were possible" implying even more strongly. I notice the Greek (of which I'm no expert), says, πλανησαι ει δυνατον, (will deceive if able[?])which seems closer to the ESV here.

Bror Erickson said...

Scottydog, i'll deal with the "immediately' of 29: and 30 tomorrow.
As for the phrase, if possible, that is what it says, not "if it were possible" which would indicate impossibility. This may indicate it being more difficult, etc. It may indicate a sort of "I don't know" on the part of Christ. But you get the impression the devil is going to try to lead even the elect away, which may or may not be possible for him to do.
If as a Lutheran, you see baptism as an act of election, you see that some who are baptized whether infants or adults, die confessing a different faith.