The Earth Will Mourn When They See
the Son of Man Coming on the Clouds

Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28

Late in the afternoon of Wednesday the thirteenth of Nisan

DIG: What will make the appearing of Christ so spectacular? What will be the sign that the messianic Kingdom will be set up? What was the sign of the destruction of the Jewish Temple? When was it given? What was the sign that the end of the age had begun? When was it given? How and when are the Jews gathered from the ends of the earth? How and when are the Jews gathered from the ends of the heavens? Is the Rapture imminent today?

REFLECT: What do these three questions mean to you today? Why should you be concerned about them? Is replacement theology true? Are you a part of the rich root of the olive tree, or are you grafted in? When should you lift up your head, as your redemption is drawing near?

After the Passover, as they viewed the Temple from across the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives, Christ’s apostles asked Him three questions. Jesus did not answer their questions in the order that the four apostles asked them. He answered the third question first, and the first question second. Finally, the Meshiach answered their second question: What will be the sign that the messianic Kingdom will be set up?

Immediately after the distress of those days (see Jm – A Time of Trouble for Jacob) there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars (Luke 21:25a). There will be a total back out of the sun. There will be five blackouts in the end times (Joel 2:31; Revelation 6:12, 9:2, 16:10-11; Matthew 24:29-30). No light will penetrate to the earth from the sun, the moon or the stars.

There will be a vast amount of confusion on the earth. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world for “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24-25; Luke 21:25b-26).

Then the Shechinah glory will appear as a sign that the Son of Man is coming from heaven. The answer to the second question: What will be the sign that the Messianic Kingdom will be set up? is the Shechinah glory. So immediately after the total blackout of the sun, there will be a glorious light piercing the darkness. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven (see my commentary on Revelation Ai – Look, He is Coming With the Clouds), with power and great glory (Mattityahu 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27). The light will be followed by the return of the Messiah Himself. At that point Jesus had answered all three questions.

The sign of the destruction of the Jewish Temple was to be the surrounding of Jerusalem by armies. The sign that the end of the age had begun was to be a worldwide war. And the sign of the Second Coming would be the light of the Shechinah glory breaking through a worldwide blackout. The first sign was given in 66 AD; the second sign was given in 1914-1918; and at the end of the Great Tribulation, the third sign will be given as well.

Although Messiah had answered all three questions, He still wished to give more information regarding the last days. Since the Jewish prophets had predicated in great detail the worldwide regathering of Isra’el, Yeshua did not spend much time with this, but only specified that it will occur after His Second Coming.1335

And Jesus will send out His angels with a great shofar, and they will gather Isra’el, His chosen people, from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27 CJB). It is a well established in both the TaNaKh and in rabbinic sources that a great shofar will be sounded at the coming of Meshiach. A Jewish commentary from the Middle Ages has these intriguing details: Elijah of blessing memory will come and give good tidings to Isra’el, to those who will be alive and to the dead . . . Messiah ben David, Elijah, and Zerubbabel, peace be upon him, will ascend to the Mount of Olives. And Messiah will command Elijah to blow the shofar . . . All will come to the Messiah from the four corners of the earth, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. The children of Isra’el will fly on the wings of eagles and come to the Messiah (Midrash Ma’ase Daniel pages 225-226).

The background to the Matthew passage is Isaiah 27:13, which prophesied that the final restoration of Isra’el will be signaled by the sound of a great shophar. The background to the Mark passage is Deuteronomy 30:4, which also emphasizes that the final restoration will come from two places: earth and Heaven. Those who are gathered from the ends of the earth will be living in Isra’el, the one-third remnant that survives the Great Tribulation. But later, during the seventy-five day interval (see my commentary on Revelation Ey – The Seventy-Five Day Interval), the righteous of the TaNaKh will be gathered from the ends of the heavens and resurrected (see my commentary on Revelation Fd – The Resurrection of the Righteous of the TaNaKh). This part of the Olivet Discourse summarizes many prophecies of the TaNaKh, specifying that the final worldwide restoration will come after the Second Coming (Isaiah 11:11-12:6; Jeremiah 23:5-8, 31:7-14; Ezekiel 11:16-21, 20:40-42 and 36:22-31).

The high holy days model for us that the shofar will be sounded two different times. The Feast of Trumpets (Hebrew: Rosh Hashanah) takes place on the first day of the month of Tishrei (September/October) and is followed by a ten-day period of repentance (analogous to the call of repentance of the Great Tribulation period). This period of repentance is culminated on the Day of Atonement, traditionally known as the Day of Judgment (Hebrew: Yom Kippur) on the tenth of Tishrei. The climax of the Day of Judgment is when the last shofar, the one great blast (Hebrew: tekia gedolah) is sounded.

Thus, the first shofar will sound at the resurrection of the righteous of the TaNaKh from the past 2,000 years, who will be called to meet the Lord in the air at the Rapture (1 Thess 4:13-18). Then there will be the period of judgment known as the Great Tribulation (see Jm – A Time of Trouble for Jacob). As the armies of the antichrist tighten the noose around the neck of Bozrah (Habakkuk 3:3), all Isra’el who is left at the end of the Great Tribulation will be saved (Romans 11:26a). Scripturetells us that on that day they will look upon [Messiah], the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a first-born son (Zechariah 12:10b). When the Jews pled for the Lord to come back (see my commentary on Revelation Ev – The Basis for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ), the second great shofar will sound for the regathering of the Jewish remnant back to Yerushalayim that will have survived.

We must be reminded again of the total Jewish context of this entire discourse of Yeshua. Replacement theology teaches that the “Church” (usually meaning Gentile believers) will go through the Great Tribulation because they are the new “chosen people.” There are to many scriptures that conflict with this idea of replacement theology in which the Gentile Church highjack’s all the promises previously given to the Jewish people. Rabbi Sha’ul responded strongly to this corrupt interpretation when he said: Did God reject His people? Heaven forbid (Romans 11:1a)! In fact, it is just the opposite, as the Gentiles are invited to share with Jewish believers the blessings of the Olive Tree of faith.

This is a classic picture that he used to show how all believers in Yeshua, whether Jewish or Gentile, are grafted into the same root of biblical faith. It is striking that even in the first-century, Sha’ul had to warn some Gentile believers not to be arrogant toward the natural Jewish branches by thinking that they somehow had replaced the branches of Isra’el.1336 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you – a wild olive – were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you. So you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” True, but so what? They were broken off because of their lack of faith. You, however, keep your place only because of your faith. So don’t be arrogant. On the contrary – be terrified (Romans 11:17-20 CJB).

Having given an outline of things to come from their own day until the beginning of the messianic Kingdom, Jesus then encouraged His talmidim then and us today. He said: When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28). When we see these things begin to come to pass, we need to look up – raise our heads – because it will mark the imminent redemption for all believers in this world. In Luke’s context, the expression these things refers back to Luke 21:20-24: When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Once the City of David was destroyed in 70 AD, which fulfilled every prophecy that had to be fulfilled before the Rapture. From that point on, the Rapture became imminent. Imminency does not mean “soon,” only that “it can happen at any moment.”

We should be careful to notice what Messiah did not say. He did not say that only when all these things come to pass, then look up for your redemption is drawing near. He did not say we must wait until the end of the Great Tribulation before looking up. Jesus said: When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. The beginning part was the ruin of Zion and the Temple. Once that had occurred, the Rapture became imminent.1337

A slim scarlet cord dangling in a window might not trigger thoughts of deliverance. That is, unless you were Rahab a Gentile woman living in a home built into the wall of the ancient city of Jericho over three thousand years ago. Rahab’s scarlet cord was a sign to the approaching Jewish armies to spare her and her family because she didn't put her faith in walls, but in the God of Isra’el. When she encountered two Jewish spies who had come to scout out the city, she chose to be on the winning side with God.

That scarlet cord represented redemption for a few Gentiles. Yet, it also symbolized a greater deliverance. Threaded throughout the TaNaKh is a scarlet cord of Scripture, foreshadowing redemption through Yeshua Messiah. Below is just a few of the scriptures that point to Jesus, who came to redeem us, even as that scarlet cord hung from the window on the wall of Jericho. Only through Him can Jews and Gentiles find redemption from sin.

Too many Gentiles who have embraced the scarlet cord of Messiah’s death have forgotten or ignored the scarlet cord in Rahab’s window. They have forgotten the Jewish role in bringing ADONAI’s salvation to the world, and that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has graciously included Gentiles in His redemption plan.

The first messianic promise that the Seed of the woman will bruise the heel of the serpent, is found in Genesis 3:15; further seen in the miraculous birth of this future deliverer is seen in Isaiah 7:14; and fulfillment found in Jesus is written in Mt 1:18-21. The scarlet cord continues . . .

The Pesach Lamb described in Exodus 12:1-28 points to Christ as our Passover (First Corinthians 5:7) and also provides a model upon which the breaking of bread: “Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha'olam, hamotzi lechem, min ha aretz. Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the Universe, Who has brought forth bread from the earth." And the cup: “Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam borei pri ha-etz. Blessed are you, O God, our Lord, King of the Universe, creator of the fruit of the vine,” are based for messianic Jews. The scarlet cord winds its way . . .

The Day of Atonement with the scapegoat and the ram described in Leviticus 16, pictures a messianic promise further elaborated upon in Psalm 103:12 and fulfilled by Jesus Christ as described in Romans 5:11. Next the scarlet cord is seen . . .

Rahab’s scarlet cord (Joshua 2:17-18, 6:17, 22-23) is a picture of how redemption will also come to believing Gentiles. Rahab’s faith was rewarded with the astounding honor of being placed in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:5); and she is honored once again when mentioned in the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11:31. Hundreds of years later, the scarlet cord was seen in the person of . . .

The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12, also detailed in Psalm 22, foretells the suffering of the Lamb of God described in Luke 23. Wining its way down through history, the scarlet cord is also seen in the prophet . . .

Jonah’s experience in the whale (Jonah 1:17) is seen as a “type” for the coming resurrection. Prophecy also points to the resurrected Meshiach (Psalm 16:10). The link between Jonah and Jesus is revealed in Mattityahu 12:40. Centuries later . . .

The scarlet cord ends at the cross. The slain shepherd described in Zechariah 13:7 foretells what will happen to the Messiah, the shepherd. Yeshua claims to be that shepherd in Matthew 26:31. Revelation 7:17 shows the Lamb and the Shepherd as One. The Savior of Sinners has redeemed us, or paid for our debt of sin in full, so we are adopted into the family of God and have nothing to fear when our redemption is drawing near.1338

 

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