Tribulation

9   “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  10 And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another.  11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  12 And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold.  13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.  14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come. Matt. 24:9-14

9   “But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them.  10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.  11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.  12 And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 13 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. Mark 13:9-13

12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.  13 This will be a time for you to bear testimony.  14 Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.  16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; 17 you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.  18 But not a hair of your head will perish.  19 By your endurance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:12-19

The prophecy was not given to us for our time. Our Lord was warning His disciples rather directly that, “they will deliver you up.” Matthew describes this delivering, as tribulation and death. Mark says the disciples will be delivered to councils to be beaten in synagogues and condemned to death. Luke says they would have hands laid on them, persecuted and delivered to synagogues and prisons; some would face death.

The common language among the three passages is persecution and death by those in the synagogues, and by governors and kings. The common reason, proclaiming Messiah is Lord of all.

Indeed, there was a lot of persecution during the early church by the Jewish leaders and the Roman Empire. That tribulation is the subplot to the entire book of Acts. The disciples were delivered up; they were brought before various councils, rulers and kings. All of this happened before the fall of Jerusalem, and it continued to some extent until the Bar-Kokhba Rebellion in 132-135 AD.

After this, the Jews no longer had any power to do anything. However, the Romans continued persecuting Christians on and off for the next 200 years, until 313 AD, when Constantine made Christianity the state religion. In Acts Chapters 4, 6, 18, 24, 25, we read of just such problems.

From the Jews to the Romans, all the nations hated the Apostles and the early church. Paul stated that he had endured great tribulation [2Cor 11:24]. Particularly heavy persecution occurred between 64-68AD. The Roman Emperor Nero was famous for his tortuous exploits against Christians. Who can forget the martyrs being thrown to the lions in the Roman Coliseum?

He Who Endures

Persecution was not only prophesied by the Lord, but also very common for His disciples. Except for John, they are generally believed to have all lost their lives as martyrs; so obviously they were not to be saved from persecution.

They were born-again, so it cannot be a reference to salvation. So, what were they to be saved from? Not one Christian who listened to Christ’s words were lost in the destruction of Jerusalem. When they saw the Roman armies in Judea, they left for the hills, in plenty of time to escape the destruction of the city. [Dan 12:1][Luke 21:20]

Luke puts it this way: by your endurance (of persecution and trials) you will gain your lives, that is keep them, as you see the armies marching through Judea and get out of Jerusalem. [Luke 21:12-19]

While the Christians’ were watching for the signs to appear, as Messiah had warned, God allowed a grace period for those who were stubborn and slower than others in recognizing signs [Matt 24:16-22].

Preached to the Whole World

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. Acts 2:5

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Rom. 1:8 

But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: Rom. 16:26

. . . but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith — Rom. 16:26

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Col. 1:23

The New Testament is very clear in its presumption that the gospel had, by the day of Pentecost, been preached to all nations. Luke said on the day of Pentecost, that all nations had been represented by Jews from every nation under heaven. Paul said repetitively that the gospel had been made known throughout the whole world!

The Jews who were born again on the day of Pentecost would return to their homes as believers and naturally spread the gospel. The disciples of the Lord would begin missionary trips throughout the Roman Empire as well. They would both begin among the Jews.

For from early generations Moses has had in every city those who preach him, for he is read every sabbath in the synagogues.”  Acts 15:21

What the people of the first century considered the “entire world” is very limited in our view. They did not consider the world to be geographical, but rather the spiritual sphere of influence. The scriptures place the center of the world, if you will, in Jerusalem and the world being the areas where Jews resided. Jews lived throughout the Roman Empire and nothing else counted, to the Jews or the Romans.

The Romans had made it possible for the areas surrounding the Meditterean to be tied by commerce, religion and politics. The Lord himself considered that He had taught to the “world.”

Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly.” John 18:20

The end of the Jewish age would come, one of the signs being the gospel being preached to the nations where Jews lived.

Brother to Deliver Brother

Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues,  Matt. 10:17

They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. John 16:2

Early believers and the apostles were frequently delivered up to the synagogues by their brethren and fellow Jews to stand charges for false doctrines. They were flogged, beaten and killed. Paul was once left for dead.

Persecution of Christians began with the Lord being crucified by the “legal”ruling of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish political and spiritual authority. He was condemned for claiming to be “I am.”

After that, believers considered themselves persecuted by Jews who believed followers of Yeshua came under community synagogue discipline and by the Roman Empire.

Most notably, the Apostle Paul had been a zealous persecutor when he was “Saul.” Stephen was stoned for his “transgression of the faith” with Saul looking on.

James, the brother of John, lost his life by sword; Peter narrowly escaping, and the remainder of the apostles fleeing.

He killed James the brother of John with the sword; Acts 12:2   

Annas II as procurator of Iudaea, persecuted Christians and eventually had James, the head of the Jerusalem Church, executed.

Paul, Peter and others were imprisoned, beaten and harrassed. The book of Acts is a testament to the difficulties the early Christians endured.

I, Paul, an ambassador and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus —  Philem. 9

FYI: The historian Edmund Gibbons (The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire) believed that perhaps only 7 of the apostles were martyred.

Futurist View

There is no grammatical reason to believe this prophecy would occur thousands of years from when Messiah spoke. There is no mention of “after many years,” or “in the distant future,” or even symbolically “after many days.” He did not say the temple would be destroyed and then destroyed again.

For this prophesy to occur in the Future, there would be no scripture in the entire Bible of the historical destruction of the temple in 70AD. The only mention of this destruction is Matthew 24 and Daniel 9: 26, 27. Messiah would be describing an event that actually happened in 70AD (the stones being completely overturned) but, prophesying its’ accomplishment at least 1,945 years later.

The loss of the temple, the loss of Jewish authority, the birth of a new kingdom would not have one scripture verse describing one of the most significant Jewish and Christian events in history.

The “Dome of the Rock” would still need to be demolished. A new temple would need to be built, and that in violation of the New and Everlasting Covenant. Then, that temple would have to be destroyed, again!

It is important to note, the Lord is speaking to His very disciples after telling them the very temple they were in front of, would be destroyed. The discussion He had with the disciples of that temple and those stones would be meaningless, confusing and hidden.

This passage is still in the context of the entirety of Matthew 24, regarding the armies encompassing Jerusalem, the Saints getting outta Dodge, and the destruction of the temple.

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