Matthew Chapter 24
VERSE 29 continued, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
"Immediately after the tribulation of THOSE DAYS…”
What “tribulation” is being referred to?
There is of course one more view on this which we have not mentioned yet and although similar to that which our futurist friends put forth the difference is in the timing.
Another possible scenario, which we deem worthy of mention, one suggested by Brother Shallieu (The Gospel of Matthew), is the idea that the “tribulation” spoken of is in regards to the Hour of Trial which will see the end this age, the tribulation during which many great deceptions will be perform by the Adversary and which will end with the feet members being taken home through persecution.
It is Brother Shallieu’s position that the “tribulation of those days” spoken of in this verse is not in respects to the general tribulation which the true church suffered during the Gospel age specifically from 539 A.D. to 1799 A.D., nor to The Great Tribulation which will see the end of the present order of things, but rather that it refers to the time of the false Christs, false prophets, great signs and lying wonders spoken of in (2 Thess 2:9), and the claim then being made of a physical, visible manifestation, “Behold, he is in the desert,” etc.—deceiving all but the Very Elect.
This interpretation fits the sequence of the rest of Verse 29, as we will see.
When the Little Flock is gone (passes beyond the vail in this final hour of trial), what will happen?
Babylon, the ecclesiastical heavens, will fall. Papacy (the “sun”) and its canon law (the “moon”) and the hierarchy (the “stars”— cardinals, bishops, etc.) will cease (“be darkened,” “not give ... light,” “fall”). The pope himself is the papal (“sun”) light.
In contrast, the true light is in the face of Jesus Christ and in the gospel, and the true Church is likened to “stars” (the seven messengers of Rev 1:20) and “candlesticks.” The false light is the pope, who claims to be the vicegerent of Christ (that is, in Christ’s stead). In fact, in some places he says he is in God’s stead. “Who ... exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as [a] God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4).
Thus Babylon will fall “immediately after the tribulation of those days [upon the Lord’s people],” the tribulation being the deceptions with great signs, wonders, and all manner of lying powers. The sequence is: deceptions, death of feet members, fall of church systems. The Apostle Peter tells us the same thing in saying that “the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved” (2 Pet. 3:12).
Could there not also be a future natural application based on Zech 14:6, Joel 3:15, and other Scriptures?
“It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; the lights will diminish. It shall be one day which is known to the Lord— neither day nor night...” (Zech 14:6, 7)
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness.” (Joel 3:14, 15)
Yes! The natural sun and moon will also undergo strange phenomena. For instance, there will be one day where around the clock it will be neither (full) day nor (full) night. Thus, while the earlier (1780 and 1833) natural occurrences awakened an interest in studying the Scriptures, the real thrust of Verse 29 is still future (both natural and spiritual).
Will the Great Company (the tribulation saints) be gone at the time verse 29 is fulfilled, for there will be no light in the world?
No, they will be here. These heavens being darkened are the false heavens, not the true. Moreover, just as there were literal signs in the natural heavens when Jesus died (for example, the sun was darkened), so there will be when the feet members have left the scene.
Actually both the true (gospel) “sun,” etc., and the false (papal) “sun” will be darkened in the coming days of anarchy. During the anarchy (the Great Time of Trouble which follows the Hour of Temptation) there will be no respect for God, although the primary anger (of the people) will be directed against “their king and their God.”
We will continue with this thought in our next post.
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