by Meshawn Senior
In the previous article entitled “The Beginning of Sorrows” we addressed Jesus’ statement about the events He prophesied in the first several verses of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew, Chapter 24. He then stated in verse 8 of this same chapter that all these things were “the beginning of sorrows.” We showed how the term “birth pains” can be aptly used as a substitute for the word “sorrows” because it gives a deeper understanding of what Jesus was trying to convey with that statement.
In this particular article in our “Are We Living in the End Times?” series, we will focus on the next verse in the passage which states, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9)
Up until this verse, Matthew 24 speaks about events that will happen before the 70th week of Daniel, which is a seven year time period spoken of in the prophetic Book of Daniel in the Old Testament of the Bible. (In the Hebrew language, a week is the word “shabua” which is a period of sevens. This could refer to seven days or seven years. In this particular passage, it is referring to a period of seven years.) Daniel 9:24 says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” At the conclusion of the 70th week, the Messiah (the Most Holy) will be anointed and will reign over the earth for 1000 years.
It is generally agreed upon that the 70th week coincides or overlaps with the Tribulation period, which will be a time of great distress that will come upon the entire world. However, there is some debate over whether the whole seven year period should be called the Tribulation or just the last 3-1/2 years. Also, some scholars divide this entire period into two distinct time frames – the Tribulation (the first 3-1/2 years) and the Great Tribulation (the last 3-1/2 years). For the sake of simplicity, though, we will refer to this entire seven year period as the Tribulation. We will go into further detail with phrases such as “at the midpoint of the Tribulation” or “during the second half of the Tribulation,” etc. However, this will be in subsequent articles. In this article, we will refer to this period of time as “the 70th week of Daniel.”
It has been widely believed that Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:9 is referring to Christians and the Church, but in recent years some biblical scholars are leaning towards the belief that this is referring only to the nation of Israel – the nation from which the Messiah came out of. In fact, some believe that the entire Olivet Discourse is for the Jews and not the Church.
The following is a quote by Dr. Chuck Missler, founder of Koinonia House, regarding this passage of scripture:
“It’s not Church oriented. It is the Mashiach (Messiah) of Israel briefing the *disciples. The twelve disciples’ role and mission in the future is to rule over whom? The twelve tribes. And how long and how mature I was in my Bible studies without realizing the Jewishness of the disciples’ mission. Peter, to some extent, but Paul especially was called to whom? Gentiles. Right. And that’s why Paul is an apostle but not one of the twelve. If you get that insight it will help you put things in their proper perspective.
It would be very surprising to find a mention of the Church in Matthew 24 and 25. Why? Because the Church hadn’t been revealed to the disciples, yet. The Church doesn’t surface as a concept really until Acts 2. It’s my suggestion to you to approach Matthew 24 and 25 with the possibility that the Church will have been introduced and be gone during the interval between the time Matthew 24 is presented and the time it’s fulfilled. So recognize, if you will, the essential Jewishness of Matthew 24 and 25.
Having said that … as you go, I think it will leap out at you. We generally get into deep trouble in Matthew 24 and 25 if we impute into it Church ideas.” (Excerpted from “The Book of Matthew – A Commentary,” Dr. Chuck Missler)
* Dr. Missler is speaking of the “insider” group of disciples, the Twelve Apostles.
So, this passage of scripture is directed mainly to the Jews. And Matthew 24:9 says that they will be delivered up to tribulation and will be killed. This has been the plight of the Jews throughout their history. God has allowed this in the past because of Israel’s disobedience to Him in many forms, but especially in the form of worshiping other gods. And in the case of the 70th week of Daniel, the reason for this time of great tribulation and sorrow will also include a very specific trespass by the Jewish people.
The Messiah of Israel said in Hosea 5:15, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.” This passage of scripture plainly says that the Messiah will “return” to His place until the people of Israel acknowledge their offense! What was their offense? It was failing to recognize when He came the first time … and rejecting Him.
Jesus said in Luke 19:41-44, “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
So, the main purpose of this 70th week period of tribulation and sorrow is clearly to bring the Jews to repentance and to the realization that Jesus (Yeshua) is their Messiah. And once again, Hosea 5:15 specifically states that they will have to acknowledge their offense and seek His face in order for Him to return. And when He does return, Zechariah 12:10 says, “then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” What a bittersweet moment that will be!
Matthew 24:9 also says that the Jews “will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” It is a widely known fact that the Jewish people have been hated by other people groups throughout history. This fact still remains today. Israel can be bombarded with missiles, rockets, and suicide bombers and the world says very little against the perpetrators of this aggression against Israel. But the moment Israel takes a stand to defend itself and retaliates (sometimes months and years after ongoing attacks against them), the world cries out in anger against Israel. This makes no logical sense whatsoever! But what’s really going on here defies all logic because logic works only in the physical realm. What’s really going on here has a spiritual component to it.
It actually goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Satan the devil caused Adam and Eve to sin against God. After this occurred, God told Satan, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
The Seed of the woman is the Messiah, the One who was promised to come and save mankind from the curse of death which commenced in the Garden of Eden. And because God chose the nation of Israel through which to bring forth the Messiah, Satan has hated the nation of Israel since its inception through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And Satan has incited the world against Israel, as well. So, they are hated of all nations for Messiah Jesus’ “name’s sake” because He came through the nation of Israel.
In the next article in this series, we will continue discussing the 70th week of Daniel, or as it’s more commonly referred to – the Tribulation. Speaking of this period of time, Matthew 24:10 says, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” This is already the state of the times we are living in. It’s hard to believe that it could get much worse. But, it will!