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Taking the First Steps Toward Understanding the Tribulation II

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  • During The Tribulation, God will bring to a climax the church’s mission.

...And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Matt. 24:14

  • More souls will be brought to Christ during The Tribulation than any other time in church history.

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands...

Rev. 7:9

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, Who are these arrayed in white robes? and where do they come from? who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Rev. 7:13-14

  • Believers who follow through with their obligation to witness - notwithstanding the persecution and suffering it always entails (see Volume 1) - will be admitted to a special circle of intimacy and awarded the privilege of ruling alongside Christ in the coming Kingdom (see Volume I).
  • Those who refuse to live up to their obligation - who draw back - whose faith fails - will suffer the crushing trauma of being denied that inestimable privilege (see Volume I). And it’s in this light that many of the terms used in these parables must be interpreted; e.g., “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” “shut out,” “outer darkness,” etc.”

Matthew 24:32-33

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is close at hand:

So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

item9Again, bear in mind that Jesus has just finished a long description of the Tribulation - with a special emphasis on the signs that will herald its approach. Why the emphasis on signs? Because that’s what prompted the disciples to question Jesus in the first place.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Matt. 24:3

In light of the context, then, the fig tree here in verses 32 and 33 symbolizes the entire complex of signs Jesus has just spelled out for the disciples - and its branches symbolize each of the specific signs. When, therefore, the branches begin to bud and leaves begin to sprout - meaning the signs begin to appear - both The Tribulation and The Second Coming are fast approaching.

It’s important to note that Jesus uses the word “summer,” a whole season, to depict the notion of timing here in verse 32 - nothing more specific than that. know that summer is close at hand

Matthew 24:32

... and that’s in keeping with what Jesus tells his disciples later on in verse 36 - where he makes it clear that God won’t reveal the day and hour - meaning its exact timing.

But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Matt. 24:36

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