STAND & COMFORT Newsletter|
Email NEWSLETTER #34 (Vol 3 No 1)
By Ed Tarkowski
THE ONLY NT DESCRIPTION OF "END" (Strong's, telos)
In the article Mark 13:24-27 Refutes Matthew 24:29-31 As For The Jews on my home page, I show that Matthew 24:29-31 must include the rapture of the Church because it's the same scenario as in the verses from Mark. In Mark 13, the Posttribulational gathering of saints includes both the spirits of dead saints in heaven and saints who have passed through the tribulation period:
Mark 13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Though these verses depict a clear Posttribulational coming of Christ for His Church, there is no mention or indication of a Pretribulational coming. If the Pretribulational doctrine were true, this would be a major omission in these chapters since Jesus was explaining "the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world."
This fact is an important foundation for this article. In his description of the tribulation period in Matthew 24, Jesus described some events within Daniel's 70th week and then told us the "end" was not yet. What I want to determine here is what does it mean when Scripture mentions the "end," and is there more than one "end" in reference to the second coming? If there is not, any mention of the "end" would then consistently refer to the same scenario in Matthew 24/Mark 13.
THE ONE NT DESCRIPTION OF "END"
In his book, "The Church and the Tribulation," Robert Gundry says this:
"In the entire New Testament there is but one place where we can determine with exactness the eschatological meaning of the 'end.' That place is the Olivet Discourse [Matthew 24; Mark 13], where the term indubitably refers to the close of the tribulation. None of the subsequent references to the 'end' distinguishes a different end from that of which Jesus spoke. And although in other connections 'end' is a common, general term, because of Jesus' description in the Olivet Discourse it carries a technical sense in subsequent eschatological teaching. We see confirmation of the technical eschatological meaning of the 'end' in the lack of qualifying phrases and clauses when the term appears in the epistles and Revelation. That lack implies something well-known and already defined" (p. 141).
What does the "end" look like in Matthew 24, its only description in Scripture? Once we establish that defined outline, then we have a definite scenario to refer to when we see the word "end" in its eschatological sense in the rest of the New Testament. Since Matthew and Mark contain the ONLY description of the "end," all references to the "end" must refer back to these chapters for definition.
WHEN THE END IS NOT
In Matthew 24, we read,
Mat 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, BUT THE END IS NOT YET.
The beginning of birth pangs occurs during the first half of Daniel's 70th week. Therefore, the "end" must come AFTER these events, either within the tribulation (which is not at all logical) or at the end of that week (the likely scenario). Since the "end" is defined ONLY in these chapters and all other uses of the "end" in the NT must refer back to this Posttribulational definition, the "end" cannot mean the end of the Church age as defined by Pretribulatism. The Church will exist during the entire tribulation period.
Mark and Luke referred to the "end" in the same way as Matthew:
Mr 13:7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
THE "END" AND THE GOSPEL
Jesus plainly states that the "end" would not come as long as the gospel was being preached:
Mt 24:14 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.
He later tells us that the gospel would be preached all the way to the end of the world. Therefore, the "end" cannot come until the end of the world:
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Pretribulationists argue that the word "world" in verse 20 can be translated "age," thereby justifying their teaching that "end" refers to the end of the "Church age" at the Pretribulation rapture. But this is why my article Mark 13:27 Refutes Matthew 24:31 As For The Jews is so important. It helps define the one "end" as the time Jesus returns in Matthew 24:29-31, which is Posttribulational. Since Matthew 24 and Mark 13 both place the unraptured Church at the end of Daniel's 70th week, the preaching of the gospel extends to that point as well. Then the "end" comes. Therefore Jesus' return in Matthew 24:29-31 is the "end" of the age, which leads into the next age, His millennial reign. The gospel of the kingdom will have been preached throughout the entire tribulation by the Church, and then Jesus will return to gather His saints, bringing about the "end."
MATTHEW 24 IS THE ONLY NT DESCRIPTION OF THE END
The "end" is defined in Matthew 24. As Gundry points out, there is NO OTHER description anywhere else in the New Testament. Therefore, this one description of the "end," when Jesus returns to gather the Church and the Jewish remnant together into the millennial kingdom, defines the "end" whenever it is used in the epistles and Revelation.
ALL SCRIPTURES REFERRING TO THE "END" NOW MAKE SENSE
I am listing here all of the other New Testament Scriptures which use the word "end" in the eschatological sense. All of them now fit easily into the Posttribulational scenario, with none of them even hinting at a Pretribulational one. The confusion of which "end" Pretribulationism is referring is removed (end of the Church age, end of Daniel's 70th week, etc.). Notice that none of these verses DESCRIBE an "end" which is different from that described in Matthew 24. Nowhere is a "second end" described. These Scriptures apply to that same Posttribulational scenario.
The saints must endure to the end of the tribulation, which spells the end of the age:Mt 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
This is supported by Hebrews 9:28:
Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
As we have seen, there is only one description of the "end" in the New Testament and no other of an undefined nature. Mark 13:24-27 and Matthew 24:29-31 establish that this is a Posttribulational "end" at which time the Church is raptured. All other Scripture references to the eschatalogical use of the word "end" totally complement that scenario.
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