When asked by His disciples what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the age Matt 24:3 we have no record of Jesus mentioning the escape through the Mount of Olives foreseen by the prophet Zechariah. The signs He gives are varied but does not include this particular part of Zechariah’s prophecy. If Jesus were to stand on the Mount of Olives before His return as the Son of Man in Matthew 24, surely He would have mentioned this amongst the signs He gave to mark that great day. So when will Zechariah’s prophecy in chapter 14 take place? I believe it will be when Jesus returns in Matthew 24, for He will not allow His people to suffer one more day than those already ascribed. That number of days is unequivocally given as 1260, the second half of Daniel’s 70th week. Jesus said immediately after the tribulation of those days, He would come as the Son of Man upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And Hebrews 9:38 tells us He will bring salvation with Him when He comes. This salvation is two-fold. It will complete the salvation of those who are His and eagerly await His appearing 2 Tim 4:8, but it will also be for the salvation of Israel who have yet to enter into the New Covenant relationship with Him. The return of Jesus in Matthew 24 will fulfil more than one promise and will serve to bring convergence between two prophetic timelines, namely that of both Jew and Gentile back together into one fold, one Elect, one New Man, one Bride. The partial hardening of Israel that Paul writes of in Romans 11:25 shall be ended, and the day of their salvation shall come. This is a key point for us to understand. What I am saying is that when Jesus comes as the Son of Man upon the clouds with great glory, it will not be as simple as we might have previously assumed, for there is still much to transpire.
On that great day of the Lord, He is coming for His Bride, even though at that time His Bride will not yet be complete or ready. Yes, of course, there will be those of us who are ready and prepared at that time, and if so, then as promised we shall be caught up together with the resurrected saints, to meet the Lord in the air when He comes 1 Thess 4:17, but the Wife will not yet be ready, because Israel will not yet be fully saved and therefore the wedding of the Lamb will not yet have come. There can be no wedding without Israel, because the promise is made to her and there is but one wife, the One New Man. When Jesus returns at first in Matthew 24 He will do so as the Son of Man, because there is still an appointed time for Israel in which she shall be saved, and for a brief period, the Bride will be in Heaven and also upon the earth. Those who are ready for His return will now be in Heaven, but Israel will still be upon the earth, and Jesus will be with Her upon the earth to lead her back to Mount Zion in time for the Wedding, just like Moses led Israel through the wilderness to Mount Sinai to enter into a marital covenant with the Lord. Don’t worry, I’ll cover these points later in this series.
I’ve presented a very different picture to the popular conception of the Lord turning around to return to Heaven for His marriage with those who have just been gathered up. That would mean a wedding without Israel, how can that be? Remember one of the key principles I’ve been teaching throughout all these Quick Bites, is that the Bride is central to our understanding and interpretation of how end time events will unfold. We need to think Bridal. Where is the Bride at any point in the text? And that means keeping our eye on Israel all the time, because the covenant is made with her. Jesus’ role as Saviour, as the Son of Man, as the Lamb of God, is not yet complete. Israel rejected Him on His first coming, but this will not be the case on His second coming. For at that time, Zechariah writes in chapter 12:10 the Lord “will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” When Jesus comes as the Son of Man on the clouds, He will indeed gather His Elect. But as we have seen in Quick Bite 36 – 38, the Elect is inclusive of Israel but not exclusive to her. The Elect are the Eklektos, the chosen, the Bride. Yes, there will be a gathering up to meet the Lord in the air and Jesus will present us to the Father 2 Cor 4:14 at that time, but He will not remain in Heaven, instead He will continue His journey to Earth and gather together the rest of His Elect, the rest of His Bride. Jesus will bring deliverance for Israel by standing on the Mount of Olives exactly after the allotted 1260 days and not a day more. Israel will not suffer beyond the number of those days under the persecution of the Beast or the nations who rage against her. Rev 11:2 NKJV reads “But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot [for] forty-two months. Immediately after the number of those days is complete, the Lord will return but He will not be alone. The Prophet Joel writes of this moment in Joel 3:11 [ESV2011] Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD.
Dear Jerusalem will suffer greatly, but the Lord will not abandon her forever 1 Sam 12:22. Did you know the very name Zechariah means “Yahweh remembers”, and the Lord will indeed remember His people. Deut 32:9 reads “For Jacob is the Lord’s inheritance”, and Isaiah writes 14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” 15“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isa 49:14-16 [ESV2011]
It is here in Jerusalem, and specifically Mount Zion that will be forever the city of the great king. Here is what the psalmist writes in Psalm 48. 1 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. 3 Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress. 4 For behold, the kings assembled; they came on together. 5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic; they took to flight. 6 Trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in labor. 7 By the east wind you shattered the ships of Tarshish. 8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever. — Selah 9 We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. 10 As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness. 11 Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments! 12 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation 14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.