At the end of the seventieth week, during the battle of Armageddon, just when it seems that all is lost for Israel:-
"Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." - Matthew 24:30
Why will all the tribes of the earth mourn? Because the sign of the Lord Jesus coming from heaven will disprove everything they have wanted to cling on to so dearly:-
- The leaders of the world (politicians, media people and the intelligentsia) have left no stone unturned to prove that there is no God, and that we have evolved from lower animals. Now, God shows up!!
- The leaders of the world have tried their best to vilify Israel as being at the root of the problem of (the lack of) world peace. Now God makes it clear that He's on Israel's side!!
- The leaders of the world have militantly promoted immorality - those who tried to obey God were branded as bigoted, fanatical, ignorant, weird and so on. Now, it is evident that everyone will be judged for their deeds.
What will the Lord Jesus do to these armies who are dismayed at the sight of him?
"Then shall the LORD [the Lord Jesus, as the New Testament specifies] go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, [and there shall be] a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye [the Israelis] shall flee [for refuge from the armies of the Antichrist]to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, all the saints with thee [that's us New Testament believers - we'll have a front-seat view of all the events]" - Zechariah 14:3-5
shows the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem where the Lord Jesus will touch down. How does Israel react to this sudden rescue?
"And I [God] will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn." - Zechariah 12:10
Finally, Jesus of Nazareth is acknowledged by his nation as the Messiah! The Jews will cry bitter tears of repentance for having rejected and crucified their Messiah when He came to them the first time. Perhaps things will happen in steps? When Jesus is descending on Mt Olives in the sight of everyone, the Israelis may not recognize him as Jesus of Nazareth, although they acknowledge him as Messiah. Then, when he is alone with them, he'll show them the pierced hands and side, and then they'll recognize him. This is like the patriarchs (the sons of Jacob) recognizing Joseph in Egypt, first just as a deliverer, and then privately as their own brother.
What does the Lord Jesus do when He touches down? There's plenty of cleaning up to do:-
- First, the main trouble makers are apprehended! "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." - Revelation 19:20
- Next, the armies of anti-Semitism: "And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." - Revelation 19:21
- For the earth to be cleaned up, the mastermind of evil should be kept away:- "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years" - Revelation 20:1,2
- It is finally time to end the Jewish diaspora!! "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." - Matthew 24:31 (Also see Isaiah 27:13, Isaiah 60:8,9, Isaiah 11:11,12). They come flying (Isaiah 60:8) and in ships, with their belongings. Will the money lost in the holocaust be there?
- The Lord Jesus will have some judging to do:-
- Judgment of Israel (Matthew 24:36-25:30) - at the borders of Israel. The basis will be belief versus unbelief (Ezekiel 20:37-38). The result will be national cleansing (Romans 11:26-27, Ezekiel 20:37). "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land." (Zechariah 13:1,2)
- Judgment of Gentiles (Matthew 25:21-4; the sheep are gentile believers who help Israel and get to enter the Millenium and the goats are gentiles who persecuted Israel, whom Jesus calls "my brethren")
- The Old Testament saints will be resurrected:- "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt." -Daniel 12:2
Job also seemed to be aware of this resurrection:
"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:" Job 19:25,26
When Daniel asks the angel when this resurrection will be, the angel replies:
"it shall be for a time, times, and an half...And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed [is] he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." - Daniel 12: 7, 11, 12
This gives us a time frame:
- The abomination of desolation (the statue of the Antichrist in the sanctuary) will be there for 1260 days (3.5 prophetic years of 360 days each) - this is the second half of the seventieth week. The Lord Jesus appears "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (Matthew 24:29-30)
- Thirty days later (1260 + 30 = 1290), the OT saints are resurrected.
- Blessed are those (Dan 12:12) who are counted eligible to enter the Millenium - that's another 45 days later (1290 + 45 = 1335)
- Thus the Millenium starts 1335 days after the Antichrist installs his image in the sanctuary and 75 days after the Lord Jesus is seen in the sky.
The marriage feast (Revelation 19:7-9) inaugurates the start of the Millenial reign of the Lord Jesus. We (New Testament believers) will reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12), along with the tribulation martyrs (Revelation 20:4) and Old Testament saints. David himself will probably be second in command to Christ (Ezekiel 34:23-24, Ezekiel 37:24-25).