Student of the Light

April 23, 2017

Olivet Prophecy: Part 4

 

Previous Topics:
Part 1: Looking through the Stones of the Buildings of the Temple
Part 2: False Messiahs (1st SEWIC)
Part 3: Fearful Things and Terrors (2nd SEWIC)

Part 4: Persecutions and Martyrdoms (3rd SEWIC)

Here is the 3rd SEWIC of Matthew:

Mat 24:9-14 KJV
(9) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
(10) And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
(11) And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
(12) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
(13) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(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.

The preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom started at:

(Luk 16:16 KJV) The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

The Lord Yeshua himself preached it. Then, in chapter 10 of Matthew, he instructed his 12 disciples to preach it unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel who were scattered abroad. The apostle Paul also proclaimed it outside of Judea. During that time, the Gospel of the Kingdom spread to “all the world” according to several passages of the New Testament (Rom 1:8Rom 10:18Col 1:6Col 1:23). And because of this, the “preaching” in Matthew 24:14 had seemingly been fulfilled at their time. But what preaching is meant in the verse?

(Matthew 24:14 KJV) 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.

The Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached AS A WITNESS/TESTIMONY. This verse belongs to a paragraph (Mat 24:9-14) which is about persecutions and martyrdoms, so, we should look at it in the context of the particular paragraph.

The Lord Yeshua said in the paragraph mentioned and in the similar paragraphs in Mark and in Luke that his disciples (and followers) will be persecuted and some of them will be put to death. They will be brought before councils, governors, and kings – for what?

Mark 13:9-11 KJV
(9) But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
(10) And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
(11) But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Luke 21:12-13 KJV
(12) But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.
(13) And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

Read also the warning of the Lord to them in Matthew 10 when he commissioned them to preach the Gospel:

(Matthew 10:18 KJV) And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

They will be brought to councils, governors, and kings to testify or to make their testimonies to them (with the help of the Spirit of the Father). These things together with the persecutions and martyrdoms they will suffer are A TESTIMONY to the people where they will be brought according to these verses. Can the reader now see how Mat 24:14 should be understood? The Gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the “whole world” by persecutions, martyrdoms, and testimonies of the saints to high officials of “all nations” rather than by free preaching. The definition itself of the Aramaic word for “testimony” in Mat 24:14 supports this thing:

CAL DEFINITION:
1 testimony Com. –(a) as a textual witness of the OT in the NT Syr. –( pl. : evidence of virginity Gal.
2 martyrdom Syr.
3 the tablets or ark of the covenant Sam, Syr.
4 proclamation Sam. –(a) warning Sam.

These events by which the Gospel will be preached BEFORE THE END COMES are what Mat 24:14 is telling about. We should look at these events if we want to know more about the End.

Persecutions, Martyrdoms, and Testimonies

Our Lord Yeshua himself was beaten, brought to high officials, and was put to death. After he was resurrected and had ascended to the Father in heaven, begun the persecutions, martyrdoms, and testimonies of the saints to high officials of his disciples and followers. The preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom in this way went on and it continued even after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. They were persecuted and martyred, first, by their own kin – the Jews, then by pagan Roman emperors and authorities.

Persecution of Christians in the New Testament
Anti-Christian policies in the Roman Empire

After more than two centuries, Christianity became known and popular because of the “appeal” of this kind of preaching the Gospel within and without the realm of the Roman Empire. Many Romans became Christians. Then in 313 AD at the Edict of Milan, Christianity was given a legal status within the empire, so the persecutions and martyrdoms had stopped but only within the territories of the empire. (As for me, the persecutions of Christians by other Christians are not included in the context of Matthew 24:14.) Not long after that time, the Christians (along with the Jews) within the Persian Empire became the target of religious persecutions and martyrdoms.

CONSTANTINE AND JUDAH THE MACCABEE:HISTORY AND MEMORY IN THE ACTS OF THE PERSIAN MARTYRS
Persecution of Christians
CHRISTIANITY i. In Pre-Islamic Persia: Literary Sources

Unlike in pagan Rome, the persecutions and martyrdoms within the Persian Empire (Sassanian Dynasty) were not documented well. The author does not really know when these persecutions and martyrdoms as a testimony stopped. This site says these things ended in 640 AD. Other sites say other years. But in 651 AD, the Sassanid Empire came to its end when they were defeated by the armies of the newly risen power in the Middle East – Islam. The Islamic forces conquered their vast territories and because of these things, we know that the persecutions and martyrdoms as testimonies caused by the Persians (Zoroastrians) had stopped too. Now, does the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom as a testimony in Mat 24:14 had already been fulfilled at this time? Let us continue to look at historical data.

The Muslim armies also conquered other lands including Judea and Northern Africa before and after 651 AD. The Christians within the realm of the Islamic Empire were subjected to Dhimmi Laws which were said to be humiliating and degrading.

DHIMMI

Living under these laws is like BEING STAMPED OR TRAMPLED? See Dan 7:7 and Dan 8:10.

Could the life of Christians under these laws who were living in Muslim occupied lands be considered under persecution and if such, be included in the preaching as a testimony? Well, we have to look deeper at these laws. Here’s a quote from New World Encyclopedia:

“A dhimmi ([ðimi]; Arabic: ذمي, meaning “protected person”) refers to specific individuals living in Muslim lands, who were granted special status and safety in Islamic law in return for paying the capital tax. This status was originally only made available to non-Muslims who were People of the Book, namely, Jews and Christians), but was later extended to include Zoroastrians, Mandeans, and, in some areas, Hindus[1] and Buddhists.[2] The term connotes an obligation of the state to protect the individual, including the individual’s life, property, and freedom of religion and worship, and required loyalty to the empire, and a poll tax known as the jizya. Dhimmi had fewer legal and social rights than Muslims, but more rights than other non-Muslim religious subjects.[3] This status applied to millions of people living from the Atlantic Ocean to India from the seventh century until modern times.[4][5]

Conversion by a dhimmi to Islam was generally easy, and almost without exception emancipated the new convert from all legal impairments of his previous dhimmi status. Violently forced conversion was rare or unknown in early Islamic history, but increased in frequency in later centuries, such as in the Almohad dynasty of North Africa and al-Andalus.[5]”

Another quote from Encyclopedia of Judaism:

“Dhimmi Laws

Laws fixing the status of Jews and other religious minorities in Muslim lands. In principle, Jews and Christians were accorded the status of “protected” people (i.e. dhimmi), being recognized as People of the Book (ahl al-kitab). As such, they were permitted to practice their religion, own property, and carry on trade and were exempted from military service. In return they were obliged to acknowledge the superiority of Islam and subjected to numerous and often humiliating disabilities, including special taxes, dress codes, restrictions on riding animals, etc., the upshot of which was to relegate the Jews and other minorities to the status of second-class citizens.”

These laws, although tolerated Christians to practice their faith in a humiliating manner, still allowed Christian faith to co-exist with Islam in Muslim conquered lands. These laws didn’t require anyone to recant his/her Christian faith and that means there was no need for martyrdom. The Muslims who lived before the construction of the Dome of the Rock were the 1st generation of Muslims. They were still familiar with Christianity. Maybe, not a few of them were former Christians or Jews. They knew that Islam is an offshoot of the religion of the Jews and of Christianity. This generation of Muslims didn’t need Christians to be brought to them to give their testimonies.

Additionally, before Islam came out, Christianity had already spread in “all the world.” It used to be the dominant religion. Here’s a timeline map of the spread of Christianity from Wikipedia:

Then Islam supplanted Christianity in “all the world.” Here’s the timeline map of the spread of Islam:

How about the forced conversions of Christians? Yes, according to history, there came numerous times when Muslim authorities also forced Christians to convert to Islam but these occurred AFTER the early expansion of Islam – AFTER the setting up of the desolating sacrilege which scripturally tells the time of the End has already come. So, the killings or martyrdoms that resulted from these forced conversions are outside of the preaching of the Gospel as a testimony in Mat 24:14 which were prophesied to happen BEFORE the End. As for me, the particular kind of preaching in Mat 24:14 ended with the persecutions and martyrdoms under the Sassanid Empire, then (the time of) The End arrived.

It can now be said that the X-SEWIC is chronologically the continuation of the 3rd-SEWIC just like with that of the 1st and 2nd SEWICs. After the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom in all the world as a testimony, the End comes which the setting up of the desolating sacrilege is implying in the accounts of Matthew and Mark.

 

Next Topics:
Part 5: The Desolation and the Great Distress According to Luke
Part 6: The Great Tribulation (GT)
Part 7: The Coming of Lord (LAST-SEWIC)
Part 8: The Illustration of the Fig Tree

 

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