Justin Shaw Can You Sleep When the Wind Blows



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Justin Shaw – Can You Sleep When the Wind Blows

A number of years ago, a young man applied for a job as a farm hand. Now when the farmer asked for the young man’s qualifications, all the young man said was: “I can sleep when the wind blows.” Well this puzzled the farmer but he needed the help, and liked the young man, so he decided to hire him.

Well a few days later the farmer and his wife were awakened from sleep by the sound of a violent storm occurring outside. They quickly got out of bed and ran down stairs to make sure everything was secure. They found that all the shutters on the farm house had all been fastened. And there was a good supply of logs places by the fire. The young farm hand slept soundly.

Well the farmer and his wife then decided to go out and inspect the rest of their property. They found when they went out that all the farm tools had been placed in a storage shed, safe from the elements. The tractor had been moved into the garage. The barn was properly barred and locked. Even the animals seemed calm and secure. All was well.

The farmer then began to understand the meaning of the young farmhand’s words when he said: “I can sleep when the wind blows.”

Because the farm hand had done his work faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it did eventually break out. So when the wind blew, the young farmhand was not afraid. He could sleep in peace.

Now what’s the moral of that story for us today? Well simply put; if we today are spiritually prepared for the great tribulation, we have nothing to fear. And we can enjoy peace of mind and heart, as we see that day fast approaching.

Now why have we used such an illustration as our introduction? Well I’ll tell you why. It’s a personal experience; a little anecdote from my own life.

On September the 11th 2001, I was shocked rigid by what I saw taking place on the screen of my television. Now, do you remember the events of September the eleventh two thousand and one? Where terrorist attacks were made in the United Stated, particularly in Manhattan. What scarred the living daylights out of me, and still sends a chill down my spine to this day, is that I saw it happening and realized the magnitude of what was taking place, I felt: “Oh no. I hope this isn’t the great tribulation.” And that was my genuine response. And my pure reason for it was not that I don’t want the great tribulation to come, but at that moment in time I didn’t feel that I was spiritually prepared enough for the great tribulation if it had started on September the 11th 2001. I thought: “Oh no.” When the great tribulation begins I wanted to feel a ton better than I felt on September the 11th 2001, spiritually speaking.

Now I don’t know how you felt on that day, but that’s what I felt. And as it turned out, obviously, September the 11th 2001 didn’t prove to be the outbreak of the great tribulation, though definitely it was a tremor in human affairs, that day that shook the world.

Now my question to all of you is: Can you sleep when the wind blows? Are you prepared for the outbreak of the great tribulation, so that, if you will, you can sleep when the wind blows? You can enjoy peace of mind and heart because you are fully prepared for what lies ahead.

Well, really, that’s the essence of what we want to talk about tonight. We want to have a look at what Jesus Christ himself outlined in scripture, to help prepare ourselves for the outbreak of the greatest tribulation the world has ever seen, and will ever see again. Can we sleep when the wind blows?

Now just before we actually go into this, we are going to open our bibles now if you want, to Matthew chapter 24. We are going to remain in Matthew 24 for the whole talk then, so there’s no flicking through the bible. Once you’re there, you’re there.

All we just want to start with saying is that bible prophecy, and this is a fundamental principal about bible prophecy; bible prophecy is only fully understood after it has actually taken place, or, occasionally, while the bible prophecy’s fulfillment is taking place.

Ok, but; the reason I say that is; that while we are now going to consider the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, the exact fulfillment of Jesus’ words will not become clear, at the earliest point, until they actually start to take place, or, when we’re on the other side of the great tribulation in the new system of things. Then we’ll be able to say: “that’s what Jesus meant by these words.” But, and this is the kind of exciting part for us tonight, often, prophecies have what I call parallels in the past. So whilst Matthew 24 has its’ great fulfillment yet to occur in our near future, Matthew 24, we strongly feel, had a complete fulfillment, more or less, in the first century, with the events that took place as regarding the city of Jerusalem in the first century.

So what we are going to do is we are going to use the events in the first century as a bit of pattern to help us understand what will take place during the great tribulation so that we can be as prepared as possible for what lies ahead. So what we are going to do is we are going to first of all, starting with verse 15 of Matthew 24, we’re going to cover from verses 15 to 22, and were going to firstly look at how these words were fulfilled in the first century, and then we’ll go back and see how they’re fulfilled in the future. So let’s start at verses 15 and 16, and let’s see what the words of the Lord Jesus here mean. Verse 15, Jesus said: “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.”

So we could well ask, really, what is the disgusting thing that causes desolation, and how did it stand in a holy place back in the first century? Well the disgusting thing proved to be the Roman armies under general Cestius Gallus, in the year 66 of our common era.

Why could we say that these were a disgusting thing standing in a holy place? Well, when Romans marched into battle, they would carry with them what they call their Standard, which was basically a pole with what they call ensigns on them, which were religious idols for the Romans. They were viewed with religious veneration, these standards. So if you will, when Gallus and the 12th legion of Rome took Jerusalem in 66, they camped around Jerusalem, got into Jerusalem, and got as far as undermining the north wall of the temple.

When they were there, marching into Jerusalem with their Standard, with their pagan idols attached to it, it was as though someone was bringing religious idols into the holy city of Jerusalem. Well to the Jews, and to the Christians living in Jerusalem, that was disgusting.

Now, what I’d just like to highlight though, just as a little bit of background is: why did Gallus, with the 12th legion, (because he was just the governor of Syria, Cestius Gallus,) why did he come with the 12th legion to attack Jerusalem? The Romans at that time were not an aggressive force. They were truly a peace keeping force in Palestine. And they were trying to enforce what was called in those days the Pax Romana. They weren’t aggressive. It wasn’t their role at all.

What had sparked off such a violent response from the Roman armies? Well what had happened; it all hinged around a hilltop citadel named Masada. I don’t know whether you’ve heard of that, but early in 66 CE, a group of Jewish zealots attacked a Roman garrison that camped at Masada.

Why did they attack Masada garrison of all garrisons? Well the Romans had a large cache of arms stared at Masada. These Sicarii, they were called the Dagger Men. They’re mentioned in the scriptures interestingly. These Jewish extremists went and massacred all the Roman garrison at Masada, got this large cache of arms, and with such a large cache of arms, then marched on Jerusalem, this is all in 66 CE, and massacred the garrison that was keeping piece in Jerusalem.

So with Roman bodies lying all over the place, all over Palestine, Rome had no other option but to send in some kind of force to quell this Jewish uprising in 66, and that was why the nearest garrison legion was in Syria where Governor Cestius Gallus was, and they were called in to try and just quell this Roman uprising.

All I want you to just remember about this is that the roll of the Roman troops, this disgusting thing, was purely that of a peace keeping force. That was its major mandate, but it went hostile due to religious extremists.

Even those Jews in Jerusalem were not extremists. Many did not support what was being done by the zealots, but all the same, they came under the same aggression from Rome as all those did in Jerusalem.

What is this holy place that it stands in? Well, what we would emphasize here is that in verse 15 it says: “A” holy place, not “The” holy place. “A” holy place in this setting proved to be the city of Jerusalem, with its temple.

Interestingly, Jerusalem was not Jehovah’s holy place. Jehovah had cast off Jerusalem as his city in the year 33 CE, when the curtain of the temple, the curtain that separated the holy from the most holy, was rent in two, really exposing the most holy as being devoid of the ark of the covenant, which symbolized Jehovah’s presence, and the Shekinah light, indicating that Jehovah had left his people, Israel, after their execution of his only begotten son.

From that point on, the temple that Jehovah was using, was not a literal temple but a spiritual temple. It was the great spiritual temple arrangement, the main parts of which existed in heaven. So I just want you to store that little fact as well, that Jerusalem was not God’s holy place at the time, it was just “A” holy place, holy to the Jews, not to Jehovah.

What about verse 16 then? Well the direction here for obedient followers of Christ was as soon as they saw this disgusting standing in a holy place, well, they had to flee to the mountains. But you might think: “well, how could they have fled to the mountains when there was a Roman legion surrounding Jerusalem.” Well you may know, and the historian Josephus records very clearly, that for some unknown reason to Josephus, and still to historians today, Cestius Gallus, when victory was well within his reach, just commanded that the legion turn tail and leave Jerusalem.

The zealots felt that this was God directing matters for them, and therefore they followed these Roman soldiers for a distance of 30 miles, attacking them and killing Roman soldiers as they left. But to obedient Christians, they saw this as the golden window of opportunity to be obedient to Jesus Christ their leader, when he said ‘when you see this disgusting thing, well then start fleeing to the mountains.’ And sure enough, Christians, en masse, as soon as Gallus left with the legion, they started to make their exit out of Jerusalem to the mountains.

Interesting little point I’ve never noticed before: verse 16 doesn’t say ‘let those in Jerusalem begin fleeing to the mountains’, it says “Judea”. The events taking place in this holy place, was a signal for all Christians living in the whole country of Judea, to make their exit as soon as the disgusting thing stood in a holy place. And that’s what Jews in Judea began to do.

Where did they go? Well Jesus told them to go the mountains. History tells us… anybody know where they went to? History tells us that they went to a place called Pella. Now Pella is in the area of Peoria. Its east of the Jordan River. So if you will; they had to go down to the Jordan River, cross the Jordan River, and then go up to this hilly capital of Pella.

Now Pella was one of what’s called the Decapolis. Have you heard of those? Deca means 10, and it was a group of ten cities that were to the east of the Jordan River. The Decapolis never really had much anti-Roman sentiment to it, so ironically, Roman forces, though they eventually took the whole of Palestine, they never bothered with the Decapolis, and Pella was never approached or taken by Roman soldiers. If you will; it proved to be about the safest place in the entire region over those next few years.

Why did they choose Pella? Well this is an interesting thought; historians tell us that it was the church elders, as they call them, or the congregation overseers in Jerusalem and in Judea, that directed the Christians to go to such a place. It was a town, by the way. I always imagined when they fled to the mountains that, you know, they were all sitting around the campfire every night, you know, eating beans and singing songs and things like that for four years. But they weren’t. They were just in a town. But obviously they’d have to set themselves up, find homes, you know, settle there for the period of time.

It would have been an uncomfortable difficult time, maybe involving a few privations for them, but from that point on they were safe in the mountains.

Now what did Jesus say about their flight? Now this is very interesting. Have look at verses 17 onwards. He said: “Let the man on the house top not come down to take the goods out of his house, and let the man in the field not return to the house to pick up his outer garment.” What does Jesus indicate by that? Well he was indicating obviously that their flight should be quick. They should get out as quickly as they possibly could, but, and this is interesting, he was indicating to the Christians that they must avoid attachment to their material things, so that those material things wouldn’t attract them back into their homes; so that they’d want to collect all their goodies so that they could take them to the mountains. He indicated that they had to just flee quickly.

Back in bible times, if you were on a house top, you could literally run from house top, to house top, to house top, and make your exit quickly along the tops of houses. Jesus may have been referring to that when he said: ‘Let the man on the house top not come down to get his goods out of his house.’

What about verse 19 and 20? He says: “Woe to the pregnant woman and to those suckling a baby in those days! Keep praying that your flight may not occur in winter time, nor on the Sabbath day”. What did Jesus mean by this? Well for a pregnant woman, if you had to make a journey of about 38 miles…, about 38 arduous miles, it would be more difficult if you were pregnant. True or false? Definitely!

And if you were suckling a baby at the time, that would also be just more difficult. Not impossible, but it would just be trickier for you in that situation. And then, of course, in verse 20 when he says pray “that it may not occur in winter time, nor on the Sabbath day”, if it was winter time, it would be cold, and it would be wet. That would make it more difficult. A 38 mile journey in the cold and the wet, maybe even in the snow, would also be difficult to make the journey.

And the Sabbath day back in those days, they had Sabbath day restrictions for how far they could travel. They had what you call a Sabbath day’s journey. So that could have posed problems for those that were trying to keep the law. But it didn’t happen on a Sabbath day, ironically, and it didn’t happen in winter, it was autumn when it took place. So, if you will, their prayers for it not to happen in winter or on the Sabbath day were answered by Jehovah. They were able to make their flight before then.

Now what about verse 22? Now verse 22 says: “In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account on the chosen ones those days will be cut short.” Now what is Jesus referring to here when he talks about the cutting short of the days, on account of the chose ones? Well first and foremost, let’s just establish who the chosen ones are. The chosen ones, according to 2nd Peter 2 verse 9 are the royal priesthood, the chosen race. Who were they? Well none other than the anointed Christians, the 144,000, the anointed class. So they’re the chosen ones, and Jesus said it would be on their account, or for their sake, that the days would be cut short. In fact he said if those days weren’t cut short, no flesh would have been saved. What was Jesus referring to? Well here he’s referring to the year 66 CE, when Gallus inexplicably left, prematurely before he could take all flesh in his attack on Jerusalem.

So even though Gallus had his reasons for leaving Jerusalem, whatever they may have been. They could have been orders from Rome. They could have been his own decision. Whatever it was, the real reason he went was that Jehovah was cutting short that tribulation, so that the Christians could leave. So the flesh that was saved, in 66 CE, was the flesh of the chosen ones, anointed Christians, and it was for their sake that the tribulation was cut short.

Now I did miss one verse out. Did you notice my deliberate mistake there? We missed out verse 21. What does Jesus here say? Well he says: “and then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.”

When did this have its fulfillment? Well this fulfillment in the first century occurred in the year 70 CE, when general Titus came with four legions, not just one legion like Gallus came with, but four legions of Roman soldiers, and laid siege to Jerusalem. Interestingly, before Gallus could even get into Jerusalem, Jews had already started fighting amongst themselves, because they were so upset that the zealots had got them in such a situation, that they were angry with the zealots, and some started attacking the zealots. The zealots started fighting back and killing the Jews. So by the time Titus actually got into Jerusalem, they [had] already half massacred one another as it was, because the Jews in Jerusalem were realizing this was all coming on them because of a bunch of religious extremists. It wasn’t the run of the mill Jews that were doing it, it was extremists.

But Titus did build around Jerusalem a fortification of pointed stakes just Like Christ Jesus had said, and he did dash those in Jerusalem to pieces, and as Josephus says, that one million one hundred thousand Jews lost their lives in that great tribulation upon Jerusalem.

You might say: “Well how could it be the greatest tribulation that the world had ever seen?” It wasn’t the world in general that Jesus is speaking about here. It was the Jewish system of things in Jerusalem. And Jerusalem saw lots of tribulation, but it never saw anything like this, and it’s never seen it ever since. So it was great tribulation for the Jews.

I would just emphasize just one tiny little factor here that I want you to store again. It does not say that ‘then there will be THE great tribulation’. There’s no definite article in front of “great tribulation” there. All it says is: “there will be great tribulation”. Elsewhere in the bible, great tribulation is called “THE great tribulation”. But Jesus is here indicating that this is not referring to THE great tribulation primarily, though it does have an extended application to it.

So, how did that work then? Well, just to tell you. This was something I didn’t realize. I thought there was a four year window between 66 and 70, and therefore there was all that period of time before the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem. Well, it came as a shock to me when I was going through the “Keep on the Watch” brochure, you know, the one that we did just recently, and on page 20 of the “Keep on the Watch” brochure, it says there that [in] 66 Gallus left, took off. The next paragraph then starts and then says: “The following year Roman armies returned under Vespasian and his son Titus, and started a campaign in Palestine.”

What happened was: in 67 the Romans came back. They’d not left this as though “Well we’ll just leave it now”, they were most upset with this whole situation, and this time they meant business. In 67 Galilee was completely subdued, that whole area of Galilee. In 68 Judea was dismembered by these legions, culminating in the year 70 CE, when Titus built this fortification of pointed stakes around the capital.

The reason for that is, and that was common practice back in those days, that if an army was going to take a land, it would never go straight to the capital city. The first thing they would do; is they would mop up all the surrounding area first. Otherwise, when they laid siege to the capital, they were always in danger of being attacked from behind. So they mopped the country up, and then laid siege to the capital Jerusalem, the jewel in the crown for the Romans. So if you will, the window of opportunity the Christians had to flee to the mountains was only a brief window. It opened, but then something like a year later it closed again, and it became almost impossible then to make the flight to safety.

Ok, so that basically summarizes the first century fulfillment. Now what I’d like to do is just look at our visual aid on the board, ok, just to help us put everything into perspective. Our first timeline…, we’ve got two timelines there running parallel, but our first timeline is the first century, if you can see that over there. So what happened was, if you will, the tribulation for the Jews began in the year 66 CE; looked like it was going to take all flesh; but then, as you can see, it was cut short by Jehovah, providing an interval, or a window if you will, between two phases of their tribulation. The second phase of the Jewish tribulation there began in 67 CE, when Vespasian and Titus returned to the holy land, and, if you will, it just continued to a culmination in the year 70 CE.

What I’ve just popped on the board though, is during that interval between the two phases of that tribulation, from the moment the Christians were obedient to Christ and fled to the mountains, from that point on the tribulation was not on them; it was on the Jewish system. From the interval onwards, the tribulation was on Jews, not Christians, and therefore they were one hundred percent safe from that point on. If you will, they were 38 miles away. They couldn’t even see or hear what was going on. They were safe.

Now what we want to do is see how this now has a parallel in our day; or the near future. So let’s have a look back at verse 15 ok. Now there again we read there that it says: “when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment.) Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.” What is the disgusting thing today? And how will it stand in a holy place? Well, what parallels the Roman peace keeping force in the first century today? What powerful organization today has as its mandate to keep world peace? Well, it is the United Nations organization. Initially [it] appeared in 1918 as the League of Nations, and then changed its designation in 1945 and became the United Nations.

Why could we say that it is a disgusting thing? Well basically, the whole tendency of the United Nations is to turn people away from God and Christ, and therefore it is a disgusting thing, a desolating thing, and the product of Satan the Devil. It parallels so well the role of the Roman armies in Palestine prior to 66.

How will it stand in a holy place? Well, do you remember that we said that Jerusalem was not God’s holy place, but it was “A” holy place to the Jews? Well what corresponds to Jerusalem, in its apostate sense? Well it’s the organization of Christendom, so, particularly, when the United Nations takes a stand, or makes an attack on Christendom, and we would add the rest of false religion earth-wide. Why do we say that? Well, subsequence of these words of the Lord Jesus Christ, John was inspired to write about a harlot called Babylon the Great that pictured the world empire of false religion; the most reprehensible part of Babylon the Great being the organization that claimed to worship the god of the bible, which is Christendom. So though Jehovah will be executing judgment particularly on Christendom at this time, the attack of the United Nations will be on false religion as a whole; Babylon the Great.

This will herald the outbreak of the Great tribulation. This is the opening part of the first phase of THE great tribulation; the attack of the United Nations on Babylon the Great. And that’s why we’ve just got on our board here we’ve got the initial start of it as being, I’m gonna put BTG destroyed, you understand what that is, Babylon the Great, ok. So as soon as Babylon the great is destroyed, or the attack is made on Babylon the Great, well that is the sign that the great tribulation has begun. If you will, the disgusting thing has now stood in “A” holy place. Not God’s holy place, but holy to those that adhere to it.

What I’d like to do now is I’d like to jump to verse 22. Now we read there it says: “in fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.” How does this have a fulfillment? Well basically, when Babylon the Great is attacked, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the anointed, the faithful and discrete slave, part of Jehovah’s Witnesses, will obviously not be exempt from the attack on religion. It’s not as though they’d say: “Well your Jehovah’s Witnesses. You’re a nice true religion. We’ll leave you alone.” No. They’ll tar us with the same brush as all of religion, as an international irritant, even though probably, it indicates, that it will be sparked by just religious extremists, who will probably spark the venom of the United Nations, a peace keeping organization.

Now what do we mean by this? Well what will happen is it will look like, during the first phase of the great tribulation, it will look like the chosen ones themselves, the anointed, are going to be threatened by this attack, but just when it looks like the flesh of the chosen ones is about to be destroyed, Jehovah will cut short the tribulation. He will stop it dead in its tracks, just like He did with Cestius Gallus in 66. We don’t know how He’ll do it, but there will be, we strongly feel, a cessation in the great tribulation, and the beginning of what we will call an interval in the great tribulation.

Now this is really important. I had never really thought about this. I mean, I did these Watchtowers that this is taken from, ten, fifteen years ago when we did them, but I never realized that there was going to be an interval in the great tribulation where everything is going to go nice again. We know that there’ll be an interval because in Revelation, after the harlot had been devastated by the scarlet colored wild beast, remember she’s eaten, completely consumed and then burned with fire, well after that the traveling merchants, the kings of the earth, and even some sea captains it says in Revelation 18, lament the demise of Babylon the Great. So that means that once Babylon [the Great] is dead and gone, finished completely, and the tribulation has been cut short in that way. [The] political system and the commercial system are fully functional. They’re fully healthy, living, breathing, up and running, and very sad about what they’ve just done to Babylon the great. They’ll be thinking: “What are we gonna do now with no Christmas. Who’s gonna buy all our goods now?” So; do you get the idea? It’s during this interval that we now have to obey Jesus words in verse 16 where Jesus says: “then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.”

Well of course we’re not just in Judea now. We’re a worldwide organization. So it’s not that we have to flee to some geographic location, but we’re led to believe here that what we will have to do is we’ll flee to Jehovah’s mountain like organization. But just as Isaiah 2 says; that the mountain of the house of Jehovah is to be lifted up above the top of the hills. It’s as though Jehovah’s organizational structure in the congregations earth wide will be where we’ll have to flee to in a spiritual way, not a literal way, in order to attain Jehovah’s protection and care.

It may well be as well, just because in Daniel chapter 2, a mountain is seen where a stone is cut out that strikes an image and obliterates it. That mountain of Daniel chapter 2 represents Jehovah’s universal sovereignty, so it may be as well that we have to flee, again in this interval, we may have to make a firm stand on Jehovah’s side of universal sovereignty. If you will, like our year text for 2006 says, we may have to show clearly that we obey God as ruler rather than man, or any human institution. If you will, it’s all probably going to go back to universal sovereignty, which is where it all started in the Garden of Eden.

Now, what does Jesus next say which shows really where our tests may be the most crucial? Have a look at verses 17 and 18 again. He says: “let he man on the house top not come down to take the goods out of his house, and let the man in the field not return to the house to pick up his outer garment.” What is Jesus here particularly warning us could be our major tests during the great tribulation? It’s our attachment to material things. In other words, of all the things Jesus says that we have to be careful of during the great tribulation, it’s not running back into our homes to go and get material possessions.

Now this is a very, very important point. This indicates the greatest test that we may face in the middle of the great tribulation will be how attached we are to the things that we own. It is no accident that the Devil has engineered a system of things that’s as affluent as it’s ever, ever been. In the words of a British prime minister: “We have never had it so good.”

But why has the Devil, (it’s his system, it’s not Jehovah’s system), why has he developed a system so that we’re so affluent? That we’ve got so many things now… then we’ve ever had. More things than we’ve ever had in generations past. He’s doing it because he knows it could be a major snare to us during the great tribulation.

Now is the time to become detached from our material possessions. View them as being “Yes they’re nice”, but don’t get attached to them. If you will, what you’ve got to ask yourself is, could you today, get all of your material possessions, every last one of them, all those goodies that you really like, and could you get them all and push them to the edge of a big cliff and push the lot over the edge and watch them descend to the bottom? Or, would we be: “oooh if I could get a rope…” You see, that is one of the major ways that we could prepare for the great tribulation.

If you want to sleep when the wind blows, start becoming detached from material things. Jesus could have had all of the material things he wished when he was on earth, but the scriptures say that foxes have dens and birds of the heaven have roosts, but the son of man had nowhere to lay down his head.

That was not because of circumstances. That was because of Jesus’ choice. He kept his eye focused on God’s kingdom and the doing of his father’s will. Though he had some nice material things, he was not attached to them. Jesus Christ said in warning to us, he said: “Remember the wife of Lot.” Lot’s wife was clear of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. She was out of those two cities. The fire and sulfur were raining down and destroying the two cities. But she looked back longingly.

Now the Watchtower recently said that she wasn’t looking back longingly at the homosexuality that went on in Sodom. She wasn’t thinking: “Oh I wish I had all that homosexuality again.” No she didn’t. That wasn’t what she was longing for. What was she longing for? It was the material things that she left behind, and it cost her her life. Jesus said: “Remember the wife of lot”. Don’t become attached to material things.

What are material things? At the end they’re rubbish aren’t they? We all end up having to say: “I’m gonna have to do a car boot soon. I’ve got that much junk. Let’s have a clear-out”, because we are in a consumer society now. Don’t be taken in with the glitter of Satan’s world.

Now, just one last thing before we leave this passage: The chosen ones are mentioned in verse 22 as being the reason that Jehovah cut short the first phase of the tribulation. Now this is a really really vital point. If it’s because of the chosen ones that Jehovah cut short the days, because their flesh is in danger, where must the chosen ones be during the great tribulation? Where must their flesh be? On earth.

Now, the fact that the chosen ones are on earth during the great tribulation, is the best possible indicator of where we are in the stream of time. Back in November first 1995, we had a watchtower that gave us a clarification on a Greek expression called hegenea′ hau′te, we know it as “this generation”. And we basically all, you know, got a mardy {?} on it because we were working it out how long a generation was from 1914, “and everybody who was alive in 1914… would be able to see the end”. And then we got this different understanding of hegenea′ hau′te, and suddenly we realized that it wasn’t a set length of time, but it was to do with the wicked generation of people. And that this wicked generation would still be definitely in evidence when the end actually came. “Oh man, that could be about a million years from now till Armageddon, I think I’m gonna have to get a full time job and go to union {?}…”

But you know; we were barking up the wrong tree with that, because if we were trying to think that hegenea′ hau′te was what determined how close the end was, we were wrong. We were looking in the wrong place. It’s like when we look at the world today. We’re thinking: “ooh it is getting worse isn’t it. It’s all happening, you know, all this.” We’re looking in the wrong place. The place we should be looking is at the chosen ones. That’s always been Jesus Christ’s attention. It needs to be our attention.

In other words, where are we in the stream of time? Well just look at the chosen ones. How old are they? How many are there? Remember; it’s on their account that the days will be cut short, so there’s got to be enough of them to make it worth cutting short the days of the first phase of this tribulation on their account, or for their sake.

I would just emphasize that those that partake of the memorial emblems, are not the same as genuine anointed Christians. So whilst we know how many take the emblems every memorial, some of them may be taking it for the wrong reasons. We don’t know how many of those eight and a half thousand that partook in 2005 are genuine anointed Christians. We know that there’s a maximum of eight and a half thousand of them left on earth today.

How old are they? Well I think the best gauge of it is the governing body. The oldest member of the governing body at the moment is 100 years old, coming up 101: Carey Barber. Jack Barr’s 93, Albert Schroeder’s 94. And where do you get men to replace men like this. You’ve got to be of the anointed to be of the governing body. There just aren’t men of that caliber left to replace them. There’s twelve members of the governing body at this moment in time. The end must be so close if the chosen ones play a key role in the great tribulation. So don’t be worried about whether or not the generation understanding changed, if you will, that was a red hearing for us, as regards to the nearness of the end. We need to keep focused on what Christ is focused on: the chosen ones. Keep looking at them, keep following their direction, and we’ll know exactly what to do during the great tribulation, and we’ll sense very acutely how close we are to its’ outbreak.

Let’s move on now to verse 29. Now this is exciting. Verse 23 to 28 covers a period from 70 CE to 1914. So it covers those intervening years, but verse 29 to 31 has only one fulfillment, and it’s during “THE” great tribulation. And if you will, we’re going to call this section now, phase two, or the second phase of the great tribulation.

What does Jesus say? Verse 29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” What does this refer to? Well when Jesus says “immediately after”, and did you notice “THE” tribulation, did you notice the definite article in front of tribulation this time, it refers there to the outbreak of the great tribulation, which is the attack on Babylon the Great.

So immediately after the attack of Babylon the Great, after this interval, we don’t know…, its unspecified, its’ length obviously, but after this interval, they will start a second phase. And it says: “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven”. What does this refer to? Well we strongly believe that this will refer to literal celestial phenomena; that there literally will be a darkening of the heavens.

We know from times past that this has happened when Jesus Christ was put to death on the torture steak in 33 CE Nisan 14. The whole sky went dark at midday. Josephus records that during the attack, around the 70 CE period, again the whole of Jerusalem was put into darkness, and there was earthquakes, and thunder and lightning, flash floods, terrifying. Josephus says that it was an omen that portended a global catastrophe. So we believe that the second phase of the tribulation will start with dramatic celestial phenomena; that we’ll know that the interval is now over.

Verse 30, it says: “And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” What is the sign of the son of man? Well this refers to a supernatural demonstration of Jesus kingly power. We don’t know what it’ll be, but it will be some supernatural display that will leave people in no doubt as to who’s causing the events that are take place around them.

Now this is really interesting. In a Watchtower in the 90s, it indicated that this sign of the son of man appearing in the heavens, directly parallels the judgment of the sheep and the goats by the son of man. So if you will, Matthew 25:31 talks about Jesus separating mankind like a Sheppard separates sheep from the goats; sheep into everlasting life, goats into everlasting cutting off. Well this sign of the son of man it is the visible signal that the judgment is now taking place and mankind are being divided.

Now this, I think, is wonderful. This was a new thought this, back in 1995. The judgment of mankind is really at the end of the great tribulation. It’s right into phase two of the great tribulation. So nobody is a sheep or a goat until Jesus judges them as such. So a person’s eternal destiny is not sealed until the sign of the son of man is seen in the heavens in phase two of the tribulation.

Does this mean that some could gain salvation late in the hour? Well, the governing body have adamantly said that mass conversion will not take place, because mass conversion did not take place in the first century, but we cannot be dogmatic and say that people could not gain salvation during this interval.

Now what we say by that is that anybody in the first century who chose to go with the Christians to the mountains and make such a decision of faith, to leave all their goods and go and live with these Christians up in the mountains, anybody who did that saved their own lives, when that took place. So all we’re saying is, to use an expression that they use with operas; that it isn’t over until the fat lady sings. In other words, it isn’t over for any individual, until Jesus has sealed their fate when he makes his final judgment of mankind. To me that just says: never give up hope. Never give up hope for any individual, and never stop trying to help our loved ones, and people in our territory, to know what the future holds as regards Jehovah’s purpose.

What then happens? Well it says: “all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation”. In other words, they then realize, once they’ve seen the sign of the son of man, they know that their judgment has now been sealed, and the majority of mankind have been deemed as goats, and therefore they beat themselves in lamentation.

What happens next? Verse 31, it says: “And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.” Here again, the chosen ones are still on planet earth, on terra firma, at such a late hour in the tribulation.

What does it mean for them to be gathered? Well it means that they are sealed and clearly identified as God’s chosen and faithful. And at some point they will be gathered up to heaven to be king priests with Christ Jesus; to assume that position in the heavenly arrangement. There you can see on the chart the sequence of events that will take place during phase two of the tribulation. What I ask you is, can you sleep when the wind blows.

In Noah’s day, people got absorbed in their normal activities and Jesus Christ drew attention to Noah’s day. He didn’t say that they weren’t violent, though they were. The thing he highlighted was that they were eating, they were drinking, they marrying, they were being given in marriage. They’d got sucked into mundane normal activities, and it caused them to take no note, and they lost their lives. We must remember the events of Noah’s day and not get sucked into a mundane way of life that really could just be described as being pretty much like everybody else around us. Do our lives show that we see where we are in the stream of time, or could or lives be described as just being normal, mundane, ordinary?

Jesus said: “Prove yourselves ready” in verse 44 of Matthew 24. Proving anything means not just good intentions, but means actions. We’ve got to prove that we’re ready. That we can sleep when the wind blows.

What do we need to do to have peace of mind and heart when the great tribulation arrives? Well now we need to be men and women of prayer. Be vigilant with a view to prayer. We must fight distractions. We must fight attachment to the material things that we acquire today. We must be holy in our conduct, and busy in deeds of Godly devotion, having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.

If we do, we can be peaceful, confident, and calm, when the winds of the great tribulation eventually start to blow.

End of Talk

The audio of this talk can be downloaded from the Talks section of: http://da.getmyip.com

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It seems to me that Justin answers his own question about why Gallus “inexplicably” left just as he was about to enter Jerusalem. As he said; When an army goes “to take a land, it would never go straight to the capital city. The first thing they would do; is they would mop up all the surrounding area first. Otherwise, when they laid siege to the capital, they were always in danger of being attacked from behind.”

It makes sense that when Gallus attacked the capital Jerusalem, that the occupants of the surrounding cities would have gathered and waited to see if God would step in and protect His city Jerusalem. When they saw that its’ demise was eminent, they would have taken matters into their own hands, and attacked Gallus and his men from behind with their greater numbers. Josephus said the Jews even chased them for a distance of 30 miles, continuing to attack and kill them as they retreated.

Since it took Vespasian and his son Titus a couple of years to clean out the surrounding areas with 4 times as many men as Gallus had, there must have been plenty of men available in those surrounding areas to run off the much smaller number of Romans in 66 CE.

Just a thought.





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