Ezekiel, the prophet of the Babylonian captivity initiated in the year 587 before Jesus Christ, prophesied on the part of Jehovah, saying: “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. My tent also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. The nations shall know that I am Jehovah who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forevermore” (Ezek. 37:26-28).
This declaration of Jehovah excludes the kingdom of God, revealed in the New Testament and that is not of this world (John 14:1-4; 2 Tim. 4:18). As Jesus Christ has not occupied the throne of David according to the prophecy of Daniel (Dan. 9:24), for centuries the Theologians looked for an explanation. The answer to the problem was to make up that the seventy weeks of the prophecy of Daniel had not been fulfilled, since there is one week yet to be fulfilled. When this last week is fulfilled, then Jesus Christ will return to take up his Church, after the first resurrection. Then there will be seven years of tribulation under the government of the Anti-Christ, and after that he will return to rule for a thousand years. This Theological effort to make the prophecies of the Old Testament to continue in the New Testament clashes with the following biblical objections:
1.“Seventy weeks are decreed on your people and on your holy city, to finish disobedience, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy” (Dan. 9:24). If there are seventy weeks which are determined and one is missing, which is yet to come, then transgression has not been extinguished, sins were not brought to an end, iniquity was not atoned for, and the righteousness of God in Jesus has not been effected, because Christ, the Messiah, had not been born yet. The very text makes this point very clear.
2. We read in the Gospel of Luke: “The law and the prophets were until John. From that time the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it” (Luke 16:16). If the law and the prophets lasted until John, the law and the prophets have ceased. The Old Testament ended in Christ, for this reason Jesus read the passage in the book of Isaiah, which says: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, ‘Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:17-21). All the prophecies appointed to Jesus: when he was manifested, everything was fulfilled.
3. In the Epistle to the Thessalonians we read: “But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that anything be written to you. For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. For when they are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction will come on them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman; and they will in no way escape. But you, brothers, aren’t in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief. You are all children of light, and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night, nor to darkness” (1 Thess. 5:1-5). Paul makes it clear in this text that the Church will not be taken up before the end of this world. I repeat what Paul says: “But you, brothers, aren’t in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief”.
4. The other apostle that touches the issue of the end of the world is Peter: “But the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But don’t forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore since all these things will be destroyed like this, what kind of people ought you to be in holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, which will cause the burning heavens to be dissolved, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” (2 Pet. 3:7-12). Peter confirms Paul’s predictions. In the Day of God, when this world comes to an end in fire, the Church will be taken up.
5. Therefore, the story of the seven years of tribulation is a fable created by those who want a second chance.
6. We have a third argument, and the very Jesus utters this argument. It is the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus said: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel weeds also among the wheat, and went away. But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the darnel weeds appeared also. The servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where did this darnel come from?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel weeds, you root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn”’” (Matt. 13:24-30). It is obvious that the tares are the carnal and worldly Christians, and the saints are the wheat. Jesus declares that, at the time of the Rapture, the second-class Christians will be taken first to burn in hell. Afterwards, he will gather the wheat.
7. He reveals in the explanation of the parable that the harvest is the end of this world (Matt. 13:39).
8. The earthly kingdom of Jehovah brought the Babylonian captivity to an end. How could it end, when the promise of Jehovah was not that? The text says: “I will not break my covenant, nor alter what my lips have uttered. Once have I sworn by my holiness, I will not lie to David. His seed will endure forever, his throne like the sun before me. It will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky” (Ps. 89:34-37). But the opposite happened. Let us read the works of King Manasseh: “He built altars in the house of Jehovah, of which Jehovah said, ‘My name shall be in Jerusalem forever. He built altars for all the army of the sky in the two courts of the house of Jehovah’” (2 Chr. 33:4). And Jehovah destroyed both kings (2 Kings 23:24-27; 24:1-3).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira