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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 19: Matthew 24-25, by Kevin M. Williams

The examples he lists from before Yeshua’s birth and contemporary to his life and the life of the apostles are quite remarkable. While there are variations, the theme is remarkably similar to the Olivet Discourse. Yeshua may not have invented the terms of the last days as much as confirmed what the Holy Spirit had already placed on the hearts of many of Israel’s scribes and prophets.

“Hear what I divulge to thee, so shall it come to pass: the first [is] great distress; the second, conflagration of many cities; the third, destruction and pestilence of animals; the fourth, hunger of the whole world and of its people; the fifth, destruction among its rulers, [and] destruction by earthquake and the sword; the sixth, multiplication of hail and snow; the seventh, the wild beasts will be their grave; the eighth, hunger and pestilence will alternate with their destruction; the ninth, punishment by the sword and flight in distress the tenth, thunder and voices and destructive earthquake …

“Then I will sound the trumpet out of the air, and will send mine Elect One [i.e. the Messiah], having in him all my power, one measure [of each of my attributes]; and this one shall summon my despised people from the nations, and I will burn with fire those who have insulted them and who have ruled over them in this Age.”6

This example from the Apocalypse of Abraham has a familiar ring for many Christian readers as much of it is found in the Olivet Discourse. For Raphael Patai, the New Testament age Hebrews, and Yeshua, these events were known as birth pangs, and have regularly been part of human existence in one degree or another.

“And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).

It is easy to forget that when the Bible speaks of “lawlessness” it does not merely refer to civil disobedience. Within the Scripture, there is only one divinely ordained code of “Law” and “lawlessness” is the breaking of that “Law.”

Within the framework of the Old Testament and the audience Yeshua addressed, “Law” is the Torah, though it is a misnomer to think that “torah” means a list of cold and unfeeling laws on stone. It does not. Literally Torah means God’s “teaching” or “instruction.” The modern idea that “Law” is a set of do’s and don’ts, which when practiced automatically induce legalism and abrogate the saving work of the cross, is a gross misunderstanding.

One needs look no further for proof than the verse itself. What happens when “lawlessness is increased?” Yeshua says that love grows cold. On what commandments hang the whole of the Torah and the Prophets? Love God and love your neighbor. When love grows cold, the love of God and fellow man wanes resulting in a lawless society (the breaking of God’s instructions); a lawlessness that rejects the two very instructions upon which the whole of the Law and Prophets hinge.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Winter 2006

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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