- Luke 21:8 "..many shall come in my name…time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.." Why not go after them, was not the time AT HAND?
Answer: In Luke 21:9 (the very next verse), Jesus said the reason his disciples should not pay attention to anyone saying "the time is at hand" in those days was because the other signs he gave them had not happened yet. Jesus gave enough signs that they could not miss it. When compared with the parallel accounts in Matthew and Mark, this is even more apparent. For instance, if Jesus had given them 30 signs to look for and only 5 of them had taken place, it wouldn't make much sense to believe that the end was immediately at hand. But if all 30 had taken place (by the year 66 AD), they could be sure the end was indeed at hand. There is another reason also. The people who were trying to lead away the brethren were probably caught up in the nationalistic mindset and looking for a materialistic kingdom or paradise, or they were Judaizers. To follow them would have been fatal in view of what happened to such zealots at 70 AD.
- Did Jesus Christ return in 70 AD without fanfare?
Answer: I wouldn't exactly call the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD an event "without fanfare." Jews today still commemorate it in some fashion in almost every joyous occasion they celebrate (the shattered goblet at Jewish weddings, and a special fast day every year in August are two ways in which they still remember the destruction). One of the chief rabbis from Connecticut, in the opening remarks of his lecture on "Post-Biblical Judaism," commented that he would begin the study of post-Biblical Judaism with "the end." Then he said, he would begin with 70 A.D., because 70 AD was "the end of Biblical Judaism".
Josephus, a Jewish priest and one of the ten Jewish generals who started the war with Rome in 66 A.D., gives his eyewitness account of that gruesome judgment which Jesus said was, "such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall" (Matt. 24:21) A few days later Jesus (at His trial) said the High Priest & the Sanhedrin, "shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matt. 27:64) Josephus, Tacitus, Eusebius and the Talmud all record the FACT that God's presence was perceived at that awesome destruction. They even record that angelic armies were seen in the clouds.
- Did the signs of his second coming (Mt. 24:27-30) already take place and nobody noticed them?
Answer: Eusebius and other historians mention that the Christians definitely saw the signs and left Jerusalem. The Jews saw the signs too (according to Josephus and Tacitus), but they refused to acknowledge them as portending calamity for them. They stubbornly believed that God was about to establish a literal, physical Golden Age of the Messiah. So, the Jews stayed in Jerusalem and Judea to fight the war, believing God would somehow miraculously deliver them and give them their physical kingdom over Rome and the whole world.
- How did Jesus reveal himself to the world at his 70 AD coming?
Answer: The Jews knew who was judging them and why. Josephus stated that he felt that the judgment fell upon the Jews directly because of their persecution of the Christians. Even the Roman General Titus recognized that God was the one who delivered the Jews into His hand, and that without God's help he would never have been able to conquer the Jews. The Christians knew Christ returned to give them relief from the persecution. The whole Roman world saw God's righteous judgment and dispensing of universal salvation then. Christ's identity and the nature of the spiritual kingdom was revealed at 70 AD.
- If Jesus Christ came back in 70 AD—corporately, invisibly, symbolically, spiritually or however—why didn't anybody notice? Why hasn't history recorded this cosmic event?
Answer: They did notice. It has been recorded. The problem is, no one reads history with spiritual perception. We are making the same mistake the Jews did. They were looking for a physical king and materialistic kingdom. They missed the spiritual kingdom Christ established. People today are missing the spiritual kingdom for exactly the same reason: they are looking for a physical paradise and fleshly, materialistic fulfillments. The kingdom is here now, we just need to open our eyes and realize it.
Besides, not all history is known to us. Tremendous volumes of ancient history were destroyed with the Alexandrian Library in A.D.391. The official history written by historians in the first century was only that which was approved by the Roman Emperor.
- If Jesus claimed that his coming would take place within 40 years, that would contradict what Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Jesus said no man, not even himself, knew the day or hour it would happen! Only the Father knows.
Answer: Let me ask you a question. When a wife gets pregnant, and people ask the couple when the child will come, does not the man and woman say, "Oh, in 6 months." And as it gets closer, they say, "Within 5 months. Within 4 months. Etc."? Yes, they do. Because they know the child will come within a certain time frame.
But, does the wife know the day or the hour the child will come? No. Does the husband know the day or the hour the child will come? No. Does their doctor know the day or the hour the child will come? No. Does any man on earth know the day or the hour the child will come? No. But does the Father in Heaven know? Yes.
Therefore, there is no contradiction. Somebody can know, within a certain time frame, when somebody will come, yet not know the day or the hour of his coming. It does not matter if it's within 9 months, or within 40 years. If a man and woman say their child should come in 3 months, but they do not know the day or the hour, I will still believe them. If Jesus said his coming would be within 40 years, but he doesn't know the day ot the hour, I still believe him. And there is certainly to contradiction.
- 1 Thess. 4:16-18 says "the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." How could this be fulfilled already?
John 5:25, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live."
One thing that needs to be mentioned right up front is that there is also a tremendous similarity between the language here in this context (1 Thes. 4-5) and Mat. 23-25 (esp. Matt. 24:29-31). The angels, trumpet and gathering are mentioned in Matt.24. The angels, trumpet and catching-up are mentioned in 1 Thess. 4. We should always use the easier passages on a subject to help interpret the more difficult ones. In this case, Matt. 24 is the easier one.
It is a matter of historical record (Josephus, Eusebius, Tacitus and the Talmud) that the trumpets, voices of angels and angelic activity were seen and heard in the time leading up to and during the destruction of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, many Christians are just not aware of this. They are not being taught this by current (predominantly-futurist) clergy. The "catching-up" (1 Thess. 4:17) or "gathering" (Matt. 24:31) was accomplished when the faithful remnant of Jewish believers with the in-grafted Gentiles were transformed (and transferred) into Christ's new spiritual Israel. This was accomplished at the same time the old fleshly-based Israel was dissolved at A.D. 70. The meeting-place is the heavenly places in Christ – the spiritual kingdom.
The 'trump' of God is thus defined (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance - Greek Dictionary of the New Testament), as a vibration, reverberation, or 'shaking'. This kind of language was used in the Old Testament prophets quite often of God's judgment being poured out on wicked nations. This time the judgment of God was poured out on the Old Covenant world, and shook its institutions to the ground and replaced them with the real spiritual things that had only been prefigured and foreshadowed by the Jewish temple system (Isaiah 13:13, Joel 3:16, Haggai 2:6, Hebrews 12:26).
Concerning the timing of when this would happen, 1 Thes.4:16 sure sounds like Mt. 24:30-31. In Matthew 16:28, speaking of when it would happen, Jesus claims the same timing as Paul: Jesus said, "Some of you standing here shall not taste death," Paul said "We who are alive and remain."
The two statements intimate the same thought! Taken individually, each statement means "Some would live to see it"! Whatever it was, it happened in their lifetime! Jesus, in Matthew 16:28, could have just as easily said: Some of you will be "alive and remain" to see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom. Likewise, Paul could have written: There be "some standing here who shall not taste death" until the coming of the Lord. They mean the same thing!
What kind of "comfort" is it for the Thessalonians if it's not going to happen for thousands of years? (1 Thessalonians 4:18 )
- First Thessalonians says we should comfort one another with the knowledge of a coming rapture. If the Lord has already come, and this is the "new earth", I don't find much comfort in that passage. The world, and living in it, is too nasty to warrant such comfort.
Answer: It amazes me how Christians never seem to realize the predicament we are in if Christ has not already come and fulfilled all these promises. Not only do we have all the New Testament time statements pointing to an imminent fulfillment in their generation, but we have all the Old Testament prophets pointing to these things also being consummated "in those days," making no distinction between two different time periods separated by some long period of delay. The Jews use these Old Testament passages to prove Jesus could not be their Messiah unless He fulfilled all those things "in those days" of His generation just like the Old Testament prophets predicted. And they expected a literal fulfillment just like the futurists of today. And that is why they missed the significance of Christ's spiritual kingdom, and it is why many Christians today are missing it as well. How much comfort does it give us if Jesus failed to come when He said He would, and if He failed to accomplish all that the Old Testament prophets said He would "in those days." Are we saying that we are more comforted by a still-future hope than by a realized one? Which would you rather have – the spiritual blessings now, or still waiting for our enemies to be conquered? The comfort is in a realized eschatology, not in an unrealized one!
Those who focus merely on the physical realm here below and do not set our minds on the things above will miss the fulfillment of these things. What is mankind's worst enemy? Physical death or spiritual death? What did Christ come to conquer? Physical death or spiritual death? When was the last ultimate enemy (spiritual death) finally conquered? Is it still unconquered? Has Christ restored His tree of life to us? Have we been gathered into His heavenly kingdom? Do we now have the fullness of spiritual life, or are we still in death's grip? Has Christ conquered, or are the Jews correct in pointing out that Jesus must not be the Messiah since He failed to bring physical peace and an end to physical death?
Many churches/religions have taught an 'escapist' doctrine, whereby God's people have been led to believe that we will one day be evacuated from all that is unpleasant and ungodly. This is not the doctrine of Scripture. The escapist mentality often leads to disappointment in God for 'leaving us here' through all the ups and downs of mankind's governments, economies, societies, etc. Our pain and suffering in the world becomes a matter of endurance, rather than identification with Christ in His suffering, an exercise in crucifixion of the flesh, as taught in the Word of God. Yet Jesus prayed: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (John 17:15).
Psalms 105:8-10: "He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an *everlasting* covenant."
I am sure that those to whom Paul wrote in 1 Thess. 4, who were living in the day of God's wrath upon fleshly-oriented Israel, who remembered Jesus' words and fled into the hills to escape the destruction, took great comfort in those precious words of hope (see Matt. 24:15-21) They did not want to forsake their being gathered together into the heavenly kingdom.
- Was the "man of lawlessness'' (2 Thes. 2:3) a contemporary of Apostle Paul. Did he also come and go without notice?
Answer: There are many passages (in Revelation and elsewhere) which indicate that the "anti-Christ" was actually the anti-Christian spirit which motivated the Jewish (and Gentile) persecutors who worked against the church in the period before 70 AD. Notice these passages in particular: 1 John 4:3; cf. 1 John 2:17-18; and 2 Thes. 2:7. Whatever this "man of lawlessness" was, it was already at work during the time Paul wrote, and was evidently at its worst when John wrote, since he says, "Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we KNOW it is THE LAST HOUR." This "man of lawlessness" could very well have been Titus from Rome in the first century.
- 2 Thess. 2:1-4 says "that day" (the coming of Christ) "shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God." How can we possibly be living in the "new earth" the Bible speaks of since the "falling away" has obviously not happened yet?
Answer: The falling away was in progress as the last few New Testament books were written. One only needs to read things like the books of Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter and 1-3 John to see this. The falling away coincided with the great persecution and tribulation that descended on the church just before the Jewish revolt (A.D. 63-66). During this persecution James, Peter and others (such as Paul) were killed (A.D. 63). And it was probably about this same time that John was exiled to Patmos. The New Testament writers, during this time of persecution, were bravely challenging their fellow-saints to persevere. The faithful remnant did. But many others forsook the "better things" in Christ and returned to Judaism's things that were "fading away" and about to be destroyed. The "falling away" and "the coming of the man of sin" were first century events. They occurred in connection with the persecution of the church just before the Jewish revolt in A.D. 66. The destruction and defilement of the temple at Jerusalem is one of the major themes in the passing of the Old Covenant world, and the coming of the New. While 2Thes.2:1-4 is usually associated with "THE" Antichrist, we need to remember that the anti-Christian spirit was already at work in the first century (2Thes. 2:7).
The Jewish persecution was already underway when Paul wrote these words. The Holy Spirit was restraining its effect until the church reached a mature-enough condition to persevere. There was a close connection indeed between the tribulation and the apostasy. The anti-Christian forces were persecuting the church to get them to fall away. Several other New Testament passages allude to this warfare that was being waged (1 John 2:18,22; 4:3, 2 John 1:7).
- The second coming is supposed to be an event that we as believers can look forward to. It is a time when our battles with the flesh, with sin and death, are supposed to be over (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). This battle is still going on is it not?
Answer: If the battle is still going on, Jesus hasn't really saved us yet. His victory is not complete. We are only partially saved. And then the Jews would be right in their suggestion that Jesus is not the Messiah since He hasn't really fulfilled all Old Testament prophecy yet, and proven that He is the Messiah. His failure to fulfill all those things in a physical literal way is the reason many Jews rejected Him. It was not physical battles that He fought for us. His kingdom is not of this world, else His servants would fight with physical weapons in physical battles. His warfare was spiritual and His weapons were spiritual. And those final ultimate conflicts have been engaged and settled. Christ has conquered. The kingdom is ours. Satan's dominion over us has been shattered and crushed.
We need to remember what kind of death is our worst enemy (spiritual death) and what kind of resurrection is the "better resurrection" (spiritual life). Has Christ conquered? Or are we still waiting for Him to prove His Messiahship? Do the Jews have a justifiable excuse for refusing to accept Jesus as Messiah simply because He hasn't fulfilled the promises physically and literally? Or were those prophecies dealing with the spiritual realities of the kingdom? Did Jesus promise us a physical paradise with no physical pain or suffering (like the Jews expected)? Or did He promise us spiritual victory? In Luke 21:16-19 Jesus said that in the soon-to-come tribulation some of them would be "put to death," but also that "not a hair of your head will perish." Is this contradictory, or was He speaking spiritually of their soul's preservation through the coming persecution? Verse 19 says it all: "By your perseverance you will win your souls." Jesus never promised them a physical paradise and materialistic, sensual delights. He promised soul salvation. That is here now. It is reality. When these physical bodies die we continue on in His presence in our spiritual body.
The wages of sin is death. Is this "death" physical or spiritual? It could not be physical death since we all die a physical death, righteous and sinner alike. The cost of sin is spiritual death, for which Christ paid the price for all those who are His. We need to start putting our spiritual glasses on and setting our minds on the things above in the heavenly places. The heavenly kingdom cannot be entered or lived in by sensual and materialistically-oriented folks.
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" (1 Cor. 15:50). We have inherited that kingdom. The final enemy (spiritual death) has been defeated. All enemies raised up against Christ and His people have been conquered. The battle is over!
- Scripture seems to have dual meanings: i.e. Husband-wife/ Jesus-church, Night-day/evil-good. Couldn't the "coming" of Christ in A.D. 70 be a type of a final, future Second Coming?
Answer: The dual meanings which are found throughout the holy writings are a testimony to the typical and symbolic nature of the Old Testament. Double references abound in the Old Testament books because all that was written and done in those days merely foreshadowed the future reality of Christ. Almost everything, if not everything, in the Old Testament somehow pointed to or foreshadowed Christ.
But when the New Testament writings appeared, the shadows and types were being done away with by the coming realities of Christ Jesus. No longer would God's people need the school master (the law with all of its symbolic regulations and rituals), for their faith and love in Jesus was fulfilling the entire law, and was hastening the day when Christ's loving Presence in His Church would be complete, and the termination of the fleshly Jewish covenant would finally be revealed.
Jesus did not die and rise from the dead to end one age of shadows and symbols, only to begin another age of shadows and symbols. Christianity (Christ) is the reality, whereas Judaism was the shadow. There is not much of the double-fulfillment spirit to be found in the New Testament writings because The New Testament speaks only of Christ being the fulfillment and end of redemptive history.
- Can not there be a double fulfillment in prophesy? Why can't the prophesy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem be fulfilled in both 70AD, and sometime in the future?
Answer: One reason is because Jesus said, concerning Jerusalem in Matthew 24:21, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." Christ clearly taught that the tribulations that were to happen at the fall of Jerusalem shall never be as great as it would be in 70AD.
- Has Satan already been cast eternally into the lake of fire? Romans 16:20 is evidence that Paul believed in the imminent return of Christ. If Satan has been crushed, as is evidently the case from Preterist eschatology, why is he so active today? In fact, if I understand Preterism correctly, you have a lot of problems with Satan. I have the sneaky suspicion that you think he's not really a person or a fallen angel, but rather an influence or inclination toward evil within each of us like the (gasp) liberals believe?
Answer: Make no mistake about Preterism. The preterist view is the ONLY eschatological position which challenges the liberal school of thought consistently. The whole futurist network has surrendered to the liberals on numerous inconsistent fronts. The futurists have more problems dealing consistently with Satan than the preterists. I do not speak for other preterists, but I see no problem either way.
We could personify our lusts (James 1:13-15) and call them the influence of Satan, or we could actually believe that there is a fallen angel (Satan) who spiritually fathered the Jews (Matt. 3:7; 23:33; Jn. 8:44) and influenced them to reject Christ and persecute the Christians. But existence is one thing, reign is another. The "ruler of this world" was cast out and his dominion taken away. So what if he still exists? He has no real spiritual power over us now.
1 John 3:8, "...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
The works of the devil include sin and evil. Jesus gave those who are saved the power to resist temptation and the works of the devil. Without the Holy Spirit in us, Satan will be successful, and sin will have dominion over us. It is our own lusts that affect us today:
James 1:14-15, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
One final point that can be made here is that no where in the scripture is it said that Satan must exist in order for there to be evil in the world. When Sin/Satan reigned, evil threatened the scheme of redemption, but now through Christ, Satan and Sin no longer reign.
- If Jesus Christ has returned, why is sin still rampant?
Answer: Jesus conquered the REIGN of sin over us, not the EXISTENCE of sin. Sin will always exist (Isaiah 65:20, Matthew 12:32, Revelation 22:15), but it no longer is master over us. The Last Enemy (spiritual death, condemnation, or separation from God's fellowship), which is the result of Sin's reign over us, has been conquered. We now have access to the presence of God. Even though we may still sin, it now can no longer hold us in its web. Christ has set us free. Death and Hades have been done away with.
- During the 1000 years, Satan is bound and Jesus is ruling. If this represents the 40 year period prior to 70 AD, why did Paul speak of the armor of God? Why did Peter say our adversary is like a roaring lion? If Satan was bound, armor to combat him was unnecessary and he wasn't walking about anywhere.
Answer: I personally take a view of the sealing of Satan as being limited -- "that he might deceive the nations no more." The nations being the word used to denote the Gentiles. As I see the 40 years as the judging of Israel, I also view the culmination of that as the affirmation of the new covenant, and the consummation of the marriage. This time was also an approval period for the bride in some respects, for as the 40 year judgment is finished, then comes the bride. It is then the bride that Satan tries to kill during the early persecutions, and the bride Jesus defends. And the only curse pronounced by the disciples comes to pass on them, as fire comes down from heaven to devour them.
I think a similar thing happened as the gospel was being spread during Jesus' ministry. When questioned about how He has the power to cast out demons, He then tells them, "How can you take a strongman's home, unless you first bind the strongman?" He had bound the strongman, and was taking away his house. And similarly, when Jesus sent out His disciples, when they came back, Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning." These I believe were similar bindings that happened as the reign of God was being preached to Israel.
First, Jesus withstood Satan's temptation as He had fasted 40 days. Is this the 'binding' that then took place, the suppression of Satan by Jesus? Very possible. From Capernaum in the northeast, to Samaria in the south, Jesus and the disciples cast out devils and demons from people -- Jews and Samaritans, and had power over them.
Secondly, we see other instances of 'binding' or being bound in the bible: Matthew 23:4, "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
The Jews were being 'bound' by the Pharisees -- placed under burdens, and dictated to (verses 10-17).
Bind does not always mean literally constrained. Furthermore, the binding in the revelation is specific -- that he might deceive the nations no more. I think he may very well have had power of influence over individuals. Furthermore, I believe the letting loose for a little while was also that -- that he MAY be able to deceive the nations for a spell -- which led to the persecutions of the early church through the reigns of Domitian, etc.... However, the church prevailed.
- What does the future now hold for the church, the unbelieving world and creation, according to the Preterist view?
Answer: I'm not totally comfortable using the word "church" in reference to the Kingdom of God today. The word "church" just might refer to the "calling-out" process of the transitional period from 30-70 AD when Christ was building His Kingdom. The Kingdom is the repository of all those who were "called out" of the dominion of darkness. The Kingdom of Christ is here now. We enjoy all the spiritual blessings that were promised in the prophets. Since the Kingdom is here now in its fullness, we must live accordingly. What this means is that we live spiritual lives, governed by the law of the spirit.
I also believe there is a long future ahead of us on this planet. I do not believe it is just about over. The sun has many millions of years left to burn. We have only just begun to achieve the purposes for which God planted us here.
In regard to our destiny after physical death, we no longer go to Hades to await a resurrection and judgment. Death and Hades were done away with at 70 A.D. when the "death" that reigned over man (Rom.5:14) was reversed by the eternal "life" provided through Christ (Rom.5:17,21). Hades was a conscious waiting place for the biologically dead. Revelation 20:14, "And death and hell (the grave) were cast into the lake of fire." At the 70 A.D. resurrection, souls in Hades were resurrected out of that waiting state, the righteous into the presence of Christ in His kingdom, and the wicked to eternal punishment. Since then, when the righteous die biologically, they continue living in the presence of God, while the wicked go away to eternal separation from God.
- How do you explain II Peter 3:10,12?
Answer: The "elements" spoken of here are not the literal, physical rocks and gravel which make up our planet. Every other instance in the New Testament that this Greek word, stoicheion is used, (Gal. 4:3, 9-10; Col. 2:8, 20-21; and Heb. 5:12-14), it is always referring to "the elements (of knowledge): elemental things, or elementary principles, or rudimentary notions" (NAS Exhaustive Concordance w/ Greek Dictionary)
Peter was saying that the false "elements" of Judaism would soon be destroyed! Men living in the world are said to be the world, and the heavens and the earth of it. The time when the work here mentioned, (Isaiah 51:15,16) of planting the heavens and laying the foundation of the earth, was performed by God when He divided the sea (v.15) and gave the law (v.16), and said to Zion, Thou art my people; that is, when He took the children of Israel out of Egypt, and formed them in the wilderness into a church and state; then planted the heavens and laid the foundation of the earth: that is, brought forth order, and government, and beauty from the confusion wherein before they were. This is the planting of the heavens and laying the foundation of the earth in the world. And since it is that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that language which seems to set forth the end of the world. It is evident, then, that in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by heavens and earth, the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, were often understood.
Our whole lives, we've been taught that Jesus would someday come back to this planet and destroy it from II Peter 3, Right? The idea of some literal, earth-shattering, catastrophic, cataclysmic, "universe-collapsing", element-melting, star-falling, sun- darkening, sea of blood, future-to-us Second Coming of Christ is foreign to Scripture. It even contradicts Scripture!
- After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah, a promise to mankind (Genesis 8:21; 9:15-16).
Answer: How we interpret II Peter 3, has a profound influence on what we bring into these verses. If we think that Peter was speaking of a global meltdown, then of the Genesis passage we say, "Yeah, He said that He wasn't going to destroy the earth by flood again, but I know how He'll do it in the future…by FIRE!"
Is this the God of Scripture? That He would make a covenant with man, with an escape clause in it? One that He could exercise at any time in the future? Did God purposely leave Himself room for a different mode of destruction? Or is this a Promise to "never again destroy every living thing"? This is not a covenant built upon conditions. It is unconditional. God did not say, "If you…Then I." Exactly the opposite happened. God was saying, that despite the fact that "the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth," and will continue to be; "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake…nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done." This is very important! Have we been contradicting Scripture?
- If Christ already came, do we need to still preach the Gospel?
Answer: Jesus very clearly tells his disciples that before the temple would be destroyed and before His parousia (return) and the end of the age, the gospel must be preached in all the world. And it was! The temple was destroyed! He arrived in full glory! The Old Covenant age ended! This does not mean that the gospel was not to be preached after the end had come. It was to be preached for ever and always. Notice the parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-7).
Notice what he says to his servants AFTER the city is destroyed (Matthew 22:8-10). We dwell in the New Jerusalem in the very presence of God and the invitation is still going out today. Notice the invitation that goes forth from the New Heaven and Earth: Revelation 22:17, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
- Was salvation complete at the cross?
Answer: Salvation did not come at the cross, but complete salvation came only at the second coming of Christ, in the last days.
1 Peter 1:5, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
1 Peter 1:9-10, "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:"
Hebrews 9:28, "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
Romans 13:11, "…for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." (Many years after the cross, the apostles did not say they had salvation yet, but that their salvation was soon to come).
1 Thessalonians 5:8, "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."
Hebrews 1:14, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (they did not have salvation yet, but were to inherent it. You can't inherent something you already have).
Revelation 12:10, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." (I believe that when the Kingdom of God came, salvation came).
Philippians 1:19, "For I (Paul) know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."
Philippians 2:12, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Acts 3:19-21 "That your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ.. whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things (cf. Luke 21:22,32), which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (cf. Rev. 10:7)." Sins were not blotted out until the second coming of Christ. Redemption was not at the cross, but was looked at as still future:
Luke 21:28, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
Romans 8:23, "...even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." (the dominion of the body of sin - Rom.6:6-9).
Ephesians 1:14, "Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
- Can you comment on Zechariah 14?
Answer: In Zechariah 14:1-5, we find a paradox in this section being that the Lord brings the nations against Jerusalem to take the city, rifle houses, and ravish the women. Yet, in verse 3 the Lord fights against these nations He Himself brought against them. Why? Well, this is very interesting and it is explained in this way. Israel or Jerusalem is being spoken of in a split sense. Going back to chapter 13 of Zechariah we find in verse 8 that two parts of the land are cut off, but a third remains. This is after the crucifixion of Christ where the Shepherd has been struck. Thus we have a remnant, and the rest are cast off (vs. 9). So we come to chapter 14 where we see that the city is taken and many go into captivity, yet the Lord defends on the residue (remnant) of verse 2. Paul uses this exact idea in Romans 11:7 in which he distinguishes between two parts of Israel; he says Israel and the elect! Yet, in this same discussion Paul declares not all of Israel is of Israel in the idea of election (Romans 9:6,27), only a remnant are.
So, does this hold up in the Olivet discourse? It sure does. We find that in verses 1-15 that the city is destroyed, and in verses 16, 22, and 31 the elect are spared and protected. We find the non–elect part of Israel going into captivity as Zechariah said (Luke 21:24). The distinction is maintained! This explains how the coming is both blessed and mournful when you distinguish between Israel elected who see in it a blessed coming of their Lord, and Israel cut–off who mourn. Paul told Timothy to keep the commandment, not until he dies, is resurrected etc, but until the coming of the Lord in which His blessedness is shown forth (1 Timothy 2:14,15). Timothy would live to see the blessed coming of the Lord, while on the other hand all the tribes of the land and those that pierced him would mourn (Rev. 1:7). Did you read that? Israel would mourn at Christ's coming! And this is quoted in Revelation directly from Zechariah 12:10!
As for his repentance of Israel in Zechariah 13:1, it should be noticed that this is spoken in the context of the death of Christ in verses 6 and 7. Yet, when this fountain was opened, only the remnant found salvation (v.8), and that was fulfilled long ago, not in a future blessed coming (Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 1:5). The fountain is spoken of in Revelation 21:6 in a manner that it would be opened very soon, and is the same water in John 4:10-14. It is not a fountain to be opened in the future, but was opened in the past.
- Can flesh and blood inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor.15:50)?
Answer: By "flesh and blood", this verse is referring to the "natural man":
1 Corinthians 2:14: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
The natural man cannot inherit the Kingdom, because they are spiritually discerned. A parallel verse to 1 Cor.15:50 is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
As you can see, in place of "flesh and blood", this verse uses the "unrighteous", which is what the natural man is, or the spiritually dead, or those of the "flesh". Another parallel verse, which explains the "flesh" of 1 Cor.15:50, is Galatians 5:19-21:
Galatians 5:19-21, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Only Christians "that overcometh shall inherit all things" (Revelation 21:7).
- Who were the 144,000 in Revelation?
Answer: The 144,000 are mentioned only two times in scripture, both in the book of Revelation. Most people only read Chapter 14 and speculate who they are. But chapter 7 tells us who they are!
Compare Revelation 14:1,4 with Revelation 7:4-8. Chapter 7 clearly tells us who these 144,000 are. They are the twelve tribes of Israel that were living in the first century. Scripture even calls each tribe by name, and tells us how many of each tribe are part of the 144,000!
Next, notice that the word "firstfruits" in Revelation 14:4 is used to describe the 144,000. Now compare this with the "firstfruits" in James 1:18. Who are these firstfruits? James already identified who these firstfruits were in James 1:1, at the very beginning of his epistle! Who are they? The twelve tribes of Israel living in the first century! These are all those elect Jews during the period from AD 30-70 (Romans 8:23).
As for the 144,000 in Revelation 14:4, the phrase "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins" means these are they which are pure from idolatry, and are presented as unspotted virgins to their Lord and Savior Christ (see 2 Corinthians 11:2).
- How do you explain Revelation 20:9, where it says they went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city? The Jews were not saints in 70A.D. - they were the harlot!
Answer: Yes, unbelieving Jews were harlots, but there were believers also. A saint is somebody who believes in God. Scripture does record many saints being in Jerusalem from 30AD to 70AD. Here are a few verses:
Romans 15:25-26, "But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem."
Romans 15:31, "That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;"
A saint can even be someone in the enemies camp, such as Caesar!
Philippians 4:22, "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household."
- If the new heaven and new earth has been established, why is there still a sea? (Revelation 21:1).
The most common mistakes made when reading the scriptures is the language of the bible and what it means; or rather, what it meant 1900 years ago, because the bible was written for us but not to us. We must understand what a sea is. Lets look at this verse:
1Kings 7:23-25,39, "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other; it was round all about, and his height was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about...and he put five bases on the right side of the house, and five on the left side of the house: and he set the on the right side of the house eastward over against the south."
Also confer 2 Kings:16:17; 25:13,16; 2 Chronicles 4:2,4,6,15; Jeremiah 27:19. Now by looking at these scriptures we can see what the authors' intent was in Revelation 21:1 when he said there will no more sea. In God's old covenant with man, the high priest once a year went into the holy of holies for the peoples atonement (Lev.16:34), but before he went in he must first wash in the sea to cleanse himself before entering into the temple. But now Jesus is our high priest forever and thus there is no more sea.
"Sea" also means "gentiles" in Isaiah 60:1-5, and "nations" in Psalms 68:22, Daniel 7:3. Also, "far off" in Psalms 65:5 is how Paul describes the Gentiles in Ephesians 2:13. Zechariah 9:9-10 refers to sea as part of the world. Isaiah 24:14 refers to enemies. Revelation 17:15 explains seas as well.
- Ezekiel 37 says God "will raise you up out of your graves." What does this mean?
Answer: This does appear, at first glance to teach a physical resurrection. Let's read this chapter in context. Even the language of Ezekiel 37:1-10 seems to denote a physical resurrection, by saying, "...can these bones live?...Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live...and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live...and the bones came together, bone to his bone...and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above...and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet."
However, verse 11 explains that this is only symbolic language, and not to be taken literally:
Ezekiel 37:11, "Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts."
Ezekiel 37:12-13 mentions the nation of Israel coming up out of their "graves" (captivity) and being restored to the land of Israel. This resurrection was Israel's return from Babylonian captivity under Ezra and Nehemiah in 536 BC and following. Was it a literal physical resurrection of physically dead Jews out of physical graves? No, of course not. Verse 14 explains this resurrection as referring to the "spiritually dead", when God says, "And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live."
Jesus was obviously talking about spiritually dead men burying a physically dead man in Matthew 8:21-22 and Luke 9:59-60. Also read Romans 6:13, Ephesians 2:1,4-5, Colossians 2:13; 3:3, 1 Timothy 5:6, James 5:20. The whole point of these passages is to explain that, "the body without the spirit is dead" (James 2:26).
- Doesn't Jesus have to return again in the future to abolish death and Satan who has the power of death? (Rev.20:14).
Answer: In 1Corinthians 15:25-26, it states that the last enemy to destroy is death. It is the last enemy to be destroyed, there are none after death. 2 Tim.1:10 says Jesus already abolished death, and has brought life and immortality through the gospel. Also see Hebrews 2:14; not only has he abolished death and Satan, but he has put all things under his feet (1Cor15:27, Ephesians1:22).
- Who were the two witnesses in Rev.11:3?
Answer #1: The two witnesses are the Law and the Prophets. These are the ones that testified against the Jews for the 3 and ˝ years in the siege. However, they killed the two witnesses in a fit of rage, similar to the way they killed the Word Incarnate, Christ. They ascend to heaven to be with the Christ and His Bride because they are part of the Heavenly Jerusalem. They are raised after 3 and ˝ days to testify to God's power and judgment of spiritual Sodom, where our Lord was crucified. Many Old Testament allusions are in this passage for the Law and the Prophets. I don't think that they are actually people, but personified to show the way that the Jews treated those they abhorred in the siege. They didn't even bury them, a sign of ultimate degradation. They rejected the Law and the Prophets for making merry against the Lord and living in abominations. They got the curses from Deut. 28 in return. May the Lord recompense all according to their deeds, and this He did to that "wicked and adulterous generation". Notice after the 2 witnesses were taken up to heaven in Rev.11:12, a few verses later in verse 19 the Ark of the Testament is opened in heaven, which is the Law.
Answer #2: The 'Two Witnesses' could also be the Old and New Testaments. . . . The essential purpose of the Scriptures is to give witness to the mercy and verity of God. Our Lord commands, "Search the Scriptures, . . .they are they which testify [bear witness] of Me" (John 5:39). This was addressed to the Jews, and described the character and office of the Old Testament. The New Testament is similarly pronounced the giver of testimony. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" (Matthew 24:14). These declarations and considerations are sufficient to sustain the conclusion that the Old and New Testaments are Christ's two witnesses.
As for Rev.11:5, to hurt the word of God is to oppose, corrupt, or pervert its testimony, and turn people away from it. Against those who do this work, fire proceedeth out of their mouth to devour them, that is, judgment of fire is pronounced in that word against such. Notice what the people do after the death of the two witnesses: "And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth." -Rev.11:9-10.
- Jeremiah 17:25 says the city of Jerusalem "shall remain for ever". But this conflicts with the destruction ofJerusalem in 70AD.
Answer: Does "for ever" always mean never ending? No. In the Bible, "for ever" is used where it has the meaning of lasting only as long as the duration of the event, or as long as the person lives, or as long as a city stands. Jonah calls three days and three nights "for ever" (Jonah 1:17; 2:6). Hannah clearly explains what she means by the term "for ever" when she says in verse 28, "as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord" (1 Sam.1:22,28). Here "for ever" is ten generations (Deut.23:3). "For ever" obviously is as long as David lived (1 Chron.28:4). Leprosy lasted for Gehazi as long as he lived (2 Kings 5:27). It's apparent that the meaning of the word is determined by the context in which it is used (Exo.21:5-6, Deut.15:16-17, Philem.1:10,11,15).
Jude 1:7 clearly states an example of "eternal" fire. This is the same Greek word that is used for "everlasting" fire and "everlasting" punishment as used in Matthew 18:8 and Matthew 25:41,46 (Notice hell is "everlasting punishment", and not "everlasting punishing". The punishment is eternal in its results, not in its duration). The fire and brimstone destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha, and turned them into ashes (Gen.19:24). Sodom and Gomorrha is an example of what will happen to the wicked "in that day" (Luke 17:29-30, 2 Peter 2:6, Jude 1:7). We know that God did not remove Sodom and Gomorrha to burn them somewhere else because Abraham could see the smoke going up "as the smoke of a furnace" (Gen.19:28). The cities are not burning today because when everything was burned and turned into ashes, the fire, having no fuel left, went out. Another example of "everlasting" destruction (2 Thes.1:9) is; once a match is burned, it is destroyed forever, but is not being forever destroyed. The phrase "eternal torment" does not appear in the Bible.
So when Jeremiah said that Jerusalem "shall remain for ever", it meant that Jerusalem would remain until the duration of its life expectancy came to an end, which was in 70AD.
- The kingdom was to come with power (Mark 9:1). Power was to come when the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:8ff). The Holy Spirit came on Pentecost (Acts 2:4ff); therefore the kingdom came with power on Pentecost.
Answer: We are not here arguing that the kingdom was not established on Pentecost. It was established in infancy. On Pentecost, the church did not have her full constitution, her full organization, her full glory and maturity. Why has Mark 9:l been divided from chapter 8:38? There is no justification for a chapter division. Further, the parallel passage, Matthew 16:27-28 (Luke 9:26-27 also) is enlightening, though challenging to traditional concepts. In that text, Jesus promised to return, with the angels, in glory, and judge every man. He further promised that some standing there would not die till they saw him coming.
In Mark 9, and the parallels, Jesus promised to return in judgment, in the kingdom, in the lifetime of that generation. This can in no way be associated with Pentecost! Did Jesus come with the angels, on the clouds, and judge every man on Pentecost?
Note that in Matthew 16, Mark 9, and Luke 9 the subject is the coming of the Lord! The Son of Man would come on the clouds with the angels. These verses speak of the coming of Jesus! Now consider the promise of the outpouring of the Spirit. In John 16:7 Jesus said that he had to go away so that the Holy Spirit could come. the coming of the spirit signified the absence of Jesus!
In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit was poured out, verses 1ff. In verses 33ff Peter said of Jesus that he poured out this which you now see and hear. Jesus was on the throne in heaven when the Holy Spirit was sent with power on Pentecost! Mark 8:38-9:1 and parallels speak of the coming of Jesus. But the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, John 16:7) signified the absence of Jesus. Therefore, Acts 2, which is the coming of the Holy Spirit, can't be speaking of the coming of Jesus!
Those who make the argument cited above are guilty of the "similar is identical" fallacy. They see the word "power" spoken of in Mark 9, in regard to the kingdom. They go to Acts 1 where the Spirit was predicted to come with power and assume that since power is mentioned in both texts that one must be the fulfillment of the other. The same "logic" could be used on Acts 4:29ff. After being beaten for preaching Jesus the apostles went back to a gathering of the disciples. They prayed and "the place where they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit;" In verse 33 we are told that `- Here we have the Holy Spirit given and we have power. Why is this not as much applicable to the coming of the kingdom with power as when the Holy Spirit was given in Acts 2? Our point is that just because similar terms are used subject matter is not identical.
In addition, Jesus said there would be "some" of his disciples that would still be alive when he came. Pentecost came only two months after he spoke these words, and they were all still alive except for Judas.
- If you go to Jerusalem today you will see that there are still stones on top of each other at the temple. Therefore, Jesus prediction that, "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matthew 24:2) was not fulfilled in 70AD.
Answer: Those stones belong to a wall which had nothing to do with the Temple. These stones were to the west of the temple and were part of the famed Western Wall (called in earlier times the "Wailing Wall"). The Temple was historically razed to the ground.
Notice Jesus spoke of the "buildings" (Mark 13:2), and he was pointing to the Temple, and the buildings next to the temple, at the time he said this (Matthew 24:1).
Also, "not leaving one stone upon another," is a proverbial and hyperbolical way of describing destruction. It should not be taken as literally "not one stone upon another", because in every destruction of a building, you can't help but have one stone upon another in the ensuing rubble. In order for one stone to not be on top of another, all those tons of stones, in every building and every structure throughout Jerusalem, had to have been evenly distributed on the ground, flat, so there would not be one stone upon another. This is very unlikely.
This is like saying, "I'll blow up that car, and there won't be any metal left!" Of course there will be metal left, just like there will be stones on top of each other when a building crumbles. This is proverbial and hyperbolical language. Jesus used this language a lot. Christ was not telling the disciples that there won't literally be one stone upon another any more than he was telling them to pluck out their eyes (Matthew 5:29), cut off their hands (Matthew 5:30), or to never take an oath (Matthew 5:34).
- Acts 15:14-18 seems to be speaking of a rebuilding of the city of David which is Jerusalem. This after "..taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name."
Answer: Yes, it does seem to be speaking of the rebuilding of the city, but it can't refer to that. Acts 15:16 says, "...and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; " Notice this verse speaks of the tabernacle as a passed event. The destruction of Jerusalem happened in 70AD, many years after the book of Acts was written. If this verse referred to 70AD, it would have read, "which will be fallen down".
This seems to be confirmed in Acts 15:14, "Simeon hath declared how God...did visit the Gentiles" (speaking of a passed event); and Acts 15:15, "And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written" (Now he quotes from Amos 9:11, showing that it was foretold that God would visit the gentiles). But this took place in the passed, as both verses 14 and 16 point to the passed.
A tabernacle could refer to a human body, as 2 Corinthians 5:1,4 teach. I believe Acts 15:16 is referring to the body of Christ, which is synonymous with the church:
1 Corinthians 12:27, "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
Ephesians 4:12, "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:"
Amos 9:11 is the prophesy of when the church will no longer be exclusive to the Jews, but to everyone!
- Is there an eyewitness to the events surrounding the coming of Jesus coming in the clouds with lightning in 70AD?
"In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour. A sudden lightening flash from the clouds lit up the temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure." (Tacitus, First Century Roman Historian - Histories, v.13).
Before Jerusalem's final demolition, Titus took a survey of the city and its fortifications; and, while contemplating their impregnable strength, could not help ascribing his success to the peculiar interposition of the Almighty Himself. "Had not God himself (exclaimed he) aided out operations, and driven the Jews from their fortresses, it would have been absolutely impossible to have taken them ; for what could men, and the force of engines, have done against such towers as these ?"
- Exactly what are the dates of the Roman invasion, the destruction of the temple, and the end of the siege?
Answer: The war began, as Josephus says (Ant. b. xx. c. 11. s. 1), in the second year of the government of Gessius Florus, who succeeded Albinus, successor of Porcius Festus, mentioned Acts 24:27, in the month of May, in the twelfth year of Nero, and the seventeenth of Agrippa, mentioned Acts 25 and 26, that is, in May, A.D. 66. The temple was burnt August 10, A.D. 70, the same day and month on which it had been burnt by the king of Babylon: (Josephus, Ant. b. xx. c. 11. s. 8). This Roman siege terminated on the eighth day of the ninth month, A.D. 70; its duration was nearly five months, the Romans having invaded the city on the fourteenth day of the fourth month, preceding. The city was taken September 8, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, or the year of Christ 70. (Ant. b. vi. c. 10).
That was the end of the siege of Jerusalem, which began, as Josephus several times observes, about the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, or our April. (War, b. v. c. 3. s. 1, c. 13. s. 7; b. vi. c. 9. s. 3).
- What about the rebuilt temple that was prophesized in the Old Testament?
Answer: There was a temple tax imposed upon the Jews. This tax was used to re-build the temple! Herod began the work of rebuilding the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem starting in 20/19 BC. This work was completed between 62-64 AD.
- Acts 1:11, "...why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." His ascension was physical and visible, so won't His return be also?
Answer: The word for "see" is often used not of sight, but of perception. For example, in John 14:9, Jesus says, "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Jesus also said, "every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life" (John 6:40). Now, if you use the same interpretation here as most do in Mat.24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27, Acts 1:9-10, and Rev.1:7, only those who saw Jesus with their literal eyes could be saved! We use the word "see" in the same manner, with a figurative intent, when we say, "I see!". As Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:18, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened."
In verses 23-26 of Matthew 24, Jesus seems to stress that his coming will not be a physical bodily coming. If someone says, "Here is Christ, or there," they were not to believe them. If someone said, "He is in the desert or he is in the secret chamber," they were not to believe them. Why? If His coming was to be physical and bodily, why would someone not be able to say, "He is over there?" They were not to believe that because His coming would not be physical and bodily and yet it would be plainly seen.
- Can you explain Revelation 1:7, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
Answer: Firstly, refer to the answer to the above verse, where the word for "see" is often used not of sight, but of perception.
Secondly, most writers consider the theme of the book to be Revelation 1:7. This verse is very similar in context to Matthew 24:30.
Revelation 1:7, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds [Greek word #5443] of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
Matthew 24:30, "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes [Greek word #5443] of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
It may not be conclusive standing alone, but you can see that just based on the language, a case can be made that the two verses are speaking of the same event. Matthew 24:30 is a verse that speaks of the fall of Jerusalem. And that is just the case about the book of Revelation -- it speaks of the fall of Jerusalem.
Thirdly, notice also the language of Revelation 1:7. It speaks of those who "pierced him." Although we know that the Romans crucified him and pierced him, the apostles accused the Jews of the act. In Acts 2:23,36, Peter says that they crucified Jesus. He continues to state this in his following sermons (Acts 3:15; 4:10; 5:30). Stephen, in Acts 7:51-52, calls them murderers. And Paul, in 1 Corinthians 2:8, speaks of the Jews killing the Lord. And also in I Thessalonians 2:14-15, he speaks of the Jews that killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets. So perhaps the book concerns itself with the Jews.
This view is further reinforced with the phrase, "kindreds of the earth." ("kindreds" is from the Greek word phule, which means "tribe"). This is a direct allusion to the Jewish tribal system. Now, we must identify, from Scripture, who those "tribes" were. To do that, we must keep in mind this simple rule of interpreting the Bible: let Scripture interpret Scripture. We can do that quite easily by looking at Zechariah 12:10-14.
Zechariah 12:10-14, "And I will pour 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...In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem...And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart."
Obviously, this is the foundation for John's statement that "every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth (or land) shall wail because of him" So, in essence, Zechariah was saying that the "tribes of the land" would mourn for Him whom they had pierced. Who were those tribes? "The inhabitants of Jerusalem." This also helps us identify the "earth" in Revelation 1:7. According to Zechariah, the "earth" is the land of Palestine, specifically, Jerusalem. Also, it is those tribes, i.e., the nation of Israel, who would "look upon Me whom they have pierced." And because of that, "the mourning in Jerusalem" would be great. With all of this information, we can see that the "tribes of the earth" in Revelation 1:7 are the nation of Israel. The "earth" is Palestine. The land that would mourn is Jerusalem.
So, the main purpose of Revelation would be to reveal Jesus to the nation of Israel. The place of this revealing would be Jerusalem. Lastly, this revealing would be to those who pierced Him, i.e., the Jews. This is not a general reference to the Jewish nation, but to Christ's contemporary generation. That generation was destroyed in AD 70, by the Roman Legions.
Why would God use the Roman Legions? Please look at Nahum 1:1-5. We know that Nineveh was destroyed not by a literal coming of God out of heaven on the clouds, but by the invading armies of the Chaldeans and Medes in 612 BC. When Jesus said he would come on the clouds, He was using the apocalyptic language of the prophets to identify himself as the Messiah, the Judge, and used an army of men, as God's rod of correction, to carry out his judgment upon the city of Jerusalem in 70AD, just as God did upon the city of Nineveh in 612 BC.
- Can you explain John 14:2-3, " In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Answer: This passage is not speaking about the coming of Christ in his kingdom, even though it may appear to be at first glance. The Greek word used to describe the “coming” of Christ is Greek word # 3952, parousia. The following passages use the word “parousia,” and is translated as “coming” when in reference to the coming of the Son of Man in his kingdom. Please refer to: Matthew 24:3,27,37,39, 1 Corinthians 15:23, 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23, 1 Thessalonians 2:1,8,9, James 5:7-8, 2 Peter 1:6; 3:4,12, 1 John 2:28.
However, the word for “come” in John 14:3 is a completely different Greek word. It is not in reference to his kingdom. In fact, the word “kingdom” does not even appear in John 14, because this is not what John 14 is talking about. This is speaking about when the Holy Spirit will abide within us:
In addition, please compare John 14:2-3 with John 14:22-23. The word "mansions" in verse 2 is translated from the same Greek word as "abode" in verse 23! As a matter of fact, these are the only two places in scripture where this Greek word #3438, mone, appears!
John 14:22-23, "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
Jesus was saying that those in whom He would come to dwell in were the mansions in his Father's house. Believers are "God's building" (1 Corinthians 3:9), and "as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2:5). This "spiritual house" is the "mansion, " it is the "place," that Jesus prepared for us in John 14:2-3. And how will Jesus and the Father come unto us and make their abode with us?
John 14:16, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;"
And who is the Comforter? Jesus tells us:
John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,"
The Comforter is the Holy Spirit! It is the Holy Spirit dwelling within us!
- Can you explain Zechariah 14:4, which seems to teach that Jesus would physically stand on the Mount of Olives? "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."
Answer: "And his feet shall stand" means He shall appear in full possession of the place, as a mighty conqueror.
"And the mount of Olives shall cleave" refers to the destruction of the city by the Romans. It was on the mount of Olives that Titus posted his army to batter Jerusalem. Here the tenth legion that came to him from Jericho was placed (Josephus, lib. 6:c. 3.) It was from this mountain that our Lord beheld Jerusalem, and predicted its future destruction, Luke 19:41, with Matthew 24:23; and it was from this mountain that he ascended to heaven, (Acts 1:12,) utterly leaving an ungrateful and condemned city.
"And half of the mountain shall remove" refer to the lines of circumvallation, to entrenchments, redoubts, etc., which the Romans made while carrying on the siege of this city; and particularly the lines or trenches which the army made on Mount Olivet itself.
- Zechariah 14:14-21 says the feast of tabernacles would be celebrated after the destruction of Jerusalem!!! Does this mean we are to keep this feast today?
Answer: As it is impossible for all nations literally to come to Jerusalem once a year, to keep a feast, it is evident that a figurative meaning must here be applied. Gospel worship is represented by the keeping of the feast of tabernacles. Verses 16-21 mean that those who do not worship God shall not have his blessing. It is a sin that is its own punishment; those who forsake the duty, forfeit the privilege of communion with God.
- I believe the New Jerusalem will be a physical Jerusalem because of the measurements given in Revelation 21.
Answer: Let us use scripture to interpret scripture. Ezekiel 40-48 is also a vision of Jeruslam (just like the book of Revelation is a vision), and this is a description of a man with a measuring reed measuring Jerusalem. Is this a literal measurement, or metaphorical?
The description involves things which, taken literally, almost involve natural impossibilities. The square of the temple, in Ezeiel 42:20, is six times as large as the circuit of the wall enclosing the old temple, and larger than all the earthly Jerusalem. Ezekiel gives three and a half miles and one hundred forty yards to his temple square. The boundaries of the ancient city were about two and a half miles. Again, the city in Ezekiel has an area between three or four thousand square miles, including the holy ground set apart for the prince, priests, and Levites. This is nearly as large as the whole of Judea west of the Jordan. As Zion lay in the center of the ideal city, the one-half of the sacred portion extended to nearly thirty miles south of Jerusalem, that is, covered nearly the whole southern territory, which reached only to the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 47:19), and yet five tribes were to have their inheritance on that side of Jerusalem, beyond the sacred portion (Ezekiel 48:23-28). Where was land to be found for them there?
Ezekiel 40-48 cannot refer to New Jerusalem because there is no temple in the New Jersualam (Revelation 21:22), because there is no more animal sacrifices. But Ezekiel 40-48 is mostly measuring the temple! And it says it's specifically for sacrificing animals (Ezekiel 40:38-43; 42:13; 43:21-27; 44:15,30-31; 45:15-25; 46:1-24).
Now, this vision must be interpreted metaphorically. Just like in the measurement of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, verse 14 says the wall of the New Jerusalem has 12 foundations, and explains this to mean the 12 apostles of Christ. In verse 16, it says the city is 12,000 furlongs, and this represents the 12,000 people from each of the tribes of Israel. In verse 17, it says the wall measurues 144 cubits, and this is symbolic of the 144,000 which are mentioned in Revelation 7:4-8 and 14:1,4 (chapter 7 saying these 144,000 are the total number of people in the 12 tribes if Israel - 12,000 in each tribe, and 12,000 times 12 (tribes) equals 144,000).
This is an example of using scripture to interpret scripture. Visions are very rarely to be interpreted literally.
In addition, Revelation 22:1-2 is a description of the water of life, the tree of life, with fruits every month, and the leaves are for the "healing of the nations." Ezekiel 47:1-12 goes into more detail about this river. Verse 12 says these leaves are "for medicine." If the New Jeruslam is the saved of all ages, when all things have ended and we have embarked into eternity; when sin, death, Hades and Satan have all been cast into the lake of fire. Remember that all evil has been disposed of, sin has been finally purged, and there is no more sickness, no more hunger or thirst; the former things shall not be remembered or even come to mind; why would they need healing if they are now in eternal bliss?
Psalm 107:20 says God heals us with His Word.
- If we are living in the New Heaven and Earth, how do you explain Revelation 21:4, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Answer: Our rescue from tears, death, sorrow, disease, and sickness are all wrapped up in the cross, resurrection and presence of Jesus Christ. The "pain, sorrow, tears" language is indicative of pre-redemptive sorrow. The pain and tears come from the lack of fellowship with God.
Let's take death:
This is speaking of spiritual death. Jesus was obviously talking about spiritually dead men burying a physically dead man in Matthew 8:21-22 and Luke 9:59-60, when "another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." Here are other examples that refer to death as a relationship to God, as separation from God, which is nothing short of deadness in sin.
Romans 6:13, "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
Ephesians 2:1,5, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)."
Colossians 2:13, "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"
1 Timothy 5:6, "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth."
James 5:20, "Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."
The whole point of these passages is to explain that, "the body without the spirit is dead" (James 2:26). So, today, we are alive from the dead, because death is swallowed up through the fullness of the New Covenant.
Let's take pain and sickness. They are related. Here are two passages which clarify this:
Isaiah 33:24, "And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity."
What is defined as not being sick? Being forgiven of sin. In other words, if we are forgiven of our sin, then, according to Isaiah, we are not sick. What kind of sickness? Sin sickness. This is crucial. This is fulfilled through Christ forgiving us. He heals our diseases:
Isaiah 53:4-5, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
There, Isaiah says that Christ carried away (on Himself) our griefs and sorrows. He healed us with His stripes. So are we healed or sick?
Finally, let's take sorrow:
Why would Jesus say things like, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11; 16:22,24; 17:13)? Why would Paul say, "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17)? Why would John say, "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full" (1 John 1:4)? Why would Luke quote David saying, "Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance" (Acts 2:28)? When Christ and the apostles talked about fullness, was it just a temporary fullness or was it the true fullness of Joy anticipated even by David?
Our joy is fullfilled in Christ, and I cannot see that Paul would command us to rejoice always if we are still under a sorrowful dispensation. And if the futurists are right, then covenantally we must still be under sorrow. Now, imagine that: We are under the new and better covenant and yet still under sorrow? Why would Paul, Peter ("joy unspeakable and full of glory"), Luke, John, and Jesus speak of this great joy that we can have in this life and then John turn around and testify of something entirely different that would not take place for thousands of years? The prophets associated joy and glad tidings through the coming of Messiah. But specifically, look at what scripture associates with the removal of sorrow:
Isaiah 35:10, "And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
Isaiah 35 speaks about the promise of the manifestation of God among men, and the miracles which Christ should work are explicitly mentioned. Joy and gladness and fleeing sorrow are associated with "ransom." Christ said He came to ransom His people. Paul spoke of ransom, so did the writer of Hebrews. The prophets continue:
Isaiah 51:11, "Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away."
Notice what is associated with everlasting joy and gladness and fleeing sorrow: "redemption." And isn't it interesting that everlasting joy is included? Paul wrote:
Romans 15:10, "And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people."
Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."
1 Thessalonians 5:16, "Rejoice evermore."
"Rejoice evermore." "Everlasting joy." I would sware that Paul understood Old Testament prophecy. Now, why would he command them to do something that would really not be a reality until thousands of years later? If anyone understood Old Testament Scripture and would never want to mislead his readers or fool them, it was Paul. Continuing from the Old Testament:
Isaiah 52:9, "Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem."
Notice what is associated with this breaking forth into joy: "Redemption." God's covenant is associated with life, joy, and peace:
Isaiah 55:3,12, "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
Now, we both know that Revelation 21 takes from Isaiah 65. And most futurists would interpret these verses as still future. However, notice that Isaiah associates not hungering or thirsting with joy (Isaiah 65:13-19). Jesus did too:
John 6:35,47,51,58, "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever."
No more hunger. No more thirst? How? Through faith in Jesus Christ and everlasting life. This reminds me of Revelation:
Revelation 7:16-17, "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
Revelation (written by John) associates no more hunger and no more thirst with living waters and no more tears. Jesus said:
John 4:10, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
Was Jesus saying He would give it to her two thousand years later?
John 4:14, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."
Jesus, Isaiah, and Ezekiel all explain this water to be the Holy Spirit:
John 7:37-39, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)."
Isaiah 44:3, "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:"
Ezekiel 36:25-27, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean...and a new spirit will I put within you...And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Isaiah, speaking about the new jerusalem, related joy with Jerusalem:
Isaiah 65:18, "But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy."
The writer of Hebrews says:
Hebrews 12:22-23, "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"
The writer of Hebrews did not write that they "will come" to the heavenly Jerusalem two thousand years later. He wrote that they had come. And yet Isaiah relates this to joy. How many prophetic joys are there? How many prophetic Jerusalems are there? Well, according to Galatians, there are two:
Galatians 4:25-26, "For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all."
And we are now living in the Heavenly Jerusalem!
- Does the image of the statue by the king of Babylon explain when the kingdom would come?
Answer: Yes. The prophesy in Daniel, chapter two, is interpreted by Daniel himself, with God's help. Daniel told the king that the statue represented a series of four kingdoms that would rise and fall. Daniel identified the head of gold on the statue as being the Babylonian kingdom (6006-538 BC), the chest of silver was the Medo-Persia kingdom (539-331 BC), the thighs of bronze represent the kingdom of Greece (331-30 BC), and the forth and final kingdom, represented by the legs and feet of iron and clay, was the Roman Empire (30 BC-397 AD). Then Daniel made that fantastic prophesy about God's kingdom (Daniel 2:44). This is a crystal clear time prophesy that God's kingdom would be established sometime during the Roman Empire!
- What about John 14:3, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also"?
Answer: This is not talking about the coming of Jesus in his kingdom. The Greek word for "coming," when it speaks of His coming in judgment, is "parousia." But the Greek word for "come" in John 14:3 is "erchomai," referring to something completely else.
- You have got your time statements wrong. That is why you can't explain the Roman victory in light of scripture such as Isaiah 31:4-5.
Answer: This passage is not in reference to Christ's coming; when Jerusalem is destroyed in 70AD. Nowhere does this chapter even suggest this. When read in context, it is about a toally different topic.
This is God warning Israel about not trusting in the Egyptians (verses 1-3). And then contrasts this with telling them that if they remain faithful to Him, that God would protect Jerusalem and defend it (verses 4-5). The best evidence that proves this passage is not in reference to 70AD is this. In refernece to the day that Jerusalem is attacked, it says:
Isaiah 31:8, "...Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword..."
There were no Assyrians in the first century, and there are none today. It was not a prophesy about an event after Christ was born, but was a prophesy about a time before the Assyrians were wiped off the face of the earth. This happened before Jesus was born.
- Aren't there many different kingdoms mentioned in scripture? For example, is not the "kingdom of heaven" and the "kingdom of God" two different kingdoms?
Answer: Jesus taught about the kingdom many times. Sometimes he called it the "kingdom of God", at other times the "kingdom of heaven", and often just the "kingdom." By comparing scripture with scripture, and looking at parallel passages, we can see that when one writer said "kingdom of heaven" (Matthew) and another writer wrote "kingdom of God" (Luke), they were referring to the same, exact kingdom!
The Kingdom of heaven and the Kingdom of God are synonymous:
- Matthew 10:7 and Luke 9:2.
- Matthew 11:11-12 and Luke 7:28.
- Matthew 18:3-4 and Mark 10:14-15 and Luke 18:16-17.
- Matthew 19:23-24 and Mark 10:23-25 and Luke 18:24-25.
- Matthew 13:31 and Mark 4:30-31.
The Kingdom of the Son and the Kingdom of God are synonymous:
Matthew 16:27-28 and Mark 9:1 and Luke 9:27. Matthew 19:29 and Mark 10:29 and Luke 18:29.
The Kingdom of God is identical with Christ and His kingdom and His Gospel, thus being a strong testimony that to have Christ in us is to have the kingdom in us (Luke 17:20,21).
The Kingdom of the Father and the Kingdom of God are synonymous:
Matthew 26:28-29, Mark 14:25, Revelation 3:20, Luke 22:16,18,30.
Jesus' Glory and Jesus' Kingdom are synonymous (The Kingdom is the Glory of Jesus):
Matthew 20:21 and Mark 10:37. Luke 9:26-27 and Matthew 16:27-28 and Mark 8:38-9:1 and Matthew 25:31.
"Prodigies had occurred, which this nation, prone to superstition, but hating all religious rites, did not deem it lawful to expiate by offering and sacrifice. There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms, the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the Gods were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure. Some few put a fearful meaning on these events, but in most there was a firm persuasion, that in the ancient records of their priests was contained a prediction of how at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers, coming from Judaea, were to acquire universal empire..." (Tacitus, 1st Century Roman Historian - Church and Brodribb, Histories, v.13).
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