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Did Jesus promise to return in the 1st cent.?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by judge, Dec 3, 2002.

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  1. GW

    GW Veteran


    The entire point of Lewis here is that Christ apparently erred. The rest of this statement by Lewis is designed to argue to his readers that the nature of the incarnation is what made this error possible, and that if God made the incarnation limited in some sense, then we should not be shaken in our faith by the fact that Christ demonstrated His own ignorance when he wrongly professed his return would be in their generation.

  2. armothe

    armothe Living in HIS kingdom...

    <DIV style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal; TEXT-ALIGN: left">
    Just like the first verse of Philippians, where Paul clearly addresses the church of Phillippi: To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi; Christ also addresses the 12 disciples in the first verse of Matthew 24:"His disciples came to.. Him".

    Parousia70 already quoted:
    As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. Then he asked them, You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.&nbsp; When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? Jesus answered them,..

    This is so obviously clear Christ was speaking directly to His disciples- I honestly do not see how anyone can argue otherwise.

  3. Jedi

    Jedi Knight

    But Jesus, unlike Paul, did not specifically address the apostles in return when making his statement, but rather, his statement holds true for all of his followers (both then and now as you move along the timeline of these events as they happen).

    Yep. And the point here is...? It'd seem he's talking about the destruction of the temple & the fall of Jerusalem (70 AD), which did, in fact, come to pass.

    There comes a difference between Paul and Jesus. Jesus, being more than mere man, I'm sure he knew that what he said would be recorded for all of his followers to hear (not just his apostles), and so it's not so absurd an idea that Jesus says "you" as a reference to them as believers (which would include the apostles, and perhaps even moreso since they were the leaders of the early believers).

    The alternative is that Christ is teaching something that was blantantly false (which throws into question all of his other teachings), or else that the worldwide events described in Matthew 24:27-31 already occured (Although I'd find it extremely odd how no such events are recorded by historians).
  4. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    United States
    Are you in the practice of&nbsp;basing your belief on what&nbsp;might be true?

    Instead of settling for,"Well, it could mean that, so I might as well believe it", why not uncover what it "actually means"?

    Jedi, I never said there aren't any Jewish people, I said there is no verifiable&nbsp;Jewish race.&nbsp;Being a "Jew" today&nbsp;is a religious choice. Nothing more, nothing less.

    As for the importance of Geneology in OT Judiasm, it is paramount. I recommend you study it.

    Any supposed&nbsp;rebuilt temple and reinstitution of sacrifices requires verifiable tribal lineage.

    WHAT!!??! What scripture teaches that the destruction of Jerusalem was to be a "preliminary fulfillment" of anything?

    Could you explain this concept of "preliminary fulfillment"? Sounds lika an oxymoron to me.

    Isn't a prophesy either fulfilled or unfulfilled?

    Are&nbsp;you just now figuring that out?

    Jedi, Remember when you conceeded me the point&nbsp; about your "Sun, moon and stars falling" argument?

    Same applies here. You'll need to conceed this too

    This Language is used throughout the OT to describe judgements against nations using human armies.

    Time and again,&nbsp;God is described as being&nbsp;"Seen" by their "Eyes", "Riding a cloud" With "Lightning flashing"......

    Interprating&nbsp;this Language, when used by Jesus, in a way that is in direct conflict with the way the prophets used the very same language, is absolutely unfounded.

  5. Jedi

    Jedi Knight

    When something can be one way or another, and when one of those ways doesn’t stand up historically or attacks the trustworthiness of Christ, yep.

    That’s not the scenario here. It’s not a matter of saying “It might be this, but due to not conducting further investigation, I don’t know,” and thus the belief is based on laziness, but rather, the situation is one in which the investigation has been conducted and it’s found out to be an “either or” conclusion.

    I know a lot of people who would beg to differ. That’s the thing about Jews today, it seems. Someone can be Jewish in cultural background, but not in faith, while another man can be Jewish in faith, but not in cultural background.

    Funny. I already have.

    Because this isn’t a prophecy concerning one event, but a sequence of events spread out across a timeline. The first thing that were said to happen did (If indeed, the destruction of the temple & the fall of Jerusalem is what is being spoken of here), and thus the preliminary fulfillment. The rest (second coming of Christ in all his glory where everyone sees him just as lightning in the east flashes even in the west) has yet to come to pass.

    This is a list of things to happen – not just one prophecy.

    I don’t think so. One concession doesn’t mean that person has to concede all the way. It’s your turn now.

    This case is very different, since Christ is using this description to tell people that everyone will see him as he’s describing. That’s how we’ll be able to tell the difference between the false Christs he spoke of, and when he actually comes.

    It’s not “in conflict,” but merely doesn’t use it the same way they do. We see this easily enough when looking at the context, and how Christ is comparing the arrival of false Christs and the real thing.
  6. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    United States
    You are making my very point!

    All anyone has to do today to be a Jew is to&nbsp;choose to be one. That's it.

    Thats not true of any "race".

    Really? The way you simply dismissed geneological verification as unimportant, spoke the opposite to me.&nbsp;&nbsp;

    Break it down for us will ya?

    How much of Matt 24's "series" of events have been fulfilled and which haven't? Where exactly do you draw the line?&nbsp;

    Jesus' primaty audience, being well versed in this language, and recognizing Jesus as a true prophet of God, would have understood this language no other way, than that of the way prophets of God had spoke it so often before.

  7. armothe

    armothe Living in HIS kingdom...


    Please, tell me how its unclear Christ specifically addresses the apostles....I mean, you are actually reading this passage?..and you are applying basic grammatical rules?

    As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to..him. Then he asked them, You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you..

    When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? Jesus answered them,...

    A point we actually agree on! Christ's statement applied to more than just the Disciples, but the statement/s were only given to the disciples. It was up to the disciples to share Christ's words with their contemporary (1st Century) Christian peers.

    Once again, did you read the passage above?
    "..and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

    Or are you saying that part of the prophecy applied to the 1st century generation (temple destruction)....and the rest of the prophecy will apply to some future (our future) generation?

    I'm not going to argue the deity of Christ in this thread, but rather I'll mention that Christ didn't start His ministry until he received the Holy Spirit. You see, Paul also received this same Holy Spirit.

    So if Christ knew His words would be read by future generations and altered His audience to include them/us.....Paul should have done the same. There is no difference.

    What happens in 100 years when the First Baptist Church of Phillipi
    is founded. Will the people of this church say, "Oh! Look! The words of Paul addressed to the church of Phillipi! Wow, he is speaking directly to us!

    So will a future Phillipian church read Paul's words and expect Timothy and Epaphroditus to come to them? Will this church have members by the name of Euodia &amp; Syntyche? Will this church also be ministered to by a man named Clement?


  8. Jedi

    Jedi Knight

    Not really. "Jew" can either be a race, or a faith. It is both. Just because it can be a faith doesn't mean it can all of a sudden no longer be a race.

    I never shrugged it off as unimportant, but only said that it would be extremely difficult to verify someone's race through genealogies. I don't think it's really necessary most of the time anyway, but in some cases, I can see where genealogical verification is rather important (i.e. King David's lineage).

    This is when interpretation and speculation comes in, since we're talking about prophecy. Christ starts off talking about false Christs coming (which I'm sure might have happened, though specific examples elude me), and the persecution of Christians. That really took off with Nero and Domitian, but still continues until today. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there 156,000 martyrs in 1998, and it was estimated that there would be 164,000 in 1999 (the year of Columbine). It would seem to me, that the persecution that Jesus was talking about hasn't stopped. It seems to backtrack when it talks about the "abomination that causes desolation," since just before that, he said, "and then the end will come" with the next verse starting off as "So when you see..."

    Then it goes into what seems to be the second coming of Christ, which appears to be something that has yet to come (I find it impossible to believe that Matthew 24:30-31 could happen without any notice from historians).

    The only way what he's saying even makes sense is that he's comparing and contrasting the appearance of false Christs to the real thing. People will have to go to all these false Christs, but he's saying that won't be the case with Him. There won't be any doubt about whether or not this is the real Christ when he actually comes.

    I see it as Christ addressing them as believers/followers, not as “the apostles.” It’s a simple point of view.

    Fancy that. :)

    That’s what I suppose you could describe my stance as. He gives a list of things that’ll happen, and it seems logical that they won’t necessarily happen all at the very same moment, but rather, be spread across a timeline. Given this, it seems some of the things he mentioned (“The abomination that causes desolation” – if that’s a reference to the destruction of the Temple & the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD) happened in the first century, while others (i.e. the persecution of Christians, which continues to this very day; and the coming of Christ) seem to be further in the future.

    Yes, there is. Jesus is God (Hebrews 1:8, Isaiah 9:6, Colossians 2:9) and displayed knowledge of people he shouldn’t have known as a mere man (i.e. John 4:18). These are not characteristics found in Paul. And where in the world does it say Jesus had to receive the Holy Spirit before he started his ministry? Are you talking about His baptism? There’s a number of reasons he probably did that (To affirm John in what he was doing, to relate to the people, as a sign of the beginning of his ministry, etc). To put Jesus on the same level as Paul as far as understanding & perspective goes, I would think that blasphemous.

    No, that’s not what I’m saying. If you would read my posts a little more carefully, you would know this. The letter is not addressed to the church in general, but to the church in Philippi. Therefore, when specific names are mentioned and thanksgiving given, we know this pertains specifically to the church at Philippi. However, by reading over what Paul has to say to this church, we’re able to know what’s expected of us as a church today. That’s the entire point of the circulation of the Epistles.

    Funny how history completely omits these worldwide monumental events. Surely Jesus coming in such great glory, sending angels along with loud trumpet blasts and the gathering of all of His elect from “one end of the heavens to the other” would have at least made a dent in history. Interesting how there’s no such recording of such events.
  9. armothe

    armothe Living in HIS kingdom...

    Wait,wait. I sense the beginning of a twisting of my words.
    I'm simply stating that the&nbsp;Holy Spirit was "unleashed" at Pentecost upon the 1st century church to "guide them into all truth". Thus, people like Paul, Peter, and other apostles had the ability to cast out demons,&nbsp;heal, and prophesy, much like Christ did.&nbsp;Thus, Paul's understanding of the timing of the "end times"&nbsp;is consistent with Christ's. Hence, if Christ was speaking to a universal audience, Paul should have as well.

    So when Simon Peter, James, John, Judas Iscariot, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Thaddaeus, and Simon came to Him outside the temple to discuss the "end times", we are to assume Christ wasn't speaking to them directly?

    History Lesson:&nbsp;The book of&nbsp;Matthew wasn't written until 45AD. Only a few copies of the letter were floating around the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In the 300s, when the church met to "canonize" the Bible, it was Iraeneus that argued towards the authority of Matthew. What if Matthew never made it? Moving on towards the middle ages, only a limited number of copies of the Bible existed. Think of all the Christians between 33AD and 1500AD that didn't have a copy of Matthew. It was in 1454 when the Bible was able to be mass produced, but still, it wasn't until the 1700s where the majority of Christians possessed a copy of the Bible.

    So, how could Christ be speaking to a universal Christian audience, when&nbsp;99% of Christians between 33AD and 1700AD&nbsp;didn't have a copy of Matthew to read His words to them?

    You see,&nbsp;Christ's words in Matthew 24 were stated directly to the 12 disciples. The 12 disciples then&nbsp;spread His message and his words on to other Christians. This is how&nbsp;His words&nbsp;spread.

  10. Jedi

    Jedi Knight

    If so, sorry. ;)

    All right, sounds good to me.

    It depends on what you mean by “speaking to.” Obviously, when Paul writes, he specifically addresses the church he’s writing to, and he talks about people coming to see others, thanksgiving for support given, etc. It’s quite obvious this isn’t addressed to the church in general, but by reading what Paul had to say to them, we know how the church should be today. His reply specifically addressed them as “the church of (insert a city).” Such specification isn’t done in the case of Christ telling his apostles these things (So he doesn’t necessarily address them as “the apostles,” but followers, which would include, but not be limited to, the apostles).

    That’s not what I’m saying, though. The thing is that what he said wasn’t directed only to them, but to all of Christ’s followers. It would seem, though, that the apostles did see all of the things leading up to the second coming of Christ. Surely the apostles had to deal with false Christs (Matthew 24:4, 23-28), the “abomination that causes desolation” (verse 15 – presuming this is the destruction of the temple & fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD), wars and rumors of wars (verse 6 - what do you think caused the fall of Jerusalem?), and the persecution of his followers (verse 9) which still continues today (persecution hasn’t stopped). So in verse 33, when Christ says, “Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door,” it would seem he’s talking about the events leading up to the end (the second coming), which the disciples did see all of those listed. Just a bit of lightning to strike my brain. :)

    For someone to know something, they don’t have to read it themselves. Couldn’t one person (a priest perhaps) read it to the masses, and then have the masses go tell others? Besides, even if this were not the case, a future audience is still a future audience. As long as there’s a future fellowship of followers, the number of gaps doesn’t matter (as far as this argument’s concerned) – there’s still a future group of followers to get the message through to.

    Of course. That’s what I’m playing on here. Jesus, being God and all, would surely have this in mind. And so while his response was directed at the 12 apostles, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it was exclusive to them.

    On a side note, it’s been a true pleasure discussing these matters with you (I’ve definitely learned a thing or two), but with this time of year, I have finals to tend to. Then, right after finals, I’m going home for Christmas break, and I’m sure I’ll be busy with my family (who I haven’t seen for half a year). But hey, you (and paraousia70) take care, and I’m sure we’ll end up in some discussion again sooner or later. :)
  11. OldShepherd

    OldShepherd Zaqunraah

    There is no question that Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple, Jerusalem, and Israel in Matt 24, there are also parallel passages in Mark 13 and Luke 19. This destruction, in 70 AD, is well documented by Josephus and other Jewish scholars. Roman armies actually, literally, attacked Jerusalem and slaughtered thousands. The residents of Jerusalem actually, literally, ran for their lives into the mountains. The stones of the temple were actually, literally, torn down leaving only part of one wall standing.

    • Mt 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
      3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
      4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
      5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
      6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
      7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

      Mr 13:2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

      Lu 19:44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

      A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament
      Ver. 2. And Jesus said unto them, see ye not all these things? &c.] "These great buildings", as in Mark; all these goodly stones, so beautiful and large, and so firmly put together:

      verily, I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down; or broken, as Munster’s Hebrew Gospel reads it: which prediction had a full and remarkable accomplishment; and which is not only attested by Josephus {y}, who relates, that both the city and temple were dug up, and laid level with the ground; but also by other Jewish writers; who tell us {z} that

      “on the ninth of Ab, a day prepared for punishments, Turnus Rufus the wicked, &#1495;&#1512; &#1513;&#1488; &#1514;&#1492; &#1492;&#1497;&#1499;&#1500;, "ploughed up the temple", and all round about it, to fulfil what is said, "Zion shall be ploughed as a field".”

      Yes, and to fulfil what Christ here says too, that not one stone should be left upon another, which a plough would not admit of.

      {y} De Bello Jud. l. 7. c. 7.
      {z} Maimon. Hilch. Taaniot, c. 5. sect. 3. T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 23. 1. & Gloss. in ib.
    So yes there was a prophecy which was actually, literally fulfilled, but what happens when we get to Matt 24:27 and following? Because the passage now begins to contradict their presuppositions and assumptions, according to the preters, it mystically becomes figurative, metaphorical, allegorical, etc.

    • Matt 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
      28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
      29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
      30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
      31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

      Mar 13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

      The Jews {h} say, that

      “in the after redemption (i.e. by the Messiah) all Israel shall be gathered together by the sound of a trumpet, from the four parts of the world.” {h} Zohar in Lev. fol. 47. 1.
    Note that the Jews consider this final gathering of Israel to be actual, literal not figurative, allegorical, etc. In verse 28 the gathering of eagles/vultures and carcasses could be referring to the widespread slaughter during the destruction of Jerusalem and verse 29, the darkening of the sun and moon could refer to natural phenomenon, i.e. the smoke generated when entire cities and country sides are set afire. A similar thing happened when the retreating Iraqis set the Kuwait oil fields on fire.

    But this presents more problems. Matt 24: verses 2 through 26 are actual, literal events, then verse 27, supposedly allegorical, figurative, etc., two verses 28-29, more actual, literal events, then verses 30-31, yet more supposedly allegorical, figurative events. And how do we know which is which? Because the preters have thus interpreted the passage to fit their presuppositions.

    Now the problem with all this is, as I have been pointing out on this and other threads, there are no O.T. passages which correspond to these verses, which can be cited to prove that God said that He would come in the clouds, etc. and He did not literally, actually come in the clouds, but it was supposedly fulfilled in some other mundane manner.

    For example, Isaiah 19:1-2 and 20:1, has been posted as “proof” that the Assyrian army attacking Egypt, 20:1, is supposedly the fulfillment of 19:1, “the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud”

    First, nothing in these Isaiah passages states or implies that God will be seen, “riding in the clouds” Second, nothing in the passages states or implies that God will accomplish anything physically. Verse 2, God said, “I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians”. In Genesis, the entire world, and everything in it, was created by God speaking, “God said let there be light and there was light.” All God had to do to set the Egyptians against one another was speak. And lastly, nothing in the entire Bible states or implies that the Assyrian army attacking Egypt represents God riding in the clouds, in fulfillment of Micah 4:1.

    • Isa 19:1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.
      2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

      20:1 In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;
    Now that leaves us with these prophecies which have not been actually, literally fulfilled, and for which there is no O.T. precedent, and the text does not state or imply, to interpret them as spiritual, figurative, allegorical, metaphorical, etc. And note, these passages, unlike Micah 4, clearly state, twice, that the Son of Man would be seen!
    1. as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man.
    2. then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven.
    3. all the tribes of the earth [shall] mourn. [not just Rome and Israel]
    4. [all the tribes of the earth] shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
    5. [the Son of man] shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet.
    6. [the angels] shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
    Was the early church aware the Lord had returned in 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple? Note that Ignatius wrote of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension and that His only return after His ascension was yet future, “shall come at the end of the world”
  12. OldShepherd

    OldShepherd Zaqunraah

    • The Epistle Of Ignatius To The Magnesians [ca. 98 AD]
      Ignatius was a disciple of John the apostle. John certainly would have taught him, if Jesus had returned 28 years earlier.

      These things[I address to you], my beloved, not that I know any of you to be in such a state;[17] but, as less than any of you, I desire to guard you beforehand, that ye fall not upon the hooks of vain doctrine, but that you may rather attain to a full assurance in Christ, who was begotten by the Father before all ages, but was afterwards ye attain to full assurance in regard to the birth, and passion, and resurrection which took place in the time of the government of Pontius Pilate, being truly and certainly accomplished by Jesus Christ, who is our hope,[1] from which may no one of you ever be turned aside. Born of the Virgin Mary without any intercourse with man. He also lived a holy life, and healed every kind of sickness and disease among the people, and wrought signs and wonders for the benefit of men; and to those who had fallen into the error of polytheism He made known the one and only true God, His Father, and underwent the passion, and endured the cross at the hands of the Christ-killing Jews, under Pontius Pilate the governor and Herod the king. He also died, and rose again, and ascended into the heavens to Him that sent Him, and is sat down at His right hand, and shall come at the end of the world, with His Father's glory, to judge the living and the dead, and to render to every one according to his works.[2] He who knows these things with a full assurance, and believes them, is happy; even as ye are now the lovers of God and of Christ, in the full assurance of our hope, from which may no one of us[3] ever be turned aside!

      Chap. X.--Beware Of Judaizing.

      Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be. Therefore, having become His disciples, let us learn to live according to the principles of Christianity.[7] For whosoever is called by any other name besides this, is not of God. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be ye changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be ye salted in Him, lest any one among you should be corrupted, since by your savour ye shall be convicted. It is absurd to profess[12] Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace[13] Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, that so every tongue which believeth might be gathered together to God.

      The Epistle Of Ignatius To The Philadelphians
      Chap. VI.--Do Not Accept Judaism.

      But if any one preach the Jewish law(9) unto you, listen not to him. For it is better to hearken to Christian doctrine from a man who has been circumcised, than to Judaism from one uncircumcised. But if either of such persons do not speak concerning Jesus Christ, they are in my judgment but as monuments and sepulchres of the dead, upon which are written only the names of men. Flee therefore the wicked devices and snares of the prince prophets, but denies Christ to be the Son of God, he is a liar, even as also is his father the devil,(10) and is a Jew falsely so called, being possessed of(11) mere carnal circumcision.
    The late date, for the writing of Revelation, by John, ca. 96 AD, has been argued against because it mentions Judaizers, which according to Preter. sources, “would be ridiculous after the temple was destroyed..” Yet, here Ignatius warns against Judaizers, in two of his letters, 98 AD and later.

    If the “Day of the Lord” and Jesus’ return occurred in 70 AD then Justin Martyr writing about 150 AD knew nothing about it. Justin specifically states that God “has still delayed” Jesus return, following His ascension.

    • The First Apology Of Justin [110-165 AD]
      For in the Jewish war which lately raged, Barchochebas, the leader of the revolt of the Jews, gave orders that Christians alone should be led to cruel punishments, unless they would deny Jesus Christ and utter blasphemy. In these books, then, of the prophets we found Jesus our Christ foretold as coming, born of a virgin, growing up to man's estate, and healing every disease and every sickness, and raising the dead, and being hated, and unrecognised, and crucified, and dying, and rising again, and ascending into heaven, and being, and being called, the Son of God. We find it also predicted that certain persons should be sent by Him into every nation to publish these things, and that rather among the Gentiles [than among the Jews] men should believe on Him. And He was predicted before He appeared, first 5000 years before, and again 3000, then 2000, then 1000, and yet again 800; for in the succession of generations prophets after prophets arose.

      Chap. XLV.--Christ's Session In Heaven Foretold.

      And that God the Father of all would bring Christ to heaven after He had raised Him from the dead, and would keep Him there(2) until He has subdued His enemies the devils, and until the number of those who are foreknown by Him as good and virtuous is complete, on whose account He has still delayed the consummation--hear what was said by the prophet David. These are his words: "The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. The Lord shall send to Thee the rod of power out of Jerusalem; and rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies. With Thee is the government in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of Thy saints: from the womb of morning(3) hare I begotten Thee."(4) That which he says, "He shall send to Thee the rod of power out of Jerusalem," is predictive of the mighty, word, which His apostles, going forth from Jerusalem, preached everywhere; and though death is decreed against those who teach or at all confess the name of Christ, we everywhere both embrace and teach it. And if you also read these words in a hostile spirit, ye can do no more, as I said before, than kill us; which indeed does no harm to us, but to you and all who unjustly hate us, and do not repent, brings eternal punishment by tire.
    One last church father, for a third witness. Irenaeus writing also about 150 AD, also writes of the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension and also mentions only a future manifestation from heaven. Note, none of these early church fathers mention the “Day of the Lord”, the return of Jesus with all of his angels, which supposedly occurred in 70 AD.

    • Irenaeus Against Heresies [120-202 Ad]

      1. The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations(6) of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father "to gather all things in one,"(7) and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, "every knee should bow, of things in heaven,, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess"(8) to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He may send "spiritual wickednesses,"
    Should you feel inclined to check my sources here is the link to the early church fathers at CCEL, online.


    I know, maybe John’s disciples and the entire early church got it wrong and they needed for GW, P70, AM, and all the other Preters, to come along 2000 years later, to post their misquoted and misinterpreted “proof texts” and set them straight.
  13. OldShepherd

    OldShepherd Zaqunraah

    This is absolutely false. Every proof text you have posted has been throughly rebutted. Ignoring that fact will not change it.
  14. armothe

    armothe Living in HIS kingdom...

    Well, I can see your perspective more clearly now.

    Good luck on finals! Hope to chat again soon!

  15. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    United States

    WOW! Finally! That was like pulling teeth to get you to take a stand on this! I'm glad you have hopped off the fence ;)

    So, let me get this straight, you demand from me scriptural record of "Jesus riding a cloud" in 70AD, but accept for yourself that Jesus prophesy of Jerusalems destruction was fulfilled in 70AD by the words of Josephus? The Bible records no such fulfillment yet you accept it is fulfilled???

    Before I address your post in more depth, How is that not a double standard?

    Do you make a habit of demanding less from yourself than you do from others?

  16. cougan

    cougan Senior Member

    I am just posting an article on this topic for your reading.

    The methodology of this study will employ the following topics:

    1. Matt. 24 Is the Culmination of a Series of Prophecies against the Jewish Nation

    2. Matt. 24:34 Is the "Key Verse"

    3. Matt. 24:36 Is the "Transition Text"

    4. The Disciples Ask Some Questions (Matt. 24:1-3)

    5. Warnings against Deceptive Signs (Matt. 24:4-14)

    6. The Real Sign Preceding the Destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24:15-28)

    7. Apocalyptic Language Was Used (Matt. 24:29-35)

    8. The End of the World (Matt. 24:36-44)

    9. The Parable of the Watchful Servant (Matt. 24:45-51)

    10. A Summary of the Two Comings

    11. A Review of Premillennial Theology

    12. A Review of A.D. 70 Theology

    13. Conclusion

    Matt. 24 Is the Culmination of a Series of Prophecies against the Jewish Nation

    John the Baptist had warned the Jews that the "...axe is laid unto the root of the trees..." (Matt. 3:10). Jesus issued an equally strong warning of judgment to the Jewish nation (Matt. 23:33). They did not repent, and Matt. 24 shows how the axe would fall.

    In Matt. 21 Jesus taught the Jews that they would not possess the kingdom of God. In the parable of the man who had two sons Jesus severely condemned the Jews. He said, "Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you" (Matt. 21:28-32). In the parable of the wicked husbandman Jesus said, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder" (Matt. 21:43-44). The chief priests and the Pharisees "perceived that He spake of them" (Matt. 21:45).

    The final debate between Jesus and the Jewish leaders is recorded in Matt. 22. He silenced the Pharisees and the Herodians in the answer He gave about paying tribute to Caesar; in fact, they "marvelled, and left him, and went their way" (Matt. 22:22). He silenced the Sadducees when He answered their question about the resurrection (Matt. 22:23-33). Later, the Pharisees sent a lawyer to try to entrap the Lord (Matt. 22:34-35). But Jesus asked them a question that really put them on the spot (Matt. 22:41-45). "And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions" (Matt. 22:46).

    In Matt. 23 Jesus summed up the sins of the Jewish nation and gave His verdict: "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt. 23:38). In a series of woes He had denounced their sins (Matt. 23:13-35). In Matt. 23:32 He told them to "fill up the measure of your fathers." Their fathers had killed and persecuted the prophets (Matt. 23:34). They had manifested the same attitude and would fill the cup to overflowing by crucifying the Son of God. Jesus said "all these things shall come upon this generation" (Matt. 23:36). The temple was no longer "My house" (Matt. 21:13), but "your house" (Matt. 23:38). God had forsaken it. It was then that Jesus departed from the temple (Matt. 24:1-2).

    Matt. 24:34 is the "Key Verse" in Matt. 24

    "This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt. 24:34). Wayne Jackson refers to this verse as the "Great Continental Divide." A proper understanding of this verse is essential to rightly dividing and understanding Matt. 24. The term "this generation" plays a very important part in understanding all that precedes this verse. The New Scofield Reference Bible explains that the word "generation" is "commonly used in scripture of those living at one time," but insists that it is used in this reference in one of two alternate ways:

    "The expression `this generation' here (1) may mean that the future generation which will endure the tribulation and see the signs, will also see the consummation, the return of the Lord; or (2) it may be used in the sense of race or family, meaning that the nation or family of Israel will be preserved "till all these things be fulfilled," a promise wonderfully fulfilled to this day."<4>

    In response to the first suggestion above, it is obvious that Jesus was not referring to a generation that would live several centuries later. The second suggestion involves an absurdity. The idea that the Lord was referring to the Jewish race, as such, would have the Lord saying, "These things are going to happen to this race, and this race will not pass away until these things happen to it."

    Matthew's use of the term "generation" throughout his gospel account clearly shows what he meant by the term. In Matt. 1:17 He used the word to recount forty-two generations from Abraham to Christ (the average lifetime of a man). In Matt. 11:16 Jesus asked, "Whereunto shall I liken this generation?" He was speaking of those who lived in His day who criticized Him. In Matt. 12:38-45 He used the term four times to mean His own generation: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign" (Matt. 112:39). "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation" (Matt. 12:41). "The queen of the south shall rise up in judgment with this generation" (Matt. 12:42). "Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation" (Matt. 12:45). "In all these references, it is obvious, at it is in Matt. 24:34, that Jesus was preaching to His own generation -- the people who were living contemporaneously with him."<5>

    Matt. 24:36 Is the "Transition Text" of Matt. 24

    "But of that day and hour knoweth no man..." (Matt. 24:36). Kik wrote: "If the literal and well-defined meaning of this verse be accepted, then we shall quite readily perceive that the verse divided the entire chapter into two main sections."<6> Section one (Matt. 24:4-35) tells of events which were to befall the generation at the time our Lord lived. Section two (Matt. 24:36-51) relates to events connected with His Second Coming.

    It was very obvious to the apostles that Jesus was turning to a new subject at this point by the use of the expression "that day." "That day," "the day," and "the hour" are commonly used in the Scriptures to refer to the Final Judgment: "Many will say to me in that day..." (Matt. 7:22). "But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you" (Matt. 11:22). "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice" (John 5:28). "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2).

    The difference in emphasis in the two sections of Matt. 24 demonstrates that Matt. 24:36 is the "transition text." In section one Jesus was very definite about the events and the time of His judgment on the Jews. He told of some definite things which were to precede His coming -- false christs, wars, earthquakes, famines, persecutions, and so forth. Then He told them that the gospel would "...be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" (Matt. 24:14). He also told them that when they saw "the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place..." (Matt. 24:15), then the end had come.

    However, in the second section Jesus was very indefinite about everything. "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matt. 24:36). "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matt. 24:42). "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:44). "The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of " (Matt. 24:50). "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh" (Matt. 25:13). The emphasis in the second section is that of delay. The evil servant was able to say, "My Lord delayeth his coming" (Matt. 24:48). In the parable of the virgins the bridegroom "tarried" (Matt. 25:5), and the parable of the talents says, "After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh" (Matt. 25:19).


    Matt. 24:1-3 -- The Disciples Ask Some Questions

    Matt. 24:1-2 -- All the truths recorded from Matt. 21:23 to Matt. 24:1 were taught by Jesus while He was in the temple. When He departed from the temple "...his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple" (Matt. 24:1). Josephus described the stones of the temple this way:

    "Now the temple was built of stones that were white and strong, each of their lengths was twenty-five cubits, their height was eight, and their breadth about twelve; and the whole structure, and that of the royal cloister, were visible to all who dwelt in the country for a great many furlongs."<7>

    The disciples were glorying in the temple (Mark 13:1; Luke 21:5), but Jesus told them that the time was coming when "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matt. 24:2). It was completely destroyed.

    Matt. 24:3 -- When Jesus sat upon the Mount of Olives His disciples came to him privately and asked Him about "these things." Matthew recorded the words of the disciples thus:

    "Tell us, when shall these things be?

    And what shall be the sign of thy coming,

    and of the end of the world?" (Matt. 24:3).

    Mark reported that the disciples asked the Lord:

    "Tell us, when shall these things be?

    And what shall be the sign when all

    these things shall be fulfilled?" (Mark 13:4).

    Luke said that the disciples asked the Lord:

    "Master, but when shall these things be?

    And what sign will there be when

    these things shall come to pass?" (Luke 21:7).

    How many questions did the disciples ask? Was it one question, two, or three? Were they asking about the same event in all they asked, or were they asking about two different matters?

    It is possible that the disciples thought of all three parts as only one question, but Jesus separates the three into two segments, placing questions one and two regarding the Temple and Jerusalem into one period of time which could be discerned ahead of time by the proper sign. Question three regarding the "end of the world" was a second segment of which there were no signs, for the time of it was known only to God.<8>
  17. cougan

    cougan Senior Member

    In his account of the event, Mark dealt with only one of the things which was asked in Matt. 24:3. In speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem (Mark 13:1-2), the disciples asked "When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?" Mark recorded Jesus' answer to this one subject, did he not? What reason have we to assume that Mark would only record the disciples' questions about the destruction of Jerusalem, but then, in giving us the Lord's answer, that he would also record Jesus' answer to their questions about Christ's Coming and the end of the world? Thus, Mark dealt only with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem as Mark 13:4 and Mark 13:30 indicate. "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled" (Mark 13:4)? Jesus answered the question as to when and what sign, and after giving some particulars, He said "When ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors" (Mark 13:29). This answered their question about what should be the sign when these things should be fulfilled. But He went further and set a time limit in the next verse, within which all these things would be accomplished: "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done" (Mark 13:30). Since Matt. 24:33-34 and Mark 13:29-30 are parallel, and since all that goes before Mark 13:29-30 answers the one question about Jerusalem's destruction, are we not forced to conclude that all that goes before Matt. 24:33-34 deals with Jerusalem's destruction?<9>

    All of this helps us to understand that the disciples asked two questions, rather then one. First, they wanted to know when "all these things" (referring to the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem) would happen and what would be the signs of such. Second, they wanted to know about the end of the world. Jesus answered the questions in order. He first gave signs about the destruction of Jerusalem and the demolition of the temple (Matt. 24:4-35). He then gave exhortations regarding the end of the world (Matt. 24:36--25:46).

    Matt. 24:4-14 -- Warnings against Signs that Might Mislead or Deceive

    Matt. 24:4-5 -- "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you; for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." Jesus warned them that false teachers would multiply. Josephus testified that many false Messiahs appeared near the time of Jerusalem's fall. Gamaliel mentioned some that arose (Acts 5:35-37).

    Matt. 24:6 -- "And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars" (Matt. 24:6a). At the time Jesus made this statement peace prevailed in the Roman Empire; but the Roman Empire was soon engulfed in wars from all sides. "But the end is not yet" (Matt. 24:6b) does not refer to the Final Judgment, but to the destruction of Jerusalem.

    Matt. 24:7 -- Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes were to be "in divers places" (Matt. 24:7). One of the greatest famines of all times occurred during the days of Claudius Caesar. "And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar" (Acts 11:28). The famous eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii in A.D. 79 was preceded by a devastating earthquake February 5, A.D. 63.

    Matt. 24:8 -- "All these are the beginning of sorrows." The Greek word for "sorrows" "... is properly used of the pains of travailing women. As if He had said, All these are only the first pangs and throes; and are nothing to that hard labour that shall follow."<10>

    Matt. 24:9 -- Jesus next gave warnings regarding the severe persecutions of Christians. "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake" (Matt. 24:9). Jesus had told the apostles, when He sent them forth under the limited commission, about the suffering they would endure.

    "And the brother shall deliver the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: But he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city ..." (Matt. 10:21-23).

    The Book of Acts clearly reveals the fulfillment of this prediction. The apostles were beaten and put in prison (Acts 4--5), Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 6--7), there was a great persecution against the church (Acts 8--9), and James was beheaded (Acts 12:1-2).

    Matt. 24:10 -- Many would "be offended" (stumble and fall), and they would "betray one another, and shall hate one another." Paul wrote: "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes" (2 Tim. 1:15). "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed into Thessalonica ... at my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge" (2 Tim. 4:10,16). Kik writes that "Tacitus, the Roman historian, records, `that several Christians at first were apprehended, and then by their discovery, a multitude of others were convicted, and cruelly put to death, with derision and insult!'"<11>

    Matt. 24:11-12 -- "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:11). Many false teachers did arise, as revealed in the Book of Acts and the epistles (Acts 20:29; Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 4:1). Evil was going to greatly increase as the destruction of Jerusalem neared. Both temptation and suffering would overwhelm many saints. The love they once had for Christ would grow cold (Matt. 24:12).

    Matt. 24:13 -- Those who endured all of the temptation and persecution that would characterize the time preceding the fall of Jerusalem would be saved, but in what sense?

    "There are those who insist that Matt. 24:13 has reference to the salvation of the soul and that the endurance has reference to faithfulness to Christ. No doubt it may have such significance. But since Christ immediately goes on to explain in detail how they may escape the terrible end of Jerusalem, it is more reasonable to think that Jesus is here signifying the saving of such followers alive at the time. Its primary application is to this life rather than the life hereafter. It was a remarkable fulfillment of that prophecy that none of Christ's disciples are known to have perished in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem."<12>

    Matt. 24:14 -- "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." This was the last general sign given as to what would happen before the end came. The New Testament declares that this was literally the case. Paul told the Colossians that the "word of the truth of the gospel" is come "unto you, as it is in all the world" (Col. 1:5-6). He also told them that they had heard the gospel "which was preached to every creature which is under heaven" (Col. 1:23). The faith of the Romans was "spoken of throughout the whole world" (Rom 1:8; cf. Rom. 10:18; 16:26).

    Matt. 24:15-28 -- The Real Sign of the Destruction of Jerusalem and Warnings of Further Signs of Deception

    Matt. 24:15 -- "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, stand in the holy place ..." Roy Deaver writes of this verse and the statements it introduces:

    "Having considered many signs which would not indicate the end, but which could be misleading; and having stressed that Jerusalem would not be destroyed until after the gospel had been preached to the whole world, the Lord then discussed the real sign. He keeps in mind the time and the sign of the destruction of Jerusalem."<13>

    "The abomination of desolation ... in the holy place" -- This was the real sign! Daniel spoke of this abomination and used the term three times (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). The word "abomination" has a definite connection with idolatry in Daniel and refers to idolatrous worship in a number of other passages (e.g., 1 Kings 11:5,7; 2 Kings 23:13; Ezek. 5:11). The "abomination of desolation" in Matt. 24:15 alludes to the Roman armies that would first surround Jerusalem and eventually defile the holy of holies of the temple. Luke, writing about the same thing, said, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh" (Luke 21:20). Coffman wrote: "Therefore there were really two phases of the abomination that desolated Jerusalem: (1) the utter reprobacy of the Jews themselves in filling the Holy of Holies with dead bodies, etc., and (2) the avenging wrath of the Roman armies."<14>

    Matt. 24:16-18 -- When those in Judea saw this sign, they were "to flee into the mountains" (Matt. 24:16). It was to be quick. Those on their roofs were not to come down "to take anything out of the house" (Matt. 24:17). Those in the field were not to go back to gather up their clothes (Matt. 24:18).

    Matt. 24:19-20 -- There might be some hindrances to a quick flight. Women might be pregnant and some might be nursing their babies (Matt. 24:19). They were to pray that the end might not come in the winter, which would make travel more difficult (Matt. 24:20a). They were also to pray that it not be on the sabbath day lest the gates of the city would be shut and their escape be prevented (Matt. 24:20b).

    Matt. 24:21-22 -- Jesus also warned of "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21). According to Josephus, 97,000 Jews were captured and 1,100,000 perished during the entire siege and capture of the city. Josephus' description includes the story of a woman "who actually killed, roasted and ate her sucking child."<15> The expression "nor ever shall be" shows that there would be more time after this event. The tribulation was so great that "except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved" (Matt. 24:22). It is a well-known historical fact that Cestius Gallius, the Roman general, for some unknown reason, when the Roman legions first marched against the city, "removed his army, and having received no loss, very unadvisedly departed from the city."<16>

    Matt. 24:23-28 -- Jesus again warned of false christs and false prophets trying to deceive the very elect during the time of the siege (Matt. 24:23-26). He then used lightning as a figure to teach them of the suddenness and the visibility of His coming (Matt. 24:27). The certainty of His coming in judgment upon Israel is next described in the words, "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matt. 24:28).

    "Carcass, meaning dead body, is figurative here for the Jewish nation which was morally, spiritually, and judicially dead. The denunciation of Christ in Matt. 23 reveals its moral and spiritual deadness, and at the conclusion of the denunciation he makes this pronouncement: "Behold your house is left unto you desolate." As a dead body attracts vultures so would Jerusalem, the center of the Jewish nation, attract those who would devour it."<17>
  18. cougan

    cougan Senior Member

    The Old Testament often used the term "eagle" to describe a foreign nation coming upon the Jewish nation for punishment." (cf. Deut. 28:49; Hos. 8:1; Hab. 1:8).

    Matt. 24:29-35 -- Apocalyptic Language Further Describes the Downfall of Jerusalem

    Matt. 24:29-31 -- "Immediately after the tribulation of these days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the power of the heavens shall be shaken" (Matt. 24:29). Kik writes:

    "The above portion of Scripture employs such strong and vivid language that many think it can be descriptive of nothing else than the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. These descriptive terms would seem to indicate a catastrophic end of the earth. And yet when this passage is studied in the light of prophetic language and pronouncements, it can readily be seen that it is descriptive of the passing away of Judaism."<18>

    Such language is used throughout the Bible to describe the destruction of wicked nations. In describing the downfall of Babylon, God said, "For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine" (Isa. 13:10). The downfall of Idumea is pictured in these words: "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll ..." (Isa. 34:4-5). In describing the fall of the leaders in Egypt, God said, "And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. And the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee ..." (Ezek. 32:7-8).

    Since such language is used in the Old Testament to describe the destruction of nations, it is not surprising that Jesus used similar language, "Because they clearly fit His purpose of emphasizing that Jerusalem's destruction will be an outpouring of wrath from God."<19> Foy E. Wallace, Jr. wrote: "The signs in the heavens, the darkening sun and the falling stars, refer to the falling of Jewish dignitaries, casting down of authorities and powers, long established, and signified the darkness that settled upon the Jewish state ..."<20>

    Matt. 24:30 -- "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven" (Matt. 24:30a). The Lord did not say, "And then shall appear the Son of Man in heaven," but "the sign of the Son of Man in heaven." Roy Deaver wrote: "The `appearance' in judgment would be the sign. The sign would be on earth, in Jerusalem. The destruction of Jerusalem would be the sign of the coming of the Lord, and would be conclusive evidence that He was reigning in Heaven."<21> Lightfoot describes the "sign" in these words:

    "Then shall the Son of Man give a proof of himself, whom they would not before acknowledge: a proof, indeed, not in any visible figure, but in vengeance and judgment so visible, that all the tribes of the earth shall be forced to acknowledge him the avenger. The Jews would not know him: now they shall know him, whether they will or no (Isa. 25:2)."<22>

    "And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matt. 24:30b). When the Jews scattered throughout the world heard of the destruction of Jerusalem, there would be great mourning. The Lord coming in the clouds in this verse does not refer to the Lord's Final Coming. Isaiah pictured the Lord coming in Judgment upon Egypt, but look at the language he used: "Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it" (Isa. 19:1). Jesus was saying, "and they shall see (through acts of judgment upon them, J.M.) the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

    Matt. 24:31 -- "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." The basic meaning of "angels" in this context is "messengers" (cf. the use of the term aggelos in Matt. 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24,27; 9:52; James 2:25). "The gathering of the elect `from the four winds' of Matt. 24:31 must refer to the conversion of the Gentiles .... Such preaching to the whole world would precede the passing of that generation."<23> "It is our studied conviction that reference is here made to those teachers and preachers of the gospel who would be involved in getting the whole gospel to the whole world."<24> "Then shall the Son of Man send His ministers with the trumpet of the gospel, and they shall gather together His elect of the several nations from the four corners of heaven"<25>

    "If the preceding language (Matt. 24:30-31) referred to the second coming, one must understand Jesus to be telling His disciples that when they saw the sun and moon darkened and the stars falling around them, they would know His second coming was at the doors! Or, when they saw Him coming in the clouds, and the angels gathering the elect from the four winds, they would know the second coming was at the door. Such signs would appear to be too late to be helpful if Matt. 24:29,31 are to be understood as literal references to His second coming. That coming would already be past instead of being "nigh," as in the parable of the fig tree."<26>

    Matt. 24:32-35 -- "Now learn a parable of the fig tree..." (Matt. 24:32). Just as leaves of the fig tree give evidence that summer is nigh, so "all these things" prior to the destruction of Jerusalem would let them know that it was nigh, "even at the doors." Matthew used the word "generation" (as I demonstrated earlier) to mean those living at that time. Some of them would be living and witness all these things. Consider the Lord's use of "all these things": (1) "All these things shall come upon this generation" (Matt. 23:36); (2) "See ye not all these things?" (Matt. 24:2); (3) "When shall these things be?" (Matt. 24:3); (4) "For all these things must come to pass" (Matt. 24:6); (5) "But all these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matt. 24:8); (6) "When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors" (Matt. 24:33); (7) "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt. 24:34). Thus, every sign mentioned in Matt. 24 was fulfilled before that generation died. The Lord gave great force and emphasis to what He had said by adding, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35).

    Matt. 24:36-44 -- The End of the World

    Matt. 24:36 is the transition verse, as has already been pointed out. The change of expressions shows that a new subject is being discussed. In the first section (Matt. 24:4-35) the plural days is used (Matt. 24:19,22,29). In the second section (Matt. 24:36-51) the singular day (or hour) is employed (Matt. 24:36,42,44,50; cf. Matt. 25:13).

    Matthew's use of the term "day" throughout his account of the gospel would immediately reveal to the apostles what the Lord had in mind. Jesus said, "Many will say to me in that day ..." (Matt. 7:22). Again, "But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment ..." (Matt. 11:22). "But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment ..." (Matt. 11:24). Jesus again said that "... every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36). Nowhere in the New Testament is the plural expression, "the days" or "those days," applied to Christ's Second Coming at the Judgment. Furthermore, the term "the last days" does not refer to a short period just before His Second Coming (cf. Heb. 1:1-2; Acts 2:16-17; 2 Tim. 3:1).

    Since no man knoweth, "not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matt. 24:36b), then it is sheer folly for anyone to speculate and prophesy about when the Lord will come. "When anyone tells you that Jesus is coming soon, your guess is as good as his, and his is no good at all."<27>

    Matt. 24:37-41 -- The second coming of Christ will be "as the days of Noe were" (Matt. 24:37). In the "days that were before the flood" people were going about the normal affairs of life (eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage) when the flood suddenly came upon them (Matt. 24:39). McGarvey wrote:

    "The point of comparison with the days of Noah is not the wickedness of the world at the time of the second coming, for all the practices mentioned, eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, are in themselves innocent. But it is the suddenness with which the event will come to an unexpecting world. As `they knew not until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.'"<28>

    Just as people did not heed the preaching of Noah before the flood (2 Pet. 2:5), so many do not heed the Lord's warnings about the Judgment; some even scoff at the idea that there will be a Judgment (cf. 2 Pet. 3:3-10). Matt. 24:40-41 also emphasizes that the days before the Final Coming will be characterized by normal activities and conduct on the part of people. These verses also emphasize a separation.

    Matt. 24:42-44 -- Since no one knows when the Lord will come again, and since there will be no signs (such as the signs given regarding the destruction of Jerusalem), then it will be necessary for everyone to watch and be ready. In Matt. 24:42 Jesus said "Watch therefore," but in Matt. 24:44 He said "therefore be ye also ready." Just as the thief gives no advance announcement of his visit, neither will Christ give a prior notice of His Second Coming (cf. 1 Thess. 5:2-6; 2 Pet. 3:10).

    Matt. 24:45-51 -- the Parable of the Watchful Servant

    Matt. 24:45-49 -- "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season" (Matt. 24:45)? "This passage is, in fact, a parable, though it is not expressly so called. The design is to show that His disciples should act as if they were each moment expecting His return."<29> The faithful Christian will be found doing what the Lord has assigned him to do when the Lord returns, but the unfaithful Christian will think the Lord is not returning, and will begin to live contrary to God's will (Matt. 24:48-49).
  19. cougan

    cougan Senior Member

    Matt. 24:50-51 -- The Lord will suddenly appear and find the unprepared servant engaged in sin (Matt. 24:50). He will "appoint him His portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 24:51). To live without watchfulness invites disaster. The most dangerous of all delusions is that there is plenty of time. The most dangerous day in a man's life is the day he learns there is such a word as tomorrow.

    The Word of God nowhere calls upon us to be sinless servants (we will commit sin, 1 John 1:7-10), but it does call upon us to be "faithful servants." Who is a faithful Christian? A faithful person is: (1) truthful (Prov. 14:5); (2) blameless (Dan. 6:4); (3) always watching (Matt. 24:42-51); (4) using his talents (Matt. 25:21ff); (5) exercising proper use, care, and concern for that which he has (Luke 16:1-12); and (6) not so involved in other things that he neglects his primary duty (2 Tim. 2:1-7). Abraham was called "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9), Moses was "faithful in all his house" (Heb. 3:2), and Timothy was "faithful in the Lord" (1 Cor. 4:17).


    Roy C. Deaver sets forth "a summary of evidence for the two comings."<30>

    The Lord's Coming in the Destruction of Jerusalem

    1. In this, there would be benefit by fleeing to the mountains.

    2. This was local -- Judaea and Palestine.

    3. This would require haste in escaping.

    4. This would be while unbelieving Jews thought the Sabbath was still binding.

    5. The "elect" involved in this would be helped by the shortening of the days.

    6. In this, it could be claimed by false teachers that Christ was in the wilderness, or in the inner chamber.

    7. This would be preceded by "tribulation."

    8. Related to this there were definite signs.

    9. The time of this was known to the Lord.

    10. Following this the gospel would be preached.

    11. The time of this was definite.

    12. Preceding this things would not be normal (wars, famines, earthquakes).

    13. In connection with this some would have time to escape.

    14. This is illustrated by the parable of the fig tree (the fig tree indicates that summer is nigh). 15. With regard to this the Lord emphasized that it would be within the life-time of that generation.

    16. This is definitely a local judgment upon one nation.

    The Lord's Final Coming

    1. In this, there would be no benefit in fleeing to the mountains.

    2. This will be universal.

    3. In this, haste will accomplish nothing.

    4. This will be long after the Sabbath law ended.

    5. In this, the shortening of the days would help no one.

    6. In this, His whereabouts will be known to all persons.

    7. There is no ... reference to "tribulation" in connection with this.

    8. Related to this, there is no sign.

    9. The time of this was not known to the Lord.

    10. Following this, there will be no gospel preaching.

    11. The time of this is indefinite.

    12. Preceding this things will be normal.

    13. In connection with this no one will have time to escape.

    14. This is illustrated by the parable of the thief (the thief gives no indication of His coming).

    15. With regard to this, the emphasis is upon long delay ("My lord tarrieth," while the bridegroom tarrieth," "... after a long time ...)."

    16. This is universal, involving all nations.


    The doctrine of premillennialism is not a new doctrine, but it dates all the way back to the late first century. Cerinthus, a contemporary of the apostle John, was the first man that history credits with formulating and giving prominence to the doctrine. In the first half of the second century a man named Papias taught the doctrine. Nepos in the second half of the second century promoted the idea of premillennialism. R. H. Boll began to write articles on the Second Coming of Christ in the Gospel Advocate in 1910, and by 1915 the doctrine had surfaced as a real problem among brethren.<31> A number of books have been authored over the past few years promoting the well-worn theory of premillennialism. The Late Great Planet Earth, authored by Hal Lindsey, has sold millions of copies.

    The word "premillennial" itself is derived from two components: (1) "pre" meaning "before," and (2) "millennium" denoting a period of one thousand years. The advocates of premillennialism teach that Christ will return to the earth just prior to a one thousand year reign.

    Matt. 24 is one of the key chapters used by premillennialists to promote this doctrine. Roy C. Deaver, in his little booklet entitled Premillennialism: Matt. 24 and Matt. 25 Do Not Teach It, has done a masterful job of showing that neither of these chapters (nor any other passages in the Bible, for that matter) teach this doctrine.

    Space will not permit a detailed discussion of all the misuses of Matt. 24 by premillennialists, but Matt. 24:21 is the key verse they count on to uphold the "great tribulation."

    The New Scofield Reference Bible says:

    "This (Matt. 24:21) introduced the great tribulation (Ps. 2:5; Rev. 7:14, note), which runs its awful course in three and a half years, culminating in the battle of Rev. 19:19-21, note, at which time Christ becomes the smiting stone of Dan. 2:34. The details of this period (Matt. 24:15-28) is: (1) The abomination in the holy place (Matt. 24:15); (2) the warning (Matt. 24:16-20); to believing Jews who will then be in Jerusalem...<32>

    Don Simpson clearly sets forth the view of dispensationalists:

    "Dispensationalists teach the tribulation will consist of predicted events yet to take place after the rapture of the church and before the appearing of Christ with His saints. It is taught that the church will escape the tribulation, although there may very well be persecutions upon the church which will serve as signs that the rapture is near. Dispensationalists sight (sic) Matt. 24:21-22 as a prophecy of world conditions that will immediately precede the rapture and the tribulation that is to place mankind on the brink of self-annihilation."<33>

    There are several very clearly-stated reasons in this context why this passage cannot refer to the millennial tribulation idea.

    "First, the faithful disciples were commanded to flee to the mountains at that time, as seen in Matt. 24:16, but according to the millennial tribulation theory the disciples would be up in the heavens with Jesus, and there would be no disciples left on the earth to flee to the mountains. That alone nullifies the argument that the "tribulation" of Matt. 24 is the millennial tribulation. Second, the disciples were told to pray that their flight from Jerusalem should not be in the winter, as mentioned in Matt. 24:20, because it would be hindered by exposure ..."<34>

    This passage could not refer to the Lord's coming in a "rapture" before a "tribulation" yet future because in almost the same breath (following Matt. 24:21-22) Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt. 24:34). It would happen within the life span of those then living. Robert Taylor wrote:

    "Millennialists wish to apply nearly all of it (Matt. 24) to the second coming. Such would make Matt. 24:16-20 in that great Olivet Discourse totally absurd .... Matt. 24, when correctly analyzed, exegeted, and understood, refutes both Max King-ism and the pernicious Premillennialism in militant fashion."<35>

    A.D. 70 THEOLOGY

    In 1983 when I finished reading the book, The Spirit of Prophecy, by Max R. King, I made this note: "When a man can define his own terms then, he can come forth with any teaching that he wants." Wayne Jackson in reviewing the doctrine said, "This novel doctrine employs a whole new vocabulary. Whenever a person becomes a Biblical dictionary unto himself, he can come up with any sort of `hocus pocus' of a doctrine."<36>

    The doctrine of "realized eschatology" (that is, the teaching that last things or "end" things have already occurred) was originated in 1787 by a denominational writer named James S. Russell. C. D. Beagle introduced it into the churches of Christ in April of 1971. Max King, his son-in-law, then wrote two books, The Spirit of Prophecy (1971) and The Cross and the Parousia of Christ (1987), which set forth his views, popularly called "King-ism." It is as much a system of theology as is premillennialism in that it reinterprets practically the entire Bible to satisfy its preconceptions. Wayne Jackson sums up the teaching as follows:

    "The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70 is the pivotal event of history. At that time all Bible prophecy was consummated, including the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the judgment day, and the end of the world. If the foregoing theory seems to make no sense at all, it is because the novice does not understand how these common Biblical terms have been redefined to fit the King theory. The "second coming" does not denote a literal return of Christ in the future, but a spiritual, invisible coming in A.D. 70. "Resurrection" hasn't anything to do with the human body; rather, it refers to a resurrection of the Christian system from the persecution inflicted by the Jews between 30 and 70 A.D. The "judgment day" is not a time when all men will give account to God, it is the destruction of Judaism. And the "end of the world" is not the passing of the earth; it is supposedly a reference to the dissolution of the Jewish world."<37>
  20. cougan

    cougan Senior Member

    King-ism applies all of Matt. 24 and Matt. 25 to 70 A.D.

    There are several serious errors connected with this theology. First, its adherents take many passages that mention the coming of Christ and make them all literal comings. But, as Wayne Jackson stated, "there are two literal comings of Christ."<38> He came the first time (literally) and He "shall appear a second time without sin" (Heb. 9:28). There are also figurative, symbolic, or spiritual comings (cf. Matt. 16:28; John 14:23; Rev. 3:20).

    Second, there is a complete misapprehension of the gospel. The gospel is good news about our redemption in Christ (Eph. 1:13), but King-ism centers that redemption around the destruction of Jerusalem.<39> Charles Pledge wrote:

    "King states that at the fall of Jerusalem the first-fruits were accepted by God. Since no other fruit was acceptable before the acceptance of the firstfruits it naturally follows that no one was accepted by God until the destruction of Jerusalem -- according to King. Does that mean that James (Acts 12) lived and died in faith but he had to wait until Jerusalem's fall before he gained acceptance?"<40>

    Third, if all resurrection passages apply strictly to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, what passage teaches a resurrection of any kind for us today? King argues that the resurrection passages do not refer to a literal resurrection of the body, but to a "revival" of Christianity which had been "buried" under Judaism for forty years. "When the Jewish nation fell in A.D. 70, there was then, effectively, a resurrection of Christianity, a raising of the body of Christ, from that old suppressive, Judaistic system."<41> In order to overcome the problem of "no future resurrection" of humankind, King talks about a "secondary application." But, in The Spirit of Prophecy, he writes:

    "The time element of prophecy is as important in its fulfillment as any other portion of the prophecy, and it is inconceivable for a time prophecy to have a double meaning .... Therefore, the fact that New Testament predictions have a definite, God-revealed, Spirit inspired stated time of fulfillment ... a secondary application seems unlikely."<42>

    If such is the case, then it is inconceivable for any "resurrection" passage to have a "Spirit inspired" time of fulfillment after A.D. 70.

    Much more could be said to prove the A.D. 70 theory false, but Wayne Jackson sums it up best when he writes:

    "I will tell you this, in more than three decades of preaching the gospel, I have never run across anything within the church that is so unbiblical.... So brethren, the whole A.D. 70 King scenario is false. Christ did not effect His second coming in A.D. 70; the dead were not raised in A.D. 70; the judgment day did not occur with the destruction of Jerusalem; and the world did not end in A.D. 70. The entire theory of "realized eschatology" is false from start to finish."<43>

    CONCLUSION Matt. 24 and Matt. 25 are two of the great chapters in the Gospel of Matthew. When studied in their context, they teach truths that are taught nowhere else more clearly. The first section (Matt. 24:1-35) gives impressions of abnormal times, while the second section (Matt. 24:36--25:46) speaks of normal times. There are specific signs given in relation to the destruction of Jerusalem, but there are no signs relating to the Second Coming. The complete fulfillment of the signs in the destruction of Jerusalem should impress us with the fact that The Second Coming and The Judgment will also be fulfilled. Are you ready? Are you watching? Do you live each moment of each day as if it were your last? "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matt. 24:42).
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