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A Review of the Olivet Discourse – Matthew 24 March 8, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the Olivet Discorse prophesies of Matthew 24 and one of those confusions reside in the assertion by mainly “preterists” that the prophesies Jesus spoke were to be fulfilled in the Disciples lifetime. However is it plausible that these prophesies could have been fulfilled in the Disciples lifetime? It is important to be able to understand this passage especially in relation to who Jesus was speaking and it’s implications for us today. The key to unlocking the passage though resides in verse 3:

 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?

 From the beginning of the chapter Jesus started out by relating to the disciples what would befall the temple in Jerusalem, in that it would be destroyed at an appointed time. Now the desciples proceeded to ask Jesus to, ”Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” There are three separate questions rolled into one here. First, when shall these things be, i.e., the destruction of the temple; second, what shall be the sign of thy coming; third, what shall be the sign of the end of the world? The two last questions are obviously interrelated however.

 Where confusion arises however is that in verse 34 of the passage Jesus said, “This generation shall not pass till all these things (everything He outlined in the previous verses including His return) be fulfilled.” Based on this verse, the assumption is therefore made that Jesus meant that the prophesies he spoke would be fulfilled in the Disciples lifetime. Some interpreters may wrongly claim also that Jesus only meant the destruction of the Temple would occur in “this generation” since we know with the benefit of hindsight that this occurred in 70 A.D. when the Roman general Titus sacked Jerusalem. But this ignores the fact that Jesus said “till all these things be fulfilled”. To “confuse” the matter Jesus told the disciples in John 16 that: 16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. This again gives weight to the preterist’s arguments, if taken literally, that Jesus had to return in the Disciples lifetime. The first question to be answered therefore is what did Jesus mean by “this generation shall not pass”? Secondly, what did Jesus mean in John 16:16? Would the Disciples really see him after a little while and how long is a “little while”?

 In answer to the first question aforementioned I would venture to suggest that by “generation” Jesus meant the generation of New Testament believers – in other words the dispensation of the New Covenant constituting a “generation”. It is clear from scripture that there will not be another dispensation given to man in this life before the end comes. In verse 14 of Matthew 24 for example, Jesus said:

 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.

 Since “this generation” shall not pass till the end comes and the end cannot come until “this gospel of the kingdom be preached in all the world”, then “this generation” must necessarily mean the “generation” of the church age and not generation in terms of age groupings. To reinforce this point however we can look at an example from the Old Testament. In Gen 17 God made a covenant with Abraham pertaining to circumcision. Looking at verses 9 and 13 it says:

 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

 We see here that the covenant of circumcision was to be an everlasting covenant in the flesh unto Abraham and his seed in their generations. However, was circumcision an everlasting covenant to this day and to the end of time or was it a covenant for the period appointed, i.e. their generations? To answer this we may look at Acts 21:20-21

 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

 If therefore the covenant made with Abraham regarding circumcision was meant to be everlasting why was Paul teaching the Jews not to observe circumcision? Clearly the covenant was appointed to the generation/s of that dispensation only and it was therefore everlasting to them.

 The other point of contention therefore is what did Jesus mean in John 16:16 when He said, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me”? Scripture tells us in 2 Peter 3:8 that a thousand years is like a day with God: 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. It is also interesting to note that Peter said this when he warned that in the latter times there will be scoffers asking where is Jesus’ promised coming (see verse 4)? So then a “little while” to Jesus might be thousands of years to us. But if Jesus were to return thousands of years after the Disciples death why then did he say that they will see Him? The answer clearly is that those who died in Christ will be resurrected at His coming and so if they regain their life then they will of course see Him. John puts it this way:

 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

 In summary therefore it is clear that when men misinterpret Jesus’ words they technically make His word into a lie and this is why we need to be careful how we read the scriptures and what interpretations we accept. Jesus sets out a chronology of the events that would precede His coming and He stated clearly that all these things will be fulfilled then the end comes. Evidently the end could have come around the Disciples lifetime because Jesus said no one knows the day nor hour of His coming, not the Son but the Father. So if He didn’t know it wasn’t unreasonable of the Disciples to expect His coming in their life-time. But with the benefit of history we know that all these things have not yet been fulfilled, though some have, but can occur at anytime into the future. One question I would like readers to ponder however is to put themselves in the Disciples shoes and ask themselves whether the Disciples felt from having heard Jesus’ words on the Mout of Olive, that they would be raptured before the promised tribulation.

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1. Don McAllister - March 8, 2010

Greetings Henry,

I must say that I am in total agreement with you on this. For some reason, those who claim that when Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”

They ignore the “conditions” that are attached to his return. Without going through the whole senario, for one Jesus mentions the abomination of desolation being set up in the holy place and we know that this has not been fulfilled. And also, we would have had to have seen the other signs, such as with the sun, moon and stars. Then, we get into revelations and include all of the rest of the seals, trumpets and bowls, which lead up to his return. It seems to me that, in order for the preterist to make his interpretation fit, he only focuses on the “This generation” part, to make it “Jesus generation” when he would return.

This is really ridiculous though, because Christs return to the earth signals the end of human government as seen in Nebuchadnezzer’s dream, where the rock that was cut out of the mountain without human hands and which falls on the feet of the statue and the whole statue crumbles down like chaff on the threshing floor and is blown away by the summer wind without leaving a trace. Since the statue represents the world ruling governments from beginning to end and the rock becoming a huge mountain filling the whole earth, this would show that the events preceding his return will be the dismantelling the world governments and then completely killing all those kings, their generals and all their armies in the valley Megiddo when he descends, where that double-edged sword procedes from his mouth and the birds gorge themselves on their flesh.

My point is, if Christ had already come, we would have seen the end of human government and the beginning of his millennial kindom. Not only that, but we are also told in regards to his coming:

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who peirced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.”

And

“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

So, unless one is a Jehovah’s witness, all that are present at the end of the age will visually see his return and it will mark the end of human government.

Further more, Jesus could not have already come, because the world would have had to see the emergence of the beast and the false prophet and all that is written about them, not to mention the mark of the beast, unless of course you are a Sabbath keeper who believes that one receives the mark of the beast by observing the Sabbath on Sunday.

Regarding your advise to ponder the question as to whether the disciples would be raptured before the tribulation, Jesus said this:

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkeness and the anxieties of life and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be ale to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

Jesus said this in Luke’s version of Matthew 24, which is the description of all that would happen prior to his return, including the abomination of desolation, the seals, trumpets and bowls. Here in the verse above, Jesus says “Pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen.” In the verse he also stated that the tribulation was going to come upon the face of the whole earth, which would mean that there would be no escaping it by remaining on the earth. The escape that I believe Jesus was referring to, that Paul would later outline in 1 Thes.4:16 and 1 Cor.15:51, was the resurrection and catching away of the church prior to these things taking place, for there would be no escape by remaining on the earth. By the time that Jesus returns, the following will be fulfilled by the seals, trumpets and bowls:

“I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.”

And Jesus echoed this in Mt.24:22

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”

There are two places where percentages are given of the number of people that will be killed during that seven year period. One of those places is the 4th seals which states that a fourth of the earth’s population will be killed and the other is at the 6th trumpet, which as a third being killed. With a fourth and a third combined, it equals 50% of the earth’s population, but that is not an accurate number, because what most people forget about in adding up the fatalities are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trumpets, with which one could probably add another two billion people to the list. For if the 1st trumpet has a third of the earth being burnt up and thereby a third of the trees being burnt up, but what is not mentioned are the fatalities. How many people are going to be included in that third of the earth being burnt up?

Then you have the 2nd trumpet, where we have either an asteroid or a meteorite hitting in one of the oceans, which causes all of the creatures in that body of water to be killed, as well as all of the ships being destroyed, which will equal a third based on the entire world. So, it is obvious that the reason that the creatures in the sea are dying and the ships are being destroyed is because of the enormous waves that will be generated from this object hitting that body of water. These waves will probably be over a mile high and traveling at over 1200 miles per hour. So the question is, how many people will be on those ships? The waves will destroy all the ships that are out at sea as well as those moored on the coasts. All of the cities on every coast, on every shore of that body of water will be destroyed, including the people that live in them, not to mention those hundreds of miles inland.

Then there is the 3rd trumpet, where this great star blazing like a torch falls on the a third of the rivers and springs of water, turning them bitter and many people die from drinking.

I’ve listed all of this to show that, if the church was to go through the tribulation period, there would be no escape! For God is going to decimate the population of the earth. The church has to be removed to escape all that is coming upon the earth. Now, that said, I didn’t even get to the bowl judgments and how many more fatalities that will include?

2. Henry - March 9, 2010

Greetings Don,

It is interesting the amount of false doctrines pertaining the end-times prophesies. I don’t know if you have noticed but there seems to be a sustained effort in recent times to destroy the credibility of Christianity and the Bible by so-called learned men. Certainly this has been the case in Britain. For example, a little while back I was watching a documentary about Revelations and in it they completely destroyed the credibility of the prophesies by claiming that John was senile or disillusioned as a result of being exiled on the Island of Patmos. As a result they claimed his “railings” against Rome were merely allegorical as opposed to what will literally happen in future. This is the reason we need clarity in understanding the Bible, and also we need to do the Berean thing and search scriptures when we hear particular doctrines.

I must say however that we will have to agree to disagree on the issue of the pre-tribulation rapture. You have made your case for it but personally in my own study of the word I myself cannot see a case for it.

3. Henry - March 10, 2010

Don,

Let me show you the problem with your assertions. I approached this reviiew with the intent of looking at it from the Disciples point of view. Jesus spoke to them as if they were to expect His coming in their life-time. This of course could have been possible from the standpoint that Jesus said no one knew the day of His coming, not even He Himself but the Father. Therefore looking at it from the Disciples viewpoint they could not know how far into the future these things were going to be fulfilled. If we read the tone of the passage of Matthew 24 therefore Jesus is speaking to them as if they were to expect His coming at anytime, even if in their lifetime hence the reasons the warnings in the passage were given directly to them.

If we should read the cluster of scripture from verse 15 to verse 28 we see Jesus speaking directly to the Disciples after a particular manner. For example we read in verse 15, “when you see the abomination of desolation…” etc. Note that it is after this is set up that the tribulation occurs. We read on in 21, “For then shall be great tribulation….” etc. After the tribulation starts we learn that false prophets and this is evident from the opperative use of the word “then”. We read in 23, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ..”. You see in all of this Jesus is talking to the Disciples as if they will witness these things because of course Jesus doesn’t know Himself when He is coming back. The Disciples at that time I am sure would be in no doubt that they would witness these things and as they go out to deliver the gospel they would teach these signs to the church as well to get them in a state of readiness. It is clear from this then that the Disciple would expect to witness the tribulation and following these events would see the sign of the Son of Man in the clouds.

To introduce a different position using Luke 21 would cause a conflict in that the scriptures would appear to contradict themselves and we know that this is not possible. It is clear to me then that Matthew 24 cannot be used in any pre-trib argument because there is no support there for it.

4. wabd - March 11, 2010

Greetings Henry & Don,

Henry wrote,
“Therefore looking at it from the Disciples viewpoint they could not know how far into the future these things were going to be fulfilled. If we read the tone of the passage of Matthew 24 therefore Jesus is speaking to them as if they were to expect His coming at anytime, even if in their lifetime hence the reasons the warnings in the passage were given directly to them.”

This is not entirely accurate, if we look at ‘(Mat 24:15) When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand),’

The inclusion of the phrase – ‘(let him that readeth understand),’ clearly details that the disciples had foreknowledge that the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet was not intended for them but for a future generation. They were not in possession of the book of Daniel to READ. In Jewish customs the Old Testament books were costly to be copied and the disciples as we know were not wealthy men nor does scriptures have any evidence that they had a written account by Daniel.

Further if we look at Luke 21: 20-24, the desolation of Jerusalem is in focus rather than the abomination of desolation. This the disciples knew would happen during their lifetime and it did in AD70 as history recalls.

5. Harriet - March 11, 2010

A PRETRIB RAPTURE FIRST !

An American researcher has discovered a copy of Scottish lassie Margaret Macdonald’s handwritten account, on 23 sheets of paper, of her “discovery” in 1830 that the Bible teaches a “pre-tribulation rapture.”
A facsimile copy of her penned account was obtained from the British Library which has long catalogued it as “Margaret McDonald’s Vision” – one of many items in an old collection of Irvingism memorabilia.
Portions of this facsimile can now be viewed on the March 9, 2010 edition of “The End Times Passover” blog (hosted by media luminary Joe Ortiz) which has the honor of being the first to air all of this.
The most accurate and detailed documentation on the long hidden beginnings of this 19th century prophetic innovation – which today is a very protective and lucrative American industry – is found in the 300-page book “The Rapture Plot” which is available at internet bookstores such as Armageddon Books.

6. Henry - March 11, 2010

@Harriet,
Welcome and thanks for that bit of information. I have heard of Margaret McDonald and I believe the modern manifestation of the “gift of tongues” and healing can be traced back to her. But it is the first I am hearing that she is credited with the rapture “theory” as well.

@wabd,
I really don’t know what you are getting at. Did Jesus not say, “When you see”? How could the disciples then have foreknowledge that this wasn’t meant for them? The “who so readeth” was in reference to the Book of Daniel, and these books were already available in the temple that was still in existence. Remember Jesus had just departed from the temple when He spoke the prophesies. Your assertions therefore that the books were not available are faulty at best. In any event do you know what the abomination of desolation is? How do you know then that it has not yet been fulfilled?

7. wabd - March 11, 2010

Hello Henry,

Is there any particular reason why you ignore the other two accounts of the Olivet Discourse by Mark and Luke?

Is it wrong to ignore the living conditions of the disciples after Jesus’ ascension?

Is it wrong to conflate the customs and practices of the Jewish people during Christ’s ministry, after His ascension and the early years of the church beginnings from Pentecost?

What about looking at the text in its literal form? In your substantive post you cited, “John 16 that: 16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.” Then you went on to detail comparative time frames a year = 1000 years and vice-versa. Can this simply be literal to the time that He spent with them after His ascension? (Joh 20:17) Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. & His return shortly thereafter (Joh 20:19) Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

8. Henry - March 13, 2010

Hi Wabd,

There is no particular reason (although I have made references to them) other than the fact that I naturally read Matthew before I read the other gospels and I quite like reading Matthew more than the others as I find it a bit more detailed.

I am not quite sure what you mean by your second question.

In answer to your third question I will say emphatically that it is wrong to build doctrine based on the customs on practices of any group of people. Our doctrine should be founded only on scriptures. Although Jesus was born a Jew but He did not come to establish or maintain Jewish practices and customs. Hence the reason we see Paul in Acts 21:21 pointing the Jews who believed the gospel away from the old customs. Please remember that the Jews had departed from God since early times up to the time when Jesus came. Therefore their customs were customs and traditions of men and NOT of God. So clearly we should not be referring to such customs as a way of building doctrine.

Let me now turn my attention to your last question. In reference to John 16:16 you asked, “What about looking at the text in its literal form?” But let me ask you, why should you take the text in literal form? You should never read a verse in isolation and then draw conclusions. If you read from verse 16 to the end you would have known that that verse was figurative and was not meant to be taken literally. The explanation you therefore offered is incorrect. Lets look at some other verses of the passage so you can see why:

John16 (NIV)
17Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”

25“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

29Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

Can you now see that Jesus was speaking figuratively (not literally) and that He was talking about His ascension to go back to the Father?

Now that I have answered your questions let me ask you one, “Why does it appear that you leave the more “salient” points of the report to “nit pick” at less significant points?

9. wabd - March 14, 2010

Hi Henry,

Thanks for your response to most of my questions. To answer your question, it is not ‘nit picking’ rather it is to get a feel for your approach to the interpretation of scriptures.

Based on your answers you have demonstrated a personal preference to the ‘detailed’ gospel of Matthew but you do not limit your use of other scriptures. In addition you were adamant about not using customs and practices to build a doctrine when the people (in this case the Jews) had “departed from God since early times up to the time when Jesus came. Therefore their customs were customs and traditions of men and NOT of God.” And in closing you argued for reading the entire text before drawing conclusions.

Regarding your use of Gen 17: 9,13 and Acts 21: 20-21 in demonstrating the dispensation of a covenant to a particular generation, I have this issue;

Paul did warn the Gentiles not to get involved in the old Jewish religion (Gal 4:1-11); but he nowhere told the Jews that it was wrong for them to practice their customs, so long as they did not trust in ceremony or make their customs a test of fellowship (Rom 14:1-15:7). There was freedom to observe special days and diets, and believers were not to judge or condemn one another. The same grace that gave the Gentiles freedom to abstain also gave the Jews freedom to observe. An God asked was that they receive one another and not create problems or divisions.

It seems incredible that Paul’s enemies would accuse him of these things, for all the evidence was against them. Paul had Timothy circumcised before taking him along on that second missionary journey (Acts 16:1-3). Paul had taken a Jewish vow while in Corinth (Acts 18:18), and it was his custom not to offend the Jews in any way by deliberately violating their customs or the Law of Moses (1 Cor 9:19-23).

Could it be that you have drawn the wrong conclusions about what the everlasting covenant of circumcision is. The very term everlasting means continuing forever or indefinitely. You need not respond if you are of the opinion that this is not a salient point.

10. Henry - March 15, 2010

Wabd,

According to your response above you wanted to get a feel for my approach to interpreting scripture. But unlike you I do not attempt to “force” the interpretation of scriptures which is what you regularly do but let scripture interpret itself. You did not even acknowledge my correction of your incorrect interpretation of John 16:16. My friend you need to be very careful how you interpret scripture because to give a wrong interpretation amounts to deception. Do you think then that if you are deceiving God’s people you will make it into that rapture you so strongly defend?

But you see I already know your “game”. I have “discerned” that your aim is to try and discredit me on “smaller” points and in so doing you hope that will add weight to your suppositions that “my” pre-tribulation view is also wrong. And I can see you are at it again with regards to the circumcission issue.

Lets be clear! Are Jews who became Christians still Jews? In other words can a Jew who has now become a Christian continue to practise Judaism? I am sure the answer to that is quite obvious without me spelling it out. So what is the point of your objections? Paul made it clear that circumcission doesn’t make one a Jew but that a Jew is one inwardly through the circumcission of the heart (Rom 2:29). Again Acts 21:21 is quite clear in that Paul did instruct newly Jewish “converts” to Christianity not to observe Moses anymore because it is the commandments of Jesus they were now suppose to be observing. The point I made therefore was very clear that we who are heirs to Abraham according to the promise are NOT required to be circumcised. In any event circumcission was just one example. We can look at another example from Lev 24:5-8. Here we see a burnt offering of cakes and frankincense was to be an everlasting covenant with Israel. Are we to say then that the cross of Christ should be made of no effect and that Israel is required to perform such burnt sacrifices to God today? Do you not realise that the new covenant which we benefit from today as Gentiles is the said covenant given to the Jew first but which they in the main have rejected? Are you one of those people who believe that the Jews do not need to come to Christ in order to be saved?

You need to read with understanding and not be in such a haste to try to discredit or undermine an individual you do not agree with. Furthermore your objections should be based in scripture and not personal sentiments or faulty interpretations of scriptures.

11. Paul Bortolazzo - March 15, 2010

Saints,

During the Great Tribulation the saints earnestly contending for the faith will be hated by all nations (John 15:19).

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” (Mat. 24:9)

We are already witnessing a growing disgust worldwide for what Jesus and His apostles taught (John 17:14). Their hate will be so cruel during the Great Tribulation; the unrighteous will kill the saints having the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:10, 17; 13:15). Only Christians willing to suffer persecution for Jesus will overcome the Beast (Rev. 12:11).

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” (1 Thes. 5:1-2)

Our Lord highlighted the events warning the church His coming is near (Mat. 24:33). These are the same events Jesus gave John in his vision in A.D 96. When believers suffering for His name experience the events of the beginning of sorrows (Mat. 24:6-8, Rev. 6:1-6) followed by the events of the Great Tribulation (Mat. 24:9-26, Rev. 6:7-11) they will look up for His coming. Paul didn’t need to write to the Thessalonians about the times or seasons of these events. They knew the Great Tribulation had to be shortened before the day of the Lord could begin (Mat. 24:21-22). Jesus will not come like a thief for those watching for these events (Rev. 3:3).

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night… both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up… For when they say, ‘Peace and safety.’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” (2 Pet. 3:10, 1 Thes. 5:3)

The wars, famines, and earthquakes have stopped. The world is living in peace. People are eating, drinking, and getting married (Luke 17:27). The world is mesmerized by the power of the Beast (Rev. 13:3-4). Mankind will be living in darkness; like in the days of Noah.

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” (Luke 21:34-35)

The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly upon those consumed with the cares of this life. They will not escape the sudden destruction of this day of wrath. This is why Jesus is warning believers not to be deceived on the timing of this critical truth (Mat. 24:4-5).

“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should
overtake you as a thief.” (1 Thes. 5:4)

Lets stand for the doctrine of Christ, Paul

12. Henry - March 15, 2010

Hi Paul,

Thanks for stopping by and offering your “two cents”. What can I say but that you are Biblically on point. Jesus spoke to the saints directly as if they would be there right to the end when He appears in the Heavens. I do not know why some people prefer to believe otherwise.

13. wabd - March 15, 2010

Hello Henry,

“But unlike you I do not attempt to “force” the interpretation of scriptures which is what you regularly do but let scripture interpret itself.” When I write I stand by what I write, if anyone has an opposing view they are free to express it. I review it scripturally and respond accordingly, I am firm in my convictions unless otherwise scripturally proven that my interpretation is wrong or not relevant to the substantive discussion.

When an opposing interpretation of scriptures is presented it is to identify how convicted you are about your own interpretation. As it is in business; competition makes a business stronger or they simply close up shop. The same it is with interpretation of scriptures, although you claim that you do not attempt to “force” the interpretation of scriptures on others, your words tell a different story, “But you see I already know your “game”. I have “discerned” that your aim is to try and discredit me on “smaller” points and in so doing you hope that will add weight to your suppositions that “my” pre-tribulation view is also wrong.” This sounds very judgmental to me….

You regard my interpretations as a “game” and then proceed to attack me without cause because I hold a different view of the timing of the rapture doctrine than you do, “Do you think then that if you are deceiving God’s people you will make it into that rapture you so strongly defend?” This is like saying that those who oppose your views are playing “games” and you are the only holder of the truth. If you are true to your method of interpretation, then let scriptures do the work. I have not accused you of playing games or attempting to deceive anyone, I presented what I believe the text is saying and “asked” if you have drawn the wrong conclusions.

In a previous post I asked, ‘Is it wrong to conflate the customs and practices of the Jewish people during Christ’s ministry, after His ascension and the early years of the church beginnings from Pentecost?’ You responded in part, “In answer to your third question I will say emphatically that it is wrong to build doctrine based on the customs on practices of any group of people. Our doctrine should be founded only on scriptures.” This view I do not subscribe to because the culture would have determined the method and the outcome of the texts, as we can clearly see with some of the differences in the 4 gospels. It is not that the texts themselves are wrong rather the audience are different.

When one looks at the Olivet Discourse for example, Christ is clearly speaking to the disciples present but in some ways the message spans two different generations; one to those in AD70 and the next to the last generation. In the case of the Jews being told to flee when they see the desolation (destruction of Jerusalem) and the same plea is made to “them” when they see the abomination of desolation. Christ also makes notable mention of their fleeing on the sabbath, the sabbath meaning that which was given in the written Torah and not the enhanced verbal Torah (Talmud) that the Pharisees had and accused Him of breaking. Again we see where the culture determines the behavior.

Regarding, “You did not even acknowledge my correction of your incorrect interpretation of John 16:16.” Do we not have the advantage of the entire text that we can discern its literal meaning since He went on to explain what He meant? I took it from that point and searched scriptures to identify what time period He was speaking about, hence my citing of John 20: 17 & 19. This is how I interpreted it;
(Joh 16:16) A little while, and ye behold me no more; and again a little while, and ye shall see me.

‘A little while,’ when He would be taken away to face His accusers.

‘and ye behold me no more,’ when He would be crucified.

‘and again a little while,’ the three days in the tomb which fell on the sabbath and no one would be coming to the tomb until after.(Joh 20:17) Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.

‘and ye shall see me,’ (Joh 20:19) When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

You wrote,
“Lets be clear! Are Jews who became Christians still Jews? In other words can a Jew who has now become a Christian continue to practise Judaism? I am sure the answer to that is quite obvious without me spelling it out.” This is shown in Eph 2: 11-14. There’s no need to be sarcastic my friend.

Regarding the rest of your response I agree with what you wrote and the verses you cited. What I disagreed with was the conflating of the sets of verses from Gen and Acts. My interpretation of the text in Acts was Paul being falsely accused by the Jews when he (Paul) was careful not to do anything to deliberately violate their customs or the Law of Moses (1 Cor 9:19-23). If I were to quote the following verse in my response to your posts, ‘(1Ti 4:1) But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,’ the message I would then be sending is one that is accusing you of being amongst the ‘some.’ That, to me is the danger of conflating texts that have no interrelations on the subject.

You wrote,
“Are you one of those people who believe that the Jews do not need to come to Christ in order to be saved?” I will answer this question with (Mat 23:39) For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. We must not however discount the fact that there are in the majority, Jews that do not recognize Christ as the Messiah and as such they would hold firm to their culture of obedience to the Torah and the Talmud while ignoring the grace that is given to both Jew and Gentile. A core point being the restoration of temple sacrifices and oblation in the last days.

It is not my intention to discredit you my friend, but if you feel that way; I humbly apologize. My intention is to learn, if it means asking the tough questions and making the bold statements and being called on them, then so be it. God bless you in your search for more enlightenment on His word. BTW your responses have led me to scriptures I had yet to read in some cases, so I guess my method is working!

14. Henry - March 15, 2010

Hellow Wabd,

Firstly, I think you have misunderstood what I have said. When I said “force” the interpretations of scripture I didn’t mean that you forced it on anyone but rather that you interpreted it in a certain way according to your own understanding which in some cases as I have proven with John 16:16 is the incorrect interpretation. By not forcing it therefore you allow it to interpret itself. According to you though you posed the interpretation you gave to test my conviction? So why try to test my conviction on a matter that I have clearly presented the correct interpretation? Do you realise that if I did not respond to that particular point others reading this might actually believe your interpretation which was only intended to test me and which was the incorrect interpretation? It was this intent I was referring to when I used the word “game” and most certainly not that your interpretations of scripture was a game to you. You got me figured wrong especially when you say I present myself as if I am the only one who holds truth.

Again I most certainly have not attacked you for holding a different interpretation to the rapture. I have presented my case and you have raised your objections and if you recall in one of my previous responses to you I said we should agree to disagree on this matter. Most certainly we cannot continue to to and fro on it and especially from my point of view this blog is not only about this rapture issue. At the moment this is just a distraction from some of the other issues I want to deal with.

Again you go on to interpret John 16:16 by referring to Jesus crucifixion and subsequent appearing to the Disciples after the resurrection but this is clearly a wrong interpretation. The disciples too were puzzled as to what Jesus meant and He explained it in the said passage of John 16 so why do you profer a different interpretation than that which is given? Jesus explains here that what He means is that He goes to the Father after which time He will return.

I did not mean to be sarcastic when I asked you the rethorical question as to whether the Jews who had become Christians could still practice Judaism. I was simply experessing the point that the covenant of circumcission along with many other customs were no longer relevant because of the new covenant. Hence they were everlasting to certain generations only.

Thank you for clarifying that you did not mean to discredit me but that is what it felt like as on several occasions now you have ignored the main thrust of the posts and pic on less salient points.

God bless you too.


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