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jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sat, 20th Jun '09 12:08 PM

3 QUESTIONS OF MATTHEW 24

My best friends just sent me this, since we've been discussing end times and possible pre- or post Tribulation rapture.

(I have to admit I laughed when I started reading the last paragraph - "Clearly....". This isn't clearly to me yet. I have to do some study but it's very interesting. If you have comments or can make it more "clearly" I'd be thrilled!!


****The Three Questions Of Matthew 24 - This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley – www.gracethrufaith.com

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3)

One of the mistakes we make in reading the Bible is caused by our tendency to look at everything through “Church colored glasses.” By that I mean we read it as if everything applies directly to us without regard for the context or historical background. I know Paul said everything that was written in the past was written to teach us (Romans 15:4) but that doesn’t mean it was all written to us. It means we’re supposed to learn from the experiences of those who came before us. A prime example of this kind of mistake can be found in our interpretation of the Olivet Discourse. I’ll show you what I mean.

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.” (Matt. 24:1-2)

These two verses set the tone for the entire discussion, yet in our rush to get to the meat of the passage they are often ignored. From Mark’s account we know that after Jesus said this, four of the disciples came to Him for clarification. They were Peter, James, John and Andrew (Mark 13:3), and they asked Him 3 questions. When will this happen? (When will these buildings be torn down? ) What will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the End of the Age? Let’s look at them individually to gain more of the background that prompted these questions.

When Will This Happen?

The view of Jerusalem at sunset from the Mount of Olives is breathtaking, even today. In the Lord’s time it was even more so because the Temple was still standing. To them it was the most beautiful building imaginable. The Hebrew Talmud says, “One who has not seen the Temple from the time of Herod has never seen a magnificent building.” It had been 46 years in the construction and was still not finished. At sunset its white limestone exterior took on a bright golden hue, as if it was made of pure gold. Repeating His Palm Sunday prophecy (Luke 19:41-44) Jesus said it would be so completely destroyed that not one stone would be left standing on another. Luke’s version of the Olivet Discourse is the only one that gives a detailed answer to this question. (Luke 21:12-24)

What Will Be The Sign Of Your Coming?

Obviously they meant His 2nd Coming and He actually gave them 2 clear signs. After describing several things that would not be specific signs, but merely “birth pangs”, He gave them the first one in Matt. 24:15. It’s the Abomination of Desolation standing in the Holy Place and it will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21). The second sign is only described as the Sign of the Son of Man. It will signal the Great Tribulation’s end (Matt. 24:29). After that the Lord will return on the clouds with power and great glory.

What Will Be The Sign Of The End Of The Age?

This question is more complex than they ever imagined when they asked it, even though the answer is simple. Ultimately, the sign of the End of the Age will be the Lord’s return. This question is the one where so many believers are way off the mark. It’s those “church colored glasses” I mentioned. But when you understand the disciples’ perspective you’ll see that it was not possible for them to be thinking of the Church Age when they used the phrase “end of the age” like so many Christians assume. Here’s why.

Over 500 years previously the Angel Gabriel had told Daniel how and when the end of the age would come. He said that from the time they received permission to restore and rebuild Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity there would be 70 periods of 7 years each (often called weeks because the Hebrew word Gabriel used means “a week of years”) for a total of 490 years (70 weeks).

When the disciples asked their questions, 483 years (69 weeks) had passed and there were only 7 years (1 week) left. You can imagine their astonishment when He told them that having come so close, just when the end was in sight it would all be destroyed. How could this be? Anointing the Most Holy referred to the Temple, under construction for 46 years and still not finished. How could it be torn down and rebuilt in just 7 years?

It was this astonishment that led to their questions. They didn’t know anything about a Church Age that would cause a 2000 year pause in Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy. Most of us today don’t understand that the Church Age didn’t end the Age of Law, it has just interrupted it. How could they have understood it? (The fact that the Age of Law hasn’t ended explains why there will be a Temple erected in Israel soon. Israel needs one to complete the final 7 years.)

40 days after the Resurrection, even after receiving the Holy Spirit (John 20:22) they were still thinking that the End of the Age was at hand. When Jesus led them up to the Mount of Olives where He would soon ascend to the Father, they asked Him, “Lord are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” Once again He didn’t explain anything about the future, but said, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7-8)

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sat, 20th Jun '09 12:08 PM

(It wouldn't post altogether, so here it continues):

I’ve Got A Secret

James revealed the answer to the Apostles for the first time 20 years after the cross.

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon (Peter) has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

“ ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages.’ “ (Acts 15:12-17)

Israel was being set aside while the Lord built the Church for Himself. After He had taken us He would turn His attention once again to Israel. If the Lord had taught them these things, James would not have had to explain it. It wasn’t that they had heard this and forgotten it. It was that the Lord had never told them.

And Paul claimed he was revealing an age old secret when he told the Church in Ephesus that through the Gospel gentiles were being made heirs together with Israel. (Ephes. 3:4-6)

Seen from this perspective it’s clear that the Olivet Discourse is not about the Church. It’s the account of the Jewish Messiah speaking on the Mt. Of Olives to His Jewish followers about the future of Israel. To underscore the point, in Matt. 24:15 He made reference to a Jewish Temple and in Matt. 24:16 He spoke of Old Covenant followers in Judea, the Biblical name for Israel, at the End of the
Age. Only observant Jews would be unable to flee on a Sabbath. These are the only specific references to a people group in the entire passage. They both point to Israel and they’re both written in the 2nd person (v. 15, when you see … v.20, pray that your flight … ), indicating that the Lord considered the disciples to be representative of Israel. To place the Church in the Olivet Discourse is to make a fundamental error in interpretation. (Only the pre-Trib Rapture position avoids this error.)

What’s That There For?

So why is the Olivet Discourse even in the New Testament if it’s not for the Church? There are several good reasons. First it gives the Church some early warning signals we can use to know how close we’re getting to our departure. The birth pangs serve as “nearness indicators” in that the more frequently they occur the closer we are. Also, through out the entire Church Age the signs the Lord gave to Israel have not been in evidence, primarily because until 1948 there was no Israel. This is what makes the re-birth of the nation the pre-imminent sign that the End Times are upon us.

Second, the absence of any reference to the Church shows us that we won’t be here during the time He was talking about.

And third it shows Tribulation believers both inside and outside of Israel what to look for to help maintain their faith that He’s coming to end their ordeal.

Neither the Angel Gabriel nor the Lord misled Israel by not mentioning this indeterminate pause between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. At least up to the cross and maybe all the way to the Ascension the Lord’s offer of a Kingdom to Israel was on the table. The 40 days the Lord spent in Israel between the Resurrection and the Ascension could well have been Israel’s time of testing (40 is the number of testing), their last chance to accept the Kingdom. This could also explain why the Gospel received limited exposure among the Gentiles during and immediately after the Lord’s ministry and why it was 20 years after the cross before the doctrine of the Rapture was introduced.

Clearly the Olivet Discourse was given primarily to Israel and doesn’t mention the Church. No matter what view you hold of the sequence of End Times events, if you’ve based it on an assumption that the disciples represent the Church in the Olivet Discourse, it’s time to re-think your assumption.

puppyfoot
Puppyfoot  (Level: 72.8 - Posts: 1086)
Sat, 20th Jun '09 9:07 PM

"At least up to the cross and maybe all the way to the Ascension the Lord’s offer of a Kingdom to Israel was on the table. The 40 days the Lord spent in Israel between the Resurrection and the Ascension could well have been Israel’s time of testing (40 is the number of testing), their last chance to accept the Kingdom."


Let me apologize beforehand for my response. Medical events in the last year have drastically affected my ability to think (although I am improving over time). It is particularly difficult for me to deal with deeper topics such as this one, so my answers will be simplistic and perhaps even off-topic. Just remember--I'm discussing with a good portion of my brain tied behind my back!

This is the statement that grabbed my attention most of all in the commentary you presented us, Janice. I had never thought about Israel's having a time of testing during post-Resurrection events. I have always been grateful that God allowed us Gentiles to be included in His Kingdom but simply assumed that some of the Jews would simply realize the truth and embrace Christ as the Messiah in the end times.

This commentary does remind me how important it is to be open to getting past my own assumptions when I am studying the Bible.


jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sat, 20th Jun '09 10:16 PM

Please PLEASE don't feel any need to apologize. As difficult as this stuff is for me to understand, you have no idea how much I would appreciate what might seem to you a simplistic answer. It's not simple at all, and any clarification is very much appreciated.

I had never thought of that, either.

It was a huge shock to me that anyone could see, hear, and know the truth about Jesus and just reject him out of hand. I thought anyone rejecting Him would be because they just didn't believe, rather than choosing NOT to follow Him.

And again, there truly are some who are literally evil and would rather "reign in hell rather than serve in Heaven."

I am so grateful for God's grace.

puppyfoot
Puppyfoot  (Level: 72.8 - Posts: 1086)
Mon, 22nd Jun '09 2:26 AM

"It was a huge shock to me that anyone could see, hear, and know the truth about Jesus and just reject him out of hand. I thought anyone rejecting Him would be because they just didn't believe, rather than choosing NOT to follow Him."

My own belief--correct or not--is that some people may know the facts but not interpret them correctly. I think they see God as motivated by wanting to control us out of negative motives instead of understanding the love for us that He has. I think they are afraid of what they might have to relinquish in their lives, not understanding that, for everything He asks us to release, He gives us something better.

It's like alcoholics who refuse to go to A.A. All they can think of is trying to live their lives without alcohol, which seems like a bleak future. They don't realize that the 12 Steps give them a way to enjoy life and be at peace without drinking.

How sad God must be when we misinterpret His motives and don't trust Him. I, too, am thankful for His Grace.



nanpaulhus
Nanpaulhus  (Level: 139.2 - Posts: 340)
Tue, 25th Aug '09 5:52 AM

I am very blessed, for I have heard the teaching of this chapter (Matthew 24) in regards to the endtiimes and the 70 weeks all my life. Still, I have to sit down and study it afresh each time to recall things, or have that "AHA" experience again!

Yes, I do believe that their last "week" has been interrupted, that is to say the Jewiish nation as a whole. However, I believe that any person of any nationality, creed, or color who comes to accept Christ, and Him crucified, believing that His sacrifice has redeemed the soul, belongs to the Church Age, or Age of Grace, ... this time wherein we find ourselves now. Indeed I believe they become part of the Bride of Christ, and I do believe in "Pre-Trib Rapture" although Catching Away of the Bride is the biblical term for the word we use (Rapture). When Jesus talks of his return in Matthew 24, I believe that coincides with the time he returns WITH the bride, just at the time of the battle of Armageddon.

Many people talk of the second coming of Christ as the "Rapture". It says in I Thess. Chapter 4:
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

That is, of course, written to the body of Christ, the Bride.

But as for the Jews, who are not of the body of Christ, they are the ones who wiill finish the 70th week after the bride is removed. Not only does Matthew 24 address this, but also Revelation Chapter 7
Rev 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
Rev 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Rev 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Rev 7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
Rev 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes

Now, I realize we all want God to wipe away all tears from our eyes, but I have always been taught that this promise is to the Jews. A few verses earlier, here, it talks of the 144,000, which is 12,000 of each of 12 tribes. There seems to me to be no confusion there.

To pull it all together, the "coming back in the clouds" spoken of in Matthew is when he comes again (the Bride with him this time) at the end of the tribulation, and this is the time of his wrath, when he begins to destroy the earth (2 Peter 3:7) with fire, similar as to when he destroyed the earth by flood to purge it. So, he has "raptured" his bride, he has then come back to rescue his people - the Jews - then he destroys the earth, puts Satan in the bottomless pit, and there is 1,000 years of peace on the new earth.

Is that clear as mud? Wow, I wish I could put the "timeline" on here, but I don't know how! Well, Blessed is he that reads AND he that hears the words of the book of Revelation. We are therefore blessed for reading!



jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 12:11 AM

I hadn't been in here in days, and I thought I had it set to let me know when there were additional posts or I'd have been here sooner.

Wow, Vickie. Thank you so much for your help in explaining these passages. I will read and reread that several times more as the days go. It's very uplifting.

I get frustrated with myself when my days surround school and students and leave me drained and leaving some teaching myself!

All who write here are a blessing to me! It's much more refreshing than ice cream or a nap! ha

Keep it going.....


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