Nov 9, 2009

Premillenialism Explained by William Bell

The prophetic speculators are running wild and our imaginations are not far behind. We are piqued with impending excitement wondering how all of this end times drama will play out. Many eschatological specialists wait with an eager sense of anticipation to see whether the vacant European Parliament seat number 666 will be filled by Spaniard Javier Solana (the 1st European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy). Nice title, eh? And why is this of any relevance you ask? Because Javier may soon be fulfilling his role as the antichrist! Seat # 666 is the golden ticket. Say it ain't so!

But didn't John tell his readers 2,000 years ago that he KNEW it was the "last hour" because many antichrists had come and the spirit of the antichrist was already in the world? (1 John 2:18; 4:3) John, quit spoiling the fun. You're ruining a really good where's the antichrist adventure hunt? Reminds me of "To Tell the Truth", a game show I loved when I was in my mere youth. They would ask the three guests (one of whom was the real deal) various questions, trying to figure out who was telling the truth about who he or she claimed to be. Then at the end the impostors would remain seated while the real person stood up. Will the real antichrist rise to your feet!

Further evidence that some say we are nearing the end... A website steeped in these current apocalyptic signs, points to the clever way the UN displayed it's 60th anniversary. Do you see it? In the picture above, which was taken at a 2005 UN meeting (Condoleezza Rice is 2nd from right) we see 666 cleverly adorning the UN Wall. Convinced yet?

As the Apostle Peter wrote, "The end is near!" and "the elements will melt with fervent heat." (1 Pet 4:7; 2 Pet 3:10,12) And according to many profits of doom (pun intended) the elements are already heating up.

Oh but it gets better.

Quoting from www.Jesus-Is-Savior.com, we see another clear reference to the antichrist as he is about to be revealed. What recommendation number do you think gave Javier emergency powers over the military wing of the EU in 2000? You guessed it...recommendation number 666! The pattern is unmistakable, right?

"The purpose of the European Union's creation was and is, ultimately, to create a European super-state or “United States of Europe,” as some have suggested naming it, that would eventually rival the United States in influence and military might. In 1999, Javier Solana became the High Representative for the European Union’s foreign and security policy, and through recommendation number 666, he was given emergency powers over the military wing of the European Union in 2000. All that currently remains to create a truly revived Roman Empire is the creation of a permanent executive branch of government and the full integration of the new Euro currency. With the introduction of the new European Union constitution, the groundwork is being laid for just such an executive branch and economic system."

They say that "Mr. Europe" (Solana), as he's affectionately titled, is a perfect match for the man referenced in Daniel 11:37.


He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. Daniel 11:37 (NKJV)

Although his Jewish heritage is questionable ("shall not regard the God of his fathers") and considering the fact that he's married with 2 children ("nor his desire of women"), this minor discrepancies do not seem to slow the abounding speculations one bit. So they go on to highlight the fact that Solara does have the tendency to "exalt himself above them all." As if this could not be said of 25% of our planet's male population. :)

So if you feel driven and tossed by the prophetic winds (and you will if you partake a steady diet of these "proofs"), stop and gain a clearer understanding of the premillennial system that spawns this kind of speculation. It is clearly the "end times" champion of our time, so it might be beneficial to see it from a fresh perspective. It'll only take about 15 minutes and I believe it will be time well spent.

In the following 3 videos, William Bell takes a closer look at premillennialism. You may find his conclusions challenging, but hopefully he will facilitate a desire to see if these things are so.

PART 1


PART 2


PART 3


For more information, William Bell can be reached at www.AllThingsFulfilled.com.

Nov 1, 2009

The Monsterellas

I am not a fan of Halloween so please no nasty hate-mail. Matthew's girlfriend Rebecca put this together and I thought it was incredibly funny. I don't think Debbie's laughed that hard in the last 20 years. She came in to tell me about it and she could hardly speak because she was laughing to the point of tears.

Oct 24, 2009

Collision: Atheism vs. Christianity

When worldviews collide. God-hater vs. God adorer. Christopher Hitchens (avowed atheist) vs. Douglas Wilson (pastor and evangelical theologian). COLLISION is a movie about diametrically opposing paradigms. It opens at theaters nationally October 27, 2009 and is also available in DVD at American Vision.

This is no ordinary debate. It doesn't take place behind separate lecterns in a sterile stodgy auditorium. These men interact at the deepest level in a variety of settings. They are passionate but civil. They pull no punches. Whatever your theistic position you will be stretched and challenged.

“(Christianity) is a wicked cult, and it’s high time we left it behind.” - CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS

"There are two tenets of atheism. One, there is no God. Two, I hate him." - PASTOR DOUGLAS WILSON

SYNOPSIS
The documentary COLLISION pits leading atheist, political journalist and author Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything) against fellow author and evangelical theologian Pastor Douglas Wilson on a debate tour arguing the topic “Is Religion Good For The World?”. Lives and worldviews collide as Hitchens and Wilson wittily and passionately argue the timeless question, proving to be perfectly matched intellectual, philosophical, and cinematic rivals. COLLISION is directed by prolific independent filmmaker Darren Doane (Van Morrison: To Be Born Again, The Battle For L.A., Godmoney).



OVERVIEW

In May 2007, leading atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson began to argue the topic “Is Christianity Good for the World?” in a series of written exchanges published in Christianity Today. The rowdy literary bout piqued the interest of filmmaker Darren Doane, who sought out Hitchens and Wilson to pitch the idea of making a film around the debate.

In Fall 2008, Doane and crew accompanied Hitchens and Wilson on an east coast tour to promote the book compiled from their written debate titled creatively enough, Is Christianity Good for the World?. “I loved the idea of putting one of the beltway’s most respected public intellectuals together with an ultra-conservative pastor from Idaho who looks like a lumberjack”, says Doane. “You couldn’t write two characters more contrary. What’s more real and punk rock than a fight between two guys who are on complete opposite sides of the fence on the most divisive issue in the world? We were ready to make a movie about two intellectual warriors at the top of their game going one-on-one. I knew it would make an amazing film.”

In Christopher Hitchens, Doane found a celebrated prophet of atheism. Loud. Funny. Angry. Smart. Quick. An intimidating intellectual Goliath. Well-known for bullying and mocking believers into doubt and doubters into outright unbelief. In Douglas Wilson, Doane found the man who could provide a perfect intellectual, philosophical, and cinematic counterpoint to Hitchens' position and style. A trained philosopher and and deft debater. Big, bearded, and jolly. A pastor, a contrarian, a humorist--an unintimidated outsider, impossible to bully, capable of calling Hitchens a puritan (over a beer).

It was a collision of lives.What Doane didn’t expect was how much Hitchens and Wilson would have in common and the respectful bond the new friend/foes would build through the course of the book tour. “These guys ended up at the bar laughing, joking, drinking. There were so many things that they had in common,” according to Doane. “Opinions on history and politics. Literature and poetry. They agreed on so many things. Except on the existence of God.”

John Piper interviews Wilson - 15 min

Gary DeMar: "Where does 'good' come from?" - 15 min

Joel Mcdurmon: "Synonymous with sin...metaphorically" - 15 min

BIOS


CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
Christopher Hitchens (b. April 13, 1949) is a popular political journalist and the author of several books, including God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Hitchens is regarded as one of the most fundamental figures of modern atheism. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens is also a frequent guest on The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, Washington Journal, and Real Time with Bill Maher. He was named one of the US’s "25 Most Influential Liberals” by Forbes and one of the world’s “Top 100 Public Intellectuals” by Foreign Policy. Hitchens lives in Washington, DC.

DOUGLAS WILSON
Douglas Wilson (b. June 18, 1953) is a pastor of Christ Church, editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine, and a Senior Fellow at New Saint Andrews College. A prolific writer, he is the author of many books, including The Case for Classical Christian Education, Letter from a Christian Citizen, Reforming Marriage and Heaven Misplaced: Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. Wilson lives in Moscow, Idaho.

DARREN DOANE
Darren Doane is a Los Angeles-based independent filmmaker. Doane made his name as a music video director. His work for Blink-182, AFI, Jimmy Eat World and Pennywise is credited for helping bring punk rock into the mainstream in the 1990s. His previous documentary film, The Battle For LA, explored the underground battle rap scene in Los Angeles. Doane is currently in production on the documentary film To Be Born Again about legendary musician Van Morrison and has also written and directed several feature films, including Godmoney, 42K and Black Friday.

Author:
featuring Douglas Wilson and Christopher Hitchens

Specifications: DVD, NTSC 90 minutes

© 2009 Level4

(1 min)

Aug 26, 2009

Is the Islamic Savior the Biblical AntiChrist?

We are being bombarded by things apocalyptic from every angle and there seems to be no end in sight. As 2012 approaches, I believe “end times” infatuation will explode exponentially. We are being inundated from every angle. A group of astronomers have joined to debunk the 2012 Doomsday theories. Consider the list of supposed doomsday triggering events or objects: Planetary alignment; Galactic alignment i.e. solstice, black hole and dark rift; Doomsday objects e.g. Nibiru, Planet X, asteroids, comets etc.; Magnetic pole shift; Rotational pole shift; Solar flares…and the list goes on and on.

The other day while on WorldNet Daily, I noticed an ad for “
The Islamic AntiChrist(right). The Christian bookstores are inundated with these types of "end times" reads. Is it possible that the coming Islamic messiah is in fact the Biblical antichrist? How can we know? Are we at the mercy of these "last days" prophetic speculators? Is there truly no hope for the rest of us in our quest to be faithful Bereans "seeing if these things are so?"

(2012 trailer)

It seems as though the steady diet of antiChrists, 666, embedded micro-chips and overall gloom & doom (even emanating from the secular world), is surreptitiously laying the ground work for more apathy and confusion within the Christian community. These books are continually repackaged with a few key date and player changes, yet few of us seem to be keeping score.

Listen, I don't doubt the sincerity of any of these authors, but is this a justifiable reason for not holding their feet to the fire of accountability? Since many of us do not possess a sound interpretational approach to Scripture, we are constantly being driven and tossed by the winds of these predictions.

Try as we may to turn a deaf ear to these constant prognostications, they unwittingly take their toll far beneath the cognitive processes of the brain. When anything negative happens i.e. a kidnapping, a disease outbreak or we witness blatant evidence of our ensuing cultural breakdown, it's not long before we hear something to the effect of, "It's just a sign of the times." The inference? It's only going to get worse so just buckle down, grin and bear it...before you know it we'll be raptured out of this evil abode.

Recently, I was visiting a church in another city. The Sunday school lesson centered on chapter 2 of Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians. Apparently some of the the Brethren living in Thessalonica were under the false understanding that the Lord Jesus had already returned. Seems rather preposterous that they were so far off given our current expectations, doesn't it? Have you ever wondered how they could have been so confused?

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2

How they could have thought their Messiah had already come if His return was to mark the cataclysmic end of planet earth, is certainly a question worth pondering. And why did they miss the timing so badly? 2,000 years off! Or did they?

Actually it's not really difficult to understand their plight given their Lord's rather emphatic statements that He would return within a generation, while some of His followers were still alive and before His disciples finished going through the cities of Israel. (Mt 10:23; 16:27-28; 24:34) Coupling these expectations with the really intense statements of the NT author's (Heb 10:36-37, James 5:8-9, 1 John 2:18; 1 Peter 4:7, 1 Cor 10:31, 1 Cor 7:29-31) and there's no wonder the persecuted Thessalonians thought they missed this great cloud coming event.


So as the discussion wound down in that Sunday school class we were exhorted much the same way Paul challenged these troubled men and women who feared they missed the Lord. Slightly paraphrased, our class leader charged us with this. "Men, it's going to get a whole lot worse out there so hunker down and get ready. I don't know how long it will be, but I feel that it's going to be soon."

I find it fascinating that we are prone to the same sense of imminent expectations they felt in Paul's day. Two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul wrote, "The time is short...for the form of this world is passing away." This sounds eerily familiar doesn't it? Don't we say the same thing? Have you ever wondered how a man inspired by the Spirit of God could be so far off? Do you see the predicament? Somebody's wrong on this one. It's either Jesus, Peter, Paul, John or it's us.

People are even being lead to believe that financial doom is part and parcel of this near-term (we are told) cataclysmic collapse that's a precursor to the end...that it's part of the "birth pains" prophesied in Matthew 24:8, 1 Thes 5:3 and Romans 8:22. Yet nowhere does Jesus predict high unemployment rates, a stock market collapse or crippling gas prices. But even if He did, consider the unemployment rates throughout the Depressio
n Era. For 11 years during this very difficult time, unemployment was higher than it is now . And for 4 of those years it was double our present rate.

The sheer weight of this multimedia blitzkrieg is affecting us far more than we realize. We simply cannot escape the impact of men like that well-meaning Sunday school leader who is convinced that all of the tumblers are falling into their final place. The mere fact that so many believe the Gospel's 2,000 year reign and extraordinary Kingdom expansion is going to be defeated by the forces of evil, should be enough to cause all to pause.

Eschatology is clearly not a foundational doctrine and one we should never divide over, but unfortunately, in it's presently accepted form, it is creating many beneath-the-surface expectations that I believe are rather unhealthy and unBiblical. Isn't it possible for the "Left Behindology" to have precipitated a self-fulfilling prophecy? "For as he thinks within his heart, so he is." (Prov 23:7) Could the signs of moral decay be the result of taking ourselves out of the game instead of some sort of proof that the last days are upon us?

Let me ask you this? What happens if we are wrong? What if we are encouraging an Armageddon that is not destined by God?...that actually stands contrary to His Word and against a foe that may be a future target of God's grace and mercy? What if this presumed world-ending clash took place almost 2,000 years ago between the spring of 66 to the fall of 70 AD? Preposterous? Is it possible that Peter, John and Paul were not mistaken? What if there is a mass conversion of the Muslims on our horizon? Is this too large a task for God?

Not unlike the rest of the boatload of these prolific apocalyptic money-makers, The Islamic Antichrist touts a devastating account leading up to the world’s demise. It’s uniqueness (although it is a carbon copy of a similar work from the 1920s) and intrigue springs from it’s boldness (in my opinion) to compare the Biblical antichrist with the Islamic savior. In the synopsis we find, The Bible predicts that in the last days a charismatic leader will establish a global following in the name of peace. Oh really? Where these authors come up with this stuff only their hairdresser knows for sure. :)


This book can be discredited from simply analyzing the sensationalism of its synopsis.

  1. The New Testament authors made it clear that they were nearing the end of the “last days” in the first century. (1 Cor 7:29,31; 1 Pet 4:7; Heb 10:36-37; 1 Cor 10:11; Heb 1:1-2; 1 Peter 1:20)
  2. The Apostle John offered proof that he was living in the “last hour” by the fact that many false Christs (antichrists) had already come. “…by which we KNOW that it is the last hour.” This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction in the Olivet that “false prophets will rise up and deceive many. “
  3. The word “antichrist” never appears in the book of Revelation and John only uses it 4 times in two of his three epistles. As far as the Apostle John’s testimony is concerned, all the fuss over identifying THE modern day antichrist is absolutely baseless.
  4. Notice (below) John tells us that “the spirit of the antichrist” was already in the world 2,000 years ago. Just because there are and have been many evil rulers and regimes, does not mean that any qualify as THE antichrist, since there’s no Biblical mention of a single antichrist much less one that’s 2,000 years old. =) Hitler was “anti-Christ” and so was Stalin, Mussolini and Napoleon.
For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Matthew 24:5, 11 [The Apostle John said this was fulfilled by the writing of his epistles – somewhere in the mid 60s AD – yet for some reason many ignore his testimony]

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18

and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:3

My hope is that we will stop buying these books and encourage others to do the same, lest we continue to cause the credibility of the Scriptures to suffer. I’m not insinuating that people like Joel Richardson are insincere. I believe they are definitely committed to their views. What I do question are their guiding hermeneutical principles.

Few seem to care that hundreds of these books fly off the shelves and yet not one of them has been right. I’m hoping we begin applying pressure on these authors to be accountable when they’re wrong. And why this obsession with antichrists anyway? Shouldn't Jesus Christ be our primary focus?

Aug 25, 2009

Eschatological Musings - Gary DeMar

Gary talks about his radio interview with Neil Boron regarding the "end times". Grant Jeffrey', who was to follow DeMar, espouses the typical view held by most Christians today. Is the end near? There are social, moral, and political implications in place to make such eschatological assertions.



Gary argues that one's eschatological conclusions will affect a whole host of issues. The "signs" that many use to "prove" that we are in fact living in the "last days" are actually much less prevalent now then they have been throughout history. Consider the fact that the "Black Death" killed tens of millions and between 25-40% of the European population.
In my view, we have a very poor historical aptitude and therefore are subject to the assumptions of the prophecy speculators.

We have developed so many errant presuppositions that never seem to be questioned. Where in the NT does it state that Israel becoming a nation in '48 is a fulfillment of prophecy? Where do we find even one NT text prophesying a rebuilt temple? Why is it that Jesus is returning "soon" now when all of the verses using this kind of language were written almost 2,000 years ago? The current eschatological model isn't simply broken, in my view it needs to be scrapped.

Aug 22, 2009

The TRUTH Project - Creating a Christian Worldview

The TRUTH Project is a marvelous 12 part series with the intent to help create a Biblical world and life view.

"In a recent study, the Barna Research Group revealed a stunning statistic that continues to reverberate throughout the evangelical world. Only 9 percent of professing Christians have a biblical worldview."

Because of this, today's believers live very similarly to non-believers. A personal sense of significance is rarely experienced, we spend our money and time on things that fail to satisfy and we begin to wonder what life's ultimate purpose really is. We are, in short, losing our bearings as a people and a nation."



In order to make disciples of all nations, I believe it is imperative that more than 9% of Christians develop a Biblical worldview. Our nation has lost its way in large part because too many Christians (including yours truly until 4 short years ago) are aimless, fearful and confused. Do we believe the Gospel has the capacity to reform planet earth or are the doom and gloom prophecy pundits correct? Should we become involved in all areas of life, or is it simply too late? If we think best sellers like "The Late Great United States - What Bible Prophecy Reveals about America's Last Days" have no effect on our resolve to make disciples of all nations, I believe we are naive.

The incessant bombardment of these kinds of apocalyptic books (that I believe have little Scriptural foundation) are helping create a generation of Christians who actually believe the Gospel is in route to defeat at the hands of the dark forces of the antichrist and the new world order. But what does Scripture say about these matters? Did God really set us up for defeat? Did Christ's death and bodily resurrection (overcoming sin and death) only have a personal salvific application? Or is the saving grace of Jesus as manifested by the power of the resurrection and the infestation of the Holy Spirit, going to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil?

When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Col 2:15

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Heb 2:14-15

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world... 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4-5

It seems that if we continue to believe the "time is short" and the "form of this world is passing away" in our generation (removing these statements from their original immediate context), many will see little need in reforming our paradigms in accord with God's Word. I continue to hear statements like, "Let's convert as many as we can before the final collapse and the dissolution of planet earth."

If we transport the expectations of the inevitable moral decline (prophesied by the Apostle Paul as he referenced the "last days" of Old Covenant Judaism in Timothy's day - 2 Tim 3:1-13) to the 21st century, how will the paradigm shift-changing TRUTH Project have maximum benefit? If we believe the Gospel's effectiveness is going to be increasingly stunted and ultimately turned away, and if we think that through Christ we cannot have a significant impact in the reversal of evil, what is the use in continuing to polish brass on what too many believe is a sinking ship? What the TRUTH Project gives, our modern day eschatological assumptions unwittingly take away. Therefore I believe we must develop a Christian worldview espoused by the TRUTH Project and in consort begin to recognize the need to revolutionize our eschatological assumptions.

I believe series like The TRUTH Project are an absolute must if we are to fulfill our mandate to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. I hope you will prayerfully consider involvement as this TTP comes to your city. My church, Bay Life Church (Brandon, FL), is hosting this series beginning on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 (my 31st Anniversary!) at our 60 campus. I hope to see you there.

As I have attempted to share time and again, one's eschatological presuppositions (although clearly not foundational to our faith) have and will continue to affect our expectations. Gary DeMar, in his small book, "Is Jesus Coming Soon", offers a Biblical "end times" view that is in diametric opposition to that of most of our modern day prophetic speculators. In order to see the need for developing a well-rounded Christian world and life view offered by The TRUTH project, I believe it is necessary to create expectations that fall in line with the overcoming nature of the Gospel.

I also highly recommend an audio series entitled "Last Days", found at www.charlescoty.com/audio2.html. Scroll down near the bottom right under "Dan Norcini". These sermons will absolutely blow you away. Dan is thoughtful, humble, as Scripturally literate as any you will find, and he is adept at creating a sound Biblical argument. Enjoy! And don't forget to tune in to a TRUTH Project near you.

Aug 14, 2009

Two Friends, Different Paths, Same Destiny

This is dedicated to Mike Fitzpatrick, long time friend and running buddy from Boca High days. Mike was the epitome of the party guy and one heck of a talented harrier. He's been in the auto dealership business out in SoCal for much of his adult life. We crossed paths via phone a few years ago and have remained in contact since.



Back in 1971 when the above footage was taken, I thought I was earning my way Heavenward by staying out of trouble. Mike on the other hand was doing just the opposite with reckless abandon..."eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we will all die"... and each day he didn't was due to God's merciful grace! During his morning runs Mike could regularly be seen heaving roadside, ridding himself of the prior nights encounter with multiples of six packs. I on the other hand, never touched a drop of alcohol, smoked the evil weed or did a whole lot of carousing. One living it up while the other living it down...both of us, however, were at the time running the same course...our ultimate destination...an eternity apart from God.

At the tail end of my senior year, after finally realizing that I couldn't earn my way into Heaven, God began to crystallize my thoughts. What had eluded me for so long became abundantly clear...I didn't have to "do" or "not do" anything to secure my spot with God in the afterlife. It was never about my behavior. I simply needed to put my faith and trust in Christ and allow His payment for my sin to do what I could not. (Ephesians 2:8-9) [The testimony of my family's conversion to Christianity can be found HERE or below, as Dr. David "Rev" Nicholas shared at my Mom's going home party, October 31, 2009---if you are thusly inclined, in "BECOMING", I share what Rev calls the "the bad news and the good news"]

(Kneeling L to R - Lee, Mike, Chuck, Les; Standing George & Coach)
[click to enlarge]

I don't know all the details, but at some point in Mike's life, he also became acquainted with the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the very moment he recognized his need for the Savior, and even though we had no clue of each other's faith commitment to Christ, we became eternal brothers on God's vaunted track team. Aint that awesome! It sends chills down my spine thinking we'll once again run as teammates!

For at one time we were on totally different roads with the same ill-fated ultimate destination, that is until Christ revealed Himself to us. Now, Mike and I talk regularly about life as a Christ-follower and of course running, because it will always be our passion. There's something about running that is unique...with each breath is the presence of God.

Bless you Mike Fitzpatrick, for you will forever be my brother. I love ya man! My prayer for you Mike, is that God will continue to mold and shape you into a vessel of His mercy and grace. God has great plans for you brother. From the sands of Spanish River Park to the grasslands of St Andrews, to the asphalt at Boca High, we now run a very different race with one truly amazing outcome. The road is clearly long, winding and rarely smooth, but the race is worth every dime Christ's invested in us! Bless you!

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." 1 Cor 9:24-25

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb 12:1-2

For Les Stone...my prayers will continue.

David Nicholas Memorializes Mom


Aug 13, 2009

1973 - Just Before the Rapture =)

Great memories! Gas lines were wrapped to kingdom come. We'd arrive at 5:00AM , play guitar, shoot the breeze, with hopes of adding a little petrol to our gas guzzling machines. The Middle East was a chaotic mess with one skirmish after another ... Watergate was in full swing and Tricky Dick was soon to resign under duress...it wouldn't be long Lindsey told us, the end of the world was clearly near. Surely this was it. All the signs were in place. Thirty six years later... =)


(click on icon left of Vimeo to enlarge)

I can't recall the names of everyone but I'll mention a few. George Davis, Gary Campbell (his sailboat), Gordon Weber, David Campbell, Jimmy Taylor, Bill Ferguson...Gosh, those were some great times. We had such good friends. Blessings to all!

Aug 8, 2009

The Destruction of the City of Jerusalem in 70 AD

It seems that precious few Christians possess even a modicum of historical perspective regarding the events surrounding the time between Christ's bodily resurrection and ascension in AD 30, and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Why is it that we are not taught these things vital to our comprehension of Scripture? Wouldn't it be extraordinarily relevant to understand the times, events and conditions that existed as the Canon was being written and ultimately completed? Were the events leading up to and including the demise of the Temple in AD 70, a fulfillment of Bible prophecy? Most scoff at the idea. Preposterous they say. Instead of dismissing this possibility out of hand, wouldn't it behoove us to be faithful Bereans seeing if "these things are so?" (Acts 17:11)

The majority of Christians today ascribe a still future fulfillment to both Jesus' Olivet Discourse (Mt 24; Mk 13; Luke 21) and John's Revelation. But have you ever wondered why this is the common belief, given the fact that Jesus told his disciples rather emphatically, "Truly, truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things [not some] take place"? How can "this generation" refer to a generation 2,000 years future? If He wanted to suspend or elasticize the time clock, couldn't Jesus have just as easily said, "that generation", so as to introduce some level of ambiguity as to which generation He was referring?

(a few blogs back, we made a sound case HERE, arguing that "this generation" was directed specifically to those to whom Jesus was speaking. We contended that any other conclusion would be the result of presupposition and paradigm not exegesis. In other words, if we predetermined that Jesus could not have been referring directly to the generation at hand between AD 30-70, we must either change the meaning of generation [as some have tried] or we must add our own qualifiers, like "this generation that sees the signs" etc. Either way, in my view, the interpreter is playing with fire)

Most are unaware of the overwhelming evidence supporting the first century fulfillment of these predictions. May it never be, you say! If this is even a remote possibility why are so many (as I was) in the dark regarding these matters?

Although the first and third verse of Revelation's first chapter confirm the near-term expectation of this prophetic fulfillment, why don't people today embrace this timing?

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Revelation 1:1-3

Why don't we search diligently for historical corroboration of the events that match the Revelation's first century predictions. If the events recorded in the Revelation were to "shortly take place...for the time is near", would it not be wise to see if these things actually took place shortly thereafter? I can hear the wheels turning as you read this.

We don't look back 2,000 years for fulfillment we say, because we "know" these things are reserved for our future. Really? Isn't this a leap of unbelief since we are ignoring the timing of these things while we allow our presuppositions to run amuck? Why are we, who pride ourselves in a literal interpretation of God's Word, so quick to jettison the common, literal understanding of "shortly" and "near"? Doesn't this bother us just a little?

Have you ever wondered where we obtain the Scriptural license justifying our alteration of word meanings like "shortly" and "near" to suit our own "private interpretations"? Aren't we even a little concerned that we are dabbling rather precariously with the inspiration and inerrancy of God's Word? Was God not able to communicate His plans clearly and effectively within the context of our finiteness? Isn't the test of a prophet (Deut 18:18-22) such that his prophesied word would come to pass within the time constraints of his prophetic utterance?

If we faithfully ignore the timing of these prophecies, are we not a mite intellectually dishonest? Isn't faithfulness predicated upon timely fulfillment of a promise? If the people in the Old Testament accepted the normative interpretional methods of the 21st century, would they have possessed the necessary means to determine the veracity of a prophet? If for example, the prophet Isaiah predicted the near term fall of the Babylonians to the Medes (Isaiah 13:1-22), would there have been any consequence to Isaiah if the Babylonians had not yet been defeated? Would Isaiah not have received swift rebuke for His inability to speak for the Lord?

Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Isaiah 13:6

Let me share with you why I believe we have left clear interpretations of "shortly" and "quickly" and have thus ended with an interpretational free-for-all. First, as we read the uninspired footnotes of our Bibles, we find that the Revelation was written in approx 95-96 AD. Why is this significant and what impact does this have upon the time expectations with these first three verses? No events occurring shortly after AD 95-96 fit John's prophetic description. Therefore, "things which must take place shortly" and "for the time is near", must not mean what they appear to mean, or so we are told.

The truth is that once I realized the absolutely flimsy evidence of the "late date" (AD 96), and after I began to study both the internal and external proofs, it became clear to me that not only was the Revelation written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, but our entire Canon was comprised before this earth shattering event. In "Before Jerusalem Fell", Kenneth Gentry makes a very compelling case for a mid AD 60s date, hence the book's title.

The sheer fact that the War of the Jews, culminating in the Destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, (which resulted in well more than a million Jewish deaths) is not mentioned in one book of Holy Scripture, should cause us pause and thus burden us to consider the reasons. Gentry's 409 page tome (above), along with a plethora of audio/written evidence HERE, is available for your perusal. In my view, the correct dating, specifically of the Revelation, is absolutely crucial to the integrity of God's Word.

A great deal of the impetus to treat time words and phrases like "things to take place shortly", "for the time is near", "He is coming quickly", and "the time is at hand", ambiguously, is gained by our attempt to justify the fact that the Revelation (as I mentioned earlier) has no immediate application regarding an AD 96 date. In other words, the events nearing the end of the first century don't seem to have any correlation with the predicted calamities in the Revelation.

However, if one considers the probability of an AD 65 or 66 date, the events described in this very heavily sign-ifed book, along with the "all these things" from the Olivet, fit the time period from AD 66-70 like a glove.


I believe, if you truly look at the evidence while attempting as best you can to be objective, you may be shocked to find that every last sign/warning found in Matthew 24 (wars, earthquakes, famines, desolation; false Christs, gospel preached to the whole world, tribulation etc.) took place by the fall of the Temple in the annihilation of Jerusalem in AD 70. Just 40 years prior, Jesus prophesied that "the end of the age" would culminate with the destruction of Temple/Jerusalem at His Parousia (return with a consequential presence).

And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matthew 24:2

With this as a backdrop, please prayerfully consider the extra-Biblical description of the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the multi-national army lead by Rome. This brief historical outline regards the prophetic fulfillment of both Jesus' Olivet (AD 30) and Jesus' revelation to John 35 years later (AD 65). I believe it is imperative to be certain that when Jesus or one of the New Testament's inspired writers said that something was near and right at the door, they were speaking the truth.

I'm confident that you will find the following account rather fascinating in so far as it fulfilled Jesus' prediction 40 years earlier (a generation), that "not one stone will be left upon another." May your faith be increased exponentially by the proof of God's faithfulness to avenge His adversaries. (2 Thes 1:6-10)

________________________

The Destruction of Jerusalem

Translated from

Kirchenagenda für Ev.-Luth. Gemeinden
ungeänderter Augsburgischer Konfession.
Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Missouri, 1922.
D. J. Muehlenbruch, translator

As the time approached wherein God would at last send forth His wrath against Jerusalem and the Jewish people, even as the Lord Christ Himself had threatened, the entire Jewish kingdom was vexed at every turn. The high priests practiced tyranny against the other priests; there was hatred and jealousy among other officials, and from this mobs and all manner of divisive factions, and much robbery and murder was found in and around Jerusalem.

For this reason the Emperor Nero sent Gessius Florus to the Jewish lands. And, compared to him, the Jews were so obstinate in their greed, arrogance and wantonness, the Jews hunted down and killed five thousand of his men. The Jews were also fanatical, because of the will of God, about setting themselves against the Romans and revolting. When the Emperor Nero became aware of this he send Flavius Vespasianus and his son, Titus, to Syria.

Vespatian came to Galilee, which was heavily populated, and laid waste to everything; there being no end of murder, plundering, and fire. Many thousands of Jews were slaughtered, on one occasion as many as fifty thousand valiant men, together with women and children. The soldiers spared neither old nor young, neither the pregnant nor babes in arms. On one occasion Vespatian send six thousand young men as slaves to Achaia, to dig on the Isthmus. Thirty thousand Jewish combatants were sold into bondage. In desperation, five thousand threw themselves off of high cliffs.

At this time there was an admirable man, wise and judicious, a priest among the Jews, and once their leader in war, named Josephus. He had fled with several others to a cave near Jotapata after the first alarm, he had been captured and sent to Vespatian. Since he had prophesied to Vespatian that he would become emperor, he was permitted to live. And this same Josephus has written what we know of this history.

As this was taking place in Galilee, a great crowd of rapacious people, at the instigation of Johannes, one of the great men, came to Jerusalem, so that he might use this rabble to break up the regiment there. There was also much secret murder, robbery and plundering in Jerusalem. It also happened that several high priests were slaughtered, and much blood was spilled, even in the temple. Josephus wrote that twelve thousand of the best and noblest Jews were overtaken in this uproar, and had their houses and possessions given as plunder to the mob and the vulgar and lowly.

So it was, that even before agreeable weather returned, Jerusalem had been plagued with threefold misfortune, namely a war with Rome; with insurrection and all manner of mutiny; and tyranny, which had faction rising against faction, and with the knowledge of the rulers, shedding much blood.

Now, at the beginning of Winter, Vespatian heard that Nero was dead, besieged the city with Roman legions so that he might easily storm and take Jerusalem. Now, since Vespatian was recalled from his legions to become emperor, so that he might go to Egypt, and then to Italy, he gave commend of the Jewish campaign to his son, Titus.

Titus established his encampment hear to Jerusalem, and divided the legions to besiege the city from several sides. Meanwhile, a great host of people from all cities and regions were gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. There were also, as mentioned above, three factions in the city seeking to destroy unity and order. One element was the Temple faction, among these Eleazar, son of Simon, was the leader. The Zealots, an evil, hypocritical lot, hostile to the populace, belonged to this faction. In the lesser faction, Johannes, the source of all misfortune, as mentioned above, held sway. The principal faction was controlled by Simon, with the help of twenty thousand Idumeans, sought to save the city from the wantonness and determined intention of the Zealots. Many would have had these guests somewhere else, but they could not be gotten rid of.

When Titus saw that the city was overcrowded beyond counting, hastily armed and reinforced himself in order to lay siege to the city and, as Christ had foretold, to encircle it with wagons so that hunger might drive them to greater distress and anxiety. When the Jews saw this, they with all their might to hinder and prevent this, and to keep it from happening, but it was completed and they were out of lick; For our Lord God wanted to make an end of them.

The city of Jerusalem was well fortified and had three walls. Therefore the Roman forces approached in full force to storm the city; and after much work, the first and second walls conquered and taken. At this same time, an innumerable multitude of people died of hunger, as Josephus wrote. The best of friends would often come to blows over a small piece of bread; children would often rip food from their parents' mouths. Neither brother nor sister had mercy upon the other.

A bushel of corn was more precious than gold. Driven by hunger, some ate manure; some, the cinches of their saddles; some, the leather stripped from their shields; some still had hay in their mouths when their bodies were found; some sought to escape starvation by means of their own filth. So many died of starvation that 115,000 corpses were found in the city and buried. Hegesippus reported that, at one gate alone, several thousand were carried out, and that 600,000 dies because of the siege.

Josephus reported that such a fearful, gruesome event occurred, that future generations would hardly be able to believe it. There was a respected woman, wealthy and well bred, across the Jordan; having fled Jerusalem in fear with some others. Now, since the city had been so grievously beset with hunger, (with what manner of crying and pain, one can only imagine) slaughtered her young child in the cradle, roasted half of it and ate it. When the soldiers came by looking for food, she set the remaining portion before them. The soldiers removed themselves from this gruesome scene, and having mercy upon the miserable woman, revealed this event to the lord of Jerusalem.

The Jews occupied the Castle Antonia, which was a strong fortress; they also occupied the temple compound, from which a stream flowed into the city. It cost more to conquer this fortress than all other the others combined.

Titus, however, fired up his men to storm the fortress by force. When the Romans had taken the castle, the trumpeter sounded a signal and all the Jews who had occupied the castle were slain or thrown from the walls; but some hurriedly escaped to the city in the darkness.

It is said that Titus wanted to spare the temple; but God decreed that it would not be spared. For after men had long walked and worked, and the Jews could not be moved, neither with threats or exhortations, to give up their fortified positions, the soldiers realized that the temple could only be conquered with fire; some of the men it afire. And in that hour the magnificent, exquisite and priceless building, which was celebrated far and wide, burned and was reduced to ashes.

The priests must beg and entreat pitifully to keep themselves alive; but the grace of God and men had run out. Titus, so Hegesippus writes, stated: "Now that their temple and services are gone, the priests are no longer needed." This destruction of the temple occurred on the tenth day of the month of August.

But the Jews that remained, after the destruction of the temple, in the section of the city not conquered by the Romans, thought to surrender themselves and went to Titus. Although they had not waited too long to make peace, and they did petition for peace and freedom because they were starving and in great need, nothing came of it, as it was only a few days since the city had been taken. Meanwhile, uncountable numbers of people, driven by anxiety and the distress of unbearable hunger, ran from the city into the hands of the enemy camp; there they sold themselves cheaply. It was then that the soldiers became aware that a certain Jew was picking gold which he had swallowed our of his own excrement.

Thus a rumor began to spread throughout the entire camp. This rumor caused those soldiers who thought about it to believe that they could find gold in all the Jews who had come out of the city to their encampment. More than two thousand Jews were disemboweled in a single night; and many m ore have suffered the same fate had Titus not decreed that the captives should not be killed.

Finally, the entire city of Jerusalem was conquered, neither young nor old were spared. Then a decree went out that all miserable people who were incapable of offering any resistance should be spared. Also, Jerusalem was thoroughly plundered by the foe, razed, burned and left in ruin. Some buildings were left standing, so that a few Roman soldiers might have been able to stand watch there. Only a few devastated buildings and towers were left standing to indicate that a city had once been there.

Thus the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and razed on the eighth day of September, in the fifth month of the siege.

From the host of captives Titus sent seventeen thousand healthy, young and strong men to Alexandria as quarry slaves. Many Jews were sold as cheaply as animals. Two thousand were distributed across the entire roman empire to become players in the spectacles, and to be torn apart by wild beasts in the arenas.

The total number of captives who remained alive came to ninety-seven thousand; however, at the beginning of the siege, ten times one hundred thousand were in the city, the majority of them strangers and not residents, although all were of Jewish descent and blood.

Thus Jerusalem, the most celebrated city in all of the East, came to a miserable and lamentable end, as had been prophesied, in the seventieth year after the birth of Christ our Lord.

(For a more complete account of the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, you may find it great benefit to download and read George Holford's 1805 account of, "The Destruction of Jerusalem, An Absolute and Irresistible Proof of the Divine Origin of Christianity.)
____________________________________

***NOTE: Proving exact dates within the historical timeline are extremely difficult. The Jewish calendar is primarily lunar, with each month beginning on the new moon. The problem with strictly lunar calendars is that there are approximately 12.4 lunar months in every solar year, so a 12-month lunar calendar loses about 11 days every year and a 13-month lunar calendar gains about 19 days every year. The months on such a calendar "drift" relative to the solar year. On a 12 month calendar, the month of Nissan, which is supposed to occur in the spring, occurs 11 days earlier each year, eventually occurring in the winter, the fall, the summer, and then the spring again. To compensate for this drift, an extra month was occasionally added; a second month of Adar. The month of Nissan would occur 11 days earlier for two or three years and then would jump forward 29 or 30 days, balancing out the drift.


According to www.hebcal.com, in A.D. 70 the 1st of Tishrei was on September 22. But they add this warning: "WARNING: Results for year 1752 C.E. and before may not be accurate. Hebcal does not take into account a correction of ten days that was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII known as the Gregorian Reformation." (Provided by David Curtis, Pastor, Berean Bible Church)

Aug 4, 2009

Barack "Anti-Christ" Obama? - Gary DeMar

Prophecy pundits are at it again! Listen how Gary explains passages from Isaiah and Luke in reference to "Satan falling as lightning (baraq) from heaven" (Luke 10:18). See what can happen when reading the Word with preconceived notions (as well as mistranslating your Bible)! To see the video that sparked this rebuttal, click HERE.

Jul 30, 2009

"This Generation Shall Not Pass Away Til All These Things Be Fulfilled"

When you read Matthew 24:34 from Jesus' Olivet Discourse (Matt 24; Mark 13, Luke 21), how do you interpret the phrase "This Generation" in the context of "shall not pass away til all these things be fulfilled"? Is it possible that we are living in the "This Generation" to which Jesus was referring? Since reading Hal Lindsey's "The Late Great Planet Earth" in the fall of 1972, I have been told time and again that we are living in the terminal generation.

Is the Mayan calendar's Doomsday, December 21, 2012 going to become a reality? Is the cosmic realignment going to create a polar shift of catastrophic proportions? Is Jack Van Impe's prediction of "The end of days 2012" Scripturally plausible? Are "All these things" finally upon us? Does this obsession with "the end" sound familiar? Do you grow weary being driven and tossed by the winds of these constant predictions?
Before we begin dissecting this verse, let me offer two rather common refrains that I believe are birthed out of frustration with the incessant prognostications.

1. Isn't it a lesson in futility to attempt to understand this whole "end times prophecy" conundrum? Therefore, isn't it a colossal waste of time since there's nothing we can do about it anyway?

2. Didn't Jesus tell His disciples that they (and therefore we) were not to know the time (day or hour) of His coming (parousia) since He was to return like a thief in the night?

Well, that may be what we've been told but the truth is that's not what the Bible says. We aren't subject to the winds of these self-proclaimed prophecy experts. I believe it is possible to know the timing of these things. Matter of fact Jesus and the NT writers were crystal clear on this point. As we shall see, remaining watchful was a key component of Christ's Olivet Discourse. Jesus warned that it was absolutely crucial for Christ-followers to remain vigilant since life and death depended upon their level of alert.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus was so deliberate in laying out the events and signs that were to precede His visitation (2nd coming), if no one was to have even a remote clue of the Father's timing? What was the point of the proceeding readiness parables (parable of the 10 virgins etc) if their "watching" would prove unfruitful?

"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. Matthew 24:42-43

The Apostle Paul, writing some 20 years later, crystallized and clarified both Jesus' thief and childbirth analogies.

For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6

Notice not only the coming "thief" but also to the "labor pains" that Jesus referenced in Mt 24:8. A thief in the night does not take those who were watching and waiting by surprise. And it should be remembered that Paul is writing specifically to the Thessalonians, not to us. He's warning them to be "alert and sober", for destruction would come upon those who weren't paying close attention to the signs and the seasons.

So let's move on with the presumption that not only are these things worth considering, but both Jesus and Paul made it clear that preparation and readiness were imperative.



Just prior to Matthew 24:34 we read:

"Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Matthew 24:32-33

Jesus spent the prior 31 verses sharing with His devout followers not only what to expect in the ensuing years (post Cross), but also the sequence of those unfolding events and signs, such that the watchful would know when Jesus' return was "right at the door". While it is correct that they were not to know the specific day or the exact hour of Jesus' return (Mt 24:36), Jesus said, "when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. The same prophecy "experts" who argue that we are not to know the timing of Jesus' parousia, tell us that His coming will be soon. Isn't this a bit hypocritical?

Think about the timing of His 2nd coming in terms of Jesus' childbirth analogy, " "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs." Mt 24:8

Matthew 24:34 set the duration of the pregnancy. "This generation" is equated with the 9 months of a pregnancy. Jesus confined the timing of "all these things" to a generation (approx 40 years) from that very day. Jesus was not speaking of a distant generation 2,000 years removed and we can be certain of that. So it was the "this generation" backdrop all of the New Testament writers were considering as the Holy Spirit honed and refined their understanding.

This is the reason we find the New Testament teaming with what we refer to as "imminent" time sensitive statements. And it should be noted...the closer in proximity of the Canonical writings to 70 AD, the more imminent the language. Not one statement regarding the return of the Lord is unaccompanied by a near term time referent. Don't you find that rather curious? Consider these few...

Peter: The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 1 Peter 4:7

Paul: But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, ... For the form of this world is passing away. 1 Corinthians 7:29, 31

John: Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18

Hebrews: For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37 "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Hebrews 10:36-37

James: Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. James 5:7-9

John: The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,... 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. Revelation 1:1,3

Were these men confused? Were they wrong? Are we not stepping in very dangerous murky waters in even questioning these men's inspired testimony? It appears they were simply following the lead of their Savior. Notice the correlation between Jesus', "when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door" and His brother James' "Behold, the Judge is standing right at the door". What was prophetic 30 years earlier at the Olivet, was soon to become a reality. Let's again consider Jesus' time parameter statement.

Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Matthew 24:34

What was it that prompted Jesus to make this rather startling statement? Jesus had just finished pronouncing the 7 woes against the "teachers of the law and the Pharisees" who sat in the seat of Moses. He concluded his righteously indicting tongue lashing with, "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation." Matthew 23:36 (KJV)

Does the language "all these things" and "this generation" sound familiar? Do these identical phrases have a connection to Matthew 24:34? Quite curiously, some commentators say that these two verses (Mt 23:36 and Mt 24:34) do not reference the same "all these things" or even the same generation. Why do they come to this conclusion, since by shear common sense these two passages would appear to be integrally entwined?

Many of the same commentators have written concerning Matthew 24:34, that it is one of the most confusing verses in the Bible. C.S. Lewis, in "The world's Last Night" remarked, "it is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible."

Is it really "embarrassing" and "confusing"? Why would they make such remarks, since it seems so straightforward and abundantly clear? Quite frankly, I believe it's simply the result of being unwilling (due to presupposition) to accept the most obvious implication. If I have learned anything in the last 4 years of study, it is that we all have biases which create our paradigm (worldview).

There's certainly nothing wrong with creating and maintaining a worldview, and actually it is imperative that we develop a sound foundation. It adds order and sanity to life. However, the problem is not having a paradigm but not recognizing that our biases may be in discord with Scripture. We must first recognize our bias and match it against God's Word. Often I have found my presuppositions at odds with the Bible.

So how could "all these things", which includes all the events and signs leading up to Jesus' parousia (coming with a consequential presence), have taken place within "this" generation (which was the first century generation that spanned approx 40 years (30 AD [Cross] to 70 AD [Destruction of Jerusalem] )?

First we must allow ourselves to be cornered and corralled by Scripture before we attempt to figure out how these things can be. Simply by submitting to the possibility that "all these things" actually took place within that first century generation almost 2,000 years ago (and therefore not still unfulfilled today) is step one. It's helpful to realize that it is neither evil nor heretical to consider that what was imminent to Jesus' followers, actually took place within the timing they predicted.

"This" is a near demonstrative, which simply means that it refers to something specific, something at hand. If I say "this house", everyone knows that I'm speaking about one specific house of which I am either sitting in or pointing to. "This generation" could only have been referring to the generation at hand. Jesus would have used the more nebulous "that generation" had he desired to refer to a time centuries or millennia in the future.

Consider the following from the book of beginnings:

And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Genesis 7:1 (KJV)

Is there any commentary on this planet that does not believe that "this generation" is referring to the current generation in which Noah was living? So why do these same commentators persist in changing the meaning of "this generation" in Matthew 24:34? Presupposition. Since Jesus could not (in their view) be referring directly and specifically to both the Pharisees in Matthew 23:36 and the disciples in Matthew 24:34, they are forced to alter the meaning of "this generation" or add qualifiers to the text that are nowhere to be found e.g. "The generation that sees the signs". I have found it rather odd that the folks who proudly proclaim a literal interpretation of the Bible are the first to distort, ignore or deny the most obvious and literal meaning of these time referents.

Scofield attempted to change the meaning of "generation" (genea) to race (genos). Read in the context of "race" this verse makes absolutely no sense. And why C.I. Scofield even tried to alter the meaning of genea, when Jesus used "tribes" (referring to "race") just a few verses prior (Mt 24:30), is truly a mystery. Sadly, the infamous Scofield Notes, that donned the pages of most Bibles until recently (since many alternatives have been made available), have led many astray.

Generation(s) appears in the NASB 37 times, of which 23 specifically point to the generation at hand: "this generation", "this perverse generation", "this evil generation", "you unbelieving and perverse generation", "this adulterous and sinful generation".

Is it hermeneutically (science of interpretation) expedient or intellectually honest to separate Jesus' "this generation" of Matthew 24:34 from the other 22 references specifically relating to THE generation Jesus was perceptually undressing?

Jesus was directly addressing His disciples, warning THEM (not us) of the things that were to take place in the unfolding first century generation (not in the year 2009 and beyond). Every bit of Matthew 24 was fulfilled within Jesus' "this generation" time commitment. However, it is absolutely amazing how few are even aware of the historical events between AD 30 and AD 70. Why are we not familiar with the historical writings of Josephus and Tacitus? Could it be that these things do not fit neatly into the "Left Behind" eschatology that is so prevalent today?

It is my view that these men (Tacitus & Josephus no friends to Christianity), were used by God to provide adequate testimony corroborating the fulfillment of Holy Scripture. Although these extra-Biblical writings cannot be considered inspired, they are extremely valuable in fleshing out the events that included the War of the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Since our churches for the most part are not teaching the historical surroundings of the New Testament, few have even a remote clue that line by line, Jesus' Olivet predictions were utterly and completely fulfilled. Not one stone of that magnificent Temple was left upon another, as the days of Christ's vengeance came like a thief in the night against that wicked Christ-killing first century generation.

Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. Revelation 1:7

because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. Luke 21:22

How could "those who pierced Him" see Him coming on the clouds in the year two 2009 or beyond? I surely had no idea how utterly amazing the prophetic fulfillments were. Matter of fact, I was initially shocked and then rather dismayed because I wondered how I could have been a student of Scripture for 33 years and not heard a word of this.

Consider these prophesied events and signs from Matthew 24 as they were fulfilled within "This Generation" of the first century:

1. Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many.
2. Wars and rumors of wars ... Nation will rise against nation
3. Various places there will be famines and earthquakes

But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.
[These are NOT signs]

4. They will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you
5. Many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another
6. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many, because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold
7. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Therefore when you see the
ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION

8. those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains
9. woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days
10. pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.
11. then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

Behold, I have told you in advance


But immediately after the tribulation of those days

12. THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
13. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky
14. And then all the tribes of the earth will mourn
15. and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

Jesus said that the "all these things" listed above would transpire within the first century generation to which He was speaking. The inerrancy of Scripture depends on it. We can continue to believe as we've been told or we can be faithful Bereans who were more noble than their Thessalonian compatriots because they examined the Scriptures (OT) daily "to see if these things are so." (Acts 17:11)

And if you are inclined to believe in some sort of double fulfillment (which is nowhere licensed by the text) consider this. How was it possible for the Gospel to have been preached to "all the world" twice? How can there be two tribulations "such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will"? The phrase "nor ever will" precludes a future duplicate expectation. And there cannot be two "this generations".

Let's be honest. The only reason there's even an attempt to ascribe to multiple executions of the Olivet is due to empiricism, which is often an enemy of the truth. Since planet earth does not look like the post-parousia utopia we've come to expect (errant paradigm), we are forced to
read into the text that which is not there. Few fess up to the dirty little secret that explodes this Christ-honoring utopian existence of the millennium. In the last chapter of the Revelation, Jesus (through the angel to John) tells us that things are not supposed to be all that rosy in this post 2nd coming world.

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. Revelation 22:14-15

This is a picture of exactly what we have today. We, who are part of the New Jerusalem (Gal 4:21-31) have access to the tree of life (and declared righteous by His blood) ,while those outside this spiritual city continue to do the things that come naturally. We live in a spiritual Kingdom. Our gates are always open to those who will come by faith. It is our task to invite those, outside the city walls of this Heavenly Jerusalem (as we once were), to come and dine with the King.

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. Revelation 22:17

My suggestion is that we consider altering our view of Jesus' cloud coming to fall inline with that of the Old Testament, therefore doing no damage to the plain meaning of the Text.

Lastly, in order to add perspective, it must be noted what it was that prompted Jesus' "end times" monologue.

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down." Matthew 24:1-2

In the light of this astonishing statement regarding the destruction of the temple, the disciples asked the following question:

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" Matthew 24:3

First it should be noted that some have attempted to explode this verse into two or three questions. Only a person reading their presuppositions into the text would come to this conclusion. When, they want to know, is this massive destruction going to happen? (at that point this awe inspiring edifice was 44 years into the building process that was only completed a few years before it was utterly destroyed)

Now consider Jesus' response. He didn't qualify their question and He didn't break it down into sections with various fulfillment times. And He surely didn't chide them for asking. Even though they weren't fully cognizant of the implications of His coming (since they didn't even understand He was leaving), just prior to the Transfiguration Jesus had told them that some of them would witness this horrific event.

"For the Son of Man is going to [mello] come [erchomai] in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds . 28 "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." Matthew 16:27-28

We don't have the time here to fully address the above passage, but suffice it to say, many commentators have assumed Jesus was speaking of His Transfiguration or Pentecost. Glory, Angels and Judgment were not all facets of either event. And since the Transfiguration and Pentecost were only 6 days and 60 days future, it seems rather preposterous (sorry for the strong term) to believe that Jesus could have been making such an abrupt statement were He referring to a time when every disciple (with the exception of Judas) was still very much alive.

Even earlier Jesus was laying the groundwork for the timing of His coming.

"But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes. Matthew 10:23

Who will not have finished "going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes"? "You", right? The same "you" to whom Jesus was speaking in Matthew 16:27-28 and in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24:34.

It was this direct teaching of Jesus that the Holy Spirit used to teach the timing of 2nd coming to Jesus' devout followers. Matthew 24:34 doesn't stand alone. It, taken in consort with Matthew 10:23 and Matthew 16:27-28, provides the framework that was fleshed out in the Bible's Letters/Epistles.

Atheists are having a heyday with these things. It's my view that if we don't develop a reasonable answer based upon logic, we are going to continue to lose ground. and the shipwrecked faith's of many more will become ever-present realities. I believe the following timing parameters were fulfilled within the time constraints predicted, but the church at large has no viable answer.

Timing Parameters of the 2nd Coming

1. Before Jesus' disciples finished going through the cities of Israel (Mt 10:23)
2. While some of those who heard Jesus preach were still alive (According to Acts 1, Jesus often had a following of well over 100 people) (Mt 16:27-28)
3. Within a generation (Mt 24:34)

If you would like a detailed analysis of the fulfillment of Matthew 24, read the linked document, "The Destruction of Jerusalem, An Absolute and Irresistible Proof of the Divine Origin of Christianity". Written in 1805, George Holford uses the timely fulfillment of the events recorded in Matthew 24 as "an absolute and irrestible proof of the divine origin of Christianity."