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The End of The World
(Matthew 24)

(Taken from The Beginning of The End of All Things, Parts 4 & 5)

"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Matthew 24:3.

When the time of those events drew closer, around 60 A.D., the apostle Peter began to prepare the church for them, saying: “...the end of all things is at hand” 1 Peter 4:7, and again six years later, four years before it came to pass. In his second letter, he said that the Lord would be coming as a thief in the night, and this coming would cause the heavens to be set on fire and pass away, and the elements to melt with fervent heat, the earth as well and the works therein would be burned up 2 Peter 3:10-12. The beginning of the end of all things was not far off.

The End, of course, is Jesus, as we noted previously, as Revelation 22:13 makes this clear: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last,” and He was at hand then, and He is still at hand. Jesus was at hand when Peter wrote that the end of all things was at hand 1 Peter 4:7, He has been at hand throughout the past two thousand years, and He has been bringing an end to many things. Jesus is both the Beginning and the End with everything and everyone having their beginning in Him. This fact permeates the scriptures throughout the Bible; however, we can see that the end of the world, and the end of all things speaks more than Jesus being the ongoing end to all things pertaining to the realm of death. It also speaks of the judgment that would be sweeping over the world Jerusalem. Both, He and Peter were making reference to this judgment in these verses, and that is what we want to notice today.

We can draw out metaphorical and spiritual truths from verses like these; but we need to know that Peter was speaking very plainly. He was warning the people of an approaching danger. He was not alluding to something that would take a rocket scientist to grasp. He was speaking plainly enough for children to understand.

Very often scriptures have hidden messages that speak of spiritual things that will go unnoticed by the majority, such as those things we discussed in our three previous articles in this series. We may see spiritual aspects in what Peter wrote that did not apply to that generation; however, when Peter said that the end is at hand, he meant exactly what he said. Since he was first addressing his generation, he truly meant that the end of everything of that age was at hand. It was near. It would be coming to an end soon. It was close by. The hour was swiftly approaching. The end was on their doorstep, and there would be no time to pack or call Allied Van Lines when the signs began to appear.

Jesus said that when they saw the sign of the son of man in the clouds of the heavens: “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” Matthew 24:16-18.

Various beliefs have contributed to the misunderstanding of what was meant concerning “the end.” One of the most popular beliefs has been that the world and everything in it will eventually be destroyed at least two thousand years from the time of the warning. One factor for this belief is the idea of the “world” (cosmos) being the same as the planet called “Earth.” This has presented some problems; for instance, the earth was not destroyed shortly after those words were declared, and it has yet to be destroyed . Therefore, by misunderstanding the scriptures and historical events, it was assumed that everything was yet future. It was either that, or the apostle simply missed it. And quite a number of scholars, both of the world and of the church, have said that the apostle misunderstood what Jesus had taught, and he did not have a clear picture of God’s plan for the ages. Consequently, the truth concerning the end is seldom told, the error continues on as fact, and the false scenarios of Jesus coming soon and the heavens and earth being destroyed are never fulfilled, and they never will be as they suspect.

As long as I can remember we have heard that “Jesus is Coming Soon!” During my 63 years, I fail to recall Jesus ever having come in the manner they speak. So many people have repeatedly said that He would be coming soon; but Jesus never came soon! That proclamation has been going throughout the world for a long time, for hundreds of years, and the soon coming Jesus has not made one of those appointments. He skipped them all; but the word continues to resound all over the world with as much fervor and excitement, I am sure, as the first time it was declared. I do not doubt that the majority mean well; but well-meaning people who are void of the truth do not produce fruit. Even so, once a belief takes root it becomes a tradition, and traditions are harder to break free from than a maximum security federal prison. With scriptures so plain that a child would not err therein, it is amazing to see the number is ever increasing who believe that Jesus is coming soon, and He certainly may. We don’t discount that; but it will not be in the manner they imagine. And I am sure they will continue imposing Maier’s Law even when clear truth is presented to them. Maier’s Law says: “If facts do not conform to theory, they must be disposed of.”

Jesus very often used symbols when foretelling things that would be taking place and were not easily understood; but some things He said were very plain. This, however, did not stop people from failing to see what He was saying. Without a clear vision dates would then be set for the return of Jesus and the end of the world, with every one of them, of course, failing. Jesus just won’t keep a date! Therefore, after being stood-up again, like always, it’s back to the drawing boards for new charts and dates.

If you should delve into eschatology (the study of: end things/times, the end of the world or of humankind), you will find that the teaching of “Jesus coming soon” has been universally going on since the early days of the church. As time elapsed, there were seasons in which certain church factions did not major on the subject continually. However, it would not be long before someone would pick it up again. After so many past failures you would think they would discard the thought altogether; but instead, they would only set it on a shelf for time, or bury it in shallow archives only to be dug up and propagated again, and again. There was always someone who would come along and revive it. Even when their predictions failed, which was every time, they kept on preaching, professing, predicting, and prophesying new dates. The same thing would be repeated time and again. Over and over the same people said the same thing with nothing changing but the dates, and the gullible kept believing them.

There is a pastor of a church here in Alamogordo who has been preaching every year since 1988 that Jesus is coming in September or October to rapture them. This began in that church with the pastor being consumed by the book “Eighty-Eight Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in Eighty-eight” by Edgar Whisenant (5 million sold, almost all prior to 1989). The book was revised because the author missed it by a year. He realized that when Jesus didn't come in 1988, he meant to say 1989, and here we are in the latter part of 2005 without one word having been fulfilled. Here are a few samples of other books predicting the return of Jesus and the end of the world: Watch and Be Ready! 1992 Millions Disappear (D. A. Miller); 1994? (Harold Camping); I Predict 2000, (Lester Sumrall); and B. J. Opreza’s rebuttal to such predictions, 99 Reasons Why No One Knows When Christ Will Return.

Some have said that Jesus appeared to them in person and told them that they would not die before he came again to rapture them away; but to the dismay of those who believed them, many are presently laying dead in their graves, and Jesus did not come as “He told them.” Apparently, they either lied, they had a dream that was influenced by their beliefs, or they were visited by a lying spirit posing as angel of light.

Every one of the date-setters of a soon coming of Jesus Christ have been wrong. Every last one of them! Not one has been right. They have all been wrong! Period! You would think that after a lifetime of failure upon failure, and failure following fast on the heals of another failure that they and their followers would have learned better by now. But the spirit of religion is a strange thing. It is a hard adversary to overcome; for it has a way of blinding people to the obvious by making a lie believable, black seem white, good to appear evil and evil good, and this excites them. It seems that they truly don’t want to overcome such an entertaining enemy. It is like a drug, making them feel good for a little while, but always letting them down.

And there is no reason to believe things will change, at least not until truth comes from on high like crashing thunder and shatters every false image of Baal. It is then we will see, as it was with Israel, that: “...they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day 2 Kings 10:27. The Amplified Bible says, “...([forever unclean] a privy to this day” i.e. an outhouse. I mention this verse for one reason — for us to see the real worthlessness of doctrines that have a lot of hype and distract from the truth. They merit no more then being receptacles for waste. Perhaps we can now understand why it grates so grievous against us when people make such statements as: “Jesus is coming soon! The rapture will be any day now!” And, “The end of the world is at hand!” Words like this are nothing more than building materials for draught houses. They are wasted thoughts, useless beliefs that will never be fulfilled.

On occasion people ask me when do I think Jesus is coming. I generally say, “He has already come. He came to me in 1971, He came at Pentecost in the upper room to the 120, and He has continued to come to millions ever since.” The common response is, “Oh, yeah, I know that; but when do you think He is really coming? When is He coming back to earth?” My answers vary, depending on the direction of the Spirit in the matter. (Sorry I can’t give you a pat word on how to answer such questions. If this was prior to the end of the world, I might be able to give you a law that would be black or white on the subject; but this 2005 and is after the end of the world of the Law in 70 A.D. We must now be led by the Spirit, which fulfills the Law.)

The coming of the Lord in 70 A.D. was entirely different than His coming at Pentecost. His coming in Matthew 24 was fulfilled in 70 A.D., while that which Jesus told the twelve in the 14th chapter of John was fulfilled at Pentecost. That coming has been flowing since that wonderful day, a day that so many have failed to see as one of His comings. It is a mystery that the words of the two men in white apparel have been so routinely misunderstood, even though it is plainly stated how He would come again after He ascended:

"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" Acts 1:9-11.

We question why Bible scholars of most all of the world’s churches have not noticed the meaning of this term, in like manner. One of the anointed writers of today, Terry Crisp, has done the ground work that the university professors, seminary teachers, and other learned Bible scholars have failed to do:

“The main obstacle many have had with this approach presents itself in the words spoken in Acts 1:11. ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye here gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.’ To those who are inclined to reading the scriptures with natural understanding, this disallows for any variance in the way we see Christ's appearing. But when we read that Jesus would return in like manner as He was seen going away, we find it necessary to ask the question, what is meant by ‘in like manner’? Does it mean in the exact manner? Or does it mean in a similar manner? There is a big difference, you know. We would draw your attention to the fact that this phrase ‘in like manner’ comes from the Greek word tropos, and is also used by Jesus in Matthew 23:37... ‘O Jerusalem...how often I would have gathered thy children together, even as (tropos) a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings....’ No one in their right mind would assume that Jesus wanted everyone in Jerusalem to actually come under His outstretched arms, in exactly the same way that chicks seek refuge under a mother hen. That would be ridiculous. We understand that He was speaking figuratively here. In similar fashion, we could say that during His incarnation, Jesus came in like manner as the spotless lamb that was sacrificed at the Feast of Passover. It was similar to, but not an exact duplication of the prototype. After His crucifixion, we could say that He was in the heart of the earth three days and three nights in like manner as Jonah's experience in the belly of the whale (Matthew 12:40). We could also say that He carried out His duties behind the veil in like manner as the Great High Priest, not in an earthly tabernacle, as did the priests who came before Him, but into heaven itself, in order to make atonement for our sins (Hebrews 9:11-12, 24). Many examples like this could be mentioned, but this should adequately demonstrate the fact that in like manner does not necessarily mean in exact manner.

“...We could point out that in every instance where the coming of the Lord is mentioned in Scripture, and see it is not possible that they could all refer to the same event. The fact of the matter is, there are many different comings of the Lord, and six different Greek words which are used in the New Testament to describe those comings or appearings. A careful study of the original text will prove that this is so. Among these references to His return, some of them are applicable to a future event or events. Some of them have present-day applications, describing ways in which the Lord routinely comes to, with, and in His people. And some even refer to comings which have already occurred, such as His coming on the Day of Pentecost, and His coming in judgment to Jerusalem in 70 A.D.” — End quote. (http://geocities.com/goodseedpub/Zarah10htm.htm Zarah & Pharez Part X).

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" Acts 2:1-4.

A cloud received Him out of their sight. Did this not happen in like manner ten days later? In like manner, but not exactly the same way, a cloud of 120 received Him in the upper room. And is it not the same today? Hasn't a cloud of people in like manner received Him out of the sight of the world? We, the cloud that resides in the heavens, have received Him; but He is not in sight of those of the world, and it is the same with those of whom we have been humbly speaking. Are they not gazing stedfastly toward heaven, looking into the heavens, into the sky, for His coming?

But the clouds of the sky are not where He is found nor from where He comes. I don’t think Jesus was seen as a flaming tongue of fire falling from the sky on the day of Pentecost, and streaming on through the open windows before baptizing the 120 with His Spirit. But He did, however, descend (was manifested) from the heavens of the Spirit and suddenly appeared as cloven tongues of fire, and His cloud of witnesses received Him.

Remember? The two men in white apparel said: "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

Again — in what manner was Jesus taken? Was it not by a cloud and into heaven? And was it not in like manner that a cloud of 120 witnesses received Him from heaven when Pentecost had fully come? He went up and came again in like manner. It was HEAVEN that He was taken into, and it was HEAVEN from where He came in like manner to fill the 120 in the upper room. A small cloud of about 120 first received Him, then 3,000, later on it was 5,000, and finally the receiving cloud grew that could not be numbered.

Even though the two men said this same Jesus shall come in like manner, it is not easy for some to equate the ascended Jesus as the same as the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Nevertheless, the two are the same, and Paul confirmed it: "Now the Lord is that Spirit..." 2 Corinthians 3:17. Moreover, let us not forget that Jesus said: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also....He dwelleth with you, and shall be IN you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” John 14:3, 17-18, and He came as promised to those He was talking to, as well as the others in the upper room when Pentecost had fully come.

Jesus was speaking of something entirely different in John 14 (“I will come to you”) than Matthew 24 (“the end of all things” and “the end of the world”). He was letting them know that after leaving, He would return and become one with them; but the end of all things being at hand, and the end of the world had to do with the end of Jerusalem and the Temple. In John 14, Jesus spoke of coming to His own in the power of holiness; but in Matthew 24 He spoke of coming in fiery judgment.

Scholars have viewed certain scriptures as presenting irreconcilable problems. Such as, “...The end of all things is at hand 1 Peter 4:7,” “...The Lord is at hand Philippians 4:5; “...the coming of the Lord draweth nigh... the judge standeth at the door James 5:8,9, etc. They assume that these verses speak of the final judgment of mankind, for which there has been no evidence; yet each one of those citations indicate it would take place during that generation’s day.

These verses have been a challenge for ages, with some saying that the apostles were wrong, while others illogically reason that after they penned those prophetic words there was a break in time, a 2000 year fracture, and now they say that the coming of Jesus is really at hand, He is finally near, He is, now, truly at the door. Frankly, there is no justification to be found anywhere in the scriptures that God takes a prophecy and chops it up into segments of time; however, this is the only way some can make the scriptures fit their end-time beliefs and predictions. This has been an ongoing problem, and it will continue being a problem for them; for all the predictions and dates will fail, and the flow of events will never correspond to the misinterpreted scriptures that speak of our Lord’s coming. The problem dissolves, however, when we understand that the time factor of His coming in Matthew 24 was for that generation and not ours. It was for that generation alone, and not for a generation 2000 years later. When the time-line of “this” generation is understood, mountains of eschatological illusions crumble, and men’s paper castles go up in smoke as the fiery word of truth sets them ablaze. Those who have a love for the truth will shout praises unto God, while those who love their own kingdoms more than God’s will call the truth a lie and die in theirs. So be it!

Again, "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Matthew 24:3.

That which was said by Jesus and Peter, about "the end of the world" and "the end of all things," was totally contrary to what is being taught across the globe as sound doctrine. Doctrines having little or no fact are placed in the foundation of beliefs, the entire structure is destined to eventually weaken and fall.

Although spiritual types and shadows can be seen in these verses , we should not overlook the obvious. The obvious in this case is that the literal, historical fact unfolded exactly as the apostle and his Lord said it would. There is no way, of course, we can take all the scriptures of the Bible in the literal sense; but when it is clear that they are speaking of such, we should oblige the authors of those words by believing them. And we should especially believe them when history shows so clearly that what they said has been fulfilled to the letter, and once we see this as fact, there is no reason to keep hoping and looking into the future for it. In reference to this point, Paul said: "But hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?" Romans 8:24. In other words, when that which we had hoped for has arrived, why would there be a need to keep hoping for it?

For instance, a young man is told by his parents that he will someday meet the love of his life, he will marry her, he will have children by her, and hopefully, they will all live happily ever after.

And sure enough, Mom and Dad's prophecy begins to unfold: after knowing quite a number of fair maidens, he meets the one and only true love of his life. The first part of what he was told is fulfilled and he no longer has hopes of meeting the love of his life. Once they are married, the second part of his parents words is fulfilled, and he stops hoping on getting married. The scenario continues until every word is fulfilled, and there is no longer any hope left whatsoever, and this is, of course, not a bad thing. Hope is certainly a good thing to have; but the fulfilling of that hope is much better. And it should be the same with the words Jesus and Peter spoke about the end of the world, or age, and the end of all things being at hand, and afterwards progressing onward to greater things.

However, such is not the case, however, when it comes to minds immersed in traditional doctrines; for even though the words of Jesus and Peter have been fulfilled, people are still hoping that those events will someday come to pass. This blind leading the blind thinking is no different than it was, and still continues to be, for the Jews. They were hoping and waiting a long time for the Messiah to come, and when He finally came, they could not believe it, or would not believe it, and they crucified Him to insure that they could continue in their hope that is not seen, hoping for the Messiah they had imagined him to be.

In the rejection of their own Messiah, they pled: "His blood be on us, and on our children" Matthew. 27:25. Their petition was granted!

Due to being blinded and hardened by their religious traditions they refused to cast down their imaginations. They are to this day hoping that their Messiah will someday come. We can easily see the error of their hope; the same error exists with those who are hoping and looking for the day of the Lord when He comes to catch them away, destroy the world, and bring an end to all things.

They who hope for this fail to see that "The end of all things being at hand" and "the end of the world" came to pass many centuries ago, and the end of all things and the end of the world was the end of the animal sacrifices, the end of the temple, the end of the priesthood, the end of the Jewish economy, and the end of the great city of Jerusalem. It was truly the end of that particular world! It was not the end of that religious belief; but it was the end of that religious belief system! It was the end of that religious age! It was the end of that aion! It marked the end of everything which pertained to the dispensation of the Law and the glory of that age. When Peter penned those words, the end of everything that had sustained and perpetuated the old order was literally at hand.

"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you" Matt. 24:1-4. The Amplified makes it more clear: "...Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age?" Matthew 24:3.

The words of Jesus in Matthew 24 were the beginning of the end of Jerusalem. He was prophesying the end of the old order of things, and the beginning of the new, and He was the focal point of that end. He was the beginning of the end of everything the Jews embraced as holy. Rituals and sacrifices were the center of the Jews' life. There was none like it in the world, and Jesus brought an end to it. He was the End of The World that caused all the tribes of the earth (the twelve tribes of Israel) to groan.

It has been supposed that all the tribes of the earth relates to all the inhabitants of Earth. However, contrary to presumption, all the tribes of the earth does not speak of all the nations and peoples of this planet. Nowhere in the Bible does the word tribe indicate a group or race of people except the twelve tribes of Israel. The Moabites were not called the tribes of Moab. Neither do we hear mention of the tribe of Sodom, the tribe of Egypt, or the tribe of Rome. It is simply foreign to scripture. Of the 313 times the word tribe(s) is used in the Bible, every case is in association with Israel. I have looked, but have not found any place where it is otherwise mentioned. In addition to this, when the word earth is used in the scriptures, it is not in reference to the entire planet. Earth is translated hundreds of times from the Hebrew word, erets, which speaks of a country or a specific parcel of land. Is often translated land and country, such as, the land (erets) of Israel, and get thee out of thy country (erets).

We would think it strange, and it would be strange, if these verses read: "The Earth of Israel" and "get thee out of the Earth." The Greek word for earth in the New Testament is g and is equivalent to the Hebrew erets. It is used 217 times and is translated as also land, country, ground, as well as, earth. The mind-set of the original text is that of the immediate local and surrounding areas. It conveys no thought of the entire earth, as it is for the church world today.

All the tribes of the earth who groan by no means signify every nation and nationality inhabiting Earth; rather, it is directed specifically to the twelve tribes of the land of Israel, and that groaning began with the destruction of Jerusalem. Their world came to an end that fateful day of the Lord.

Matthew 24 should have been a history lesson to everyone born after 70 A.D., but it hasn't been. Those who have been blinded by the tradition of the fathers, or who have much to lose by the truth, still read Matthew 24 as a prophecy. They gloss over plain spoken words and twist other verses to say things that are simply not true.

I suppose we can expect the average person to miss the hidden meanings contained in the vast wealth of Biblical scriptures, especially when symbols, signs, parables, and analogies are used, such as are contained in some of the verses of the chapter. But it is ironic, to to say the least, when doctors of religion do not understand these symbols, and especially fail to see the elementary things that are in clear view, and Matthew 24 is one of those elementary chapters of the Bible. And once the few symbols are understood, the words of Jesus are plain, they are straight-forward, they are to the point; therefore, there should be no mistaking what He said, but that has not been the case. They haven't seen but a smattering of God's truths. Such is the world of religion, both old and new.

Again, Jesus was asked when would the temple be destroyed, when would He be coming, and when would the end of the age come. In order to keep things in proper context we must note that the entire discourse of this chapter is related to those three questions of when: 1) when would the temple be destroyed; 2) when would He be coming, and 3) when would the end of the age come. We have already noted sufficient evidence that each of these three points were fulfilled in A.D. 70.; but we will note some additional points in order to satisfy anyone who may still be in doubt. For instance, Jesus made statements that should not be hard to miss. Herein all three questions are answered: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved...." And, "IMMEDIATELY after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken," and "Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away" Matthew 24:21-22, 29, 34-35.

Every word He declared came to pass exactly the way He said it would. The powers in the Israel's heavens were shaken with cosmic proportions that had never been. Everything was destroyed of that world. Jerusalem and the temple ceased from being the spiritual center of the world, and the new Center took its place; namely, the New Jerusalem from above (Gal. 4:6, Heb. 12:22, Rev. 3:12, & 21:2). and the temple of God not made with hands (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 2 6:16, Eph. 2:21).

Immediately afterwards the sun was darkened -- the light of the law diminished. The moon ceased to give her light -- The office of the priesthood that reflected the law instantly faded away. And the stars of heaven fell -- the luminaries of those heavens, individual priests, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Sanhedrins fell from their lofty positions of authority to be no more. THAT HEAVEN AND EARTH PASSED AWAY, taking with them THE INHABITANTS thereof! The heavenly kingdom and dominion of Israel, as well as their powers and glory in the earth, ceased to be. Their glory ended. Every light that the Jewish nation knew was forever extinguished. The Old Covenant came to an end and was replaced by the New. Both the heaven of their spiritual authority, and the manifestation of that authority in the earth passed away. The kingdom of Israel melted like mount Sinai in the presence of the Lord! "The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel" Judges 5:5. THEIR GLORY VANISHED FOREVER -- FULFILLING THE WORDS OF JESUS to the letter! That nation will never rise again. God does not redo ages, he makes new ones.

The generation Jesus was speaking to saw the end of the old one come to pass. Remember? He said, "...this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" Matthew 24:34. Are there some who think not?

Let me ask this of the skeptics. If that generation passed as Jesus said it would -- do we have a 2,000 year old generation of people walking around today, and who are still waiting for Jesus to come and fulfill His prophecy of the world coming to an end, and the temple being destroyed? The answer is obvious. There is no such generation. The generation Jesus spoke of is gone! That generation is history! Nevertheless, there are countless professing Christians who are waiting for Him to come in the manner they erroneously presume, in the way they have been taught by pastors and church leaders they love and trust. These same people are also waiting for the world to end with everything burning to ashes; but courteously, they are not waiting for the temple to be destroyed. To the contrary, they are waiting for it to be REBUILT, so Jesus will have a place live when He returns. I do not hesitate to say that they are waiting in vain; for the rebuilding of the natural temple made with hands is converse to scripture! He does not nor ever will live in a temple built with hands: "...the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands...." Acts 7:48. (rf. also Acts 7:49 17:24 & Hebrews 9:11, 24).

The people of that generation saw the tribulation of those days. They saw the sign of the son of man appearing in heaven, they saw the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, they saw the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, and they saw the destruction of Jerusalem. They were eyewitnesses of seeing not one stone of the temple left unturned at the hands of Titus. They were there to see the angels, the ones God elected, who were drawn and gathered by His Spirit from the four winds. They saw the day of the Lord. They saw firsthand the son of man coming as a thief in the night and stealing away the riches of the Jew's kingdom. That generation saw Israel's world as they knew it come to an end.

"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" 2 Peter 3:10.

Volumes could be written on the subject of the day of Lord; but we neither have the time nor space in this short study to address the point at length. We will only note that in every case where the term, the day of the Lord, or the Lord's day, is used in the Bible, it has to do with judgment, and this was certainly one of those classic days of the Lord.

That generation lived to see the day of the Lord when the angels were sent with a great sound of a trumpet, and they gathered together His elect from The four winds. They were gathered from one end of heaven (spiritual power and authority) to the other Matthew 24:31. They saw the stars of the night lose their place in the heavens as guiding lights to those in the earth. That generation stood as a testimony to Israel losing its God-given authority, and everything the nation had worked for. Everything they had accomplished was burned up. Their WORLD came to an everlasting end. That AGE ended forever, and immediately afterwards God openly replaced it with a new world -- a New World Order, if you please, which is the Kingdom of God.

Although the Kingdom of God had been in progress since the advent of Jesus, that was when the old Kingdom ended completely, and the new one took reigns of leadership. Moreover, when the eyes of the people of the world are opened by being born from above, they will flood then New Kingdom's borders like the illegal aliens who are presently flooding the US border looking for a better life.

The first day of this New Age, of course, was the day Jesus was born in Bethlehem, while the last day of the Old Age, as Jesus had foretold, was the day that not one stone of the temple was left standing upon another. Both worlds/ages/aions, the OLD and the NEW, were intertwined for a short season. Jesus introduced the new age which was the benchmark of life, while men of age-worn religion insisted on keeping their deadly grip on what they had, especially their exalted positions, and the law which gave them their authority. It was all filled and overrunning with death, and they loved it. They loved darkness more than the light. They were rooted deeply in death and adamantly refused the gift of life. Therefore, in respect to the Jew's hardness of heart, God sent His elect to deal with them according the law that they loved and knew so well.

We may have often wondered why God would judge in such a manner; but in noticing Exodus 20:3-17 we can see the spiritual law of sowing and reaping in effect that fateful day of Israel's demise:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

The Law itself had become a god to them.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

Their rituals and ceremonies had become engraved images to them, as well as priestly garments, phylacteries, ad infinitum. And they hated Jesus, God's Son, and killed Him.

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

They used the Tetragram or Tetragrammaton for His name, which are four Hebrew letters usually transliterated as YHWH (Yahweh) signifying the Hebrew name for God which the Jews regarded as too holy to pronounce. To them, they would neither write nor say Yahweh without believing they would be taking His name in vain. In doing so, they were taking His name and worshiping the tetragramaton, and, in effect, taking it in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.

They work tirelessly with their rituals, ceremonies, grandiose parading before the people. Therefore, they did not keep the Sabbath holy (sacred and clean, Heb).

Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Their adultery was with the religious system, most of which was their own creation.

Thou shalt not steal.
They stole liberty from the people, making them slaves of religion.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
They hired false witnesses to testify against Jesus so they could kill him.

Thou shalt not covet.
They coveted the best seat. They coveted power and fame. They coveted recognition and acknowledgment as being unlike the publicans who came to the temple to pray (Luke 18:11).

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
They did not honor God their father and the Father of all (Eph. 4:6), else they would not have been guilty of breaking the preceding commandments, and especially the next one.

Thou shalt not kill.
They killed the prophets, women caught in adultery, God's firstborn Son, and His brothers born after Him. Their desire was to kill the entire family of God.

An Eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Matthew 5:38.

This was one of the alternate laws, commonly called the laws of Moses, that they also loved so dearly. Therefore, according to their own laws, and this one, an eye for and eye, and a tooth for a tooth -- they were judged. The corruption of the adamic head went all the way to the serpents tail, and the whole body reaped what it had sown with the heel of the Lord bruising the subtle head of that religious regime.

Some amazing warnings took place shortly before the heel was brought down and the reaping began. In one of the accounts of Rome's official Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, he states that several phenomenon appeared seemingly only to amuse the people. We will read from his works and note some of those omens that amused them. But not everyone was amused. The historian Eusebius recorded that the early Christians fled Jerusalem and found refuge at Pella beyond the Jordan river (Ecclesiastical History 3.5.3). Those who heeded the words of Jesus escaped the city in advance of the inferno and did not perish. Now, to hear from Josephus:

"Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation, but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan,] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple. Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. Now those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. So these publicly declared that the signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius [Jyar], a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, 'Let us remove hence.'" (The Works of Josephus: The War of the Jews, Book 6, Chapter 5, Section 3).

And a little more from the historian: The most horrific scene, one that left even the hardest of men reeling, involved that of a young mother killing and roasting her infant son. Josephus wrote that when several starving men smelled the cooking of meat, they rushed upon the woman and demanded to see the food she was hiding. She replied: "'This is mine own son, and what has been done was mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.' After which those men went out trembling, being never so much aftrighted at any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done by themselves."(Book 6, Chapter 3, Section 4).

This is only a small fragment of the great tribulation that Jesus said would be coming at the end of the age: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved....." Matthew 24:21-22.

The above accounts were only a few of several historical events of that great tribulation and signs of the coming of the son of man and of the end of the world. Signs of God's elect were seen coming upon Jerusalem that marked the beginning of the end of that age and the beginning of the new. While God's host of the heavens were disposing of the spiritual powers of Israel's priesthood, Titus was elected to dispose of them upon the earth, causing all the dispersed twelve tribes of the earth to mourn; for their world was coming to a fiery end.

The siege and destruction of Jerusalem was the negative side of God's elect coming from the FOUR WINDS -- taking one in the field, and one grinding at the mill. The positive aspect was the coming of the Son of man to THE OTHERS WHO WERE LEFT. Some were taken by Titus, God's elected sword, and severely judged. They were slaughtered, sacked, and had their appointed portion with the hypocrites, while those LEFT were excluded. The disciples of Christ were LEFT OUT of God's judgment. They saw the signs Jesus had told them to be looking for and escaped Titus' wrath by leaving before the siege of the city.

At the coming of the Son of man to that celestial body, those seated with Christ Jesus in the heavens were made rulers over all His goods; and this has been the case since that fateful day of God's visitation and the beginning of the New Age of Jesus Christ. We can see that the birth of Jesus was the Beginning of The End of All things pertaining to the world as the Jews knew it, and His coming in 70 A.D. finalized it. That is when the Lord came as a thief in the night, and the heavens of their glory passed away with a great noise (Grk. rhoizdon: a whir, whizzingly with a crash), and their elements (Grk. stoicheion: orderly arrangement) melted (Grk. lou: to loose, break up). The order of that day and age was loosened and broken up with the fervent heat of war, along with all the earth of their works 2 Peter 3:10. Everything was consumed to end the world wherein they had reigned supreme in the land of Israel.

Jesus said: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" Matthew 23:27. The head of that nation, and all the way to the tail, had become corrupt and was no more than a stinking carcass -- food for eagles, breakfast for vultures, if you please. In so many words, He said that they would become fodder for those birds of prey and carrion: "For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together" Matthew 24:28.

Some, including myself, have thought and taught that Jesus was foretelling the manifestation of the sons of God, saying that where the eagles gather was the same as Romans 8:17-21. But not so. It speaks of the manifestation of the elect of God, as cruel and evil as they were, but not the manifestation of the sons of God. In light of plain truth and in the context of this chapter, there is no foundation of such a thought to stand on. The carcass was not referring to the sons of God, but of the dead body of Israel, and the eagles were not speaking of the eagle saints, or of overcomers who had passed in death to the other side, but of Titus and his army. Should we have an occasion to bring out the truth of the manifestation of the sons of God, let it be done with the scriptures that apply to the subject and leave these with the historical fact of 70 A.D. when those days were as it was in the days of Noah.

As The Days Of Noah Were

When the words of this heading are read, a lot of people's minds form images of what they think it says. To them it is generally a picture of the Rapture. But let me encourage all who embrace that thought to read these verses in context and hear as they plainly speak:

"But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage...and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And...there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 24:37-40 & 51.

Please consider the following parallels:

Who were eating and drinking in Noah's day before the flood came? The wicked!
Who were eating and drinking before Titus came? The wicked!
Who were taken away by the flood in Noah's day? The wicked!
Who were taken away by the flood of Titus in his day? The wicked!
Who were weeping and grinding their teeth in sorrow in Noah's day when the flood came? The wicked!
Who were weeping and grinding their teeth in sorrow in Titus' day when his flood came? The wicked!
Now, who were left, who were spared in the days of Noah when the flood came? The righteous!
And who were left, who were spared in the days of Titus when his flood came? The righteous, of course!

Let us set the record straight. The righteous were not taken in 70 A.D., and they will not be taken in a future rapture. These verses do not remotely suggest such a thing. But rather, Jesus was very clearly drawing a comparison between the two events of the flood and the destruction of Jerusalem. He was speaking plainly that in the same manner the wicked were taken by the flood, so it would be with the wicked in 70 A.D. And so it was! The wicked of that day were taken in judgment, while the righteous were left. They were spared the judgment of the son of man coming in the authority and power of God.

"As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" and the verses following it, is a passage of scripture that is a foundation for supposedly substantiating the rapture teachings. Many horrible sermons and stories have been fostered from the words Jesus spoke, and we could expose many of them as hype, as lies, as pseudo psychological jargon. However, we don't have the time, nor does space allow us to go into the sum of what has been conceived in the minds of men concerning this subject. Suffice it to say, the precepts of the rapture were birthed out of the minds of two Jesuit priests; namely, Francisco Ribera and Emmanuel Lacunza (rf. The Rapture Question free upon request). It was popularized by Edward Irving, John Nelson Darby, and C.I. Scofield in the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible. That which began as a Roman Catholic invention was then nurtured by the students and parishioners who sat under that teaching until it grew into the flood we see today. The doctrine has become so sealed in many people's minds that if fact conflicts with their theory, they will reject it. Nevertheless, in due season, and perhaps this is the season, truth will push back those overflowing flood waters and open the vistas of reality to those who seek it.

Let me say again, as it was in the days of Noah, so it was in the days of the great tribulation with Jerusalem. During the days of Noah, he went into the ark, closed the door, and the flood came. After this the wicked merrymakers were taken away -- not, and we repeat, not Noah! When the flood had run its course the man of righteousness set up a new kingdom (new beginnings). It was a new world, a new age never seen before upon the earth.

Therefore, when we read, "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be," we should be able to come to the same conclusion as any rational minded person and see that the ones taken at the end of the age were the wicked, and not the righteous. Also, as it was in the days of Noah, at the end of the flood, a new kingdom was set in the earth which was given into the hands of those who were not taken -- Noah and his family.

Two were in the field and one was taken and the other was left, and there were two grinding at the mill and one was taken and the other was left (verses 40-41). Never let it enter our impressionable minds that the ones taken are the righteous of God, or that this is referring to our day. Even if it was pointing to our day, the written word never suggests that God's plan for His mighty army of overcomers is to sound the retreat when the Lord Himself trumpets the charging, battle cry.

There is a common factor embedded in the Bible. It is of the victories enjoyed by God's people throughout all the past ages when they were endowed by His Spirit; and everyone of them conquered by advancing into the camp in face of their enemies. By no means did they overcome by running and hiding or flying away some where in the sky. For instance, the four lepers of Samaria set the Syrian army to flight by advancing straight into their camp. It was then that "...the Lord made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and noise of horses, even the noise of a great host, and they fled for their life." 2 Kings 6:24-33 & 7:1-8 (rf. Diet of Asses' Heads, Doves' Dung & Babies #52.93, free upon request). It is the same today, we conquer by advancing and not retreating. Never, and we repeat, NEVER do we pack our bags and withdraw from the enemy that we are called to destroy. When adversities come, terrible circumstances can overwhelm us, or sickness and death may hit our families like horrid tidal waves, and we are taken aback for season; but we are not destroyed. We may take timeout to rest, refresh, and gain strength -- but we do not retreat!

I know that it is a comforting thought to believe there will a catching away of saints just before the great tribulation hits, and it would not be easy to discard it as not being true. However, to continue embracing it will hinder one from receiving the light of truth in other areas; for light has no fellowship the darkness. It will also hinder one from becoming an overcomer. I was sharing these thoughts with a Baptist pastor's wife a few years ago, and her very sadly reply, "If there is no rapture, I have no hope." She thought I was telling her that the wicked were going to be raptured, since they are the ones Jesus said would to be taken. It is very difficult to change deep-rooted beliefs. Therefore, I am speaking as plainly as I possibly can, with hopes that there will be no mistake about what is being said in this short study.

In closing, let me say, if we should take the time to read Matthew 24:36-51, and read it very carefully, we would soon see that those taken were the same ones who were CUT ASUNDER, while the ones who were not taken were the faithful: "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season." (verse 45). Moreover, there is no reason to believe it is not the same today; for it is the same Kingdom as it was after the end of that world in 70 A.D. The faithful and wise servants rule over His household. The faithful ones are overcomers who have no desire to leave, but rather, to REMAIN right here on this great planet and rule over it in righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy ghost, and according to Romans 14:17, this is the Kingdom of God!

"And blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is he who takes no offense at Me {and} finds no cause for stumbling in {or} through Me {and} is not hindered from seeing the Truth" Matthew 11:6 (Amplified).

Elwin R. Roach

 


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