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Apocalypse Then?
KennethGentry.com ^ | Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.

Posted on 09/23/2004 10:50:19 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

[FReepers, please note that this article was written sometime prior to 2000, most likely around 1998 - AM]

A growing number of evangelicals, disturbed by cries of the end, are reviving an old view of Revelation that avoids date-setting

According to a recent Associated Press news report, when the year 2000 arrives computers throughout the world may be thrown into confusion. Many big computers at such computer-dependent institutions as insurance companies and banks track the year by using only the last two digits, rather than all four. Consequently, these computers will read the last two digits of 2000 as if they represent the year 1900. The problem is serious enough that a technical computer newsletter, titled "Tick, Tick, Tick," has been established to deal with the potential problem.

Judging from popular prophetic imagination that frequently points to computer technology as a tool of the Beast, and in light of increased cries of the end with the approach of the year 2000, this could become a hot prophecy topic. Such an unfortunate and embarrassing computer programming glitch could easily be transformed by the fertile apocalyptic mind into one of the "signs of the times" betokening the end of history.

Apocalyptic populists have become increasingly bold of late. Edgar Whisnant's Eighty-eight Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988 and Harold Camping's 1994?, caused quite a furor among evangelicals in recent years (Christianity Today, June 20, 1994, pp. 46-47). And they are but two prominent examples of what is becoming increasingly common among evangelical prophecy enthusiasts.

With the looming of the year 2000, many Christians have developed apocalyptic fever. Apocalyptic works are beginning to crowd the shelves of Christian bookstores with titles such as: Planet Earth -- 2000: Will Mankind Survive?; I Predict 2000; Prophecy 2000; Rushing to Armageddon; and The 90's: Decade of the Apocalypse.

In Hal Lindsey's current best-seller, Planet Earth--2000, he mentions celebration for the year 2000 in plans for a "World Millennium Charity Ball" to be held at the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt, on December 31, 1999. Comments Lindsey: "Just for the record. I'm not planning to attend. In fact, looking at the state of the world today, I wouldn't make any long-term earthly plans."

The Revival of Preterism

Yet, there is a growing number of Christians who believe that the closer we get to the year 2000, the farther we get from the events of Revelation. This interpretive position is known as "preterism." According to the Webster's New 20th Century Unabridged Dictionary, "preterist" means: "in theology, one who believes that the prophecies of the Apocalypse have already been fulfilled." Evangelical preterists maintain that many of the apocalyptic prophecies of the New Testament, including the Book of Revelation, are related to the destruction of Jerusalem. They still hold, though, to a future Second Advent, bodily resurrection of the dead, and Final Judgment. This view initially sounds strange to most modern evangelical prophecy enthusiasts, who are so familiar with the futuristic approach to Revelation.

Nevertheless, the preterist view of Revelation, which reached its zenith in the period spanning the 1600s through the 1800s, is experiencing a remarkable revival in our times. Many Christians are declaring "Apocalypse Then." Such evangelical scholars as R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries and Greg L. Bahnsen of the Southern California Center for Christian Studies hold this view. Evangelical journals frequently defending this position include the American journal American Vision, edited by Gary DeMar; the English journal, Christianity & Society, edited by Stephen Perks; and the German journal Symbiotica, edited by Ruben Alvarado.

Supplementing this renewed interest in preterism are reprints of books from the 1800s defending the position, two examples being J. Stuart Russell's The Parousia and Milton Terry's Biblical Apocatyptics. Books of more recent vintage are being produced, as well; included among these are J. Marcellus Kik's The Eschatology of Victory, DeMar's Last Days Madness, and my own The Beast of Revelation. In fact, Zondervan has also issued me a contract to write from this perspective as one of the contributors to a forthcoming book, titled Three Views of the End of History, under the editorship of Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary.

Questions Galore

But now, why would anyone believe that the events of Revelation have already transpired? Surely not just to avoid the embarrassment of recent failed predictions. And how could the earth-shaking prophecies in Revelation find fulfillment in A.D. 70? Among surprised laymen these and whole host of related questions immediately spring to mind when the position is mentioned.

Preterists are convinced that a strong and biblically relevant case may be made for the past fulfillment of the terrifying judgment scenes of Revelation. Their fulfillment came in the covenantally catastrophic events associated with the Jewish War with Rome, formally engaged by Rome in the Spring of A.D, 67. This war, made famous by the writings of Flavius Josephus, resulted in the destruction of the God's holy temple and the final cessation of the levitical system of worship three and one-half years later in August/September, A.D. 70 (cf. Rev. 11:2). Obviously, then, the consequences of the war were of tremendous redemptive historical moment.

The preterist case begins in the first few verses of Revelation. In. these verses it seems that John himself informed his original recipients that the events contained within were to occur in their generation. Verses 1 and 3 in the first chapter of Revelation read: "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.... 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."

And so that his readers not forget, John reminded them of the nearness of those dreaded events as he closes his work. Revelation 22:6 and 10 read: "Then he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place....’ And he said to me, ‘Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.’"

Consequently, both the opening and closing remarks of John in Revelation seem to predispose the reader to understand the events as chronologically near in his day. That being the case, then it would be true that the closer we get to the year 2000, the farther we get from the events of Revelation. The preterist finds such a conclusion difficult to escape, especially since John was writing to historical churches (Rev. 1: 4, 11) during a time of "tribulation" that he was enduring with them (Rev. 1:9; 2:9-10,13; 3:10). The Christians to whom John wrote were weathering the furious storm of Roman persecution that threatened the very existence of the faith. Furthermore, they were about to witness the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, places of prominence even for Christians (Acts 6:7; 8: 1; 15:2).

In fact, elsewhere in related apocalyptic passages of the New Testament the preterist finds further encouragement for his interpretive position. Of the "great tribulation," which is a topic for both John (Rev. 7:14) and Jesus (Matt. 24:21), Jesus informs His listeners: "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away until all these things are fulfilled" (Matt. 24:34). This may explain Peter's concern that his Pentecostal hearers save themselves from their "perverse generation" (Acts 2:41), which was about to erupt in "blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke" (Acts 2:19). And Paul's discouragement of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:26-31, during the "present distress" while "the time is short." Other inspired writers seem to anticipate a looming judgment compatible with Revelation's (Heb. 10:25, 37; Jas. 5:8-9; 1 Pet. 4:5, 7; 1 Jn. 2:17, 18).

But objections persist. Two common foundational objections to the preterist position, particularly from among biblical scholars, are: (1) John's time statements speak of time as God perceives it, not man; and (2) John did not write Revelation until after the events of Revelation, that is, in about A.D. 95-96, rather than sometime between A.D. 65-69.

The preterist finds the "God's time" argument less than convincing. When Peter stated that "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet. 3:8), he expressly declared that he was making a theological statement about God. John did not; in fact, he was writing to individuals about things they must "keep" (Rev. 1:3) and events and judgments coming upon them (Rev. 2-3). Unlike Daniel (Dan. 12:9), John was not to "seal" the words of his prophecy -- for now "the time is at hand" (Rev. 22: 10). Besides, the preterist asks, what words could John have used had he intended to speak of the nearness of the events? He varied his terms and repeated them in such a way that seems to insure against misconstruction.

Neither is the preterist swayed by the arguments for a late date for Revelation. There are suggestive evidences within the book to date it in the mid- to late-60s of the first century. In fact, the evidence is persuasive enough that it convinced such notable scholars Moses Stuart, F. J. A. Hort, B. F. Westcott, and F. W. Farrar in the last century, and J. A. T. Robinson, R. A. Torrey, Albert A. Bell, and C. F. D. Moule in our own day.

Two leading indicators of the early date are: (1) The "temple" in the "holy city" is still standing as John writes, though it is being threatened with devastation (Rev. 11: 1-2). We know as a matter of historical fact that the Jewish temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and has never been rebuilt. (2) The sixth "king" is presently ruling from the "seven mountains" and will do so until a king comes who will reign a "short time" (Rev. 17:9-10). The preterist takes this to be a clear enough allusion to Nero Caesar. According to the enumeration found in Josephus' Antiquities (18:2:2,6, 10) and Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Nero is Rome's sixth emperor, following Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, and Claudius. The next reigning emperor, Galba, reigned but six months, the shortest reigning emperor until that time.

Interpretive Problems

But then additional questions explode into the debate: Who was the Beast? And how did he die and live again (Rev. 13)? Where was the blood flow to "the horses bridles" (Rev. 14:20)? What about the hailstones "weighing one talent 100 pounds each" (Rev. 16:21)?

Of course, these and a great many other perplexing detail questions are generated if one adopts the preterist approach that proclaims "Apocalypse Then." But the same is true for any interpretive approach. The preterist would surely be presumptuous to claim that he had all the answers to the many detail questions of Revelation. This marvelous book is known throughout Christian history for its extreme difficulty. The noted church father Jerome lamented that it contained "as many words as mysteries." The great reformer John Calvin left Revelation out of his New Testament commentaries.

But with the recent revival of interest in Josephus' writings, the preterist finds suggestive historical references quite supportive of his interpretive approach. Josephus’ Wars of the Jews contains invaluable source materials written by one who was not only an eye-witness to the Jewish War, but a combatant on both sides of that destructive war: after his defeat at Jotapata, Josephus befriended the Roman general Vespasian and went with him in an effort to convince the Jews to surrender, a service that has rendered him a Benedict Arnold to the Jews.

Quick samples of the utility of Josephus' record to the preterist position are intriguing. Regarding the blood flow to the "horses' bridles," Josephus' comments on the battle scenes during the Jewish War are enlightening. At one point a naval battle produced a "lake all bloody, and full of dead bodies" (Wars 3:10:9). Later he reported that "the whole of the country through which they had fled was filled with slaughter, and Jordan could not be passed over, by reason of the dead bodies that were in it, but because the lake Asphaltitis was also full of dead bodies" (Wars 4-7:6). Surely such carnage and bloodshed are suggested by John's imagery.

The prophecy of the talent weight hailstones has found a similar fulfillment in the siege of Jerusalem, according to the preterist. Josephus states of the catapults of the Roman tenth legion: "the stones that were cast, were of the weight of a talent, and were carried two furlongs and further.... As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it was a white color" (Wars 5:6:3). These stones not only had the weight required by John, but were the same color as hail.

But now what of the Beast, that most fearsome of Revelational images? Scholars as widely divergent as dispensationalist John Walvoord, anti-dispensationalist Philip Mauro, and critical scholar R. H. Charles agree that the Beast in Revelation has both a generic and a specific reference. Thus, he represents both a kingdom and an individual. That being the case, when we take into consideration the temporal indicators and the relevance factors, we may make a strong case for identifying him specifically as Nero (he is "a man," Rev. 13: 18) and generically as Rome (he has "seven heads" which are "seven kings," Rev. 17:10).

The Beast is associated with "seven mountains" (Rev. 17:9); Rome is known for its seven hills. He wages "war with the saints" (Rev. 13.7); Rome begins persecuting Christians in A.D. 64. But the Beast also has the "number of a man," which is 666 (Rev. 13:18); Nero's name, when spelled in first century Aramaic, adds up to this number. The Beast makes war with the saints for "forty-two months" (Rev. 13:5); Nero begins his persecution in November, A.D. 64, later executes Peter and Paul, then dies in June, A.D. 68, halting his persecution after forty-two months.

But what of the death of the Beast followed by his remarkable resurrection (Rev. 13:3)? Here not only Josephus, but also Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius have provided helpful historical data. Each of these reported that Rome erupted into civil war during the course of the Jewish War. At the outset of Rome's civil war Nero committed suicide, which destabilized the empire so greatly that Tacitus reported: "Many believed the end of the empire was at hand" (Histories 4:5:4) and "this was the condition of the Roman state in the year which was to be for Galba his last and for the state almost the end" (Histories 1: 1). Yet, according to Suetonius, to the surprise of the world, "the empire which for a long time had been unsettled and, as it were, drifting through the usurpation and violent death of three emperors, was at last taken in and given stability by the Flavian family" (Vespasian 1: 1). As Josephus commented: "So upon this confirmation of Vespasian's entire government, which was now settled, and upon the unexpected deliverance of the public affairs of the Romans from ruin" (Wars, 4-11:5). Thus, when the personal aspect of the Beast died in Nero, the generic Beast of the Roman Empire began collapsing to death. But the empire was finally revived before the destruction of Jerusalem was complete.

Though a minority position among evangelicals today, preterism has a plausibility that cannot be easily denied. Whether or not the view arises to a position of prominence in contemporary prophecy discussions remains to be seen. One thing is clear, though: preterists cannot be faulted with alarming evangelical Christianity with failed expectations of the end. Although they are concerned with the computer glitch associated with the year 2000.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Ecumenism; General Discusssion; History; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: apocalypse; armageddon; evangelical; gentry; lindsay; partial; preterism; preterist; reformed; revelation; theendisnigh
"They still hold, though, to a future Second Advent, bodily resurrection of the dead, and Final Judgment."

It's important to emphasise this sentence. While the author uses the term "preterist", he is talking about what others refer to as the partial-preterist view.

Full preterism denies a future (final) return of Christ, a future (bodily) resurrection of the dead, etc, as it believes all of these things occured in a non-literal fashion during the first century. It's my understanding that full preterism is considered heretical doctrine, because of it's denial of a future literal fulfillment Christ's return and of a future, bodily resurrection of believers.

Partial preterism (the author's view) still looks forward to a literal fulfillment of those events, occuring in the future. Partial preterism is not considered heretical for this reason.

1 posted on 09/23/2004 10:50:20 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Ping for later

Apocalypse delayed is Apocalypse denied


2 posted on 09/23/2004 11:03:50 AM PDT by escapefromboston
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To: Alex Murphy; kosta50
Evangelicals are too concerned with the Apocalypsis (on a level that sometimes embraces heresy). The New Testament warns against date setting and pondering too much on that aspect of The Revelation (the when and how part).

In some cases some of these types have turned Revlation into a doom's day cult -repleat with revealed knowledge and date or event settings (which is prophesising) which never come to pass (thus false prophets).

3 posted on 09/23/2004 1:12:53 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro

We are not suppose to try and predict the date of Jesus's return, But Prophecy is something that is written through out the Bible and we do ourselves a dis-service and to GOD by not reading and looking at world events as foretold in the Holy Bible....GOD wants us to be aware of the sorrows that will be coming to earth this will make us stronger spiritually and keep us strong when we see so much pain and violence all around us...Prophecy IMHO is like a protective sheild around us...


4 posted on 09/23/2004 1:28:19 PM PDT by missyme (<imgsrc=http://www.cat-domain.com/cats_long/yoni-rmans.jpg>)
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To: missyme

If we were spiritual we would realize the end came a long time ago, and the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. He never left. Thank God!


5 posted on 09/23/2004 1:42:33 PM PDT by OrionD.Hunter (98.6 Fahrenheit)
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To: missyme

Look to future events for what purpose? So you can slack at being a good Christian until the last minute? Jesus said he will come like a thief in the night so all the looking out will do you no good for you will be asleep and looking in the wrong place. Also those that fix dates and scenarios about the future based on Revelation are dangerously delving into false prophechy and spread deception - even if they are well meaning.


6 posted on 09/23/2004 2:14:25 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
Evangelicals are too concerned with the Apocalypsis (on a level that sometimes embraces heresy).

I agree wholeheartedly. We treat the end-times like an investor uses the Wall Street Journal, speculating on world events like a stock broker trying to decide whether to sell short or long. Today's troubles and moral challenges are enough for us to be worried about. The Great Commission can't be fulfilled if we're hiding in bomb shelters.

And personally, I've never met a pre-tribber who didn't believe that Armageddon was coming within their (or at best the next) generation.

7 posted on 09/23/2004 2:21:17 PM PDT by Alex Murphy (Psalm 73)
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To: Alex Murphy; Destro

Where is it written that we should not study prophecy? Because you look for prophecy in current events does not mean your looking for a way to act until one believes the end is near. The fact that the world is getting worse not better gives many people hope in prophetics words from the Bible....You make it sound like it's hokey pokey crystal ball stuff.

If GOd did not want us to know the future of things to come in the Holy Bible it would have been omited.


8 posted on 09/23/2004 2:59:16 PM PDT by missyme (<imgsrc=http://www.cat-domain.com/cats_long/yoni-rmans.jpg>)
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To: missyme; Alex Murphy
Where did I say write that one should not study prophesey? Please don't put words in my mouth.

These are my words: "those that fix dates and scenarios about the future based on Revelation are dangerously delving into false prophechy and spread deception - even if they are well meaning."

So study away but don't look to use prophesey as a forecast to know when to go to your survivalist retreat.

Those that I single out are those like Hal Lindsey @ http://www.armageddonbooks.com/hal.html and his ilk who always seem to always get their predictions wrong.

There is a segment of the Evangelical community that seems to preach exclusively from Revelation such as "the world's foremost prophetic scholars - Dr. Jack Van Impe" @ http://www.jvim.com/about.htm.

What is most damaging is that these Evangelical beliefs were mutated through the prisim of the Cold War and clouded many judgements. The USSR must be the land of the anti-Christ - lets arm the jihadis - who are pius Muslims to fight for us. Then when the USSR collapses by itself this takes many in America by surprise - a whole industry built around the the USSR is the Beast because of the Cold War and Armaggedon already exists so any future engagement with Russia is not allowed - because the Russians are really the KGB and it was all a plot to sneak in a one world govt! Maybe this is why America did not carry out a Marshall plan the former USSR? Maybe the anti-christ will come from the EU? (few seem to think he will be an American - the world's only super power for generations to come that could actually enforce its mark on hand and head).

Currently we have to watch Evangelicals "test" the Lord and dare him into the Apocalypse by setting up events in the Middle East that they think will bring about the end times - breading the red heffers for sacrifice at the Temple - but first we must kick out the Muslims form the temple - which we want to do - but we only want to kick the Muslims out because it will bring out a holy war - which we want because that will create conditions for the final battle, etc.

That borders on human sacrifice by indirect means in the hope that this world ending war will push Jesus to return.

9 posted on 09/23/2004 6:58:12 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: OrionD.Hunter

Looking at Matthew 24 I'm not convinced the story is over yet. I'd think someone would have noticed all the tribes of the earth mourning or Christ coming "on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (24:30). And this would seem to "immediately follow" (24:29) a tribulation in 24:21, which follows an "abomination of desolation" "standing in the holy place" (24:15). And I don't think we can comfortably say even now that 24:14 is taken care of, the gospel being preached in all the world.


10 posted on 09/23/2004 7:00:24 PM PDT by patricktschetter
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To: Destro
What is most damaging is that these Evangelical beliefs were mutated through the prisim of the Cold War and clouded many judgements. The USSR must be the land of the anti-Christ - lets arm the jihadis - who are pius Muslims to fight for us. Then when the USSR collapses by itself this takes many in America by surprise - a whole industry built around the the USSR is the Beast because of the Cold War and Armaggedon already exists so any future engagement with Russia is not allowed - because the Russians are really the KGB and it was all a plot to sneak in a one world govt!

Thank you for a succint explanation of the sudden spate of Russophobia on FR.

I think Putin is reprising Pinochet. Not a pretty thing to watch while it happens, though.

And I firmly believe in triaging our national security problems: a revived and reunified Russian Empire may be a serious security threat at some future point in time. Islamist extremism is one right now.

11 posted on 09/23/2004 7:01:56 PM PDT by Poohbah (If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
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To: Poohbah
Putin is channeling DeGaul - but in any case whatever Russia does is a sign she is in league with the antiChrist and will invade Israel - along with China. So I do think that is a major animating force for continuing Russophobic views as well as from those of secular types like the cult like Birchers who bounce beams off the evangelicals and inspire each other.

Check this site out @ http://www.soldierofthelord.4t.com/custom.html

Verse 4= It is clearly describing a situation where Russia(Magog) will feel it is forced to invade Israel due to perhaps its current economic crisis and promises of riches that are to soon be found in Israel, hence the 'hooks in his jaw'. It goes on to describe a large array or soldiers of all kinds heavily armed.

This view was formed in full during the Cold War when the USSR on paper seemed to have the most powerful amry on the planet (on paper anyway). The USSR goes away! Now what? - they keep the Russia part even though Russia today can't fight its way out of a paper bag - nor will she be able to for a long time to come and invent these elaborate scenarios now that the old template is gone.

12 posted on 09/23/2004 7:18:54 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro; Alex Murphy
Now what? - they keep the Russia part even though Russia today can't fight its way out of a paper bag - nor will she be able to for a long time to come and invent these elaborate scenarios now that the old template is gone <p. Hey, but it's good for the business! The military-industrialist complex is doing great, almost if nto better than during the Cold War. War is good for the economy...for a while at least. You know -- perpetual warfare for perpetual profits.
13 posted on 09/24/2004 4:43:51 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

I lay the blame for these doomsday forecasting Christians - who scour the news looking for signs of the endtimes - of course it is distorted to fit a Bible belt mentality.


14 posted on 09/24/2004 6:10:53 AM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: patricktschetter
In Part 1, I looked at futuristic and preteristic views of Matthew 24 and observed that dispensational futurists tend to be literalists, while preterists preferred a hermeneutic which allowed Scripture to interpret Scripture. For example, the futurist would say the prophecy of the sun, moon, and stars being darkened (Matthew 24:29) has not been literally fulfilled and therefore could not have taken place yet. The preterist would point out that this verse is a direct quote of figurative passages which declared impending judgment in past biblical history (Is. 13:9-10; Is. 34:4; Ez. 32: 7-8; Joel 2:20 which is quoted in Acts 2:20; Amos 8:9, ). Consistent interpretation would require the expectation of fulfillment consistent with the quoted passages, i.e., a widespread destruction such as what occurred in Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Preterists maintain their belief that the prophecies of Matthew 24 were fulfilled on the basis of passages such as v. 34: "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things are fulfilled." This verse is a problem passage for futurists who must abandon a literal hermeneutic and claim that "generation" really means "race," even though the term is never used that way in Scripture.

Meanwhile preterists contend that Jesus' hearers believed His message and escaped the wholesale slaughter of Jerusalem. Had not Jesus warned his hearers (v. 15) to flee to the mountains? The parallel passage in Luke is very specific:

From Matthew 24: Prophecies of Destruction - Pt. 2
Coming in the Clouds

The third and final clause of verse 30 says, "and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." This clause has been thought to relate definitely to the second, visible, and personal coming of the Lord. But in the light of well-defined biblical language, the reference is rather to a coming in terms of the events of his providence in judgment against his enemies and in deliverance of his people.

It should be noted carefully that neither this verse nor this particular clause indicates a coming upon earth. Some have read into this clause that Jesus was actually descending to the earth for the purpose of taking up a reign in the city of Jerusalem. Nothing like that is indicated. As a matter of fact, there is not a single verse in the New Testament to indicate that Christ will reign upon a material throne in the material city of Jerusalem. This thought has been imported by a carnal interpretation of Old Testament passages. Christ is actually seated now upon his Messianic throne.

Many commentators have taken it for granted that the expression "coming in the clouds" refers to a visible coming of Christ. A careful study of the Scriptures, however, reveals that that is not a necessary interpretation. A similar expression occurs in Isaiah 19:1, "Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it." Although this passage speaks of the Lord riding upon a cloud and of his presence, nevertheless we know that the Egyptians did not see the Lord in a personal, visible way. The Lord riding upon a swift cloud indicated a coming in judgment against the Egyptians.

A similar type of expression concerning judgment is found in Psalm 97:2,3: "Clouds and darkness are round him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about." In speaking of the mighty power of God the Psalmist uses this expression: "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters; who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind" (Ps. 104:3). The expression "who maketh the clouds his chariot," is no different from "coming in the clouds of heaven." In the Psalms there is no thought of a personal, visible coming of the Lord, but rather references to his judgment and power.

Following the well-defined biblical sense of such expression the last clause of verse 30 may well be interpreted then to indicate a coming in judgment and power: judgment against his enemies and power to the establishment of his kingdom.

From An Eschatology of Victory by J. Marcellus Kik
15 posted on 09/24/2004 9:30:09 AM PDT by topcat54
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To: Destro
Currently we have to watch Evangelicals "test" the Lord and dare him into the Apocalypse by setting up events in the Middle East that they think will bring about the end times - breading the red heffers for sacrifice at the Temple - but first we must kick out the Muslims form the temple - which we want to do - but we only want to kick the Muslims out because it will bring out a holy war - which we want because that will create conditions for the final battle, etc.

Not to mention all those well-meaning Christians who are funding the return of Jews to Israel from around the world while at the same time believing that 2/3 of the Jews in Israel will be killed during the "Great Tribulation". If these Christian really believed their theology they should be shouting from the rooftops for Jews to stay away from the Middle East.

16 posted on 09/24/2004 9:34:47 AM PDT by topcat54
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To: topcat54; Destro

Good point! But judging from the great relatonship the Evangelicals enjoy with the Jewish groups, the Jews obviously don't believe them but won't turn down their offer. If someone came to you and said "God sent me to save you; here is a $1 million, take it" would you turn it down even if you didn't believe the fool?


17 posted on 09/24/2004 5:42:27 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

The Israelis and Jews are playing the evangelicals for all it is worth - I would say more power to them but there is the possibility they do great damage incouraging these types. Just last week an article in one of these evangelical websites was commenting on the growing Russian and Israeli alliance - the author (a woman) was trying to come to terms with this impossibility because of what their cult views are on the end times in regards to Russia - she concluded that Russia is communistic at heart and thus will be there - don't you worry none, Mabel - for the the invasion of the Holy Land.


18 posted on 09/24/2004 5:50:15 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: topcat54; kosta50; Poohbah; missyme; Alex Murphy
These are the type of "armaggedon cult Christians" I am talking about: New Russian-Israel Co-Operation Won’t Stop ''End-Time'' Russian Invasion

Commentary on the News

Friday, September 17, 2004

Jan Markell

Those evil Israelis. That’s the eye-view of most of the world, yet they have recently brought several of the severely injured Beslan school children to Israel for treatment.

Russian surgeons simply don’t have the experience of mending such injuries that the Islamofascists perpetrated on the children a few weeks ago in the school rampage.

Michael Cherney, Israeli founder of an organization to help victims of terror in Israel says, “Since terror knows no borders, neither should our solidarity in fighting this evil and helping its victims.”

Russia has gratefully accepted the help. Contrast that with Iran’s refusal of any help from Israel after an earthquake which devastated Iran last year. Better that an Iranian child die than be saved by a Jew! Yet many on the “Arab street” blame the Jews for the Islamic slaughter of the Russian children just as they blamed the Jews for 9/11. Critics blame the Russian mafia for everything including the Beslan school incident when, in fact, Chechan Islamic terror dreams up more evil than the Russian mafia can possibly imagine, as evil as they are.

The Beslan slaughter shocked the world. Islamic Mullahs are even denouncing some of their radical Islamic brothers for the very first time. Doesn’t the world know that Jewish children in Israel have been murdered for years by Arafat, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas? Included are teens on a beach in Tel Aviv (all Russian immigrant kids), children on school busses in Israel, moms and kids in pizza parlors, drive-by shootings, and much more. The toll of the massacre of Israeli children is astronomical considering its small population. Where was the outrage at these events? Where were the Muslim cleric’s denunciations then? Just dead silence.

A number of Russian children fighting for their lives will likely survive because of big, bad Israel.

Another twist since Beslan: Russia now plans to work with Israel in its war on terror. Guess what? Our State Department, led by Colin Powell, has objected! He’s going apoplectic. The State Department remains the biggest embarrassment in the U.S. government. Are the inmates running that asylum?

But don’t think the new Israeli-Russian cooperation will change the Bible’s prophetic plan outlined in Ezekiel 38-39: The Russian invasion of Israel. Russia is still a communist nation at heart and will therefore still “think an evil thought” and invade, likely with her Islamic Republics in the south. This could be a pre-Tribulation war or perhaps immediately after the start of the Tribulation. God will bring Israel to soundly conquer the invaders and the passage says He will get all the glory as Israel will not have help of any intervening nations.

Aren’t you glad you are born “for such a time as this” to watch all this play out? Neither Mel Gibson nor Stephen Speilberg could come up with a script like the unfolding of all the events prophesied for the end of days!

(Jan Markell is founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, Inc. For her free newsletter and to learn more of her ministry, visit the Web site, www.olivetreeviews.org. Jan is also a Contributing Editor to the Omega Letter.)

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Very disgusting views. Very dangerous if they influence policy - why make alliances with Russia in the post Cold War world to fight terrorisim when the Bible clearly says (to them anyway) that "Russia is still a communist nation at heart and will invade Israel" no matter what happens.

19 posted on 09/24/2004 5:59:55 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: kosta50

incouraging = encouraging


20 posted on 09/24/2004 7:06:28 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
Very dangerous if they influence policy

They do, very much so. The "Christian Right," as they are called sometimes, represent some 40 million people in the U.S.

For many years, the Christian Right and the Jews were at opposite ends, then these quasi-Christian fundamentalists decided their job is to "save" the Jews -- and made no secret that their motive and duty is to make sure the 1/3 that will survive will embrace Christ.

From the Jewish point of view this is preposterous! But as you say, pragmatism takes precedence. However, if you read closely, the real message is this: those who remain (i.e. do not accept Jesus) will perish! So, the only Jews who will be "saved" will become Christians (and cease being Jewish).

In a way, these funadmentalists are calling for the disappearance of the Jews as a religious and cultural entity because becoming Christian is synonimous with disposing of the Levitican laws that deifne Jewish observance of Judaism.

21 posted on 09/24/2004 7:45:14 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Alex Murphy
You might be interested in this: Daniel's 70th week as recorded in Dan 9:27 is unfulfilled prophecy
22 posted on 09/24/2004 8:07:30 PM PDT by Starwind (The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only true good news)
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To: Alex Murphy

..........................America is NOT in Bible Prophecy.


23 posted on 09/24/2004 9:55:23 PM PDT by maestro
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To: patricktschetter

We are all born with all we need to know of the Gospel, "for I shall write it in their hearts and on their minds," God said through the prophet. Only the devil would want to bring about the end of the world, and that is what my interpretation tells me will happen if said "gospel" is spread to the very last ear to hear.


24 posted on 09/25/2004 10:48:06 AM PDT by OrionD.Hunter (98.6 Fahrenheit)
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