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Blog Category: Second Coming Series (8 posts)
Luke J. Wilson | 03rd February 2016 |
Welcome to Part Two of the Olivet Discourse! It’s been a while, so we’ll pick up right where we left off with Matthew 24 verse 15 onwards, after a small recap of the chapter so far.
The Olivet Discourse begins with the disciples admiring the architecture of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus responds to this by telling them that it will all be thrown down and destroyed, to the point that not one stone will be left on another. Later on, when they are sat on the Mount of Olives, Jesus’ disciples come to him and ask “when will this happen?” and “what will be the sign” that all of this is about to commence?
If we look at the account in Mark’s Gospel, we can see that it was actually only Peter, James, John and Andrew who came to speak with Jesus privately about these things (Mark 13:3), thus making the audience that Jesus was addressing quite specific! What follows is a long prophetic monologue from Jesus detailing what happens in the lead up to the temple being destroyed, what to expect and what to do they see it about to happen. Which is where we pick up this study.
From verse 15 we start to see what happens after the initial signs and “birth pangs” are finished – now it’s no longer about looking towards an event; now it’s about the event itself! The main show, as it were: the “desolating sacrilege!”
So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; the one on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; the one in the field must not turn back to get a coat.
Now Matthew’s Gospel is traditionally understood to have been written to a Jewish audience due to the writing style and linguistic phrases used that were typical of Jewish thought and understanding. This is important to remember when reading the parenthesis in verse 15 which simply st...
Luke J. Wilson | 22nd January 2016 |
So here we are at the final part of this Coming of Jesus series. If you’re new here, you can start from the beginning by clicking here, or carry on reading as I will give a brief overview of what’s been covered so far.
This series has covered many topics and themes of eschatology, starting with Daniel’s prophecy of the Messiah’s first coming to this world, all the way through to the prophecies of another coming. It’s been a very interesting and eye-opening journey of discovery, at least for myself, if no one else. I didn’t start this study with a particular doctrine or conclusion in mind, but rather went in with the mindset to examine the Futurist belief system and see if it holds up to scrutiny, because I’d become despondent with it over the years when I read certain passages in the Bible and only find Futurist exegesis which, to be honest, was more of a stretch to accept than I was comfortable with. So many times I’d read of the New Testament authors proclaiming the soon-ness of Christ’s coming, and the great sense of urgency that comes from the pages of the different epistles, especially in the ones written later on (such as 1 John).
So when I discovered there was an alternative way to look at these passages (called Preterism as I later found out), I decided it was time to find out for sure if what I’d been told most of my Christian life was correct in terms of a total future coming of Jesus and fiery destruction of the known world, or whether it was something else altogether. What I discovered has led me through a life-changing event in terms of my theology, to the point where all of those “soon” and “at hand” verses of Scripture actually make sense without theological gymnastics to make it all fit into a 2000+ year timeframe!
Over 400 years before Jesus was born, the angel Gabriel came to Daniel and gave him a vision of the future coming messiah and of God’s Kingdom. Right on ...
Luke J. Wilson | 06th January 2016 |
This is a sort of ‘addendum’ to the Revelation Fulfilled? article
Yes you read the title correct: WHO (not what) is the New Jerusalem?
To answer this, you must ask yourself: who is the Bride of Christ?
If you answered “the Church” (as in, the body of believers, not buildings) then you’d be correct as they are both one and the same!
Roughly 1500 miles square.
Maybe you’ve always wondered why the Church is called the “bride”? Well, let’s examine some Scriptures and see!
2 Corinthians 11:2I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Here is Paul pleading with the Corinthian church to stay pure and true to the Gospel message they received, like a virgin on her wedding day; and also true to Jesus, as he is the husband of the believers.
Again, we see Paul use this imagery of marriage in terms of Christ and his Church in the letter to the Ephesians. Paul is teaching them (and us) on how to conduct ourselves within the bonds of marriage with the instruction for husbands and wives to lay down their lives for one another in love; this is also the analogy of how Jesus relates to his Church:
Ephesians 5:24-25, 32Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.
What has this got to do with the New Jerusalem?
Now when it comes to verses on the New Jerusalem, most people read the first two verses of Rev 21 and stop there, assuming that because it is called “the new Jerusalem” and “the holy city” that it must be an actual, brick-and-mortar city.
But the description doesn’t stop there.
Keep reading past Rev 21:1 and see how the Bride is described:
Revelation 21:1-2Then I saw a new heaven and a n...
Luke J. Wilson | 31st December 2015 |
Don’t let the title put you off, we’re about to go on a mad journey through the annuls of history and the Roman Empire, contrasting what John saw in his vision with what has already played out on the “world’s stage” and what we possibly have to look forward to!
First though, let’s look at a little history concerning the book itself before delving into its contents. Why do this? For a couple of reasons really: one, Revelation has some dispute over the year in which it was written, which can impact on the interpretation. Two, at various points in early church history, the book was held in suspicion of being spurious and almost didn’t make it into the Canon of Scripture. We should always endeavour to understand the history and context of a book of Scripture in order to fully understand its intended meaning, and thus, “rightly divide” (2 Tim 2:15) and interpret the Bible properly.
Two Dating Views
There are two main views on the dating of Revelation: the “early date” and the “late date”.
The early date places John writing Revelation around 64-68 AD, shortly before the fall of Jerusalem and just as the Jewish War was getting underway during the reign of Nero.
The late date puts the writing towards the end of the reign of Domitian around 95-96 AD.
From John’s own testimony, we know that he was suffering persecution at the time of writing:
I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Both of these Roman Emperors persecuted the Christians, though none quite so severely as Nero did.
There’s varying accounts of when Revelation was penned by John. I won’t spend too much time on this as many, many others have wrote books on the topic of dating, so I’ll just give a brief overview of both sides of the argument.
One of the earliest ac...
Luke J. Wilson | 19th October 2014 |
Hello again, it's been a while since I've wrote anything, and longer since getting back to this series on the Second Coming of Jesus. This isn't for lack of motivation, but rather because this is such a huge topic that I've been reading and thinking about this next part for a very long time to make sure I know what I'm saying, and am well read enough to do the topic justice. Having said that, there will always be far more to say on this than I can give time for here, but I hope to give enough of an overview to expound this prophecy faithfully without being too technical as to cause confusion! You can also catch up on the previous parts in the series here and here.
I'm going to do this part of the series in two sections, otherwise it would get too long and wordy! This part will focus on the "birth pangs" Jesus warned about which would lead up to the coming judgement and destruction of the temple.
The Olivet discourse is the prophecy given by Jesus in the Gospels of Mark 13, Matthew 24, Luke 21. Most Christians are probably more familiar with the Matthew 24-25 version than the others, though they are all the same prophetic message of impending judgement.
If you're at all familiar with any doctrine or teaching on the "Second Coming" or "End Times", then these passages in the Gospels are most often quoted and used to say that Jesus is talking about a terrible time that is coming in the far, far, far off future, usually interpreted to mean within our lifetime (for some reason).
I, too, used to believe this as it was what I was taught in the churches I attended and told by the people I met, all with that eager expectation that Jesus could suddenly swoop down from the clouds any day now! What I didn't ever do was investigate these claims properly for myself, except read the parts of Scripture they said meant Jesus was coming in the future and then try to accept that it must be right since our church leaders were obviously...
Luke J. Wilson | 16th June 2014 |
Daniel's 70 Weeks
To fully understand Jesus's first, and indeed what is commonly called his "Second Coming," we need to understand the book of Daniel. This prophetic books give many details and glimpses into the future about coming kingdoms, rulers and above all, the Messiah. I'm going to be focussing on just one part of the book, chapter nine, often referred to as "Daniel's 70 Weeks". But just what is "Daniel's 70 Weeks" you might be asking as you read this. For those unfamiliar with Old Testament prophecy, it is a prophetic vision that Daniel was given from God, and interpreted by the angel Gabriel. You can read the prophecy in full below:
Dan 9: 20-27 (NRSV)
While I was speaking, and was praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God on behalf of the holy mountain of my God— while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He came and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come out to give you wisdom and understanding. At the beginning of your supplications a word went out, and I have come to declare it, for you are greatly beloved. So consider the word and understand the vision:
“Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time. After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its en...
Luke J. Wilson | 26th May 2014 |
Will Jesus return in the way most of us have been taught?
I suspect that when many people think of the "Second Coming" — that is, the return of Jesus, images of the world ending in a blaze of fire and glory come to mind; or of some super-war called Armageddon where the Anti-Christ battles it out with God's people one last time before the End comes. You may even think of Jesus surfing across the sky on clouds with a bunch of angel in tow, or maybe the Left Behind book and film series frames your view of the "end times."
Whichever it is, one thing I can assure you of is that some of that imagery has been embellished and some misunderstood/misinterpreted. To truly get to grips with what the Scriptures actually teach about "the time of the end" we need to begin in the Old Testament, as the prophetic language used to describe similar events, and understanding that language, has huge impacts on how we understand what Jesus was saying when he spoke in a similar manner. Both Old and New testaments are connected and can't be taken separately from one another when trying to understand the imagery used in the Gospels, Epistles and Revelation.
So, welcome! This is an introduction to a six/seven part series on this topic to give an overview of what I'll be looking at over the next few posts. I haven't got the structure completely down yet (so there may be other parts depending how each one goes), but I'm aiming to do something along this framework:
The series is now completed, which can you read through from beginning to end using the links below:
Daniel's 70 Weeks
Coming in the Clouds and Prophetic Symbolism
The Olivet Discourse – Part 1
The Olivet Discourse – Part 2
Who is the New Jerusalem?
Our Future Hope: What Now?
I hope it will be as enjoyable and educational as I found it while studying all of this! I'll...
Luke J. Wilson | 21st April 2014 |
Coming on the clouds of heaven
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.
When people read Jesus saying that he will be "coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" in Matthew 24:30, it often taken to mean that he will be doing that literally as opposed to figuratively.
Kinda like this, but on clouds.
Careful now, before you put on your heretic hunting hats and grab your pitchforks — let me explain why I say that Jesus wasn't telling his followers he would be surfing across the sky on literal clouds.
As I pointed out in my last post, to truly understand Jesus, and indeed the New Testament, we need to better know the Old Testament texts. This phrase that Jesus used about "coming on the clouds" is a reference to a prophecy in the book of Daniel in which Daniel see's one who 'looks like a son of man' (ie. a person with a human form) 'coming with the clouds of heaven' which has all sorts of implications that we often miss by either not knowing much of the Old Testament, or because we're not Jewish with a better understanding of these prophecies. As a small note too, it's also these visions of Daniel that Revelation in the New Testament takes a lot of its imagery from and describes the same events – I will be touching on that more in the next part in this series.
Often times, our thoughts on these phrases or this kind of prophetic language, is coloured by our upbringing or teaching from a church, or even by secular culture which has taken this imagery and "hollywoodized" it. You need only Google for "apocalypse" or "armageddon" to see this; and although it can be fun from a film watching perspective, it's not entirely helpful if we are letting modern-day secular films and interpretation influence our reading and understanding of Scripture.