Jun 23, 2008

Has the Gospel Been Preached to All the World?

Has Matthew 24:14 been fulfilled?

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Has this portion of the Olivet Discourse been fulfilled? Many today contend that it is still a future hope. What do you think? Our presuppositions are so comprehensive that even considering this a viable question may cause us to reach for the Rolaids. "Of course it hasn't been fulfilled", some bristle. Has the entire world been permeated with the Gospel? What about the peoples' of New Guinea or the indigenous tribes of the Amazon? But is this truly the intent of Jesus' bold proclamation? "Of course", we say. What else could Jesus have meant by "throughout the whole world"? Let's pause for a moment to consider the idea of what "world" meant in a first century Jewish context.


At first glance this sounds like a rather simple issue until we consider the fact that there are 287 usages of "world" in the KJV. For example, in the case of John 3:16, "For God so loved the world", the word "world" was translated from the Greek word kosmos. Did you know that in Strong's Greek concordance there are more than 8 potential definitions of kosmos. For centuries this most famous verse has been used as a proof text against the doctrine of sovereign grace (election) because it appears rather obvious that God loves every person in the "world", not just the "elect". (As a sidebar check out this video for a more thorough understanding of John 3:16 and particularly Jesus' use of "world")


So if you read the KJV, remember that "world" may not necessarily mean exactly what you think it means. In the KJV, the "end of the world'" found in Matthew 24:3, should read "end of the age" because the Greek word "aion" was incorrectly translated "world".


Let's look at another example of "world" and how it may have added confusion to our understanding of the question at hand: Has the Gospel been preached to "all the world"?


Luke 2:1 (KJV) And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. Is this passage suggesting that the entire world is under the taxing authority of Rome? Of course not. In this verse, Luke uses oikoumene as the Greek word for "world". The NASB translation gives us greater insight into the word's actual meaning.


Luke 2:1 (NASB) Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. Did the decree go out to South America or the Far East? The Scriptures are Jewish. The NT is an extension of the OT and therefore must be viewed in that context. Up until Acts 10, what had been Jesus' stated mission and to whom was the early church sent to proclaim the Gospel? In Matthew 15:24 Jesus said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." In Matthew 10:5-6 we read, These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

This is the reason for Peter's strange vision of unclean meat which he finally understood as the ministry to the Gentiles. "Rise Peter, kill and eat". The Gospel was to go out to "all the world" not just the lost sheep. In Romans 9:25-26 Paul wrote, As He says also in Hosea, "I will call those who were not My people, 'My people ,' And her who was not beloved , 'beloved.' " 26 "And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people ,' There they shall be called sons of the living God."

It's clear that the trickle of living water flowing from the Temple in Ezekiel 47 was to eventually include the Gentiles, however, if the "all nations" exhortation of Matthew 28 (great commission) was at that time intended to include the Gentiles, then not only would Peter's vision have been unnecessary but these devout disciples of Christ were derelict in their duties for at least 10 years.


Sometimes forgetting that these prophetic words were spoken by and directed to the Jews, we can skew our perceptions such that we think these early commands were understood to be global in nature. As we hearken back to Caesar's decree, "world" or "inhabited earth" apparently did not intend to include every person on the planet. It should be noted that if we do not read the Scriptures with the understanding that they were written in the context of the Hebreic culture, then we will forever be confused therefore causing us to develop misguided conclusions.

Let's move on to the content of the chart below. Consider the following prophesied verses (chart's left grid) and their corresponding fulfillments (right grid). I think you may be shocked to find the answers clearly embedded in the Word of God. We don't have to venture into subjective conjecture. The evidence is found within the greatest offensive weapon ever created--the Sword of Hebrews 4:12. How miraculously inspired is God's Word? The object of each specific gospel proclamation prophecy contains a Greek word that shows its fulfillment using that same Greek word. For example, "world" is used as oikoumene in Matthew 24:14 and kosmos in Mark 16:15 and in their fulfillments in Romans 10:18 and Romans 16:25-26 respectively.


The bottom line is that, much like the rest of Jesus' prophetic words in the Olivet Discourse, "Truly I say to you [the disciples], this generation [not 'that' generation] shall not pass away until all these things take place" (Matthew 24:34) was fulfilled within the "this generation" 40 year time referent [30-70 AD] just as it had been predicted.


Some admit, after considering "audience relevance", that the components of Matthew 24 did indeed come to pass between 30 and 70 AD (resurrection to holocaust). However, they conjecture that it will be fulfilled again sometime in our future.


The first question we should ask is, "Why?" What's the point other than to meet our presuppositional expectations? What would lead any of us to believe that these fulfillments were mere shadows of future fulfillments? Is there one shred of Scriptural evidence to support this conclusion? We have developed a "Groundhogs Day" mentality without realizing that the revelations of the New Covenant are the spiritual manifestations of Old Covenant mysteries.


The ensuing questions should be, "How can the Gospel be preached to "all the world" again?" (Matt 24:14) A little repetitive redundancy seemingly just to preserve our paradigm? How can 'the end' come more than once? (Matt 24:14) And how can there be a two 'great tribulations', "such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be." (Matt 24:19)


It's vitally important to know that Jesus' promises are always on time, in spite of our sometimes faithless proclivities to perpetually and perhaps unintentionally believe otherwise! I'm not casting stones here. I was in the same eschatological boat not very long ago. However, when someone threw me a lifeline, I decided to use it. It's great to be back in the boat! Things are making a whole lot more sense. God's Word is truly amazing!


Prophesied-------------- Fulfilled

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world (Greek oikoumene) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14)

"But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Greek oikoumene)" (Romans 10:18)

"And the gospel must first be published among all nations (Greek ethnos)"

(Mark 13:10)

"...My gospel... has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations (Greek ethnos)..." (Romans 16:25-26)

"And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world (Greek kosmos) and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15)

"...of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world (Greek kosmos), as is bringing forth fruit...," (Colossians 1:5-6).

And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Greek ktisis) " (Mark 16:15)

"...from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature (Greek ktisis) under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister" (Colossians 1:23)

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Greek ge)" (Acts 1:8).

"But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth (Greek ge), and their words to the ends of the world" (Romans 10:18)


Thanks to Keith for putting the following video together...

40 comments:

james@guitargospel.net said...

I understand a lot of what your talking about, about translations of words being different, but let me ask you a question. Did Jesus(God in the Flesh) know if the world was bigger than just Israel or not? Did Jesus say no man goes to the father but by Him?(John 14:6) Let me not waste your time by finding all the scriptures saying this, I am sure you can find them all. Is this God we are talking about or not? God can bring ships all the way across to different lands to get His word out there. Acts 27& 28. I know my way of thinking, saying God can and will make a way( dreams maybe) is better than millions of people are in hell because they did not hear the Gospel, or they are judged differently, that would be saying The Word changes. please respond.

James. james@guitargospel.net

Charles Coty said...

James, I really appreciate your interest. Thanks for your comments. However, I'm not altogether certain what you are asking.

The intent of the article was to prove (using Scripture alone) that Jesus' prophetic Word concerning the Gospel being proclaimed in all the world (from the Olivet Discourse), was fulfilled within Jesus' time constraints (this generation). God is truly faithful!

Nice guitar licks. I went to your site. Glad to see you so involved in getting the Word out.

Blessings,
Charles

www.guitargospel.net said...

I want to know, are you saying that millions of people are destine for hell because they have not heard the gospel, just not wanted. please, I hope that's not what your saying.
James.

james@guitargospel.net
shoeinonfaith@yahoo.com

james said...

Am I not understanding what your saying? God so loved the world of who? How can someone become a believer unless they are told. What makes someone an elect? How do you know for sure you are or me? I am not sure of what your saying. I watched the youtube video. Is believers sins different than non believers? So He died for just the elects sins?
James.

Charles Coty said...

James, thanks again for taking the time to opine. I'm not quite certain how to say it differently, but I'll try to accommodate your request.

Jesus said the Gospel would be preached to "all the world" within a generation (Mt 24:34) of his prophetic words founds in the Mt 24; Lk 21 & Mk 13 (the Olivet Discourse). That meant that they had approximately a 40 year window to proclaim the word to “all the world” in order to fulfill this prophecy.

Most Christians today do not believe Jesus' promise was fulfilled in a timely manner and most believe it is still yet unfulfilled. Matter of fact, CBN was founded upon the premise of fulfilling this promise, therefore hastening the return of Christ. I totally agree with Robertson’s quest to share the Gospel with every creature on the planet, however, where I disagree quite sharply with him is confined to the fulfillment of Mt 24:14. I used Scripture alone to prove that Jesus was faithful through the power of the spirit to fulfill this promise within a generation. Therefore, this prophecy was fulfilled by the close of the canon in the latter 60’s AD.

James, there are at least 7 definitions of "world" (kosmos) in the Scripture and there are also at least 3 different Greek words translated as "world". All of them are in the chart found in the body of the article.

Using each word for "world" (3 times) and 2 other Greek words for "nations" and "creature", the Bible is clear that the Word was effectively delivered in the first century. That’s what prompted the Apostle Paul to proclaim (approx 61 AD):

Colossians 1:6 (ESV) [the gospel] which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,

Colossians 1:23 (ESV) if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

We must remember that the Bible was written predominantly to Jews living within the confines of the Roman Empire. Jesus came to “the lost sheep in the house of Israel” and told the disciples to do the same. It wasn’t until at least 10 years after the founding of the early church that the sheet of unclean meat was delivered to Peter, thus signifying the expansion of the message to the Gentiles (Acts 11).

The only reason for this blog article was to show the faithfulness of God in fulfilling his prophetic Word. Since most are in CBN’s camp, they do not believe God honored his time commitment. I believe Scripture is clear that He did.

My comments in no may should be viewed as limiting the scope and proliferation of the Gospel today. We should proclaim it to every living creature, making disciples of all nations. The Gospel should be preached fervently and clearly from every pulpit, letting God do the saving business. Our responsibility, the way I understand it, is to the dissemination of His Word.

James, does that make sense?

Blessings,
Chuck

james@guitargospel.net said...

I'm sorry I have not gotten back to you sooner, I'm going to some studying, but I believe our God, the one who can do anything, can also get the gospel to every living creature before there soul leaves this earth. Thank you for responding, and thank you for the comment on my web page.

James. james@guitargospel.net

www.guitargospel.net

Charles Coty said...

James, I appreciate your response. We all get busy.

I still don't think you understood the intent of the original post. Most folks believe Jesus' Olivet Discourse prophecy (Matthew 24; Luke 21; Mark 13) that the Gospel would be preached to all the world before His return (parousia), is still outstanding—not yet fulfilled. Paul tells us that it has. Who’s right? Paul demonstrates in a number of passages (that are listed in that matrix in the body of the original article) that this prophecy was fulfilled in the first century before the fall of Jerusalem.

The disciples' question (Matthew 24:3), regarding the timing of "the end of the age", was promised fulfillment during their 1st century generation (Matthew 24:34) while some of His followers were still alive (Matthew 16:27-28) and before they would have gone through all the cities of Israel (Matthew 10:23). (between 30-70 AD)

Since the Gospel had to be preached to "all the world" before the end would come (not the end of the world but the end of the age), Paul makes it clear that this had been accomplished (by the early AD 60s at the latest), therefore giving way to the "end of the age" through the destruction of the Holy City (Jerusalem) and the demise of the temple, which signified the end of the Old Covenant (Heb 8:13).

Now, regarding your statement "but I believe our God, the one who can do anything, can also get the gospel to every living creature before there soul leaves this earth", is an ever-present hope that we all share. In the first century, the Gospel’s proliferation (for prophecy fulfillment purposes) was limited in scope to the Roman Empire. And in fact that was accomplished.

However James, what you are referencing is our current hope that the Gospel will permeate every culture on the globe as we make disciples of all nations. Read Ezekiel 47 and the hair will rise on your arms. From the small trickle of water from the temple to a massive body of water that none can cross. This is the ever-increasing expansion of the Gospel. In spite of the gloom and doomers, the gospel has made massive advancements since Jesus began His public ministry 2,000 years ago.

James, there's so much left to do. We need to advance the Kingdom into every nook and cranny of His wonderful creation. The Gospel will not be defeated by "the antichrist" (who was present in the first century according to 1 John 2:18). We have every reason for hope because the Lord won the war 2,000 years ago. We just need to appropriate that which has been accomplished!

If I can be of any encouragement to you as you study the Scriptures. Make certain you do it with “audience relevance” in mind. Although the Scripture was written FOR us and our benefit, it was not written directly TO us. Most people read the Bible as though it was written directly to them, therefore ignoring the implications of a first century audience. Read the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 (Jesus addressed His disciples) and notice how many times we find “you”. This is not you or me or anyone other than the then current followers of Christ. If you read it in that context a whole new world will begin to open up.

Blessings to you James. And may your tunes reflect the overcoming nature of reigning Lord Jesus Christ and the powerful Gospel that He has entrusted to us!

Paulos Elias said...

Protestants have used Matt 24:14 as a motivation to do everything in their power to preach the Gospel to the whole world “before the end comes,” which, in the end, has been a good thing I suppose. But I don’t believe this is what Jesus had in mind when He made the statement. However, though I really liked your expose on this subject, I don’t agree with you concerning this passage. I don’t believe that the “preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom” was completed by 70 AD, and here’s why.

Truly the Gospel of Jesus Christ also known as the Gospel of Grace was preached to the “known world” by 70 AD and is still being proclaimed today. However Matt 24:14 is a prophecy referring to the “Gospel of the Kingdom” which concerns itself with the good news of the OT prophecies concerning the Davidic Kingdom being fulfilled. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

The phrase “Gospel of the Kingdom” is different from the term “Gospel of Jesus Christ!”

The Gospel of the Kingdom is preached by Jews to Jews and will ultimately be a testimony to all nations; THEN THE END WILL COME! Jesus began the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom by preaching, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” This message was strictly to the Jews for Jesus made it very clear that the Gospel of the Kingdom should not be preached to the Gentiles or Samaritans.

Once the “King” was officially rejected by the Jews the Gospel message took on a more spiritual meaning and opened to all nations. Through His death the good news was to concern itself, for the next 1900 + years with the work of Messiah as a sacrificial Lamb of God. Once the last member of the Body of Christ comes in, the Gospel of the Grace of Jesus Christ will be finished and the Gospel of the Kingdom will resume—to the Jews.

This Gospel of the Kingdom is also known as the Everlasting Gospel (Rev. 14), which will be preached by God’s two servants (Rev. 11) during the Tribulation Period. The ministry of these two servants will affect the entire world. Once they have completed their testimony the end will come. They will be martyred, but after three and a half days they will be resurrected before their enemies’ eyes. THEN THE END WILL COME!

The end cannot come until the “First Resurrection” is completed. This would include the 144,000 Jews who are considered the “Firstfruits” of God and the Lamb (Rev 14:4).

I CORINTHIANS 15:23
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
24 Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Therefore the “Gospel of the Kingdom” shall be preached again during the Tribulation Period after which the End will Come and the Millennium will begin. The Son of David will come to sit upon the throne of David during the Kingdom age.

When one reads the context of Romans 10:18 it could be argued that the Apostle is addressing the Jews’ neglectful response to the Word (gospel) that had been preached “throughout the whole world.”

ROMANS 10:18
18 But I say, Have they (Jews) not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that when Jesus states that "you will see me coming in the clouds with great glory," that this event has already happened? Also, your dating the book of Revolations to be written before 70A.D. when most scholars say that it was written a good twenty years after that. Can you please comment on these issues.

Charles Coty said...

Paulos,

I very much appreciate your interest in this subject and the grace of your reply. I’ve read similar posts attempting to differentiate the “kingdom of heaven” from “the Kingdom of God”. Ward Fenley, in Comparing the Kingdom of Heaven with the Kingdom of God, uses the analogy of faith to determine that these two expressions are synonymous.

The notion that there is more than one Gospel (Gospel of the Kingdom vs. Gospel of grace) is foreign to the writings of the NT authors. I think we enter very dangerous waters when we attempt to segregate the Gospel of Christ. There’s nothing in Scripture (other than the eisogesis of man’s presuppositions) that leads one to that distinction.

Two thousand years ago John the Baptizer proclaimed that the “time was fulfilled” and the Kingdom of God was “at hand”. (Mk 1:14) He warned that the axe was right then at the root of the tree (Luke 2:9) some three years before the eventual and ultimate rejection of Jesus Christ by the wicked and perverse 1st century generation (allegorized by the 2 covenants per Paul in Gal 4 and prophesied by Jesus in the parable of the tenants in Mt 21:33-44). What would be their end?

Matthew 21:42-43 (ESV) 42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: " 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

The Kingdom of God was taken away from those who thought they deserved the Kingdom by the virtue of their Abrahamic lineage. Their covenant was conditional and they failed miserably. The book of Revelation is God’s divorce decree of the Jews.

In the chapter before the Olivet, Christ said:

34Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Matthew 23:34-36 (ESV)

Indeed “all these things” came upon the first century Christ killers as their temple and holy city was razzed to the ground. 1.1 million Jews died in that war. (Fulfilling Mt 24:2)

John the forerunner, chastised this stiff-necked and wicked generation (AD 30-AD 70). God made known, through the coming of Elijah, that He could raise children of Abraham out of mere stones. Physical heritage was of no consequence in this New Covenant Kingdom.

Galatians 3:6-8 (ESV) 6 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed."

There is but one Gospel, one body of Christ and one lineage of Abraham. All children of Abraham are of faith. Both Jews and Gentiles alike bask in the person and work of Christ. Entrance into the New Jerusalem (which is from above—Gal 4:26) is entirely on the basis of faith. There is but one seed (Paul makes clear to distinguish between “seeds” and “seed”) and offspring of Abraham (Gal 3:16)—and that is Jesus Christ. Those who attempt by any other gate than “the way, the truth and life” of Christ will be sorely disappointed upon their departure from earth.

Paul is rather emphatic in a variety of passages that one is not a Jew who is one outwardly but one who believes in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Rom 9:6-8; Gal 3:7, 26; Rom 2:28-29).

Romans 9:6-8 (ESV) 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belongs to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Children of Abraham are of a spiritual nature. (I treated this more fully in a post ”Are Arabs and Jews Destined for Eternal Enmity?”)

Romans 2:28-29 (ESV) 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Circumcision is a matter of the heart.

Romans 2:16 (ESV) on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

There is but one “my gospel”.

Galatians 1:6-9 (ESV) 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Furthermore, the King was not surprised of His rejection by the Jews. It was part of His eternal plan from the foundation of the world. Jesus made it clear from the advent of His ministry that He came for the "lost sheep of the house of Israel", and His disciples were given the same task. It wasn’t until almost 11 years that Peter was jolted by the vision which prompted him to realize the Gospel was to be taken not only to the lost sheep but to every creature. (Acts 11:4-11). Until that time the Gospel was entirely within a remnant of the Jewish community.

Paul preached nothing but the “law and the prophets”. (Acts 24:14) Paul wasn’t preaching anything new. He made no distinction between Gospels. All had to come through the blood of the New Covenant. There was “neither Jew nor Greek”.

With regard to the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 14… I don’t have the time or inclination to adequately deal with that subject here, but suffice it to say; I find it rather curious that those who turn the locusts in Rev 9 into cobra helicopters are often the same who take these numbers literally. I have two thoughts.

1. The Revelation was highly sign-ified. Numbers were not merely to be crunched as per an accountant’s balance sheet. Numbers had grand significance far greater than their numerical value.

2. The contents of the Revelation were expected to have a swift and immediate impact first century impact. Therefore we are not given the Scriptural license to play lose with the text and ascribe meaning of the 144,000 to a future time 2,000 years removed from its context.

In my opinion, if Christians don’t begin to treat every word of Scripture with integrity, we will end up with more Da Vinci Code disasters, where the faith of many was/is severely challenged. Why were so many shaken by this work of fiction? Because many had come to believe God’s Word could be molded by any interpretational grid that suited their fancy.

The context of “at hand”, “near”, “shortly”, “quickly”, “soon” and “in a very little while” are either totally ignored as if they mean nothing, or are excised from their context and jettisoned to a time 2,000 years removed from the direct recipients. In It Depends on What the Meaning of 'Is' Is I attempted to deal with the faithlessness of many believers who prefer to wash all the imminent language of the NT with the broad brush of one confused passage of Scripture (2 Pet 3:8).

Consider the following in context and force the imminent language to its logical conclusion.

Rev 1:1 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 (AD 65-68) (Tachos, translated "shortly" above is the Greek word 5034 which means quickness or speed)

In Acts 25:4 we find the same Greek word, tachos. “But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there shortly.” Tachos is also found in Revelation 22:6. If we use the 1,000 years is but a day to the Lord interpretational grid then Festus still has not arrived at Caesarea! However in Acts 25:6 we read, “And when he [Festus] had remained among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea.” With the communication media the way it was in the first century it is plausible to consider that “shortly” could have had a variable meaning but is it reasonable to assume that its scope could be stretched to almost 2,000 years?

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (John’s Revelation may be tough to dicipher but one thing’s clear—its fulfillment was intended to be in the first century)

Rev 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him." (Zech 12:10; Mt 24:30; Dan 7:13 – These passages are congruent with John’s Revelation & refer not only to “this generation” but the coming on the clouds of AD 70)

Rev 3:10 “I also will keep you from the hour of testing which is about to come [mello] upon the whole world.” (As he said in First John, it is the last hour. It should not go without notice that most translations omit "about to" & substitute "shall". However in the light of the following verse "coming quickly", one might presumed that neutering the time reference is not particularly prudent. Translators clearly have their own paradigms with which the Word is filtered)

Rev 3:11 “I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (In consort with the other imminency passages this is another reference to the timing of His coming)

Rev 22:6 “…to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place.” (Compare Dan. 8:26 “And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future.”)

Rev 22:7 "Behold, I am coming quickly."

Rev 22:10 "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near." (Compare Dan. 8:26 “And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future.”)

Rev 22:12 "Behold, I am coming quickly.”

Rev 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (We should not have any difficulty believing that He is faithful & that He did exactly as promised. It is only preconceived paradigms that cause us to believe otherwise)

If the time was near 2,000 years ago how can it be near today? Only by presupposition do many ignore the massive amount of evidence that challenges the modern day apocalyptic assumptions. I am in no way casting stones here. I was in that camp for the better part of 33 years.

I believe there is only one gospel, one message of hope and one people of God. Mt 24:14 was fulfilled in the first century just before the end came. It was not the end of the world but the end of Old Covenant Judaism.

John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Thanks again for taking the time to express your thoughts.

Blessings!

Charles Coty said...

Anonymous you wrote...
“Are you saying that when Jesus states that "you will see me coming in the clouds with great glory," that this event has already happened? Also, your dating the book of Revolations to be written before 70A.D. when most scholars say that it was written a good twenty years after that. Can you please comment on these issues.”

Anonymous, those are great questions! The same that I had less than 4 years ago. How in the world could Jesus have already come, much less 2,000 years ago? Who saw Him, since through Acts 1:11 and 1 Thes 4:17 we are told (or so we we think) that Jesus will descend bodily to planet earth and we will meet Him in the air.

What I found through some very tedious study was that much of what I had been told, most of which I believed by default (at least in terms of eschatology), was based upon a foundation of errant presuppositions.

Over the years my faith had waned considerably and it was in large part due to the modern treatment of the “time statements”. Every place we find reference to the return of Christ there is a commensurate statement of imminence. I was told that 2 Peter 3:8 was the cure all for every one of them. It simply washed them all away to the point where the Scripture became an interpretational free-for-all.

However, I finally came to the point where I was no longer willing to buy what I now consider was subterfuge. As I began to read the Bible with a new appreciation for “audience relevance”, God began to impress upon me the fact that His Word was written to real flesh and blood people of the first century. So if Jesus said that He would do something within the context of “soon”, “quickly” or “in a little while”, it would be rather disingenuous for Him to have intentionally mislead those to whom the promises were given.

For example what would the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews understand from the following:

Hebrews 10:25 (ESV) not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Was “THE day” really drawing near? Is 2,000 years near in any sense of the word? Now how’s this follow-up for encouragement?

Hebrews 10:36-37 (ESV) 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For, "Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;

Just hang on guys for “yet a little while” and I promise I “will not delay”. Are we so inconsiderate and myopic (I’m speaking about myself prior to my change in position) to think that those persecuted believers who directly received these words, wouldn't have assumed them to be true? I cannot believe that this wonderful promise would not have had a profoundly negative impact were it not true and did not have an immediate consequence?

Please consider this before I attempt to answer your question. If God was not faithful to “them” (those in the first century who were the direct recipients of His promises) then what makes us believe He will be faithful to us? Isn’t faithfulness predicated upon the timely execution of a promise? If I tell you that I’ll be there “soon” with no intention of actually coming during your lifetime, would you consider me faithful under any circumstances?

Anonymous, in my opinion, we must abide by the most obvious language. Interpret the unclear in light of the clear. If God wanted to tell His first century followers that His coming was imminent, how could He have done it if the above words were not clear enough?

How about when the brother of Jesus wrote:

James 5:8-9 (ESV) 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

I’ve been told that James was intentionally developing a generational expectancy. That sounds great until you consider the implications. If James was inspired (and I believe he was), then how could he have been led to lie to the recipients of his letter? Unless of course he was telling the truth and the Judge was actually “standing at the door”?

Hadn’t Jesus said the same thing less than a generation prior?

Matthew 24:33 (NASB) even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.

And all the Olivet, including His return, was prophesied by the King to take place within the time constraints of "this generation" (which was in the first century). (Mt 24:34)

The timing of Jesus’ coming dictated the nature of His coming. Not the other way around. Most don’t understand the nature so they ignore the timing. Didn’t the first century Jews do the same? They expected a physical warrior Prince that would lead them out of political earthly bondage and they received a suffering servant Who came to set them free from the law of sin and death. Considering the timing forced me to change my view of the nature. Check out the plethora of time statements at my website on Imminency.

I have two other resources for you. Go to End Times and scroll down through the more than 200 articles. Every article dealt with a question I had during my most intense investigation. Look for articles dealing with Acts 1:11 and 1 Thes 4:17. If you can’t find them please let me know. They should be in the “But what about…?” section.

Also, if you have the time, you may find audio more to your liking. Go to Audio Sermons and listen to the first 3 on the top left grid of the page. Those sermons were preached by a friend of mine who had just gone through a rather extensive eschatological paradigm shift back in 1997. Any of the sermons under the subheading of “Covenant Eschatology” should be rather enlightening and challenging. I’d also listen to one entitled, “Ascension and Return” which deals with Acts 1:9-11 and coming on the clouds "in like manner".

Many of the sermons have the accompanying notes and Scripture references if you choose to follow along and exercise your full authority as a Berean.

Lastly, regarding your question concerning the writing of the book of Revelation. I have a plethora of resources in that regard. Go to Dating Revelation. Once there, read the main article and if you’d like you can listen to the audio at the top of the page. Notice the icon “Before Jerusalem Fell”. This is a pdf of a 400 page work that proved to me beyond any reasonable doubt that the book of Revelation (and the entire canon for that matter) was written prior to AD 70. I always found it strange that not one verse in the NT mentioned the most horrific event that the Jews had ever faced. One point one million were slaughtered in that holocaust that began in the spring of AD 66 and ended with the obliteration of the Temple in the fall of AD 70. Time, times and half time, fitting perfectly within the context of the Revelation relative to the Destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Old Covenant (Heb 8:13).

If I can be of any further help please let me know. I say the following with confidence. Once I began to set aside some very long held presuppositions and allowed the Scripture to speak clearly, my faith in the inerrant, inspired Word of God soared beyond belief. I hope it does the same for you.

Blessings!

Oz said...

well... if you think that the end occurred already and that Jesus has returned, can you please explain 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians Chapter 15?

Charles Coty said...

Oz,

I really appreciate your inquiry. Matter of fact, with the addition of Acts 1:11, these are the same passages I required answers to once I allowed the imminent “time statements” to force my hand.

For the first 33 years of my Christian life, I believed as you apparently do (who doesn’t?) that Scripture plainly taught a still future, visible, bodily return of our Savior. Therefore, how has it been even remotely possible for many godly men and women since the 2nd century to have missed His blatantly obvious parousia (return with a consequential presence)?

First, it must be noted that godly men throughout Christian history have referenced a past 2nd advent. So if anyone tells you that there's a 2,000 year consensus on these matters, they are either ignorant or they are simply not telling the truth. There has never been a church council debating these matters and for good reason. It simply was a matter of lesser importance than deciding the composition of the canonical books, meting out the doctrine of the trinity, understanding the implication of sola Scriptura or realizing that the Bible clearly taught salvation by grace alone.

Some today who use eschatology as a litmus test for orthodoxy are deceived. Is it important? Yes, but not a foundational non-negotiable bedrock of our faith. Erring eschatologically may cause confusion and misplaced hopes, but erring in the doctrines of grace, thinking that our works can justify us before a holy God, will land us in the pit of the Lake of Fire.

That said, it is clear that those proponents looking back upon a 70 AD second coming are certainly not in the majority. So how can I be so arrogant as to deviate from tradition?

One need only to turn to the second chapter in the 2nd epistle to the Thessalonians to realize that even in Paul’s day, believers were confused regarding the timing of His coming. One should note Paul’s answer to their question regarding their belief that the Lord had already returned. If in fact Paul expected a physical bodily return of Christ accompanied by the cataclysmic earth-burning dissolution of planet earth, then all he would have had to say was, “Look out the window guys. The graves have not been disturbed and the rocks and the trees have not melted with fervent heat, so just relax”. Instead Paul proceeds to detail the order of impending events i.e. the apostasy and the revealing of the man of lawlessness.

Paul’s understanding of the apocalypse was in line with the law and the prophets (which is all he preached since Christianity was not a new religion—it was merely an extension and fulfillment of OT Judaism). He and they knew that the “moon turning into blood and the stars falling from heaven” type language of the OT, signified literal judgment in a prophetically figurative manner. If in OT passages like Isaiah 13 and 34 the language was taken literally/physically, we wouldn’t be here. In the time of Isaiah, if the planets of the Milky Way literally collided with planet earth, I don’t think they’d have been able to find a very effective hiding place. :) The NT authors referencing that same apocalyptic language (Mt 24:29-30; Acts 2:16-21; Rev 6:12-14) are not attempting to redefine Scripture. These passages are merely an extension of that which had come before.

After years of interpretational frustration with time words or phrases like “at hand”, “shortly”, “soon” and “in a very little while” (all tied to the 2nd coming), I finally came to the realization that neither Jesus nor the NT authors were intentionally misleading the hearers and direct recipients. Once I worked through what I now believe is an extremely misleading and disingenuous understanding of 2 Pet 3:8, I embarked upon a journey to synthesize what at the time appeared to be a plethora of conflicting statements.

Oz, what I (and most for that matter) have the tendency to do, is to unwittingly allow our presuppositions to dictate our reading/understanding of the Word. And believe me, the translators are not immune from the same. It’s extremely difficult to shake faulty paradigms when we are unaware that they may be errant. Realizing there may be sound Biblically-based eschatological alternatives is the first step.

So the bottom line is this—if there is no way to understand the “time statements” in the immediate context in which they were written (without making a mockery out of language), then we have a severe problem with the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. Personally I believe that every Word is God breathed. I’m also convinced that Jesus is God and therefore cannot lie. Those two presuppositions preclude the time statements from being distorted.

Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (ESV) 21 And if you say in your heart, 'How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?'— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

If Jesus said that He would return within a generation and didn’t (Mt 24:34); if none of His extended family of disciples were still alive “until they see [saw] the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom” (Mt 16:27-28); and if his disciples finished going through the cites of Israel before “the Son of Man comes [came]” (Mt 10:23)…well then the atheists have a viable argument (which they argue quite regularly).

Have you ever wondered why the rest of the NT after Acts and the Gospels are full of time statements regarding the imminence of Jesus’ return? Have you also wondered why, as the books are written closer in proximity to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, that the statements gather intensity and urgency. From “this generation” in the gospels to “soon” in the earlier writings of Paul, to “in a very little while” and “it is the last hour” in Hebrews and First John respectively.

Oz, all that to say that there must be an explanation for the passages you cited fitting the context of a first century parousia, unless of course Christianity is built upon a foundation of smoke and mirrors where “soon” can mean a long time and “shortly” can mean 2,000 years. God did not write the Scriptures to Himself. Were it so, there would be nary a reference to time since in His economy time does not exist (at least in so far we are capable of understanding). No one who succumbs to the “a day is a thousand years” ambiguity is intentionally questioning the veracity of God but in my view that’s exactly what’s happening.

I’d like to take the time to exegete 1 Thes 4:14-18 but since others have already done the work, I won’t belabor the point here. I’ll send you to some papers and lectures. You will find them compelling. Go to www.charlescoty.com/endtimes.html and amidst the hundreds of articles that I found (and made portable) by asking the kinds of questions you want answers to, scroll down and find a few articles: “A Meeting in the Air” by Randall Otto; and “A Fresh Look at 1st Thessalonians” by Sam Frost. You might also benefit from “The Rapture (Lesson format) by Ed Ferner; “A Response to ‘Silence Demands a Rapture” by Dr. Kelly Birks. In audio format go to www.charlescoty.com/audio2.html and listen to the two sermons from Dr. Kelly Birks titled, “Rightly Recognizing the Rapture”.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NASB) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

The things of critical note regarding both verse 15 and 17 that escaped me for many years, are:

1. The fact Paul includes himself as a possible candidate for witnessing the 2nd coming (“we” who are alive). Paul clearly believed that His Lord’s return was so imminent that he thought he might be around to witness it.

2. The insertion of the word “remain” was rather puzzling. How would it be possible for those of us who live in the 21st century, obviously not living at the time of Paul’s letter, to “remain”? If Paul was writing specifically and exclusively to those who would walk the earth thousands of years after Paul and the recipients of his letter were dead and gone, would he have not written, “You who are alive will be caught up…” Only those living at the time of the letter can “remain”. Unless there are some 2,000 year old believers, none still “remain” today.

Even though Paul was uncertain of his longevity due to his rather tenuous circumstances, I believe he included himself as one who might see Christ return, because he knew that the Lord’s return was nearing the end of the Lords’ “this generation” time frame. Indeed Paul did not live to see Jesus’ “coming on the clouds” in judgment as Jesus prophesied to Caiaphas and his cronies at the Sanhedrin:

“I tell you, hereafter you (Caiaphas and those in attendance) will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER , and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN .” Mt 26:64.

The terminal wicked and perverse first century Jewish generation (AD 30-70) met their demise at the hands of the multinational army led by Rome. And I have no doubt that “those who pierced Him” (Rev 1:7) witnessed that most horrific bloodbath.

A small book written by George Hoford in 1805, “The Destruction of Jerusalem: An Absolute and Irresistible Proof of the Divine Origin of Christianity, Including a Narrative of the Calamities which befel the Jews, so far as they tend to verify our Lord's predictions relative to that event,” is an awesome testimony to the timely first century fulfillment of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse. BTW, how’s that for a run-on title? :)

Now realizing that Paul’s inspired expectation in this 1 Thes 4 passage referred to an imminent event, we must adhere to that context. So whatever the passage means, Paul expected it to be fulfilled “shortly”.

Next on the agenda is to determine what he means by caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. First it should be noted that “up” is nowhere found in the Greek text. It’s only there by presupposition. The word “caught” is “Harpazo” which means to seize. (for a thorough break down of that word which is vital to understanding this passage, read the articles and listen to the Dr. Kelly Birks sermons on that topic (listed above). The reference to “clouds”, which are also referenced in Acts 1:11, are consistent with the cloud comings of the OT. Did anyone see Jesus come on the clouds? They surely didn’t literally see Him sitting on a white pillowy cloud, but they saw the destructive effects. This is judgment language. The “day of the Lord” is all about retribution as those hurting first century Thessalonians were promised swift and certain vengeance.

2 Thessalonians 1:4-8 (NASB) 4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 5 This is a plain indication of God's righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Notice the number of references to “you” in this passage. Would there have been any comfort for these heavily persecuted Christ-followers, if God never repaid “with affliction those who afflict you” (Thessalonians)? We simply cannot miss the revelance to this particular audience. If Paul promised short-term vindication, how faithful do you think these Thessalonian believers would perceive Jesus to be, if these words had no specific application to them while they were still living?

Gosh, Oz, this is far too long to address 1 Cor 15. There are two excellent lectures on my audio page (near the bottom) and if you are so inclined watch part 1 of 16 in the video by Ward Fenley entitled “The Resurrection of the Dead”. You will be amazed how confusing the translators have made this passage. It is our view that by presupposition and eisogesis the Greek verb tenses are thoroughly mangled.

I hope some of this helps put you on a path of discovery. Don’t be intimidated by those who cry “heretic” for considering these things. I am orthodox to the core except as it relates to the 2nd coming. I have been compelled by Scripture to open myself up to severe scrutiny. However, I must answer to the Lord Jesus and allow Him to be my shield against well-meaning believers who attack me and my family. They are mere sheep following the lead of some shepherds that are merely turf-protecting. Oz, take the time to peruse my website. I believe every possible question you may have has been answered in those many articles. As long as you continue to pursue the truth you will not be disappointed. The Lord blesses those who diligently attempt to be faithful Bereans. The matchless grace of a victorious Savior is out of this world!

Since my paradigm change a little over three and half years ago, my faith in the inspiration of God’s Word has soared and my understanding of His faithfulness to those needy first century followers has brought me tremendous certainty. For how can we expect God to be faithful to us (whom He did not give the promises directly) if He was not faithful to the direct recipients of His promises? Remember…faithfulness is predicated upon the timely fulfillment of a promise. And I have no doubt about my Savior’s faithfulness!

Blessings,
Chuck

Ricky D. Blunt, Jr. said...

I do believe that Matthew 24 was fulfilled back then. My question is there any "great" event or anything coming that was prophesied? I know the Kingdom of God is here which is spiritual not political and there is no end to it.

I just want to know is there any other prophecies in the bible that hasn't come to pass.

Charles Coty said...

Ricky, thanks for the question. I also appreciate your faith in the accomplished work of Christ. Very few see what you see.

We both recognize that the only roadblock to the end of the Jewish aion (age) was the Gospel being preached to all the world (oikumene). That being accomplished by the writings of both Colossians and Romans, cleared the path.

As the writer of Hebrews eloquently stated, "Now what is becoming obsolete [Old Covenant] and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Heb 8:13)

Jerusalem, which the Old Covenant symbolized (Galatian 4:21-31), was about to be so utterly destroyed that not one stone would be left upon another. (Mt 24:2) Jesus warned that "these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled." (Luke 21:22)

Ricky, Jesus said ALL THINGS written which were contained in the law and the prophets. Not some things.

Paul, in Acts 24:14-15 (YLT), said "And I confess this to thee, that, according to the way that they call a sect, so serve I the God of the fathers, believing all things that in the law and the prophets have been written, 15 having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, [that] there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous;

Contrary the contentions of most people today, in Paul's day the resurrection was "about to be". Those that choose not to believe Paul and Jesus are subject to their own consciences. However, I take Jesus and every Canon writer at their word.

I believe everything written has been fulfilled in the sense that every predicted event has taken place. However, the story is far from over. It's only the beginning. Ezekiel 47 is a perfect picture of the advancing Kingdom since the first century. What began as a trickle of water emanating from the Temple (Jesus and the 12) has grown into a river so wide that it is teaming with life and so deep that it cannot be crossed by foot. Haven't billions entered the Kingdom since the days Jesus walked the earth as a man? Who wants to turn off the spigot?

I hope after I arrive in Heaven to forever be with the Lord, that both family members and those I influenced for Christ will continue to join for me for all eternity. How awesome will it be for Ricky Blunt's decedents, 500 and 1,000 years from now, will join him in Heaven. And those who came to know Christ through his diligent obedience, will bring with them generations of spiritual offspring.

Just think of what Heaven is like for the Apostle Paul, knowing that as a prior Christian slayer, he continues to see those enter through the gates who were influenced by His post conversion zeal.

So Ricky, all that is written has been fulfilled but we have a long way to go to makes disciples of all nations. The Gospel will be victorious and it's up to us to be effective vessels of God's grace and mercy.

Does that make sense? Thanks again for your faith and commitment to God's Word.

Blessings,
Chuck

Ricky D. Blunt, Jr. said...

Yes, it makes perfect sense.

Thanks for your help!

I wish more people understood.

Charles Coty said...

Ricky, I wish more people understood as well. That's where we come in. As long as we are gracious and respectful as we present what we believe is the truth, God will continue to bless our efforts.

BTW, we're founding a preterist internet radio station that is in its pre-birth state right now. This is the most exciting venture I've witnessed in a long time. The programs are working out the kinks as we speak. Right now the majority of the 24/7 airtime plays uplifting music.

Come December, there will be at least 10 hours per week of live teaching, call-in etc. The programs will be run by some extremely well-read and articulate men and women. Don Preston @ www.eschatology.org; William Bell @ www.allthingsfulfilled.com; David Curtis @ www.bereanbiblechurch.org; Sam Frost @ www.thereignofChrist.com and many more.

Tune in @ www.ad70.net. There are high bandwidth and low bandwidth connection options. They even have an iPhone or Smartphone option. A few shows are already archived.

Blessings Ricky,
Chuck

Anonymous said...

Hi Charles. I agree with your view on eschatology. I do have one question though. Paul refers to the incorruptible, glorified bodies in his letters. How does this square with the idea that all prophecy (including a bodily resurrection) has been fulfilled? Was it a metaphorical claim or has the true meaning been butchered by our old Dispensationalist ideas?

Charles Coty said...

Since you didn't leave your name, I'll refer to you as Anon. =) Thanks for your comments.

Anon, you wrote: "Paul refers to the incorruptible, glorified bodies in his letters. How does this square with the idea that all prophecy (including a bodily resurrection) has been fulfilled?"

Where in Scripture is there a reference to a "bodily resurrection" of believers or a "physical resurrection of the dead?" What I find interesting, is the assumption, that the resurrection of the dead (which IS a Biblical phrase) is automatically assumed to be a resurrection of physical bodies.

Anon, I think you would agree that THE resurrection was to occur on the "last day" at the "end of the age" at the parousia of Christ, right? According to the Apostle Paul, Hymenaeus was guilty of "upsetting the faith of some" by attempting to convince believers, prior to the destruction of the Temple/Old Covenant system, that the resurrection was already past.

Let me ask you a question. If the resurrection was physical in nature, how could Hymenaeus have convinced anyone of this falsehood?

In Paul's 2nd letter to the Thessalonians he dealt with those who were fearful they had missed Christ's second coming and therefore missed THE resurrection of the dead.

2 Thes 2:1-2 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

Anon, if Paul was convinced that there would be mass casket resurrections at THE parousia, how would you expect him to have handled this claim? Don't you imagine, all he would have had to do was to take the group on a field trip to the local graveyard to prove that the bodies were still snugly resting in their tombs?

Yet, Paul didn't do that! Instead, he went on to talk about the events that would precede the resurrection i.e. the apostasy and the revelation of the lawless one. It does not appear that Paul expected a bodily resurrection any more than he anticipated the annihilation of the planet at the coming of Christ.

Consider what Jesus said to Martha concerning the resurrection on the last day. He said, "I am the resurrection and the life [spiritual] he who believes in Me will live [spiritually] even if he dies [physically]. 26 and everyone who lives [physically] and believes in Me will never die [spiritually]."

Those who lived prior to AD 70 (this present age) before the dissolution of the Old Covenant, needed a resurrection to attain eternal life. Everyone living after AD70 (the age to come) were already born to new life and would never die (spiritually of course), therefore they'd never be in need of a resurrection. Presuming you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you, Anon, will never die! And thus, you will never need to be resurrected. You are already alive.

When we die physically, we will simply shed our outer shell and enter the presence of God. Who you are, Anon, is not defined by your height, weight and stature, but by your spirit, which is living.

I don't have time to broach the subject here, but if you'd like to do more study on this resurrection topic, I have a plethora of audio messages dealing with the resurrection. Go to www.charlescoty.com/audio2.html Listen to the David Curtis sermon "Resurrection Life". I would also recommend listening the the "Last Days" series parts 13 and 14 by Dan Norcini. And at the very bottom of the page, the two dealing with 1 Cor 15 by Jack Scott, will also be very challenging.

I hope that helps. Next time you chime in, share your name so that I don't have to call you Anon. LOL Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Great insight. That really helps. So does this mean that those who put their faith in Jesus between the A.D. 30-70 window didn't receive a resurrection in their spirit? Could those living after A.D. 70 only receive this resurrection? It's just confusing when Jesus said "It is finished" on the cross.

The name's Corey btw lol

Charles Coty said...

Hey thanks Anon, I mean Corey. LOL As you realize, the temporal plight of the transition saints are a hard nut to crack. Included in the AD 30-70 believers were the martyred saints "under the altar". The transition "already and about to be" language of the NT can be particularly troubling if we don't know what age we currently live in.

We find verses that posit salvation as a present (then) reality but yet still future. Consider these passages. Did the believers prior to the parousia have eternal life, or was it still a promise?

Mark 10:30 (NASB) but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.

Luke 21:28 (NASB) "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Romans 13:11 (NASB) Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.

Hebrews 9:28 (NASB) so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

Romans 8:18 (NASB) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is [about] to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:23 (NASB) And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

When Christ said, "It is finished", everything necessary for the success of His earthly ministry was completed. Yet, at that point, Jesus had not been raised. Without His bodily resurrection (unlike Lazarus who was merely raised physically) His death would have been meaningless. Yet, without His return, that which had been promised (salvation, adoption, resurrection, glorification etc.) would not become a reality.

Listen to those sermons I referenced but ALSO, check out the message that I just posted. I think it will clear up a great deal of the confusion for you.

Understanding Scripture - Part 2

Corey, from my earliest recollection, I was taught that there was NO overlap between the Old and New Covenants. This simply is NOT the case and therein lies a great deal of confusion. As we find in Gal 4:21-31, there was a transition period, where the two covenants coexisted. this is the tension that the author of Hebrews speaks to.

While the tabernacle was still standing (Heb 9:8), which was symbolic of the "this present time" (not ours!), the way into the Holy Place had not been disclosed. The High Priest (Jesus) was yet to return and consummate His perfect, once for all sacrifice. Notice the language in the next verse.

Hebrews 8:13 (NASB) When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Until the demise of the temple (Matthew 24:2) and the crushing of the holy people (Dan 12:7), the Old Covenant system, although waxing old, was not yet dissolved. This is the 40 year Exodus motif. The chart I posted with "Understanding Scripture" will be particular helpful.

Thanks again, Corey. I wish this was a forum more conducive to dialogue. Feel free to befriend me on Facebook or on Sovereign Grace Preterism

Blessings!

Michael said...

Thanks Charles, a very good article. As I was reading the thought came - Jesus, in His time, the gospel had been preached to all the earth as you say - but today 'we will do works, & greater than me' so His ministry is still being done - through us, as His representatives on earth - we have His power & authority on earth & in heavenly places, in His name. We declare the sick healed, & demons released - we don't have to ask Him for these things because the work has already been done, it is His will - that what is in heaven be done on earth. Would but Christians become more aware of these things.

Charles Coty said...

Michael, I appreciate your comments. You wrote: "We declare the sick healed, & demons released - we don't have to ask Him for these things because the work has already been done, it is His will - that what is in heaven be done on earth. Would but Christians become more aware of these things."

Michael, if it is His will, then you need to come to my hometown hospital and empty the place. Where are the miracles of today? Why is it I have never met anyone who has been raised from the dead? Why don't people grow back limbs? Why don't blind people now see? At these healing conferences, why don't they feed the masses with a few loaves and couple of fish?

Oh, we hear about the great miracles in places we've never been but there's never a shred of documentation. The supposed great healing revival in Lakeland, FL (Todd Bentley) was finally exposed as a fraud. What an utter travesty. How about the expose on Benny Hinn? Sadly, people are taken in by this kind of sensationalism because they are not grounded in the Word.

With the exception of the Apostle John who may have been exiled to Patmos, we are told (through extra-biblical sources) that every apostle was brutally murdered. Why? Didn't they hold the keys to the miraculous? And after His resurrection, Jesus prophesied to Peter that he (Peter) would glorify God in his death. Why, if healing was guaranteed? Doesn't seem like much of a way to begin a healing ministry.

Michael, as you aptly point out, Christ's Kingdom is clearly advancing and it will NOT be overcome in a conflagration of evil, as the modern day prophecy speculators profess. And yes, we are overcomers through Christ, but though the Kingdom does have earthly ramifications (to be sure), it is a Spiritual Kingdom. We no longer walk by sight. I don't have to be healed of my warn out knees and ailing back to believe.

In speaking to Thomas Jesus said, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." Jn 20:29

Empiricism is the antithesis of faith, and the modern charismatic movement is grounded in empiricism. So what happens to their faith when the miracles don't come? I have seen this first hand. People's faith is destroyed.

If I may be so bold, I would suggest watching Understanding Scripture by Pastor David Curtis. The Exodus was a type of that which was to come in the New Covenant. The period between 30 and 70 AD (Pentecost to Holocaust) is the Exodus anti-type. In my view, missing this causes great confusion and a host of false expectations.

I believe miracles do happen by God's sovereign decree, but they are by no means normative. There are no healers today. I was heavily involved in the charismatic movement that traces its roots back to the Azusa Street Revival in 1906. It, along with futurism, almost destroyed my faith. I believe it's perpetuated by emotionalism and sensationalism.

We live in the New Jerusalem! The Perfect has come. Therefore the imperfect has passed away.

Thanks again, Michael, and I pray that God will continue to illumine your mind as you seek Him.

Bible Prophecy said...

The Gospel has been shared…

Romans 10:17-18 (King James Version)
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18But I say, Have they not heard? (Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world)

Colossians 1:6 (King James Version)
Which is come unto you, as (it is in all the world) and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.


Colossians 1:23 (King James Version)
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the (hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven) whereof I Paul am made a minister;


Many will be Saved Now, and Repent, and a Great Multitude will finally really get Saved, and Repent in the Tribulation...

The Powerful Gospel will continue to be Preached after the Rapture in the Tribulation by the Tribulation Saints, The 144,000, The Two Witnesses (Two Prophets) and the Gospel will continue to be Preached in the Tribulation by Ministering Angels as Shared in Revelation 14:6

Revelation 14:6
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting (gospel to preach) unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people…

Kind Regards,
raptureprophecy.com

Charles Coty said...

Bibleprophecy,

I really appreciate your comments. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in. I’m not altogether certain why you cited the same Scripture references that were embedded in the blog’s chart, but I guess the redundancy is of no harm. Perhaps it can serve as a reinforcement proving that Matthew 24:14 was in fact fulfilled within a generation of Jesus’ proclamation just a few years before the Canon was completed.

Even now, 2,000 years removed from this prophetic fulfillment, most Christians don’t’ believe that the gospel has been proclaimed to “all the world [Roman Empire]”. The Apostle Paul, in every way imaginable, made certain that Jesus’ testimony/prediction was vindicated. Who would have believed at the time of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, that, through His small band of followers, in approx. 30 years from Jesus’ death/resurrection/ascension, they would have accomplished such an astonishing feat? But then again, who knew that Saul the persecutor would be miraculously converted, setting the world ablaze with the Gospel.

What I find puzzling, is that contrary to these clear Scripture references of fulfillment (some of which you recited), we find many mega ministry’s main stated goal (like that of the Christian Broadcasting Network), of fulfilling Matthew 24:14 so that in effect they can help speed the return of Christ. This, however, in my view ignores the entire context of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse.

What concerns me “Bibleprophecy”, is the fact that, based upon your reaction, it does not appear you actually read the entire article. Matter of fact, other than doubling up on the citations already referenced, you didn’t interact with ANYTHING that was written. Also, when crafting a response, instead of inserting your opinion as FACT, I think you would do well to preface your comments with something to the effect of “I believe” or “It’s my opinion”… Again, I appreciate your effort, but to begin with “Many will be Saved Now, and Repent, and a Great Multitude will finally really get Saved, and Repent in the Tribulation...” as though you’re stating pure fact, is somewhat counterproductive… especially with no Scriptural reasoning for coming to your conclusions.

It seems clear that you not only didn’t read the article to which you responded, but you could not have read the extensive dialogue that followed because much of what was written was in direct opposition to what you stated so matter-of-factly. I will leave your comments posted, but I would appreciate it if you would take the time to go back and read the blog and the questions, thoughts and answers that follow.

Now, let’s again consider the actual keynote verse.

Matthew 24:14 (NASB) "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole WORLD [oikoumene] as a testimony to all the NATION [ethnos], and then the END will come.”

As noted in the article, the word “world” in Matthew 24:14 is NOT the Greek word “kosmos” but actually “oikoumene”, which confines itself to the Roman Empire (Luke 2:1). And the KJV, although a solid translation, in this case contributes to the confusion when it also consistently translates “ge” (land) and “aion” (age) as WORLD. This presents a major obstacle for the reader since these Greek words carry significantly different meanings which are unbeknownst to the reader unless of course they take the time to look up the Greek.

(continued)

Charles Coty said...

(continued below)

So in Matthew 24:3, when the disciples responded to Jesus’ startling revelation that the Temple would be obliterated beyond recognition, the KJV misleads the reader. Jesus isn’t speaking about the “end of the world” but the “end of the AGE”. (the NKJV and the other modern translations have corrected this error)

Matthew 24:3 (KJV) 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 [aion]?

Matthew 24:3 (NKJV) Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, WHEN will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the END OF THE AGE [aion]?"

So we have two instances in a matter of few verses where the KJV translates both “oikoumene” and “aion” as world. Instead of Jesus referencing the entire “kosmos” (or planet) in both Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 24:3 as the reader often incorrectly assumes (Mt 24:14), it’s not difficult to realize how so much misunderstanding ensues. Jesus is speaking about the Gospel going out to the entire Roman Empire (oikoumene) before the close of the age (aion) not the “end of the world.”

Now, what I want to make clear is that, even though I believe Scripture irrefutably proves that Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, it is our continued mandate to proclaim the Gospel and expand the Kingdom.

“Bibleprophecy”, you wrote, “The Powerful Gospel will continue to be Preached after the Rapture in the Tribulation by the Tribulation Saints…”

At this point you have opened a can of worms that was not the intent of the article. The point of the article was to prove that the Gospel has already been preached to “all the world” just as Jesus stated. The reason for hammering home this point is because some atheists and agnostics have rightly pointed out, that since they and the majority of Christendom don’t believe the Gospel has in fact been proclaimed to “all the world”, they argue that Jesus is a liar and obviously that would negate His claim to be God. So this is a matter of grave importance to the divine nature of Christ as well as the authoritative inspiration of the Bible.

So, if the Gospel has not been preached to “all the world”, the unbelievers have a formidable, and for that matter insurmountable, argument against Christianity. Matter of fact, IF the entire Olivet did not come to pass within a generation (between 30 and 70 AD), the arguments of atheist Bertrand Russell in “Why I am Not a Christian”, would be compelling. To the discredit of the Church, the majority of Christians have not dealt fairly and honestly with Russell’s argument which sets the timing of “all these thing” to “this generation” (which was “that” first century generation). So let’s consider the following verse near the end of the Olivet.

Matthew 24:34 (NASB) "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

(continued)

Charles Coty said...

(continued below)

“Bibleprophecy”, I have read commentary after commentary saying that the above verse is one of the MOST confusing and perplexing verses in the Bible. Matter of fact, in “The World’s Last Night”, C.S. Lewis made this rather chilling statement. H wrote, ““Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. HE SHARED, AND INDEED CREATED, THEIR DELUSION. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.” It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.

Sadly, C.S. Lewis, although being completely honest, made the astounding statement that “Jesus shared, and indeed created, their delusion.” In my view, it is totally unacceptable to even suggest that the King of Kings deluded anyone. The truth is, Jesus couldn’t have been clearer. The problems ensue when C.S. Lewis and so many others refuse to take Jesus at His Word. The dilemma is not in what Jesus said, but rather our unwillingness to believe what He plainly stated.

In the prior chapter, when verbally undressing the Pharisees, Jesus used the same two phrases, “This generation” and “All these things”, and there is no doubt to whom Jesus was speaking.

Matthew 23:36 (NASB) "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

I dealt with what “this generation” means in the following blog a few months ago: http://charlescoty.blogspot.com/2009/07/this-generation-shall-not-pass-away-til.html

So “Bibleprophecy”, given your interpretation of Revelation, putting “all these things” still in our future, plays right into the hands of the atheists. However, Jesus gives us no such authority. When answering the disciple’s question regarding the destruction of the Temple at the “end of the age”, he emphatically stated that “all these things” would come upon “THIS generation.” Not the generation that sees the signs or some other reworking of the statement. “This” is the near demonstrative, and no matter how we may want to wiggle out of what Jesus said, if we are intellectually honest, “this generation” can ONLY be the generation to which Jesus is speaking. And it’s really not a matter of “if” the litany of events catalogued in Jesus’ Olivet took place. They MUST have taken place or we are negating His prophetic Word and therefore unwittingly denying His divinity. Thankfully, in irrespective of what most people think, ALL the events outlined in Matthew 24 took place within that generation.

When quoting Revelation, we can make the text mean just about anything we desire (since the language is so full of apocalyptic imagery) IF we refuse to be constrained by the context.

(continued)

Charles Coty said...

(continued below)

Revelation 1:1-3 (NASB) 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which MUST SOON TAKE PLACE;…3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for THE TIME IS NEAR.

The Revelation, written approx 35-36 years after Jesus’ ascension, is a continuation of the Olivet. In the Olivet Jesus stated that “all these things” would take place within “this generation.” Now, three and half decades later, Jesus, through the angel to John, is refining the timing of His predictions to “the things which MUST SOON take place,” because “the time is NEAR.” So we at least know WHEN these things were to take place. Now, let’s consider the end of the book and see what kind of time frame Jesus used. We find that the Revelation concludes in the exact manner in which it began.

Revelation 22:6-7 (NASB) And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the THINGS WHICH MUST SOON TAKE PLACE. 7 "And behold, I AM COMING QUICKLY. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book."

Revelation 22:10-12 (NASB) And he said to me, "DO NOT SEAL UP the words of the prophecy of this book, for THE TIME IS NEAR.

Revelation 22:12 "Behold, I AM COMING QUICKLY, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

Revelation 22:20 (NASB) He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I AM COMING QUICKLY." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Predominantly because of presupposition, many Christians have ignored these extraordinarily clear “time statements”. Once one conveniently trivializes or completely ignores the timing of this heavily signified book, the private interpretations that Peter warned of, abound.

“Bibleprophecy”, the great tribulation that you believe is in our future, MUST come within the confines of “this generation”. We’re given no latitude here. The “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation”, spoken of in Daniel 12 and ratified by Jesus when He proclaimed, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will” (Mt 24:21), occurred during the horrific 1260 days (times, time and half time or 3 ½ year) between the Spring of AD 66 and the Fall of AD 70 when 1,100,000 Jews were slaughtered in that fiery holocaust at the hands of the Roman-led multinational army. Just as Jesus had predicted forty years earlier, not one stone of that magnificent temple was left upon another.

To be quite honest, I had been a Christian for 33 years before becoming fully aware of the writings of Josephus and Tacitus. How sad, that for all those years I was ignorant of the profound testimony that God left us through these historians. I don’t meet 1 in a 1,000 Christians who have any working knowledge of the events that took place between Jesus’ death and the destruction of Jerusalem 40 years later. And this is part of the problem with interpreting Bible prophecy.

(continued)

Charles Coty said...

(continued and concluded below)


“Bibleprophecy”, as I close this out, we need to again consider the verse that began our discussion.

Matthew 24:14 (NASB) "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and THEN THE END WILL COME.

Jesus didn’t prophecy a 2,000 year gap between preaching the gospel to “the whole world” and “the END” (which in Matt 24:2 we learn is the “end of the age” not the end of the world). Once the Gospel was preached to the entire Roman Empire, the Old Covenant age would come to a an end.

Hebrews 8:13 (NASB) When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Jesus, inaugurated the New Covenant at his death/burial/resurrection, but the Old Covenant, that was “becoming obsolete”, “growing old” and “ready to disappear”, was still in full swing. In other words, there was a transition period from Pentecost to Holocaust (AD 30-70)

Once the temple was destroyed, animal sacrifices ceased and the genealogical records were forever buried under the rubble, the Old Covenant age came to a close within a generation, just as Jesus predicted. So my atheist friends, though correct in taking the time statements (shortly, quickly, at hand etc.) at face value, are as confused as so many Christians who refuse to take Jesus at His word.

Again, I appreciate the comments. I used have some of the same beliefs as you, but once I had a viable alternative that faithfully accommodated the plethora of time statements, my faith in Scripture was considerably heightened. So, although we may disagree at that point, I’m thankful that we serve the same risen Savior.

Blessings!

truthseeker said...

Thanks so much for the post. This is exactly the same conclusions I am coming to as I do my own study! John 16:13. Blessings in Christ!

Charles Coty said...

Truthseeker, thanks for your comments. It's of course heartening for me that you have come to a like-minded conclusion, but the key is staying true to the task at hand. Be a passionate, humble and faithful Berean.

The main issue people seem to miss is the overriding presupposition inherent in the Olivet Discourse. It is ethnocentric/Israel-centric. Jesus came for the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" and instructed His disciples to do the same. The events in the Olivet are often confused as referencing events that would engulf the entire world. It wasn't until Peter's vision in Acts 11 that the Disciples understand the worldwide ramifications of the Abrahamic Covenant.

Consider the following from John's Revelation:

Revelation 3:10-11 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.

This sounds as though the calamitous events predicted would engage the "whole world", doesn't it? However, the word used for "world" is oikoumene NOT kosmos. And it refers to the Roman Empire as it did in Luke 2:1.

Not only that, but many miss the fact that Jesus never referred to "the end of the world" but actually "the end of the age" i.e. the end of the Jewish age/Old Covenant age. This confusion has arisen, I believe largely because the word "world" in the KJV was again been misinterpreted.

Clearly the Gospel has not been preached to "all the world (kosmos in the Greek)" as in every human being on the planet. But it was preached, according to Paul, to "all the world (oikoumene)"(Luke 2:1) well before AD 70 and the close of the Canon.

What appears global in scope due to incorrectly applying the Greek, has caused a great deal of confusion.

Take the following survey question to your friends. Ask them this: Has the Gospel been preached to "all the world", therefore fulfilling Jesus' prophecy as stated in Matthew 24:14? I bet you won't have 1 in a 100 answer that correctly, unless they think you're trying to trick them. :) And if any do answer affirmatively, ask them for a source. My guess is not one will point to the plethora of Pauline passages testifying to this completed mission.

And it should not go without notice that after the Gospel was preached to "all the world", then the end was to follow. Like clockwork, the Temple/Jerusalem was obliterated in the Roman siege from the spring of AD 67 to the fall of AD 70 (3.5 years).

So, how amazing is it that within the exact time prescribed by Jesus ("this generation" - Matthew 24:34), this prophecy along with the rest of the Olivet predictions were fulfilled. Matter of fact, if you have never read it, I commend to you a book written in 1812 by George Holford entitled, "The Destruction of Jerusalem: An absolute and irresistible proof of the divine origin of Christianity." Read it HERE

It's so awesome to know that God was so faithful to do exactly as He predicted within the time allotment of that prediction.

Let me offer one last thought. Some believe that by me arguing that Matthew 24:14 has been fulfilled, means that I believe our task of Gospel preaching is over. That couldn't be further from the truth. The reality is, that, what was begun at the birth of the Church at Pentecost, continues into perpetuity. The New Covenant church has no end and it is our responsibility to continue to invite people to dine with the King of Kings. The Good News is the Good News in any and every era! :)

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I'm just now reading this and your argument makes a lot of sense. I have been confused over this topic and the particular passage about "this generation." I'm curious then, do u believe Jesus is returning again? How do u make sense of that verse? What does the end then look like for us? When will the new earth and heaven begin? What is our future here on earth?

Charles Coty said...

Anon, I'd like to be able to address you by name, but Anon will have to do.

Anon, I'd like to be able to address you by name, but Anon will have to do.

What I really appreciate about your thought processes is the fact that you seem willing to allow Scripture to control and therefore alter your presuppositions. Most often that is not the case. When the Word conflicts with our preconceptions, we usually attempt to find justification in an alternative understanding rather than sacrifice a potentially errant view. So it's heartening to see you meet the challenge head on.

With regard to "this generation", let me refer you to an article HERE.

Thanks again for weighing in.

Anonymous said...

I am Mr. Buckland. If you continue to use human reasoning in explaining the Holy Scriptures, you may continue to miss what God means. God does not reason as human beings do. (1st Cor.2:9-14) There are two basic reasons why there has been a DELAY in the second coming of Jesus Christ: (1) One thousand years is a SHORT time to God. (2nd Pet.3:8) (2) God is waiting for more people to repent. (2nd Pet.3:9) All of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, was "shortly to come to pass". This includes Rev.21:4: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." According to Rev.22:6, this was to be done "shortly". Now, part of what is written in Revelation, applied to the Christians then; but surely, it would be wrong to say that EVERYTHING HAS BEEN FULFILLED! Is there still "death"? Is there still "sorrow"? Is there still "crying"? Is there still "pain"? There is another fundamental problem. Jesus in Matt. Chapter 24, was not just answering ONE question. He was answering TWO basic questions: (1) "When shall these things be?" This refers to the time when "there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Matt.24:2,3) (2) "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matt.24:3) This refers to His second coming at the end of the age. Jesus Christ SEPARATED the destruction of the Temple from His Second Coming at the end of the age. Jesus KNEW that the Jews of His generation would live to see the destruction of the Temple. This is why He said: "...This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (Matt.24:34) However, Jesus DID NOT KNOW when He would come again. This is why He ALSO said: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matt.24:36) If Jesus DID NOT KNOW when His Father in Heaven would send Him again, HOW MAY WE THINK THAT JESUS MEANT THAT HE WOULD RETURN BEFORE ALL THIS GENERATION OF JEWS, WHOM HE HAD GROWN UP WITH, HAD DIED? Have you never noticed that the Holy Scriptures is full of REPEATED FULFILLMENTS OF PROPHECIES. For example, the Children of Israel were told that if they broke God's Covenant, that God would scatter them among the nations. (Lev.26:33) This has been fulfilled in 721 B.C. (2nd Kings 17:6)when the Kingdom of Israel was carried away into exile by the Assyrians; in 586 B.C. (2nd Kings 25:11) when the Kingdom of Judah was carried away into exile by the Babylonians; in A.D.70, (prophesied in Lk.21:24) when the Jews were carried away into exile into all all nations. The answers in Matt. Chapter 24 were to two questions, one asking about when the Temple at Jerusalem would be destroyed, and the other one asking when Jesus would come back. The answers sometimes have a DOUBLE FULFILLMENT, that is, to both the destruction of the temple and of the coming of Jesus Christ. For example, it is true that the gospel was preached in all the world by about A.D.62, according to the date of Col.1:23, and that was about 8 years before the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem in A.D. 70. However, it is ALSO true, that before "the end comes", that is,before "the end of the world" (Compare Matt.24:3 with Matt.24:14), God will make sure that everyone hears the gospel so that they may have a chance to be saved before the day of final judgement comes, that is, the day when everyone will be judged, and some will be accepted into the Kingdom of God, but some will be sent into Hell-Fire.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this gentleman doesn't realize the "whole world" in the first century was the Roman empire?
Scripture doesn't talk about North and South America, Siberia, Russia, etc.

Christ spent His time speaking to His contemporaries about the end of Their World (the Old Covenant Age) and He inaugurated the New Covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20) in fulfillment of the prophecy in Jer. 31:31

Chuck Coty said...

Mr. Bunkland, thanks for your participation, but in the future please use the return key. These run-on sentences are very disorienting and make your comments rather difficult to wade through.

You wrote: "If you continue to use human reasoning in explaining the Holy Scriptures, you may continue to miss what God means. God does not reason as human beings do."

Do you not see the incredible irony in this? Seconds after saying that we must not use human reasoning, you used your human reasoning to explain what the “Holy Scriptures” actually mean. You made this declaration (which is not only totally unfounded but is false) and then proceeded to explain THE truth as YOU see it, using YOUR reasoning. Sorry, but I can't help but see the humor in such utter hypocrisy.

Listen, I have no problem with you sharing your views, but please don't hide behind this smokescreen.

The statement, “God does not reason as human beings do?”, is predicated upon a very anemic method of interpreting God’s word. Mr. Bunkland, did you know that God created logic and human intellect? Did you know that we are exhorted to be of the MIND as Christ? You repeat a common misconception which originates in cherry-picking the following verse while ignoring the context.

(Isaiah 55:8) “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

Is God really saying that He doesn't use the same logic system that we use? That, in God’s world, 2+2 can equal whatever God wants it to be? Of course not! The Apostle Paul regularly used syllogisms of logic as he battled his naysayers.

(Acts 17:2) And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths REASONED with them from the Scriptures,

(Acts 17:17) So he was REASONING in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

(Acts 18:4) And he was REASONING in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Clearly, Paul was reasoning through the power of the Holy Spirit, but he was nonetheless using the rules of logic ordained by God. God has ordered the universe in a way that, if following sound principles of logic, will lead one straight to Him. (Romans 1:18-25)

continued on next post...

Chuck Coty said...

continued from previous post...

Now back to Isaiah 55. Reading the verse prior to Isaiah 55:8 makes clear the wisdom that God, through Isaiah, was attempting to impart.

(Isaiah 55:7-8) Let THE WICKED forsake his way
And THE UNRIGHTEOUS man his thoughts;
And let him return to the LORD,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

God is specifically speaking about holiness, not logic. The wicked and the unrighteous do not follow the ways of God. So “My thoughts are not your thoughts” doesn't mean that God has a separate set of logic tools that are foreign to man. So please don’t misapply this verse, and for goodness sake, don’t tell people not to use reason and then present your reasoning.

Mr. Bunklund, it grieves me no end to see people make excuses for God while attempting to justify their own PRIVATE INTERPRETATIONS. If we are going to recover the Bible from the clenches of the liberal scholars (who constantly attempt to tear it apart), we must stop using our OWN reasoning (based upon false presuppositions) and follow that which was clearly laid out in the Bible.

Mr. Bunkland, your comments (though I presume were well-intentioned) are straight out dispensationalism 101. Every argument you used (double fulfillment, God can’t tell time, God changed his plans, Yeshua spoke about the end of the world, Yeshua had no clue when He would return, God is in delay mode) is right out the premillennial dispensational playbook of Scofield and Darby. These excuses you apparently think are divinely inspired reasons, are what give atheists and agnostics a foothold.

Believers who espouse the views you articulated here, fail to realize that this line of REASONING is a direct, perhaps unwitting, assault on the SOVEREIGNTY and INTEGRITY of God. Sound harsh? It’s certainly not intended to be unloving or unkind, but the brute realities of the claims you presented, are doing a serious disservice to the inspiration of God’s Word. Your post was so riddled with errant presuppositions that it's difficult to know where to begin. I may have more time later but suffice it to say, I'm still reeling over your statement, "God does not reason as human beings do."

Let me close with this. Mr. Bunklund, I don't think for one minute that you love Christ any less than I do. And I trust you are just as passionate about truth as I am. So, please don't let my critique of your post be viewed as an attempt to demean a fellow traveler. I respect you as a co-laborer but my hope is that you will realize the serious error of your opening comments.

Chuck Coty said...

The Anon who wrote, "I wonder if this gentleman doesn't realize the "whole world" in the first century was the Roman empire?", is right on the money. The fact that the KJV doesn't distinguish between "aion" (age), "oikoumene" (Roman Empire) and "kosmos" (cosmos) has led many astray as they attempt to piece the prophetic puzzle together. The disciples never had the end of the planet in their minds-eye. They were referring to the end of the AGE (aion - Matt 24:3) when they questioned Yeshua re the timing of the de-creation events.

Unknown said...

Wow, I have been having so much fun studying this material! I have believed much this way for a long time. But I have to tell you I am now very concerned because of your statements about healing. How can someone understand the Word so much and yet miss this? I get infuriated when I have leaders make statements about no healings, limbs growing out, blind eyes open, deaf ears healed. Have you been to one of the trips I have been on to Guatemala in the last 3 years where I have seen many blind eyes opened, deaf hear, bones set that were broken, kids speak that have never spoken and on and on. Above that, we have a stream of people who are healed on a regular basis just in our church. Just because you have seen nothing in the area of healings, doesn't mean that they aren't happening all over the world today. By the way, I know of several people in Mexico that a friend has seen raised from the dead. You also don't believe in prophetic ministry etc. That list makes me feel less confident in everything else you teach. Sorry, but I have videos of my trips I have been on where people are being healed by the Lord on the video. Our last trip to Guatemala in November of 2013 there were 100's of healings that we witnessed. We also have seen God heal (many times after family has been called in or given a heads up that their love one has days to live) cancers of all types. We have doctors say more times than we can remember, it's a miracle, we don't understand this etc. Feel free to email me at patwdavis@hotmail.com

Chuck Coty said...

Pat, I appreciate your response. I always enjoy interactions, positive or negative. However, not knowing my background, I felt your comments were a bit heavy-handed. Since this blog's comment feature is a bit restricted, I decided to respond by creating a new blog:

Signs and Wonders! Normative for Today?

Though you posted your email address, I chose to keep your identity anonymous. Undoubtedly you will disagree with my conclusions, and that's fine, but at least you'll have a better understanding why I believe as I do. Walking arm in arm as co-laborers in the Gospel, does not require unanimity on all issues.

Blessings to you and your family, Pat. And thanks again for taking the time to respond. :)