Confessions of a Questioning Christian

Posts Tagged ‘prophesy

Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple

24  Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them,“You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Things are really starting to heat up over here in Matthew. Instead of fulfilling prophesies, Jesus is prophesying now.

Signs of the End of the Age

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?” And Jesus answered them,“See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13  But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 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.

I guess the real question is “What does the ‘end of the age’ even mean?”

The disciples were really asking three questions. First, they wanted to know when “this” would happen. The “this” could be a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which Jesus had just finished describing as being threatened with destruction. Second, they wanted to know what the “sign” of his coming was, which as we shall see, Jesus finally gave them in 24:30. Third, the disciples also wanted to know when the “end of the age” would occur. This is something Jesus told the disciples they could not know (24:36).

If we separate out the three questions, and see how Jesus answered each of them, we can clear up a number of problems or misinterpretations associated with Matthew 24. Jesus was telling his disciples that Jerusalem and the temple (the “this”) would, indeed, be destroyed intheir day. But the “sign” they asked about, Jesus said, would be associated with his coming, not with the destruction of the city. Finally, as to the disciples’ third question, Jesus said, no one could know the answer to the question of when he would return and “the end” of the age would occur. (Source: GCI)

Ah, okay then. Whenever Jesus said anything, the interpretations I got as a child were ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS about the rapture. Or the Tribulations. Or another part of Revelations as fictionalized by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Man, did I have serious nightmares growing up about being left behind.

The Abomination of Desolation

15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place ( let the reader understand),16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17  Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23  Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.28  Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

Jesus would be AWESOME at telling scary stories around the campfire. As for me, the part that has always stuck with me is verse 19 – perhaps this is one of the reasons I’ve always been afraid of getting pregnant and having children. Not necessarily because of THIS EXACT EVENT happening, but whenever I think about the Holocaust or Hurricane Katrina or whatever, I think, if I had a kid, that would be terrible for both of us.

The Coming of the Son of Man

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Okay. Still talking about the end of the age/the rapture/I don’t know what.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35  Heaven and earth will pass away, butmy words will not pass away.

No One Knows That Day and Hour

36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[b] but the Father only. 37  For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,[c] whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’49 and begins to beat his fellow servants[d] and eats and drinks withdrunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Okay I’m lumping all of that together because he is still talking about… what? The second coming? I’m going to be honest – although I look forward to the proverbial heaven on earth that has been prophesied, I can’t let myself dwell on it. It is important to me – and to God, too, I think – that I am doing what I can HERE and NOW on THIS earth to spread goodness, love, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, etc.




Posted on: February 6, 2012

Wouldn’t it have been so funny if Jesus had seen the cross and been like, “I know I SAID I was going to do that, but I don’t want to I don’t think God wants me to anymore.”  Why are Christians always changing their plans, crediting God for the capricious direction of their lives, and leaving broken promises and empty words in their wake?  Some form of witnessing.

None of the prophets prefaced their prophecies with “I think God said…”

If the all-mighty God speaks to you, you won’t need to tag the “I think” to the front.  And you will (hopefully) follow the instruction all the way through, no matter how hard or scary.

If God didn’t tell you something, don’t tell people that he did.  Because when you back out on it and excuse yourself by suggesting God has changed his mind on you, you make your God look fickle and you look like the fool who follows a God that can’t be trusted.  Just because you really want it and circumstances might make your desires accessible, it’s not indicative of God’s hand.

I’m frustrated by fair-weather “prophesies” and the Christians who are making them.