Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:21

Is this the worst possible thing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For the past five verses, I think some dispensationalist readers could even look and see that it makes sense in an Orthodox Preterist viewpoint, but now there’s a shift. When we get to verse 21, it looks like we’re entering something of epic proportions. Let’s look and see what the verse says at the start.

“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.”

Okay. So I think the passage here is about the destruction of Jerusalem and that’s supposed to be the greatest disaster of all? That can hold a candle to 6 million Jews dying in the Holocaust? Doesn’t this just seal the deal against a first-century interpretation?

Not quite, because if you have that view throughout Scripture, you run into problems. This normally happens with a modern literalistic hermeneutic that doesn’t take into account Jewish idioms. What kinds of things am I talking about? Let’s look. We’ll start with 2 Kings looking at Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18:5.

“He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.”

You go, Hezekiah! Awesome! No one like you!

But what about this Jesus guy? Wasn’t He a king who trusted in God more?

Now some might think that’s not the most valid way to look, but if you’re one of those, we don’t need to go to Jesus. We can just go to the same book in the Old Testament. Let’s look at Josiah in 2 Kings 23:25

“Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.”

Wow. So either the author of Kings totally forgot about Hezekiah in a few chapters, or else we’re looking at a Jewish way of speaking. Is this the only instance of this? Hardly. Look at Exodus 11:6

” There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again.”

People of Egypt can rejoice. Nothing will ever be worse than the Hebrew Exodus. Of course, this will be odd for my dispensationalist friends who think the whole Earth is going to go through something far worse. Who knows? Maybe Egypt will be the exception that’s spared! How about Daniel 9:12?

“He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem.”

But Babylon was laying siege to several cities and starving them out and destroying them. What makes Jerusalem the one exception? You could say their temple was destroyed, but that’s not too unusual in a siege. Let’s also return to 1 Kings 3 and look at verse 12.

“I will do what you have asked. I will give you more wisdom and understanding than anyone has ever had before or will ever have again.”

But Jesus said that one greater than Solomon is here. Was He wrong? Was Solomon wiser than Jesus? If you use my hermeneutic to just picture this as a way of describing something intense, you don’t have a problem. Go with a literalist one and you do.

Not only that, if you look at the parallel in Luke 21:24, what do you see?

“Some will be killed by the sword, and others will be taken as prisoners to all countries; and the heathen will trample over Jerusalem until their time is up.”

Luke centralizes all of this to Jerusalem. So again, this fits with a first-century paradigm.

Now if someone doesn’t think what happened to Jerusalem in 70 A.D. counts as great suffering, just go read about it. See what you think then. If it does count, then my hermeneutic is entirely consistent and I would contend more consistent than a dispensationalist one.

We shall continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

I Survived The End Of The World….Again

What are we to say about end of the world predictions? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of you know about predictions being made about Rosh Hashanah this year. September 23, 2017 was supposed to be a date of huge prophetic significance. Well, that is if you listened to the “prophecy experts.” For the rest of us, we preferred to call it “Saturday.” Okay. Some of us called it Batman Day and went to our local comic book store to get a free Batman comic.

As for me, I decided this time I’d be an exception and make some predictions as well. I made these three. The amazing thing is as far as I have seen, they have held out.

Prediction #1: Nothing of eschatological significance will happen.

Prediction #2. People making these predictions will not repent when shown they were wrong but will simply recalculate.

Prediction #3. At the next event that they deem to be unusual, these people will start the whole cycle all over again.

The sad thing is this is an easy set of predictions to make because it happens so often. Has John Hagee repented for the Blood Moons hysteria that led to absolutely nothing? Nope. How many people have repented after a book that claimed XYZ was the antichrist was written and now that person is long dead and gone? Sorry. Not happening.

As I have said, being a prophecy expert would be a great job to have. You can say whatever you want and claim it’s from the Bible, be a best seller, have a great following with people hanging on your every word, be entirely wrong and demonstrably so, and yet still be regarded as an expert. All that’s left is for these people to go into politics.

If there was anything else I was noticing regularly, it was people on YouTube making videos and what would they point to? Experiences and dreams over and over. Scripture could be turned to, but only as an afterthought to confirm what was in the dream. To those who are saying that there are no coincidences with Christ, sure, but sometimes things happen that aren’t all about you. That dream you had last night? Maybe it was from God. Maybe also it was your brain sorting things out because you had too much pizza the night before.

You see, you don’t know that everything in a dream or your experience is a direct message from God. You don’t. This is what is said about Scripture. Try interpreting Scripture. (You know, that book that says about what you say is the return that no one knows the day or the hour.)

Why is it that I get on this so much? It’s not just because I’m an orthodox Preterist in my eschatology. My wife sure isn’t and she has a huge problem with these people as well. It’s because these people and this mindset give people excuses to not believe the Gospel. If they can’t trust you on what the Bible says in this case, why should they trust you on the resurrection?

Keep in mind, the Bible nowhere tells us to be predicting when Jesus will return. It doesn’t. If you are doing the Great Commission, it won’t matter anyway. If He returns tomorrow and you’ve been doing it, great! You’re ready! If He returns 1,000 years from now and you were doing it in your lifetime, great! You’re ready!

There are too many Christians out there that are so obsessed with the future return of Christ that they’re not doing anything with Him in the present. Instead, it’s becoming an embarrassment as this is the picture the world gets. Fox News even had a story about “Biblical Numerologists” saying the end of the world was coming. How much egg does the church have on its face because of these kinds of actions?

That’s one reason I want to take a hard stand against this from now on. Please Christians. Do not buy books that are claiming to be expert guides to prophecy. Do not go to ministries that claim to have the inside scoop on what’s going to happen in the future through prophecy. Do not support and encourage Christians that are trying to date the time that Jesus will return.

If God says something will happen in prophecy, it will happen. He doesn’t need your help. You have your marching orders already. That’s the Great Commission. Too many people try to find out who the antichrist is and spend less time thinking about who Jesus is. Too many out there can “prove” in minute detail every single point about what’s going to happen in the Great Tribulation, but they can’t give you a case for why you should think Jesus rose from the dead. That’s a problem.

As long as the Christian community supports such people, it will be encouraging them and helping to further embarrass. It is understandable some people have a hard time believing in Christianity for reasons like miracles and the like. We don’t need to give them another reason or have them think the Bible can’t be trusted because we are saying it is clearly teaching X when it is not and that can be too easily demonstrated.

I get that some of this crowd are waiting for Yom Kippur which is at the end of the month, but if nothing happens, then what? Will there be any repentance? If not, then you have to ask who these people are doing what they’re doing for the most? Is it really the honor of Jesus they think most of or their own?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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