Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tribulation Troubles...

The main idea that there is impending doom or "tribulation" comes from Matthew 24/ Mark 13. This has been summed up as the "Olivet Discourse" as it takes place on the Mount of Olive after coming out of the temple area. Most Christians believe that this future prediction is not fulfilled yet and therefore anything predicted by Jesus is for us; today. Again, this happens because people mash other verses with this one. We have already talked about how they do this with the antichrist and so I will use it again here. When Jesus says, "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,'spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (Mt. 24:15-16) then those mashers of scripture (dispensationalist and those not willing to study) say that this must be THE antichrist as described in Revelations 13 (which we already proved has no connection to the real antichrist and most early church fathers believed it and this to be fulfilled).

Many of the other New Testament writers also try to prepare their intended readers to expect some major rumble to happen but it is usually to be very quick and not at all to be 2000 years into the future. They says things like "last days" or even "hours" but do not mean the end of time but only the end of an age:
  • Acts 2 has Peter giving a speech about the "Last Days" but applies it to what was happening just then,
  • Hebrews 1 begins with "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" obviously not referring to thousands of years from now
  • In 1 John he says that "this is the last hour"
All of those talk about a terrible last time but it is more immediate than thousands of years from now. We may want to make excuses for those writers but we have to believe that their urgency was not wrong and that something terrible was going to happen; and it did. Even Jesus repeated himself when he said, "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. " Many men have tried to justify this verse and word but it remains that this was an urgent word for those standing there, especially when viewed in context with Mt. 23.

Adam Clarke sums up a lot of what the early church believed. Adam Clarke was a disciple of Christ under the teaching of John Wesley. He said, "Here then is one portion of Divine Scripture that is incontrovertibly and absolutely proved to be the truth of God." (Commentary on Mt. 24. You can read the whole hear: http://www.godrules.net/library/clarke/clarkemat24.htm).

So if Jesus clearly speaks of a time of tribulation (or "distress") and we are not to be expecting it for us, who is/was it for and why? This the next best possible question and is very easily answered. In Matthew 23 (just before 24) Jesus very plainly addresses a people and predicts destruction.
  • "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate." (Mt 23:33-38 Emphasis mine).
  • Jesus clearly addresses Jerusalem and the Jewish Nation
  • He is mad at them for all the prophets they've killed and for killing him by crucifixion
  • It will happen when? "This Generation."
  • I am not saying the Jews are cursed and neither is Jesus, as you will see, this is to be a one time thing that will happen and then be done.
Most church fathers believed that this devastation or tribulation of Jerusalem happened already in 70 a.d. (Adam Clarke, John Wesley, Henry (sometimes), Eusebius, Melito, Origen, Chrysostom, Athanasius, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and almost all the others I listed in the previous blog). This is when the roman army marched into Jerusalem and destroyed it to the point that the Jewish people were never ever the same. Even now they feel the effects and mourn because there is no Temple. The Romans marched in and killed everything in sight, burnt down what they could and destroyed the temple to the point that they even dug up the foundation. This is not mentioned in the bible but in a Jewish Historians account (Josephus) and in Titus Arch (which was a victorious arch that celebrates the occaission. Jews to this day will not walk under it.) (All this can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(70)).

So are you saying that there is no impending tribulation? I only say what the scripture says, but yes. What about the idea that we are to be raptured (taken away supernaturally) before, during, or after this tribulation? It simply is not in the scripture that a rapture is tied to a tribulation in that way we have thought and in fact the rapture is the next blog and it will blow your mind.

So we don't have to be scared of a boogie man antichrist who will rise through governmental structures and take over the world to bring upon us a tribulation that could possibly lead to the death of millions and Christ will have to whisk us away just to spare us? No and this idea only came about in the 1830's and before that most church fathers were optimistic about the future of the world and even rejoiced at the thought of the bright future.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I am not claiming all knowledge, merely just reporting on the crazy things I am finding and how my paradigm is being shifted by revelation and study.

Blessings and Peace!

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