10,000 Scenarios… and we’ve just begun

An etching by Jan Luyken illustrating Matthew ...

An etching by Jan Luyken (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What could be more confusing than that!!?” (Oh, sorry… didn’t know you were listening reading.) What am I rambling about now, you ask?

What else? The ridiculous number of takes on the end times, of course! So much so, that a recent edition added to my library is titled… ‘Four Views: Revelation.’ Seriously? Four views? It’s more like a hundred and four views!

Here’s a handy list for starters… choose one that fits your taste. You could select a premillennial view, but then you’ll have to pick from historical premillenalism and dispensational premillennialism and a host of lesser known pre’s. Maybe you’d prefer postmillennialism, or amillennialism? But then there’s also preterism… of which is offered a hyper version and a watered down variation and everything in between. Oh, by the way, it will be beneficial to determine whether you prefer a historical, futurist, or even spiritual interpretation of the texts! Did I mention literal?

M – O – O – N… that spells eschatology (I know, it’s probably wrong to use lingo from Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ here, but, you know…)!

Have we lost our ever-loving minds? No wonder every crackpot with a date marked on a calendar can convince masses to give him their life savings because it all ends in March… or maybe it was November… okay, okay… it’s the Mayans who are right!

I was once given a simple principle to study by. “If the plain sense makes sense, quit looking for another sense.” One example of this could be the time text from Matthew 24. “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (34). Do we need to twist and turn this statement so as to accommodate our desire for Jesus to be talking to us instead of His disciples who were in front of Him?

Isn’t it possible that Jesus loved His disciples enough to warn them that the Israel they knew was about to be no longer? Couldn’t it be that He cared enough to share with them that the Temple (the center of their worship) would be gone before they all passed away? Wouldn’t He want them to know that the Covenant of their Fathers was eroding fast before the life-changing gospel message of the Cross?

[a quick note: in every other instance where the word ‘this’ accompanies the word generation in the New Testament, the reference is unarguably to the present party being spoken to]

Prior to the last couple of centuries, it was common that speakers from Christ’s body held this view… and a growing number are returning to it today. Spend some time researching the thoughts on this verse by John Calvin, Henry Hammond, John Lightfoot, Thomas Newton, John Gill, Thomas Scott, and a host of others.

D. A. Carson, about this verse from Scripture states, “This generation can only with the greatest difficulty be made to mean anything other than the generation living when Jesus spoke.” Carson, commentary on Matthew

To me this is plain sense and complies perfectly with the character and nature of our Lord. But then… who am I? I’m a lot more like Tom Cullen than I usually care to admit.

aw shucks… Lord willing, more follows.

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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13 Responses to 10,000 Scenarios… and we’ve just begun

  1. granbee says:

    Yes, M and T, our Bible study group agrees with the commonsense verson of “this generation” to whom Jesus was talking when He was warning them about the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. (or thereabouts). I am sure you have seen the amusing cartoon where one Mayan rock calendar carver says to the other “I ran out of room after 2012” and the other replies, “That is really going to upset a lot of people someday!” Very appropose to your post here. Let us PLEASE return to commonsense, okay?

  2. Pingback: Actively Waiting with the Right Attitude | Resting in His Grace

  3. writinggomer says:

    Ok, and here is my view…not that anyone cares, but that is ok! 🙂

    Jesus will come back to this earth when the Father says it is time to do so as the Father is the only One who knows when that time is.
    Life will happen after that event exactly how Jesus wants it to happen, no matter what your end time view is.
    All things will happen as God has set forth, now and forever no matter our thoughts on it.
    Any questions? Good, because I don’t have answers. 🙂

    Great post Mike, thanks
    Blessings
    Greg

    • mtsweat says:

      Oh, we do care Greg! Sounds like your take is God has it all in control… Amen! Thanks for stopping by and God bless, friend.

  4. shekinah419 says:

    You guys are a hoot. We humans do tend to complicate things. Professing to be wise, we become fools. The faith of a child just takes everything at face value. He said He’s coming, that’s all I need to know.

    • mtsweat says:

      Ah the truth you speak. Yes, we do complicate things… we like to think of ourselves much wiser than evidence supports… but the name of your site is what I speak of. “Serve HIM in the Waiting!” Thanks and God bless.

  5. cc says:

    Remembering the another teaching maxim…Text without context is a pretext for a prooftext. The Goodnews Message Through Matthew is a proclamation to the Jews that the King is in the house…it’s kingdom news to kingdom people about kingdom living. That is the template. And there is Matthew 24. Seems to lend weight to Carson. Thanks for all your study time and uncomplicating the complex for us. It also seems to me that the King was placing much more emphasis on being faithful servants while we wait for His return, than knowing when and how He would return. And that is more than enough to keep this inadequate servant busy. Amen to MeetingInTheClouds.

    • mtsweat says:

      I’ve heard of fighting fire with fire… but Carson with Carson. Just kidding, you are absolutely right! It’s as though in a passing sweep of words, Jesus says, “I’m coming back!” Then He enters a lengthy dissertation spanning from the concluding verses of 24 and all the way through 25 to show us how to be ready (not to mention the entire rest of Scripture). As I’ve stated once, this thing will inevitably wind down to “I believe this, but a lot of good teachers disagree and may very well have it right rather than those teachers I’ve followed.” In the end, as you say well, what will be important is whether we were prepared… or not. What is more disouraging to me than the inability to unpack absolutes in texts like these is the division it causes among believers. But then, the same could be said for all of the obscure passages and debated doctrines. Thanks Mrs. C… God bless.

  6. I live like He is coming today.
    I believe He could come at any time.
    Since I do not know and CANNOT know when that time will be, I will continue to live serving Him as He directs until that time comes.

    We are one day closer.

    • mtsweat says:

      Amen to the nth degree, good friend! Of course, you have adopted the only right stance on these issues. For every argument one makes on any position, another will make a valid argument going another direction. I think most will find my final conclusion in much agreement with yours. But I seem to recall someone saying, “I know what I believe about those disputed verses, and while I remain open to sensible, God-honouring alternative thoughts, I am satisfied.” 🙂 I work to achieve that position.

  7. Steven Sawyer says:

    Great post, Mike. And I agree wholeheartedly. I have to share something with you. Mike, the real date is July 31, 2014. I know this because God spoke to me when I was driving my car to work seven years ago. I know it to be true because the date coincides with my dad’s 90th birthday, if he were still alive, and the number nine is one less than 10, the number of perfection in the Bible and the Christian Science religion, and three more than the number 7, the number of completion in the Bible and the number of days of the week and the number of the wonders of the world. So you see, it’s not complicated at all if you look at the facts. :>)
    Great post. As for me, like you, I believe, I’m just going to leave all that up to God and concentrate on being ready when he comes (On July 31, 2014, like I said).

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