Without a doubt, the 21st century Christianity comes in many shapes and forms. Christians differ in doctrines, but they seem to be unified believing that the return of Jesus Christ is still in the future, though it has been millennia since Jesus promised His apostles that He will be coming in their generation. See Matthew 16:27-28.
“For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.””
The synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark & Luke – have the same assurance concerning the imminent return of Christ:
“And He (Jesus Christ) said to them (apostles), “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”” (Mark 9:1)
“For whoever is ashamed of Me (Jesus Christ) and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”” (Luke 9:26-27)
Not only that, Jesus Christ sending out the twelve apostles instructing them on His message said “And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 10:7)
“At hand” in the original Greek language literally means “near,” and near cannot by any means be thousands of years and continuing, as suggested by the Futurists. In fact, Jesus Christ did not just give them the message to proclaim, but He reinforced the message with the assurance that it was indeed occurring soon. See Matthew 10:23.
“When they persecute you (the apostles) in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
As I researched for the validity of Jesus’ words, it’s sad, actually disgusting, to find known Bible scholars saying, “No, Jesus was not in Himself when He uttered those words.” Some dismissed the passages saying, “There must be another meaning for that but we just have to find out.”
Funny that for as long as the passages or verses are convenient to their theological position, they adhere to the Words of Christ, but if it doesn’t, then it’s excuses after excuses. Scripture does not need affirmation of men; rather, the Bible is the dispenser of truth because it is the Word of God.
One of the key discipline in the interpretation of Scripture has to do with the acknowledgment of “time statement”. But Futurists have ignored time statements of the Bible, especially on the New Testament writings, and suggested that it’s about the future. KEEP IN MIND THAT FUTURE TO THE APOSTLES DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN FUTURE TO US.
Hence, statements like “this generation” in Matthew 24:34 no longer make an impact on the readers, for time statements have been disregarded. See Matthew 24:29-34.
“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. 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.
So some have suggested “this generation” refers to the generation who saw the literal signs of Matthew 24:29-34. Yet, they miss out John’s confession in Revelation that he was already in tribulation. See Revelation 1:9.
“I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
Scripture is a unity. The apostles’ writings cannot be different from the Words of Jesus found in the Gospels, the Book of Acts or the Book of Revelation. Jesus’ words have its foundation in the Old Testament Scripture. The entire Bible is a cohesive revelation concerning declaration and fulfillment of God’s words. See Luke 24:44.
Then He (Jesus Christ) said to them (The disciples), “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
The last couple of years or more, we saw the rise of fake news online. Everyone practically picks up their news on the web, especially on Facebook or Youtube. But fake news are easily propagated ‘cause a lot of people simply click to watch and read without discerning the source or intent of the YouTube uploader or Facebook posting. Sometimes given that a FB posting or Youtube video is factual, but by simply ignoring the dates when it was published can be detrimental to its present validity. Same is the case when reading and studying the Bible. We ought to recognize audience relevance, time statements or its factual historical fulfillment. Failure to do so leaves interpretation of the Scripture in the unskillful eyes of the readers or careless teaching of a pastor.
Jesus Christ warned, “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?” (Luke 6:39)
Find someone to teach you the disciplines in studying Scripture. Resist human-tailored Bible study materials ‘cause it already has human influence on it. Fact is, even within the Bible translations, human interventions or ideas can be detected. Let me be clear here: the Bible itself is perfect, infallible and without error; the problem is with the translations. No, we don’t need to be scholars of the Greek, Hebrew or the Aramaic language. However, it is healthy to read the Bible by comparing translations. More so, learning to use and having the language tools (lexicons) is a must when studying the Bible in-depth. There are a lot of free lexicons tools online or for download. You just have to find someone knowledgeable with lexicon tools to teach you the ins and outs. It’s never too late to start studying the Scripture doing right exegesis. At the end of the day, Scripture speaks about the truths concerning salvation. It is beyond our physical needs and concerns but the now and eternal. Do not allow yourselves to be part of the confused Christianity.
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