Rescued-Matthew 24

Even as I sit here beginning this post, I’m chuckling.  I have that “Twilight Zone” theme song playing in my head.  These days when I read or listen to the trouble based, media driven, Zionist centered end time theology, I feel I’m entering the twilight zone.  The twilight zone mixed the real and the fictional worlds together.  That mixture created very surreal and bizarre shows.  Prevailing end time theology is both surreal and bizarre. 

There is an enormous amount of material to be read and studied on The Olivet Discourse.  I am not a Biblical scholar nor do I claim to be a theologian.  I just ask God to reveal HIs word and try to handle it with reverence.  I think it’s a common sense approach that will work for anyone without having to get a theological degree.  I am not going to take this verse by verse or even thought by thought, I’m just going to be brutally honest and say Matthew 24 is fulfilled.  There it is.  I’m boldly proclaiming that I don’t buy into the litany of arguments about what Jesus said here.  Read anyones writings who believes the prevailing doom and gloom end time theology(eschatology) and you will discover a bit of disagreement over what is fulfilled and what isn’t.  It’s so confusing it will make your head hurt.  The confusion arises when modern preachers compare what Jesus said to what prophets said without rightly dividing both Word and Covenant.   It’s fulfilled.  He came to fulfull the law and the prophets(Matthew 5:17).  I think Jesus was a complete success. 

What follows will be some observations that may be even less popular in the mainstream church than the idea that Matthew 24 is fulfilled.  Now, that the disclaimer has been issued, let’s move along.  Matthew 24:37 “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”  In conversation with friends the question is often ask “so you don’t think He’s coming back?”  The answer seems so simple to me now but it eluded me for a while.  Even after I became convinced of the fulfillment of this Chapter, I still found it hard to articulate my ideas about Christ’s coming.  Finally a Pastor friend of mine put it as simply as I’ve ever heard,  “Behold He Comes.”  I believe Jesus came,  He is coming now, and he will come again in the future.  The “rapture” and the “second coming”  theologies both fall short of that explanation.  Both are words and phrases not found in scripture.  Catching away is as close as you get to “rapture” and “second coming” has chronological problems as Jesus came as a babe, died descended into the lowest pit and came back, ascended to His father and came back, appeared at different places and went who knows where, but came back, and was taken up at Bethany, but appeared to the Saul(Paul).  This all makes my point that he came and keeps coming. 

Back to Matthew 24:37.  How was it in the days of Noah?  Verse 38-39 say “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”  Life went on, Noah got in the ark and the flood took all of them away. 

Luke also records this in chapter 17 verses 26-30,” 26And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”  Luke writes that Jesus also used Lot as an example on this subject as well.  It is worth noting that Luke defines the day as the day that the Son of Man is revealed.  Revealed seems to be a better understanding because that is what happened. 

The question I want to examine here is who was taken and who was left?  In both of these accounts two were somewhere and one was taken and one was left.  In Noah’s story the wicked were taken and destroyed.  In Lot’s story the wicked were destroyed.  Noah who found grace stayed here as did Lot.  This is directly in contrast to the “rapture and second coming.”theologies.   In both theologies the righteous are taken and the wicked left.  It’s always been preached that of the “two,” the one that was left was in trouble but that doesn’t line up with the stories of Lot and Noah.  Then there is the disciples question in Luke 17:37 “where Lord.”  Where what?  If I showed you two things and took one away, would you ask where the one left was?  No!  They wanted to know where those that were taken went.  The ones that were removed.  The wicked. 

We missed it, preached it wrong and developed a whole theology around the misunderstanding.  It’s a terrible mis-representation of the words of Jesus even setting aside the fact that He wasn’t talking about a “rapture or second coming.”  The Church is so fixated on His coming they forget He came.  They forget He is here.  They think trouble will bring him back.  Trouble  came when Adam fell and has been here ever since.  The second Adam(Jesus) came to reverse that curse.  But we think He has to come a second time to do what He came to do the first time.  We think this because He was rejected and despised by those He came to save.  We think we was surprised by the rejection and had to change His plan.  But Jesus said in John 10:16 ” And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”  He doesn’t sound surprised at all.  He sounds like He knew from the start.  He is after all the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 

Luke 18:8 “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?  So when  He comes He seems to be looking for something.  Now if he is coming to get you and catch you away because of all the trouble and sorrow why would he be looking for faith.  The rescue mentality teaches He is returning to get you out and of course to usher in the tribulation or the rest of it or…I think you get the point.  But Luke 18:8 still looms there, asking a rather impertinent question.  If He is coming to do what the church preaches what does he need to find faith for? 

The American church is a significant source of fear-mongering.  I for one think its time for that to change.   I wonder if we would find the same kind of surreal and bizarre theologies preached in China or Russia.  There are christians in other countries besides America.  Let’s tell Russian Christians that their county is the bear in the book of Revelation.  Tell Chinese christians that the army in Revelation 9 is their army.  Tell Catholic believers that Mystery Babylon is the Roman Catholic Church.  It’s time for American Christianity to mature beyond our small-minded mindset that we get to define who the church is.  Who is in and who is out.  It’s His body and one member can’t tell another I have no need of you(I Cor 12:21).  We don’t put people in the body and we can’t take them or define them out.  Turn off the news media,  put down the paper, click off the radio, and read the book.  Ask for understanding and you will get it.  Handle God’s word reverently and with integrity and see if revelation will not flow.  God cannot possibly be speaking all these different thoughts to all these different men,  That is confusion and God is not the author of confusion. 

I have wanted to post on this and similar subjects for a long while now but I have been reluctant because I do not want to alienate anyone.  The gospel must be preached.  I often feel as though I am shouting over the noise of the confusion about which I have just written.  If we don’t set the record straight everyone who touches Christ will have to struggle through the confusion as the woman with the issue of blood.  It’s not supposed to be that way.  End times theology is just one of many areas that the church has complicated to the a point of mass confusion.  Those that teach it mostly butcher it.  Much of the church simply ignores the subject and misses so much wonderful revelation about what Jesus has done and what He has assigned us to do.   Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”  The church has just made it so hard to come.  Jesus made it easy.  We shouldn’t be making it hard or confusing or scary.  Just say “come,” for “behold He comes.”

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