D. A. Taylor
D. A. Taylor
Copyright 2016 by D. A. Taylor
Prepared on 09/09/17 at 11:05:20 AM
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— Please Read Volume 1 First —
Volume 1: Christ Forbid Money &[_ Authority_]
Volume 2: Christianity Has One Pastor
Volume 3: God Intends to Save Everyone
Volume 4: Why God Calls Christians
Volume 5: Sinners Do Go to Hell
Volume 6: The Tithing Scam
To access other volumes, click here.
This book contains many Scripture references within the text. Those that are not included may be accessed by touching or clicking on the underlined scripture number. You may return to your current reading location by clicking on the verse number to the left of the Scripture. Footnotes operate in the same manner.
Scripture quotations from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), unless otherwise noted.
Textual emphasis by the author.
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[_Welcome to Volume 7 of Executed to Suppress His Message. _]
In Volume 1 we saw how money-funded, institutionalized religions suppress the teachings of Jesus Christ, so they can promote their own particular doctrines and beliefs. And now with this volume, we continue to address these suppressed teachings.
[_Since the time when Jesus Christ walked the earth 2,000 years ago, Christian prophets have been proclaiming how His “Second Coming” is just about to occur. A Wikipedia document [view document] lists over fifty such predictions by theologians, preachers, pastors, astrologists and even a musician — many of which were accompanied with dire warnings about how God’s people will be persecuted, tortured and killed before Christ returns. _]
[_But I want you to read what Jesus said over 1,900 years ago: _]
“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:7)
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).
[_In these passages, the Greek translated into the English “quickly” is pronounced takh-oo’. It means quickly, shortly, soon, and without delay. And even though eighty generations have passed since the time when the apostle John recorded what Jesus said, much of institutionalized Christianity continues to insist that Jesus did not return “without delay” — and now 2,000 years later, we are still waiting for His return. _]
[_Christian pastors, preachers and theologians have decided that Jesus was wrong. _]
That Christians should live in continual fear of a future Great Tribulation, followed by the return of Jesus Christ.
His Second Coming would occur within the generation of the apostles.
Here’s an interesting list of words that Christian theologians use to define the various views about Christ’s Second Coming:
Advent, Parousia, Tribulation, Millennium, Premillennialism, Amillennialism, Postmillennialism. No Millennialism, Chiliasm, Apocalyptic, Eschatology, Preterism, Full Preterism, Dispensationalism, Rapture, Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Mid-Tribulation Rapture, Post-tribulation Rapture, Pre-wrath Rapture, Partial Rapture, Last Days, The Beast, The Antichrist, The Dragon.
You will encounter these words in church and theological literature, where preachers and church organizations explain their particular views about Christ’s return. Some of these words describe how Christ’s Second Coming will occur in the future; while others promote the idea that Christ already returned in the past. Then there’s a different set of words describing the horrific events associated with the Second Coming; while yet another group defines how God’s people will be raptured to heaven. Finally, there are words describing several views on the millennial kingdom associated with Christ’s return, a specific word for an evil end-time prophet and world leader, and a special term for the Devil.
The word “Dispensationalism” is used to define the historical progression associated with biblical prophecy. But as you can see from this list of highly contradictory terms, one church’s dispensationalism is another church’s heresy. Unfortunately, Christian churches have major disagreements over the time of Christ’s return, along with the progression of events associated with the Second Coming.
So why all the confusion? Doesn’t the Bible tell us when Christ will return?
Of course it does.
So why don’t Christian churches teach us what _][_the says about Christ’s Second Coming?
Any thinking person has to wonder why Christianity keeps foretelling a Great Tribulation and Second Coming, but then hundreds and even thousands of years go by, and Jesus never returns. Churches try to avoid this problem by quoting this biblical passage:
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (II Peter 3:3-4).
After reading this verse, pastors will claim that we simply cannot know when Christ will return. Then they will suggest that we’re not good Christians, if we disagree with what the verse says. Such preachers portray the date of Christ’s second coming as God’s “Big Secret” — a secret He does not want us to know.
But preachers never mention how Peter wrote his letter almost 2,000[_ _]years ago — and specifically to Christians whom were alive during the 1st Century. Notice what Peter wrote in II Peter 3:1-2, just before he wrote what is quoted above:
This is now, beloved, [the second letter I am writing to you _]in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that _*you* should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
Peter’s letter was written specifically for Christians whom were living in the 1st Century — and nothing in his letter suggests it should apply to Christians whom would be living thousands of years later.
Those who predict a future Great Tribulation and Second Coming never mention how our world has already experienced numerous world-scale tribulations. For example, look at these tragic events:
p(. The Black Death of 1340–1771 killed 75 million people worldwide;
p(. During the 18th Century, smallpox killed 60 million Europeans;
p(. In less than two years, the Spanish Flu of 1918–1919 killed between 50 and 100 million people.
Almost half the world’s population died in these plagues. So each of these events certainly qualify as a “great” tribulation.
Yet Christ did not return.
World War I and World War II each qualify as “great tribulations.” The first world war killed 37 million people, while 70 million died in World War II, with many perishing in mankind’s first nuclear holocaust. Over 100 million people died in these two wars.
[_Yet Christ did not return. _]
At the end of World War I, an outbreak of influenza killed 20 million people. A few years later, 20th Century smallpox outbreaks killed between 300 and 500 million people worldwide. One-quarter of the world’s population died in these plagues.
Yet Christ did not return.
The historical record proves that humanity has suffered through numerous cataclysmic “great” tribulations, several of which killed hundreds-of-millions of people.
So how many people have to die,[_ before God considers the human massacre a “][_great” t]ribulation?
Now let’s compare the plagues and holocausts described above against those mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
Revelation Chapter 11 describes how one-tenth of a city would fall with 7,000 slain.
How do 7,000 deaths compare with a smallpox epidemic that killed 300 million people?
Then Revelation Chapter 20 describes how fire came down from heaven and destroyed the armies of the nations Gog and Magog, whose number is “as the sand of the sea.” Ezekiel Chapter 38 mentions these two peoples; but religious scholars cannot agree on their identity.
Some theologians suggest these two nations are China and India. At the time of this writing, China is the most populated nation on Earth, having a military force of 2.3 million. While India is the second most populated, having a military force of 4.9 million. Thus with a total world population of 7.4 billion (at this writing), the two largest two military forces on earth account for only 0.11% of the world’s population.
So if we assume that Gog and Magog are China and India, this would mean that God considers the future destruction of a combined army of 8.3 million soldiers part of the one and only “Great Tribulation”, while He completely ignores tribulations that decimated the planet by killing hundreds of millions of people.
So Christians need to face this reality:
p(<>. World tribulations occurring over the last three hundred years have been [_far _]worse than anything described in the Bible.
p(<>. When compared with historical events that killed hundreds of millions of people, the tribulations described within the Book of Revelation are relatively minor.
Yet despite these facts, preachers continue to instruct Christians to wait for the one and only “great” tribulation, followed by Christ’s return.
Throughout most of Christianity’s history, few Christians believed their Lord would return in their future. Notice what M. E. Dieter wrote in the[_ Evangelical Dictionary of Theology,][ _]about Christians who believed Jesus would return during their lifetime:
“Adventism is the belief that Christ’s personal Second Coming is imminent and will inaugurate his millennial kingdom and the end of the age. Chiliasm, apocalypticism, and millennialism are cognate (similar) theological terms. Adventism in this general sense has been espoused by many diverse groups throughout Christian history (e.g., Montanists, Anabaptists, Fifth Monarchy Men, Plymouth Brethren and other premillennialists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses).”
Mr. Dieter outlined various Christian groups that believed in an imminent return of Christ up through the early 19th Century. So let’s read about these sects. And as you read through these summaries, try to visualize how many Christians believed that Christ’s Second Coming was imminent (in their near future):
p(. “Montanists were a small group of 2nd Century Christians led by a self-proclaimed prophet named Montanus, who predicted that Christ was about to return and set up a New Jerusalem in the vicinity of the small town of Pepuza in Phrygia, Asia Minor. The movement died out within 200 years.”
p(. “The Anabaptist preacher Melchior Hoffman taught the Millennium would commence in 1533. But while Hoffman taught that Anabaptists should peacefully await Christ’s return, another preacher (John Matthys) claimed to be the biblical Enoch and staged an armed takeover of the local town and marketplace. Matthy’s rebellion lasted until 1534, when the prince-bishop to the state of Munster laid siege to the city and stamped out the movement.”
p(. “Fifth Monarchy Men were a group of Christian believers contemporaneous with the English Civil War (1641-1651). These Christians believed that four world rulers had already come and gone according to the prophecies of Daniel 2 in the Old Testament. Therefore, the last world empire was about to be established by the return of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to reign with his saints on earth for a thousand years. The movement died out by 1661.”
p(. “Plymouth Brethren left the Anglican Church in the late 1820s. Their doctrines quickly spread throughout the United Kingdom and by 1845, the assembly in Plymouth had more than 1,000 people in fellowship. Two of the most prominent members, John Nelson Darby and Benjamin Wills Newton, claimed the Tribulation and Second Coming would occur within their generation. Yet only 20 years later, the group disbanded and split into rival congregations.”
p(. The Jehovah’s Witnesses was started by Charles Taze Russell in 1872. In 1879, Russel sought to popularize his ideas on doctrine by co-publishing The Herald of the Morning magazine with N. H. Barbour. The first edition of The Watchtower magazine published 6,000 copies a month. By 1884, Russell controlled the publication and renamed it The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. Up until the early 20th Century, the Witnesses had no formal organization, but only loose assemblies of people who subscribed to The Watchtower magazine.
Notice how the Montanists in the first group are described as “small,” with most of its members residing in the vicinity of a single town. While Anabaptists of the second group were stamped out by attacking a single city.
The Fifth Monarchy sect described in the third group was led by preachers Christopher Feake, John Simpson, Vavasor Powell and Morgan Llwyd, all of whom were located in London and Wales, where the collective 17th Century population was 1.2 million. And though the Plymouth Brethren of the fourth group had an assembly of 1,000 people, the sect was said to have spread throughout the United Kingdom.
Finally, the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the fifth group had no church organization up until the 20th Century. But since their magazine circulation was 6,000, we should assume that at least this many people believed their doctrines.
So let’s make some assumptions. First, we’ll assume the single-town groups of the Montanists and Anabaptists numbered 10,000 members each. The Fifth Monarchy Men of the third group resided in London and Wales, which had a collective 17th Century population 1.2 million people. So we’ll assume this sect converted 10% of the population, which would amount to 120,000 people.
The Plymouth Brethren of the fourth group had one assembly of 1,000 people. But since this sect is said to have spread throughout the United Kingdom, we should assume its membership was larger: say 50,000. And though there were no members of Jehovah’s Witnesses during the 19th Century, let’s triple their publishing statistics to 18,000, and use that number to represent those who agreed with their doctrines.
Now let’s add up our estimates of the worshipers from each of these sects:
According to these estimates, up until the early 19th Century, approximately 208,000 Christians believed in an imminent (soon coming) return of Christ.
So let’s put this number of Christians into perspective. It’s estimated that by the end of the 19th Century (1899 CE), 200 million people had converted to Christianity. Thus using our 19th Century estimate of 208,000 Christians who believed in a future Second Coming, this means that only 0.1% of all Christians believed Jesus would return in their future — while 99.9% did not.
Of course, these statistics are only estimates. Nevertheless, I think many readers would agree with the following:
Throughout the first 1,900 years of Christianity, few Christians believed Jesus Christ would return in their future.
Thus throughout the 1,900 year period following the death of Christ, only a small number of Christians believed that Jesus would return in their future. But the situation started to change, as Seventh Day Adventists began to challenge what the Bible says.
Notice what the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology states about the evolution of the Second Coming within Adventist churches:
Adventism is most commonly used, however, to denote the movement which sprang up in the 1830s from the teachings of William Miller, a Baptist minister in New York. Miller confidently prophesied the imminent return of Christ and set 1843-44 as the time for the event. The Millerite movement spread rapidly among the churches of the Northeast. When the expected return did not occur as Miller originally had predicted, a reinterpretation of the Scripture set Oct. 22, 1844, as the correct date. The faithful met in their local gathering places on the appointed day worshiping and waiting. The “Great Disappointment” which followed the failure of the prophecy led many Millerites to forsake the movement and slip back into the churches from which they had never formally dissociated themselves. Miller himself acknowledged his error and dissociated himself from the movement and all further attempts to redeem it.
A series of new signs, visions, and prophecies, however, fed the lagging spirits of those who refused to give up their adventist hopes. As early as the day following the Great Disappointment, Hiram Edson, an adventist leader, had a vision which confirmed the prophetic significance of the Oct. 22, 1844, date, but indicated that it marked a heavenly rather than an earthly event. On that day Christ had moved into the holy of holies of the heavenly sanctuary to begin a new phase of his ministry of redemption. That ministry was ultimately defined in the adventist doctrine of investigative judgment; Christ entered the sanctuary to review the deeds of professing Christians to determine whose names should be included in the Book of Life.
Other revelations subsequent to the Great Disappointment came to Ellen G Harmon, a young disciple of Miller in Portland, Maine. She was quickly accepted as a prophetess and her teachings were accepted as authoritative. The revived movement also adopted sabbatarianism and the belief that the acceptance of the seventh day sabbath was the mark of the true church. Seventh day observance and Christ’s ministry of investigative judgment, confirmed by the prophetic revelation of Mrs. Ellen (Harmon) White, completed the foundations of contemporary adventism.
The centrality of the events surrounding the return of Christ in the premillennialism, which became so critical in the development of the fundamentalist movement and the contemporary emphasis upon the imminent Second Coming of Christ in evangelical churches in general, show the continuing significance of general adventism in the Christian tradition.
This theological researcher traces the origins of modern evangelical and fundamentalist beliefs in the imminent Second Coming of Christ back to the Millerites of the 1830’s CE.
So what did most Christians believe up until the 1830’s?
If they were diligently studying the Scriptures, they probably believed the teachings of Christ and His disciples, whom all wrote that Jesus would return within a few decades of His crucifixion.
William Miller’s claim of imminent danger from a global great tribulation, combined with the promise of divine protection through Christ’s Second Coming, proved to be a seductive combination. Hence Adventist membership grew quickly, as fearful Christians flocked to the only church that promised protection from the prophesied evils to come.
But when pastors from other denominations noticed how Adventist teachings were attracting church members, they began to carry William Miller’s “Future Second Coming” banner, with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Evangelicals, and Fundamentalists leading the pack. And now only 174 years after Miller’s first prediction of Christ’s return, his doctrines have been adopted by numerous denominations and tens-of-thousands of congregations. At the time of this writing, there are over 285 million Evangelical Christians, 20 million Adventists, 15 million fundamentalists, and 3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses — all of whom ignore the Scriptures you are about to read in the rest of this volume, and place their trust in Miller’s doctrine of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
If you regularly attend a church that promotes a future Second Coming, you may have heard the following biblical passages, which are said to “prove” that we cannot know the time of Christ’s return:
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Matthew 24:36).
But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will (Matthew 24:43-44).
But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come (Mark 13:32-33).
In each of these verses, the Lord used time-related terms that denote periods of days or hours. Therefore, Jesus said that Christians cannot know the specific “day” or[_ “_]time of day” when He will return.
So why do millions of Christians conclude they cannot know the year, month, or perhaps even the week of our Lord’s return?
Here’s the reason:
[_The average Christians places implicit trust in what they hear at church — so they see no reason to verify that the Bible agrees with what they hear. _]
[_So if you are one of these Christians, then get ready to read numerous biblical passages you have heard at church! _]
[+The Apostles Knew When Jesus Would Return +]
Jesus told His disciples they would be able to determine the general date of His return. The proof is in Matthew 24:32-33:
Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.
Now read Luke 21:28-31:
“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.”
So even though Jesus did not reveal the day or hour of His return, He most certainly did tell the apostles they would know when his return was near.
Yet some preachers would have us believe that Jesus didn’t understand basic grammar. Thus when Jesus said “you” to the disciples, He really meant “us” in the future. Such preachers imply that Christ — the creator of the universe and inventor of time and language — didn’t know how to use personal pronouns! Hopefully, you won’t buy into such nonsense.
So while it’s true that the disciples would not know the day or hour of Christ’s coming, it’s also true that Christ told the disciples they would know the general time period (the year and perhaps even the month) when the Second Coming would occur.
The prophet Malachi wrote how just before the Day of the Lord, an “End Time” prophet named Elijah would arrive on the scene:
Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6).
Some preachers will tell us the Second Coming cannot occur, until this “end time” prophet arises and announces the Lord’s return. But these same preachers always neglect to share how Jesus said [_John the Baptist _]was the “end time” Elijah:
For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, [_John himself is Elijah who was to come _](Matthew 11:13-14).
Thus according to Jesus Christ, Malachi’s prophecy was fulfilled almost 2,000 years ago.
So why do preachers tell us to look for an Elijah whom has already come?
Many preachers ask their congregations to look to the future for the beginning of the “last times.” But how does this instruction compare with what the apostle John wrote almost 2,000 years ago?
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that[_ it is the last hour _](I John 2:18).
And what the apostle Peter wrote:
… but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you[_ _](I Peter 1:19-20).
The end of all things is ; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer (I Peter 4:7).
John and Peter wrote how they were living in the last (end) times. Then John explained how these same “last times” — which occurred almost 2,000 years ago — were the specific times when end-time “antichrists” were appearing.
Then the apostle James wrote:
You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.[* *]Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold,[_ the Judge is standing right at the door _](James 5:8-9).
And finally in the Book of Revelation, the apostle John shared the following:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; _]and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; [_for the time is near*[ *](Revelation 1:1-3).
And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must take place[* *](Revelation 22:6).
Christ’s most trusted apostles — James, John, and Peter — all wrote that they were living in the “last days.” And without any doubt, they all believed the Second Coming of Christ was in their immediate future.
The Lord gave us four separate statements, by which we can know the Great Tribulation and Second Coming occurred within a few years of His death.
Jesus told His apostles they would have to flee, in order to escape the tribulations preceding His return:
But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel [* *](Matthew 10:23).
But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be [let the reader understand], then those who are in Judea _][_(the area surrounding Jerusalem) must flee to the mountains[* *](Mark 13:14).
But [when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, _]then recognize that her desolation is near. “Then those who are _*in Judea* must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that .” Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people. (Luke 21:20-23).
But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up* your* heads, because your redemption is drawing near[* *](Luke 21:28).
But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).
These verses provide a great deal of information, directly from the mouth of Jesus Christ:
p(. The end-time Tribulation would occur within the lifetime of the 1st Century apostles and disciples;
p(. The Tribulation would occur in the general area of Judea (near Jerusalem).
p(. God’s wrath would be against “this people” (the Jews);
p(. Those in rural areas away from Jerusalem would not be affected by God’s wrath (the tribulation was not world-wide);
p(. The disciples were told to lift up their heads and watch for Christ’s Second Coming;
p(. Some of the disciples would stand before the Son of Man at His return.
Clearly and without any doubt, Jesus told His 1st Century apostles and disciples that many of them would be alive at the time of His Second Coming.
In Mark 8:34, Jesus called His disciples and various other people together to speak unto them. Then in Mark 9:1, He said this:
And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death[* ]until ** the kingdom of God after it has come with power*.”
And notice is how the apostle Matthew related this conversation:
For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels,[_ ]and will repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, [_*there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until [*]* the Son of Man coming in His kingdom *](Matthew 16:27-28).
These are clear and powerful statements — directly from our Lord and Savior — clearly stating that some of those who heard Jesus speak would personally observe His Second Coming before they died.
And then in Matthew 26:63-64, Jesus told the Jewish High Priest He would personally observe His Second Coming:
But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter _][_*you will [*]* the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven*[* *](Matthew 26:63-64).
Read through John 21:20-23:
Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved (John) following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him,[_ “If I want him to remain *[, what is that to you?] ]You follow Me!” Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, [“*If I want him to remain ][_, what is that to you?”]
So if we still are waiting for Christ’s return, was Jesus suggesting that John might live for over 2,000 years?
I’ve saved the most obvious biblical evidence for last, because those who promote a future Second Coming purposely misrepresent these passages:
And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, [and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. _]And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; _so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, *this generation *will not pass away until all these things take place (Matthew 24:30-34).
Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon* this generation *(Matthew 23:34-36).
[Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds _]with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.[ Even so, you too, when* you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, *this generation *will not pass away until these things take place_][ *](Mark 13:26-30).
Then He told them a parable: Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when [_*you ]see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.[ Truly I say to you, *this generation will not pass away until things take place _](Luke 21:29-32).
Three out of the four gospels mention how the tribulation and end time events would culminate in Christ’s Second Coming. And in every case, Jesus said all of these end-time events would occur in “their generation.”
And frankly, it’s hard to imagine how Jesus could have made this any more clear.
One might think the Scriptures reproduced in the previous chapter would settle the debate over the date of Christ’s return. But as we saw in Chapter 4, once churches discovered how they could increase membership by claiming to understand future prophetic events and promising their members a way of escape from the Great Tribulation, it was hard to turn away from this opportunity to increase their membership rolls.
But to make this scheme successful, pastors need to direct their congregations away from the Scriptures we reviewed in the last chapter. Many accomplish this by referring to the Book of Acts:
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, [_It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power _](Acts 1:6-7 — KJV).
After reading the above passage, pastors will claim that God never reveals when important prophetic events will occur. And thus Christians cannot know the date of Christ’s return. But of course, these pastors will never mention how the disciples asked a specific question concerning the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. Instead, they will ignore the specifics of the question, and present our Lord’s response as if He was talking about the Second Coming.
As churches began to preach about a future Second Coming, they encountered significant problems with Matthew 24:30-34, Matthew 23:34-36, Mark 13:26-30 and Luke 21:29-32 (reproduced in Statement 4 above). In each of these passages, Jesus stated His return would occur in the “generation” of those to whom He was speaking. So if churches were going to be successful at promoting a future Second Coming, they needed to change the meaning of these verses.
So here is what they did:
p((. First, they discovered how the Greek word genea (which is translated into the English word “generation” in the above verses) was derived from the parent word ginomai, which means “to come into being or existence”;
p((. Then they found that ginomai (the root word) has been translated into words that mean ‘birth,’ ‘progeny,’ and ‘race’. And since the root word can mean ‘race’, they concluded that genea also means ‘race’.
So with the above arguments in hand, pastors began to preach that Matthew 24:30-34, Matthew 23:34-36, Mark 13:26-30 and Luke 21:29-32 all refer to the ‘race’ of the Jews. And this (supposedly) meant that Jesus could not return, as long as the Jewish race resided on planet Earth.
But there are significant problems with this conclusion. The most obvious problem is that languages have no need to create a child word like genea, if the new word has exactly the same meaning as the parent. Then there’s the problem of all authoritative biblical lexicons and dictionaries agreeing that genea means either “the successive members of a genealogy” or “a particular age in history.” And finally, Jesus stated that each of the following events would occur in “this generation” (genea), even though none of these events had anything to do with ‘race’:
p(. The apostles would have to flee from the area around Jerusalem;
p(. The apostles would see the Abomination of Desolation;
p(. The apostles would witness Jerusalem being surrounded by armies;
p(. The apostles’ redemption was near;
p(. The apostle John would live to see the Second Coming;
p(. The apostles were told to pray they had the strength to escape all the things that were about to take place, and stand before the Son of Man.
p(. Jesus told crowds of listeners how they would not taste death, until they personally saw the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.
A pastor or favorite Christian author may claim that genea refers to the Jewish race; yet many scholars and biblical references state this word refers to a particular segment of human genealogy. So how does the average Christian know which spiritual authority is correct? This is a difficult task, because few Christians have the theological background necessary to know who the biblical scholars are; neither do they know how to locate authoritative Greek references. So most Christians choose to trust their pastor or favorite author.
But there is an easy and accurate method by which individual Christians can determine what genea actually means:
Allow the Bible to interpret itself.
Let’s read several passages where the Bible uses genea (words translated from genea into English are in shown in bold):
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations (Matthew 1:17).
And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him (Luke 1:50).
“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay (Acts 13:36).
For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath (Acts 15:21).
Here we have four passages, written by three different New Testament authors. And each of these passages uses genea to refer to the continuing generations of human beings, without a single reference to the Jewish race.
Thus, all these biblical writers used genea in precisely the same manner as we use our English word “generation.”
Now look at how the apostle Paul used genea:
… that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints (Colossians 1:26).
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today of you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, ‘they will always go astray in their heart, and they do not know My ways’; as I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest’” (Hebrews 3:7-11)
… which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit (Ephesians 3:5).
… to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:21).
So again, we see the same usage: genea refers to the gospel which was hid for multiple generations (periods of time); the generation (period of time) when Moses and the Children of Israel lived; “other generations” (offspring) that did not receive the revelation of God; and all generations “forever and ever.”
[_Therefore, if we allow the Bible to interpret the Bible, there remains no doubt about the meaning of genea:: _]
“Genea” has the same meaning as our English word “generation.”
There remains one additional biblical passage that more than any other, proves how the Bible never uses genea to refer to a race or family of people. Look at Acts 14:16-17:
In the generations gone by He permitted [_all the nations _]to go their own ways. And yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
Here the Greek translated in the English “generations” is our old friend genea. But the phrase “all nations” is translated from the Greek ethnos, which means [race _]or[ tribe ](as in the Jewish race)[. ]Thus if _genea refers to a race of people, this passage would literally be stating:
“Who in past races suffered all races to walk in their own ways.”
And of course, this makes no sense whatsoever! The only way in which this verse could be meaningful, is for genea to refer to a generation or age (as the Lexicons indicate); while the Greek ethnos refers to a race or tribe.
(For information from biblical scholars on the definition of genea, please see the Appendix in Chapter 11).
Secular (non-biblical) history also describes the miraculous events associated with Christ’s 1st Century return. To set the stage for studying these histories, we need to read our Lord’s description of the events preceding up to and associated with His Second Coming:
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.” Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.
“Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and * will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.*
There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; *for the powers of the heavens will be shaken *(Luke 21:20-26).
And now that we’ve set the stage, let’s read some interesting secular histories you will never hear at church.
Flavius Josephus was a Jewish priest, Pharisee and military commander. He commanded the national resistance in Galilee at the time of Israel’s revolt against Rome (during the 1st Century). When Josephus was captured by the Romans at Jotapata, his life was spared because he predicted how the Roman general Vespasian would soon become emperor. And when this prediction actually came true, Josephus was commissioned to provide his captors with a history of the Jewish people during the Roman-Jewish wars.
Notice what Josephus wrote in one segment of this history:
“Besides these [signs], a few days after that feast, on the one-and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious (stupendous or colossal) and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, *chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities._ Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, [[*they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, ‘Let us remove hence]’”_] (Jewish Wars, VI-V-3, emphasis by this author).
Tacitus was a Roman senator and historian, who wrote histories of the Roman Empire from the reign of Tiberius to that of Nero (CE. 14–68). Here is what he wrote in one of these histories (which he called Annals), about the events following Christ’s sacrifice:
“Prodigies (amazing or unusual events) had occurred, but their expiation by the offering of victims or solemn vows is held to be unlawful by a nation which is the slave of superstition and the enemy of true beliefs. [_*In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour. A sudden lightning flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure.* _]Few people placed a sinister interpretation upon this. The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world” (Histories, Book 5, v. 13).
Eusebius was a Greek historian of Christianity, who served as bishop of Caesarea Maritima around 314 CE. He was a scholar of the Biblical canon and regarded as a well-learned Christian of his day. Notice what he wrote about the events around Jerusalem, immediately after Christ’s death:
“For before the setting of the sun chariots and armed troops were seen throughout the whole region in mid-air, wheeling through the clouds and encircling the cities” (Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Ch. 8).
John Chrysostom was the Archbishop of Constantinople and an early church father. Here is what he wrote about Christ’s death and the events that took place immediately thereafter:
And let not any man suppose this to have been spoken hyperbolically (far-fetched); but let him study the writings of Josephus, and learn the truth of the sayings. For neither can any one say, that the man being a believer, in order to establish Christ’s words, hath exaggerated the tragical history. For indeed He was both a Jew, and a determined Jew, and very zealous, and among them that lived after Christ’s coming. I should therefore be glad to inquire of the Jews. Whence came there thus upon them wrath from God intolerable, and more sore than all that had befallen aforetime, not in Judaea only, but in any part of the world? Is it not quite clear, that it was for the deed of the cross, and for this rejection? All would say it, and with all and before all the truth of the facts itself” (Homily LXXVI).
B. W. Johnson was the author of several books of wide circulation: The Vision of the Ages, Commentary on John, The People’s New Testament in two octavo volumes, and the successive volumes of the Christian Lesson Commentary.
Here is what he wrote about the Great Tribulation:
“21. Great tribulation. The account given by Josephus, the Jewish historian who witnessed and recorded the war, is almost an echo of the predictions of Christ. Women ate their own children from starvation; the Jews within the city fought each other as well as the Roman army; on August 10, CE 70, the city was stormed and there was a universal massacre; 1,100,00*0 persons perished, and 100,000 survivors were sold into slavery*.”
Each of these secular and ecclesiastical histories are in full agreement with the biblical writings: the great tribulation and Christ’s Second Coming occurred shortly after our Lord’s death.
Let’s summarize what we have learned:
1) Jesus told His disciples He would return within their generation;
2) The Lord told people of His generation how they would personally witness His return with their own eyes;
3) Jesus told the Jewish High Priest he would personally observe His Second Coming;
5) Jesus told His disciples they would know the general time of His return;
4) The disciples knew the Day of the Lord was near, because Malachi’s Elijah prophecy had been fulfilled by John the Baptist;
6) Three of the apostles wrote that they were living in the prophesied “last time” — and that the coming of the Lord was “near”;
7) The Lord told His disciples they would be alive and fleeing persecution at the time of His Second Coming;
8) Jesus told the disciples to remain watchful, so they could “stand before the Son of Man.”
9) Secular and church histories record how the Great Tribulation and Second Coming occurred during the 1st Century.
All the biblical and secular evidence points to the Tribulation, Day of the Lord, Second Coming of Christ, and the General Resurrection of saints occurring within a few decades of Christ’s death and resurrection.
[_Thus those who promote a “future” Second Coming are sharing humanly-derived doctrines that are contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ, His apostles and the historical record. _]
When Christians discover how the Great Tribulation, general resurrection of the dead, and Second Coming of Christ prophesied in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Daniel 12 all occurred during the 1st Century, they may find themselves asking, “So what remains for me today?” In fact, some might even decide they are missing out on something good.
So if you are one of these people, I want you to read what the prophet Daniel wrote about the last (or end) times:
… And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time (Daniel 12:1).
The Jewish-Roman war and the destruction of Jerusalem that preceded Christ’s return were some of the most horrible events in Earth’s history — a time when unimaginable atrocities were committed. Josephus recorded how the embattled Jews were eating belts, shoes, and the leather stripped off their shields. Then he went on to describe a woman named Mary, whom out of extreme hunger, killed, roasted, and then ate her son.
One Jewish defector recorded how the valleys of Hinnom and Kidron were filled with 115,880 Jewish corpses; while another estimated that over one million Jews died in the war. In Luke 21:26, Jesus described these events as “… men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
Therefore as modern Christians, we should be exceedingly thankful that we do not have to experience such frightful events. Today’s Christians are greatly blessed, in that the end times, first resurrection and the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom occurred thousands of years ago.
[_And thus today, each and every Christian has an immediate “open door” to their heavenly reward in the Kingdom of God. _]
Our Lord and Savior said the following:
As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, [_If you continue in My _][_*word*, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free _](John 8:30-32).
It’s my hope that this book volume has encouraged you to agree: knowledge that the Great Tribulation and Second Coming of Christ occurred during the 1st Century most certainly sets us free!
As modern Christians, we are free from worrying about end-time tribulations, along with falsely prophesied wars, famines, and diseases. Knowing the truth, we can live a quiet life of faith and peace, with an absolute assurance that at our death, we will immediately pass on to our promised heavenly reward.
The teachings of institutionalized Christianity lead us into unwarranted fear and emotional distress —[_ while the teachings of Jesus Christ bring us comfort and unspeakable joy!_]
David Brown (1858) — Co-author of the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary:
Does not this tell us plainly as words could do it, that the whole prophecy was meant to apply to the destruction of Jerusalem? There is but one way of setting this aside, but how forced it is, must, I think, appear to every unbiased mind. It is by translating, not ‘this generation,’ … but ‘this nation shall not pass away:’ In other words, the Jewish nation shall survive all the things here predicted! Nothing but some fancied necessity, arising out of their view of the prophecy, could have led so many sensible men to put this gloss upon our Lord’s words. Only try the effect of it upon the perfectly parallel announcement in the previous chapter: ‘Fill ye up them the measure of your fathers. Wherefore, behold, I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city … that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zecharias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation’ … Matt. xxiii. 32, 34-36). Does not the Lord here mean the then existing generation of the Israelites? Beyond all question he does; and if so, what can be plainer than that this is his meaning in the passage before us? (Christ’s Second Coming, Will it be Pre-millennial?, p. 435)
David Chilton (1996) — Pastor and author of [Paradise Restored _](1985), [_The Days of Vengeance _](1987), and _The Great Tribulation (1987):
“Some have sought to get around the force of this text by saying that the word generation here really means race, and that Jesus was simply saying that the Jewish race would not die out until all these things took place. Is that true? I challenge you: Get out your concordance and look up every New Testament occurrence of the word generation (in Greek, genea) and see if it ever means ‘race’ in any other context. Here are all the references for the Gospels: Matthew 1:17; 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36; 24:34; Mark 8:12, 38; 9:19; 13:30; Luke 1:48, 50; 7:31; 9:41; 11:29, 30, 31, 32, 50, 51; 18:8; 17:25; 21:32. Not one of these references is speaking of the entire Jewish race over thousands of years — all use the word in its normal sense of the sum total of those living at the same time. The word always refers to contemporaries. In fact, those who say the word means ‘race’ tend to acknowledge this fact, but explain that the word suddenly changes its meaning when Jesus uses it in Matthew 24! We can smile at such a transparent error, but we should also remember that this is very serious. We are dealing with the Word of the living God.” (The Great Tribulation, p. 3)
J.C. Fenton (1974) — Author of The Pelican New Testament Commentaries:
“Although attempts have been made to interpret this generation to the Jews, or as the human race in general, it is more likely that originally it meant the generation living at the time of Jesus.” (p. 391)
John Gill (1763) — Author of Exposition of the Bible
“Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, etc. Not the generation of men in general; as if the sense was, that mankind should not cease, until the accomplishment of these things; nor the generation, or people of the Jews, who should continue to be a people, until all were fulfilled; nor the generation of Christians; as if the meaning was, that there would always be a set of Christians, or believers of Christ in the world, till all these events came to pass; but it respects that present age, or generation of men then living in it; and the sense is, that all the men of that age should not die, but some should live till all things were fulfilled; see Matt. xvi.27-28, as many did, and as there is reason to believe they might, and must, since all these things had their accomplishment, in and about forty years after this: and certain it is that John, one of the disciples of Christ outlived the time by many years; and, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, many of the Jewish doctors now living, when Christ spoke these words, lived until the city was destroyed; as Rabbi Simeon, who perished with it, R. Jochanan be Zaccai, who outlived it, R. Zadoch, R. Ishmael, and others: this is a full and clear proof, that not any thing that is said before, related to the Second Coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and the end of the world; but that all belong to the coming of the Son of man, in the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the end of the Jewish state.” (vol 2, 1809, p. 240)
Ezra Gould (1896) — Author of A Critical and Exegetical Commentary:
“There is general consent now that the prophecy is restricted in time to that generation, v. 30. In general, the historical interpretation of this prophecy is fairly settled.” (Commentary on Mark, p.249)
Henry Hudson — Author of Echos of the Ministry:
“Many commentators play around with the word ‘generation’ (genea), and thinking to avoid embarrassment, project its application to the generation which will be alive during the last days immediately preceding the Second Coming of the Messiah. Others, expand its meaning to include the whole nation of Israel, which, in spite of the intensity of the great tribulation, will nevertheless be preserved as a nation right up till the end of the present age. However, if Scripture be compared with Scripture, such verbal games are soon exposed as being nothing but armchair gymnastics (cf. Matthew 11:16; 12:41-45; 23:36; Luke 11:50, 51; Hebrews 3:10). The word is generally used to signify a people belonging to a particular period of time, or more loosely, to a period defined by what might be considered as an average life span of a man.” (p. 32)
“… the whole of the xxivth of Matthew, and particularly the 36th and following verses, relate solely to the destruction of Jerusalem, exclusively of a second coming, and of the end of the world.” (p.131)
G.R. Beasly-Murray (1954) — Author of Jesus and the Kingdom of God:
“The meaning of ‘this generation’ is now generally acknowledged. While in earlier Greek genea meant ‘birth,’ ‘progeny,’ and so ‘race,’ in the sense of those descended from a common ancestor, in the LXX it commonly translates the term dor, meaning ‘age,’ ‘age of man,’ or ‘generation’ in the sense of contemporaries. On the lips of Jesus ‘this generation’ always signifies the contemporaries of Jesus, but at the same time always carries an implicit criticism. For Mark the eschatological discourse expounds the implication of the prophecy of judgment in verse 2, and so implies the perversity of ‘this generation,’ which must suffer the doom predicted.
Dr. E. Robinson (1843) — Author of The Parousia: A Critical Inquiry Into the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord:
“The question now arises whether, under these limitations of time, a reference of our Lord’s language to the day of judgment and the end of the world, in our sense of these terms, is possible. Those who maintain this view attempt to dispose of the difficulties arising from these limitations in different ways. Some assign to (genea) the meaning suddenly, as it is employed by the LXX in Job v. 3, for the Hebrew. But even in this passage the purpose of the writer is simply to mark an immediate sequence — to intimate that another and consequent event happens forthwith. Nor would anything be gained even could the word (genea) be thus disposed of, so long as the subsequent limitation to ‘this generation’ remained. And in this again others have tried to refer genea to the race of the Jews, or to the disciples of Christ, not only without the slightest ground, but contrary to all usage and all analogy. All these attempts to apply force to the meaning of the language are in vain, and are now abandoned by most commentators of note.” (Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. 1 — 1843).
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"Executed to Suppress His Message" explains how institutionalized Christian religions acquired vast financial resources by suppressing the teachings of Christ, then substituting their own humanly-created doctrines for our Lord's gospel. By turning a blind eye to our Lord's commands against using money within the Church, Christian leaders have built hundreds-of-thousands of churches and acquired millions of members — but in doing so, they have hidden Christ's good news about a God of infinite love and forgiveness, as they work to frighten people into church attendance, by promoting a fictional gospel about a God of judgment and punishment.