LIFE IN CHRIST
- - - - - - - - - - -
William Robert West
Chapters eight, nine, ten, and eleven
Over 939,500 downloads
The interpretation of figurative language, metaphors, and symbolic passages, first resurrection and second death, an immortal soul or resurrection of the dead
Part 1: THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS. The intermediate bosom
Part 2: ISRAEL'S DESTRUCTION, her weeping, gnashing of teeth, outer darkness, Matthew 24–Preterits Eschatology–Realized Eschatology–A. D. 70 Doctrine–The day of the Lord–2 Peter 3
Part 3: THE SYMBOLICAL PICTURES OF REVELATION VERSUS A LITERAL INTERPRETATION–Souls under the altar–The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever–The lake of fire
Part 4: FOREVER AND EVER of the King James Version–Eternal
Those who believe in the Pagan doctrine of an immortal soul from birth and Hell have no plain statements. That they must reinterpret figurative language, metaphors, and symbolic passages into literal statements shows the weakness of their belief that it is from man and not from God. Parables and figurative language are made to be superior over plain statements. The clear language must be changed to agree with what is thought to have been said in the symbolic language; therefore, many literal passages must be made figurative to keep them from being in conflict with the interpretation given to the figurative passages. Many of the metaphors about the destruction of Israel have been discussed in the first seven chapters. This chapter is a look at some of the symbolic passages that are often changed into literal statements.
Chapter Eight–PART ONE
The Interpretation Of Figurative Language
Metaphors And Symbolic Passages
THE INTERMEDIATE BOSOM
THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS Luke 16:19-31
This parable makes no reference to eternity; it is while the rich man had brethren living on the earth; therefore, before the resurrection and before the Judgment Day. This parable is one of the most used scriptures to prove both (1) that persons have something in them that has no substance, and only this something goes to Heaven or Hell, (2) or when the person it is in dies, this something that is in the person leaves the person and goes into a holding place unto the resurrection. If this were a literal story and not a parable, as many believe it is, it would be both in conflict with and a contradiction of the belief that a soul leaves the person it was in and that soul at once goes to Heaven or Hell at the death of the person; if there were a soul and it went to Abraham’s bosom as soon as the person died before the resurrection it would be positive proof that a soul does not instantly go to Heaven or Hell at the death of the person it had been in, and positive proof that the dead are alive before and without the resurrection, that the resurrection is not needed.
Is hades a large underground cavern that haves both a good side and a bad side? Will those that are alive on the good side of hades, or those that are alive on the bad side of hades be raised from the dead even though we are told by many that the dead in hades are not dead? This is used to prove that there is conscious life for the dead when they are dead, life before the dead are resurrected and judged at the coming of Christ; that the dead do not need the resurrection to be alive. It makes life precede the resurrection and punishment precedes the judgment.
Many realizing that the Orthodox teaching that there is something in a person that goes to Heaven or Hell at death is not from the Bible, and “it” will not be in Heaven before and without a resurrection and judgment, knew they had to have an intermediate or third place that is not Heaven or Hell to put immortal souls from death unto the resurrection, if there were immortal souls. Is the best they can do is to try to make a parable into a true story, making Abraham's bosom into a holding place unto the resurrection? In doing this, they must set aside the plain teaching on death and the resurrection as if they did not exist. Making this into a real story, and not a parable is a life or death struggle with them; it is absolute necessary for this to be a true story for the Bible gives them nowhere for a living soul to be living in before the resurrection; there is no other place, and they need to make this into a real place. If they do not, they have a living soul with nowhere for it to be living in before the resurrection and judgment. The Abraham’s bosom version says there cannot be a soul in Heaven, or a soul in their Hell unto the resurrection, but they must have somewhere to keep a soul. They cannot even agree among themselves, for some say it is a parable, and some say, "No it is a true story." Many that think it is a parable will use it as if it were a true story; they say it teaches the same thing either way. "Notes On The Parables Of Our Lord" by R. C. Trench is ranked as one of the best on the parables. He says this is a parable, and on page 17 says parables are not to be made the first sources to teach a doctrine. To go from the clear to the obscure has been recognized as the law of Scriptural interpretation, but this has been forgotten by those looking for an argument to sustain a weak position, and often invent for themselves support in parables. On page 162 Trench says it is most important to keep in mind that this parable has as it's central thought the rebuke of unbelief. Nevertheless, this parable is used as the first and only source to teach a doctrine that is not found in any other part of the Bible.
Some that believe in Hell often point to Luke 16 to prove there is torment after death, but when pushed, most of them will admit hades is not Hell, but they need to prove there is torment in Hell; therefore, use the torment of the rich man in hades in this parable and hope in some way to transfer the torment in this parable to torment in Hell. Even if this were a true story and not a parable, it may prove that there is torment before the resurrection, (1) but it would prove nothing about what will be after the resurrection, (2) or that there will even be a Hell after the resurrection, (3) or even if it were a true story it says nothing about the existence of separated souls; in this parable it was the rich man himself that was in torment, not a soul that had been in the rich man, it was Lazarus himself that was comforted, not a soul after it had left the dead Lazarus. It says nothing about a soul, nothing about a spirit, nothing about Hell yet, Luke 16 is one of the most used passages to try to prove there is a Hell, and that there is torment in Hell even though there is nothing about Hell in the parable. They are desperately looking for proof of Hell, which they cannot find. This parable says nothing of Heaven, Hell, nothing of a soul, nothing of the resurrection, or the judgment. The complete silence of the scriptures about the dead being anywhere before the resurrection other than the grave is a deathblow to the doctrine of an immortal soul; Those who make this parable into a literal story are (1) trying to prove the Abraham's bosom view, (2) or to prove Hell, both use it to put aside hundreds of plain passages of scripture.
PARABLES IN LUKE 15 AND 16: A discourse to the Pharisees and Scribes.
(1). The lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7).
(2). The lost coin (Luke 15:8-10) not called a parable.
(3). The lost son (Luke 15:11-32) "a certain man" not called a parable.
(4). The unjust steward (Luke 16:1-13) "a certain rich man" not called a parable.
(5). The rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) "a certain rich man" not called a parable.
Five "a certain" in a row.
(1). "A certain man" (Luke 14:16).
(2). "A certain man" (Luke 15:11). No one questions these two being a parable.
(3). "A certain rich man" (Luke 16:1). And no one questions this being a parable.
(4). "A certain rich man" (Luke 16:19). Why do many question this being a parable?
(5). "And a certain beggar named Lazarus" (Luke 16:20).
Christ used "a certain" 18 times, and all 18 are in parables (Matthew 18:23; 21:28; 31:23; 22:2; Mark 12:1; Luke 7:41; 10:30; 10:31; 10:33; 12:16; 13:6; 14:16; 15:11; 16:1; 16:19: 16:20; 19:12; 20:9). No one questions that the other 16 times "a certain" is used as being in parables, only the two in this parable to make them fit with the literal view, but it is desperately needed for this not to be a parable for it to be proof of the doctrine of Hell, even if it were a true story it would makes the true story contradict what is believed about Hell even by those that try to make it a true story.
There is nothing about a certain soul in this parable.
o The man died
o The man was in Abraham’s bosom
o It was the “certain man” that the rich man wanted to bring water
o Nothing was said about a soul
The objection of some is that it is not called a parable. More than half, 15 of the 26 parables in Luke are not called a parable. The three parables before this one that are a part of the series of five parables, all five were spoken to the Pharisee and Scribes in the same speech are not called parables, but no one questions them being parables. The objection of others is that parables do not use proper names. "And he took up his parable, and said, 'From Aram has Balak brought me, the king of Moab from the mountains of the East: come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel'" (Numbers 23:7). Not one but five proper names are used in one parable. "Satan" (Mark 4:14) and "the son of man" (Matthew 13:37) are used in parables, also Ezekiel 23:1-4. Even if this were the only parable in the Bible that used a name, which it is not, who made the rule that Jesus could not use a name in one, ten, or ten thousand parables?
This is the last in a series of five parables, all five were spoken to the Pharisee and Scribes, and all five were in the same speech. All five have people, but no one takes the people in the first four to be actual people, but fictitious people used to teach the Pharisees to whom these five parables were spoken.
(1). A man with a hundred sheep (Luke 15:3-7). “Both the Pharisees and scribes began to grumble…and he told them this parable” (Luke 15:2-3).
(2). The woman with two coins (Luke 15:8-10).
(3). Two sons and a father (Luke 15:11-32).
(4). The cunning servant (Luke 16:1-17).
(5). Rich man, Lazarus, Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:14-31). “Now the Pharisees…were listening to all these things…and He said to them” (Luke16:14-15).
Those who make this parable into a literal story do not accept the main part of it as being literal; they do not accept Abraham’s bosom as being a literal place, but as a symbolic place; his literal bosom had turned to dust many years before, and there would not be room for even one person in Abraham’s literal bosom; therefore, if part of it cannot be literal none of it can be literal, if it is a true story then all of it must be literal. It is either a symbolic picture, or it is a true story. It cannot be a mixture of the two; it cannot be part literal and part a true story. Does anyone believe Lazarus was literally carried to Abraham’s literal bosom by angels?
Many want to make this a true story and not a parable to use it to prove Hell, but the only part they want to be a true story is the one word “torment” even though it is clear that the “torment” in this parable is not torment in Hell; the rich man was not being tormented in Hell and Lazarus was not in Heaven.
THE RICH MAN: This is an allegory to the Jews who were rich in God's blessing. Israel was spiritually rich (see Romans 9:3-5). All Luke 16 is on the subject of stewardship. The Jews failed to share with the Gentiles giving them only the crumb, and most of the Jews failed to believe in Christ. The Gentiles were spiritually poor. This parable is a satire condemning the Jewish nation, the Scribes, and Pharisees. Christ used one of their own uninspired fables that those He was speaking to would know about (see Josephus and others), which He changed only slightly as the base of this parable to show the end of the Jewish nation as God's chosen people. See Matthew 21:43-45; 24:2; Luke 13:28; Matthew 23:1-39. Throughout much of the Old Testament Israel did not obey God, and they rejected Christ; therefore, were rejected by God. Israel is no longer His chosen people. Their anguish was being without God and rejected by Him, and as a nation Israel is dead and in hades, the grave. When they reject Christ there was no comfort for them, no water to cool their tongue (Luke 16:24).
A picture of the rich Jews and the poor Gentiles is given in Matthew 15:22-27. "And behold, a Canaanitish women came out from those borders, and saying, have mercy on me, O Lord...But he answered and said, I was not sent but unto the house of Israel. But, she came and worshipped him saying, Lord help me. And he answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children's (Israel's) bread and cast it to the dogs (Gentiles).’ But she said, ‘Yea, Lord: for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.’" He gives her the crumbs and healed her daughter.
"And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:11-12). "Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matthew 21:43). "O Jerusalem...your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:37-38).
"Odunaomai" is used only four times in the New Testament, and is translated "tormented" in the King James Version in Luke 16:24 and 25, but is translated "in anguish" both times in the American Standard Version. It is used only two other times and was translated "sorrowing" in the King James Version. Odunaomai as it is translated in the American Standard Version in the only four times it is in the Greek.
1. “Behold, your father and I sought you sorrowing (odunaomai)” (Luke 2:48).
2. “For I am in anguish (odunaomai)” in this flame” (Luke 16:24).
3. “But now here he is comforted, and you are in anguish (odunaomai)” (Luke 16:25).
o “Tormented” King James Version
o “Anguish” American Standard Version - Revised Standard Version - The Living Bible
4. “They all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing (odunaomai) most of all for the word which he has spoken, that they should behold his face no more” (Acts 20:37-38).
a. Does anyone believe either Mary or the elders at Miletus were tormented? By the way it was translated the King James translators they did not, but they saw in it’s use in Luke a way to add eternal torment by making odunaomai have two completely difference meaning.
b. Strong’s Concordance says odunaomai (word 3601) is “to grieve–sorrow” is from word 3602 “grief (as dejecting) –sorrow.”
The anguish (or sorrowing, not torment) of the rich man was Israel’s sorrowing because of being rejected by God as a nation. Sorrowing, anguish, and distressed are emotions or strong feeling that a person has within himself, not something that comes from without.
Young’s Literal translation: “And having cried, he said, Father Abraham, deal kindly with me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and may cool my tongue, because I am distressed (odunaomai)” in this flame. And Abraham said, Child, remember that thou did receive good things in thy life, and Lazarus in like manner the evil things, and now he is comforted, and thou art distressed (odunaomai)” (Luke 16:24-15).
This parable is about those who were rich in God's blessing, and those who were poor in God's blessing, not a literal story about a person who was a beggar. "Ptokos" is used thirty-four times in the New Testament, and is always translated "poor" except in this parable and Galatians 4:9 where it is mistranslated “beggar” in the King James Version, and translated “poor” in the New American Standard.
o “And given to the poor (ptokos) Matthew 26:11.
o “A certain poor (ptokos) widow” Mark 12:42.
o “Preach the gospel to the poor (ptokos)” Luke 4:18.
o “Contribution to the poor (ptokos) saints” Romans 15:26.
o “As poor (ptokos), yet making many rich” 2 Corinthians 6:10.
o “And a certain poor (ptokos) man named Lazarus” Luke 16:20 New American Standard.
This parable is about the Jews who were rich in God’s word and the rest of the world that was poor (ptokos), in spiritual poverty, “Having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
DR. GILL, an orthodox Protestant who believed in the intermediate state of the dead, in his commentary of Luke said, "The rich man died: It may also be understood of the political and ecclesiastical death of the Jewish people, which lay in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and of the temple, and in the abolition of the temple worship, and the whole ceremonial law: a Loammi was written upon their church state, and the covenant between God and them was broken; the gospel was removed from them, which was as death...their civil power and authority, were taken away from them by the Romans." Many orthodox writers say the same.
LAZARUS: Lazarus is the Gentiles, the people in spiritual poverty who had only the crumbs of God's blessing (see Matthew 15:21-26), but become the seed of Abraham-the church. Lazarus (the Gentiles) becomes rich in God's blessing by the Gospel. Christ says, "The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matthew 21:43). "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ" (Galatians 3:14). See Matthew 8:11-12; Luke 8:28' Acts 8:46; 26:23; Romans 2:28-29; 9:3-5; 9:8; 3:26-29; 4:28; Philippians 3:3; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 2:12-13). In the parable Lazarus (the church) is now in Abraham's bosom where the Jews (the nation of Israel) once were. "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise" (Galatians 4:28). "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart" (Romans 2:29). "For we are the circumcision, who worship by the spirit of God" (Philippians 3:3). "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3:29). Paul calls the church "a new creation" "the Israel of God" (Galatians 6:15-16). Every person who is now a Christian is the seed of Abraham, and an heir of the promise made to Abraham.
ABRAHAM: Abraham was the father of the Jewish Nation, which was the chosen nation, the nation that was in covenant relationship with God (Galatians 3:6-22; Romans 9:8). The blessing of Abraham came to the Gentiles through the Church. Israel does not now by birth have the blessing of Abraham, and are not now God’s chosen people; therefore, are "in anguish, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." Israel is not now in covenant relationship with God; the Church is now the "sons of Abraham" (Galatians 3:7), are now the chosen people. "So then they that are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham" (Galatians 3:9). Israel has been "broken off," or "cast off" (Romans 11). The church is now "the Israel of God," is now figuratively in Abraham’s bosom, is now God’s chosen people (Galatians 6:16; also 1 Peter 2:9-10; Hebrews 12:22).
THE GULF: The rejection of Christ cut Israel off from Abraham and the blessing of God. One cannot reject Christ and worship God. Without believing in Christ and His resurrection, there is a gulf between God and Israel. As long as they reject Christ, there is not "a drop" of spiritual comfort for them in Christianity. Those that believe in Christ can give no comfort, no hope of salvation to them that do not believe whether it is Jews or Gentiles that do not believe. The Law of Moses, which Israel gloried in, died at the death of Christ. "Having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). "Be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage" (Ephesians 2:11-22). Also Acts 15:24. We cannot cross the gulf and go back to the Law (Galatians 5:1). "That which Israel seeks for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it" (Romans 11:7). The only way any person can become a child of God today is by being born again. The Law is dead and will never be restored. The nation of Israel can never be restored. The only way any Jew could ever again be a child of God is to believe the Gospel and be baptized into Christ. "By their unbelief they (branches–plural, Jews, not nations–plural) were broken off," and Gentiles (plural Gentiles, not plural Gentiles nations) were grafted in. "And they (individual Jews) also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them (Jews) in again" (Romans 11:17-24).
The rich man (Israel) went to the grave (hades). Israel is no longer God's chosen people. Lazarus, the Gentiles believers are now in Abraham's bosom, are now in a covenant relationship with God, not in the grave. Abraham's bosom is not a division of hades, not one side of hades. Many draw a circle and make one side of it be where the rich man is and the other side where Lazarus is with a gulf between the two sides. This circle is in the back of most Bibles printed by Star Bible, and in many tract and books printed by members of the Church of Christ.
THE FIVE BROTHERS: Christ was telling the Pharisees and scribes they would not believe even when He rose from the dead (See Trench "Notes On The Parables" page 162). In the parable Abraham tells the rich man that if their own scriptures cannot convince them of their error, neither would they be persuaded if one rose from the dead. Christ did rise from the dead, but few Jews believed on Him. After the judgment there will be none alive on earth to be persuaded by one sent back from the dead, none of the rich mans brothers will then be on earth.
Judea and his five brothers became six of the twelve tribes. Some believe five brothers are used to identify the rich man as Judea to the Pharisees to whom He was speaking this parable.
Three conflicting views, three different gospels Galatians 1:6-9
(1). Luke 16 is used to prove at death the body dies, then a soul or a spirit (?) goes to hades or Abraham's bosom unto the resurrection.
(2). At the death of the person a soul or a spirit that had been in the person goes to Heaven or Hell.
(3). Ecclesiastes 12:7 is used to prove that the spirit (the breath of life) in all persons came from God at their birth, both the saved and the unsaved, and at death the spirit (the breath of life) that has been in all persons goes back to God.
Which one do you believe? All three cannot be true. Many who believes a soul that was in the dead goes to hades to be with the rich man in torment, or to be in "Abraham's bosom" also believe and teach when a soul leaves the person it was in that soul goes directly to Heaven to "be with the Lord." They seem not to be able to see that they are making the immortal soul that was in the dead go immediately to Heaven or Hell after the death of the person; therefore, they have made this that they teach as a true story impossible. No soul could be in "Abraham's bosom" and in Heaven simultaneously. How many of the three conflicting gospels do you believe? Does the orthodox view not know what the orthodox view is? If a soul of the dead goes to Heaven or Hell at death, why did Luke say the rich man was in hades; hades and Hell are not the same place, yet this is one of not the most used passages to prove souls that were in the lost go to eternal torment in Hell at death. Do those who believe the Abraham's bosom view forget that they teach no one will be in Heaven before the judgment? Yes, they almost always do forget at funerals and have the dead person, not a soul, looking down form Hea ven at their own funeral. Those who teach dead loved ones are in Heaven looking down at us almost always make Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom be in Heaven, and the rich man to be in Hell; do they think Abraham is literally in Heaven, and Lazarus is literally in Abraham bosom in Heaven with those in Hell literally asking Abraham to send those in his bosom down to Hell with water?
D. SLOUGH, evangelist, Church of Christ: “Useless, perhaps, to point to Johnson…and hundreds of other learned men who select this parable to prove an immediate entrance at death into joy or sorrow. Never seemingly able to discover the impossibility of making it accommodate itself to such requirement. No wonder they become utterly nonplussed when the discrepancies involved in such a course are brought squarely to their attention through other scriptures. This fact has been tested time and time again with the same result–that of quibble and evasion pure and simple.” “The Indictment Of Eternal Torment–The Self–negation Of A Monstrous Doctrine,” page 254, F. L. Rowe, Publisher, 1914. Free on line at: www.robertwr.com/EternalTorment.htm
IF THIS WERE A TRUE STORY AND NOT A PARABLE
If one attempts to explain all the elements as though they are literal, the difficulties of making this be a true story will be seen.
If this were a true story is has both punishment and reward coming before the resurrection and Judgment Day.
If this were a true story for those that believe the newer version of Hell, that no one will be in Hell before the Judgment Day, the rich man being in a conscious state before the resurrection, judgment, and second death would not prove there was an immortal soul that had been in the rich man when he was alive, would not prove eternal torment, or anything that is to be after the Judgment Day (nothing is said about a soul after that soul had left the dead rich man that it had been in when the rich man was alive), it speaks about two men, the rich man and Lazarus, not about two souls that had been in the two man before their death, not about two souls that are now in Abraham’s bosom.
If this is a true story, it is in direct conflict with Christ and Paul. Christ said, "For you shall be recompensed in the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:14); but if this is a true story, their recompense is in "Abraham's bosom" immediately after death before the resurrection. What will happen after death? Christ said, "For the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs (not in Abraham's bosom) shall hear his voice, and come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29). If hades is not the grave, no one will be in the tombs when Christ comes. Paul said, "There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord...shall give me at that day" (2 Timothy 4:8).
If this is a true story it would make Christ be against Christ in this teaching, and in His teaching in Matthew 12:15; Mark 3:24-25; Luke 14:17-18. The resurrection keeps getting in the way of the immortal soul doctrine, for it seems to be more than just a little difficult to have a resurrection of something that is alive and not dead.
o If all go to Heaven or Hell instantly after death, no one will be in the tombs when Christ comes.
o If all go to Abraham’s bosom, or the bad side across the gulf, no one will be in the tombs when Christ comes.
If this is a true story, it makes the resurrection useless and not needed by making souls that were in believers be rewarded before the resurrection, rewarded only because the person that a soul was put in was a person that became a believer. No soul would be dead; it makes void the teaching of Christ about the resurrection of the dead at His coming. Not only would the resurrection be useless, but also a lie for souls that were alive any place could not could be resurrected; they would be as alive as they will ever be, and at the second coming of Christ no soul will be in the grave to "come forth" (John 5:28-29). They would have to "come back" from somewhere, but it would not be a resurrection of the dead. (1) Coming back from "Abraham's bosom," if made to be a real place in a true story, (2) and the teaching of a soul going directly to Heaven or Hell after death, both makes a resurrection impossible and not needed. A living soul coming back from Abraham's bosom, or coming back from Heaven to be judged for what a person did that it had been in would not be a resurrection of the dead, not a resurrection of a soul, not a resurrection of the person that soul had been in. Any doctrine which makes the dead not be dead, and those who are asleep are not asleep, makes a resurrection an impossibility and useless. If this is a true story and not a parable, it is an undeniable contradiction of the Protestant view that all souls goes directly to Heaven or to Hell after the death of the persons they were in.
If this is a true story it makes the wages of sin being death not possible. There would be no real death; to be dead would be to be alive in another form. It is used to show the nature of punishment after death in Hell, but even if it were a true story, it says nothing about anything after the judgment or about Hell. It does not mention a soul, Heaven, or Hell, but is used to prove all three. It does not mention Jesus, God, the judgment, or the resurrection.
If this is a true story it makes being rich the only reason for going to “Hell,” and being poor the only reason for going to Heaven; “but Abraham said son, remember that you in your lifetime received the good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things: but now here he is comforted, and you are in anguish.” There is no other reason given for the rich man going where he went and Lazarus going where he went. Which one of the two do you compare yourself with, the rich man or Lazarus? It would make most of us be going to Hell and be with the rich man. Not many of us have been “laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table.”
If this were a true story it would be an actual description of the intermediate state, which must be true in every detail, such as praying to Abraham, able to see and hear those in torment.
If this is a true story it is when the rich man had brothers living on earth, not after the judgment, according to then no one in Hell will have brothers living on the earth. The message that the rich man wanted taken to his brothers was not the gospel of Christ, but message of the Law; it was before the Christian age, it was given when the rich man and his brothers were under the Law. How did Abraham say the five brothers could be saved, not by believing in Jesus, but by believing Moses and the prophets were there only hope.
If this is a true story those who believe there is an immortal soul that is in a person, and only it (whatever they believe a soul to be) will live after the death of the person, and believe the rich man and Lazarus to be two bodiless immortal souls after the death of the persons that these souls were in. This is the point they want to make, that a person has an immaterial something in them that lives after the death of the person. Do they think one immaterial immortal soul would want another immaterial soul to bring it a drop of water?
(1). They tell us the "soul" of both the saved and the lost are in hades.
(2). They tell us at the death of the person "the spirit returns to God" (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
o They have the "soul" in hades, and the "spirit" in Heaven at the same time.
If this were a true story souls in Abraham's bosom would be able to hear and see souls on the other side of the gulf. The gulf must be narrow enough to be in speaking distance. Could parents be in joy while they watched their children in agony? Could anyone be happy and have peace while they could hear the cries of anguish of those on the other side? Would you be happy if you were confined in a place for centuries where you had to see the agony, and hear the screaming of some of your loved ones; would that be a reward for anyone; but if this is a true story them you will see and hear their agony and screaming? Even most who believes this to be a parable do not believe the good and the bad dead can talk to each other, or that the dead can now come back and talk to the living, as the rich man wanted Lazarus to do. According to the way Revelation 6:9-10 is used by those that use this passage to prove Hell, Hell is a lake of fire with the lost souls in the lake, and the saved souls sitting on the shore watching their torment, and according to the beliefs of many, the souls on the shore would be asking God to torment those in the lake more.
If it were a true story it is the one place in the Bible where the veil is drawn aside and we can see what it is like after death. We can even hear the conversation of souls on the other side of death, and it was given to unbelievers, the Pharisees and Scribes. Luke 15 and 16 is a discourse to them, not to the Apostles.
If this were a true story we have a biblical example of praying to a Saint and to a person as if he were God, which we are forbidden to do. If after death anyone can pray to Saint Abraham, why do most who are orthodox teach we cannot now pray to Saint Abraham or any other saint?
THIS PARABLE HAS ELEMENTS
THAT COULD NOT BE TRUE IN A TRUE STORY
(1). If this is not a parable, and if the rich man and Lazarus are real people, Then Abraham is also a real person, but he is now in the place of a God. Is he a God? No, for this is a parable, not a true story. If it were a true story it would make Abraham, not God, the source of reward after death. God or Christ are not mentioned in the parable. If taken literally, Abraham is put into a position of being a God, which he never was, is not, and never will be. Coffman said the element of Abraham presiding over paradise forces one to seek an analogy, "Commentary On Luke," page 385, Abilene Christian University Press. Lazarus in the bosom of the God Abraham can have no parallel in reality; it is a parable, not a true story. It cannot be both. It cannot have both an allegorical and a literal meaning. If it did, how would one be different from the other?
(2). Many regard this as a parable, but they reason and draw conclusions from it as though it were a literal true story. They go both ways as it suits them. "No reason why Luke 16:19-31 should be viewed only as a parable," Samuel Csonka, Guardian Of Truth, January 5, 1995, page 16. This article by Csonka in the Guardian of Truth says it is a parable, but it’s author thinks it is also a true story both at the same time! It could not be both, and the article says it is a parable. It cannot, as Csonka says it does, "mean the same thing" if it is a parable that it would if it is a true story. It must be 100% a true story, or 100% a parable. It cannot be a mixture of the two. If it is a literal true story, every detail must be true and have a literal true meaning. Those who say it is a true story find parts of it that will not fit into what they believe, and always try to make these parts be a metaphor or parable. Abraham's bosom had literally turned to dust long before Jesus gives this parable. If his bosom is used symbolical, and is not Abraham’s literal bosom, the rest of the account must also be symbolic, and this is not the literal experience of the two men after they died. In a metaphor, one part of it is never figurative with another part literal. If Abraham's bosom is figurative, then Lazarus in his bosom must also be figurative and not a real person, otherwise, a real person would be in a figurative bosom. We cannot make any part of a metaphor be a literal statement just because we want it to be, or we need it to be to prove something we want to prove. If "Abraham's bosom" is a real place, where is Abraham? In his own bosom! If Abraham’s bosom is a real place where souls go after the death of the persons they were in, where is it, and why do we not read of it in any other passage any place in the whole Bible; if it is not the grave, Heaven, or Hell, where is it? If this were a true story, both the rich man and Lazarus died, but they did not die, neither one would be dead, if this was Lazarus himself that was alive, or a soul was alive that had been in Lazarus before Lazarus died, either one would be alive before and without the resurrection, just as alive as it would be possible for them to be after they were resurrected. If this were a true story it would make the resurrection 100% useless.
E. D. SLOUGH, evangelist, Church of Christ: “We want to know if this was a real experience, and if it teaches the condition of the dead. Let it be remembered, then, according to the philosophy that they are ‘spirits.’ Will you tell me how you reason that a ‘spirit’s tongue’ can be cooled with water? ‘Oh’ you say, ‘that represents’–hold on, no representations go in a real circumstance. If you say it is real, stay with it. This policy of making it half literal and half figurative, just because there is an end to gain, is a nature ‘fakir’ in theology. It, therefore, represents nothing if it is a real circumstance, as you affirm. How could Lazarus carry a drop of water on his ‘spiritual’ finger? You say, ‘Oh, that doesn’t mean literal water.’ Well sir, it does or you do not mean what you say, I care not who you are. But reason with me. How could a spiritual tongue be cooled with a drop of water? ‘Oh,’ you say, ‘that must not be pressed too literal,’ no, not too literal, but just as literal as in any real circumstance. If it was a literal fact, then the details, which make it up are literal facts also. And to deny that it to deny your position. Here is a stubborn fact. The narrative say the rich man did call on Abraham to send Lazarus. That he wanted Lazarus to dip his finger in water. And he wanted Lazarus to put that water on his tongue. And the reason was that he was tormented in the flame. That very portrait, if it was a real circumstance, will compel every one of you to admit that the torment of the intermediate state is produced by fire. How do you like it? Then stop saying it is a sort of compunction of conscience. For understand, conscience was never known to call for water to cool it. Get that? It will no doubt be granted willingly, that for a real circumstance, the peculiar incidents connected with it here make this the most remarkable and phenomenal case on record. For we would be forced to concede that a spirit craved water, that it gets thirsty or feverish, and that it asked a favor of Abraham instead of God, that it was God who rendered the verdict and cast him in prison, that Abraham has no right or jurisdiction in the matter, and a hundred other things that make this narrative an absolute mystery, if it be a real circumstance.” “The Indictment Of Eternal Torment–The Self–negation Of A Monstrous Doctrine,” page 262, F. L. Rowe, Publisher, 1914. This book is free on line at: www.robertwr.com/EternalTorment.htm
(3). This is the only parable in which some try to make an allegory literal, but only the parts of it they want to be literal for they do not want the whole story to be literal. It would teach things they do not believe. It would teach that souls that are in the many (the poor) would be saved, and that souls that are in the few (the rich) will be lost. What about Abraham? He was very rich. It is not said the rich man was evil or sinful, just rich; but those who teach innate immortal have a real person in torment before the judgment, before he is judged and found guilty. It is not said Lazarus was good and faithful, or even that he knows of God, just that he was poor, as are millions; but being rich is not sinful, and being poor will not save. Not one good thing is said about Lazarus, not one bad thing about the rich man. There is nothing negative said about the rich man, and nothing positive about Lazarus in their lifetime, but they have Lazarus who they say is a real person being rewarded before being judged; but if this was a true story, was it Lazarus himself, or was it a soul that was in Abraham’s bosom? After all, according to the immortal soul doctrine, people are not in Heaven, Hell, or Abraham’s bosom, only souls are, only a soul that had been in a Lazarus would be alive after the death of Lazarus.
(4). It would teach that a soul that had been in the rich man, would be in a supernatural state (not of this earth); therefore, that soul would have a much greater knowledge of supernatural things than we now have, that soul would believe or know that souls could come back to earth and teach living persons, the rich mans brothers. This is not what most believes, but it would greatly support the spiritualist who says they can call the dead back.
(5). What bodies would the rich man or Lazarus have when their earthly body was still in the grave? They will not have a "spiritual body" unto the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:44). Do disembodied spirits that have no body and are immaterial, and invisible have human body parts? The rich man has "eyes" and "tongue." Lazarus has a "finger." Abraham has a "bosom." Is there a third kind of body, which has these earthly parts? What would a "spirit" or "soul," which does not have an earthly body want with water? Only in speaking in a metaphor can it be said that God or any spiritual being has a human part, or to want water. How could an immaterial, invisible soul have body parts or want water? It would make this immaterial soul be very material.
(6). If the rich man were a real person in torment, God would be unjust to be tormenting him without his knowing why. If he knew why he was being tormented, he would have known that Lazarus could not come to take his torment away by bring him water.
(7). The rich man wanted Lazarus to go to his brothers "from the dead." How could Lazarus "go to them from the dead" (Luke 16:30) or "rise from the dead," (Luke 16:31) if he were not dead, but he was alive in Heaven or Abraham's bosom? If is was a deathless soul that was in Abraham’s bosom, not a person, how could it “go to them from the dead’?
(8). If this were not a parable it would only teach what would be in the intermediate state from death unto the judgment; there is nothing in it that would teach eternal torment after the Judgment Day. Nothing is said about Heaven, or anyone or any soul being in Heaven or Hell.
(9). If this were not a parable what “died, and was buried?” Who was the “he” that “lifted up his eyes” in hades after “he” died? Orthodoxy says death is not possible for an immortal soul. The “beggar died” (Luke 16:22), The rich man “also died, and was buried” (Luke 16:22). What “died?” In the parable whatever “died” of Lazarus was what was “carried away by the angels into Abraham’s bosom”; whatever “died and was buried” of the rich man was what “in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in anguish.” According to the parable what “died and was buried,” the body or a soul that we are told repeatedly that it could not have “died.” If a soul was what was carried to Abraham’s bosom, then it was a soul that “died and was buried.”
AL MAXEY: "To fabricate a theology of disembodied spirits and Hadean holding cells and everlasting torture of the wicked from this passage is an unconscionable abuse of biblical interpretation and should be rejected by all disciples intent upon discerning and declaring truth rather than perpetuating the tedious tenets of paganistic tradition." “Reflections,” Issue #28, April 4, 2003.
ADAM CLARKE: "Let it be remembered that by the consent of all (except the basely interested), no metaphor is ever to be produced in proof of a doctrine. In the things that concern our eternal salvation, we need the most pointed and express evidence on which to establish the faith." Clarkes Notes on Matthew 5:26.
R. C, TRENCH: "The parables are not to be made first sources of doctrine. Doctrines other wise grounded may be illustrated, or even further confirmed by them; but it is not allowable to constitute doctrines first by their aid. For from the literal to the figurative, from the clearer to the more obscure, has ever been recognized as the law of Scripture interpretation. This rule, however, has been often forgotten, and controversialists, looking around for arguments with which to sustain some weak position, often invent for themselves supports in these." “Notes On The Parables Of Our Lord,” page 17,1948.
Luke 16:19-32 – Very similar – Isaiah 14:9-20
1. Both the rich man and king of Babylon go to hades.
2. Both represent nations.
3. Both are represented as being alive.
4. Both found person(s) to speak with.
5. Both are not to be taken literally.
Chapter Eight–PART TWO
SCRIPTURES ABOUT THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL
THAT ARE MISAPPLIED TO HELL
Israel's destruction, her weeping, gnashing of teeth, outer darkness. Many of the passages spoken by John the Baptist and by Jesus about Israel's rejection of Christ and its destruction are misapplied to Hell. Matthew 24 is often misused to prove Israel will be restored, and Christ will return to earth and rule the world forever from Jerusalem, and that the saved will forever live on this earth, not in Heaven.
INDEX OF PART TWO
o The Jews that came to John the Baptist, Matthew 3:7-12.
o The Samaritan woman, John 4:20-23.
o Six parables condemning Israel.
1. Israel, the fruitless fig tree, Luke 13:6-9
2. The rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31.
3. The two sons, Matthew 21:28-32.
4. Israel the husbandman, Matthew 21:33-45.
5. The marriage feast, Matthew 22:1-14.
6. The narrow door, Luke 13:24-30.
o Weeping and gnashing of teeth and outer darkness.
Judgment of Israel Matthew 21-25:
o Parable of the fig tree. This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished, Matthew 24:32-34.
o Israel the unfaithful servant, Matthew 24:45-51.
o Unprofitable servant cast into outer darkness Matthew 25:30.
THE JEWS THAT CAME TO JOHN THE BAPTIST
"But when he saw the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said unto them, you offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth; therefore, fruit worthy of repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to rise up children unto Abraham. And even now the axe lies at the root of the trees: every tree; therefore, that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance; but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor; and he will gather his wheat into the garner, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:7-12). John was the Elijah that was to come (Matthew 17:11; 11:10). Cutting down a tree or forest is a common symbol of judgment and destruction of cities and nations in the Old Testament (Isaiah 10:34; Jeremiah 46:22-23; 22:7-8; Ezekiel 31:3-14). The warning of John the Baptist was that Israel was on trial; the axe that would destroy them was already at the tree. Matthew 24 states how and when the ax fell.
ADAM CLARKE said this is, "The desolation which was about to fall on the Jewish nation."
LIGHTFOOT: "By the axe being now laid to the root of the tree, may fitly be understood, first, the certainty of their desolation; and second, the nearness, in that the instrument of their destruction as already prepared, and brought close to them; the Romans that should ruin their city and nation, being already master and rulers over them."
B. W. JOHNSON: "Think not to say...we have Abraham to our father. They believed that Abraham's race was to be saved, if all else was destroyed...'The axe is laid at the root of the tree' a sign that the tree is to be cut down. The tree meant is the Jewish nation. Every tree. A fruitless fig tree was afterward made by our Lord to representative of the whole Jewish nation (Luke 13:6)." Also, Matthew 3:10-12 "And with fire. The term fire is used in verse 10, and there means a destroying agency; it is used again in verse 12 in the same sense; it is used in verse 11, also, the intervening verse, and must be used in exactly the same sense as in the other two verses. It cannot mean a curse in verses 10 and 12, and a blessing in verse 11, without a word of explanation. It is strange, therefore, that all commentators should not agree that the baptism of fire is a baptism of trial and suffering. There were two classes before John. Some would repent and be baptized finally in the Holy Spirit; there were others who would remain impenitent, and be baptized in the awful trials that would come upon Israel." B. W. Johnson, "The People New Testament With Notes," 1889, Gospel Light Publishing Company.
MICAH REDDING: “In context, Jesus was talking about how the centurion showed more faith than anyone in Israel. And he says this to make a statement: the kingdom was being accepted by gentiles (and prostitutes and tax collectors!) before it was being accepted by the Jews. The Jews placed great value in their heritage from the patriarchs. Being a descendent of Abraham meant you were in the kingdom. But a time would come when the Jews would suddenly realize the kingdom had passed them by, and (being outside the kingdom) they would find themselves separated from the patriarchs they had valued so much. Instead, Gentiles would be ‘feasting with Abraham’ in God's kingdom. Jesus is simply prophesying that with his fellow Jews rejecting him, Gentiles were going to be the ones who would accept his message. The Jews would find themselves in ‘outer darkness’ (away from the feast and light of God). And they would respond with tears and anger: ‘weeping’ and ‘gnashing of teeth’…Jesus is ALWAYS referring to Jews when he talks about ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ and ‘outer darkness.’ He NEVER said this would happen to anyone but the Jews.” Church of Christ, “There Is No Hell” (part 4)” at: http://micahredding.com/blog/2008/09/15/there-no-hell-part-4-scriptures-outer-darkness
THE SAMARITAN WOMAM
“Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus said unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. You worship that which you know not: we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the father in spirit and truth: for such does the Father seek to be his worshippers” (John 4:20-23). Worship under the Law required both (1) the temple in Jerusalem (2) and the Levitical Priesthood. Both were destroyed in A. D. 70; now there would be no way to know who was a Levite even if there were any living. God cannot be worshiped by the Old Testament Law without both (1) the temple in Jerusalem, (2) and the Levitical Priesthood. He is now worshiped any place where there are true believers.
SIX PARABLES CONDEMNING ISRAEL
(1) Israel, the fruitless fig tree (Luke 13:6-9): "And he spoke this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. And he said unto the vinedresser, behold, these three years I came seeking fruit on this fig tree, and found none: cut it down; why does it also cumber the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit thenceforth, well; but if not, you shall cut it down." Barren national Israel would be cut down. "And seeing a fig tree by the way side, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only; and he said unto it, Let there be no fruit from you hence forward forever” (Matthew 21:18-19; see John 1:11). The point of this parable is clear, if Israel did not bear fruit it would be cut down–destroyed; John the Baptist had declared that the axe was already at the root of the tree.
(2) The rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31): See "Part one" of this chapter.
(3) The two sons (Matthew 21:28-32): Christ speaking to “the chief priests and the elders” of Israel said, "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, Son, go work today in the vineyard. And he answered and said, I will, sir; and he did not go. And he came to the second and said the same thing. But, he answered and said, I will not; yet he afterward regretted it and went. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said, the latter. Jesus said to them, Truly I say to YOU the tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before YOU. For John came to YOU in the way of righteousness and YOU did not believe him; but the tax-gatherers and harlots did believe him; and YOU, seeing this, did not ever feel remorse afterward so as to believe him."
(4) Israel, the husbandman (Matthew 21:33-45): Still speaking to, “The chief priests and the elders” Jesus said, "Hear another parable: there was a man that was a householder, who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and dug a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandman, and went into another country. And when the season of the fruits drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandman, to receive his fruits. And the husbandman took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them in like manner. But, afterward he sent unto them his son, saying, they will reverence my son. But the husbandman, when they saw the son, said among themselves, this is the heir; come, let us kill him, and take his inheritance. And they took him, and cast him forth out to the vineyard, and killed him. When; therefore, the lord of the vineyard shall come, what will he do unto these vine-growers? They say unto him, he will miserably DESTROY those miserable men, and will let out the vineyard unto other vine-growers, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons, Jesus said unto them, did you never read in the scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner: this was from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And he that falls on this stone shall be broken to pieces: but, on whomsoever it shall fall, it will scatter him as dust. And when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he spoke of them." The vineyard is the nation of Israel with its rulers, the messengers are the prophets and apostles, and the Son was Jesus. The kingdom was taken from Israel and given to the church made up of all nations. Israel beat and killed many of the prophets, and killed the Son of God, and they were scattered as dust in A. D. 70 when no Jews were left in Jerusalem or the country around it. The kingdom was taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles at the death and resurrection of Jesus.
(5) The marriage feast Matthew 22:1-14: Also still speaking to, “The chief priests and the elders” Jesus said, "And Jesus answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying, The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again, he sent out other slaves saying, Tell those who have been invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast. But, they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But, the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murders, and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, the wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast. And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests." The Jews killed the prophets God send to them, and they and their city were destroyed, the Gentiles were brought into the kingdom. Those that would not come to the wedding were Israel.
(6) The narrow door Luke 13:24-30: "Strive to enter in by the narrow door: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut the door, and begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not where you are; then shall you begin to say, we did eat and drink in your presence, and you did teach in our streets; and he shall say, I tell you, I know not were you are; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and the gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God AND YOURSELVES CAST FORTH WITHOUT. And there shall come from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And behold, there are last who shall be the first, and there are first who shall be last" This is about the coming rejection of Israel, and the Gentiles being accepted into the kingdom of Heaven, which is the church. Not about some being cast out of Heaven, which is what it would be if the weeping and gnashing of teeth were in Hell. Israel was the "sons of the kingdom" ("children of the kingdom" King James Version) that was cast into outer darkness, it was not those who never believed that were cast out of the kingdom. The Jews, who were then the children of the kingdom, were cast out of the light into the darkness of the world without the light of God's revelation, and they are no longer God's chosen people. "O Jerusalem...behold your house is left unto you desolate" (Luke 13:34-35). Those who believe in Hell leave out the rest of what Christ said in the next two versus when He says the Gentiles will come into the kingdom, and verse 30 the Gentles who were last become first. If this (1) weeping and gnashing of teeth, (2) casting out, (3) and the Gentiles coming in were after the judgment, then:
(1) If this were after the judgment then the Gentiles would be coming into the kingdom in Heaven after the judgment.
(2) And if “and yourselves cast forth without” is after the judgment then it would be Jews being cast out of Heaven after the judgment.
“The children of the kingdom,” the Jews that rejected Christ are the ones doing the “gnashing of teeth,” living persons on this earth, before their death, not souls in Hell as is taught by orthodox churches. "Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken away from you (the Jews), and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matthew 21:43).
WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH, See chapter four
The three times "outer darkness" is used by Christ (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30) are all dealing with Christ being rejected by Israel. It was common for a banquet to be in the evening, lights would be inside, but there were no lights outside: back then there were not street lights as we now have, anyone cast outside would be in the darkness outside of the banquet or wedding room. These three times outer darkness is used it refers to God's dealing with the Jews being cast out as God's chosen people into the world without the light of God’s word, and their destruction as a nation, never to the Gentiles, never to souls, but has been misused and changed to be souls that are in Hell are in outer darkness. When the Jews rejected Christ they were cast out as God’s chosen people into “outer darkness.” Being in darkness is also used for being in the world without Christ and without the light of the Gospel, Colossians 1:12-13; Acts 26:18; 1 Peter 2:9; John 10:27.
The other times "weeping and gnashing of teeth" is used by Christ (Matthew 13:42; 13:50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:27-28) are also all about the Jews being cast out as God's chosen people, and have also been changed to be an immaterial, bodiless souls in Hell that have no teeth that are weeping and gnashing their teeth because they are being tormented by God; none of the passages mention Gehenna although they are often used to prove there is a place called “Hell.” In Matthew 13:39 and 13:50 the Greek is the end of the “age,” not the end of the world, the end of the age that then was, the Jewish age when Israel was cast out as God’s chosen people. To Israel that thought they were and would always be God’s chosen people, being told that they would be cast out was no small thing.
Matthew 13:41 and 13:50: In parables about the kingdom of Heaven Christ used “weeping and the gnashing of teeth” is when, “So shall it be in the end of the age: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the righteous and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and the gnashing of teeth.” The “end of the age” is the Jewish age that ended at the death of Christ.
(1). Matthew 22 is also a parable of the marriage feast that was given to the chief priests and elders of the Jewish people where those that were bidden did not come to the wedding and were destroyed, which seems to be speaking of the Jews rejecting Christ.
Who and when was those in the highways invited to the wedding? The innovation is now open to all who will come to Christ, but after the kingdom is delivered up to God in Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:24), (1) no one will be invited to the wedding, (2) and no one in the kingdom will be found to be not worthy and cast out of Heaven (Matthew 22:8). Who was the wedding guest that did not have on a wedding-garment? In the kingdom, the church, there are many hypocrites, but they are not “arrayed in white garments” (Revelation 3:4-5). After the judgment, no one in the kingdom that has been delivered up to God will be found not to have on a wedding-garment, and no one will be cast out of Heaven; no one not in Heaven after the judgment will be invited to come up to Heaven; therefore; whether it is about (1) Israel rejecting Christ (2) or about the church, this parable of the kingdom is about something before the second coming of Christ; those that were bidden but did not come were destroyed, not tormented without end by God.
(2). Matthew 24 is about the destruction of Jerusalem, and it ends with the parable of the evil servant that after he has been cut asunder “there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51).
(3). In Matthew 25:30 the unprofitable servant is also Israel.
Both “outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” are used only by Christ, and are a reference to those that are rejected in this lifetime, not about torment in Hell, not about being cast out of Heaven.
Is wages of sin weeping and gnashing of teeth, or is wages of sin death? God says the "wages of sin is death," not an eternal life of weeping and gnashing of teeth for a soul in Hell, not weeping and gnashing that will go on forever for if it did there would be no death if the lost weep and gnash their teeth were endless because they were being tormented by God. We would never be able to know that this weeping will be in Hell but: First: Many say that there is a Hell, but there is not one word about it in the Bible. Second: Then they tell us that this weeping shall be in Hell. How could they know this when in every passage it is used in the weeping is on this earth before the Judgment Day? There is not one passage that says there will be weeping in "Hell."
Some of the words used by Christ to describe the Jews: blind guides, hypocrites, murderers, adulterous, transgressors, faithless, perverse, fools, generation of snakes. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...behold, your house (the temple Christ had just left) is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:38).
"That which Israel seeks for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened" (Romans 11:7). Whatever Israel did not obtain, the elect had obtained it, past tense at the time Paul wrote this. It was not something that would be obtained by Israel, or anyone at A. D. 70, or at the second coming of Christ. How are Jews, Gentiles, or anyone saved today, only by the Gospel? I was saved when I heard the Gospel and obeyed it; all that are saved are saved in the same way. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16). Neither a Jew, nor a Greek can be saved without believing in Christ and obeying the gospel. Today a nation cannot be saved as a nation, not Israel, or any other nation. Individuals must believe and obey the Gospel; there is no other way. "But if some of the branches were broken off, ("some of the branches," plural, are individuals Jews, not "some of the nations" plural were broken off) and you, being a wild olive, was grafted in among them (among some of the branches, the Jews that believed and were not broken off, Paul was one of the Jews that believed; the individuals Gentiles that believed were grafted in)...Well; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith...for if God spared not the natural branches (individuals Jews), neither will he spare you (individuals Gentiles, not nations). Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell (“them” is plural, individuals, not plural nations), severity; but toward you, God's goodness; otherwise, you also shall be cut off. And they (individuals Jews, not plural nations) also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in" (Romans 11:17-24). Many of the believers in the early church were Jews. Paul was a Jew, and he said, "Even so than at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (“at this present time,” at the time Paul was writing this some Jews believed) (Romans 11:4). Salvation is always available to anyone of any nation if they will accept Christ. The law was only a shadow of that which was to come. Israel cannot be restored as a nation without restoring the shadow, including restoring animal sacrifice, etc.
DR. T. W. BRENTS: “There is individuality about the Christian religion that cannot be dispensed with. Those who accept Christ must do it as individuals, not as a nation. Each one must come to Christ on his own individual faith. He can come in no other way. In this way he can come now; and this is the only way a Gentile, or anyone else can come. The Jews were broken off for unbelief, and they must come in faith. This opportunity they have now, and have always had–they need not expect, or wait for any thing more.” “Gospel Sermons,” page 329, Gospel Advocate, 1918.
"Woe unto you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. So you are witnesses and consent unto the works of your fathers: for they kill them, and you build their tombs. Therefore, also said the wisdom of God, I will send unto them prophets and apostles; and some of them they shall kill and persecute; that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary: yea, I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation" (Luke 11:47-51).
(1) THE LORD'S LAMENT OVER JERUSALEM WHEN HE WAS ON THE ROAD TO JERUSALEM Luke 19:41-44: When Jesus drew nigh Jerusalem He wept over the city, and tells His disciples of the destruction of it in language that is similar to what He said in Luke 21:5-33. "And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which belong unto peace! But, now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will throw up a bank about you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and will level you to the ground and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation’" (Luke 19:41-44 New American Standard Version). The Romans did surround Jerusalem, put up a bank against the wall to go over it, and did not leave one stone upon another.
DR. LANGE in his commentary on Matthew page 416: “The Lord mourns and laments over His own ruined Jerusalem…His whole pilgrimage on earth was troubled by distress for Jerusalem, like the hen which sees the eagle threatening in the sky, and anxiously seeks to gather her chickens under her wings. With such distress Jesus saw the Roman eagles approach for judgment upon the children of Jerusalem, and sought with the strongest solicitations of love to save them. But in vain! They were like dead children to the voice of maternal love.”
(2) IN AN ADDRESS TO THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEE AT JERUSALEM: In Matthew 23 Jesus gives seven woes to the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:13, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27 29), then He ends the address with, "Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem that kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto her! How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:36-38). None of the many commentators that I have read say “this generation” is anything but the generation that Christ was speaking to. On the same day in Matthew 24:34 He again said, "This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished." But many of the same commentators say the second use of “this generation” means “this race” and Christ was not speaking of that generation, not in the life time of those He was speaking to, but of the human race that will not pass away unto He comes in judgment at the end of the world. All the woes in Matthew 23, and all the signs of Matthew 24 were to come upon that generation, before that generation passed away.
"All these things shall come upon this generation." Christ used "generation" twenty-five times in reference to the Jews of his day; nine of the twenty-five are in Matthew (Matthew 11:16; 12:39; 12:41; 12:42; 12:45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36; 24:24). "But first he (Christ) must suffer many things and be rejected of this generation" (Luke 17:25; also Mark 8:12; 8:12; 8:38; 9:19; 13:30; Luke 7:31; 9:41; 11:29; 11:30; 11:31; 11:32; 11:50; 11:51; 16:8; 17:25; 21:32). "Genea," the Greek word from which "generation" is translated never means "race" as the Millennialists contend that it does in Matthew 24:34.
"THIS GENERATION," was the generation of Jews in the time of Christ, not a generation of today.
If "this generation" means "this race" or “this nation” as some Millennialists teach, are there forty-two "races" spoken of in Matthew 1:1-17? “So all the generations from Abraham unto David are fourteen generations (not fourteen races or nations); and from David unto the carrying away to Babylon fourteen generations; and from the carrying away to Babylon unto the Christ fourteen generations.”
The use of "you" clearly identified the "generation" Jesus was speaking to in Matthew 24. When speaking to His disciples Jesus said:
Millennialists must change generations to a nation with many successive generations, thereby making God to have used the wrong word.
(3) THEN AN ADDRESS TO HIS DISCIPLES ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES OVERLOOKING JERUSALEM: Matthew 24:1-51. There have been thousands of speculations made on Matthew 24 over the centuries, and it has been abused more than most other passage.
THE CONTEXT OF MATTHEW 24: It is in the midst of passages about Israel.
o Their question about what He had just said (Matthew 24:3).
o His answer (Matthew 24:4-31).
Matthew 24:1-2: "And Jesus went out from the temple, and his disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple, but he answered and said unto them, see you not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." The stones were the "buildings of the temple." These words are the reason for the questions by his disciples, and the reason for the discourse that followed. The purpose of this discourse was not to give His disciples signs of His coming at the end of the world, but to give them signs of the destruction of Jerusalem, to warn believers in that generation of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, and to give them a sign for them to flee from the destruction coming in their lifetime. "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is nigh" (Luke 21:20; Matthew 24:15). At the second coming there will be no signs, no one will flee to the mountains.
Matthew 24:3: "And as he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, tell us:"
o Matthew 24:3 "Tell us, when shall these things be?"
o Mark 13:4 "Tell us, when shall these things be?"
o Luke 21:6-7 "When therefore shall these things be?"
o Matthew 24:3 "And what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?"
o Mark 13:4 "And what shall be the sign when these things are all about to be accomplished?"
o Luke 21:6-7 "And what shall be the sign when these things are about to come to pass?"
These two questions as given in the three parallel accounts all are the same two questions. Except for the bad translation of the King James Version, "End of the world", no one would see the end of the world in these two questions. The Greek says, "End of the age" (aion), not "End of the world" (kosmos). Not even the New King James Version would go along with the King James Version on this bad translation.
o “And of the end of the age,” (1) New King James Version, (2) New International Version, (3) New Revised Standard Version.
o “And of the completion of the age,” Alfred Marshall, “Parallel New Testament In Greek And English.”
o “And of the full end of the age,” Young’s Literal Translation.
o “And the conclusion of this state,” Alexander Campbell, “The Living Oracles.”
o “Of the age, viz. the Jewish economy,” Adam Clarke.
The disciples, thinking of what the Lord had said, asked two questions, which they supposed both would be at the same time. (1) “When shall THESE THINGS You speak of be?” (2) “And what shall be the sign that THESE THINGS are about to come to pass?” "These things" were the things Christ had just said, "And Jesus said unto him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? There shall not be left here one stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down.’ And as he sat on the Mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when shall these things be?’" (Mark 13:2-3).
Neither in what Christ said, nor in the question the disciples asked there is no reference to the second coming, or to a great tribulation thousands of years after "these thing." At the time they asked these questions they did not believe or know that Jesus would be put to death, or that he would be going back to Heaven and coming a second time. The disciples still thought the Christ would restore the earthy kingdom of Israel, just as all the Jews did.
(1). “And they understood none of these things, and this saying was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said” (Luke 18:34; 19:11; 24:21-27; John 16:16-18; 20:9).
(2). When they asked these two questions they did not know or believe Christ would die and be resurrected from the dead, or know or believe anything about the second coming of Christ or the Judgment Day.
(3). On the day of His resurrection they did not know it was the resurrected Christ they were talking to and said to Him, "But we hoped (past tense) that it was he who should redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21). Hoped that Christ was the one the Jews looked for to redeem Israel from Rome, and restore it as a nation as it was under David.
(4). Forty days after He was raised from the dead they still did not understand therefore, they still did not expect Christ to go away and return to earth a second time at the end of the world; they expected the messiah to restore the kingdom to Israel "They therefore, when they were come together, asked him, saying, Lord, do you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). At the time they asked this, they still believe just as the Jews did that their messiah would set up an earthly kingdom of Israel. HOW COULD THEY BE ASKING ABOUT HIS SECOND COMING WHEN THEY DID NOT KNOW THERE WOULD BE A SECOND COMING? Millennialists must make the disciples be asking a question about the second coming of Christ that the disciples did not understand about or believe at that time, but they must have the disciples be asking questions about the millennial, and questions about the rapture to make this chapter teach their view. I have never seen where any Premillennialists explain how the disciples could know anything about the rapture, or the thousand years when the same disciples did not know that Christ was to die, and be raised from the dead and forty days later ascend to Heaven, and they did not know any thing about the church. From where do they think these disciples had this knowledge? To make “these things” be things that has not yet came to pass would make the disciples be asking about things they knew nothing about.
(1) SIGNS OF THE THINGS THAT WERE TO COME TO PAST THAT THE DISCIPLES WERE WARNED NOT TO BE FOOLED BY.
Matthew 24:4-15: "And Jesus answered (His answer was to the questions the disciples had asked about the destruction of the temple, not about His second coming) and said unto them, Take heed that no man lead you astray. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray. And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. But, all these things are the beginning of travail. Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all the nations for my name's sake. And then shall many stumble, and shall deliver up one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray. And because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of many shall wax cold. But, he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come. When; therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that reads understand)." At the second coming of Christ the saved will not be deliver up or kill, or hated, etc. Matthew 24:4-25 above is about the conditions just before A. D. 70, not the conditions that will be at the coming of Christ.
(2) NATURAL DISASTERS TO ISRAEL AND ROME:
(a) Wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6; Mark 13:7-8; Luke 21:9-10) with nations and kingdoms rising against each other (Matthew 24:7). There were many conflicts and battles before A. D. 70 in which thousands of Jews were killed. In one battle with the Syrians about 5,000 Jews were killed. From A. D. 66 to 70 there were many wars and rumors of wars. Many thousands were killed in the many wars in the 5 years before the destruction of the temple and Israel in A. D. 70.
B. W. JOHNSON: "The Jewish war began in A. D. 66, and ended five years after. During this period all the Roman Empire was filled with commotion. Nero, the emperor, was overthrown by Galba; six months after, Galba was overthrown by Otho; a few months after, Otho was overthrown by Vitelius; a little later, he was overthrown by Vespasian. All of these but the last, who ascended the throne shortly before Jerusalem was destroyed, died violent deaths...Tacitus, the Roman historian, says of this period: 'It was full of calamities, horrible with battles, rent with seditions, savage in peace itself.'" "The People's New Testament With Notes." Gospel Light Publishing Company, 1889.
From the writing of Josephus we learn that the Jews were divided into parties fighting among themselves, and Jews killed others Jews in numbers far greater then those killed by the Roman soldiers; villages of Syria and elsewhere were burnt to the ground in the five years of war before the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem. During the siege many more Jews were killed by warring bands of Jews in Jerusalem, and Josephus says the Jews suffered far more from one another inside the walls of the city than from the Romans outside. During the five years before the destruction of Jerusalem thousand more were killed by bands of robbers throughout all Israel.
MATTHEW HENRY: "When Christ was born, there was a universal peace in the empire...From the time that the Jews rejected Christ, and he left their house desolate, the sword did never depart from their house, the sword of the Lord was never quiet, because he had given it a charge against a hypocritical nation and the people of his wrath, and by it brought ruin upon them." Matthew 24:6, Zondervan Publishing House, 1721.
(b) Famines in various places (Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11): In the years between the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem there were severe famines, especially in the area of Jerusalem. Paul took up a contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem (Romans 15:25; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4) which many churches took part in. Agabus signified by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over the entire world, which came to pass in the days of Claudius, and the disciples sent relief unto the disciples in Judea (Acts 11:28-29).
(c) Pestilences (Matthew 24:7): Pestilences tend to come with famine. There was a great one in A. D. 40 in Babylon when many Jews died, and many more fled because of it, another one in A. D. 65 in Rome when many died. I have seen no history that tells how many died by robbers, wars among them selves, wars with Rome, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in the years before the destruction of Jerusalem (before A. D. 70), but no doubt it was hundreds of thousands. During the siege of Jerusalem, but before the fall, the dead from famines and pestilences filled all the room for burial within the walls of the city. Josephus claims 600,000 more bodies were thrown out of the gates of Jerusalem and left without being buried.
(d) Earthquakes in divers places (Matthew 24:7): The earthquakes are spoken of as a dreadful judgment against the nation of Israel, "But all these things are the beginning of travail" (Matthew 24:8).
GEORGE P. HOLFORD: "Of these significant emblems of political commotions, there occurred several within the scene of this prophecy, and, as our Savior predicted, in divers places in the reign of Claudius there was one at Rome, and another at Apamea in Syria, where many Jews resided. The earthquake at the latter place was so destructive, that the emperor, in order to relieve the distresses of the inhabitants, remitted its tribute for five years. Both these earthquakes are recorded by Tacitus. There was one also, in the same reign in Crete that is mentioned by Philostratus, in his Life of Apollonius, who says that 'there were others at Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, and Samos; in all which places Jews had settled.' In the reign of Nero there was an earthquake at Laodicea. Tacitus records this also. It is likewise mentioned by Eusebius and Orosius, who add that Hieropolis and Colose, as well as Laodicea, were overthrown by an earthquake. There was also one in Campania in this reign (of this both Tacitus and Seneca speak) and another at Rome in the reign of Galba, recorded by Suetonius." "The Destruction Of Jerusalem," 1805.
Some cities of Israel were totally destroyed by both earthquakes and robbers before the destruction of Jerusalem. I have not found an estimate of how many Jews died by earthquakes, but like both the famines and the pestilences, without doubt many more thousands died in the earthquakes before A. D. 70.
DR. PHILIP SCHAFF says there is scarcely another period in history so full of corruption, vice, and disaster as the six years between Neronian persecution in A. D. 64 and the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70. “History Of the Christian Church,” New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.
For many years the earthquakes, famines, wars, and pestilences of Matthew 24 have repeatedly been misused by many writers of fiction, and any earthquake, and wars have been made into a sure sign that Christ is coming soon and the end is at hand. There will be no earthquakes, famines, wars, or pestilences at the second coming of Christ.
(3) PERSECUTION FIRST FROM JEWS, THEN PERSECUTION FROM ROME AND THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL.
(a) "But all these things are the beginning of travail" (Matthew 24:9).
(b) The faithful disciples would be deliver up, killed and hated by all the nations (Matthew 24:9). The persecution of believers came first from the Jews. Acts 4:3; 4:18; 4:21; 5:18; 5:28; 6:12-14; 7:58-60; 8:1; 8:3; 9:1-2; 12:1-5; 13:44-51; 14:2; 14:19; 17:5-8; 17:13; 26:9-10; Paul was one of the persecutors, and then he was one of the persecuted. "Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned...I have been in...dangers from my countrymen" (2 Corinthians 11:24-26). "For you also suffer the same things of your own countrymen, even as they did of the Jews; who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophet, and drove out us" (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15). It was soon followed by the persecution of Nero of believers, which began about A. D. 64. After the fire in Rome Nero attempted to clear himself by blaming it on the Christians. He then persecuted the Christians with such cruelty that even many of his fellow Romans was taken back by his cruelty. "But before all these things, they shall lay their hands on you, and shall persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues (synagogues were Jews, not Rome) and prison, bringing you before kings and governors for my name's sake" (Luke 21:12). See Hebrews 10:32-34. Both the persecution of Christians from the Jews, and the persecution from Rome before A. D. 70 were severe. I have just touched the hem of the garment.
(c) Many shall stumble, deliver up one another, and hate one another (Matthew 24:10). As a result of the persecutions the weak stumbled. "And brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all on account of My name...and a man's enemies will be the members of his household" (Matthew 10:22-36). No one will deliver up anyone or cause anyone to be put to death at the second coming of Christ.
(d) Many false prophets (Matthew 24:11). See 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1; 2:18; Galatians 1:7. Many false teachers saying they are the Christ (Matthew 24:5). Josephus says that they did come about the time of the end of Jerusalem.
“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 until the Son of Man comes” (Matthew10:23). No one will persecute anyone and no one will flee to another city at the second coaming of Christ.
J. W. McGARVEY: “It is a coming, which was to take place before all the cities of Israel should be evangelized, and hence the reference must be, we think, to the providential coming to destroy the Jewish nationality.” “New Testament Commentary,” Matthew and Mark, page 92.
H. LEO BOLES: “It would take place before all the cities of Israel should be evangelized, hence it would mean the coming of Christ to destroy the Jewish nationality.” “The Gospel According To Matthew,” page 230, Gospel Advocate, 1954.
Lightning "For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:27). For the way "lightning” was used in the Old Testament for God's angry and judgment see Exodus 19:16; 2 Samuel 22:7-15; Isaiah 30:27. It is also used symbolically in Revelation of judgments in Revelation 4:5; 11:19; 16:18. The false prophets saying they are the Christ were only seen by many. The coming of Christ in judgment on Israel with the total destruction of Israel as a country was seen in the entire known world just as lightning in the east is seen in the west.
(e) Many disciples will fall away, but those who remain faithful shall be saved (Matthew 24:13-14). This was speaking of the persecuted at the destruction of Israel. There will not be time for any to fall away at the coming of Christ’ it will be “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
(f) The gospel shall be preached to the whole world (Matthew 24:14). The persecution against the church in Jerusalem scattered the saints abroad, and they went about preaching the word everywhere. (Acts 8:1-4). The gospel was preached throughout the world, as it was known before A. D. 70. “The word of the truth of the gospel, which is come unto you; even as it is also in all the world” (Colossians 1:6); and "The hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven" (Colossians 1:23). Paul says to the Romans, "Your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world" (Romans 1:8). In Romans 10:18 he said, "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." "World" as it is used in the New Testament is all the civilized world of that day, the entire known world. See Luke 2:1 where a decree went out from Augustus “that all the world should be registered.” All the world was the Roman Empire, not the entire world, as we now know it. “A great famine over all the world” (Acts 11:28). "Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5). The devout Jews came from all over the world to Jerusalem for Pentecost, and when Pentecost was over, they returned to all nations under heaven and took the Gospel with them. "The mystery...has been made known to all the nations" (Romans 16:25-26).
The warning was that amines, wars, pestilences, false Christ, false prophets, earth quakes, persecutions, or falling away were not to be taken as a sign of the end at the second coming of Christ, they were things that were to happen before the end of Israel did come, but today this passage is used by many to prove any national or international calamities are a sign that the end of the world is coming promptly.
(4) THE TRUE SIGNS OF THE END THAT THE DISCIPLES WERE TO WATCH FOR. Then comes the end of the nation of Israel.
(a) Then comes the end when they see the Romans in Jerusalem. "When; therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:27), standing in the holy place" (Matthew 24:14-15). The parallel passage in Luke 21:20 says, "But when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand." THERE WILL BE NO ARMIES COMPASSING AROUND JERUSALEM TO SEE AT THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS. In the Old Testament the worship of other gods is an "abomination" (Deuteronomy 7:25; 12:31; 17:3). The Romans worshiped many gods. The idolatrous army of Rome in Jerusalem was an "abomination of desolation" to them. Daniel speaks of an "abomination of desolation" at a time when the regular sacrifices were abolished because of Israel going into captivity (Daniel 12:11; 9:27).
(b) "Then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains" (Matthew 24:16). The sign the disciples were to look for was the Roman army around Jerusalem. After going through the country around about Jerusalem and destroying many cities, and after killing many thousand of the Jews, Cestius Gallus came to within one mile of Jerusalem, then after about four days entered the city, but fled with many Jews pursuing him. The disciples were to flee unto the mountains when they saw all the above signs because of the great tribulation coming upon Jerusalem at that time. If this passage were speaking of the second coming of Christ, as many Premillennialists say it is, why were Christians told to flee from Jerusalem to the mountains when Premillennialists tell us that Christ will be coming to Jerusalem, and that He will rule from Jerusalem? In Luke Christ is speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and tells the disciples, "But watch at every season, making supplication, that you may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36). They did watch and escaped the tribulation by fleeing to the mountains beyond the cities of Israel.
GEORGE P. HOLFORD: "After this disaster had befallen Cestius, the more opulent of the Jews (says Josephus) forsook Jerusalem as men do a sinking ship. And it is with reason supposed that on this occasion many Christians, or converted Jews, who dwelt there, recollecting the warnings of their divine Master, retired to Pella, a place beyond Jordan, situated in a mountainous country, whither (according to Eusebius, who resided near the spot) they came from Jerusalem, and settled, before the war (under Vespasian) began. Other providential opportunities for escaping afterwards occurred, of which, it is probable, those who were now left behind availed themselves; for it is a striking act, and such as cannot be contemplated by the pious mind without sentiments of devout admiration, that history does not record that even one Christian perished in the siege of Jerusalem. Enduring to the end faithful to their blessed master, they, gave credit to his predictions, and escaped the calamity. Thus were fulfilled the words of our Lord, Matt. 24. 13. 'He that shall endure unto the end (i. e. of the scene of this prophecy) shall be saved,' i. e. from the calamities which will involve all those who shall continue obstinate in unbelief." "The Destruction of Jerusalem."
ADAM CLARKE: "It is very remarkable that not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, though there were many there when Cestis Gallus invaded the city; and, had he persevered in the siege, he would soon have rendered himself master of it; but, when he unexpectedly and unaccountably raised the siege, the Christians took that opportunity to escape." “Commentary on Matthew.”
At the second coming of Jesus no one will see the Roman army, and no one will flee to the mountains. Premillennialists believe and teach that the rapture will be at the time of this great tribulation; therefore, the saints could not flee to the mountains for they would be "up in the sky with Christ" in the rapture, but Jesus clearly told them to flee to the mountains when the tribulation begins. Christians were to (and did) flee from Jerusalem; from the very place Premillennialists say Christ will come to and set up His kingdom.
That this is not the second coming of Christ is shown by the fact that both living and dead believers did not meet the Lord in the air in A. D. 70 (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17), but that only the living believers that were in Jerusalem were to flee to the mountains, not to meet Christ, but were to flee to escape the Roman army.
INSTRUCTIONS AND WARNING TO THE DISCIPLES: Matthew 24:17-20: "Let him that is on the housetop not go down to take out the things that are in his house: and let him that is in the field not return back to take his cloak. But woe unto them that give suck in those days! And pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a Sabbath; for then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world (aion–age) until now, no, not ever shall be. And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you beforehand. If; therefore, they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not forth: Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning comes forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be the coming of the Son of man. Where so ever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together."
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world (aion–age) until now, no, not ever shall be." This is speaking of the Jewish age, not all time, not of the destruction of the flood before the Jewish age, and not speaking of any war after the end of the Jewish age. Daniel 12:1 says, "And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time." Daniel vision about Israel and Michael was speaking only of Israel, and should be understood as "since there was a nation of Israel." It is speaking only of the wars and captivities of Israel, not of other nations, not anything before Israel was a nation, or after the destruction of Israel. “Not ever shall be” would have no meaning if it were after a tribulation, which would be after the end of the world.
(a) Those in Jerusalem were to flee without taking time to take things from their house, and those in fields were not to take the time to return to their house for things (Matthew 24:18-19). "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the midst of the city depart, and let not those who are in the country enter the city" (Luke 20:20-21).
No one, saved or lost, will be able to flee to the mountains to escape at the second coming of Jesus. The saved will not want to, and the lost will not be able to escape the judgment. Neither will there be armies surround Jerusalem at the second coming of Christ. Nevertheless, Millennialists attempt to make this be an army of Satan surrounding Christ and His saints in the Millennial Kingdom. Would those who were with Christ in Jerusalem be told to flee to the mountains to escape the army of Satan? If they were, it would give Satan more power than Christ has, for He would not be able to protect them from Satan. The saints that were to flee to the mountains would be in the mountains at the time of rapture, not ruptured to Heaven where the Millennialists say they will be. Although this is a key passage to the Millennialists theory it is an undeniable contradiction to the rapture theory.
(b) Woe unto them that have a small child (Matthew 24:29). Those with a child would have hardships in fleeing to the mountains, but at the end of the world this will be no problem. Joy, not woe to those who will be caught up to meet Jesus in the air, joy to those that are asleep and wake up at the coming of Christ, and joy to those that are alive when He comes and the saved will be caught up to meet the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
(c) They were to pray that it not be in the winter, or not be on a Sabbath for the gates of Jerusalem were closed, and no one could depart from the city (Matthew 24:20). Because the streams were then impassable from the heavy rains, the cold wet weather would be hard on those who were fleeing. The gates of Jerusalem have never been closed after A. D. 70, and it will be no problem if the gates of Jerusalem, or any city was closed at the second coming, nor will impassable streams or cold weather be a problem at the second coming.
(d) There would be a greater tribulation than had been from the beginning of the age (aion–age) (Matthew 24:20-22). Not the beginning of the world as the King James Version says, from the beginning of the Jewish age.
(e) There would be many false Christs and prophets that would show great signs (Matthew 24:23-27). When Christ came in judgment on Israel He was seen by the entire world through His judgment on Israel. False Christs and prophets will not be a sign of His second coming at the end of the world.
(f) Where so ever the dead body of Israel was (the carcass) the eagles would gather (Matthew 24:28). The Jewish nation was a dead and rotting carcass with its birds of prey.
That Christ being seen by all is the coming of Christ in judgment on Israel, and not at His second coming is shown by it being between the false Christs and the dead carcass of Jerusalem.
"For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Luke 21:22). Jeremiah ends his prophecy made in Gehenna (valley of Topheth) outside of Jerusalem about the destruction that was coming to Jerusalem at that time with, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Behold, I am about to bring on this city and all its towns the entire calamity that I have declared against it because they have stiffened their necks so as not to heed My words'" (Jeremiah 19:15).
HINDERANCES TO FLEEING THE TRIBULATION, FIRST CENTURY OR TODAY? Hindrances to flight from Jerusalem in A. D. 70 that will not be hindrances at the second coming (Or at a Rapture if there were one).
(a) "Let him that is on the housetop not go down." Most first century houses in Jerusalem had flat roofs, and were used as sleeping places. Today there are almost none with flat roofs. Anyone on the housetop was not to take time to go in the house to take anything.
(b) Not on the Sabbath. The gates would be closed, and no one would be able to leave the city. Today there are no gates. The Law forbided going more than a Sabbath Day journey, which is less than a mile, and others Jews might have stopped them for breaking the Sabbath Law.
(c) Not in the winter. Travel would be hard then, but not today with today's ways of travel.
(d) Having a small child (Matthew 24:19). This would make the fleeing from Jerusalem hard.
"For the days shall come upon you when your enemies shall cast up a bank about you, and compass you round, and keep you on in on every side" (Luke 19:43-44). Then the common way that was used by the Romans to take a walled city was to build an embankment next to the wall for the army to walk up to the top of the wall. Today's cities, not even Jerusalem, do not have walls, as they would be useless with modern planes and explosives.
"And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." After Jerusalem was completely destroyed, many cities of Israel that had not already been destroyed before Jerusalem was also destroyed. If the Roman army had kept going, the fateful Jews beyond the mountains where Christians had fled to would have also been destroyed. No flesh saved would not make sense if it were applied to the second coming of Christ as it is by many Millennialists.
Luke 21:24 "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all the nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." In A. D. 70 all the Jews that were in Israel that had not been killed were led captive into all the nations. The siege of Jerusalem was at the time of the Passover when many of the most faithful from all over were within the walls of the city. If this were speaking of the millennium, who is going to fall by the sword, and who is going to be led captive at the second coming of Christ?
GEORGE P. HOLFORD: "Of the Jews destroyed during the siege, Josephus reckons not less than one million and one hundred thousand, to which must be added, above two-hundred and thirty-seven thousand who perished in other places, and innumerable multitudes who were swept away by famine, and pestilence, and of which no calculation could be made. Not less than two thousand laid violent hands upon themselves. Of the captives the whole was about ninety-seven thousand." "The Destruction of Jerusalem." He also says that at this time “bands of robbers and murderers plundered the other towns and slew the resistance of many of the towns. The Roman leaders endeavored to strike terror to the Jews and thus, cause them to surrender. Those prisoners, who resisted when taken, were scourged, tortured, and crucified before the wall of the city. Hundreds were daily put to death in this manner, and the dreadful work continued until, along the Valley Jehoshaphat and at Calvary, crosses were erected in so great numbers that there was scarcely room to move among them. So terrible was the visited that awful imprecation uttered before the judgment seat of Pilate: 'His blood be on us, and on our children,’ Matthew 27:25." “The Great Controversy,” 1911. The nation of Israel sowed a cross and reaped thousands of crosses.
ADAM CLARKE: "No history can furnish us with a parallel to the calamities and miseries of the Jews:–rape, murder, famine, and pestilence within: fire and sword, and all the horrors of war, without. Our Lord wept at the foresight of these calamities; and it is almost impossible for any humane person to read the relation of them in Josephus without weeping also." Commentary on Matthew.
JOSEPHUS: “Now the seditious at first give orders that the dead should be buried out of the public treasure, as not enduring the stench of their dead bodies. But afterwards, when they could not do that, they had them cast down from the walls into the valleys beneath.” (The Wars Of The Jews Or The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem, Book 5.12.3). "And indeed the multitude of carcasses that lay in heaps one upon another was a horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench, which was a hindrance to those that would make sallies out of the city, and fight the enemy: but as those were to go in battle-array, who had been already use to ten thousand murders, and must tread upon those dead bodies as they marched along, so they were not terrified, nor did they pity men as they marched over them." (The Wars Of The Jews Or The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem, book 6, page 1). This is only a small sample of the pages in Josephus's history of the destruction of the Jews as a nation, of the wars of the Jews with the Romans (1) before, (2) during, (3) and after the destruction of Jerusalem, of the famines, pestilence, and earthquakes through out all Israel unto the entire nation was destroyed. It is not for those with a weak stomach.
"Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another" (Matthew 24:2). Titus wanted to save the temple and give command that it be not destroyed, but Christ had said it would be. It was set on fire against the command of Titus, and the gold melted and the soldiers pried the stones apart down to the foundation stones looking for the gold; not one stone was left on another. In Luke's account of this (Luke 19:41-44) Christ says the temple would be even with the ground with not one stone upon another. After the destruction of Jerusalem one could not know by looking at the spot that the temple had been on it. A Moslem Mosque, called the Dome of the Rock, is now on the spot where the temple was.
B. W. JOHNSON: “Other great temples are in ruins, but their ruins indicate their former splendor. The Parthenon, the Acropolis, the temples of Karnak, Luxor, and Baalbec are examples; but to find even the foundations of the Jewish temple it is necessary to dig beneath the modern city. It has entirely disappeared from the face of the earth, and a Mahometan mosque stands on the spot where it stood.” “The People’s New Testament With Notes,” Matthew 24:2, 1891.
In their books of fiction the coming millennium tribulation is often based on Matthew 24, which has already been fulfilled in A. D. 70 before that generation passed away (Matthew 24:34). "For then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world (aion–age)."
THE CARCASS OF ISRAEL: "Where so ever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together" Matthew 24:28.
JOHN LIGHTFOOT: "I wonder and can any understand these words of pious men flying to Christ, (in the rapture) when the discourse here is of quite a different thing: they are thus connected to the forgoing: Christ shall be revealed with a sudden vengeance; for when God shall cast of the city and people, grown ripe for destruction, like a carcass thrown out, the Roman soldiers, like eagles, shall straight fly to it with their eagles (ensigns) to tear and devout it." Matthew 24:28 "A Commentary on Matthew."
Not Jerusalem only, but all the nation of Israel was destroyed, and all the land that was the nation of Israel was taken over by other people. The nation of Israel came to an end. The Jewish religion was centered round and totally dependence on the sacrifices, which could only be performed at the Temple, and only by the Leviticus priesthood. Both came to an end and have not been restored to this day.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION AND DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AND ISRAEL Matthew 24:29-31: "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:1-28 is speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem. Then in the next verse Christ says, "But immediately after the tribulation of those days," and He gives a list in verses 29-31 of things that are to happen then, immediately after the tribulation and destruction of Jerusalem, not at His second coming, not after a tribulation that some believe is to be at the end of the world. Then in verses 32-44 He gives us the parable of Israel the fig tree in which His coming was "nigh, even at the doors." These verses are highly symbolic of something that took place immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem. In symbolic language the sun is a great ruler on this earth, and the stars are lesser rulers. There were no rulers or teachers in Israel immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem and all the cities of Israel. All was darkness for Israel. "And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn" (see Matthew 10:23 where the coming of Christ is in judgment on Israel before the Apostles had gone over the cities of Israel). In the next parable, Christ is, "Nigh, even at the doors," and "this generation shall not pass away till all these things be accomplished." Though not literally, Christ did come in judgment in the destruction of Jerusalem. If this were at the judgment when all will be raised from the dead for judgment by Christ, I find it difficult to see how any could think that Christ will not give forth His light at the Judgment, and what would be the stars that shall fall from Heaven? If this were literal, stars could not fall on the earth, even one star would be many time bigger than the earth. If verses 30 and 31 were speaking of the second coming, they would be out of place for the second coming was not "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (verse 29), and not in the "generation that shall not pass away till all these things be accomplished" (verse 34). Many teach that the things in Matthew 24 are events that are happening today, but if so, there would some very old people be living today.
The "great tribulation" of Matthew 24:21 is now past history, not something still to come. "But immediately after the tribulation of these day the sun shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken" (Matthew 24:29). Jesus used the same symbolic language to describe the fall of Israel that Isaiah used to describe the fall of Babylon (Ezekiel 32:7-9), and is commonly used in the Old Testament. "For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; the sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will not shed its light" (Isaiah 13:10). Luke added, "And upon the earth distress of nations" (Luke 21:21). The sun being darkened was immediately after the tribulation Christ was speaking of, which was in A. D. 70, not a tribulation yet to come after the second coming of Christ. Most Millennialists move the sun being darkened from “immediately after the tribulation,” and make the darkness be in the tribulation, not something that comes “after the tribulation”; they change “after the tribulation” to “during the tribulation.”
o Darkened “immediately after the tribulation,” the tribulation of verses 1-28 in A. D. 70.
o Not darkened during the tribulation as Premillennialists teach. They must change the time of the sun being darkened.
(1). The same figurative language of the sun, moon and stars being darkened, or falling from heaven is also used:
o Of the fall of Judea (a national judgment) in Jeremiah 4:1-28
o Of the fall of Israel (Amos 8:6-9; 8:18-20)
o Of the fall of Israel (Zephaniah 1:14-18).
o Of the fall of the Nations (Joel 3:15-16; 2:31)
o Of the fall of Egypt (Ezekiel 30:3-4; 32:7-8; Isaiah 19:1)
o Of the fall of Babylon (Isaiah 13:10-20)
o Of the fall of Edom (Isaiah 34:4-6
o Of the fall of the city of Arier in Israel (Isaiah 29:5-6)
o Of the fall of "My people" (Isaiah 51:5-6)
o Also see Joel 2:1-31; 30:31; Haggai 2:6-7; Amos 8:9; Jeremiah 15:9 46:7; 49:23-24; Isaiah 17:12-13; 19:1; 47:20; 64:3; Daniel 7:2-17; Exodus 19:16; 13:21-22; 14:19-31; Psalm 18:13; 104:3; Ezekiel 34:4; Nahum 1:3.
RUSSELL BOATMEN: “At a public forum in which chapter 24 of Matthew and chapter 20 of Revelation were under discussion my respondent stoutly contended that Mt. 24:29 could not possibly refer to the fall of Jerusalem. He read the verse slowly and with deliberate emphasis and added, ‘They (the sun, moon and stars) are still up there.’ That scored points with the Premillennialists. But by the same rule we would have to rewrite Old Testament history. Isaiah’s and Ezekiel’s prophecies, noted above, could not then refer to the downfall of the nations to whom they were directed. The sum, moon, and stars ‘are still up there.’ And the land of Edom is trodden by caravans of tourists year after year, who see no streams of pitch, no brimstone, no smoke going up for ever and ever. If the Bible is allowed to be its own interpreter, when read in the light of the prophecies couched in the same language style, and even using the same metaphors, Mt. 24:29 will be readily recognizable as fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem, 70 A. D.” “What The Bible Says, The End Time,” page 145, College Press Publishing Company, 1980.
(2). THE SUN BEING DARKENED IN THE JUDGMENT OF GOD ON THESE NATIONS WAS NOT A LITERAL DARKING, NEITHER WAS IT THE END OF THE WORLD. This was familiar language to those Jesus was speaking to, and they would have understood him to be speaking of the fall of a nation, not of the end of the world. It is similar to that in Deuteronomy 23:22-28 and both are a judgment on Israel.
(3). Compare Matthew 24:29-30 to the fall of Egypt. "And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens, and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you and will set darkness on your land, declares the Lord God. I will also trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I bring your destruction among the nations" (Ezekiel 32:7-9). As far as these nations were concerned the lights went out; their rulers had no power or did not exist.
Matthew 24:30: "Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven." The sign did appear, it was the destruction of Israel. The sign proves that the man Israel rejected is the Lord, and that He is the ruler over all nations, and He has the power to destroy the nations that reject Him. The whole system of worship of the Law, worship that required both Jerusalem and the Temple had ended, and is no longer acceptable to God.
In speaking of God's coming in judgment on Egypt Isaiah said, "The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud, and is about to come to Egypt" (Isaiah 19:1; also Jeremiah 4:13; Ezekiel 30:3-4). This is not God literally riding a cloud into Egypt, but is figurative language of His coming in judgment on Egypt. When they saw Jerusalem destroyed, they were seeing Jesus coming in judgment on Israel. Jesus told the high priest, "You shall see the son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of Heaven" (Mark 14:62). The high priest did not literally see Jesus in Heaven, but he and all Israel did see the coming of Jesus in judgment on Israel.
FOY E. WALLACE JR.: “The signs in the heavens, the darkening sun and falling stars, refer to the falling of Jewish dignitaries, casting down of authorities and powers, long established, and signified the darkness that settled upon the Jewish State, the sun of the Hebrew temple was darkened, the moon of the Jewish commonwealth was as blood, the stars of Sanhendrin fell from their high seats of authority...The sign of the Son of man in the heaven was a signal, the evidence of divine visitation and intervention in the downfall of the Jewish authorities and in all the transpiring events. The mourning of all the tribes of the earth refers to the lamentation of the Jewish families all over the world because of the destruction of their city and their temple and their state. The coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven is not a reference to the second coming of Christ but to the coming foretold by Jesus to Caiaphas in Matthew 26:64: 'Hereafter shall you see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of Heaven.' Jesus told Caiaphas that he would see it, he would be living witness to these event." "The Book of Revelation," page 354, Wallace Publications, 1966.
"And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn." When their country was destroyed, the Jews that were in other parts of the earth would mourn. The word translated "earth" is "gee," and in the King James Version is translated "land" forty-one times, "ground" eighteen times and "country" two times.
o "Gee" is translated "land” in Matthew 2:6; 2:20; 2:21; 4:15; 9:26; 11:24; 14:34; 27:45; Mark 4:1; 6:47; 6:53; 15:33; Luke 4:25; 5:3; 5:11; 5:24; 8:27; 14:35; 21:23; John 3:22; 6:21; 21:8; 21:9; 21:11; Acts 7:3; 7:4; 7:4; 7:6; 7:11; 7:29; 7:33; 7:36; 7:40; 13:17; 13:19; 13:19; Hebrews 8:9; 11:9; Jude 5.
o "Gee" is translated "ground" in Matthew 9:29; 13:8; 13:23; 15:35; Mark 4:8; 4:20; 4:26; 8:6; 9:20; 24:35; Luke 8:8; 8:15; 22:44; John 8:6; 8:8; 12:24; Acts 7:33.
o "Gee" is translated "country" in Matthew 9:31 and Acts 7:3.
Had it been translated "land" in Matthew 24:30, "And then shall all the tribes of the land (gee) mourn" most of the confusion would not have existed. See Zechariah 12:11-12. It is easy to see why all Israel would have mourned when their country and worship was destroyed.
"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" (Matthew 24:31). Still speaking in figurative language Jesus is saying He will send His messengers into the entire world with His Gospel, and gather them to Him in His kingdom, the church. Angels is from the Greek “angelos,” which is translated “messengers” in James 2:25; Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24; 7:27; 9:52. The messengers Rahab received and sent out another way were men, not heavenly being; Jesus did not jump from the destruction of Jerusalem to His second coming. Just as there was not literally a "great trumpet" that was heard in Egypt and Assyria (Isaiah 27:13), there was not literally a "great trumpet" after the fall of Jerusalem. "And they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other," is figurative language meaning from all over the earth, just as is "from east and west, and from north and south" (Luke 13:29 also see Matthew 24:14). All the saved, "His elect" are now gathered together in His kingdom, the church.
Those in the first century would understand "blood, fire, vapor and smoke" to be used as it was in the Old Testament (Acts 2:19; Joel 2:28-32), but would never have understood it to be referring to a nuclear war as many Millennialists apply it. Christ used the symbolic language of the Old Testament as it was used in the Old Testament, as those hearing Him would have understood, not something in today's newspapers. Literally, that day was an ordinary day; the moon was not literally turned into blood, but spiritually it was an earth-shaking event. Even the Millennialists, who say all scripture must be interpreted literally, do not believe the stars will literally fall on the earth, or the moon will ever literally be turned to blood.
The Son of Man seen coming in His kingdom. "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" (Matthew 16:28). The parallel passage in Mark says, "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power" (Mark 9:1). His kingdom came in Acts 2; therefore, Christ was seen coming in His kingdom in power and glory in A. D. 30. Christ came both in the coming of His kingdom and in judgment on Israel, but neither one was a visible coming as the second coming that will be seen by all, when both all the living and all the dead will see Him. The problem many have when they read Matthew 24 is that they see only His second coming, and therefore must interpret much of Matthew 24 to be speaking of the end of time. Neither His coming in His kingdom in A. D. 30, nor His coming in judgment on Israel in A. D. 70 was the second coming when the saved will put on immortality and forever be with Him.
Coming of Christ before His disciples had gone through the cities of Israel. Matthew 10:16-23 "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in theirs synagogues they will scourge you; and before governors and kings shall you be brought for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what you shall speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you. And brother shall deliver up brother to death, and the father his child: and children shall rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next: for verily I say unto you, You shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."
AFTER TITUS CAME ADRIAN, All of Israel was destroyed.
G. HOLFORD: "'In the reign of Adrian,' say Bishop Newton, 'nine hundred and eighty-five of their best towns were sacked and demolished, five hundred and eighty thousand men fell by the sword, in battle, besides, an infinite multitude who perished by, famine, and sickness, and fire; so that Judea was depopulated, and an almost incredible number of every age and of each sex, were sold like horses and dispersed over the face of the earth'– Newton, vol. I, page xviii.) The war which gave rise to these calamities happened about forty-four years after the destruction of Jerusalem.” “The Destruction of Jerusalem.”
G. HOLFORD: "After the destruction of Jerusalem seventeen hundred Jews who surrendered at Macherus were slain, and of fugitives not less than three thousand in the woods of Jardes. Titus having marched his army to Caesarea, he (Titus) there, with great splendor, celebrated the birthday of his brother Domitian; and according to the barbarous manner of those times, punished many Jews in honor of it. The number who was burnt, and who fell by fighting with wild beasts, and in mutual combats, exceeded two thousand five hundred." “The Destruction of Jerusalem.”
ADAM CLARKE lists some that were killed at other places. "The inhabitants of Caesarea, above 20,000. At Scythopolis, above 13,000. At Ascalon, 2,500. At Ptolemais, 2,000. At Alexandria, 50,000. At Joppa, when taken by Cestius Gallus, 8,400. In a mountain called Asamon, near Sepporis, above 2,000. At Damascus, 10,000. In a battle with the Romans at Ascalon, 10,000. In an ambuscade near the same place, 8,000. At Japha, 15,000. Of the Samaritans, on Mount Gerizim, 11,600. At Jotapa, 40,000. At Joppa, when taken by Vespasian, 4,200. At Tarichea, 6,500. And after the city was taken, 1,200. At Gamala, 4,000, besides 5,000 who threw themselves down a precipice. Of those who fled with John, of Gischala, 6,000. Of the Gadarenes, 15,000 slain, besides countless multitudes drowned. In the village of Idumea, above 10,000 slain. At Gerasa, 1,000. At Machaerus, 1,700. In the wood of Jardes, 3,000. In the castle of Masada, 960. In Cyrene, by Catullus the governor, 3,000. Besides these, many of every age, sex, and condition, were slain in the war, who are not reckoned; but, of those who are reckoned, the number amounts to upwards of 1,357,660, which would have appeared incredible, if their own historian had not so particularly enumerated them." Clarke's Commentary on Matthew. The unknown number that was destroyed throughout the country by pestilence, famine, earthquakes, and robbers throughout the reign both before the destruction of Jerusalem, during the destruction, and the years after it must be added to this. Also, Adam Clarke says most of those taken captive "above seventeen years old were distributed through the Roman provinces, to be destroyed in their theaters by the sword, and by the wild beasts."
JOHN CALVIN: "For within fifty years the city was destroyed and the temple ruined, THE WHOLE COUNTRY WAS REDUCED TO A HIDEOUS DESERT." "Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelist, Matthew, Mark, and Luke." All Israel, the whole nation, not just the temple was destroyed, "reduced to a hideous desert."
DAVID CHILTON: "'Let Him be Crucified! Let Him be Crucified! His blood be on us, and on our children!' the apostates had cried forty years earlier (Matthew 27:22-25); and when it was all over, more than a million Jews had been killed in the siege of Jerusalem; close to a million more were sold into slavery throughout the empire, and whole of Judea lay smoldering in ruins, virtually depopulate." "The Great Tribulation," 1987, Dominion Press.
JOSEPHUS: "The countryside, like the city, was a pitiful sight, for where once there had been a multitude of trees and parks, there was now an utter wilderness stripped bare of timber; and no stranger who had seen the old Judea and the glorious suburbs of her capital, and now beheld utter desolation, could refrain from tears or suppress a groan at so terrible a change. The war had blotted out every trace of beauty, and no one who had known it in the past and came upon it suddenly would have recognized the place, for though he was already there, he would still have been looking for the city." The Jewish War.–JOSEPHUS: "The Dead Sea too was filled with corpses which the river (the Jordan River) carried down to it by the thousands."
"Therefore, behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that it shall no more be called Topheth, not the Valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Topheth, till there be no place to bury. And the dead bodies of this people shall be food for the birds of the heavens, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall frighten them away. Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land shall become a waste" (Jeremiah 7:32-34).
"And except these days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:22). If the war had gone on it would have reached beyond Israel unto Pella and other cities in the mountains where many Christians were that had left Israel; but it was stopped before it reached them. "No flesh" will be saved at the second coming. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50). That the days were shortened, and some flesh was saved proves this is not speaking of the second coming of Christ.
(5) HE (CHRIST) IS NIGH, EVEN AT THE DOORS Matthew 24:32-44: "Now from the fig tree learn her parable: when her branch is now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is nigh; even so you also, when you see all these things, know you that He is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knows no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only. And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of man. For in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall be the coming of the Son of man. Then shall two men be in the field; one is taken, and one is left; two women shall be grinding at the mill; one is taken, and one is left. Watch; therefore: for you know not on what day your Lord comes. But know this that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to broken through. Therefore be you also ready; for in an hour that you think not the Son of man comes." This makes it clear that all Jesus had said before this applies to the destruction of Jerusalem, not to His second coming for "this generation" has long ago passed away. "All these things" are the things Christ has just told them, things that those He was speaking to would see in their life time (wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation, false prophets, sun and moon darkened, Son of Man coming in the clouds, stars falling from Heaven); all these things did come on that generation; when they saw the signs coming to pass, they know that the end of the temple and Israel was at hand. Although we are to watch and always be ready, we are not given any signs as they were that we can see and know that His coming is soon, not even that it will be in our lifetime, or in the next thousand or ten thousand years. Commentaries on verses 35-44 are divided on whether this is speaking of the coming of Christ in judgment on Israel or His second coming. It is unlikely that Christ would have changed from speaking of judgment on Israel in verse 34, then His second coming in verse 35, and back to judgment on Israel in verse 40 with nothing to show He changed. He was speaking to His disciples at this time (Matthew 24:1), and telling them they were to watch for the signs He gave them of His coming in judgment on Israel; He tells them it will be in their generation, but does not specify the exact date, the hour, or the day when His coming on judgment on Israel would come. Just as Sodom did not know the day of their coming destruction (Luke 17:26-37).
o Just as those in the days of Noah did not know when the flood was coming (Matthew 24:37-39).
o No one knew when the end of Israel was coming. It came at the time when the devout Jews from all over were in Jerusalem; they were assembled from the whole country for the feast of unleavened bread, they did not expect Jerusalem to be destroyed or that would not have came to it at the time of the the feast.
"All these things" are the things He told them to watch for before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D., not at the second coming of Jesus. Luke says, "But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draws nigh" (Luke 21:38). This redemption draws nigh to those of that generation. It was redemption from the persecution of the Jews. "This generation shall not pass away, till all things be accomplished" Luke 21:32. Not the redemption of the U. S. from Russia, or any other redemption today.
o They shall lay hands on YOU (those Christ was speaking to),
o And shall persecute YOU,
o Delivering YOU up to the synagogues and prisons" Luke 21:12. No one will be delivered to synagogues and prisons at the second coming of Christ.
o "This generation shall not pass away, till all things be accomplished" Luke 21:32, Matthew 24:34.
o "But watch YOU at every season, making supplication, that YOU may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass" Luke 21:36. No one will escape the judgment day.
Matthew 24:34-36 is a key to understanding all that came to pass before it, all that has been said up to this point must come to pass before "this generation" would pass away. Not at the second coming of Jesus at the end of the world. A generation is about 40 years. It is the same "generation" spoken of in Matthew 23:36. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). Is “heaven and earth” literal or figuratively? He had assured them that the end of Jerusalem was coming, now He assured them that His word would come to pass, that heaven and earth would pass away, but not His word; the end of Jerusalem was sure. He seams to be speaking of the end of the Jewish heaven and earth, the end of their nation, not the end of the world; Heaven itself will never past away; to make this be a literal passing away of “Heaven and earth” would make Heaven itself come to an end. Israel’s sun, moon, and stars would be darkened, the holy city and temple alone with the priesthood would all be gone, which would make keeping the Law and worship according to the Law both impossible, their heaven and earth did pass away, but Heaven will never pass away.
ADAM CLARKE: "But of that day and hour, here, is translated season by many eminent critics, and is used in this sense by both sacred and profane authors. As the day was not known, in which Jerusalem should be invested by the Romans, therefore our Lord advised his disciples to pray that it might not be on a Sabbath; and as the season was not known, therefore they were to pray that it might not be in the winter.” Matthew 24:20, Commentary on Matthew 24:36.
At the time Christ was speaking in Matthew 24 the disciples did not understand that Christ was to die and be resurrected, they thought He would be a king of Israel on the throne of David on this earth; they would not have been able to understand this if it were about His second coming from Heaven. Just as Noah warned them of the flood to come, Israel was warned of the destruction to come, but just as they did not believe Noah, Israel did not believe Christ, “And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not unto the flood came, and took them away; so shall be the coming of the Son of man. Then shall two men be in the field; one is taken, and one is left; two women shall be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore: for you know not on what day your Lord comes” (Matthew 24:37-44). All that did not watch and flee when the sign was given was destroyed just as those who did not enter into the Ark. At the second coming of Christ no one will be left in the field, not one women taken and one left grinding at the mill, all the dead will be resurrected, and all the living will be taken to the judgment (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
“That day and hour knows no one…but the father only” (Matthew 24:38). At that times the Father in Heaven, who knows all things, would have known the time of the coming of Christ in judgment on Jerusalem. “Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-7). He was “made a little lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:7).
The Christians of that day did not know the season when the end of Jerusalem would come, but was told to pray that it be not in the winter season, nor did they know the day, but were told to pray that it not be on a Sabbath Day. "But watch you at every season, making supplication, that you may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36; Matthew 24:42-44; Mark 13:35-37). The Christians did watch and did escape all these things, all the things He has just warned them about that was coming to Israel; but no one will escape the judgment to come. Just as Noah warned of the destruction of the world, but did not give the exact time, and all went on with their lives and did not pay attention to the warning, the warning of Christ were not heeded by the Jews, and the end came when they were not looking for it. As in the flood only the evil was destroyed and the righteous saved, the unbelieving Jews were destroyed, and the believers were saved; "two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left."
JOSEPHUS the Jewish first century historian, recorded concerning the year 70, "Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend, nor give credit to the signs that were so evident and did so plainly foretell their future desolation; but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see, or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them."
JOHN LIGHTFOOT: "This generation shall not pass. Hence, it appears plain enough that the foregoing verses are not to be understood of the last judgment but, as we said, of the destruction of Jerusalem." “A Commentary of The New Testament,” Volume 2, page 320, 1859.
JOHN WESLEY: "This generation of men now living shall not pass till all these things be done–The expression implies that great part of that generation would be passed away, but not the whole. Just so it was; for the city and temple were destroyed thirty-nine or forty years after." 1754.
MATTHEW HENERY: "As to these things, the wars, seductions, and persecutions, here foretold, and especially of the ruin of the Jewish nation; 'This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled (Mt 24:34); there are those now alive that shall see Jerusalem destroyed, and the Jewish church brought to an end." “One Volume Commentary on the Whole Bible.”
JAMES D. BALES: "And the destruction of the whole Jewish economy was the fulfillment of the rest of it (Joel's prophecy of the last days Acts 2:16-21). If there was one thing the Jew felt sure of it was that Jerusalem was the favored city of God, and that its future supremacy among the nations was as certain to come as the sunrise. Its sacrifices would always be acceptable offered on the altars by the sons of Levi. Now we see the national life of Israel forever ended; the temple forever closed; the sacrifices become useless; the priesthood forgotten; and Israel no more to God than any other nation...If you could think of a pious Jew having gone to sleep three years before Christ was crucified and then wakened in a few years after the destruction of Jerusalem, what an utter bewilderment he would have! All that he supposed to be permanent was gone, and in place of it a company of men preaching God's love to all men, worshiping in all places, and claiming earthly dominion in none. He would well say this in indeed what Joel said to us." “The Hub Of The Bible Or Acts Two Analyzed,” page 70, Lambert Book House, 1960.
(6) ISRAEL THE UNFAITHFUL SERVANT Matthew 24:45-51: "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has set over his household, to give them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he has. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord terries; and shall begin to beat his fellow-servants, and shall eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expects not, and in an hour when he knows not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Like all parables, all that are in them are not to be taken literally. They teach a lesson which is the main point of the parable. The point of this one is that Israel had been unfaithful and a judgment was coming.
(7) UNPROFITABLE SERVANT–OUTER DARKNESS Matthew 25:30; 8:12; 22:13: Chapter 25 is a part of the same discourse in chapter 24; it was divided by man and makes it easy for English reader to see a change of subject which dose not exist. It was the "unprofitable servant" and "sons of the kingdom" that were cast into outer darkness, not the ones who never believed, not the lost for they were never in the kingdom. The Jews who rejected Christ were cast out of the light, no longer to be God's chosen people, into the darkness of the world without the light of God's revelation. Christ said many (the Gentiles) shall "came from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth." This says nothing about there being outer darkness in Hell. Fire and darkness do not go together. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto her! How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Luke 13:33-34). Their house without God in it is darkness. God and His light are now in the Church.
(8) THE WRATH IS COME UPON THEM TO THE UTTERMOST: "And all the people answered and said, His blood be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25). "For you also suffered the same things of your own countrymen, even as they did of the Jews; who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove out us, and please not God, and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved; to fill up their sins always: but the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost" (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16). This was written about A. D. 53, just a few years before the destruction of the nation of Israel in A. D. 70.
(9) MORE TOLERABLE: Christ spoke of the day of judgment for lands or cities. More tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for the cities that did not receive those He sent out (Matthew 10:14-15, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:10-12). More tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (Matthew 11:21-24, Luke 10:10-12). When are cities and nations judged? When is their day of judgment to be? "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades" (Matthew 11:23). It was a great city, but it would go down to hades–the grave. Today, there are only a few ruins of Capernaum. It went from greatness (exalted to heaven) to non-existence (hades–the grave). Individuals, not nations, or cities will be judged at the judgment at the second coming of Christ. Matthew 24 is of the judgment of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:36-38). All these cities and nations have had a day of judgment, and were brought down to the grave; the day of judgment for them is past; they will not be restored to be judged a second time; the judgment of all individuals will be at the coming of Christ for what each individual did, or for what they did not do has not yet came. The destruction of Sodom was quick and soon over. The destruction of Jerusalem, which saw and rejected Christ was long and drawn out with much more suffering; therefore, much less tolerable. The Day of Judgment for a city or a nation is the time when God will cause that city or that nation to be destroyed. The Old Testament is full of God's judgment and destruction of cities and nations. None of the nations and cities that were destroyed by God are not now burning in an eternal Hell. The destruction of the cities that rejected Christ and his apostles were worse (Matthew 24:21) than the destruction of cities and nations in the Old Testament.
HOMER HAILEY: "Punished by death and destruction, neither Sodom nor Gomorrah ever again became a living city. Rather, the two joined as one became a symbol of total destruction as used by Moses and the prophets (Deuteronomy 29:23; Isaiah 1:9; 3:9; Jeremiah. 49:18; Amos 4:11; Zephaniah 2:9), By Jesus (Luke 17:29), and by the apostles (II Peter 2:6; Jude 7; Romans 9:29)." "God's Judgments and Punishments of Nations and Individuals," page 30.
RON HALBROOK: "From that day until this day, Sodom and Gomorrah have symbolized God's fierce hatred of all immorality...The grave of Sodom and Gomorrah is not covered with fertile soil bearing grass, forests, and crops like other cities of antiquity, No, its grave is covered by the Salt Sea, the Dead Sea...God has utilized this symbol of his wrath over and over throughout the history of the world...Sodom represents brazen evil followed by the judgment of God from which none can escape...Thus, Sodom symbolizes utter ruin and desolation...When God rained 'brimstone and fire' upon Sodom, He literally turned the city 'into ashes.'" "Sodom and Gomorrah..." page 594, Guardian of Truth, October 3, 1991.
"As an example" Jude 7: If Sodom is an example, what does the example teach if it is not that those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire will no longer exist.
o "Perished" and "destroyed" means death, not torment.
Will there be degrees of punishment in Hell? Christ spoke of the Day of Judgment for lands or cities.
(1). More tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (Matthew 11:21-24, Luke 10:10-12).
(2). More tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for the cities that did not receive those Christ sent out (Matthew 10:14-15, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:10-12).
There is no mention of eternal punishment of any individual, and no mention of Hell in any of these passages. The punishment spoken of is a punishment of cites and took place in the time when God judged and destroyed them, not in Hell. Hell or eternal punishment is not mentioned in any of these passages. Those who believe in Hell read it in. “Shall go down unto Hades (grave),” only the dead go to the grave, these cities died, they are dead, they do not now exist, they are not alive with God tormenting them in Hell.
Another passage that is sometimes used to teach there will be degrees of punishment in Hell. When will the many or few stripes be? The master "will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many stripes, but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes" (Luke 12:46-48). This will be when the master comes, (1) this is speaking of His coming in judgment on Israel, (2) but even if it was His coming in judgment at the end of the world at His second coming nothing is said about the stripes being in Hell, but Hell is read into it. If the stripes will be given in Hell and last forever, the few would last as long as the many; therefore, they would be the same. A few would not be a few if God will be forever giving them; both few and many would be a countless and forever growing number of stripes. Both would last forever and have no end. Both “many” and “few” are a limited number of stripes, not an infinite number of stripes; the “many” could not be more then forty (Deuteronomy 25:2-3); therefore, could not last forever. Neither one is God forever using a whip and putting endless stripes on most of mankind, nor is there anything about God tormenting most by endless burning them in an endless Hell in this passage, but both are read into it. If, as we are told, that any unforgiven sin incurs an infinite guilt; therefore, God must torment with an infinite punishment there could not be degrees of infinite; infinite for one cannot be longer than infinite then for another. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23); there is not degrees of death, dead is dead, not dead and deader. The argument made by most traditionalist that a sin against an infinite God demands infinite torment creates a bigger problem for then, that God’s justice can never be satisfied; therefore, God must go on beating all lost souls with and endless number of stripes without end, forever trying to satisfied the demand for justice, but never able too.
Anyone must reject many plain statements of the Bible to believe man has an immortal soul that will forever be tormented in Hell. The Bible does not support today's Hell fire preaching. It flatly opposes it.
(10) DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM Luke 23:27-31: When Jesus was being led to be crucified "there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But, Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never give suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us; and the hills ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" Even at the time of His death and sufferings, the great tribulation that was coming to Israel was on His mind. See Hosea 19:7-8 where in the destruction of Samaria they cry to the mountains to cover them, which is an expression of wanting to escape destruction.
(11) "YOUR HOUSE IS LEFT UNTO YOU DESOLATE" Matthew 23:38; Luke 13:35: God left the temple. "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Matthew 27:51). As it is sometimes said today when an entertainer has finished, "God has left the building." After they put to death their saver, God gives them forty years to repent; the book of Acts is a history of the "generation of vipers" persecuting and putting to death those who God sent to save them. They brought upon themselves retribution of such severity that it was as if they had killed all the prophets God had sent to turn Israel from their sin (Matthew 23:34-35).
The Gospel According to John was written after A. D. 70, after the destruction of Israel and Jerusalem. Therefore it has no reference to (1) weeping and gnashing of teeth, (2) coming from the east and west and sitting down with Abraham in the kingdom, (3) or outer darkness. To the Samaritan woman Christ did say that God would be worshiped not in Jerusalem, but in spirit and truth (John 4:9-26).
There are two coming of Christ in judgment spoken of, (1) the coming in judgment on Israel, (2) the coming in judgment at the second coming of Christ. There are some passages that were written a shout time before the destruction of Israel in A. D. 70 that are difficult to know if they are speaking of A. D. 70 are the second coming of Christ. Hebrews 10:25; James 1:5; 5:7, 5:8; 5:9; 1 Peter 5:1; 4:12-13; Romans 16:20, and others. The destruction of Israel in A. D. 70 ended the persecution of the church by the Jews.
A. D. 70 DOCTRIME, THE RESURRECTION IS PASSED
THE A. D. 70 DOCTRINE is that all the passages that speak of the second coming were fulfilled in A. D. 70, also called Preterit Eschatology, Realized Eschatology, Fulfilled Eschatology, and Covenant Eschatology.
Four points that must be proven for the A. D. 70 doctrines to be true
(1) That the Law and the Jewish age did not end unto 40 years after the death of Christ; that the Old Covenant and the New Covenant over lapped for 40 years.
(2) That all that died before A. D 70 was resurrected from the dead in A. D. 70.
(3) That the resurrection is passed, and all the saved now go to Heaven at the moment of their death.
(4) That there will be no Judgment Day for the lost after the judgment they say took place in A. D. 70. No Judgment Day for the lost that are dying now.
Was A. D. 70 the second and final coming of Christ?
Or is the second coming of Christ and the judgment of all yet to come?
(1). According to Realized Eschatology the second coming of Christ was an invisible coming in A. D. 70, and He will not come again; there will be no resurrection and Judgment Day to come for all at the coming of Christ.
(2). According to Realized Eschatology the resurrection was when all the Old Testament saints were resurrected in A. D. 70. The "Judgment Day" was when the Jewish age ended in A. D. 70.
(3). According to Realized Eschatology after A. D. 70 all that now dies in Christ go to their eternal reward at the moment of death.
(4). According to Realized Eschatology the Great Commission given in Matthew 28:18-19 has been completely fulfilled therefore, it is not for us today.
(5). According to Realized Eschatology the old heavens and earth have passed away, and the new heavens and earth are now here.
(6). According to Realized Eschatology all the New Testament was written before A. D. 70, and there is no revelation about anything that will happen after A. D. 70; therefore, there is no revelation about when or even if the earth will ever end. They must deny the vast amount of evident that much of the New Testament (including Peter's letters and Revelation) was written after A. D. 70 for if just one book was written after that date then Preterit Eschatology could not be true. Early writers, Eusebius, Irenaeus, Clement, Origin, and others say Revelation was written in the reign of Domitian, which was years after A. D 70.
(7). According to Realized Eschatology the Great Tribulation and Armageddon are both past.
(8). According to Realized Eschatology death and hades were thrown into the lake of fire in A. D. 70.
(9). According to Realized Eschatology Satan has been put in the lake of fire. Max King, "The Spirit of Prophecy," page 356, 1971.
o Their teaching is that in A. D. 70 Jesus moved all the righteous dead to Heaven, and cast the Devil and his angels, and the wicked dead into the lake of fire. If Satin were cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death, where does evil and temptations come from today?
(10). According to Realized Eschatology all prophecy, including all of the Book of Revelation has already been fulfilled.
(11). According to Realized Eschatology all New Testament writers believed that the coming of Christ was to be in their lifetime.
(12). According to Max King the resurrection was not a resurrection of the dead, but was, “The expected eschatological resurrection of the children of God from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.” The Spirit of Prophecy, second edition, page 309. He said the resurrection was only a change from the Old Testament to the New Testament; this change was in A. D. 70. According to him there is to be no resurrection of the dead, no coming of Christ when all the dead will be raised.
What the early non-inspired writers said years after A. D. 70 about “the last days” and the second coming of Christ, from “Florida College Annual Lectures,” Almon L. Williams, 1986, page 217.
There was revelation given in the Old Testament on the establishment of the kingdom (Micah 4:1), and the resurrection of Christ was given in types and shadows as Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14), but no one understood, and the doctrine of the resurrection, life, and immortality, which Christ taught, were new, were unknown about by anyone before Christ. The words, resurrection, immortal, and immortality are not in the Old Testament in the King James Version or the American Standard Version. The resurrection was new to the heathen world, which believed in a deathless soul that had some kind of a shadowy life that is immortal, and that it had no need for a resurrection. The first coming of Christ, His suffering and rejection, His death and resurrection were told about in the Old Testament; but there is noting about His second coming in it; the second coming of Christ, the resurrection, the judgment of all at His second coming and the promise of life after death in Heaven was new to the New Testament. Of all the religions, Christianity alone has a day coming in which all the dead will be resurrected from the dead.
The New Testament clearly teaches that the second coming, the resurrection of all, and the judgment of all have not came. All the lost will awake from the dead, and the saved will awake to eternal life at the same time. It will be a resurrection of the dead, not as realized eschatology teaches, death after A. D. 70 is only a change from the old law to the new law, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, which would not be a resurrection, and it would make a resurrection of the dead impossible.
“For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Romans 14:10).
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
“He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:26-28).
“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).
“But the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the DAY OF JUDGMENT and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7).
John 5:28-29: "For an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment." All, both the good and the evil will be resurrected from the dead in the same hour, not some over two thousand years apart from A. D. 70 to now and still counting; and not changed from one form of life to anther form of life immediately after death without a resurrection.
Philippians 3:20-21: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself." When our body will be transformed into conformity with His body is at His coming from Heaven, not at our death. Christ does not come from Heaven ever time a person dies. That there will be a resurrection and judgment of all at the second coming of Christ is discussed throughout this book and in the review below.
A REVIEW OF "THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD
By Samuel Dawson
A web page in which Samuel attempts to prove from 1 Corinthians 15 that the Old Testament does teach that the dead in Christ has already been resurrected, and that this resurrection was in A. D. 70. Samuel said he thinks that I inadvertently give the Old Testament's teaching of the subject short shrift. Then said you can be a good guy and do that because he has done exactly the same thing. Below is an examination of how he thinks that I have give the Old Testament teaching of the resurrection short shrift.
Samuel points to restoring of the nation of Israel as a nation being a resurrection, but the restoring or resurrection of Israel as a nation is not the resurrection of the New Testament. If Christ had brought the nation of Israel out of captivity it would not have been the resurrecting of even one dead person to (1) life as a mortal on this earth, or (2) to eternal life or immortality in Heaven. It was not a resurrection of a nation, or a person to immortality, or to eternal life. Not one person was resurrected from the dead in A. D. 70, not even Abraham or David. The restoring of Israel would not have been even close to being the resurrection taught in the New Testament. "Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life." Ezekiel 37:5 is speaking of a nation being restored as a nation, the people of Israel were already alive but in captivity, it was the nation that was being restored to their land and coming to life as a nation many years before A. D. 70, this is not of the resurrection of a single person that was dead; there is nothing in it about anyone or any nation being given immortality. The resurrection taught in the New Testament is not the resurrection of a nation (restoring that nation as a nation only for a short time), but is the resurrection of individuals to endless life, and there is nothing like it in the Old Testament. There is nothing in 1 Corinthians 15, or any of the New Testament about the resurrection of fleshly bodies at the coming of Christ. No one put on immortality in A. D. 70, and no one's corruptible (fleshly) bodies were changed to incorruption, and all that were living in A. D. 70 was still subject to death and all died, all Christians still die; death was not "swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:54), as it will be at the coming of Christ. If Paul were not speaking of a resurrection of persons to life that will come after this lifetime, then when he said, "Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ have perished," then they had perished, depicting a process that had pass before Paul wrote this, not an on going process; they had perished–died before Paul wrote this, not were perishing–they were not dying at the time he wrote (1 Corinthians 15:18); they were dead after A. D. 70, not alive in Heaven.
(1). He was speaking of some Corinthians that had died past tense.
(2). These Corinthians that had died was dead present tense at the time Paul was writing this letter in about A. D. 57.
(3). But these dead Corinthians would be raised, future tense, with a spiritual body at the coming of Christ.
Paul was not speaking of restoring a nation, or a resurrection that had passed, or a resurrection that was taking place at the time of death of each person, but of the resurrection to life and immortality of individuals, those in Christ that die before He comes, a resurrection that will not take place unto the coming of Christ. At the coming of Christ, all the saved that have died ("fallen asleep") "the dead in Christ shall rise," and all the living saints will be changed, both at the same time shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and shall