10 March 2007

Matthew 24, part 3


False Signs

"And Jesus answered and said to them, '"See to it that no one misleads you.'"

Often the events described in these verses of the Olivet Discourse are understood to be events still future for us today, but a closer examination of the text and history will prove otherwise. Jesus first cautions the disciples of some events that must take place but are not signs of the end or the fall of Jerusalem.

Jesus' first warning is of false Christs. Acts 8:9-10 tells of Simon Magnus who, with magical powers, deceived many people. Other accounts tell of his claims to be the "Word of God" and the "Son of God" (An Eschatology of Victory, pg. 92). The Jewish historian Josephus records that the country was filled with imposters and these imposters were rounded up routinely (An Eschatology of Victory, pg. 92).

Christ continues his speech with with warnings of wars, famines, and earthquakes. Dispensational writers look to our current history for these events; however, they are nor keeping the context of the passage. Keep in mind these events were to take place in the first century as our "generation" test (vs. 34) demonstrates.

These things did take place in the first century. In separate uprisings or wars, 70,000 Jews were killed in Seluecia and Caesaria. Josephus records that the Jews live in constant fear of Rome sending an army to Jerusalem (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 2:10:4). Acts 11:28 records a large scale famine in the land in the days of Claudius Caesar. Josphus documented a famine during the Roman siege so horrible many despicable deeds were committed (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 5:10:2-5). Also, several earthquakes were recorded by historians of the time. In the period previous to A.D. 70 there were earthquakes in Judea, Rome, Crete, Smyrna, Colosse, Laodicea, and, of course, Pompeii.

much more to come....

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