17 March 2007

Matthew 24, Part 4


Birth Pangs

"But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs." Mt 34:8

"Birth pangs" signify the start of something new. As a mother must endure labor, Jesus was telling the disciples that these things must take place first, but not to be fooled. Jesus was saying that these events were a beginning, not an end. In with the new covenant and out with the old. "In fact, the New Testament looks with anticipation to the change from the old order to the new order, from the Old Testament era the the New Testament era, as a major transformation begun. That transition is called the 'restoration of all things' (Mt. 17:11), 'the regeneration" (Mt. 19"28), 'the times of refreshing' (Acts 3:19), the 'time of reformation" (Heb. 9:10), a 'new heavens and a new earth' (Rev. 21:1; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:17), 'all things new' (Rev. 21:5)." (Ken Gentry, Dispensationalism in Transition, ICE, Aug. 1991)

So we see that these events had to take place as precursors to the "time of reformation." Persecution and apostasy then followed as we are told in vs. 9 and 10. Roman historians corroborate the Scriptures on this matter. (Ken Gentry, Dispensationalism in Transition, ICE, Sep. 1991). The New Testament is full of stories of persecution, particularly the book of Acts. Missionaries were hated or jailed or killed. Apostasy naturally followed persecution. Tacitus, another Jewish historian, reported that under Nero, persecution of Christians was often followed by betrayal of other Christians who were then hunted down and put to death quite cruelly. (Tacitus, Annals 15.)

Jesus, in vs. 11, warns of false prophets. Paul, in Acts 20:29 says, "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you." In the book of Romans chapter 16 he gives a similar warning. Peter cautions, "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves." (2 Peter 2"1.) Both Peter and Paul affirm Christ's warning of false prophets within their own time.

The epistles also bear out Christ's next prediction of people's love growing cold. This lack of zeal was most likely in direct proportion to the effectiveness of the false prophets.

We should note, as Kik does, that Heb. 10:25 admonishes the reader not to forsake the assembly of the saints. J. Marcellus Kik wrote concerning verse 13, "One of the remarkable things about the siege of Jerusalem was the miraculous escape of the Christians. It has been estimated that over a million Jews lost their lives in that terrible siege, but not one of them was a Christian...The 'end' spoken of was not the termination of a Christian's life but rather the end of Jerusalem is evident from the context. " (J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory, p. 96.)

To be continued...

1 comment:

Gordan said...

I love Kik's book as well. Though I still agree with about 95% of it, I've come to quibble with the teensiest portion of his explanation of Matt 24. I agree that most of it centers around 70 AD, but not the "coming of the Son of man."