Questions to Challenge Your Prophetic Theology (Eschatology)
After reading each of the Bible passages that are listed below, and knowing that the Bible is the inspired word of God, ask yourself did this take place in the first century at or very near the time it was spoken or written or are we still waiting for it to take place today 2,000 or more years later!
In Matthew 10:22, 23, Jesus told His disciples to “endure to the end,” and that by the time they had finished going through the towns of Israel the Son of man (Jesus) would have come. If this is so, why are there some Christians who are today waiting for the coming of the Son of man? The Greek word here for come is #2064, erchomai, which means “to come from one place to another.”
Since Matthew 16:28 states, “Truly, I (Jesus) say to you (Jesus’ disciples, see verse 24) there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man (Christ) coming in his kingdom.” How can Christians today say that Jesus has still not come back? Is it possible to have a kingdom but no king present as some say today? Did Jesus tell a lie to His disciples? Since Jesus also said that the kingdom is within you does that not indicate that the kingdom is not physical at all but spiritual in nature? This same information appears in mark 9:1 and Luke 9:27. The Greek word here is the same as above, #2064.
Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:34-36 that all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah…. would be avenged upon the generation to whom He was speaking. The The best way to communicate this passage to people is to ask them: When and by what event did this take place?
In Matthew 24:14, Matthew writes that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached in the entire world and then the end would come. What end was Matthew speaking of? Since the Bible states in Mark 16:20, Acts 24:5, Romans 1:8, Romans 10:18, Romans 16:26, Colossians 1:5, 6, Colossians 1:23, that what Matthew had spoken of (the kingdom would be preached in the entire world) was fulfilled, why are most Christians today still trying to fulfill this prophetic scripture?
In Matthew 24:34, Jesus stated that everything He had spoken about (the entire text of Matthew 24 up to the point of His statement) would take place before “this generation (the one He was speaking to) will not pass away till all these things take place.” If this was so, when did all of those things take place?
In Matthew 26:64, Mark 14:62, Jesus told Caiaphas the high priest (see verse 57), that Caiaphas himself would see (in his own lifetime) the Son of man (Jesus) coming on the clouds of heaven! There are some in Christianity today that are still waiting for Jesus to come on the clouds! How does that make any sense at all? The Greek word for coming used here is #2064, erchomai as was explained in the two passages above in this document.
In Mark 9:1, Jesus said that there were “some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” If this was so way back then, why are there Christians who are still waiting today for the kingdom of God to come and even pray “thy kingdom come” in their prayers?
In Mark 13:30, Jesus is quoted as saying that all of the things that He had spoken about to His disciples in that chapter would take place before the generation to whom He was speaking had passed away. Is this true, when did the things of Mark 13 take place?
In Mark 15:43, it is stated that “Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God…” Why do you think Joseph was looking for the kingdom to come? When did the kingdom finally come?
Since Jesus told His disciples in Mark 13:1-30 a number of events would take place in THEIR generation, see verse 30, how can some in Christianity today say that these things have NOT YET taken place? He makes the same statement in Matthew 24:34.
In Luke 3:7, John the Baptist asks the following question of the multitudes that came to him to be water baptized, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? What wrath was John speaking about and did the multitudes he was speaking to experience that wrath?
In Luke 5:36-38 Jesus uses two parables: the parable of the old and new garments and the parable of the old and new wine. What do you think Jesus was trying to tell the people with these two parables?
What does Luke 9:27 tell you about the timing of the arrival of the kingdom of God on earth?
What did Jesus mean when He spoke to His disciples in Luke 12:40 and told them that, “You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Was He telling them that even though His coming was not to happen until sometime over 2,000 years in the future?
What did Jesus mean when He told His disciples in Luke 12:56 that they were hypocrites because they did not know “…how to interpret the present time?”
What do you think is meant in Luke 13:9 when it states that if the fig tree did not bear fruit next year THAT Jesus could then cut it down? In light of the fact that the fig tree in Scripture refers to Israel, what do you think was meant by that statement?
What did Jesus mean when He said in Luke 16:17 that “…it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one dot of the law to be void” when in the previous verse He said that the law only lasted until John (the Baptist)?
Why do you think Jesus said in Luke 17:20 that the Pharisees would not see the coming kingdom by signs because the kingdom was in the midst of them?
What does the following passage tell you about the return of Christ? Luke 18:7. 8, “And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth? ANSWER: Jesus would certainly not have told this to His disciples if that message would not take place for at least 2,000 years into the future! No, He said it would happen speedily – which included His coming back to earth.
Luke 19:41-44. There are a number of questions that can be asked about this passage.
a. Why do you think Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem?
b. When Jesus states in verses 43 and 44 that the enemy would cast up a bank about Jerusalem and surround Jerusalem and dash the inhabitants of Jerusalem to the ground and not leave one stone upon another, what event was He speaking about?
c. What do you think Jesus meant by saying that the events He spoke of inverses 41-44 were because “you did not know the time of your visitation?”
Luke 21:5-32. This passage has come to be known as the Olivet Discourse and without much controversy describes the AD 70 Destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman Army under Titus. In a number of places the word “you” is used. See verses 12, 13, 15, 16, 19 and 20. who do you think is being referred to as the “you” in those places?
ANSWER: The “you” is referring to the disciples and those people who were present at the time (see Luke 20:45). They are the audience to whom these words were being directed in the passage as it directly affected them. This principle of Bible interpretation is known as “audience relevance.”Luke 21:33. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Since verse 32 states that this event would take place during the generation of the disciples verse 33 cannot possibly be referring to the literal, physical heaven and earth. What did heaven and earth mean to the audience Jesus was speaking to at that time?
ANSWER: There is adequate evidence that this, and other biblical passages, are not referring to the physical heaven and earth. Josephus, the Jewish historian, writes when he refers to the Jewish place of worship in the Old Covenant, “…this proportion of the measures of the tabernacle proved to be an imitation of the system of the world: for that third of the part thereof which was within the four pillars, to which the priests were not admitted, is, as it were, a heaven peculiar to God; but the space of the twenty cubits, is, as it were, sea and land, on which men live…” Antiquities of the Jews, Book 3, Chapter 6, Line 123.
Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis writes, “…the principle reference of ‘heaven and earth’ is the temple-centered cosmology of second temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13 and Matthew 5:18 refer, then, to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of the old cosmology and also, in the latter case, to the establishment during Jesus’ ministry and His death and resurrection of a new temple cosmology – a new heaven and earth.” (Eschatology in Bible & Theology, Inter Varsity Press, 1997, P. 145).
In Romans 16:20, the apostle Paul states that the God of peace will soon crush Satan under the feet of the Roman believers. When did God crush Satan?
Why did Paul say in 1 Corinthians 7:26-29 that the time was short of the present distress so the Corinthians should stay married if they were married, and stay single if they were single?
In 2 Timothy 4:1, Paul tells Timothy that Jesus Christ would judge the living and the dead at His appearing and that His kingdom would also take place at that time.When did this judgment take place? When did Christ appear as Paul had told Timothy? When did the kingdom of God fully take hold?
In 2 Timothy 4:8,Paul states that the Lord would give him a crown of righteousness on “that day” as would all those who loved his (referring to Christ) appearing. What is the “Day of the Lord” and when did it take p;ace? When did Paul get his crown of righteousness? When did Jesus Christ “appear” as Paul stated here?
In 1 Peter 4:7, Peter, writing to the Jewish exiles of the dispersion (see Chapter 1:1), tells those people living at that time that “…the end of all things is at hand…” If that was so, when were all things written in the Scriptures fulfilled?
In Hebrews 10:37, the Hebrew writer states that in a “little while” the coming one (a clear reference to Jesus) shall come and will not tarry. If this is true, when did Jesus come?
James, writing to the twelve tribes in the dispersion (see James 1:1), states that the coming of the Lord is at hand (James 5:8), and the judge (a clear reference to Jesus) is standing at the door (James 5:9). If so, when did the Lord come and bring His judgment?
John, writing in 1 John 2:18, states that it was the last hour when he wrote those words and that many antichrists had alrady come, therefore he knew that it was the last hour. If this was true, why are some in Christianity still anticipating the coming of the antichrist?
In 1 John 2:28, John wrote to those who were living circa AD 60-65 that “…when he (referring to Christ) appears we (which included John and those to whom he was writing) may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” When did “he appear” to them, and when was “his coming?”
When 1 John 4:3 was written the verse states that “…the spirit of antichrist….is in the world already.” If the inspired word of God is true, then why are those in Christianity today telling us that someday in the future antichrist will be coming?
NOTE: In order to understand a number of the following Bible citations it will be necessary to look at a small amount of Koine Greek language. To begin with we need to be concerned with “tachei” and “tachu.” These words, in their various tenses, are translated as “shortly” and “quickly.” The words do NOT mean “soon,” in the sense of “sometime,” but rather “swift,” “now,” “immediately,” “hastily,” and “suddenly.” The word meanings are critical to understanding the “imminency” that is being communicated in the vision of the book of Revelation to John. These words in no way would indicate something that would be expected to take place two thousand years or more into the future!
There is also a principle in Bible interpretation that instructs us to always look at other passages in the Scripture that use the same word to see if they throw light on how that same word is used throughout the Bible. When we do that for these words here is what we find.
“Make friends quickly (tachu) with your accuser, while you are going with him to court…” (Matthew 5:25). The use of the word tachu here indicates imminence. Action is now not some time in the distant future!
“Then go quickly (tachu) and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead….So they departed quickly (tachu) from the tomb…” (Matthew 28:7, 8). Here again we see an immediate response being portrayed by the word tachu.
“…but bring quickly (tachu) the best robe, and put it on him…” (Luke 15:22). Again, tachu is indicating a rapid response to the event!
“And when she heard it, she rose quickly (tachu) and went to him” (John 11:29). Again a case of imminence.
A student of the Bible must ask the question, in the verses above, are the actions described as still waiting to take place? Of course not! So why do we think we can delay other uses of this word just because they do not neatly fit our preconceived theology of eschatology? As you will now see as we move forward with the text of Revelation it will become clear that the vision we are dealing with is NOT something that would be expected to take place two thousand years or more years into the future!
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon (tachei) take place…” (Revelation 1:1).
“Repent; or else I will come quickly (tachu), and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Revelation 2:16).
“Behold, I come quickly (tachu): hold fast which thou hast, that no man take they crown” (Revelation 3:11).
“And he said unto me, These sayings (are) faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly (tachei) be done” (Revelation 22:6).
“Behold, I come quickly (tachu): blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7).
“And behold, I come quickly (tachu); and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his word shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly (tachu). Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
Does the group of passages above sound like ones that have to wait 2,000 years or more to take place? NO! They reek with imminence!
Another word in the Revelation to John that begs for imminency is the Greek word “eggus” which means “at hand” or “near.” This word appears in the following passages.
“…for the time is at hand (eggus)” (Revelation 1:3).
“…for the time is at hand (eggus)” (Revelation 22:10).
Still more imminency is indicated by the Greek words “mello” and “mellei.”
“Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall (mellei) be hereafter” (Revelation 1:19).
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall (mello) come upon the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth”
The meaning of these words are given to us as: “is about to come.” when these words are used with the aorist infinitive the preponderance of use and preferred meaning is “be on the point of, about to be.” The same is true when these words are used with the present infinitive. The basic meaning as given by scholars Thayer and Abott-Smith is “to be,” “about to,” and the word “mellei” with the infinitive expresses imminence such as the immediate future. This causes us to understand that the word usage in Revelation 1:19 and 3:10 portray an expectation of soon or quick future occurrence. This kind of language should lead us to conclude that the prophecy in Revelation was something that was to take place very close to it being revealed to John! We conclude that this was the case and that the vision was fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Some of you reading this document may say that my earlier use in this document of the Greek word G2064, erchomai is insufficient as it could be used to describe anyone that moves from one place to another and not the Second Coming. That objection falls on deaf ears when you consider the context of the passages and the additional fact that G3952 Parousia is used in the following passages: Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 3:13,4:15, 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 1:16, 3:4, 12; and 1 John 2:28. The meaning of Parousia is highly specific to the Second Coming as I have indicated with red underlining in the following graphic!
When the Bible contradicts my theology, it’s time for me to change my theology!