Friday, October 24, 2014

The End Times Sign of False Teachers: The 3 Questions

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

What three questions did the Apostles ask Jesus about knowing when the end times will come?

I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.

The Truth Will Set You Free

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll look at the very first sign Jesus gave in Matthew 24 which tells us that we are living in the end times — the sign of false teachers.

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Not Living in the Tribulation Right Now

Vic: Today, Nathan and I will be talking about deception and false Christ's spoken of in Matthew 24. Nathan, but first, I wanted to thank you for that very informative e-newsletter article you sent out regarding the Great Tribulation.

Nathan: Sure, Vic. I wanted to send it out to give people more information regarding our previous discussion of the Great Tribulation. A lot of people have been asking me if we are living in the Tribulation today because of all the evil going on in the world right now. I'd wanted to make it clear that we are not living in the Tribulation right now, just as you and I had discussed, and that's what I say in the newsletter.

Those interested can go to our our website and sign up for this e-newsletter free of charge.

Vic: Thank you, Nathan, for clarifying that for us, because it's important to understand as we continue on in our study that we are not at this time living during the Tribulation.

Jesus Answers 3 Questions

Vic: Nathan, would you read Matthew 24:1-3 and give a short recap?

Nathan: Certainly. The setting of Matthew 24 starts out with Jesus and His apostles at the Temple. Matthew 24:1-3 reads:

"Then Jesus went out and departed from the Temple and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the Temple. And Jesus said to them, 'Do you not see all these things? Assuredly I say to you not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.' Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, which is across from the Temple Mount, the disciples came to Him privately saying, 'Tell us, when will we see these things? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'"

Vic: Nathan, what an amazing passage! This Temple was one of the wonders of the world to the Jews at the time, and so it must have been so surprising when Jesus declared it would be destroyed.

The Apostles were asking three separate questions here. Would you explain what they are about?

Nathan: The Temple in Jesus' time was an amazing building. It was beyond belief to those poor fishermen. It could be compared to the Taj Mahal or Congress or a pro football stadium today. The Temple was the center of worship for Israel. It was where God dwelled.

So, here are the Apostles standing there just gapping in awe at the place, and Jesus just out of the blue says basically, "Do you know what? None of this will be here much longer. It will all be torn down. Every stone will be taken down and thrown away." You can just imagine the shock on the Apostles' faces. They couldn't believe it! This place was supposed to be God's home. Why would God abandon His home?

It wasn't until later that day that the Apostles finally built up enough courage to ask Jesus why He said this. When they arrived at the Mount of Olives which overlooks the Temple Mount, the Apostles asked Jesus three questions about this.

  1. When will the Temple fall?
  2. What will be the sign of the end of the age?
  3. What will be the sign of Jesus' coming?

Those three questions actually refer to three different time periods. Their first question was, "When will the Temple fall? This was near history for them because we know the Temple fell in 70 AD when the Romans completely destroyed it.

Second, they asked, "What will be the sign of the end of the age?" That's the end of the Church Age which we are living in today which will end with the Rapture of the Church.

Third, they asked, "What will be the sign of Jesus' coming?" In other words, what are the events that come just shortly before Jesus' Second Coming?

Jesus then answered their questions by giving the Apostle ten different sets of signs that they could watch for that would indicate when each of these events would come to pass.

As we go through time, starting with the Temple falling in 70 AD, the end of the Church Age which is now, and then the end of the Tribulation which is Jesus' Second Coming — all those signs that Jesus gave would happen more frequently and more intensely the closer time gets to each of these events. The signs started out gradually with the fulfillments of the signs in 70 AD, but they will become a lot stronger and there will be a lot more of them at the end of the Church Age. Then they will be all over the place tearing the world apart at the end of the Tribulation just before Jesus' arrives.

That is the setting and the background that brought the Apostles asking those three questions.

In the second part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the end times sign of false teachers, we'll learn how to use the Bible's litmus test to discern real from fake.


Kim said...

A young man who is working with my husband has been asking a lot of questions! We're happy he is opening up to the truth and wants to turn his life around. Thanks for the info you all share as it helps us to understand so we can pass it along. We sure appreciate all you are doing. Take care! :-)

Kent Bushart said...

The wailing wall is still standing, part of the temple. Aren't those stones still on top of each other? The word is precise.

Sean Osborne said...

Hi Kent,

Yes the words are precise. They are inerrant in fact. Free of any error. Infallible.

A fellow posed this exact same observation as you have on my blog exactly one week ago. Since it seems to arise from an obvious false or revisionist teaching that has been getting around of late that I'm strongly inclined to repeat my response here with a little extra detailed emphasis.

In order to understand the full prophetic meaning of what Jesus said with His words you have to look first at what the one apostle asked of Him in the company of the other apostles. What were the precise words of the question posed by that one apostle, and what the context in which that question was asked.

The context as given to us in the infallible words of the three main texts which discuss this prophecy are (emphasis added):

Matthew 24:1
"Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings."

Mark 13:1
"As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!

Luke 21:5
"Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God.

The plain text context and the plain text meaning of this prophecy is what then?

Is the context of Jesus' prophetic response not squarely focused on the stones of the Temple building's construction - or - is the context squarely focused on the stones of the construction of the mount foundation?

It's plain as day... three times in the Gospels quoted here we are told the context is centered on the stone construction of the Temple itself.

Therefore, Jesus' prophetic response to the question posed to Him about the Temple building was specific; and the prophecy itself was exactly, precisely and infallibly fulfilled to the letter.

I hope this answered your question well enough for anyone to understand that the wailing wall, a/k/a the Western Wall, a/k/a the Kotel, was not an integral part of the 2nd Temple, rather it was part of the fortifications which neither the apostle's question or Jesus' prophetic response addressed.

Now if someone were to insist that what I have stated here is in error, then I would be even more inclined to respond with the really exquisite detail of how most of what we know as the wailing wall, a/k/a the Western Wall, were later fortification constructions or reconstructions during much more recent times of islamic control of the mount, such as in the Umayyad caliphate of 661-750 AD and Ottoman Empire rule of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent circa 1500 AD who built or rebuilt most of the fortified wall seen today where the Jews go to offer their prayers and notes in the cracks and crevasses of those stones.

Anonymous said...

The Jews don't 'wail'; its the Western Wall. The Temple was built straddling the tops of mountains. First they built a wall to form a flat platform to build the Temple on. The gaps between were infilled to form a solid foundation.

It is upon this platform the Temple was built. The Western Wall is the remains of the platform - not the Temple. It is the closest the Jews can get to where the Holy of Holies once stood.

Not one stone from the Temple was left insitu; they were wrenched apart looking for the gold that had melted off the walls.

The prophecy of Jesus was totally fulfulled.