When God's (YHWH's) Kingdom Starts Rulling:

View previous topic View next topic Go down

When God's (YHWH's) Kingdom Starts Rulling:

Post  Admin on Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:23 pm

When God's (YHWH's) Kingdom Starts Rulling:

INTRODUCTION:

This is a matter over which many have different opinions, so let's let the Bible, the Word of God (YHWH) clear up the matter for all. [many of the sources supplied for this writing were supplied by another Bible Scholar Nat and are NOT the ones I regularly use. However, my spot check of their information showed they were right on the mark.].

First, there are two distinct phases to when God's (YHWH's) Kingdom starts to rule. The first phase is when it starts ruling in heaven and the second phase is when it starts ruling over the earth.

Second, the first phase has already occurred, and this is spoken of in Revelation 12:1-11, " And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels [going forth] to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels; 8 And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him. 10 And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death." (American Standard Version; ASV). This article shall show when this occurred.

Third, there is the second phase which is yet to occur that all pray for in the Lord's Prayer as recorded at Matthew 6:9-15, "After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil [one.] 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (ASV).

UNDERSTANDING MATTHEW 16:28:

Let's look at this scripture and its significance, Matthew 16:28, "Verily I say unto you, there are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (ASV).

Now here is the understanding on this scripture:

"The Transfiguration Builds Faith
The transfiguration was a prophetic event. Said Jesus: "The Son of man is destined to come in the glory of his Father with his angels . . . Truly I say to you that there are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:27, 28 Did some of the apostles actually see Jesus coming in his Kingdom? Matthew 17:1-7 states: "Six days later Jesus took Peter and James and John his brother along and brought them up into a lofty mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them." What a dramatic event! "His face shone as the sun, and his outer garments became brilliant as the light. And, look! there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, conversing with him." Also, "a bright cloud overshadowed them," and they heard God's own voice saying: "'This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved; listen to him.' At hearing this the disciples fell upon their faces and became very much afraid. Then Jesus came near and, touching them, said: 'Get up and have no fear.'"
This awesome event likely took place on one of the ridges of Mount Hermon, where Jesus and the three apostles spent the night. The transfiguration evidently occurred at night, making it especially vivid. One reason Jesus called it a vision was that long-dead Moses and Elijah were not literally present. Only Christ was actually there. (Matthew 17:8, 9) Such a dazzling display."


This gave Peter, James, and John a spectacular foregleam of Jesus' glorious presence in Kingdom power. Moses and Elijah find parallels in Jesus' anointed joint heirs, and the vision powerfully reinforced his testimony about the Kingdom and his future kingship.


The transfiguration helped to strengthen the faith of the three apostles who were to play a leading role in the Christian congregation. Christ's shining face, his glistening garments, and God's own voice declaring that Jesus was His beloved Son to whom they should listen-all of this served its purpose most effectively. But the apostles were to relate the vision to no one until Jesus was resurrected. Some 32 years later, this vision was still vivid in Peter's mind. Pointing to it and its significance, he wrote: "No, it was not by following artfully contrived false stories that we acquainted you with the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by having become eyewitnesses of his magnificence. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: 'This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.' Yes, these words we heard borne from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain."-2 Peter 1:16-18.


Of utmost importance was God's proclamation: "This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved; listen to him." This statement focuses attention on Jesus as God's enthroned King, to whom all creation must render obedience. The overshadowing cloud indicated that the fulfillment of this vision would be invisible. It would be discernible only with the eyes of understanding on the part of those who recognize "the sign" of Jesus' invisible presence in Kingdom power. (Matthew 24:3) In fact, Jesus' instruction not to tell the vision to anyone until he had risen from the dead shows that his exaltation and glorification would come after his resurrection.


After referring to the transfiguration, Peter stated: "Consequently we have the prophetic word made more sure; and you are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and a daystar rises, in your hearts. For you know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man's will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit." (2 Peter 1:19-21) The transfiguration underscores the reliability of God's prophetic word. We must pay attention to that word and not to "artfully contrived false stories" that do not have divine backing or approval. Our faith in the prophetic word should be strengthened by the transfiguration because that visionary foreview of Jesus' glory and Kingdom power has become a reality. Yes, we have undeniable evidence that Christ is present today as a powerful heavenly King.[source - WT of 4/1/2000, page 12-14.]


And another source said:

"When Jesus Comes in Kingdom Glory
"Some of those standing here . . . will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."-MATTHEW 16:28.


SHORTLY after Pentecost 32 C.E., three of Jesus Christ's apostles saw a memorable vision. According to the inspired record, "Jesus took Peter and James and John his brother along and brought them up into a lofty mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them."-Matthew 17:1, 2.
The transfiguration vision came at a critical time. Jesus had started to tell his followers that he was going to suffer and die in Jerusalem, but they found his words difficult to grasp. (Matthew 16:21-23) The vision strengthened the faith of Jesus' three apostles in preparation for his coming death and also for the years of hard work and testing that would follow for the Christian congregation. Can we today learn something from the vision? Yes, because what it foreshadowed actually takes place in our time.


Six days before the transfiguration, Jesus told his followers: "The Son of man is destined to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will recompense each one according to his behavior." These words would be fulfilled at "the conclusion of the system of things." Jesus further stated: "Truly I say to you that there are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:27, 28; 24:3; 25:31-34, 41; Daniel 12:4) The transfiguration took place in fulfillment of these latter words.


Exactly what did the three apostles see? The following is Luke's description of the event: "As [Jesus] was praying the appearance of his face became different and his apparel became glitteringly white. Also, look! two men were conversing with him, who were Moses and Elijah. These appeared with glory and began talking about his departure that he was destined to fulfill at Jerusalem." Then, "a cloud formed and began to overshadow [the apostles]. As they entered into the cloud, they became fearful. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying: 'This is my Son, the one that has been chosen. Listen to him.'"-Luke 9:29-31, 34, 35.


Faith Strengthened

The apostle Peter had already identified Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16) Jehovah's words from heaven confirmed that identification, and the vision of Jesus transfigured was a foretaste of Christ's coming in Kingdom power and glory, eventually to judge mankind. More than 30 years after the transfiguration, Peter wrote: "It was not by following artfully contrived false stories that we acquainted you with the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by having become eyewitnesses of his magnificence. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: 'This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.' Yes, these words we heard borne from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain."-2 Peter 1:16-18; 1 Peter 4:17.


Today, our faith too is strengthened by what the three apostles saw. Of course, events have moved on since 32 C.E. The following year, Jesus died and was resurrected, ascending to the right hand of his Father. (Acts 2:29-36) At Pentecost of that year, the new "Israel of God" was brought forth, and a preaching campaign began, starting in Jerusalem and later spreading to the ends of the earth. (Galatians 6:16; Acts 1:8 Almost immediately the faith of Jesus' followers was tested. The apostles were arrested and severely beaten because they refused to stop preaching. Soon Stephen was murdered. Then James, an eyewitness of the transfiguration, was killed. (Acts 5:17-40; 6:8-7:60; 12:1, 2) Peter and John, however, survived to serve Jehovah faithfully for many more years. In fact, toward the close of the first century C.E., John recorded further visionary glimpses of Jesus in heavenly glory.-Revelation 1:12-20; 14:14; 19:11-16.


Since the beginning of "the Lord's day" in 1914, many of the visions seen by John have been fulfilled. (Revelation 1:10) What of Jesus' 'coming in the glory of his Father,' as foreshadowed by the transfiguration? This vision began to be fulfilled at the birth of God's heavenly Kingdom in 1914. When Jesus, like a daystar, rose on the universal scene as a newly enthroned King, that was, as it were, the dawn of a new day. (2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 11:15; 22:16) Did Jesus at that time recompense some according to their behavior? Yes. There is strong evidence that shortly thereafter, the heavenly resurrection of anointed Christians began.-2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 14:13.


Soon, though, Jesus will arrive "in his glory, and all the angels with him" in order to judge mankind as a whole. (Matthew 25:31) At that time, he will reveal himself in all his magnificent glory and give to "each one" just recompense for his or her behavior. Sheeplike ones will inherit everlasting life in the Kingdom prepared for them, and goatlike ones will depart into "everlasting cutting-off." What a splendid conclusion that will be to the fulfillment of the transfiguration vision!-Matthew 25:34, 41, 46; Mark 8:38; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.


Jesus' Glorified Companions

Jesus was not alone in the transfiguration. Moses and Elijah were seen with him. (Matthew 17:2, 3) Were they literally present? No, for both men had long since died and were asleep in the dust awaiting a resurrection. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Hebrews 11:35) Will they appear with Jesus when he comes in heavenly glory? No, because Moses and Elijah lived before the heavenly hope opened up to humans. They will be part of the earthly "resurrection of . . . the righteous." (Acts 24:15) So their appearance in the transfiguration vision is symbolic. Of what?


In other contexts, Moses and Elijah are prophetic figures. As mediator of the Law covenant, Moses foreshadowed Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant. (Deuteronomy 18:18; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 8:6) Elijah foreshadowed John the Baptist, a forerunner of the Messiah. (Matthew 17:11-13) Further, in the context of Revelation chapter 11, Moses and Elijah foreshadow the anointed remnant in the time of the end. How do we know that?


Well, turn to Revelation 11:1-6. In verse 3 we read: "I will cause my two witnesses to prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days dressed in sackcloth." This prophecy was fulfilled upon the remnant of anointed Christians during World War I. Why two witnesses? Because the anointed remnant perform works that, in a spiritual way, are like those of Moses and Elijah. Verses 5 and 6 go on to say: "If anyone wants to harm [the two witnesses], fire issues forth from their mouths and devours their enemies; and if anyone should want to harm them, in this manner he must be killed. These have the authority to shut up heaven that no rain should fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have authority over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every sort of plague as often as they wish." Thus, we are reminded of miracles performed by Elijah and Moses.-Numbers 16:31-34; 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1:9-12.


Who, then, do Moses and Elijah foreshadow in the context of the transfiguration? Luke says that they appeared along with Jesus "with glory." (Luke 9:31) Clearly, they foreshadow Christians who have been anointed with holy spirit as "joint heirs" with Jesus and who thereby received the wonderful hope of being "glorified together" with him. (Romans 8:17) Resurrected anointed ones will be with Jesus when he comes in the glory of his Father to "recompense each one according to his behavior."-Matthew 16:27.
Witnesses Like Moses and Elijah


There are notable features that mark Moses and Elijah as fitting prophetic pictures of Jesus' anointed joint heirs. Both Moses and Elijah served as Jehovah's spokesmen for many years. Both faced the wrath of a ruler. In a time of need, each was supported by a foreign family. Both boldly prophesied to kings and stood firm against false prophets. Moses and Elijah both saw demonstrations of Jehovah's power on Mount Sinai (also called Horeb). Both commissioned successors on the east side of the Jordan. And the times of both Moses (with Joshua) and Elijah (with Elisha) saw the greatest number of miracles, apart from those that occurred during the lifetime of Jesus.


Does not all of that remind us of the Israel of God? Yes, indeed. Jesus told his faithful followers: "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things." (Matthew 28:19, 20) In obedience to these words, anointed Christians have served as Jehovah's spokesman from Pentecost 33 C.E. until now. Like Moses and Elijah, they have faced the wrath of rulers and have witnessed to them. Jesus told his 12 apostles: "You will be haled before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the nations." (Matthew 10:18 His words have been fulfilled repeatedly during the history of the Christian congregation.-Acts 25:6, 11, 12, 24-27; 26:3.


Further, anointed Christians have been as fearless as Moses and Elijah in standing for truth against religious falsehood. Remember how Paul denounced the Jewish false prophet Bar-Jesus and tactfully but firmly exposed the falseness of the gods of the Athenians. (Acts 13:6-12; 17:16, 22-31) Remember, too, that in modern times the anointed remnant has boldly exposed Christendom and such witnessing has plagued her.-Revelation 8:7-12.


When Moses fled the wrath of Pharaoh, he found refuge in the home of a non-Israelite, Reuel, also called Jethro. At a later time, Moses received valuable organizational counsel from Reuel, whose son Hobab guided Israel through the wilderness. (Exodus 2:15-22; 18:5-27; Numbers 10:29) Have members of the Israel of God been helped similarly by individuals who are not anointed members of the Israel of God? Yes, they have been supported by the "great crowd" of "other sheep," who have appeared on the scene during these last days. (Revelation 7:9; John 10:16; Isaiah 61:5) Foretelling the warm, loving support that these "sheep" would offer his anointed brothers, Jesus said to them prophetically: "I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I got thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; naked, and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to me. . . . Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."-Matthew 25:35-40.


Further, the Israel of God had an experience comparable to that of Elijah on Mount Horeb. Like Elijah at the time he was running from Queen Jezebel, the fearful anointed remnant thought that their work was done at the end of World War I. Then, also like Elijah, they had an encounter with Jehovah, who had come to judge those organizations claiming to be "the house of God." (1 Peter 4:17; Malachi 3:1-3) While Christendom was found wanting, the anointed remnant was recognized as "the faithful and discreet slave" and was appointed over all Jesus' earthly belongings. (Matthew 24:45-47) In Horeb, Elijah heard "a calm, low voice" that proved to be that of Jehovah, giving him more work to do. In the quiet period of the postwar years, faithful anointed servants of Jehovah heard his voice from the pages of the Bible. They too perceived that they had a commission to fulfill.-1 Kings 19:4, 9-18; Revelation 11:7-13.


Finally, have outstanding manifestations of Jehovah's power been channeled through the Israel of God? After Jesus' death, the apostles performed many miracles, but these gradually ceased. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) Nowadays, we do not see miracles in a physical sense. On the other hand, Jesus said to his followers: "Most truly I say to you, He that exercises faith in me, that one also will do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these." (John 14:12) This had an initial fulfillment as Jesus' disciples preached the good news throughout the Roman Empire in the first century. (Romans 10:18 Even greater works have been done today as the anointed remnant has spearheaded the preaching of the good news "in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations." (Matthew 24:14) The result? The 20th century has witnessed the ingathering of the greatest number of dedicated, faithful servants of Jehovah in history. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 7:9, 10) What magnificent evidence of Jehovah's power!-Isaiah 60:22.


Jesus' Brothers Come in Glory

As the remnant of Jesus' anointed brothers finish their earthly course, they are glorified with him. (Romans 2:6, 7; 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17) Thus they become immortal kings and priests in the heavenly Kingdom. With Jesus, they will then "shepherd the people with an iron rod so that they will be broken to pieces like clay vessels." (Revelation 2:27; 20:4-6; Psalm 110:2, 5, 6) With Jesus, they will sit on thrones judging "the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matthew 19:28 Groaning creation has eagerly awaited these events, which are part of "the revealing of the sons of God."-Romans 8:19-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8.
Paul spoke of the revelation of Jesus during the "great tribulation" when he wrote: "He comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder in connection with all those who exercised faith." (Matthew 24:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:10) What a magnificent prospect that is for Peter, James, John, and all spirit-anointed Christians! The transfiguration strengthened Peter's faith. Surely, reading about it strengthens our faith too and fortifies our confidence that Jesus will soon "recompense each one according to his behavior." Faithful anointed Christians who have survived to this day see their confidence confirmed that they will be glorified with Jesus. Other sheep have their faith strengthened in the knowledge that he will save them through the end of this wicked system of things into the glorious new world. (Revelation 7:14) What an encouragement to stand firm to the end! And this vision can teach us much more, as we will see in the following article.[source - WT 5/15/1997, pp. 9-14].


And another source said:


"It was to the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometime after Passover of 32 C.E., the Son of God told his disciples: "Truly I say to you that there are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:28 In a matter of days, those words of Jesus were fulfilled. Taking with him the apostles Peter, James and John, God's Son climbed a high mountain, presumably Hermon. On a spur of this mountain, the following took place: "[Jesus] was transfigured before them, and his face shone as the sun, and his outer garments became brilliant as the light." Thus the three apostles had confirmed to them that Jesus' coming in Kingdom power would indeed be glorious. Then a "bright cloud" formed and a voice came out of it, saying: "This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved; listen to him."-Matthew 17:1-5." [source - A Hope With A Sure Guarantee, page 36-37].

IMPORTANCE TO US OF TODAY:

Fulfillment of Bible prophecy in our day indicates that Jesus' presence in Kingdom power began in 1914 C.E. (Matt. 24:3-14; 25:31-33) Obviously, Matthew 16:28 could not refer to this event, for Jesus there spoke of something that would take place before the apostles all died. Then what could that have been?
The Hebrew Scriptures had foretold that the Messiah was to be an everlasting king. (Gen. 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Isa. 9:6, 7) Daniel's vision in particular gave Jews reason to expect the Messiah's reign to be glorious, powerful, magnificent. (Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14) But just who was to be this Messianic king, and would he rule from an earthly throne? Even Jesus' disciples who accepted him as the Messiah could benefit from assurance that he would reign from heaven with power and glory.-Matt. 16:16-22; Acts 1:6.
Accordingly, less than a year before he died Jesus explained that some of the apostles would "see the Son of man coming in his kingdom," or, as Mark phrased it, "see the kingdom of God already come in power." (Matt. 16:28; Mark 9:1) After Jesus was no longer among them, the disciples would be able to draw strength from their having been eyewitnesses of his future heavenly presence in Kingdom power.
But how were Jesus' words in Matthew 16:25 fulfilled? Often the meaning of a verse is suggested by its context. In this case, all three Gospel accounts of Jesus' promise about seeing him in his kingdom lead immediately into the record of the transfiguration.


Now this opens the important question of when this will take place. Of course we do NOT know the hour or the day as even God's (YHWH's) Son, Jesus (Yeshua) stated that he did not know that at Mark 13:30-32, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, until all these things be accomplished. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32 But of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." (ASV). But world conditions clearly show we are in the end times and the culmination of the end times can not be very far in the future.


Let's consider Matthew 24:33-35, "even so ye also, when ye see all these things, know ye that he is nigh, [even] at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (ASV).

Comments by others on this scripture:

"These Things Must Take Place"

Do you know and understand Jesus' answer? It is found in three of the Gospels. Professor D. A. Carson states: "Few chapters of the Bible have called forth more disagreement among interpreters than Matthew 24 and its parallels in Mark 13 and Luke 21." He then gives his own opinion-just another of the conflicting human views. In the last century or so, many such views reflected a lack of faith. Those offering them held that Jesus never said what we read in the Gospels, that his sayings were later corrupted, or that his prediction failed-views shaped by higher criticism. One commentator even approached Mark's Gospel 'through the lens of Mahayana-Buddhist philosophy'!..
.
A Tragic Fulfillment in the Offing


The apostles knew that Jesus was the Messiah. So when they heard him mention his death, resurrection, and return, they must have wondered, 'If Jesus dies and goes away, how can he carry out the wonderful things that the Messiah is expected to do?' Further, Jesus spoke of an end for Jerusalem and its temple. The apostles might have wondered, 'When and how will that occur?' In trying to understand these things, the apostles asked: "When will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are destined to come to a conclusion?"-Mark 13:4; Matthew 16:21, 27, 28; 23:37-24:2
.

Jesus foretold that there would be wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, hatred and persecution of Christians, false messiahs, and a widespread preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. Then the end was to come. (Matthew 24:4-14; Mark 13:5-13; Luke 21:8-19) Jesus said this early in the year 33 C.E. During the following decades, his alert disciples could recognize that the foretold things were in fact occurring in a significant way. Yes, history proves that the sign had a fulfillment at that time, leading to a conclusion of the Jewish system of things at the hands of the Romans in 66-70 C.E. How did that come about?


During the hot Judean summer of 66 C.E., Jewish Zealots led an assault on Roman guards in a fort near the temple in Jerusalem, sparking violence elsewhere in the land. In History of the Jews, Professor Heinrich Graetz relates: "Cestius Gallus, whose duty it was as Governor of Syria to uphold the honor of Roman arms, . . . could no longer witness the rebellion spreading around him without an effort to stem its progress. He called his legions together, and the neighboring princes voluntarily sent their troops." This army of 30,000 surrounded Jerusalem. After some fighting, the Jews withdrew behind walls near the temple. "During five successive days the Romans stormed the walls, but were always obliged to fall back before the missiles of the Judæans. It was only on the sixth day that they succeeded in undermining a part of the northern wall in front of the Temple."


Just think how confused the Jews would have been, since they had long felt that God would protect them and their holy city! Jesus' disciples, though, had been forewarned that calamity awaited Jerusalem. Jesus had foretold: "The days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you." (Luke 19:43, 44) But would that spell death for Christians inside Jerusalem in 66 C.E.?


When replying to the apostles on the Mount of Olives, Jesus predicted: "Those days will be days of a tribulation such as has not occurred from the beginning of the creation which God created until that time, and will not occur again. In fact, unless Jehovah had cut short the days, no flesh would be saved. But on account of the chosen ones whom he has chosen he has cut short the days." (Mark 13:19, 20; Matthew 24:21, 22) So the days would be cut short and "the chosen ones" saved. Who were they? Certainly not rebellious Jews who claimed to worship Jehovah but who had rejected his Son. (John 19:1-7; Acts 2:22, 23, 36) The true chosen ones back then were those Jews and non-Jews who exercised faith in Jesus as Messiah and Savior. God had chosen such ones, and on Pentecost 33 C.E., he had formed them into a new spiritual nation, "the Israel of God."-Galatians 6:16; Luke 18:7; Acts 10:34-45; 1 Peter 2:9.


Were the days "cut short" and the anointed chosen ones in Jerusalem saved? Professor Graetz suggests: "[Cestius Gallus] did not deem it advisable to continue the combat against heroic enthusiasts and embark on a lengthy campaign at that season, when the autumn rains would soon commence . . . and might prevent the army from receiving provisions. On that account probably he thought it more prudent to retrace his steps." Whatever Cestius Gallus was thinking, the Roman army retreated from the city, with grave losses inflicted by the pursuing Jews.


That surprising Roman retreat allowed "flesh"-Jesus' disciples who were at risk inside Jerusalem-to be saved. History records that when this window of opportunity opened, Christians fled the region. What a display of God's ability to foreknow the future and to ensure the survival of his worshipers! Yet, what of unbelieving Jews who remained in Jerusalem and Judea?


Contemporaries Would See It


Many Jews felt that their system of worship, centered on the temple, would long continue. But Jesus said: "Learn from the fig tree . . . this point: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and it puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. Likewise also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away."-Matthew 24:32-35.


In the years leading up to 66 C.E., Christians would have seen many of the preliminary elements of the composite sign being fulfilled-wars, famines, even an extensive preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. (Acts 11:28; Colossians 1:23) When, though, would the end come? What did Jesus mean when he said: 'This generation [Greek, ge•ne•a´] will not pass away'? Jesus had often called the contemporaneous mass of opposing Jews, including religious leaders, 'a wicked, adulterous generation.' (Matthew 11:16; 12:39, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36) So when, on the Mount of Olives, he again spoke of "this generation," he evidently did not mean the entire race of Jews throughout history; nor did he mean his followers, even though they were "a chosen race." (1 Peter 2:9) Neither was Jesus saying that "this generation" is a period of time.
Rather, Jesus had in mind the opposing Jews back then who would experience the fulfillment of the sign he gave. Regarding the reference to "this generation" at Luke 21:32, Professor Joel B. Green notes: "In the Third Gospel, 'this generation' (and related phrases) has regularly signified a category of people who are resistant to the purpose of God. . . . [It refers] to people who stubbornly turn their backs on the divine purpose."


The wicked generation of Jewish opposers who could observe the sign being fulfilled would also experience the end. (Matthew 24:6, 13, 14) And that they did! In 70 C.E., the Roman army returned, led by Titus, son of Emperor Vespasian. The suffering of the Jews who were again bottled up in the city is almost beyond belief. Eyewitness Flavius Josephus reports that by the time the Romans demolished the city, about 1,100,000 Jews had died and some 100,000 were taken captive, most of those soon to perish horribly from starvation or in Roman theaters. Truly, the tribulation of 66-70 C.E. was the greatest that Jerusalem and the Jewish system had ever experienced or would ever experience. How different the outcome was for Christians who had heeded Jesus' prophetic warning and had left Jerusalem after the departure of the Roman armies in 66 C.E.! The anointed Christian "chosen ones" were "saved," or kept safe, in 70 C.E.-Matthew 24:16, 22.

Another Fulfillment to Come


However, that was not the finale. Earlier, Jesus had indicated that after the city was devastated, he would come in Jehovah's name. (Matthew 23:38, 39; 24:2) He then made this clearer in his prophecy uttered on the Mount of Olives. Having mentioned the coming "great tribulation," he said that afterward false Christs would appear, and Jerusalem would be trampled on by the nations for an extended period. (Matthew 24:21, 23-28; Luke 21:24) Could it be that another, a greater, fulfillment was to come? The facts answer yes. When we compare Revelation 6:2-8 (written after the tribulation on Jerusalem in 70 C.E.) with Matthew 24:6-8 and Luke 21:10, 11, we see that warfare, food shortages, and plague on a greater scale lay ahead. This greater fulfillment of Jesus' words has been occurring since World War I erupted in 1914...

Referring to the tribulation just ahead of us, Jesus said: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days [the destruction of false religion] the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."-Matthew 24:29, 30.

Hence, Jesus himself says that "after the tribulation of those days," celestial phenomena of some sort will occur. (Compare Joel 2:28-32; 3:15.) This will so startle and shock disobedient humans that they will "beat themselves in lamentation." Many will "become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth." But this will not be the case with true Christians! These 'will lift their heads up, because their deliverance is getting near.'-Luke 21:25, 26, 28.

Judgment Ahead!


Note that Matthew 24:29-31 foretells that (1) the Son of man comes, (2) this coming will be with great glory, (3) the angels will be with him, and (4) all the tribes of the earth will see him. Jesus repeats these elements in the parable of the sheep and the goats. (Matthew 25:31-46) Hence, we can conclude that this parable deals with the time, after the opening outbreak of tribulation, when Jesus will come with his angels and sit down on his throne to judge. (John 5:22; Acts 17:31; compare 1 Kings 7:7; Daniel 7:10, 13, 14, 22, 26; Matthew 19:28.) Who will be judged, and with what result? The parable shows that Jesus will give attention to all nations, as if they were assembled right before his celestial throne.


Sheeplike men and women will be separated to Jesus' right side of favor. Why? Because they used their opportunities to do good to his brothers-anointed Christians, who will share in Christ's heavenly Kingdom. (Daniel 7:27; Hebrews 2:9-3:1) In line with the parable, millions of sheeplike Christians have recognized Jesus' spiritual brothers and have been working in support of them. As a result, the "great crowd" have the Bible-based hope of surviving "the great tribulation" and then living forever in Paradise, the earthly realm of God's Kingdom.-Revelation 7:9, 14; 21:3, 4; John 10:16.


What a different outcome there will be for the goats! They are described at Matthew 24:30 as 'beating themselves in lamentation' when Jesus comes. And well they should, for they will have built up a record of rejecting the Kingdom good news, of opposing Jesus' disciples, and of preferring the world that is passing away. (Matthew 10:16-18; 1 John 2:15-17) Jesus-not any of his disciples on earth-determines who the goats are. Of them he says: "These will depart into everlasting cutting-off."-Matthew 25:46.

Our progress in understanding the prophecy in Matthew chapters 24 and 25 has been thrilling. However, there is a part of Jesus' prophecy that merits our further attention-'the disgusting thing that causes desolation standing in a holy place.' Jesus urged his followers to use discernment regarding this and to be ready to take action. (Matthew 24:15, 16) What is this "disgusting thing"? When does it stand in a holy place? And how are our present and future life prospects involved? The following article will discuss this.[source - WT 5/99/1999, page 8-13].

USE OF 'GENERATION' BY JESUS (YESHUA):

Many scriptures confirm that Jesus did not use "generation" with regard to some small or distinct group, meaning only the Jewish leaders or only his loyal disciples. Rather, he used "generation" in condemning the masses of Jews who rejected him. Happily, though, individuals could do what the apostle Peter urged on the day of Pentecost, repent and "get saved from this crooked generation."-Acts 2:40.

In that statement, Peter was clearly not being precise as to any fixed age or length of time, nor was he tying the "generation" to any certain date. He did not say that people should get saved from the generation that was born in the same year Jesus was or the generation that was born in 29 C.E. Peter was speaking about the unbelieving Jews of that period-some perhaps being rather young, others being older-who had been exposed to Jesus' teaching, had seen or heard of his miracles, and had not accepted him as Messiah.

That evidently is how Peter understood Jesus' use of "generation" when he and three other apostles were with Jesus on the Mount of Olives. According to Jesus' prophetic statement, Jews of that period-basically, Jesus' contemporaries-were going to experience or hear of wars, earthquakes, famines, and other evidences that the end of the Jewish system was near. In fact, that generation did not pass before the end came in 70 C.E.-Matthew 24:3-14, 34.

It must be acknowledged that we have not always taken Jesus' words in that sense. There is a tendency for imperfect humans to want to be specific about the date when the end will come. Recall that even the apostles sought more specifics, asking: "Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?"-Acts 1:6.

In fact,

"Saved From a "Wicked Generation"

"O faithless and twisted generation, how long must I continue with you and put up with you?"-LUKE 9:41.

WE LIVE in calamitous times. Earthquakes, floods, famines, disease, lawlessness, bombings, horrendous warfare-these and more have engulfed mankind during our 20th century. However, the greatest calamity of all threatens in the near future. What is that? It is "great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again." (Matthew 24:21) Yet, many of us may look forward to a joyful future! Why? Because God's own Word describes "a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues . . . 'These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation . . . They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore . . . And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.'"-Revelation 7:1, 9, 14-17.


The inspired record at Matthew 24:3-22, Mark 13:3-20, and Luke 21:7-24 introduces Jesus' prophetic description of "the conclusion of the system of things." This prophecy had an initial fulfillment on the corrupt Jewish system of things of the first century of our Common Era, culminating in an unprecedented "great tribulation" on the Jews. The entire religious and political structure of the Jewish system, centered at Jerusalem's temple, was thrown down, never to be restored.


Let us now consider the circumstances that surrounded the first fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy. This will help us better to understand the parallel fulfillment today. It will show us how urgent it is to take positive action now in order to survive the greatest of tribulations that threatens all mankind.-Romans 10:9-13; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 15:58.


"The End"-When?


About the year 539 B.C.E., God's prophet Daniel was given a vision of events that would occur during the final "week" of a period of "seventy weeks" of years. (Daniel 9:24-27) These "weeks" began in 455 B.C.E. when King Artaxerxes of Persia ordered the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. The final "week" started with the appearance of Messiah, Jesus Christ, at his baptism and anointing in 29 C.E. God-fearing Jews of the first century C.E. were well aware of this time feature of Daniel's prophecy. For example, concerning the crowds that flocked to hear the preaching of John the Baptizer in 29 C.E., Luke 3:15 states: "The people were in expectation and all were reasoning in their hearts about John: 'May he perhaps be the Christ?'"

The 70th "week" was to be seven years of special favor extended to the Jews. Starting in 29 C.E., it included Jesus' baptism and ministry, his sacrificial death "at the half of the week" in 33 C.E., and another 'half week' until 36 C.E. During this "week," the opportunity to become Jesus' anointed disciples was extended exclusively to God-fearing Jews and Jewish proselytes. Then in 70 C.E., a date not known in advance, the Roman legions under Titus exterminated the apostate Jewish system.-Daniel 9:26, 27.


Thus the Jewish priesthood, which had defiled Jerusalem's temple and conspired in the murder of God's own Son, was wiped out. Gone, too, were the national and tribal records. Thereafter, no Jew could legally claim a priestly or a kingly inheritance. Happily, though, anointed spiritual Jews had been separated as a royal priesthood to "declare abroad the excellencies" of Jehovah God. (1 Peter 2:9) When Rome's army first besieged Jerusalem and even undermined the temple area in 66 C.E., Christians recognized that military force as "the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place." In obedience to Jesus' prophetic command, the Christians in Jerusalem and Judea fled to the mountainous regions for protection.-Matthew 24:15, 16; Luke 21:20, 21.


Those faithful Jewish Christians observed the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy and were eyewitnesses of the tragic wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and lawlessness that Jesus had foretold as part of the "sign . . . of the conclusion of the system of things." (Matthew 24:3) But had Jesus told them when Jehovah would actually execute judgment on that corrupt system? No. What he prophesied about the climax of his future royal presence surely applied also to the first-century "great tribulation": "Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father."-Matthew 24:36.
From Daniel's prophecy, the Jews could have calculated the timing of Jesus' appearing as the Messiah. (Daniel 9:25) Yet they were given no date for the "great tribulation" that finally desolated the apostate Jewish system of things. It was only after the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple that they realized that the date was 70 C.E. However, they had been aware of Jesus' prophetic words: "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." (Matthew 24:34) Apparently, the application of "generation" here is different from that at Ecclesiastes 1:4, which speaks of successive generations coming and going over a period of time.


"This Generation"-What Is It?

When four apostles seated with Jesus on the Mount of Olives heard his prophecy about "the conclusion of the system of things," how would they understand the expression "this generation"? In the Gospels the word "generation" is translated from the Greek word ge•ne•a´, which current lexicons define in these terms: "Lit[erally] those descended fr[om] a common ancestor." (Walter Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament) "That which has been begotten, a family; . . . successive members of a genealogy . . . or of a race of people . . . or of the whole multitude of men living at the same time, Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 1:48; 21:32; Phil. 2:15, and especially of those of the Jewish race living at the same period." (W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words) "That which has been begotten, men of the same stock, a family; . . . the whole multitude of men living at the same time: Mt. xxiv. 34; Mk. xiii. 30; Lk. i. 48 . . . used esp[ecially] of the Jewish race living at one and the same period."-J. H. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.


Vine and Thayer both cite Matthew 24:34 in defining "this generation" (he ge•ne•a´ hau´te) as "the whole multitude of men living at the same time." The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (1964) gives support to this definition, stating: "The use of 'generation' by Jesus expresses his comprehensive purpose: he aims at the whole people and is conscious of their solidarity in sin." Truly a "solidarity in sin" was apparent in the Jewish nation when Jesus was on earth, just as it marks the world system today.

Of course, Christians studying this matter guide their thinking primarily by how Jesus used the Greek expression he ge•ne•a´ hau´te, or "this generation." He used it consistently in a negative way. Thus, he called the Jewish religious leaders "serpents, offspring of vipers" and went on to say that the judgment of Gehenna would be executed on "this generation." (Matthew 23:33, 36) However, was this judgment limited to the hypocritical clergy? Not at all. On a number of occasions, Jesus' disciples heard him speak of "this generation," applying the term uniformly in a far wider sense. What was that?


"This Wicked Generation"

In 31 C.E., during Jesus' great Galilean ministry and shortly after the Passover, his disciples heard him say to "the crowds": "With whom shall I compare this generation? It is like young children sitting in the marketplaces who cry out to their playmates, saying, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance; we wailed, but you did not beat yourselves in grief.' Correspondingly, John [the Baptizer] came neither eating nor drinking, yet people say, 'He has a demon'; the Son of man [Jesus] did come eating and drinking, still people say, 'Look! A man gluttonous and given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'" There was no pleasing those unprincipled "crowds"!-Matthew 11:7, 16-19.


Later in 31 C.E., as Jesus and his disciples set out on their second preaching tour of Galilee, "some of the scribes and Pharisees" asked Jesus for a sign. He told them and "the crowds" who were present: "A wicked and adulterous generation keeps on seeking for a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. . . . That is how it will be also with this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:38-46) Obviously, "this wicked generation" included both the religious leaders and "the crowds" who never came to appreciate the sign that was fulfilled in Jesus' death and resurrection.

After the Passover of 32 C.E., as Jesus and his disciples came into the Galilean region of Magadan, the Sadducees and the Pharisees again asked Jesus for a sign. He repeated to them: "A wicked and adulterous generation keeps on seeking for a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah." (Matthew 16:1-4) Those religious hypocrites were indeed most reprehensible as leaders among the unfaithful "crowds" whom Jesus condemned as "this wicked generation."


Toward the end of his Galilean ministry, Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him and said: "Whoever becomes ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him." (Mark 8:34, 38 So the masses of unrepentant Jews of that time obviously made up "this adulterous and sinful generation." Some days later, after Jesus' transfiguration, Jesus and his disciples "came toward the crowd," and a man asked him to heal his son. Jesus commented: "O faithless and twisted generation, how long must I continue with you? How long must I put up with you?"-Matthew 17:14-17; Luke 9:37-41.


It was likely in Judea, after the Festival of Booths in 32 C.E., "when the crowds were massing together" around Jesus, that he repeated his condemnation of them, saying: "This generation is a wicked generation; it looks for a sign. But no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah." (Luke 11:29) Finally, when the religious leaders brought Jesus to trial, Pilate offered to release him. The record says: "The chief priests and the older men persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas, but to have Jesus destroyed. . . . Pilate said to them: 'What, then, shall I do with Jesus the so-called Christ?' They all said: 'Let him be impaled!' He said: 'Why, what bad thing did he do?' Still they kept crying out all the more: 'Let him be impaled!'" That "wicked generation" was demanding Jesus' blood!-Matthew 27:20-25.


A "faithless and twisted generation," egged on by its religious leaders, thus played a key part in bringing about the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Fifty days later, at Pentecost in 33 C.E., the disciples received holy spirit and started to speak in different tongues. Upon hearing the sound, "the multitude came together," and the apostle Peter addressed them as "men of Judea and all you inhabitants of Jerusalem," saying: "This man [Jesus] . . . you fastened to a stake by the hand of lawless men and did away with." How did some of those listeners react? "They were stabbed to the heart." Peter then called on them to repent. He "bore thorough witness and kept exhorting them, saying: 'Get saved from this crooked generation.'" In response, about three thousand "embraced his word heartily [and] were baptized."-Acts 2:6, 14, 23, 37, 40, 41.

"This Generation" Identified.


What, then, is the "generation" so frequently referred to by Jesus in the presence of his disciples? What did they understand by his words: "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur"? Surely, Jesus was not departing from his established use of the term "this generation," which he consistently applied to the contemporary masses with their "blind guides" who together made up the Jewish nation. (Matthew 15:14) "This generation" experienced all the distress foretold by Jesus and then passed away in an unequaled "great tribulation" on Jerusalem.-Matthew 24:21, 34.


In the first century, Jehovah was judging the Jewish people. Repentant ones, who came to exercise faith in Jehovah's merciful provision through Christ, were saved out of that "great tribulation." True to Jesus' words, all things prophesied occurred, and then the "heaven and earth" of the Jewish system of things-the entire nation, with its religious leaders and wicked society of people-passed away. Jehovah had executed judgment!-Matthew 24:35; compare 2 Peter 3:7.


Those Jews who had paid attention to Jesus' prophetic words realized that their salvation depended, not on trying to calculate the length of a "generation" or of some dated "times or seasons," but on keeping separate from the evil contemporary generation and zealously doing God's will. Though the final words of Jesus' prophecy apply to the major fulfillment in our day, first-century Jewish Christians also had to heed the admonition: "Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing before the Son of man."-Luke 21:32-36; Acts 1:6-8.

Today, "the great day of Jehovah . . . is near, and there is a hurrying of it very much." (Zephaniah 1:14-18; Isaiah 13:9, 13) Suddenly, at Jehovah's own predetermined "day and hour," his fury will be unleashed upon the world's religious, political, and commercial elements, together with the wayward people who make up this contemporary "wicked and adulterous generation." (Matthew 12:39; 24:36; Revelation 7:1-3, 9, 14) How may you get saved out of "the great tribulation"? [source - WT 11/1/95, pages 10-15]

See Page 2

Admin
Admin

Posts : 2657
Join date : 2012-11-14

View user profile http://religioustruths.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: When God's (YHWH's) Kingdom Starts Rulling:

Post  Admin on Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:33 pm

Page 2


THE FACTS ON MATTHEW 10:23:

Matthew 10:23, " But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." (ASV).

Now, "What is the meaning of the following statement, recorded at Matthew 10:23: "You will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives"?
Jesus said that in the year 31 (A.D.). This was when he was sending out his twelve apostles, in twos, to preach in all the cities of Israel. It may have been, as in the case of the seventy evangelizers whom Jesus also sent out to preach, that the apostles were sent in advance of Jesus and that Jesus would later come to the places where they had preached. (Luke 10:1) This, however, does not appear to be the thing referred to by Jesus in Matthew 10:23, namely, that he would personally, in the flesh, follow up his twelve apostles in the cities in which they had preached.

It is evident that when Jesus gave his twelve apostles these preaching instructions, he was doing so for the years that would follow his death, resurrection and ascension to heaven, never to come back again to the earth in the flesh. How is this evident? From the fact that Jesus spoke to the apostles about their being mistreated in the synagogues and being haled before governors and kings "for a witness to them and the nations." (Matt. 10:17, 18 There is no record that such things occurred during the short preaching campaign in which the apostles engaged in Israel exclusively, after which they returned to Jesus and made their reports. At the time that Jesus gave them the above instructions, he plainly told them not to go to the nations or even to the Samaritans on this preaching campaign, but only to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel."-Matt. 10:5, 6.

So it must have been because he looked ahead to their world-wide preaching among outside nations after his ascension to heaven that Jesus said to the apostles: "You will be objects of hatred by all people [not merely Israelites] on account of my name; but he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved. When they persecute you in one city, flee to another; for truly I say to you, You will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives."-Matt. 10:22, 23.

On the occasion of saying those words, Jesus gave the apostles, for the immediate preaching campaign, a local territory assignment. It took in the territory of Israel in Palestine, namely, Judea, Galilee and Peraea, and did not include Samaria. By covering this they would "complete the circuit of the cities of Israel." So now Jesus used this temporary, limited territory assignment as an illustration of their final complete territory assignment. Before he ascended to heaven the resurrected Jesus made their territory assignment the entire world, for he said: "All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go therefore [everywhere in the earth] and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit." (Matt. 28:18, 19) This enlarged their territory assignment beyond the borders of Israel, yes, beyond the borders of so-called Christendom and out into the so-called pagan world that does not belong to Christendom. Under Jesus' instructions, his disciples were to undertake to complete the circuit of the whole inhabited earth, preaching the good news of God's kingdom to all, to Jewish people, to professed Christian people and to all the pagan peoples.

By our consideration of Bible prophecy and modern events we discern that the Lord Jesus Christ, in company with Jehovah God, came to the spiritual temple in the spring of 1918. It was after that year, particularly from 1919 forward, that the remnant of Christ's anointed disciples began preaching the good news of God's kingdom as having been established in the heavens in 1914. How long after the Lord's coming to the temple must this preaching continue? Until the "Son of man arrives" for the execution of Jehovah's judgment. This will be in the "war of the great day of God the Almighty," at Armageddon. In connection with that arrival Jesus said, in Revelation 16:15: "Look! I am coming as a thief. Happy is the one that stays awake and keeps his outer garments, that he may not walk naked and people look upon his shamefulness."

Accordingly, by means of his instructions to his twelve apostles Jesus was prophetically telling us today that his anointed disciples or the remnant of spiritual Israel would not complete the circuit of the entire inhabited earth with the preaching of the message of God's established kingdom before the glorified heavenly King Jesus Christ would arrive as Jehovah's executional officer in the battle of Armageddon. This means that Jehovah's servants today, who now include hundreds of thousands of the "other sheep" or earthly companions of the spiritual remnant, will not be able to reach personally all parts of the earth with the Kingdom message before the battle of Armageddon breaks out. [source - WT 06/15/1907, page 184.]

THE FACTS ON MATTHEW 26:64:

Matthew 26:64 says, "Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (ASV).

"What is "the sign of the Son of man"?

However, there is evidently another major reason for Jesus' frequent use of the expression "Son of man" as applying to himself. This is with regard to the fulfillment of the prophecy recorded at Daniel 7:13, 14. In vision, Daniel saw "someone like a son of man" coming with the clouds of the heavens, gaining access to "the Ancient of Days," and being granted "rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him," his Kingdom being an enduring one.

Because the angelic interpretation of the vision in Daniel 7:18, 22, and 27 speaks of "the holy ones of the Supreme One" as taking possession of this Kingdom, many commentators have endeavored to show that the "son of man" is here a 'corporate personality,' that is, 'the saints of God in their corporate aspect, regarded collectively as a people,' 'the glorified and ideal people of Israel.' This reasoning, however, proves superficial in the light of the Christian Greek Scriptures. It fails to consider that Christ Jesus, God's anointed King, made a 'covenant for a kingdom' with his followers that they might share with him in his Kingdom, and that, while they are to rule as kings and priests, it is under his headship and by his grant of authority. (Lu 22:28-30; Re 5:9, 10; 20:4-6) Thus, they receive ruling authority over the nations only because he has first received such authority from the Sovereign God.-Re 2:26, 27; 3:21.

The correct understanding is made more evident by Jesus' own statements. Regarding "the sign of the Son of man," he stated that "they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Mt 24:30) This was clearly a reference to Daniel's prophecy. So, likewise, was his answer to the high priest's interrogation, saying: "I am [the Christ, the Son of God]; and you persons will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven."-Mr 14:61, 62; Mt 26:63, 64.
Therefore the prophecy of the coming of the Son of man into the presence of the Ancient of Days, Jehovah God, clearly applies to an individual, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The evidence is that it was so understood by the Jewish people. Rabbinic writings applied the prophecy to the Messiah. (Soncino Books of the Bible, edited by A. Cohen, 1951, commentary on Da 7:13) It was doubtless due to wanting some literal fulfillment of this prophecy that the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus to "display to them a sign from heaven." (Mt 16:1; Mr 8:11) After Jesus had died as a man and had been resurrected to spirit life, Stephen had a vision in which "the heavens opened up" and he saw "the Son of man standing at God's right hand." (Ac 7:56) This shows that Jesus Christ, although sacrificing his human nature as a ransom for mankind, rightly retains the Messianic designation "Son of man" in his heavenly position.

The first part of Jesus' statement to the high priest about the coming of the Son of man spoke of him as "sitting
sitting at the right hand of power." This is evidently an allusion to the prophetic Psalm 110, Jesus Christ having earlier shown that this psalm applied to him. (Mt 22:42-45) This psalm, as well as the apostle's application of it at Hebrews 10:12, 13, reveals that there would be a waiting period for Jesus Christ before his Father would send him forth to "go subduing in the midst of [his] enemies." It therefore appears that the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 7:13, 14 comes, not at the time of Jesus' resurrection and ascension to heaven, but at the time of his being authorized by God to take action against all opposers in vigorous expression of his kingly authority. The 'coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days,' then, apparently corresponds in time to the situation presented at Revelation 12:5-10, when the symbolic man-child is brought forth and caught up to God's throne. Then war breaks out in heaven, and the cry goes up: "Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ."
Further prophetic visions in Revelation (17:12-14; 19:11-21) show the exercise of full regnal power by the Messianic King over "peoples, national groups and languages" (Da 7:14), and hence the one "like a son of man" at Revelation 14:14 undoubtedly also represents Jesus Christ, as does the one so described at Revelation 1:13.-Compare Re 14:14-20; 19:15; and 1:13-18; see KINGDOM OF GOD ("Kingdom of Our Lord and of His Christ").

As to the 'Son of man's coming on the clouds' and being seen by "every eye" (Mt 24:30; Re 1:7), see CLOUD (Illustrative Usage); EYE; PRESENCE. [source - Son of Man, page 1002-1003].

And,

"Shortly before his death, Jesus told the Jewish religious leaders: "From henceforth you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matt. 26:64) What did Jesus mean by this?
He was referring to the Bible prophecy of Daniel about the promised "son of man" who was brought before "the Ancient of Days," Jehovah God. "To him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom," the prophecy says, "that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him." (Dan. 7:13, 14) This shows that the resurrected Jesus Christ would rule in heaven, and that the whole earth will be the territory over which he exercises authority as king.

But since God's kingdom is heavenly-its ruler Jesus Christ now being invisible-many persons do not consider it to be a real government. Yet, as we have seen, there is sound reason to believe that it is. [source - WT 01/15/1979, pages 4-5]


THE FACTS ON 1 CORINTHIANS 10:11:

1 Corinthians 10:11, "Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come." (ASV).

"Completion of the Foretold "Sign" Nears

WE TODAY can be thankful that the apostles of Jesus Christ asked him the question: "Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?" (Matthew 24:3) Their question led to his giving a lengthy, detailed prophecy the accuracy of which leaves us amazed as we see the progress of its fulfillment in this eventful twentieth century. This aids us in determining with certainty where we are in the outworking of God's purpose toward suffering mankind. We are strengthened in our belief that we are actually living during the invisible "presence" of Christ in the spirit and in the "conclusion of the system of things," inasmuch as we do see "the sign" that he foretold.
The "sign" in all its details is nearing its stage of complete clarity with no room for any watching observers to be mistaken. The "sign" has many features, as set out in Matthew's account, chapters twenty-four and twenty-five, Mark's account, chapter thirteen, and Luke's account, chapter twenty-one; and it has been almost the lifetime of a generation of mankind for all the features of the "sign" to become manifest in their fullness. In preceding chapters we have considered those features of the sign as described in Matthew's account, chapter twenty-five. Now we consider those features set out in chapter twenty-four, along with the comparative accounts given by Mark and Luke.

When Christ's apostles opened up their inquiry by saying, "Tell us, When will these things be?" they were referring to the things that Jesus had said prophetically that same day of Tuesday, Nisan 11, of the year 33 C.E. In Jerusalem's temple, after denouncing the hypocritical religious scribes and Pharisees, Jesus went on to say: "Here I am sending forth to you prophets and wise men and public instructors. Some of them you will kill and impale, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city; that there may come upon you all the righteous blood spilled on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I say to you, All these things will come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to her,-how often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks together under her wings! But you people did not want it. Look! Your house is abandoned to you. For I say to you, You will by no means see me from henceforth until you say, 'Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah's name!'"

Before Jesus left the temple or house of worship, he added further words of solemn prophecy, concerning which we read: "Departing now, Jesus was on his way from the temple, but his disciples approached to show him the buildings of the temple. In response he said to them: 'Do you not behold all these things? Truly I say to you, By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.'"-Matthew 23:34 to 24:2.

Just two days previously, on Sunday, Nisan 9, he had paused in his triumphal ride toward Jerusalem and wept over her because of her coming destruction. Predicting her terrible destruction by the Romans in 70 C.E., he said: "Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected."-Luke 19:41-44.

For natural, circumcised Jews, such as Christ's apostles were, those were disturbing predictions. Upon the generation of which they were a part, the innocent blood spilled in the course of Jewish history and earlier was to be visited. Exactly when would these things be fulfilled? They wanted to know. They believed and confessed Jesus to be the Messiah or Anointed One, the Christ. But Jerusalem's predicted destruction indicated that he would not set up his Messianic kingdom in that doomed city. He spoke of his not being seen "from henceforth," but also of his coming "in Jehovah's name." When would he be present again to carry out his Messianic role? The coming destruction of Jerusalem and her temple must certainly spell the end of the Jewish system of things. With no holy city and no holy temple the Jewish priesthood of the family of Aaron the Levite might be among those of Jerusalem's "children" who would be dashed "to the ground" or would at least be put out of their temple service. No wonder the apostles asked, not only about the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple, but also: "What will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?"

Their questions were on proper points of inquiry, for Jesus did come in the "conclusion" of the Jewish system of things. Other scriptures speak of the situation in that same sense. Hebrews 9:26-28 shows that Jesus did not need to make repeated sacrifices of himself and says: "Otherwise, he would have to suffer often from the founding of the world. But now he has manifested himself once for all time at the conclusion of the systems of things to put sin away through the sacrifice of himself. . . . so also the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many." Also, 1 Corinthians 10:11 says: "Now these things went on befalling them as examples, and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived." Counted from the year of Jesus' prophecy on the subject, the Jewish system of things had thirty-seven years yet to go, less than a generation with a life-span of forty years. Jerusalem was taken and destroyed by the Romans on Elul 7 (or, August 30, 70 C.E., Gregorian calendar time). How many of Christ's apostles escaped martyrdom and survived till that horrible event, the Bible record does not say.

A TIME OF TESTING AND DISASTERS

In answer to the inquiry of his apostles, Jesus described first the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem within that generation. "And in answer Jesus said to them: 'Look out that nobody misleads you; for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, "I am the Christ," and will mislead many. You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.'"-Matthew 24:4-6.

Jews would arise, not claiming to be Jesus returned in the flesh, but claiming to be the promised Messiah or Christ. But neither the apostles nor their fellow disciples should be misled by such self-styled Messiahs or Christs, for their operations would not betoken the "presence" or parousia of Jesus Christ nor bring deliverance to the Jewish nation. The Jewish revolt against the Romans in the year 66 C.E. was to be such a Messianic effort, but it led to Jerusalem's destruction and the scattering of the Jewish nation. The Messianic hopes of these misled people were bitterly disappointed.
During this thirty-seven-year period there were to be a number of wars, within earshot of the disciples or merely reported to them in the news. But those wars, while affecting the situation of the Jewish nation, were not the ones that directly brought on the end of the Jewish system of things. So the disciples were not to be terrorized into taking any premature action. "The end is not yet."

"For," said Jesus in enlarging upon what he had just said about wars and reports of war, "nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress."-Matthew 24:7, 8. Also, Mark 13:8.
Such calamities being merely a "beginning of pangs of distress," the end was "not yet." Those calamities were merely indications, not the final death throe. These things would affect the people in general, but there were things that would come specifically upon Jesus' disciples because they announced the true Messiah or Christ and followed in his footsteps. Hence, Jesus went on to say:

"Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name. Then, also, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off. But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come."-Matthew 24:9-14. Compare Mark 13:9-13.

The Bible book entitled "Acts of Apostles" testifies to the fulfillment of those prophetic words of Jesus Christ even within that generation, for this book was written by the medical doctor Luke about the year 61 C.E. Other Bible books, inspired letters written by apostles and other disciples before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., confirm the account in Acts of Apostles and add to the record of Christian suffering under persecution and international hatred toward Christianity. The good news of God's kingdom had penetrated beyond the Middle East into Asia Minor, Continental Asia, Africa, Europe and the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. The preaching of the Kingdom message was being carried on in all the inhabited earth. Although not resulting in world conversion to Christianity, a thing it was never purposed to accomplish, it resulted in a witness to all the nations. (Colossians 1:6, 23) Before this praiseworthy exploit was accomplished by outspoken Christian witnesses, the calamitous end could not come upon Jerusalem and the Jewish system of things.

JERUSALEM'S SECOND DESTRUCTION INDICATED AS AT HAND

Having shown in considerable detail the preliminaries that were to precede "the end," Jesus now specified the particular thing that would indicate the close nearness of the end of Jerusalem and the system of things that was centered in her and her temple. He said: "Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains. Let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house; and let the man in the field not return to the house to pick up his outer garment. Woe to the pregnant women and those suckling a baby in those days! Keep praying that your flight may not occur in wintertime, nor on the sabbath day."

Why the great need for the Christian Jews and proselytes in the Roman province of Judea to get out of it at top speed, with no unnecessary burdens, by direct route, at the opportune time, and take refuge in the mountains outside the mentioned province? "For then," Jesus continues on to say, "there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short."-Matthew 24:15-22.

This counsel of Jesus the apostles and other disciples should not forget nor disregard. If any of them delayed their flight out of Judea after seeing the disgusting thing standing in a holy place, it might cost them their lives; they might not be among those comparatively few who are spoken of as "flesh" that is saved only because the days of tribulation are cut short. But what is the "disgusting thing" the sight of which standing in the holy place would certify that not much time was left now before the devastating "great tribulation" was right at hand?

Jesus left no doubt as to what it was. He said it was the disgusting thing "as spoken of through Daniel the prophet." (Matthew 24:15) The "disgusting thing" that is foretold by the prophet Daniel in connection with the second destruction of Jerusalem is the one described in Daniel 9:26, 27 (especially according to the Greek Septuagint Version of the Hebrew Bible text). Secular history reveals that "disgusting thing" to be the pagan Roman armies under their "leader." That this is the proper explanation of the prophecy is borne out by a comparison of Matthew's account of Jesus' prophecy at this place with Luke's account at the corresponding place in Jesus' prophecy. Luke 21:20-24 says:

"Furthermore, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her withdraw, and let those in the country places not enter into her; because these are days for meting out justice [or, days of vengeance], that all the things written [including Daniel 9:26, 27] may be fulfilled. Woe to the pregnant women and the ones suckling a baby in those days! For there will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled."-Compare also with Mark 13:14-20.

It was in the year 66 C.E. that the Christian Jews in Jerusalem and Judea began to see the "disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet," take a stand in a "holy place," namely, Jerusalem and its environs. It was in that year that the unchristianized Jews revolted with Messianic aspirations against further rule by the Roman Empire. In reaction to this, the Roman general, Cestius Gallus, came down from Syria and surrounded Jerusalem with "encamped armies." It was at the time that the Jews celebrated the Festival of Booths (or, Tabernacles) from Tishri 15 to 21, which in that year should have run for the seven days of October 22-28 (Gregorian calendar). General Cestius Gallus brought his armies up to within "fifty furlongs" of the celebrating city. The Jews, well armed, sallied forth in attack and inflicted some damage on the Romans.

There now followed a "wait for three days." Then General Gallus, forcing the Jews back to Jerusalem, brought his troops up close to the city. But it was first on the last day of the month Tishri (about November 5) that he got his troops into the city of Jerusalem. He was indeed now in a place considered "holy" to the Jews. For five days the Romans made an attack on the temple wall, and on the sixth day they undermined the wall. This certainly was an assailing of what the Jews considered most holy. Easily the Romans could have now captured the whole city, but then, suddenly, without any valid reason for doing so, General Gallus withdrew from the city and retreated. The elated Jews went in hot pursuit and harassed the retreating Romans and inflicted considerable harm, so that the retreat turned into a rout. This was a stinging blow at the pride of the world-conquering Romans. Jerusalem was liberated! And in commemoration the Jews coined some new silver shekels bearing on one side the inscription "Jerusalem the Holy."

Were the Christianized Jews in Jerusalem and in the province of Judea deceived by this reestablishing of the independence of this land of the Jews? Not those who took to heart Jesus' prophecy and his counsel. They had actually seen the holy city of Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies. They had seen the "disgusting thing that causes desolation," with its military standards that were idolized as gods by the soldiers, standing "in a holy place," "standing where it ought not." (Mark 13:14) From this they were to "know that the desolating of her [Jerusalem] has drawn near." (Luke 21:20) It was now high time either to get out of Jerusalem or not to enter into her but to flee from all the province of Judea to the mountains outside, for instance, eastward across the Jordan River to the province of Perea. There, outside the doomed territory, these Christianized Jews could continue their preaching of the good news of God's true Messianic kingdom, instead of perishing with the doomed unbelieving Jews.

The independence of the Jews in Judea proved to be of short duration. Roman General Vespasian succeeded to General Gallus and reached Palestine early in the following year, 67 C.E. His endeavors to get the rest of the country under control allowed for the Jews to strengthen their defenses. After the death of Emperor Nero in 68 C.E., Vespasian was elevated to imperial power. Leaving Palestine, he reached Rome about the middle of 70 C.E. He left his son General Titus in charge of Roman military forces in Syria. The Jewish Passover of the year 70 approached, and the non-Christian Jews flocked to the city of Jerusalem for the celebration. It was then that General Titus came with four legions and bottled up the celebrating Jews inside the city. To starve out the rebellious Jews, he did what Jesus had foretold, build a fortified stockade, "a fortification with pointed stakes," about five miles long all around the city, to prevent any Jews from escaping.
The straits of the cooped-up Jews inside Jerusalem became desperate. The first-century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, in his writings, vividly describes the horrors resulting from the Roman siege. The loss of Jewish lives was mounting higher and higher. It appeared that, if the siege lasted too long, "no flesh" inside the besieged city would survive. It was as Jesus had foretold concerning this "great tribulation" upon Jerusalem and Judea: "In fact, unless Jehovah had cut short the days, no flesh would be saved. But on account of the chosen ones whom he has chosen he has cut short the days."-Mark 13:19, 20.
Providentially, the days of the siege proved to be relatively short, just 142 days, counted from Nisan 14 to Elul 7, or parts of six lunar months. That is to say, according to the Gregorian calendar, by August 30, 70 C.E., it was all over. Some Jewish flesh was permitted to survive, 97,000 Jews, according to Josephus' account, whereas he reports that 1,100,000 perished in the siege. Were those 97,000 survivors the "chosen ones" on account of whom Jehovah had cut short the days? Not unless you would call them chosen for captivity and enslavement. For it was just as Jesus had said: "There will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled."-Luke 21:23, 24.

No! the "chosen ones" on account of whom the number of days of Jerusalem's "great tribulation" was cut short were not those 97,000 miserable Jewish captives, upon whom Jehovah's great "wrath" rested in those "days for meting out justice." Jehovah's "chosen ones" were the Christianized Jews, to whom he had given the signal to flee without delay from all of Judea, including its capital Jerusalem. He desired all of them to get safely out of the danger zone, by acting in faith on Jesus' counsel to flee promptly after seeing the "disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place." After Jehovah got all these "chosen" disciples of his Son Jesus Christ out of the place upon which divine justice was to be meted out, he could let the execution of his vengeance upon the rebellious Jews be of short duration. As it is written: "Jehovah will make an accounting on the earth, concluding it and cutting it short." (Romans 9:28; Isaiah 10:23) Rightly, then, "on account of the chosen ones" those days of great tribulation on Jerusalem were cut short.

Secular history records the accuracy of Jesus' prophecy. But with this account of the destruction of earthly Jerusalem the prophecy of Jesus does not end, for there is more to say concerning the "sign" of his presence and of the "conclusion of the system of things." He looks beyond the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., for he says, in Luke 21:24: "And Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled." Jesus looked to the fulfilled "end" of those appointed times of the nations, usually called the Gentile Times. That means that he looked forward to the year 1914 C.E., for in that year the right of Jerusalem to have a Messianic kingdom in the hands of the Permanent Heir of King David ceased being trampled on by the nations. Why do we say this, inasmuch as in the year 1914 the rebuilt city of Jerusalem over in the Middle East was still under control of the Mohammedan Turks? It is because, in that year, at the close of the Gentile Times, Jehovah God enthroned the Permanent Heir of King David, not in the Turk-controlled earthly Jerusalem, but in the heavenly Jerusalem.-Hebrews 12:22.

FULFILLMENT UPON ANTITYPICAL UNFAITHFUL JERUSALEM

It becomes plain that, in his prophecy, Jesus was using the city of Jerusalem not only in a literal sense but also in a typical sense, as prefiguring something else of greater proportions. Otherwise, he would not have said concerning her destruction in 70 C.E., "then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again." (Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19) All informed persons know that Jerusalem's destruction in 70 C.E. was not the worst catastrophe since the world's beginning, for, what about the global deluge of Noah's day? And as for the equal of Jerusalem's destruction by the Romans never occurring after 70 C.E., what about World War I and World War II in this twentieth century? Jesus' language was not exaggerated, but evidently he was thinking of Jerusalem as a prophetic type, as a warning example of something that would embrace the whole world in a similar destruction. He was thinking of the antitypical unfaithful Jerusalem, namely, one of modern times. And what is that? It is Christendom with her hundreds of conflicting religious sects.-1 Corinthians 10:11.

This application of Jesus' prophecy holds true, not only as to Christendom's approaching destruction with all her political, commercial, military and judicial paramours, but also as to the world events that immediately lead up to her annihilation. Christendom now lives in a period of time that resembles in her twentieth-century experiences the period of time from Jesus' prophecy given on the Mount of Olives until the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and her temple in 70 C.E. This particular corresponding period of time for Christendom began at the close of the "appointed times of the nations" in the year 1914. Consider world happenings since then.

What things did Jesus say would be a "beginning of pangs of distress"? Were they not to be wars, food shortage, earthquakes, pestilences? (Matthew 24:7, 8; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:10, 11) What "wars" in the days of Christ's apostles in the first century can compare with World Wars I and II, not to speak of all the other wars since the close of World War II in 1945 C.E.? Did the famines, earthquakes, pestilences of the years 33 to 70 C.E. surpass the food shortages, earthquakes and pestilences Christendom and all the rest of the world have had since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914?

Jesus also told his apostles that his disciples would be sorely persecuted, being delivered up to tribulation and being killed, yes, of their becoming an object of hatred by all the nations; also, of the arising of false prophets, false Messiahs, and of the increasing of lawlessness toward God with a consequent cooling off of the quality of love on the part of the great majority of professed religionists; also, of the need of Christian endurance during such a time as that. (Matthew 24:9-13; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-19) Such developments marked apostolic times of the first century. And what about world developments since the Gentile Times ended in 1914? Has the world become so converted to Christianity that the persecution of Christ's true disciples has ceased? Is there any religious minority that is more the object of "hatred by all the nations on account of my [Christ's] name" than Jehovah's witnesses? Are there any religious persecutions greater than those heaped upon these Christian witnesses of Jehovah all the way from 1914 down to the present time? A record is there for all to consult.

There was another distinguishing feature about that apostolic period of the first century prior to 70 C.E. To his Jewish opposers in Jerusalem, Jesus said: "The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits." (Matthew 21:43) Even with their false Messiahs the Jews were not producing the fruits of God's kingdom by proclaiming it to the Gentiles. Before Jerusalem's destruction, they did not take up the message of John the Baptist and proclaim that the kingdom of the heavens was at hand. No, for during his last visit to the temple in Jerusalem Jesus said to the religious scribes and Pharisees: "You shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way in to go in." (Matthew 23:13) To whom, then, goes the credit for a fulfillment before the year 70 C.E. of Jesus' dynamic words: "And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations"? (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10) It goes to those who were the "objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name"-his own disciples.

Similarly, in this corresponding period since the close of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E., it is those who are outstandingly the "objects of hatred by all the nations on account of [Christ's] name" that are bringing about a modern-day fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy concerning the good news of God's kingdom. They are the ones who, despite hatred and persecution, have filled the inhabited earth with the preaching of the good news of God's Messianic kingdom for a witness to all the nations. This is not the message of God's kingdom such as Christendom has been preaching since the start of her existence in the days of Emperor Constantine in the fourth century-a kingdom within her hundreds of millions of church members, in their hearts, a kingdom that is finally realized by world conversion to Christendom's churches. In stark contrast, the kingdom preached by Jehovah's Christian witnesses since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 is a real government that was born in the heavens in that year. It is the established kingdom of God in the hands of the Permanent Heir of King David, and it will put an end to all the political governments of this earth and bless earth's inhabitants with everlasting life, peace and happiness.

This remarkable accomplishment, the preaching of such good news in all the inhabited earth for an international witness, by Jehovah's Christian witnesses is significant. It is a brightly shining feature of the "sign" that was to mark the "presence" or parousia of the reigning King Jesus Christ in spirit. Since the year of his enthronement in the heavens at God's right hand that preaching from door to door and by all other means of modern communication has been carried on by Jehovah's Christian witnesses for well over half a century, notwithstanding world wars and other large-scale calamities. Evidently the completing of the witness to all the nations concerning God's Messianic kingdom that is about to take over all mankind's affairs must be very near. This worldwide Kingdom-preaching was to precede "the end." All the inhabited earth has now heard the Kingdom-preaching. No longer do "all the nations" remain without a witness to them. "And then the end will come," said Jesus, for this system of things! [source - Completion of the Foretold "Sign" Nears, pages 293-308]

THE FACTS ON 1 JOHN 2:18:

1 John 2:18, "Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour." (ASV).
By the last hour, John evidently meant that of the Apostolic age as he was very old and all the other apostles had died, and that there would be a falling away. John's statement shows that there are many individual antichrists, though all together they may form a composite person designated "the antichrist." Per 2 John 7, "For manydeceivers have gone forth into the world, persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist." (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures; KIT). However the expreeion 'hour' refers to a period of time of undetermined length. Thus, He thus did not restrict the appearance, existence, and activity of such antichrist to some future time only but showed that the antichrist was then present and would continue on per 1 John 4:3, and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the [spirit] of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already." (ASV).

And,

"The "last days" mentioned by Paul at 2 Timothy 3:1-7 refer to the time after the apostasy had had its long day under the "man of lawlessness" referred to at 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12. All the matters mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 are 'fruits' of apostasy that are grossly apparent in our time. This does not refer to the first century, as the "man of lawlessness" was not then evident. These "last days" are therefore different from the "last hour" mentioned at 1 John 2:18, which refers to the closing period of apostolic restraint against lawlessness. This "restraint" was taken away at the death of John, the last of the apostles.-2 Thess. 2:7." [source - WT 08/15/1976, page 512]
THE FACTS ON MATTHEW 23:26:

Matthew 23:26, "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation." (ASV).

"When Jesus' apostles asked for a "sign" about his presence and the conclusion of the system of things, he gave his famous prophecy about coming wars, famines, earthquakes and the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom before the end. (Matt. 24, 25; Mark 13; Luke 21) He also said: "Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur."-Matt. 24:34

Based on the Bible and its fulfillment in history, Jehovah's Witnesses have often pointed out that Christ's prophecy was to have two applications: First, between 33 C.E. and the [minor fulfillment] destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.; second, a larger [or major fulfillment] fulfillment in this "time of the end" since 1914 C.E.

However, some Bible commentators have failed to appreciate the dual aspect of this prophecy. So they have held that by the term "generation" Jesus meant a race or people, such as the Jewish people or the class of wicked humans existing through the centuries. They might even refer to 1 Peter 2:9, which, in the Authorized Version, speaks of the anointed Christian congregation as "a chosen generation." However, Bible scholars now recognize that the Greek word in 1 Peter 2:9 should be rendered "race" and is different from the word rendered "generation" in Matthew 24:34.

Jesus was not referring to a race of people over the centuries or just to Christians. He was first of all referring to his listeners and other Jews at that time. An indication of this is the fact that earlier that day, when condemning the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus spoke of their murdering the prophets and said: "All these things will come upon this generation." (Matt. 23:36) These words came true on the contemporary generation when in 70 C.E. the Jews in Jerusalem faced its fiery destruction. (Luke 3:16, 17) That also marked the 'conclusion of the Jewish system of things' in the first fulfillment of Christ's prophecy.

This helps us to understand "generation" in Matthew 24:34. In common English usage today "generation" might be used for (1) all persons who were born and who live about the same time, or (2) the average span between the birth of parents and that of their children, usually 20 to 30 years. Which did Jesus mean? Obviously not the latter, for in its first application the "generation" ran from 33 C.E. until 70 C.E., or at least 37 years.

Also, it is evident that by the word "generation" Jesus did not mean just the Jewish children born in 33 C.E. Luke relates that after being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom was coming, Jesus told his disciples: "[The Son of man] must undergo many sufferings and be rejected by this generation." (Luke 17:20-25) That rejection certainly was not by newborn babies. Likewise, the way things worked out shows that the "generation" he spoke of in Matthew 24:34 included his listeners and others who could discern the fulfillment of his words from 33 C.E. onward until Jerusalem's destruction.

Thus, when it comes to the application in our time, the "generation" logically would not apply to babies born during World War I. It applies to Christ's followers and others who were able to observe that war and the other things that have occurred in fulfillment of Jesus' composite "sign." Some of such persons "will by no means pass away until" all of what Christ prophesied occurs, including the end of the present wicked system.

Jesus did not encourage his followers to try to calculate the exact length of this "generation." (Ps. 90:10) Instead of trying to figure how many more years, at the maximum, there may be until the end, Christians should remember Jesus' warning: "Keep on the watch . . . because at an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming."-Matt. 24:42-44.

We have ample evidence that Matthew chapter 24 is being fulfilled now, during "the conclusion of the system of things." One proof is the earth-wide preaching of the good news of the established Messianic kingdom, which Jesus said must be done before the end comes. (Matt. 24:14) So, rather than being drawn into speculation about a date that we cannot know, let true Christians actively share in that important preaching, as they look forward confidently to the fulfillment of Jesus' words about "this generation" at Matthew 24:34. [source - WT 10/01/1978, page 31].

THE FACTS ON LUKE 11:47 AND 51:

Luke 11:47, "Woe unto you! for ye build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them" (ASV)..

And,

Luke 11:51, "from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary: yea, I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation." (ASV).

Here, Jesus explained to his disciples the reason for his coming John 14:2-3 " In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also." (ASV).

"Shortly before instituting the Lord's Evening Meal, Jesus told his faithful apostles that he had to go away. He meant, of course, that after he died later that day, he had to go his way to heaven. Peter reacted by asking to be allowed to follow him. Thereupon Jesus said: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be."-John 14:1-3.

What "abodes" needed to be prepared for the apostles? Some Bible translators have rendered John 14:2 in a way that suggests that Jesus was talking about the apostles' needing "resting-places" on their way to heaven or their finding various rooms in heaven. Yet, W. E. Vine says about the Greek word involved: "There is nothing in the word to indicate separate compartments in Heaven; neither does it suggest temporary resting-places on the road." The word means simply a place to abide. So Jesus was promising abiding places in the spiritual heavens where he was going to be with his Father.-Ephesians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:4; 3:21, 22.

See Part 3


Admin
Admin

Posts : 2657
Join date : 2012-11-14

View user profile http://religioustruths.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: When God's (YHWH's) Kingdom Starts Rulling:

Post  Admin on Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:34 pm

Part 3

But in what way would Jesus prepare such abodes for his loyal followers? Having died a sacrificial death, Jesus went to heaven to present before God the value of his lifeblood. This would first benefit those who would be called to be joint heirs of heavenly life. The apostle Paul wrote: "Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us." (Hebrews 9:12, 24-28; Romans 6:5; 8:17) So when Jesus told the apostles that he was going to "prepare a place for" them, he certainly would have in mind his 'appearing before the person of God for' them. Only after he did that could they or other humans follow him to heaven.-Philippians 3:20, 21.

Did Jesus have to do other things to prepare a place for them? In time, he would assume kingly power and would war against Satan, casting him and his demons out of heaven. (Revelation 12:7-9) This would occur prior to the start of the heavenly resurrection of the apostles and other anointed ones sleeping in death. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) Whether Jesus' comment about 'preparing a place for' his followers included his casting Satan out of heaven, we cannot say.

Moreover, we do not know if Jesus had other assignments that had to do with preparing a place in heaven for anointed Christians. Yet, at least we can be sure that Jesus did prepare the way for his anointed followers by presenting to God the value of his "precious blood." (1 Peter 1:19) On the basis of that blood, the new covenant was established between Jehovah God and spirit-anointed Christians. [source - WT 05/15/1988 page 31].

"God's Kingdom Comes to Power in the Midst of Its Enemies

FOR thousands of years men of faith have lived in eager expectation of the day when God's kingdom would begin its rule. They have felt keenly the need for God to take a direct hand in earth's affairs. Does this mean that God has not been King during the centuries past? No, for Jehovah has always been the Supreme Ruler of the universe. (Jeremiah 10:10) But here at the earth his rulership has been challenged. And, as we have already seen, for sound reasons and with a loving purpose in view, God has allowed human governments under the influence of Satan to rule for a fixed period of time.

Jehovah promised, however, that at the end of that time he would take direct action against all rebels and opposers of his rule. And he would bring the earth and its inhabitants completely under his rule again. How? By the Kingdom, a new heavenly government under his Son Christ Jesus. So the coming of that kingdom to power means that great changes are near at hand. It means that Jehovah God has given to his Son "rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him."-Daniel 7:13, 14.

That event has already taken place in heaven. Kingdom authority has already been given to Jehovah's Son. Does that sound strange to you? It might, especially in view of the terrible conditions afflicting mankind. But, really, it is because of these very conditions that we can be certain that this is true. Why is this?

This is so because the coming to power of Jehovah's kingdom is not welcomed by all creatures. Not everyone wants to live under a government that insists on righteousness. (Luke 19:11-14) For this reason, Jehovah long ago recorded in his Word that when he 'begins ruling as king' toward the earth 'the nations would become wrathful.' (Revelation 11:17, 18 He foretold that, at the time of empowering his Son to act, it would be necessary for him to say: "Go subduing in the midst of your enemies."-Psalm 110:2 [109:2, Dy].

Christ Jesus would then oust Satan from heaven, the seat of government, hurling him down to the vicinity of the earth, in preparation for putting him completely out of action. In the heavens the grand announcement would then be made: "Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ." But for the earth, what? "Woe . . . , because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time." (Revelation 12:5, 7-10, 12) Full control of earth by God's kingdom must soon follow! However, the start of the rule by God's kingdom does not mean immediate peace and righteousness on earth. To the contrary, it triggers a period of unprecedented trouble for earth's inhabitants.

Realizing this, we can better understand the meaning of what Jesus told his followers about his second presence. They had asked him: "Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?" (Matthew 24:3) Jesus then described, for their benefit and ours, what would take place on earth when he would begin to rule in heaven. In this way, although the events in heaven would be invisible to human eyes, there would be visible proof that Christ was at last on the throne, taking action as king. It would be proof that the wicked system of things that has oppressed mankind for centuries had entered its "last days." (2 Timothy 3:1) Although it was foretold that there would be ridiculers that would try to belittle the facts, yet the evidence would be clear.-2 Peter 3:3, 4.

As we consider the evidence together, it is important to realize that Jesus did not say that any one event, such as threat of war or a terrible earthquake, would be the proof that "the end" was at hand. (Matthew 24:6) Rather, he said: "Note the fig tree and all the other trees: When they are already in the bud, by observing it you know for yourselves that now the summer is near. In this way you also, when you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near." (Luke 21:29-31) If we see one tree put out its leaves in midwinter because the weather is warm for a few days, we do not reason that summer has come, do we? But when we see all the trees budding and the days growing longer we know that summer has to be near. Likewise, when all the things that Jesus described take place, we can know for sure that Christ is on his heavenly throne and that his kingdom has, indeed, begun active rule. When that happens, liberation is near!

FULFILLMENT OF "THE SIGN"

Exactly what did Jesus point to as marking his second presence and the "conclusion of the system of things"? He said: "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another." (Matthew 24:7) Here Jesus tells us to look for a new kind of warfare-total war! The war that began in 1914 fits his description. Not only did armies fight on the battlefields; civilian populations too were organized to give full support to the war. As Jesus foretold, entire nations and kingdoms were fighting against one another. For the first time in history the whole world was at war. Hence it is called "World War I." Of it the book World War I said:

"In its scope, its violence, and above all, in its totality, it established a precedent. World War I ushered in the century of Total War, of-in the first full sense of the term-global war.
"Never before 1914-1918 had a war absorbed so much of the total resources of so many combatants and covered so large a part of the earth. Never had so many nations been involved. Never had the slaughter been so comprehensive and indiscriminate."

The World Book Encyclopedia noted that the number of soldiers killed and wounded was over 37,000,000, and added:

"The number of civilian deaths in areas of actual war totaled about 5,000,000. Starvation, disease, and exposure accounted for about 80 of every 100 of these civilian deaths. Spanish influenza, which some persons blamed on the war, caused tens of millions of other deaths."

This was just as Jesus foretold. Put together, these facts mark 1914 as the beginning of the "last days" and the year that God's heavenly kingdom began its active rule.-See also Luke 21:10, 11.

Also, after 1914 a series of earthquakes rocked the earth, causing great damage. In 1915, in Italy, nearly 30,000 were killed. In 1920, in China, 180,000 died. In 1923, 143,000 died in Japan. And major earthquakes have continued to take place with unusual frequency since then. As Jesus foretold, they are another mark of the "last days."

However, Jesus said that the events that marked the beginning of the "last days" in 1914 were only the "beginning of pangs of distress." (Matthew 24:8 Greater trouble was to come. True to his prophecy, it did. The World Book Encyclopedia says: "World War I and its aftermath led to the greatest economic depression in history during the early 1930's. The consequences of the war and the problems of adjustment to peace led to unrest in almost every nation." This paved the way for World War II. And of that war the same source notes:

World War II killed more persons, cost more money, damaged more property, affected more people . . . than any other war in history. . . . It has been estimated that the number of war dead, civilian and military, totaled more than 22,000,000. The number of wounded has been estimated as more than 34,000,000."
Truly, the "pangs of distress" Jesus foretold have become greater as the "last days" move toward their climax.

During and after World War II widespread food shortages added to the distress. Shortly after the war Look magazine observed:

"A fourth of the world is starving today. Tomorrow will even be worse. Famine over most of the world now is more terrible than most of us can imagine. . . . There are now more people hunting desperately for food than at any other time in history."

More recent reports have shown that a constant lack of adequate food, resulting in chronic malnutrition, has become the "major world hunger problem today." The London Times reported:
"There have always been famines, but the scale and ubiquity [presence everywhere] of hunger today is on a totally new scale. . . . Today malnutrition is said to affect more than a thousand million people; perhaps as many as 400 million live constantly on the brink of starvation."-June 3, 1980.
Jesus also foretold the "increasing of lawlessness" as a mark of the "last days." (Matthew 24:12) And God inspired the apostle Paul to add: "In the last days . . . men will be lovers of themselves, . . . disobedient to parents, . . . without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, . . . wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse." (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) These are the conditions that have developed at an explosive rate since 1914! You have seen them with your own eyes, have you not? Throughout the world lawlessness is running wild. Said one lawyer: "Almost everywhere, including Soviet Russia, there appears to be an increase in crime, and particularly, alas, in juvenile crime." From nation after nation come reports such as the following:

"A wave of crime and rioting is sweeping across the United States . . . In many cities, women are afraid to go out after dark. And they have good reason. Rapes, assaults, sadistic outbursts of senseless violence are on the rise. Crimes often seem to be committed out of sheer savagery . . . Respect for law and order is declining."

As another feature of the "last days," Jesus spoke of great confusion and fear among the nations and their leaders. He foretold: "On the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out . . . men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth." (Luke 21:25, 26) The fulfillment of this prophecy is evident in the news of our time. U.S. News & World Report said:

"Is the world in greater tumult than before World War II? No doubt.
"Shooting troubles, on the average, erupt once a month. Counting out real wars like Korea and Vietnam, the record still shows over 300 revolutions, coups, uprisings, rebellions and insurrections worldwide since the end of World War II."

Added to all these things is the fear of being destroyed by the huge supply of nuclear weapons some nations possess. One news editor commented: "The fact is that today the biggest single emotion which dominates our lives is fear." It is just as Jesus foretold: mankind is fearful and the nations are in anguish.
All the foretold marks of the "last days" are here. They prove beyond a doubt that we have been in the "last days" since 1914. Hence it was in that year that God's heavenly kingdom came to power!-Revelation 11:17, 18.

It is true that in past generations there were periods marked by violence and much immoral conduct. The decline of the Roman Empire is an example. But never before in human history have all the conditions specified by Jesus been observed in the same generation. And never before have they existed at the same time in every nation of the earth. Today we live, not merely in the last days of one political empire, but in the "last days" of the entire wicked system controlled by Satan.

1914 A MARKED YEAR

Years in advance Bible scholars realized that 1914 was to be a year of great significance. Bible chronology specifically points to that year, and careful students of God's Word knew that. They expected great changes to take place, and the facts confirm that 1914 was, indeed, a marked year.

Others with knowledge of world affairs fully agree that 1914 was a marked year. The London Evening Star commented that World War I "tore the whole world's political setup apart. Nothing could ever be the same again. . . . some historian in the next century may well conclude that the day the world went mad was August 4, 1914." Of the great change 1914 made, the historian H. R. Trevor-Roper said:

"It is instructive to compare the first World War with the second . . . the first war marked a far greater change in history. It closed a long era of general peace and began a new age of violence in which the second war is simply an episode. Since 1914 the world has had a new character: a character of international anarchy. . . . Thus the first World War marks a turning point in modern history."

World leaders have also commented on the significance of the year 1914. Former chancellor of West Germany Konrad Adenauer spoke of the time "before 1914 when there was real peace, quiet and security on this earth-a time when we didn't know fear." Then he added: "Security and quiet have disappeared from the lives of men since 1914. And peace? Since 1914, the Germans have not known real peace nor has much of mankind," Note, too, the comment in the book entitled "1914." The author says: "In the year 1914 the world, as it was known and accepted then, came to an end. Far more than any year before or since was this the punctuation-mark of the twentieth century . . . from then on nothing could ever be the same."
Satan the Devil and his demons know they have only "a short period of time" left before their destruction. (Revelation 12:12) Even when Jesus was on earth, the demons knew that someday they would be destroyed. They showed a vicious disposition back then, and now that they know their time is short they are more vicious and desperate than ever. (Luke 8:27-33) They are out to stir up all the trouble that they can, in order to direct the attention of mankind away from the kingdom of God. That is why this wicked system of things has been behaving so crazily since 1914. It is behaving like a top, a child's toy, that wobbles crazily just before it tumbles to a complete stop.

Are we disheartened by this situation? Jesus said that his disciples would have reason to lift their heads up. Why? Because they realize the meaning of it all. They see in these events proof that deliverance is near! (Luke 21:28 And they do not keep this joyful news to themselves, but in all the earth they are preaching the thrilling news that the kingdom of God now rules. As Jesus foretold: "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14) This, too, is part of the "sign." In North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the islands of the seas Jehovah's witnesses zealously keep proclaiming this urgent message. In both large cities and small villages you will find them, in all parts of the earth. Yes, this part of the "sign" is also being fulfilled.
Beyond all doubt, the evidence points to 1914 as the year when the kingdom of God went into operation, and that event is causing things to happen here on earth. In that same year "the present wicked system of things" entered its "last days." (Galatians 1:4) Soon, now, the prayer for God's kingdom to "come" will be answered, when it displays its great power by destroying Satan's entire wicked system. Then God's kingdom alone will operate as the one government to rule the earth throughout eternity. (Daniel 2:44) Taking direct control of all earth's affairs, it will shower down on obedient mankind blessings of peace, happiness and life. The prayer for 'God's will to take place, as in heaven, also upon earth,' will have had glorious fulfillment, for God's kingdom will have come to rule forever. And think of it! You may enjoy eternal life under the loving rule of that kingdom.-Matthew 6:9, 10. [source - The Truth, Chapter 10, pages 82-93]

CONCLUSION:
As can be seen, there is both a minor and a major fulfillment of all of these prophecies.

This is a special research article done by myself in conjunction with another researcher with only one purpose in mind, 'to answer special objections of some Muslims. To wit, specifically:

1) Matthew 16:28 There are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.
2) Matthew 24:34 "This generation will by no means pass away till all these things happen."
3) Matthew 10:23 "you (the twelve) will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes."
4) Matthew 26: 64 " You ( the high priest) will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven."
5) 1 Corinthians 10: 11 Paul said " On us the ends of the ages have come."
6) 1 John 2: 18 it is the last hour....we know that it is the last hour.
7) Matthew 23: 36" All of these things shall come upon this generation"
8)Luke 11: 47,51 "Woe to you because you build tombs to the prophets, it was your forefathers who killed them....This generation will be held responsible for the blood of all of the prophets"
[note, a lot of the data presented here came from others]

Now to know the truth, go to:

1) http://religioustruths.forumsland.com/

2) http://www.network54.com/Forum/403209/

3) http://religioustruths.lefora.com/

4) http://religioustruths.boardhost.com/

5) http://religious-truths.forums.com/

6) http://religioustruthsbyiris.createmybb3.com/

7) http://religioustruths.forumotion.com/


Your Friend in Christ Iris89

Francis David said it long ago, "Neither the sword of popes...nor the image of death will halt the march of truth."Francis David, 1579, written on the wall of his prison cell." Read the book, "What Does The Bible Really Teach" and the Bible today!



Admin
Admin

Posts : 2657
Join date : 2012-11-14

View user profile http://religioustruths.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

When Almighty God (YHWH) Kingdom Starts Ruling:

Post  Admin on Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:03 pm

When Almighty God (YHWH) Kingdom Starts Ruling:

[gracious thanks to Bible Scholar for sending me much of the data for this article]

INTRODUCTION:

This is a matter over which many have different opinions, so let's let the Bible, the Word of God (YHWH) clear up the matter for all.

First, there are two distinct phases to when God's (YHWH's) Kingdom starts to rule. The first phase is when it starts ruling in heaven and the second phase is when it starts ruling over the earth.

Second, the first phase has already occurred, and this is spoken of in Revelation 12:1-11, " And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels [going forth] to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels; 8 And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him. 10 And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death." (American Standard Version; ASV). This article shall show when this occurred.

Third, there is the second phase which is yet to occur that all pray for in the Lord's Prayer as recorded at Matthew 6:9-15, "After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil [one.] 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (ASV).

UNDERSTANDING MATTHEW 16:28:

Let's look at this scripture and its significance, Matthew 16:28, "Verily I say unto you, there are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (ASV).

Now here is the understanding on this scripture:

"The Transfiguration Builds Faith
The transfiguration was a prophetic event. Said Jesus: "The Son of man is destined to come in the glory of his Father with his angels . . . Truly I say to you that there are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:27, 28) Did some of the apostles actually see Jesus coming in his Kingdom? Matthew 17:1-7 states: "Six days later Jesus took Peter and James and John his brother along and brought them up into a lofty mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them." What a dramatic event! "His face shone as the sun, and his outer garments became brilliant as the light. And, look! there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, conversing with him." Also, "a bright cloud overshadowed them," and they heard God's own voice saying: "'This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved; listen to him.' At hearing this the disciples fell upon their faces and became very much afraid. Then Jesus came near and, touching them, said: 'Get up and have no fear.'"
This awesome event likely took place on one of the ridges of Mount Hermon, where Jesus and the three apostles spent the night. The transfiguration evidently occurred at night, making it especially vivid. One reason Jesus called it a vision was that long-dead Moses and Elijah were not literally present. Only Christ was actually there. (Matthew 17:8, 9) Such a dazzling display."


This gave Peter, James, and John a spectacular foregleam of Jesus' glorious presence in Kingdom power. Moses and Elijah find parallels in Jesus' anointed joint heirs, and the vision powerfully reinforced his testimony about the Kingdom and his future kingship.

The transfiguration helped to strengthen the faith of the three apostles who were to play a leading role in the Christian congregation. Christ's shining face, his glistening garments, and God's own voice declaring that Jesus was His beloved Son to whom they should listen-all of this served its purpose most effectively. But the apostles were to relate the vision to no one until Jesus was resurrected. Some 32 years later, this vision was still vivid in Peter's mind. Pointing to it and its significance, he wrote: "No, it was not by following artfully contrived false stories that we acquainted you with the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by having become eyewitnesses of his magnificence. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: 'This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.' Yes, these words we heard borne from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain."-2 Peter 1:16-18.

Of utmost importance was God's proclamation: "This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved; listen to him." This statement focuses attention on Jesus as God's enthroned King, to whom all creation must render obedience. The overshadowing cloud indicated that the fulfillment of this vision would be invisible. It would be discernible only with the eyes of understanding on the part of those who recognize "the sign" of Jesus' invisible presence in Kingdom power. (Matthew 24:3) In fact, Jesus' instruction not to tell the vision to anyone until he had risen from the dead shows that his exaltation and glorification would come after his resurrection.

After referring to the transfiguration, Peter stated: "Consequently we have the prophetic word made more sure; and you are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and a daystar rises, in your hearts. For you know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man's will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit." (2 Peter 1:19-21) The transfiguration underscores the reliability of God's prophetic word. We must pay attention to that word and not to "artfully contrived false stories" that do not have divine backing or approval. Our faith in the prophetic word should be strengthened by the transfiguration because that visionary foreview of Jesus' glory and Kingdom power has become a reality. Yes, we have undeniable evidence that Christ is present today as a powerful heavenly King.[source - WT of 4/1/2000, page 12-14.]

And another source said:

"When Jesus Comes in Kingdom Glory
"Some of those standing here . . . will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."-MATTHEW 16:28.


SHORTLY after Pentecost 32 C.E., three of Jesus Christ's apostles saw a memorable vision. According to the inspired record, "Jesus took Peter and James and John his brother along and brought them up into a lofty mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them."-Matthew 17:1, 2.
The transfiguration vision came at a critical time. Jesus had started to tell his followers that he was going to suffer and die in Jerusalem, but they found his words difficult to grasp. (Matthew 16:21-23) The vision strengthened the faith of Jesus' three apostles in preparation for his coming death and also for the years of hard work and testing that would follow for the Christian congregation. Can we today learn something from the vision? Yes, because what it foreshadowed actually takes place in our time.

Six days before the transfiguration, Jesus told his followers: "The Son of man is destined to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will recompense each one according to his behavior." These words would be fulfilled at "the conclusion of the system of things." Jesus further stated: "Truly I say to you that there are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:27, 28; 24:3; 25:31-34, 41; Daniel 12:4) The transfiguration took place in fulfillment of these latter words.

Exactly what did the three apostles see? The following is Luke's description of the event: "As [Jesus] was praying the appearance of his face became different and his apparel became glitteringly white. Also, look! two men were conversing with him, who were Moses and Elijah. These appeared with glory and began talking about his departure that he was destined to fulfill at Jerusalem." Then, "a cloud formed and began to overshadow [the apostles]. As they entered into the cloud, they became fearful. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying: 'This is my Son, the one that has been chosen. Listen to him.'"-Luke 9:29-31, 34, 35.

Faith Strengthened

The apostle Peter had already identified Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16) Jehovah's words from heaven confirmed that identification, and the vision of Jesus transfigured was a foretaste of Christ's coming in Kingdom power and glory, eventually to judge mankind. More than 30 years after the transfiguration, Peter wrote: "It was not by following artfully contrived false stories that we acquainted you with the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by having become eyewitnesses of his magnificence. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: 'This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.' Yes, these words we heard borne from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain."-2 Peter 1:16-18; 1 Peter 4:17.

Today, our faith too is strengthened by what the three apostles saw. Of course, events have moved on since 32 C.E. The following year, Jesus died and was resurrected, ascending to the right hand of his Father. (Acts 2:29-36) At Pentecost of that year, the new "Israel of God" was brought forth, and a preaching campaign began, starting in Jerusalem and later spreading to the ends of the earth. (Galatians 6:16; Acts 1:Cool Almost immediately the faith of Jesus' followers was tested. The apostles were arrested and severely beaten because they refused to stop preaching. Soon Stephen was murdered. Then James, an eyewitness of the transfiguration, was killed. (Acts 5:17-40; 6:8-7:60; 12:1, 2) Peter and John, however, survived to serve Jehovah faithfully for many more years. In fact, toward the close of the first century C.E., John recorded further visionary glimpses of Jesus in heavenly glory.-Revelation 1:12-20; 14:14; 19:11-16.

Since the beginning of "the Lord's day" in 1914, many of the visions seen by John have been fulfilled. (Revelation 1:10) What of Jesus' 'coming in the glory of his Father,' as foreshadowed by the transfiguration? This vision began to be fulfilled at the birth of God's heavenly Kingdom in 1914. When Jesus, like a daystar, rose on the universal scene as a newly enthroned King, that was, as it were, the dawn of a new day. (2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 11:15; 22:16) Did Jesus at that time recompense some according to their behavior? Yes. There is strong evidence that shortly thereafter, the heavenly resurrection of anointed Christians began.-2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 14:13.

Soon, though, Jesus will arrive "in his glory, and all the angels with him" in order to judge mankind as a whole. (Matthew 25:31) At that time, he will reveal himself in all his magnificent glory and give to "each one" just recompense for his or her behavior. Sheeplike ones will inherit everlasting life in the Kingdom prepared for them, and goatlike ones will depart into "everlasting cutting-off." What a splendid conclusion that will be to the fulfillment of the transfiguration vision!-Matthew 25:34, 41, 46; Mark 8:38; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.

Jesus' Glorified Companions

Jesus was not alone in the transfiguration. Moses and Elijah were seen with him. (Matthew 17:2, 3) Were they literally present? No, for both men had long since died and were asleep in the dust awaiting a resurrection. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Hebrews 11:35) Will they appear with Jesus when he comes in heavenly glory? No, because Moses and Elijah lived before the heavenly hope opened up to humans. They will be part of the earthly "resurrection of . . . the righteous." (Acts 24:15) So their appearance in the transfiguration vision is symbolic. Of what?

In other contexts, Moses and Elijah are prophetic figures. As mediator of the Law covenant, Moses foreshadowed Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant. (Deuteronomy 18:18; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 8:6) Elijah foreshadowed John the Baptist, a forerunner of the Messiah. (Matthew 17:11-13) Further, in the context of Revelation chapter 11, Moses and Elijah foreshadow the anointed remnant in the time of the end. How do we know that?

Well, turn to Revelation 11:1-6. In verse 3 we read: "I will cause my two witnesses to prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days dressed in sackcloth." This prophecy was fulfilled upon the remnant of anointed Christians during World War I. Why two witnesses? Because the anointed remnant perform works that, in a spiritual way, are like those of Moses and Elijah. Verses 5 and 6 go on to say: "If anyone wants to harm [the two witnesses], fire issues forth from their mouths and devours their enemies; and if anyone should want to harm them, in this manner he must be killed. These have the authority to shut up heaven that no rain should fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have authority over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every sort of plague as often as they wish." Thus, we are reminded of miracles performed by Elijah and Moses.-Numbers 16:31-34; 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1:9-12.

Who, then, do Moses and Elijah foreshadow in the context of the transfiguration? Luke says that they appeared along with Jesus "with glory." (Luke 9:31) Clearly, they foreshadow Christians who have been anointed with holy spirit as "joint heirs" with Jesus and who thereby received the wonderful hope of being "glorified together" with him. (Romans 8:17) Resurrected anointed ones will be with Jesus when he comes in the glory of his Father to "recompense each one according to his behavior."-Matthew 16:27.

Witnesses Like Moses and Elijah

There are notable features that mark Moses and Elijah as fitting prophetic pictures of Jesus' anointed joint heirs. Both Moses and Elijah served as Jehovah's spokesmen for many years. Both faced the wrath of a ruler. In a time of need, each was supported by a foreign family. Both boldly prophesied to kings and stood firm against false prophets. Moses and Elijah both saw demonstrations of Jehovah's power on Mount Sinai (also called Horeb). Both commissioned successors on the east side of the Jordan. And the times of both Moses (with Joshua) and Elijah (with Elisha) saw the greatest number of miracles, apart from those that occurred during the lifetime of Jesus.

Does not all of that remind us of the Israel of God? Yes, indeed. Jesus told his faithful followers: "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things." (Matthew 28:19, 20) In obedience to these words, anointed Christians have served as Jehovah's spokesman from Pentecost 33 C.E. until now. Like Moses and Elijah, they have faced the wrath of rulers and have witnessed to them. Jesus told his 12 apostles: "You will be haled before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the nations." (Matthew 10:18) His words have been fulfilled repeatedly during the history of the Christian congregation.-Acts 25:6, 11, 12, 24-27; 26:3.

Further, anointed Christians have been as fearless as Moses and Elijah in standing for truth against religious falsehood. Remember how Paul denounced the Jewish false prophet Bar-Jesus and tactfully but firmly exposed the falseness of the gods of the Athenians. (Acts 13:6-12; 17:16, 22-31) Remember, too, that in modern times the anointed remnant has boldly exposed Christendom and such witnessing has plagued her.-Revelation 8:7-12.

When Moses fled the wrath of Pharaoh, he found refuge in the home of a non-Israelite, Reuel, also called Jethro. At a later time, Moses received valuable organizational counsel from Reuel, whose son Hobab guided Israel through the wilderness. (Exodus 2:15-22; 18:5-27; Numbers 10:29) Have members of the Israel of God been helped similarly by individuals who are not anointed members of the Israel of God? Yes, they have been supported by the "great crowd" of "other sheep," who have appeared on the scene during these last days. (Revelation 7:9; John 10:16; Isaiah 61:5) Foretelling the warm, loving support that these "sheep" would offer his anointed brothers, Jesus said to them prophetically: "I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I got thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; naked, and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to me. . . . Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."-Matthew 25:35-40.

Further, the Israel of God had an experience comparable to that of Elijah on Mount Horeb. Like Elijah at the time he was running from Queen Jezebel, the fearful anointed remnant thought that their work was done at the end of World War I. Then, also like Elijah, they had an encounter with Jehovah, who had come to judge those organizations claiming to be "the house of God." (1 Peter 4:17; Malachi 3:1-3) While Christendom was found wanting, the anointed remnant was recognized as "the faithful and discreet slave" and was appointed over all Jesus' earthly belongings. (Matthew 24:45-47) In Horeb, Elijah heard "a calm, low voice" that proved to be that of Jehovah, giving him more work to do. In the quiet period of the postwar years, faithful anointed servants of Jehovah heard his voice from the pages of the Bible. They too perceived that they had a commission to fulfill.-1 Kings 19:4, 9-18; Revelation 11:7-13.

Finally, have outstanding manifestations of Jehovah's power been channeled through the Israel of God? After Jesus' death, the apostles performed many miracles, but these gradually ceased. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) Nowadays, we do not see miracles in a physical sense. On the other hand, Jesus said to his followers: "Most truly I say to you, He that exercises faith in me, that one also will do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these." (John 14:12) This had an initial fulfillment as Jesus' disciples preached the good news throughout the Roman Empire in the first century. (Romans 10:18) Even greater works have been done today as the anointed remnant has spearheaded the preaching of the good news "in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations." (Matthew 24:14) The result? The 20th century has witnessed the ingathering of the greatest number of dedicated, faithful servants of Jehovah in history. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 7:9, 10) What magnificent evidence of Jehovah's power!-Isaiah 60:22.

Jesus' Brothers Come in Glory

As the remnant of Jesus' anointed brothers finish their earthly course, they are glorified with him. (Romans 2:6, 7; 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17) Thus they become immortal kings and priests in the heavenly Kingdom. With Jesus, they will then "shepherd the people with an iron rod so that they will be broken to pieces like clay vessels." (Revelation 2:27; 20:4-6; Psalm 110:2, 5, 6) With Jesus, they will sit on thrones judging "the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matthew 19:28) Groaning creation has eagerly awaited these events, which are part of "the revealing of the sons of God."-Romans 8:19-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8.

Paul spoke of the revelation of Jesus during the "great tribulation" when he wrote: "He comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder in connection with all those who exercised faith." (Matthew 24:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:10) What a magnificent prospect that is for Peter, James, John, and all spirit-anointed Christians! The transfiguration strengthened Peter's faith. Surely, reading about it strengthens our faith too and fortifies our confidence that Jesus will soon "recompense each one according to his behavior." Faithful anointed Christians who have survived to this day see their confidence confirmed that they will be glorified with Jesus. Other sheep have their faith strengthened in the knowledge that he will save them through the end of this wicked system of things into the glorious new world. (Revelation 7:14) What an encouragement to stand firm to the end! And this vision can teach us much more, as we will see in the following article.[source - WT 5/15/1997, pp. 9-14].

And another source said:

"It was to the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometime after Passover of 32 C.E., the Son of God told his disciples: "Truly I say to you that there are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:28) In a matter of days, those words of Jesus were fulfilled. Taking with him the apostles Peter, James and John, God's Son climbed a high mountain, presumably Hermon. On a spur of this mountain, the following took place: "[Jesus] was transfigured before them, and his face shone as the sun, and his outer garments became brilliant as the light." Thus the three apostles had confirmed to them that Jesus' coming in Kingdom power would indeed be glorious. Then a "bright cloud" formed and a voice came out of it, saying: "This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved; listen to him."-Matthew 17:1-5." [source - A Hope With A Sure Guarantee, page 36-37].

IMPORTANCE TO US OF TODAY:

Fulfillment of Bible prophecy in our day indicates that Jesus' presence in Kingdom power began in 1914 C.E. (Matt. 24:3-14; 25:31-33) Obviously, Matthew 16:28 could not refer to this event, for Jesus there spoke of something that would take place before the apostles all died. Then what could that have been?
The Hebrew Scriptures had foretold that the Messiah was to be an everlasting king. (Gen. 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Isa. 9:6, 7) Daniel's vision in particular gave Jews reason to expect the Messiah's reign to be glorious, powerful, magnificent. (Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14) But just who was to be this Messianic king, and would he rule from an earthly throne? Even Jesus' disciples who accepted him as the Messiah could benefit from assurance that he would reign from heaven with power and glory.-Matt. 16:16-22; Acts 1:6.
Accordingly, less than a year before he died Jesus explained that some of the apostles would "see the Son of man coming in his kingdom," or, as Mark phrased it, "see the kingdom of God already come in power." (Matt. 16:28; Mark 9:1) After Jesus was no longer among them, the disciples would be able to draw strength from their having been eyewitnesses of his future heavenly presence in Kingdom power.
But how were Jesus' words in Matthew 16:25 fulfilled? Often the meaning of a verse is suggested by its context. In this case, all three Gospel accounts of Jesus' promise about seeing him in his kingdom lead immediately into the record of the transfiguration.

Now this opens the important question of when this will take place. Of course we do NOT know the hour or the day as even God's (YHWH's) Son, Jesus (Yeshua) stated that he did not know that at Mark 13:30-32, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, until all these things be accomplished. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32 But of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." (ASV). But world conditions clearly show we are in the end times and the culmination of the end times can not be very far in the future.

Let's consider Matthew 24:33-35, "even so ye also, when ye see all these things, know ye that he is nigh, [even] at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (ASV).

Comments by others on this scripture:

"These Things Must Take Place"

Do you know and understand Jesus' answer? It is found in three of the Gospels. Professor D. A. Carson states: "Few chapters of the Bible have called forth more disagreement among interpreters than Matthew 24 and its parallels in Mark 13 and Luke 21." He then gives his own opinion-just another of the conflicting human views. In the last century or so, many such views reflected a lack of faith. Those offering them held that Jesus never said what we read in the Gospels, that his sayings were later corrupted, or that his prediction failed-views shaped by higher criticism. One commentator even approached Mark's Gospel 'through the lens of Mahayana-Buddhist philosophy'!..

A Tragic Fulfillment in the Offing

The apostles knew that Jesus was the Messiah. So when they heard him mention his death, resurrection, and return, they must have wondered, 'If Jesus dies and goes away, how can he carry out the wonderful things that the Messiah is expected to do?' Further, Jesus spoke of an end for Jerusalem and its temple. The apostles might have wondered, 'When and how will that occur?' In trying to understand these things, the apostles asked: "When will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are destined to come to a conclusion?"-Mark 13:4; Matthew 16:21, 27, 28; 23:37-24:2.

Jesus foretold that there would be wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, hatred and persecution of Christians, false messiahs, and a widespread preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. Then the end was to come. (Matthew 24:4-14; Mark 13:5-13; Luke 21:8-19) Jesus said this early in the year 33 C.E. During the following decades, his alert disciples could recognize that the foretold things were in fact occurring in a significant way. Yes, history proves that the sign had a fulfillment at that time, leading to a conclusion of the Jewish system of things at the hands of the Romans in 66-70 C.E. How did that come about?

During the hot Judean summer of 66 C.E., Jewish Zealots led an assault on Roman guards in a fort near the temple in Jerusalem, sparking violence elsewhere in the land. In History of the Jews, Professor Heinrich Graetz relates: "Cestius Gallus, whose duty it was as Governor of Syria to uphold the honor of Roman arms, . . . could no longer witness the rebellion spreading around him without an effort to stem its progress. He called his legions together, and the neighboring princes voluntarily sent their troops." This army of 30,000 surrounded Jerusalem. After some fighting, the Jews withdrew behind walls near the temple. "During five successive days the Romans stormed the walls, but were always obliged to fall back before the missiles of the Judæans. It was only on the sixth day that they succeeded in undermining a part of the northern wall in front of the Temple."

Just think how confused the Jews would have been, since they had long felt that God would protect them and their holy city! Jesus' disciples, though, had been forewarned that calamity awaited Jerusalem. Jesus had foretold: "The days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you." (Luke 19:43, 44) But would that spell death for Christians inside Jerusalem in 66 C.E.?

When replying to the apostles on the Mount of Olives, Jesus predicted: "Those days will be days of a tribulation such as has not occurred from the beginning of the creation which God created until that time, and will not occur again. In fact, unless Jehovah had cut short the days, no flesh would be saved. But on account of the chosen ones whom he has chosen he has cut short the days." (Mark 13:19, 20; Matthew 24:21, 22) So the days would be cut short and "the chosen ones" saved. Who were they? Certainly not rebellious Jews who claimed to worship Jehovah but who had rejected his Son. (John 19:1-7; Acts 2:22, 23, 36) The true chosen ones back then were those Jews and non-Jews who exercised faith in Jesus as Messiah and Savior. God had chosen such ones, and on Pentecost 33 C.E., he had formed them into a new spiritual nation, "the Israel of God."-Galatians 6:16; Luke 18:7; Acts 10:34-45; 1 Peter 2:9.

Were the days "cut short" and the anointed chosen ones in Jerusalem saved? Professor Graetz suggests: "[Cestius Gallus] did not deem it advisable to continue the combat against heroic enthusiasts and embark on a lengthy campaign at that season, when the autumn rains would soon commence . . . and might prevent the army from receiving provisions. On that account probably he thought it more prudent to retrace his steps." Whatever Cestius Gallus was thinking, the Roman army retreated from the city, with grave losses inflicted by the pursuing Jews.

That surprising Roman retreat allowed "flesh"-Jesus' disciples who were at risk inside Jerusalem-to be saved. History records that when this window of opportunity opened, Christians fled the region. What a display of God's ability to foreknow the future and to ensure the survival of his worshipers! Yet, what of unbelieving Jews who remained in Jerusalem and Judea?

Contemporaries Would See It.

Many Jews felt that their system of worship, centered on the temple, would long continue. But Jesus said: "Learn from the fig tree . . . this point: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and it puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. Likewise also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away."-Matthew 24:32-35.

In the years leading up to 66 C.E., Christians would have seen many of the preliminary elements of the composite sign being fulfilled-wars, famines, even an extensive preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. (Acts 11:28; Colossians 1:23) When, though, would the end come? What did Jesus mean when he said: 'This generation [Greek, ge•ne•a´] will not pass away'? Jesus had often called the contemporaneous mass of opposing Jews, including religious leaders, 'a wicked, adulterous generation.' (Matthew 11:16; 12:39, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36) So when, on the Mount of Olives, he again spoke of "this generation," he evidently did not mean the entire race of Jews throughout history; nor did he mean his followers, even though they were "a chosen race." (1 Peter 2:9) Neither was Jesus saying that "this generation" is a period of time.

Rather, Jesus had in mind the opposing Jews back then who would experience the fulfillment of the sign he gave. Regarding the reference to "this generation" at Luke 21:32, Professor Joel B. Green notes: "In the Third Gospel, 'this generation' (and related phrases) has regularly signified a category of people who are resistant to the purpose of God. . . . [It refers] to people who stubbornly turn their backs on the divine purpose."

The wicked generation of Jewish opposers who could observe the sign being fulfilled would also experience the end. (Matthew 24:6, 13, 14) And that they did! In 70 C.E., the Roman army returned, led by Titus, son of Emperor Vespasian. The suffering of the Jews who were again bottled up in the city is almost beyond belief. Eyewitness Flavius Josephus reports that by the time the Romans demolished the city, about 1,100,000 Jews had died and some 100,000 were taken captive, most of those soon to perish horribly from starvation or in Roman theaters. Truly, the tribulation of 66-70 C.E. was the greatest that Jerusalem and the Jewish system had ever experienced or would ever experience. How different the outcome was for Christians who had heeded Jesus' prophetic warning and had left Jerusalem after the departure of the Roman armies in 66 C.E.! The anointed Christian "chosen ones" were "saved," or kept safe, in 70 C.E.-Matthew 24:16, 22.

Another Fulfillment to Come

However, that was not the finale. Earlier, Jesus had indicated that after the city was devastated, he would come in Jehovah's name. (Matthew 23:38, 39; 24:2) He then made this clearer in his prophecy uttered on the Mount of Olives. Having mentioned the coming "great tribulation," he said that afterward false Christs would appear, and Jerusalem would be trampled on by the nations for an extended period. (Matthew 24:21, 23-28; Luke 21:24) Could it be that another, a greater, fulfillment was to come? The facts answer yes. When we compare Revelation 6:2-8 (written after the tribulation on Jerusalem in 70 C.E.) with Matthew 24:6-8 and Luke 21:10, 11, we see that warfare, food shortages, and plague on a greater scale lay ahead. This greater fulfillment of Jesus' words has been occurring since World War I erupted in 1914...

Referring to the tribulation just ahead of us, Jesus said: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days [the destruction of false religion] the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."-Matthew 24:29, 30.

Hence, Jesus himself says that "after the tribulation of those days," celestial phenomena of some sort will occur. (Compare Joel 2:28-32; 3:15.) This will so startle and shock disobedient humans that they will "beat themselves in lamentation." Many will "become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth." But this will not be the case with true Christians! These 'will lift their heads up, because their deliverance is getting near.'-Luke 21:25, 26, 28.

Judgment Ahead!

Note that Matthew 24:29-31 foretells that (1) the Son of man comes, (2) this coming will be with great glory, (3) the angels will be with him, and (4) all the tribes of the earth will see him. Jesus repeats these elements in the parable of the sheep and the goats. (Matthew 25:31-46) Hence, we can conclude that this parable deals with the time, after the opening outbreak of tribulation, when Jesus will come with his angels and sit down on his throne to judge. (John 5:22; Acts 17:31; compare 1 Kings 7:7; Daniel 7:10, 13, 14, 22, 26; Matthew 19:28.) Who will be judged, and with what result? The parable shows that Jesus will give attention to all nations, as if they were assembled right before his celestial throne.

Sheeplike men and women will be separated to Jesus' right side of favor. Why? Because they used their opportunities to do good to his brothers-anointed Christians, who will share in Christ's heavenly Kingdom. (Daniel 7:27; Hebrews 2:9-3:1) In line with the parable, millions of sheeplike Christians have recognized Jesus' spiritual brothers and have been working in support of them. As a result, the "great crowd" have the Bible-based hope of surviving "the great tribulation" and then living forever in Paradise, the earthly realm of God's Kingdom.-Revelation 7:9, 14; 21:3, 4; John 10:16.

What a different outcome there will be for the goats! They are described at Matthew 24:30 as 'beating themselves in lamentation' when Jesus comes. And well they should, for they will have built up a record of rejecting the Kingdom good news, of opposing Jesus' disciples, and of preferring the world that is passing away. (Matthew 10:16-18; 1 John 2:15-17) Jesus-not any of his disciples on earth-determines who the goats are. Of them he says: "These will depart into everlasting cutting-off."-Matthew 25:46.

Our progress in understanding the prophecy in Matthew chapters 24 and 25 has been thrilling. However, there is a part of Jesus' prophecy that merits our further attention-'the disgusting thing that causes desolation standing in a holy place.' Jesus urged his followers to use discernment regarding this and to be ready to take action. (Matthew 24:15, 16) What is this "disgusting thing"? When does it stand in a holy place? And how are our present and future life prospects involved? The following article will discuss this.[source - WT 5/99/1999, page 8-13].

USE OF 'GENERATION' BY JESUS (YESHUA):

Many scriptures confirm that Jesus did not use "generation" with regard to some small or distinct group, meaning only the Jewish leaders or only his loyal disciples. Rather, he used "generation" in condemning the masses of Jews who rejected him. Happily, though, individuals could do what the apostle Peter urged on the day of Pentecost, repent and "get saved from this crooked generation."-Acts 2:40.

In that statement, Peter was clearly not being precise as to any fixed age or length of time, nor was he tying the "generation" to any certain date. He did not say that people should get saved from the generation that was born in the same year Jesus was or the generation that was born in 29 C.E. Peter was speaking about the unbelieving Jews of that period-some perhaps being rather young, others being older-who had been exposed to Jesus' teaching, had seen or heard of his miracles, and had not accepted him as Messiah.

That evidently is how Peter understood Jesus' use of "generation" when he and three other apostles were with Jesus on the Mount of Olives. According to Jesus' prophetic statement, Jews of that period-basically, Jesus' contemporaries-were going to experience or hear of wars, earthquakes, famines, and other evidences that the end of the Jewish system was near. In fact, that generation did not pass before the end came in 70 C.E.-Matthew 24:3-14, 34.

It must be acknowledged that we have not always taken Jesus' words in that sense. There is a tendency for imperfect humans to want to be specific about the date when the end will come. Recall that even the apostles sought more specifics, asking: "Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?"-Acts 1:6.

In fact,

"Saved From a "Wicked Generation"

"O faithless and twisted generation, how long must I continue with you and put up with you?"-LUKE 9:41.

WE LIVE in calamitous times. Earthquakes, floods, famines, disease, lawlessness, bombings, horrendous warfare-these and more have engulfed mankind during our 20th century. However, the greatest calamity of all threatens in the near future. What is that? It is "great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again." (Matthew 24:21) Yet, many of us may look forward to a joyful future! Why? Because God's own Word describes "a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues . . . 'These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation . . . They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore . . . And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.'"-Revelation 7:1, 9, 14-17.

The inspired record at Matthew 24:3-22, Mark 13:3-20, and Luke 21:7-24 introduces Jesus' prophetic description of "the conclusion of the system of things." This prophecy had an initial fulfillment on the corrupt Jewish system of things of the first century of our Common Era, culminating in an unprecedented "great tribulation" on the Jews. The entire religious and political structure of the Jewish system, centered at Jerusalem's temple, was thrown down, never to be restored.

Let us now consider the circumstances that surrounded the first fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy. This will help us better to understand the parallel fulfillment today. It will show us how urgent it is to take positive action now in order to survive the greatest of tribulations that threatens all mankind.-Romans 10:9-13; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 15:58.

"The End"-When?

About the year 539 B.C.E., God's prophet Daniel was given a vision of events that would occur during the final "week" of a period of "seventy weeks" of years. (Daniel 9:24-27) These "weeks" began in 455 B.C.E. when King Artaxerxes of Persia ordered the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. The final "week" started with the appearance of Messiah, Jesus Christ, at his baptism and anointing in 29 C.E. God-fearing Jews of the first century C.E. were well aware of this time feature of Daniel's prophecy. For example, concerning the crowds that flocked to hear the preaching of John the Baptizer in 29 C.E., Luke 3:15 states: "The people were in expectation and all were reasoning in their hearts about John: 'May he perhaps be the Christ?'"

The 70th "week" was to be seven years of special favor extended to the Jews. Starting in 29 C.E., it included Jesus' baptism and ministry, his sacrificial death "at the half of the week" in 33 C.E., and another 'half week' until 36 C.E. During this "week," the opportunity to become Jesus' anointed disciples was extended exclusively to God-fearing Jews and Jewish proselytes. Then in 70 C.E., a date not known in advance, the Roman legions under Titus exterminated the apostate Jewish system.-Daniel 9:26, 27.

Thus the Jewish priesthood, which had defiled Jerusalem's temple and conspired in the murder of God's own Son, was wiped out. Gone, too, were the national and tribal records. Thereafter, no Jew could legally claim a priestly or a kingly inheritance. Happily, though, anointed spiritual Jews had been separated as a royal priesthood to "declare abroad the excellencies" of Jehovah God. (1 Peter 2:9) When Rome's army first besieged Jerusalem and even undermined the temple area in 66 C.E., Christians recognized that military force as "the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place." In obedience to Jesus' prophetic command, the Christians in Jerusalem and Judea fled to the mountainous regions for protection.-Matthew 24:15, 16; Luke 21:20, 21.

Those faithful Jewish Christians observed the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy and were eyewitnesses of the tragic wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and lawlessness that Jesus had foretold as part of the "sign . . . of the conclusion of the system of things." (Matthew 24:3) But had Jesus told them when Jehovah would actually execute judgment on that corrupt system? No. What he prophesied about the climax of his future royal presence surely applied also to the first-century "great tribulation": "Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father."-Matthew 24:36.

From Daniel's prophecy, the Jews could have calculated the timing of Jesus' appearing as the Messiah. (Daniel 9:25) Yet they were given no date for the "great tribulation" that finally desolated the apostate Jewish system of things. It was only after the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple that they realized that the date was 70 C.E. However, they had been aware of Jesus' prophetic words: "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." (Matthew 24:34) Apparently, the application of "generation" here is different from that at Ecclesiastes 1:4, which speaks of successive generations coming and going over a period of time.

"This Generation"-What Is It?

When four apostles seated with Jesus on the Mount of Olives heard his prophecy about "the conclusion of the system of things," how would they understand the expression "this generation"? In the Gospels the word "generation" is translated from the Greek word ge•ne•a´, which current lexicons define in these terms: "Lit[erally] those descended fr[om] a common ancestor." (Walter Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament) "That which has been begotten, a family; . . . successive members of a genealogy . . . or of a race of people . . . or of the whole multitude of men living at the same time, Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 1:48; 21:32; Phil. 2:15, and especially of those of the Jewish race living at the same period." (W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words) "That which has been begotten, men of the same stock, a family; . . . the whole multitude of men living at the same time: Mt. xxiv. 34; Mk. xiii. 30; Lk. i. 48 . . . used esp[ecially] of the Jewish race living at one and the same period."-J. H. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

Vine and Thayer both cite Matthew 24:34 in defining "this generation" (he ge•ne•a´ hau´te) as "the whole multitude of men living at the same time." The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (1964) gives support to this definition, stating: "The use of 'generation' by Jesus expresses his comprehensive purpose: he aims at the whole people and is conscious of their solidarity in sin." Truly a "solidarity in sin" was apparent in the Jewish nation when Jesus was on earth, just as it marks the world system today.

Of course, Christians studying this matter guide their thinking primarily by how Jesus used the Greek expression he ge•ne•a´ hau´te, or "this generation." He used it consistently in a negative way. Thus, he called the Jewish religious leaders "serpents, offspring of vipers" and went on to say that the judgment of Gehenna would be executed on "this generation." (Matthew 23:33, 36) However, was this judgment limited to the hypocritical clergy? Not at all. On a number of occasions, Jesus' disciples heard him speak of "this generation," applying the term uniformly in a far wider sense. What was that?

"This Wicked Generation"

In 31 C.E., during Jesus' great Galilean ministry and shortly after the Passover, his disciples heard him say to "the crowds": "With whom shall I compare this generation? It is like young children sitting in the marketplaces who cry out to their playmates, saying, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance; we wailed, but you did not beat yourselves in grief.' Correspondingly, John [the Baptizer] came neither eating nor drinking, yet people say, 'He has a demon'; the Son of man [Jesus] did come eating and drinking, still people say, 'Look! A man gluttonous and given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'" There was no pleasing those unprincipled "crowds"!-Matthew 11:7, 16-19.

Later in 31 C.E., as Jesus and his disciples set out on their second preaching tour of Galilee, "some of the scribes and Pharisees" asked Jesus for a sign. He told them and "the crowds" who were present: "A wicked and adulterous generation keeps on seeking for a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. . . . That is how it will be also with this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:38-46) Obviously, "this wicked generation" included both the religious leaders and "the crowds" who never came to appreciate the sign that was fulfilled in Jesus' death and resurrection.

After the Passover of 32 C.E., as Jesus and his disciples came into the Galilean region of Magadan, the Sadducees and the Pharisees again asked Jesus for a sign. He repeated to them: "A wicked and adulterous generation keeps on seeking for a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah." (Matthew 16:1-4) Those religious hypocrites were indeed most reprehensible as leaders among the unfaithful "crowds" whom Jesus condemned as "this wicked generation."

Toward the end of his Galilean ministry, Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him and said: "Whoever becomes ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him." (Mark 8:34, 38) So the masses of unrepentant Jews of that time obviously made up "this adulterous and sinful generation." Some days later, after Jesus' transfiguration, Jesus and his disciples "came toward the crowd," and a man asked him to heal his son. Jesus commented: "O faithless and twisted generation, how long must I continue with you? How long must I put up with you?"-Matthew 17:14-17; Luke 9:37-41.

It was likely in Judea, after the Festival of Booths in 32 C.E., "when the crowds were massing together" around Jesus, that he repeated his condemnation of them, saying: "This generation is a wicked generation; it looks for a sign. But no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah." (Luke 11:29) Finally, when the religious leaders brought Jesus to trial, Pilate offered to release him. The record says: "The chief priests and the older men persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas, but to have Jesus destroyed. . . . Pilate said to them: 'What, then, shall I do with Jesus the so-called Christ?' They all said: 'Let him be impaled!' He said: 'Why, what bad thing did he do?' Still they kept crying out all the more: 'Let him be impaled!'" That "wicked generation" was demanding Jesus' blood!-Matthew 27:20-25.

A "faithless and twisted generation," egged on by its religious leaders, thus played a key part in bringing about the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Fifty days later, at Pentecost in 33 C.E., the disciples received holy spirit and started to speak in different tongues. Upon hearing the sound, "the multitude came together," and the apostle Peter addressed them as "men of Judea and all you inhabitants of Jerusalem," saying: "This man [Jesus] . . . you fastened to a stake by the hand of lawless men and did away with." How did some of those listeners react? "They were stabbed to the heart." Peter then called on them to repent. He "bore thorough witness and kept exhorting them, saying: 'Get saved from this crooked generation.'" In response, about three thousand "embraced his word heartily [and] were baptized."-Acts 2:6, 14, 23, 37, 40, 41.

See Page 2

Admin
Admin

Posts : 2657
Join date : 2012-11-14

View user profile http://religioustruths.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: When God's (YHWH's) Kingdom Starts Rulling:

Post  Admin on Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:11 pm



Page 2

"This Generation" Identified.

What, then, is the "generation" so frequently referred to by Jesus in the presence of his disciples? What did they understand by his words: "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur"? Surely, Jesus was not departing from his established use of the term "this generation," which he consistently applied to the contemporary masses with their "blind guides" who together made up the Jewish nation. (Matthew 15:14) "This generation" experienced all the distress foretold by Jesus and then passed away in an unequaled "great tribulation" on Jerusalem.-Matthew 24:21, 34.

In the first century, Jehovah was judging the Jewish people. Repentant ones, who came to exercise faith in Jehovah's merciful provision through Christ, were saved out of that "great tribulation." True to Jesus' words, all things prophesied occurred, and then the "heaven and earth" of the Jewish system of things-the entire nation, with its religious leaders and wicked society of people-passed away. Jehovah had executed judgment!-Matthew 24:35; compare 2 Peter 3:7.

Those Jews who had paid attention to Jesus' prophetic words realized that their salvation depended, not on trying to calculate the length of a "generation" or of some dated "times or seasons," but on keeping separate from the evil contemporary generation and zealously doing God's will. Though the final words of Jesus' prophecy apply to the major fulfillment in our day, first-century Jewish Christians also had to heed the admonition: "Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing before the Son of man."-Luke 21:32-36; Acts 1:6-8.

Today, "the great day of Jehovah . . . is near, and there is a hurrying of it very much." (Zephaniah 1:14-18; Isaiah 13:9, 13) Suddenly, at Jehovah's own predetermined "day and hour," his fury will be unleashed upon the world's religious, political, and commercial elements, together with the wayward people who make up this contemporary "wicked and adulterous generation." (Matthew 12:39; 24:36; Revelation 7:1-3, 9, 14) How may you get saved out of "the great tribulation"? [source - WT 11/1/95, pages 10-15]

THE FACTS ON MATTHEW 10:23:

Matthew 10:23, " But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." (ASV).

Now, "What is the meaning of the following statement, recorded at Matthew 10:23: "You will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives"?
Jesus said that in the year 31 (A.D.). This was when he was sending out his twelve apostles, in twos, to preach in all the cities of Israel. It may have been, as in the case of the seventy evangelizers whom Jesus also sent out to preach, that the apostles were sent in advance of Jesus and that Jesus would later come to the places where they had preached. (Luke 10:1) This, however, does not appear to be the thing referred to by Jesus in Matthew 10:23, namely, that he would personally, in the flesh, follow up his twelve apostles in the cities in which they had preached.

It is evident that when Jesus gave his twelve apostles these preaching instructions, he was doing so for the years that would follow his death, resurrection and ascension to heaven, never to come back again to the earth in the flesh. How is this evident? From the fact that Jesus spoke to the apostles about their being mistreated in the synagogues and being haled before governors and kings "for a witness to them and the nations." (Matt. 10:17, 18) There is no record that such things occurred during the short preaching campaign in which the apostles engaged in Israel exclusively, after which they returned to Jesus and made their reports. At the time that Jesus gave them the above instructions, he plainly told them not to go to the nations or even to the Samaritans on this preaching campaign, but only to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel."-Matt. 10:5, 6.

So it must have been because he looked ahead to their world-wide preaching among outside nations after his ascension to heaven that Jesus said to the apostles: "You will be objects of hatred by all people [not merely Israelites] on account of my name; but he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved. When they persecute you in one city, flee to another; for truly I say to you, You will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives."-Matt. 10:22, 23.

On the occasion of saying those words, Jesus gave the apostles, for the immediate preaching campaign, a local territory assignment. It took in the territory of Israel in Palestine, namely, Judea, Galilee and Peraea, and did not include Samaria. By covering this they would "complete the circuit of the cities of Israel." So now Jesus used this temporary, limited territory assignment as an illustration of their final complete territory assignment. Before he ascended to heaven the resurrected Jesus made their territory assignment the entire world, for he said: "All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go therefore [everywhere in the earth] and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit." (Matt. 28:18, 19) This enlarged their territory assignment beyond the borders of Israel, yes, beyond the borders of so-called Christendom and out into the so-called pagan world that does not belong to Christendom. Under Jesus' instructions, his disciples were to undertake to complete the circuit of the whole inhabited earth, preaching the good news of God's kingdom to all, to Jewish people, to professed Christian people and to all the pagan peoples.

By our consideration of Bible prophecy and modern events we discern that the Lord Jesus Christ, in company with Jehovah God, came to the spiritual temple in the spring of 1918. It was after that year, particularly from 1919 forward, that the remnant of Christ's anointed disciples began preaching the good news of God's kingdom as having been established in the heavens in 1914. How long after the Lord's coming to the temple must this preaching continue? Until the "Son of man arrives" for the execution of Jehovah's judgment. This will be in the "war of the great day of God the Almighty," at Armageddon. In connection with that arrival Jesus said, in Revelation 16:15: "Look! I am coming as a thief. Happy is the one that stays awake and keeps his outer garments, that he may not walk naked and people look upon his shamefulness."

Accordingly, by means of his instructions to his twelve apostles Jesus was prophetically telling us today that his anointed disciples or the remnant of spiritual Israel would not complete the circuit of the entire inhabited earth with the preaching of the message of God's established kingdom before the glorified heavenly King Jesus Christ would arrive as Jehovah's executional officer in the battle of Armageddon. This means that Jehovah's servants today, who now include hundreds of thousands of the "other sheep" or earthly companions of the spiritual remnant, will not be able to reach personally all parts of the earth with the Kingdom message before the battle of Armageddon breaks out. [source - WT 06/15/1907, page 184.]

THE FACTS ON MATTHEW 26:64:

Matthew 26:64 says, "Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (ASV).

"What is "the sign of the Son of man"?

However, there is evidently another major reason for Jesus' frequent use of the expression "Son of man" as applying to himself. This is with regard to the fulfillment of the prophecy recorded at Daniel 7:13, 14. In vision, Daniel saw "someone like a son of man" coming with the clouds of the heavens, gaining access to "the Ancient of Days," and being granted "rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him," his Kingdom being an enduring one.

Because the angelic interpretation of the vision in Daniel 7:18, 22, and 27 speaks of "the holy ones of the Supreme One" as taking possession of this Kingdom, many commentators have endeavored to show that the "son of man" is here a 'corporate personality,' that is, 'the saints of God in their corporate aspect, regarded collectively as a people,' 'the glorified and ideal people of Israel.' This reasoning, however, proves superficial in the light of the Christian Greek Scriptures. It fails to consider that Christ Jesus, God's anointed King, made a 'covenant for a kingdom' with his followers that they might share with him in his Kingdom, and that, while they are to rule as kings and priests, it is under his headship and by his grant of authority. (Lu 22:28-30; Re 5:9, 10; 20:4-6) Thus, they receive ruling authority over the nations only because he has first received such authority from the Sovereign God.-Re 2:26, 27; 3:21.

The correct understanding is made more evident by Jesus' own statements. Regarding "the sign of the Son of man," he stated that "they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Mt 24:30) This was clearly a reference to Daniel's prophecy. So, likewise, was his answer to the high priest's interrogation, saying: "I am [the Christ, the Son of God]; and you persons will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven."-Mr 14:61, 62; Mt 26:63, 64.
Therefore the prophecy of the coming of the Son of man into the presence of the Ancient of Days, Jehovah God, clearly applies to an individual, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The evidence is that it was so understood by the Jewish people. Rabbinic writings applied the prophecy to the Messiah. (Soncino Books of the Bible, edited by A. Cohen, 1951, commentary on Da 7:13) It was doubtless due to wanting some literal fulfillment of this prophecy that the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus to "display to them a sign from heaven." (Mt 16:1; Mr 8:11) After Jesus had died as a man and had been resurrected to spirit life, Stephen had a vision in which "the heavens opened up" and he saw "the Son of man standing at God's right hand." (Ac 7:56) This shows that Jesus Christ, although sacrificing his human nature as a ransom for mankind, rightly retains the Messianic designation "Son of man" in his heavenly position.

The first part of Jesus' statement to the high priest about the coming of the Son of man spoke of him as "sitting at the right hand of power." This is evidently an allusion to the prophetic Psalm 110, Jesus Christ having earlier shown that this psalm applied to him. (Mt 22:42-45) This psalm, as well as the apostle's application of it at Hebrews 10:12, 13, reveals that there would be a waiting period for Jesus Christ before his Father would send him forth to "go subduing in the midst of [his] enemies." It therefore appears that the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 7:13, 14 comes, not at the time of Jesus' resurrection and ascension to heaven, but at the time of his being authorized by God to take action against all opposers in vigorous expression of his kingly authority. The 'coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days,' then, apparently corresponds in time to the situation presented at Revelation 12:5-10, when the symbolic man-child is brought forth and caught up to God's throne. Then war breaks out in heaven, and the cry goes up: "Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ."

Further prophetic visions in Revelation (17:12-14; 19:11-21) show the exercise of full regnal power by the Messianic King over "peoples, national groups and languages" (Da 7:14), and hence the one "like a son of man" at Revelation 14:14 undoubtedly also represents Jesus Christ, as does the one so described at Revelation 1:13.-Compare Re 14:14-20; 19:15; and 1:13-18; see KINGDOM OF GOD ("Kingdom of Our Lord and of His Christ").

As to the 'Son of man's coming on the clouds' and being seen by "every eye" (Mt 24:30; Re 1:7), see CLOUD (Illustrative Usage); EYE; PRESENCE. [source - Son of Man, page 1002-1003].

And,

"Shortly before his death, Jesus told the Jewish religious leaders: "From henceforth you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matt. 26:64) What did Jesus mean by this?

He was referring to the Bible prophecy of Daniel about the promised "son of man" who was brought before "the Ancient of Days," Jehovah God. "To him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom," the prophecy says, "that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him." (Dan. 7:13, 14) This shows that the resurrected Jesus Christ would rule in heaven, and that the whole earth will be the territory over which he exercises authority as king.

But since God's kingdom is heavenly-its ruler Jesus Christ now being invisible-many persons do not consider it to be a real government. Yet, as we have seen, there is sound reason to believe that it is. [source - WT 01/15/1979, pages 4-5]

THE FACTS ON 1 CORINTHIANS 10:11:

1 Corinthians 10:11, "Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come." (ASV).

"Completion of the Foretold "Sign" Nears

WE TODAY can be thankful that the apostles of Jesus Christ asked him the question: "Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?" (Matthew 24:3) Their question led to his giving a lengthy, detailed prophecy the accuracy of which leaves us amazed as we see the progress of its fulfillment in this eventful twentieth century. This aids us in determining with certainty where we are in the outworking of God's purpose toward suffering mankind. We are strengthened in our belief that we are actually living during the invisible "presence" of Christ in the spirit and in the "conclusion of the system of things," inasmuch as we do see "the sign" that he foretold.

The "sign" in all its details is nearing its stage of complete clarity with no room for any watching observers to be mistaken. The "sign" has many features, as set out in Matthew's account, chapters twenty-four and twenty-five, Mark's account, chapter thirteen, and Luke's account, chapter twenty-one; and it has been almost the lifetime of a generation of mankind for all the features of the "sign" to become manifest in their fullness. In preceding chapters we have considered those features of the sign as described in Matthew's account, chapter twenty-five. Now we consider those features set out in chapter twenty-four, along with the comparative accounts given by Mark and Luke.

When Christ's apostles opened up their inquiry by saying, "Tell us, When will these things be?" they were referring to the things that Jesus had said prophetically that same day of Tuesday, Nisan 11, of the year 33 C.E. In Jerusalem's temple, after denouncing the hypocritical religious scribes and Pharisees, Jesus went on to say: "Here I am sending forth to you prophets and wise men and public instructors. Some of them you will kill and impale, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city; that there may come upon you all the righteous blood spilled on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I say to you, All these things will come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to her,-how often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks together under her wings! But you people did not want it. Look! Your house is abandoned to you. For I say to you, You will by no means see me from henceforth until you say, 'Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah's name!'"

Before Jesus left the temple or house of worship, he added further words of solemn prophecy, concerning which we read: "Departing now, Jesus was on his way from the temple, but his disciples approached to show him the buildings of the temple. In response he said to them: 'Do you not behold all these things? Truly I say to you, By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.'"-Matthew 23:34 to 24:2.

Just two days previously, on Sunday, Nisan 9, he had paused in his triumphal ride toward Jerusalem and wept over her because of her coming destruction. Predicting her terrible destruction by the Romans in 70 C.E., he said: "Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected."-Luke 19:41-44.

For natural, circumcised Jews, such as Christ's apostles were, those were disturbing predictions. Upon the generation of which they were a part, the innocent blood spilled in the course of Jewish history and earlier was to be visited. Exactly when would these things be fulfilled? They wanted to know. They believed and confessed Jesus to be the Messiah or Anointed One, the Christ. But Jerusalem's predicted destruction indicated that he would not set up his Messianic kingdom in that doomed city. He spoke of his not being seen "from henceforth," but also of his coming "in Jehovah's name." When would he be present again to carry out his Messianic role? The coming destruction of Jerusalem and her temple must certainly spell the end of the Jewish system of things. With no holy city and no holy temple the Jewish priesthood of the family of Aaron the Levite might be among those of Jerusalem's "children" who would be dashed "to the ground" or would at least be put out of their temple service. No wonder the apostles asked, not only about the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple, but also: "What will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?"

Their questions were on proper points of inquiry, for Jesus did come in the "conclusion" of the Jewish system of things. Other scriptures speak of the situation in that same sense. Hebrews 9:26-28 shows that Jesus did not need to make repeated sacrifices of himself and says: "Otherwise, he would have to suffer often from the founding of the world. But now he has manifested himself once for all time at the conclusion of the systems of things to put sin away through the sacrifice of himself. . . . so also the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many." Also, 1 Corinthians 10:11 says: "Now these things went on befalling them as examples, and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived." Counted from the year of Jesus' prophecy on the subject, the Jewish system of things had thirty-seven years yet to go, less than a generation with a life-span of forty years. Jerusalem was taken and destroyed by the Romans on Elul 7 (or, August 30, 70 C.E., Gregorian calendar time). How many of Christ's apostles escaped martyrdom and survived till that horrible event, the Bible record does not say.

A TIME OF TESTING AND DISASTERS

In answer to the inquiry of his apostles, Jesus described first the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem within that generation. "And in answer Jesus said to them: 'Look out that nobody misleads you; for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, "I am the Christ," and will mislead many. You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.'"-Matthew 24:4-6.

Jews would arise, not claiming to be Jesus returned in the flesh, but claiming to be the promised Messiah or Christ. But neither the apostles nor their fellow disciples should be misled by such self-styled Messiahs or Christs, for their operations would not betoken the "presence" or parousia of Jesus Christ nor bring deliverance to the Jewish nation. The Jewish revolt against the Romans in the year 66 C.E. was to be such a Messianic effort, but it led to Jerusalem's destruction and the scattering of the Jewish nation. The Messianic hopes of these misled people were bitterly disappointed.
During this thirty-seven-year period there were to be a number of wars, within earshot of the disciples or merely reported to them in the news. But those wars, while affecting the situation of the Jewish nation, were not the ones that directly brought on the end of the Jewish system of things. So the disciples were not to be terrorized into taking any premature action. "The end is not yet."

"For," said Jesus in enlarging upon what he had just said about wars and reports of war, "nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress."-Matthew 24:7, 8. Also, Mark 13:8.
Such calamities being merely a "beginning of pangs of distress," the end was "not yet." Those calamities were merely indications, not the final death throe. These things would affect the people in general, but there were things that would come specifically upon Jesus' disciples because they announced the true Messiah or Christ and followed in his footsteps. Hence, Jesus went on to say:

"Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name. Then, also, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off. But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come."-Matthew 24:9-14. Compare Mark 13:9-13.

The Bible book entitled "Acts of Apostles" testifies to the fulfillment of those prophetic words of Jesus Christ even within that generation, for this book was written by the medical doctor Luke about the year 61 C.E. Other Bible books, inspired letters written by apostles and other disciples before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., confirm the account in Acts of Apostles and add to the record of Christian suffering under persecution and international hatred toward Christianity. The good news of God's kingdom had penetrated beyond the Middle East into Asia Minor, Continental Asia, Africa, Europe and the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. The preaching of the Kingdom message was being carried on in all the inhabited earth. Although not resulting in world conversion to Christianity, a thing it was never purposed to accomplish, it resulted in a witness to all the nations. (Colossians 1:6, 23) Before this praiseworthy exploit was accomplished by outspoken Christian witnesses, the calamitous end could not come upon Jerusalem and the Jewish system of things.

JERUSALEM'S SECOND DESTRUCTION INDICATED AS AT HAND

Having shown in considerable detail the preliminaries that were to precede "the end," Jesus now specified the particular thing that would indicate the close nearness of the end of Jerusalem and the system of things that was centered in her and her temple. He said: "Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains. Let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house; and let the man in the field not return to the house to pick up his outer garment. Woe to the pregnant women and those suckling a baby in those days! Keep praying that your flight may not occur in wintertime, nor on the sabbath day."

Why the great need for the Christian Jews and proselytes in the Roman province of Judea to get out of it at top speed, with no unnecessary burdens, by direct route, at the opportune time, and take refuge in the mountains outside the mentioned province? "For then," Jesus continues on to say, "there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short."-Matthew 24:15-22.

This counsel of Jesus the apostles and other disciples should not forget nor disregard. If any of them delayed their flight out of Judea after seeing the disgusting thing standing in a holy place, it might cost them their lives; they might not be among those comparatively few who are spoken of as "flesh" that is saved only because the days of tribulation are cut short. But what is the "disgusting thing" the sight of which standing in the holy place would certify that not much time was left now before the devastating "great tribulation" was right at hand?

Jesus left no doubt as to what it was. He said it was the disgusting thing "as spoken of through Daniel the prophet." (Matthew 24:15) The "disgusting thing" that is foretold by the prophet Daniel in connection with the second destruction of Jerusalem is the one described in Daniel 9:26, 27 (especially according to the Greek Septuagint Version of the Hebrew Bible text). Secular history reveals that "disgusting thing" to be the pagan Roman armies under their "leader." That this is the proper explanation of the prophecy is borne out by a comparison of Matthew's account of Jesus' prophecy at this place with Luke's account at the corresponding place in Jesus' prophecy. Luke 21:20-24 says:

"Furthermore, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her withdraw, and let those in the country places not enter into her; because these are days for meting out justice [or, days of vengeance], that all the things written [including Daniel 9:26, 27] may be fulfilled. Woe to the pregnant women and the ones suckling a baby in those days! For there will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled."-Compare also with Mark 13:14-20.

It was in the year 66 C.E. that the Christian Jews in Jerusalem and Judea began to see the "disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet," take a stand in a "holy place," namely, Jerusalem and its environs. It was in that year that the unchristianized Jews revolted with Messianic aspirations against further rule by the Roman Empire. In reaction to this, the Roman general, Cestius Gallus, came down from Syria and surrounded Jerusalem with "encamped armies." It was at the time that the Jews celebrated the Festival of Booths (or, Tabernacles) from Tishri 15 to 21, which in that year should have run for the seven days of October 22-28 (Gregorian calendar). General Cestius Gallus brought his armies up to within "fifty furlongs" of the celebrating city. The Jews, well armed, sallied forth in attack and inflicted some damage on the Romans.

There now followed a "wait for three days." Then General Gallus, forcing the Jews back to Jerusalem, brought his troops up close to the city. But it was first on the last day of the month Tishri (about November 5) that he got his troops into the city of Jerusalem. He was indeed now in a place considered "holy" to the Jews. For five days the Romans made an attack on the temple wall, and on the sixth day they undermined the wall. This certainly was an assailing of what the Jews considered most holy. Easily the Romans could have now captured the whole city, but then, suddenly, without any valid reason for doing so, General Gallus withdrew from the city and retreated. The elated Jews went in hot pursuit and harassed the retreating Romans and inflicted considerable harm, so that the retreat turned into a rout. This was a stinging blow at the pride of the world-conquering Romans. Jerusalem was liberated! And in commemoration the Jews coined some new silver shekels bearing on one side the inscription "Jerusalem the Holy."

Were the Christianized Jews in Jerusalem and in the province of Judea deceived by this reestablishing of the independence of this land of the Jews? Not those who took to heart Jesus' prophecy and his counsel. They had actually seen the holy city of Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies. They had seen the "disgusting thing that causes desolation," with its military standards that were idolized as gods by the soldiers, standing "in a holy place," "standing where it ought not." (Mark 13:14) From this they were to "know that the desolating of her [Jerusalem] has drawn near." (Luke 21:20) It was now high time either to get out of Jerusalem or not to enter into her but to flee from all the province of Judea to the mountains outside, for instance, eastward across the Jordan River to the province of Perea. There, outside the doomed territory, these Christianized Jews could continue their preaching of the good news of God's true Messianic kingdom, instead of perishing with the doomed unbelieving Jews.

The independence of the Jews in Judea proved to be of short duration. Roman General Vespasian succeeded to General Gallus and reached Palestine early in the following year, 67 C.E. His endeavors to get the rest of the country under control allowed for the Jews to strengthen their defenses. After the death of Emperor Nero in 68 C.E., Vespasian was elevated to imperial power. Leaving Palestine, he reached Rome about the middle of 70 C.E. He left his son General Titus in charge of Roman military forces in Syria. The Jewish Passover of the year 70 approached, and the non-Christian Jews flocked to the city of Jerusalem for the celebration. It was then that General Titus came with four legions and bottled up the celebrating Jews inside the city. To starve out the rebellious Jews, he did what Jesus had foretold, build a fortified stockade, "a fortification with pointed stakes," about five miles long all around the city, to prevent any Jews from escaping.
The straits of the cooped-up Jews inside Jerusalem became desperate. The first-century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, in his writings, vividly describes the horrors resulting from the Roman siege. The loss of Jewish lives was mounting higher and higher. It appeared that, if the siege lasted too long, "no flesh" inside the besieged city would survive. It was as Jesus had foretold concerning this "great tribulation" upon Jerusalem and Judea: "In fact, unless Jehovah had cut short the days, no flesh would be saved. But on account of the chosen ones whom he has chosen he has cut short the days."-Mark 13:19, 20.
Providentially, the days of the siege proved to be relatively short, just 142 days, counted from Nisan 14 to Elul 7, or parts of six lunar months. That is to say, according to the Gregorian calendar, by August 30, 70 C.E., it was all over. Some Jewish flesh was permitted to survive, 97,000 Jews, according to Josephus' account, whereas he reports that 1,100,000 perished in the siege. Were those 97,000 survivors the "chosen ones" on account of whom Jehovah had cut short the days? Not unless you would call them chosen for captivity and enslavement. For it was just as Jesus had said: "There will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled."-Luke 21:23, 24.

No! the "chosen ones" on account of whom the number of days of Jerusalem's "great tribulation" was cut short were not those 97,000 miserable Jewish captives, upon whom Jehovah's great "wrath" rested in those "days for meting out justice." Jehovah's "chosen ones" were the Christianized Jews, to whom he had given the signal to flee without delay from all of Judea, including its capital Jerusalem. He desired all of them to get safely out of the danger zone, by acting in faith on Jesus' counsel to flee promptly after seeing the "disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place." After Jehovah got all these "chosen" disciples of his Son Jesus Christ out of the place upon which divine justice was to be meted out, he could let the execution of his vengeance upon the rebellious Jews be of short duration. As it is written: "Jehovah will make an accounting on the earth, concluding it and cutting it short." (Romans 9:28; Isaiah 10:23) Rightly, then, "on account of the chosen ones" those days of great tribulation on Jerusalem were cut short.

Secular history records the accuracy of Jesus' prophecy. But with this account of the destruction of earthly Jerusalem the prophecy of Jesus does not end, for there is more to say concerning the "sign" of his presence and of the "conclusion of the system of things." He looks beyond the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., for he says, in Luke 21:24: "And Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled." Jesus looked to the fulfilled "end" of those appointed times of the nations, usually called the Gentile Times. That means that he looked forward to the year 1914 C.E., for in that year the right of Jerusalem to have a Messianic kingdom in the hands of the Permanent Heir of King David ceased being trampled on by the nations. Why do we say this, inasmuch as in the year 1914 the rebuilt city of Jerusalem over in the Middle East was still under control of the Mohammedan Turks? It is because, in that year, at the close of the Gentile Times, Jehovah God enthroned the Permanent Heir of King David, not in the Turk-controlled earthly Jerusalem, but in the heavenly Jerusalem.-Hebrews 12:22.

FULFILLMENT UPON ANTITYPICAL UNFAITHFUL JERUSALEM

It becomes plain that, in his prophecy, Jesus was using the city of Jerusalem not only in a literal sense but also in a typical sense, as prefiguring something else of greater proportions. Otherwise, he would not have said concerning her destruction in 70 C.E., "then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again." (Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19) All informed persons know that Jerusalem's destruction in 70 C.E. was not the worst catastrophe since the world's beginning, for, what about the global deluge of Noah's day? And as for the equal of Jerusalem's destruction by the Romans never occurring after 70 C.E., what about World War I and World War II in this twentieth century? Jesus' language was not exaggerated, but evidently he was thinking of Jerusalem as a prophetic type, as a warning example of something that would embrace the whole world in a similar destruction. He was thinking of the antitypical unfaithful Jerusalem, namely, one of modern times. And what is that? It is Christendom with her hundreds of conflicting religious sects.-1 Corinthians 10:11.

This application of Jesus' prophecy holds true, not only as to Christendom's approaching destruction with all her political, commercial, military and judicial paramours, but also as to the world events that immediately lead up to her annihilation. Christendom now lives in a period of time that resembles in her twentieth-century experiences the period of time from Jesus' prophecy given on the Mount of Olives until the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and her temple in 70 C.E. This particular corresponding period of time for Christendom began at the close of the "appointed times of the nations" in the year 1914. Consider world happenings since then.

What things did Jesus say would be a "beginning of pangs of distress"? Were they not to be wars, food shortage, earthquakes, pestilences? (Matthew 24:7, 8; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:10, 11) What "wars" in the days of Christ's apostles in the first century can compare with World Wars I and II, not to speak of all the other wars since the close of World War II in 1945 C.E.? Did the famines, earthquakes, pestilences of the years 33 to 70 C.E. surpass the food shortages, earthquakes and pestilences Christendom and all the rest of the world have had since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914?

Jesus also told his apostles that his disciples would be sorely persecuted, being delivered up to tribulation and being killed, yes, of their becoming an object of hatred by all the nations; also, of the arising of false prophets, false Messiahs, and of the increasing of lawlessness toward God with a consequent cooling off of the quality of love on the part of the great majority of professed religionists; also, of the need of Christian endurance during such a time as that. (Matthew 24:9-13; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-19) Such developments marked apostolic times of the first century. And what about world developments since the Gentile Times ended in 1914? Has the world become so converted to Christianity that the persecution of Christ's true disciples has ceased? Is there any religious minority that is more the object of "hatred by all the nations on account of my [Christ's] name" than Jehovah's witnesses? Are there any religious persecutions greater than those heaped upon these Christian witnesses of Jehovah all the way from 1914 down to the present time? A record is there for all to consult.

There was another distinguishing feature about that apostolic period of the first century prior to 70 C.E. To his Jewish opposers in Jerusalem, Jesus said: "The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits." (Matthew 21:43) Even with their false Messiahs the Jews were not producing the fruits of God's kingdom by proclaiming it to the Gentiles. Before Jerusalem's destruction, they did not take up the message of John the Baptist and proclaim that the kingdom of the heavens was at hand. No, for during his last visit to the temple in Jerusalem Jesus said to the religious scribes and Pharisees: "You shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way in to go in." (Matthew 23:13) To whom, then, goes the credit for a fulfillment before the year 70 C.E. of Jesus' dynamic words: "And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations"? (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10) It goes to those who were the "objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name"-his own disciples.

Similarly, in this corresponding period since the close of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E., it is those who are outstandingly the "objects of hatred by all the nations on account of [Christ's] name" that are bringing about a modern-day fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy concerning the good news of God's kingdom. They are the ones who, despite hatred and persecution, have filled the inhabited earth with the preaching of the good news of God's Messianic kingdom for a witness to all the nations. This is not the message of God's kingdom such as Christendom has been preaching since the start of her existence in the days of Emperor Constantine in the fourth century-a kingdom within her hundreds of millions of church members, in their hearts, a kingdom that is finally realized by world conversion to Christendom's churches. In stark contrast, the kingdom preached by Jehovah's Christian witnesses since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 is a real government that was born in the heavens in that year. It is the established kingdom of God in the hands of the Permanent Heir of King David, and it will put an end to all the political governments of this earth and bless earth's inhabitants with everlasting life, peace and happiness.

This remarkable accomplishment, the preaching of such good news in all the inhabited earth for an international witness, by Jehovah's Christian witnesses is significant. It is a brightly shining feature of the "sign" that was to mark the "presence" or parousia of the reigning King Jesus Christ in spirit. Since the year of his enthronement in the heavens at God's right hand that preaching from door to door and by all other means of modern communication has been carried on by Jehovah's Christian witnesses for well over half a century, notwithstanding world wars and other large-scale calamities. Evidently the completing of the witness to all the nations concerning God's Messianic kingdom that is about to take over all mankind's affairs must be very near. This worldwide Kingdom-preaching was to precede "the end." All the inhabited earth has now heard the Kingdom-preaching. No longer do "all the nations" remain without a witness to them. "And then the end will come," said Jesus, for this system of things! [source - Completion of the Foretold "Sign" Nears, pages 293-308]

THE FACTS ON 1 JOHN 2:18:

1 John 2:18, "Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour." (ASV).
By the last hour, John evidently meant that of the Apostolic age as he was very old and all the other apostles had died, and that there would be a falling away. John's statement shows that there are many individual antichrists, though all together they may form a composite person designated "the antichrist." Per 2 John 7, "For manydeceivers have gone forth into the world, persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist." (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures; KIT). However the expreeion 'hour' refers to a period of time of undetermined length. Thus, He thus did not restrict the appearance, existence, and activity of such antichrist to some future time only but showed that the antichrist was then present and would continue on per 1 John 4:3, and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the [spirit] of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already." (ASV).

And,

"The "last days" mentioned by Paul at 2 Timothy 3:1-7 refer to the time after the apostasy had had its long day under the "man of lawlessness" referred to at 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12. All the matters mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 are 'fruits' of apostasy that are grossly apparent in our time. This does not refer to the first century, as the "man of lawlessness" was not then evident. These "last days" are therefore different from the "last hour" mentioned at 1 John 2:18, which refers to the closing period of apostolic restraint against lawlessness. This "restraint" was taken away at the death of John, the last of the apostles.-2 Thess. 2:7." [source - WT 08/15/1976, page 512]
THE FACTS ON MATTHEW 23:26:

Matthew 23:26, "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation." (ASV).

"When Jesus' apostles asked for a "sign" about his presence and the conclusion of the system of things, he gave his famous prophecy about coming wars, famines, earthquakes and the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom before the end. (Matt. 24, 25; Mark 13; Luke 21) He also said: "Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur."-Matt. 24:34

Based on the Bible and its fulfillment in history, Jehovah's Witnesses have often pointed out that Christ's prophecy was to have two applications: First, between 33 C.E. and the [minor fulfillment] destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.; second, a larger [or major fulfillment] fulfillment in this "time of the end" since 1914 C.E.

However, some Bible commentators have failed to appreciate the dual aspect of this prophecy. So they have held that by the term "generation" Jesus meant a race or people, such as the Jewish people or the class of wicked humans existing through the centuries. They might even refer to 1 Peter 2:9, which, in the Authorized Version, speaks of the anointed Christian congregation as "a chosen generation." However, Bible scholars now recognize that the Greek word in 1 Peter 2:9 should be rendered "race" and is different from the word rendered "generation" in Matthew 24:34.

Jesus was not referring to a race of people over the centuries or just to Christians. He was first of all referring to his listeners and other Jews at that time. An indication of this is the fact that earlier that day, when condemning the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus spoke of their murdering the prophets and said: "All these things will come upon this generation." (Matt. 23:36) These words came true on the contemporary generation when in 70 C.E. the Jews in Jerusalem faced its fiery destruction. (Luke 3:16, 17) That also marked the 'conclusion of the Jewish system of things' in the first fulfillment of Christ's prophecy.

This helps us to understand "generation" in Matthew 24:34. In common English usage today "generation" might be used for (1) all persons who were born and who live about the same time, or (2) the average span between the birth of parents and that of their children, usually 20 to 30 years. Which did Jesus mean? Obviously not the latter, for in its first application the "generation" ran from 33 C.E. until 70 C.E., or at least 37 years.

Also, it is evident that by the word "generation" Jesus did not mean just the Jewish children born in 33 C.E. Luke relates that after being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom was coming, Jesus told his disciples: "[The Son of man] must undergo many sufferings and be rejected by this generation." (Luke 17:20-25) That rejection certainly was not by newborn babies. Likewise, the way things worked out shows that the "generation" he spoke of in Matthew 24:34 included his listeners and others who could discern the fulfillment of his words from 33 C.E. onward until Jerusalem's destruction.

Thus, when it comes to the application in our time, the "generation" logically would not apply to babies born during World War I. It applies to Christ's followers and others who were able to observe that war and the other things that have occurred in fulfillment of Jesus' composite "sign." Some of such persons "will by no means pass away until" all of what Christ prophesied occurs, including the end of the present wicked system.

Jesus did not encourage his followers to try to calculate the exact length of this "generation." (Ps. 90:10) Instead of trying to figure how many more years, at the maximum, there may be until the end, Christians should remember Jesus' warning: "Keep on the watch . . . because at an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming."-Matt. 24:42-44.

We have ample evidence that Matthew chapter 24 is being fulfilled now, during "the conclusion of the system of things." One proof is the earth-wide preaching of the good news of the established Messianic kingdom, which Jesus said must be done before the end comes. (Matt. 24:14) So, rather than being drawn into speculation about a date that we cannot know, let true Christians actively share in that important preaching, as they look forward confidently to the fulfillment of Jesus' words about "this generation" at Matthew 24:34. [source - WT 10/01/1978, page 31].



See Part 3

Admin
Admin

Posts : 2657
Join date : 2012-11-14

View user profile http://religioustruths.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: When God's (YHWH's) Kingdom Starts Rulling:

Post  Admin on Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:16 pm


Part 3


THE FACTS ON LUKE 11:47 AND 51:

Luke 11:47, "Woe unto you! for ye build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them" (ASV)..

And,

Luke 11:51, "from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary: yea, I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation." (ASV).

Here, Jesus explained to his disciples the reason for his coming John 14:2-3 " In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also." (ASV).

"Shortly before instituting the Lord's Evening Meal, Jesus told his faithful apostles that he had to go away. He meant, of course, that after he died later that day, he had to go his way to heaven. Peter reacted by asking to be allowed to follow him. Thereupon Jesus said: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be."-John 14:1-3.

What "abodes" needed to be prepared for the apostles? Some Bible translators have rendered John 14:2 in a way that suggests that Jesus was talking about the apostles' needing "resting-places" on their way to heaven or their finding various rooms in heaven. Yet, W. E. Vine says about the Greek word involved: "There is nothing in the word to indicate separate compartments in Heaven; neither does it suggest temporary resting-places on the road." The word means simply a place to abide. So Jesus was promising abiding places in the spiritual heavens where he was going to be with his Father.-Ephesians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:4; 3:21, 22.

But in what way would Jesus prepare such abodes for his loyal followers? Having died a sacrificial death, Jesus went to heaven to present before God the value of his lifeblood. This would first benefit those who would be called to be joint heirs of heavenly life. The apostle Paul wrote: "Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us." (Hebrews 9:12, 24-28; Romans 6:5; 8:17) So when Jesus told the apostles that he was going to "prepare a place for" them, he certainly would have in mind his 'appearing before the person of God for' them. Only after he did that could they or other humans follow him to heaven.-Philippians 3:20, 21.

Did Jesus have to do other things to prepare a place for them? In time, he would assume kingly power and would war against Satan, casting him and his demons out of heaven. (Revelation 12:7-9) This would occur prior to the start of the heavenly resurrection of the apostles and other anointed ones sleeping in death. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) Whether Jesus' comment about 'preparing a place for' his followers included his casting Satan out of heaven, we cannot say.

Moreover, we do not know if Jesus had other assignments that had to do with preparing a place in heaven for anointed Christians. Yet, at least we can be sure that Jesus did prepare the way for his anointed followers by presenting to God the value of his "precious blood." (1 Peter 1:19) On the basis of that blood, the new covenant was established between Jehovah God and spirit-anointed Christians. [source - WT 05/15/1988 page 31].

"God's Kingdom Comes to Power in the Midst of Its Enemies

FOR thousands of years men of faith have lived in eager expectation of the day when God's kingdom would begin its rule. They have felt keenly the need for God to take a direct hand in earth's affairs. Does this mean that God has not been King during the centuries past? No, for Jehovah has always been the Supreme Ruler of the universe. (Jeremiah 10:10) But here at the earth his rulership has been challenged. And, as we have already seen, for sound reasons and with a loving purpose in view, God has allowed human governments under the influence of Satan to rule for a fixed period of time.

Jehovah promised, however, that at the end of that time he would take direct action against all rebels and opposers of his rule. And he would bring the earth and its inhabitants completely under his rule again. How? By the Kingdom, a new heavenly government under his Son Christ Jesus. So the coming of that kingdom to power means that great changes are near at hand. It means that Jehovah God has given to his Son "rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him."-Daniel 7:13, 14.

That event has already taken place in heaven. Kingdom authority has already been given to Jehovah's Son. Does that sound strange to you? It might, especially in view of the terrible conditions afflicting mankind. But, really, it is because of these very conditions that we can be certain that this is true. Why is this?

This is so because the coming to power of Jehovah's kingdom is not welcomed by all creatures. Not everyone wants to live under a government that insists on righteousness. (Luke 19:11-14) For this reason, Jehovah long ago recorded in his Word that when he 'begins ruling as king' toward the earth 'the nations would become wrathful.' (Revelation 11:17, 18) He foretold that, at the time of empowering his Son to act, it would be necessary for him to say: "Go subduing in the midst of your enemies."-Psalm 110:2 [109:2, Dy].

Christ Jesus would then oust Satan from heaven, the seat of government, hurling him down to the vicinity of the earth, in preparation for putting him completely out of action. In the heavens the grand announcement would then be made: "Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ." But for the earth, what? "Woe . . . , because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time." (Revelation 12:5, 7-10, 12) Full control of earth by God's kingdom must soon follow! However, the start of the rule by God's kingdom does not mean immediate peace and righteousness on earth. To the contrary, it triggers a period of unprecedented trouble for earth's inhabitants.

Realizing this, we can better understand the meaning of what Jesus told his followers about his second presence. They had asked him: "Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?" (Matthew 24:3) Jesus then described, for their benefit and ours, what would take place on earth when he would begin to rule in heaven. In this way, although the events in heaven would be invisible to human eyes, there would be visible proof that Christ was at last on the throne, taking action as king. It would be proof that the wicked system of things that has oppressed mankind for centuries had entered its "last days." (2 Timothy 3:1) Although it was foretold that there would be ridiculers that would try to belittle the facts, yet the evidence would be clear.-2 Peter 3:3, 4.


As we consider the evidence together, it is important to realize that Jesus did not say that any one event, such as threat of war or a terrible earthquake, would be the proof that "the end" was at hand. (Matthew 24:6) Rather, he said: "Note the fig tree and all the other trees: When they are already in the bud, by observing it you know for yourselves that now the summer is near. In this way you also, when you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near." (Luke 21:29-31) If we see one tree put out its leaves in midwinter because the weather is warm for a few days, we do not reason that summer has come, do we? But when we see all the trees budding and the days growing longer we know that summer has to be near. Likewise, when all the things that Jesus described take place, we can know for sure that Christ is on his heavenly throne and that his kingdom has, indeed, begun active rule. When that happens, liberation is near!

FULFILLMENT OF "THE SIGN"

Exactly what did Jesus point to as marking his second presence and the "conclusion of the system of things"? He said: "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another." (Matthew 24:7) Here Jesus tells us to look for a new kind of warfare-total war! The war that began in 1914 fits his description. Not only did armies fight on the battlefields; civilian populations too were organized to give full support to the war. As Jesus foretold, entire nations and kingdoms were fighting against one another. For the first time in history the whole world was at war. Hence it is called "World War I." Of it the book World War I said:

"In its scope, its violence, and above all, in its totality, it established a precedent. World War I ushered in the century of Total War, of-in the first full sense of the term-global war.
"Never before 1914-1918 had a war absorbed so much of the total resources of so many combatants and covered so large a part of the earth. Never had so many nations been involved. Never had the slaughter been so comprehensive and indiscriminate."

The World Book Encyclopedia noted that the number of soldiers killed and wounded was over 37,000,000, and added:

"The number of civilian deaths in areas of actual war totaled about 5,000,000. Starvation, disease, and exposure accounted for about 80 of every 100 of these civilian deaths. Spanish influenza, which some persons blamed on the war, caused tens of millions of other deaths."

This was just as Jesus foretold. Put together, these facts mark 1914 as the beginning of the "last days" and the year that God's heavenly kingdom began its active rule.-See also Luke 21:10, 11.

Also, after 1914 a series of earthquakes rocked the earth, causing great damage. In 1915, in Italy, nearly 30,000 were killed. In 1920, in China, 180,000 died. In 1923, 143,000 died in Japan. And major earthquakes have continued to take place with unusual frequency since then. As Jesus foretold, they are another mark of the "last days."

However, Jesus said that the events that marked the beginning of the "last days" in 1914 were only the "beginning of pangs of distress." (Matthew 24:Cool Greater trouble was to come. True to his prophecy, it did. The World Book Encyclopedia says: "World War I and its aftermath led to the greatest economic depression in history during the early 1930's. The consequences of the war and the problems of adjustment to peace led to unrest in almost every nation." This paved the way for World War II. And of that war the same source notes:

World War II killed more persons, cost more money, damaged more property, affected more people . . . than any other war in history. . . . It has been estimated that the number of war dead, civilian and military, totaled more than 22,000,000. The number of wounded has been estimated as more than 34,000,000."
Truly, the "pangs of distress" Jesus foretold have become greater as the "last days" move toward their climax.

During and after World War II widespread food shortages added to the distress. Shortly after the war Look magazine observed:

"A fourth of the world is starving today. Tomorrow will even be worse. Famine over most of the world now is more terrible than most of us can imagine. . . . There are now more people hunting desperately for food than at any other time in history."

More recent reports have shown that a constant lack of adequate food, resulting in chronic malnutrition, has become the "major world hunger problem today." The London Times reported:
"There have always been famines, but the scale and ubiquity [presence everywhere] of hunger today is on a totally new scale. . . . Today malnutrition is said to affect more than a thousand million people; perhaps as many as 400 million live constantly on the brink of starvation."-June 3, 1980.
Jesus also foretold the "increasing of lawlessness" as a mark of the "last days." (Matthew 24:12) And God inspired the apostle Paul to add: "In the last days . . . men will be lovers of themselves, . . . disobedient to parents, . . . without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, . . . wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse." (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) These are the conditions that have developed at an explosive rate since 1914! You have seen them with your own eyes, have you not? Throughout the world lawlessness is running wild. Said one lawyer: "Almost everywhere, including Soviet Russia, there appears to be an increase in crime, and particularly, alas, in juvenile crime." From nation after nation come reports such as the following:

"A wave of crime and rioting is sweeping across the United States . . . In many cities, women are afraid to go out after dark. And they have good reason. Rapes, assaults, sadistic outbursts of senseless violence are on the rise. Crimes often seem to be committed out of sheer savagery . . . Respect for law and order is declining."

As another feature of the "last days," Jesus spoke of great confusion and fear among the nations and their leaders. He foretold: "On the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out . . . men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth." (Luke 21:25, 26) The fulfillment of this prophecy is evident in the news of our time. U.S. News & World Report said:

"Is the world in greater tumult than before World War II? No doubt.
"Shooting troubles, on the average, erupt once a month. Counting out real wars like Korea and Vietnam, the record still shows over 300 revolutions, coups, uprisings, rebellions and insurrections worldwide since the end of World War II."

Added to all these things is the fear of being destroyed by the huge supply of nuclear weapons some nations possess. One news editor commented: "The fact is that today the biggest single emotion which dominates our lives is fear." It is just as Jesus foretold: mankind is fearful and the nations are in anguish.
All the foretold marks of the "last days" are here. They prove beyond a doubt that we have been in the "last days" since 1914. Hence it was in that year that God's heavenly kingdom came to power!-Revelation 11:17, 18.

It is true that in past generations there were periods marked by violence and much immoral conduct. The decline of the Roman Empire is an example. But never before in human history have all the conditions specified by Jesus been observed in the same generation. And never before have they existed at the same time in every nation of the earth. Today we live, not merely in the last days of one political empire, but in the "last days" of the entire wicked system controlled by Satan.

1914 A MARKED YEAR

Years in advance Bible scholars realized that 1914 was to be a year of great significance. Bible chronology specifically points to that year, and careful students of God's Word knew that. They expected great changes to take place, and the facts confirm that 1914 was, indeed, a marked year.

Others with knowledge of world affairs fully agree that 1914 was a marked year. The London Evening Star commented that World War I "tore the whole world's political setup apart. Nothing could ever be the same again. . . . some historian in the next century may well conclude that the day the world went mad was August 4, 1914." Of the great change 1914 made, the historian H. R. Trevor-Roper said:

"It is instructive to compare the first World War with the second . . . the first war marked a far greater change in history. It closed a long era of general peace and began a new age of violence in which the second war is simply an episode. Since 1914 the world has had a new character: a character of international anarchy. . . . Thus the first World War marks a turning point in modern history."

World leaders have also commented on the significance of the year 1914. Former chancellor of West Germany Konrad Adenauer spoke of the time "before 1914 when there was real peace, quiet and security on this earth-a time when we didn't know fear." Then he added: "Security and quiet have disappeared from the lives of men since 1914. And peace? Since 1914, the Germans have not known real peace nor has much of mankind," Note, too, the comment in the book entitled "1914." The author says: "In the year 1914 the world, as it was known and accepted then, came to an end. Far more than any year before or since was this the punctuation-mark of the twentieth century . . . from then on nothing could ever be the same."

Satan the Devil and his demons know they have only "a short period of time" left before their destruction. (Revelation 12:12) Even when Jesus was on earth, the demons knew that someday they would be destroyed. They showed a vicious disposition back then, and now that they know their time is short they are more vicious and desperate than ever. (Luke 8:27-33) They are out to stir up all the trouble that they can, in order to direct the attention of mankind away from the kingdom of God. That is why this wicked system of things has been behaving so crazily since 1914. It is behaving like a top, a child's toy, that wobbles crazily just before it tumbles to a complete stop.

Are we disheartened by this situation? Jesus said that his disciples would have reason to lift their heads up. Why? Because they realize the meaning of it all. They see in these events proof that deliverance is near! (Luke 21:28) And they do not keep this joyful news to themselves, but in all the earth they are preaching the thrilling news that the kingdom of God now rules. As Jesus foretold: "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14) This, too, is part of the "sign." In North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the islands of the seas Jehovah's witnesses zealously keep proclaiming this urgent message. In both large cities and small villages you will find them, in all parts of the earth. Yes, this part of the "sign" is also being fulfilled.

Beyond all doubt, the evidence points to 1914 as the year when the kingdom of God went into operation, and that event is causing things to happen here on earth. In that same year "the present wicked system of things" entered its "last days." (Galatians 1:4) Soon, now, the prayer for God's kingdom to "come" will be answered, when it displays its great power by destroying Satan's entire wicked system. Then God's kingdom alone will operate as the one government to rule the earth throughout eternity. (Daniel 2:44) Taking direct control of all earth's affairs, it will shower down on obedient mankind blessings of peace, happiness and life. The prayer for 'God's will to take place, as in heaven, also upon earth,' will have had glorious fulfillment, for God's kingdom will have come to rule forever. And think of it! You may enjoy eternal life under the loving rule of that kingdom.-Matthew 6:9, 10. [source - The Truth, Chapter 10, pages 82-93]

RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES DONE SIMPLY TO BE SEEN OF MEN ARE NOT PLEASING TO GOD (YHWH):

Many practice religious activities to simply be seen by others such as charitable works in the name of religion and/or going to church or other religious building on Sunday or some other day to be seen by others, but this is detested by God (YHWH) as shown at Matthew 6:1-5, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee. 5 And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward." (ASV).

Also, many work to put up salient temples and churches to simply impress others in the community, but this is not required as God (YHWH) can be faithfully worshiped in any adequate facility which is available as shown by Acts &:48-49, "Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in `houses' made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 The heaven is my throne, And the earth the footstool of my feet: What manner of house will ye build me? saith the Lord: Or what is the place of my rest?" (ASV); And at John 4:20-24, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father. 22 Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (ASV).

TRUE CHRISTIANS DO NOT JOIN WITH FALSE WORSHIPERS IN SPIRITUAL BROTHERHOOD:

It is imperative that true Christians do not join with others in spiritual brotherhood as they must not become defiled with false teachings and with those serving this system of things as shown at 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (ASV); And at 1 Corinthians 10:21, "But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." (ASV).

NOW NEAR THE CULMINATION OF THE END TIMES IT IS URGENT TO FORSAKE FALSE RELIGION:

Now, with the Culmination of the End Times close at hand it is imperative to forsake false religion if an individual wants to have God's (YHWH's) approval as shown by Revelation 18:4, "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come forth, my people, out of her, that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues:" (ASV); And at 2 Corinthians 6:17, "Therefore: 'Come out of company with them, And separate from them,' the Lord has said, 'And stop touching what is unclean; Then I will welcome you," (The New Testament by Charles B. Williams).

To this end, it may be necessary to change ones religion from that of your parents and/or from that which you adopted later in life as shown by 1 Peter 1:18, "knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers;" (ASV); And at 2 Chronicles 29:6, "For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of Jehovah, and turned their backs." (ASV); And at Joshua 24:14, "Now therefore fear Jehovah, and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt; and serve ye Jehovah." (ASV); And at Jeremiah 16:19, "O Jehovah, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of affliction, unto thee shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited nought but lies, `even' vanity and things wherein there is no profit." (ASV).

However, changing to the true religion may bring opposition from ones family and friends, and this was foretold at Matthew 10:34-36, "Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law: 36 and a man's foes `shall be' they of his own household." (ASV); And at Luke 12:52-53, "for there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 They shall be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother in law against her daughter in law, and daughter in law against her mother in law." (ASV).

WE MUST BE FAITHFUL TO GOD (YHWH) AND CHRIST FIRST ABOVE ALL ELSE:

The bible clearly shows that we must first of all be faithful to God (YHWH) and to his only begotten Son, Jesus (Yeshua) above all else at Matthew 10:37, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (ASV); And at Luke 18:29-30, "Pilate therefore went out unto them, and saith, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30 They answered and said unto him, If this man were not an evildoer, we should not have delivered him up unto thee." (ASV).

In fact real true love for family members can only be shown by setting the right example as testified to at 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, "But to the rest say I, not the Lord: If any brother hath an unbelieving wife, and she is content to dwell with him, let him not leave her. 13 And the woman that hath an unbelieving husband, and he is content to dwell with her, let her not leave her husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving departeth, let him depart: the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such `cases': but God hath called us in peace. 16 For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

" (ASV); And at 1 Peter 3:1-2, "In the same way you women must accept the authority of your husbands, so that if there are any of them who disbelieve the Gospel they may be won over, without a word being said, by observing the chaste and reverent behaviour of their wives." (the New English Bible; NEB).

APPENDIX:

(1) With respect terms translated as worship sometimes, here is detailed information that should be helpful to all. There is much confusion with respect the English words worship and obeisance due to one Koine Greek word being translated both ways thus obscuring the meaning being given by the original writer. The fact is the original Koine Greek word has been translated many different ways, and of course, they can not all be correct. Let's look at how this Koine Greek word is translated in several different Bibles of one pertinent scripture:

Here is the Authorized King James Bible:

Matthew 2:11, " And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

Here is the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible:

Matthew 2:11, " And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him: and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

Here is the Rothrham Bible:

Matthew 2:11, " and, coming into the house, they saw the child, with Mary its mother,-and, falling down, prostrated themselves unto it, and, opening their treasures, offered unto it gifts-gold and frankincense and myrrh;"

Here is the Young's Literal Translation Bible:

Matthew 2:11, " and having come to the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and having fallen down they bowed to him, and having opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh,"

Here is the RVA89 Spanish Bible I use:

Matthew 2:11, " Cuando entraron en la casa, vieron al niño con María su madre, y postrándose le adoraron. Entonces abrieron sus tesoros y le ofrecieron presentes de oro, incienso y mirra."

Here is the Darby Translation:

Matthew 2:11, " And having come into the house they saw the little child with Mary his mother, and falling down did him homage. And having opened their treasures, they offered to him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Here is the Hebrew Name Version of the World English bible:

Matthew 2:11, " They came into the house and saw the young child with Miryam, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Here is the Latin Vulgate:

Matthew 2:11, " et intrantes domum invenerunt puerum cum Maria matre eius et procidentes adoraverunt eum et apertis thesauris suis obtulerunt ei munera aurum tus et murram

The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures:

Matthew 2:11, "And when they went into the house they saw the young child with Mary its mother, and falling down, they did obeisance to it. They also opened their treasures and presented it with gifts, gold and frank incense and myrrh."

The New English Bible; NEB:

Matthew 2:11, "Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and bowed to the ground in homage to him; then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

The Good News for Modern Man, New Testament:

Matthew 2:11, "They went into the house and saw the child with his mother Mary. They knelt down and worshiped him; then they opened their bags and offered him presents: gold, frankincense, and myrrh."


New International Version; NIV:

Matthew 2:11, "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

Word for Word from The Vatican Manuscript #1209 in the Vatican Library:

Matthew 2:11, "and being come into the house, they saw the infant with Mary the mother of it, and falling down did homage to It, and opening the treasuries of them, they offered to it gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh."

Diaglott:

Matthew 2:11, "And coming into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and prostrating, they honored him. Then opening their caskets they offered, as presents to him, Godl, Frankincense, and Myrrh."



Now some authoritive information on translation I just obtained from a translator:

The New Thayers Greek-Lexicon of the New Testament, Joseph Henry Thayer, p.548:
"[proskuneo]......to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence....hence in the N.T. by kneeling or prostration to do homage(to one)or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication..."

*Regarding Mark 5:6 where in the KJV we read "But when he[the demon-possessed man]saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him." Ralph Earle in his Word Meanings In The New Testament writes: "Worshipped It is true that proskyneo...means "to make obeisance, do reverence to, worship. The pertinent question remains: Would the demon-possessed man be worshipping Jesus, even though he called Him "Son of the Most High God"(NASB, NIV, RSV)? Probably "fell on his knees in front of him"(NIV) is a safer translation."-p.37, Hendrickson Publishers, 4th printing, June 2000.


We see here that _context_ can determine what kind of PROSKYNEO it is that is being rendered.


So "to do obeisance" is an acceptable rendition for PROSKYNEO. There is nothing in the word itself, when used in respect to Jesus, that it meant the worship of that one as God Almighty. So that, while the New International Version says at Matthew 2:11:
"[the Magi] bowed down and worshipped him[the babe Jesus]," the Revised English Bible (1990)reads here: "they bowed low in homage to him."

Did the Magi do PROSKYNEO to the babe Jesus as to one born a King or as God Almighty? Surely it was the former. The word at Matthew 2:11 has the same sense of "worship" or "obeisance" that the Canaanites recieved from Abraham(Gen 23:7, 12.LXX),or that Esau recieved from his brother Jacob(Gen.33:3, 6, 7.LXX) and toward Daniel from King Nebuchadnezzar(Daniel 2:46,LXX). When we "bow down to," or do "worship"(PROSKYNEO) towards one that is not Jehovah God then that "worship" is different from that which we give to Him. But in the Bible the same word is used whether such "worship" is that directed toward God, or men, or angels(creatures). The New World Translation is no more inconsistent in it's treatment of this word than the Revised English Bible.

Whilst the REV has "bowed down"[PROSKYNEO] at Matthew 2:11 in respect of the Magi towards Jesus, it renders PROSKYNEO at John 4:23,24 as "worship" when Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that :
"God is spirit,and those who worship[PROSKYNEO] him must worship[PROSKYNEO] in spirit and truth."
At Revelation 3:9 Jesus says, according to the King James Version:
"Behold, I will make them of the synogogue of Satan....behold, I will make them to come down and worship[PROSKYNEO] before thy feet."

Did Jesus mean to contradict himself here when earlier he had said that only God should be worshipped? (Matthew 4:10.) Of course not. It is simply that PROSKYNEO can be, as has already been shown, to have the sense of "bowing down" as to a superior or the giving of honour, respect. Hence, most modern Bible versions i.e. NIV, TEV, REB do not so render PROSKYNEO here, Rev.3:9, as "worship".

Therefore, at this point, we should be able to see that it would _not_ be inconsistent to render PROSKYNEO at times as "to do obeisance," or at times "worship".
The English word "worship" to a reader or the Bible _might_ lead them to think that that in itself is 'proof' that Jesus is God for only God should be "worshipped". They might consider when coming across "worship" toward Jesus(in any translation that does so)as "adoration paid to God."-The New Universal Dictionary. That is the first definition given. But not the only one. This same dictionary also defines the English word "worship" as "the quality of being worthy; honour, respect, reverence...submissive respect." Hence, even though a translator would choose to always translate PROSKYNEO as "worship" this would be no proof that Jesus is God and hence, consequently, the converse would also be true: That to render PROSKYNEO as "obeisance" when given to Jesus would not be "remov[ing] every reference to Jesus' being worshiped." What this means is that we must not read too much into translations that choose to translate PROSKYNEO as "worship" in reference to Jesus as if that then shows that Jesus, the Son, must be God. The Greek word itself does not show this. Hence, the translator's theology has a rightful role to play in the choice of the English rendering of PROSKYNEO.

Some would object to the New World Translation's position here because they believe that Jesus is God. But it has first to be accepted that the word PROSKYNEO can be rendered the way the NWT, and indeed others, have so done. And that it is wholly incorrect to call it a "NWT adaptation" or an "inconsistency"! But the question remains:

Why has the NWT rendered it as "obeisance" when it is used in reference to Jesus?
It would be best here to let The Watchtower magazine of November 15th, 1970 answer. It says, partly:
" While some translators use the word "worship" in the majority of cases where proskyneo describes persons' actions toward Jesus, the evidence does not warrant one's reading too much into this rendering. Rather, the circumstances that evoked the obeisance correspond very closely with those producing obeisance to the earlier prophets and kings. (Compare Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 20:20 with 1 Samuel 25:23, 24; 2 Samuel 14:4-7; 1 Kings 1:16; 2 Kings 4:36, 37.)

"The very expressions of those involved often reveal that, while they clearly recognized Jesus as God's representative, they rendered obeisance to him, not as to God or a deity, but as "God's Son," the foretold "Son of man," the Messiah with divine authority.- Matt. 14:32, 33; 28:5-10, 16-18; Luke 24:50-52; John 9:35, 38. While earlier prophets and also angels had accepted obeisance, Peter stopped Cornelius from rendering such to him. And the angel (or angels) of John's vision twice stopped John from doing so, referring to himself as a "fellow slave"and concluding with the exhortation to "worship God."-Acts 10:25, 26; Rev. 19:10; 22:8, 9.

"Evidently Christ's coming had brought in new relationships affecting standards of conduct toward others of God's servants. He taught his disciples that "one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers . . . your Leader is one, the Christ." (Matt. 23:8-12) For it was in him that the prophetic figures and types found their fulfillment, even as the angel told John that "the bearing witness to Jesus is what inspires prophesying." (Rev. 19:10) Jesus was David's Lord, the greater than Solomon, the prophet greater than Moses. (Luke 20:41-43; Matt. 12:42; Acts 3:19-24) The obeisance rendered those men prefigured that due Christ. Peter therefore rightly refused to let Cornelius make too much of him. So, too, John, by virtue of having been declared righteous or justified by God as an anointed Christian, called to be a heavenly son of God and a member of his Son's kingdom, was in a different relationship to the angel(s) of the revelation than were the Israelites to whom angels earlier appeared. As the apostle Paul had written: "Do you not know that we shall judge angels?" (1 Cor. 6:3) The angel(s) evidently recognized this change of relationship when rejecting John's obeisance. On the other hand, Christ Jesus has been exalted by his Father to a position second only to God, so that "in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."- Phil. 2:9-11; compare Daniel 7:13, 14, 27."
One Catholic critic has recently stated:

"The point is that legitimate bibles use the word[proskyneo]consistently, and let the reader interpret its meaning - which can mean either our traditional use of the word today - being 'adoration' or simply just 'obeisance'. My point is that the NWT should not impose its theology by dicing up 'proskuneo' between obeisance and worship - one to apply to Jesus and other creatures and the other to God. Translate the Greek word consistently, and then try and explain passages that appear to go against your interpretation. The Watchtower does the exact opposite. It imposes its theology on 'proskuneo' to take the 'difficulty' out of the interpretation. To me, that is an abomination"

He said this after quoting the Jerusalem Bible in passages in Matthew where proskyneo is used toward Jesus. But if this gentleman had checked this up with another Catholic translation the New American Bible of 1986 he might have been more restrained in his comments toward the WTB&TS and the New World Translation. In actual fact the New American Bible is not as consistent as he probably would like. Though the NAB does translate proskyneo as "homage" at Matthew 2:2,8,11; 8:2; 9:18: 14:33; 15:25; 18:26; 20:20; 28:9 it does not do so at Matthew 28:17. Would this critic call the NAB here at this place "an abomination" because of failing to be "consistent" with the other places it translates the word as "homage"? The Revised English Bible has done exactly the same. Another Bible translation that was also not "consistent" at Matthew 28:17 because it rendered proskyneo differently than the other places cited above? See also Barclay's translation. But going back to the New American Translation. If one looks up in how it has translated proskneo at Mark 5:6; Luke 24:52; John 9:38 we can see that it does not measure up to this critic level of consistency for in those places in Mark and Luke it is rendered as "prostrated" and "homage" respectively yet in John 9:38 as "worship." So when the critic says "The point is that legitimate bibles use the word[proskyneo]consistently, and let the reader interpret its meaning" has he not charged the Catholic New American Bible as one that is not "legitimate"? Does he feel that same way toward the New American Bible as he does toward the New World Translation : "To me, that is an abomination." Yet the New American Bible has the nihil obstat and imprimatuer of the Catholic Church. Has he not called an "abomination" that which has the witness of his own Catholic Church that it is a faithful translation of the Holy Word? Of course, neither the New World Translation or any other Bible translation including the New American Bible "dices" up "'proskuneo' between "obeisance" and "worship." Any glance at a good Greek lexicon as can be seen above will make that charge a lie.(See also Hebrews 1:6)

From another source: [basically Hebrew translators and scholars]

Since Mitchell Gray asked the question about "obeisance" and Heb 1:6, I found a specific article on the subject and am posting it for consideration.

Mark Johnson
CERTAIN translations of Hebrews 1:6 say: "Let all the angels of God worship him [Jesus]." (King James Version; The Jerusalem Bible) The apostle Paul evidently quoted the Septuagint, which says at Psalm 97:7: "Worship Him [God] all ye His angels."-C. Thomson. (or, Deut. 32:43 in some Hebrew MSS)

The Greek word proskyneo, rendered "worship" at Hebrews 1:6, is used at Psalm 97:7 in the Septuagint for a Hebrew term, shachah, meaning "to bow down." This can be an acceptable act of respect for humans. (Genesis 23:7; 1 Samuel 24:8; 2 Kings 2:15) Or it can relate to worship of the true God or that wrongly directed to false gods.-Exodus 23:24; 24:1; 34:14; Deuteronomy 8:19. Usually proskyneo given to Jesus corresponds with obeisance to kings and others. (Compare Matthew 2:2, 8; 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 20:20 with 1 Samuel 25:23, 24; 2 Samuel 14:4-7; 1 Kings 1:16; 2 Kings 4:36, 37.) Often it is clear that obeisance is rendered to Jesus not as God but as "God's Son" or the Messianic "Son of man."-Matthew 14:32, 33; Luke 24:50-52; John 9:35, 38. Hebrews 1:6 relates to Jesus' position under God. (Philippians 2:9-11) Here some versions render proskyneo "pay . . . homage" (The New English Bible), "do obeisance to" (New World Translation), or "bow before" (An American Translation). If one prefers the rendering "worship," such worship is relative, for Jesus told Satan: "It is Jehovah your God you must worship [form of proskyneo], and it is to him alone you must render sacred service."-Matthew 4:8-10. Though Psalm 97:7, which speaks about worshiping God, was applied to Christ at Hebrews 1:6, Paul had shown in context that the resurrected Jesus is "the reflection of [God's] glory and the exact representation of his very being." (Hebrews 1:1-3) So any "worship" the angels give God's Son is relative and is directed through him to Jehovah.

Now what exactly does the Koine Greek word proskyneo mean in English:

The act of bowing, kneeling, prostrating the body, or making some other gesture to betoken submission; or simply the paying of respect. It adequately translates the Hebrew hish•ta•chawah' and the Greek pro•sky•ne'o in many cases.

Hish•ta•chawah' means, basically, "bow down." (Ge 18:2) Such bowing might be done as an act of respect or deference toward another human, as to a king (1Sa 24:8; 2Sa 24:20; Ps 45:11), the high priest (1Sa 2:36), a prophet (2Ki 2:15), or other person of authority (Ge 37:9, 10; 42:6; Ru 2:8-10), to an elder relative (Ge 33:1-6; 48:11, 12; Ex 18:7; 1Ki 2:19), or even to strangers as an expression of courteous regard (Ge 19:1, 2). Abraham bowed down to the Canaanite sons of Heth from whom he sought to buy a burial place. (Ge 23:7) Isaac's blessing on Jacob called for national groups and Jacob's own "brothers" to bow down to him. (Ge 27:29; compare 49:8.) When men started to bow down before David's son Absalom, he grabbed them and kissed them, evidently to further his political ambitions by making a show of putting himself on a level with them. (2Sa 15:5, 6) Mordecai refused to prostrate himself before Haman, not because he viewed the practice as wrong in itself, but doubtless because this high Persian official was an accursed Amalekite by descent.-Es 3:1-6.

From the above examples it is clear that this Hebrew term of itself does not necessarily have a religious sense or signify worship. Nevertheless, in a large number of cases it is used in connection with worship, either of the true God (Ex 24:1; Ps 95:6; Isa 27:13; 66:23) or of false gods. (De 4:19; 8:19; 11:16) Persons might bow down in prayer to God (Ex 34:8; Job 1:20, 21) and often prostrated themselves upon receiving some revelation from God or some expression or evidence of his favor, thereby showing their gratitude, reverence, and humble submission to his will.-Ge 24:23-26, 50-52; Ex 4:31; 12:27, 28; 2Ch 7:3; 20:14-19; compare 1Co 14:25; Re 19:1-4.

See Part 4

Admin
Admin

Posts : 2657
Join date : 2012-11-14

View user profile http://religioustruths.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: When God's (YHWH's) Kingdom Starts Rulling:

Post  Admin on Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:18 pm

Part 4

Bowing down to humans as an act of respect was admissible, but bowing to anyone other than God (YHWH) as a deity was prohibited by God. (Ex 23:24; 34:14) Similarly, the worshipful bowing down to religious images or to any created thing was positively condemned. (Ex 20:4, 5; Le 26:1; De 4:15-19; Isa 2:8, 9, 20, 21) Thus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, when certain of God (YHWH)'s servants prostrated themselves before angels, they only did so to show they recognized that these were God's representatives, not to render obeisance to them as deities.-Jos 5:13-15; Ge 18:1-3.

Obeisance in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The Greek pro•sky•ne'o corresponds closely to the Hebrew hish•ta•chawah' as to conveying the thought of both obeisance to creatures and worship to God or a deity. The manner of expressing the obeisance is perhaps not so prominent in pro•sky•ne'o as in hish•ta•chawah', where the Hebrew term graphically conveys the thought of prostration or bowing down. Scholars derive the Greek term from the verb ky•ne'o, "kiss." The usage of the word in the Christian Greek Scriptures (as also in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) shows that persons to whose actions the term is applied prostrated themselves or bowed down.-Mt 2:11; 18:26; 28:9.

As with the Hebrew term, the context must be considered to determine whether pro•sky•ne'o refers to obeisance solely in the form of deep respect or obeisance in the form of religious worship. Where reference is directly to God (Joh 4:20-24; 1Co 14:25; Re 4:10) or to false gods and their idols (Ac 7:43; Re 9:20), it is evident that the obeisance goes beyond that acceptably or customarily rendered to men and enters the field of worship. So, too, where the object of the obeisance is left unstated, its being directed to God is understood. (Joh 12:20; Ac 8:27; 24:11; Heb 11:21; Re 11:1) On the other hand, the action of those of "the synagogue of Satan" who are made to "come and do obeisance" before the feet of Christians is clearly not worship.-Re 3:9.

Obeisance to a human king is found in Jesus' illustration at Matthew 18:26. It is evident that this was the kind of obeisance that the astrologers rendered to the child Jesus, "born king of the Jews," that Herod professed interest in expressing, and that the soldiers mockingly rendered to Jesus before his impalement. They clearly did not view Jesus as God or as a deity. (Mt 2:2, 8; Mr 15:19) While some translators use the word "worship" in the majority of cases where pro•sky•ne'o describes persons' actions toward Jesus, the evidence does not warrant one's reading too much into this rendering. Rather, the circumstances that evoked the obeisance correspond very closely to those producing obeisance to the earlier prophets and kings. (Compare Mt 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 20:20 with 1Sa 25:23, 24; 2Sa 14:4-7; 1Ki 1:16; 2Ki 4:36, 37.) The very expressions of those involved often reveal that, while they clearly recognized Jesus as God's representative, they rendered obeisance to him, not as to God or a deity, but as "God's Son," the foretold "Son of man," the Messiah with divine authority. On many occasions their obeisance expressed a gratitude for divine revelation or evidence of favor like that expressed in earlier times.-Mt 14:32, 33; 28:5-10, 16-18; Lu 24:50-52; Joh 9:35, 38.

While earlier prophets and also angels had accepted obeisance, Peter stopped Cornelius from rendering such to him, and the angel or angels of John's vision twice stopped John from doing so, referring to himself as "a fellow slave" and concluding with the exhortation to "worship God [toi The•oi' pro•sky'ne•son]." (Ac 10:25, 26; Re 19:10; 22:8, 9) Evidently Christ's coming had brought in new relationships affecting standards of conduct toward others of God's servants. He taught his disciples that "one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers . . . your Leader is one, the Christ" (Mt 23:8-12), for it was in him that the prophetic figures and types found their fulfillment, even as the angel told John that "the bearing witness to Jesus is what inspires prophesying." (Re 19:10) Jesus was David's Lord, the greater than Solomon, the prophet greater than Moses. (Lu 20:41-43; Mt 12:42; Ac 3:19-24) The obeisance rendered those men prefigured that due Christ. Peter therefore rightly refused to let Cornelius make too much of him.

So, too, John, by virtue of having been declared righteous or justified by God as an anointed Christian, called to be a heavenly son of God and a member of the Kingdom, was in a different relationship to the angel(s) of Revelation than were the Israelites to the angels that had earlier appeared to them. The angel(s) evidently recognized this change of relationship when rejecting John's obeisance.-Compare 1Co 6:3; see DECLARE RIGHTEOUS.

Obeisance to the glorified Jesus Christ. On the other hand, Christ Jesus has been exalted by his Father to a position second only to God, so that "in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." (Php 2:9-11; compare Da 7:13, 14, 27.) Hebrews 1:6 also shows that even the angels render obeisance to the resurrected Jesus Christ. Many translations of this text here render pro•sky•ne'o as "worship," while some render it by such expressions as "bow before" (AT; Yg) and 'pay homage' (NE). No matter what English term is used, the original Greek remains the same and the understanding of what it is that the angels render to Christ must accord with the rest of the Scriptures. Jesus himself emphatically stated to Satan that "it is God (YHWH) your God you must worship [form of pro•sky•ne'o], and it is to him alone you must render sacred service." (Mt 4:8-10; Lu 4:7, Similarly, the angel(s) told John to "worship God" (Re 19:10; 22:9), and this injunction came after Jesus' resurrection and exaltation, showing that matters had not changed in this regard. True, Psalm 97, which the apostle evidently quotes at Hebrews 1:6, refers to God (YHWH) God as the object of the 'bowing down,' and still this text was applied to Christ Jesus. (Ps 97:1, 7) However, the apostle previously had shown that the resurrected Christ is "the reflection of [God's] glory and the exact representation of his very being." (Heb 1:1-3) Hence, if what we understand as "worship" is apparently directed to the Son by angels, it is in reality being directed through him to God (YHWH) God, the Sovereign Ruler, "the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters." (Re 14:7; 4:10, 11; 7:11, 12; 11:16, 17; compare 1Ch 29:20; Re 5:13, 14; 21:22.) On the other hand, the renderings "bow before" and 'pay homage' (instead of "worship") are in no way out of harmony with the original language, either the Hebrew of Psalm 97:7 or the Greek of Hebrews 1:6, for such translations convey the basic sense of both hish•ta•chawah' and pro•sky•ne'o.

(2) The bible reveals that many worship false gods without knowing it due to failure to check what they are really worshiping. See:


1 Corinthians 10:20, "No; but I say that what the Gentiles sacrifice, 'they sacrifice to devils and not to God'; and I would not have you become associates of devils." (The Confracternity Edition of The New Testament)

Habakkuk 2:18, "What doth the graven thing avail, because the maker thereof hath graven it, a molten, and a false image? Because the forger thereof hath trusted in a thing of his own forging, to make dumb idols." (DRCB).

(3) Let's see what most mainstream religions through the ages have in common be they so called Christian or pagan? Absolutely, history shows that one mainstream religion evolved into another one while maintaining many of the beliefs of the one before it, but simply changing the name of the God(s). No where is this more self evident than with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity. In has been with us since at least the time of ancient Sumeria as shown by The historian H. W. F. Saggs explains that the Babylonian triad consisted of three gods of roughly equal rank. Their "inter-relationship is of the essence of their natures." Is this positive proof that the Christian trinity descended from the ancient Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian triads? (*1). No. However, Hislop furthers the comparison: "In the unity of that One, Only God of the Babylonians there were three persons, and to symbolize that doctrine of the trinity they employed...the equilateral triangle, just as it is well known the Romish Church does at this day." (*2).

Yes, the concept of a trinity has been a prevailing belief for a very, very long time perhaps longer than most Christians would imagine. While worshipping innumerable minor deities, triads of gods appeared in all the ancient cultures of Sumer, Babylonia, Egypt, India, Greece and finally Rome. The "mysteries" of the first universal civilization, Babylonia, were transported down in time. The names of the gods changed. The details of ancient incomprehensible religions changed, but the essential ideas were the same. The Sumerians worshipped Anu (the Father), Enlil (the god of earth) and Enki (the lord of wisdom). The Egyptians worshipped Amun who was really three gods in one: Re was his face; Ptah his body and Amun his hidden identity "combined as three embodiments or aspects of one supreme and triune deity." (*4 - page 201).

Now with respect the next evolution of mainstream religion, the Egyptian, Egypt's history is nearly as old as Sumeria's. In his Egyptian Myths, George Hart shows how Egypt also believed in a "transcendental, above creation, and preexisting" one, the god Amun. Amun was really three gods in one. Re was his face; Ptah his body; and Amun his hidden identity (*3). The well-known historian Will Durant concurs: "In later days Ra [sic], Amon [sic], and Ptah were combined as three embodiments or aspects of one supreme and triune deity." (*4). A hymn to Amun written in the 14th century BC distinguishes the Egyptian trinity: "All Gods are three: Amun, Re, Ptah: they have no equal. His name is hidden as Amun, he is Re before [men], and his body is Ptah." (*5). Certainly is not this positive indicator that the Christian trinity descended from the ancient Egyptian triads? However, Durant submits that "from Egypt came the idea of a divine trinity..." (*6). Laing agrees when he says that "it is probable that the worship of the Egyptian triad Isis, Serapis, and the child Horus helped to familiarize the ancients with the idea of a triune God and was not without influence in the formulation of the doctrine of the trinity as set forth in the Nicene and Athanasian creeds." (*7). And The Encyclopedia of Religions goes even farther when it states that as Christianity "came in contact with the triune gods of Egypt and the Near East, it developed a trinity of its own." (* .

The next evolution or more correctly one concurrent with the Egyptian but originating also from the early Sumeria was the Babylonian. A very important evolution of spread originated from the Babylonian trinity that ultimately spread to Rome by way of the Etrusans. The Etruscans were a group that all indicators indicate as having originated in Babylon. As they slowly passed through Greece and went on to Rome, they brought with them their trinity of Tinia, Uni, and Menerva (*9). This trinity was a "new idea to the Romans," and yet it became so "typical of Rome [that] it was imitated in the capitolia of Italy. . . (*7 - page 26)" Even the names of the Roman trinity: Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, reflect the ancestry. Is this positive proof that the Christian trinity descended from the Etruscan and Roman triads? No, but an extremely significant indicator of this fact. However, Dr. Gordon Laing convincingly devotes his entire book Survivals of the Roman Gods to the comparison of Roman Paganism and the Roman Catholic Church. (*7). Pelikan adds to Laing's work when he states that the early church fathers used and cited the Roman Sibylline Oracles so much that these were called "Sibyllists" by the 2nd century critic Celsus. (*10). There was even a medieval hymn, "Dies irae" which prophesied the coming of the day of wrath on the "dual authority of David and the Sibyl." (*10 - page 64-65).

Now to know the truth, go to:

1) http://religioustruths.forumsland.com/

2) http://www.network54.com/Forum/403209/

3) http://religioustruths.lefora.com/

4) http://religioustruths.boardhost.com/

5) http://religious-truths.forums.com/

6) http://religioustruthsbyiris.createmybb3.com/

7) http://religioustruths.forumotion.com/


Your Friend in Christ Iris89

Francis David said it long ago, "Neither the sword of popes...nor the image of death will halt the march of truth."Francis David, 1579, written on the wall of his prison cell." Read the book, "What Does The Bible Really Teach" and the Bible today!


Admin
Admin

Posts : 2657
Join date : 2012-11-14

View user profile http://religioustruths.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: When God's (YHWH's) Kingdom Starts Rulling:

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum