The End Of The Age – Part 1

I am interested to learn what the bible really meant about the word “church” and whether or not it is the same as the proper noun “Church”. My initial quest led me to focus first on the topic of “Temple of God”.

Temple of Jerusalem

Herod’s Temple or Temple of Jerusalem.

This again led me to Matthew 24:6-8, one of the important doctrine of the Church, Church of Christ or Iglesia Ni Cristo.

Matthew 24:6-8, NKJV – 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

We always believe the “war” is the first world war which broke up on July 27, 1914 [modern history is July 28, 1914].

As I read this verse, the words “And you …” caught my attention. when Christ says “you“, logically he was speaking to the Apostles. Now, why Christ is speaking of “future wars” led me to read the entire Matthew 24. In fact the first topic of Matthew 24 is regarding the temple of Jerusalem which is why I got into Matthew 24:6-8.

Now I realized Matthew 24 is a huge topic debated by many Christian religions. This topic also led me to Olivet Discourse – something I heard before but never understood what it is all about. There are a few more words that I learned as part of this research and I think for my readers it is important to understand the definitions to appreciate the entire topic.

OLIVET DISCOURSE – The Olivet Discourse or Olivet prophecy is a biblical passage found in the Synoptic Gospels in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. It is also known as the Little Apocalypse because it includes the use of apocalyptic language, and it includes Jesus’ warning to his followers that they will suffer tribulation and persecution before the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God.

ESCHATOLOGY – is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is commonly referred to as the “end of the world” or “end time”.

PRETERISM – A Christian eschatological view interprets some (Partial Preterism) or all (Full Preterism) prophecies of the Bible as events which have already happened. This school of thought interprets the Book of Daniel as referring to events that happened in the 2nd century BC, while seeing the prophecies of Revelation as events that happened in the first century AD. Preterism holds that Ancient Israel finds its continuation or fulfillment in the Christian church at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Some Preterist believe John is describing the challenges of the early church in overcoming the Antichrist power of pagan Rome and the influence of Judaism.

Now the problem with this view is it teaches that God has had no prophetic message for His people during the past 2000 years, and still has no message for His people today living in the last days, even though we are living in a more spiritually perilous time than ever before! And the fact that the last couple of chapters of Revelation describe the second coming and New Jerusalem throws this view into doubt straight away.

FUTURISM – This is the belief that John wrote primarily about events that have yet to occur, even in our day. Including the future rise of the Antichrist. Futurism is the interpretation put forth by the popular Left Behind series and is supported by the majority of mainstream Protestant Christians. Interestingly, this theory was first put forth by a Roman Catholic Jesuit, Francisco Ribera in the late 1500’s. And there is very good reason for this view to come about. And that is because of the great Protestant reformation just beginning in the 1500’s, which exposed the Papal Church of Rome as the main Bible antichrist system. So this theory of futurism was invented by the Jesuits to divert people’s minds from seeing that the Roman Church is the antichrist and that great whore which Revelation describes.

Now one of the problems with this view is similar to the problem with Preterism. This view teaches that God had no prophetic message for His people during the past 2000 years! And that Revelation covers only a small portion of time, during the very end. Whereas Preterism teaches that it covers a very small portion of time during the beginning of the church.

HISTORICISM – This is the belief that John was writing future history as it would unfold from his day to the end of time, detailing the events of the church and major world powers all the way through to the second coming of Christ. Interestingly, this is the view that most of the great Protestant reformers used in their teachings.

Additionally, I would add the Iglesia Ni Cristo here as exclusivism.

EXCLUSIVISM – “Chosen People”. Throughout history, various groups of people have considered themselves to be chosen people by a deity for a purpose, such as to act as the deity’s agent on earth. In monotheistic faiths, like Abrahamic religions, references to God are used in constructs such as “God’s Chosen People”. Anthropologists commonly regard these claims as a form of ethnocentrism.

Introduction To End Of The Age

I find Olivet Discourse a very complex but interesting topic because part of it (Matthew 24:6-8) is an important verse to the Iglesia Ni Cristo.

At the start of Matthew 24, Jesus talked about the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple (also known as Herod’s Temple). The discussion that Jesus had just had with the scribes and Pharisees took place inside the Temple grounds. Now, as they depart from the Temple the words of Jesus, “Your house shall be left to you desolate,” still burned in their ears. They point out the buildings of the Temple and their magnificence. Mark says that they particularly pointed out the stones of the temple. What could possibly happen to such a massive edifice? The building thought to have been some 10 stories high and likely to have been adorned with gold, silver, and other precious items. Jesus responds that not one of those stones would remain intact in the building, and the whole thing would be reduced to rubble. The Apostles asked “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”. Notice that the Apostles asked for the end of the age – I will cover some interpretations of the “end of the age” which apparently is different from “end of the world” or “end of the earth“.  Jesus answered

Matthew 24:6-8, NKJV – 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

The “you” logically is referring to the Apostles who are listening to Christ when He spoken those words. The Preterist further explained that Jesus is referring to the “generations” of the Apostles according to Matthew 24:34-35.

Matthew 24:34-25, NKJV – 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Jesus saying it is “this generations” who will experience what He was saying.

In 70 A.D., just 40 years after Jesus was crucified, the Roman army burned down Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem. It was a stunning loss for the Jews.

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem,

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem, by David Roberts (1850).

Is History Repeating Itself?

If I forget all the theories of equivocations, I must totally subscribe to the belief the Iglesia Ni Cristo is the chosen nation of God in these last days. If the Church leaders are committing malpractices that are no longer in accordance to the pristine teachings of the Church during the time of the first two Administrations, like the Jews at the time of Christ, God allowed their Temple to be destructed as a punishment for committing various sins against Him. It is entirely possible, the Church of Christ, chosen people of God, may fall to its destruction as another punishment of God to his people so that it will rebuild itself to its glorious state once again for the glory of God.

– till next time, Cornelius.