This is the second part of the “End of The Age” series. If time permits, the following articles will be posted.
Part 1: End Of The Age – Introduction
Part 2: End Of The Age – The INC Doctrines
Part 3: End Of The Age – The Questions
Part 4: End Of The Age – The Answers
Part 5: End Of The Age – Historical Events
I embarked on these topics and take the challenge of learning the bible. Each post will be a bit long so I hope you will spare the time to read.
The INC Doctrines on Ends of The Earth
The teaching of the INC on the “Ends of the earth” starts on Isaiah 41:9-10 which was discussed in previous article. This doctrine of the Church is followed by the teachings of Matthew 24:3,33 and the visible signs of the “Ends of the earth” are the wars mentioned in Matthew 24:6-8.
We always believe the “war” mentioned was the first world war which broke up on July 27, 1914 [modern history is July 28, 1914].
The Church teaching on “wars” is the first world war of 1914 between nations and between kingdoms, it is followed by famines, pestilences, and earthquakes occurring at the same time or successively after one another, which is the beginning of sorrows. The Church then able to connect these verses making it sounds logical, real and pristine.
There are now questions of this doctrine. Firstly, the theory of equivocation on the “ends of the earth” here that the “ends of the earth” is not time but place. Secondly, almost all signs mentioned in Matthew 24:6-8 are still happening in our time. Now the verse says it is the beginning of sorrows, so when is the end of the beginning on the INC context of the “ends of the earth”? Also if all the signs in Matthew 24:6-8 are the events in our time, yes many people feel sorrows these days but would you not believe me that there are still many happy people in our time? Do you think the sorrows of a few in our time is the biblical beginning of sorrows? If not so when is the real sorrows? If not, then is it correct to interpret the first world war as the war mentioned in Matthew 24:6?
Also when Christ says “you will hear …”, he was speaking to the Apostles, It is the Apostles who should be hearing the wars otherwise Christ should have used “they will hear …”.
The True Context Of Matthew 24:6-8
The Olivet Discourse is actually deals with the study of Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, which are known to be a parallel accounts of the apocalyptic words of our Lord Jesus Christ. I encourage you to read Matthew chapter 24 but try to understand every words by heart.
Many religions are known to have disagreement on their interpretations of Matthew 24 and its parallels in Mark 13 and Luke 21. My view may not be different from many and it may also contradict other interpretations but see for yourself if we can agree on the logic that I will present here and next articles. If we do not study the context of Matthew 24:6-8, we will never ever come to the true understanding of which wars and rumors of wars the verse is referring to. Also in my next articles we need to understand the questions or we will not understand the answers.
Matthew was the gospel that was written for the Jews. It was written by a Jew in order to convince Jews. One of the great objects of Matthew is to demonstrate that all the prophecies of the Old Testament regarding the Messiah are fulfilled in Jesus.
There are many other proof in Matthew to tell the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. Herod’s slaughter of all the young children in an attempt to kill Jesus in Matthew 2:16-18. He shall be called Nazarene in Matthew 2:23. Jesus’ healing of sick in Matthew 8:16-17. The crucifixions of Jesus in Matthew 27:35. This should have made it clear to the Jews who he was. Who else could do this but the promised Messiah of Israel in Isaiah 35:4-6? Jesus warns that those who reject him as Messiah and his kingdom will suffer judgement, Matthew 8:11-12.
It is Matthew’s primary purpose to show that the Old Testament prophecies received their fulfillment in Jesus; how every detail of Jesus’ life was foreshadowed in the prophets; and thus to compel the Jews to admit that Jesus is indeed the long awaited Messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Jews knew very well the Old Testament teaching that Messiah would bring in the promised Kingdom of Heaven. However, Jesus was speaking of destruction in chapter 23 and 24.
Before we go back to Olivet Discourse or Matthew chapter 24, in chapter 23 Jesus actually told the Pharisees that the “house is left to you desolate”.
The Oxford definition of desolate is a place deserted of people and in a state of bleak and dismal emptiness.
Now in the beginning of chapter 24, Jesus and the Apostles departed the Temple to go to the mountain. While leaving the Apostles are wondering why Christ say “desolate” the fact that the Temple is a huge structures. Here is now the beginning of the Olivet Discourse.
Now, as they depart from the Temple the words of Jesus from chapter 23, “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? There was nothing quite like the Temple in the ancient world. There was such a reverence for the temple, even in distant parts, that one would scarcely dare to imagine that it could ever be destroyed.
Jesus warns his disciples that the destruction of Jerusalem would be soon. In fact it would occur in their generation (Matthew 23:36; 24:34). The words translated “this generation” refers to the people living at the time Jesus was speaking.
In the next article we will review the Apostles questions that led to what Christ says “you will hear wars …”.
“Many Will Come In My Name”
Before Christ talked about “wars” in Matthew 24:6-8, he was talking of those who will deceive many under his name.
Do INC not teach the Church of Christ is the body of Christ (Col. 1:18) and Christ is the head of His body and He created his body, the Church, and Himself as one new man? In short the Church is presenting itself as Christ is in it? Having the name of Christ does not necessarily mean it is for Christ for many will be deceived under His name.
If we follow the Futurist view of Olivet Discourse it is logical to be skeptical on the doctrine of the INC. In Preterist view of Olivet Discourse, we will learn that the entire Matthew chapter 24 is not applicable to INC at all. We will cover those topics soon.