This is the fourth part of the “End of The Age” series. If time permits, the following articles will be posted.
We can summarize part 3 using the Easy-To-Read-Version (ERV) of the bible.
If we revise verse 3 for clarity, The disciples asked, “Tell us when these things [referring to the destruction of the Temple] will happen. And what will happen to prepare us for your coming [note they are asking for His coming, not return because they do not know at this time Christ will die on the cross] and the end of time [in NKJV this is “… end of the age”]?”. According to other reference, the disciples connect the end of the age with the coming of the Messiah, which most Christian believe the second coming. The reason for this connections is that the Jews believe the coming of the Messiah will follow after the the end of the age.
Remember in the Church of Christ, the “you will hear wars and rumors of wars …” is interpreted as the first world war, the beginning of the end. If only we will try to understand the context of the disciples questions, they are asking Christ when is the Jerusalem temple destruction is, they are not asking when is the world will end. The “end of the time [ or end of the age]” in this context is not the same as the “end of the world”. The end of the age is the end of God’s covenant with Israel, the Jews. In Matthew 12:32, “this age” and “age to come” are two different period.
“this age” referring to the generation of the disciples who are the audience when Jesus was speaking in Matthew 24. “The age to come” is the time after the generation of the disciples up to our time and to the future. However, it is entirely possible the “age to come” is future to the disciples but history to us because we are 2000 years apart.
The true context of Matthew 24:6-8
When Jesus is talking of “you will hear wars and rumors of wars” he was answering the questions of the disciples when is the destruction of the Jerusalem temple will be, not the destruction of the world. The disciples associated the destruction of the Jerusalem as the end of the age because they know that it is the end of the covenant of God to Israel.
What other proof the “end of the age” is not the end of the world and why is it the first world war is not the beginning of the end? Matthew 24:34-35 Jesus said “this generation” will by no means pass away till all these things [what He was saying from the beginning of Matthew 24] will take place and his words will stay even if heaven and earth will pass away. The “rumors wars and rumors of wars, the tribulations, etc.” are signs of the coming of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.
What other reasons the “end of the age” is not the end of the world and why is it the first world war is not the beginning of the end? let us understand the Mathew 24:9-14.
Noticed in verse 9 the receiver of the words, the disciples in ‘this‘ generation which is their generation, will be killed. History confirms how the disciples die . Verse 10-12 may sound like it is referring to our time but that would be out of context if we use it to the events of our time. History again proved how Christianity reach out the world when Constantine the Great became the first Christian Roman Emperor.
What are the other proof the “end of the age” is not the end of the world? In Matthew 24:16, Jesus says “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains“. This is so literal that Jesus giving instructions when the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple is happening flee to the mountains. In verse 17 Jesus says “Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house“. Why Jesus giving this instructions? History confirms the destruction of the Jerusalem by Roman armies is so cruel. This is one of the reason Jesus gave instructions to the believers “when you hear wars and rumors of wars, do not go back to your home, flee to the mountain right away“.
Watch this YouTube video about the Romans and Jerusalem war.
If only we continue to learn the events that took place to the destruction of Jerusalem, there are many stories of brutality and inhuman act. The death of the High Priest, Ananus, who is the equivalent in Church role by the INC Executive Minister, Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo (EVM), described by Jewish historian Josephus as
“I should not be wrong in saying that the capture of the city began with the death of Ananus; and that the overthrow of the walls and the downfall of the Jewish state dated from the day on which the Jews beheld their high priest, the captain of their salvation, butchered in the heart of Jerusalem.
A man on every ground revered and of the highest integrity, Ananus, with all the distinction of his birth, his rank and the honours to which he had attained, had delighted to treat the very humblest as his equals. Unique in his love of liberty and an enthusiast for democracy, he on all occasions put the public welfare above his private interests. To maintain peace was his supreme object.”
In Matthew 24:9 Jesus says “then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you“. If the “wars and rumors of war” refers to the first world war, the INC was only registered at the beginning of first world war, it has just begun growing its membership. If Matthew 24:6-8 is referring to the INC, then members should have been killed to fulfill Jesus words that says “… kill you” in verse 9.
Jesus predicted the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the dwelling place of God. The destruction of the Jerusalem Temple is the end of the age, the judgement of God for not believing to Christ, the end of God’s covenant with Israel. I think there is reason for this, it is the beginning of the covenant of God not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles. In Acts 17:24 it says “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.“. This is the Christian way which is no longer the same as the time of the Israel when God instructed Israel to build a temple as His dwelling place in times of the Old Testament. Why so? In Christian way, God made us His temple, no longer an structural building. It is written in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?“. We, believers of Christ, are the temple of God.
In conclusion, the “wars and rumors of wars” mentioned in Matthew 24:6-8, the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), or Church of Christ, for which many many years I believed on its doctrines, used the verse in the wrong context. The Church had it wrong. This has now created a series of doubts to the other doctrines referring to the first world war as the beginning of the end, the time when the true Church of Christ had risen from the Far East.
We will continue to test the spirits to find out whether the teachings were so.