In the scientific post made Saturday I presented some serious challenges to those who rest lazily on their laurels of the work of others, referring people to the Big Bang as if they were old men sitting on a porch looking up from a game of checkers and telling a stranger how to get back to the highway and on to Nashville. What if the old men had never been to Nashville? What if they were not seriously concerned whether the stranger even made it to the highway? No responsibility for them, no responsibility to so-called scientists who depend on the Big Bang and yet "there is no there there." I do not expect much of a response as what I have said about the situation is true and evidence trumps supposition. If the opposition cannot come up with something new and interesting I might just go right through with the four part Olivet Discourse before turning back to science, so in part it depends upon the response.
|1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”||1As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”|| |
5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen, and what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
‘The coming of Christ,’ and ‘the conclusion of the age,’ being therefore only different expressions to denote the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem, the purpose of the question plainly is, when shall the destruction of Jerusalem be, and what shall be the signs of it?
Background to Jesus’ Promised Coming: Matthew 10:23 and 16:27-28
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence – as when fire kindles brushwood, and the fire causes water to boil – to make Your name known to Your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things that we did not look for, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence.”
"It is Jesus’ confirmation that the Temple’s fate is sealed that leads to the disciples’ question: ‘When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’Some argue this to be three separate questions – so that Jesus’ answer in the subsequent verses must be unraveled and applied to three different events, namely (i) the temple’s destruction, (ii) his coming and (iii) the end of the age. But this is not supported by the parallel accounts in Mark’s and Luke’s gospels. These render the disciples’ question as follows:
‘Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?’ (Mark 13:4)
‘Teacher,’ they asked, ‘when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?’ (Luke 21:7)
In Matthew’s wording of the disciples’ question, what Jesus prophesied against the Temple would, by implication, happen at our Lord’s coming in judgment and would also, by further implication, bring about the end of that age.
Matthew phrases the question in the prophetic language of the Old Testament, which was familiar to the Jewish audience for which his gospel was written. In this language, the execution of Divine judgment was commonly spoken of as a visitation of the LORD, as either His coming or His coming in the cloud. [Consider] Micah’s prophecy against the ‘high places’ of Judah - being localities of false worship, which the Temple in Jerusalem had now become:
‘For behold, the LORD comes forth from His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be melted under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel … What are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem?’ (Micah 1:3-5)."
“Tis evident that when Christ speaks of his coming; his being revealed; his coming in his Kingdom; or his Kingdom’s coming; He has respect to his appearing in those great works of his Power Justice and Grace, which should be in the Destruction of Jerusalem and other extraordinary Providences which should attend it [So in Luke 17:20 – 18:8].”
THE END OF THE AGE
you will hear of wars and rumours of wars … but the end is not yet
war will continue until the end
and there will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places
and desolations have been decreed
then the end will come
the end will come like a flood:
QUOTES TO NOTE
After the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the primary persecutors of Christians were the Jews, who sought to imprison and even kill Christians as "heretics." Wikipedia notes that later the emperor Nero decided to make Christians scapegoats:
"The first documented case of imperially-supervised persecution of the Christians in the Roman Empire begins with Nero (37-68). In 64 A.D., a great fire broke out in Rome which destroyed vast portions of the city and economically devastated the Roman population. Nero, whose sanity had long been in question, was widely suspected of having intentionally set the fire himself. In his Annals, Tacitus, states that "to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace" (Tacit. Annals XV, see Tacitus on Jesus). By implicating the Christians for this massive act of arson, Nero successfully capitalized on the already-existing public suspicion of this religious sect and, it could be argued, exacerbated the hostilities held toward them throughout the Roman Empire. Forms of execution used by the Romans included systematic murder, crucifixion, and the feeding of Christians to lions and other wild beasts. Tacitus' Annals XV.44 record: "...a vast multitude, were convicted, not so much of the crime of incendiarism as of hatred of the human race. And in their deaths they were made the subjects of sport; for they were wrapped in the hides of wild beasts and torn to pieces by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set on fire, and when day declined, were burned to serve for nocturnal lights."
Nero was an equal-opportunity hater, and his enmity towards the Jews led to the eventual destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the mass slaying of perhaps a million Jews. This destruction was predicted by Jesus as recorded in the book of Matthew and also in the Revelation of John.
"The destruction of Jerusalem was more terrible than anything that the world has ever witnessed, either before or since. Even Titus seemed to see in his cruel work the hand of an avenging God." (C.H. Spurgeon, Commentary on Matthew, p. 412)
After that event, the Jews ceased to be effective persecutors of Christians, but Romans took over that job. Some Roman emperors largely ignored Christians, but others made it their mission to wipe Christianity from the face of the globe.
The first documentable Empire-wide persecution took place under Maximin, though only the clergy were sought out. It was not until Decius during the mid-century that a persecution of Christian laity across the Empire took place. Gregory of Tours glosses the persecutions in his "History of the Franks" written in the decade before 594:
"Under the emperor Decius many persecutions arose against the name of Christ, and there was such a slaughter of believers that they could not be numbered"...
...The persecutions culminated with Diocletian and Galerius at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth century. Their persecution, considered the largest, was to be the last, as Constantine I soon came into power and in 313 legalized Christianity.
Diocletian erected a monument to the end of Christianity. Constantine later converted that monument to a Christian memorial.
Once people tried to kill off Christians, and they failed. Now there are those who make the lame attempt to defeat Christianity by the multitude of their words and a pathetic attempt at scholarship called "Textural Criticism."
Now that we are nearly 2,000 years beyond the writing of the first scriptures, so-called scholars arise to try to cast doubt on the Bible and the events described therein. Actually, this attempt began shortly after Darwinism became popular. I see it as a pathetic attempt to try to justify belief in no God. How can these so-called scholars make a study of original documents when such documents are now long gone and all we have left are copies several generations away from the first books? Only a strong desire to try to disprove God as God explains such efforts, since the New Testament books were established as reliable early in the second century and treated as such thereafter. There is no doubt that the miracles of Christ are headliners of all four Gospels and receive occasional mention in other accepted Bible texts as well.
I addressed this subject here, and here, among other posts on the subject.
Not only did Josephus confirm that Christ existed and that the miracles were reported by witnesses at the time of Josephus, Jewish writings confirm much of this as well, despite the obvious disadvantage to the non-Christian Jews inherent in confirming even the existence of Christ. There is even a mention in Roman writings that survive, oddly enough. Odd since at the time of Christ Judea was considered an unimportant backwater province.
A) The story of Christ and Christianity is a compelling one. His disciples witnessed His miracles and resurrection and spread the word around the area. They were quite willing to both live and die for this cause. While they were killed in droves, their claims were never refuted and in fact the verity of their witness was instrumental in the rapid spread of Christianity.
B) The story of Christ and Christianity requires an acceptance of supernatural occurrences and no matter what evidence now remains, anything not naturalistic is totally unacceptable/unbelievable.
From this great historical distance from the time of Christ, one cannot either prove or disprove the life and miracles of Christ. One either accepts the witness of the times, which is conclusively in favor of both. Or, you can ignore all scholarship that occurred within a reasonable time span and try to disprove both Christ and His miracles from a great distance and with no evidence in hand. One simply needs to suspend logic and voila, Christ is made to disappear!
There were many prophecies made in the Bible and all that could have been fulfilled have been fulfilled. Only a few remain. None have ever failed. The Bible has proven to be an archaeological handbook for excavating in the region of the Bible lands. The genealogies of the Old Testament have been revealed to have been evidenced in the writings of peoples around the globe, including peoples who had no knowledge of the Bible itself. I stand confident in the Bible as a reliable historical and spiritual document and I believe that Christianity will be alive and well long after Darwinism has gone the way of spontaneous generation, the philosopher's stone and the concept of a flat earth. Please see Textual Criticism for more...