WHEN Will the Lord Return? (Matthew 24)

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lamesa
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WHEN Will the Lord Return? (Matthew 24)

#1 Post by lamesa » 5 months ago

It should be plain that the Bible nowhere clearly predicts the time of Christ's return.

If it were plain, Christians in general would not need Bible teachers to write 500 page books unpacking mysteries of biblical prophecy and numerology to show them the time. It should also be plain that professing believers of the Bible have been wrong hundreds and probably even thousands of times in such predictions. Thus, the burden of proof is on any person who after all of this is going to tell us that we can know the week, month, or year of Christ's return. We want to know where does the Bible anywhere teach that? The whole drift of biblical teaching is plainly against such predictions. The date-setter, therefore, is obligated to show us why he believes we can know the week, month, or year. The burden of proof is on him, and the fact is that he cannot prove that any such predictions of Christ's return are biblical. Before he wastes our time and emotions as servants of the Master, he has to prove this foundational assumption of his whole system. The fact is that he cannot.

Three foundational facts:
  • (1) The Bible does predict the bodily return of Christ (Acts 1:9; Acts 3:19, 20).
  • (2) This return of Christ will not be secret, but public, glorious, visible, and universal (Matt. 24:24-27; 1 Thess. 5:1-4; 2 Thess. 1:6-10).
  • (3) There are signs which precede Christ's coming (Matt. 24:14; 2 Thess. 2:1-10), but there are no time-signs of Christ's second coming. The classic text in the New Testament which clearly states that there are no time-signs of Christ's return which enable to predict when it will come is Matt. 24:36.
CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT

It has always been the tactic of false teachers to use Scriptures to teach their false doctrines. Peter speaks of those who distort the Scriptures. “ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16 NIV). False teachers have always quoted Scripture. The big problem with their quoting of Scripture is that they quote it out of context. One of the great marks of false teaching is that it quotes Scripture without regard to its context.

We know the JW organization quotes and interprets Matt. 24:36 outside of its biblical context. So, we’ll look at its context under three points, (1) before, (2) after and (3) overall:
  • 1. CONTEXT BEFORE: The Immediately Preceding Context
The significant thing that we realize about Mat. 24:36 when we read the preceding context is that it is a part of a contrast. Notice Mat. 24:34-36. What is the contrast? There is a contrast between the "all these things" of Mat. 24:34 and "that day and hour" of Mat. 24:36. If "that day and hour" refers to the second coming of Christ, to what does the phrase, "all these things," refer? To answer this question look at Matt. 24:1-3. Clearly, the disciples were in danger of confusing two distinct events: the destruction of Jerusalem with the second coming of Christ. The contrast of Mat. 24:34-36 is intended to clear up this confusion. "All these things" (Mat. 24:33) refers to all the events associated with the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. "But that day and hour" (Mat. 24:36) refers to the events associated with the second coming of Christ.
Here we come to the crucial point. How does Christ contrast these two events? The answer is plain. He gives a time-sign for the destruction of Jerusalem. He gives no time-sign for the second coming of Christ. Notice: "THIS GENERATION will not pass away until all these things take place ... BUT OF THAT day and hour no one knows..." He says that the destruction of Jerusalem would take place within the lifetime of the then living generation of Jews. This is the plain meaning of the term, generation.


Jesus contrasts the giving of a time-sign for the destruction of Jerusalem with the giving of no time-sign for His second coming. He gives a broad time-sign for the destruction of Jerusalem “this generation,” the destruction of Jerusalem, he says, will occur sometime in the next forty years, but he gives no time-sign at all for his coming.

Far from knowing the year, we do not even know the generation of Christ's coming!

  • 2. CONTEXT AFTER: The Immediately Succeeding Context
In the following context Jesus calls upon his disciples to be constantly alert for His return (Matt. 24:42-44, 50; Mat. 25:13). These commands to be alert for His coming assume that Christ was not coming for a long time and that even then the timing of His coming was unknown. Clearly, then, when Jesus says you do not know the day or hour of my return, he means to say its timing is completely unknown, therefore you must be always ready.

Now, having looked at the immediate context of Matt. 24:36, we must turn to parallel passages in the New Testament.
  • 3. CONTEXT OVERALL: The Broader New Testament Context
  • Luke 17:20-37
It seems clear to me that when Jesus speaks of His kingdom in Luke 12:20 that He is referring to the future, glorious coming of the kingdom. Also, it is clear that this what the Pharisees were thinking in Luke 17:20, when they raised the issue. I believe that what Jesus is saying is what the Greek lexicon, BDAG, says: It paraphrases: The kingdom of God is not coming "in such a way that its rise can be observed." In other words, its appearance will be abrupt, sudden, and dramatic. See Luke 17:20-21.
Also, we must notice one of its key words more closely. The Greek word, “observe” is translated "signs to be observed". This is a very interesting word. It comes from a verb which means to watch carefully. It is used of the Jews watching Jesus to see if he would heal on the sabbath (Mark 3:2; Luke 6:7; Luke 14:1). It is used of the spies who watched Jesus carefully to catch Him in His words (Luke 20:20). It is used of the Jews who plotted against Paul in Damascus and watched the gates carefully to ambush him when he left the city (Acts 9:24). It is used in Gal. 4:10 of the careful, superstitious observation of religious holy days. What does this word mean here, then? Jesus is clearly saying that no amount of careful observation or scrutiny will enable anyone to predict the time of Christ's return. No observation of history, no watching of the skies, no scrutiny even of the Bible will give any clue as to the time of Jesus glorious return.
  • Acts 1:6, 7
When the disciples asked about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, their question is rooted in Old Testament prophecy. The Old Testament had, indeed, predicted "the time ... when the saints ... (would take) ... possession of the kingdom" (Dan. 7:22). Now it may be that the disciples still had too earthly and too nationalistic an idea of what the restoration of the kingdom to Israel would mean, but it is clear that their hope for such a restoration was firmly built on biblical basis (Acts 3:21; Matt. 19:28). This restoration occurs, of course, in conjunction with the glorious appearance of the Messiah in His second coming.

Thus, the disciples are raising here the same question which Jesus answered in Matt. 24:36. It is not surprising, therefore, that Jesus answers them in language which is clearly dependent upon and refers back to Matt. 24:36. Notice how he refers to the Father just as He did in Matt. 24:36. There he said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone", here he says, "it is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority". The statements are clearly parallel, but there is one key point at which Jesus enlarges upon and interprets what He said in Matt. 24:36. You will notice that He does not speak of "the day and the hour". Now He speaks of "times or epochs".

Whatever these words more exactly mean, they plainly confirm the meaning which we have attached to the words of Jesus in Matt. 24:36. Thus, they plainly condemn the date-setters. When Jesus denies that we can know the day or hour, he is not contrasting this with the week, month, or year. Rather, he is denying that we can have any knowledge of the date of Christ's arrival. Not the day, nor the hour, nor the time, nor the epoch is within our grasp, and therefore not the week, month, or year.
  • 1 Thess. 5:1-4
The meaning of these verses is plain itself and also plain in light of the two parallel passages: Matt. 24:36 and Acts 1:6, 7. Paul here uses the same two words used in Acts 1:6, 7: "times and epochs". He plainly says that there is no need to write them about such things because they already know that the day of the Lord is coming like a thief in the night. The phrase, thief in the night, is drawn from Matthew 24:43. The idea is plainly that Christ's coming is sudden and unexpected. This is confirmed by 1 Thess. 5:3. That verse pictures the ungodly world as promising itself peace and safety when sudden and inescapable judgment overtakes them through Christ's return. Thus, Paul is plainly saying that he need not write them about the time of Christ's return, because they already know that its timing is unknown.

1 Thess. 5:4 has been used by date-setters to justify their investigations. They say that, while Christ's coming is like a thief for the unconverted, it is not like a thief for the converted. They go on to argue that by Bible study Christians can discern the time of Christ's coming.

This interpretation of 1 Thess. 5:4 is completely misguided. There is a difference between the second coming `being' like a thief in the night and the second coming `overtaking' us like a thief in the night. The second coming comes as a thief in the night to believers and unbelievers alike. Its time is unknown by both. Yet the second coming overtakes only the wicked. In other words, it is only the wicked it seizes and destroys. The word, overtake, in 1 Thess. 5:4 refers to the destruction and judgment of the wicked described in 1 Thess. 5:3. Even believers are and remain uncertain of the time of the Lord's coming. Compare Matt. 24:42-44. The second coming of Christ is like a thief in the night to all because its timing is unknown. The second coming of Christ only overtakes the wicked like a thief in the night because--while believers are prepared—the wicked are not. To use 1 Thess. 5:4 as justification for date-setting is to fly in the face of its plain meaning and the entire New Testament.
  • Conclusion:
Those who set dates for Christ's return make predictions which time after time prove to be false. Thus, they are false prophets, and we may apply to such false teachers the warnings of Deut. 18:20.

What should we think about the timing of the coming of Christ?

(1) World events are all leading to the climactic return of Christ. The preaching of the gospel (Mat. 28:19. 20), the building of the church (Mat. 16:18), and the working of the mystery of iniquity (2 Thess. 2:7)--all of these things mean that "now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed" (Rom. 13:14). So, will Christ come by 2030? Maybe and maybe not.

(2) We must remain spiritually ready. We must watch! (Mat. 24:42 NIV) “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

Get out of her
Posts: 1227
Joined: 5 years ago

Re: WHEN Will the Lord Return? (Matthew 24)

#2 Post by Get out of her » 5 months ago

There's a lot to unpack here with this post of yours lamesa; so I would like to simply begin with your initial statement in this case.

lamesa wrote:
"It should be plain that the Bible nowhere clearly predicts the time of Christ's return."
The first thing that comes to my mind when I encounter statements like this is just how much they reflect what we might refer to as the current mainstream narrative. Yes I am keenly aware of the manner in which so called Christians have been taught by religious leaders for even many decades now. For that reason it is very easy for me to imagine even great heaving masses of humanity quickly assembling to lend support to viewpoints or understandings such as this. Based on divine warnings found in accounts like Matthew 7:13, 14 and 24:37-39 however, would not that factor alone serve a kind of big red flag here in the case of what might be referred to as a more serious Bible student?

If anything PARTICULARLY in a setting immediately prior to another foretold "coming of the kingdom," has the messages of Jehovah's true prophets not ALWAYS bucked the tide of the more prevalent or popular views and understandings on matters, and in fact even to a rather extreme degree? (Joh 15:18, 19) What should really drive this point home to us even further however is the fact that in these time frames of another foretold "birth" of the figurative "barren woman," Jehovah's prophets (at least initially) are sent STRICTLY to their own fellow anointed "brothers" and sisters, or what Jesus himself also referred to as "Christ's domestics." (Mt 10:5, 6 24:45 25:40) If in these settings Jehovah's appointed "inspectors" of these anointed "virgins" are most often even MURDERED for their preaching messages, could we imagine just how foreign or even strange and offensive their teachings might seem to perhaps Hindus in India or Muslims in modern day Afghanistan? (Lu 19:44) (Mt 24:1, 2, 5, 10)

As much as it might pain me at times to be completely honest with my dear brothers and sisters, statements such as the above always compel me nonetheless to demonstrate with the scriptures just how tremendously we are affected by many decades of nothing but ..."teachings and commands of men as doctrine." (Mt 15:9) One of the reasons I continue to direct people's attention to scriptures like Colossians 3:11, Romans 12:4, 5 and 1 Corinthians 12:12 is because we have long been deceived as to what the Christ even actually is in the first place. When we have been reduced to the point where we can no longer even truly DEFINE the Christ, the fact is addressing issues such as the foretold time or even times of its return has already become impossible from the word- go. And this of course is the objective of all these false teachings or what ones like the Apostle John refer to as …"expressions inspired by demons"…. to begin with. (Re 16:14)

On the other hand if or when we find ourselves in a position to SCRIPTURALLY define the Christ, we by extension begin to be in a position to define words like –Christian or Christianity, and in fact also words like Jew or Israelite. (Whether fleshly or spiritual) The moment we finally succeed in THIS, we in turn are suddenly able to discern things such as the fact that we were NEVER intended to be thinking in terms of "the TIME of Christ's return," but rather the "TIMES" of this foretold phenomenon. In fact we want to think even in terms of the figurative/spiritual "SEASONS" of these foretold "comings" or "births," along with their commensurate "pangs of distress." (1 Th 2:1-3) (2 Th 2:1-3) (Jer 15:9) (1 Sa 2:5) (Da 4:23, 32) (Lu 21:24)

Now AMONG the benefits of coming to understand such things is the realization that there in fact is already a LONG HISTORY of Jehovah's true prophets accurately foretelling the YEAR of one of these foretold re-establishments of genuine theocratic power and authority on the earth. Yes the year, as opposed to perhaps a specific "day or hour." (Mt 24:36, 42) For example the reason even many of the wicked scribes and Pharisees in the early part of the first century were expecting an appearance of Jehovah's true prophets at that time was because of scriptural prophesies or even calculations that pointed to the precise YEAR of this particular "birth of the barren woman." (Da 9:24-27) (Jer 15:9) And as accounts like Daniel 9:1, 2 or Isaiah 8:20 point out, even if it is ultimately Jehovah's Holy Spirit that reveals such things to his prophets, these genuine ministers are also empowered to understand and utilize the holy writings to confirm them. This is REGARDLESS of whether or not such scriptural confirmations would be apparent to others. In fact scriptures such as Matthew 13:11 make it perfectly clear that even in the case of the people that Jehovah's prophets are actually SENT to in these settings, even simply COMPREHENDING their preaching message would prove a very rare thing! This is not to even mention the issue of spiritually "sleeping" anointed "virgins" and "widows" actually paying heed to what these "faithful stewards" or "two witnesses" would have to say. (Mt 22:14 25:1, 2, 5, 10 24:45) (Mal 1:1, 4) (Re 11:3)

Particularly with these things in mind, right now would undoubtedly be a good time to point out something else here in the case of what would prove the fifth of the "seven" foretold "times" that this figurative/spiritual "birth of the barren woman" would occur over the millenniums. (Jer 15:9) (Da 4:23, 32) Not only does the account of Daniel Chapter 9 serve as irrefutable proof that even specific years are pointed to in connection with these foretold "comings of the Christ" or "birth's" of the divine nation, but an analysis of the calculations for this year in Daniel 9:24-27 will confirm that the "DAY FOR A YEAR" formula found in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6 IS INDEED utilized by Jehovah in connection with what is also referred to as this "seven times" or "times of the nations" prophecy. (Lu 21:24) Do we not actually understand that true teachings of God's word exists at least in small pieces among basically ALL of the false religions on this earth, as well as the fact that the most powerful and effective lies are the one that contain the MOST truth?

Once again there were "seven" of these foretold "comings" or "births" foretold for the time span identified as this period of foreign "exile and captivity" of Jehovah's people ALONE, and as was plainly pointed out to us in scriptures like Amos 3:7, …"Jehovah does not do a SINGLE THING unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets." (Jer 15:9) (Lu 21:24) (2 Ki 5:1, 10, 14) (Le 26:23-25) (Ge 41:22-24) The moment we actually begin paying heed to the starting point for this 2,520 year period that Jeremiah explicitly laid out for us in the opening words of his book, (namely 609 BCE) (Jer 1:3) we suddenly find ourselves in a position to understand that some of the calculating formulas provided for us in the Scriptures actually point to the foretold spiritual DEATHS of Jehovah's nation as opposed to their "births!" This is actually the case with the number "1,260" as well as the number "1,290" found in the books of Daniel and Revelation. (Da 12:11) (Re 12:6)

Yes in stark contrast to what the Watchtower organization has always led us to believe, this number "1,260" actually points to a spiritual DEATH of God's nation! I cover this information in detail at the end of the discussion or topic entitled—"Are we already experiencing the final foretold "Great tribulation."" (Jer 15:9) (Isa 66:7 8) As far as the FINAL foretold "coming" or "birth" of the holy nation that the scriptures refer to as the "thousand year reign," I actually use the scriptures to demonstrate the year of its FULL manifestation at the end of this same discussion. But once again this is merely the year, as opposed to perhaps the "day or the hour." (Mt 24:36, 42) This notion of a FULL manifestation of the kingdom however actually brings me to another statement of yours here lamesa:
This return of Christ will not be secret, but public, glorious, visible, and universal (Matt. 24:24-27; 1 Thess. 5:1-4; 2 Thess. 1:6-10).
In stark contrast to what we have long been led to believe as former JW's, (or perhaps even current ones) this statement here is quite accurate and scriptural. However this is true only in the case of a FULL manifestation of the Christ, or what the ancient fleshly Jews referred to as "coming of Mashiyach YAHAWAHSHI." (Coming of Christ JESUS, which in turn literally translates to---Jehovah's anointed means of SALVATION)

Yes once again throughout the ENTIRE HISTORY of Jehovah's nation, Jesus (evidently Yahawahshi in ancient Hebrew) was ALWAYS distinguished from simply the Christ (Mashiyach by contrast) when one of the anointed ones (the literal definition of the word –Christ) was used by Jehovah to provide some form of deliverance or salvation for his people. Rest assured it is no coincidence that while the word Christ simply means-anointed, Christ JESUS on the other hand literally means—Jehovah's anointed means of SALVATION. While the Christ is actually identified even SEVERAL times as a "body of MANY members" in the scriptures, JESUS Christ on the other hand is a reference to the "FEW" (Mt 22:14) among this "body" who actually SUCCEED in assisting Jehovah with establishing yet another renewed and inaugurated holy marriage or kingdom covenant. (Re 6:11 11:11, 12) (He 9:16-18 26-28) This priestly act of blood atonement on their parts is precisely the reason they will now serve not only as fellow heavenly "KINGS" with their figurative "bridegroom" or "foundation cornerstone," but also as fellow "PRIESTS." (Re 5:10 20:6 21:2, 9) (Mt 25:10) (1 Pe 2:6) Compare (1 Cor 3:16, 17)

To truly begin putting this accurate statement of lamesa's in perspective, we would do well to bear in mind things like the following: Just as was demonstrated for us with the "son of man" or "two witnesses" like Jeremiah and Ezekiel immediately prior to the "birth" or "coming" covered in accounts like Daniel 2:48, 49 or that of John the Baptist and Jesus immediately before the "kingdom of the son of his love" that lasted for a few decades in the first century, these foretold spiritual cleansings and rebirths of Jehovah's nation or "baptisms of holy spirit and fire" ALWAYS begin with a very humiliated and oppressed ministry of at least one or two genuine prophets of Jehovah. (Eze 2:1 3:15) (Re 11:3, 7, 11, 12) (Col 1:13) (Jer 20:7-9 38:6) (Mt 3:1-4 23:34-39)

You see if anything this initial phase of a "coming of the Christ" or "kingdom/nation" is marked or associated with the very opposite of what could be considered as "glorious," and this is precisely what is being referred to in the symbolic/prophetic spiritual language found in accounts like Revelation 11:3 where the "two witnesses" in the case of the "SIXTH" foretold "birth of the barren woman" are spoken of as …"dressed in sackcloth." (Re 9:13) Before ANYTHING "glorious" can occur on the earth, the holy kingdom or marriage covenant that has once again been violated with spiritual adultery on the part of Jehovah's appointed shepherds needs to be renewed and inaugurated with at least one or more repentant ones among the anointed, or what in these settings always qualifies as spiritually "sleeping" anointed "virgins" and "widows." (Mt 25:1, 2, 5, 10) (La 1:1, 4) This extremely appalling situation is precisely what accounts for scriptures that might initially appear to directly contradict the ones lamesa cited above, such as the following:


20 "But upon being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming he said: "The kingdom of God is not coming with striking observableness, 21 neither will people be saying, "See here!" or "There!" For look! the kingdom of God is in your midst." (Lu 17:11)


Regardless of what we are always being led to understand in this case, it should be very obvious that Jesus was not informing the wicked Pharisees that the kingdom of God was something that resided in their hearts. While Jesus clearly had no interest in actually explaining things in this case, what he was referring to was the fact that the initial phase of yet another "coming of the kingdom" was unfolding right in front of their eyes at that very moment, with one of these "two witnesses" standing right in front of them, or otherwise in their very "midst." (Re 11:3)

Yes particularly in view of all the figurative/spiritual "leaven of the Pharisees" that the earth is ALWAYS suffering from in these time periods immediately prior to another "coming of the kingdom," we would all do very well to understand that prophetic utterances concerning the Christ or "son of man" found in accounts like Isaiah 53 is applicable to ALL the foretold "births of the (figurative) barren woman." (Jer 15:9) (Isa 54:1-4 66:7, 8)

Agape love;
Sol

Sevenz
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Re: WHEN Will the Lord Return? (Matthew 24)

#3 Post by Sevenz » 3 months ago

Jesus did in fact answer his disciple's question, "What will be the [portentous] sign of your presence?" He told them what things would be happening in the world that would serve as an indicator that his presence was NEAR (close at hand). The first thing he mentioned was WAR, and he obviously didn't mean just any war. Do you know your Bible well enough to understand that the war that Jesus was talking about is the very same one that is represented by the second horseman in Revelation chapter 6? And also, that it is the very same war that will result in the death of the 7th head/King as described in Revelation 13? Do you know your Bible well enough to understand that the 7th head of the so-called Sea Beast referred to in Revelation 13 has 10 horns? And also, that the number 10 (ten) is not literal. Unless you understand your Bible that well, you will not have the slightest idea of the sort of war that Jesus was talking about when answering his disciple's question at Matthew 24:3.

I do know my Bible well enough to accurately understand all of the above, and to also know that the war Jesus had in mind has not happened yet.

Thanks for tolerating my disgusting arrogant rant!

Toodle doo! I'll see you!

ALWAYS be kind to animals, especially to puppies.

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