So what did Jesus teach about his coming again and the End?
We read the words of Jesus in Mark 13:32-37. These are often read as words about this age and his coming again:
“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
Most of you know that these various biblical texts referring to Jesus’ return are in the three synoptic Gospels. Parallel to Mark’s Gospel we thus read in Matthew 24:29-31:
“Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Later, in this same chapter, Jesus further warns:
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day
Then in Luke 21 we read:
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (34-36).
Now, before I go further let me says several simple things about these eschatological passages. Some of you are aware of these points but others are not:
- The “end” that Jesus is speaking about in these synoptic accounts is the “end of Jerusalem” in the specific context. This “end” came exactly as the Lord said it would in these texts. I do not see how you can miss this if you simply read the texts in their very clear context. But miss this multitudes have done.
- These prophecies are followed by what some interpret as references to a second coming, namely the End of this present age. This view is debatable itself but let me assume that this is a correct reading of the verses I have cited.
- If Jesus is referring to the End, the final day of this age, then one thing is abundantly clear: No one knows when that will be. Look at what Jesus actually says: “The Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
- Only the Father knows when the Son will come. Yes, you read that right. Jesus plainly said: “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark adds, “about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.”
- Now, assuming that all these texts do refer to Jesus’ Second Coming at the end of this present age of grace (an assumption that I do not make about how to interpret these texts) one thing is abundantly clear: John Hagee has no idea when Jesus is coming or when this age will end. I don’t either. And you surely don’t. No offense intended friends.
- Therefore, regardless of what these texts do actually refer to (the destruction of Jerusalem and/or the end of this present age or maybe both) this much is clear: when the end comes things will be as they always have been then Jesus returns!
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Thank you John. Exactly.
Indeed! There are no signs of the return of Christ, the whole point of Jesus’ teaching is that his return will be sudden, unexpected and unpredictable, taking the whole world by surprise.
That we are moving towards the end is undeniable, but how close that end is is unknowable. I suspect that we are still the early church, with millennia left to run before Jesus returns, but I may be wrong.
The other day, flipping Flipping channels, I saw his son preaching…never mind
John Hagee is the return
How is this not astrology?
Spot on John H. Armstrong!
Hal Lindsey one generation, John Hagee this generation’s Hal Lindsey?
Cringe when I see fellow believers taking Hagee seriously.
One of my favorite memories of Norman Ericson’s NT class was when he put Rev 22:18 on the screen with the byline “Hal Lindsey”.
You all date me. In the fall of 1967 Hal Lindsey came to the University of Alabama to speak on “The Coming Great Snatch.” (The Rapture) For several years I lived in this fantasy until I found George E. Ladd’s The Blessed Hope. My first reaction was anger at Ladd then anger at Lindsey. Anyone else been down this road?
I haven’t fully read Ladd, but made the similar trek you did from Lindseyism to historic Pre-Mill.
John H. Armstrong, I was reared in a family that attended church where Lindsey was taken much too seriously, as were Van Impe, Rice, etc. Such wasteful efforts on speculative theories, looking back, it is by God’s grace he delivered me out of such a mess ( Pop Dispensationalism Eschatology immersed in much more speculation and paranoia than exegesis, Easy Belivism, KJV Only, anti-intellectualism / blind faith )
Did you see the clip of Hagee being asked why these blood moons are significant when they can’t be seen in Israel? Definition of awkward silence.
Johh, not that particular scheme- I got tied up with John MacArthur and RC Sproul. Different kinds of error I think
Isn’t David Jeremiah in a similar vein, thouh he doesn’t scream his message and make bold predictions? \ http://www.onenewsnow.com/church/2014/12/03/dr-david-jeremiah-i%E2%80%99m-no-prophet-but-the-end-times-are-here#.VSZdUpVFBOwgh
My whole youth group got baptized in 1967 after our pastor preached a series on The End Times are Here. Most of them are not part of a local church today, last I checked. I think Nikita Khrushchev was the Anti-Christ in ’67.
running around with hair on fire is not the scriptural response and yet every few years somebody makes millions off that message. Keeping our hands on the plow is what we are to do but that is so boring.
I agree wholeheartedly, John H. Armstrong.
David Jeremiah is much more sophisticated in his presentation, communication skills etc. Yet strangely his eschatology possesses the same foundational beliefs.
You know, if these people focused on the one thing that Jesus said would be a sign of his return (“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the people-groups, and then the end will come.” – Matt 24:14), it would be a whole lot more productive.
but Denise Murphy Plichta, all the speculative theories regarding Israel and current events being supposed signs sells books with that crowd. 🙂
Which, unfortunately, is a likely motive.
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