Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000
#62. Let us pause and review what we have learned from the Bible. The disciples ask a question with multiple parts, evidently assuming the end of Jerusalem meant the Return (or, parousia) of Christ. Jesus cautions them about being misled by false prophets using world events to predict, “THE TIME IS AT HAND!” The Nazarene tells his disciples all the things they can expect to happen before “the end” of Jerusalem and its Temple. We have seen all of these events in the Book of Acts. Then he gives them a premier “sign” (Lamsa) to know desolation is near, Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies. That is the time to get out and flee to the mountains. Jerusalem will be trampled upon for three and a half years, judging from Daniel 12:7, “the appointed times of the nations.” There will be a complete destruction of the city with only some “chosen ones” escaping or surviving.
#63. Judging from Daniel and the Apocalypse there is another Great Oppression to come against the People of God, the “Saints of the Most High.” This Great Oppression will be three and a half years in length and will occur immediately before the Return of Christ in his foretold “coming,” Parousia, or Arrival. With these understandings, let us take up the account in the Gospels using the Great Oppression as Jesus seems to: as a pivot or change of thought telescoped across two millenniums after that historical period beyond the end and fragmentation of Rome and the rise of the European Papal States, the “ten horns” of Daniel.
#64. Now it is good to read again the accounts beginning with the Great Oppression at Matthew 24:23-35, Mark 13:21-36, and Luke 21:24-33. Read these again slowly and take your time to really meditate on these verses. We find prayer to be helpful in preparing the mind for the Thoughts of God.
#65. If we view this Great Oppression as something future from ourselves, that is, a period of three and a half years of persecution or oppression --- the final, ultimate Holocaust --- on the People of God (the Saints of the Most High, the Chosen Ones, or the Elect), then we can see what is to follow these years of oppression. First, note Jesus’ repeated warning, something similar to what he had said to his disciples in the beginning, after they had asked their question. Matthew and Mark have Jesus warning about false christs (or, Pseudo-anointed) as well as false prophets. These foretold frauds will be most convincing, for Jesus says it might be possible to mislead the Chosen or Elect. The Nazarene says, and his words ring in our ears, “LOOK, I HAVE PROPHETICALLY WARNED YOU!”
#66. The Nazarene goes on to describe what can and cannot be expected regarding the Return of Christ, or as Matthew translates the Hebrew of Jesus’ words, ‘the Presence (or, Arrival) of the Son of Man.’ (Matthew 24:27) He warns about some who would say, ‘Christ is in the desert,’ or, ‘Christ is in the bedchambers.’ Both of these are private appearances for only an elitist group of selected individuals, either hidden away in an isolated wilderness, or in someone’s private room. Interestingly, these exact claims have been made even within the last one or two centuries by very prominent religious movements in the Western world. At least one well known Christian church has claimed such private appearances in “bed chambers.” Another well- publicized pastor claimed, ‘Christ is here!’ on the basis of studies of Egyptian pyramids. Others, one claiming to have been taken to heaven, had private visions of Jesus Christ which led them to publish well-known works.
#67. Rather than personal and private appearances, Jesus says that the “coming of the Son of Man” (KJV) will be something discernible or observable everywhere by everyone. This Arrival, Presence, or Coming will be like lightning which can be seen from horizon to horizon. Now you may be wondering about the cryptic statement in Matthew 24:28, ‘Wherever the corpse,186 there the eagles will gather in meeting.’ This is not the first time Jesus has said this. According to Luke he first stated this obscure enigma some weeks before, so the disciples are hearing it for the second time. This first mention is recorded in Luke 17:37, only here there is little more background. Jesus has explained that ‘in the days of the Son of Man . . . two will be in one bed: one will be taken along and the other abandoned. Two will be working at the grinding mill: one will be taken along and the other abandoned.’ Then the disciples ask, ‘(Taken along) where?’ To which Jesus answers in a word different from that in Matthew 24:28, ‘Where the Body187 is there also the eagles will gather to meeting.’ (Luke 17:34-37) What may this mean?
|186||CORPSE. Greek, to ptoma.|
|187||BODY. Greek, soma.|
#68. If we understand the cryptic metaphor of the “corpse” or “body” to be the sacrificed188 Lamb, Christ, then those who are “taken along” will gather in meeting with Christ. It is left to Paul to explain some of these details in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17,189 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-53.190 We will consider this in detail later. However, consistent with the subject under consideration, there will be no private appearances of the returning Christ in order to select individuals who alone discern this secret appearance. Rather, the manifestation or revealing (Luke 17:30) is to be visible to the entire globe and then the Chosen Ones will be “taken along”191 from either work or sleep, depending on the side of the globe they are on, all together at the same time,192 to a meeting with the Lord in the atmosphere. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; Matthew 24:31) But, will there be a “sign” just before this happens?
|188||SACRIFICED LAMB. See Revelation 5:6.|
|189||1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. The Rapture.|
|190||1 Corinthians15:50-53. The Changing.|
|191||TAKEN ALONG. The Greek here has been discussed in a footnote earlier.|
|192||AT THE SAME TIME. This phrase is from the Greek hama syn at 1 Thessalonians 4:17.|
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
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