Seven Steps Skipped in Order to Achieve a Futuristic Interpretation of Prophecy and Cancel Out the Earliest Christians’ Genuine Expectations
Eisegeses is a technical Greek word that means the very opposite of exegesis (a proper explanation of the Word of God). Instead of arriving at a proper conclusion, in eisegesis the interpreter gets out of the Scriptures (not what it intends) but what he or she wants it to say. This word eisegesis is a noun; its plural is eis·e·ge·ses [ahy-si- jee -seez] /ˌaɪ sɪˈdʒi siz/. an interpretation, especially of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter's own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.1
In the matter which is before us today, we would like to examine seven steps that have to be skipped in order to achieve an interpretation of the New Testament that literally bypasses or cancels nearly every genuine and true expectation that was taught by Jesus and the Apostles and believed and eagerly hoped for by all the earliest Christians. These early believers lived in Judæa, the Diaspora, and the Roman Empire, all the way up to the third decade of the second century.
What are the seven items? The first of them is the judgment and fall of the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy. This principality, as we will explain below, was founded by the Hasmonean family, commonly called 'the Maccabees.'
Next: the generation of the fulfillment of all things (as designated by Jesus himself) has to be transferred out of the Second Commonwealth period and into a foreign and alien historical setting.
Furthermore, the edifice of the Second Temple as the specific location2 of unique apocalyptic events has to be disregarded as anything special and a completely different temple (a foreign and unknown temple) a temple not seen or observed by Jesus, the Apostles, or the earliest Christians has to be construed as the real target and superimposed onto the development of which the Scriptures said not a single word.
You may be surprised to see that even the coming of the Son of man, fixed so definitely and purposefully by God onto the end of the fourth kingdom, was also transferred and transmogrified into future and alien situations and circumstances.
The result of this move is this: What was joined together as a concomitant event in Jewish salvation history ends up separated and reinterpreted. It is then fed back into the popular imagination as something which is, for all intents and purposes, is totally unrecognizable.
Next, the crimes our Lord ascribed to Jerusalem and Jerusalem only must lead, not to Babylon the Great of the Book of Revelation, but to the capital of the Romans: Rome, or to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church: the Vatican—or to any other alternative powers that be (or powers that were) but not Jerusalem itself.
After this, the end of the age (or era) must be reimagined as the end of the planet, or, possibly, human history or the material universe itself.
These considerations are all contrary to the spirit; sensibilities and declarations of the New Testament writings. So many chapters and verses inhale and exhale with anticipation of some debacle and deliverance which was all but immediately upon them, then.
And, finally, the unknown day and hour of which Jesus spoke so candidly about not knowing (in Matthew 24:36 and its Markan cognate) were, unbeknownst to many, if not most of us, resolved in Revelation 1:1 and 16:15.3 And since its resolution continues to be unrecognized or appreciated, the door of opportunity for the fulfillment of all things in the past is believed to be falsified, but the realization of New Testament prophecies in our future is altogether allowable and agreeable when (in reality) this is not the case at all!
These are the seven steps that have been skipped which we will be discussing in some detail, below.
The Fourth Kingdom of Bible Prophecy Skipped
When King Jonathan Alexander Jannaeus, the second king of Hasmonean Judæa,4 executed eight-hundred Pharisees and cut the throats of their wives and children while the condemned Pharisees watched from their crosses and while he reclined with his concubines at a meal, he gained for himself and the entire Hasmonean family the loathing, infamy, and hatred with which the Jewish people would forever try to erase from memory exactly how the kingdom was begun by Jannaeus' ancestor, Judas the Maccabee.
Then it is no wonder that the Pharisees having the injuries of the Hasmoneans to nurse against the Sadducees (of which party all the Hasmoneans from Hyrcanus I belonged) they could not see eye to eye on theology, religious questions or even civil policies.
The bottom line, however, was this: with a hatred so recent and so virile, there was no possible way the Pharisees, who are the party who survived the Roman-Jewish war debacle, were prepared to allow the books of the Maccabees into the Jewish canon. In distinction to this, the earliest Christians inherited these books and accepted them at face value as the Word of God (and this remained the case for fifteen centuries).
And still today, the majority of churches in the Christian world actually have the books of the Maccabee kings in their Bible, so, as a whole, the Maccabee chronicles are either unread, ignored, or, in the case of Messianic Jewish believers and the Protestants, these important annuls are excluded from their Bible—either due to the decision of the Council of Jabneh or the lights of Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer.
But the truth, the real truth contained in the Maccabee books that many are missing is: the direct circumstances that led to Jewish independence from the Greeks, how the Jewish people won a surprising victory against great odds; the struggles the country had to go through to defeat the Tobiad (pro-Hellenist/ anti-Yawhist and anti-Mosaic Law party).
Additionally, the Rededication (Hanukkah), what it took to recover the operation of the Second Temple, and the full functionality of the Levitical priesthood's ordinary ministries and services is expressed in the pages of 1 and 2 Maccabees. More importantly, the loss of knowledge of the rise of the Hasmonean kingdom leads to some very subtle, but misleading assumptions.
Among the most detrimental, destructive, and ubiquitous of these is the idea that the Roman Empire is itself the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy. The Jewish people were the first to make this mistake.
But how could they?
How could the Jews make the mistake of believing the Roman Empire was the fourth kingdom when they lived at the very time when the Hasmonean Empire was founded and became the fourth principality, though both dangerous and great?
We can only hazard guesses since we have no person from that age to interview: The first reason could have been a biased perception of the prophecies. It may have been because the four kingdoms of prophecies were thought to be Gentile only (completely exempting the Jews). Or it may have been because Daniel 11:30 speaks of the Kittim (or Kitians in the LXX) invading the Land of Israel and the term "Kittim" (a Hebrew word) means "western lands," could be applied equally to the Romans and the Greeks.
In any case, the rise of the Romans in the second century B.C. occasioned considerable anxiety, as its takeover of the Holy Land was seen as something unstoppable and inevitable.5
Jews, as well as other peoples of the Levant, no doubt worried and wondered what the impact of the spread of Roman rule would do to a country's governmental sovereignty, religious beliefs and laws and traditions. Could a people survive?
Judæa did survive, but not in its pure Hasmonean form. Roman wisdom, with the help of Antipater the Idumean, invested leadership of this kingdom more and more into the hands of the Idumeans first, and the Jerusalem Aristocracy (mainly Sadducees) second. Within very little time the family and dynasty of Antipater, the Idumean, and his two sons Phasael and Herod rose to the very top of the leadership echelon and were rewarded handsomely for their loyalty to the Romans.
The dynasty that descended from Herod, ultimately, took control and had sway through much of the time of New Testament days up to A.D.66, and after the A.D.70 destruction of Jerusalem, all the way up to the final year of the first century. Their influence was such that the first Apostle to be martyred (James, the brother of John) was killed by a man who was equally Idumean and equally Hasmonean—by his genealogy, then, he would have been a Levite/ Idumean!
Finally, the fourth kingdom is important for the role it plays in Matthew 21:33-46's Parable of the Vineyard and the "holy war" and Messianic ambitions of the beast in the Book of Revelation 13:1-9.
References to the first Judæan messianic debacle can be found in Revelation chapter 11:1-2, 13:1-17, 14:9-10, 16:13-14, 17:8-17 and 19:19-21. If it was not for the errors of the Roman fourth kingdom idea, the sea beast in the Revelation narrative would immediately be recognized as a symbol of the Zealot's political and sacrilegious blight on the people and city and temple and how it would, according to Daniel's prophecy, lead to the end of the Temple period for the Jews, forever.
The Wicked and Adulterous Generation Skipped
Interpreters (inadvertently, unintentionally or deliberately) play fast and loose with a subject Jesus had a lot to say about: This generation; a wicked and adulterous generation; a generation that sought after signs; a generation which did not realize that a greater than Solomon was among them (Matthew 11:16; 12:39; 12:41-42).
This was the generation that Jesus and the Apostles marked as the one to receive the fulfillment of all things that had been written (Luke 21:22, 32).
The generation of Jesus' day was unique from any other generation in the following ways: It saw the ministry of John the Baptist, it saw the ministry, life, death, burial and resurrection, and ascension of our Lord. It witnessed the day of Pentecost when, fifty days from Passover, Christianity was born on the 6th of Sivan that year.
It is important to recognize the generation as the years of the collective lives of those alive at that given time, instead of a fixed numerical equation (as some erroneously reckon a generation to be exactly and precisely forty years).
If it is true that a generation is precisely forty years, then it would mean all the people subject to the Second Coming and its attendant prophecies would have had to be born in A.D.30 and died, one and all, in A.D.70! But everyone knows that that was certainly not the case!
The collective group that comprised that generation may have been slightly older; significantly younger than Jesus and some were not even born when Jesus had died and rose.
The important thing to remember is that Jesus foretold that the daughters of Jerusalem and their children would live to see the days when it was necessary to hide in the holes of the rocks, and beg the mountains to fall down on them (Luke 23:27-31).
This was not an idle threat, but a fact of history that happened to the Jews twice over a seven-decade span of time.6
We know from the writings of the rabbis and from more recent researchers that multiplied thousands of Jews from the generation of Jesus' day survived the Destruction of Jerusalem.7
We are told that hundreds of thousands fanned out towards Alexandria, towards Crete, towards Cyrenaica, and towards Mesopotamia.8 And what did they do? They fought and fought hard in what was to the Roman mind irrational and needlessly disruptive insurrections, all in the name of "Messianism."
This was something the Romans could neither fathom nor identify with, for the simple fact that the Romans were not acquainted with the Bible or its prophecies of a coming Messiah, a "holy war" and mandatory conscription for it, or an empire, out of the east, from which some, from Judæa, would obtain.9
But what makes the correct generation so very important not to skip is the charges and the oaths Jesus laid against them and the commitment he made (on multiple occasions) that all prophecies and his return would happen within this specific contemporary frame of reference. So that, if he did not return and execute vengeance upon the Jewish State, nor raise the dead (as he included even this in those promises), then we have direct proof that either Jesus was terribly wrong about his expectations (see these three sure cognates: Matthew 16:24-28; Mark 8:25-9:1 and Luke 9:23-27) or the New Testament accounts have been maliciously tampered with and falsified by copyists, amanuensis, and redactors since the first century.
If this is true, then the Gospels absolutely cannot be trusted and the promise of salvation and eternal life, through the Passion, Cross, and the blood of the Son of God is suddenly on shaky ground.
If the promises made to that generation do not matter, the promises attached to it are completely unreliable because we do not know which part of the narrative is true and which part of it has been corrupted or forged.
The Second Temple Skipped
Another big out-point in futurist eisegesis is the decision to skip the Second Temple as the necessary edifice to be present during the Second Coming of Christ. They skip the Second Temple in favor of a third one. But this decision has monumental and deleterious implications! If the Second Temple is swapped for a third temple, then Daniel 9:27, instead of restricting the coming of Israel's true Messiah into the pre-A.D.70/ Second Temple past, it suddenly allows and even assures the Jews and others that the Messiah could still come the first time in the future!
So before we could decide how important this step really is, would it not be wise to consider what is at stake? At least seven issues suggest themselves as being highly critical for us to think about when deciding just how important it is to get this step right before moving on.
One through four. A look at the Temple's plan, purpose, duration, and end can help us wrap our minds around its biblical importance and significance.
As many of us already know, the predecessor of the Temple was the mobile Tabernacle that Moses and Aaron set up in the Wilderness of Arabia. It was made to worship God and to make regular animal sacrifices and oblations for sin during the Exodus from Egypt. Its plan and purpose were to be a communal meeting place for God and his people. It served as a place for the resolution of their sins, on a year-by-year basis, by the blood of bulls, and goats, and turtle doves.10
Levitical priests, in family courses that cycled automatically throughout the year, served in this capacity, day and night and year-round, without ceasing. The original Tent of Meeting, which was made of precious cloth and animal skins and precious metals, like gold and silver, and even common elements, like copper, brass (iron, however, was not allowed because it was associated with war).
The original mobile structure was used all the way into the Monarchy of King David who suggested to God that a permanent structure should be built.11
Note how David's desire to build God a house was disallowed, but his son, Solomon was allowed to design and build it.12
And so, the First Temple was built, but it quickly became a center for religious corruption and a source of frustration to God. After a time the Hebrew people came to superstitiously believe that, on no account, would God forsake them, so long as the Temple stood in the middle of the city of David.
Even when the country was rife with adultery, murder, idolatry, injustice, infanticide—even spreading atheism—the belief of all and sundry was that the presence of the Temple was proof positive that nothing evil would or could befall the country.13
And so the people, in effect, threw God behind their backs and began to do everything they could, without any restraint, both within and around the Temple itself! A steady deterioration, in the days of the Levite, Ezekiel, things progressed from bad to worse. Worship of the sun and of insects (of all things!!!) was happening in the Temple's holiest precincts.
Away from the prying eyes of the people of Judæa Ezekiel was shown shocking rituals which had supplanted God's approved protocols in that sacred facility.14
Since this was happening and was not going to be corrected on its own, God decided to issue threats of impending doom to the people through Jeremiah, through Isaiah, through Hosea, through Zechariah, and through Zephaniah, Joel and Micah. These prophet's words, though well-meaning, caused anger and acrimony.
They were attacked as traitors and jailed as criminals.15 Some were beaten and some were executed in the most painful and gruesome way possible.16 Instead of the whole nation coming to its senses and repenting and kneeling to God, they raised their fists to heaven in brazen defiance!17 But locusts, thousands of them, were coming!18 And armies, hundreds of thousands of them, were coming too!19
When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came knocking on the Southern Kingdom's door, the unthinkable was near at hand. The Jewish people had used an instrument that God provided them in a way that it was not intended and the Temple and the guilty ones would be destroyed on account of this.
Thus, in 586 B.C. on the 9th of Ab, the first Temple went up in smoke and was reduced to dust and ashes. Thousands of Jews were carried away captive in a third wave just after this operation was concluded.
In Babylon, the people, now made sensible by a great and terrible loss, could lucidly reflect on what had led to the removal of the Temple and their ouster from the Holy Land.
And yet, in spite of this loss, the word of the Lord came, once again to the people, assuring them that a rebuilding and restoration effort would be initiated to found a second Temple.
Now, it is this Second Temple that the Bible has a lot to say about, but it is this same Temple that people want, for one reason or another, to skip.
So let's look a little closer at what Bible prophecies say about the Second Temple . . .
Second Temple Timetable
The Second Temple is important because it is central to a Bible timetable. This timetable has to do with the realization of six blessings predicated to happen before it ceased to exist under circumstances when it would be mistreated by people trespassing in and through forbidden parts of it (Daniel 9:24, 27).
The timetable of the first coming of the Messiah was predicated on the Second Temple (Daniel 9:24-25, 27).
The timetable for the unjust execution of the Messiah is predicated on the existence of the Second Temple (Daniel 9:26).
Timetable for the abomination of desolation predicted to happen to initiate the disappearance of the Second Temple (Daniel 9:27).20
In the New Testament Satan put Jesus on the pinnacle of the Temple and offered him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. If Jesus had taken the offer he could have avoided the cross of calvary and been the ruler of a world unredeemed by his own shed blood. As Matthew states, Jesus rejected this offer.
The New Testament also hints that the Pharisees had committed some of the errors of ancient Judæans by their consideration that gold in the Temple was holier than the Temple itself.
Moreover, the decision to change a section of the Second Temple into a marketplace where pilgrims and visitors to Jerusalem could be cheated in livestock and money exchanges irritated and angered Jesus (Matthew 21:12).
The Second Temple's Abomination
of Desolation Skipped
The Scribes and the Pharisees were of the opinion that the Second Temple was greater than the Messiah himself. So when Jesus made any reference to destroying the Temple, they were ready to pounce on him and, in the end, determined that he should die based upon false claims that he had blasphemed a building.
In Matthew 24, and Mark 13, and Luke 21 Jesus predicted that the Second Temple was to be completely destroyed at the time of his Second visible Coming - Matthew 24:1-3 and 24:29-31; in a slightly different version, remembered by the Apostle Peter see Mark 13:1-4 and 13:24-27. And in yet a final version, written by Luke the historian, see Luke 21:5-7 and 21:25-28.
All three testimonies attest that a mere seventy-two hours before Jesus was crucified for us, he definitely made specific claims about the Second Temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, and his own Second visible Coming in the clouds. In all events, Jesus viewed these as coming to pass within those specific and detailed circumstances, and not any other.
The Book of Acts 6:13-14, 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13; Hebrews 9:8 and Revelation 11:1-2 envision the Second Temple being destroyed . . .
(a) In order to change the customs of Moses (Acts 6:8-15),
(b) To make way for a building of God, a house not made with human hands, eternally in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1-4),
(c) Because of a Jewish messianic pretender (John of Gischala or Simon Bar Giora?) doing something high-handed, magical and detestable in the Holy of Holies (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12),
(d) To remove the shadow and open the way into the holiest of all, which is real and lasting (Hebrews 9:1-8), and . . .
(e) The Apostle John shows this specific edifice being ruined (along with Jerusalem) in a misguided internecine civil war that would lead to the Second Temple's conflagration, almost four years later. That sad day came to pass in the autumn of A.D.70 (Revelation 11:1-2 and 18:18).
Now, it is all too easy to insist that the Jews presently deign to build a third Temple, but according to the Word of God, a third Temple was never a part of the original discussion Jesus had with Peter and James and John and Andrew, back then on the Mount of Olives.
We must stick with the facts and reject all claims that are, in reality, fact-free. A link to a study of this aspect here.
The Coming of the Son of Man Skipped
Intertwined with the fourth kingdom and the Second Temple is the Coming of the Son of man. Now, the coming of the Son of Man has been skipped mainly because the hermeneutics of futurism insists on tearing apart subjects the Bible joins together as if to make an alternative jig-saw puzzle instead of accepting the complete picture God handed to the Apostles and preserved for us through the saints and scribes and authorities of the Byzantine, Catholic, and Oriental Christian churches.
The coming of the Son of man is first and foremost a prophecy found in Daniel 7:7-27. In that "Night Vision" the Jewish Prophet, Daniel, was assured, in no uncertain terms, that the Son of Man would come as the fourth kingdom was reeling and rocking in the throes of war and the outpouring of the wrath of God and his divine judicial annulment for their deviating from the terms of their covenant estate.
The upshot of Daniel 7:7-27 is that the fourth kingdom thinks it is the nominee for the kingdom of God, but the will of God intends for the Son of man and the people of the saints of the Most High God (which in the prophecy of Daniel 7:7-27 the Son of man and his people are considered to be "one" in this expected victory and inheritance).
Nothing in the prophecy suggests that a group of people could do anything they wanted with the sacred and end up being the nominee! But that is exactly how Judæan Zealots were behaving in front of God in the first century!
Secondly, besides the Son of man being the nominee, the Ancient of Days and the entire court of heaven observes the vile behavior of the fourth kingdom; its murder of the chosen ones and its overt attitudes and active hatred of God makes it clear to the holy ones that it must be destroyed and its body given to the burning flames after a three year and six-month rampage of tyranny and sacrilege and blasphemy.
The combination of stipulations in the Danielic text makes it very clear that the coming of the Son of man, the fourth kingdom attempt to seize what did not belong to it, and the transfer of rule, authority, and power to the people of the saints of the Most High God happen in a tight configuration that cannot be torn apart without injuring the integrity of the entire prediction.21
In Daniel 7:7-27 two entities expect the everlasting kingdom of God, but only one of them deserves it and will inherit it.22 But this coming; this inheritance and this forfeiture cannot be knocked out of the proverbial park to the end of time. The prophecy of the coming of the Son of man, first found there in Daniel 7:7-27, is the foundation and basis for Jesus' own understanding of his return and cannot be taken out of that time frame without making the New Testament completely absurd!
So where do these New Testament examples appear in the Gospels? Matthew 8:11-12 strongly hints at it, but Matthew 10:23, 16:27-28; 19:20-21; 23:39; 24:31-34 and 26:26 establish and lasso, hold in place and stabilize all Jesus' New Testament predictions. And these distinctive prophecies were issued forth six centuries beforehand.
But we cannot end the discussion there!
We still have to consider the coming of the Son of man in Acts, in the epistles of the Apostle Paul, the letter to the Hebrews, the epistle of James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1 John and Jude, and, importantly, the Book of Revelation.
These represent eight places where, upon careful review and reflection, the New Testament writings are iterating and reiterating the coming of the Son of man as it was outlined in Daniel 7:7-27.
Recognizing this important fact change everything! A link to a deeper study of these aspects can be found here.
The Great City Who Became a Harlot Skipped
The vilification of pagan Rome and the accusations that the Romans were Public Enemy Number 1 vis-à-vis the Jews and Christians is an old, old acorn that cannot stand the test of truth when compared to the words of our Lord.
Nor can charges against the Roman Empire (as if they were found guilty of ancient crimes of murder and the martyrdom of the prophets and apostles of God) stand.
And here, too, just as in the other steps, we will find out that, without any justification whatsoever, the crimes of Jerusalem committed during the First Hebrew Commonwealth, and more widespread during the Second Jewish Commonwealth, are the subject of sustained deflection and willful disregard in order to achieve the desired result: The implication of the Romans as the "persons of interest" and "usual suspects."
Now, beginning in Matthew 23, already we can see Jesus begin to list charges and lay accusations of malice and murder and place these crimes at the feet of the Jerusalem authorities.
He speaks of seven woes: the robbing of widows' houses and pretentious prayers, traveling land and sea, and making their religious converts twice the children of hell.
Jesus accused them of being blind guides who swear by the Temple and say, It is nothing, but if anyone swore by the gold of the Temple, they became a debtor, who said,
"If anyone swears by the Altar, it is nothing, but if they swore by the gift on the Altar, they were obliged!"
He speaks of their paying mint, anise, and cummin (spices), but turned around and neglected the weightier things of the Law: Justice and mercy and faith.
He speaks of leaders who strain at a gnat, but who turn around and swallow a camel. He speaks of Pharisees that clean the outside of a cup, but inside are full of extortion and self-indulgence.
He's furious about white-washed tombstones, that look beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones. He's angry about people filled with all uncleanness. He's tired of people who appear to be righteous, but are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Jesus, then, launches into the most damning accusations of all, starting in verse 29 . . .
Here Jesus accuses the Jewish leaders of building the tombs of the prophets their fathers killed. He next questions their sense of reverence and sincerity when they claim they would not have killed the prophets had they lived in the days of their ancestors: Jesus knew full well that they certainly would have done it!
He knew they would have done it because he knows what they are going to do: Shed the blood, not only of God's own Son, but also of New Testament prophets, apostles, and saints.
But in the lights of Futurists, Babylon the Great has to be Rome (must be!).
Without a shred of evidence to suggest otherwise, the bloodguilt of Jerusalem in the Gospels is held at bay from the bloodguilt of the Great City in the Book of Revelation.
When this is done it produces strange ideas that compete with the Biblical narrative and carries people far and away from the real aims of the New Testament, Bible prophecy, and the specific concerns embodied in the Book of Revelation. A detailed study of this aspect can be found here.
The Day and the Hour Skipped
There is an almost no more famous saying of our Lord Jesus, next to John 3:16 than his saying that he knew neither the day nor hour of his own return (in Matthew 24 and Mark 13). A verse in Acts 1:6-7 also confirms that the exact time of the Lord's return was not known either during Jesus' ministry in Israel or in the ministries of the Apostles to Judæa and the Diaspora in the Book of Acts.
How then can we be so sure that the Second Coming is a past phenomenon? It must be admitted by all that, if today the day and the hour is still not known, it will be known (for sure) at the time it takes place—right?
In other words, it cannot be said that a day and hour is still unknown, even after it happened. But we have much more than this to go on!
The incarnation of God in Christ, we believe, has everything to do with Jesus' inability to know the day and the hour. Another factor in this nescience is the Trinity of God. Supreme in the Godhead is God the Father and inferior in the Godhead is the Holy Spirit. Yet the Holy Spirit is a Person who has access to the mind of the Father to be able to search his thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:10).
This is not to say the Holy Spirit is someone to be trampled on (he is not! - see Mark 3:28-20 and Acts 5:1-11 cf. Hebrews 10:29). We cannot escape the idea of a God who is fundamentally one but has separate thought processes. But what is more than this, the Bible tells us that, along the way, the Father gave to the Son the day and the hour of his return, not very many years before the Destruction of Jerusalem:
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew his servants things which must shortly come to pass . . .” (Revelation 1:1).
The very first verse of the Book of Revelation effectively changes a fact that was announced by Jesus in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32. But because of what was delivered later on by God the Father, what Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 NO LONGER HOLDS TRUE—because, of course, the Father knew the day and hour and of course he made it known to the Apostle John in Revelation 1:1.
Now, according to Revelation 1:1, 3, and 7 the day and hour of our Lord's Second Coming was coming up soon at the very time that John wrote the Book of Revelation, and this is not welcome news to anyone who wants to argue for a Second Coming quite beyond the lifetime of Jesus' contemporaries.
Let's look at that at this time . . .
The End of the Second Jewish Commonwealth Skipped
The end of the civilization of the Second Jewish Commonwealth, from our distance in the future from when it was last here does not let us appreciate its significance, size, and glory. There is so much we cannot comprehend because, basically, it is gone and not a trace of it remains where we could get a good accurate sense of it.
However, it still matters that this was the object, the wicked world which sought to oppose the preaching of the Gospel; who made efforts to curb the growth of the churches; who took decisive steps, through missives, to authorize the arrest and extradition of believers from near and far away places to Jerusalem where they could be tried and executed for the crime of believing in Christ and being Christians.
The Second Jewish Commonwealth was more than the Jerusalem Temple and more than Jerusalem itself. It was the entire civilization, its people, its culture, its traditions, its language and literature, its hopes and desires and aspirations for the present and for the future.
The Second Commonwealth was believed to be here to stay, not something that would be forever destroyed.
But now that it is gone it is tempting to think that the "world" of today is that "present wicked and evil age" described by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:4.
Our Responsibilities and Privileges
We have a responsibility to study to show ourselves approved unto God and be workmen that need not be ashamed. When we commit eisegesis and fail to exegete the Scriptures we ensure that what we say will never materialize, but will end up, inevitably, taking everybody for a ride (and this is not the will of God!).
Handling the Word of God wrongly leads to deception and deception leads to disappointment, loss of zeal, apathy, loss of faith—even apostasy from Christianity, agnosticism, and atheism!
The truth is, there are a variety of very good reasons why we should encourage ourselves to avoid accidentally misrepresenting the Scriptures or its prophecies:
Too many times we take what others tell us and run with it. Too many times we reject what we hear for the first time without giving it serious reflection and a long deep study to examine its credibility. For some, every person they listen to changes their opinion right away, or they waiver back and forth between two opinions because they are not equipped or prepared to understand the real validity of a claim or an argument.
All of us need God's grace and for the questions that directly concern us about the Bible, the Christian life, and the meaning of Bible prophecy, we need the help of the Holy Spirit, who is there to assist us if we pray to him and implore his aid.
Summary and Conclusion
Whatever we do, and whatever we say, and wherever we are, we do not want to be guilty of misleading people or, as it could be put, “Lying for the Lord.” That's what the cults do; that's what people do who have something to hide; that's what happens when people are out on a hunt and care only about numbers, but not about people.
The Bible tells Christians to, “Quit you like men.” It also urges us, “In understanding be men, but in malice be children.” We have a charge and we have a mission: To repent and believe the Gospel, and to go and tell the world and every nation about the Gospel of the Son of God, his cross and reconciliation to God, and eternal salvation through Jesus' blood.
Looking back through history, and considering these seven steps that have been skipped, and reflecting on all the many times countless people were misled into believing Jesus was coming 'soon' (when he wasn't coming soon), it behooves us to learn from the mistakes of others and by learning from their mistakes, we have to discern what particular commissions AND omissions combined to make what they taught or said, basically, dead on arrival.
In truth, a claim based on a weak or faulty foundation is no better than a lie or a fairy tale. We expect no results from either, do we? And so, skipping steps, while it might be fun to do in pursuit of exercise, in terms of the Bible, prophecies, and futuristic expectations, it can only forebode unsatisfying, disappointing, and even tragic results.
1 Definition and Wiki essay on this technical term https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisegesis.
2 Imprecise ideas about the issue of the existence of the Second Temple will greatly aid and abet the destruction of proper steps toward meaningful comprehension of apocalyptic texts throughout the New Testament - Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:1-3, 15 cf. Mark 13:1-4, 14; Acts 6:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:1-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-13; Hebrews 9:8 and Revelation 11:1-2.
4 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Jannaeus. In 88 B.C. king Alexander Jannaeus executed these Pharisees on charges of treason after they joined forces with the Greek-Seleucid king Demetrius III Eucaerus. Furious at this liaison, Josephus tells us that King Alexander Jannaeus ruthlessly crucified 800 Pharisees and he was the first (not the Romans) to bring crucifixion to the Holy Land (Antiquities 13.14.2:380). This method was introduced into Israel by this Hasmonean king twenty-five years before the Romans took control of Judæa.
5 Professor Lawrence Schiffman, writes, “The Lament from cave 4 asks God “not to give our inheritance to strangers nor our property (or possessions) to foreigners” (line 1). This text envisions that Rome will soon conquer and destroy the Land of Israel. The author clearly understood that Rome was interested in the affairs of the Near East in the first century B.C.E. only because it eventually wanted to conquer Judaea.” Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 382.
6 The A.D.132-136 Simon Bar Kokhba revolt brought the Second Jewish Commonwealth, which had begun so hopeful and so devoted to God, to a singular disastrous end from which the participants could not escape. Figures like Cyrus, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel took responsibility to build that which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (see here), but what took so long to establish, after 652 years suddenly came crashing down because of a tragic miscalculation about who the Messiah really was (it was Jesus) and when the promised kingdom of God was genuinely realized (it was realized in A.D.66). Catastrophic oblivion overtook the Jewish State and wiped it completely out of existence in just forty-two short months.
“Quite a number of references to Bar Kokhba and the Second Revolt are to be found in the writings of Jerome (fourth-fifth centuries), who also translated some of Eusebius's works, and like him wrote a history of the Church; he seems to have known personally several Jewish scholars of his times, and incorporated some Jewish traditions in his writings. In his commentary on the Bible, he occasionally inserts references to Bar Kokhba and the Second Revolt.
In fact, he sees references to the events of the revolt and what happened to the Jews in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Joel. In his commentary to Isaiah 2:15, he says that that verse actually alludes to the great victories of the Romans over the Jews in both the First and Second Revolts and adds a very interesting piece of information at the end.
He says the people of Judaea suffered to such a degree during that war that they were compelled to seek refuge in underground crevices and deep caves together with their wives and children. This is worth remembering in the light of recent archaeological exploration in the Judaean Desert.” Yigael Yadin's Bar Kokhba, p. 23.
7 Over 98,000 people survived the destruction of Jerusalem. Bar Kokhba p. 17. See Wars 6.9.3:420.
8 Sicarii fanned out in a variety of directions, undaunted by the fall of Jerusalem, Wars 7.10.1:407-410.
9 The prophecy of the inheritance and the efforts expended to seize it are foretold in Daniel 7:7-27 and Josephus' Dissertation 3.5.15.
10 Bulls and goats and turtle doves - see Leviticus chapter 1 through 10 and 34:90 and 30:34.
11 In 2 Samuel 7 David wants to build God a house, but God said, No, because David had blood on his hands in the matter of Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah.
12 But God allowed Solomon to build him a house, see 1 Chronicles chapter 28.
13 “But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the LORD’s Temple is here. They chant, “The LORD’s Temple is here! The LORD’s Temple is here!” (Jeremiah 7:4).
14 See Ezekiel 8:10.
15 “. . . they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king's son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.”
16 See Hebrews 11:37 for a list of wrongs against God's messengers.
17 See, for example, Jeremiah 8:6.
18 1 Kings 8:37; 2 Chronicles 6:28 and Joel 2:25.
19 Isaiah 5:26
20 It is interesting to note that Daniel the 9th chapter, like Isaiah 53 are chapters Rabbinic Jews are forbidden by Talmudic law to read or interpret. The reasons for this censor are obvious: If anyone should read them they would immediately realize that the true Messiah had to die for the sins of the people and that he had to show up before the Second Temple fell. These are bombshells and leaders with a vested interest in hiding the truth are in no mood to let these secrets run rampant among the people under their control.
21 The violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12 and Revelation 13:1-10 and 17:11-17), but neither Romans, Roman Catholics or any other entity on earth ever had the presence of mind to assume, let alone believe, that Daniel 7:7-27 was about their specific nation or cause and then go out on a brink to make it so. Only the Jews (not the Christians and not the Romans or anyone else) spent more than a century fighting to make their false interpretation of Daniel 7:7-27 something it was never meant to be. Now, are Christians going to keep falsifying this prophecy forever, too? I saw where someone aptly said, “It is in the lies that there are a lot of things that have to be hidden, and it has to be discussed in private (always), and instead of coming to the light, it chooses darkness and obfuscation (as if to prove that what is plainly obvious is difficult to see). When prophecy books keep failing, time after time, people know they are being played for fools and lied to, pure and simple.”
22 The Christians inherited the kingdom promised, in spite of all odds and against every obstacle that came their way. On the other hand, the enemies of the Church were ejected out of the land (or from this life) in such great numbers, that today the secular nation of Israel has no appetite to even lift a finger in pursuit of such lofty goals. The combined effect of all seven steps skipped means that the majority assume Revelation's judgments are far off in the distant future, but in reality, they are far behind us in the distant past. See Revelation 20:7-9.
Recommended reading . . .
Alyn Brodsky, The Kings Depart: The Saga of the Empire Judah Maccabee Created and his Heirs Destroyed, 1974.
Jacob S. Minkin, Herod, King of the Jews, 1956.
Miriam Maranzenboim, Josephus: History of the Jews, 2018.
Martin Hengel, The Zealots, 1997.
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