Leadership require courage, integrity and etc.

Is Amillennialism True to the New Testament (Second Edition)

A Critical Overview of Systematized Obscurantism Annotated by Mark Mountjoy Introductory Remarks T he value of the New Testament stands or falls on the question of its verity: Is it a true and faithful report?  Is it inspired by the Holy Spirit of God? Or, is Amillennialism a humanly devised solution?  Is it a catalog of calumniations against the Jewish people and fables and fantastic claims surrounding Jesus, an individual from Nazareth of Judæa?  If true, what general system of interpretation best represents how it makes sense in light of its culture, context and commitments?  If untrue (or only partly true), what logic justifies accepting any of it as a reflection of the revealed will of God or an explanation of salvation or guide to ultimate questions of truth and eternal consequence?  Amillennialism is a systematic belief about Bible eschatology that wants to explain and deny what the New Testament says, all in one breath; Saying “Yes” and “No” on questions surrounding what the New Testament says about the Second Coming, it wants to have it both ways: It wants to accept Jesus, his deity, his cross, death, burial and resurrection, but it also wants to deny, equivocate, obfuscate and reinvent everything the New Testament says about his return, its context, proximity and implications!   This essay will attempt to clarify how the Amillennial theory cherry-picks the Bible to establish itself (not the Word of God) as the authority unto whom Christians must be beholden.  However, at the same time, Amillennialism straightly holds what the New Testament plainly advocates to be off limits and verboten on pain of censor, interdiction1 and, in extreme cases, excommunication. Amillennialism is so old that it can effectively be named as the “Second Belief”2 of Christians, a construct of understanding the end of the world that dates back to the time of St. Augustine of Hippo, North Africa (A.D. 354-430).  Formulated as a polemic solution, it was intended to combat Chiliastic literalism that aspired and awaited a thousand year restoration of the Jewish nation under Christ.  Knowing that Chiliasm blatantly contradicted the essence of the Gospel and the cause of Christ, Amillennialism disputed and counteracted that belief in its exegesis of Gospel and Pauline texts.  The texts which Amillennial authorities highlight were those where Jesus, Peter or Paul established that the Church was the flower and fruit of God's eternal purposes—Matthew 16:18-19; John 10:16; Acts 4:12; Romans 9:23-26 and Ephesians 3:21.  From the Amillennial standpoint, the Church, not a carnal kingdom for Israel, was the plan God intended to establish and sustain after the Temple-State period had served its purpose (Galatians 4:21-31 cf. Hebrews 8:7-13; Hebrews 10:1-9).  But because Amillennialism was formed when the Book of Revelation was held in ambivalence (and even contempt), the sayings of John there do not play a key role, nor shape official Church beliefs about how and why the Second Coming is circumscribed around the end of the Semitic world which Jesus, the Apostles and early Christians knew all the way up to A.D.136.  St. Augustine was born 216 years after the Jewish State disappeared; he was born at a time when it was generally believed the Book of Revelation described Roman atrocities against Christians (and the Zealot woes had all disappeared from memory).  As late as A.D.360 the Council of Laodicea did not include the Book of Revelation in its list of canonical books.3  Thus, the expectation of an early Second Coming and deliverance seemed exaggerated and fantastic to begin with; it was never taken seriously.  And so, when confronted by the evidence, Amillennarians not only tends to reject the apocalyptic sayings of Jesus, they also lean towards equivocation, denial or repudiation of sayings of the Apostles that similarly reiterate what he said, be those sayings in Acts, or the Pauline epistles, be they in Hebrews, or in James or in the Petrine, Johannine and Judæan epistles.  This appears to be done, not from ill-will, but from bias and inculcated and unjustified certainty.4  In a desire to “hold the line” the inclusion of the Book of Revelation as an important part of the equation is vigorously resisted as unwarranted and the Revelation material is sectioned off from the rest of the New Testament so thoroughly that the sense of what it says is distorted beyond all recognition, from any historical standpoint!5 Amillennialism Misrepresents the  New Testament’s Culture Because Amillennialism thinks of the days of Jesus and the Apostles and early Christians as happening in the early Roman Empire, it erroneously assumes that the New Testament ethos is best explained in light of the alien Roman Gentile culture.  This is an easy assumption to make, but it is a mistake.  The early Christians lived in the world of Judaism: a Biblical culture.  Biblical Judaism was a force to be reckoned with and its adherents strove constantly to insulate and isolate themselves from mitigating and polluting influences of Roman society.6  Roman society, for its part, was not founded on, nor familiar with Jewish presuppositions and religious aspirations.  The two were mutually exclusive and did not overlap.  But Christianity emerged, not from a vacuum, and not from Roman soil, but from Jewish thought, expectations and considerations.7 This means that it is a grave mistake to think that the culture of the New Testament or the early Christians stands against or has the demise of the greater Roman Empire in mind.  It does not.  Nowhere in the entire New Testament can it be shown that the decay and downfall of the Roman Empire is ever the issue.  Rather, the advancement of age and glaring signs of spiritual decay and promises of impending desolation are explicitly announced, not only against Jerusalem, but also against Judæa, and even to citizens of this realm living in far away places such as Galatia, Corinth, Thessaloniki and Philippi.8   The connection between the Jewish culture and the Jewish people make sense when we understand that the thrice annual cycle of holy festivals required Jews and proselytes to present themselves in Jerusalem, the soon-to-be doomed capitol.9  For this reason, it can be clearly seen that entanglement and captivity loomed as frightening possibilities if any Jews or God-fearers who had become Christians, fell away and reverted back to Judaism and its mandatory cycle of obligations and religious events.  This is the reason why the Apostles are at pains to make sure the Christians understand the deadly consequences that would be realized.10 Amillennialism, on the other hand, takes the texts which speak of these threats and rereads them into polemical diatribes against the Papacy or, depending on the sect, into admonitions against hierarchical church leadership disputes, across the board.  But none of these interpretations parallel any early Christian dangers of succumbing to Zealot delusions and intrigues and could not be further from the truth!11  Amillennialism Misrepresents the  New Testament’s Context Not only does Amillennialism misunderstand and misrepresent the New Testament's culture, it does not recognize, fully acknowledge, or comprehend the context of it either.  To be blunt: The New Testament context is strictly framed around this theme: THE TIME IS FULFILLED AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.12  To grasp this aspect of this controversy, Catholic and Orthodox and Oriental Christians have a better advantage than Protestant Christians for the simple reason that the three former Church canons accept the record of the Maccabee victory and the ensuing sovereign statehood and that important development is missing from the Protestant  Bible because of the omission of 1 and 2 Maccabees from the Protestant canon.13   First Maccabee 8:36-42, for example, preserves the announcement that establishes, once and for all, that the Hasmonean power arose in Judæa after more than four hundred years of domination by three kingdoms: Babylon, Medeo-Persia and Greece.  Even in the New Testament, the context of Herodian Judæa does not erase the fact that Marriamne the Hasmonean's grand and great grandchildren (King Herod Agrippa I and King Herod Agrippa II, Queen Berenice) were heads of state all the way up until the destruction of Jerusalem and even a little afterward.14 The deprivation of the Fourth Judæo-Idumean kingdom of the kingdom of God, and its transfer to the new people of God (the Christians) is precisely what Danielic prophecies foretell.  But, again, the destruction of the Roman Empire, a judgment against its emperors, or the end of the Roman era is never an issue in the New Testament.  This was not also true for the leaders of the Jewish world: their days were numbered and the New Testament, from the beginning, envisions it in warnings, metaphors and under a variety of apocalyptic guises. The context established in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, does not change at all in Acts, the Pauline epistles, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude or the Book of Revelation.  In fact, the first edition of the New Testament always placed the Book of Acts just before the General Epistles of James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1,2, and 3 John and Jude preceding the Book of Revelation as if to connect the Diaspora world of the Jews (emphasized in Acts) with the Diaspora world of the Jews (emphasized in the General Epistles and in the first three chapters of Revelation).15  This is an important point because, without context, the possibility of interpreting the Book of Revelation is left to each believer to decide and there would be no limit of possible opinions.  But the very minute it is recognized that there are concrete realities that existed in antiquity, that is the time when speculation and guessing have to take a back seat. Amillennialism Misrepresents the  New Testament’s Commitments Because Amillennialism fails to comprehend the culture and context of the New Testament, it also fumbles and rejects the New Testament's commitments.  What are these commitments?  That Jesus is the Son of man seen in Daniel's night vision coming in the clouds of heaven to annul and destroy the wicked ambitions and designs of the bellicose fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy: The New Testament implicates this kingdom to be Judæa itself.16 Against Jerusalem and against Judæa, Jesus preached this constantly, privately and publicly (Matthew 10:23 cf. Matthew 26:64).  He did not hide from the Apostles his belief that the nations would be gathered before him at his coming and he would be their judge (Matthew 19:28 cf. Matthew 25:31-46).  Even at his trial, Jesus evoked the motifs of Daniel 7:7-27 to affirm to the High Priest that the answer to his question was a resounding,"Yes!"  Yes, he would be the one sitting high and lifted up, coming back to take away Judæa's power and give it to others, the people of the saints of the Most High God (Daniel 7:13-27 cf. Matthew 26:64).  Of course, this answer was not acceptable to the High Priest, nor to the Sanhedrim, but what is tragic is that this answer is also unacceptable to Amillennialists!  How else can they read the same confession and draw a blank when it comes to its larger significance to this almost singular commitment of the New Testament?17  Amillennialism Believes the  New Testament is Partly True Amillennarians do believe the fourth kingdom fell, but they do not believe the events in Daniel 7:7-27 in any way describe what it took to make that happen—or what kingdom that actually happened to.  Nor do they believe the Olivet Discourse or the Book of Revelation expands upon that theme in any way, shape or form.  Similarly, verses like Matthew 10:23 and 16:27 -28 and 24:30 DO NOT MAKE SENSE AS TRUE LITERAL STATEMENTS OF FACT IN THE AMILLENNIAL WAY OF THINKING.  Thus, the equivocation starts and spreads in efforts to hold these verses and promises apart from each other and as “sort of true”—of the Gospel’s spread in Roman Empire—but not really the Coming of the Son of man.  Similarly, the Olivet Discourse's connection to the Fall of Jerusalem can be explained as similar-ish to what will happen at the "real" end of the world, but it would be saying entirely too much to believe that the downfall of the Second Temple also saw the coming of the Son of man, as the text blatantly states.18  To Amillennial thinking, that would be clearly wrong.   To Amillenniarian scholars, Matthew 24:30 affirms that Jesus is coming back visibly, BUT AT THE END OF TIME (apart and away from the A.D.70 destruction of the Second Temple!), but at the destruction of the literal heavens and the literal earth.  Amazing?  No? If Amillennialists recognize that Jesus, Paul and the early Christians believed the end of the world would happen in their lifetime and it did not happen, that automatically means the New Testament (as it has come down to us) is “partly true.”  With great ingenuity Christians can swerve around the subject of a failed end of the world in the first century of the Church—but if never materialized, then that fact alone should drag the New Testament down to the infamy of being a litany of false predictions!  But failure of the end (as Amillennialists suppose it to be) also relies on the planet and its atmosphere being the object of Bible destruction texts, right?  If so, it is fair, then, to ask, Why do Amillennialists disbelieve in a literal carnal kingdom, but believe in a carnal literal end of the world?  The very fact that the same earth and sky exists, day after day, means that the Bible continues to prove itself wrong every time a new day dawns!  The Amillennial error has to do with how they interpret 2 Peter 3:10. Second Peter 3:10’s description of the end of the world seems to be reason enough to hold that the planet and sky will disappear the moment Christ comes back.  But do antecedents exist in the Bible that warrant taking what the Apostle Peter said as a bonafide description of a planetary detonation?  On page 219 of his book, A Second Look at the Second Coming, Orthodox Christian, T.L. Frazier correctly identifies the language of Matthew 24:29 as a genre of writing known today as ‘Jewish apocalyptic.’  This kind of writing has its precedents and antecedents in the Old Testament of the people of Israel; this was language they knew and easily understood.   And what did it tell them?  Frazier identifies four places where we can examine and see that, though the language seems to point to astronomical realities, in fact it is talking about God's judgment and it, in reality speaks of the fall of particular nations and their governments.  Examples of this claim are not lacking and include: the fall of Babylon (described in Isaiah 13:10); the fall of Edom (described in Isaiah 34:4); the fall of the twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt (Ezekiel 32:7,8), and the end of First Temple Israel (Amos 8:9). We could add Isaiah 66:22-24 (a definite prophecy about the bloody carnage to be witnessed at the end of the Second Jewish Commonwealth), Daniel 8:10 (about the second century B.C. end of the Seleucid era) to this important list.  So then, looking again at 2 Peter 3:9-12 and the context of, not only the third chapter, but the whole book and even the claims of 1 Peter, there is no way to miss that the Apostle Peter and his amanuensis, Silas (1 Peter 5:12), intended for the first Christians to understand: The evil government of the Second Jewish Commonwealth would not go on with “business as usual,” but would be seriously injured and destroyed by an interventional judgment of Jesus himself.  If this has happened historically, then, this also means that the New Testament, in all its parts (including the Apocalyptic expectations), is entirely true.19  Cherry-picking: Isolated and Fragmented Prophecy Strings A regular feature of Amillennialism, one that does not characterize their general approach to other Bible topics, is isolated and fragmented prophecy strings.20  These consist of passages and verses on the same or similar subjects, but these prophecies are not allowed to speak to each other, though they should, in the name of clarity, synchronization and harmony.  For example, Acts 1:11 HAS TO BE TRUE, BUT (according to Amillennialists) CANNOT BE TRUE IN A FIRST CENTURY SENSE.  To traditionalists, Acts 1:11 has to be true as an isolated verse along with other isolated verses.  The function of isolating this verse from, for example, Matthew 10:23, serves to affirm an event removed perhaps millions or billions of years into the future, a future at the very end of time!  The result of this procedure is what? A grossly inaccurate, misleading and exaggerated misinterpretation of the Bible!  BUT IS THIS THE WAY TO STUDY THE BIBLE?  IS THIS REALLY THE WAY A DOCTRINE IS PROPERLY DEVELOPED?  IS THIS THE WAY GOD'S TRUTH SHOULD BE HANDLED?  We do not believe any Godfearing Christian would ever answer, “Yes, this is right and proper”! So what is the truth?  The truth is this: Acts 1:11 is but part of a chain of prophecies that reaches, again, to Daniel 7:7-27.  What do Matthew and Mark and Luke and John supply for us a link to connect?  Have they nothing to say or plenty?  If nothing, then we owe Amillennialists and all other Christians an apology for questioning and disturbing their cherished future hopes.  But if Acts 1:11 leads back to previous promises about the same event, and ultimately, to what was expected to transpire at the height of the fight with the vicious forces of the fourth kingdom, then we Christians really have to rethink our dogmatic and authoritarian stance and posture on these critical issues.  Specific information and, in this case, connected information, is going to defeat general and unfounded assumptions every time. Amillennialism Sternly Rejects the Idea of  “This Generation  Shall Not Pass till All These Things Be Fulfilled” Amillennialism has very little to say about which generation Jesus will return in.  From my experience dealing with the view, this is so because the Church, over time, has not emphasized a single generation as a constraint on when the Lord must return.  But, when Jesus uttered “this generation” and spoke to the nation and people surrounding him, he, by that, pinned on his contemporaries a significance that cannot be easily passed off to situations and circumstances happening along the way involving successive decades and centuries beyond the lifetime of his peers.   But it makes it an evident deception and an obvious lie for Jesus to tell living people they certainly will survive to see the day when he shall in the clouds appear, or till the time when the last state of that generation was worse than the first (Matthew 12:43-45 cf. Matthew 24:29-34).  The New Testament prediction of the soon-coming Second Coming could not be the truth if, after everything was said and done, not a single thing, big or small, mundane or miraculous, happened!21   For Christians who are engaged in discussions with others who do not share our convictions, it will be important to raise the question: What does the expression, “This generation” mean?  Now, this is a talking point for Dispensational Premillennialists, but it is not one for Amillennialists.  In fact, Amillennialism could care less about the expression, “This generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled"” They do not believe it has any specific significance and, for them, the statement has no authoritative value at all.  This is a shocking aspect of the character of Amillennialism, we are sad to report.  Both in and out of disputed texts and passages, Jesus frequently invoked this qualifier and, because of its frequency, we believe, it must be important and should remain front and center in our discussions with Christians who want to frame these controversies as a denial of Church tradition, rather than an effort to uphold as trustworthy the timetable Jesus repeatedly emphasized. __________________________________________________ “This Generation” in the New Testament Jesus, our Lord, said repeatedly, “This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled.” “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7) Note: This was spoken by John the Baptist. “But whereunto shall I liken this generation?  It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows. . .” (Matthew 11:16) “O generation of vipers. how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. . .” (Matthew 11:16). “But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. . .”(Matthew 12::39). “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. . .” (Matthew 12:41). “The Queen of the South shall rise up in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it; for she came from the uttermost part of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon: and behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” (Matthew 12:42). “Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.  Even so shall it be unto this wicked generation” (Matthew 12:45). “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign. . .” (Matthew 17:17) “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”  (Matthew 23:33). “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation”  (Matthew 23:36). “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34). _______________________________________________ Amillennialism Accepts the Deity, Incarnation, Life,  Death Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Amillennialism accepts the deity, incarnation, life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, but so do we.  Why can’t we just get along if we both have the same high view of Christ as the Son of God and creator of the world?  Why can’t we sit down together as brothers, as Christians, since we each believe in the power of the Cross and the efficacy of Jesus’ holy, precious and saving blood?  It would seem that common sense would dictate that we rethink our assumptions if said postulates came anywhere near implying that any part of Jesus’s message was amiss, mistaken or wrong.  Sadly, though, some Christians do not have any hesitation to say that Jesus ‘could have been wrong’ about matters related to his return.   Now, let’s see how the inspired testimonies of Matthew, Peter and Luke are implicitly denied and denounced  as “false.” To begin and to be fair, it should be understood by all that Amillennialism does not explicitly denounce anything the Bible says as “false.”  But when Amillennialism disregards, overlooks or ignores “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand,” and when it treats as a little thing, “This generation shall not pass away till all these things be done” three witnesses to the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’s last sermon, given three days before his crucifixion, are rendered null and void.  They become, in essence, slogans or threats, but have no real weight or meaning.    So disavowing what otherwise can be seen as Jesus’s promise to reappear in the lifetime of his contemporaries and not all the way at the end of time itself is, basically, a backhanded repudiation of New Testament apocalypticism for a number of reasons: First, if the promised coming of the everlasting kingdom of God was not at hand in the first century, John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles were clearly and obviously ahead of their time and telling the people something was going to happen too soon, when, it fact, it actually was not going to happen anywhere near their lifetime.   According to both Daniel chapters 2 and 7 the kingdom was to come with power.  That power was to disrupt, at once, the government and continuance of the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy.  Now, different nuances of Amillennialism exist and it is impossible to say if it is uniformly believed that the kingdom of God came with power on the Day of Pentecost of A.D.33.  I am familiar with this claim from my Amillennial past, but this claim would entail that nearly everyone who saw the ministry of Jesus was also alive when the kingdom supposedly came with power fifty days after Jesus was crucified.  If that is true then Jesus’s statement in Matthew 16:27-28 loses its meaning!  It does so by virtue of the fact that everyone was alive (as far as we know) except Judas Iscariot.  This takes attention away from the sixth decade of the first century, a troubled and chaotic time when the Bible actually states: “NOW the kingdom of God has come.” This development (right in the midst of the Jewish civil war (Revelation 11:15 and 12:10) cannot be reconciled with the Day of Pentecost in A.D.33.   So then, if it is proposed that the kingdom of God came with power on the day of Pentecost, the expectation and promises of John the Baptist and Jesus have no real parallel in Revelation 11:15 or 12:10!  The latter two texts become superfluous; pointless. If the coming of the kingdom of God, in fact, did not happen in relationship to a governmental overthrow anywhere near the lifetime of the contemporaries of Jesus, then, that prophecy and New Testament claims that that was about to happen are categorically false.22 Second, the destruction of Jerusalem and Judæa and the Second Jewish Commonwealth, fall into this important category of specifics.  Jesus preached about the end of the age and that age did not include the epoch of the Roman Empire.  This can be clearly seen by the historic fact that the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudus and Nero brought no finality to Roman rule.  In spite of struggles in the seventh decade of the first century Galba, Otho, Vitellilus, and Vaspasian, Titus and Domitian emerged from the fray with even greater success than before.  After that, Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian brought the Roman Empire to its greatest territorial extent.  This high point of the empire flowed, seamlessly, into the rule of Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus and Commodus.23   Even the civil war of A.D.193 did not prevent the inception of the powerful and successful Severan Dynasty, which lasted from A.D.193 to 235.  By this time we are approaching the fourth century and the appearance of Constantine the Great and the inception of the glorious Byzantine era of the Roman Empire―not a downfall, but the elevation of the Roman Empire to heights unimaginable from the prophecy perspective of the Romans being a so-called fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy. Third, what the end of the Second Temple constitutes is a specific, too.  It is clear from Matthew 24:1-2 and 15, Mark 13:1-2 and 14 and Acts 6:11-14 that this is a central idea in Jesus' thinking on the purpose of his return.  It is not a return long after the days of the Temple, but a return to the world when the Temple was still standing--this is the portrayal we see and the then existing Temple is an integral part of the revelation of the Son of God in the Bible (2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 cf. Malachi 3:1-3). Fourth, the end of the Law and the customs of Moses around the animal sacrifices, the three annual pilgrimages to the Temple all fall into line as significant consequences of the truthfulness of Jesus’s predictions.  This would not be the case of the expression, “This generation” was pointless to any specific object, location or definitive circumstances.   From all these things, then, the New Testament consistently addresses what?  The end of the world.  As the end of the world is described in Daniel 7:7-27, the New Testament is at pains to describe it as ready to be realized in the final years of the Second Jewish Commonwealth, but Amillennialism does everything in its power to escape the ramifications of this, insisting, as it does, that the Bible has its attention on some distant event that could happen, not only multiple and untold generations from now, but also, possibly, more than a billion years from now.24  How tragic and how sad! Amillennialism Believes the Olivet Discourse  Describes a Long, Varied History Neither the Olivet Discourse of Revelation 1:1-3, 7 or the litany of affirmations supplied at the end of the Book of Revelation indicates to Amillennialists anything of importance should have happened in any mysterious circumstances in Jewish antiquity.  As far as they are concerned, there was a war between the Romans and the Jews wherein buildings fell; many lives were lost and, in the end, the Romans won and turned their attention to other matters.  But Jesus' promise of his Second Coming within the Olivet Discourse and John's claim that that same Second Coming was shortly to come to pass as the Book of Revelation was being penned, is considered by Amillennialists to be, not only an exaggeration, but also an error approaching damnable heresy in its seriousness.  Some Amillennarian authorities look suspiciously and darkly upon any interpretation that takes relevant prophecies and specific circumstances of first and second century Judaea as misguided attempts at Biblical exegesis, historical analysis and interpretation.  By not taking what the Bible says about the fourth kingdom seriously, and by looking at what Jesus said about his generation and taking it with a grain of salt, of course these attitudes of indifference or hostility will be the natural result. Now, because Amillennialists believe the Olivet Discourse, far from describing conditions leading up to the destruction of the Second Temple, they believe, instead, that it is talking about a very long history: One that extends from the first century and, possibly, to the eve of entropy, the theoretical collapse of the physical universe, supposedly four or five billion years away.25   In this way of thinking, the sun and the physical universe has more relevance than an outdated Temple and corrupt Jewish polity that, in the first century, was ready to give way to the new and the eternal.  So that, where the historical fall of the Second Temple and the sweeping away of the Jerusalem Aristocracy signaled a brand new day in salvation history, the focus and expectation of Amillenarians is on the destruction of the earth and the sun and the universe, a possibility clearly beyond the concerns of anything one can read about in accounts of the Olivet Discourse! Thus, for Amillennarians to allege that the Olivet Discourse describes a long history, is to go completely and utterly contrary to its obvious and patent meaning.  It is to willfully generalize what is, at the very outset, obvious and specific: When will this Second Temple be completely destroyed?  Persecution of the Apostles is a secondary issue; false prophets are, too.  The preaching of the Gospel to the entire ecumene is key to understanding that, once accomplished, opened up the way for the Abomination of the Second Temple to unfold.  The ruin and end of the Temple, for these reasons, became inevitable.  But Jesus, explicitly puts his coming in the clouds together with the downfall of the Temple and Amillennialism strongly disagrees with this, but, at the same time, they cannot successfully gainsay it!   Amillennialism’s Strategy of Survival Amillennialism’s strategy of survival revolves around maintaining its place, front and center as the go-to point of reference and apologetical defense of what Jesus and the Apostles said about any matter relating to eschatology.  Now, since the general idea behind this system is that the Roman world and history as we now know it is the foil with which to understand New Testament claims, and NOT its valid Semitic context, these authorities are forced to use New Testament disciplinary texts to fend off any challengers to its claims.  New Testament disciplinary texts describe heretics in the darkest terms (because these people, called “Zealots” and “Sicarii” represented serious wickedness and wrongdoing and they stalked and fought the Apostles and troubled the early churches on every hand). Amillennialists can easily take these same texts and use them as a tool to tar and feather Christians who disagree with Amillennialism in order to stave off challenges to Amillennialism's unfounded and unbiblical notions for futurity.   It should be observed, however, that Amillennialists do have the authority and right to teach what they believe the Bible says in their own churches: Nobody can take that right away from them.  Furthermore, we should not impose our interpretation of the Bible on other Christians and make them fight for the survival of their own ideas in their own churches.   Instead, in the event of conflict, we must be prepared to yield the right of way to those on whose premises we are guests and if our invitation is withdrawn or our welcome revoked, we should graciously leave.   The utilization of disciplinary texts below could be the clearest signal that the contested differences cannot be tolerated . . . Matthew 18:15-17 and Titus 3:10 provides a framework, guidelines and steps to begin a painful judicial process that ends in the disaster of Amillennialism exalting itself against the knowledge of God, pretending to be the gatekeeper of the Church and orthodoxy, but deeply feeling the whole affair could never be properly understood by anyone, in the first place!   Needless to say, the process of giving birth to a different persuasive platform is inevitable so long as Christians stand their ground and defend what they sincerely believe is the best interpretation of the available evidence (or, at least, the evidence they are presently aware of).     Finally, below, let us look at what Amillennialists cannot easily do in their present impoverished estimation of the Book of Revelation . . . The Immediate Devastating Consequences of Amillennial Eisegesis In order to assess the implications and how Amillennialism wreaks havoc on any examination, cross-reference or historical comparison of the Book of Revelation, either with the prior books of the New Testament or the rest of the Bible, or with relevant history (i.e., it cannot cross-reference the Apocalypse with anything in particular), we have identified 88 ways the Book of Revelation interacts with the rest of the Bible.   These instances of cross-information shed a brilliant light and boldly outlines Revelation’s singular ancient Semitic character and background. So, where in Amillennialism there is no meaningful interrelationship or barely any, from an Atavist standpoint the very opposite is true! __________________________________________________ The organic interrelationship between the Book of Revelation and the rest of the Bible cannot be fully realized in the Amillennial Schema 1 Matthew 10:23 Son of Man coming in the days of Jewish persecution Revelation 1:7 2 Matthew 24:30 the tribes of of the earth to mourn at Jesus' return Revelation 1:7 3 Isaiah 44:6 Jesus is the first and the last Revelation 1:11 4 Luke 24:36-40 The same Jesus who died, is the same Jesus who arose Revelation 1:17-18 5 John 2:18-22 the same Jesus who died, is the same Jesus who arose Revelation 1:18 6 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 False apostles (Revelation 2:2) 7 Matthew 3:9 Say they are Jews, but are the synagogue of Satan Revelation 2:9 8 2 Peter 2:14-15 Zealots follow the Way of Balaam Revelation 2:14 9 John 9:35 Jesus calls himself the Son of God Revelation 2:18 10 1 Kings 16:31 Jezebel introduces fornication and idolatry Revelation 2:20-23 11 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Jesus' return in lifetime of the Church of Thyatira Revelation 2:24-25 12 Matthew 10:22 The end in view Revelation 2:26 13 Revelation 1:1, 3 and 7 Jesus' return in lifetime of Church in Smyrna Revelation 3:3 14 John 8:33-59 The synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews Revelation 3:9 15 Romans 2:26-29  Which say they are Jews, and are not Revelation 3:9 16Philippians 3:3 We are the circumcision Revelation 3:9 17 Revelation 1:1, 3, 7 Jesus' return in lifetime of the Church at Philadelphia Revelation 3:10-11 18 Galatians 4:26-30 Christians’ reward is in the Jerusalem above Revelation 3:12-13 cf. Hebrews 13:14 19 John 5:21-23 Father and Son equally honored Revelation 5:13 20 Daniel 8:10 Second Temple authorities punished Revelation 6:13 21 Acts 2:20 The Apostle Peter’s prophecy of the darkened sun abd bleeding moon presage serious injury to the Jewish government before the Great Day of God’s wrath Revelation 6:12-17 22 Luke 23:28-31 6th seal connected to a single lifetime Revelation 6:12:17 23 Ezekiel 9:4 God marks the saved of Israel on their foreheads Revelation 7:3 25 Acts 26:7 The Twelve tribes of Israel Revelation 7:4-8 26 James 1:1 The Twelve tribes of Israel Revelation 7:4-8 27 John 10:16  Other sheep, the Great Multitude Revelation 7:9-17 28 Acts 10:34 God is no respecter of persons Revelation 7:9 29 Numbers 5:24 Adulterous generation given bitter water to drink Revelation 8:10-11 30 2 Peter 2:14 The freedom fighters of Judæa cannot cease from sin Revelation 9:20-21 31 Ezekiel 3:1 Sweet bitter message of destruction, reprieve and oblivion Revelation 10:10 32 Hebrews 9:1-10 The worldly sanctuary Revelation 11:1-2 33 Daniel 7:25 A three and a half year ordeal Revelation 11:1-2 34 Matthew 24:15 The Abomination in an exclusively Jewish Jerusalem Revelation 11:1-2 35 Hebrews 8: 13 The Levitical priesthood ends in 42 month Jewish civil war Revelation 11:1-2 36 Luke 9:31 City where our Lord was crucified was Jerusalem Revelation 11:8 37 Tobit 1:15 Indignity of denial of burial began to be realized during the Jewish civil war of A.D.66-70 Revelation 11:9 38 Matthew 16:27-28 kingdom of God comes with power Revelation 11:15 39 Mark 13:14 The Abomination in 2nd Temple at same time as resurrection of dead Revelation 11:15-18 40 Mark 13:14 Jerusalem Church flees to Roman safety Revelation 12:6, 14 41 Daniel 7:25 A three and a half year ordeal Revelation 12:6,14 42 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 The Lord descends with Michael Revelation 12:10 43 Jude 11 Allusion to the gainsaying of Kore Revelation 12:16 44Daniel 7:2-6 Rebels have traits of first three kingdoms (reversed) Revelation 13:1-5 45 Acts 2:48 Days of early Acts very different from forty-two months Revelation 13:7 46 Matthew 26:52 He that liveth by the sword shall die by the sword Revelation 13:9-10 47 2 Thessalonians 2:11 Strong delusion , that they should believe a lie Revelation 13:14 48 2 Peter 2:3 Turn the people into merchandise by marking them as 'goods' Revelation 13:16 49 Matthew 21:12 Buying and selling in the Second Temple Revelation 13:16-17 50 1 Kings 10:14 King Solomon's 666 talents of gold (25 tons!)Revelation 13:18 51 Romans 11:4 Remnant of Israel with Christ on Mount Zion Revelation 14:1 52 Hebrews 13:20 Gospel transcends the fall of Second Jewish Commonwealth Revelation 14:6 53 Daniel 7:13 The Son of man judges the people of the fourth kingdom Revelation 14:14-20 54 Exodus 28:21 The Levitical priesthood is arrayed in purple, scarlet gold, precious stones and pearls Revelation 17:4 55 Isaiah 1:21 The mother of Harlots Revelation 17:5 56 Luke 11:45-51 killers of the saints and prophets Revelation 16:4-7 57 2 Peter 3:10 The coming Lord as a thief @ Destruction Revelation 16:15-21 58 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 Guilty of the blood of the saints Revelation 17:6 59 Daniel 7:7 Ten horns rule for only one hour with the beast Revelation 17:12 60 Daniel 7:7 Ten horns simultaneously rule Revelation 17:12 61 Luke 21:5 The Apostles admired Jerusalem Revelation 17:6 62 1 Maccabees 2:1-5 Five Hasmonean brothers, five founding heroes Revelation 17:10 63 Acts 13:41 Refused to believe Jerusalem would fall Revelation 18:7 64 Matthew 23:29-39 Jerusalem of Gospels is Babylon the Great City Revelation 18:20-24 65 Matthew 22:1-9 Marriage of the Son to take place after city burnt Revelation 19:1-9 66 1 Thessalonians 2:13 These are the true sayings of God Revelation 19:9 67 John 1:1-3 Jesus is the Word of God Revelation 19:13 68 Luke 19:27 Enemies unwilling to be ruled by Christ slain Revelation 19:15 69 1 Timothy 6:15 King of Kings and Lord of Lords Revelation 19:16 70 Luke 17:37 Wherever the carcass is, there the eagles gathered together Revelation 19:17-21 71 Jude 14-19 The separatist mockers executed Revelation 19:14-21 72 Matthew 12:43-45 Departure and return of Satan within one generation Revelation 20:1-8 Revelation 13:15 Those who refuse the Mark of the Beast killed Revelation 20:4 74 Romans 9:27 Numbers of the lost are as the sand of the sea Revelation 20:8 75 Hebrews 11:12 Abraham's descendants numbered as the sand of the sea Revelation 20:8 76 Ezekiel 38-39 Armies of Israelites and God-fears attempt to establish rule Revelation 20:9 77 Genesis 19:24-25 A cataclysmic overthrow Revelation 20:9 78 John 11:48 Jews deeply concerned about their Place and nation Revelation 20:11 79 Micah 3:12 Jerusalem plowed as a field Revelation 20:11 80 Acts 6:14 Jews hear Stephen say Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this Place Revelation 20:11 81 Daniel 2:35 No Place was found for them Revelation 20:11 82 Ezekiel 39:9-10 Seven years out nobody alive from Jesus' contemporary period Revelation 21:1 83 Hebrews 11:14-16 City that Abraham looked for realized after Jewish wars Revelation 21-22 84 John 8:58 Christ calls himself God Revelation 21:5-7 85 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 An eternal house built by God himself Revelation 21-22 86 Malachi 3:17 The Holy City, the Jewel of God and the People of God Revelation 21:11 87 Daniel 12: 4 SEAL 600 years before Christ, DO NOT SEAL 19 centuries ago Revelation 22:10 88 1 John 5:10 Rejecting God's record of his Son matters Revelation 22:18-19 __________________________________________________ Reflections St. Augustine, the Christian bishop who popularized the Amillennial belief system, was born in A.D.354, 216 years after the era of Biblical Judaism and the critical facts in question and, importantly, at a time when the Book of Revelation was still in serious dispute on the question of its authenticity.  Deprived of Revelation as an important equation, Amillennialism misrepresents the New Testament's culture, context and commitments, left, right and center—not in relationship with the Incarnation, death, burial and resurrection of our Savior—but in respect to his kingdom, his return, and his judgment upon the world and civilization of his contemporaries, as he so often solemnly promised. Amillennialism behaves as if the New Testament is partly true, and it is eager to suppress and censure any inkling that the end of the world and all related events find their fulfillment in a Jewish antiquity.  Through a litany of pretensions it seeks to represent Second Coming texts as promises of a theophany of the Son of God at the end of time and the obliteration of the physical universe, as we now know it.  This is not a Bible teaching or concern, as we have shown.  Amillennial polemicists are not known to give the expression, “this generation,” the time of day.  It is a little statement that says a lot.  If Jesus circumscribed the apocalyptic events of the Bible to the parameters of the generation of his contemporaries, that spells trouble for Amillennialists who wish to frame these issues in the larger context of universal physical realities.  In that case the Bible is talking about apples and the Church authorities are talking about oranges.  The two entities are talking past each other and Christians need to go with the sure Word of God, not the undependable and ambiguous traditions of the Church.  We noted that Amillennialism does not pay any attention to details like some of the people living at the time seeing Jesus' kingdom come with power.  And since this is so, texts on the coming of the kingdom seem mobile enough to move up to Pentecost of A.D.33 when, presumably everybody, but Judas Iscariot was still alive.  But such ideas violate the spirit of what Jesus said!  By making the kingdom come too soon and, at the very same time, making Scriptures which talk about the coming of the kingdom in the midst of highly charged social upheavals later on, creates the impression of needless repetition and pointless superfluity.  Moreover, we saw that, by neglecting or being oblivious of Jewish apocalyptic as a descriptive genre, it is easy for Amillenarians to conclude that Jesus, Peter and Paul were, somehow, ahead (and beside themselves) in their eager herald and anticipation of the ostensible “end of the universe.”  Consequently, it only seems that the New Testament is “wrong” whenever it imagines the “end of all things is at hand” (1 Peter 4:7).  No Christian, of Amillennial persuasion, believes 1 Peter 4:7 was really true in the 1st century, no, not for a moment!26 This essay turns the heat up on Amillennialism quite a bit and it does so by noting Amillennialism’s refusal to put its full confidence in the Word of Jesus and the prophets.  By trusting in the Church Fathers (particularly St. Augustine and others, who lived a while after the facts) the Christian church is, somehow, trapped in an imbroglio entirely of its own making: Not being able to simply look at the Jewish situation in the last days of the Second Jewish Commonwealth and see, full and clear, that the Bible anticipated Christianity's speedy ejection from the world of its enthusiastic and doomed radicals, the infamous Zealots, bandits and Sicarii.27   Free of these people and on its own two feet, the Christian church is benefited by understanding the trials and tribulations of a violent and oppressive Semitic past and can learn the valuable lessons of those who trusted in Christ (that none will be confounded, Romans 10:11) and not to trust in the wiley aspirations of man, which end in embarrassment and disappointment each and every time!  It is also instructive to note that an end so far into the future as to be billions of years away is an event never imagined in the New Testament and never defended by Jesus or the Apostles, not even once. Endnotes 1 Interdiction defined: tr.v. in·ter·dict·ed, in·ter·dict·ing, in·ter·dicts 1. To prohibit (an action or thing) or forbid (someone) to do something, especially by legal or ecclesiastical order. a. To cut or destroy (a line of communication) by firepower so as to halt an enemy's advance. b. To confront and halt the activities, advance, or entry of: "the role of the FBI in interdicting spies attempting to pass US secrets to the Soviet Union" (Christian Science Monitor). n. (ĭn′tər-dĭkt′) 1. An authoritative prohibition, especially by court order. 2. Roman Catholic Church An ecclesiastical censure that bars an individual, members of a given group, or inhabitants of a given district from participation in most sacraments.  (Source: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/interdiction). 2 The first belief of Christians has to be the harmonious constellation of beliefs which make up the New Testament itself; apart from this special pleading and glaring idiosyncrasies arise and multiply, preventing huge swaths of the Scriptures from being successfully understood and made sense of.  Also, the well-intentioned desire to stop perceived or real errors hampers the expression of truth, which is mistakenly observed to be “the wrong conclusion.” 3 “The council of Laodicea (A.D.360) did not include Revelation among its list of canonical books (Canon 60); nor is it listed among the “venerable and sacred books” set forth in the Apostolic Canon 85 (fourth century).  In the Syrian church, Revelation was excluded from the fifth-century Syriac translation of the Bible known as the Peshitta (although the later sixth-century Philoxenian Version included it).”  Frazier, T.L., A Second Look at the Second Coming, pp. 309-310. 4 Unjustified certainty arises when Churchmen investigate Roman history and fail to find any compelling connections or parallels, then that, in and of itself, reinforces the false conclusion that the Book of Revelation was meant to be understood as an abstract idealist tome and ought to be treated as such. 5 Closely linked with the above observations, scholars are tired of endless attempts to link the Book of Revelation to any specific social circumstances and have resigned themselves to accept that the book has no corollaries to any particular historical standpoint.  We believe Christians everywhere will be pleasantly surprised how the Second Jewish Commonwealth easily authenticates what John saw happen over the last seven decades of its life. 6 Purity laws of the Jews required them to have some distance from Gentile contact: See John 18:28 and Acts 10:28 7 Christianity understood itself to arise out of purely Jewish hopes and was but one of many competing sects during the late Second Temple period.  See Luke 2:26; Acts 26:7; Hebrews 11:40 cf. 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2:3-12 8 An expectation of God's public rejection of the Law’s carnal system and its enthusiasts was not just relevant news in Jerusalem and Judæa, but all across the Diaspora as these warnings in Asia Minor, and Macedonia attest: Galatians 4:30; 2 Corinthians 11:15; Philippians 3:18-19 and 1 Thessalonians 2:16. 9 The three mandatory holy convocations are: Passover on Nisan, (Numbers 9:1-15); Rosh Hashanah in Tishri (Leviticus 23:24-25; 29:1-2) and Yom Kippur in Tishri (Leviticus 16:29; 23:27). 10 The Messianic pretensions and occult delusions, not leadership or structural considerations, were at issue on the Eve of the Destruction: 2 Thessalonians 2:4,10 cf. Revelation 13:5-6; 17:17, compare with Josephus' Wars of the Jews 4.9.11:573-12:577. 11  Modern Amillennial assumptions imposed upon Apocalyptic texts take the “voltage” out of the seriousness of how precarious and dangerous it was to be a New Testament Christian in the last days of the Second Jewish Commonwealth. 12 Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:16; Matthew 4:17, note that, even at the Destruction of Jerusalem, thirty-three years after his ministry, Jesus believed the kingdom of God was still arriving—33 years after the Day of Pentecost of A.D.33 (see Luke 21:31). 13 The original Christian Septuagint Old Testament ends with the reign of the Old Testament royal family of the Maccabees, whereas the Protestant canon ends with a four hundred years gap at the time of Malachi, during the Persian era.  It is said that, Opinions vary as to the prophet's exact date, but nearly all scholars agree that Malachi prophesied during the Persian period, and after the reconstruction and dedication of the second temple in 516 BCE (compare Malachi 1:10 ; Malachi 3:1, Malachi 3:10). The prophet speaks of the “people's governor” (Hebrew “pechah,” Malachi 1:8), as do Haggai and Nehemiah (Haggai 1:1 ; Nehemiah 5:14 ; Nehemiah 12:26). The social conditions portrayed appear to be those of the period of the Restoration. More specifically, Malachi probably lived and labored during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. The abuses which Malachi mentions in his writings correspond so exactly with those which Nehemiah found on his second visit to Jerusalem in 432 BCE (Nehemiah 13:7) that it seems reasonably certain that he prophesied concurrently with Nehemiah or shortly after.[2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malachi">Malachi-Wikipedia). This gap creates an artificial information chasm, from which the rise and centrality of the Romans is artificially inferred.   14 In other words, a man with Maccabee (not Roman blood), was the first ruler to kill a Christian apostle (Acts 12:1-2). 15 The 1388 Wycliffe Bible translation restored this ancient arrangement out of a desire to repudiate what they believed were false teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. 16 The disobedient citizens of the fourth kingdom are called “children of the kingdom” and are the subjects of the following Scriptures: Matthew 8:12 and Luke 13:28. 17 The difference between Amillennialism and the Bible, on this question is this: the Bible averts that the paranormal events of Daniel 7:7-27 would happen at the end of the Jewish revolt during their revolution to take the kingdom of God by force, but Amillennialists believe these paranormal events will happen during a world-wide Satan rebellion at the end of time, perhaps billions of years from now. 18 This reasoning means that Amillennialists disapprove of how Premillennialist bend and stretch texts out of context for future applications, but end up doing the same thing, but for different reasons!  Moreover, in plain texts, like Matthew 16:27-28 this is what is said, “As Matthew records this phrase, it reads as if Jesus spoke as if he expected his own visible return in the lifetime of some of those who were listening to him.  if Jesus said that he was mistaken,  But we see the real meaning of what Jesus said when we turn to Mark’s record of it.  Mark has: And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1).   It is of the mighty working of his Kingdom that Jesus is speaking; and what he said came most divinely true.  There were those standing there who saw the coming of Jesus in the coming of the Spirit at the day of Pentecost.  There were those who were to see the Gentile and the Jew swept into the Kingdom; they were to see the tide of the Christian message sweep across Asia Minor and cover Europe until it reached Rome.  Well within the life-time of those who heard Jesus speak, the Kingdom came with power.”   William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew Volume 2, Revised Edition, pp.155-156. Note that Barclay was quick to run to Mark 9:1 where he could cut off Mark 8:38 where the translators colluded to destroy the meaning of the saying.  Then, after doing that, he basically explained what the verse meant in words that have nothing to do with what was promised! 19 “For all the words of God are tried in the fire, and he defends those that reverence him.  Add not to his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be made a liar” (Proverbs 30:5). 20 Some famous Amillennial scholars include: François Turretin, Robert Strimple, Geerhardus Vos, B. B. Warfield, Oswald T. Allis, Anthony Hoekema, J.I. Packer, Stanley J Grenz, Cornelis P.Venema, G.K. Beale, Kim Riddlebarger, Sam Storms and Micheal Horton.  Amillennial churches, Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant, prudence excellent commentaries of the Bible.  These commentaries exhibit great skill and scholarship and take many things into consideration when dealing with difficult subjects, but eschatology is a field that exerts trepidation and dismay and the results of their research are far from imprecise, inaccurate and incomplete. 21 Acts 3:21; Acts 17:31; 1 Corinthians 1:7-8; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Philippians 4:5; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 5:1-4; 5:23-24; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 10:37; James 5:1-9; 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Peter 3:14; Jude 14; Revelation 22:6, 12, 20. 22 The fifth century fall of the Western Roman Empire cannot save the New Testament since this event is too far away to be what the Apostles and early Christians expected to happen in their own lifetime (see: downfall of the Western half of the empire). 23 There could be no success of Rome or peace of Rome if, somehow, the coming of Jesus and of Christianity was really a terrible blow to the existence of the Roman Empire, but see the Pax Romana and the years it covered. 24 The question of moment for these discussions is whether or not 2 Peter 3:10 describes the destruction of the universe or the end of the era, the Second Jewish Commonwealth? 25 In his chapter on the Olivet Discourse, Kim Riddlebarger has this to say, “In the Olivet Discourse, we find the most significant record of Jesus' teaching about the end time and the future course of human history.  This discourse, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, is so named because Jesus gave instructions to his disciples while they were on the Mount of Olives the night before his betrayal and arrest. . .Jesus spoke as though his Parousia was simultaneously immanent and yet in the distant future.  Was Jesus speaking about events which would come to pass within the lifetimes of the apostles or about his second coming in the distant future?  These are vexing questions.”  Riddlebarger, Kim, A Case for Amillennialism, p. 157. 26 Amillennialism simply disregards 1 Peter 4:7  as a classic example of unwarranted alarmist tendencies of the Apostles in the heat of first century persecutions and panic.  The viewpoint puts no weight on them, but takes them with a grain of salt (all the while believing the New Testament, otherwise, has authority to govern our lives and gives us a reliable hope of a future bodily resurrection and eternal life after the obliteration of this present physical universe, someday). 27 Who are these Zealots?  Josephus tells us, “These men, therefore, trampled upon all the laws of man, and laughed at the laws of God; and for the oracles of the prophets, they ridiculed them as the tricks of jugglers: yet did these prophets foretell many things concerning [the rewards of] virtue, and [punishments of] vice, which when these zealots violated, they occasioned the fulfilling of those very prophecies belonging to their own country: for there was a certain oracle of those men, that the city should then be taken and the sanctuary burnt, by right of war, when a sedition should invade the Jews, AND THEIR OWN HANDS SHOULD PULLUTE THE TEMPLE OF GOD.  Now, while these zealots did not [quite] disbelieve these predictions, they made themselves instruments of their accomplishment” (The Wars of the Jews 4.6.3:386-388).  Be informed, add these books to your Christian library today: The Jewish People in Classical Antiquity:  From Alexander to Bar Kochba  John H. Hayes and Sara R. Mandell  Westminster John Knox Press 1998 Customs and Controversies:  Intertestamental Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament  J. Julius Scott Jr.  Baker Books 1995 The Jewish Revolts Against Rome A.D.66-135 A Military Analysis James J. Bloom  McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers 2010 Jesus and the Spiral of Violence Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine  Richard A. Horsley  Fortress Press 1993 The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism  Jewish and Christian Ethnicity in Ancient Palestine    Doron Mendels  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 1992 Jewish War Under Trajan and Hadrian    William Horbury Cambridge University Press 2014