We’re baaack!

Daniel 9

Hello, everyone! Been a long time. I have allowed myself to be distracted from this blog for too long. I am here to say, “We’re baaack!”

I am still researching the timeline of Daniel 9’s 70 weeks prophesy, but am closer now to a better B.U.I.L.D. (Biblical Understanding Into the Last Days) as revealed by Gabriel to Daniel, and more confident I will be able to give the readers of this blog a reliable chronology of this supposedly impossible mystery for Bible students in all ages to crack. Do I claim to be the one to g”crack” the mystery? No, I am simply going back and uncovering from online research on this subject some long-lost scholarship. I am only here attempting to bring it back into the light.

I am persuaded that what God has inspired in His holy writ, He never intended to be a mystery to His people. Does it make sense that God would say something and never intend that His children know the meaning of what He said? God is not the author of confusion. If things remain a mystery to us, it is because we are not allowing God to say what He means. Instead, supposing His sayings to hide some deep mysteries, we come up with mysterious and oft times outlandish interpretations of the plain meaning of His word. Hal Lindsey’s treatment of the parable of the fig tree (Matt. 24:32-35) is a supreme case in point.

So, I welcome YOU back! Keep returning here often as I will be presenting material to get you to acquire a more sane approach to understanding what Jesus and His apostles taught about the End of the Age, otherwise known as the Second Coming.

Ten things about the Second Coming NOT found in Scripture (cont.)

Picking up on point number ten–that the Jews will all finally acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Messiah when they see Him at His Second Coming. This means that it would be safer for a person to convert to unbeliving Judaism. If this is true, this will literally guarantee this person an entrance into eternal life–simply by virtue of becoming a Christ-rejecting Jew. Because, you see, once they see Christ coming in His glory, they will become believers and hail Him as their Messiah! The question must then be asked, if Christ-rejecting Jews will be saved at His coming by virtue of seeing Him coming on the clouds of heaven (Never mind that Paul tells us in Romans 10 that, “Faith is by hearing), why can’t heathen Christ-rejectors be saved in the same way? Yet, this is exactly what today’s teachers of dispensational futurism unapologetically teach.

That’s it for this discussion on ten things about the Second Coming NOT found in the Bible. Remember, the teaching of Christ and His apostles regarding the Last Days and His coming in glory will make perfect sense if you understand that these things were meant to be relevant for their present audiences–not for anyone else living after their generation passed away.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ:


 End Times prophesy

or History?


“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”                    –*Matthew 24:32-35

Here is the outline of the events Jesus described in answer to the question of the disciples in Matthew 24:3, “Tell us, when will these things take place, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

I. The beginning of the birth pains (vers8)

1. Appearance of Messianic imposters (verse 5)

2. International tensions, conflicts and uprisings (verses 6-7a)

3. Geological and meteorological disturbances (verses 7b-8)

II. The persecution of Christ’s church (verses 9-14)

1. External tribulations of the church by “all nations” (verse 9)

2. Internal conflicts and apostasy within the body of believers (verse 10)

3. Spiritual deceivers and civil/moral disobedience result in chilling of human fidelity(verses 11-12)

4. A call to perseverance and continued canvassing of the world with the the gospel “to the end of the age” (verses 13-14, cf. w/ Matthew 28:20)

III. The “great tribulation” of Christ’s enemies (verses 15-28)

1. The ominous signal of the impending “end of the age” (verse 15)

2. Urgent evacuation instructions “out of harm’s way” (verses 16-20)

3. Justification for urging such haste (verses 21-22)

4. Warnings against false announcements of Christ’s arrival (verses 23-26)

5. The nature and vehicle of Christ’s arrival will be obvious (verses27-28)

IV. The Mosaic age passes away; the Messianic age arrives (verses 29-31)

1. The removal of the old order of things (verse 29)

2. The arrival of the King in His Kingdom (verse 30)

3. The activity of the Kingdom (verse 31)

Note here that according to the words of Christ Himself in Matthew 24:34,

“Truly I tell you, this generation (the one He was a contemporary with and was addressing this prophecy to) will not pass away until all these things take place,”

the events outlined above could only have transpired within a time frame of about 40 years (the reasonable length of time for His generation to pass) from the time of Christ’s ascension in AD 30-33 to the destruction of Jerusalem. At the same time the Old Covenant way of gaining access to God by means of ceremonial observance and animal sacrifice in the Temple at Jerusalem would have passed away forever.

Prophecy is much easier to understand when you see it as history.

*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible (ESV)

God’s best to you! And remember, God’s still in charge!

Ten things about the Second Coming NOT FOUND in the Bible

End Times prophesy

Most people do not know that today’s popularly accepted teachings about the Second Coming are UN-Scriptural, simply by reason that the major tenets are NO WHERE taught in the Bible. I challenge any reader of this post to show us where these following teachings are found in the Bible:

1. The postponement of the Kingdom

Do Futurists really believe that the all-knowing, all-powerful God had to change His plans and postpone the Kingdom because the Jews rejected Christ’s offer of the Kingdom when He appeared the first time? This teaching CANNOT be found in the Bible.

2. A gap of indefinite time between the 69th week and the 70the week of Daniel 9:24-27

Futurism teaches that there is a gap of an undetermined period of time between Week 69 and 70 which is the church age.They say that a rapture of the church will take place at the beginning of the 70th week. This teaching CANNOT be found in the Bible.

3. The Rapture of the Church is the next event on God’s postponed (remember point one?) timetable (Might God need to postpone it again if things don’t go as He expects?).

Most popular End Times teaching says the Rapture is imminent; all preparatory prophecy is fulfilled, so this is the next event. Others teach that a Great Tribulation happens first and the Rapture will happen either in the middle of this Tribulation or at the end of it. This ALSO is found NO WHERE in Scripture.

4. A new Temple will be raised in Jerusalem from which Christ will reign for a Thousand Years with His saints.

The Jews are supposed to be working on a new Temple complex. I have read that plans are indeed being laid and money being raised for this. After Christ comes He will reign from this temple. Now, it is not improbable that the nation of Israel could build a new Temple; however, there is no prophecy, NOT A WORD about this in the Bible. Surprise!

5. An Anti-Christ figure will arrive on the world scene after the Rapture.

This Antichrist will use demonic powers of persuasion to eventually become the ruler of the world at which time the Great Tribulation will occur. You guessed it, NOT in the Bible.

6. After the Rapture of the Church, a great tribulation will occur lasting seven years.

Some teach that the rapture will take place in the middle of the tribulation, others say at the close of it. Never the less, whatever view you might hold–NOT FOUND anywhere in the Bible.

7. Revelation 4:1 is supposed to mark the rapture of the church.

Here is the direct quote of Revelation 4:1, “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice, which I heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” To say this teaches the rapture is a desperate attempt at distorting the Bible to fit into the teaching of Futurism. This IS NOT a Biblical proof-text for a rapture.

8. The Jews will return en mass back to Israel beginning the End-Times countdown to Armageddon.

This was prophesied in Scripture by Jeremiah and Daniel, but these prophesies were fulfilled after the decree of Cyrus to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple in the fifth century B.C. There is no prophecy after those made by Jeremiah and Daniel that predict any future return of the Jews to Israel (even though this did happen after WW II, that event was not a fulfillment of any prophecy). Again NO WHERE is a future return of the Jews to Israel taught in the Bible.

9. The Rapture.

Popular Futurist teaching shows, that, in our future Christ will come to earth from heaven and evacuate, first the dead saints and then the living saints from the earth (either before, in the middle of, or at the end of the great tribulation). Again, a future-to-us event like this CANNOT be proven from the Bible.

10. All the Jews will finally accept Jesus as the Messiah when they see Him coming in the clouds with power and great glory.

This teaching is taken from two primary “proof” texts.” First in Matthew 24:30,

“Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

The other is in Revelation 1:7,

“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so, Amen.”

Futurists teach that to “mourn” and “wail” will be that of repentance. When Christ appears at His Second Coming, all the unbelieving Jews all over the world, living and dead (every eye), will see Him and they will finally acknowledge and hail Christ as their Messiah. Never mind that the rest of us have faith by “hearing” (Romans 10:17) and that Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

On the contrary, the mourning and wailing will be that which comes from those recalcitrant Christ-rejectors who feel the sentence of death, doom and condemnation of those consigned to the place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” There is nothing to indicate acceptance of Christ as their Messiah.

Some will argue, “But Paul says, ‘all Israel will be saved,’ ” (Romans 11:26). If we take that at its literal value, this will have to include all the Jews, both dead and living. They will say, “Yes, because Jesus went to the ethereal prisons and preached to them there,” (1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6). Yes, Jesus did preach in the prisons. But to whom? Those who lived in the days prior to Noah’s Flood, not those prior to Christ’s coming on the clouds.

Old Testament Prophecies of the Second Coming: Still Future?–PART THREE

Second Temple

My apologies for the extended delay in presenting this post. I have been “stuck” on researching the third point, which I present here, in part. Incidentally, for those who were expecting this post to appear much sooner (and perhaps wondered what could be the delay), just imagine the confusion of that First Generation Church if Christ had delayed His coming beyond the time-specific events He had so clearly laid out?

PART ONE refutes Rast’s use of Daniel 2’s ten toes of iron and clay as a prediction of the return of the Old Roman Empire which the false teachers of dispensational futurism believe is seeing its fulfillment in the present evolution of the European Union.

PART TWO exposes the faulty hermeneutic Rast uses to justify her claim that Zephaniah 3:9 is fulfilled in the return of the once defunct Hebrew language to Israel, confirming that we are (once again) near the end of the End Times.

PART THREE— debunking what is perhaps the most egregiously absurd assertion by those who teach a still future-to-us Second Coming of Christ:


In her blog post, Prophetic signs that we are in the End Times at http://contenderministries.org/prophecy/endtines.php, Jennifer Rast states,

“For several end times prophecies to be fulfilled, the temple will have to be rebuilt.” She lists three of those prophesies:

but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” —Revelation 11:2

“And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolation, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” –Daniel 9:27

“Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” –Daniel 9:26
Here is Rast’s immediate mistake: none of these texts make any prophesy of a temple to be rebuilt AT ALL, NOT EVEN A HINT! Rast makes this presumption for two reasons: First and most obvious, the texts mention either the existence of the temple or of sacrifices taking place which are made to cease. The second reason is that she ignores history. We will look more closely at that point later, but we must understand that these prophetic texts do not say anything regarding a Temple to be rebuilt in our future. These texts simply assume either the existence of the Temple, or of sacrifices taking place which are made to cease. It is pure presumption to say that these verses are speaking of a yet-to-be-rebuilt temple. This is because Rast believes these texts paint a scenario that is still FUTURE to us today. Below are four reasons why this is a seriously grave error by the imaginative artists of dispensational futurism.

1.     An out-dated perspective.  Futurism’s viewpoint demonstrates a flawed, obsolete paradigm which sees Christ’s Second Coming as still to come—i.e., it has not happened yet (in their thinking). And since it has not happened, this can only mean that these mentions of the temple must be speaking of a yet-to-be-rebuilt edifice for Jewish worship in our near future.

      This false paradigm is a result of reading the Bible as if the message was never intended for the original audience, but for some very far-in-the-future audience. They fail to grasp that the time-specific texts of Scripture were intended for the audience to whom the message was originally given, not us or any other audience after that time. Because of this mistaken perspective on time, the teachers of a future (to us) Second Coming of Christ must force the Bible to fit into their paradigm. This brings us to the next complaint about futurism’s understanding of Old Testament prophetic texts.

2.        An arbitrary hermeneutic, (method of interpretation). Futurists practice a rigidly literal reading of highly symbolic Old Testament Scripture. The writers of Old Testament prophesy used highly figurative language to describe God’s acts of judgment on people and nations, for example, mountains melting, etc. History shows that the fulfillment of these prophecies did not result in a literal melting of the mountains, etc. This figurative language is the Hebrew way of describing the terribly awesome acts of God which are as if the mountains melted or the heavens fell.

The New Testament speakers and writers were also Jews (as was Jesus, who ultimately is the One who inspired the prophets and apostles to write and speak as they did). They employed the same method of describing the judgments of God that were to come upon “that evil generation” of their day. Never the less, the teachers of a future coming of Christ still expect to witness all the described celestial and terrestrial portents of the New Testament prophecies in literally literal fashion. And since these End-times events described by Jesus and His apostles have no literal historical fulfillment, they believe these events must still be in our future.

Never mind the time-specific statements of Christ and the apostles like, “this generation [to which they were speaking and writing] will not pass until all is fulfilled,” or “there be some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming,” or “in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay,” or “children, by this we know it is the last hour,” that Jesus and His apostles gave to plainly tell their audiences that His coming would take place in their lifetime.

 The third complaint: that the futurists ignore history, will be lengthier, and will have to wait for a separate post of which I am still researching. I hope I can present this third and fourth complaint in the next week or two. Until then, I challenge you to re-examine what you have been taught in your Sunday school classes, by your pastors, by radio and television teachers and by the plethora of printed media in books and on the web. Read the teaching of Christ and His apostles as they intended it to be perceived by their immediate audiences—as an event that was to very shortly take place in their lifetime, not ours.

 God’s best to you as you make this great discovery: God always means what He says.

 © Ron Moser, www.lastdaysunraveledblog.com, 2013


Old Testament Prophecies of the Second Coming: Still future?–Part Two


Continuing our examination of FUTURISM’S imaginative interpretation of Old Testament prophecies that they claim demonstrates with certainty that we are the “terminal generation” that will see (or not see, depending on if you are a rapture-bound believer or not) the secret rapture of Christ’s followers, the rise of the Anti-Christ operating in a revived Roman Empire, the commencement of the Great Tribulation, the battle of Armageddon, and Jesus Christ finally, after nearly two thousand years, coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (gives a strained definition to “soon,” “shortly,” and “in a very little while,” doesn’t it?)

In PART ONE, we looked at Daniel 2 and his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about the great statue of a man. The teachers of futurism, like Ms. Rast’s blog article (http://contenderministries.org/prophecy/endtimes.php) believe that the feet and toes of mixed iron and clay symbolize a revived Roman Empire that is supposed to be the ruling seat of Anti-Christ. But as we show, this does not demonstrate anything remotely hinting at Rome’s rise from the ashes of antiquity. Rather it more aptly pictures ancient Rome’s fall and disintegration into lesser nation states by AD 1400.

One other observation is worthy of note here. Ms. Rast states, “the European Union now has 15 Member States and is preparing for the accession of 13 eastern and southern European countries.”  If that should happen, there would then be 28 member states in this revived Roman Empire represented by the statue’s ten toes. Doesn’t this seem to be a stretch of the ten toes symbolism of the statue in Daniel 2? Let’s examine the next Old Testament prophecy that Rast and company allegedly affirms that we are in the Last Days.

#2, Return of one pure language, Hebrew, to Israel

Zephaniah 3:9 “For then I will return to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.”

Rast’s interpretation: “Prior to the restoration of Israel in 1948, Hebrew was a dead language. Now Hebrew is spoken throughout Israel.”

A couple of objections here: First, where does the text say the language will be Hebrew? Zephaniah gives no indication that God is planning to restore the Hebrew language to Israel. The Hebrew for “language” can also mean “speech,” and most English translations appear to favor “speech” over “language,” as does the English Standard Version where it reads,

                                                                                                                                            “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.” Zephaniah 3:9 has nothing to do with the restoration of the Hebrew language currently being spoken in the nation of Israel today. In fact, most professing Jews who live outside of Israel, the Ashkenazim Jews, of which are estimated to comprise over 85 percent of the Jews in the world, speak Yiddish, not Hebrew.

                                                                                                                                       Secondly, Rast ignores the reason for the pure speech which God gives in the last half of verse nine, “so that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him in unity” (my paraphrase). To “call on the name of the Lord” is the primary meaning of Hebrew worship. Can’t we call on the name of the LORD in a language other than Hebrew? Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) that, “God seeks worshipers who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth,” not in Hebrew.

                                                                                                                                   Zephaniah’s prophecy that God would “change the people’s speech to a pure speech” is reminiscent of Isaiah who, when he saw the vision of God in chapter six said, “Woe is me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty!” (Isaiah 6:5, NIV), and of Jesus’ denunciation of the religious leaders when He said, “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

                                                                                                                                              So when God speaks of changing the speech of the people to a pure speech, it is indicative of His purpose to purify the hearts of believers so that they would worship God (call on the name of the LORD) in Spirit and in truth–a pure speech without the defilement of guile, slander, falsehood, gossip, anger and the like–a speech that glorifies the name of the LORD.

                                                                                                                                             This is what God planned to unfold in Acts 2 when in an upper room in Jerusalem, God poured out His Spirit upon all flesh in fulfillment of Joel 2:28. The 120 waiting disciples were then “filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (languages) as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). Luke lists 15 people/language groups who were amazed because, “each one was hearing [the disciples] speak [the praises of God] in his own language,” (Acts 2:6). God is infinite and is not so narrow as to, like some churches who insist that only the King James Version is inspired by God, demand that the Hebrew language is the only one in which He will receive our praises.

                                                                                                                                                In PART THREE we will debunk perhaps one of the most blasphemous teachings of FUTURISM.

                                                                                                                                         God’s best to you, and remember, He’s still in control!

                                                                                                                                       Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible (ESV).

                                                                                                                                                © Ron Moser, www.lastdaysunraveledblog.com, 2013


Old Testament Prophecies of the Second Coming: Still future?–Part One


A florist received a telephone order for a flower arrangement. The caller said, “The ribbon must be white with gold print that reads, ‘Rest in peace,’ on both sides, and if you can squeeze it in, ‘We will meet in heaven.'” When the arrangement arrived at the funeral home, the ribbon read, “Rest in peace on both sides, and if you can squeeze in, we will meet in heaven!”

We have all been victimized by communication breakdowns. Nazi Germany effectively lost World War II because they ignored a top secret coded message which they had intercepted from the Allies that should have tipped them off that the invasion of Normandy was beginning. Thankfully this failure of communication turned out to spell the end of Nazi Germany. It also illustrates for us how, message sent is often NOT message received. The same is true for the FUTURIST interpretations of Old Testament prophecies about the End Times.

The prophesy teachers who view the teachings of Christ and His apostles regarding the “end of the age” or “the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds,” etc., as still in our (very near) future use the brushes of this paradigm to paint the Old Testament prophecies about “the End” onto a futuristic canvas–showing that “message sent by the Old Testament prophets is NOT message received” by the school of FUTURISM. The result? Most of Christianity for perhaps the past two centuries has been mesmerized by the End-times scenarios and repeatedly failed predictions painted by the false prophets and teachers of futurism.

The photo at the top of this post (courtesy of takomabibelot) is plainly an obsolete flyer that warns the reader that Daniel’s 70-Week prophecy would be fulfilled on January 1, 2007. It was found taped to an electrical junction box. This so aptly illustrates, how comsumers of today’s popular teaching about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and related events are accustomed to seeing the predictions of End-Times teachers fall short time and again; yet incredibly, no one seems to question the integrity of these so-called “Bible teachers.” Why these false prophets, who make one failed prediction after another, continue to be trusted by their patrons, publishing still more media that will be apprehensively gobbled up by their naive audience is a profound mystery. This should serve as a rebuke to the false teachers of Bible prophecy that God does not take lightly their carelessly wonton mishandling of the word of truth; and an admonition to millions of God’s people around the world to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1, which is a warning about false prophets). Let’s examine the canvas of Old Testament prophecies that today’s false prophets have painted using the brushes of futurism.

In our post, A Failure to Communicate? (Or what do world events today have to do with the End Times?), we critiqued six New Testament signs which Jennifer Rast said in her article at http://contenderministries.org/prophecy/endtimes.php, proves that we are surely near the climax of history. She also gave a listing of Old Testament prophecies which she claims also point to the soon-to-unfold climactic days of the Great Tribulation, etc. Let’s see if Ms. Rast’s interpretation can muster the test of Truth. She lists eight Old Testament prophecies to validate her claims that the Last Days are very soon upon us:
#1, Redevelopment of the Roman Empire (European Community)                                 This is a strange “proof” for the End Times, and a classic example of the FUTURIST’S favorite hermeneutic paintbrush (interpretive principle), imagination. Here she quotes Daniel 2:31-33; 40-43.*

31 “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. 32 The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. . .40 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. 41 And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.

Here is Ms. Rast’s imaginative interpretation:

“The fourth kingdom of iron is the Roman empire according to Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The two legs are the division of the Roman empire into an eastern portion called the Byzantine empire which ended in the 1400’s and a western portion based in Rome which ended in the 400’s.  The nations of Europe since the Roman empire dissolved have never adhered or formed one empire but continue as separate nations, however, the European Union now has 15 Member States and is preparing for the accession of 13 eastern and southern European countries.”

Is that so? Rast is correct in saying that the legs of iron represent the Roman Empire, but that is also where  ‘correct’ ends. Daniel was interpreting a dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had about 500 years before it was fulfilled with the ascent of the Roman Empire around 63 BC. Next Rast points to the evolution of today’s European Union as fulfillment of the feet and toes of iron and clay nearly two millennia later. This is far-fetched indeed when, in fact, this was fulfilled in the breakup of Rome by AD 395 and its subsequent decline into lesser states by AD 1400. So the feet and toes represent Rome’s demise, NOT its “redevelopment.” Moreover, see if you can find anything in Daniel that even remotely speaks of any future “redevelopment” (Futurists mean “resurrection” or “rebuilding”) of the old Roman Empire after this. You won’t find it because there is no such prediction anywhere by Daniel or any other prophet, nor by Jesus and His apostles. Daniel 2 only makes a prophesy of the appearing of one Roman Empire which was fulfilled about the year 63 BC. 
So Daniel’s vision of the feet and toes of iron and clay is NOT being fulfilled today; it has already seen its fulfillment in the breakup and demise of the Roman Empire by AD 1400. In PART TWO we’ll examine Rast’s rationale for using other Old Testament prophesies to prove that we are in the Last Days.
God’s best to you, and remember, God is still in charge.
*All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible.
© Ron Moser, www.lastdaysunraveledblog.com, 2013

Part Three of The SIGN for the Unbelieving: Coming on the clouds of heaven

Jerusalem is fallen!

In Part One of “the sign for the unbelieving,” we looked at the tendency of the school of FUTURISM to employ a literal interpretation to the events and figures used by Jesus and His apostles when they spoke or wrote of the “Last Days.” In fact, they will often go beyond what is warranted by the biblical texts, using their imagination to depict scenarios, etc. that their biblically naive audiences will often accept without really checking the facts. This explains why Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late, Great Planet Earth, can sell over 30-million copies and make a block-buster movie of the same name. You can read about Lindsey’s very free interpretation of Jesus’ parable of the fig tree in my blog post, The Key to Unlocking Bible Prophesy (February 28, 2013).

In Part Two, we offered a viewpoint that provides a sane approach to a better BUILD (Biblical Understanding Into the LAST Days). This viewpoint suggests that Jesus and His apostles employed a method of describing the Last Days that they had simply borrowed from the prophets of the Old Testament when they (the prophets) spoke or wrote of God’s acts of judgment or deliverance–apocalyptics. Apocalyptic literature is highly figurative language which symbolizes the realities they describe. Several Old Testament examples were provided from a storehouse of apocalyptic texts found there. Knowing this, we can now examine Jesus’ somber announcement of the SIGN that will portend both the long anticipated HOPE of Christ’s Church, and the END of the AGE (Matthew 24:3) of the Mosaic Covenant, along with its Temple, its ordinances, its priesthood, its sacrifices–all that was a “shadow of the good things to come” (Hebrews 8:5;10:1)–and the final, “teeth-gnashing” doom of “every tribe [that] will mourn” when they see in heaven the SIGN that will vindicate everything Jesus Christ said, and did, and claimed, and promised. Let’s look at that SIGN.

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”              –*Matthew 24:29-30

Passages like this, those of FUTURISM say we can expect to see literally fulfilled. Pointing to texts like Revelation 1:7, where the Apostle John references Jesus’ words of Matthew 24:30, it can appear that they have a solid case:

“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”

Remember, Jesus is using Jewish apocalyptic language. Just before He gave the SIGN of the Son of Man in Mt. 24:30, He said the sun would be darkened, the moon not give it’s light, the heavenly bodies would be shaken, etc. We showed how these celestial portents symbolized the overthrow of nations and the downfall of rulers and nobles in the Old Testament. They did not have a literal, physical, visible-to-the-eyes fulfillment.

If this is how the writers of the Old Testament used descriptions of celestial portents and terrestrial calamities when prophesying the judgments of God on nations or people, and if FUTURIST teachers also understand the figurative nature of these Old Testament texts, why do they not use this same understanding when interpreting the words of Jesus and His apostles who employed the same language while prophesying of God’s judgments in the New Testament? This same reasoning applies to Jesus’ SIGN for the unbelieving of Matthew 24:30,

“Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”   –Matthew 24:30

Speaking symbolically in the verse just before this about the sun, moon, heavenly bodies, etc., does Jesus then suddenly shift to speaking literally of “coming on the clouds of heaven”? Again, the best way to interpret language in the New Testament is to see how similar language was used in the Old Testament. Are there any similarities we can turn to? Yes, there are.

The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) describes the “pillar of cloud” that went before Israel during their Exodus out of Egypt. The people of Israel recognized in this cloud the presence of God.

2 Chronicles 5:13-14 likens the cloud with the presence of God’s glory filling the newly dedicated temple: “. . . the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” So also in Ezekiel 10:3-5,

“Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the house, when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. And the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord. And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.”

In Isaiah 19:1, the prophet describes the doom to come upon Egypt by God’s coming: “Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.”

Notice the Lord’s presence is the result of His “riding on a swift cloud.” God’s presence was seen, not literally with the eyes. No one actually saw God riding on a cloud, and no one actually saw God’s presence with their eyes. This is language that describes the fact that the Egyptians would recognize and perceive that the judgements and doom that was coming upon them would be directly “seen” as God having come down.

So also in Ezekiel 1:4— “As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal.”  What follows is Ezekiel’s highly symbolic description of God whom he saw in a “great cloud.”

And finally Daniel 7:13-14, the very passage of Old Testament Scripture that Jesus “borrowed” when He spoke the words of Matthew 24:30.

“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion,which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”

The cloud symbolism always describes the sovereignty, glory, power, authority, dominion, and presence of God in the events that the prophets, Jesus and His apostles describe, using apocalyptic language. So, when Jesus told His disciples, “then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” He meant it in the same way the “cloud” imagery was used by the writers of the Old Testament.

Immediately after those horrible days of the Great Tribulation (AD 70) that Jesus prophesied (Matthew 24:15-28) would come upon the unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, “every eye” saw in the bloody carnage wrought by Titus and his Roman legions, marching into the very Temple itself with their eagle-tipped standards, then “all the tribes of the earth” (meaning the tribes of Israel) “and those who pierced Him” mourned. For in the woeful destruction of their holy place and sacred Temple, they “saw” the presence of the Son of Man “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, had come on His white horse (Rev. 6:2; 19:11) to receive, as prophesied by Daniel, “. . .dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion,which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” –Daniel 7:14. Amen.

God’s best to you! And remember, He’s still in charge!

*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible (ESV), bold-faced italics, mine.

© Ron Moser, www.lastdaysunraveledblog.com, 2013

“I’m baaack!”–The sign for the unbelieving (Part Two)

Darkened sun

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”                 –*Matthew 24:29-30

In Part One we saw how those who expect Christ’s Second Coming sometime “soon” in our future interpret Christ’s descriptions of celestial disturbances and terrestrial upheavals literally. Thus they teach that when the things Jesus described above take place, the entire world will witness these phenomena literally happening before our very eyes (or beneath our feet). Their fundamental mistake is they fail to recognize (or deliberately ignore?) the Hebrew mind when it comes to the literary style used to describe God’s acts of judgement (or blessing) among His people. The writers of the Hebrew Bible used what we call apocalyptic language–highly figurative language using metaphors, similes, parables, analogies, etc. that symbolize the realities of God’s acts of judgment or deliverance on people or nations. Let’s look at some examples in the Bible.

“For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”                                                    –Isaiah 55:12

To be consistent with their literal interpretation of Matthew 24:29-39 (top of this post), the FUTURISTS will have to say that when God’s word prospers in our lives, the mountains and hills will literally break forth in the “Hallelujah Chorus,” and all the trees of the field will grow hands and clap for joy. This is more properly a metaphor picturing our joyful outlook on life when God’s word accomplishes His purpose in our lives. It’s like Charles Wesley’s song, Joy to the World, when we sing, “and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and nature sing…!” Here’s another passage:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
    and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
    and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”                                                             –Luke 3:4-6 (citing Isaiah 40:4)

Here Luke outlines the task of Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist whose ministry of preaching and baptizing will make ready a people to receive Jesus on His arrival. Will every valley literally be filled, every mountain indeed become flattened, the crooked straight and the rough places smooth? This is the Hebrew way of visualizing the effects of the ministry of John the Baptist upon his hearers. The valleys being filled and mountains leveled describe how everyone–the Pharisee, the wealthy, the slave and the outcast–must all enter the Kingdom of God by repentance. The crooked made straight envisions the transformation of our “crooked paths” into lives of moral and spiritual earnestness. Let’s examine a passage describing an act of God’s judgment.

 Then the earth reeled and rocked;
    the foundations also of the mountains trembled
    and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils,
    and devouring fire from his mouth;
    glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens and came down;
    thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode on a cherub and flew;
    he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
    thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before him
    hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.

The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
    and the Most High uttered his voice,
    hailstones and coals of fire.
And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
    he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
    and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
    at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

                                                                       –Psalm 18:7-15

What “earth shattering, heaven rending” event was David describing in this vivid description of cosmic portents and meteorological upheavals? What God did when He, yes, “bowed the heavens and came down” (v. 9) and delivered David from the murderous pursuits of King Saul. Did David, Saul and Israel witness these portents literally? Not hardly. This is the Hebrew method of visualizing God’s saving acts toward those who put their trust in Him.

If this is how the Old Testament writers described God’s acts of judgment or blessing, It would make sense then that Jesus (the One who inspired these writers) and His disciples (who also spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) would also employ this same graphic, figurative, symbolic literary style when describing God’s terrible acts of retribution soon to come upon that generation of recalcitrant, unbelieving Jews.

Having laid the ground work for understanding Hebraic apocalyptic literature, we can now get a better BUILD (Biblical Understanding Into the Last Days) regarding Jesus’ SIGN for unbelievers.

When the disciples asked Jesus for the “sign of your coming, and of the end of the age,” (Matthew 24:3), He gave them two signs. The first sign was given to serve as a warning shot to His followers of the impending great tribulation to come upon Israel (Matthew 24:15). When they saw this sign (the armies surrounding Jerusalem), they would know to get out of Judea without delay, and thus be spared the horrible, great tribulation about to befall all of Judea and the Jews in many parts of the Roman Empire. History shows that the followers of Christ did indeed flee to a region called Pella where they were spared the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16). The second sign Jesus gave is one they would NOT want to witness, because those who saw THIS sign would know that it was too late; their doom had now come. It was THE SIGN for the unbelieving. It’s discussion will have to wait for a Third Part next time. In the mean time, lay your own ground work. Take a Bible concordance and look up in the Old Testament the words “heaven,” “earth,” and “clouds of heaven.” See if you can discern if those instances describe a reality other than their literal meaning. We’ll look at those words as used by Jesus in the verses atop this post.

God’s best to you! And remember, He’s still in control!

*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible (ESV).

© Ron Moser, www.lastdaysunraveledblog.com, 2013

“I’m baaack!”–The “sign” for the unbelieving (Part One)


They considered themselves the keepers and defenders of the Law of Moses, self-called to police the people of Israel and make them worthy of Messiah’s coming–the Pharisees and Sadducees–the M.Div’s, DD’s and Phd’s of Israel. They were heaven’s gatekeepers and If you wanted to make it into Messiah’s kingdom, it was this elite group of religiously correct aristocrats whose exacting standards and traditions you had to muster in order to get in. They also dubbed themselves the official “welcoming committee” for Messiah’s appearing, and as such, they knew what to look for in a Messiah. When Jesus of Nazareth appeared, they immediately knew He was not the One. For starters, Jesus was a Sabbath-breaker (*Matthew 12:9-14). Every good Jew (and bad Jew, for that matter) knows that keeping the Sabbath is priority one; therefore, this is a no-brainer: Jesus is no Messiah, but rather Beelzebub, the prince of demons (Matthew 12:24). But just to make sure, let’s ask for proof.

Twice they asked Jesus for a sign of His Messiahship (12:38; 16:1). He answered their requests saying, “No sign will be given [to this wicked and adulterous generation] except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:39-40, meaning His death and burial). Then he  adds,

“The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.”           (Matthew 12:41-42)

The heathens of Nineveh and Ethiopia (Queen of the South) believed the message of mere human messengers (Jonah and Solomon). But when God Himself speaks in the midst of His own people and they do not believe Him–the One greater than Jonah or Solomon, the only sign they would receive would be the vindication of His Messianic claims–His resurrection and exaltation. When they see THIS sign, it will have been too late, for it would mean their impending judgment and doom. What was that sign? Jesus described it to Caiaphas who adjured Jesus to say whether He was “the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63). Before this episode with Caiaphas, Jesus gave His disciples a more succinct picture of the sign that Caiaphas and the unbelieving nation of Israel would see:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven THE SIGN of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  –Matthew 24:29-30

Those who teach that Matthew 24 describes events still FUTURE to us interpret these verses literally. They say that the celestial disturbances of the darkened sun and moon and the stars falling from heaven is phenomena that will literally be observed by the world. There have indeed been times in history (aside from solar/lunar eclipses) when the sun and moon were darkened causing widespread panic with crowds thronging to churches to pray. One of these was in eighteenth-century New England. The pandemic it created was widespread. It turned out to have been caused by smoke from a large forest fire somewhere in Canada. Volcanic eruptions have been another cause. But is Jesus really speaking literally here?

The Futurists miss (or ignore?) a fundamental literary tool used by God and His prophets in the Old Testament. Students of Bible literature call it apocalyptic language. Apocalyptic language is figurative, highly symbolic language describing the terrible things that happen when God acts in judgment upon a people or nation. The Old Testament is replete with examples of “earth shattering, mountain-melting, sky-falling” events that described God coming in judgment on a nation. Read Psalm 18 and see how David describes his deliverance from Saul’s murderous pursuits by the help of God. Even today we employ this same kind of imagery when something “earth-shaking” happens. The earth doesn’t literally shake, but it “pictures” how traumatic the event was. When a teenager goes through a break-up with her sweetheart, it’s like “the whole world is crashing down.” As a Jew well acquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures (ultimately their Author), Jesus employs the same kind of imagery that He inspired His prophets of the Old Testament to use when foretelling God’s impending judgments. As a matter of fact, you could say that Jesus’ day was still technically Old Testament times, because He did not announce the inauguration of the New Testament (covenant) until His last supper with His disciples.

Those interested in a deeper discussion of this issue need to get Rev. John Bray’s book, Matthew 24 Fulfilled. He has a very thorough examination of these things documented with excellent resources from many of the older Bible scholars and church fathers. In this book, Rev. Bray made the observation that when the Bible speaks of actual “real-time” events, it uses literal language, but when describing or foretelling God’s acts of judgment, it employs figurative, symbolic, i.e., apocalyptic language. Now, please keep this in mind, because this helps us understand the nature of the SIGN Jesus said that those who rejected Him would see.

Jesus said that these things would take place “Immediately after the tribulation of those days..” (v. 29). What days? The days when the eagles have encamped around the corpse of Jerusalem (Mathew 24:28, apocalyptic imagery), trapping the citizens inside her walls. The ensuing carnage and famine and pestilence caused the literal “weeping and gnashing of teeth” often foretold by Christ Himself. It was at this time that Caiaphas and those who judged Jesus a blasphemer would see the SIGN. We’ll examine that in Part Two next time.

God’s best to you! And remember, He is still in charge!

*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Holy Bible.

© Ron Moser, www.lastdaysunraveledblog.com, 2013