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‘The End Times’ Context

27 Sep
Death swallowed up

from Google Images

For awhile now, I have been demonstrating that, when Jesus spoke of the end of the age, he was speaking of resurrection, of judgment (especially upon Jerusalem and the Temple), and of the reward of the righteous. If these conclusions are correct, then we should see the same mentioned in the epistles, because one cannot divorce the eschatology of the parables from the eschatology of the rest of the New Testament. I have demonstrated in my previous study that the Apostles’ mention of the end of the age in Matthew 24:3 was evidence of their recalling what Jesus said earlier in Matthew 13:39 and 49 in two of his first parables. Thus, they equated the eschatology to the destruction of the Temple with Jesus’ eschatology of resurrection and judgment, for certainly the Temple couldn’t  be destroyed, unless the Lord had passed judgment upon it. Thus, its destruction would occur at the end of the age (Matthew 24:3).

At this point, I would like to consider Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. It seems to me that it is very clear that in 1Corinthians 15 Paul is speaking of the resurrection, and his allusion to the harvest. In other words, Christ being the Firstfruits of the harvest (1Corinthians 15:23), points to similarities in Jesus’ Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. Certainly one wouldn’t argue for two harvests, one for Matthew 13 and the other for 1Corinthians 15. If the harvests are one harvest, so is the resurrection to which the single harvest points. Moreover, the end of the age of Matthew 13 must be the same as the end in 1Corinthaians 15:24, namely, when Christ delivers the kingdom to the Father, after he had put all of his enemies under his feet (viz. the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, at the end of the age).

Paul alludes to the destruction of Jerusalem again when he mentions the resurrection from the dead, “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1Corinthians 15:54), which is drawn from Isaiah’s prophecy:

And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 25:6-8 – emphasis mine)

Notice that Isaiah says when the Lord swallows up death in victory (viz. resurrection; verse-8), he destroys a mountain (verse-7). The destruction of the mountain also points to the destruction of a strong, defended (walled) city (Isaiah 25:2), which, in the context of the New Testament, points to Jerusalem in 70 AD. It is necessary, then, to put this in the context of the New Testament, because both Isaiah and Paul mention that this was the time when the Lord will swallow up death in victory.

Isaiah mentions Moab (verse-10) as the ‘mountain’ (verse-7), however, Moab seems to be a symbol of the enemies of God. Notice:

Moab here seems to be used in a general sense to denote the enemies of God, and the declaration that it would be trodden down seems designed to indicate that the foes of God and his people would all be destroyed [Barns Notes — Isaiah 25:10]

It was Moab’s pride (Isaiah 16:6) that led to her fall, and it was the pride of the Jewish authorities exalting themselves against the Lord’s anointed (Psalm 2:1-6; Acts 4:25-27) that led to their fall in 70 AD. In every place in the New Testament, the Jewish authorities or influential Jews were behind the trouble that arose against God’s people (the disciples of Christ). The first three bloody persecutions were all begun by the Jewish authorities at Jerusalem. Clearly Isaiah 25:2, 7 and 10 are speaking of them.

Thus, we have complete agreement in Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians with Jesus’ words in Matthew 13. Both Jesus and Paul refer to the harvest at the end of the age, and both agree that the harvest is the resurrection, and one simply cannot separate the resurrection at the end of the age from the judgment and the coming of the Lord (2Timothy 4:1).

 

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Posted by on September 27, 2018 in 70 AD Eschatology

 

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