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The Bridegroom Comes!

15 Nov
Bridegroom Comes

from Google Images

The Olivet Discourse in Matthew extends into Matthew 25 where Jesus offers his Apostles three more parables. The first of these is the Parable of the Ten Virgins. As we know from the account, five were wise, but five were foolish in that they didn’t bring any oil for their lamps. As the bridegroom delayed, all of the virgins slept, but a cry was heard at midnight that the bridegroom was coming. All awoke and the five wise dressed their lamps, but the five foolish realized they hadn’t enough oil. When they asked the wise to share their oil, they were refused, because there might not be enough for both the wise and the foolish, if the wise gave up their oil. The foolish were told to go to them who buy and sell and buy oil for themselves, but as they went the Bridegroom arrived and only the wise were able to go with him.

What seems absolutely incredible to me is that we have literally hundreds of false predictions of the coming of the Messiah in over 1900 years of history since Jesus’ public ministry. As early as 44-47 AD, the coming of the Messiah was claimed by the imposter, Theudas, a Jewish zealot.[1] Another pretender arose cir. 56-57 AD and is known as the Egyptian in Acts 21:38 and in Josephus.[2] Since those days we have, literally, over two hundred recorded predictions of the coming of the Messiah, including the failed predictions of Lindsey, LeHaye, Church, Camping and Hagee in our modern era.

On the other hand, the folks, whom Jesus handpicked to preach the Gospel to the ancient world, claimed he would return in the then near future, i.e. in their expected lifetimes. In fact, on at least three occasions Jesus said that evil generation that rejected him would see those things come to pass (Matthew 16:27-28; 23:36; 24:34).

Jesus even predicted that in the days of the Apostles’ ministry folks would come saying the end was near or the time had come or the Messiah has arrived (Matthew 24:5, 11, 23-26; Luke 21:8), but they would be deceivers. Remembering that trouble and turmoil will always be in the news, but would not foreshadow the end (Matthew 24:5-8: Mark 13:5-8), look to the signs: the spread of the Gospel, the abomination that brings desolation, and the great tribulation. These three events, and only these three events foreshadow the end of the age and the coming of Christ. Nevertheless, all three events, as I have demonstrated in previous studies, had occurred in the first century AD, culminating in Jesus’ judgment of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

Nevertheless, there would come a time when the Apostles would know the time was near (viz. seeing the events Jesus identified as “signs” come to pass), and then they could proclaim that day was at hand. This is what Peter was doing in 1Peter 4:7 in saying that the end of all things was at hand, and Jesus was ready to judge the living and the dead (1Peter 4:5). This is what James had in mind when he claimed the coming of the Lord was near (James 5:8), and the Judge was at the door (James 5:9). According to Paul, the Gospel had been preached throughout the first century world in the context in which Jesus gave the command (cf. Matthew 28:19-20). Therefore, the end was near (Matthew 24:14).

We in the 21st century (and those in previous centuries when the end was predicted) have a choice to believe either Jesus or the current prognosticators. We have the choice to believe Peter or Lindsey, James or LeHay, Paul or Hagee. The choice is ours. It has always been ours. The Lord will never take that freedom from us. Have you brought your oil, or must you go to them who buy and sell, before you are able to make a choice? Do you need to know the latest wind of doctrine, the latest prognostication or are you able to make your choice by looking at the Bible yourself? I’ve made my choice, for good or for bad, but it is my choice. I made the choice that I will let no one believe for me. I will take what I believe first hand from the scriptures, not from any man.

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[1] See Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews (20.5.1). This is assuming Josephus names a different Theudas here, than Luke mentions in Acts 5:36 who arose cir. 6-7 AD under the governor, Quirinius. Josephus has made mistakes in his works before (see 20.1.3, concerning Herod of Chalcis; and possibly another concerning Claudius’ 8th year at 20.5.2). So, if Josephus means that this Theudas is the one mentioned by Luke, there is greater room to believe Josephus is in error than Luke.

[2] See Josephus, Wars of the Jews (2.13.5).

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Posted by on November 15, 2018 in 70 AD Eschatology

 

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