Prophecy Focuses Upon the Cross of Jesus


By Michael F. Blume

© Copyright 2003

All Rights Reserved


The Cross of Christ is simply the greatest event in all of time.  All Old Testament purpose was in preparation for it.  All New Testament teaching concerns explanation of it.  Kingdom Eschatology recognizes one aspect of God’s immense attention given towards Israel’s response to His incarnation, neglected by futurist teaching of prophecy.  The very generation, or people of the period of Jesus’ day, who cried for His crucifixion were severely judged for it.  All of the world’s human race can be said to have crucified the Lord.  Adam’s race is guilty of the demand for Christ’s crucifixion that we might be saved.  However, God designated Israel as His bride in Old Testament times.  And He more severely judged her, for she, of all people, should have accepted Him.  Her act of conscious rejection of Him is categorically different than mankind’s sin that drove God to give His only Son for our salvation.

Nothing could be worse in all earth’s history as God’s very own Bride, Jerusalem [read all of Ezekiel 16 to see how Jerusalem was His bride], rejecting her King and claiming no other but Caesar, and to urge Caesar’s Rome to crucify Him.  What act can deserve greater tribulation – such as never was nor ever shall be – aside from such a crime? 

It was not the entire race of Jews who were condemned that day, as futuristic interpretation of prophecy claims.  It’s the specific people of the period of Jesus’ day that He, Himself, distinguished out of that race.

We read of this distinction in Matthew 23:32-39.  Jesus indeed did speak of the race’s sins of heavily persecuting God’s prophets sent to the “fathers”.  As vile as such sins were, He did not consider them as sufficient in “filling a cup”, though.  That reference to “filling the cup” applied to the acts that the people of Jesus’ day would commit.  No previous Israelite people of any former period had committed a crime worthy of calling upon themselves the blood of all righteous people ever shed on the earth, as that generation, as told by Christ.  Every instance of bloodshed before the cross, at the hands of Israel’s people, did not cross God’s line of tolerance to “fill a cup”.   Many generations were responsible for victim after victim falling prey to the hatred and murder of this chosen race.  And a cup was being filled with each and every one of those murders.  But the shedding of Christ’s righteous blood would move that particular generation of the race to cross the line.  The covering of His wings would not protect that people from a trouble to surely come as a result [Matthew 23:37].  Contrasted with the generations before, from the same race in the days of their “fathers”, the generation of Christ’s day would experience all the judgment deserving for every one of the former violations.  Dear reader, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was that bad!

To somehow disjoin that note from the words of Matthew 24, the next chapter, whose words refer to unprecedented tribulation, is to demand that a worse crime than that of the cross is yet to occur.

The cross hereby plays an additional and unique role in Kingdom Eschatology not found in futurist teachings.  And this stress is indeed found throughout scripture.  Of course, all prophetic interpretations say that judgment comes upon the world due to the crime of the rejection of Christ.  But that is different from the perspective God surely had in seeing Jerusalem as His bride, His own to whom He came, who rejected and killed His incarnation.

We propose that the people’s very own words, “Let his blood be upon us and upon our children,” precisely fits the point of Jesus’ words concerning which generation would know all wrath noted in all prophecies of an end.  “Generation” here refers to the people of the period of Christ’s day.

The specific people who slew Christ were the “this generation” of Matthew 23:36 as well as Matthew 24:34.  They would see all the events listed in Matthew 24.  After all, Jesus looked into the eyes of the disciples and said they, themselves, would have to watch for signs.

Look at how Kingdom Eschatology speaks of the prophecies of the Bible, focusing on the ramifications of that specific generation’s crime of having crucified Jesus:

Armageddon is a poetic name of the destruction Jerusalem would experience for the crime of the cross. 

Revelation’s judgments are recognized as those first pronounced by Moses for breaking God’s law, making them unique forms of wrath upon Israel alone.  Since Law was a schoolmaster to bring Israel to Christ [Galatians 3:24], rejecting Him was breaking all the law in one fell sweep.

Revelation 7 picks upon the picture we find in Matthew 21, when Jesus was greeted with Hosannas from people with palms in their hands.  The religious leaders stopped Israel from continuing to praise Christ as her King!  Revelation 7 shows people from all nations with palms praising Him as King!

The entire theme surrounding the impending cross, according to Matthew 21 through 24, was damnation upon that generation of people for rejecting and slaying Him while the kingdom would be given to another nation, the Church. 

When Jesus’ disciples heard Him speak about the guilt and judgment of all righteous blood ever shed on the earth, that was laid upon Jerusalem, they were absolutely shaken!  Jesus spoke of all of that coming to pass in their day!  People who lived all around them, in that day, were the guilty ones!  Wrath of God heaped up for generations since Abel would fall in their day! 

As Jesus left the temple with them, the disciples surely had the temple destruction and desolation in mind when they pointed out to Him the great buildings.  And referring to the desolation He spoke about in 23:38, only moments before, He responded saying not one single stone of those buildings would be left standing.  The topic would just not leave Jesus’ mind!

When the disciples heard that, they knew the obliteration of the temple and wrath deserving of all murders from the beginning of time would cause a veritable “age” to end!  An eon would end.  They never before heard Jesus give so many parables, one after the other, of their nation’s loss of the Kingdom and another nation’s coming reception of it.  Read it from Matthew 21 onward to Matthew 24, and see if those parables do not apply to Israel’s loss of God’s Kingdom and the Church’s reception of it, including some words to the Church, in Matthew 22, concerning their need to remain faithful as well.

What a monumental change was to occur in their day before their eyes!  Never before had God absolutely removed His providence from Israel.  He punished them many times before, and even held them captive in another kingdom.  But never did He claim they had filled the cup of all murders from Abel onward!  Never!

So they asked when the temples’ stones would be thrown down, and what sign could they see to tell them precisely when He would come upon Jerusalem in that judgment.  An age of Israel’s monopoly in God’s kingdom would cease with such wrath, for, keep in mind, this wrath was heaped up from all former generations’ murders.  Another was about to receive the Kingdom!

Futurists tell us that the disciples changed the subject after asking of the time when the temple would be smashed.  Pray, tell me, what in all Christ’s words at that point would inspire them ask about the end of the overall world’s society, as futurists claim?  Had you or I been one of those disciples that day, and heard Him condemn Israel and Jerusalem to such a degree as to accuse her of possessing the guilt deserving of all former murders by her people, I think we would have only been concerned about that judgment to come.  Who would care to know about the end of the whole world after hearing about Jerusalem’s doom?  Such an issue of this unprecedented judgment would absolutely captivate all one’s thoughts!

The disciples asked about an “age” that would end.  That is the true, more clarifying, definition of the Greek term translated as “world” in Matthew 24:3.  Luke’s account of the same conversation shows us a variation of the same words.  There, we read how they asked Him by what sign would they know when “these things” (the temple destruction) would come to pass.  To claim each of the three questions in Matthew 24:3 is speaking about a different issue, including Jerusalem’s demise of their day, and the end of the world’s society in thousands of years ahead of their time, is to remove from the context the obvious concern the disciples had for their day’s soon-coming wrath. 

The entire concept of the New Covenant is allegorized by Paul as being an unveiling, or Revelation.  In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul said Old Testament ministry was that of death and condemnation, compared to the New Testament ministry of Spirit.  Paul said that Moses’ covenant was a veiled one, with reference to the representative picture of Moses having his face veiled.  Moses’ veiled face stood for the entire thought of Israel given a covenant whose end they could never see.  On the other hand, turning one’s heart to Christ causes the veil to be removed and that is the reason ministers such as Paul used great plainness of speech.  So, Paul said the Old and the New are contrasted by veiling and unveiling. 

Everything about this New Covenant concerns the mystery of God hid from all previous ages, which not even the prophets could know by the seeing of their eyes or the hearing of their ears.  It simply was not able to enter their hearts beforehand 1 Corinthians 1:6-16. God revealed what He prepared for man from the start by His Spirit.  And this only is experienced under the New Covenant.  Revealing and unveiling are all terms pointing to the general idea of a “Revelation.”  Paul said he preached this former mystery.  And what was formerly a mystery about the cross is now a “revelation”. 

For this reason, the entire changeover from Law to Grace is considered in John’s titling of his last book of the Bible, “The Revelation.”  But it is certainly not "The Revelation of St. John the Divineas our bible printers have tagged it.  It is as the first verse reads, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”  That revelation is about the work of the Cross and the blessings bestowed upon them who accepted Him, while wrath is poured out upon those who rejected Him in the very first generation of the Church Age!  Quite fitting!

We read so much imagery of temple worship and cities because the changeover from Law to Grace saw Old Jerusalem destroyed 40 years LATER because of its rejection of Christ, and a New Jerusalem, the Church, replaces it.  You read of cursings and blessings from the Law as found in Deuteronomy 27 through 32 and the judgments of Leviticus 26 in the Book of Revelation.  Compare and see!  All of the thunderings and lightnings, voices and earthquakes you read about in Revelation point us back to the day when Law was given on Mount Sinai.  Why?  It is because Revelation lists judgments particularly taken from the curses of the Law that were put upon Israel for rejecting Christ.  After all, the Law was for Israel.  Whatsoever things the Law saith, it saith to them that are under the Law, Israel, and not to the whole Gentile world as well! [Romans 3:19].  The curses found in Revelation are all taken from Law.

When Jesus Christ came as the light of the world, the Book of John repeatedly shows how some accepted that light, but to others they fled into deeper darkness that their deeds might not be made manifest.  Jesus came and that Revelation of Himself divided everyone with whom He came into contact into two groups.  Rejecters or acceptors.   And hence, the book after this namesake, the Revelation of Jesus, is all about the great advent of His coming when His own bride rejected Him, and the Kingdom was given to another nation, the Church!  Little wonder we end the book that cites Jerusalem’s great destruction by speaking of a New Jerusalem, the Church of the living God!  It all surrounds the days and immediate history of the generation who took our Lord to the cross!

What is the testimony of Jesus but His Revelation to this world and our need for acceptance of His work on the cross?

Revelation 19:10(b)  ...for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.