May  24, 2003
Mike Blume

The Apostle Paul represented the entire concept of the Old Testament using the picture of the veiled face of Moses, from the days when God first gave the Old Covenant to Israel while atop Mt. Sinai.  Paul said that the people of the Old Covenant could never look to the final conclusion and goal of the Old Covenant, as represented by Moses’ veiled face.  Contrasting that with the New Testament, he said that "we", the apostles, use great plainness of speech.  And he then signified the entire concept of the New Testament as the unveiled face of Jesus Christ, into which we fully gaze, and are changed into the same image (2 Cor. 3:18, 4:6).  

But even the temporal glory that shone on Moses’ face was too much for the Israelites.  The New Testament, on the other hand, will never fade away. The ultimate work of God in this world is the New Testament church of the living God, comprised of both Jews and Gentiles!

I propose that the entire book of Revelation is the account of the changeover from Law to grace -- the transition from, and the passing away of, the Old Testament, for the inception of the ever glorious New Testament.  The first verse of this precious book reads that it was a “Revelation of Jesus Christ”, and not the popular notion today of it being a revelation of nuclear holocaust and Chinese armies and computer chips.  The Revelation was written in “signifying” terms (Rev. 1:1).  Visionary symbolism, in other words.  John was inspired to use the same picture Paul used in writing 2 Corinthians chapter 3.  Jesus unveiled! The inspired Apostle Paul used the picture of an unveiled face of Jesus Christ as the representation of the entire New Covenant ministry.  He said our hearts receive the glory of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).

And with the revelation of Jesus Christ, came many implications.  Along with the multiplied thousands who gained salvation through the cross, the unbelieving element of Israel rejected Him, having perpetrated the very cross that is such a blessing to us today.  He came unto His own, and His own received Him not (John 1:11)!  He found her in the arms of Rome, ultimately calling for Caesar to be her king instead, while they forced Pilate to do away with Him!   She was the great harlot (read all of Ezekiel 16).   Those who should have accepted Him, cried for His blood to be upon them and their children -- that generation.

That generation was so wicked that Jesus said they were similar to the man set free of demons.  After his deliverance, this man experienced a seven-fold worse possession.  So it would be with that wicked generation (Matthew 12:43-45).  Since they did not fill their hearts with the Lord after His ministry cleared the way of all satanic blinders from their eyes, they became what Revelation calls the habitation of every unclean spirit (Revelation 18:2). They beheld God's glory and rejected it!

In Matthew 21, upon His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the religious leaders stopped the mouths of His worshippers, and demanded that Christ forbid them.  Jesus rebuked them, and began a series of stunning and judgmental parables that spanned from chapter 21 through chapter 24!  Never once did Jesus change subjects, as though He spoke of a 2000-year future stretch of time.  He was totally immersed in the issue of Jerusalem's rejection of Him, and even issued warning to the church to remain faithful, lest they, too, perish in the judgement to come.  

The parable of the two brothers (Matthew 21:28-31) contrasted the people outside the Kingdom at that time with the people of Jerusalem in that generation.  One brother refused to work for his father, but later did indeed work.  He spoke of the people who would comprise the church.  The brother who initially agreed to work, but never did, spoke of Jerusalem and her religious leaders of that day.

The parable of the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-45) showed how the religious leaders of Israel were as trusted husbandmen, who rebelliously beat and smote the messengers of the Vineyard owner, the prophets.  These came to gather the fruit of holy lives and dedication to God from the people of Israel.  Finally, the slaying of the Son depicted the crucifixion of Jesus, who came, Himself.  The Pharisees correctly presumed Christ referred to them when He concurred with their assessment of the guilty husbandmen in the parable, saying they should be slain and bereft of the Kingdom, losing it to another nation bringing forth the fruits.

Matthew 22 parallels Revelation chapters 17-19 in showing a people invited to a wedding supper, who refuse to comply. "But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city (Mat 22:7)."  Revelation 17 shows the harlot "city" burned with fire.  

After the city was destroyed in the parable, we read, "Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. (Mat 22:8-10)"

Revelation concurs, and shows the wedding feast after the Harlot city is burned with fire.  Coincidence?  

In Matthew 23, Jesus openly speaks about rebelling Jerusalem of His day as the theme of his parables, telling them they filled the cup of the transgressions in all the righteous blood being shed since the death of Abel.  Never before had such a condemnation been laid upon a single generation, in contrast to the times their fathers committed sins. Christ accused one generation of possessing the guilt of all shed blood on the entire earth!  But to slay Christ, who would die for all mankind, was certainly worthy of the accusation of having shed all righteous blood in the world up to that time.   And what is so revealing in all of this, is that Revelation claims the harlot was filled with the blood of all that was ever shed on the earth, just as Jesus accused Jerusalem (Compare Matthew 23:23-35 with Revelation 18:24)!  

In Matthew 24, Jesus is still speaking of the demise of Jerusalem as He points out that the buildings of the temple would not have one stone left standing.   The disciples respond to him with questions.  "When will the stones be thrown down, what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3b).   

At first glance, the picture is not so clear as to why Jesus would respond to those questions in the manner He did.  They would personally hear of wars and rumours of wars, and so forth, in reference to the time of “the end of the world”.  However, He did not say the church of two thousand years later would see these things.  He said they, the disciples standing right there, would not only see and hear those things, but would, themselves, be afflicted and persecuted.  And a cursory reading of the Book of Acts reveals that to have indeed occurred!  

Was the sign of the coming of the Son of man to occur in the end of our civilization?  When we read the same accounts of this discussion in both Luke and Mark, we see that these disciples asked the same questions.  But their questions are phrased differently.   “The sign of the coming of the Son of man, and of the end of the world” was actually the events to transpire when the temple would be destroyed, which occurred in 70 AD!

Mark 13:2-4  And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

Luke 21:6-7  As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

Mark and Luke proceed to give the same general list of events as Matthew 24 did, touted by many to yet be unfulfilled.  But the context of Mark and Luke's questions to Jesus undoubtedly regard the same timeframe when the temple would be destroyed in 70 AD!

The Greek term translated as "world" in Matthew 24:3 is "aion", meaning "age".   An age actually ended in 70 AD.  That does not mean the New Testament did not begin until 70 AD!  But it does mean that an age did indeed end. Howso?

In Matthew 23, Jesus contrasted the Jews of His day, that generation, with the entire race of Jews who persecuted the prophets throughout the centuries.  Although their fathers had committed such heinous crimes, that specific generation would fill the cup (Matthew 23:32), or pass the line of God's forbearance.  Never before was one generation accused of the guilt for all shed blood upon the earth!  Their fathers were never accused of such guilt, though they persecuted many great men of God.  But in crucifying and scourging Jesus, and the disciples, the Jews of that day would receive the wrath worthy for the entire world's shed blood.  Surely an age was ending!

There was nothing in all of Jesus Christ's words to inspire the disciples to ask about events 2,000 years into their future.  Jesus did not proceed to speak about our day in 2003.   All that He spoke about in Matthew chapter 21 through Chapter 24 was the implications of Jerusalem's rejection of His triumphal entry, and how the kingdom would go to another nation, while Jerusalem would be judged.  

When He walked into the temple the day they rejected Him, and looked, only to find no welcome of praise for Him, He left and cursed a fig tree for having many leaves, but no fruit to receive (Mark 11:11-14).  That fig tree was Israel.  And she had all the trappings, like leaves, of religious activity, without the actual fruit of praise and godly servitude to the Lord.  Israel was cursed by Jesus Christ.  Their house would soon be left desolate, as a result.

He looked back to women "of Jerusalem", weeping for Him as He carried His cross up Calvary's hill (Luke 23:28-30).  And He told them to weep for themselves and for their children -- that generation.  He said the days would come when they would call for the rocks and mountains to cover them.  This was the very picture noted in the sixth seal of Revelation 6:16!  

Why does the Book of Revelation speak so much about the judgment upon Israel for rejecting Him in the days of His revelation?  Simply realize that the Lord spent many parables and discussions concerning that very issue in the Gospels!  He is simply being consistent in both the Gospels and the Revelation.

Revelation shows two contrasting groups of people who accepted Him and were blessed, or rejected Him and were cursed.

Christ brought a New Jerusalem into existence.  A New Israel.  A New Temple, called the Church, comprised of both Jews and Gentiles born again, losing their Gentile and Jewish states, and made a new nation altogether!  He even told the resisting Pharisees that if the people praising Him during His triumphal entry should cease, the stones would cry out.  He meant that there would be a new temple comprised of lively stones, from amongst the quarries of the good and the bad, and the halt and the lame, who would accept Him (1 Peter 2:5, 9).  And this new temple's stones of the souls of precious people born-again, would become a house of God built up and inhabited by Jesus, Himself, showing forth His praises!