PROPHECY IN LIGHT OF JESUS' REVELATION
May 24, 2003
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
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!