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Showing posts from January, 2008

New Testament Eschatology -- New Testament Background Continued

The Olivet Discourse Continued

For the last several posts we have been going through a sermon attributed to Jesus commonly called 'The Olivet Discourse'. Within this sermon, some people see the 'end of the world'. But our investigation has been leading us to a different conclusion. Specifically, it has been leading us to the destruction of the Temple (and Jerusalem) in 70 CE. While some people would agree with us up to this point, they would contend that with the next section(s), Jesus has switched from talking about the Temple's destruction and moved to the 'end of the world' and his Second Coming. They see this for a number of reasons. First, as we have noted, over and over Jesus referred to his contemporaries (i.e., the disciples and the nation as a whole that was living at the same time as Jesus). Second, Jesus gave them signs and symbols that were clues for them about the destruction of the Temple. Third, the persecutions that Jesus described we…

New Testament Eschatology -- New Testament Background Continued

The Olivet Discourse Continued

As we move through our background study, which is turning out to be longer than I expected, we have been working through a sermon attributed to Jesus commonly called 'The Olivet Discourse'. To the surprise of many of us, the Olivet Discourse has not been about the 'end of the world' but about the destruction of Jerusalem. We will slow down a little bit and look at this next section in more detail. The reason for this is that a lot of people think that Jesus changed topics and moved from the destruction of Jerusalem to the 'end of the world'. We want to determine if that is the case. This is important because, as I have stated before, Matthew 24 (and the parallel passages) is part of the foundation for how the disciples interpreted the time they were living in.
Matthew 24.32-36. "Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when…

New Testament Eschatology -- New Testament Background Continued

The Olivet Discourse Continued

In the last couple of posts, we have been painting a 'broad-brushed' picture of Jesus' sermon commonly called, 'The Olivet Discourse'. And what we have seen is that Jesus has been warning his contemporaries about YHWH's 'judgment' on Jerusalem. The disciples, shaken by these claims, questioned Jesus as to when this would happen. Jesus has started answering this question. He specifically addressed things that they and their fellow first-century Jews would experience. We now continue to look at Jesus' sermon as the background for our understanding of New Testament Eschatology.
Matthew 24.23-28. “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.

“So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messi…

Is Windows REALLY cheaper than Linux?

I have seen a lot of ads and opinion columns lately that talk about mainstream computer companies selling Linux powered systems. For instance, Dell sells Ubuntu and Lenovo sells SUSE. What is staggering to me is the price. The Dell laptop sells for $45 less than the same Dell laptop selling Vista. The Lenovo, according to this news article, sells for only $20 less. So the question is: Would the average Windows consumer want to save a few dollars and [perhaps] have a frustrating experience with Linux? Would the money saved be worth it if one had to learn a completely different OS (Operating System)? Obviously, the answer would be a definite, 'No'. But is this really the case? Is there really only a few dollars difference between these systems and user experiences?

To answer that, let's look a little deeper and see if we can make an educated decision. I will focus on the Dell systems that sell Vista or Ubuntu.First, the hardware is exactly the same. I custom config…

New Testament Eschatology -- New Testament Background Continued

The Olivet Discourse

Last time we gathered a bird's eye view of Matthew 23 and the beginning of 24. To summarize, Jesus blasted the religious leaders of his day and proclaimed that the Temple would be destroyed (Matthew 23). The disciples, hardly able to grasp this, pointed out the Temple and its buildings as they left it (Matthew 24.1). Jesus told them as plainly as possible, that yes, they had heard him correctly. The Temple would be completely demolished and 'not one stone' would be 'left on top of another' (v.2). Still in shock by this, the disciples approached Jesus and asked him when that would happen (v.3). In this post we will examine part of Jesus' response.
Matthew 24.4-14. Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nat…

New Testament Eschatology -- New Testament Background

We started this series by taking a glancing look at the Old Testament and saw how the prophets used poetic language that depicted the complete desolation of the cosmos as a symbol of the destruction of various nations, such as Egypt (Ezekiel 32.2, 7-8, 11-12), Babylon (Isaiah 13.1, 10, 19), and even Israel (Jeremiah 4.14, 16, 23ff). With these things in the back of our minds, we now turn our attention to the New Testament. While we will be addressing some of the New Testament passages that refer to eschatology there is one question that a lot of people don't ask but it's just under the surface yearning to be asked -- 'From where did the New Testament writers get their eschatology? What was the basis for their 'time of the end' beliefs?'

The most obvious answer is the Hebrew Scriptures. Since (almost) all of the New Testament writers were Jewish, they would have been very familiar with the passages we have glanced at (and many, many others). But there was an…

New Testament Eschatology -- Old Testament Background

Conclusion

In this last stop of our very brief Old Testament poetic expedition, we come to the book of Malachi. It is here that a fascinating picture comes to us. The fourth chapter states:
Malachi 4. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all.

"But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

“Remember to obey the Law of Moses, my servant—all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel.

“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and …

New Testament Eschatology -- Old Testament Background Continued

Timing

We have been taking a very brief look at the Old Testament use of a literary genre called Apocalyptics. This is a very poetic type of literature where cosmic language is often used to describe the destruction of a nation. In this post, we are going to look at some of the 'time statements' of prophecy, i.e., when they should take place.

The timing of the event is as much a part of the event as the description of what is going to happen. However, more times than not, the 'time statements' are given in real time. That is, they give a concrete (or dare I state 'literal') timetable about when something would take place. A lot of the time, however, people will try and use the proverb 'A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day' as a way of dealing with these time statements. But that is not always possible. In fact, more often than not, the prophecies come to pass exactly when they are said to. Here are just a …