I didn’t realize until just recently that there is the “gospel” that our theologians taught us, and then there’s the “gospel” that Jesus and the apostles taught us, and the two do not line up with each other.
I have also, along with millions of other Christians, discovered exactly why…
Our theologians used their (futurist) interpretation of the letter called “Revelation” as the FOUNDATION on which to build their “understanding” of the rest of the New Testament. In short, they used their eschatology to interpret the words of Jesus and the apostles – rather than using the words of Jesus and the apostles as the FOUNDATION from which to interpret their eschatology…
1. I didn’t know that the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed (and then completely and methodically dismantled right down to its foundation) in 70 AD (as Jesus foretold in Mat 24:2). And I didn’t know that Nero Cesar – throughout the entire region had the well-known nickname “the Beast”.
I did NOT know about that.
Did you know about that?
2. I didn’t know that first century History recorded that the Roman armies, carrying the bold ensigns of an eagle, surrounded Jerusalem in 68 AD exactly as Jesus said they would in Luke 21:20.
I do wonder… when the disciples (who would have still been alive then) “saw the armies surrounding Jerusalem” if they thought about Luke 21:20… Why wouldn’t they have? Not only were they TOLD that they would see all these things happen, but that when they DID – it would BE what Jesus called “the days of vengeance”… in order that “all things which are written may be fulfilled”. (verse 22)…
I didn’t know that chapter 24 of Matthew is an actual recorded historical account of Jesus telling His first-century DISCIPLES (as he stood there and looked them in the eyes) things that were going to happen to THEM in THEIR lifetimes.
For some unexplainable reason it never dawned on me that when Jesus said “YOU” shall see all these things – that He was actually talking to real, live people, not mere story-telling stage props. Those people were not merely “object lessons”, they were the ACTUAL AUDIENCE and RECIPIENTS of the things He was promising THEM that would happen in THEIR lifetimes, in THEIR generation… Jesus stood there looking them in the EYES, telling some of them that they would not taste of death until He was to come in His kingdom. He told others that they wouldn’t have the time to go through all the towns of Israel before all these things were to take place…
Was He standing there lying to them?
I can’t believe THAT!
3. I didn’t know that first century History recorded that the Roman armies built “siege mounds” around the city, as foretold by Jesus in Luke. 19:43-44. The question… “Why would a modern 21st century mechanized army with missiles, planes and pin-point accuracy-smart-bombs build an (ancient warfare) siege mound?” never even entered my mind when I read that verse. Whenever I read verses like that – that just didn’t seem to add up – I “saw” what I was taught to see… nothing. I never questioned why a modern, futuristic military would build an ancient warfare siege mound… THAT’s the power of indoctrination my friends… When I didn’t understand it, or if it started making me question my teachers – I just skipped over it and kept reading… looking for the verses that DID seem to confirm what my teachers were teaching. Any Christian that says they don’t know what I’m talking about here is not being honest.
4. I didn’t know that first century History recorded that not one Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, nor that the early Christian scholar Eusebius wrote: “The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella.”
5. I didn’t know that Epiphanes also attested to the Christian escape, “It is very remarkable that not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, though there were many there when Cestius Gallus invested the city…”
6. I didn’t know that Peter had actually TOLD the people in Acts 2:16 that THEY were in fact IN the “last days”, even though I’ve read that passage a hundred times. AGAIN, we “see” what we’ve been TOLD to see. Have the “last days” lasted over 2,000 years? Has the “axe been laid to the tree” for over 2,000 years? Try to picture a man holding an axe at the bottom of a tree, as if to mark the spot where he is going to start chopping, and then holding that position for 2,000 years. I would think that the metaphor of an axe “already being laid at the bottom of a tree” would signify “very soon”… But that’s just me.
7. I didn’t know that when the apostle Paul said “WE who are alive and remain…” in 1st Thess 4: 17 he was actually talking to (and about) himself and the people standing there in front of him who were mourning THEIR dead relatives (not our dead relatives 2,000 years later). How is it that we have been trained to read things like that and COMPLETELY MISS that we just got done reading about a REAL PERSON saying REAL THINGS to REAL PEOPLE in a REAL time zone who were going through “REAL-TIME” grief and sorrow because of losing THEIR relatives??? How have we been enabled to read that and see the word “WE” as meaning a statement that was REALLY meant for some folks over 2,000 years later, rather than for the folks it ACTUALLY SAYS the words were being spoken directly TO???
Have we stolen someone else’s story? Is that even possible? They are not allowed to be US, and we are not allowed to be THEM.
8. I didn’t know that first century history eloquently documented the Roman army hurling 100-pound boulders at the city of Jerusalem nor just how horrendous that was in real life for the recipients of those… “hailstones” until I actually read the documented (Josephus) history on the subject… (Revelation 16:21).
No preacher ever told me about that.
9. I didn’t know that the OPENING and CLOSING statements of the book of revelation were basically talking about the same OPENING and CLOSING statements of the Olivet discourse by Jesus Himself…
(Rev 1:1) “things which must shortly take place” (Rev 1:3) “for the time is near”.
(Rev 22:6) “things which must shortly take place” (Rev 22:10) “for the time is near”.
Matt. 23:36 “Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon THIS generation”.
Matt. 24:34 “Truly I say to you, THIS generation will not pass away until ALL these things (verse 2 through 34) take place.”
10. I didn’t even know that it is an undeniable historic fact that the armies surrounding Jerusalem and building siege mounds and completely dismantling the temple building actually DID take place in THAT generation (just as Jesus said it would). I never even stopped to consider that these things alone have to be included in “all these things shall come upon THIS generation”. I never realized that when Jesus said “these are the days of vengeance” He was referring to the event that took place in 70 AD, but documented history proves that it WAS…