Revelation Futurist view

Second is the Futurist view, and asserts that Revelation is about the details and order of future events immediately preceding the Second Coming. This view was held by some of the second and third century Church Fathers (although this is disputed), and is popular amongst most Evangelicals today.

This view asserts that none of the events in 70 AD or what Jesus describes in Matthew 24 had occurred or had any bearing on the prophecies of the Apocalypse or the tribulations that mark the period just prior to Jesus’ Second Coming. The seals, trumpets, beasts, and Antichrist are still to come and will appear in the last days of human history. Then, Christ will come back to reign and judge, and establish a millennial kingdom. Thus, most of Revelation is yet to be fulfilled, and its only value is for the Christians living in that age to come, making it irrelevant to numerous generations.

The problem with this view is that the destruction of Jerusalem was the most significant event for the Jew and Early Church, and must not be disregarded too lightly. Also this view relies heavily upon the view that Israel and the church are distinct in God’s plan which is very debatable as Christ’s is for all Greek and Jew alike (Rom. 9-11; 1 Cor. 10:32). Obviously the first 5 chapters are current history in John’s time and the genre indicates that chapters 6 through 22 are in a future tense and view (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:24-27; John in 6-18; 1 Thes. 4:16; Rev 3:10).

Exegetical look at Matthew 24, Part V

Vs.32-35: Fig tree. This is the first of seven “futures” of the Kingdom parables. Fig trees give clear signs of what they are doing so you know what comes next; they lose their leaves in the winter, then they start to produce fruit before the new leaves bud. At this time, the fig trees would be “in leaf.” In Mark, Jesus uses this parable to predict the destruction of the Temple (Mark 11:12-25). By knowing Scripture, not popular reasoning, we will know for sure when the events are upon us all!

· This generation normally refers to “you people,” as in race and mentality; it can also refer to who is there, and in being stubborn (Lev. 26:18-20; Judg. 2:19). This is not about time; it is about the mentality and the people, such as the race of Jews. Some have said this meant only the people then; the destruction of the Temple and the reign of Nero comprised the Tribulation (“Preterism” means fulfilled eschatology). Also, that in 70 A.D., all that Jesus spoke of in Matthew, chapter 24, was fulfilled and now we are in the age of Jesus’ reign. I guess they have not looked out a window lately! Yes, some of it was fulfilled, but not all; so, “this generation” did see some of what is to come, in fact, most or all of it except for His Second Coming!

· The Dead Sea scrolls predicted a 40 year tribulation versus the seven year one in Revelation!

· My words. These are words only God would proclaim; no O.T. Prophet would dare to say these things in this way. Their words were given to them by God; Jesus spoke as God (Jer. 31:35-37; Zech. 1:5-6). For the Jews, to whom Matthew is written, this meant the authority of the O.T. Scriptures.

· Jesus does not give us an exact timeline of when and how these events will take place; even Revelation and Daniel do not! This gives birth to needless speculation and obsession, because we fail to see His main point—being prepared, and being encouraged that things will get better after they get worse!

What can you do to make sure you are not distracted by theological trivialities that may seem fun to learn and investigate (and they are), but deter you from what Christ has called you to do?

Exegetical look at Matthew 24, Part III

Vs.15-28: Abomination of Desolation, refers to the most vile reasons (apostasy and sacrilege) causing the desolation of the holy place of the Temple. Daniel predicted this would happen after the death/rejection of the Messiah, which was also fulfilled at the crucifixion and the Temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. (Dan. 9:25-27; 11:31).

· A lot of prophecy, such as this example, is fulfilled in stages! The Temple was defiled (Abomination) and became empty (as the Romans took all the sacred things) and useless because it was destroyed as a result (Desolation). Some have said this is a name for Satan; it is not, although he uses this tactic.

· Most Jews thought this was fulfilled when, in 168 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanes built a pagan altar to Zeus on the altar of the Temple and slaughtered pigs on it, which was, according to God, the most disgusting and revolting thing that could be done to the Temple! A warning for us today is not to become apostate, so to mess with God or His Holy people and places (2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:14-15)!

· Zealots stormed the Temple in 66 A.D., killing priests and Romans and starting the siege and destruction of Jerusalem! They also desecrated the alter by shedding human blood on it. This was the ultimate sacrilege before God, and possibly the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” causing judgment to commence.

· Flee. Jesus basically says, when it comes, leave, and leave fast (1 Sam. 23:26; 1 Macc. 2:28)! Early church fathers said the Christians fled to Pella in the Judean hillside.

· Housetop. Houses then had flat roofs, and people entertained, slept, and lived there when it was too hot to be inside. Also, it was considered the best place for prayer by reverent Jews and early Christians.

· Clothes. This refers to the outer garment worn by field workers when it was cold, and then taken off when it was hot, but not referring to being naked.

· Pregnant referred to being expectant when traveling is difficult. My wife says, “Imagine what it must have been like before modern conveniences and in the midst of persecution!”

· Winter makes anything a source of exasperation, from severe cold to rushing rivers without bridges, especially before industrialization!

· Sabbath referred to the “Sabbath Year.” Because of food regulation, they would run out of food quickly (Lev. 25:1-7).

· Shortened referred to Daniel’s 1,260 days; maybe the time would be shortened to preserve life (Dan. 12:11-13).

· Look, here is the Christ. This was a call to be aware of false prophets and false teachers, even when they seemingly perform miracles! People are easily deceived; just watch a good magician!

· I told you referred to advance warning and the need to heed it (Isa. 48:5).

· Lightening, produced on command, was something a false prophet could not do; only God could (Zech. 14:3-8). Jesus’ second coming will not be as subtle as His first; it will be spectacularly noticeable!

· Carcass for the eagles. Being eaten was considered the worst fate for a dead Jewish body; the best was to be buried (Duet. 28:26; 1 Sam. 17:44; Psalm 79:2; Ezek. 32:4-6; 39:17-20).