The Middle

The Middle

      

About Jesus’ Life

 

The middle is primarily about Jesus, His life and the things He did, and what He brought to the world. The time is the first century AD. The following is a brief summary of his life, and  then following this I will write about the things that Jesus had to say about the end times, and in most cases give you my interpretation of his parables.

 

 The Ministry of Jesus Christ

Now when Jesus was about thirty years of age, a man named John the Baptist came preaching and baptizing in the wilderness,  saying, “Repent: Prepare yourselves for the Lord.”

John was the messenger the prophets had foretold would announce the coming of the Savior. Then Jesus came to the Jordan river to be baptized by John. And when John saw Jesus coming, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”

And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up out of the water, and the heavens opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove and light on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Then, after Jesus spent forty days in the desert, Satan, who had successfully tempted Eve in the Garden, tried ways of tempting Jesus—but Jesus would not sin.

Finally, Satan took Jesus to an especially high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Then Satan said, “All these things I will give to you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

Jesus answered, “Get away from me, Satan: because God has written that, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.”

While Jesus, the son of God, lived on earth in the form of a man, He was tempted in all the same ways we are, yet He never sinned.

So, where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. This showed that Jesus indeed could be the         

Savior of mankind—the lamb sent from God.

Jesus revealed himself as the promised Savior in many ways, including performing countless miracles. At a wedding feast, He changed water into wine. He healed a man who had been lame for thirty-eight years.

A man full of leprosy—an untouchable—saw Jesus and fell on his face, saying, “Lord, if You want to, You can make me clean.”

Jesus then reached out his leprosy hand and touched him, saying, “Be clean.” And immediately the left him.

Jesus brought sight to a man who had been blind from birth.

One woman, who for twelve years had a disease which doctors could not heal, reached out and touched Jesus’ robe. He turned, saying, “Daughter, be comforted. Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Those suffering from different kinds of diseases were brought to Him, and He healed them all.

Jesus called twelve men together, asking them to follow Him. He gave them power and authority over devils, and He sent these disciples out to preach about the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

His fame went everywhere, and great crowds came together to hear Him teach and to be healed of their diseases.

When a gathering of five thousand people needed food, Jesus prayed over a young boy’s lunch of bread and fish. The food was miraculously multiplied, so that it fed the whole throng, with twelve baskets left over.

But the people kept asking for more proof that Jesus was from God. They said, “Our forefathers ate manna in the desert. It is written in the Scriptures, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

Jesus replied, “The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

The people said, “Lord, give us this bread all the time.”

Jesus answered, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to Me shall never hunger; he that believes on Me shall never thirst.” Jesus prophesied that He must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and then be raised from the dead on the third day.

Most of the religious and political leaders rejected Jesus’ teaching. However, one, a Pharisee called Nicodemus, came to Jesus at night, seeking truth.

Jesus told him, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”

Jesus explained, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. You should not be so amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”

Jesus scolded him for teaching others about religion when he didn’t understand spiritual truths himself. Then Jesus explained spiritual birth.

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that who ever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; He sent Him so that the world might be saved.

The real condemnation is this: light came into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. He who believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he who does not believe on the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Finally Nicodemus understood and believed.

To a foreign woman, Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water that I give shall never thirst; it shall be a well of water within him, springing up into everlasting life.”

The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come, who will be called Christ. When He comes, He will tell us everything.”

Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am that Messiah.”

Later, Jesus taught the people, saying, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and follow Me. For what does it benefit a person if he gains the wealth of the whole world and loses his own soul?”

Watch out! Beware of greed: for a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he owns, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting, and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing so many miracles. If we let Him continue, everyone will believe on Him: and then the Romans revoke our right to control the people.”

Meanwhile, Jesus taught with great authority. He went into the temple and threw out the merchants who were inside, buying and selling. He said to them, “It is written in the Scriptures, My house is the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves.”

And He taught saying, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who believes on the Son may have everlasting life, and I will raise up from the grave those who believe. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that did not believe, and who would betray Him.

So there was a split among the people because of Him. Among the chief rulers, many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess their belief since they were afraid they might be expelled from their religious meeting places. They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Most of the religious leaders looked for a way to destroy Jesus, but could not find one, because all the people were anxious to hear Him when He spoke.

Jesus continued teaching in the Temple, saying, “I am the light of the world: whoever follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

And He said to those who believed on Him, “If you continue living as I tell you, then you are indeed My disciples. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. I am the door; if any man comes to God through Me, he shall be saved. I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any man snatch them out of My hand.”

After three years of teaching, Jesus instructed His disciples to bring Him a certain young donkey, one that had never been ridden, and He sat on it. Then as He rode toward Jerusalem, a huge crowd began to rejoice and loudly praise God for all the mighty works which they had seen.

They called out, “Hosanna! Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”

But when Jesus neared the city, he looked at it and cried over it because the people still did not recognize him as the promised Savior.

 

Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, and Judas conspired with the chief priests and captains about how he might betray Jesus. They were glad, and agreed to give him thirty pieces of silver to inform them of a time and a place they could capture Jesus when there were no crowds around Him.

Jesus knew that His hour to die had come, so He gathered His Disciples together for a Passover dinner. As they ate, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, gave it to them, saying, “Take, eat: this is My body, broken for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”

And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, he gave it to them; and they all drank. And He said to them, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. But I say unto you, I will not any more drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it again with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

Jesus said, “Don’t let yourselves be upset: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions, and I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again to get you, so that you can be with Me. And you know where I am going and you know the way to get there.”

But Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going, so how could we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father except through me.”

That evening, Jesus also warned the disciples of difficult times to come. He said, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated Me before it hated you. He that hates Me, hates My Father also.”

The Betrayal and Crucifixion

After supper, Jesus walked to a garden called Gethsemane for a time of prayer. His disciples followed Him to this secluded place.

After His prayer, the chief priests and captains of the temple and the elders arrived there, looking for Jesus. Judas, who had just eaten with Him, was leading the group. Judas approached Jesus, greeting Him with a kiss of betrayal.

Suddenly, Jesus identified himself to the mob by saying, “I AM.”

The crowd went backwards and fell to the ground.

After that, Jesus allowed himself to be tied up and brought into the high priest’s house.

The temple officers who held Jesus ridiculed Him and spit in His face. And when they had blindfolded Him, they punched Him and slapped Him on the face, and then said, “Prophesy you holy man. Who hit you?”

Early the next morning, the crowd led Jesus to the Roman governor, Pilate. And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow corrupting our Jewish nation.”

But after questioning Jesus, Pilate told the chief priests, the rulers and the people; “He has done nothing worthy of death. I’ll just order Him to be beaten and then release Him.”

But they called out all at once, saying, “Get rid of this man. Crucify Him. Crucify Him.”

Pilate, wanting to satisfy the people, had Jesus brutally whipped, and then turned Him over to be crucified.

The Roman soldiers braided a mock crown of thorns, placing it on His head, and they put a purple robe on Him. They said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they beat Him with their fists.

Afterwards they took Jesus and led Him away, making Him carry a wooden cross up to a place called Calvary, also known as Golgotha or the place of a skull.

 

There in the same area, where many years before God had told Abraham to sacrifice his only beloved son Isaac, they nailed Jesus, God’s only beloved son, to the cross.

As they did this, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they are doing.”

While Jesus hung between two criminals who were also being executed, soldiers took His clothes, gambling for His robe, which fulfilled the prophetic words spoken by David.

For three hours, the people watched. The rulers with them mocked Jesus, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.”

Then a darkness came on the land which stayed for three more hours as the prophet’s words were fulfilled: “The Lord laid the sins of us all on Him.”

Jesus then cried out with a loud voice, saying, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” Jesus, knowing that everything was now accomplished, fulfilled scripture when He said, “I thirst.”

The soldiers ridiculed Jesus as they offered Him vinegar by saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

Jesus tasted the vinegar, then called out, “It is finished. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Then He bowed His head, and let His spirit go.

As He died, the sun darkened and the earth quaked, and the thick veil of the Temple ripped down the middle.

Now when the Roman captain in charge saw what happened, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two thieves who were hanging on the crosses beside Jesus.

But when the soldiers saw that Jesus was already dead, they didn’t break His legs. Instead, one of them pierced His side with a spear, allowing blood and water to pour out.

All of this happened so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled: “None of His bones will be broken,” and “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

Afterwards, two believers (Joseph and Nicodemus) took Jesus’ body, wound it in linen grave clothes dipped in spices, and laid His body in a tomb. Then, as requested by the Jewish leaders, the tomb was sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers.

 

Resurrection to Eternity

Now, after three days, there was a great earthquake, and an angel of the Lord rolled back the stone from the tomb’s door. In fright, the Roman soldiers trembled and then ran away. When followers of Jesus came to the tomb and saw the stone moved, they were confused.

Suddenly, two men stood by them in shining garments, saying, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here, He is risen. Remember how He told you before that He must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and the third day rise again?”

Then they remembered His words.

The same day in the evening, Jesus came to the disciples and stood among them and said, “Peace to you.”

But they were terrified, thinking that they were seeing a spirit.

So He said, “Look at my hands and my feet, it is really Me. Touch me and see, for a spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones, like you see I have. Everything happened as I told you it would because all the writings that described me in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, had to be fulfilled.”

Then He opened their understanding, saying, “It is written in the Scriptures that Christ must suffer and rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name among all nations. And you have seen these things.”

Jesus continued appearing to many people, showing them that He was alive, which gave infallible proof of His resurrection. And He instructed His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.”

At the end of forty days, Jesus announced to His disciples, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall tell others about Me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.”

As they watched, Jesus was taken up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. Two men in white clothing said, “Why are you standing there staring up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was just taken up into heaven, shall come back again in the same manner as you saw Him go.”

……………………………………………………………..

On a personal note, it was indirectly this last section that changed my life forever, at the age of 61; and it was this last section that also changed the 12 apostles lives. Let me explain, when Jesus came back from the dead, the apostles went from believing Jesus was God, to knowing that He was god. Thus they also knew that there was positively a life after death. And therefore they no longer feared death, and all of them would no longer deny Him, as they did when the Romans came to arrest him and put him to death (The Apostles deserting Jesus at the time of His arrest, and the arrest led to His crucifixion.). As a result of their belief in Jesus all of them would die horrendous deaths, and they all remained firm in this, belief in Him, to their deaths; which they would not have done if they were unsure that Jesus wasn’t God. I don’t believe that any one would die for something they did not firmly believe. It was the apostles belief that Jesus was God that turned me into a Christen at the age of 61. Now lets return to scripture. In the next section I will write about Luke 21.

 

The Middle

 I believe that the Jewish nation had one more chance to redeem itself, by believing in Jesus, and obeying God’s commands. but they dis neither. Therefore Israel was destroyed and then had to endure the entire 2484 years of punishment; that I wrote about in, “The Beginning”. I believe that Jesus told a parable in Luke 13:6-9 about this second chance to redeem itself. When in verse ‘8’ He gives the reason for, ‘His birth and life on earth’… to give the Jewish nation one more opportunity to believe and obey God which would have kept the Jewish nation from being destroyed in 70 AD. In addition to this second chance to redeem itself, ‘He’ brought and taught the word of God to everyone. In verse nine he says, if the nation of Israel dose not respond to my presence and teachings, then destroy it.

 

Luke 13:6-9

6Then he told this parable: A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8“’Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’

 

Here is my interpretation, ‘A man (God) went to the nation of Israel three different times to discern whether or not Israel (fig tree) was being faithful to God’ (this corresponds to fruit on the fig tree). The first time he went to Israel was 702 BC, when he found no fruit on the fig tree, he destroyed the 10 nation tribe of Israel. The second time he went to Israel (Judah) in 606 BC when he also found no fruit on the fig tree, he destroyed Judah and sent them into exile to Babylon for 70 years. The third time he visited the fig tree was 536 BC, after the 70 year exile, and he found the Jewish people in Babylon still in rebellion against him and decided to cut the fig tree down (because they were still not faithful, he would destroy the Israeli nation.) but ‘the man – Jesus’ replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

I believe this statement means. – do not destroy Israel at this time, which was 536 BC. We should wait until I visit Israel, and I will go to the ‘roots’ of Israel, ‘the people’, and ‘fertilize’ them with my teaching, miraculous signs, and healings. Then we’ll see if the nation bears ‘fruit’ and believes in me and stops sinning; if they don’t, then destroy the nation.

This is one of the three times that Jesus used the analogy of the ‘fig tree’ to mean Israel, and ‘fruit’ to mean Israel having faith in God and keeping His commandments. He uses these same analogies two other times in scripture, which we will cover later.

This parable would seem to indicate that Jesus and God had a discussion about when and if Israel should be destroyed; however I believe that even though they decided not to destroy Israel at that time (536 BC), God did make the decision to punish Israel for all the backsliding that it had done over the years; thus the 2484 years of punishment, starting in 536 BC and ended in 1948 AD.

In the next session, the main topic I will be discussing ‘Jesus life’, and what He had to say about the end times. Because He did not want anyone to understand what He was going to say about the ‘end times’, He hid what He had to say about the end times by using parables. The meaning of parables that he used about the end times has not been understood until the present time. We will now take a look at the new testament, mainly Mathew and Luke, to read the words that Jesus spoke the his disciples.

The major portion of Luke 21 is Jesus speaking to his disciples, and I know that every thing that Jesus had to say is important and true. The same discourse of Jesus that is contained in Luke 21 is also contained two other books of the bible, Matthew 24 and Mark 13. And this indicates just how important the Olivet discourse is, especially to end times prophesy. The title in all three books is also the same in my ‘NIV’ bible, “Signs of the End of the Age”. This gives us a good clue as to what this chapter is all about.

Now lets turn to Matthew 24 as it is much clearer as to the questions that are asked of Jesus by his disciples, these questions are also in Luke, we will come back to Luke after we have discussed the questions in Matthew 24: 1

 

‘Signs of the End of the Age’

Matthew 24:1

24:1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “2Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

 An explanation of this statement by Jesus, is as follows: When the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, it was set on fire and the heat in the temple was so great that the gold on the walls and ceiling liquefied and wicked into the cracks between the stones on the walls. In order to recover all the gold, left in the cracks, the Romans took the temple down stone by stone and moved them off site to recover the gold. The removal of each stone was so good that Jews to this day have no idea exactly where the second temple was located on the temple mount.

And just as Jesus said, there was not one stone left on another.”

The major portion of Luke 21 is Jesus speaking to his disciples, and I know that every thing that Jesus had to say is important and true. The same discourse of Jesus that is contained in Luke 21 is also contained two other books of the bible, Matthew 24 and Mark 13. And this indicates just how important the Olivet discourse is, especially to end times prophesy. The title in all three books is also the same in my NIV bible, “Signs of the End of the Age”. This gives us a good clue as to what this chapter is all about.

Now lets turn to Matthew 24 as it is much clearer as to the questions that are asked of Jesus by his disciples, these questions are also in Luke, we will come back to Luke after we have discussed the questions in Matthew 24: 1

Now lets continue on with verse 3 of Matthew 24.

3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”

 The disciples asked Jesus three questions, the first was, what will the sign be that the temple is about to be destroyed (when will this happen)? The second was, what will be the sign of your (second) return from heaven to earth (what will be the sign of your coming)? The third question is extremely important, as the disciples are asking what will be the ‘indicating’ sign that the beginning of the end of has occurred (and of the end of the age). The answer to this third question is extremely important, because it gives the actual sign that will start the end times. Jesus could have very easily chose to not answer the third question, by simply telling his disciples that they were not to know what the ‘sign of the end’ would be; that the ‘sign of the end’ would be closed up and sealed until the end times. But Jesus chose to use neither of these options. He chose to answer their question; but He used a parable as the answer to their question. So if we can figure out what the parable means we will know what the sign is, that starts the end times.

These questions were all from Matthew 24:3, now lets go back to Luke 21 to see how Luke handles this same section of scripture.

Luke 21:5-7

‘Signs of the End of the Age’

 5Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

 As you can see the structure of these two statements (The one in Matthew and the one in Luke) is different, why do you think the questions are different in Matthew and Luke?

It is interesting to speculate about the question in verse 7, as there was only one statement made about the temple, yet the answer in verse 7 is made in the plural; when Luke uses ‘these things’ instead of ‘this’ and ‘they are’ instead of ‘it is’, it is as if something was left out of the question, but I can only speculate. However in looking at this same question in Matthew, it would seem as if there were three questions asked instead of one, and Jesus does answer all three questions in Luke. Perhaps the statement in verse 7 is different because Luke got his information from someone other than Matthew; which would also indicate that there were more than one witness to this event, and that Luke did not merely copy this event from Matthew.

As you can also see, in verse number seven of Luke, there are only two questions about one event that was asked of Jesus, even though there are three different questions in Matthew 24:3, all three questions are answered in Luke 21 verses 20 thru verse 33.

Another reason these two verses are different is perhaps Jesus caused Matthew to write this verse the way he did in order to obfuscate the meaning of the questions; after all Jesus did not want the answers to these questions to be completely understood until the end times.

Continuing on with Luke:

8He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, clamming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9When you  hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

 To me, verses 8-9 are a general warning from Jesus that covers a very long period of time and concerns the general appearance of many individuals clamming to be Jesus, but are all false. There is no doubt about when Jesus will come, because he states, later on in this discourse, that everyone on earth will see him with their own eyes, and that their would be a lot of time go by before the end would come.

10Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

 In verse 10 and 11, I believe Jesus in talking about what will be happening during the end times. He says that nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. When he says nation against nation, I believe he is talking about wars between nations, and I believe that this is a common occurrence; as nations have been at war with each other for thousands of years.

There are not too many kingdoms in the world today, England which has a King as the figure head of the country, and a few of the Arab nations have kings as their leaders. The main kingdoms I can think of that exists today, are the religious ones. The kingdom of Islam currently is against all other forms of religion and I believe Islam will become more and more radical in the near future, and it is currently at war with the Christian kingdom.

Verse 11 in Luke reads. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

Most of these are already occurring, the one thing that separates this verse from the others is,and great signs from heaven. I believe that a great sign from heaven could be the rapture, and another great sign from heaven could also be the beginning of tribulation which I will cover later; both of these signs are defiantly in the end times.

And continuing on with Luke verses 12-19.

12But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and then they will put some of you to death. 17All men will hate you because of me. 18But not a hair of your head will perish, 19by standing firm you will gain life.

 I believe the verses 12 thru 19 are meant directly for the apostles, and his disciples at that time (around 33 AD), and it indicates what is going to happen to them in their immediate future, after Jesus is crucified on the cross. By standing firm in their belief in Jesus as being the son of God, they will gain life in heaven when they die.

Now Jesus begins the answers to all three questions that the apostles asked him. The questions are all in:

 Matthew 24:3.

3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?””

 The first question – (“when will this happen”) is answered in Luke verse 20-24. (This actually happened in 70 AD)

  20When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies you will know that its desolation is near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

 As you can see, the first question asked by the apostles (“when will the Temple be destroyed”) is fulfilled by Luke 21:20. (20When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies you will know that its desolation is near.) In all three questions, Jesus tells us the sign when each event is about to happen; in this case the ‘sign’ is when Jerusalem begins to be surrounded by the Roman army.

Continuing on with verse 21-24.

21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

I believe that the meaning of verses 21-24 was meant to save the lives of the Christian believers and the ‘Church’ in and around Jerusalem in 70AD, by telling them if they immediately leave Jerusalem when it is being surrounded by the Roman army their lives will be spared, and therefore the ‘church’ would be saved and continue. This also means that those who did not believe in Jesus did not leave Jerusalem and thus forfeit their lives; or became prisoners and slaves to be sold to people in other nations.

Continuing verse Luke 21:22 (22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.)

I believe this means, that this is the punishment by God, on the Jewish nation for not recognizing the coming of the Messiah and for killing him on the cross; which was foretold many times in the old testament.

Continuing with Luke 21:24 (…Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.)

That there would no longer be a Jewish nation until the time of Gods punishment had ended. And I believe that God’s punishment of the Jewish people ended in 1948 when the Jewish nation was reestablished.

I also believe that Jesus told a parable in Luke 13:6-9 about this event, and in verse ‘8’ He also gives the reason for, ‘His birth and life on earth’… to give the Jewish nation one more opportunity to believe and obey God, in addition to His bringing the word of God to everyone. In verse nine (9) he says, if the nation of Israel dose not respond to my teachings, then destroy it.

Luke 13:6-9

6Then he told this parable: A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8“’Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

Here is my interpretation, ‘A man (God/Jesus) went to the nation of Israel three different times to discern whether or not Israel (fig tree) was being faithful to God’ (this corresponds to fruit on the fig tree).  The first time he went to Israel was 702 BC, when he found no fruit on the fig tree, he destroyed the 10 nation tribe of Israel.  The second time he went to Israel (Judah) in 606 BC when he also found no fruit on the fig tree, he destroyed Judah and sent them into exile to Babylon for 70 years. The third time he visited the fig tree was 536 BC, after the 70 year exile, and he found the Jewish people in Babylon still in rebellion against him and decided to cut the fig tree down (because they were still not faithful, he would destroy the Israeli nation.) but  ‘the man – Jesus’ replied, leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

I believe this statement means. – do not destroy Israel at this time, which was 536 BC. We should wait until I visit Israel ( 1 AD), and I will go to the ‘roots’ of Israel, the people, and ‘fertilize’ them with my teaching, miraculous signs, and healings. Then we’ll see if the nation bears ‘fruit’ and believes in me and stops sinning; if they don’t, then destroy the nation.

This is one of the three times that Jesus used the analogy of the ‘fig tree’ to mean Israel, and ‘fruit’ to mean Israel having faith in God and keeping His commandments. He uses this same analogy two other times in scripture, which we will cover

This parable would seem to indicate that Jesus and God had a discussion about when and if Israel should be destroyed; however I believe that even though they decided not to destroy Israel at that time (536 BC), God did make the decision to punish Israel for all the backsliding that it had done over the years; thus the 2484 years of punishment (as outlined in ‘The Beginning’), starting in 536 BC and ending in 1948 AD.

God said in Ezekiel 37:23They will be my people, and I will be their God.’

The very day that Israel became a nation in 1948, war was declared against them by Palestine and the Arab armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. The Israeli’s were outnumbered by their opposing armies by a 5 to 1 ratio, the Arabs also had a similar favorable ratio in tanks and airplanes.

How did Israel win with such odds against them…

I believe God was on their side. Ezekiel 37:23 ‘They will be my people, and I will be their God.’

This is also ample proof as to why 1948 is special and is the starting of the end times; more on this later.

So we are now ready to go to question two in Matthew 24:3 ─(What will be the sign of your (second) coming.)

 Luke 21:25

25 There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken, 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, Stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

I believe verse 25 ( There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.) answers the question as to what the ‘signs’ on earth will be, when Jesus makes his second return to earth; just as he gave us the sign for the first question, he now gives the sign for the second question. Verse 26 indicates how all the people on earth will react to these signs, verse 27 indicates that ‘at that time all men will see Jesus’, and verse 28 would indicate that the ‘righteous’ should be happy because their time on earth is drawing to a close, and that they will soon be in heaven. So I would say, yes these verses answer the second question─(What will be the sign of your coming)

So in verses 25-28 we are given the sign for the end of tribulation and Jesus’ return to earth, in his second coming; let me now ask you a question. Does the beginning of tribulation also have a sign? ….

I believe that the beginning of tribulation will also have a sign….

Joel 2:30

30I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

Is this the sign that tribulation is starting? This reading of Joel sounds a lot like the opening of seal number 6, which reads in:

 Revelation 6:12-14

12The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13and the stars in the sky fell to the earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14The sky receded like a scroll rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

There are so many similarities between these two verses that I think they are talking about the same event. The sun is black and the moon is red in both verses; there are wonders in heaven and on the earth in both verses; the stares falling to earth, the sky receding like a scroll, every mountain and island being removed from its place would certainly qualify as ‘wonders in heaven and on earth’.

 The thing that makes these two verses different is the qualifier in Joel’s account of this event as happening, “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”.

So, in Joel 2:30-31, what do you think, “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”, means?… The ‘dreadful day of the Lord’ to me sounds like the beginning of tribulation.

If it is tribulation starting, then seal number six starts the tribulation. If this is true it would also mean that seals one thru five open before tribulation starts. This would put a few more pieces of the end times in place. For more information about what you have just read, refer to my article on ‘Revelation’.

And now we are ready to go to the all important third question,

 Matthew 24:3 What will be the “sign of the end of the age?.

 I would note that in Luke the verses 20-24 answer the first question, the verses 25-28 answer the second question, and therefore, shouldn’t the verses 29-31 answer the third question?

29He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

Verses 29-31 is a parable and not easily understood. However it is easy to understand why Jesus would not give a clearly discernable answer to the third question ‘what will be the sign that will start the end on the age’.

I believe that it is because God did not want anyone to know that they were in the end time until we were actually well into the end times. And I believe verse 4 of Daniel 12 tells us that the scroll of the seven seals as well as other end times prophesy is closed and sealed until the end times. Which I believe we are now well into. (67 years as of 2015, if the end times started in 1948)

I would note that in Luke the verses 20-24 answer the first question, the verses 25-28 answer the second question, and therefore, shouldn’t the verses 29-31 answer the third question?

 29He told them this parable:Look at the fig tree and all trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

What does this parable mean to you?…

I believe the answer to (“What will be the sign of the end of the age?), is contained in this parable. Now to figure out what it means, we have to look for clues within parable, and the first sentence gives us a clue. He says look at the fig tree and all trees, why didn’t he just say look at all trees, after all the fig tree is just another tree. So I believed that there is some special significance to the word ‘fig tree’; one day while I was reading MacArthur’s study bible I read the following:

In MacArthur’s study bible Luke 13:6, MacArthur says this about the fig tree:

Fig Tree: Often used as a symbol for Israel.”

If the fig tree is often used as a symbol for Israel, Lets look for other instances where Jesus talked about a ‘fig tree’, and see if he is also talking about the nation of Israel. I found a total of three times that Jesus talked about a fig tree. After I had studied them for a while, I concluded that in each instance that he was indeed talking about the nation of Israel.

The first time he talks about a fig tree is in Luke 13:6 and it is also a parable. We interpreted this parable earlier (on page 22 of this article), so I will only list the parable.

Luke 13:6

6Then he told this parable: A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8“’Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

So now lets go on to the second time he talks about a fig tree, it occurs in Matthew 21:18. I believe this parable is a follow up on the parable we have just talked about, as Jesus had just about completed his mission in Israel and just a few days later, He would be nailed to the cross.

Matthew 21:18

18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city he was hungry.19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

20When the disciples saw this they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

At first glance this parable seems to be pretty straight forward, Jesus was hungry, He went to the fig tree expecting to eat figs, and when there were none, He got mad and killed the tree….   This is God (Jesus) we are talking about, the knower of all things. He would have known in advance of approaching the fig tree that there were no figs on the tree; secondly if Jesus wanted there to be figs on the tree, there would have been. Remember the feeding of the 5,000 and then of the 10,000 from one basket? He certainly had the power to put figs on the fig tree.

The following is what I believe the (withering of the fig tree) was about; it was a fiscal manifestation of what was going to happen in the future to fruitless Israel (as indicated by verse 19 “Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves.” (No figs on the tree stands for Israel still not bearing fruit-not believing in God.)).

Israel did not recognize ‘The time of the messiah’; it did not respond to his teachings, healing of the sick, and the other ‘signs’ He performed; wine from water, feeding the 5,000 and 10,000 from one basket, walking on water and raising Lazarus from the dead, which are a few of the signs ‘He performed’. By not recognizing ‘The time of the messiah’, the Jewish kingdom also rejected the kingdom of heaven, which was at that time available to them; all they would have had to do was, “repent”. (see Mathew 4:17)

Then ‘they’ put him to death on the ‘cross’. Therefore the nation of Israel would wither away just as the fig tree did; and Israel’s withering away started in 70AD and ended in 1948 when it was reestablished as a nation.

(This parable also actually happened)

The third time Jesus talks about the fig tree is in Luke:21:29.

29He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

So this is the third time Jesus talks about a fig tree, and just as the other two times he was talking about the fig tree, I believe the fig tree mentioned in this case also means Israel.

When Jesus is talking about the fig tree twigs getting tender and its green leaves come out, I believe, he is talking about Israel’s future rebirth as a nation in 1948 as being the ‘Sign’ that the beginning of end times has occurred.

The parable means that the fig tree, after a long winter of appearing lifeless and barren, shows it is alive through its green leaves appearing in the spring time. Just as the Jewish people, after almost 1900 years of not having their own nation (lifeless, barren, dead – perhaps ‘in the grave’), Israel showed that it was alive again (green leaves) by becoming a nation in 1948. I find these two verses in Ezekiel 37:12-13 very reveling:

12Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.

It’s important to note that Jesus answers in sequence all three question from the disciples, so there should be little doubt about Jesus’ answer to the third question as being the ‘Fig tree proverb’, and that it is the ‘sign of the end of the age’.

And once again this parable actually happened in 1948, and God had set the time of 1948 as the time of the end of punishment, for the Jewish nation of Israel, and the beginning of end times.

So in verses 25-28 we are given the sign for the end of tribulation, and Jesus return to earth, in his second coming.

Lets continue with Luke verse 32-33.

32 “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

What do you think verse 32 means?… 32 “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

When Jesus says ‘until all these things have happened’, I believe He is talking about the last thing to happen in the first question; which was 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. This will be his second return to earth, which will happen at the end of tribulation.

I believe that this is telling us how long the end times will last from the beginning to end; one generation. So if the beginning of end times occurred in 1948, the ‘end’ will occur in one generation, at the time of His second coming.

So verse 32 is literally saying that some of those who were born in 1948 will personally see the second return of Jesus to earth.

I would think that your next question would be, ‘How long is a generation’?…

The average lift span today is around 72-74 years, which is to say, 50% die before this age and 50% live longer. We know that the longest lives go to about 100 years old, so I would think that what Jesus was talking about some where in between 72 and 100. I believe this ‘generation’ is 85 years in length.

So, ‘What would that date be?’…

If it were 85 years from 1948, then his return to earth would be around 2033.

Is there anything special about this date?…

It would be 2000 years from his crucifixion, and if he rules on earth another 1000 years, as it says in Revelation, it would be 3000 years total of his rule from heaven and earth. And as the number ‘3’ is used throughout the bible it is a very special number to God; but these are just interesting speculations. What we do know is that some of the generation born in 1948 will see his return to earth in his second coming.

The bibles prophets have been correct in their prophases about the past and present times (1948); so do they have anything to say about our immediate future; and have they prophesied correctly about our future?

 

This is the main topic for the last section ‘The End’.