Gary responds to a recent article that discusses Matthew 24:22.

The majority of today’s prophecy writers see today’s “wars and rumors of wars” as clear evidence that we are living in the last days. A study of the period before Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70 tells a different story. The Roman historian Tacitus (A.D. 56–117) writes in his history of the period that there were “disturbances in Germany,” “commotions in Africa,” “commotions in Thrace,” “insurrections in Gaul,” “intrigues among the Parthians,” a “war in Britain,” and a “war in Armenia.” Wars were fought from one end of the empire to the other in a time of supposed peace.

The Jewish historian Josephus (c. A.D. 30–100), an eyewitness to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, writes that Roman civil wars were so common in the empire that there was no need to write about them in any great detail: “I have omitted to give an exact account of them, because they are well known by all, and they are described by a great number of Greek and Roman authors.”

In Luke 21:11 we are told that “there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” The historical record shows that a comet appeared around A.D. 60. Comets were thought to be omens of doom. Nero took the comet’s threat seriously and had members of his own family killed in case they saw the stellar phenomenon as a heavenly sign from the gods to dethrone him. Halley’s Comet appeared in A.D. 66 and was “later said to be a warning of the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in A.D. 70.”[1] In addition to Halley’s Comet, Josephus recounts that “there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year.”

The temple, with its animal sacrifices, officiated over by sinful priests, was gone. The Messiah had come in the Person of Jesus Christ seventy years before. He is “the temple” (John 2:21); “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29); a “High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:20). Jerusalem, the city of Old Covenant redemption, was replaced by the “heavenly Jerusalem,” the “city of the living God” (12:22). What does this mean for us? “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (8:6).

Is Jesus Coming Soon?

Is Jesus Coming Soon?

The ‘last day’ date setting frenzy persists. The prophecy pundits continue to be wrong again and again. How many of these prophecies have failed in your lifetime? Daily on Christian radio and television and the the endless stream of prophecy books we get pumped up with even more ‘evidence’ that Jesus is now ‘at the door.’ World events are matched with prophecies as definitive proof that the end is near. Again we wait and hope. It's a familiar cycle: time nullifies each prediction, our hopes are deflated, and out trust level smashed. No more! The truth is out!

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Gary responds to a recent article that discusses Matthew 24:22. “Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” The article claims this is referring to all people on earth, but Gary points out the context and meaning that the verse is actually talking about. It’s about the end of the age, not the end of the world.

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[1] Isaac Asimov, Asimov’s Guide to Halley’s Comet: The Awesome Story of Comets (New york: Walker and Company, 1985), 6.