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The End of the Age: the Olivet Discourse

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Introduction

In the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus provided a detailed prophecy to His disciples concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, as well as the end of the age. This teaching is commonly called the Olivet Discourse. However, as we will see in this article, the details of each prophecy were given at different locations, in response to different questions posed by different groups of people.

There are three main interpretations regarding this prophecy:

One interpretation suggests that everything Jesus discussed therein was fulfilled with the destruction of the temple and desolation of Jerusalem in AD 70. Those who hold this belief are commonly called preterists.

A second interpretation is that everything discussed pertains to the future when Jesus returns to gather His elect at the time of the end. There are many and varying beliefs within this system of interpretation; however, most who hold this view are called futurists.

A third approach sees some events of this prophecy as already fulfilled in the desolation of Jerusalem, while other events described within the Olivet Discourse are yet future. The problem arises, however, when one cannot determine a clear dividing line in Matthew or Luke which delineates prophecies of near events from those that are yet to occur in history. I hold this approach; and the purpose of this article is to identify that dividing line clearly and without question.

Regardless of where students of prophecy jump onto the ever-swinging pendulum of interpretive approaches, most in every camp do agree that the main parts of this prophecy are to be found in Luke 21, Mark 13, and Matthew 24; however, there is a narrative flow leading up to Jesus’s teaching on the Mount of Olives, which can be found in Matthew 13, as well as Luke 17 and 20, which is crucial to rightly interpreting this very detailed and important prophecy. As you will see, this prophecy is important for many reasons; however, there are two main reasons I wish to briefly discuss.

One, it is important because it includes glorious promises in the face of persecution. Any topic of Jesus’s return is likely the most important for all those who “love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

Two, and this is extremely important, there are some nonbelievers out there who use this teaching to cause many to fall away from the faith. Like Satan in the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:39, they sow doubt into a believer’s heart. And, when that believer is looking to learn all they can about the details of this prophecy, they inevitably come across such evil teachings. These “sowers” teach that if we are to interpret literally and honestly (which we should) everything Jesus taught about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, as well as His “imminent” return, then they posit we should also inevitably conclude that Jesus lied (or didn’t know certain things) about His return in glory. They use one critical phrase, on which they hang this entire blasphemy.

That phrase is “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt. 24:34). The preterists recognize this difficulty; therefore, with honest intentions opposed to those of the “sowers” just mentioned, they tend to spiritualize Jesus’s coming and even the resurrection, to hold that all prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70. This is their way of countering those unbelieving critics of prophecy. They know obviously that there was no visible and worldwide return of Jesus nor a visible resurrection of all dead believers in the first century. They need to spiritualize certain things to avoid the “conclusion” posited by those evil “sowers,” namely that the resurrection and return of Jesus is a visible event, which obviously did not occur in “this generation.” The “sowers” therefore convince many believers that if Jesus predicted His return in that generation, and He never did return, then their hope is lost.

My quarrel is not with the honest intentions of the preterists, but the evil intentions of those unbelievers who sow doubt. Where the preterists spiritualize the return and resurrection to “prove” this prophecy’s fulfillment, I posit that the destruction of Jerusalem was prophesied in amazing detail in Luke 17 and fulfilled in amazing detail in history. Likewise, everything Jesus predicted of His return in Matthew 24 (and the end of Luke 17) will likewise be fulfilled in amazing detail soon.

Let me briefly explain “this generation,” then I will move on to the meat of this article showing the right way to interpret this important prophecy.

This Generation

Those who wish to prove all prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70 (well-intended preterists), and those who wish to prove it should have been fulfilled, but was not (evil sowers), come to the following conclusion when they read Jesus’s words here toward the end of this prophecy. At first glance, it would seem to mean that the generation to which Jesus was speaking would not pass away until all the things about which He spoke took place.

They point to pronouns like “you” and “this generation” and say it is disingenuous to interpret those pronouns as applying to anyone else except His immediate audience. Many people have focused on the meaning of generation (which is used in scripture to mean both a specific number of years and a group or type of people (e.g., “an evil generation seeks a sign”)). But, in this instance, let’s leave off the focus on the word generation, and allow Jesus to interpret what He meant, or how He allowed pronouns to apply to a specific group of people down through time.

Isaiah prophesied about a specific group of people 700 years before they were born when God said:

This people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me” (Is. 29:13, emphasis mine).

Jesus applied this prophecy to the pharisees when He said:

“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me’” (Mark 7:6, emphasis mine).

People in Jesus’s time could have well said to Him that this prophecy was about Jews of Isaiah’s day because God said to them, “this people …” However, they understood that in the context of prophecy, a prophet could be speaking to a group of people, but God, through those prophets, could be speaking to and about someone hundreds or thousands of years from the prophet’s lifetime. This indeed was the case in the situation with Isaiah and the future pharisees. They argued with Jesus about many things, but the application of the pronoun “this” was not one of those arguments.

Jesus Himself took the pronoun (“this”) spoken to a group of people 700 years before and applied it to a group of people in His time. This is the same as allowing Jesus’s words to His disciples, “this generation,” to apply to a future generation where all these things would take place.

Accordingly, I will show later in this article that in Matthew 24, when Jesus said, “all these things,” He was speaking of the events dealing with the questions “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age” (Matt. 24:3); not the events of AD 70, which He covered in detail in Luke 21, while still teaching at the temple (not the Mount of Olives).

The Dividing Line

Earlier in the Introduction, I mentioned a dividing line in Matthew and Luke which delineates prophecies of near events from those that are yet to occur in history. In this section, I will show where that line is; and my sincere hope is once you see it too, it will be as clear to you as it is to me.

In taking this approach, clarity can be achieved by comparing the text from Luke 17 with that of Matthew 24 and Mark 13 (the parallel to Matthew 24). Another key to understanding the prophecy is to consider the mindset of the disciples; the questions for which they wanted answers had been forming in their minds long before the bold statement Jesus made at the temple, regarding its future state.

To determine the timeframe to which Jesus referred, when asked by His disciples when those things would take place, preterists use the following statement made by Jesus:

“As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." And they asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?” (Luke 21:6-7, emphasis mine).

It is clear from Luke, at this point there is one topic under discussion, and one question regarding that topic. The text does not identify who asked this question, but it appears the setting of the discussion is still the temple, where He had been teaching during the day before going to the mount of Olives.

“And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him” (Luke 21:37-38).

I mention the location because it plays a crucial role in understanding to whom He was speaking, which we will see is essential to the correct interpretation. The questions posed by His disciples on the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24 are different than those posed at the temple by unidentified individuals gathered to hear Him speak (the setting of Luke 21). The disciples did ask for more information later about the temple; however, they also asked about signs of His coming and the end of the age. We will see below that the topics of the temple’s destruction and Jesus’s future return were topics the disciples conflated before they fully understood Jesus’s mission and the gospel of the kingdom:

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3).

Location, Audience and Topic

In Luke 21, Jesus was teaching at the temple and some of His audience spoke admirably about the temple. Jesus responds to them all (which included His disciples) that “the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Luke 21:6). This was no doubt a shocking statement to His audience, who adored the temple, which was an important part of their everyday life. Now, Jesus prophesies that the magnificent structure before them would be thrown down to its base!

Without offering a change in location, Luke records that “they” asked Him when this would occur and what sign would herald its destruction.

At this point, there is a warning Jesus gives that is consistent among all three gospels. He warns them not to be led astray by those stating the time for either Jerusalem’s destruction or the end of time is at hand. The pattern in Jesus’s teaching here is do not listen to men but look for what He warned us about. So then, He proceeds to give the signs of what leads to Jerusalem’s destruction, namely wars, tumults (or rumors of wars), nation rising against nation, and great earthquakes and famines in various places. He states all of this must take place and that the end would not be at once.

What is often misinterpreted here (by futurists) is that wars, earthquakes, and famines are signs of the end times and the return of Jesus. But Jesus makes it very clear, these are not signs of the end. What He is saying at this point is these are the signs of what would first take place before the desolation of Jerusalem (Luke 21:8-11). He proceeds to warn them not to be deceived that this meant the end of the age, no matter how bad the signs and the events fulfilled in AD 70 would be.

All these things indeed did occur before AD 70. Rome was fighting wars on many fronts while also dealing with rebel zealots in Judea. There were many earthquakes in the time leading up to the rebellion against Rome. And there was famine in the land. In fact, Josephus recorded that what food they did have in store at Jerusalem was destroyed by the religious zealots to get the Jewish people to fight against Rome. This led to five months of starvation during the city’s siege, resulting in people even eating their own children (which was also prophesied in Leviticus 26:29).

The wars and tumults, and nation against nation, that Jesus mentions would come to be the Jewish revolts against Rome in AD 70 and AD 135, which led to the destruction of the temple, the desolation of Jerusalem, and the exile of its inhabitants.

This fulfilled many old testament prophecies but not all.

In fact, Leviticus 26:25-35 describes all of what happened in Judea between AD 70 and AD 135 in astonishing detail when compared to what Josephus recorded after the fact.

So, after Jesus mentions these signs of Jerusalem’s impending destruction (wars, famine, and earthquakes), the narrative changes between Luke’s and Matthew’s accounts. It is not a discrepancy as some claim.

IMPORTANT: The deviation in topics is due to a change in teaching locations and a change in response to different questions from His disciples in private.

Persecution

This change in venue and topics clears up a little confusion about the persecution mentioned in all accounts as well. In Luke’s account, after speaking of the desolation of Jerusalem, Jesus tells them, “but before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons …” (Luke 21:12). In Matthew’s account, after mentioning the signs of the impending desolation, Jesus says, “then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death … and many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another” (Matt. 24:9-10).

In Luke’s account, He speaks of the persecution the disciples would face by the Jewish authorities recorded later in the Book of Acts. In Matthew’s account, Jesus briefly reiterates the signs of the desolation of Jerusalem before immediately switching to the persecution that would be experienced before His return in the future. This persecution (two groups of believers in two different time periods) is the dividing line to determine at what point Jesus switches between prophecies of imminent concern and prophecies of His future return. The language of these persecution prophecies is completely different in the two accounts.

In Luke, they would be delivered up to the synagogues (which probably will not occur in our time); in Matthew, He just says we would be delivered up to tribulation by those who will betray us, and we will be put to death. As a result of this greater persecution, many will fall away (the great apostasy Paul speaks of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3).

In both instances of persecution (as in all instances throughout time), Jesus says it will be an opportunity to bear witness.

In Luke, the disciples are told they would be brought before governors and kings to spread the gospel throughout the empire.

In Matthew, He warns us all that when delivered up to tribulation and later killed, it would be an opportunity to spread the gospel of the kingdom as a testimony to the whole worldthen the end would come (Matt. 24:9, 14; see also two witnesses of Rev. 11:3, 7).

I know there are groups of people devoting much time to tracking where the gospel has been preached, thinking that when the last tribe on earth hears the good news, the end will come.

In the context of the end times, however, Jesus is saying that believers will be persecuted, which has always been a perfect opportunity to bear witness. When the whole world sees this witness and testimony of those who, despite imminent and violent death, continue to keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus, our great hope of resurrection, there will be no more excuses. Then the end will come (e.g., the resurrection of the two witnesses followed by God’s wrath to avenge our blood – Rev. 11).

Abomination of Desolation

Another deviation between the two accounts regards an event that fulfills Jesus’s warning for His disciples to flee Judea. The events and context of what they are fleeing, however, are wholly different between the two gospels.

In Luke 21, Jesus is still at the temple, dealing in detail with the topic of the temple’s destruction, and events leading up to and surrounding that destruction. In Matthew 24, He is on the Mount of Olives in private with His disciples, discussing His return and the end of the age (preceded by a short reiteration of the events leading up to the temple’s destruction). Here are the complete texts for comparison:

"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance … (Luke 21:20-22).

"So, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak ... (Mat 24:15-18).

Look at the bolded text and notice the difference in language.

When speaking of the desolation, Jesus warns them to depart the city and not enter the city when it is surrounded by armies. This is a local and specific warning regarding the city and what will soon befall it.

When speaking of the abomination of desolation, Jesus warns the disciples listening to Him of something else entirely. Also, Matthew inserts the cryptic phrase “let the reader understand,” to isolate this part of the message from that of Luke’s account. Why? Because Matthew’s account applies to all who would read this message long after the destruction of Jerusalem.

Regarding the Abomination of Desolation, I have another article exploring in detail what this is; however, I briefly cover it below.

In Matthew 24, instead of an exhortation to flee the city and not enter it, Jesus tells us to flee and not look back – in other words, do not even look toward or at this person claiming to be God (Jesus), especially if he appears as an angel of light in all his glory (remember, it is a great deception that will deceive even the elect if possible). Compare this exhortation to flee to Jesus’s message in Luke 17, regarding His return and the Day of the Lord (e.g., the end). It includes the exact words as His message in Matthew regarding the abomination of desolation:

Just as it was in the days of Lot--they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all-- so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot's wife (Luke 17:28-32).

In both messages, which if you read the surrounding context of Luke 17 and Matthew 24, it is clear Jesus is focusing now on His return and the end of the age (which is the exact questions the disciples were asking). Both messages basically warn His readers to flee Judea and not look back.

The inevitable question that arises at this point (especially in the minds of preterists) is:

Why are the disciples asking about the end of the world when the topic was the end of the temple? Were they not asking about the end of the “dispensational” age, specifically the old covenant and new, old Jerusalem and new?

Well, in the following section, I will show without doubt what Jesus and the disciples had in mind when they said, “end of the age.”

Mindset of the Disciples

To understand why there was a shift in topics from the temple to the end of the world after Jesus spoke about the end of Jerusalem, we need to understand what the disciples were thinking by that point.

Jesus was teaching in the temple in the days leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection. While on the road to Jerusalem, the disciples discover that Jesus was speaking of His future rule in the context of first suffering and dying and resurrecting.

While we have the benefit of hindsight, the disciples were a little confused at this point regarding the role of the Messiah. They assumed, liked the rest of the Jews in the first century, that the Messiah would come and deliver them from the Romans and set up a physical kingdom as soon as He was revealed as king to all. So, while on the road to Jerusalem for the Passover, they knew something momentous was going to take place. But He spoke often of the end of the age and hinted at His resurrection and the resurrection of the dead, while giving hints about the Day of the Son of Man.

He spoke in parables to all who would listen. Then, as was often the case (and was so in Matthew 24), Jesus explained to them in plain language what was meant. Such a case was the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13. When they were in private, Jesus explained to them the kingdom and what would happen at the end of the age:

“The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all lawbreakers and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Mat 13:39-43).

Putting ourselves in the shoes (or sandals) of the disciples, I would say the topic of the end of the age, wherein all causes of sin will be removed and only the righteous remain in the kingdom of the Father, would be on our minds for a while. Personally, I would be chomping at the bit to ask more about the events leading up to this and its signs.

Remember where they are at this point in the story. This is the first time the disciples are hearing details about the end of the age and harvests by angels. Later, after the feeding of the five thousand and Peter confessing that Jesus is the Son of the Living God, Jesus tells them of His imminent death and resurrection (Luke 9:21-22).

Though they would later understand completely about the atonement, the gospel being preached to the gentiles, and the growing of the kingdom until the time of the end, at this point they had to be a little confused (Luke 9:44-45).

Still later, Jesus speaks of the kingdom not coming in ways that can be observed. Then, He speaks of the Son of Man being revealed in His glory in the context of destruction, as in the days of Sodom and Noah (Luke 17:20-30).

This was all taught on their way to Jerusalem.

If all this information wasn’t enough to pique their interest about the Messiah and the coming kingdom of righteousness, it was when Jesus spoke of the resurrection while teaching at the temple one day, that we get the hint that something amazing would occur at the end of the age.

While the Sadducees were asking Him about the resurrection, Jesus reveals here most clearly how He defines the “end of the age”:

“And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:34-36).

Here, we see Jesus referring to two ages and two only, this age and the age to come after the resurrection from the dead. There is no “church age” (more accurately termed the time of the gentiles, which we see discussed in Luke 21 regarding what happens after Jerusalem is destroyed and the Jews are carried captive among all nations (Luke 21:24)).

More to the point of this section (the disciples’ mindset), now the flames of their interest in the end of the age is very stoked. Up until this point, they have heard about the Son of Man being revealed in glory, in the context of destruction as in the days of Sodom. Then, they hear this would occur after His death and resurrection. They also receive details about the end of the age, wherein angels gather the wicked, and no sin remains in the world for the righteous to exist in the kingdom of the Father. Now they hear that it will be in the context of a resurrection, with the blessed words “they cannot die anymore!” Let those four words sink in!

The next thing they hear Jesus say regarding these glorious events, while still at the temple, is the not so glorious event of the desolation of the temple and Jerusalem. Jesus then introduces the “times of the gentiles” being fulfilled; at this point they probably are not sure what this is, but they will know before Jesus ascends to Heaven in Acts 1.

Then, Jesus briefly switches to telling everyone about the coming of the Son of Man in power and great glory, while telling His disciples that when this occurs (signs in the heavens and seeing the Son of Man coming in the clouds), “straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).

At this point, the order of events in their mind are as follows: destruction of Jerusalem, another exile, the times of the gentiles, and now dreadful signs in the heavens signaling their redemption (e.g., resurrection).

Now, they are primed to ask Him more in private about these signs leading up to the destruction of the temple, His coming and the end of the age.

Crucial to understanding the differences between the teaching in Luke 21 and Matthew 24, we need to understand more than ever the mindset of the disciples at this point.

Until Jesus’s resurrection, after which He explained to them everything written about Him in the law and prophets; and, until He gave them the great commission to preach the gospel of the kingdom to the whole world, they had no idea about a gap in time between Jerusalem’s destruction and the end of the world.

In other words, they hear Jesus teach about the desolation of Jerusalem, the Jews being led captive among all nations, and the trampling of Jerusalem underfoot by the gentiles until their time was fulfilled; then Jesus immediately says “and there will be signs in sun moon and stars” regarding the end of the age. The disciples had no clue at this time there would be a two-thousand-year gap.

Therefore, when alone with Him on the Mount of Olives, they asked Him in excitement, “tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3). They assumed the two events were connected in time. That’s why Jesus didn’t reiterate all the details regarding the destruction of Jerusalem at that point. He just quickly told them about the wars and rumors of wars and said, “See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet … all these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt. 24:6, 9). By all these, He meant everything prophesied up until the times of the gentiles. This “time period” is the true dividing line between the two gospels regarding the two events.

To reiterate, between Luke 21:24 and verse 25, Jesus jumps to the next major event in history, namely His return. This was at the temple after speaking of Jerusalem’s destruction. Later, on the Mount of Olives, rather than repeat all the details of the AD 70 prophecy, the dividing line between these two major events is Matthew 24:8 and verse 9, switching from the quick recap of AD 70 events to the persecution and signs of the events surrounding His return and the end.

In the rest of Matthew 24, He speaks of future tribulation, the falling away from the faith (denying Him) and us enduring to the end. He then immediately speaks of the real sign when the end is near, namely the abomination of desolation (not wars and earthquakes). These are all the things that will take place before “this generation” passes away.

Conclusion and Important Takeaways

In Matthew 24, after Jesus warns of all the signs of the end within this generation, He warns us to flee and not look back, for “then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matt. 24:21).

In case there are those who still believe this all refers to the destruction of Jerusalem only, Mark makes it clear this tribulation goes beyond Jerusalem to the entire world when He records “For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be” (Mark 13:19). This is global and near the end.

The most important takeaway from all this is what Jesus says next and that is regarding a deception so strong that it would lead astray even the elect, if possible. He speaks of false messiahs and false prophets performing great signs and wonders. He then speaks of a single false messiah, and that they will say to us that He is here, in the wilderness, the inner rooms, or here He is, there He is (Matt. 24:23-26).

In other words, someone will come along claiming to be the real messiah (possibly even claiming that he is Jesus returned to set up His kingdom). Jesus also said we would hate one another and betray one another.

There is a reason why so many Christians disagree about events of the end times. This is Satan sowing confusion throughout time. His plans for this great deception that could hoodwink even the elect hinge on these differences of opinion. Think about it:

One person believes there will be a physical kingdom on earth ruling the wicked. Another believes that kingdom is here now and growing since Jesus’s time.

One person believes the spirit-filled church will be in Heaven for any kind of persecution and tribulation, and there will be two Jewish witnesses running around proclaiming the gospel. Another believes the two witnesses are the spirit-filled church being a witness for the gospel of the kingdom while being faced with martyrdom.

One believes the antichrist is a random European dude, yet others believe He will be the Pope; while still some believe He will be either the Islamic version of their messiah or that of Judaism.

All Jesus’s warnings tend to point to someone claiming to be Him in the end; and the fact that we will turn on one another, means that most will believe this person to be Jesus having returned and set up His kingdom from Jerusalem.

Sure, we need to iron out our doctrines and differences, so we will not be deceived in any way.

But, knowing this may not ever happen, Jesus provided us with an extremely important yet easy way for us to know for sure that what we will witness, though confusing, will not be His promised return.

In Luke 17 and Matthew 24, no matter what people say, we can know that “as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:27; see also Luke 17:24).

What Jesus is saying is that His return will be very visible in the sky and accompanied by many perplexing signs in the heavens and on the earth. It will be loud and very visible; and we will be gathered to Him when He returns:

“And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:31).

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Th 4:16-17).

So, regardless of what will occur, it is of vital importance to keep in mind that if we are alive at the time, unless we are being changed into our resurrected bodies, and gathered to Him in the heavens, we can be certain anyone claiming to be our Messiah (no matter how convincing), will not speak truth. Because of the obvious sign in the heavens and our resurrection/rapture, we will know with certainty when Jesus returns.

Jesus also said something important to help us determine a false messiah from the real One: “I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him” (John 5:43).

Jesus came in His father’s name and always did His father’s will (glorified the Father in everything). Conversely, any false Messiah will come in his own name, claim to be the god of gods, and will do his own will (Dan 11:36).

Regardless of our differences, let us never hate one another, let us hold fast our confession in Jesus to the end (whatever end that entails) … and let us not allow them to take our crown!

© 2021 Sheldon Cole

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