SECOND TREE

CHRISTIANITY EXPLAINED

THE THEOLOGY JOURNAL OF CHUCK PORRITT

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JESUS' OLIVET DISCOURSE

AN EXPLANATION OF JESUS' PROPHETIC MESSAGE ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?

At the beginning of each page of the Prophecy Section of this journal I ask this question, and explain God's timetable for the second coming of Jesus Christ. That timetable is Daniel's '70th Week'. The first four pages of my Prophecy Section correspond to four links in a divine 'prophetic chain':

A side-by-side comparison of the three versions of Jesus' Olivet Discourse (from Matthew, Mark and Luke), combined with an examination of the four visions of John's Little Book (in Revelation chapters 11-13), leads to the undeniable conclusion that Daniel's 70th Week is the 'Great Week of the Abrahamic Covenant':


If John's 'Little Book' did not exist, I myself would feel compelled to embrace one of the other two major views on Daniel's 70th Week; either Post-Millennialism or Dispensationalism. But John's Little Book does exist. I present the four visions from that 'Little Book' in the four diagrams below:

1) THE TEMPLE AND THE COURTYARD (Revelation 11:1-2)

2) THE TWO WITNESSES (Revelation 11:3-12)

3) THE WOMAN, THE CHILD AND THE DRAGON (Revelation 12)

4) THE BEAST FROM THE SEA (Revelation 13)

While I encourage my visitor to examine each of my first four prophecy pages, I also offer a condensed PDF version of their combined message in the following link:

SIMPLIFYING THE SECOND COMING (PDF)

O HAPPY DAY!

In 32 AD the Lord Jesus Christ entered into the city of Jerusalem in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your King comes unto you. He is just, and having salvation; lowly and riding upon an ass. Upon a colt, the foal of an ass.

Zechariah 9:9
Palm Sunday
Behold, your King!

Zechariah's prophecy addressed both aspects of the 'testimony of Jesus'; His Kingship as the promised Son of David, and His role as the 'Lamb of God' who would provide salvation for all mankind. That day has since come to be known throughout the Christian world as 'Palm Sunday', because the people who accompanied Jesus into the city joyfully waved palm branches in the air and placed them on the road as Jesus rode over them.

As Jesus entered the city the people who greeted Him shouted His praises:

And a very great multitude spread their garments in His path. Others cut down branches from the trees, and laid them in the road. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried out saying "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest".

Matthew 21:8-9

And when the Pharisees challenged Jesus about this praise, Jesus gave them a profound answer:

And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him "Master, rebuke Your disciples". And He answered and said unto them "I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out".

Luke 40:39-40

IF ISRAEL HAD WATCHED

When He entered into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus fulfilled Daniel's 69-week timetable for His first coming. It was exactly 69 weeks of years (483 years) that had passed between the permission to rebuild the city of Jerusalem in 445 BC, and Jesus' presentation of Himself to the people of Israel as their promised "Messiah the Prince" (Daniel 9:25). Not only can we know that Jesus fulfilled the 69-week timetable by measuring the days, but we can also know it by listening to His words on that day:

And when He had come near, He beheld the city and wept over it, saying "If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which belong to your peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you when your enemies shall build a trench around you, and surround you, and keep you in on every side. And they shall lay you even with the ground, and your children within you. And they shall not leave in you one stone upon another, because you knew not the time of your visitation.

Luke 19:41-44

In this passage the Lord Jesus was telling Israel that if they had paid attention to the timetable that began with the permission to rebuild their destroyed city of Jerusalem, they would not now be facing the re-destruction of their holy city. I believe that the wise men of the Christmas story (Matthew 2:1-12) did pay attention to the 69-week timetable. They came from a part of the world that was familiar with Daniel and his prophecies. They may even have been Jews themselves, from Babylon or Persia, who were faithfully looking toward the west for a sign of the Messiah's coming.

THE PASSOVER PROPHECY

Not only did the majority of the Jewish people fail to recognize Jesus' fulfillment of Daniel's 69-week timetable, but they also failed to realize that He was also fulfilling an older prophecy; the Passover Prophecy of the book of Exodus. As He entered Jerusalem on the 10th day of the first month of Israel's religious calendar, Jesus was fulfilling the original Passover instructions given to the people of Israel in Egypt:

And the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak unto all the congregation of Israel, saying 'In the tenth day of this month they shall take to every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers; a lamb for a house'. And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats. And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month. And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat it. It is the Lord's Passover.

Exodus 12:1-7,11

Palm Sunday was the 10th day of the first month of Israel's year. Everyone in Jerusalem was purchasing his Passover sacrifice for the approaching 14th day. This is why, when Jesus entered the Temple, He found it filled with merchants who were making money from the sale of sacrificial Passover animals (Matthew 21:12-13).

God had instructed the Hebrew people to obtain their Passover Lamb and to keep it in their homes for four days; in order to inspect it closely and know that it was physically flawless. These four days also brought the people of Israel to appreciate that something harmless, innocent and lovable was being sacrificed for them. In fulfillment of this four-day process, Jesus entered into the very heart of Israel, Jerusalem, to live openly among the Jewish people and to be subjected to their rigorous inspection. During the four days that began with His entrance into Jerusalem on Sunday, and before His crucifixion on Thursday, Jesus was thoroughly examined and tested by the leaders and people of Israel.

JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED ON A THURSDAY

Traditionally Christians have observed Friday of the Passover week as the day of Jesus' crucifixion; calling it 'Good Friday'. This is because we are told in the gospels that Jesus' disciples did not have enough time to properly prepare Jesus' body for burial, because the sunset was drawing near and a sabbath day would begin at nightfall. Since a sabbath day stood between Jesus' crucifixion and the disciples coming to the tomb at sunrise on Sunday morning, many have assumed that Jesus was crucified on Friday. But this belief in a Friday crucifixion is mistaken.

The first thing that we must recognize, as we approach this subject, is that for the Jewish people a new day begins at sunset. This is in keeping with the Genesis creation days, where it is said that 'the evening and the morning' comprised each day. Nighttime precedes daytime in Jewish days. Jesus entered Jerusalem during the daytime on the 10th day of the month, and spent four days anticipating the Passover (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), just like everyone else in Jerusalem was doing. He joined His disciples in eating the Passover at sunset, as the 14th day (Thursday) was beginning.

Later that night Jesus was betrayed by Judas, taken by the Jewish leaders to the Romans, and then crucified during the daylight hours of that same day. All of that Thursday, beginning at sunset and continuing on through the night and into the daytime, was the day of Passover. And so while He had observed the Passover with His disciples the evening before, Jesus Himself became God's true Passover Lamb during the following daylight hours; fulfilling all of its symbolic meaning.

Someone might claim that, if Jesus was to fulfill the Passover exactly, He would have to have been crucified at sunset at the beginning of Thursday. And that would be a valid argument if there had not been another sunset on that historically important day. As Jesus hung upon the cross, His Father turned away from Him and allowed Him 'to be made sin for us' (2 Corinthians 5:21). At noon, when the Father gave up His only Son to become our Passover Lamb, darkness came over the earth. There was a second 'twilight' or 'sunset' on that Thursday, as God's own Passover was fulfilled:

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" That is to say "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?

Matthew 27:45-46

The key to understanding the two-day gap between Jesus' death on Thursday afternoon, and His resurrection from the dead at sunrise on Sunday, is to realize that both Friday and Saturday were sabbath days. In fact they comprised one, single 48-hour sabbath of rest. This is seen, firstly, in God's ordinance of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Leviticus 23:

In the fourteenth day of the first month at evening is the Lord's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto the Lord. Seven days you must eat unleavened bread. In the first day (the fifteenth of the month) you shall have an holy convocation. You shall do no servile work therein. But you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days. In the seventh day is an holy convocation. You shall do no servile work therein.

Leviticus 23:5-8

God commanded that on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which began on the day after the Passover, no work was to be done. It was to be a sabbath day. This was the reason why Joseph of Arimathea hastened to bury Jesus' body before sunset marked the end of Thursday:

And now when the evening was come, because it was the preparation (that is the day before the sabbath) Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came and went in boldly unto Pilate, and requested the body of Jesus. And Pilate marveled if He were already dead. And calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a tomb which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone to the door of the tomb.

Mark 15:42-46

This passage simply tells us that Joseph hastened to bury Jesus' body because the next day was a sabbath, which was about to begin at sunset. For all we know it could have simply been a regular Saturday sabbath. But the apostle John supplies more information for us. John tells us that the approaching sabbath day was a special one:

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said "It is finished", and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day (for that sabbath day was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and they broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they broke not His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and there came out blood and water.

John 19:30-34

But we can rely upon more than the words of John to confirm that there were two sabbath days between Jesus' death and His resurrection. Jesus Himself said that His body would lie three days and three nights in the tomb:

But Jesus answered and said unto them "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. And there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 12:39-40

Because Joseph of Arimathea hurried to place Jesus' body in a tomb before sunset and the beginning of the sabbath, it is legitimate to say that Jesus' body was in the tomb on Thursday; even if His body was placed in the tomb only a short while before sunset. Thus the three days and three nights that Jesus' body lay in the tomb consisted of Thursday-day, Friday-night and Friday-day, Saturday-night and Saturday-day, and Sunday-night; before Jesus' resurrection at sunrise on Sunday morning.

Why is it important to understand Jesus' fulfillment of the Passover? Because it provides us with the accurate historical setting in which Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse to His disciples and the world. Secondly, it reinforces the importance of properly handling God's 'days' and 'weeks' in our interpretation of Bible prophecy.

COMING DESOLATION

Not only did the Lord Jesus fulfill verse 25 of Daniel's 70-week timetable, as 'Messiah the Prince coming after 69 weeks', but He also began to warn Israel about the fulfillment of verse 26 in Daniel's prophecy:

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself. And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary (Temple); and the end thereof shall be with a flood. And unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

Daniel 9:26

In simplest terms the Lord Jesus warned the people of Israel about three things that were going to happen:

    1) They were going to crucify Him and thus bring judgment upon themselves.
    2) The city of Jerusalem and the Temple were going to be destroyed; and the destruction would come with an overwhelming, flood-like severity.
    3) The Jewish people would experience an ongoing warfare waged against themselves, during which the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple would continue.

The theme of Israel's crimes, guilt and approaching punishment were often on the lips of the Lord Jesus during His final days in Jerusalem:

Nevertheless I must walk today and tomorrow and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet might perish outside of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets and stones them that are sent unto you. How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house (Temple) is left unto you desolate. And verily I say unto you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you shall say 'Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord'.

Luke 13:33-36

When Jesus said that Israel's 'house' would be left desolate, He was referring to the Temple. The Jews called their Temple 'the House of God'. That had been King David's original purpose in planning a Temple; to build a 'house' for God (2 Samuel 7:1-13).

In His parable of the wicked vinedressers, the Lord Jesus warned of God's coming judgment upon Israel:

Hear another parable. There was a certain Householder who planted a vineyard and hedged it round about. And He dug a winepress in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to caretakers, and went into a far country. And when the time of the fruit harvest drew near, He sent His servants to the caretakers, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the caretakers took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again, He sent other servants more than the first; and they did unto them likewise. But last of all He sent unto them His Son, saying "They will respect My Son". But when the caretakers saw the Son, they said among themselves "This is the Heir. Come, let us kill Him, and let us seize on His inheritance". And they caught Him, and cast Him out of the vineyard, and killed Him. When the Lord therefore of the vineyard comes, what will He do unto those caretakers? They (the Jewish leaders) said unto Him "He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will rent out His vineyard unto other caretakers, who shall render Him the fruits in their seasons".

Matthew 21:33-41

In His parable of 'The Wedding of the King's Son', the Lord Jesus portrayed Israel's sins in another way:

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain King who made a marriage for his Son. He sent forth His servants to call them that were invited to the wedding, but they would not come. Again, He sent forth other servants saying "Tell them who are invited 'Behold, I have prepared My dinner. My oxen and My fatlings are killed, and all things are ready. Come unto the marriage'". But they made light of it, and went their ways; one to his farm, another to his business. And the rest took His servants and treated them badly, and killed them. But when the King heard this, He was angry. And He sent forth His armies and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

Matthew 22:2-7

The culmination of Jesus' public warnings is found in His message to the scribes and Pharisees; that He would be sending godly men (His apostles and disciples) to proclaim the gospel to Israel and the world, and that through their persecution of these men the Jews would bring the wrath of God upon themselves:

You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall you scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city; that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.

Matthew 23:33-36

In the final sentence above, Jesus warned that the judgment of God would fall upon the very generation that He was speaking to. For the Jews a generation was 40 years. That was how long God waited for the first generation of those coming out of Egypt to die off in the wilderness, before allowing the next generation to enter the promised land. Speaking in 32 AD, Jesus was saying that the destruction of the Temple would occur before 72 AD, which is exactly what happened.

ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES

On Tuesday of this important week, Jesus was walking near the Temple with His disciples when they pointed out the awesome splendor of that building. In response He said....

"Do you not see all these things? Verily I say unto you that there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down".

Matthew 24:2
The Temple
NOT ONE STONE OF THE TEMPLE WOULD BE LEFT UPON ANOTHER

Later that day, as Jesus and His disciples sat on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple, they pressed Him for more information, asking Him two questions (Matthew 24:3):

On the Mount of Olives

    1) When would the destruction of the Temple occur?
    2) What would be the sign of Jesus' second coming and the end of the age?

Jesus' answer to His disciples' questions has come to be known as "The Olivet Discourse". There are three versions of His answer, recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke (Matthew 24:1-44, Mark chapter 13, and Luke 21:5-36). In Matthew's version we also find additional warnings and instructions from the Lord Jesus concerning the need for people to watch and be ready for His second coming (chapter 25).

I would encourage my reader to take a look at these passages. The link below leads to a PDF file providing these three versions on three pages; for viewing, downloading and printing. This makes it easy to compare them side by side:

OLIVET PDF VERSIONS

In my PDF versions of the Olivet Discourse, I divide Jesus' message into 3 parts:

    1) World events between the approaching destruction of Jerusalem and Jesus' second coming.
    2) The destruction of Jerusalem.
    3) Jesus' second coming.

It is important to note that Jesus said that no one could know the day or hour of His second coming; only the Father. He said that His second coming would take the world by surprise (Matthew 24:36-44). But He gave a very clear sense of when Israel's 'troubles' would begin (within a generation, 40 years), and of what to watch for (Matthew 24:32-34).

COMPARING THE 3 VERSIONS

Below I present Jesus' words about the destruction of Jerusalem ('Part 2' of His Olivet message) from the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Matthew and Mark's versions are very similar to each other, describing the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple as Daniel's 'abomination of desolation'. But notice the difference in Luke's version:


Matthew 24:15-16  When you therefore shall see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, SPOKEN OF BY DANIEL THE PROPHET, stand in the holy place, (whoso reads, let him understand) then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains.

Mark 13:14  But when you shall see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, SPOKEN OF BY DANIEL THE PROPHET, standing where it ought not (let him that reads understand), then let them that are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Luke 21:20-21  And when you shall see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its DESOLATION is near. Then let them who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Luke goes on to explain what the armies surrounding Jerusalem represent; God angrily bringing judgment upon Israel:

For these are the days of VENGEANCE, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that nurse children in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land, and WRATH UPON THIS PEOPLE. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.   Luke 21:22-24


Matthew and Mark were writing as Jews. The Jews understood what an 'abomination of desolation' was. It was the same judgment that God had used Nebuchadnezzar to bring upon Israel 600 years earlier. For the Jews, anything that entered into the sacred Temple area that didn't belong there was an abomination. If this abomination destroyed the Temple, then it was an abomination which caused desolation.

Luke, however, was writing as a Gentile. And Luke was a close acquaintance and frequent traveling companion of the Apostle Paul, the 'apostle to the Gentiles'. Luke would have been very sensitive to the needs of his Gentile readers.

Gentiles did not have much of an exposure to the prophet Daniel, or to the Jewish concepts of abomination and desolation. And under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Luke presented Jesus' words in a way that Gentiles could easily understand. This is why Matthew and Mark had to say 'let the reader understand', warning people to be careful with Daniel's 'abomination of desolation'. By contrast Luke's gospel is very plain and straightforward, requiring no such warning.

It is clear that Luke was describing the rapidly approaching destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, by the armies of Rome. These would be 'the days of God's vengeance upon the Jews' that Jesus had warned about; an attack which drove the Jewish people 'into all nations', and left Jerusalem to be 'trodden down by the Gentiles'. When we compare the three versions of the Olivet Discourse side-by-side, the ONLY REASONABLE CONCLUSION to reach is that Matthew and Mark's 'abomination of desolation' and Luke's simple 'desolation' are all referring to the same event; the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 AD.

Temple mount before 70 AD

Temple Mount after 70 AD
THE TEMPLE MOUNT BEFORE AND AFTER 70 AD

Although the Jewish people have now reclaimed the city of Jerusalem after the end of the 1967 war, the Temple Mount is still 'trampled underfoot by the Gentiles' (occupied by two Muslim mosques; Al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock).

The temple mount today.
THE TEMPLE MOUNT TODAY, STILL TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT BY THE GENTILES

ACTIVATING THE TIMETABLES

Historical dates are absolutely necessary informational 'keys' to understanding both Daniel's 69-week timetable for the Messiah's first coming, and the remaining 70th Week leading to His second coming. God tied both timetables to specific historical events related to the status of Jerusalem; historical dates that would not become known to the world until well after Daniel's death.

Daniel's 69-week timetable is defined by its beginning; the permission to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. But Daniel's 70th Week is not defined by its beginning, but by its midpoint; when Mosaic sacrifices in Jerusalem's Temple would be brought to an end by the Temple's desolation (destruction):

And He (Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week. And in THE MIDST OF THE WEEK He shall cause the sacrifices and the offerings to cease. And for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate; even until the consummation. And that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Daniel 9:27

Beginning on the day when permission was given by the Persian King Artaxerxes I to rebuild Jerusalem (in 445 BC, Nehemiah 2), the timetable for the Messiah's first coming was easily understood by any serious Bible student. But the date of Daniel's 'Abomination of Desolation' marking the MIDPOINT of the 70th Week was not given to Daniel. Jesus revealed it upon the Mount of Olives. This is the reason why The Olivet Discourse is so important for an understanding of Daniel's 70th Week; because it is the 'keystone' in a prophetic 'bridge' stretching from Daniel's 70-Weeks prophecy to John's Little Book.


JESUS GAVE A DATE FOR THE MIDPOINT OF THE 70th WEEK:

70 AD

DIGGING FOR GOLD

The three versions of the Olivet Discourse are a 'package deal'. God never intended that we should rely upon only one source for that message. The three versions compliment each other. Matthew and Mark tell us the important fact that a prophecy of Daniel is being fulfilled. Luke gives us clarity and certainty about the date of that fulfillment.

Why would God give us this important information in separate versions of the Olivet Discourse? Why would He require an effort to bring them together, like pieces in a puzzle, in order to see the whole picture? Why not simply spell everything out?

First of all, the fact that the versions are different testifies to their historical genuineness. It is consistent with the fact that they were written by independent authors at different times and from different perspectives.

Secondly, the fact that we need all three versions of the Discourse, in order to understand it, is perfectly consistent with how God does things. It points to the fact that God is the Author of it. And as He does in so many places in the Bible, God requires people to 'compare scripture with scripture' in order to 'unlock' its full meaning.

The truths of God's word are not always served up upon a platter. God often reserves an understanding of His word for those who want it, and who believe that their careful digging for 'spiritual gold' will be rewarded. In His wisdom God has often required people 'to work' in order to 'obtain', while at the same time making the ultimate answers simple enough that a child can grasp them. This is a trait of God's ways with mankind:

Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain of it better than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you can desire are not to be compared to her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that keeps her.

Proverbs 3:13-18

Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asks, receives. And he that seeks, finds. And to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

Luke 11:9-10

But without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6

The history of the people of Israel has long been one of studying God's word, and comparing various scripture passages with one another in order to arrive at an accurate sense of their meaning. This practice was learned by the Lord Jesus at the age of 12:

And when Jesus' parents did not find Him, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass that, after three days, that they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors; both hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

Luke 2:45-47

And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them (in the Jewish synagogue) and for three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Acts 17:2

These (in Berea) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, to know whether those things were true.

Acts 17:11

Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. Which things also we speak. Not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:12-13

DISPENSATIONALISM'S GREATEST MISTAKE

Why has God required people to consider all three versions of the Olivet Discourse? Ultimately because it is 'holy ground', and must be treated with reverence. It was given by the Son of God Himself, two days before His crucifixion, and is vital information both for His church and for all of humanity. If Bible students are not willing to do the simplest thing, comparing three historical accounts of this one event side-by-side, while allowing them to speak in simple terms, then they deserve shame:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed; rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

The Scofield Reference Bible has been one of the most widely distributed and read commentaries in the world for many years. In his note on Luke chapter 21 (below), Scofield sets forth Dispensationalism's falsehood regarding the Olivet Discourse; that in Matthew and Mark Jesus is saying one thing, while Luke He is saying another:

    "Verses 20,24 are not included in the report of the Olivet discourse as given by Matthew and Mark. Two sieges of Jerusalem are in view in that discourse. Lk 21:20-24 refers to the siege by Titus in A.D. 70; when the city was taken and verse 24 literally fulfilled. But that siege and its horrors but adumbrate (foreshadow) the final siege at the end of this age, in which the "great tribulation" culminates. At that time the city will be taken, but delivered by the glorious appearing of the Lord (Rev 19:11-21). The references in Mt 24:15-28, Mk 13:14-26 are to the final tribulation siege; Lk 21:20-24 to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (in 70 AD). In Luke the sign is the compassing of Jerusalem by armies (Lk 21:20). In Mt 24:15 and Mk 13:14 the sign is the abomination in the holy place".

With this approach Scofield and the Dispensationalists, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, have broken one of the most fundamental rules of Biblical interpretation; to allow the Bible to shed light upon itself. We are to allow 'scripture to interpret scripture'. And yet with the three versions of the Olivet Discourse, all of which parallel each other in every respect, and are accounts of one Man giving one message on one day to one group of people, Dispensationalists have chosen to impose 'Dual Fulfillment' upon the most important prophetic message ever given in the history of the world!

In Revelation 22:18-19, a terrifying warning is given to anyone who might choose to add to the book of Revelation, or to remove anything from it:

For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Revelation 22:18-19

It is one thing to write a commentary on the Bible. But Scofield was not satisfied with that. He had to place his own words side-by-side with God's words on every page of the Bible. Such is the shakey ethical ground upon which Dispensationalism's wide impact and acceptance has been built.


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SECOND TREE

CHRISTIANITY EXPLAINED

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