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Showing posts from September, 2019

Counterfeit Christ

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The “beast from the earth” mimics the Lamb and presents a counterfeit of the true faith  –  Revelation 13:11-18 .  John saw a second “ beast   ascending from the earth ” who caused the “ inhabitants of the earth ” to give their allegiance to the “ beast from the sea .” The first “ beast ” was characterized by political power, and the second by its ability to deceive. It also used economic control to punish anyone who refused to render homage to the first “ beast ” - [ Augustus - Photo by tommao wang on Unsplash ].

This Generation

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The generation contemporary with Jesus witnessed the events that he predicted that culminated in the destruction of the Temple – Mark 13:28-31 .  Next, Jesus provided the chronological key - the disciples would know the time of the Temple’s demise when they saw all “ these things ” coming to pass, and before “ this generation ” reached its inevitable end. That was his definitive answer to the question, “ when will these things come to pass ?” – within one generation - [ Hourglass - Photo by Ernesto Velázquez on Unsplash ].

Abomination of Desolation

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When disciples see the “abomination of desolation standing where it ought not,” they must flee Jerusalem without delay – Matthew 24:15-22 .  According to Jesus, the “ abomination of desolation ” will appear in the city of Jerusalem. It will be a local event, not global. Likewise, His admonition for his disciples to flee was applicable only to Jerusalem and the immediate vicinity. Disciples remaining in the city must flee to the hills to escape the calamity portended by the appearance of the “ abomination of desolation ” - [ Photo by Yoal Desurmont on Unsplash ].

Deceivers and Tumults

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The Discourse opens with warnings about coming deceivers who propagate false expectations about the end, along with future opposition – Mark 13:5-13 .  Jesus began his Olivet Discourse with an ominous warning about coming deceivers, men who will claim his authority and spread rumors about calamities, thereby “ deceiving many .” This warning is repeated at pivotal points in the discourse. For example, prior to the coming of the Son of Man, “ many false prophets will arise and deceive many ,” including the employment of signs and wonders - [ Wolf pack - by Eva Blue on Unsplash ].

Judgment on the Temple

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When he left the Temple for the last time, Jesus pronounced its coming desolation to his opponents .  Before his final departure from the Temple, Jesus fielded challenges from the “ scribes and Pharisees ,” the main Jewish sects of his time. These amounted to confrontations that helped set the stage for his arrest and trial and his execution at the hands of the Romans. As he left the building for the final time, he pronounced its impending judgment - [ Photo by Tim Wilson on Unsplash ].

Geographic Range of the Discourse

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The Olivet Discourse presents two key events linked to two different geographic contexts, one regional, and the other global .  In his ‘Olivet Discourse,’ Jesus described several key events that would occur in the future, especially the destruction of the Temple and the “ coming of the Son of Man .” In doing so, he provided geographic details related to each of these two events that alternated between the local and the universal, depending on which event he was describing - [ Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash ].

Temple Setting

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Jesus gave his final discourse following his final departure from the Jerusalem Temple  –  Mark 12:41-13:4 .  The ‘Olivet Discourse’ is the last recorded block of Christ’s teachings given on the Mount of Olives following a series of confrontations between him and the Temple authorities, and his final departure from the Temple itself. And his conflicts with the religious leaders set the stage for his trial and execution at the hands of the Roman governor - [ Western Wall - Photo by  Laura Siegal  on  Unsplash ].

Incomparable New Covenant

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In his death, Jesus inaugurated the promised and vastly superior new covenant, rendering the old one obsolete .  According to  Hebrews , the “ word of the Son ” surpasses all past revelations “ spoken in the prophets .” He went beyond his predecessors, having “ achieved the purification of sins ,” and therefore, he “ sat down ” at the right hand of God and inherited “ all things .” And among other things, his exaltation signaled the commencement of the “ new covenant ” - [ Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash ].