This Generation

April 1, 2013 by  
Filed under WTT Ministries Blog

This Generation

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34).  This verse at the ending of the Olivet Discourse has been discussed by preachers, Bible teachers, and serious theologians for nearly two millennia.  It is recorded in all three accounts in the gospels–Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30-31, and Luke 21:32-33.

I do not consider myself to be any kind of expert for I certainly know I have little understanding compared to many great Bible expositors of the past or present.  I would not disqualify the great commentaries and works of past generations for they are invaluable tools to the students of the Word.

I do, however, understand that the greatest majority of accepted commentaries were written before the Olivet Discourse began to be fulfilled.  They were all written before the prophecy of Ezekiel 37 began to be fulfilled with the returning of Israel to her land early in the last century.

Many commentaries are written with a universal church basis as well as a replacement theology view.  Not all, mind you, but most were men with a protestant heritage and these roots formed much of their theology.

For the most part they viewed this as meaning the destruction of Jerusalem, which certainly is a part of the prophecy but only one third of it.  There were three questions from the disciples that Jesus answered in what we call the Olivet Discourse.

(Check out our CD “The Olivet Discourse” in our bookstore.)

May I point out the word “all” is recorded in all three accounts of the Olivet Discourse, and I believe it means all the prophecy and not limited to the first of the three questions asked.  So the generation is not those that were present when he was giving the address or pertaining solely to the destruction of Jerusalem.

For as long as I can remember and for centuries before that, there has been the discussion of how long is a generation.  Much effort and a lot of ink have been used to prove the ideas of many a writer.   I have been guilty of this in the past as well.

Many date setters, which we are warned to avoid, have used these verses only to be foiled in the end.  The ideas are that a generation is 40 years, 70 years, others think it is 100 years, and so forth.

Too often we get dogmatic in our ideas in areas that are not made clear in the Scriptures.  When we do this, we are setting ourselves up as an authority over Scripture.  We might say this is how we view this, or this is what we believe but not be dogmatic and appear as if we know the truth, and if you do not agree, you are wrong.

With this said, let me say this is what I believe a generation is or means in this context.  When trying to understand any portion of Scripture, the first rule of interpretation is to keep it in its context.

In the context, we see a cycle of life referred to as a process that starts and continues until its fulfilled purpose.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:32-33).

The process of producing fruit starts with the bud of the flower.  The botanist will tell you the purpose of the flower is not just for its beauty or fragrance but to produce fruit.

The generation is in reference to the completing of the cycle that began with the beginning of the reconstitution of Israel to the coming of their Messiah.

It is not a matter of counting the years but observing the signs of the process from bud to ripe fruit.  When it will be ripe, God alone knows.  Then he will come and pick it.

Let us join in obedience as was Jesus to His father.  “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

 

The Hype over Non-Biblical Prophecy

March 26, 2013 by  
Filed under WTT Ministries Blog

The Hype over Non-Biblical Prophecy

It seems that many prophecy-type ministries of our times have become more interested in non-Biblical prophecies than they are of those from the Word of God.  They get so excited about some non-Christian (if the Bible is used to check their doctrinal belief of salvation) who predicted something ages ago.

There has not been a day in recent months without an article in the news’ blogs concerning the new pope of the false Church of Rome, all based in a supposed prophecy of a sixteenth Catholic monk. Just because the Catholic church has placed sainthood on him doesn’t mean a thing concerning God.

I never cease to be amazed at the excitement so many exhibit about such matters as if all heaven is rejoicing, and yet seem to care so little about what heaven does rejoice in.  “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).

With so many prophecies from the Word of God, why do those that seem to know so much of Scripture run to the pagan world for prophecy to explain their ideas rather than let the Bible reveal itself?

I am no man’s judge but wonder if the books to write, speaking engagements, and revenues from ventures may not fuel some of this passion for extra Biblical prophecies.

It saddens the heart to see some of the most reputable ministries with such a great track record for adherence to the Bible allowing themselves to be drawn into this love affair with those using so many pagan extra Biblical materials to advance their ideas and theories.

These are the same people, for the most part, that would criticize false science that would promote evolution to advance humanism, yet will take predictions from false and pagan prophets and attempt to make a case from a Biblical viewpoint.

We just went through this in 2012 and the Mayan calendar, now this, and the next will be some new sensational topic.  We need to stick to the Book.  “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

I do not want to come off as the final authority, but I do believe that the Word of God is.  Those of us involved in the ministry of discernment, teachers of Biblical prophecy, what every terms you choose to use, need to remember that our supreme purpose is the defense of the gospel and not self-promotion.

Some may simply be enamored by the outward acceptance and growth of the charismatic emergent church-type of prophecy teachings and feel they must get with the trend of the times.  In doing so, they become part of the endtime scenario that the Scriptures predict.  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The tendency to be ecumenical in the approach to Biblical matters, so as to not step on anyone’s toes, is the current mode of operation, but this has never been God’s mode of operation.  We need to be more Christian or Christ-like in our approach and ministry and tell the truth whether popular or not.  “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the father” (Romans 15:8).

If Scripture is unclear or silent, let us not become dogmatic on that subject, making ourselves the authority over God’s Word.

The underlying purpose of our ministry should be for the furtherance of the gospel.  Paul, the great apostle of the Lord, recognized his imprisonment and impending death was for this purpose.  “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12).

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