Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

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Ryan07
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Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by Ryan07 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:07 pm

I just had a conversation with my dad about the end times and he firmly holds to the dispensationalist view. Of course since I have been listening to Steve Gregg and studying his audios and radio show for over year and am sort of a rational, philosophically minded person who reads fast I have reached the conclusion that I do not believe in dispensationalism. I do not believe in a pre-trib rapture.
In fact I find these end times theories sensationalistic and distracting and possibly misleading.

Key points I thought I raised were that in john 6 we are told we will be raised up on the last day 4 times.
That Jesus tells us none will know when these things will happen. So therefore I feel anyone who claims to know is either a deceiver or the deceived.

His return was that Jesus taught that we should pay attention to the signs and wait for his coming. He emphasized that we should be actively looking out the signs so that we know he is coming. And of course that they are happening now.

So what is the truth? Should we be actively looking for signs of the end times according to how we interpret Revelation? I feel that it could happen in 5 minutes, 5 years or 500 years. I want to be ready now and so why should it even matter when it is? Still he insists Jesus taught that we should be seeking out the signs to know when he is coming.

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TheEditor
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Re: Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by TheEditor » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:22 pm

Hi Ryan,

When I had a JW mindset, I read Matthew 24 in the light of the 'end times"--a "composite sign" of the last days starting in 1914 (another story). The outbreak of WW1 in 1914 was a big boon to this interpretation. Either way, when someone I knew pointed out that CT Russell, founder of the WT Society, had taught that Matthew 24 was the "non-sign", it became clear:

"And in answer Jesus said to them: "Look out that nobody misleads you for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet. "For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. (Matthew 24:4-7)

The "signs" are given directly after the warning to "not be misled"; "For" is used as a lead-in to the warning, "For, nation WILL rise against nation", etc. This was a major paradigm shift for me.

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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Ryan07
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Re: Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by Ryan07 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:56 pm

Hrm, interesting. Thank you.

dwilkins
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Re: Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by dwilkins » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:21 am

Ryan,

I think that your first mistake is to see those in John 6 as "we". Jesus says that he will raise those whom he'd called, and that he'd "keep" them as well. But, in John 17 he claims to have successfully kept them. "Them" in John 17 is clearly the Apostles. Why would you think that this includes you? Additionally, the Apostalic commission of Matt. 10 is specifically about the Apostles and things they'd encounter (you'll notice a radical redefinition of their mandate in Luke 22:35ff) . Why would we expand it beyond that?

The answer, generally, is that we try to make every passage of the NT apply to us. It's popular to assume that all of the promises can apply to us directly (as I was recently advised by a friend of mine). But, this is presumptuous. During Christ's earthly ministry he called people and kept them, just like he said he would. He told them that they'd raise up on the last day. But, that doesn't necessarily mean it applies to every other person. Of course, he later says that once he is lifted up he will draw all men to himself. Without some appreciation for the evolution of promises to various groups of people I don't think there is any way to make sense of all of this. Jesus initially tells them that they won't know the day or hour. Later, after the Holy Spirit is given so that they will gain all knowledge, Paul reminds his audience in 1st. Thess. 5 that they've already been instructed by him about what they will need to look for so that they won't be surprised by the 2nd Coming. Which is it? I'd argue that it's an evolution of revelation. The universalizing of texts outside of the specific context causes all sorts of confusion.

Doug

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Ryan07
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Re: Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by Ryan07 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:19 pm

I'm not sure what you are talking about. The verses in John 6 do not at all appear to me to be only talking to the apostles. it seems to be addressing anyone who knows Christ.

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TheEditor
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Re: Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by TheEditor » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:49 pm

“I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word.
(John 17:20)

Seems fairly inclusive to me.

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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steve
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Re: Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by steve » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:19 pm

Ryan,

There is no obvious reason why God would want for us to be preoccupied with the end times. In my opinion:

1) The scriptures do not provide any unique signs of the impending end of the world. Jesus clearly said that most of the things people like to identify with the end are not at all to be regarded as such (Matt.24:4-8). Wars, earthquakes, famines, false prophets, pestilences, etc. have existed since shortly after the fall of man to the present. It is notable that Jesus, in listing such things, did not say there would be any increase in the frequency or the intensity of such phenomena as the end approaches. Such things are simply mentioned as existing altogether independently of eschatology, and we are told they do not signal the end. All these phenomena existed in the time of Christ, immediately thereafter, and forever since;

2) There are no Christian duties that are said to apply to those living in the last days that would not also apply to Christians living at any other time (Matt.24:45-46), so there is no practical value in knowing whether we are in the last days or not. If people want to live in a way pleasing to God, there is no need to wait until the end of the world to begin. If we don't want to live for Him, He is not likely to be deceived by our conveniently stepping up our game just because we think the Judge is about to enter the courtroom;

3) Jesus never mentioned any need for anyone to watch for signs of the end times. The only reference to "signs of the times" occurs in a passage referring to Christ's own times (Matt.16:3). In the following verse Christ denounces those who seek for signs (Matt.16:4);

4) Jesus said that He will come "at a time you do not expect" (Matt.24:44). It would seem best not to distract ourselves with trying to know what we are predicted to not know.

On the other hand, you are fortunate to have parents who care about and study scripture. They don't have to agree with you on eschatology in order for you to respect them and be thankful that you have them!

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Ryan07
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Re: Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by Ryan07 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:41 pm

Thanks, Steve! That's for sure. My dad and I hardly spoke for over a decade till I told him I had become a Christian awhile back.

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Homer
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Re: Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by Homer » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:06 pm

Doug,

You wrote:
The answer, generally, is that we try to make every passage of the NT apply to us. It's popular to assume that all of the promises can apply to us directly (as I was recently advised by a friend of mine). But, this is presumptuous.
I agree completely.

and:
The universalizing of texts outside of the specific context causes all sorts of confusion.
But there is nothing in the context to rule out the universal application of this statement of Jesus:

John 5:28-29 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

28. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29. and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

It strains credulity to claim this statement of Jesus has been fulfilled.

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Ryan07
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Re: Did Christ teach that we should watch for the end times?

Post by Ryan07 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:00 pm

Sadly the conclusion of my dad after just talking to him is that Steve Gregg is a false teacher(he listened to some of the teachings on Eschatology about Daniel).
My response: there's lots of false teachers out there.

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