Jesus likens His second coming to the flashing of lightning.
30-70AD: Exodus | Tribulation
30-70AD: Exodus | Tribulation
Jesus likens His second coming to the flashing of lightning.
FRANCIS X. GUMERLOCK
"FROM INSIDE FLAP
Francis X. Gumerlock has undertaken the task of translating a number of ancient and medieval commentators who have written on Matthew 24 and Revelation. He shows that many early and medieval Christian writers believed that these prophecies had already been fulfilled before the "end" of Jerusalem, that is, before its destruction by the Romans in A.D. 70 which resulted in the end of the Old Covenant world.
Gumerlock's chapters fill the gap in historiography by providing English translations of a number of preterist commentaries on prophecies in Matthew 24 by ancient and medieval Bible expositors. Did other Christians, long before Martin Luther, John Calvin, or Luis Alcasar, interpret prophecies of Matthew 24 as fulfilled in connection with the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans?
Matthew 24:4-14 records Jesus' prediction of various signs that would take place before the end (24:6,14). Not believing that these signs applied exclusively to the end of the world, many early and medieval writers believed that they had already appeared historically before the "end" of Jerusalem. To illustrate their beliefs with regard to the content and timing of these signs of the end, Gumerlock's chapters provide a chain of comments from different Church Fathers upon the verses that they expounded.
With respect to the generation that would see all these things fulfilled (Matt. 24:34), several sources showed that a preterist interpretation of the passage existed in the early church. Concerning the "coming" of Christ, mentioned many times in Matthew 24:27-51, most of the Church Fathers referred this coming to His bodily coming at the end of the world. But patristic and medieval Biblical expositors did allow for it to be interpreted as a non-bodily advent, whether that be His coming to take residence in one's heart, His coming to receive one's soul at death, His continuous coming to the Church for strengthening, or a "hidden" coming in judgment. One commentary, an Irish Book of Questions on the Gospels, written about 725, interpreted Christ's coming in Matthew 24 in light of the Judean war, as a coming in judgment through the Roman armies.
The Early Church and the End of the World is a needed addition to the discussion on what the earliest of the early church believed on Bible prophecy.
Chapter 1 - Biblical Minimalism and Bible Prophecy
Chapter 2 - The Proof of the Gospel
Chapter 3 - Preterism Among First-Century Writers
Chapter 4 - Premillennialism in the Early Church
Chapter 5 - Sola Scriptura and Bible Prophecy
Chapter 6 - The Olivet Discourse in Ancient and Medieval Christianity
Chapter 7 - The Date of Revelation in the Early Church
Chapter 8 - More External Evidence for an Early Date of Revelation
Chapter 9 - Blood, Fire and Vapor of Smoke: The A.D.70 Destruction of Jerusalem in the Ancient Exegesis of Acts 2:19-27
Chapter 10 - Irenaeus and the Dating of Revelation
"John C. Whitcomb, in his article on "The Millennial Temple," writes that "five different offerings in Ezekiel (43:13-46:15), four of them with bloodletting, will serve God's purposes. These offerings are not voluntary but obligatory; God will 'accept' people on the basis of these animal sacrifices (43:27), which make reconciliation [atonement] for the house of Israel (45:17, cf. 45:15)." This is an impossible interpretation for at least three reasons. First, these sacrifices are said to be "for atonement" (reconciliation) (Ezek. 45:15, 17) not, as Whitcomb claims, "as effective vehicles of divine instruction for Israel and the nations during the Millennial Kingdom." Second, Jesus is the once for all sacrifice whose blood cleanses us from sin (Heb. 7:26-27; 8:13; 9:11-15;10:5-22; 1 Peter 3:18). Third, sanctification comes under the new covenant by "the washing of water with the word" (Eph. 5:26) not by the washing of blood from sacrifices. Those who dispute the completeness of the new covenant promises are looking for the Jews to return to the shadows of the Old Testament that Jesus came to shed redemptive light on. They want to return to a world that Jesus came to replace." (xiv)
The Early Church and the End of the World asks this fundamental question: What did the earliest of the early Christian writers actually believe about prophetic events? We can only answer this question by studying what they wrote. Unfortunately, we do not have a complete record of the period. Many of their surviving works are only fragments of larger works no longer available to us. To make an historical investigation even more difficult, there are translation issues. Many of the works of those who wrote just before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and beyond have not been translated into English.
The Early Church and the End of the World seeks to remedy some of these problems. Thomas Ice, in his book The End Times Controversy, makes some bold claims that cannot be supported when the historical record is actually analyzed. The early church was not monolithic in its views of Bible prophecy. There was no unanimous acceptance of premillennialism, a distant futurism, or the peculiar distinctives of dispensationalism.
The Early Church and the End of the World will show that some of the earliest writers commenting on the Olivet Discourse, most likely writing before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, were referring to the judgment coming of Jesus, an event that the gospel writers tell us was to take place before that first-century generation passed away (Matt. 24:34). Adding to the confirmation of this view are the writings of the church's first historian, Eusebius Pampilus of Caesarea (c. 260-341), whose Ecclesiastical History is a window on the first few centuries of the church.
Elements of the world: (Galatians 4:3) Weak and beggarly elements. (Gal. 4:9) A yoke of bondage. (Gal.5:1) "the ministry of death," (2 Corinthians 3:7) for example. In this article we will look at another term used by Paul to describe the old covenant.
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The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession. These four emperors were Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.
The forced suicide of emperor Nero, in 68, was followed by a brief period of civil war, the first Roman civil war since Mark Antony's death in 30 BC. Between June of 68 and December of 69, Rome witnessed the successive rise and fall of Galba, Otho and Vitellius until the final accession of Vespasian, first ruler of the Flavian Dynasty. This period of civil war has become emblematic of the cyclic political disturbances in the history of the Roman Empire. The military and political anarchy created by this civil war had serious repercussions, such as the outbreak of the Batavian rebellion.
In 65, the Pisonian conspiracy attempted to restore the Republic, but failed. A number of executions followed leaving Nero with few political allies left in the Senate. In late 67 or early 68, Caius Julius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis rebelled against Nero's tax policy, with the purpose of substituting Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, for Nero.
Vindex's revolt in Gaul was unsuccessful. The legions stationed at the border to Germania marched to meet Vindex and confront him as a traitor. Led by Lucius Verginius Rufus, the Rhine army defeated Vindex in battle and Vindex killed himself. Galba was at first declared a public enemy by the Senate.
By June of 68, the Senate took the initiative to rid itself of Nero, declaring him a public enemy and Galba emperor. Nymphidius Sabinus, desiring to become emperor himself, bribed the Praetorian Guard to betray Nero. Nero committed suicide. Galba was recognized as emperor and welcomed into the city at the head of his legions, which were: VI Victrix, I Macriana liberatrix, I Adiutrix, III Augusta and VII Gemina.
This turn of events gave the German legions not the reward for loyalty that they had expected, but rather accusations of having obstructed Galba's path to the throne. Their commander, Rufus, was immediately replaced by the new emperor. Aulus Vitellius was appointed governor of the province of Germania Inferior. The loss of political confidence in Germania's loyalty also resulted in the dismissal of the Imperial Batavian Bodyguards and rebellion.
Galba did not remain popular for long. On his march to Rome, he either destroyed or took enormous fines from towns that did not accept him immediately. In Rome, Galba cancelled all the reforms of Nero, including benefits for many important persons. Like his predecessor, Galba had a fear of conspirators and executed many senators and equites without trial. The army was not happy either. After his safe arrival to Rome, Galba refused to pay the rewards he had promised to soldiers who had supported him. Moreover, in the start of the civil year of 69 in January 1, the legions of Germania Inferior refused to swear allegiance and obedience to the new emperor. On the following day, the legions acclaimed Vitellius, their governor, as emperor.
Hearing the news of the loss of the Rhine legions, Galba panicked. He adopted a young senator, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus, as his successor. By doing this he offended many people, and above all Marcus Salvius Otho, an influential and ambitious man who desired the honour for himself. Otho bribed the Praetorian Guard, already very unhappy with the emperor, to his side. When Galba heard about the coup d'état he went to the streets in an attempt to normalize the situation. It proved a mistake, because he could attract no supporters. Shortly afterwards, the Praetorian Guard killed him in the Forum.
Otho was recognised as emperor by the Senate that same day. The new emperor was saluted with relief. Although ambitious and greedy, Otho did not have a record for tyranny or cruelty and was expected to be a fair emperor. However, trouble in the form of Vitellius was marching down on Italy from Germany.
Vitellius had behind him the finest elite legions of the empire, composed of veterans of the Germanic Wars, such as I Germanica and XXI Rapax. These would prove to be his best arguments to gain power. Otho was not keen to begin another civil war and sent emissaries to propose a peace and inviting Vitellius to be his son-in-law. It was too late to reason; Vitellius' generals had half of his army heading to Italy. After a series of minor victories, Otho was defeated in the Battle of Bedriacum. Rather than flee and attempt a counter-attack, Otho decided to put an end to the anarchy and committed suicide. He had been emperor for a little more than three months.
On the news of Otho's suicide, Vitellius was recognised as emperor by the Senate. Granted this recognition, Vitellius set out for Rome. However, he faced problems from the start of his reign. The city was left very skeptical when Vitellius chose the anniversary of the Battle of the Allia (in 390 BC), a day of bad auspices according to Roman superstition, to accede to the office of Pontifex Maximus.
Events would seemingly prove them right. With the throne tightly secured, Vitellius engaged in a series of feasts, banquets (Suetonius refers to three a day: morning, afternoon and night) and triumphal parades that drove the imperial treasury close to bankruptcy. Debts were quickly accrued and money-lenders started to demand repayment. Vitellius showed his violent nature by ordering the torture and execution of those who dared to make such demands. With financial affairs in a state of calamity, Vitellius took the initiative of killing citizens who named him as their heir, often together with any co-heirs. Moreover, he engaged in a pursuit of every possible rival, inviting them to the palace with promises of power only to have them assassinated.
Meanwhile, the legions stationed in the African province of Ægyptus (Egypt) and the Middle East provinces of Iudaea (Judea/Palestine) and Syria had acclaimed Vespasian as emperor. Vespasian had been given a special command in Judaea by Nero in 67 with the task of putting down the Great Jewish Revolt. He gained the support of the governor of Syria, Gaius Licinius Mucianus. A strong force drawn from the Judaean and Syrian legions marched on Rome under the command of Mucianus. Vespasian himself travelled to Alexandria where he had been acclaimed Emperor on July 1, thereby gaining control of the vital grain supplies from Egypt. Vespasian's son Titus remained in Judaea to deal with the Jewish rebellion. Before the eastern legions could reach Rome, the Danubian legions of the provinces of Raetia and Moesia also acclaimed Vespasian as Emperor in August, and led by Marcus Antonius Primus invaded Italy. In October, the forces led by Primus won a crushing victory over Vitellius' army at the Second Battle of Bedriacum.
Surrounded by enemies, Vitellius made a last attempt to win the city to his side, distributing bribes and promises of power where needed. He tried to levy by force several allied tribes, such as the Batavians, only to be refused. The Danube army was now very near Rome. Realising the immediate threat, Vitellius made a last attempt to gain time and sent emissaries, accompanied by Vestal Virgins, to negotiate a truce and start peace talks. The following day, messengers arrived with news that the enemy was at the gates of the city. Vitellius went into hiding and prepared to flee, but decided on a last visit to the palace. There he was caught by Vespasian's men and killed. In seizing the capital, they burned down the temple of Jupiter.
The Senate acknowledged Vespasian as emperor on the following day. It was December 21, 69, the year that had begun with Galba on the throne.
Vespasian did not meet any direct threat to his imperial power after the death of Vitellius. He became the founder of the stable Flavian dynasty that succeeded the Julio-Claudians and died of natural causes as emperor in 79, with the famous last words, "Vae, puto deus fio" ("Dear me, I must be turning into a god...").
63BC-70AD: The 11 horns of Daniel's 4th Beast (The 11 "Kings" of Daniel's 4th idol-worshipping kingdom to possess Jerusalem)
"horn" = king, (national leader, primary personal representative)
"beast" = idol-worshipping Gentile nation that rules over (subjugates) God's Chosen People
Bible scholars living in the last days of old Jerusalem may have seen some very interesting things in this dream of Daniel 7.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from The Law of Sin & Death. NKJV
[ie of Moses = "When you sin, you will die" aka "The Ministry of Death" 2 Cor 3:7 and "The Ministry of Condemnation" 2 Cor 3:9 Whereas the Gospel is "The Ministry of the Spirit"].
2 Corinthians 3:5-4:1
But our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as Ministers of the New Covenant, not of the Letter but of the Spirit; for the Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. ["The Letter" here would be the tablets of stone that the LORD sent from Sinai via Moses to His People. How much better the Person of the Holy Spirit than that old Letter of stone, the Law of Moses].
7 But if the Ministry of Death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the Ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the Ministry of Condemnation had glory, the Ministry of Righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech — 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 4 Therefore, since we have this Ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of The Law [of God].
LEGALISM = OBEDIENCE TO THE OLD TESTAMENT = THE LAW OF MOSES = THE OLD LAW OF GOD
LOVE = OBEDIENCE TO THE NEW TESTAMENT = THE LAW OF CHRIST = THE LAW OF GOD
OLD TESTAMENT LEGALISM HAS GIVEN WAY TO NEW TESTAMENT LOVE
1 John 5:1-4
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
If you love Me, keep My commandments.
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.