September 5, 2016 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary—From the Margins
Matthew Chapter 24
I have, over the past fourteen and a half years, written much about this chapter; so why would I return to well-plowed ground? Why fish in fished-out waters? And the reason is, because I was asked to again comment on the chapter, the request coming from a respected Sabbatarian who, I suspect, finds himself in the position of being asked to explain in a few words what I have said in many.
Jesus’ disciples, in Matthew’s Gospel, are us—all of us who have been born of spirit as sons of God through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou], in which is the spirit of God [pneuma Theou]. Therefore, it is us who ask Jesus for a sign of His return. It is us who want to know how much time is left; how much longer we have to hang on; how much longer we have to endure the inanity of American politics, world economics; how much longer we have to endure bodies that age, ache, have broken down or are in the process of breaking down … it isn’t the young who wonder why Christ has delayed His return (the young tend to feel guilty for wanting Christ to delay His return so they can marry, raise families, establish themselves financially). It is older Christians that begin to wonder if their faith has been in vain; if they have believed myths and rumors; if they have wasted their lives, their tithes and offerings. It is aged Christians who wonder, as Matthew’s Jesus said on the stake, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? It is aged Christians who want Christ to hurry His return so that they will not have to experience the death of their flesh.
When Matthew’s Gospel was written, it came without chapters or verses, paragraphs or spaces between words. It was written in uncials [all capital letters], and it was written without punctuation beyond floating periods. Thus, translation becomes nearly as much interpretative “art” as exact science, with words [linguistic icons] not having hard-linked meanings but assigned meanings based on what the translator believes they ought to mean.
The problem too many Sabbatarian Christians face when diligently committing themselves to Bible study is their inability to read texts in their original form, which is really more difficult than simply obtaining a Greek copy of the New Testament. For the Greek copy that is today received as authoritative didn’t exist in the 1st-Century CE; didn’t exist in the 2nd-Century CE; didn’t exist until the 16th-Century, or thereabouts. So diligent Bible study too often becomes a matter of reinforcing textual or translational error. For example, when Jesus begins His answer to His disciples’ two questions—when will the stones of the temple be cast down, and what will be the sign of His coming and the end of the age—He does not say what English translations have Him saying: “‘See that no one leads you astray’” (Matt 24:4). Rather He says, written in Latin characters, Blepete me tis umas planese — See to it, not someone you deceive. The subject of the possible deception is reversed: instead of the disciples being deceived [who could deceive Jesus’ first disciples after they had been with Him for three and a half years], it is disciples who are capable of deceiving spiritual infants, and Jesus warns them (warns us) against deceiving spiritual lambs.
Have “lambs” been deceived? You bet. For why would any Christian believe that Jesus declared all foods to be clean (Mark 7:19) when Mark’s Gospel only records Jesus saying that a disciple wouldn’t be defiled by what goes into the disciple’s mouth and stomach, but in the same passage declares that the disciple would be defiled by coveting (v. 22). So the disciple isn’t defiled by eating a pork chop but would be defiled by lusting after or coveting a ham sandwich, with this situation at least tangentially addressed by the Apostle Paul:
If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you and for the sake of conscience—I do not mean your conscience, but his. (1 Cor 10:27–29)
If a believer would not eat a beef roast that came from a bull offered to Zeus (thigh bones were offered) when told that the roast was from a sacrifice, then defilement of the flesh isn’t the issue for Christians when it comes to clean and unclean meats. It is defilement of the heart through lust for commonness, again a subject I recently addressed.
But an allegedly mature Christian can deceive a spiritual lamb by writing, by saying that Jesus declared all foods clean, thus making what has been offered to an idol in sacrifice “clean.” This is not what Paul writes even when I continue his instructions to the saints at Corinth:
For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I gave thanks? So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (1 Cor 29–33)
Would Paul give thanks for meat offered to an idol? Not if he was told it had been offered to an idol … telling him that the meat had been offered to an idol doesn’t change the meat a whit, but changes perceptions and expectations. And again, it is what occurs in the mind where defilement of the Christian happens. Therefore, said without caveats, if a Christian covets a ham sandwich, the Christian is spiritually defiled without ever taking a bite from a ham sandwich.
Now, back to Matthew 24: I addressed verses 5 through 13 in the previous Commentary, which brings us to verse 14 — “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
When initially called to reread prophecy, I wrote and published three books in 2002, then went on line in February 2003. The three books I wrote couldn’t be distributed free: a publisher was involved. I had no money to self-publish. And though a few copies were sold, for the most part they went nowhere. But the Internet offered low-cost access to the world, thus making it possible for me to deliver a message worldwide for a few dollars a month … the good news that all who endured to the end would be saved was available for anyone with web access to receive. However, it has only been in the past few years that interest in this good news has been shone in Europe and Asia; interest was there from the beginning in East Africa, with this “interest” assuming I was a rich American who could financially assist their ministries.
I’m not a rich American; I’m very far from being rich, or even financially comfortable. But because of the Internet; because I was writing professionally for nine years before I went into the university to take a graduate degree [M.F.A.] in Creative Writing; because my wife was on the Net from its inception, we (she and I) are able to do a work of greater scope than anyone thirty years ago could have imagined. We are able to deliver worldwide the good news that all who endure to the end shall be saved, and we are able to do this without any major organization supporting us. Literally, a few people support us with contributions that are sacrifices for them as we spend our time and energies creating and putting up text-based proclamations that all who endure to the end shall be saved, thereby permitting the end to come, knowing that the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel will be on a second Passover day that has the 15th day of the second month occurring on a Thursday. 2017 is such a year as is 2024. But it is only the Father who knows for certain when He will move to end the present demonstration in which all of humanity participates.
In Matthew 24:15, Jesus warns us, those Christians born of spirit, who are in Judea to flee to the mountains when the man of perdition manifests himself, declaring himself God, with this man of perdition being an Arian Christian (said based on previous writings and arguments) … the context incorporated in “Judea” is too small. In order for this passage to work in a time of worldwide communications, Judea needs to include all of spiritual Jerusalem as seen in Revelation; so while fleeing from Judea to the mountains in a literal sense would only affect disciples in the modern state of Israel, in a spiritual sense “fleeing Judea” will have Jesus’ disciples moving away from population centers and quickly relocating in rural areas on or about day 220 of the Affliction, or in December of the year of the Second Passover. And if disciples realize that they have only seven months to get themselves out of town after the Second Passover occurs, it wouldn’t hurt if they started today looking for where they might go. For when it becomes time to flee, it will really be too late to flee.
The man of perdition will manifest himself [reveal himself] when the great Apostasy (2 Thess 2:3) occurs, with this day and date—a Sunday in December, 220 days after the Second Passover liberation of greater Christendom—representing the birth of spiritual Cain … prior to the Apostasy, all Christians will be in a “sorting themselves out” process; for all will be spiritual virgins when they are filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God. But salvation will depend upon each Christian remaining a spiritual virgin, meaning that the disciple CANNOT take sin back inside him or herself and live spiritually. After all, there will be no reason for a disciple to sin; for the disciple will be able to rule over his or her fleshly body. To take sin back inside oneself will be an act of open rebellion against the Father and the Son.
The 220 days between the Second Passover and the Apostasy are seen in Daniel’s visions: “‘For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering [in Hebrew, the daily], the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?’ And he said to me, ‘For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state’” (Dan 8:13–14) …
John the Revelator writes in his Aramaic-idiom Greek that, “I, John, your brother and partner in the Affliction and Kingdom [no definite article] and Endurance in Jesus [again, no definite article, causing Kingdom and Endurance to share the definite article for Affliction] was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus’” (Rev 1:9) … three periods joined together grammatically to form one period that consists of the 1260 days of the two witnesses’ ministry, followed by the doubled day 1260 on which dominion over the single kingdom of this world is taken from the Adversary and given to the Son of Man, thus causing this doubled day to have a dark portion [the last day of Satan’s reign] and a light portion [the first day of Christ’s reign], and having two days be “one day.” Then once dominion over the Kingdom is given to Christ Jesus, there follows the Endurance in Jesus for another 1260 days that represent the forty-two months when the beast utters “haughty and blasphemous words” against the Most High (Rev 13:5). This will also be the “time, times, and half a time” when the woman flees into the wilderness to escape the serpent (Rev 12:14).
The seven endtime years of tribulation consist of the 1260-day-long Affliction, the last day of which is the last day of the Adversary having dominion over the single kingdom of this world, followed by the 1260-day-long Endurance in Jesus, the first day of which is the first day of Jesus reigning as the prince of the power of the air, the throne upon which the Adversary presently sits. The transition from the Adversary having dominion to the Son of Man receiving dominion occurs on the doubled day 1260, which John identifies as, Kingdom, again no definite article.
Because the Revelation text is presented in the chronological order of Affliction, Kingdom, Endurance, with the Kingdom seen in Revelation 11:15 through 12:12, everything prior to 11:15 occurs in the Affliction or at the beginning of the Affliction, and everything after 13:1 occurs in the Endurance of Jesus, or after the Millennium concludes.
Returning to Matthew’s Gospel: what Matthew’s Jesus says about, “‘For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved [alive]. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short’” (Matt 24:21–22) pertains to the Affliction, the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years … if these 1260 days were not cut short—if the Adversary’s allotted time was not ended before it was up—the Adversary would manage to kill all of humanity, such will be the carnage under him as he realizes that his dominion over the single Kingdom of this world will be really taken from him.
The Father and the Son have a technical problem that has to be overcome when dominion is taken from the Adversary—when dominion over the Kingdom is given to Christ Jesus, He will baptize the world in spirit as the world was baptized in water in the days of Noah … water can be seen. Spirit cannot be seen. There is no way for the world to know that it has been baptized in spirit until God sets off some impressive fireworks: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven will be shaken” (Matt 24:29).
The author of Matthew’s Gospel did not have the information revealed to John from which to draw—and until John’s vision, the Endurance of Jesus was not apparent in Scripture. Thus, Matthew’s Gospel like Daniel’s visions, like Zechariah’s visions, like Isaiah’s visions has a muddled period immediately before the coming of the Messiah … the man Jesus, the glorified Jesus didn’t know what the Father knew about the end of the age. And John’s vision begins, “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show to His servants the things that must take place” (Rev 1:1). So until the Father gave to Jesus knowledge that He alone had previously held [knowledge concerning the spiritual creation of His sons], the plan of God was not completely known by any entity, man or angel.
My argument is that I was called to reread prophetic texts, thereby sorting out timelines and events sure to happen; that it matters but doesn’t whether anyone believes what I write; that the work to which I was called was actually done years ago when I proclaimed to the world that there would be a Second Passover liberation of a second nation of Israel, this nation of Israel to be circumcised of heart rather than in the flesh.
There is more to Matthew chapter 24, with the lesson of the fig tree having disciples watch world events so that times and seasons can be discerned. But about this, I will use another forum to continue this discussion. This is enough for now.
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
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