The Roman Catholic Church and the Gospel

Feileadh Mor

Does the Roman Church preach the Gospel? Dr. James White offers some insight into the Roman Church, how it obscures the Gospel and why it matters.

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Chapter 26: Of the Church

Feileadh Mor

4.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. ( Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-9 )

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Rome in the News, January 2014

Model Vatican 2

God sends seagull and crow to attack Pope’s peace doves from Faith’s Corner

Birds of pray: Doves released in the Vatican as a gesture of peace are immediately ATTACKED by vicious seagull and crow from MailOnline

Vatican Doves Attacked by Seagull Happened Same Time Last Year from Canada Free Press

Italian animal rights group calls on Pope stop to releasing doves after attack from The Telegraph

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Pope John Paul II’s blood stolen from church in Italy from The Guardian

Blood of Pope John Paul II stolen in possible ‘satanic’ theft from The Telegraph

Relic of late pope’s blood stolen in Italy from Yahoo! News

Thieves steal Pope John Paul’s blood from Italy church from Reuters

Men arrested over theft of relic containing the blood of Pope John Paul II may have thrown it away, police fear from MailOnline

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Care children ‘forced to eat their own vomit’ from News Letter

Child abuse inquiry: Church-run ‘hell hole’ homes were ‘like Nazi concentration camps’ from Belfast Telegraph

Historical Abuse Inquiry hears Sisters of Nazareth nuns ‘were almost psychotic’ from BBC News

NI abuse inquiry: Two Catholic orders apologise from BBC News

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A Lover’s Spat from PCC Monroe

‘Ah, Mr President, maybe we need to have a chat about sin’: Francois Hollande meets the Pope as Valerie Trierweiler prepares to make her ‘last stand’ as French First Lady with charity trip to India from MailOnline

Ex-Vatican accountant hit with new money laundering charge from Yahoo! News

Interesting Magazine Cover from Galatians 4

Let us spray: Graffiti depicting the Pope as a superhero gets official approval from the Vatican, who tweet it to their 84,000 followers from MailOnline

One of Pope’s newest cardinals provokes fury at claim that homosexuality is a ‘physical defect’ that can be ‘cured’ from MailOnline

Pope Francis declares the internet a ‘gift from God’ – but warns that an obsession with the web can leave people isolated from MailOnline

Pope Francis’ historic mission to the Middle East:  The new Pope is popular because of his concern for the marginalised, but he is not neglecting Christian unity from MercatorNet

Pope Francis tells François Hollande: ‘We share a patron saint’ from The Telegraph

Pope Francis to the Davos wealthy: Stop thinking only of yourselves from Los Angeles Times

Pope Francis tweets his support for March for Life rally in Washington protesting legalized abortion on anniversary of Supreme Court’s historic Roe V Wade decision from MailOnline

Pope Francis wants to visit U.S. in 2015, sources say from CNN

Pope to USA’s Notre Dame U: Essential to uphold ‘Church’s moral teaching’ from LifeSite News

The belittling and bashing of the pontificate of Pope Benedict is accelerating from LifeSite News

The first rock ‘n’ roll pontiff? Pope Francis makes the cover of Rolling Stone from The Raw Story

Vatican accused of lack of transparency over 384 priests defrocked for assaulting children from The Independent

Earth’s Record 41 Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters of 2013

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Earth’s Record 41 Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters of 2013

Dr. Jeff Masters writes:

Earth set a new record for billion-dollar weather disasters in 2013 with 41, said insurance broker Aon Benfield in their Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report issued this week. Despite the record number of billion-dollar disasters, weather-related natural disaster losses (excluding earthquakes) were only slightly above average in 2013, and well below what occurred in 2012. That’s because 2013 lacked a U.S. mega-disaster like Hurricane Sandy ($65 billion in damage) or the 2012 drought ($30 billion in damage.) The most expensive global disaster of 2013 was the June flood in Central Europe, which cost $22 billion. The deadliest disaster was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed about 8,000 people in the Philippines. Six countries set records for most expensive weather-related disaster in their history, as tabulated by EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, and adjusted for inflation:

Germany, June flooding, $16 billion. Previous record: $15 billion in damage from the August 2002 Elbe River floods.
Philippines, Super Typhoon Haiyan, $13 billion. Previous record: $2.2 billion, August 2013 floods near Manila.
Austria, June flooding, $4 billion. Previous record: $3.1 billion in damage from the August 2002 floods.
Czech Republic, June flooding, $1.5 billion. Previous record: $0.3 billion in damage from the August 2002 floods.
New Zealand, Jan – May Drought, $1.6 billion. Previous record: $0.3 billion, January 2001 heat wave.
Cambodia, Oct – Nov floods, $1 billion. Previous record: $0.5 billion, August 2011 flood.

Read more:  http://ice2sea.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/earths-record-41-billion-dollar-weather-disasters-of-2013/

Dr. Walter Martin Investigates the Pre -Tribulation Rapture

HT to The Diary of a Slave for the below videos.

As far as I can determine, Dr. Martin was a Futurist, and so I disagree with his understanding of Daniel 9, Matthew 24, and 2 Thessalonians, 1 John, etc. (He understands all of the passages to be talking about the same person, ie. Antichrist, and I do not; He takes the one who puts an end to sacrifice in Daniel 9 to be Antichrist whereas I take the Historicist position that it is Christ; he is anticipating a future Great Tribulation whereas I take the Historicist/Preterist position the Great Tribulation was in AD 70; he throws many events into the future that I believe have already occurred, etc.).

See F.N. Lee on Matthew 23 and 24, with Added Notes from Gill for a Historicist understanding of Matthew 24.

I also do not think Dr. Martin accurately describes the position of the believing church for 1900 years — see Biblical Predictions not Preterist but Historicist by Rev. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee (pdf) for more information on this.

Nevertheless, these videos are still instructive as they pertain to the pre-tribulation rapture idea.  Dr. Martin argues that rest for the church comes when Christ returns, and on that he and I agree.

Brian Schwertley on the Pretribulation Rapture Doctrine

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“Whenever a Christian encounters a doctrine that has not been taught by anyone in any  branch of Christ’s church for over eighteen centuries, one should be very suspect of that teaching. This fact in and of itself does not prove that the new teaching is false. But, it should definitely raise one’s suspicions, for if something is taught in Scripture, it is not unreasonable to expect at least a few theologians and exegetes to have discovered it before. The teaching of a secret pretribulation rapture is a doctrine that never existed before 1830. Did the pretribulation rapture come into existence by a careful exegesis of Scripture? No. The first person to teach the doctrine was a young woman named Margaret Macdonald. Margaret was not a theologian or Bible expositor but was a prophetess in the Irvingite sect (the Catholic Apostolic Church). Christian journalist Dave MacPherson has written a book on the subject of the origin of the pre-tribulation rapture. He writes, “We have seen that a young Scottish lassie named Margaret Macdonald had a private revelation in Port Glasgow, Scotland, in the early part of 1830 that a select group of Christians would be caught up to meet Christ in the air before the days of Antichrist. An eye-and-ear witness, Robert Norton M.D., preserved her handwritten account of her pre-trib rapture revelation in two of his books, and said it was the first time anyone ever split the second coming into two distinct parts or stages. His writings, along with much other Catholic Apostolic Church literature, have been hidden many decades from the mainstream of Evangelical thought and only recently surfaced. Margaret’s views were well-known to those who visited her home, among them John Darby of the Brethren. Within a few months her distinctive prophetic outlook was mirrored in the September, 1830 issue of The Morning Watch and the early Brethren assembly at Plymouth, England. Early disciples of the pre-trib interpretation often called it a new doctrine.”2

John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), who was the leader of the Brethren movement and the “father of modern dispensationalism,” took Margaret Macdonald’s new teaching on the rapture, made some changes (she taught a partial rapture of believers while he taught that all believers will be raptured) and incorporated it into his dispensational understanding of Scripture and prophecy. Darby would spend the rest of his life speaking, writing and traveling, spreading the new rapture theory. The Plymouth Brethren openly admitted and were even proud of the fact that among their teachings were totally new ones which had never been taught by the church fathers, medieval scholastics, Protestant Reformers or the many commentators.

The person most responsible for the rather widespread acceptance of pretribulationalism and dispensationalism among Evangelicals is Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921). C. I. Scofield published his Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. This Bible, which espoused the doctrines of Darby in its notes, became very popular in Fundamentalist circles. In the minds of many a Bible teacher, fundamentalist pastor and multitudes of professing Christians, Scofield’s notes were practically equated with the word of God itself. If a person did not adhere to the dispensational, pretribulational scheme he or she would almost automatically be labeled a modernist.”

Brian Schwertley, “Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical?,” pp. 2-3

991609_23897016A Puritan Board discussion on the origins of the pretribulation rapture doctrine: http://www.puritanboard.com/f46/where-did-rapture-theology-originate-56088/

The Origins of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

F.N. Lee on Matthew 23 and 24, with Added Notes from Gill

These are my notes based on F.N. Lee’s work, The Olivet Discourse and The Destruction of Jerusalem in Prophecy [with some added notes from Gill’s Exposition  of the Entire Bible]:


Matthew 23:1-3 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

The disciples were to do as the Pharisees said and not as they did, for the Pharisees were very wicked.

Mathew 23:13  But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

The scribes and Pharisees refused to enter into Christ’s kingdom, but they were also hindering those who were trying to come into the kingdom.

Matthew 23:15  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

The scribes and Pharisees were children of the devil (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8-10; Matthew 23:31-36).  Their Gentile converts were twice as bad as they were because they were adding the practices of the scribes and Pharisees to their own depraved natures.  Whereas the scribes and Pharisees were damned, their converts were doubly damned.

Roberts_Siege_and_Destruction_of_JerusalemMatthew 23:31, 34  Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

Stephen was killed, Peter was crucified, and Paul and Barnabus were scourged and persecuted from city to city.  Christ sent messenger after messenger to the apostate Judaists, but His message was not heeded.

Matthew 23:35-36  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

God’s wrath would fall upon that very generation for being the children of those who killed the prophets, for actually killing Christ’s Apostles, prophets, wise men, and scribes, and for even demanding Christ’s own crucifixion.  God’s vengeance came in AD 70 when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed.

Matthew 23:37-38  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

The judgment of the scribes and Pharisees fell upon them when Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70.  Christ, however, showed the utmost love to the end, taking no pleasure in their destruction.  He compared himself to a hen, wishing to gather the scribes and Pharisees together as His elect, as a hen gathers her chicks, but they refused to come to him.  Per Calvin:  “God ‘wills’ to ‘gather’ all – so that all who do not come, may be inexcusable.”  Under Christ’s wings, they would have found safety, rest, and an impregnable refuge.

“Your house” = the Temple.  The Temple became the scribes and Pharisees’ house and was no longer called “God’s house.”  Until Calvary, the Temple was a sign that pointed to Christ, but after His death, it was left to unbelievers since it no longer served as a signpost for believers.  The desolation was to come on that generation, meaning the generation to whom Christ was speaking and who would be still living in AD 70 when the Temple was ultimately destroyed.

Nicolas Poussin - The Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem - Google Art ProjectMatthew 23:39  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The words may imply that the scribes and Pharisees would recognize Christ as blessed at their own judgments (Calvin), after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Clarke), and at the Last Day (Henry).  However, based on other similar scriptures, these words can also incorporate the idea that some of the Scribes and Pharisees and/or their descendants would come to Christ in faith (Romans 11).

Christ was called “blessed” on Palm Sunday and in AD 70, and He will be called blessed at the dawn of the postmillennial millennium and at the Second Coming.  The scribes and Pharisees and their descendants who rejected him will acknowledge Him as blessed but be damned themselves, whereas those who come to him in faith will both acknowledge Him as blessed and receive His blessing.  Some of these descendants WILL come to Christ after the fullness of the Gentiles comes in (Romans 11).

Luke 21:20-24  And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh…For these be the days of vengeance [that all things which are written may be fulfilled]… And they…shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

This parallel passage shows that the destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple would occur at the same time. This occurred under Titus in AD 70, within 4 decades or one generation from the time Jesus spoke these words.  Jerusalem was first surrounded by Jewish “armies” (v. 20) and then Roman armies (v. 24).  The Hebrew Christians escaped between the two “surroundings.”  God visited His vengeance upon the evil inhabitants of Jerusalem in accordance with His word:  Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar (the Pharisees or their forefathers had killed the prophets and would kill Christian prophets between that time and Jerusalem’s destruction).  The order of events is as follows:

  1. Jerusalem would fall to the Gentiles in AD 70.
  2. Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled.
  3. When the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled, the Jewish people will convert to Christ.
  4. The conversion of the Jewish people will be followed by a time of universal blessing in Christ upon the world [me:  ie. The Millennium].
  5. World history will end.

Cyril of Jerusalem and the destruction of JerusalemMatthew 24:1-3  And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

The disciples are primarily asking when the destruction of the Temple will happen.  Jesus’ answer relates to the events preceding the Temple’s destruction as well as to some of the events following it.  Footnote 3068:  “aioon means “age” — not “world.””  In other words, World = Age.  [The destruction of the Temple would have been considered the end of the world to the Jewish people; Me – to whom Matthew was primarily writing].

Matthew 24:4-5  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

This had already happened with Theudas and Judas of Galilee.  Later antichrists included Simon the Magician and the docetic antichrists [Dositheus, Menander, etc.].

Matthew 24:6-7  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

These verses refer to the wars between the Romans and their vassal states, as well as the skirmishes between Rome and Judaea, which culminated in AD 70 [Otho v. Vitellius v. Vespasian; The sedition under Cureanus, the 10,000 destroyed by cut-throats, in Ascalon, Ptolemais, Alexandria, Damascus, etc.  The Jews rose up against the Samaritans, Syrians, and Romans, who eventually destroyed them].  In addition, many famines, pestilences, and earthquakes hit the Roman Empire from the time Jesus spoke these words to the destruction of Jerusalem [including the earthquake at Jesus’ death and the famine predicted by Agabus in Acts].  Some of the recorded earthquakes during this time include:

 at Rome in 51 A.D.; at Phlegon in Asia Minor in 60 A.D.;  in Campania and in Crete in 63 A.D.; and also in Phrygia, Apanea, Laodicea and again in Campania (according to Tacitus and Suetonius). Indeed, in the decade 60-70 A.D. alone, earthquakes were recorded as having occurred in: Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome, and Judaea. Also, those of Herculaneum and Pompeii would soon follow [footnote 3076].

Nicolas Poussin - The Destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem - WGA18301
Matthew 24:8-13  All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

The persecutions of the early Christians happened from Pentecost onwards.  [Me:  and are recorded in Acts and elsewhere.  Peter, John, and Paul were “delivered up;” all of the Apostles except John were martyred.  False prophets = Simon Magus, Ebion, Cerinthus, Carpocrates, the Gnostics, the Nicolaitans, Hymeneus, Philetus, etc.].  The epistles in the New Testament give a hint of the abundance of iniquity during this time.  [Saved = temporal salvation from the destruction of Jerusalem].

Matthew 24:14  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

“Nations” = the inhabited Roman world (“Oikomeenee”).  This had been done by the mid-60’s.

“End” = end of that age and of the City of Jerusalem [The Jewish state, City, and Temple], NOT the end of the world.

Matthew 24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Abomination of desolation = Roman Army.  The abomination began in AD 66 with the desecration of Jerusalem by Roman ensigns (eagles=Roman military insignia, ie. Unclean vultures – cf. verse 28).  The full desolation occurred 3.5 years later.

Many in the Late-Mediaeval Church, all of the Pre-Reformation’s Scholars, and all of the Protestant Reformers saw the Romish Papacy’s desecration of the Christian Church as the further continuation of Pagan Rome’s desecration of the Ancient Temple.

[Stand in the holy place = surrounding the City, called holy because of the Temple and its worship.  The Roman armies first surrounded the City, then eventually breached it and literally stood in the Temple as they destroyed both the City and the Temple].

François-Joseph Heim - Study for Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans - Google Art ProjectMatthew 24:16-21  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

When Christ’s followers saw the Roman army, they were to flee for their lives.  [Me – they did indeed do this, escaping to Pella.  Here is Gill on Josephus:

When this signal is given, let it be taken notice of and observed; let them that are in the city of Jerusalem, depart out of it; or who are in any other parts of Judea, in any of the towns, or cities thereof; let them not betake themselves to Jerusalem, imagining they may be safe there, in so strong and fortified a place, but let them flee elsewhere; see Luke 21:21 and accordingly it is observed, that many did flee about this time; and it is remarked by several interpreters, and which Josephus (a) takes notice of with surprise, that Cestius Gallus having advanced with his army to Jerusalem, and besieged it, on a sudden, without any cause, raised the siege, and withdrew his army, when the city might have been easily taken; by which means a signal was made; and an opportunity given to the Christians, to make their escape: which they accordingly did, and went over Jordan, as Eusebius says (b), to a place called Pella; so that when Titus came a few months after, there was not a Christian in the city, but they had fled as they are here bidden to.

Mountain = mountain or other place of safety or refuge.  Many flew to Mount Libanus.

The desolation was to be so sudden that believers were not to stop to gather anything but just flee for their very lives.  They were to come down off their roofs by the outside ladders, not even going through their houses to escape lest they be caught and killed on the way.  The workers in the fields laid their outer clothes on the sides of the fields while they worked.  They were not even to turn back to grab them but just flee like Lot fleeing Sodom.  That is how sudden and swift the desolation would be].

This tribulation was the greatest the world has ever seen or will ever see (cf. Mark 13:19).  Any future tribulations will not be of this magnitude contra the view of Futurists with their rapture/tribulation understanding.  The passage says that more comes after “That Tribulation” (Mark 13:24) meaning AD 70 and therefore not a future tribulation of this magnitude.  On Pretribulationism:

Pretribulationism arose only in A.D. 1830. Then, breaking with the Protestant Reformation’s doctrine of the Papacy as the Antichrist — the unbalanced Margaret McDonald called the utopian socialist Robert Owen, in person, the Antichrist.”

The 3.5-year tribulation commenced in AD 66.5 and ended in AD 70 with Christ’s invisible and lightning-like coming in judgment.

Woe – it would almost be a complete genocide of those living in Jerusalem.

Wilhelm von Kaulbach - The Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus - WGA12102Matthew 24:22-28  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  Behold, I have told you before.  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 

The believers were to flee the wrath to come.  They were not to go forth to see Christ if they heard any sort of rumor that He was there.  [The Jews were expecting Messiah to deliver them from Roman powers, but Christ makes it clear that such would not happen either before or after AD 70.  False teachers during this time included Jonathan, Simon son of Giora, John, Eleazar, and Barcochab/Barcoziba.  Many followed after them and were slaughtered by the Romans in their rebellions against Rome.  The false teachers’ deceptions were so powerful that a believer might be partly deceived if it were possible, but such deception was not actually possible and no believers were actually deceived.  Jesus told them this ahead of time to show that he was the only true Messiah].

[Shortened = a lesser severity than Jerusalem deserved]

Lightning = Sudden, unexpected, filling the whole sky, ie. Fully visible.  Christ’s invisible coming in judgment on Jerusalem would be sudden and unexpected, but visible and seen to all, ie. not secret

Carcase = “the decomposing carcase of Jerusalem’s dying Judaism.”

Eagles = Roman armies, whose ensigns were eagles.  [Wherever the apostate Jews were, whether in Jerusalem or hiding elsewhere, the Roman armies would find them out].

Teachings of Jesus 37 of 40. stones shall be thrown down. Jan Luyken etching. Bowyer BibleMatthew 24:29-31  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Mark 13:24-25  But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,  And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

That tribulation, the tribulation of those days = AD 70

[Sun = Shekinah glory, the divine presence in the Temple, which had already departed the Temple but was still visible in the outward token of the mercy seat and the two cherubim over it – even that was now removed.

Moon = the ceremonial law, which the Church has under her feet (Revelation 12:1), shown as a moon because the Jewish religion was lunar-regulated.  Such ceremonial law was abolished in Christ but now was utterly destroyed with the Temple from the face of the earth].

Stars = World leaders [the Jewish rabbis and doctors who had departed from the law.

Powers of the heavens = the ordinances of the legal dispensation, now replaced with the ordinances of the gospel dispensation.  After the Temple was destroyed, there were no scholars of the degree there had been before.

Sign, clouds = Christ Himself, coming with wrath and vengeance on the apostate Jews.  The Jews were always seeking after a sign.  Their world would be so changed that it would be as if Christ had personally appeared to them in the heavens to announce that He had come and that He was no mere man (cf. Matt. 26:64).

Angels = human ministers of the gospel. Christ’s kingdom would suddenly extend far and wide.  After AD 70 especially, the gospel would go worldwide and Christ would bring many into His kingdom.

Trumpets = gospel.  An allusion to Moses’ silver trumpets or to the trumpet sounding the year of Jubilee.

Gather = bring into the kingdom.  Those who are saved will come into the Church].

Francesco Hayez 018Matthew 24:32-48  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. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;  And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;  The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,  And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

[Fig.  When all these things were happening, the believers were to know that the destruction was soon and with it, their deliverance from the Jewish persecutions.  The summer of the gospel dispensation was come].

“This generation” = the generation Christ was speaking to, who would be alive in AD 70.  The events prophesied occurred within 40 years or one generation of Christ’s words.  At that time, the Temple ordinances and the Old Testament administration were visibly destroyed.  [Some of the doctors of the law to whom Christ spoke and who were still living in AD 70 included “Rabban Simeon, who perished with it, R. Jochanan ben Zaccai, who outlived it” and R. Zadoch and R. Ishmael.

That day/hour refers to AD 70 and not to the second coming as many take it.  The year might be calculable from Daniel’s weeks, but not the day or the hour.  The destruction was on the 9th of Ab.

As the flood came unexpectedly in the days of Noah, so also would Christ’s coming in judgment be.  Also, the people were exceedingly sinful as in the days of Noah.  Their cares were this-worldly, not heavenly.  The people did not heed Noah, as they would not heed Christ.

Taken = killed or taken captive by the Roman army.

Left = delivered from the Roman army by God’s providence.

Hour.  The disciples were to be ready for Christ’s sudden and unexpected judgment.  The passage may also allude to Christ’s Final Coming, which he begins to speak about in parables following this passage.

Thief.  Again, Christ’s coming will be sudden and unexpected.  The disciples were therefore to be watchful of it.  When Christ’s desolating judgments and/or death come, all believers are to be prepared to meet Him by trusting in Him, etc.

Ruler = ministers.  Those who were leaders in the Church were to feed the Church meat, not milk.  They were to be faithful in their duties and would receive Christ’s heavenly reward accordingly.

Evil servants = Unredeemed people, ie. false professors, who would get their due punishment, ie, hell.

End of passage

 

Daily Mail: “Pope Francis baptises baby of an unmarried couple in the Sistine Chapel during Baptism Of The Lord mass at the Vatican”

Francisco (20-03-2013)

The Pope has previously spoken out to encourage priests to baptise the children of unmarried women in order to pass on the Christian faith, calling those who refuse ‘hypocrites’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2538097/Pope-Francis-baptises-baby-unmarried-couple-Sistine-Chapel-Baptism-Of-The-Lord-mass-Vatican.html

Daily Mail: “Pope Francis fires all but one cardinals who run Vatican bank just 11 months into their five-year term”

600px-Pope_Francis_in_March_2013All but one of a five-member panel that oversees the controversial Vatican bank has been fired by Pope Francis.

Four cardinals were given their marching orders by Francis on Wednesday.

Read more:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2540454/Pope-Francis-fires-one-cardinals-run-Vatican-bank-just-11-months-five-year-term.html