If you are trying to make sense of the events that have transpired in the Middle East over the past 100 years or so, don't feel alone. What is driving the conflicts in the Middle East isn't due to any prophecy from the Bible as some people have claimed. John of Patmos didn't have a time machine or a crystal ball.
A major movement that is obviously affecting the events in the Middle East is called dispensationalism. It is a heavy influence in many of the churches and synagogues which while wearing the skin of a lamb, underneath lies a wolf. Much of what we THINK we know about the Bible doesn't come from the Bible, but from modern culture shaped along with our own political and personal belief systems. This would include "Good Sunday", Adam and Eve, and Who Killed Jesus?"
Modern day proponents of this movement are Hal Lindsay, John Hagee, Pat Robertson to name a few. People just assume that if they see it on TV, well it must be true. If an "authority figure" says it, it must be true. This gives people an excuse to not take responsibility for their lives. A genuine faith in Christ is an active faith. Allowing others to do the thinking for you so you don't have to think for yourself or take responsibility for your life is quite contrary to 'The one who is righteous will live by faith.'
Taken to its logical conclusion, dispensationalism would mean that its followers need to commit suicide like the Heaven's Gate cult did. Yet they won't. It goes to show that despite their claims that God is on their side, they actually don't believe in God's promise to Abraham about being a blessing to all nations. Dispensationalism denies Jesus as Messiah and it denies God's sovereignty.
The notion of being raptured up to heaven is dependent on destruction whether natural or man-made for it to work. So they go about trying to make it work by supporting war, persecutions, animal sacrifices among other things. Quite contrary to the doctrine that God so loved the world that he sent his only son to save us.
What was the point of cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit when it was not even in season? See Matthew 21 particularly versus 18–22; Luke 13:6–9 and Mark 11:12–21.
Pay attention to how the parable of the fig tree is bracketed with the cursing of the temple. That was done so that the reader would not miss the point of cursing the fig tree in the first place. If something is broken, you replace it. Jesus is the new temple (albeit spiritual temple in a spiritual kingdom).
More to the point, Matthew re-orients eschatological expectations away from the earthly city and temple and onto the resurrected Jesus. This theological shift away from the earthly city is painted literarily by the evangelist who concludes his Gospel with Jesus appearing to the disciples on another mountain, a nondescript location in Galilee (Matt 28:16). The exact geographical region is irrelevant; the significance is not on the place but on the person of Jesus. The ingathering of “all nations” will indeed take place, not through an earthly restoration but through the apostles’ ministry of baptism, through which the disciples will experience in the presence of Jesus, so that in being regathered, the restoration at the new temple is realized.
The Jews expected a messiah that was similar to King David or the Macabees. Something along the lines of a warrior king or politician driving out the Roman Empire. Instead, he come to us born, living and dying in poverty. Jesus lived amongst us, the blind, the loss, the oppressed, etc... Instead of driving out the Roman armies, he drove out the religious frauds who had occupied the Temple and lead people astray with their false teachings and empty motions of religion. This messiah had to bring himself to the lowest levels in order for us to have the chance of experiencing God's redeeming grace. This speaks to the nature of who God is. This is a far cry from the portrayal of a God that is only interested in death and destruction.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Posted by Chris F. at 4:23 PM