70th AD 'End Of The World'

Corona virus came and once again I hear Christians say 'these are the signs of the end of the world'. Thus it is easy to think that the bible has a coherent teaching of how the world will end. Actually it has non! When you take the priest by the shirt and press him against the wall, he now switch gears. Tell him that the Christians of the first century were also saying 'Jesus is comming soon'. He now releases the famous joker card (unwittingly bought by new age): God is beyond human understanding. By  'Jesus is comming soon' we mean 'Jesus will come any time' or 'Jesus's comming is certain'. You know to God, a thaosand years is like one day! So they unwittingly admit that 'Jesus is comming soon' is a roundabout way of saying 'we don't know when Jesus will come'. It is a 'knowledge' envelope used to package ignorance. But is this moving bone of 'soon' what early Christians and Jesus himself meant? Nope! You will see.

When you say that Jesus was mistaken about when the world would end, Christians begins to fume. After all their master is supposed to be omniscient. However Jesus himself said he did not know when the world would end. So their master was not so cocky after all. But if you don't know when the world will end, then you don't know if it is 'soon' or 'latter'. Infact you can't even be sure if it will ever end at all! Christians should stop pretending.

The Kingdom Of God Is Near

Our understanding of the historical Jesus is tainted by our modern understanding of government as something seperate from religion. Therefore a story- telling, physically impotent 'messiah' who is ironically himself got and killedmakes some sense to us. Not so to the ancient Jews and early Christians. A 'messiah' was supposed to triumph over the earthly government, especially the Roman Empire, and then restore kingdom of Israel to the 'son of David'. So the message that the 'kingdom of God is near' was understood as amongst other things, 'the Roman Empire will soon be uprooted'. That is why Romans were not comfortable with the message. Early Christians were nothing like the modern pacifists that the governments so love them as they pose no threat to the government.

If you understand that the 'kingdom of God' was supposed to be the worldly alternative to the Roman Empire, then you will now understand why the message that 'the kingdom of God is near' was litteral. It meant soon, you will nolonger see these tax collectors and gentile overloads in our land. It is just the kingdom which God himself establishes. But sinse  people can take action and then claim that 'God is using them' an earthly messiah could have as well lead an army, overthrew Rome and then claim that God has finaly brought his kingdom by acting through them. So the belief in the nearness of the kingdom of God was of real concern to governments, unlike in modern times where the 'kingdom of God' have been spiritualized into irrelevance'. It now means anything, from something in the 12th dimension to a figment in people's hearts.

Jesus knew that his disciples were especting the end of Rome to be ushered in by the Messiah. It is clear also that he too believed so. The only difference is that he thought that it will be done by supernatural means, not via human military might. He knew that such a human effort to bring in 'kingdom of God' was futile from what happened afer the Hanukkah wars in apparent fullfilment of the prophecies of Daniel. So  Jesus understood that the fulfilment of Daniel 2:45 where the rock is cut but but not by human hands must be more litteral than what Hasmonneans believed during the Hanukkah wars. In other words much of Jesus's teaching of what his kingdom was not is that it was not yet another 'Hasmoneaen dynasty' which was a comic failure to eastablish a 'kingdom of God' in Israel, let alone the entire world, in a forced fullfilment of Daniel.

The Destruction Of Jerusalem 

Christians  have understood the so called 'olivet summon' such as the one recorded in Mathew 24 as to be referring to how the world will end. Some have even thought that the current zionist country of Israel is a fulfilment of ancient prophesy and that it will once again build a third temple. But this is simplistic. Jesus was specifically answering the question as to when the ancient Jerusalem would be destroyed. It only got connected to the 'end of the world' because it was widely believed at then that the triumphant messiah will come right after the destruction of Jerusalem. This is drawn from zechariah chapter 12 amongst other scriptures. It appears that Jesus himself held this belief and must have taught his disciples but it isn't recorded. 

So jesus was talking about what would happen in his own generation, at around 70th AD when Jerusalem was destroyed. So when Jesus said that 'all this will happen in this generation' he was litteral (Mathew 24:34). Since Jesus did not come in 70th AD, we must conclude that Jesus was mistaken.

To add another weight to the idea that Jesus and his disciples thought that the world would end in their generation, consider the book of revelation where Jesus is depicted as a military king who will triumph over the beast, which is clearly Roman Empire.

True Prophets?

To understand the bible prophecies  we must not be drawn into these two common false dilemmas. One is that either the prophets could see future and their message was infallible word of God or they could not see the future and non of the prophecies were ever true prophesies. Another dilemma is that if the prophets did see the future, then they were either the agents of God or the agents of the devil. From this, some skeptics go ahead to constract absurd theories where all the prophecies, e.g. Jesus prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem were vaticinum ex-eventu. But a similar prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem is found in Zechariah, as we have seen, and obviously it wasn't a vaticinium ex-eventu.

So a good conclution is that the prophets in the bible sometimes could see the future, yet they were still fallible. There are some reasons why it could be so. One is that they were somehow tapping into 'divine plans' , perharps with the help of angels such as how it is recorded in the book of Daniel. The point is that God himself was not revealing them. They were surreptitiously peeping into 'divine books'. So the plans might have simply been altered without them realizing.

Another idea is that 'time' is like a spatial dimension where the future events can, in principal, be seen much like the way we can see the road ahead where we are going to. This does not require God or other omniscient beings. It us just the physical nature 'time' . If this is the  case, then some people might see into the 'future'. But just like in space, the sight is not infallible. When we see up in the sky, we think that the clouds are just next to the moon. We are oblivious of a space between the moon and the clouds that is bigger than the space between the earth and the clouds. Same might  have happened to the Jewish prophets when they saw the 'future'. They were interested only with temple based Judaism which came ti an end in 70th AD. So they saw the end as though to be just next to it!

 

 

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  • Indeed we can say that the Jewish 'psychics' saw 'the end of the world' in 70 th AD. It is partially true to say 'the world ended in 70th AD. It ended 'for the Jewish nations'. Much of the bible is centered around jews, of course. So we expect even the prophecies to be so! So they did not 'see' any event that concerns them between 70th AD and the second coming of Jesus. To them 'time stops' at 70th AD!

    Now lets close examine revelation chapter 17. The prophet talks of 8 kings, which can be seen as the 8 Roman Emperors that ruled up to 70 AD. This confirms once again that the bible's 'end times' prophecies sees future upto 70th AD! The 8 kings are (in the order of their reigning periods):

    1.)Aughustus
    2. )Tiberius
    3 .)Caligula
    4.)Claudius
    5.)Nero
    6.)Galba
    7.)Otho
    8.)vitellius

    The last one of these reigned in 69 AD. From this we can date Revelation writting to be 68 AD, during the reign of Galba. This is because the prophet said: '..five of them have fallen, one is and the other is yet to come...'. So the prophet was writting at the time of the 6th emperor.

    But what follows is tantalizing! The prophet then correctly foretold that the next one 'will only reign for a short time'. Indeed Otho ruled only for 3 months. Then finally the prophet correctly saw that before 70th AD, there will only be 8 Roman Emperors. We can conclude this way because Jesus's Apostles believed that the world would end at the destruction of Jerusalem!

    So if you want to say that the prophecy was written after the events (to deny possibility of prophecy), you arrive at the same problem as you do if you try to say that the gospel's foretelling of the first Jewish-Roman war was also written after the event: why then could they not see that Jesus did not come at 70th AD? If they were writing it to fool people that Jesus and his apostles foresaw these, why would they include a blatantly false prediction? I mean this will be self defeating!

    The same problem is also there in Daniel's foretelling of events around Antiochus ephiphane. If we want to say that the prophet was writting it after the events, we are left with a big question: why did he say that 'resurrection took place' and other things that did not take place after Antiochus?
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