As mentioned at the conclusion of Part 2, we will now look at a few simple details that ruin the imaginary doctrine of “dispensational premillennialism.”
This verse is the coup de grace of premillennial dogma. Notice these words of our Lord:
“Verily I say to you, ‘This generation shall not pass away, till ALL these things be accomplished.’”
Let us reason together:
1. IF Jesus is Lord;
2. IF the Lord cannot lie;
3. IF Bible prophecy must be fulfilled in all detail;
4. THEN there must be several 2,000+ year old people wandering around Jerusalem waiting for “all these things” to be accomplished;
5. OR, perhaps the doctrine of “dispensational premillennialism” is false, and the Lord was actually referring to something that occurred during that generation.
Or to put it another way: Because of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:34, IF Matt. 24:4-35 is referring to any “end times” event, then one of three things MUST be true:
1. The people to whom Jesus spoke these words are still alive (and will continue to be alive until the end of time);
2. Jesus was wrong;
3. Jesus lied.
I believe this is what you’d call a “freebie.”
As noted previously, a generation typically lasts forty years. And something happened just forty years after Jesus spoke these words: the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, the prophecies of Matthew 24:1-34 were fulfilled 1,947 years ago!
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.”
These verses—or the popular interpretation of thereof—require some logical follow-up questions:
1. Why would Jesus tell people in Judea flee to the mountains when He returns?
2. Why would Jesus instruct those on the housetops/in the field not to waste time trying to grab anything when He returns?
3. Why would Jesus imply that His second coming is going to be more difficult for women who are pregnant/nursing?
4. Why would Jesus suggest praying that His second coming will not be in winter or on a Sabbath?
The observant reader will notice that the suggestions and indications of Jesus in these verses are all referring to flight—namely, flight from Jerusalem/Judea. The apostle Peter informs us that, when Jesus returns, He is going to destroy the entire physical universe (2 Pet. 3:10-13). Why, then, would Jesus so adamantly stress the urgency of fleeing at the time of His second coming? What safety or solace will there be in the mountains when Jesus destroys the entire physical universe? Did Peter forget to mention the extremely important information that the mountains will be unaffected by the Lord’s destruction of the universe? Why would Jesus lead His hearers to believe fleeing to the mountains would do them any good at that time? Would the spotless Lamb of God practice such deceit? We sinners had better hope not!
Someone might say, “He didn’t tell them to flee Jerusalem when they see Him coming—He said to flee when they see ‘the abomination of desolation.'”
To that I would say, “Well done. You are absolutely right. So that leads us to another question: What, exactly, is the ‘abomination of desolation’?” . . . .
As we have mentioned before, one of the simplest, and yet most crucial, rules of Bible interpretation is letting the Bible interpret (or provide commentary on/for) itself. The thing about Matthew 24 is it is not alone—for both Mark and Luke record the same discourse. Thankfully, Luke’s account is absolutely invaluable when it comes to the identity of the “abomination of desolation.” All we have to do is put the three accounts side by side:
DON’T MISS IT: “the abomination of desolation” = “Jerusalem surrounded by armies” (Lk. 21:20). In the margin of Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14, write “see Luke 21:20.”
The fact of the matter is, history has revealed that in A.D. 70, Jerusalem was, indeed, “surrounded by armies“—the Roman armies of Titus and Vespasian. History also reveals (per Josephus) that many, “when [they saw] Jerusalem surrounded by armies,” remembered Jesus’ words and heeded them, for they fled Jerusalem. They obviously did not understand Jesus to be talking about some epic, cataclysmic “end times” event connected with His “second” coming—a fact which both logic (see questions above), and Luke (21:20), make perfectly clear.
How ironic it is that Jesus included the parenthetical admonition: “let him that readeth understand” (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14).
If Matthew 24:4-35 is referring to any “end times” event, then one of two things MUST be true: (1) the people to whom Jesus spoke these words are still alive (and will live until the end of time); (2) Jesus is a liar. I believe you’d call that a “freebie.”
Notice these words recorded by the apostle John, which are supposedly telling of some future, literal “end times” battle between Jesus and Satan, called “Armageddon”:
“And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits, as it were frogs: for they are spirits of demons, working signs; which go forth unto the kings of the whole world, to gather them together unto the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. …And they gathered them together into the place which is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon.”
Apparently, the great Battle of Armageddon is going to be fought by—you guessed it—frogs. As Wayne Jackson aptly stated:
“Surely even the most inexperienced exegete ought to be able to discern the figures employed within this context. Are literal frogs literally going to come from the literal mouths of literal creatures to literally engage in battle on the literal plain of Megiddo?”*
No dispensationalist (no sane one, anyway) believes such a thing; but that is what the prophecy says, if one is to take such literally.
Furthermore, as Jackson likewise pointed out, “the plain of Megiddo is only about twenty miles long by fourteen miles wide, and that is much too small to accommodate a battle of the magnitude (hundreds of millions of soldiers) demanded by modern dispensational writers.”*
Is it not so much simpler, and does it not make so much more sense, to see in this (and all such) a figurative representation of the ongoing spiritual battle between God (i.e., Good) and Satan (i.e., Evil)? Sure it is—and that is exactly what almost the entire book of Revelation is. With the exception of the first three chapters, and the last two, there is not a single strictly literal event described—and even the final two chapters which describe actual places (i.e., either the church of Christ, or eternal heaven, or both respectively) are saturated with figurative, spiritual language.
Those with itching ears accept such fallacious doctrines without much difficulty or further examination because it is exciting; it is epic; it is entertaining. They ignore the evidence because they want entertainment; they want something “Biblical”—i.e., something other than the “boring” Word that God has given us.
Besides this, there is the apparent hope involved—for, they say, at some point after Jesus returns, all souls will be ushered into the saved state and eternal bliss! This also is contrary to Jesus’ own words (cf. Matt. 7:13,14,21-23).
Contrary to this desire for a Word other than God’s, this writer would submit that there is nothing more exciting than the true teachings of the word of God. The creation of the universe is exciting; God’s diligent and longsuffering work throughout these vaporous earth-ages is exciting; the ministry of Jesus is exciting; seeing so many OT prophecies fulfilled in Jesus, and even those of Himself from Himself, is exciting; the fact that the eternal “Word became flesh” (John 1:14) is exciting! And the fact that Jesus died on the cross so that I may live eternally in heaven with Him is exciting—and we owe our lives to Him, according to the Truth.
May we all remember what the Lord said in John 8:32—that only the truth can make one free. For those who desire, and teach, something other than the truth: How can they be free? When the Lord returns, it will not be to free anyone—and when that day comes, hope will no longer exist: for those who are in Him, their hope will turn to reality; for those outside of Him, their time is up.
“THEREFORE WE MUST PAY MUCH CLOSER ATTENTION TO WHAT WE HAVE HEARD, LEST WE DRIFT AWAY FROM IT. FOR…HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE, IF WE NEGLECT SO GREAT A SALVATION?”
— HEBREWS 2:1,3 —
* Jackson, Wayne. “Armageddon: The Next of the ‘Left-Behind’ Series.” Web. ChristianCourier.com. Stockton, CA. Emp. and ital. added.