The Signs of the Coming of the Messiah

Now, let’s go back to the beginning of the chapter.  In Matthew 24:3,  Jesus was asked three separate questions:

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

The first question is:  what will be the sign of Your coming?

The second question is:  what will be the sign of the end of the age?

The third question is: when will these things be?

Jesus added two sets of information which the disciples did not ask about, which are: what needs to have happened already before the actual sign occur?  and what you need to avoid believing concerning the second coming?

So, let’s analyse all of these five points but in a different order:

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What is the Will of God?

Catholics say that God wants us to overcome evil within ourselves. In actual fact, esoteric christians believed that to become part of the Kingdom of God, you need to overcome evil in the sense that you need to learn to overcome your sense of aversion towards pain and suffering. Jesus Christ came to model this way of life by giving himself to be crucified by fallen men.

He said in Matthew 16: “24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Jesus also said in John 6:”48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died.50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Moreover, Peter who is the closest of the twelve disciple of Jesus Christ  said in 1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” This suffering here is not interpreted by esoteric Christians as a suffering that is inevitable, but a suffering that is willed by God to teach us to overcome aversion and become strong and powerful. Suffering is interpreted here as purposed in itself. There is no other true reason behind being exposed to evil like accomplishing a particular mission that God wants accomplished here on earth.

(Joshua 1:8-9 NIV) Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. {9} Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

(John 6:33 NIV) For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

(Romans 6:23 NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(1 Corinthians 4:20 NIV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

(1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

(Galatians 6:7-8 NIV) Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. {8} The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

(Ephesians 4:24 NIV) and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

(Hebrews 13:16 NIV) And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

 

 

 

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Jesus Method of Teaching: Between Symbolism and Literality

Symbolism in the Book of John

Symbol to the Word is like the Spirit to the Flesh, both Word and Flesh could be used either as a guide or as a trap.

[Nonverbal Reasoning – Type 1]

John 2

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things away; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise. 17And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of your house has consumed me.

The Passover is a traditional festival where the nation of Israel celebrates their freedom from slavery to the Egyptians. The first sentence “The Passover of the Jews was at hand” could either mean the traditional Mosaic Passover or could mean that Jesus was with them, thus their salvation was at hand.  He wanted to demonstrate here that the Israelites are still slaves even after Moses took them out of Egypt.  Jesus came to offer the Jews an opportunity for salvation. One of the signs of their slavery was their deep attachment to financial gain.

Moreover, the fact that Jesus talked to those who sold pigeons, in particular, is highly symbolic. Pigeons like all birds symbolise freedom. Cages, on the other hand, symbolise slavery and tradition. Pigeons’ traders could be a symbol for the Pharisees who kept the nation from recognising their saviour.

18Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign show you unto us, seeing that you do these things? 19Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Jesus used a metaphor to tell the religious leaders that the sign dwells in his ability to give life and sustain it. Of course, Jesus knew the Pharisees would only be able to judge what he said literally otherwise, they would have accused him of blasphemy. But he presented this metaphor not as a satisfactory answer to the Pharisees but so that some witnesses may believe after the resurrection:22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.]