20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife.33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures[l] will gather.”
I must admit that as I was growing up in the Brethren church, I wondered why we had so many charts and in depth discussions about prophecy. We had a number of teaching series and retreats that tried to read the signs of the times and exhort us to more spiritual fervour in the present. It was only later in life that I realized that the father of dispensationalism, J.N. Darby, had founded the Plymouth Brethren, of which I was a part. Dispensationalism has a number of distinctives, but it stands out as a system when one looks at the end times. The idea of replacement theology, that Israel has been entirely replaced by the church, seems strange to me. The reconstitution of Israel in 1948 seems to speak of the fact that God is not done with Israel. Israel will be saved in future years by God’s grace through Christ. National Israel has promises in the Old Testament that are not fulfilled in the church. When Jesus returns he will come before the Great Tribulation and remove his own from the turmoil that is to follow. We call this the Rapture.
Because of the dispensational system I have received, I read the passage above in a certain way. I’d be interested how those who don’t consider themselves dispensational read it.
Jesus, the Kingdom of God has been established among us because you are our king. Help us to be ready for the day when you return and establish your reign on Earth.
- To whom is Jesus speaking?
- What is Jesus’ motive?
- What do Christians gain by knowing the end times?
- How should one approach the Left Behind series?
- Do you have a system that effects how you see the end times?