The key to understanding
(1) The Early Church
(2) The Works of Josephus
These books are available at your local book store and the public library. I encourage you to check out for yourself the startling information about to be presented.
The teacher said "we don't really know what happened during the intermission between act one and act two."
I wanted to know what happened during intermission between Act 1 and Act 2 while the curtain of history was down. Have you ever wondered, what happened to the Apostles? Why did the early Christians expect a soon return of Jesus, but 2000 years later we are still waiting? All my life clergymen have been saying, "Jesus is going to return soon, perhaps tonight!" Generation after generation people go to their graves waiting. Did we miss something?
Seeking the answer, here is what I found on page 35 of Dr. Frend's book The Early Church.
So far we have been discussing the pagan and Jewish background to Christianity. We now turn to study the impact of the new religion on this many-sided ancient world. How did the primitive community appear to contemporaries, and how was it that after a generation of toleration by the Roman authorities, it was overtaken by the catastrophe of the Neronian persecution?
Significant of the Church’s slow spread through the Greco-Roman world is the silence of the Classical writers of the first century A.D. concerning it. Tacitus, Pliny the Younger and Suetonius all writing between 110-20 treat Christianity as a new phenomenon which has to be explained to their readers. Of the Jews, Philo does not mention the Crucifixion in his critical analysis of the career of Pontius Pilate which he wrote not much later than 41.1 Josephus mentions briefly John the Baptist and the martyrdom of James in 62 but about Jesus (except in the Slavonic version) he is silent. Conspiracy or insignificance? We do not know, though one suspects the latter. So, the historian is thrown back on the Christian sources, on the Pauline Epistles written between 49 and 62, on Mark’s Gospel, on Luke— Acts written up slightly later, and Matthew as representing the tradition of the Church in Palestine and Syria post 70. In the Gospel of Thomas he may also have an early Aramaic tradition, though much distorted by later Gnostic editing, and he would be wise to accept one of the traditions behind John as Judaean and dating back to before the fall of Jerusalem. It is not very much. The Christians hoped that the bridegroom would not tarry. Only when the Parousia was delayed and Christians had lived and died in the Church was the oral tradition of Jesus’ life and teaching reduced to writing.
There is, however, one other check on the meager information regarding the life of the primitive Church contained in Acts, namely, the Scrolls. The Dead Sea covenanters were contemporaries with Jesus and his disciples. They too believed themselves to be the elect of Israel, the community of the poor awaiting the arrival of the Messianic kingdom, and from time to time their writings shed a quite unexpected light on otherwise obscure passages in the Christian Scriptures.
In the quotation above you read "In 110-120 AD all writings treat Christianity a new phenomenon which has to be explained to their readers."
How can this be? that 80 years after the Crucifixion, and 80 years after the Apostles were given the great commission to tell the world, that Christianity is a new religion? By this time there Christianity should have been well known and well established. There should have been thousands of churches and Christians everywhere.
Today, 2,000 years later, many Christians expect Jesus Christ to return 'soon'. Many denominations expect a Rapture wherein large numbers of Christians will suddenly disappear to be with the Lord in heaven. This is a major focus of most conservative Christians.
But the Apostles and early Christians expected a very soon return and that, they believed, surely by 120 AD, the Second Coming would have already taken place and been history.
The New Testament shows a Church in a race against time. The early church expected Jesus return in the near future, not the distant future. For just one example we read in Matthew 10:23 "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."
The number of cities was much smaller at that time and the Apostles need only to go over all the cities of Israel, not all the cities of the world, not even the cities China, India, Australia as modern day evangelists have done. Today there is no city on Earth that has not heard of Christianity and Jesus Christ. Did this prophecy fail? Or did we, and they, miss something?
Now look at page 38 of The
Early Church. In the New Testament we find Paul was in a hurry. The
Apostles and Disciples expected the Second Coming soon, not hundreds or
thousands of years later.
For the next decade the Church’s history is dominated by Paul and
his fellow apostles, Barnabas primarily, but there were others such as
Apollos, Epaphras, Epaphroditus and Junias. Their activities amounted to
a vast proselytizing mission in Gentile country, carried out with the
utmost vigor. What the Pharisees had attempted to do - and John the
Baptist’s followers had shown the way at Ephesus and Alexandria—Paul and
his friends set out to achieve. They
aimed at preaching the Gospel from one end of the Mediterranean to the
other before the Last Day overtook them. There can be no doubt
that Paul hoped to reach Spain and Illyricum, and the determination with
which he traversed some of the roughest country in Asia Minor in the
face of every type of peril showed the zeal and mettle of the man. It
was desperate work, for the Gentile world had somehow or other to be
given the chance of repentance while
there was yet time.
"before the Last Day overtook them" In their lifetime! These people knew and were taught by Jesus or knew people who were. Two thousand years later we might misunderstand some things written long ago and in a different language, but they should have had no misunderstanding of Christ's teaching.
Matthew 23:36: Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
Matthew 34:24: Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Luke 21:32: Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
When ask about this many clergymen say "generation" means "race" rather than the people standing there who, if they lived another 40 years, would see Jesus return and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD.
Luke 23:28: But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
These are the very people whose children were destined to die years later when Rome came against Jerusalem 40 years later. (However, those standing there who became Christians would have been saved having headed the warning in Luke 21: 20-23.
20. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with
armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
Now let's look at the beginning
of chapter 4 on page 46 of Dr. Frend's book..
The years that followed the fall of Jerusalem are among the most obscure in the life of the primitive Church. The Church is still basically a Jewish body, its organization and worship modeled on that of the synagogue and its relations with the outside world seen principally through Jewish eyes. In Palestine it fights for survival, while in the Dispersion it begins gradually to win over the outer circle of synagogue inquirers and to make headway among the pagan provincials. Despite eschatological expectations portrayed in the darkest of apocalyptic hues, in which the pagans are represented as enemies and persecutors doomed to everlasting destruction, it seldom comes to the notice of the authorities. The repression under Domitian, if such it was, the brief correspondence between Pliny and Trajan in I12 - 13, and Hadrian’s rescript to Minucius Fundanus, Proconsul of Asia in circa 125, are isolated events amid decades of silence.
The End of Act 1
With the destruction of Jerusalem Act 1 is over and the curtain of history falls. As far as we know Jesus did not return at that time but the Christians did disappear from the Earth as if there were some kind of a rapture!
WE know Christians
did not perish in Jerusalem because, having been warned, Christians were not
in or even any where near 70 AD Jerusalem. The Jews* died in Jerusalem and
the Christians* disappeared from the pages of history.
|* In this paper, 'Jews' is not a racial term but rather a national term like Americans. Americans are of many religions. Many of them are Catholics. Most of the others are Protestants. Likewise, those Judeans who believed Jesus are called, in this paper, Christians, Those Judeans who did not accept Jesus are called, in this paper, Jews.|
Christians flee Jerusalem while Jews gather therein
Luke 21:20-21 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
In Josephus history book, The Wars of the Jews, (Found in The Works of Josephus mentioned above) you will find that, just before the destruction Jerusalem, rejecting Judeans from all over the world gathered together and did 'entered thereinto'.
Here are some quotes about these silent decades from Chapter 4 of the history book, The Early Church
|For Rome, Judaism both as a political force and as an erosive propaganda was still the main pre-occupation. Exuere patriam, —to desert (the law of) the country and one’s ancestors, and to spurn the accepted ethic and religion was the reproach against the convert to Judaism. As Juvenal shows in a satire written circa 125, the process of conversion was often subtle, lengthy, but in the end complete. It was probably through Judaism that Domitian’s ‘persecution’ of the Christians arose.|
It seems to me,
Domitian was persecuting Christians, not because they were Christians, but
because the Jews that escaped from 70 AD Jerusalem blamed some of their own
mischief on the Christians. Now page 54.
At least this is a possible explanation for the events in Rome in 95 A.D., at the end of Domitian’s reign. Then, we hear from Dio Cassius that the Emperor had his cousin and heir presumptive Flavius Clemens and his wife Flavia Domitilla arrested, together with the consul for the year 95, Acilius Glabrio.Clemens and Domitilla were charged with ‘atheism’ in that they had ‘slipped into Jewish customs’, and they were condemned, Clemens and Glabrio to death, Domitilla to exile on the island of Pantellaria.
There is the usual difficulty over the evidence. Dio does not say that any of these nobles were Christians, but, though he was writing in 225 in Bithynia, one of the most Christianized provinces of the Empire, he never mentions Christianity!
Even so, when Domitian was assassinated in September 96 A.D., and his successor Nerva recalled the exiles, the coin which commemorated these events spoke of ‘abuses of the Jewish tax’ being abolished. Moreover, while the catacomb of Domitilla was Christian by the mid-second century or a little later, it was not so originally, when Domitilla granted the land for the benefit of her freedmen.
All one can say is, that perhaps Christianity had something to do with the ‘Jewish customs’ into which Clemens and Domitilla fell. Even so, a lawyer named Pliny had been in Rome at the time, and could write to Trajan seventeen years later that ‘he had never been at a trial of Christians’.
You just read, "in 225 (about 200 years after Christ's founding of the church, in Bithynia, one of the most Christianized provinces of the Empire, he (Dio) never mentions Christianity!"
"Even so, a lawyer named Pliny had been in Rome at the time, and could write to Trajan seventeen years later that ‘he had never been at a trial of Christians’."
Moving on to Chapter 5, Page 60 of The Early Church
With the second capture of Jerusalem we reach the end of the Judaeo-Christian period of the Church’s history. As we have seen, up to now much of its outward form and many of its aspirations had been Jewish, Jewish in the dominance of apocalyptic, Jewish in its defensive arrogance towards the pagan world, Jewish in its tight set little communities with their strict internal discipline, their hierarchical structure, and also their social conscience. In 130 a traveler through the cities of Asia Minor might be excused if he failed to differentiate adequately between the old and the new Israel, for amid all their mutual execrations, was it not merely a question of one group fasting on Mondays and Thursdays and the other on Wednesdays and Fridays? If the Christians were harmless it was only because there were not many of them. Had not the Jewish-Christian prophet Elchesai foretold a colossal apocalyptic war on the Romano- Parthian frontier; and had not this been fulfilled in 115? Yet, of those who had been attracted by the confident prophecies of the end of the world many had fallen away.
How many of today's Christians have fallen away because they had been attracted to a soon coming end of the age teaching which has not come.
2 Peter 3:3-4. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4. And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
Intermission is over.
The curtain rises. Act 2 starts.
The modern church begins.
Recall the religion
teacher told the class. "It is if a curtain went down and when it arose the
church was there and we do not know what happened in those lost years."
Page 60 continued.
But some pagans had inquired further, and by 130 there were men, such as Justin of Neapolis (Nablus in Samaria), who having tried every philosophy from Stoicism, through the Peripatetics to Platonissn, finally turned to Christianity. Christian teaching and Christian bravery in face of death had converted him, and he was not alone. The influx of Greeks into the Church, however, was bringing its own problems. A century later, Origen had a pertinent remark to make on the effect of the Christian message on thinking Greeks of Alexandria.
So then, since Christianity appeared to men as something worthy of serious attention, not only to people of the lower classes as Celsus thinks, but also to many scholars among the Greeks, sects inevitably came to exist, not at all on account of factions and love of strife, but because several learned men made a serious attempt to understand the doctrines of Christianity. The result of this was that they interpreted differently the scriptures universally believed to be divine, and sects arose named after those who, although they admired the origin of the word, were impelled by certain reasons which convinced them to disagree with one another.
Here we have learned men (now called Church Fathers) finding old documents. They were reading the writings of the Apostles and others. Liking what they read, they established churches and taught the doctrines of Jesus and the Apostles as best they could forming various disagreeing churches. From here we get the Catholic Church and from the Reformation the Protestant Churches.
What we were taught v. What the history book reports
I was always told that Christianity was started by Jesus and grew steadily ever since even in times of persecution. This history book tells a different story. The history books say Christianity was founded by Jesus but it disappeared for a time and was reestablished to grow continually ever since.
The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD
Did Rome burn the temple or did someone else light the fire?
I was always told that the Roman General Titus came against Jerusalem. I was told that Titus killed the innocent Jews of Jerusalem. I was told that Titus burned their temple and Titus destroyed the city.
When I read the history book for myself I found out that all this was not so. The whole account is recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus in The Wars of the Jews.
Can a prophecy be fulfilled more than once?
1. Many believe that The Book of Revelation describes this past time of trouble and was fulfilled in Jerusalem's destruction. For example, the book Days of Vengeance by David Chilton claims that 70 AD was a fulfillment. To see Chilton's point of view that Revelation was fulfilled in the old Jerusalem you can read Chilton's book.
2. There are those who believe that the fulfillment of Revelation has been an ongoing process over the past 2000 years.
3. Some believe that fulfillment is yet future. Many even believe that Revelation describes events at the end of the age here in the United States. They believe that the United States is the New Jerusalem and that Ezekiel 38 predicts a Chinese invasion.
Which is correct? 1, 2 or 3? Most will chose one or the other concluding that two out of three are wrong. But perhaps 1, 2 and 3 are all correct to some extent. Many people say "the Bible is a living book". If that is so, then the Bible will always be true in any age, and therefore 1, 2 and 3 will all be true.
However, Matthew 24 does speaks of a one time, never to be repeated event.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
You can read all about 70 AD Jerusalem in Josephus and decide for yourself if Matthew 24:21 is past or yet future.
The history of the destruction of Jerusalem is found in Josephus The Wars of the Jews, Book 2, Chapter 17 to the end of Book 7. Bible students should read it for themselves.
Josephus tells about a time of apostate seditious Jewry upon whom God was bringing great tribulation. And for the most part, the Jews did it to themselves by killing each other, provoking other peoples to hate and kill them and by rebelling against Rome. Every time the Romans came as a police force to put an end to the disturbances and restore law and order the Jews stopped fighting each other, joined together, and fought against the Roman Army.
Proverbs 26:17. He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.
Josephus says, "for I venture to affirm that the sedition destroyed the city, and the Romans destroyed the sedition, which it was a much harder thing to do than to destroy the walls; so that we may justly ascribe our misfortunes to our own people, and the just vengeance taken on them to the Romans; as to which matter let every one determine by the actions on both sides." Josephus in Book 5.6.2
"But in reality it was God who condemned the whole nation, and turned every course that was taken for their preservation to their destruction." Josephus in Book 5.13.5
"And here I cannot but speak my mind, and what the concern I am under dictates to me, and it is this: I suppose, that had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains, that the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been overflowed by water, or else been destroyed by such thunder as the country of Sodom perished by, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical than were those that suffered such punishments; for by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed." Josephus in Book 5.13.7
I was always told that the Roman General Titus came against Jerusalem. I was told that Titus killed the innocent Jews of Jerusalem. I was told that Titus burned their temple, and Titus destroyed the city.
The Burning of the Temple
5. So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Ab,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon; although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, . . . . . . . Josephus 6.4.6
The Jews had
dividend into three opposing factions. One tried to drive the other out of
the temple by setting the fire.
Here is just one example of how Revelation and Josephus tie together.
Revelation 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
JOSEPHUS - THE WARS OF THE JEWS BOOK 5 - CHAPTER 1
CONCERNING THE SEDITIONS AT JERUSALEM, AND WHAT TERRIBLE MISERIES AFFLICTED THE CITY BY THEIR MEANS
1. (1) When therefore Titus had marched over that desert which lies between Egypt and Syria, in the manner fore mentioned, he came to Cesarea, having resolved to set his forces in order at that place, before he began the war.
(2) Nay, indeed, while he was assisting his father at Alexandria, in settling that government which had been newly conferred upon them by God, it so happened that the sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and parted into three factions, and that one faction fought against the other: which partition in such evil cases may be said to be a good thing, and the effect of divine justice.
(3) Now as to the attack the zealots made upon the people, and which I esteem the beginning of the city’s destruction, it hath been already explained after an accurate manner; as also whence it arose, and to how great a mischief it was increased;
(4) but for the present sedition, one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition, and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.
4. (21) And now there were three treacherous factions in the city, the one parted from the other. Eleazar and his party, that kept the sacred firstfruits, came against John in their cups. Those that were with John plundered the populace, and went out with zeal against Simon. This Simon had his supply of provisions from the city, in oppositions to the seditious.
6. And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them (the Romans) to quench the fire. Josephus 6.4.6
. . . and Titus supposing what the fact was, that the house itself might yet he saved, he came in haste and endeavored to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire, and gave order to Liberalius the centurion, and one of those spearmen that were about him, .... And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar's approbation. Josephus 6.4.7
God caused Jews from all over
the world came to Jerusalem, they entered the city and never came out alive.
Below you will find the foot notes found in Book 6, Chapter 9.
|The whole multitude of the Jews that were destroyed during the entire seven years before this time, in all the countries of and bordering on Judea, is summed up by Archbishop Usher, from Lipsius, out of Josephus, at the year of Christ 70, and amounts to 1,337,490. Nor could there have been that number of Jews in Jerusalem to be destroyed in this siege, as will be presently set down by Josephus, but that both Jews and proselytes of justice were just then come up out of the other countries of Galilee, Samaria, Judea, and Perea and other remoter regions, to the passover, in vast numbers, and therein cooped up, as in a prison, by the Roman army, as Josephus himself well observes in this and the next section, and as is exactly related elsewhere, B. V. ch. 3. sect. 1 and ch. 13. sect. 7.|
|This number of a company for one paschal lamb, between ten and twenty, agrees exactly with the number thirteen, at our Savior's last passover. As to the whole number of the Jews that used to come up to the passover, and eat of it at Jerusalem, see the note on B. II. ch. 14. sect. 3. This number ought to be here indeed just ten times the number of the lambs, or just 2,565,(D0, by Josephus's own reasoning; whereas it is, in his present copies, no less than 2,700,(D0, which last number is, however, nearest the other number in the place now cited, which is 3,000,000. But what is here chiefly remarkable is this, that no foreign nation ever came thus to destroy the Jews at any of their solemn festivals, from the days of Moses till this time, but came now upon their apostasy from God, and from obedience to him. Nor is it possible, in the nature of things, that in any other nation such vast numbers should be gotten together, and perish in the siege of any one city whatsoever, as now happened in Jerusalem.|
Notice from the footnotes.
1. The whole multitude of the Jews that were destroyed during the entire seven years before this time, in all the countries of and bordering on Judea, is summed up by Archbishop Usher, from Lipsius, out of Josephus, at the year of Christ 70, and amounts to 1,337,490. Perhaps, by the time this was over, 3,000,000 Jews may have perished, many at the hands of other Jews..
2. That's 1.3 million before the siege of Jerusalem. That additional Jews and proselytes came up out of the other countries of Galilee, Samaria, Judea, and Perea and other remoter regions, to the Passover in the city of Jerusalem, in vast numbers, and therein cooped up, as in a prison, by the Roman army
3. But what is here chiefly remarkable is this, that no foreign nation ever came thus to destroy the Jews at any of their solemn festivals, from the days of Moses till this time, but came now upon their apostasy from God, and from obedience to him. Nor is it possible, in the nature of things, that in any other nation such vast numbers should be gotten together, and perish in the siege of any one city whatsoever, as now happened in Jerusalem.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. You can read all about it for yourself.
Luke 23:28 - But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. (because in 40 years this city shall be overthrown and it's inhabitants, your children, shall be killed.)
Matthew 16:4 - A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
The sign of the prophet Jonas
Matthew 12:39: But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
This sign is often thought of as three days in the whale and three days in the tomb. But there are two signs.
(1) Three days and three
nights in the belly of the whale.
The first sign was Jesus three days in the tomb. With the second sign Jesus said that Jerusalem had forty years to repent or be destroyed. Jerusalem did not repent and exactly forty years later the 'evil and adulterous generation' and the city was destroyed.
So there you have it.
1. The good seed gathered into his barn. (Christian disappearance.)
2. The tares gathered into bundles and burned. (70 AD Jerusalem.)
3. Only the gleanings* of Christianity and the gleanings of Jewry were left.
4. The Christians gleanings rose from the dust the rule the world for over 1000 years in the nations called Christendom. The gleanings of Jewry lived in the Christian nations as tares in a wheat field.
5. The barley harvest (first resurrection) is past. The wheat harvest is yet future.
God obeys his own laws
Leviticus 19:9-10: And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
Matthew 13:30: Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
The crop was gathered into the barn. This was the apparent disappearance of Christians and Christianity at the end of Act 1.
The tares were gathered into bundles and destroyed in and just before 70 AD Jerusalem.
God obeyed his own law about gleanings. The gleanings left after the first harvest grew into present day Christianity and Jewry. The final end of the age harvest is mentioned in our future.
The Wheat Harvest
Many Clergymen talk about a first resurrection and a second resurrection. They also talk about a barley harvest and a wheat harvest. They talk about an prophetic early rain and a latter rain. And they look upon ALL this as yet future.
The author's conclusion is that:
1. The barley harvest, first resurrection is past.
2. Today's Christians and Jews are the descendants of the barley harvest gleanings.
3. The wheat harvest, second resurrection is yet future.
4,. The Day of The Lord follows. Like the flood of Noah, this is another plowing under of the field.
1 Thessalonians 4
15. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that
we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not
prevent them which are asleep.
16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
The above verses say, "we" not "our descendants in the far future". The early Christians having been 'raptured' disappeared from the pages of the history books. That is why we don't know much about early Christianity or what happened the Apostles.
The Judeans were almost exterminated because of the Crucifixion of Jesus and failure to repent within the forty years allowed.
Concerning prophesy, if you miss it in the past, then you expect it in the future.
For example, think on this as the day of judgment approaches.
Think about how America has changed since the end of World War Two. The change in music, the loss of manufacturing, our churches going silent, the establishment of Big Box stores filled with foreign merchandise. The increasing power of Hollywood and television programming to control our thinking..
22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of
pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee;
What people call music today is not music to my ears. I can not make out the words (voice) of most songs.
and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee;
Craftsmen are being put out of work by outsourcing and plant closings, Made in China etc.
and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
Factories (mills) are being closed. Chrysler went bankrupt. General Motors and Ford are about to go bankrupt. More and more of America's mills are silent and abandoned. If you are planning to train for a job, don't train to be a craftsman or factory worker. Notice the words 'no more'.
23. And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee:
Today's Judeo-Christian churches where motivational speakers pass as Clergymen. Silent Churches.
for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; .
WalMart, Halliburton, and other multi-national companies associated with the present administration. The military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned against.
for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived
Many believe that NBC, CBS, ABC, ADL, radio talk shows and Hollywood movies are described here.
The future of those who do not qualify to be in the Wheat Harvest, the Day of The Lord.
1 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: (Noah's Flood)
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
What goes around comes around.
Ecclesiastes 1: 9. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
A past plowing
Genesis 1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
A past planting to replenish the Earth
Genesis 1:26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
The New Heavens and New Earth
In a school classroom, sometimes it is not enough to erase a blackboard. It must be washed. Likewise the Earth. After a time corruption is just too great. With of all the secret societies, international banker conspiracies, genetic engineering of a plants and animals, a plowing or burning is necessary and everyone starts over.
2 Peter 3: 13. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
A new heaven means a new sky, perhaps a pole shift, and a new Earth, perhaps even new land maps.