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December 14, 2013

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A careful reading of the Scripture will reveal a common theme: Many of the early authors of the New Testament expected Jesus to return before there would ever be a need for a multi-generational eyewitness record. They worked urgently to tell the world about Jesus, believing He would return to judge the living and the dead within their lifetime.

The "end times" Jesus and the Apostles taught about was the end of the Old Covenant Age around 70 A.D. So yes, the language of immanency made sense in that context. A contextual reading of the Gospels reveals that when Jesus uses "this generation" and the pronoun "you," he is speaking to his immediate hearers, not a far-off generation. Logically, then, many of His immediate hearers did indeed live to see the total destruction of the Old Covenant which began with the tearing of the Temple veil at Jesus' death.

It is our current interpretation of what "End Times" signifies that causes us to see it in a decidedly modern light. The language of the New Testament, if read plainly, is directed to the people to whom the letters were written.

The Bible was written for us, not to us.

Excellent point, Perry. I think that one of the reasons that at least Luke's gospel might have been written was because the Jewish War of 70 AD that had started up around 68 AD, and the Christians knew what Jesus had predicted, so they figured since some of the original eyewitnesses might get scattered or killed that they'd better have it all written down. Other than that, this was a solid article.

Another thing to mention here is that people in oral cultures have a much better oral memory than us modern westerners. We can guess that Jesus told many of his parable many times in multiple contexts in different ways, so we can assume his disciples heard those parables many times. It's easy to memorize a story like that.

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