When we read the prophecies of the New Testament about the 2nd coming, it is clear that Jesus never returned in AD70 at the destruction of Jerusalem. So then what happened? It is the mystery of the cross that solves this puzzle.
After the sin of Adam, God had promised Abraham to be the father of nations, and that his descendants would be the royal priesthood and holy nation that would be a light to the nations.
Genesis 18 “18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him”
Exodus 19 “5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
Isaiah 49 “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.””
Israel would have become all of that IF they had obeyed the old covenant : the covenant of works. If they had obeyed the law then they would have become righteous and then brought the nations to God.
Deuteronomy 6 “25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.””
But Israel failed to keep the law. They were sinners under the law and were scattered into the nations and the Gentiles did not know God.
But God promised to restore the kingdom to Israel and re-establish the law and bring the nations to Him
Ezekiel 37 “….I will bring you back to the land of Israel..…24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’””
Micah 4 “ In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains;it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. 2 Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
Jesus came in the last days of Israel proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
Hebrews 1 “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. “
Matthew 4 “17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.””
The disciples of Christ believed that He was the Messiah who would drive out the Romans and establish the kingdom of God in Jerusalem and Israel.
But then something totally unexpected happened: Jesus was crucified on the cross.
This was something that they never expected because the cross was a hidden mystery.
1 Corinthians 2 “7…we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. “
The Apostles lost hope because they never thought that the Messiah would die and dash all the hopes of the kingdom. But 3 days later, Jesus rose from the dead.
Jesus then told them to preach the gospel to the Jews in all the nations.
Matthew 10 “5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.“
It was because salvation was all about restoring the kingdom of God to Israel. The 12 Apostles believed that Jesus would come back in their lifetime and setup a Jewish kingdom on earth that would teach the Gentiles, the law of Israel, according to the Old Testament prophets.
But AFTER Israel rejected the 12 Apostles and NOW the MYSTERY of God was revealed.
Jesus chose a NEW Apostle, called Paul, this was never predicted anywhere in the 4 Gospels by Jesus or in the Old Testament. Paul was chosen to go to the GENTILES!
This Apostle Paul revealed WHY Jesus died on the Cross.
This mystery was revealed to the Apostle Paul. None of the 12 Apostles understood the Cross as much as Paul.
1 Corinthians 2 “2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
It is because on the Cross, the Law and ALL its commands ended so that Gentiles can be saved by grace through faith without keeping the law!
Ephesians 2 “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. ….. 11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
Ephesians 3 “6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 1 “25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Romans 10 “4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. 5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says:…. 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Romans 3 “20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin….21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”
The 12 Apostles preached Faith in Jesus AND the law for salvation because they did not fully understand the mystery of the Cross that the Law had ENDED fully when Jesus died.
1 John 3 “23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, AND to love one another as he commanded us. “
James 2 “14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?…..8 If you really keep the royal LAW found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. ….. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do AND not by faith alone.”
This is why Paul had a SEPARATE ministry to the Gentiles who did not keep the law while the 12 Apostles went ONLY to Jews who kept the law.
Galatians 2 ” 8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. “
Now, the 12 Apostles believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime to establish the kingdom of God with the 12 tribes of Israel.
Matthew 19 “28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “
Matthew 16 “28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Matthew 24 “34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. “
James 5 “8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”
1 John 2 “This is the LAST HOUR”
Revelation 1 “3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
Revelation 22 “7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.””
They believed that Jesus was coming soon in their lifetime to judge Paul’s 7 Gentile Churches in Asia, according to the WORKS of the LAW.
Revelation 2 ” Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”
They believed that Jesus would come at the destruction of Jerusalem to setup a New Jerusalem on earth with the 12 Apostles and 144000 from the 12 tribes of Israel who would teach the law (commands of God) to the nations in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.
Revelation 7 ” 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.“
Revelation 14 “Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless…..,, who keep God’s commands and remain faithful to Jesus.”
Revelation 21 “2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband……2 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.,……22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.”
John wrote Revelation as a “REWRITE” of Ezekiel which prophesied the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple. This time there was no temple but a New Jerusalem that would teach the nations for 1000 years followed by the Gog/Magog war that Ezekiel prophesied.
Revelation 20 “They (144,000) came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. …. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be PRIESTS of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.……7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Ezekiel 38 “The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, ….5 Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you……7 “‘Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. 8 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. 9 You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.”
But NONE of those prophecies happened.
Why did this all fail? Its because the 12 Apostles and the Jewish church DID NOT UNDERSTAND the MYSTERY of the CROSS.
After the destruction of Jerusalem partially in AD70 and fully in AD136, there was no New Jerusalem and Jesus never came back to restore the kingdom of Israel. The ministry of the 12 Apostles to the Jews passed away. There was no 144000 Jews who came to the earth to rule the nations.
If you notice in Revelation and Matthew, the prophecies WERE ALL ABOUT Israel. It has no mention of the Apostle Paul and the CROSS of Jesus. It is all about the LAW and Israel and NOT the Gentiles,
Remember, what was Israel ? It was ALL ABOUT the LAW of WORKS.
You see the book of Revelation was EXALTING Israel,and the 12 Apostles BUT has no mention of Paul. It says that the nations/Gentiles would be UNDER the 12 Apostles learning the LAW as prophesied in the Old Testament.
The 12 Apostles preached the Gospel of FAITH + LAW and saw Israel as exalted over the Gentiles.
You see, Paul never preached that Jesus would come back to teach the Law to the nations.
Paul said that the LAW ENDED on the cross and that THERE IS NO JEW or GENTILE anymore!
Galatians 3 ” 23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
The 12 Apostles did not understand that the entire Law and Prophets were ALL ABOUT JESUS and HIS GRACE to the NATIONS and NOT ISRAEL’s RESTORATION of the LAW.
Luke 24 “25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
The Jews gave too much importance to the Law and the physical descendants of Abraham.
But Paul said that the ONLY thing that mattered was that JESUS was THE descendant of Abraham who saves!
Israel and the Law was a TEMPORARY system/covenant UNTIL Jesus came.
The fulfillment of Israel, the Law and Prophets was found in the PERSON of JESUS CHRIST.
Galatians 3 “7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith……. The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. 15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his SEED. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions UNTIL the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.”
Jesus Christ and Him Crucified is the FULFILLMENT and END of Israel (law).
The Jews wanted to be the Royal Priesthood and Holy nation that would lead the Gentiles using the law.
But the true King and Priest is JESUS CHRIST who died on the cross to remove the law and draw Gentiles by GRACE through Faith.
Israel wanted to be the Light to the nations but the true Light of the World is Jesus Christ.
John 12 “46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
The Jews wanted to be righteous by the law but ONLY JESUS OBEYED it (FULFILLED) while Israel failed !
Matthew 5 “17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. “
Jesus was the ONLY JEW to FULFILL the law by His sinless life and then He ABOLISHED it on the cross!
The Jews wanted Jerusalem to be restored with the temple and sacrifices, and to teach the law to the nations.
But JESUS is the TEMPLE and in Him we have become a dwelling place of God and BY GRACE (not law) we are now the temple by faith in Jesus because He lives in us.
John 2 ” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. “
Ephesians 2 “21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
The Sacrifice of Jesus ENDED all the animal sacrifices on the Cross. The Law ended on the Cross.
Hebrews 8 “13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”
Hebrews 10 “4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins….8 he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all..… 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are made holy…. “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.”
The Jews thought that Israel had to suffer in exile and be restored in Isaiah 53, but that was talking about the death and resurrection of Jesus. They thought that Israel would suffer and be restored on the third day but it was talking about Jesus. They never expected the Messiah to die but Paul quoted the scriptures to show that He would rise from the dead.
Hosea 6 ““Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us;
he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.“
Isaiah 53 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Hosea 11 ““When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
Matthew 2 “14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.””
The Jews did not understand the MYSTERY of the Cross of Jesus.
The CROSS of Jesus had REPLACED the Law of Israel.
This is why Jesus did not come back in AD70 to restore Israel and DID NOT have the 12 Apostles ruling over the 12 tribes with the 144,000 teaching the Law to the nations!
How could that ever happen ? The Apostle Paul tells us why!!
Jesus Christ ENDED the LAW on the cross and there is NO JEW or GENTILE.
The ministry of the 12 Apostles to Israel FADED AWAY and was REPLACED by the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles.
1 Corinthians 15 “9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.”
Matthew 19 “30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
Paul came as the LAST APOSTLE through whom Jesus revealed the MYSTERY of the CROSS : the END of the LAW – that allows the salvation of Gentiles without the Law but by GRACE through FAITH in Jesus.
Paul does not have many end-time prophecies and date-setting ! Why? It’s because of this MYSTERY that the 2nd coming of Christ will come at any time, like a twinkling of an eye! It has nothing to do with the temple or AD70 or the 12 Apostles or Israel. The events of AD70 did not suddenly happen in a day.
1 Thessalonians 5 ” Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief….. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. “
1 Corinthians 15 “50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.”
This is the Gospel: the Death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15 “3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, “
Acts 13 “38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. “
Everyone who believes in Jesus receives the FORGIVENESS of sins and the Righteousness of God freely without works!
Romans 4 “5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness…….God credits righteousness apart from works…for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”