Kay I apologise in advance for missing your point and going elsewhere with it. Scripture does say disasters will happen. The only thing you and I disagree on is what disasters mean when they do.
Not a problem - I meant to get back to you on this sooner rather than later.
The way I read Matthew 24, Jesus tells the disciples a whole bunch of general things which will happen. He starts by saying "Watch out that no one misleads you", and reinforces that in verse 8: "All these things are the beginning of birth pains." He continues speaking generally, still talking about being deceived, until verse 14. Then there's this important phrase: "Then the end will come."
The general things and the conversation tends to move back and forth between the two questions - When will the end of all things come and the the Temple and the stones - when they would be cast down.
The way I read this passage, the first reliable sign we have that Christ is coming is verse 15. "The abomination of desolation — spoken about by Daniel the prophet — standing in the holy place." Interestingly, this seems to require a holy place in Jerusalem. But all the way through this chapter, Jesus is making sure his disciples aren't bothered by portentous-seeming events. Those kinds of events are too vague to be useful, because they happen all the time. So he gave a couple of awesome ones, the abomination (whatever that will be) and this "great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen."
The "abomination of desolation" - from Wiki:Etymology
In both Biblical and rabbinical Hebrew abomination is a familiar term for an idol, and therefore may well have the same application in Daniel, which should accordingly be rendered, in agreement with Ezra, ix. 3, 4, "motionless abomination" or, also, "appalling abomination." The suggestion of many scholars—Hoffmann, Nestle, Bevan, and others—that, as a designation for Jupiter it is simply an intentional perversion of his usual appellation "Baal Shamem" ("lord of heaven"), is quite plausible, as is attested by the perversion of Beelzebub into "Βεελζεβούλ" (Greek version) in Mark, iii. 22, as well as the express injunction found in Tosef., 'Ab. Zarah, vi. (vii) and Babli 'Ab. Zarah, 46a, that the names of idols may be pronounced only in a distorted or abbreviated form (see the examples quoted there).http://en.wikipedia....n_of_Desolation
And from the Jewish Encyclopaedia:
— In Rabbinical Literature:
An expression occurring in Matt. xxiv. 15 and Mark, xiii. 14 (A. V.), where the Greek text has τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς έρημώσεως. The Greek itself, however, is referable to a Hebrew expression, , found in Dan. ix. 27 (where the ם of has been added, through a copyist's error, from the מ of the ensuing word); in Dan. xi. 31, and in Dan. xii. 11 (with omission of the prefixed מ).
The context of these passages leaves no room for doubt as to what was intended by this somewhat odd expression; namely, the transformation, by Antiochus Epiphanes, of the sacred Temple at Jerusalem into a heathen one. In both Biblical and rabbinical Hebrew abomination is a familiar term for an idol (I Kings, xi. 5; II Kings, xxiii. 13; Sifra, Ḳedoshim, beginning, and Mekilta, Mishpatim, xx. ed. Weiss, 107), and therefore may well have the same application in Daniel, which should accordingly be rendered, in agreement with Ezra, ix. 3, 4, "motionless abomination" or, also, "appalling abomination." The suggestion of many scholars-Hoffmann, Nestle, Bevan, and others—that , as a designation for Jupiter is simply an intentional perversion of his usual appellation "Baal Shamem" (, "lord of heaven") is quite plausible, as is attested by the perversion of "Beelzebub" into "Βεελζεβούλ" (Greek version) in Mark, iii. 22, as well as the express injunction found in Tosef., 'Ab. Zarah, vi. (vii) and Babli 'Ab. Zarah, 46a, that the names of idols may be pronounced only in a distorted or abbreviated form (see the examples quoted there). Though the expression "Abomination of Desolation" is accordingly recognizedin the light of this interpretation as a mistranslation of the phrase used in Daniel, there is no doubt that in the circles directly influenced by the Book of Daniel—the same circles that originated the apocalyptic literature—the expression was employed to designate an important eschatological conception. For it is only in an eschatological sense that the expression can be adequately explained in the New Testament passages above mentioned.
According to most modern commentators, these passages are a Jewish apocalypse, somewhat tinged with Christianity, intended to prophesy the end of time, when the Antichrist, as the Abomination of Desolation, shall be enthroned as a ruler in God's Temple. The closely related "smaller Apocalypse" in II Thess. ii. 1-12 is a conclusive justification of this view; for it shows that neither the Romans (as Weiss in his commentary, ad loc., holds), nor the Zealots (Bleek, "Synoptische Erklärung," and others), nor Caligula with his self-deification (Spitta, in his "Offenbarung Johannis") can be intended.
Read more: http://www.jewishenc...A#ixzz1IEtYOajv
Standing on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem today is The Dome of the Rock.
Is this what the words are about?
Unless I die first, I don't expect to see Jesus coming until there's a temple in Jerusalem offering sacrifices again. That's a pretty specific sign, isn't it? Have I dumbed scripture down, reading it this way?
I don't think there is any measure of the mention of offering of sacrifices or the need of such to again become a custom before the advent of our Lord - it would be regarded even in today's society as abhorrent.
Actually, I was impressed by the graph It's a good graph. It just doesn't strictly speaking show what you want it to, given it's self-professed limitations. What it shows is a scary increase in reported disasters, which might coincide with actual increased numbers of disasters or might not. Have you got other data? Do you think Jesus meant that as the time grew closer more people would die in disasters, or that more disasters would happen, or both? How do you know which it is?
As mentioned, I thought it of interest that the rise commenced shortly after 1967 - when Jerusalem was again in the hands of the Jewish people.
Christadelphians (as you probably know so I am just repeating the obvious!) that when Jerusalem was again in the hands of the Jews - Luke 21:24 "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
So, the occurrence - the times are fulfilled it would now seem.
Jesus also says, Matthew 24:8 "these are the beginning of birth pains."
It does seem that there are jumps back and forth - both questions, the answers seem to be intermingled in the sense that one is not answered then the other.
But in the instance of the "beginning of birth pains" - it is like a crescendo, a build up of events, though as with the birth pains - a contraction - and then build up - the contractions then become more frequent and increase in intensity until the birth, so one would expect and increase in the area of natural disasters in the World as the Bible describes.
I think my reading of Matthew 24 has to answer fewer questions and makes more useful, specific predictions. But time will tell, right?
Perhaps we are so engrossed in many things and opinions and media saturation - whether we take note.
I know that you know Jesus is returning as we all do - but these days there seems to be less enthusiasm for many significant events ... they come and go seems to be the general belief, which of course they do come and go - but we are told continually to "watch".
Luke 12:37-39 "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through."
What are we to "watch" if all things are as they have always been and always will be?