IT ALMOST HAPPENED!
The conditions for Christs immediate eschatological return, to have occurred shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem, must have been nearly perfectly fulfilled by the Apostolic church. The following facts were gleaned from a beautiful book on the life of Christ: The Desire of Ages, by E.G. White. See the chapter on Mt 24.
Turning to the disciples, Christ said, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." Christs words were fulfilled. Between His death and the siege of Jerusalem many false messiahs appeared. Claiming to work miracles, they declared that the time of deliverance of the Jewish nation had come. False prophets did rise, deceiving the people, and leading great numbers into the desert. Magicians and sorcerers, claiming miraculous power, drew the people after them into the mountain solitudes.
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, men wrestled for the supremacy. Emperors were murdered, those supposed to be standing next to the throne were slain. There were wars and rumors of wars.
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My names sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." All this the Christians suffered. Fathers and mothers betrayed their children. Children betrayed their parents. Friends delivered their friends up to the Sanhedrin. The persecutors wrought out their purpose by killing Stephen, James, and other Christians.
Christ said, "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." There was abounding iniquity in that day. Before the fall of Jerusalem, Paul declared that the gospel was preached to every creature which is under heaven (Col 1:23). Then the end came.
In that same chapter the notion of multiple fulfillments is expressed and this comment is given: "By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lords return. We are not only to look for but to hasten the coming of the day of God." See 2 Peter 3:12. "Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world (before this) would have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory."
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