Gospel of Thomas - Chapter 093
- (92) Jesus said, "Seek and you will find. Yet, what you asked me about in former times and which I did not tell you then, now I do desire to tell, but you do not inquire after it."
If we take this as a literal saying of Jesus, then it would be after the cross, and we must guess what it is that they are not asking him. But as a riddle we ask, What was Jesus unable to tell them plainly prior to the cross which he could tell them after the cross but that they were not asking?
- Mt 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
- Mt 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Neither the Son nor the Holy Ghost knew the sign of his coming. In resurrection, he apparently knew. This is where is gets interesting, and why evangelicals will not accept this teaching.
Many today teach that either before or after the anti-Christ is revealed the church will be raptured, there is a great tribulation, and the end of the world when Christ returns. There are enough variations to make most people happy one way or the other. The problem is that they are likely wrong. Now, eschatology is supposed to be a secondary doctrine, meaning that it is not essential for salvation. People believing different things are supposed to be able to get along. But they don't. So as soon as I say something contradictory, someone will label me a heretic.
So let me say that the following is an observation and it makes no difference to me whether anyone believes it or not.
The book of Matthew is broken into four parts. Whithin each part the structure of the writing is such that the first half will be a teaching of Jesus, and the second half is a narrative about what Jesus did. There is a pattern, like poetry, but using subtle ideas like ABCD...abcd...
For instance, in Chapter 5 Jesus goes up the hill and says, Blessed are the poor in spirit... In Chapter 8 he comes down the hill and heals a leper. Who would be more poor in spirit than a leper?
He says blessed are the meek... and a Centurian comes to Jesus and considers himself a servant to his servant in requesting Jesus to heal, and does not consider himself worthy to have Jesus enter his home. He is an excellent model of meekness.
The pattern occurs in the last block which speaks about the end times. It would almost be a doctoral thesis to spell it out in detail, so I will just give some highlights.
Hearts waxing cold : His disciples slept while he prayed at Gethsemane. Stones scattered : the disciples scattered The abomination that causes desolation : Judas kisses Jesus to betray him "He who condemns a righteous man is an abomination" The great tribulation: A holy God placed in the hjands of sinful man, the Son made to be sin incarnate. Had the days of tribulation not been shortened no flesh would be saved: Had Jesus not be rushed to the cross, had he died in prison, or if the crucifixion had been delayed until after Passover, no flesh would have been saved... ever. This cannot be said of any other supposed 'Great Tribulation'. The desolation : God incarnate has been made to be sin, the Father departs leaving him alone on the cross, Where is God on earth? How much greater can the desolation be? The parallel passage when they are guarding the tomb has the disciples looking toward heaven. It is suggested that at the time of your death, you are raptured.
We each are raptured at different times, but we arrive in timeless eternity simultaneously (because there is not time). Now we can understand his other teachings:
Two are in the field and one is taken. Two things are otwo aspects of one thing. The spirit is taken and the body left behind. Two are in the bed and one is taken. It appears to us that they died in their sleep, but to them they are rapotured and meet us in the air.
Jesus said that all these things would happen before that generation passed away. Which generation? Every generation that reads it. We are all raptured. Why can't he now tell us the day of his coming, because it is every day that he sneaks back like a thief in the night and steals away his own. Our generation will not pass away before we each see his return.
They do not now ask him what day it will be, because it would be asking him the day of their own death.