The Counterfeit Gospel
When we turn to the 24th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, we find that Christ foretold the order of events covering the entire Christian Era, including what was to be consummated prior to the ushering in of His rule when all nations and peoples will become subject to His sovereignty. Those predictions were to have a minor and a major fulfillment. This is also referred to as the short-term and long-term fulfillment of prophecy.
The minor, or short-term, fulfillment covered the life-span of that generation, a period of approximately forty years, to 70 A.D., when Jerusalem was captured by Titus and the Temple was destroyed by the invading Romans. The major, or long-term, fulfillment, on the other hand has to do with the events which will culminate during the present generation, bringing the age to its close.
Now to fully understand this destruction of Herod’s Temple they must know why the Romans were in Palestine in the first place. Following is how the Pharisees came to be in "Moses' Seat" when Christ was born. They had many enemies at the beginning and the Sadducees were the first of these enemies. To see a "small" portion of the distortions of the Pharisees on the Bible, in eliminating the Chief Engineer, the God of Intelligence, planning, approachability is seen under the caption "History of the Pharisees," pages 665‑666, of the Jewish Encyclopedia.
Her brother, Simon ben Shetah, had been waiting for such an opportunity. The continued civil war resulted in the sons of Alexander Jannaeus, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, in 63 B.C., going hat in hand to Pompey, Caesar's Roman General in Syria, asking him to invade Palestine and slaughter their respective opponents. This is how Rome happened to be in power when Christ was born. The full story can be found in the Jewish Encyclopedia under "Pharisees." "It is difficult to state at what time the Pharisees, as a party, arose, Josephus first mentions them in connection with Jonathan, the successor of Judas Maccabeus. (Josephas in his Ant. 13, 5:9)
Under John Hyracanus (135‑105 B.C.) they appear as a powerful party opposing the Sadducean proclivities of the king, who had formerly been a disciple of theirs, though the story as told by Josephus is unhistorical. (Ant. 13, 10:5; Comp. Jubilees, Book of, and Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs) The Hasmonean dynasty, with its worldly ambitions and aspirations, met with little support from the Pharisees, whose aim was the maintenance of a religious spirit in accordance with their interpretation of the Law.
Under Alexander Jannaeus (104‑78 B.C.) the conflict between the people, siding with the Pharisees, and the king became bitter and ended in carnage. (Ant. 13, 13:5; 14, 1:2) Under his window Salome Alexander (78‑69 B.C.), the Pharisees, led by Simeon ben Shetah, came to power; they obtained seats in the Sanhedrin, and that time was afterward regarded as the golden age, full of the blessing of heaven. But the bloody vengeance they took upon the Sadducees led to a terrible reaction, and under Aristobulus (69‑63 B.C.) The Sadducees regained their power. (Ant. 13, 16:2; 14, 1:2)
Amidst the bitter struggle which ensued, the Pharisees appeared before Pompey asking him to interfere and restore the old priesthood while abolishing the royalty of the Hasmoneans altogether. (Ant. 14, 3:2)
THE DEFILEMENT OF THE TEMPLE BY POMPEY WAS REGARDED BY THE PHARISEES AS A DIVINE PUNISHMENT OF SADDUCEAN MISRULE. After the national independence had been lost, the Pharisees gained in influence while the star of the Sadducees waned.
HEROD FOUND HIS CHIEF OPPONENTS AMONG THE LATTER, AND SO HE PUT THE LEADERS OF THE SANHEDRIN TO DEATH while endeavoring by a milder treatment to win the favor of the leaders of the Pharisees, who, through they refused to take the oath of allegiance, were otherwise friendly to him. (Ant. 14, 9:4; 15, 1:1; 10:4; 11:5‑6) Only when he provoked their indignation by his heathen proclivities did the Pharisees become his enemies and fall victims (4 B.C.) to his bloodthirstiness. (Ant. 17, 2:4; 6:2‑4) But the family of Boethus, whom Herod had raised to the high‑priesthood, revived the spirit of the Sadducees, and thenceforth the Pharisees again had them as antagonists; still, they no longer possessed their former power, as the people always sided with the Pharisees. (Ant. 18, 1:4)
In King Agrippa (41‑44 A.D.) the Pharisees had a supporter and friend, and with the destruction of the Temple, the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees.
HENCEFORTH JEWISH LIVE WAS REGULATED BY THE TEACHINGS OF THE PHARISEES; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past. A new chain of tradition supplanted the older, priestly tradition. PHARISAISM SHAPED THE CHARACTER OF JUDAISM AND THE LIFE AND THOUGHTS OF THE JEWS FOR ALL THE FUTURE."
The Jews did not care if Solomon’s Temple was destroyed, in fact, they hailed it as a great thing. But when the Romans finally got their belly full of the Jews subversion and treason and destroyed Herod’s Temple they hated that and have whined about it ever since.
Follow His resurrection, Christ commissioned His disciples:
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (because that is where God’s Israel people had been dispersed to).” (Matthew 28:18-19)
Just before His ascension from the Mount of Olives, Christ instructed His disciples to wait at Jerusalem until they were endued with power by the Holy Spirit. He added:
“But ye shall receive power, after that Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
This, then, would be the means by which the disciples would be equipped and prepared to witness as directed. Their testimony had not, as yet, been committed to writing and there was no means at their command to translate the message into the many languages of the nations where it was to go. Yet the mission to “teach all nations” was to be completed before that age ended and that generation passed away.
Nothing less than an act of Divine interposition would accomplish this purpose since there was an urgent need for the spoken word to be heard, not only by those who were familiar with the language of the disciples, but by men representing many nations. Thus, the setting was prepared for what was to take place, for with the coming of the Day of Pentecost, we are informed:
“And thee were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews (that is adherents to Judaism), devout men (devout to Judaism not Christ), out of every nation under heaven.” (Acts 2:5)
The strange phenomena that the assembly company beheld is described in the opening verses of the second chapter of the Book of Acts, whereupon it is recorded concerning the disciples:
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)
It is important to perceive exactly what the account states about the reaction of those present on that memorable day:
“They were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?” (Acts 2:7)
Now notice carefully their second question:
“And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:8)
When the news spread abroad that something astounding had taken place, it is stated that the multitude was bewildered because “every man heard them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:6) In the 11th verse the comment is reiterated that “we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”
What was so astonishing to the people was the fact that, simultaneously, each one of the many nationalities present heard the message being delivered by the speaker as though it was being given in his own dialect.
Fifteen different languages were being heard as the disciples spoke: therefore, it was a miracle of hearing as well as speaking. This is the truth that must not be overlooked if the purpose of the Divinely-sent demonstration on that Day of Pentecost is to be understood.
In this spectacular manner, it became possible for the disciples to fulfill the assigned mission to declare the truth pertaining to Jesus Christ, His death, His resurrection, and their meaning, to “all nations” at the very beginning of the Christian Era and before the end of that generation that would terminate forty years later with the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple, initiating a long period of desolation for the land of Palestine. The Jerusalem bible offers an interesting translation of Acts 2:4, describing what the disciples experienced:
“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.”