Yesterday, I wrote about the discomfort I experienced while sitting in Sunday School. The teacher, my pastor of several years and friend for even longer, interpreted a section of Scripture in a way I saw as contrary to its meaning. It was from the Olivet Discourse, a passage about which I had taught for years as being basic to a correct understanding of future prophecy. Normally, he teaches a verse or two and then takes questions and comments. But yesterday, he spoke the entire time which left no opportunity for me to present my view. To make matters even more difficult, he bounced around the Synoptic Gospels and Revelation like a man possessed, attempting to cover in one class what would ordinarily take several weeks of daily study. I couldn't have objected if I wanted to, and I assure you, I wanted to.
After thinking about it for over twenty-four hours (part of which was a night-mare about his possible reaction to my concerns), and spending a couple of hours discussing it with him, I am rejoicing that I was silent for several reasons. I mentioned yesterday the importance of maintaining the spirit of unity in the fellowship. Paul had a lot to say about it when he taught the Corinthians concerning their manifestation of spiritual gifts. He ended Chapter Twelve by saying, "I have a better way - read the next chapter" (my paraphrase). Thirteen is filled with admonitions to maintain decorum and unity motivated by love. Then in Chapter Fourteen, he begins by saying, "Follow after love...." and ends with a command, "Let all things be done decently and in order."
I rejoice today because his explanation was well worth considering. His alternate view, may in fact, be right. Not being sure has done two things for me: it has made me hunger again for understanding of an area I had considered "learned," and it humbled me. His patience and hospitable attitude added to the height of the pedestal I have placed him on (if you knew him, you would understand that a little added height might be in order).
Ironically, the Olivet Discourse is two chapters long, and yet, I was concerned about his interpretation of five verses in Luke. Regardless of which interpretation is correct, if in fact either is, the verses are not essential to the understanding of the text as a whole. We agree that the Olivet Discourse is intended to describe the seven year tribulation period which completes a four hundred ninety year prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27. We both agree that the antichrist will break the treaty with Israel after forty-two months, bringing in the last forty-two months of persecution of the Jews, and of the world as well. We both agree that Christ will return at the end of the seven year period, that He will destroy His enemies, and He will then begin His thousand year reign. I rejoice that the glass is 99% full! I rejoice he is my pastor and friend.