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Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Does Isaiah 65:17-25 refer to an earthly Millennium rule of Christ on Earth?

I have been told by many Bible commentators that the passage in Isaiah 65:17-25 refers to a Millennium period on Earth when Christ rules the nations directly before the Final Judgement of all men. They say that this is a period when nothing shall kill or hurt on Earth in the animal of human realms because God will directly be ruling the earth. Satan will be bound and have no influence on humans or the animal kingdom. Often the picture is shown of a lion and lamb sitting together. It portrays the idea of the Garden of Eden before the Curse.

lion lamb

I believed this idea for a long time. But is that really what these verses refer to? I held that view when I believed in the futurist eschatological view that the thousand-year period in Revelation chapter 20 was a reference to some sort of millennial rule of Christ on Earth before His Final Judgement on the unsaved. I no longer believe such ideas.

Now I believe the (so-called) Millennium is symbolic of the Church age — the period of time beginning with the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross and ending with the Final Judgement called the Great White Throne Judgement (Revelation 20:11-13). There are no others but the saved (in the new heaven and new earth) and the damned (sent to Hell). All are judged at the Great White Throne of God.

Now let’s look at these verses.

Categories
Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Church History hermeneutics The Papacy

Martin Lloyd-Jones on the book of Revelation

Some years ago I abandoned my former belief in the Futurist eschatology that most of the evangelical churches believe today. That was what is called the pre-millennial return of Christ and where the 70th ‘week’ of Daniel is pushed off into the distant future. I believed that as I was first taught that as a babe in Christ. But 35 + years later I really started to doubt it, and by about 2013 I discarded it entirely. Instead I studied the Historical interpretation, which seemed to be much better.

I began to accept the Historical: Continuing interpretation, but have to admit that it has its drawbacks. It needs a detailed knowledge of history for one thing, which the average believer does not have. Some of the key time line seems to not match, especially after Napoleon. (This interpretation is what the SDA church promotes).

I never believed in the alleged secret Rapture (also called the pre-Tribulation Rapture), but even the pre-millennial return of Christ has multiple returns of Christ before the Great White Throne Judgement (of Revelation chapter 20).

Anyway the Futurist doctrine was developed in the 17th century by a Jesuit, Ribera and later another Jesuit, Bellamine. It is obvious that this was an attempt to get the protestant churches eyes off the papacy, since the Reformers believed the papacy was the AntiChrist. After 1830 the teaching was added to by John N Darby, who promoted it into the evangelical churches. Nowadays it is widely believed.

Recently I have been listening to sermons by Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones on the books of Daniel and Revelation. As a result, I have now learned that even the Preterist interpretation–that all prophecy was fulfilled by the close of the 4th century–was also developed by a Jesuit in 1603. You gotta admire the Jesuits’ efforts to overturn the Reformation. I have also learned that there are 3 forms of the Historical interpretation.

  1. Historical: Precis (which the Reformers largely believed) – a summary (not detailed) of events from St John’s time to the present. Hence it does not include all events in detail.
  2. Historical: Continuing — a detailed description of historical events that have happened from Christ to the New Heaven and Earth. This requires almost a continuous timeline from Revelation chap 4 through to chap 22. But many times the descriptions hearken back to what appear to be earlier events. Chapter 12 starts with Christ’s first Advent again.
  3. Historical: Spiritual — a spiritual principles behind the battles and events encountered by Christians through all ages from Christ until the final Judgement, but not that each description in the book of Revelation applies to only one event. Similarly to the 7 churches described in Chapters 2 and 3 applying to many different churches through the ages, also the descriptions in the prophecies could apply to many different agents, battles and events. The spiritual forces, like Satan are clearly identified, which act through many earthly agents.

Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones explains these in the following lectures and gives criticism as he sees it. He promotes Historical: Spiritual as the best interpretation.

In this blog you’ll find many Bible studies that follow the Historical: Continuing interpretation. I still believe a lot of it may be correct but many events could be explained by the same symbolic descriptions in the book of the Revelation. This much better the supports the notion that God gave the final revelations to the Apostle John for the benefit of all believers throughout all ages.

I strongly recommend you take the time to listen to what he teaches. See below.

Categories
Bible prophecy Church History Roman Catholic Church

Futurism: Jesuit deception of the church

The following is copied, without alteration,  from The Evil Empire of Jesuit Futurism, which was itself taken from Chapter 3 of  book “The Left Behind Deception” by Steve Wohlberg. Bold brown text indicate my added emphases.

Imagine a pair of supernatural, high-tech, Heaven-inspired eyeglasses that can give a Christian the instant ability to see one of Lucifer’s greatest end-time deceptions. Such X-ray eyeglasses do exist. The purpose of this chapter is help you find them and put them on, and then you will be able to understand the almost unimaginable Evil Empire of Jesuit Futurism.

Modern Christianity has largely forgotten the importance of the Protestant Reformation, which took place during the 1500s. “The sixteenth century presents the spectacle of a stormy sunrise after a dismal night. Europe awoke from long sleep of superstition. The dead arose. The witnesses to truth who had been silenced and slain stood up once more and renewed their testimony. The martyred confessors reappeared in the Reformers. There was a cleansing of the spiritual sanctuary. Civil and religious liberty were inaugurated. The discovery of printing and revival of learning accelerated the movement. There was progress everywhere. Columbus struck across the ocean and opened a new hemisphere to view. Rome was shaken on her seven hills, and lost one-half of her dominions. Protestant nations were created. The modern world was called into existence” (H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation, p. 122).

For almost a thousand years, Europe had been ruled by the iron hand of Rome. Only a few Bibles existed then, and Christianity was largely permeated with superstition. Faith in Jesus Christ, heart-felt appreciation for His love, and a simple trust in His death on the cross, were almost unknown. The New Testament truth about grace, full forgiveness, and the free gift of eternal life to believers in the Son of God (Romans 6:23), had been buried under a mass of tradition. Then Martin Luther arose like a lion in Germany. After a period of tremendous personal struggle, Martin Luther began teaching justification by faith in Jesus Christ (being declared “just” by God), rather than through reliance on “creature merits,” or any human works (Romans 1:16; 3:26, 28; 5:1).

Eventually, Martin Luther turned to the prophecies. By candlelight, he read about the “little horn,” the “man of sin,” and “the beast,” and he was shocked as the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart. Finally, he saw the truth and said to himself, “Why, these prophecies apply to the Roman Catholic Church!” As he wrestled with this new insight, the voice of God echoed loudly in his soul, saying, “Preach the word!” (2 Timothy 4:2). And so, at the risk of losing his life, Martin Luther preached publicly and in print to an astonished people that Papal Rome was indeed the Antichrist of Bible prophecy. Because of this dual message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ apart from works and of Papal Rome being the Antichrist, the river of history literally changed its course. Hundreds of thousands of people in Europe and in England left the Catholic Church.

“‘There are two great truths that stand out in the preaching that brought about the Protestant Reformation,’ American Bible Commentator, Ralph Woodrow, reminds us, ‘The just shall live by faith, not by the works of Romanism and the Papacy is the Antichrist of Scripture.’ It was a message for Christ and against Antichrist. The entire Reformation rests upon this twofold testimony'” (Michael de Semlyen, All Roads Lead to Rome, Dorchester House Publications, Dorchester House, England, 1991, pp. 202, 203). It has been said that the Reformation first discovered Jesus Christ, and then, in the blazing light of Christ, it discovered the Antichrist. This mighty, Spirit-filled movement, for Christ and against the Antichrist, shook the world.

Categories
Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics Israel

Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

–a short study on Daniel 9:24-27 by Jim Gibson

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:24-27)

These four verses found in Daniel constitute one of the most controversial passages found in the Bible. From the early church fathers to the modern commentaries, this prophecy has been interpreted with a plethora of views. There are those who maintain that this prophecy was fulfilled in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes in approximately 168 B.C. However, many place its fulfillment during the time of the life of Christ. Still, others say that its ultimate fulfillment extends to the time of the antichrist toward the end of the church age. Let’s see if we can wade through the maze of difficulties that this passage presents and, hopefully, discover its true intent and meaning.

Before I begin to explain this passage of Daniel’s prophecy, I will share with the reader the more popular dispensational view.

Categories
Bible prophecy hermeneutics

Final judgment in the new heaven and new earth

A study on 2 Peter 3 verses 10 – 18

This is the final part of a 3 part study. Part I and Part II are found here. I ended the last study of this chapter (in part II) with verse 10.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

It is worth repeating here that I don’t believe that the phrase “the heavens shall pass away” describes the destruction of the starry heavens (all the stars and galaxies in the cosmos), but instead, at most, it describes a renovation of the earth and its atmospheric heavens, at the time Christ returns in judgment and to govern the earth. Read Do the heavens literally pass away or don’t they? and Scientific evidences in the Bible: Information or misinformation?

I do believe that the Lord may return at any time. Yet I don’t hold to some futuristic interpretation of Bible prophecy with its secret rapture before a 7-year tribulation under the AntiChrist. Instead I believe it is possible that we are chronologically somewhere near the period of time in Revelation 20 called the battle of Gog and Magog.  The so-called ‘millennium’ (a word not found in the Bible but derived from the expression “a thousand years” in Revelation 20) I believe is symbolic for the period of the church age, also called the time of the Gentiles.

That period is about to end with the imminent return of Christ. This is what is meant by “the Lord will come as a thief in the night”. Those who are prepared however, like the 5 wise virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), will not be surprised. Those who profess salvation, i.e. attend church or claim to be Christian in spite of their disbelief in the scriptures, are like the 5 foolish virgins, of whom the Lord will say, at His return, that He did not know them. The reason for that is because they are professing but not confessing Christians. They are the unsaved ‘Christians’. I think we may be surprised that there are so many.

Then we have the expression “the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” This has been taken by many to mean that God destroys the Universe down to its very foundations, the atoms themselves. I take a different view, but a view held by the Reformers.

Categories
Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Will Jesus return literally in the clouds?

There are several passages in the New Testament that on the surface would seem to indicate that when Christ returns He will do so appearing in the clouds above. You may have heard the expression or read the Bible verse about the believers being “caught up together … in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  Or you may have read “Behold, He comes with clouds” (Revelation 1:7).

jesus-in-the-clouds

No doubt the Second Coming concomitant with the resurrection of the dead—both of the saved and the unsaved—is yet to happen. But do the Scriptures mean, literally, that Jesus will appear in the clouds all around the earth, simultaneously, so that all people can see Him? My personal eschatological belief is that that is not the case. I explain below.

In the Old Testament we read that the God of Israel said

2 Samuel 23:4 He that rules over men must be just ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds; (KJVER used throughout)

The only just ruler is God Himself. His countenance is as bright as the sun in a cloudless sky. Also He controls the environment including the weather and the clouds.

Job 36:26-33 Behold, God is great, and we know Him not, neither can the number of His years be searched out. 27 For He makes small the drops of water [i.e. clouds]: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: 28 Which the clouds do drop and distill upon man abundantly. 29 Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of His tabernacle? 30 Behold, He spreads His light upon it, and covers the bottom of the sea.  31 For by them judges He the people; He gives meat in abundance. 32 With clouds He covers the light; and commands it not to shine by the cloud that comes between. 33 The noise thereof shows concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

Hebraisms in the Scriptures

In the Bible there are found many Hebraisms, which are Hebrew idioms or expressions. Even in the New Testament, which was originally written in the Greek language, we find many such expressions. For example,

Categories
Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Israel of God

In a prophecy given by the prophet Hosea the Lord said:

Hosea 11:1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt.

flight-into-egypt-01The Lord refers, in the first part, to the nation of Israel, while in its infancy, God called out of the land of Egypt. But the second part is a prophecy of Christ Jesus, the Son of God who, in a parallel way, God also called out of Egypt. This happened after Mary and Joseph had taken the infant Jesus down to Egypt to protect Him from King Herod, who sought to kill Him. Only after Herod died did Jesus return to Israel from Egypt.

Matthew 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My son.

The nation called Israel really started with the conversion of Jacob to becoming a man of God. After his conversion God called him Israel. From him, i.e. his children, came the 12 tribes of Israel.

Categories
Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines

Further evidence of the true meaning of who it is in Daniel 9:27

In studying the prophecy in Daniel 9 there has been the issue of the misidentification of who the person is who is referred to by “he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” in verse 27.  Many Christians falsely teach that the “he” here is a reference to some coming future AntiChrist figure, but I am not alone when I have argued that it is a reference to the Messiah, who came and confirmed His covenant with His people on the Cross. Read Daniel 9 prophecy for the details to this.

Now, if you look at the three verses Daniel 9:25, 26 and 27 (listed below) you can see a parallelism in the text. The first part of each verse refers to Messiah, while the last part refers to the city. First part, about the Messiah, is shown in grey text while latter part of each verse, referring to the destruction of the city, is shown in blue text.

Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall even in a troublous time.

Daniel 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off [killed], but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and to the end of the war desolations are determined.

Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of the abominations, he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This then reinforces that the ‘he’ of verse 27 is the Messiah and not some AntiChrist figure. Besides the antecedent of the word translated as ‘he’  in verse 27, a singular individual, is the Messiah as evidenced in both verses 25 and 26.

Update: 25/3/2017

If you are wondering, actually, Christ is the one who shall “… cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of the abominations, he shall make it desolate.”

Christ is the one who terminates the Temple worship on the Cross when His sacrifice forever pays the price of our atonement and no further sacrifice is needed.

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:16-18).

“Causing the sacrifice to cease” has erroneously been attributed to some future AntiChrist figure, who allegedly stops the religious worship of the Jews in a new third Jewish Temple, which is yet to be built.

Also it was the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Sovereign God, who sent General Titus and the Roman legions to bring in all manner of abominations of Roman gods into Jerusalem and in 70 A.D. they destroyed the second Temple, stone by stone, and the city, laying it waste.

This has been erroneously assigned to some future AntiChrist who takes over the as yet to be built third Temple. But the AntiChrist is now in power and has been for a long time. Just turn your eyes towards Rome and see the one who claims to be Christ’s representative on Earth.

Acknowledgment

I would like to thank Ken Brooks for alerting me to this information

Categories
Bible prophecy worldview

So shall also the coming of the Son of Man be

Christ said that before He returns there would only be one sign to herald His coming.

Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Theologians have interpreted this to mean that the conditions of the world would be the same as those that were before the Flood. This is indicated by the following verse.

Matthew 24:38,39 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 And knew [understood] not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

And the world does seem to have gotten into the same state now, maybe it is even worse. When discussing this a few days ago with a friend he suggested something that really struck a chord with me.

On July 7, 2016 the Ark Encounter1 opened for visitors in Williamstown, Kentucky (see Fig.1), an actual-size replica of Noah’s Ark (157 m, 510 ft long). It is located inland, far from water, and used by Answers in Genesis to educate people about the size of the Ark and other issues related to the Earth destroying global flood in Noah’s day,2 that resulted the death of all air-breathing land dwelling as well as all flying creatures. But most importantly it meant the death of all humans except for those 8 that were on the Ark, Noah, his wife, Noah’s 3 sons Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives.

ark-encounter-ark
Figure 1: Ark Encounter Noah’s 155-meter-long Ark replica built by Answers in Genesis’ for $100 million. Credit: Ark Encounter

Categories
Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Islam prophecy The Papacy

Warning! prophecy

warning-prophecy

Turn your eyes towards Memphis (Egypt), for out of it shall come the Great Confusion! The author of confusion is even now marshalling his forces for this Great Confusion! He is gathering his forces from a great nation and eastern nations, friends that will join with him. So sudden will be the Great Confusion, that it will cause a mighty widening of the eyes of those who have not discerned the signs of the times. But be ye not deceived! Be prepared! And be not deceived by the great society, for it will come to travail and then bring forth the Great Confusion! Be prepared!  Even now the skies are red, red with warning, and black, black with clouds gathering for the great confusion, which is almost upon you!

In 1965 Virginia Berg received this prophecy, which she called the Warning prophecy. The first paragraph was given to her in the middle of the night. She said that God woke her out of a deep sleep and told her to start writing. She obeyed; the prophecy was the result. Please note the bracketed word Egypt was not part of the prophecy; it is an interpretation that God meant Memphis Egypt.

In 1974 as a young Christian on hearing this prophecy I was spurred on to reach people with the gospel of salvation by Jesus Christ. Now 42 years later I have looked at this again. Whether or not this is a true prophecy from God, the message in it I believe is amazingly resonant with our times now.

Back in the 1970’s I was taught and I accepted the notions that are described as part of the futurist interpretation of Bible prophecy. I believed at that time in a rise of a future AntiChrist and that he would sign a 7-year peace pact centred on the Middle East, especially Israel. Eventually he would rule the world. After a period of Great Tribulation, I believed, he would be defeated by Jesus Christ Who returns at His Second Coming.

This tract shown here I used to hand out on the streets in Australia, warning people of the impending peril that was coming. In the 1970’s and 80’s the world went through a great fear of nuclear war, which passed when the Soviet Bloc broke up and the Cold War ceased. Since then also I have come to no longer believe in the Jesuit inspired false interpretation of Bible prophecy (futurism). I never believed in the John Darby Nelson concept of dispensationalism and pre-Tribulation Rapture though that is a branch of futurism.  Now I believe that we are coming towards the end of the “Church Age”, which is symbolised by the 1000-year period in Revelation chapter 20, called the Millennium, except it is much longer than 1000 years. I also believe that we are in the period towards the end of that called by some the “little season”, where Satan is loosed or unbound from the pit he was bound in during the Church Age (see Revelation 20 study for details).

I believe now though that there is an interpretation of this Warning prophecy, which uncannily makes a lot of sense: