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Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

As in the Days of Noah

Chapter 5 of the book “When Jesus Returns —what then?” by Jim Gibson. I have edited the text only where necessary, changed underlining to bold text and used the KJVER Bible version. 

“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 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, And knew [understood] not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37-39)

Here, Jesus is stating that life will go on as normal until the very moment of his return, just as it did when judgment came upon the ungodly in Noah’s time. The question is asked, “what was the ‘normal’ during the time leading up to the flood?” To find the answer to this question, we must turn to the sixth chapter of Genesis.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually [all the time]. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:5,11-13)

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From these verses, we discover that before the flood “all flesh” was corrupt, that is, decayed, rotten, putrified. Their wickedness had become a stench in the nostrils of God. Since we know from Solomon’s writings, that there is “no new thing under the sun”, then we can probably surmise some of the sins which the antediluvians (before the flood) were guilty. Judging from the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, we could rightfully conclude that many of the antediluvians practiced homosexuality. In conjunction with this particular sexual perversion, they also probably engaged in multiple other forms of sexual sin, including, but not limited to, rapeincest, bestiality, and pedophilia.

In Jeremiah 2:34, we find an obscure phrase alluding to the sin of abortion in which Israel had become guilty of. I call it “obscure” since there is not a consensus as to its interpretation. Many take the word “skirts” in a metaphorical sense, however, I believe it should be taken literally.

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Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines prophecy The Papacy

The AntiChrist and Great Tribulation

Chapter 4 of the book “When Jesus Returns —what then?” by Jim Gibson. I have edited the text only where necessary, changed underlining to bold text and used the KJVER Bible version. 

The antichrist. Probably no other personage in all of Christendom, besides the Lord Jesus, has captivated the imagination of both saint and sinner alike. Books and even movies have been produced centering on this one infamous individual. Since the antichrist is such an integral part of dispensational thought, it necessitates some consideration for discussion.

According to the dispensational view, after the rapture of the church, the antichrist will make his presence known in the world’s political scene. He will make a covenant with the Jewish nation, but will break that covenant after 3½ years. Also, he will sit in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and declare himself to be the Jews’ Messiah. The Jews will reject him as their Messiah and, consequently, he will begin to persecute them. This period of “great tribulation” will last for 3½ years ending at the Second Coming, thus precipitating the battle of Armageddon. This is just a brief synopsis of the dispensational teaching regarding the antichrist. There is some variation to this particular interpretation among the dispensationalists, although its basic tenets are the same.

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The word antichrist is only found five times in Scripture and only mentioned by one apostle, namely, John. However, Paul explicitly refers to the antichrist calling him the “man of sin” and “son of perdition” in Second Thessalonians. He implicitly references him in First Timothy by ascribing to him certain causal attributes. Thus, these are the only two apostles who even addresses this evil personage, and, the following passages are the only texts that we can rightfully or critically examine in order to glean information concerning the antichrist.

“Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest [known] that they were not all of us. … Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:18,19,22)

“And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:3)

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 7)

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called god, or that is worshiped; so that he as god sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is god.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4)

“Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils [demons]; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats [foods], which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

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Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines

The Rapture

Chapter 3 of the book “When Jesus Returns —what then?” by Jim Gibson. I have edited the text only where necessary, changed underlining to bold text and used the KJVER Bible version. 

The term “rapture” does not appear anywhere in the Bible. This fact alone does not necessarily invalidate its truthfulness, however. The word itself refers to the “catching away” of the bride of Christ, which is the Church. According to the dispensationalists, the Church will be “taken” from the earth at the “coming” of Christ, otherwise known by its Greek name, the “Parousia”. This event would necessitate people being “left behind”. A seven-year period of great distress would follow and, would eventually end at the Second Advent of Christ. Thus, a “two-stage” coming of Jesus is required.

Rapture

The word “rapture”, however, did not originate until the early part of the 1830’s when it was first coined by John Nelson Darby, the leader of the Brethren movement. This paper will not entertain the controversy of who was actually the first to expound the idea of a “two-stage” coming, whether Darby or a young Scottish woman by the name of Margaret Macdonald. Rather, I will only address the scriptural texts that have been cited in proof of this popular view referred to as the “rapture”. The most referenced biblical passage to support the “rapture” is from 1 Thessalonians.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant [unaware], brethren, concerning them which are asleep [dead], that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep [die] in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep [dead]. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort [encourage] one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons [dates], brethren, you have no need that I write to you. For yourselves know perfectly [full well] that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail [birth pains] upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake [surprise] you as a thief… For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-4,9)

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Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines

The Return of Jesus Christ

Chapter 2 of the book “When Jesus Returns —what then?” by Jim Gibson. I have edited the text only where necessary, changed underlining to bold text and used the KJVER Bible version. 

To begin our study of what the scriptures reveal, we will first consider those which speak of a certain day marked on God’s celestial calendar. Jesus and the disciples referred to this historic day as the “day of judgment”.

“Verily I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Matthew 10:15)

“But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.” (Matthew 11:22)

“But I say to you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)

“The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations [trials], and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” (2 Peter 2:9)

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved to fire against the day of judgment and perdition [destruction] of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7)

“Herein is our love made perfect [complete], that we may have boldness [confidence] in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)

“And the angels which kept not their first estate [position], but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains [eternal bonds] under darkness to the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6)

MARTIN_John_Great_Day_of_His_Wrath
The End of the World, also known as The Great Day of His Wrath by John Martin. Credit: Wikipedia

As one studies these verses, it becomes obvious that a specific day is reserved to judge the ungodly of this world. The verse 1 John 4:17 alludes to the fact that even the believers will be judged on this fateful day. Furthermore, Jude 6 clearly intimates that the demons will also be held in judgment for this “great day”.

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Bible prophecy hermeneutics

The battles of Gog and Magog

In the late 1970’s my wife and I were living in Singapore where we did some street witnessing, handing out tracts, mostly on salvation but one tract was a prophetic end-time message, titled “Israel Invaded”.  That tract discussed the future invasion of Israel from the northern lands of Gog and Magog, and was based on chapters 38 and 39 of the book of Ezekiel.

Gid 25 -Christina1977
My wife Christina and I in Singapore in 1977

As you may know, Singapore is a bit sensitive about anything political, so it was not totally surprising then that we were taken into custody by the police, along with our daughter, who was less than two years old. At the station, all the police were eager to read the different tracts we had and some of the female officers enjoyed playing with our daughter. Eventually they let us go saying that we should get the tracts registered with the Department of Religion, which I did except for the Ezekiel 38 and 39 tract. The reason for that was that a senior police officer visited me at home later and told me that Singapore has close relations with Israel and they would not want anything to upset that, even though I told him the message was not about Israel in our time, and that it was just Bible prophecy. But then I believed that Ezekiel 38,39 was a prophecy to be fulfilled in our future and it involved the invasion of Israel.

So that brings me to my point. Is the prophecy in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 really about some future end-time event, as I once believed? Well, I admit I have recently changed my mind. I also once believed as many evangelical Christians do today that there would be in the future the rise of a world dictator, the AntiChrist, who would establish a 7-year peace agreement and allow the re-construction of the Temple in Jerusalem, internationalising the city. He would somehow build a supercomputer to control all world commerce and trade and would break his peace agreement in the middle of the 7 years and subjugate all who oppose him in a great Tribulation period. I have since learned that that is not the case and, in fact, most of those ideas, though they form part of John Nelson Darby’s dispensational pre-Trib. secret Rapture doctrine, were developed long before Darby by Jesuit interlopers who wanted to destroy the effects of the Reformation and get the Protestants’ eyes off Rome as the reformers taught that Rome is the Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots (Revelation 17:5) and they recognised the papacy as the real AntiChrist, the ‘beast’ of Revelation 13, who sits in the temple of God proclaiming himself to be God.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation hermeneutics

Revelation 22

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The chapter opens with a description of the river of life that proceeds or flows from the throne of God inside the city where Christ is on the throne (v.1). On either side of the river was the tree of life (v.2). This is the same tree that was in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 2:9  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is river pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

There also was a river that ran out from Eden.

Genesis 2:10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it was parted, and became into four heads.

The correspondence is very strong. You can see the connection between the paradise of the initial creation and the paradise of the final heaven on earth.

I believe also that the tree of life is symbolic of Jesus Christ, who is the source of life to all who believe. “In Him was life” (John 1:4).

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise.

Christ is the fruit of the righteous, as only God is righteous. In Christ is the only way we can be fruitful to win souls. The Lord also says:

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation hermeneutics

Revelation 21

The Apostle John writes that he saw “a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…” (v.1). The implication is that the heavens are remade by God or, at least, the surface of the earth is refurbished, because is it is described as “new.

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.

As I wrote in our Revelation 19 study, I believe some of this is symbolic language. Of course some is literal but we need to understand which. Read Do the heavens literally pass away or don’t they? The word ‘earth’ in 2 Peter 3:10 means the earthlings. The people are judged according to their works. The ‘elements’ are the ‘fundamental principles’ by which the world has been governed by man. The Greek word translated ‘elements’ is στοιχεῖον (stoicheion), which is related to ‘something orderly in arrangement.’ But all order and government is changed at Christ’s return, which is followed by the new heaven and new earth. The old heavens, both spiritual heavens and the physical environment of the earth are changed. They are restored to the state of creation before Adam’s sin.

The earth is to undergo a purification and a renewal to make it fit for the home of the saints in glory. The old state of things shall be succeeded by a new order, both physical and moral. (This also strengthens the argument that the resurrected saints are not again to be found physically on earth until the earth is purified and prepared for them, which is after the millennium.)

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation hermeneutics

Revelation 20

This chapter includes the one thousand year period, called the Millennium, when Satan is bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years (v.1-3), the Second Advent of Christ (v.4-6),  followed by a short period of Satan being loosed out of his prison and the battle of Gog and Magog (v.7-10), and finally the Great White Throne Judgment (v.11-15). Satan is cast into the lake of fire where the AntiChrist “beast” and his “false prophet” are. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

Verses 1-3

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Firstly we read that an angel brings down from heaven the key to the bottomless pit (prison of some kind) (v.1) and the old serpent (the Devil, Satan) is bound there for a thousand years (v.1-3). The ‘angel’ must be stronger than Satan (Matthew 12:29). We’ll see that he is Jesus, who is more powerful than Satan (an angel is not necessarily stronger). After the thousand years bound in prison Satan is loosed for a short period (v.3).

So the question must be asked what does Satan being ‘bound’ mean? That is, Satan is bound “that he should deceive the nations no more”. Before Jesus came to Earth, the first time, all nations were ignorant of the one true God, except for God’s chosen people, Israel. And we read that after Jesus knocked the Apostle Saul (or Paul) off his horse, while he was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9 and 26), Saul asked Him who He was (Acts 9:5; 26:15). And Christ told him that He is Jesus, and that He had chosen him (Saul) to be a minister to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, that is, to the rest of the nations of the world.

Luke 1018

Christ tells Saul the mission:

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified [set apart] by faith that is in Me.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation hermeneutics

Revelation 19

The focus here (v.1) is in heaven. Salvation is from the Lord God not the usurper. God has judged the great whore, the “old woman of prophecy,” and avenged the murder of the true believers (v.2). These are the enemies of God, but what do the Scriptures tell us about the timing of these events?

The LORD said to My Lord, Sit You on My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool? (Matthew 22:44. Also Psalms 110:1)

Christ must remain on the right hand of the Father, until all His enemies, including the great whore, are judged or put under His feet (or made His footstool). Christ cannot bodily return in His Second Coming to Earth until all His enemies are piled up and He rests His feet upon them.

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“Left Behind” series of books and movies was very popular promoting a secret rapture.

There is no secret rapture before Christ’s Second Coming. He resurrects all believers, both living and dead, at His Return, and all are judged then, and not before He has destroyed all His enemies.

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31)

It will be very well known. It will be noisy. All will see it happen. It will be global.

Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

Now read 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:42, 51-54. This means new bodies like the old but instead incorruptible. There is no doubt amongst commentators that these passages are about the Return of Christ and the resurrection of the saints.

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Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Jesus is personally named in the Old Testament

book-chronicles-one-books-bible-38716516The following is a list of verses from 1 Chronicles 24:6-19, where the names of the priests were chosen by lot apportioning their division of service. What is both interesting and surprising are the meanings of their Hebrew names. In them is found the story of Yeshua (Jesus in Hebrew) meaning “he will save”. Jesus is sent and the Holy Spirit anoints Him to be the one who will reconnect man back into fellowship with God.

In the list the verse number is listed first (the letter ‘a’ or ‘b’ … refers to the first part of the verse, or the second part etc). The text of the verse, with the English form of the name in bold, is then followed by the Hebrew name and the Romanised form of that name, which is followed by the meaning of the Hebrew name. Most of the meanings of the names seem to be relevant to the story of redemption through Christ.


Verse 6a And Shemaiah שְׁמַעיָהּ Shma`yah  Jah has heard

יָהּ Jah is God’s personal name. He has heard our cries and will answer our prayers (Psalm 34:17).

Verse 6b the son of Nethaneel נְתַנאֵל Nthane’l — given of God

Shemaiah is the son ‘given of God’ because ‘Jah has heard’. God gave his only begotten Son, because God has heard our prayers (Genesis 22:2; John 3:16).

the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes,

Verse 6c and Zadok the priest, צָּדוֹק Tsadowq — just (in a moral sense)

God is just (2 Thessalonians 1:6).