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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.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Church History The Papacy

Revelation 12

This chapter now skips back to an earlier period in church history to the beginning of the Christian church and the period of the persecution of the early Church under pagan Rome that transitions into her persecution under papal Rome. The chapter is more of a vision of the spiritual view of the forces at work rather than those in the earthly realm. It shows us the same satanic power behind pagan Rome as is behind papal Rome. Compare verse 12:3 with 13:1.

ark-of-the-covenant-2

This revelation really starts with chapter 11:19. There we read that the temple of God is opened in a new vision, where even the holy ark of His testament is seen. Compare to Revelation 4:1, the same type of language is used.

The ark of the Old testament covenant must have disappeared at some point from Temple worship, because, when the veil of the Temple was split down the middle (Matthew 27:51) at Christ’s death on the Cross, it showed that Christ earned the right of being (symbolically) the ark of God. He is the only intercessor between man and God the Father (1 Timothy 2:5). The ark of God in heaven means that the following occurs temporally after the resurrection of Christ.

There appeared (v.1) “a woman”, the true Church of God, “clothed with the sun,” symbolising Christ’s covering for salvation. The true Church shines with the light of the sun of righteousness. The phrase “the moon under her feet” could symbolise the Old testament, which shone by a reflected light not fully revealed until Christ came in the flesh, and is subordinate to the New Covenant of the Church. The woman then symbolises the true Israel of God (Isaiah 62:11), the believers (Galatians 4:31). Some say “the moon under her feet” means she survives in the world.

Categories
Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Church History Greek New Testament the Reformation

Revelation 10

Another angel is seen coming down from heaven (v.1) and he had in his hand a little book (v.2).

mighty-angel

Who is this angel? (v.1) Sometimes in Scripture the Lord is represented by an angel (Exodus 3:2-6,13-15). Here he is called “another mighty angel” which may imply he is different from the seven trumpet angels. He has a rainbow was on His head. Where have we seen a rainbow before? In Revelation 4:1-3 “… there was a rainbow round about the throne, …”

His face was like “the sun” (v.1). In Matthew 17:2 we read,

And was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment [clothing] was white as the light.

Also 2 Corinthians 4:6 and Revelation 1:14.

His feet were “as pillars of fire”. In Revelation 1:15 “… His feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace“. This strongly indicates it is the Lord Jesus Christ here. Also read Habakkuk 3:3-6:

3 God came from Teman [תֵּימָן, the south], and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. 4 And His brightness was as the light; He had horns [קֶרֶן qeren, as rays of light] coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of His power. 5 Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at His feet. 6 He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow [in worship]: His ways are everlasting.

This ‘little book’ in His hand (v.2) symbolises the Bible. It is described as an open book, possibly meaning that the prophecy was still being written in that book, the prophecies that are revealed in this final book of the Bible.

Categories
Church History Greek New Testament the Bible

Which is the best English Bible?

KJV

The King James Bible (KJB) was translated from the traditional Hebrew and Greek texts (Masoretic Hebrew Text, The Second Great Rabbinic Bible and the Greek Textus Receptus  (TR) or Received Text) and God’s Words in these original sources most Christians would agree are verbally inspired or God breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,…”.

But here’s what interesting. Modern translations (after 1880) are largely based on the Nestle-Aland Greek text, which is an edited version of the Westcott-Hort Greek text, which is largely the Codex Vaticanus with some corrections from Codex Sinaiticus, not Textus Receptus (TR) the Greek Text on which the KJB is based. The Nestle-Aland Greek text differs from the TR by about 9,970 Greek word differences, additions or subtractions equalling 7% of the total 140,521 words in TR. 

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Bible prophecy Church History

Revelation 6

The last chapter described the throne room in heaven where we saw the book with seven seals given to the Lamb.  Only the Lamb of God was able to open the seals, resulting in the events which were foretold from John’s time on, as the pages of the book were opened. These seals were opened in succession and with the opening of each seal John saw and recorded an impressive vision. No system of interpretation that doesn’t represent these as chronologically successive events is reasonable. The vision following the opening of the first seal must portray a period of events nearest to the time of John, and the rest follow in order describing the history of the church and of the fate of the world.

The first four seals, that follow here, are all similar in their imagery and can only be reasonably explained as symbolic references to events in the history of the fall of the Roman Empire. The Horsemen are not representative of individuals, but of great epochs, periods in history.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Conquest, War, Famine & Death, an 1887 painting by Victor Vasnetsov. The Lamb is visible at the top. Credit
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Conquest, War, Famine & Death, an 1887 painting by Victor Vasnetsov. The Lamb is visible at the top. Credit: Wikipedia

The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, opens the first seal (v.1)

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Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines Church History

Revelation 1-3

The following is the first of a series of posts with my notes on the visions/prophecies in the book of the Revelation from Jesus Christ to the Apostle John, given on the isle of Patmos.

Revelation 1

The Revelation, not of John, but of Jesus Christ. It was given to John by an angel speaking on behalf of God. This chapters have Jesus Christ speaking to the Revelation to John (v.11,17,18; 2:18).  Verses 13-15 correspond very well with Daniel 10:5,6.

It is a record of what will shortly come to pass from John’s perspective and  begins at the time of John the Apostle. It is not a futurist prophecy of events all compressed into some far future End-time period long past the centuries that followed the Early Church. The Revelation (and warnings from God) are for events that will occur from the time soon after John received it (v.1,3),  not reserved for some future time. The church endured great tribulation in 70 A.D. and has suffered tribulation ever since (v.9).  John wrote his gospel in 62 A.D. and the Revelation after that time. There is no mention of the 70 A.D. Roman invasion of Jerusalem (and the abomination that makes desolate) in the gospel of John, which supports this. Some date this book to AD 95-96, during the last part Domitian’s reign. “It appears to be the certain result of historical evidence that the Apostle John was banished to the island of Patmos during the reign of Domitian (A. D. 81-96) and in the fourteenth year of that reign, and was recalled from Patmos to Ephesus by the Emperor Nerva in A.D. 96.

Alpha-Omega

Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega (v.8,11), the first and last letter in the Greek alphabet, ‘the beginning and the ending’ representing Christ as Creator of the Universe and Judge of all. He is YHWH, Jehovah, “I AM”, and the Creator of the Universe. He sees the beginning from the end.

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Biblical doctrines Church History The Papacy

Live by the sword, die by the sword

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and his ‘friend’ brought soldiers to arrest Him just before His crucifixion, to His disciple who had just used a sword to cut off the high priest servant’s ear, Jesus said:

Put up again your sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. (Matthew 26:52 KJVER) (emphasis added)

Often now I hear of Christians speaking of justification to take up arms against tyrants when it seems what Jesus said in the New Testament that we should not. We live in a secular world and it is not our role to police it. Governmental institutions have been set up to administer the law to evil doers. But what about tyrants? Is there a right to resist them or are we to use the existing institutions?

Back in the nineteen-sixties and seventies, Central American Jesuits designed posters 306a5419acdda88e267f1ac7b9e5a6b9to motivate [peasants] to overthrow corrupt politicians. The posters for this Bellarminian liberation theology depicted an angry Jesus Christ in the image of Che Guevara, swathed in fatigues, draped in bullet-belts, holding a submachine gun at the ready, a Rambo Jesus, a Jesus whose Sacred Heart called for social action that included killing. The American bishop scare aroused the same dynamic in the 1770’s. What was considered by many to be the most influential sermon on the subject was preached to Boston’s Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company by Rev. Jonathan Mayhew’s successor at Harvard, Rev. Simeon Howard. Simeon Howard received his early preaching experience in Nova Scotia – or Acadia, as the French settlers called it. He experienced first-hand the uprooting and expulsion, by British soldiers, of some three thousand French Catholic Acadians, along with their Jesuit priests. Cruelly, often violently, the Acadians were forced to emigrate to various American colonies, with no compensation for property or livestock. (Longfellow memorialized the event in Evangeline).

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Church History The Papacy

The New Holy Roman Empire

popecover0928On September 28, Time magazine featured Pope Francis’ visit to the United States with the headline “Pope Francis and the New Roman Empire.” The first paragraph of the article read,1

From Cuba to climate change, he has revitalized the Vatican’s role in global diplomacy. Now he’s bringing his activist agenda to the U.S.

In 1796 the Holy Roman Empire was defeated and subjugated under the conquest of Napoleon Bonaparte. General Berthier marched into Rome unopposed on February 10, 1798, and proclaimed a Roman Republic. He demanded the pope renounce all his temporal power.  Papal lands were confiscated and the power of the popes greatly diminished. But the Papacy was only temporarily “wounded” and since that time has continued to recover from that major defeat.  At the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) the Papal States were largely restored. The Jesuits were restored and the Inquisition was revived.

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Biblical doctrines Church History The Papacy

Who is the AntiChrist?

The church has been deceived

Not so long after I was born again as a follower of Jesus Christ I was introduced to the concept of the AntiChrist, and that he would be some future world dictator who we do not yet recognise but will arise quite quickly making some sort of peace deal with Israel, a 7-year covenant. He would somehow solve the problems of the Palestinian-Israeli claims over the city of Jerusalem, and, by making it a UN-controlled city, bring in world peace.

Then he would set up his image — some type of supercomputer that talks — in the holy place, which I was taught would be the newly-rebuilt Jewish Temple — the third Temple. supercomputer

This “image of the beast” is what the prophet Daniel called the “abomination of desolation,” and it would somehow allow the AntiChrist to exert financial control over the citizens of the world, forcing them to take the “Mark of the beast” — some sort of RFID chip — without which “no man can buy or sell.”RFID-chip