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 — there are 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
Biblical doctrines Book of Revelation hermeneutics

Do the heavens literally pass away or don’t they?

What you believe of bible prophecy (eschatology1 in particular) affects how you interpret some passages in the scriptures. I have been often told that the universe is decaying away, which according to standard physics, one should believe. Then there are those who teach about future apocalyptic events and that God will destroy the entire universe and make a new one.

Alderaanexplosion
Figure 1: The planet Alderaan destroyed by the Death Star’s laser weapon. Screen capture from George Lucas’s “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”. Initial theatrical release was May 25, 1977 © 1997 Lucasfilm Ltd. Credit: © 1997 Lucasfilm / Courtesy Pyxurz.

Read,

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Some cite verses such as the following:

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be dissolved in the fire, and the earth and its works will not be found.

Revelation 6:14  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

Isaiah 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

Categories
Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines The Papacy

Preterist, Futurist or Historical view of Bible prophecy

I hold to the Historical (or continuous) view of Bible prophecy. Most protestants have been deceived into believing the Futurist view, which was developed and promoted by Jesuits, even though a slightly different form of it was developed and promoted by John Nelson Darby, one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren denomination. Defenders of Darby deny any connection to the Jesuit formulation.1,2 The difference being Darby promoted his doctrine of Dispensationalism, which included the restoration of the land of Israel  to its rightful owners the Jews (that part I agree with), whereas the Jesuits were strongly anti-Israel. Darby linked the alleged secret Rapture of the Church to the restoration of Israel because once the Christian believers were gone before some Great Tribulation, he reasoned, then God could fulfil prophecy to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, giving Israel a millennium of peace on Earth under Christ’s rule.

However, the Jesuit doctrine and Darby both falsely teach that Jesus will return in a secret Rapture just before the AntiChrist rises to power and rules for 3½ years. Others teach the Preterist view that all prophecy has already been fulfilled within the first few centuries of the Christian era. Both of these latter two methods of interpretation are false and deprive the Church of God’s word in understanding history over the past 1800 years, where the true Church has been oppressed by the false church, the Church of Rome and the real AntiChrist, the Papacy. This article is a repost from James Japan.

Out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century, and even before, there developed three distinct schools of Biblical prophetic interpretation. A close examination as to the origins of these different views shall undoubtedly uncover which position is correct. I hope and pray that this information will help the reader to make a stance for the side of Truth and give strength to take those first steps “out of the midst of Babylon.”

Let us take a look at what several well known authors, who lived while the more modern views were becoming prevalent, had to say on the subject.

“There are three methods of interpreting the book of Revelation– the Praeterist, the Futurist and the Historical (or continuous). The Praeterist maintains that the prophecies in Revelation have already been fulfilled– that they refer chiefly to the triumph of Christianity over Judaism and paganism, signalized in the downfall of Jerusalem and of Rome. Against this view it is urged that if all these prophecies were fulfilled some 1400 years ago (the Western Roman Empire fell A.D. 476), their accomplishment should be so perspicuous as to be universally manifest, which is very far from being the case. The Futurist interpreters refer all the book, except the first three chapters, to events which are yet to come. Against this view it is alleged that it is inconsistent with the repeated declarations of a speedy fulfillment at the beginning and end of the book itself (I.3; xxii.6, 7, 12, 20). Against both these views it is argued that, if either of them is correct, the Christian Church is left without any prophetic guidance in the Scriptures, during the greater part of its existence; while the Jewish church was favored with prophets during the most of its existence.

Categories
Bible prophecy The Papacy the Reformation worldview

Historical or futurist view of biblical prophecy?

The Roman Church’s reply to the Reformation in the 16th/17th centuries included an answer to the prophetic teachings of the Reformers. The Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingle, Knox, Cranmer, Latimer and others) were involved in the translation of the biblical texts from the source Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts into the vernacularof the people in Europe (English, German, etc). This gave them access to the Word of God directly, which up until that point in history was controlled through the Romish Church.2 The very little that the people did receive was corrupted via the Latin Vulgate translation, where many doctrines had been altered from the original such that the Roman Church maintained control over the masses.

The Basilica of Saint Peter - Rome Credit: Tunliweb.no
The Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, Rome Credit: Tunliweb.no

The Church of Rome responded with their Counter-Reformation3 initiated via the Council of Trent.4,5  The Jesuit order was formed by Ignatius Loyola6 as an organised secret network that would infiltrate the Protestant churches, with the objective to bring about the downfall of the Reformation. Most of Northern Europe, with the exception of most of Ireland, came under the influence of the Protestants. Southern Europe remained Roman Catholic, while Central Europe suffered under the Thirty Years’ War, resulting in massive devastation.7