Monday, January 30, 2006

Prophetic interpretation

Most Christians I have talked to seem to avoid the books of Daniel and Revelation for various reasons. The reason I hear most is that they cannot understand what they are reading. However, in Revelation 19:10 we are told that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." For many Christians, the Left Behind books and teachings of dispensational futurism provide the foundation of their prophetic beliefs. Our churches and seminaries are responsible for the ignorance of bible prophecy that is so evident among Christians today.

Basically, there are three main schools of prophetic thought. Most Protestants are not aware that two of the three schools, Preterism and Futurism, came directly from the minds and pens of Jesuit priests. Preterism teaches that the book of Revelation was fulfilled at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. They have a problem here because most bible scholars agree that John wrote the Revelation around 95-96 A.D. Sadly, many of our Presbyterian brothers have resurrected this false prophetic system in our day. Futurism has dominated the scene for the past century, especially in the last 50 years. Futurists tell us that at some point in the future the church will be raptured out, Satan will enter a man known as the antichrist, who will make a covenant with the Jews and their rebuilt temple, and the Great Tribulation will last for 7 years before the Lord returns with His raptured saints.

Let's take the teachings of futurism one at a time. First of all, you will not find the term "rapture" anywhere in your bibles. Paul does tell us in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 that when the Lord returns the dead in Christ and those that are alive will be caught up into the air to meet Him. Nowhere are we told that He will secretly rapture His church. Look again at Paul's description of the Lord's return..."the Lord will descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God." No secret rapture here! Our Lord compares His return as the lightning that shines from the east to the west(Matthew 24:27). No secret rapture there either! Futurists point to our Lord's return as a thief in the night mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:2. If they will just read the verse in the context of the passage they will realize that Paul is referring to the timing of our Lord's return, not the manner.

Let us now deal with this idea that at the end of this earth age that a man known as the antichrist will rule the world and deceive millions. The futurist foundation for this belief is found in Daniel chapter 9 and the 70 weeks prophecy. Futurists make their first mistake in trying to identify the Prince in Daniel 9:26-27 as the antichrist who will make a covenant with the Jews. Sorry Mr. Futurist, but the Prince referred to here is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one that confirmed the New Covenant with Israel in His blood, and His sacrifice brought an end to all sacrifices. Instead of seeing Daniel's 70 weeks for the amazing fulfillment of prophecy that it was, futurists make a fatal mistake by detaching the 70th week from the other 69 without any scriptural justification whatsoever. With one voice the Protestant Reformers from Wycliffe to Charles Spurgeon identified antichrist as a system, not a single individual and that system is known as the Papacy. I will deal with the biblical details of the antichrist system in a later post.

The next fairy tale being told by futurists is that the Jews will rebuild the temple. Now, how they will do that, which requires moving/demolishing the dome of the rock, without starting world war 3, I have no idea. Biblically literate Christians know that the many references to the temple in the New Testament do not refer to brick and stone but to the "naos" of God, the universal body of our Lord. Sadly and pathetically many Christians here in the U.S. are being persuaded to send money to Israeli so more Jews can go back to their homeland. Sometimes I think that many Christians are more Jewish than Christian. The Bible tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people and to this day the Jews still reject our Lord. Newflash to all Christian Zionists-the glory of the Lord left this little strip of land we know as Palestine centuries ago, just as His glory has left many of our churches.

I urge true bible believing Christians everywhere to seek out the writings of the Reformers on this very subject. You will be greatly blessed when you see that bible prophecy and world history go hand in hand. Our Lord said "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Unshackle your minds from the lies of futurism and take heed to the historical protestant position on prophecy as you would unto a light that shineth in a dark place.

To Be Continued.

2 Comments:

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