THE KINGDOM IN HISTORY AND PROPHECY

 

Written By Lewis Sperry Chafer   

Introduction
A CLEAR and thoroughly Biblical book on the kingdom in the Scriptures has long been a desideratum. Perhaps no truth of the divine revelation has suffered more at the hands of interpreters than that concerning the kingdom. Following the Roman Catholic interpretation, Protestant theology has very generally taught that all the kingdom promises, and even the great Davidic Covenant itself, are to be fulfilled in and through the Church. The confusion thus created has been still further darkened by the failure to distinguish the different phases of kingdom truth indicated by the expressions “kingdom of heaven,” and “kingdom of God.”

In the light of plain Scripture all of these confusions are inexcusable, for at no point is the Biblical revelation more clear and explicit. Founded upon the covenant of Jehovah with David, a covenant subsequently confirmed by Jehovah’s oath, the great theme of predictive prophecy is that kingdom. Even the order of the setting up of the kingdom, relatively to the great Gentile world empires, is declared. The events attending the setting up of the kingdom of the heavens on the earth are described.
The New Testament carries forward the Old Testament foreview of the kingdom into greater detail, but without change. The very first mention of Christ in the first verse of the first chapter in the New Testament identifies Him with the Davidic Covenant, and the promise of Gabriel to His virgin mother is a new confirmation in express terms of that covenant.

The New Testament reveals the present age as a parenthesis in the prophetic program during which the Church is called out from among the Gentiles, a stranger and pilgrim body, belonging to the kingdom of God, but in no sense identical with the kingdom of heaven.

I welcome therefore this present book on these fundamental truths. Having had the privilege of seeing it in manuscript, I bespeak for it the candid attention of all who are concerned for the truth of God.

C. I. Scofield.
“Greyshingles,” Douglaston, N. Y.

PREFACE
MANY valuable books have been written on the general subjects related to the kingdom. A partial list of these is appended herewith; but no similar work covering, in brief form, the historic and prophetic aspects of the kingdom in their relation to the present age-purpose was known to the writer: hence this volume. It is hoped that this book will prove a comprehensive, if not exhaustive, treatise on this important theme.

It has not seemed expedient to deal with all problems of interpretation when they first appear in the discussion. Therefore the general difficulties arising in this study are taken up, so far as the writer is able, in what may seem to him to be the most appropriate place, and the reader to whom this interpretation is new is requested to withhold all judgments and conclusions until the various aspects of this revelation, here dealt with, have been considered.

May the Spirit, whose office work it is to guide into all truth and to show us things to come, guide the study of what it has pleased our God to reveal of His purpose and plan in the realization of His kingdom in the earth.

LEWIS SPERRY CHAFER
Upper Montclair, N. J.

Chapter I.
THEME
THE Bible revelation regarding the kingdom presents the purpose, process and final realization of a divine government in the earth. This objective is the heart of the kingdom prayer: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” The kingdom revelation is a distinct body of Scripture running through both the Old Testament and the New and its study, of necessity, leads to some definite conclusions touching the meaning of much unfulfilled prophecy, two advents of Christ, the present age of Grace and the future of both Jews and Gentiles.

Considering only kingdom passages, both historical and prophetic, such definite conclusions are not difficult from the fact that this revelation is presented in those Scriptures which are more easily harmonized than the familiar body of truth from which are drawn the doctrines of salvation. Salvation revelations are sufficiently clear; but upon them the theological discussions of centuries have been centered. On the other hand, such general study has not been given to kingdom truths. In fact, many students of theology are confessedly ignorant on this subject. However, there is no conflict between Salvation and Kingdom themes. They cover widely different fields of Biblical doctrine.

In view of these facts, it may be helpful to note some of the essential values accruing from, and conditions governing, the study of kingdom truth:

Bible interpretation is incomplete without it.

It stands to reason, since one-fourth of the Bible is in prophetic form, and five-sixths of the Bible is addressed to one nation to whom the kingdom promises are given, that any plan of study which avoids prophecy and ignores, or “spiritualizes,” God’s covenants with His chosen earthly people will be incomplete, misleading and subject to mere human assumptions.

The accurate study of the kingdom in the Old Testament and the New affords the only comprehensible approach to the New Testament doctrines of “This present evil age” (Gal. i. 4),” The church which is his body” (Eph. i. 22, 23), and “Things to come” (Jn. xvi. 13).

It has been pointed out that two distinct revelations were given to the Apostle Paul. In Arabia he received directly from God the gospel of grace (Gal. i. 11, 12) which he has presented, in the main, in the Roman and Galatian letters. This is a revelation of a new order, a new relationship to God, which is neither a perpetuation of Judaism, nor a modication of that system. Judaism remains intact and follows its predicted course, according to Scripture, to the end. The new revelation of “the grace of God which hath appeared,” and which is made possible only by the cross, should not be colored by the Judaic teaching. It is a complete system in itself and, like Judaism, continues intact to its predicted end. For what else is Paul contending in Galatians if it is not that these two distinct systems shall not be mixed? And yet to what seeming avail are those pleadings to law-ridden, Judaized Protestantism to-day?

The second revelation came, in the main, from Paul’s two years of imprisonment. This body of truth embraces the plan of the ages, the whole doctrine of the Church and the present out-calling of a heavenly body and bride as recorded in the Ephesian and Colossian letters. It is this advance body of truth which is never comprehended apart from the exact lines of distinctions laid down in kingdom revelations.

Theology, as usually presented, is disproportionately concerned with the Arabian revelation and a grave harm is done when such theology, creeds or catechisms, built largely on one aspect of New Testament teaching, are supposed to be adequate interpretations of the whole divine revelation. The theological student who enters his ministry with such presuppositions and limitations, inaccurate in many of his conceptions and prejudiced toward whole bodies of truth about which he knows little, will be incompetent to minister the whole Word.

An illustration of this may be drawn from 1 Tim. iv. 1-6. It is set forth here that the young Timothy may win the high title of “a good minister of Jesus Christ,” if he is faithful in putting the brethren in remembrance of the awful apostasy with which the present age must end (see also 2 Thess. ii. 1-10). How shall any minister discern an age-closing apostasy with its divinely ordered relations to the final triumph of God in the earth if he does not know these exact revelations which form the whole program of the kingdom according to Scripture?

No minister, therefore, can “preach the Word” in its right proportions, or be a “good minister of Jesus Christ” who habitually ignores the great prophetic themes. Nor is he excused in his neglect, or prejudice, by virtue of the fact that he represents a majority, or that other ideals have been set before him by his teachers. What is the particular knowledge that gives proficiency to the minister of Christ if it is not a thorough understanding of the Scriptures? Successful men of other professions apply themselves continually to the acquirement of accurate knowledge covering every phase of their chosen calling. Are these the accepted standards of the ministerial profession? Would we choose to be operated on by a physician who knows no more of surgery than the average theological student knows about prophecy? Yet the knowledge of prophecy in its main features, is distinctly a part, and a very large and qualifying part, of the material committed to those who are called to “preach the Word.”

Knowledge of prophetic truth qualifies all intelligent Christian life and service.

The careful student who distinguishes the various purposes of God in the ages, has discovered that there is a distinct rule of life and program for service in the present age which can never, reasonably, be confused with that which has gone before, or that which is to follow. It is a serious mistake to press law-observance in the face of repeated revelations that the believer of this age is not under law as his rule of life (Rom. vi. 14; x. 4, 5; Gal. v. 18; 2 Cor. iii. 11, 17). So also it will be found that, at present, service is the accomplishment of divine undertakings never before revealed and its motives are alone the mighty governing principles of grace. A real zeal in service will result and a beginning of interest in Bible study will develop when these plain distinctions are carefully taught and observed.

Kingdom and prophetic truths are being falsely represented.

The country is being swept by “Russellism” (so-called “Millennial Dawn,” “International Bible Students’ League,” etc.), and the appalling progress of this system which so misrepresents the whole revelation of God can only be accounted for in the unsatisfied hunger of the people for the prophetic portions of Scripture. Such a false system, mixing truth with untruth, and designed to interpret all of the divine revelation, is evidently more engaging to the popular mind than only the Scriptural presentation of the fundamental doctrines concerning God, Man and Redemption. Satan’s lies arealways garnished with truth and how much more attractive they seem to be when that garnishing is a neglected truth! And insurance against the encroachment of such false teaching lies only in correctly presenting the whole body of truth rather than in treating any portion of it as impractical or dangerous. No minister need greatly fear any false system when he is intelligently and constantly feeding the people on the Word in all its symmetry and due proportions. This is not only true concerning the teachings of “Millennial Dawn,” but is equally true of the teachings of “Christian Science,” “New Thought,” “Spirit-ism,” “Seventh Day Adventism” and all unscriptural doctrines of Sanctification.

Unfulfilled prophecy is as credible as history.

No one will question that faith is taxed in the study of prophecy more than in the study of history. It is not difficult to believe what has assuredly taken place: it is quite another thing to believe confidently that unprecedented events will occur when based only on the bare predictions of Scripture. This failure in faith doubtless underlies much neglect of the prophetic Scriptures and accounts for a prevalent habit of allegorizing and qualifying prophecy until it is reduced to the limitation of a human opinion. Under this pressure men otherwise clear on the interpretation of the Bible have gone so far as to assert that what Paul wrote in his early ministry was abandoned or qualified in his later ministry. Revelation requires no such surgery. Such efforts reveal a state of mind which finds it easier to diminish Biblical authority than to increase personal confidence in the accuracy of Scripture. The mighty revelations of the purpose of God cannot be apprehended until the issue of believing his Word has been faithfully met.

Prophetic language is equally as accurate as other Scriptures.

While some prophecy is couched in symbolic language, those portions which trace the forward movements of the kingdom in the earth are largely free from problems presented by such symbolism, and that body of truth appears in language and terms the meaning of which cannot reasonably be questioned. The pity is that Origen ever conceived the allegorizing method of interpretation, and that his misleading and violent liberty with the text has since found such fertile soil in which to propagate.

A mixture of the teachings concerning Israel, as a nation, with the revelations concerning the Church, the body of Christ, is groundless in Scripture. It is hopelessly confusing and grotesque, for under this plan only Israel’s blessings are borrowed; her curses and penalties are, naturally, not wanted. No progress can be made in the kingdom studies unless plain words are taken in their obviously plain meaning. In the Bible “Israel” is not the “Church;” “Zion” is not the body of saints of this dispensation; the “throne of David” is not heaven, nor will it ever be; the “land of your fathers” is not “Paradise” and the “house of Jacob” is not a host of Gentiles ignorantly attempting to force an entrance into Judaism. All such borrowed habits of interpretation must be faithful]y judged and abandoned if ever the kingdom portions of God’s Word are to assume any order or meaning.

Scripture must be rightly divided and applied.

It has been said “All Scripture is for us, but all Scripture is not about us.” It all bears a message to us, but is not all our rule of life. It will not do for Gentile believers to read themselves into the great portion of the Bible which treats distinctly of a chosen nation, still a separate people in the earth, under the special unbroken purpose of God and exactly where God intended them to be at this very hour.

So with Christ: He was “a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Rom. xv. 8). This describes a strictly Jewish mission and purpose. He was also the grounds of personal justification to the Gentile believers (1 Cor. i. 3-8; 2 Cor. v. 21); but the two are separate. Because He was great enough to fulfill the predicted requirements for both Jew and Gentile is no warrant for Gentiles to attempt to intrude into those divine ministrations which were evidently only for the Jews. A right division and application of Scripture demands that a portion of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus be recognized as belonging to the divine covenants with one nation in which Gentiles have no part (Eph. ii. 11, 12). During these ministrations Gentiles were not in view (Matt. x. 5) nor can they be made to so appear by any fair method of interpretation.

There can be but one true system of interpretation.

It is for the faithful student to discover this for himself. Accepted inferences of so-called Postmillennialism and Premillennialism as possible co-existing systems of interpretation constitute a serious challenge against the dignity and purpose of the Bible itself. Either the divine revelation follows a definite order in the development of the kingdom in the earth, or it does not. If it does, there could hardly be two distinct programs coexisting in the mind and purpose of God. If there is but one order, an individual who confessedly knows nothing of the kingdom body of truth falls far short of being an approved workman, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, when he, through prejudice or preconceived conclusions, is not willing to be moved and molded by the exact and accurate words of revelation. And how much greater is his failure when guilty of withholding these mighty transforming themes from others!

Eschatology

By Kenneth J. Morgan

Introduction

Eschatology is that branch of systematic theology that studies the doctrine of last things–that is, future events prophesied or otherwise described in the Bible. It breaks into two parts: personal eschatology and general eschatology.

  • Personal eschatology: the study of the future of individuals; specifically, the doctrines of death, the intermediate state, the nature of the resurrection, and hell, the final destiny of the wicked.
  • General eschatology: the study of future events on a national and global level; specifically, the doctrines of the tribulation, the return of Christ, the rapture, the millennium, the time and extent of the resurrections and judgments, and the eternal state.

There is in general far more debate among theologians regarding general eschatology than over personal eschatology, and the focal point of this debate is the doctrine of the millennium. One’s view of the millennium to a large extent determines his view on the other issues of general eschatology.

The text at the center of the controversy is Revelation 20:1-6:

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. 4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

The Meaning of the Word Millennium

The word millennium is formed from two Latin words, mille, “thousand,” and annus, “year,” anglicized in a way similar to “biennium” and “triennium.” Jerome in the Vulgate translated the Greek in verse 6 as regnaverunt cum Christo mille annis, “reigned with Christ a thousand years.”

Of course the New Testament was originally written in Greek, so John actually wrote this expression as βαςιλευσουσιν μετ αυτου χιλια ετη, “reigned with him a thousand years.” The Greek word “thousand” is χιλιας, chilias. Therefore, belief in a millennial reign is called either millennialism or chiliasm.

The purpose of these notes is to contrast the views of postmillennialism, amillennialism, and premillennialism by direct appeal to representative advocates of each view. The primary sources are as follows:

Postmillennialism: A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology (1907)

Amillennialism: L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (1941)

Premillenialism:

  • Historic form: Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ (1937)
  • Dispensational form: J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (1958)

Postmillennialism

There have been several variations of postmillennialism, including a liberal version which was essentially social Darwinism.  Conservative versions of postmillennialism are represented by such men as David Brown (the Brown from the Jamison, Fauccett, and Brown commentary), Loraine Boettner, Iain Murray, J. Marcellus Kik, Robert L. Dabney, Rousas J. Rushdoony, and the primary source quoted in this paper, Augustus Hopkins Strong.

Definition

The literal meaning of the term postmillennialism is that Christ will return “after the millennium.”  The millennium, or thousand years of Revelation 20, is probably figurative of a long period of time preceding the second advent.  During this period, the gospel will triumph more and more over the nations and will introduce and establish a reign of peace which will endure until Christ returns for the final  judgment.  At the second advent, Christ will immediately conduct the general resurrection and judgment and then usher in the eternal state of the new heavens and the new earth.

Signs or Events Preceding the Second Advent

The following points are enumerated by Strong (pp. 1008-1010) under the heading, “The precursors of Christ’s coming.”

  1. “Through the preaching of this gospel in all the world, the kingdom of Christ is steadily to enlarge its boundaries, until Jews and Gentiles alike become possessed of its blessings, and a millennial period is introduced in which Christianity generally prevails throughout the earth.”  Strong cites Dan. 2:44, 45; Matt. 13:31, 32; and 24:14 here.
  2. “There will be a corresponding development of evil, either extensive or intensive, whose character shall be manifest not only in deceiving many professed followers of Christ and in persecuting true believers, but in constituting a personal Antichrist as its representative and object of worship.  This rapid growth shall continue until the millennium, during which evil, in the person of its chief, shall be temporarily restrained.”  Here he cites Matt. 13:30, 38; and 24:5, 11, 12, 24.
  3. “At the close of the millennial period, evil will again be permitted to exert its utmost power in a final conflict with righteousness.  This spiritual struggle, moreover, will be accompanied by political convolutions, and by fearful indications of desolation in the natural world.”  For this point Strong cites Matt. 24:29, 30.

Amillennialism

Although men like R. J. Rushdoony have done much in reviving and popularizing postmillennialism today, amillennialism probably still represents the majority viewpoint in Presbyterian and Reformed circles. The Bible and the Future, by Anthony Hoekema of Calvin Seminary, an outstanding recent book that treats the entire subject of eschatology, personal and general, presents a thorough exposition and defense of mainstream amillennialism.

Definition

The literal meaning of the term amillennialism is “no millennium.”  This is a misnomer, for this view generally, though not always, holds that the millennium, or thousand years of Revelation 20, represents the entire interadvent period.  Christ may return during any generation, after a brief but terrible period of tribulation, and will immediately conduct the general resurrection and judgment and then usher in the eternal state of the new heavens and the new earth.

Signs or Events Preceding the Second Advent

Under the heading, “Great Events Preceding the Parousia” (pp. 696-703), Berkhof writes, “According to Scripture several important events must occur before the return of the Lord, and therefore it cannot be called imminent.  In the light of Scripture it cannot be maintained that there are no predicted events which must still come to pass before the second coming. . .Now the question can be raised, How can we then be urged to watch for the coming?  Jesus teaches us in Matt. 24:32, 33 to watch for the coming through the signs: ‘when ye see all these things, know ye that he is nigh.’  Moreover, we need not interpret the exhortation to watch as an exhortation to scan the heavens for immediate signs of the Lord’s appearance.  We should rather see in it an admonition to be awake, to be alert, to be prepared, to be active in the work of the Lord, lest we be overtaken by sudden calamity.  The following great events must precede the coming of the Lord.”  Here are the events Berkhof enumerates:

  1. “The calling of the Gentiles.” Berkhof cites Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10; and Rom. 11:25 to the effect that “the gospel of the kingdom must be preached to all nations before the return of the Lord.”  He points out, however, that this does not mean “that all the nations as a whole accept the gospel, but only that it will find adherents in all the nations and will thus be instrumental in bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles.”
  2. “The conversion of the pleroma [fulness, completeness] of Israel.”  Berkhof cites Zech. 12:10; 13:1; 2 Cor. 3:15, 16; and Rom. 11:25-29 in this connection.  It must be pointed out that Berkhof does not see a restoration of the nation of Israel in the land of Palestine.
  3. “The great apostasy and the great tribulation.”  Here Berkhof writes, “These two may be mentioned together, because they are interwoven in the eschatological discourse of Jesus, Matt. 24:9-12, 21-24; Mark 13:9-22; Luke 21:22-24.  The words of Jesus undoubtedly found a partial fulfilment in the days preceding the destruction of Jerusalem, but will evidently have a further fulfilment in the future in a tribulation far surpassing anything that has ever been experienced, Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19.  Paul also speaks of the great apostasy in II Thess. 2:3; I Tim. 4:1; II Tim. 3:1-5.”
  4. “The coming revelation of Antichrist.”  Berkhof has a long discussion of the various interpretations of “antichrist”, “man of sin”, and “son of perdition” (see 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7; Dan. 7:8, 23-26; and 2 Thess. 2:3-4).  While some amillenarians take the view that “antichrist” is a system, such as the papacy, Berkhof finally draws the following conclusion: “The more general opinion of the Church, however, is that in the last analysis the term “Antichrist” denotes an eschatological person, who will be the incarnation of all wickedness and therefore represents a spirit which is always more or less present in the world, and who has several precursors or types in history.  This view prevailed in the early Church and would seem to be the Scriptural view.”
  5. “Signs and wonders.”  Here are Berkhof’s comments: “The Bible speaks of several signs that will be harbingers of the end of the world and of the coming of Christ.  It mentions (a) wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes in various places, which are called the beginning of travail, the travail, as it were, of the rebirth of the universe at the time of the coming of Christ; (b) the coming of false prophets, who will lead many astray, and of false Christs, who will show great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect; and (c) of fearful portents in heaven involving sun, moon, and stars, when the powers of the heavens will be shaken, Matt. 24:29, 30; Mark 13:24, 25; Luke 21:25, 26.”

Premillennialism

Today premillennialism exists in two forms: dispensational premillennialism and what might be called historic premillennialism.  This naming scheme implies that the dispensational formulation of premillennialism is of recent origin, in fact dating back only to the time of John N. Darby in the nineteenth century.  Dispensationalists are particularly sensitive to the charge that the theory originated with Darby, for then it could not have been the teaching of the Apostles and early Church.  Nevertheless, the terminology “historic premillennialism” is used by almost everyone.

There are slight differences in emphasis within historic premillennialism.

  1. When it is coupled with the doctrine of the covenant of grace in Presbyterian and Reformed circles, it is called “covenant premillennialism.” D. H. Kromminga is a rare advocate of covenant premillennialism within the Christian Reformed Church, a body which is almost entirely amillennial (both Berkhof and Hoekema were members of the CRC). However, the most prolific writer and scholar representing covenant premillennialism today is George Eldon Ladd of Fuller Theological Seminary.
  2. Historic premillennialism is even more rare within Lutheran circles than within Reformed circles. Joseph A. Seiss of the nineteenth century and John Warwick Montgomery today, however, do hold to a form of premillennialism.
  3. Probably the largest group of scholars that advocate historic premillennialism is from evangelical circles that are neither Reformed nor Lutheran. Men such as Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., and Robert H. Gundry would be examples.

Dispensationalism may be traced to John N. Darby and a branch of the Plymouth Brethren movement in England, but it was popularized in this country by the Scofield Reference Bible, edited by C. I. Scofield.  It was carefully worked into a coherent system of theology by Lewis Sperry Chafer, founding president of Dallas Theological Seminary, in his ten-volume work Systematic Theology.  Some of the best known advocates are John F. Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, J. Dwight Pentecost, all of Dallas Seminary, and Alva J. McClain of Grace Theological Seminary.  Hal Lindsey is also a dispensationalist, but his speculations do not represent the mainstream.Dispensationalism may be traced to John N. Darby and a branch of the Plymouth Brethren movement in England, but it was popularized in this country by the Scofield Reference Bible, edited by C. I. Scofield.  It was carefully worked into a coherent system of theology by Lewis Sperry Chafer, founding president of Dallas Theological Seminary, in his ten-volume work Systematic Theology.  Some of the best known advocates are John F. Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, J. Dwight Pentecost, all of Dallas Seminary, and Alva J. McClain of Grace Theological Seminary.  Hal Lindsey is also a dispensationalist, but his speculations do not represent the mainstream.

Despite substantive differences between premillennialism in its historic and dispensational forms, a definition of premillennialism is possible which represents the common core of both systems.

Definition

The literal meaning of the term premillennialism is that Christ will return “before the millennium.”  The millennium, or thousand years of Revelation 20, is a literal period of time.  The millennium is immediately preceded by a period of tribulation with much of the world under the power of a personal Antichrist. Christ may return during any generation, at which time he defeats the Antichrist, raises the righteous dead, and reigns on the earth for 1000 years. When the thousand years are completed, he will raise the wicked dead, judge them, and usher in the eternal state of the new heavens and the new earth.

Signs or Events Preceding the Second Advent

The differences between historic and dispensational premillennialism surface when the signs and events that precede the second advent are considered.

Dispensational Premillennialism

Dispensationalism is not essentially a system of eschatology, and therefore it does not represent a fourth system of millennialism.  Dispensational theology is premillennial, but there is a marked difference between the dispensational version and the historic version.  The “dispensations” refer to specific economies of God which he administered during specific periods of time.  Scofield divided history into seven such periods of time.  However, the essence of dispensationalism does not lie in its view of history.  Instead, it is the notion that God has two separate programs in the Bible for two separate peoples of God, Israel and the Church.  Here is a summary of the scheme:

  1. The Old Testament, the Gospels, and with some varieties, part of Acts, deal with God’s prophetic program that centers on the people and nation of Israel.
  2. When Israel in the New Testament rejected Christ and the gospel of the kingdom, the nation as such was temporarily set aside, and God began a new, previously unrevealed, unprophesied program that centers on the Body of Christ, the Church, and the gospel of the grace of God.
  3. At the close of the present Church dispensation, the prophetic program dealing with Israel and described in the Old Testament will continue where it left off and again take up its predicted course.  Here, then, is the distinctive feature of dispensational premillennialism: there are two phases of the second advent.
  4. First there is the imminent return of Christ (without any signs) “in the air” to rapture out his Church from the world (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
  5. The prophetic program will then continue with Israel reestablished as a nation in the land of Palestine, with the period of great tribulation, and with the revelation of the Antichrist, all subjects of prophecy.
  6. At the end of the tribulation (often put at seven years), Christ will return to earth with his Church and establish his kingdom in Jerusalem for 1000 years.  It is this phase of the second advent, then, which will be preceded by the signs discussed in some detail by Berkhof as quoted above.  From this point on, dispensational premillennialism and historic premillennialism coincide as described in the above definition of premillennialism.

Historic Premillennialism

Possibly the best and most concise summary of historic premillennialism is found in The Approaching Advent of Christ by Alexander Reese.  This book was written to defend premillennialism specifically in view of the (then) recent innovative reformulation of it within dispensational circles.  Reese begins his book with the following words:

Until the second quarter of the nineteenth century general agreement existed among pre-millennial advocates of our Lord’s Coming concerning the main outlines of the prophetic future: amidst differences of opinion on the interpretation of the Apocalypse and other portions of Scripture, the following scheme stood out as fairly representative of the school:–

(1) The approaching Advent of Christ to this world will be visible, personal, and glorious.

(2) This Advent, though in itself a single crisis, will be accompanied and followed by a variety of phenomena bearing upon the history of the Church, of Israel, and the world.  Believers who survive till the Advent will be transfigured and translated to meet the approaching Lord, together with the saints raised and changed at the first resurrection.  Immediately following this, Antichrist and his allies will be slain, and Israel, the covenant people, will repent and be saved, by looking upon Him whom they pierced.

(3) Thereupon the Messianic Kingdom of prophecy, which, as the Apocalypse informs us, will last for a thousand years, will be established in power and great glory in a transfigured world.  The nations will turn to God, war and oppression cease, and righteousness and peace cover the earth.

(4) At the conclusion of the kingly rule of Christ and His saints, the rest of the dead will be raised, the Last Judgment ensue, and a new and eternal world be created.

(5) No distinction was made between the Coming of our Lord, and His Appearing, Revelation, and Day, because these were all held to be synonymous, or at least related, terms, signifying always the one Advent in glory at the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom.

(6) Whilst the Coming of Christ, no matter how long the present dispensation may last, is the true and proper hope of the Church in every generation, it is nevertheless conditioned by the prior fulfilment of certain signs or events in the history of the Kingdom of God: the Gospel has first to be preached to all nations; the Apostasy and the Man of Sin be revealed, and the Great Tribulation come to pass.  Then shall the Lord come.

(7) The Church of Christ will not be removed from the earth until the Advent of Christ at the very end of the present Age: the Rapture and the Appearing take place at the same crisis; hence Christians of that generation will be exposed to the final affliction under Antichrist.

Reese goes on to comment, “Such is a fair statement of the fundamentals of Pre-millennialism as it has obtained since the close of the Apostolic Age.  There have been differences of opinion on details and subsidiary points, but the main outline is as I have given it.”  He continues, “These views were held in the main by Irenaeus, the ‘grand-pupil’ of the Apostle John, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and the primitive Christians generally until the rise of the Catholic, political Church in the West, and of allegorical exegesis at Alexandria.”  In the last three centuries, historic premillennialism has been the view of such men as Mede, Bengel, Alford, David Baron, Ryle, Tregelles, Bonar, Ellicott, Kellogg, Moorehead, Trench, Auberlen, Bleek, Delitzsch, DeWette, Ebrard, Ewald, Godet, Lange, and Zahn.

Most Important Sign for the Church

We have now noted the Satanic Game Plan, and are continuing our study of REV 12:1 and the Israeli-Arab conflict: “And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman [Israel] clothed with the sun [Jacob], and the moon under her feet [the wives of Jacob], and on her head a crown of twelve stars [the twelve patriarchs and twelve tribes of Israel].” These twelve tribes are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

REV 12:2-5 And she [Israel] was with child [the virgin pregnancy]; and she cried out [the many Jewish Holocausts throughout human history], being in labor and in pain to give birth [longing for deliverance from this anti-Semitism]. And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon [Satan] having seven heads and ten horns, [the revived Roman empire of the Tribulation and the ecumenical religion, which is being formed today], and on his heads were seven diadems [crowns]. And his tail [Satan's power] swept away a third of the stars of heaven [the prehistoric revolution in Heaven, in which one third of the angels followed Satan in the prehistoric angelic conflict], and He [God] threw them to the earth [in the middle of the Tribulation]. And the dragon [Satan] stood before the woman [the virgin Mary] who was about to give birth [to prevent the virgin birth of Christ], so that when she gave birth he might devour [destroy] her child [the humanity of Christ]. And she gave birth to a son, a male child [our Lord Jesus Christ in hypostatic union], who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron [during the Millennium]; and her child [Jesus Christ] was caught up to God ["harapazo" refers to the ascension, the doctrine of Christology pertaining to the transfer of our Lord's true humanity from planet earth to the third heaven in a resurrection body, ACT 2:34.] and to His throne [the session, the doctrine of Christology pertaining to the glorification of our Lord's humanity at the right hand of the Father, EPH 2:6.] And the woman [true Israel, Jews saved during the Tribulation period] fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God [for refuge], so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days [the last half of the Tribulation and the time of Satan's desperation]. Read Full Study Here

BELIEVER’S TWO NATURES


Written by C. I. Scofield

The Scriptures teach that every regenerate person is the possessor of two natures: one, received by natural birth, which is wholly and hopelessly bad; and a new nature, received through the new birth, which is the nature of God Himself, and therefore wholly good.

The following Scriptures will sufficiently manifest what God thinks of the old, or Adam nature: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5).

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)

“There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12).

God does not say that none of the unregenerate are refined, or cultured, or able, or sweet-tempered, or generous, or charitable, or even religious. But He does say that none are righteous, none understand God, or seek after Him.

It is one of the sorest of faith’s trials to accept the divine estimate of human nature, to realize that our genial and moral friends, who, not infrequently, are scrupulous in the discharge of every duty, filled with sympathy for the woes and the aspirations of humanity, and strenuous in the assertion of human rights, are yet utter despisers of God’s rights and untouched by the sacrifice of His Son, whose divinity they with unspeakable insolence deny and whose word they contemptuously reject. A refined and gentle lady who would shrink with horror from the coarseness of giving a fellow creature the lie, will yet make God a liar every day! (See I John 1:10; 5:10). And this difficulty is vastly increased for thousands by the current praise of humanity from the pulpit.

How startling the contrast between appearances and realities in the time before the flood. “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown” (Gen. 6:4).

And so it appeared that the world was growing better, in men’s eyes; a continual improvement they probably would trace, and the apparent result of the unholy intermarriage of the godly with the worldly was the lifting up of human nature to still grander heights.

But “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” (Gen. 6:5).

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile man” (Mark 7:21-23).

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14).

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7-8).

“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).

By these it appears that the unconverted man has a three-fold incapacity. He may be gifted, or cultured, or amiable, or generous, or religious. He may pay his honest debts, be truthful, industrious, a good husband and father-or all these together-but he can neither obey God, please God, nor understand God.

The believer, on the contrary, while still having his old nature, unchanged and unchangeable, has received a new nature which “after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” The following Scriptures will show the origin and character of the new man.

It will be seen that regeneration is a creation, not a mere transformation-the bringing in a new thing, not the change of an old. As we received human nature by natural generation, so do we receive the divine nature by regeneration.

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee [Nicodemus, a moral, religious man], Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26).

It will be observed what bearing these Scriptures have upon that specious and plausible, but utterly unscriptural phrase so popular in our day, “the universal fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man — an expression all the more dangerous for the half-truth of the last clause. Not all who are born, but all who are born again are the children of God. The Scripture tells us indeed that Adam was the son of God, but it is also careful to state that Seth was the son of Adam (Luke 3:38).

“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [literally, a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

And this “new man” is linked with Christ. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not 1, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:3-4).

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Rom. 8: 10).

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I John 5:11-12).

“But this new, divine nature, which is Christ’s own, subsists in the believer together with the old nature. It is the same Paul who could say, “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” who also says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7: 18); and, “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me (Rom. 7:21). It was Job, the perfect and upright man,” who said, “I abhor myself.” It was Daniel, eminently a man of God, who said, “My comeliness was turned in me into corruption,” when he saw the glorified ancient of days.

Between these two natures there is conflict. Study carefully the battle between the two “I’s”: the old Saul and the new Paul in Romans 7:14-25. It is an experience like this which so discourages and perplexes young converts. The first joy of conversion has subsided, his glowing expectations become chilled, and the convert is dismayed to find the flesh with its old habits and desires within himself as before his conversion, and he is led to doubt his acceptance with God. This is a time of discouragement and danger. Paul in this crisis, cries out for deliverance, calling his old nature a “body of death.” The law only intensifies his agony (though a converted man), and he finds deliverance from “the flesh,” no through effort, nor through striving to keep the law, but “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:24-25).

The presence of the flesh is not, however, an excuse for walking in it. We are taught that “our old man is crucified with Christ”; that, in that sense, we “are dead,” and we are called upon to make this a constant experience by mortifying (“making dead”) our members which are upon the earth.

The power for this is that of the Holy Spirit who dwells in every believer (I Cor. 6:19) and whose blessed office is to subdue the flesh. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:16-17).

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13). Therefore, instead of meeting the solicitations of the old nature by force of will, or by good resolutions, turn the conflict over to the indwelling Spirit of God.

Romans 7 is a record of the conflict of regenerate man with his old self, and is, therefore, intensely personal. “I would,” “I do not,” “I would not,” “I do,” is the sad confession of defeat which finds an echo in so many Christian hearts. In chapter 8 the conflict still goes on, but how blessedly impersonal! There is no agony, for Paul is out of it; the conflict is now between “flesh”Saul of Tarsus-and the Holy Spirit. Paul is at peace and victorious. (It will be understood that this refers to victory over the flesh, such inward solicitations to evil as lust, pride, anger, etc.; temptations from without are met by recourse to Christ our high priest).

Consider attentively the following passages: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed [annulled, rendered powerless] that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:6).

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).

“For ye are dead [have died-in Christ], and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6: 11).

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof’ (Rom. 13:14).

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh” (Rom. 8:12).

Four Blood Moons

Chris’s Blog

Written by Chris Perver
Thursday, 12 September 2013 23:21

Some of you may have already heard about the four blood moons that are to come in 2014 and 2015. For those who haven’t, pastor and prophecy watcher Mark Blitz proposed at interesting idea a couple of years ago in relation to the timing of Daniel’s seventieth week and the second coming of Christ

Pastor Mark Blitz had been studying the Hebrew calendar in relation to the timing of the Feasts of the Lord. These feasts, or ‘appointed times’ (‘moedim’ in Hebrew), were intended to teach the nation of Israel God’s prophetic plan for world history. There are seven of them. While these feasts have all had a specific purpose in Old Testament times, what is extremely interesting is that the first four feasts, namely Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost, have all found a literal fulfillment in the person of the Messiah. It’s as if each feast was purposely constructed by the Lord with the intention of bringing out some divine truth in relation to the plan of redemption for mankind. At Passover time, the Jewish people would remember their exodus from Egypt, and how they were delivered from bondage through the blood of the lamb on the door posts. John the Baptist proclaimed the Lord Jesus Christ to be the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”, John 1:29. Paul declares in 1st Corinthians 5:7, that Christ “our passover is sacrificed for us”. It is through His perfect sacrifice on the cross that we have been delivered from the bondage of sin and death (Isaiah 53:10). The Lord’s body lay in Joseph’s new tomb during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Leaven is a picture of sin, and David prophesied of the Messiah that God would not permit His body to see corruption in death, but would raise it to life again (Psalm 16:10). The Lord rose from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits. During Firstfruits the nation of Israel was commanded to bring the first fruits of the barley harvest into the Temple as a thank-offering to God (Exodus 23:16). It was to be a sure sign of God’s blessing on the harvest to come. The Bible says the Lord Jesus Christ has become the Firstfruits of those that slept (1st Corinthians 15:20). Christ’s resurrection was proof that God is satisfied with His sacrifice for sin upon the cross, and that a resurrection ‘harvest’ of all those who have put their trust in Him for salvation is sure to follow. After this feast the Jewish people were commanded to count fifty days (the Counting of the Omer), after which there was to be another feast, the Feast of Ingathering or Pentecost. At this feast two loaves were to be baked from the newly harvested wheat and presented before the Lord in the Temple. This was the only feast in which leaven was to be present in the offering (Leviticus 23:17). These two loaves were a picture of both Jews and Gentiles coming into the blessing of God through salvation. Numerous prophecies were fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), relating to the brining in of the Gentiles into God’s covenant promises (Isaiah 49:6, Malachi 1:11), and the pouring out of God’s Spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28, Isaiah 44:3).   Read the full article here

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The Seven Churches of Revelation

Matthew McGee

Rightly dividing the Word is the goal of this article, and it is an indispensable key to proper understanding of the Bible.  The abundance of scriptural evidence detailed in Section III of this article makes it very clear that the book of Revelation is doctrine for the nation of Israel, the descendants of Jacob.  Revelation was written to those in Israel who believed in Jesus Christ, by an apostle of the circumcision, for direct application in the “kingdom” dispensation which was prophesied in the Old Testament.  This article is divided into three major sections:

Introduction A summary of the findings in this document Section I: Historical Evidence for Dating the Book of Revelation Section II: A Theory to Consider:  Jews were Scattered into Asia during the 60′s Section III: Scriptural Evidence that Revelation was written to Assemblies of Jews Conclusion Appendix: The KJV Text of Revelation Chapters 1-3  Read study here

The Seat Of Satan Is Now In Berlin

The Pergamon Altar at the Pergamon Museum in B...

The Pergamon Altar at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Berlin – Pergamon Altar at Pergamon M...

English: Berlin – Pergamon Altar at Pergamon Museum Dansk: Pergamon-alteret på Pergamonmuseet i Berlin Deutsch: Pergamonaltar im Pergamonmuseum Magyar: A pergamoni oltár rekonstrukciója (Pergamon Múzeum, Berlin, Németország) Nederlands: Het beroemde Zeusaltaar van Pergamon (Pergamonmuseum, Berlijn). Polski: Ołtarz pergamoński Türkçe: Pergamon Büyük Altarı, Berlin 中文: 帕加马大祭坛,现藏柏林帕加马博物馆 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mussolini (left) and Hitler sent their armies ...

Mussolini (left) and Hitler sent their armies to North Africa and into Egypt against the British (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Seat of S.a.tan. Where Was It? Where Is It Now? Why It Must Be Restored.
By Apostle Moshe Yoseph Koniuchowsky
12-15-07
The throne that represented Greek polytheism will soon be rededicated to represent false monotheism. Read Gilyahna 2:12-17. Remember that the 7 letters are written to 7 congregations sitting at the brink of the Great Tribulation.
12 And to the teaching overseer of the congregation in Beth Togarmah write; These things says He who has the sharp sword with two edges; 13 I know your mitzvoth, and where you dwell, even where s.a.tan’s seat is: and you hold fast to My Name, 1 and have not denied the emunah in Me, even in those days when Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where s.a.tan dwells. 2 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the teaching of Bilam, who taught Balaq to cast a stumbling block before the children of Yisrael, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. 3 15 So have you also those that hold the teaching of the Nikolite , (Islam’s clerics and their religious hierarchy) which teaching I hate. 16 Make teshuvah; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. (Yahshua coming to destroy Islam’s power.) 17 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach says to the Yisraelite congregations; (The warning about s.a.tan’s throne, is for ALL congregations and ALL believers.)
To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone , (Islam has a black stone, the Kabbah-Allah in Mecca, in Saudi Arabia) and in the stone a renewed name written, which no man knows other than he that receives it. (The promise is to those who overcome Islam’s end time march.)
Second Corintyah/Corinthians 4:3-4 s.a.tan is the fallen elohim of this world. Thus while he roams the earth to and fro, he has a base of operations. It is from this base, that he has used both apostate Christianity and Islam to deceive and corrupt the true love of YHWH. In the latter days, s.a.tan is preparing to move his visible throne BACK to Turkey, to revive the Ottoman Empire, as Islam seeks to dominate the world again.
Beth Togarmah-APERGAMOS. PERGAMUM WAS THE CENTER OF ALL PAGAN WORSHIP IN THE ANCIENT WORLD. The famous Altar of Zeus in Pergamom is on the south of the theater. Eumenes II (197-159 BC) constructed it as a memorial of the victory against the Galatians.
This Altar has the shape of a horseshoe and its dimensions are 36.44 x 34.20 m. It is composed of four parts and the high reliefs on it describe the war between the giants and the gods. The Altar which was taken away from Pergamom in 1871 and carried to Germany by the German engineer Carl Humann, is exhibited at the Museum of Pergamum in Berlin, in a manner conforming to its original. Today the Turkish government is trying to get it back from Germany bringing the issue to the international court. Inside Pergamom, there is the Temple of Serapis, built for the Egyptian

 

1 A congregation that honors the true Name. 2 A reference to modern day Turkey the seat of the final revived Islamic beast empire. This was the location of the last world Islamic empire. Note that s.a.tan dwells in the former capital of Islam. 3 Further validation of the Yisraelite makeup of this congregation. The seat of all idolatry and blasphemy.
Gods in the 2nd century CE. and called the Red Courtyard by the locals. This is a basilica shaped building constructed under the reign of Hadrian; then, in the 4th century, it was converted into a church dedicated to St. John and it was one of the seven congregations of Revelation, where s.a.tan’s seat was and remains.
When Islam and their false monotheism came on the scene in Turkey, they wanted it moved elsewhere. Today, as we’ll soon see, the Turkish gov’t wants it back, as prophecy predicts that the anti messiah’s throne will be in Pergamos in modern Turkey and the head of the beast empire will be Mecca/Saudi Arabia. Let’s study…….
Pergamum: Altar to Zeus (see above) An altar to the god Zeus was one of the most impressive structures on Pergamum’s acropolis. The altar’s stairs, columns, and sculptured sides once stood forty feet high. Today only the steps around the altar’s base can be seen. The sides of the altar were ornamented with marble panels that depicted a mythical battle between the Greek gods and the rebellious giants, who were the sons of mother earth. The altar was built several centuries before Moshaich, in order to commemorate the victories of the armies of Pergamum.
SATAN’S SEAT AS IT APPEARED IN 90 C.E. IN THE TIME OF THE APOSTLES/SHLICHIM
We KNOW from Revelation 2:12-17 that Satan’s Seat was located at Pergamom. The Altar of Pergamom (Location of Satan’s Seat) was discovered in an amazingly preserved condition by a German Archaeologist. In 1902 German Kaiser Wilhelm II brought the entire structure of the Altar of Pergamom, Satan’s Seat, and had it set up in Berlin Germany. (Pictured Above) Wilhelm II claimed that to be the highest achievement of his reign. Satan’s Seat, not a copy, but the actual original is NOW in the European Union in the Pergamom Museum in Berlin Germany. This signifies an end time alliance between the European Union and Islam, making up the end time Islamic beast!
German Archaeologists also found in an amazingly well preserved condition the Ishtar Gates of Babylon. (Pictured Below). In 1913 Germany began bringing the actual gates of Babylon to also finally be set up in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin Germany. Thus Islam and the seat of s.a.tan
along with the gates of Islam, Babylon/ Iraq where all pagan deception was started by Nimrod, all reside in Europe, ready for relocation back to the Middle East.
It did not take long for World War One to begin. By 1930 the entire Ishtar Gateway as well as the processional had been brought to Germany and erected in Berlin.
Hitler’s use of the Seat of s.a.tan
A Skull & Bones member, in Germany, where it was known as the Thule Society, was Adolph Hitler. Hitler celebrated the erection of the Gates of Babylon and ESPECIALLY the Altar of SATAN’S SEAT. In 1934 Hitler became dictator and ordered construction of the Tribune at Zeppelin Field in Nuremberg for his Nazi rallies. The architect, Albert Speer, used the Pergamom Altar as the model for the Zeppelin Tribüne. The Führer’s pulpit was in the center of the Tribune, which was built from 1934 to 1937. Adolph Hitler, the Evil King of Germany started World War II in 1939. He attributed mystical powers to the seat of s.a.tan and did his ravings from there!
World War Two resulted in the death of 55 Million, including 6 Million innocent Jewish people, which Hitler sought to purge from Europe. Russia captured the Pergamom Altar or s.a.tan’s Seat in 1948, but in 1958 returned the Pergamom Altar back to Germany, where it is now located in the European Union in Berlin, Germany. In other words, it was not until s.a.tan’s seat arrived in Germany, that both world wars began and it was not until the actual year of its removal from Germany, that Israel became a nation again, in the land of Israel . Coincidence? I think not!
Gates of Babylon/Ishtar (Pictured Below)
2 Tesloniqyah/Thessalonians 2:3 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;
Yahshua WILL NOT RETURN until the throne/seat of s.a.tan and the “son of perdition,” the Islamic anti messiah, is revealed!! That’s why this understanding is crucial to Yahshua’s return and our full redemption.
While the actual edifices of the gates and the seat may be in Berlin for now, the SPIRITUAL CENTER REMAINS IN TURKEY, as the spirit realm lives there as before.
Beresheeth/Genesis 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of Elohim (demons) came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. The giants in Beresheeth/Genesis 6 refer to fallen angels – Demons.
Let’s closely analyze the center of all ancient world pagan worship and the GIANTS depicted as objects of worship. The top 10 Figures on the Pergamum Altar are:

1. Eastern Altar Frieze The eastern side of the altar frieze – the side first lit up by the rising sun – depicts the battle between the gods and the giants.

2. The God Apollo on the Eastern Frieze Like no other deity on the altar, the god Apollo is depicted as a noble man of ideal beauty, thus bearing witness to the artistic mastery of Classical sculpture in Greece.

3. The Titaness Phoebe An impressive figure depicted on the southern frieze, Phoebe is shown, with her daughter Asteria, fighting an enormous giant with a torch, sword and lance.

4. Zeus in Battle On the eastern frieze, the father of all the gods on Mount Olympus fights three giants at the same time. Zeus is armed for this battle with his most dangerous weapons – thunder and lightning.

5. The Goddess Athena The goddess Athena is also shown on the eastern frieze, as a powerful figure of light who drags her opponents to their deaths by their hair.

6. The Gods of the Sea Three pairs of sea gods are depicted on the staircase frieze (on the northern staircase): Doris and Nereus, Oceanus and Tethys as well as Triton and Amphitrite.

7. The Goddess Aphrodite Victorious, the fighting goddess rises proudly above two dead giants.


8. Statues of Women Larger-than-life figures of women, found near the altar in the excavations, are displayed in front of the Pergamum Altar.

9. The Beisser Group The so-called Beisser Group on the northern frieze is a group of unknown deities. One god, almost defeated, desperately tries to fight off a giant who has clamped his teeth into his arm.

10. Telephos Frieze The frieze in the upper altar courtyard (mocking the Holy of Holies) depicts Telephos, son of Hercules. The kings of Pergamon thought themselves to be descended from Telephos and worshipped him accordingly.

Biblical Doctrine of Postponement

English: Flag of Israel with the Mediterranean...

English: Flag of Israel with the Mediterranean sea in the background, in Rishon LeZion. עברית: דגל ישראל בראשון לציון (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Postpone= “to hold back to a later time, to defer, to put off, to defer to a future or later time” (Webster)

Dispensationalists teach that the kingdom, which was described and promised by the Old Testament prophets, was announced and offered to Israel at our Lord’s first coming, but due to Israel’s rejection of Christ, the kingdom was postponed and awaits future fulfillment.

John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus and the disciples all proclaimed this message: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). The expression “at hand” means near. The King Himself had come to earth and the kingdom was so near it was almost here! But one fact must not be forgotten. The kingdom offer was conditional. It was offered on the condition of repentance.

The following illustration might be helpful in understanding postponement. Imagine the following notice posted on the church bulletin board:

The entire church is invited to this Sunday School picnic. But this invitation is conditional. It is conditioned on the weather. The invitation poster said, “Weather Permitting.” Saturday arrives and there is rain the entire day. People call the church and they get this message, “We are sorry, but due to bad weather the picnic will be postponed and will be held in two weeks, weather permitting.” The picnic had to be postponed because the condition for having the picnic (good weather) had not been met.

The nation Israel had a wonderful opportunity before them. The long-promised Messiah King had arrived on the scene and the kingdom was announced as being at hand or near. But the people were also told that they needed to repent. Although a minority of Jews did repent and turn to Christ, the great majority did not. The rejection of Christ by the nation Israel and by Israel’s leaders is clearly seen in Matthew chapters 11-12. This rejection is tersely summarized in John 1:11—”He came unto His own and His own received Him not.”

The Lord Jesus Christ came to His own people (Matthew 1:21; 2:6) but the nation Israel did not receive Him as their Messiah, King, and Saviour (John 1:11). They wanted a King who could feed and heal their bodies (John 6:26), but cared not for a Saviour who could feed and heal their souls (John 6:58-66). Christ, through His miracles and mighty works, gave unmistakable and undeniable evidence that He was indeed the Messiah, the Son of the living God; yet the Jews in their unbelief still asked for a sign (John 2:18; Matthew 12:38-40; 13:58; Luke 4:23; 1 Corinthians 1:22).

Hundreds of years earlier Isaiah had predicted that the Messiah would perform such miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; compare what Jesus said to John’s disciples in Matthew 11:2-6). But even though the Jews saw His works (Matthew 12:13,22) and had clear proof that He was the Messiah (Matthew 12:23), they still refused to acknowledge who He was. In their wicked unbelief and blasphemy they dared to accuse Christ of performing His miracles by the power of Satan rather than by the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:24-37). Such rejection can only bring the judgment of God (Matthew 12:41-45).

The climactic rejection of the Messiah took place when the Jews said to Pilate, “Let Him be crucified” (Matthew 27:21-23). Even worse, they took full responsibility for their actions: “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). God indeed held them responsible for what they had done: “[Him] ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).

The Lord, because of His forbearance and long-suffering, did not judge the nation immediately. In fact, God graciously made known the gospel to the Jew first (Romans 1:16; Acts 2:5; 3:26). They should have been the last to hear! In fact, they did not deserve to hear at all. But God in His matchless grace reached out to the nation which had crucified His Son!

When Paul entered a city he normally went to the synagogue first, often encountering great resistance to the gospel (Acts 13:44-50; 18:4-6; 28:23-28; cf., Romans 11:28). Yet God patiently waited and gave the nation opportunity to repent. When Paul finally appeared in Jerusalem (Acts 21–22) the Jews once again rejected God’s message and God’s messenger. They even tried to kill him, crying, “Away with him” (Acts 21:36; 22:22), even as they had done to the Saviour years before (John 19:15).

The day of God’s long-suffering must come to an end. Years before, the Lord Jesus had predicted that a terrible judgment of God would come upon Jerusalem because of their unbelief (Matthew 23:38; 24:2; Luke 21:5-6). About forty years after the crucifixion of Christ this prediction was literally fulfilled. In 70 A.D. the Roman General Titus captured and completely destroyed Jerusalem with great slaughter. Since this time the nation Israel has been without a king, without a prince, without a sacrifice, without a priesthood, and without a temple (Hosea 3:4). For nearly 2000 years the Jewish people have been scattered and persecuted throughout the world. Instead of enjoying God’s blessings, they have been under God’s curses (see Deuteronomy 28).

In the 20th century a remarkable event took place in Jewish history. A nation was reborn! The Hebrew language was revived! Hundreds of thousands of Jews have been returning to their homeland. God has providentially been setting the stage for the events which must shortly come to pass. Even though many Israelites now occupy the land, they are there, for the most part, in unbelief. Though a small Christ-rejecting remnant has returned, the vast majority of Jews are still dispersed throughout the nations of the world. During the Second World War, about one third of all the Jews in the world (six million) perished under German persecution and ruthless slaughter. There is coming another day in which two thirds will die (Zechariah 13:9). Certainly Israel is still under the terrible curse of God (see Deuteronomy 28:15 and following). But a brighter day is coming in which the nation Israel will be delivered, forgiven, and purified (Jeremiah 30:7-9; Romans 11:26-27). At this time the nation will begin to enjoy the millennial blessings of God (Isaiah 33:17-24) which had been promised to them by the mouth of all the prophets.

When Christ came the first time Israel, as a nation, did not repent and the kingdom was postponed. When Christ comes the second time Israel will repent and will receive their Messiah, even as Jesus predicted in Matthew 23:39 (and compare Zechariah 12:10-14). Study also Romans chapter 11 which speaks of Israel’s wonderful future (Notes on Romans 11).

Many non-dispensationalists object to the idea of a kingdom being postponed. Often the reason for this is that they want to steal away the kingdom that was promised to Israel and claim it for themselves. They teach that the kingdom is here and now. Instead of the kingdom being postponed, the church is now enjoying the kingdom. The church has replaced Israel in God’s program and the church has claimed Israel’s kingdom. The technical name for this erroneous view is Replacement Theology.

It is helpful to keep in mind two important facts:

(1) When the kingdom is finally restored to Israel, it is a continuation of the same historical, theocratic, earthly kingdom. The very same tabernacle of David that fell will be restored, not some new, revised, or spiritual version of the kingdom (Acts 1:6; 15:16-18; Amos 9:11; see also McClain’s The Greatness of the Kingdom, pp. 147-148).

(2) When the kingdom is offered again, God guarantees that Israel will repent and receive her Messiah. In other words, there is no possibility of Israel rejecting Christ the second time, and thus postponing the kingdom yet again. We know this is so a) Based on the sure word of prophecy (Zech.12:10-13:1); b) Based on the provisions of the New Covenant which assure Israel of a new heart, the Holy Spirit, and thus obedience (“I will CAUSE you to walk in my statutes and ye SHALL keep my judgments and do them”; etc.). The promised blessings result from this obedience and are guaranteed (Ezek.36:24-28); c) Based on the nature of the New Covenant which is unconditional (compare the “I will’s” of Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Anyone who takes the kingdom passages seriously in their normal and natural sense knows that what the prophets described is certainly not being fulfilled in our day. Notice just a few of the amazing descriptions of the future kingdom:

1.
A King will rule the world from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-4; Jeremiah 23:5-6).

2.
Wars will cease and there will be peace throughout the earth (Micah 4:3).

3.
People will be healed of diseases and there will be no sickness (Isaiah 33:24; 35:5-6).

4.
People will enjoy amazing longevity, with their life-span being comparable to that of a tree (Isaiah 65:20-22).

5.
There will be a drastic change in the nature of animals (Isaiah 11:6-9).
Etc.

Certainly none of these things have taken place in history since the time of Christ’s first coming until now, and since God’s promises must be fulfilled, we know that there must be a future fulfillment of all these things. [See our paper entitled, "Do You Interpret the Bible Literally?" for another discussion of how these kingdom passages much be interpreted in their normal, natural sense].

The concept of POSTPONEMENT is not something foreign to the pages of Holy Scripture. Here are some other examples of postponement found in the Bible:
1.
The message Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh was this: “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Jonah, as God’s prophet, received this message from the LORD. Thus, in less than two months God’s judgment would fall upon this city. But the people repented at the preaching of Jonah (Matthew 12:41) and in forty days God did not judge this city. God postponed His judgment. Later the people of Nineveh gradually returned to their wicked ways and God once again used one of His prophets to predict the destruction of this city (see the book of Nahum). The time between Jonah’s preaching (around 780 B.C.) and the ultimate destruction of Nineveh in 612 B.C. was more than 150 years. God postponed His judgment in response to the repentance of the people of Nineveh. [In the days of Christ, God postponed His kingdom in response to the lack of repentance on the part of His people.]

2.
It is hard to find a king of Israel more wicked that King Ahab (husband of Jezebel). How surprising it is to find this man, at the end of his life, humbling himself before the Lord (1 Kings 21:27). God had just announced that severe judgment would fall upon the house of Ahab, but when Ahab humbled himself God postponed the judgment. Here is what God said to Elijah about this: “Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before Me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days; but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house” (1 Kings 21:29). God postponed his judgment for one generation.

3.
In 2 Kings 20:1 God, through the prophet Isaiah, told King Hezekiah that he would die: “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” But Hezekiah prayed to the LORD (verses 2-3) and God responded to this prayer and told Isaiah to return to Hezekiah and give him a different message. This time the LORD said this, “I have heard thy prayer. . . and I will add unto thy days fifteen years” (2 Kings 20:5-6). God postponed Hezekiah’s death date by fifteen years!

4.
In Joshua chapter 10 we have the remarkable account of the battle between the inhabitants of Gibeon and the Israelites. Joshua knew that the success of the battle would be hindered by nightfall. So he prayed to God that the sun would stand still (Josh. 10:12). God answered the prayer and performed an astronomical miracle which has never since been duplicated (Josh. 10:14). God postponed nightfall: “So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hastened not to go down about a whole day” (Josh. 10:13).

5.
When Satan fell into sin (Ezekiel 28:15; Isaiah 14:12-14) he was apparently sentenced to the lake of fire immediately (see Matthew 25:41), but this sentence was not executed until thousands of years later (see Revelation 20:10 which takes place after the millennium). God postponed the execution of Satan’s sentence for thousands of years so that He might demonstrate something not only to Satan but to all the angelic hosts. In the meanwhile, the great drama of mankind’s redemption is played out from Genesis to Revelation.

6.
God has promised that Elijah will appear on earth shortly before the Lord Himself returns (Malachi 4:5). A careful study of Matthew 17:10-12 and Matthew 11:14 seems to indicate that if the nation Israel had received Christ at His first coming, then Elijah would have come (John the Baptist would have been Elijah!?). But the nation rejected Christ and thus the coming of Elijah was postponed for about 2000 years.

It may be helpful to note that although the kingdom was genuinely offered to Israel, the rejection of their Messiah was likewise prophesied (Isaiah 53:1-3; Psalm 118:22, etc.). God was not taken by surprise by the way the Jews responded to Christ at His first coming. “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).

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The Middletown Bible Church
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More articles under Dispensationalism

The Great Story of Your Walk with God

 

English: at dusk in Kensington, Maryland, USA.

English: at dusk in Kensington, Maryland, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. John F. Walvoord
http://www.walvoord.com/article/314

When it first happened, you could hardly understand it. You had been seeking something that was missing in your life — an inner peace, a sense of having found the real meaning of life. You had struggled with your own failures, your foreboding sense of God’s disapproval, and you had struggled to comprehend what Christians were talking about when they said they had found peace with God.

Gradually the Light Dawns

You began to understand that your problems were too great for you to solve, but that God had provided a way of salvation. Somehow Christ in His love had opened the way for forgiveness and renewal when He died on the cross. In His resurrection, Christ proved to you that He was indeed all that He claimed to be; the Son of God and your Savior. Then came the venture of faith, the simple belief that it was so, that Christ actually died for your sins. So you put your trust in Him as your Savior.

Next came that indescribable sense of relief. You had found the secret of life and of a new vital relationship to God. You experienced a wonderful peace. Your sins were forgiven. God had accepted you as His child. You realized what it means to be born again by faith in Jesus Christ. A new chapter in your life had begun. It was a new adventure, a new experience of what it means to walk with God.

Although your experience differed from that of many others who had had similar struggles to find the Truth, the important fact was that you had found Christ and that Christ had found you, and in that new relationship there was promise of the present and for the future. While you still could not define completely all that had happened, the important fact was that now you were a new creature in Christ.

But There Were Questions …

As you observed the lives of others who claimed to be Christians, you saw that all Christians were not the same. Some seemed to have a much closer walk with God than others, and some who claimed to be Christians could hardly be distinguished from those who were not. What was the secret of really walking with God? How could your life be what it ought to be now that you were a Christian?

As you sought answers to these important questions, you discovered that part of the problem was yourself. You soon woke up to the fact that although you were a new creature in Christ, this did not automatically cause you to make the right choices or to have the right desires. There was an empty within. As you studied the Bible, you discovered that the Bible takes this into consideration. Scripture recognizes that Christians are far from perfect and, accordingly, speaks of the “flesh” and “its lusts” as in Romans 13:14.

You discovered that even Paul had a tremendous inner struggle and confessed, “I find then the principle that evil is present in me” (Rom. 7:21*). But when Paul raised the question, “Who will set me free from the body of this death?” he also gave the answer, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:24-25). Then the way to be delivered from our inner temptation to sin is through the same person who delivered us from the guilt of sin, that is, through Jesus Christ.

You Learned What It Means to Walk with God

As you studied the matter further, you discovered that the secret of overcoming this inner tendency to sin was to “walk by the spirit” as Paul mentions in Galatians 5:16. In other words, the Spirit of God who indwells Christians is able to give them strength to overcome sin and to fulfill the will of God if they will yield their lives to Him.

A milestone in your spiritual experience was when you discoveredRomans 12:1-2. There the whole matter was brought into perspective. Paul wrote in verse 1, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1). You found that even though you were imperfect, God would accept your sacrifice because you belong to Christ.

Walking with the Lord accordingly meant walking in dependence on the Holy Spirit who indwelled you, submitting to the directions which Christ Himself would give as the Spirit guided your life. Unlike your accepting Christ, which was an act once for all, you found that this was to be a daily experience. Even when you failed, if you confessed your sins and yielded yourself to God, He would forgive you and restore you into an intimate walk of fellowship (1 John 1:9).

But Your Struggles Weren’t Over …

But your problems did not stop when you found God’s provision for victory over yourself. You soon learned that your new Christian faith required a standard of life that was very different from what the world around you was following. Here again, Paul came to your rescue and inRomans 12:2 he wrote, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

You discovered that the secret of living as Christians in a world that is hostile to Christian standards and values was twofold. First, you could not conform to the world outwardly. This did not mean that you had to dress in a peculiar way as some Christians have done, or that you had to label everything that the world says and does as evil. For instance, it was not wrong to use an automobile instead of a horse and buggy. But you did have to sort out what is good and evil in the world, and as Paul indicates, you were not to shape your life according to the pattern the world offers.

Not only should there be nonconformity to the world outwardly, but second, the real secret was an inner change, a renewed mind, a new insight into the real values and goals and meanings of life. The Bible became more important than the newspaper, and prayer more important than the latest newscast. Now you had to look at things from God’s point of view, and realize that you were out of step with the world about you because you were in step with an unseen world that related to heaven.

Your Goals Changed

The goals of the world — to acquire material wealth and material things, to attain position and cater to pride — were not to be your goals. The tendency to satisfy the desires the body that were evil and opposed to walking with God had to be replaced by the desire to be pleasing to God and to live for things which endure in the life to come. It affected how you spent your time, how you spent your energy, how you spent your money, and how you related to people. You were in the world, but you were not of the world; and God d planned this so that you could be a light to the world that was without light.

Your Christian experience matured and you learned something else that you had not realized before. There were not only problems with yourself and problems with your world, but you were also involved in a spiritual conflict. Here again you found that Paul’s experience corresponded to your own when he wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). You found that all Christians are in a spiritual conflict where they were not only at war with themselves and the world, but they were also contending against an unseen enemy, the devil and forces of evil.

You Learned that the Bible Anticipated Your Struggles

Surprising as this is, you discovered that here again the Word of God anticipated this problem. Paul again revealed the divine plan to enable Christians to conquer Satan and resist all his temptations. He described it in Ephesians 6 as putting on the armor of God, and followed with the exhortation which sums it all up; “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:14-17).

Your defenses against Satan were: the Truth which God provides, a righteous life made possible by the power of the Spirit, and relating your life to the proclamation of the gospel. Satan especially hates soul winners, and anyone using the shield of faith thereby trusting God for protection from him. In the battle you would need to hide again and again behind the fact that you were saved by, in effect, putting on the helmet of salvation. Above all, you were to use the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God—which Christ Himself used so effectively in resisting Satan’s temptations.

You Are Walking with God!

Walking with God involved so many diverse experiences and scriptural truths that it was not easy to put it all together. But the important point is that you are walking with God. While walking by its nature is trusting your limbs to carry you, and involves effort on your part, you are not walking alone. As you walk with God, you are able to overcome your own sinful tendencies and live a life that is pleasing to God. Walking with God you are conformed to His will, not being conformed to the world but being transformed within. Walking with God you are able to face the temptations of Satan by putting on the armor of God, resisting him and having victory in your spiritual life.

You now know that walking with God is a supernatural experience in which every Christian can sense God’s presence and power — even though you cannot see Him with your physical eyes. It is God’s plan that as you walk with God in this present evil world, you will be prepared for your walk with God through eternity. Then you will be in His holy presence and earth’s temptations will be far removed.

Right now, however, the most crucial issue of your life is whether you are really walking with God. This is more important than what you are doing for Him, what you give to Him, or what you attain by way of earthly recognition for achievement.

God is more interested in you and your relationship to Him than in anything you are doing or experiencing. So as you walk through this world, be sure you are walking with God and not foolishly attempting to walk like a Christian without the Spirit of Christ as your faithful companion.

*All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, ©The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973. Used by permission.

Views of End Times Prophecy

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Matthew McGee

In this article, we will examine four common sets of beliefs regarding end times prophecy in the Bible, including amillennial and three different pre-millennial beliefs including post-tribulational rapture, mid-tribulational rapture, and pre-tribulational rapture.  We will define all of these terms in a moment.  But first, since some readers may not know about the rapture at all, we will take a moment here to look at the scriptures in which the apostle Paul explains the rapture.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul writes, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye 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 in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep.  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 one another with these words.

This catching up of all Christians into the clouds that Paul mentions in verse 17 is the event that is commonly referred to as “the rapture”.  The word “rapture” itself never occurs in the Bible, but since the New Testament was written in Greek, neither does any other English word.  So whether you call it the rapture, the catching away, or the great snatch, the message is still the same.

Paul provides further insight on the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.   For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

So at some future time which only God knows, the trumpet will sound that signals our catching away.  Then all of the souls of the Christians who have died will return to their dead bodies, which will be instantly changed to immortal, incorruptible, eternal bodies and come out of their graves.  Then the bodies of all Christians who are left alive will be instantly changed into immortal, incorruptible, eternal bodies.  We will be caught up into the clouds to meet our fellow Christians who have died and our Lord Jesus Christ in the air.  Then we all shall be with our Lord forever.

Definitions:

Now let us look at some of the different viewpoints about the rapture and end times prophecy.

1.  Amillennialists believe that God’s promises regarding the end times are figurative and will not be literally fulfilled, particularly the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth.

Pre-millennialists believe that Jesus Christ will return to the earth prior to His literal reign on the earth for 1000 years.  Three groups of pre-millennialists include the following:

2.  Post-tribulationists believe that the rapture will not occur until the end of the seven year tribulation, just prior to the beginning of the millennial kingdom.

3.  Mid-tribulationists believe that the rapture will occur three and one half years into the tribulation, at beginning of the three and one half year great tribulation.

4.  Pre-tribulationists believe that the rapture will occur prior to the seven year tribulation, but not necessarily immediately before the tribulation.

Why not amillennial?

1. There will be a literal seven-year tribulation.  The last half of it will be the great tribulation.  History has shown that God reveals His prophecies literally.  Examples of literally fulfilled prophecies include the rise and fall of the Medo-Persian and Greek empires, the destruction of the city of Tyre, the temple being destroyed and rebuilt several times, dozens of events in the life of Jesus Christ, and many other prophecies.  There will also be a literal tribulation of seven years on earth.  In Daniel 9:24-27, the angel Gabriel told Daniel that 69 weeks of years after the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem is given, the Messiah would be crucified.  Since God expressed this prophecy in years of 360 days, this is 69 times 7, or 483 years of 360 days each.  The commandment Gabriel spoke of was given by King Artaxerxes about 100 years later in 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:1-8).  Moving forward 69 weeks of 360-day years from the 445 BC date, this brings us to the early spring of 32 AD, when Jesus Christ was crucified.  For further detail on this and other prophecies, see Fulfilled Prophecies and Other Evidence that the Bible is the Word of God.  This prophecy also reveals that the 70th week will begin when the Antichrist makes his seven-year treaty with Israel and the surrounding nations, and that the Antichrist would break the treaty at the midpoint of the seven years.  The last three and one half years are called the great tribulation.  Its length is one half of a seven year period (Daniel 9:27), and  “a time, times, and an half” (Daniel 12:7).  Taking a “time” to be a year and “times” to be two years, this gives three and one half years.  Revelation further describes the length of the second half of the tribulation week as 1260 days (Revelation 12:6) and 42 months (Revelation 13:5).  Since God gave us the duration in four different units of time (days, months, years, and weeks of years), can there be any doubt how long it will last?  Also, since God fulfilled the first 69 weeks of years literally, we know that He will do the same with the 70th week of years.

2. There will be a literal 1000-year kingdom of Christ on the earth.  Isaiah 65:20-25 tells us that in God’s kingdom on the earth, life spans will be greatly increased, just like before the flood.  People will have children, build houses, and plant crops.  There will also be physical death.  We know from this that the kingdom must last a long time (in human terms), but the Old Testament does not tell us just how long it will last.  In Revelation 20:2-7 we are told that it will last 1000 years.  Jesus Christ, as if wanting to make it abundantly clear, tells us six times that it will last 1000 years.  After this, the heaven and earth are destroyed, the last judgments are given, and the new heaven and earth are created.  Some amillennialists try to support their belief with 2 Peter 3:10 which says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with  great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  They say the earth is destroyed immediately after the rapture in one day.  However, they fail to check the context of the passage. Just two verses before, Peter said, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”  (2 Peter 3:8).  Therefore, Peter does not contradict Revelation’s description of the thousand year kingdom or Isaiah’s prophecies.  For a detailed scriptural study of what the 1000-year kingdom will be like, see the article on the main page called   The Millennial Kingdom Reign of Jesus Christ.

Why not post-tribulational?

1. The conquered saints:  In 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul writes “For God hath not appointed us to wrath ….”   But at the midpoint of the tribulation, Revelation 12:12 says “… Woe to the inhabitors of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  Revelation 13:7 says of the Antichrist, “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them ….”  His authority lasts for 42 months (Revelation 13:5).  Also, Daniel 7:25 says the Antichrist “… shall wear out (oppress) the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (3 and 1/2 years).”  “… he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” (Daniel 8:24).  “… when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” (Daniel 12:7).  The Antichrist can only “destroy … the holy people” if the tribulation saints are not members of the true Christian Church of this present dispensation.  The saints in the tribulation are people who become believers after the rapture of the Church.

2. Sheep and Goats:  We know from Matthew 25 that Jesus Christ will divide the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left after he returns.  Matthew 25:31-34 says, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ….”  Then in Matthew 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ….”  Now if all the believers were raptured just before Jesus Christ returned, there would be no sheep left on earth to divide, only goats.

3. Who would populate the millennial kingdom?  We know that mortal believers will live in the kingdom.  But if all the believers would have been raptured, thus immortal, and all the unbelievers would have been killed.  There would be no more mortal believers left to populate the kingdom.

4. Resurrection of tribulation saints:  After Jesus Christ’s return in Revelation 19:11-16, Revelation 20:4 tells us about the resurrection of  martyred tribulation saints who did not receive the mark of the beast, “… they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”  If the rapture had occurred just before Christ’s return, they would have already been resurrected, and could not be resurrected again.

More reasons why the rapture cannot occur at the end of the tribulation are provided in the pre-tribulational section later in this article.

Why not mid-tribulational?

Mid-tribulationists have no problem with the dividing of the sheep and the goats, the populating of the millennial kingdom, or the resurrection of tribulation saints.  And by claiming that most of the worst plagues occur in the second half of the tribulation, they say their view is not in conflict with 1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath ….”  But they are hard-pressed to defend their position against the following argument.

Upon whom will the Antichrist wage war?  As explained under “The conquered saints” discussion above, the Antichrist will wage war on the believers immediately after the second half of the tribulation (the great tribulation) begins.  If all the believers had just been raptured, there would be no saints left upon which to wage war.

More reasons why the rapture cannot occur in the middle of the tribulation are provided in the pre-tribulational section below.

Why pre-tribulational?

Merely by process of elimination?  Not hardly.  There are many reasons why the true Christians of this dispensation  cannot be on the earth during the tribulation.

1. Israel is the focus of the end times, not the present church:  During the Church age there are three classes of people:  Jews, Gentiles, and the Church (1 Corinthians 10:32). Within the Church, there is no distinction between  Jew and Gentile.  During the tribulation however, God’s focus will be on the nation of Israel. God will deal with Israel as Gabriel said in Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks (of years) are determined upon thy people ….”   That is, Daniel’s people, Israel.  As discussed under the amillennial topic, the first 69 weeks have passed and one remains.  In Revelation chapter 7, the 144,000 are all chosen from the people of Israel, and their tribes are listed.  In chapter 11:7-8 the two witnesses are martyred in Jerusalem.  In Revelation 12:6, the woman that flees into the wilderness for 1260 days represents Israel in the great tribulation.  These are just some of the reasons we know Israel is at the center of God’s plan.  For a detailed study which explains how the last week of Daniel’s 70 weeks will be a continuation of the old kingdom program, see    The Seven Churches of Revelation.   The present, predominantly Gentile church and the doctrines concerning it were a mystery unknown to the Jews throughout the first 69 weeks.  We therefore must be removed prior to the beginning of the 70th week, which is determined upon the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:24).

2. Make way for the gospel of the kingdom: Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”  The gospel of the kingdom was “… Repent:  for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).  But, Paul preached the gospel of grace which is: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, freely gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins.  He was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  Paul wrote in Galatians 1:8 that if anyone “… preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”  Thus we know that this present predominantly Gentile church must be removed to allow the worldwide preaching of the gospel of the kingdom that Paul did not preach to us.

3. The tabernacle of David: Referring to Peter’s visit to the house of Cornelius, James said, “… God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.  And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,  After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down …” (Acts 15:14-16).  After what?  After God takes out of the Gentiles “a people for his name” (Christians).  Of course a there are some Jews mixed in, for there is no difference within the present Church.  Thus, the filling of the Church must be completed prior to the rebuilding of the temple, which is prior to the midpoint of the tribulation (Daniel 9:27 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4).  Also, we see that once God is through calling out a people for His name from among the Gentiles, He will return His attention back to Israel, rebuilding the temple.  Prior to this, the believers in this age must be removed from the scene, being caught up into heaven.

4. The fulness of the Gentiles: After discussing the analogy of the good olive tree and the wild olive tree, Paul reveals the mystery in Romans 11:25-26, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved ….”  Once again we see that it is not until after the last Gentile becomes a Christian that God resumes his program with the nation of Israel.

5. We do not know the day of the rapture.  We will not know the date, but we are told to watch (1 Thessalonians 5:2 and 6) and know the general time of the end.  There is no warning for the rapture.  It could literally happen at any time.  However, Daniel 9:27 tells us that the second coming is seven years after the Antichrist makes his covenant with Israel and three and a half years after he breaks the covenant.  Christians cannot be left on earth during the whole tribulation or even the first half, because we would know the exact date of the rapture, contradicting scripture.  If the post-tribulationists or mid-tribulationists were correct, we would have a seven year or three and one half year notification before the rapture.

6. The wrath of God:  All three premillennial views, post-tribulationists, mid-tribulationists, and pre-tribulationists agree that Christians will not suffer the wrath of God as explained in 1 Thessalonians 5:9.    However, the plagues of the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls are on a global scale.  Also, remember the verses about the conquered saints previously mentioned in the post-tribulational discussion.  Since the church is not appointed to wrath, it cannot be present when these global plagues come upon all those that dwell on the earth. Evidence of the tribulation being the wrath of God can be seen in Revelation 6:16-17 which says, “And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”  Other passages on the wrath of God include Revelation 11:16-18, 14:10, 14:19, 15:1, 15:7, 16:1, 16:19, and 19:15.

7. The Holy Spirit:  Paul told the Thessalonians, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let (hinder), until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).  Who do the Thessalonians know that is powerful enough to hold back Satan?  This has to be the Holy Spirit.  Before the tribulation, God will catch away all Christians (in whom the Holy Spirit dwells) and He will also remove His hand from the powers of evil in this world, making way for the great deception and the kingdom of the AntiChrist.  The Holy Spirit will begin operating in a manner that is more like Old Testament times, unlike the manner in which He operates today.  He will not indwell believers again until Jesus Christ returns at the end of the tribulation, with these two exceptions:  He will be the seal on the 144,000 young men of Israel (Revelation 7:1-8), who will be preaching the gospel of the kingdom throughout the world, and He will fill the two witnesses in (Revelation 11:3-4).

8. Believers pleading for vengeance:  The slain saints of the tribulation plead for vengeance in Revelation 6:10, “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”  Contrast this with the martyr Stephen’s last words:  “… Lord, lay not this sin to their charge …” (Acts 7:60).  This attitude of vengeance is not a characteristic of those indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Unlike the believers today, these Revelation 6 believers are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Besides, Christians who have studied God’s Word would not have to ask “How long?”  They would already know, as was described in the “We do not know the day of the rapture” discussion above.

One Closing Point:

Perhaps you disagree with some of the points that I have made in this article.  In most cases, the disagreement on end times prophecy is only a symptom.  The real source of the differing views is a disagreement over how to rightly divide the Word of God.  Understanding the difference between the “kingdom” program for Israel and the “grace” program for us is the key. Whether you agree with me in this article or not, please see The Basics of Understanding the Bible and  Israel’s Kingdom Gospel and Our Grace Gospel.   Learning the truths explained in these articles really opened up the scriptures for me.  Rightly dividing the Word is of utmost importance in understanding not only end times prophecy, but many other areas of Christian doctrine as well.