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Should we have female Bishops? November 28, 2012

Posted by Henry in Contending for the Faith.
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One of the great controversies affecting the Anglican Church today is the issue of whether or not female bishops should be appointed in the church. Recent proposals supporting this was put to a vote at the General Synod but was voted down not by the clergy, interestingly enough, but rather by the laity. The surprising thing is not that this was voted against by the laity, creating as some say a dilemma for the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, but rather it is the huge media focus that has been drawn, which has turned the subject into a political debate, with the Prime Minister David Cameron, no less, wading into the debate. Likewise many non-Christians have jumped unto the bandwagon to vent criticism at the Church expressing the view that it needs to change to reflect the changing times. In their view the church should embrace the principles of equality and appoint female bishops alongside men. The overarching question here though is whether the Christian faith should conform to the attitudes and views of society or whether this should be the other way around. It is not surprising of course that non-Christians should be advocating to make changes within church particularly from the standpoint that it is seen as a registered body who’s ministers and bishops are employees. Within this construct the argument can be levied that the church as a recruiting body should comply with the equality laws of the state.

The main point that non-Christians are missing however is that the church is not and should not be equated with other social organisations whose directives are handed down by their supervisory bodies or by the state in terms of function and governance. Indeed the church as with any members of society must observe the laws of the state but the church is subjected to a Higher Authority on ecclesiastical and doctrinal matters and that Authority is God’s Word. The state should therefore not interfere with this authority otherwise the church will cease to be a church.

So what is the position of the Word of God on the matter of female bishops? The qualifications of a Bishop is defined in 1 Tim 3 as follows:

1This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)</strong> 6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. [Emphasis Added]

We see from the verses of scripture here that such an office does NOT extend to women. Some will say here that these are sexist and outmoded views but if we are the church then the church should be standing on the word of God however uncomfortable the truth makes us feel. We need to be uncompromising on the Word of God and that is why I say well done to the laity for voting against the proposals to allow women to become bishops.

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Does the Bible contain contradictions? October 6, 2012

Posted by Henry in Contending for the Faith.
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Sometimes in spreading the Word of God it is necessary to ask some of the hard questions that many Christians might not want to touch. The title of this post is just one example which I felt moved to devote attention to given previous discussions on other topics here. The importance of the question resides in the fact that many people have rejected the Bible and consequently the gospel on the basis that the Bible contains contradictions. Some say 101 contradictions to be exact. I first encountered this supposed 101 contradictions in the Bible during a discussion with a Muslim colleague about faith some 10 years ago. How can you share your faith with someone who has already made up their mind as they are convinced that the Bible contains 101 contradictions? What is even more striking is that some Christians are prepared to accept that there are contradictions in the Bible? Does this position not undermine the faith and provides ammunition to those who seek to refute the Bible’s claims? So what do you think? Does the Bible really contain contradictions and if so what are the examples?

I thought I would freshen up this post by stating my personal view on the subject matter. Personally I do not believe that the scriptures are contradictory. However, people’s interpretation may very well render the scriptures contradictory but this is not a fault of the scriptures themselves but a fault with the interpreter. When we neglect to apply proper exegisis and discernment then this will very well lead to contradictions being reflected upon the text of scripture. The Bible says that every scripture is God breathed (2 Tim 3:16) and that God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) so there can therefore be no contradictions in the scriptures. The unbelieving and those who have a vested interest in destroying Christianity will continue to argue however that the scriptures are contradictory even without substantiating their claim with any proof. If we are to proclaim the gospel effectively therefore then we must be prepared to challenge headon any arguments which seeks to pervert the Christian faith by declaring that the scriptures are contradictory. This is a very important area in contending for the Christain faith (Jud 1:3) though some may very well argue that this topic by it’s nature is divisive and should not be open to public discussion.

Tithing Not a Matter of Salvation! Is that so? March 13, 2012

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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There are those who consider extensive attention to the subject of tithing as a waste of time because it will not have any bearing on salvation. This may be true but may also be false depending on where you stand. Indeed there are some preachers who teach the church that they will NOT go to heaven if they don’t tithe. So what is the answer then – does tithing have a bearing on our salvation or not? This is the question I hope to explore in this blog entry.

I have already presented a number of articles on the subject of tithing under the Tithing category so I do not wish to reproduce what I already said in those entries here. The purpose of those posts was to scripturally establish the truth about tithing. However, there is an overarching point of those posts that many reading who simply read on the surface often miss. The point of those posts isn’t to divide people into camps of “anti-tithers” vs “pro-tithers” – I am NOT overtly concerned with how much one chooses to give to their church or the work of ministry. The overarching question however is this: Which gospel have you received and which Jesus have you had preached to you? Is it the gospel that says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us… (Gal 3:13)” OR is it the gospel that says you have not been redeemed from the curse of the law and you are required to continue to observe it?” After all, if we continue to preach that one MUST observe tithing are we not saying that one is still under the law? If one is still under the law are we not saying that Jesus did not die for the sins of the world? Can one not see that tithing when preached in this way can cause us to be caught betwixt two places – being that we are either redeemed from the curse of the law or if we are not redeemed then must we continue to do the works of the law?

In speaking to the Galatians, Paul admonished them to, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal 5:1). The yoke of bondage here that Paul speaks of is the law. Lets look at what else Paul had to say about this in the following verses of Gal 5:

2Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (Gal 5:2-9)

We could substitute the word “circumcised” here for “tithing” and it would have the same meaning. In other words, if we seek to observe the tithing law (one part of the law), Christ will profit us nothing for if we tithe according to the law we have become a debtor to the whole law (meaning that we owe it to ourselves and to God to observe the whole law); as a result we have fallen from grace. Is this now not a matter of salvation? For if you have fallen from grace then you shall perish. Looking at verse 9 we note Paul’s warning that a “little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” What this means is that this false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole dough.

In Gal 5:8 we read that this persuasion to observe a part of the law, circumcision in this case, does not come from Him (God in Christ) that calls you. In like fashion the persuasion to observe the tithe law does not come from God in Christ who calls us today to receive the free gift of salvation. It is interesting to note that this teaching of observing the tithe law (leaven) has now permeated the gospel and consequently the world wide church. With this “small” error creeping in, this has paved the way for other observances of the law such as first fruit giving, honouring holy days such has the Day of Atonement etc., to creep in also. One of the reasons why such teachings come about is because there are those who misunderstand what Christ said in Matt 5:17, that He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfil them. Christ fulfilled the law when He declared on the cross, “it is finished” (John 19:30). Because Christ fulfilled the law, He established a new covenant in His blood so that we can now attain salvation by Grace through faith and not through the works of the law (Eph 2:8-10; Gal 2:16, 21; Gal 3:3).

Let me reiterate here what I have always said in the previous posts on tithing, there is nothing inherently wrong in volunteering 10 percent of your income to the work of ministry if this is what you have decided in your own heart. However, if you seek to observe the tithe law you are fallen from grace. Anyone who teach that one must observe the tithing law is preaching another gospel, and if another gospel another Jesus thus perverting the gospel of Christ (Gal 1:6-9).

On the basis of the scriptural evidence presented therefore it is clear that tithing is in fact a matter which pertains to salvation if it pertains to the observance of the law – the yoke of bondage which Christ has set us free from by His own blood. I will end with the following question that Paul posed to the Galatians:

3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3:3)

The First Pastor: The Good Shepherd October 4, 2010

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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In many respects the church today seems to have lost sight of the fact that Jesus Christ was the first Pastor and that He is therefore the standard-bearer for the role of being a pastor. Not only was Jesus the first Pastor but He is still the chief Pastor (1 Pet 5:4) and Head of the Church (Col 1:18). In John 10:11 Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd” and no other person qualifies as such, not the Pope, not the patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches and not “Daddy G.O.”. If Jesus is therefore the Good Shepherd what better example do we have to follow than Jesus Himself? In today’s churches however we have gone after our own way to establish man-made institutions, practices and canons concerning the role of pastors, which are contrary to the Gospel. However, it should be clear that if we need any clarification or questions answered concerning the role of pastoring then we have only to look to Jesus’ example as laid out in Scriptures. The Apostle Paul for example admonished us in 1 Cor 11: 1 to be followers of himself even as he is a follower of Christ. It is therefore Christ’s example that we should seek to follow and not man’s.

The “man of God” Syndrome September 30, 2010

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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One of the fallacies perpetrated by the modern church is what I refer to as the “man of God” syndrome. This syndrome has infected a considerable number of churches particularly of the Charismatic/Pentecostal persuasion. This syndrome suggests that there is a single individual [the pastor] in the church who is regarded as being “under the anointing” and as such is seen as the “man of God”. This scenario of course is a throw back to the Old Testament days where the priests and prophets were regarded as the men of God of those times. They were regarded as such because only they had access and could communicate directly to God. Are we to believe however that today only the pastors have access to communicate to God?

 In the Old Testament times the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies before the Shekinah glory of God, which descended upon the Ark of the Covenant. It was these priests who were able to make propitiation for the sins of the people by offering up their sacrifices on the altar. Likewise the prophets where the ones who heard from God and who fed back what they had heard to the people concerned. Today however, we have pastors who assume the position that the altar in their church provides gateway between God and man and they themselves are the gate-keepers. These pastors assume the role of prophet and claim to have a “word from God” and also assume the role of teachers and healers. Within such a construct therefore these pastors are held up as having the “anointing” and are considered by their followers/flock as great men and women of God. The consensus general among such followers therefore is that if you want to receive a “touch” or to “experience the anointing” you need to come to these churches – after all these are the only places where you can gain “access”. Aside from the fact that this position is false, this shows the backward state of the church today in respect of assuming an Old Testament outlook.

The “man of God syndrome” has been imported from the Old Testament perspective but this is an affront to the Gospel of Christ. In Christ ALL are anointed and ALL are men and women of God – not just the pastor or the prophet, not especially those who beacon for you to come their sermons and conferences to listen to them. One pertinent verse which demonstrates that believers are under an anointing of the Holy Spirit is 1 John 2:27:

  27But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

This particular verse of scripture is most interesting in that not only does it establish the fact that believers are anointed but also because believers are anointed they do not need anyone (who claims to have a word from the Lord) to teach them anything because the same anointing will teach them all things. Why then are so many people being misguided into thinking that the anointing is something “out there” and that is “controlled” and “discharged” by a privileged few individuals? Jesus came to die on the cross in order to give everyone full and free access to the anointing (of/by the Holy Spirit). Jesus came to die so that each and everyone can approach the throne of God in order to obtain mercy. There is therefore no more need to approach an altar to lay your sacrifices neither do you need to approach an anointed priest to make atonement for your sins. In Christ we are ALL priests. Not just any ordinary priest but a royal priest (1 Peter 2:9). The pastor is not the only man of God but each and everyone who believes in Christ are called to be men and women of God (2 Tim 3:15-17).

Should Pastors Be Salaried? July 5, 2010

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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8 comments

This question of whether a pastor should be salaried is quite an interesting one as it throws up many controversial issues; nevertheless, it is a valid question which should be asked in Christendom today. In looking at this question we could equally ask, should “workers” in the church be paid for their services also? Should the choir be paid for serenading us with good music?  Should the ushers, the Sunday school teachers, the people who make the tea and do the washing up be paid as well? But more importantly, what of the other elders such as the deacons, bishops, apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers, should they be paid also?  Evidently if all were to be paid for their services this would put an immense strain on the churches finances especially if the church is relatively small. In most modern churches there is one man or woman at the head who is the pastor and beneath him are the deacons and elders and the other “workers” but only the pastor draws a salary. But why should one group of people (the pastors) receive a wage for their services yet another group (the elders and workers) do not! Surely this status quo is not equitable?

 My personal experience of the Baptist church is that usually a Baptist pastor/minister would be in ministry fulltime and as such he would be given a monthly stipend decided upon by the deaconate. This would usually be a modest amount of money that would be considered reasonable to meet his needs and that of his family. The church may also provide a manse for the pastor and his family to live in, the expenses of which would be dealt with by the church. On retirement or resignation the pastor would evacuate the premises and find other accommodation, and the manse would be prepared for the new pastor. In my opinion this arrangement is reasonable and I have no problems with this at all. After all the scriptures do allow for those who minister at the altar to eat from the altar or in other words those who minister the gospel should be fed from the gospel. Where I have a problem however is where the role of a pastor is treated as any other profession and where he is expected to attract the market rate that other positions of a “similar level” do. One of the reasons why this problem arises is because when a pastor studies for four years or so to earn an M Div or higher qualification he is then seen as on par with other master’s level graduates who may attract significantly high salaries. Thus the role of a pastor is in some churches is seen somewhat as that of a professional in their field. Perhaps this is why the pastor is salaried and the other elders of the church who did not attend seminary do not receive payment.

In truth I am not advocating that any of the elders or workers should be paid a salary. However the church has a responsibility to meet the needs of those in their midst who are in need and this includes the whole church, not just a select few individuals. If we look at the church in Acts 2 and Acts 4 this is exactly how they operated. The people would bring their gifts and lay it at the apostles’ feet and this would in turn be distributed to the congregation according to everyone’s needs so that none lacked. Today however we have the opposite scenario where the pastor gets the lion’s share of the takings (tithes and offerings) and some who are in need do not get anything and are still expected to pay tithes as well. Whilst this might not be the case with the traditional churches like the Baptist, this is certainly the case with the mega-churches.

When Jesus called the twelve disciples and sent them out to minister the gospel, He told them specifically to freely give that which they also received freely (Matt 10:8). They were forbidden from collecting a wage although it was reasonably expected that those they came in contact with would meet their needs of food, clothing and shelter.  Likewise the gift of “pastoring” is a free gift which should be used/exercised in the church freely along with all the other gifts. However what we have done with organised religion is to create a system whereby one man stands at the head and speaks to a congregation for a fee on Sundays. Confidence is invested in such an individual because he has the requisite qualifications and therefore considered as a “professional” and in like fashion a suitable remuneration package is decided upon. However all this is foreign to the gospel message. I pray we may return to the truth of God’s word.

The Qualifications of a Pastor July 2, 2010

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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 In many contemporary churches, particularly the established ones, it is needful for an individual who wants to become a pastor to attend a seminary, at the recommendation of their church. After completing seminary education the individual may then have the right to append the estimable title of “Reverend” to their name and he or she may then seek appointment to a “local” church. This usual involves them being interviewed by the deaconate and approved by the members. The question which needs to be asked however is whether attending seminary automatically qualifies an individual to “pastor a church”? We could equally ask whether it is biblically correct to have a single individual as the “pastor” of any particular church. Indeed this is what has become the norm in churches today but the biblical efficacy of this needs to be tested.

 In order to answer the questions aforementioned perhaps it is useful to first understand what the term “pastor” denotes. The term is used to refer to a “shepherd” and in different translations of the Bible the word “pastor” is sometimes replaced by “shepherd” so the two words are interchangeable. A shepherd or pastor therefore is someone who tended the sheep and this is symbolic of God’s people being the sheep of His pasture and those who tend to them are seen as shepherds or pastors. In the Old Testament for example, God appointed pastors to tend to the flock of Israel:

 Jer 3

15And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

 The role of the pastors here were that of “feeding” the sheep with knowledge and understanding. The role of the pastors here are somewhat similar to the role of pastors in the New Testament. Under the New Covenant it is God who gives the gift of “pasturing” in the church:

 Eph 4

11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

 It should be said here that although the role of the pastor contributes to the “edifying (knowledge and understanding) of the body of Christ” this is not their role exclusively and we can see this from verse 11.  It stands to reason therefore that the body cannot be fully edified without the apostles, prophets and teachers who together with the pastors play the role of enablers in the perfecting of the saints till we all come into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. But in our churches today we see a system where a single individual, the pastor, who supposedly fulfills all these other roles. In a similar vein, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to different individuals in the church and all these different gifts were meant to be working together for the edification of the whole church (1 Cor 12). But again in most churches today these gifts are recognized in the pastor alone, and he alone his treated as being able to manifest these gifts. But we can discern clearly from scripture that this is not what the Lord intended for His church. However, it would seem that a certain level of confidence is invested in a person who has attended seminary in that only he or she is regarded as having the “competence” to operate in the spiritual gifts. For example, only the pastor is viewed as having the “ability” or sufficient skill to demonstrate or impart the word of knowledge (or wisdom), a skill derived from his/her seminary education. But the result of this is to quench the Spirit to the detriment of the church.

 If we should look at the early church, instead of one man (or woman) standing at the head and preaching a sermon on Sunday we instead see a church which edified one another through hymns and psalms:

 Col 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

 This of course is not to say that sermons from men holding Theological qualifications isn’t relevant but it should not replace what Christ already laid down for the church in how it should operate. Attending seminary doesn’t automatically qualifies one to be a pastor as this is the gift of God although it could be beneficial in aiding one’s understanding of scriptures. The implication here however is that the ordinary Christian who has not attended seminary will not be able to understand the scriptures and this is clearly not true since wisdom and understanding comes from God alone. Another very important consideration here is that if an individual can attend seminary in order to be “qualified” as a pastor, based on Eph 4:11 above, what school does the apostle, prophet, evangelist, or teacher attend in order that they may be equipped to fulfill their roles? Evidently this lack of scholastic competence on their part increases the pastors’ profile as the only ones having the competence to officiate in spiritual matters.

 If we should however look at the original disciples/apostles we note from scripture that they were not learned yet the Lord chose them as the first apostles. We note that the Holy Spirit worked mightily through them to establish the gospel throughout the world as this was the commission given to them. The Holy Spirit is therefore more than capable of working through an individual without the need for formally attending a seminary and this should never be overlooked. The scripture says we should not quench the Spirit but this is exactly what the church has done by a displaced confidence in those who attended seminary vs those who have not. The only qualification that one needs therefore in order to operate in his/her gift is the qualification by the Holy Spirit. May the church return to this essential truth.

The Modern Church: A Replica of the Levitical System? June 23, 2010

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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In many respects the modern church seems to be a reproduction of the Levitical system which was operated in Israel under the Old Covenant. Today the pastors seem to occupy the office of High Priest whilst the deacons, junior pastors and elders form the rest of the “priestly” class. Thus there is a division of “labour” between those who are part of the priesthood (the Levites) and those who form the laity (the other 11 tribes).  This importation from the Levitical system seems to be the generally accepted method of “doing church” across the whole of Christendom today. One of the main practices which has been brought along with this system is the paying of tithes to the Levites. Indeed in attempting to justify the tithe many Christians argue that the pastors and leaders do indeed represent or stand in the place of the Levites and thus should be given the tithe. Along with the tithe the Levitical priests would also accept offerings from the people, which they would then present before God their behalf, a practice that is carried on in the church today. Although in today’s terms the symbols of the tithes and offerings have changed (from goods to money) the practice is nevertheless the same, whereby the priest/pastors take the tithes and offerings to the altar and offer them before God. Only the mode, such as burnt offerings, seems to have changed.

The main question here therefore is whether such importations from the Levitical system are Biblical in the context of the New Testament church. Is the church model we have today founded in the New Testament scriptures? For one thing the Levitical system was abolished along with the Old Covenant which decays and vanishes away (Heb 8:13) through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Why then should we even think to seek to try and re-establish a system that has long been abolished? Could the main motive be to guarantee the churches’ finances? And or to establish a system of authority and control?

In looking at the first question aforementioned scripture tells us that in our Gospel we have one High Priest (Heb 3:1, 8:1-2) who is Jesus Christ and who is the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5). Furthermore in the light of the Gospel all who are in Christ are priests (1 Pet 2:9) and whereas the old priesthood offered tangible items as sacrifices we are required to offer Spiritual sacrifices unto God through our High Priest Jesus Christ (1 Pet 2:5). This is in stark contrast to the Levitical system in which sacrifices of tangible items were given to the priest to make propitiation for the sins of all Israel. The modern church system however seems to have appropriated this system into the new church as a way of ensuring the church coffers are kept fed. Some churches have even gone to the extreme of blatantly suggesting that the church today should observe certain religious dates in the Hebrew calendar, such as the Day of Atonement, and to bring the associated offerings (translated into money of course) to be offered before God. Of course all of this is simply preposterous in light of the Gospel message.

 Under the Levitical system the high priest had a lot of sway in directing the affairs of the tabernacle or temple. His authority derived not only from his senior rank but perhaps also from the fact that only he could enter in to the Holy of Holies to stand before God and as it were “advocate” on behalf of the people of Israel. In today’s churches however many pastor appropriate lofty titles such as, senior pastor, general overseer, bishop in order to establish their rank and authority in much the same way as the high priest. To add to this the vestry (or sacristy) is treated as some kind of Holy of Holies from which the pastor/priest emerges to deliver his sermon and this in turn adds to an air of mystique about the pastor/priest.

 None of these associations with the Levitical system are however biblical. Perhaps it should be said that one of the reasons the traditional churches aren’t growing is because a lot of them have moved away from the examples shown to us in the New Testament scriptures and instead sought to institute man-made structures and organisation based off a defunct system.

Daniel’s 70th Week: Another Prophetic Dilemma! May 27, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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The “traditional” view to interpreting Daniel’s 70th week also suggests that this “week” marks the 7 year tribulation reign of the anti-christ. In this regard it is believed that the anti-christ will make a covenant with Israel at the start of the “week” and that in the middle of the “week” (or 3.5 years later – 1260 days) the anti-christ will break the covenant and cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease by setting up the abomination of desolation. Israel will then flee into the “wilderness” (Rev 12:6) as a result for the remaining 3.5 years or 1260 days, until Christ returns. In looking at Daniel 9 (see below) this seems a reasonable conclusion but is this really so?

 Dan 9

26And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 Of course one of the main problems with this view is that one would be able to accurately predict when Jesus Christ would return if they knew when the anti-christ came to power. However, in spite of the fact that Jesus knew that Daniel was already written and available to us He made clear that no one knew the day nor the hour when He should return (Matt 24:36). To confound the matter further there is a portion of scripture in Daniel 12, which is overlooked when interpreting Daniel 9:

 Dan 12

10Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. 11And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

 Here, the scripture says that from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away through to the time when the abomination which makes desolate is set up, will be 1290 days. Now this surely does put a spanner in the works where modern eschatology is concerned. Assuming that the traditional view is correct and that the anti-christ did break the covenant in the middle of the 70th week (7 year tribulation period) then according to Dan 12:11 the abomination of desolation would not be set up until a further 1290 days had expired. Obviously the math does not add up here because the fleeing into the wilderness does not occur until after the abomination of desolation is set up (Matt 24:15-20). Going by the traditional view therefore we would have the abomination of desolation being set up 30 days after Jesus was due to return (according to some) at the end of the second half of the 70th week (1260 days).

 To summarise the timeline in accordance with the traditional view then and to factor in the account of Daniel 12, we would have:

 –         At start of 70th week anti-christ confirms a covenant with “the many” ( assumed to be Israel) (Dan 9:27)

–          In the middle of the week or after 1260 days anti-christ breaks the covenant and causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease (Dan 9:27)

–          After a further 1290 days abomination of desolation is set up (Dan 12:11)

–          Israel then flees into the wilderness for a further 1260 days from the setting up of the abomination (Matt 24:15-20, Rev 12:6)

–          Jesus due to return after the completion of the 1260 days of Israel in the wilderness?

 So then what we have chronologically speaking is not 7 years or 2520 days but 3810 days in total to mark the period of the “tribulation”. The dilemma for interpreters therefore is how do you factor in the 1290 days which spans the time from the taking away of the sacrifice through to setting up the abomination of desolation?

The Beast that was, Is not, Yet is! May 11, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
6 comments

Some of the popular views that abound concerning the end times “beast” that John prophesies of in Rev 13 assert that this beast having seven heads and ten horns will arise from Muslim nations surrounding Israel and as such they assert that the antichrist will be of Muslim origin. However, the purpose of this post is not to speculate on the identity of the anti-christ himself but rather to look at what scripture reveals concerning the “identity” of the beast. Indeed I have already put forward a post on the Identity of the beast but in this study I will attempt to look at some considerations that were not previously looked at.

As aforementioned, the Apostle John saw a “beast” rising out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns. This beast arises some time towards the end of the age and will continue until Jesus Christ returns. The interesting thing about this beast however is that it isn’t new but rather existed before, then for a time it didn’t appear to exist and then came into existence again. This is what the angel told John when he explained the meaning of the beast in Rev 17:

8The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (Rev 17:8)

So if this beast existed before, which is denoted by the use of the past tense “was”, then there must be some evidence that points to its identity. Do the scriptures therefore give us any “clues” then as to the identity of this beast? Indeed it has. If we look at Rev 12 we shall learn beyond the shadow of a doubt exactly who or what this “beast that was” is.

3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. (Rev 12:3-6)

Here in this portion of scripture we see the same depiction of a beast with 7 heads and 10 horns except that this time it is depicted as a dragon but this is simply metaphorical. This is especially the case since we know that it was the dragon who gave the beast with the seven heads and ten horns his power, seat and authority (Rev 13:2). It goes without saying therefore that this beast of Rev 13 is the one and the same being depicted as a dragon in Rev 12:3-6, quoted above.  What we need to understand here though is that the woman in this scripture that was about to give birth, who the beast stood before to devour her child, is none other than Israel and the child in question was Jesus Christ, The Messiah, The Risen Saviour. So who then was this beast that was already in existence at the time of Christ’s birth and which sought to devour Him? The answer simply is Rome. In other words Rome was the ruling head of the beast and which sought to kill Jesus. If we recall from scripture, Matt 2:16, it was Herod the Roman surrogate King of Judea who issued the decree to kill all the male children from two years old and under. This was the dragon’s plan at work to devour the male Child and which is spoken of in Rev 12. It should be noted here that the beast is a world kingdom and at the time of Jesus’ birth Rome ruled most of the known world. This is therefore the beast that was and the future beast (world kingdom) will incorporate Rome as well. We know this because Rev 17:14 tells us:

11And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Here we see that the beast that was and is not is the eighth and is of the previous seven kings (or heads).

From what we have learn from the scriptures then, the beast cannot be led by Muslims nations although certain Muslim nations may very well be incorporated into it since we know that the beast is given authority over the whole world. But what should be clear is that the “beast that was” was led by Rome and must necessarily incorporate Rome when it arises to prominence again in the future.

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