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The Third Temple Fallacy August 2, 2011

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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24 comments

There are many Evangelical Christians who believe that Christ cannot come until after a third Jewish temple is built in the city of Jerusalem, arguably on the site where King Solomon’s temple stood. Aside from the fact that there are problems associated with the sighting of the third temple on the Temple Mount where the al Aqsa mosque currently stands, one of the central questions here from a Christian point of view is whether the building of such a temple is indeed written in Bible prophecy. There are no prophecies which directly require the building of another temple to usher in the return of Jesus Christ, although Dan 9:27 has been cited as ‘proof’ text. In spite of this fact it would appear that many in Evangelical circles have been duped into believing that such a temple is required and that they have a responsibility in contributing to the fulfilment of prophecy, as if God needed our help. One of the consequences of this fallacy has seen Evangelical Christians, particularly across America, contributing vast sums of money to support the rebuilding of the temple.

Whatever the relative merits of the Jews rebuilding their temple are, Christians have no business contributing to such an effort. In the first place such a temple, with its revived sacrifices and ordinances would be an affront to God considering the fact that Christ did away with all this through his death on the Cross. Evangelical Christians who support this rebuilding work are therefore unwittingly denying the work of Christ on the Cross and are making the Cross of non-effect. To return to the works of the Law is to deny the election of Grace through Christ’s death on the Cross but this reality seems to be lost on those who are committed to the establishment of a third Jewish temple. If the Jews want to rebuild their temple, let them do so but Christians should be preaching “Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1:23).

There is a wave of “Christian Zionism” sweeping acrossAmerica and many organisations have been established with the expressed purpose of promoting Judeo-Christian values and heritage (ecumenism). One such organisation is the “Battalion of Deborah” whose expressed belief it is that Christians should be standing shoulder to shoulder with Jews in an attempt to fulfil the “Abrahamic covenant”, a view which they based on Gen 12:1-3. Here is a quote from their website:

“….we believe it is Biblically Correct for us, as Christians and fellow believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to stand together with Israel and the Jewish People, in education to the masses regarding the promises of God, in support, in prayer and in our physical presence in the Land. It is for this purpose that we have been ordained and called out as ‘like-minded’ group of people and that we pledge to work toward being a blessing to Israel…”

As Christians however we are called to observe the teachings of Christ and we are ordained to fulfil the Great Commission. There is nothing in the teachings of Christ which encourages Christians to engender ecumenical relationships with unbelievers whether they are Jews or otherwise. Instead scripture commands Christians to come out from among them and be separate (2 Cor 6:17). However these organisations are entering churches and sharing the pulpits with Jewish religious leaders in order to drum up support for Israel and to raise funds towards the Temple Mount development plans.

This ecumenical construct has been made possible however due to a distinct lack of discernment on the part of many Evangelical Christians. In accordance they misapply scriptures such as Dan 9:27 in order to justify their position. In Dan 9:26, Daniel related the destruction of the SECOND TEMPLE that was to be built by the decree of Cyrus. Yet, some have insisted on inserting a gap of over 2000 years between verse 26 and verse 27 in order to arrive at a conclusion that verse 27 refers to the ending of sacrifices in a third temple. Even if such a gap could be established verse 27 does not make mention of a temple and the absence of a temple does not preclude sacrifices and oblations from being performed. 

In summary, the third temple is a Jewish ambition which has nothing to do with Christians or the fulfilment of Bible prophecy as concerning Christ’s return. Prophecy does not indicate or give instruction for the constitution and the construction of a third temple, which would actually be an abomination in the face of the Cross.  With the destruction of the second temple, the Old Covenant vanished away and has been replaced by the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. Christians therefore have no business working to fulfil a mission that denies the Christ who bought them out.

For a more detailed expose on this topic read this article: http://www.thomaswilliamson.net/temple_next_event.htm

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Time, times and half a time: What does it mean? July 21, 2011

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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36 comments

Whilst I claim to be no expert on eschatology I do sometimes like to raise questions concerning end time issues. The reason for this is not so much to confound the popular interpretations that abound but rather to highlight the fact that some of the more popular interpretations are not necessarily correct.

 The question I would like to raise here then is whether the reference “a time, times and an half” in Dan 12:7 is really 3.5 years as many interpreters seem to think? It is important however to put the phrase in context before attempting to answer this question.

 In Chapter 9 (Book of Daniel), Daniel makes clear that following the 70 year desolation which saw Israel exiled in Babylon, the city of Jerusalem was to be rebuilt again along with the temple leading up to the time of Messiah. Later in the chapter we are told that following Messiah’s departure (being cut off) the city and the sanctuary shall again be destroyed by a people that shall come. In Daniel 10 an angel in a vision appeared to Daniel again to tell Daniel what would become of his people in the latter days and the angel began his account from Chapter 11. In verse 22 of chapter 11 the angel makes reference to the same “prince of the covenant” who was previously mentioned in Daniel 9:26-27 so the events are related (interconnected). This is further confirmed by verse 31 where it is further mentioned that the prince shall pollute the sanctuary, take away the daily sacrifice and shall put in place the abomination which makes desolate. Chapter 11 therefore further explains the prophecy from Chapter 9. Chapter 12 again is a continuation of the explanations made in Chapter 11 by the angel concerning the future of the Israelites. 

To further confirm that the prophesy is the one and the same, we note in  Dan 10:4-5 that Daniel was by the side of the river (Hiddekel) when the angel was explaining the vision and he was still by the side of the river in Dan 12:5-6 when the following question was asked:

 Dan 12:6

How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?

 The end of the “wonders” here is referring to the end of the vision which is ended by the consummation of the world as described in the preceding verses in Daniel 12. The question that was being asked therefore was basically when will the end come?

 The response by the angel was that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” Some have interpreted this phrase to mean 3.5 years (or 42 months or 1260 days) based on a similar reference in Revelation 12: 6, 14. It should be obvious though that from the time of Daniel’s vision through to the very end of the age could not possibly be 3.5 years. It would seem therefore that the “time, times, and an half” reference covers a very different span of time than what some interpreters previously thought. Recall that the angel said in Daniel 10:14 that “for yet the vision is for many days”. Clearly the angel left Daniel with a bit of a mystery and it is not solved by applying 3.5 years to it. Given that Daniel was told to shut the Book when he enquired of what should be the end of these things, emphasises the point that attempts to interpret these things amounts mostly to speculation.

Who are the 144,000? The elect? The “male child”? May 23, 2011

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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16 comments

Whilst I venture from time to time into eschatology my main focus is not so much about unravelling end times prophecies but rather to emphasize the need for Christians to apply discernment especially in this area by demonstrating some of the erroneous teachings that have emerged contrary to scriptures.

One of the many “theories” that abound concerning the end times is the identity of a group of 144,000 people spoken of in Revelations. Some say the 144,000 are the church, others say these are the elect and an even more preposterous view is that these together are the “male child” spoken of in Revelations 12. The theory I want to focus on here is whether this group could indeed constitute the “male child” of Rev 12:5. Here are the relevant verses:

1

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

2

And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

5

And 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.

6

And 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.

13

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

14

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
     

We understand from reading other prophecies that the woman here spoken of in verse 1 isIsrael, which shall bring forth a “male child”.  According to the theorists therefore this “male child” are the 144,000 men that would be saved from the 12 tribes of Israel before the Lord’s return. Scripture tells us in Rev 14 that these are 12000 men of each of the twelve tribes of Israel (See also Rev 7).

Could these 144,000 be the “male child” referenced in Rev 12? The first thing we need to note here is that in verse 5 of Rev 12 the man child was caught up to God and to His throne. Following this event the woman (Israel) fled into the dessert for 1260 days (we could apply the principle of 1 day for a year here to mean 1260 years but the theorists say this is 3.5 years). If the 144,000 are indeed the “male child” at what point in history were they caught up to God’s throne? The short answer is they would have been “caught up” during the opening of the 6th Seal in Revelations 6:12-17, 7:1-8. It was during the 6th Seal that the heavens were opened, when the day of God’s wrath had come. Reading from verse 1 of Revelations 7 therefore we learn that 4 angels stood at the ready at the four corners of the earth to pour out God’s wrath but they were told by another angel not to hurt the earth till the servants of God (the 144,000) were sealed in their foreheads. So we know therefore that up to this point in history the 144,000 were still on the earth and could not have been caught up at any time previously since it is only at this point that they were to be sealed with the seal of God. If indeed this group were caught up then they could only have been caught up after they were sealed. So what does all this mean?

Going back to Revelations 12 we learn that after the man child was “caught up”, Israel fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God for her to be nourished for 1260 days. If the theorists are to be believe then what this means is that after the 144,000 (the supposed “man child”) are “caught up” at the 6th Seal, Israel flees into the dessert on “judgement day” for 3.5 years. We do not know the gap of time between the 6th and 7th Seals but it makes no sense to say that Israel is fleeing to the wilderness at a time when everyone else has “gone to heaven” including the great multitude that were seen after the 144,000 were sealed, and the wrath of God was about to be poured out on the earth. I do not need to make any suppositions here though as Revelations 12 makes clear that the time period when the “man child” is caught up and the woman fleeing into the wilderness is a distinctly different time period from the 6th Seal events. Reading to the end of Rev 12 we learn that after the woman flees into the wilderness the serpent cast a flood out of it’s mouth after the woman but the earth helped the woman by swallowing up the flood. What happened next is that the dragon tried to make war with the remnant of the woman’s seed:

17

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

Note therefore that the remnant were those that had the testimony of Jesus Christ. The serpent could only have made war with this remnant of the woman’s seed prior to the 6th Seal because at the 6th Seal all those that had the testimony of Christ were joined with Him and were gathered around His throne. The evidence is therefore clear that the 144,000 could not be the man child because the events that occur after the man child is caught up and that of the 6th Seal are in two separate time-frames. The man child is therefore none other than Jesus Christ as it is only He that has the distinction whereby He will rule all nations with a rod of iron (Rev 19:15). The 144,000 are 12,000 men from each of the 12 tribes who have not defiled themselves with women, and who are considered the first fruits unto God (Rev 14).

What I have presented here is an example of how false teachers read scriptures and interpret them in isolation, ignoring the glaring inconsistencies in their arguments, which goes against the grain of scripture. This is one of the reasons we need to apply proper discernment instead of being carried away with every wind of doctrine.

The Two Witnesses October 7, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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4 comments

Some people assume that the Two Witnesses who will preach the Gospel in the last days are Elijah and Moses, whilst others theorise that they are Joshua and Zerubbabel, and the list goes on. Could any of these be true? Let’s look at what Revelations 11 says about the Two Witnesses:

Rev 11

3And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

In order to shed further light on these things we need to pop over to Zechariah 4:

Zech 4

2And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be?

Zechariah saw the same depiction of the olive trees and candlestick which John saw in Revelations 11 and he inquired to know what these were. The answer is presented in verse 10 below:

10For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

Here we see that the seven lamps of the candlestick are the seven eyes of the LORD which run to and fro through the earth, but more on this later. What I want to home in on though is the identity of the two olive trees which Zechariah has seen and we shall see who they are in verse 14:

11Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? 13And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

It would appear from these verses that the two olive trees which are beside the bowl on the top of the lamp are pouring oil into the bowl (through two golden pipes) in order to feed the lamp. Verse 14 of Zechariah 4 therefore tells us that the two olive trees are the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. So then to sum up, the seven lamps of the candlestick are the seven eyes of the Lord.  So what are these seven eyes of the Lord? The following verses tells us plainly what they are:

 6And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (Rev 5:6)

5And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. (Rev 4:5)

Clearly then the seven lamps of the candlestick which Zechariah saw are the very same eyes here depicted in Rev 5:6 and these are the seven Spirits of God (which are sent out into all the earth). Seemingly therefore the two olive trees are feeding the bowl which feeds the seven lamps with oil – so in essence the olive trees are feeding the seven Spirits of God. It is these two olive trees therefore that are the Two Witnesses (the two anointed ones) that will preach the Gospel in the end times as mentioned in Rev 11:4. Could these witnesses therefore be Elijah, Moses, Joshua, Enoch etc? The answer clearly lies in the fact that the seven Spirits of God that stands before His throne must be eternally before God’s throne and the two olive branches also must be eternally present to feed the seven lamps, which are the seven Spirits of God.

NB: This post has been updated. Initially on reading the KJV I thought the two olive branches were attached to two of the 7 pipes which form the seven lamps and therefore wrongly designated two of the pipes as the two witnesses. On reading other translations however it appears that the two branches are apart from the seven lamps and instead feeds the bowl with oil which in turn feeds the lamps.

Daniel’s 70th Week: The Correct View? June 22, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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30 comments

I have sourced the below article from the following website. In my view and based on my previous postings concerning the problems with the traditional |(futurist)  interpretation, I believe the below tends to lean towards the correct interpretation of Daniel’s 70th week.

http://www.keithhunt.com/Dan9_1.html

Daniel 9, 70 weeks Prophecy #1

Is the last half of 70th week still ahead?

                             by

                        Ralph Woodrow

"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy
city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins,
and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in
everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and
prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the
commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah
the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:
the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troubled
times.
"And 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.
"And 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" (Daniel 9:24-27).

This great prophecy pertaining to Daniel's people and the city of
Jerusalem is linked with a time period of seventy "weeks." Bible
students recognize that these seventy weeks or 490 days are
symbolic of years - each day representing a year - that is, 490
years.
It was this same year-for-a-day principle that was used in
Numbers 14:34. Because of unbelief, the Israelites were to
wander for 40 years in the wilderness, a year for each day that
the spies were absent searching out the land. This same scale was
used in Ezekiel 4:4-6: "I have appointed thee a day for a year, a
day for a year:"

While Christians are generally united in the belief that the
"seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks", that is, 69 weeks
(483 years) measured unto "Messiah", concerning the final week of
the prophecy, the 70th week, there are two entirely different
interpretations that are held today - the FUTURIST interpretation
and the FULFILLED interpretation.
The futurist interpretation is that a huge gap of "2,000 years"
or so separates the 70th week from the other 69 weeks that
measured unto Messiah. The fulfilled interpretation is that no
gap is to be placed between the 69th week and the 70th - that the
70th week followed the 69th in logical sequence.

"The futurist interpretation is that the 70th week refers to the
Antichrist who will make a covenant with the Jews. This covenant
will allow them to offer sacrifices in a "rebuilt" temple at
Jerusalem for seven years, but after three and a half years he
will break this covenant and cause the sacrifices to cease. 

The fulfilled interpretation, on the other hand, is that the 70th
week refers to Christ and that the causing of the sacrifices to
cease was accomplished at Calvary when Christ became the final
and perfect sacrifice for sins.

What differences exist here! One says the 70th week is future;
the other says it is fulfilled! One says there is a huge gap
between the 69th and the 70th weeks; the other requires no gap.
One says the 70th week pertains to Antichrist; the other to Jesus
Christ! In view of such glaring differences, both of these
interpretations can not be correct.

We believe the fulfilled interpretation is the correct view; that
the 69 weeks measured "unto Messiah"; that in the midst of the
70th week - after three and a half years of ministry - he was cut
off in death; that this sacrifice, being the perfect sacrifice,
caused other sacrifices to cease in God's plan. Let us now notice
step by step - all of the basic parts of the 70 weeks prophecy
and how these things were fulfilled.

1. JERUSALEM WAS TO BE RESTORED. We have already seen the
scriptures that explain this.

2. THE STREET AND WALL WERE TO BE REBUILT IN TROUBLOUS TIMES. We
have seen in the book of Ezra some of the troubles that
confronted the people in those years of rebuilding.

3. THE MOST HOLY WAS TO BE ANOINTED. We believe this reference is
to Jesus Christ. Gabriel announced to Mary: "The HOLY thing that
shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Lk.1:35).
Peter referred to him as "the HOLY ONE" (Acts 3:14). John
referred to him as "the HOLY ONE" (1 John 2:20). Even demons had
to recognize him as "the HOLY ONE of God" (Mk.1:24).
David spoke concerning Christ: "Neither wilt thou suffer thine
HOLY ONE to see corruption" (Acts 2:27). In Revelation 3:7 he is
called "HOLY" and the heavenly creatures rest not from saying:
"HOLY, HOLY, HOLY" before this one "which was, and is, and is to
come" (Rev.4:8).

From the going forth of the commandment to restore and
build Jerusalem unto Messiah was to be 483 years. When this time
was fulfilled, those who knew this prophecy, were expecting the
appearance of the Messiah, that is, the Christ. (Christ is the
Greek form of the Hebrew word Messiah.) Thus when John came
baptizing, "the people were in EXPECTATION, and all men mused in
their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not" (Lk.
3:15). John plainly told them that he was not the Christ - he was
only the forerunner. When Jesus appeared on the scene, John
cried: "Behold the Lamb of God"! The time had now come that Jesus
should be "made manifest to Israel" (John 1:29-31). He was then
baptized and when he had prayed, "the heaven was opened. And the
Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and
a voice from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee
I am well pleased" (Lk.3:21,22).

He had appeared to Israel right on time! Thus Jesus, in evident
reference to the time prophecy of Daniel, said: "The TIME is
fulfilled"(Mk.1:15) and as the Messiah, the Christ, the "anointed
one", he preached the gospel. When he entered the synagogue of
Nazareth, he announced: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath ANOINTED me" (Lk.4:18-22). Acts 4:27 mentioned
Jesus as the "holy"one that the Lord "ANOINTED." And Peter
mentioned that "God ANOINTED Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy
Ghost... who went about doing good, healing all who were
oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38).

Daniel's prophecy revealed that the time period unto the Messiah
would be 69 weeks (483 years). This measured to the time when
Jesus was baptized and anointed to begin his ministry as the
Messiah, the Christ, the "Anointed One."

4. MESSIAH WAS TO BE CUT OFF. The 69 weeks (7 plus 62) were to
measure unto Messiah "and AFTER" the 69 weeks "shall Messiah be
cut off." Now "AFTER "69 weeks does not and cannot mean "in" or
"during" the 69 weeks! If Messiah was to be cut off AFTER the 69
weeks, there is only one week left in which he could have been
"cut off" - the 70th week! - after three and a half years of
ministry.
The term "cut off" implies that Messiah would not die a natural
death; he would be murdered! So also had Isaiah prophesied using
an equivalent word: "He was cut off out of the land of the
living" (Isaiah 53:8).
The details about how Messiah was "cut off" are given in the
gospels.

5. "TO FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION", or literally, "to finish
transgression." As Jesus was dying, he cried: "It is FINISHED."
At Calvary, Jesus finished transgression by becoming sin for us.
No future sacrifice can ever finish transgression; it was
finished at Calvary (Heb.9:15). "He was wounded for our
TRANSGRESSIONS" (Isaiah 53:5).

6. "TO MAKE AN END OF SINS." Here the basic thought is repeated.
If we understand the glorious significance of what was
accomplished at Calvary, we know that here there was truly an end
made of sins.
Jesus, who came "to save his people from their sins ",
accomplished this when he "put away sin by the sacrifice of
himself" (Mt.1:21; Heb.9:26). "It is not possible that the blood
of bulls and of goats should take away sins... But this man,
after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever... hath
perfected for ever them that are sanctified... And their sins...
remember no more" (Heb.10:4-17). The old system of sacrifices
could never make an end of sins, but Christ - by the sacrifice of
himself - did make an end of sins, even as the prophecy had said!
John announced him as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sins of the world" (John 1:29). "Christ died for our sins"
(1 Cor.15:3). He "bare our sins in his own body on the tree"
(1 Peter 2:24) and "hath once suffered for sins"(3:18). "He was
manifested to take away our sins" (1 John 3:5). This "end of
sins" was accomplished at Calvary.
All of this does not mean, of course, that right at this point
men quit sinning. This was not the case. But what the scripture
does mean is that at Calvary the eternal sacrifice for sin was
made, so that any and all - past, present, or future - who will
be forgiven of sins will be forgiven because our Lord's death
almost 2,000 years ago made an "end of sins"!

7. "TO MAKE RECONCILIATION FOR INIQUITY." The word reconciliation
used here is the same word that is used so frequently in the book
of Leviticus where it is rendered "to make atonement." This, too,
was part of our Lord's redemptive work. Surely "reconciliation"
is a present reality - because of Calvary! Jesus, "our merciful
and faithful high priest" made "RECONCILIATION for the sins of
the people"(Heb.2:17). "Having made peace through the blood... to
RECONCILE all things unto himself... and you, that were sometimes
alienated... hath he RECONCILED... through death" (Col.1:20-22;
Eph.2:16).
"God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto himself, not
imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us
the word of RECONCILIATION "(2 Cor.5:19). Plainly, "recon-
ciliation for iniquity" was accomplished by Jesus, for he "gave
himself for us, that he might redeem us from all INIQUITY" (Titus
2:14), and "the Lord hath laid on him the INIQUITY of us all"
(Isaiah 53:6).

8. "TO BRING IN EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS:" This too was
accomplished by the redemptive work of Christ! The great
redemption chapter of Isaiah 53 had prophesied: "My righteous
servant shall make many RIGHTEOUS:" Paul put it this way: "By the
righteousness of one... shall many be made RIGHTEOUS... unto
eternal life by Jesus Christ" (Rom.5:17-21). He who came "to
fulfil all righteousness" (Mt.3:15) and who "loved
righteousness, and hated iniquity", was "anointed" of God (Heb.
1:9) and made unto us wisdom, and RIGHTEOUSNESS, and
sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor.1:30). "Who his own self
bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to
sins, should live unto RIGHTEOUSNESS" (1 Peter 2:24). "Even the
RIGHTEOUSNESS of God... through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith
in his blood to declare his RIGHTEOUSNESS for the remission of
sins" (Rom.3:21-26). "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who
knew no sin; that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in
him"(2 Cor.5:21). "Everyone that doeth RIGHTEOUSNESS is
born(begotten) of him" (1 John 2:29).
Taking all of these verses into consideration, we ask: Did Christ
in his coming to earth provide righteousness through his
redemptive work? All Christians acknowledge that he did. We ask
then: Was not this righteousness that he brought in everlasting?
Of course. Surely no Christians would deny that the righteousness
of Christ is "everlasting righteousness."
"By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having
obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION" - everlasting righteousness - "for
us" (Heb.9:12). This eternal or everlasting righteousness is
contrasted to the old sacrifices under the law which were only
of a temporary nature. But Christ, once for all time, offered
himself - thus providing, as the prophecy of Daniel had said,
"everlasting righteousness."

One only has to read the great redemption passages of
Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, Ephesians, and Hebrews to see
how an "end" of transgressions and sins, "reconciliation for
iniquity", and "everlasting righteousness" were all accomplished
at Calvary by our Lord Jesus Christ!
In view of this, we see no basis for the futurist teaching that
none of these things have yet been fulfilled, but are to be
linked with a supposed seventieth week at the end of the age! To
teach such is contradictory and tends to take away from the glory
of that great redemption of Calvary which so beautifully and
completely fulfilled these prophecies!

9. "TO SEAL UP VISION AND PROPHECY", or literally, "to seal up
vision and prophet." The use of the metaphor "to seal" is derived
from the ancient custom of attaching a seal to a document to show
that it was genuine (See 1 Kings 21:8; Jer.32:10,11; cf.John
6:27; 1 Cor.9:2). Christ "sealed" Old Testament prophecy by
fulfilling what was written of him.

Repeatedly we read concerning him: "... that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets." Acts 3:18 says:
"Those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all his
prophets, that Christ should suffer he hath so fulfilled." Truly
Jesus fulfilled what was written in the visions and prophecies of
the Old Testament concerning him, and thus he "sealed" them
showed that they were genuine. "They are they", he said, "which
testify of me" (John 5:39). "All the prophets and the law
prophesied until John" (Mt.11:13), then John presented Jesus as
he that was to be "made manifest to Israel." Jesus was the one
that was to come - and we look for none other. He is the
fulfillment of vision and prophecy.

10. "HE SHALL CONFIRM THE COVENANT." When Jesus instituted the
Lord's supper, representative of his shed blood for the remission
of sins, he said: "This is my blood of the new testament
[covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins"
(Mt.26:28). The word "testament" here and the word "covenant" are
translated from exactly the same word in the New Testament. "How
much more shall the blood of Christ... purge your conscience from
dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the
mediator of the new testament [covenant]" (Heb.9:14, 5).
Jesus is called the "mediator of the new covenant" (Heb.8:6), the
"messenger of the covenant" (Mal.3;1), and his shed blood is
called "the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb.12:24). Our
Lord Jesus is the one who confirmed the covenant through his
redemptive sacrifice at Calvary. And how beautifully this
harmonizes with what we have already seen.

11. "HE SHALL CAUSE THE SACRIFICE AND THE OBLATION TO CEASE."
This too was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ. In the Old
Testament, as we have mentioned, sacrifices were repeatedly made.
Each of these was but a mere type looking forward to the time
when the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, would be offered.
Once this would be accomplished, God would no longer require or
accept any other sacrifice.

The perfect sacrifice was Jesus Christ. The old system of
repeated sacrifices (types) could only end at Calvary - when
Christ became the perfect, eternal, and final sacrifice (See Heb.
9 and 10). In addition to Calvary's sacrifice, "there remaineth
no more sacrifice for sins" (Heb.10:18,26).

For a few more years, the Jews continued their sacrifices, but
these were not recognized by God. Such cannot be termed
sacrifices in the true scriptural sense of the word, for the
death of Christ provided the perfect, and therefore, the final
sacrifice for sins forever.
Further proof that this was fulfilled in Christ is seen in the
time element, for the prophecy said that sacrifice would cease in
the middle of the week - the 70th week. This was when Christ
died, for the 69 weeks measured unto Messiah and his death came
after a ministry of three and a half years.
That this was the length of our Lord's ministry may be seen by a
study of the gospel according to John in which mention is made of
four Passovers that occurred during our Lord's ministry: John
2:13; 5:1 (IN this verse the feast is not mentioned by name.
However, by taking John 4:35 about the 'four months' into
consideration, it is possible to determine that this was the
feast of the Passover (See Boutflower, page 208); 6:4; 13:1.
Eusebius, a Christian writer of the fourth century, pointed these
things out: "Now the whole period of our Saviour's teaching and
working of miracles is said to have been three-and-a-half years,
which is half a week. John evangelist, in his Gospel makes this
clear to the attentive (Eusebuis, The Proof of the Gospels, bk,8,
chapter 2).
And so, after three and a half years of ministry as the Christ,
the anointed one - Jesus was cut off in death, in the middle of
the 70th week of seven years. As Augustine said: "Daniel even
defined the time when Christ was to come and suffer by the exact
date."

Understanding this, we can now see real significance in certain
New Testament statements which also speak of a definite
established time at which Jesus would die. For example, we read:
"They sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because
his hour was not yet come" (John 7:30). In John 2:4, Jesus said,
"Mine hour is not yet come." On another occasion, he said, "My
time is not yet come" (John 7:6). Then just prior to his betrayal
and death, he said, "My time is at hand" (Mt.26:18), and finally,
"the hour is come" (John 17:1; Mt.26:45).
These and other verses clearly show that there was a definite
time in the plan of God when Jesus would die. He came to fulfil
the scriptures, and there is only one Old Testament scripture
which predicted the time of his death - the prophecy which stated
that Messiah would be cut off in the midst of the 70th week - at
the close of three and a half years of ministry! How perfectly
the prophecy was fulfilled in Christ!

But those who say that the confirming of the covenant and causing
sacrifices to cease in the midst of the 70th week refers to a
future Antichrist, completely destroy this beautiful fulfillment
and are at a complete loss to show where in the Old Testament the
time of our Lord's death was predicted.

The prophecy of Daniel 9 stated that Messiah would confirm the
covenant (or would cause the covenant to prevail) with many of
Daniel's people for the "week" or seven years. We ask then, when
Christ came, was his ministry directed in a special way to
Daniel's people - to "Israel" (Dan.9:20)? Yes!

John introduced him as he "that should be made manifest to
ISRAEL" (John 1:31). "I am not sent", Jesus said, "but unto the
lost sheep of the house of ISRAEL" (Mt.15:24). And when he first
sent out his apostles, they we re directed: "Go not into the way
of the Gentiles... go rather to the lost sheep of the house of
ISRAEL" (Mt.10:5,6).

The first half of the "week", the time of our Lord's ministry,
was definitely directed toward ISRAEL. But what about the second
half - the final three and a half years of the prophecy - was it
also linked with Israel? Did the disciples continue to preach for
the duration of the remaining three and a half years (as Christ's
representatives) especially to Daniel's people - to Israel? Yes,
they did!
Jesus had told the disciples to go into all the world and preach
the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15; Mt.28:19; Acts 1:8), YET
- and this is significant - after Christ ascended, the disciples
still at first preached only to Israel! Why? We know of only one
prophecy which would indicate that this was to be the course
followed. It is the prophecy of the 70 weeks which implied that
after the death of Messiah there would still be three and a half
years that pertained to Israel!

Bearing this in mind, we can now understand at least one reason
why the gospel went "to the Jew first" and then later to the
Gentiles (Rom.1:16). Peter preached shortly after Pentecost: "Ye
are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant... unto you
first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you,
in turning away every one of you from his iniquities" (Acts 3:25,
26). "It was necessary that the word of God should first have
been spoken to you" (Acts 13:46).

In person, Christ came to Israel during the first half of the
"week" - three and a half years. Through the disciples - for the
three and a half years that remained - his message still went to
Israel, "the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with
signs following"(Mk.16:20). In a very real sense of the word, the
ministry of the disciples was a continuation of the ministry of
Christ.
Then came the conversion of Cornelius which completely changed
the missionary outreach, outlook, and ministry of the church.
Though the New Testament does not give an exact date when this
happened, apparently the time for special exclusive blessing upon
Daniel's people had drawn to a close. The gospel which had gone
first to the Jews was now to take its full mission - to be
preached to all people of all nations!

This time of changeover was marked by a number of supernatural
events. Cornelius received a heavenly visitation. An angel
appeared to him and told him to call for Peter "who shall tell
thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved" (Acts
11:14). God showed Peter a vision which caused him to know that
the gospel was now to go to the Gentiles and not to Israelites
only. All of these things were timed perfectly - showing that
God's hand was accomplishing a definite purpose.
Returning to Jerusalem, Peter explained what had happened. "When
they heard these things, they... glorified God, saying, Then hath
God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life"(Acts
11:18). From this very point, more and more, there was a turning
to the Gentiles with the gospel message. God's measurement of 490
years pertaining in a special way to Israel had obviously been
completed.
And finally,

12. THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AND THE TEMPLE. This part of the
prophecy was not dated within the framework of the 70 weeks as
was the time of the appearance of Messiah to Israel, the time of
his death, etc. Nevertheless, living on this side of the
fulfillment, we know that the predicted destruction found
fulfillment in 70 A.D. when the armies of Titus brought the city
to desolation.

With Adam Clarke we say: "The whole of this prophecy from the
times and corresponding events has been fulfilled to the very
letter." (Clarke's Commentary, note on Daniel).

                            ...................

Yes, the Old Bible Commentaries like Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes,
Matthew Henry, and some others, all CORRECTLY understood the
prophecy in Daniel chapter 9, the coming of the Messiah and the
final destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

Daniel’s 70th Week: The Biggest “Prophetic” Dilemma? June 9, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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Another dilemma I would like to draw attention to concerning Daniel’s 70th week revolves around the current state of Israel, which scholars believe marks the “prophetic return of the Jews” to the Holy Land and the precursor to Christ coming. If the current state of Israel, birthed in 1948 as a result of the Balfour Declaration do indeed mark the prophetic return of the Jews then there is a problem in reconciling this to the traditional view to interpreting Daniel’s 70th week. Firstly, according to the interpretation Daniel’s 70th week will occur in a future time period in which the anti-christ will confirm a covenant with Israel at the start of the week and in the middle of the week (3 and ½ years later) will break the covenant and cause the sacrifice to cease and establish the abomination which makes desolate in Jerusalem. This results in another future exile of Israel as it flees into the wilderness for 42 months.

 We know from scripture that Israel has been exile (or made desolate) twice; the first time when Nebuchadnezzar plundered Israel and took most of the people captive to Babylon. The second desolation occurred when Titus the Roman general sacked Jerusalem in circa 70 A.D. But is this third period of exile after a second restoration period supported in scripture? No doubt a vast proportion of Christendom believes this to be the case. But what does scripture say? Here is what Isa 11:11-12 says though it is worthwile for the reader to read from verse 1 to get the full picture:

 11And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

 We note here that the Lord will gather the remnant of his people the second time. If we read from verse 1 it should become clear that this day in which the Lord gathers Israel the second time is at His coming. How do we know this? Verse 4 provides the conclusive evidence:

 4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

 It is confirmed in 2 Thess 2:8 that Jesus will slay the wicked (man of sin) with the breath of His mouth at His coming and in Rev 19:15 we learn that a sharp sword goes out of His mouth and that He shall rule the nations with a rod of iron (at His coming). Where then is this idea of a third dispersion and a third re-gathering of Israel? That is perhaps the biggest dilemma of them all!

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?

Daniel’s 70th Week: A Prophetic Dilemma! May 24, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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In looking at the prophesy of Daniel’s 70 Weeks as recorded in Daniel 9 several problems arises from the point of view of modern eschatology. However, I will only highlight the main ones here for now. Whilst Daniel was praying and making supplications the angel Gabriel appeared unto him and explained a few things to him concerning the future of Israel. Gabriel told Daniel (see Daniel 9:23) that from the beginning of his supplication a “commandment came forth” and that it was this commandment which he came to show to Daniel and this can be see from verse 24 onwards. Gabriel told Daniel that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks (or 69 weeks). In terms of understanding Bible prophecy we understand a week to be a week of years or 7 years to be precise. Therefore what Gabriel is saying is that there shall be 483 years (69 multiplied by 7) from between the time of the commandment to rebuild the Temple unto Messiah. If we recall that at the time of Daniels supplication the time period we are dealing with was the first year of Darius’ reign. Therefore according to Gabriel the commandment went forth during the first year of Darius’ reign. According to Daniel 5:30, Darius began reigning when he was 62 years old, and according to other historical records he died in 486 BCE, when he was about 64 years of age. So then we can see that from the first year of Darius’ reign (circa 488 BCE) through to the time of Christ’s birth is approximately 483 years (or 69 weeks). [According to some historical sources Jesus was born around 4 BCE]

 We are then told however that after 62 weeks were accomplished Messiah would be “cut off” but not for Himself. We could assume here that this is a reference to Christ being crucified and ascending to Heaven after which time the people of a prince that shall come will destroy the city and the temple in a war which results in the desolation of Jerusalem. We are then told in verse 27 that the prince that shall come will confirm a covenant with many for one week and in the midst of the week shall cause the oblation and sacrifice to cease leading to the overspreading of abominations which makes the place desolate until the time of the consummation. It is assumed that this week is the 70th and last week of the allotted 70 weeks which was appointed for Israel to make an end of sins and to bring in everlasting righteousness. The first major problem here therefore is that whilst we can clearly count the years of the first 69 weeks where does the 70th week come in? Yet Bible scholars confidently declare that the 70th week marks the last 7 years of the age (the tribulation period) before Jesus Christ returns to earth (or the rapture). Usually we look at a block of time as a continuous period and in this instance there is nothing to suggest that the clock stops at 69 weeks and then we add in the 70th week thousands of years later. Yet if scholars are to make their interpretations fit then that is exactly what they are saying. Could there be another explanation for the 70th week or another method for counting the years? I must admit that I do not have the answers here but this is no less intriguing. Some interpreters further claim that the 70th week was fulfilled when Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D but again there is a problem here going by the week of years method if the period is meant to be continuous.

 There is a further problem which resides in how one reconciles verse26 into the whole equation. According to verse 26, Messiah will be cut off after three score and two weeks. Does this mean that after the first 69 weeks which takes us up to the birth of Messiah, He would then continue for three score and two weeks and then be “cut off”? If this were the case then on the basis of the week of years we would be saying that Jesus lived for 62 434 years instead of the approximate 33 and 1/2 years (assuming that the scriptures refer to His birth and subsequent death). Whatever the case may be I have no doubt that the prophecy interpreters do not have it completely worked out.

This post has been edited to correct the year of Darius’ reign. I subtracted two years from the year of Darius’ reign instead of adding. I have also added in the approximate year of Christ’s birth in order to reflect how the 69 weeks (483 years) is arrived at.

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

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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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.

Who are the ‘elect’? April 20, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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There seems to be much confusion particularly amongst pre-tribulation rapturists concerning the identity of the “elect” in Matt 24:

 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 Could the elect mentioned here be Israel as some ministers teach? Indeed in we know from the scriptures that Israel God’s elect:

 4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. (Isaiah 45:4)

 So clearly under the Old Covenant, at least, Israel was very much God’s elect. But under the New Covenant dispensation is it only Israel that constitutes God’s elect? According to the scriptures the answer to that is no. Here are some scriptures which defines God’s elect as pertaining to the New Covenant:

 1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; (Tit 1:1)

 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (Rom 11:7)

 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (Col 3:12)

 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Pet 1:10-11)

 We can now see from the above scriptures that the faith of God’s elect is the gospel of salvation which Paul was made an apostle of. We also see that we can only obtain this faith through the election of grace and we are called to put on the fruits of the spirit (mercy, kindness etc) as God’s elect and give due diligence in making our calling and election sure. It is clear then that the elect as pertaining to the New Covenant is the church, which includes a remnant of Israel but who are no longer regarded as Jews (see Rom 11). We should remember here that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek (Gal 3:28, Col 3:11). The elect which are mentioned in Matt 24 which Jesus will gather at His coming are therefore the church. There can be no doubt about this since the Old Covenant decays and vanishes away and under the New Covenant there is neither Jew nor Greek (or Gentiles).