Search:
Christianbook.com

Common Biblical sources for Eschatology

OT- Daniel, Isa, Jer, Eze, Zech, (Prophets).

Olivet Discourse Math 24, Mark 13, Luke 21.

Book of Revelation

The Four Common Eschatologies

Futurism: All Prophecy concerning the second coming is still future.

Partial Preterism; some prophecy is fulfilled others are not.

Full Preterism: All prophecy has been fulfilled.

Common paradigms listed under Futurism

1. Dispensationalism

2. Amillenialism

3. Post Millennialism

4. Pre Millennialism

5. Historicism

6. Idealism

**Dispensationalism is a subset of Pre-Millennialism.

Christians Want to Know.

In these confusing times in which we live, Christians want to know if these are the 'Last Days" or like so many generations before that have come and gone, are we just living though another tough time? When Paul wrote of the Second Coming (GR: Parousia) he used words of imminence suggesting that Coming of Christ could happen suddenly but he also gave us warnings in 2 Thess 2 as to what to look out for, certain things that would happen before that great and terrible day. The book of Revelation gives us further ideas of the literal events that will take place in a short 3 1/2 years. hese literal events are many times described in apocalyptic language, but their meaning is very clear. Our problem is that there are so many dissenting voices, who do we listen to?

While many are in agreement on the basic ideas such as Christ will return, a Resurrection of the dead will take place, a Millennial Kingdom will come, followed by a Great White Throne Judgment, to end with the arrival of the New Heaven and Earth in which the righteous will live for eternity with God.

There is a growing "cult" of wolves, leading the sheep into error, a reincarnation of the Hymenaeus and Philetus heresy that claims the Second Coming and Resurrection is past. We can differ on when the millennium takes place, when the rapture happens, but we can not compromise on an idea that Christ came 2000 years ago and every prophecy has been fulfilled and the whole church missed it until this group came along in the '70's and declared that according to their understanding of "time statements" Jesus actually promised to return in that generation, so if he did not return then he was  liar and false prophet, therefore since Jesus is not a false prophet he had to return in that generation. While too many people this might seem laughable but to others they take it quit seriously the claims presented by Full Preterist (FP). These claims are rooted in what they call time texts. For example in Mathew 2:34, "I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." They demand then that since the Olivet Discourse promises that all prophecy will be fulfilled in that generation, and Mathew 24:30 says that, "they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

Therefore the Second Coming had to have taken place in that Generation, when the Olivet was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Many false ideas are created in the absence of true scholarship and mistakes are made on both sides of the isle for many reasons. The best that we can do as scholars is to come together and reason and work through the issues and resolving the problems in logic, coherence, and in consistency. Two things characterize a true scholar and theologian, (1) His willingness to learn. (2) His willingness to be corrected. We can recognize without disparaging a person, that an education in Greek, Hebrew, and in Systematic Theology trumps any person who lacks these tools and skills. If there is a need for a surgeon for brain damage any person would desire the specialist with many years of experience verses the first year med student to actually perform the surgery.  The problem is that people wish to hold on to their paradigm to be "right" even when a significant issue creates a fractured logic in the whole of the paradigm. It has been resolved that the Mathew 24:30 passage "son of man coming on clouds" does not refer to a second coming. Jesus is quoting from Dan 7:13-14 that talks about his ascension to the right hand of God where he is given all authority to judge. In this passage Jesus is "coming" to the father in heaven, and sends judgment upon Israel for their rejection of him and for the blood of the prophets (Mathew 23) "son of man coming on clouds" is a Hebrew idiom to speak of the coming of judgment by way of an army that is sent by Christ to judge people. In AD 70 the Roman army was used by God to deliver judgment to Israel as did the Babylonian Army in about BC 534.

How will we know?

How will we know that we are in the last days? We wont for sure. Meaning, these last days consist of a possible seven year time frame. In these first three years Revelation describes a series of judgments in the well known "Four Horseman of the Apocalypse". It begins with a white horse in which the rider conquers through threat of destruction, a world leader who brings peace among the nations. The Red horse takes peace away and people begin to slay each other much like a civil war. The Black horse brings recession and inflation. The final Pale horse brings war, pestilence, and disease. The second half of Revelation tells us that a ONE World Leader will unite all the nations and bring severe persecution against the church who refuses to worship him (the beast, 666) as if he was "God." This persecution will last for 42 months or so and this persecution ends when Christ returns and kills the Beast and the false prophet who supports him.

Even now we see hints of these events beginning to unfold but they primarily concern the whole earth and not just confined to events in America. We are hard pressed to find any biblical support that the beast will be a POTUS, but then we rule out nothing. Our main concern would be in seeing a global collapse of the worlds economies, plunging the world in chaos of bankrupt nations.

I believe the tell tale sign that we are looking for to know we are in the final days, is the collapse of the world system in which a figure rises up and attempts to unite the world into a one world Government.

Revelation describes in this process of Judgments against the world of the ungodly, that 2/3 of mankind and the earth will be destroyed in the plagues that come. Israel knew her time had come when she was surrounded by the Armies of Rome in AD 70. When these events begin to unfold we will move from wondering to knowing.

How do we determine something being taught is truth?

Many people can read a Bible passage and still come up with a different meaning for the same passage from other people. That is what we call perspective. Some people will see the glass is half full and the others will see the glass half empty. Both are true at the same time and the wise man acknowledges this truth and does not argue his view is the absolute truth. Theology is the study of God in scriptures and what we learn about God and man is what we call doctrine. Scholarship is the attempt to learn as much as possible on one subject to arrive at truth. Part of the process in coming to truth is revealed in three things.

Logic, Consistency, Coherence

Logic is the ability to follow truth from one point to the next that maintains a harmonious sequence of thought and reason in an order that makes sense. Jesus can not teach that his "coming on clouds" will be preceded by signs and then the Bible says he comes like a thief. A thief does not give signs or warning of his coming, that would be illogical. For an example of poor logic: The sun is yellow, a car is yellow, therefore the car is also a sun. Correct logic states, The sun is yellow, the car is yellow, therefore the car and the sun are of the same color yellow.

Consistency is that when Paul teaches one truth in the book of Romans, and then when Peter teaches on the same subject and context that truth must also remains the same as to what Paul taught.

Coherence is the idea that all pieces work together, and provide a consistent progression of truth, square pegs cannot fit in round holes.

Therefore scholarship is the process that where we examine any theology that is developed is examined for its logic, consistency, and coherence with all of what scriptures teach. If any logic, is demonstrated to be faulty the theology must be thrown out. If it fails to be consistent with other teaching in the bible, it most be thrown out, the bible does not contradict itself. If a theology does not provide coherence with the rest of scripters the theology is to be thrown out.

Foundations

My Goal is not to declare "I'm right" or that I have everything perfectly. The goal is to set out a standard that must be followed as part of the agreed upon rules by those who wish to play in the same sandbox. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that people disagree. For instance people disagree on how to baptize people, sprinkling or emersion, how do we come to a consensus or can we agree to disagree with out dividing. People obviously demand they divide because it goes against "their conscience", yet the truth is the form of baptism is a secondary issue, How a person is baptized does not determine if they are saved or not and should not be a point of division, yet those who do create division, the very idea of what God hates in the Body of Christ, or church.

At what point do we divide?

In the Early church the Fathers battled it out with the "heretics about what is the true gospel and what one must believe in order to be saved and to be called a true Christian. The made a formal statment called the Nicene Creed which establishes the essentials of what one must believe to be a Christian:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Every cult and false church deviates from this basic established truths. Many cults are defined as cults and not true Christian church because they believe Jesus was created and not divine.  The Nicene creed establishes that Christ is equal in nature to God and is divine, fully God.

Among those who agree on these essential still have disagreements about the fine points. Such as the Idea there is only one true church and that is the Catholic church. Yet catholic which means, universal, conveys the idea that all Christians are a part of one body of Christ, one church. While Catholics have held to the dea you have to be in the Catholic church to be in the true church. All other churches are not true Christian churches. BUT this stance has been fading away now that the Catholic church has recognized that other churches are also a part of the Body of Christ and can not be denied.

So how do we prove when someone is really right or really wrong?

When we approach the Bible to understand it there are two standard basic presuppositions that people take. (1) It is the word of God, infallible in the sense that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit through men, who did not make mistakes as they were led to write by the Holy Spirit. (2) It is to be understood primarily as literal in nature and not "spiritual", which implies you must look past the words and find the true meaning from a spiritual sense. The rules of Hermeneutics is what guide our interpretation of the Bible. When a person violates these rules of communication they create contradictions and problems.

Hermeneutics

"Is the art and science of Biblical Interpretation."

Proper Hermeneutics starts with the premise the Bible was intended to be read as is and understood as is while  allowing for Genres, (such as poetic, narrative, parables, and Apocalyptic language.) as a way to communicating truth. The Bible is first to be understood literally (not woodenly) until the language demonstrates that it is using a figure of speech.Figures of speech, such as metaphors, analogies, ellipsis, and Idioms., are to be understood as a means of communicating truth. Because of the Literal , the spiritual exists, but never contradicts the literal. Concerning prophecy, the Bible uses "apocalyptic" language to describe real events man experiences not "spiritual" events.
There are eight rules to follow for communication to be achieved and how these rules are applied is critical.
1. Definition 2. Usage 3. Context 4. Historical Background 5. Logic 6. Precedent 7. Unity 8: Inference

We are not allowed to change definition of words to make it fit our belief system.- We must recognize that words are used in different ways to mean different things.,br.- Context is the passage in which the word is used and how it is used that creates consistency of the whole Bible.
- The historical background is insight into the culture and nature of who the book was written to.
- Precedent demands there is nothing new under the sun.
- Unity defines the understanding of consistency, the Bible does not contradict its self.
- Any passage has a literal meaning and can also infer truth that what was not directly stated.

A Great resource for doing Exegesis (the process of applying Hermeneutics to come to an interpretation) Is Gordon Fee's "New Testament Exegesis". Exegesis is always interpretation from the Greek or Hebrew language never from an English translation. It demands one must know "some" Greek grammar.

Apologetics

"Is the ability to give an answer for the hope that lies within you."

Apologetics comes in the form of an answer (written or video) to something someone has stated or taught that is perceived to be in error. We do not simply say "your wrong" but we seek to demonstrate why something is wrong.
Ones mental ability to grasp a concept is greatly effected by ones education and skill in comprehension as well as the ability to logically reason through a difficult concept. Ones ability to communicate in the first place is paramount in the communication process in expressing a thought or idea coherently.
When an opposing position is presented that rightly clarifies a truth, and logically refutes the former position, honesty requires a change of beliefs to adapt to the new information. I have set out to "change you mind" or help you from falling into the trap of well sounding arguments.
Any truth must have three things to be true; sound logic, coherence, and consistency.
The argument from logic must be concise and reasonable. 
It must be uniformly sound with other doctrines and rules of interpretation.
It must be consistent with the whole of scriptures, it can not contradict.

If it can be demonstrated that an argument fails in the logic, misuses the rules and creates inconsistency among doctrines, and creates a contradiction from one scripture to another, the belief must be rejected.
Our goal is to always give an answer for why and what we believed as a counter to what we perceive is error of others, which implies "we know better". We know better if the statement or teaching violates the Nicene Creed. We know its wrong if it creates a contradiction. We know its wrong when it violates something that has been well understood for 2000 years. This is where the study of scriptures come into play. It is why we are encourage to study our Bible and why teachers and Pastors were given to the church, to help us come to understand, yet realizing no one is perfect and we may disagree on some minor points. But we do not divide UNLESS its been well established that what the person is teaching is Heretical, that which is against sound truth.

Myths and Doctrines of Demons

Paul warned Timothy that "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons" (I Tim 4:1). No false teacher ever came out and said "Hi, I'm here to teach a doctrine that comes from satan himself." Instead Jesus described them as wolves dressed in sheep's clothing (Math 7:15), the "shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; - they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. (Jude) And of those types Paul said to separate from them. While we are never told we have to have perfect theology to get into heaven, broken theology guides peoples faith into a shipwreck. So how do we measure if a person is teaching truth? How do we know our Pastor is teaching truth?

It would be easy to say, just study your bible, but that is what everyone does and people still disagree. Learning to study correctly is the key. Following the rules of hermeneutics, learning how to do exegesis, learning rules of Grammar are a start. The most ambitious of us learn the languages of the bible, Hebrew and Greek.

.

No one is perfect, so measure what they say the Bible teaches against what others of higher education are teaching.

We agree on the essentials of the Christian faith - know what these essential truths are - and allow for disagreements on secondary issues.

Learn truth from many sources and not just one voice alone.

Study to show yourself approved

Do not be afraid to ask or question.

The more you learn the less chance that you can be fooled.

image banner

Common Errors

One of the major errors of Full Preterism and Dispensationalism is not only that they are a "new" system created in recent history but are both founded by men imposing an unnatural structure upon scriptures in an attempt to reconcile personal beliefs with scriptures. The personal beliefs, although maybe well intended still remain problematic. It is a problem repeated over the years; Oneness Pentecostalism, Jesus Only, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, - men with personal visions of grandeur with no accountability. David Koresh, Jim Jones, Hubbard. Every one aberrant because they received a personal revelation that was never ever given to another person but them. It's the foundation of Mormonism, they alone arrived at this truth as it was revealed to them alone. In any one foundational point, a mistake is made and the building is constructed upon that mistake, while it may not crumble as they build it, it will always be off kilter, unsound, and unsafe for human habitation. Instead of abandoning the structure these systems create, they build buttresses to explain away the problem and people believe it. Paul warned us that in the last days people would not hold to sound teaching but instead go after doctrines of demons and chase after myths.

The Problem in a nut shell

Dispensationalism teaches the Olivet and Revelation is to be fulfilled in the future. Full Preterism believes that the Olivet discourse and Revelation were all fulfilled in AD 70 with the Jewish wars and the destruction of Jerusalem. Partial Preterism believes that the Olivet and most of Revelation was fulfilled in AD 70, so currently we wait for the second coming to happen. Between Rev 18 and 19 there is a 2000 year gap. MIDDLEISM holds to the belief that all of the Olivet was fulfilled in AD 70, Revelation being written after AD 70, is still future, so that makes ALL of the Revelation still future. When the claim is made that the Olivet was all fulfilled three things are assumed;

Since the Olivet talks about the second coming then you must believe Revelation was written before AD 70 and then the second coming had to happen in AD 70. (full Preterism) - The Olivet never takes about or promises the second coming will happen in that generation.

Since the Olivet talks about the second coming and the book of Revelation is about the second coming, then you must believe the Olivet and Revelation are all fulfilled in the future (Dispensationalism). - The Olivet never talk as about the second coming.

Since the Olivet talks about the destruction of Jerusalem and that was fulfilled in AD 70, and Revelation talks about the destruction of Jerusalem, then you must believe that the Olivet was fulfilled and half of Revelation was also fulfilled in AD 70. -The Revelation never talks about the destruction of Jerusalem or Israel.

What resolves these issues and clarifies the position is to understand that Revelation was written after AD 70, therefore nothing in Revelation is about the events of AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. It makes all of the events being described in Revelation as happening in the future and happening in short amount of time. Since the Olivet is about the destruction of Jerusalem, and that happened in AD 70, then the Olivet was all fulfilled in the Jewish wars as recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus.

The Olivet Discourse

The Olivet Discourse found in Mathew 24, (Mark 13, Luke 21) becomes Christ own prediction of the Judgment soon to come upon Jerusalem which did in A.D. 70. The Early Church Father's all believed these prophecies came true yet also believed in a future coming of Christ.  The issue is that the people believe that the phrase found in the Olivet, "son of man coming on clouds" is  all about the second coming.

When Jesus said, "you will see the son of man coming on clouds, (Math 24:30) and sitting at the right hand of God (Math 26:64) come from the Old Testament passage of Daniel 7:13, 14.

“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.

This "coming" text is not about Jesus second coming but about his coming to the father in heaven which happened in his ascension and not his coming down to Earth. Because he came to the father and was given authority, from his position he is the one who judges Israel and sends that judgment upon them, just like what his father did in the Old Testament. This judgment comes in the form of the Roman army who lays siege to Jerusalem and destroys it and the temple. Therefore when the same phrase is repeated throughout the gospels it all refers to the "coming of Judgment" that was fulfilled in AD 70. Acts 1:11 is where we learn that in his second "appearing" Jesus comes down back to Earth.

The Revelation of John

The Book of Revelation begins with an introduction to what is contained in the pages, warnings to the seven churches of what needs correction, followed by a series of events that are to happen in the last days. Yes we believe these Revelations are all about our future and not the past. When many details are presented of what is to happen they simply cannot be reconciled with the events of A.D. 70. In A.D. 70 the Roman army came and besieged Jerusalem and the destroyed it and the temple. In Revelation Christ returns with his army of saints in defense of the City. It is not logical to claim God sent an army to Judge and destroy Jerusalem then at the same time say that Jesus comes with his army to defend Jerusalem from the very army sent by God? Of Course the Preterist has to literalize the coming of the Roman army but spiritualize the second coming of Christ, which means it never happened literally but spiritually. It all happened in the "spiritual" realm and no one saw it or observed this "coming". This is one of the major reasons Preterism is to be rejected. They spiritualize the literal events in saying they came when they did not.

Dating the Book of Revelation

In Revelation 1, John tells us he was on the Island of Patmos when he received the Revelation and was able to write it all down once he was released and returned to his home church in Ephesus. The Early Church Fathers testify that John was on the island during the reign of Domitian until his death in A.D. 68. When he was released, John soon died between 98 and 100 A.D. So we have a problem. If Revelation was written after A.D. 70 about events to happen then those events could not have happened in A.D. 70. So it becomes a Preterists conundrum. Their answer is to assert the late date is in error by "uninspired" people who were too apostate to not know Jesus returned in A.D. 70, which of course would have included John, so now the Preterist does everything to prove John died, as did all the apostles, before A.D. 70. Yet we have Barnabus writing about the destruction and still looking forward to the second coming. The Preterist answer is again to call the letter fake. The desperation employed by Preterist to prove all church historical accounts wrong is driven by the need to prove Jesus retuned in A.D. 70. Instead of answering the problem they simple create more.

A Premillianlism / Post-Trib Second Coming

When people begin to set dates for his coming as Harold Camping did or profess to know who the beast is or other such nonsense it becomes a good idea to avoid such men. Understanding in these present times we begin by recognizing the world’s corruption will grow darker and darker and the influence of the church becomes nonexistent as we have become more and more like the world in behaviors and attitudes. This can be seen currently in the divide in the church between those who falsely accept abortion or homosexuality or the appointment of a transgender person as an “Elder” in the United Methodist church. The failures from the pulpit, not only by example but also theology and doctrine, has made the world reject any authority of the church by the nature of the conflict from one denomination to another. The existence of many denomination proves to the world that even the church doesn’t and cannot get it right. This does not mean every denomination is wrong, but many people fail to see the distinction that some denominations differ based on purpose and mission and not necessarily doctrine. The one thing every mainstream Christian denomination holds to is the essentials of what is Christianity as expressed by the Nicene or Apostles creed. We can have differing opinions over secondary issues like baptism: sprinkling or emersion since these are not salvific issues but we do not divide over trinity, incarnation, or deity of Christ. As every mainstream denomination holds to these truths to be called Christian. Every cult is labeled as such as they deny one of these essential doctrines. Yet the world does not see these distinctions. The whole question of “are we in the last days” or not, is a difficult question to answer without prophetical biblical specifics of events that happen just prior to this tribulation period. We can believe that we are in the last days beginning in A.D. 33 with the birth of the church as it can be said the earth has more year’s past than what is in front. We generally derive a chronology from the book of Revelation that gives us an overall idea but until these events begin to unfold we presently see through a mirror darkly.

Zech 12, 14

Scholars have long recognized that Zech 12, 14 are both prophecies concerning the Second Coming of Christ.

They begin the chapters by talking about the Siege at Jerusalem.

I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Because Jerusalem was laid siege to and destroyed in AD 70, God promises to take revenge against those nations, and that Jerusalem will never again be destroyed, especially in the day of his coming. The day of his coming is a day to protect Jerusalem against the beast as described in Revelation 19. This requires that Jerusalem be established as a nation once again which happened in 1948, when there was a second regathering of his people.

Once she has been regathered the Revelation tells us for a second time Jerusalem will come under attack but this time God is with her.

and the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God. And the Lord will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah.
On that day th LORD WILL protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security. Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.

These things could not have been fulfilled in the events of AD 70. Then the survivors of those who came against Jerusalem will be ruled by Christ in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth.