Eschatology, Judgment, Prophecy, The Antichrist, The Millennium

Blinded by Dispensationalism

Dispensationalism has made many Americans clueless to the fact that they have been living with the beast, the false prophet and a biblical plague, and that God’s comfort for them is found in a proper understanding of the book of Revelation.

I believe my posts, Dismantling Dispensationalism, and my book, Dismantling Dispensationalism, will help with a better understanding of the times that we’re living in so that we can receive the comfort that God has for His Church in the book of Revelation.

Rob Morley

 

Eschatology, Faith, Judgment, Leadership, Prophecy

President Donald J. Trump and the COVID-19 American Tragedy

American grave
Photo by babykrul

Storyline:

A false prophet flirts with a beast who is in love with a prostitute and the result is that 100,000 die in a plague in just 3 months. And, that’s just the beginning!

The Characters in America’s Version of Revelation:

  • President Trump plays ‘the beast,’ an evil and power hungry leader
  • The evangelical church plays ‘the false prophet,’ a spiritual leader that endorses the beast
  • The “almighty dollar” plays ‘the great prostitute,’ an economic system based on greed that uses governmental power to that end, even at the expense of human dignity and life
  • Vice President Pence plays a ‘witness’ that has lost his witness because he has been ‘lukewarm’
  • COVID-19, a ‘plague’ sent by Jesus Christ, exposes each of the characters for what they are

The Play:

A proper interpretation of the book of Revelation makes it abundantly clear that President Donald J. Trump is America’s very own manifestation of ‘the beast’ of Revelation 13. Furthermore, the current economic spirit behind the “almighty dollar” is ‘the great whore’ of Revelation. And, sadly, America’s evangelicals have been the ‘false prophet’ in this tragedy. A plague, which, according to Revelation 6:8, is one of many forms of judgement that are sent by Jesus (see Rev. 6:1).

Here is a brief breakdown:

  • Just as the beast of Revelation is ridden by the prostitute, President Trump is driven by the need to have a successful economy in order to stay in power, even at the expense of people. Rather than being submitted to Almighty God or even the rationality of science in the face of a pandemic, President Trump is driven by the “almighty dollar.” Nothing can curb him to care for people ahead of power.
  • Just as the beast is endorsed by the false prophet, President Trump is endorsed by many evangelicals who love him more than truth, justice and morality. He has been so enthusiastically embraced by so many in the Church that he essentially sits in the Temple speaking as though he is God. Rather than addressing his waywardness, as any true prophet would, these religious leaders and their flock defend him and prophesy sweet lies about him and the future of America.
  • Just as the beast is empowered by Satan, the father of lies, President Trump is notorious for his constant and flagrant lying.
  • Just as the beast has a lust for power that knows no bounds, Trump has lied and cheated to hold onto power, even to the point of being impeached.
  • Just as the beast is full of pride, President Trump never admits to his errors. All is “perfect.”
  • Just as the beast blasphemes God, President Trump does so by claiming allegiance to God and His people, yet living contrary to God and refusing to repent.
  • Vice President Pence has been the “picture perfect example” of the good American evangelical as he reinforces their God-sent leader’s views. He is the evangelical’s ideal political Ken-doll who supports and excuses the beast despite his immoral, in-humane and illogical political stances. Like the false prophet that he also represents, Pence looks ‘like a lamb,’ but speaks ‘like a dragon.’ Actions speak louder than words and not wearing a mask shows his allegiance.
  • COVID-19 enters America and sets up the true makers of Fake News to be exposed for downplaying the virus.
  • COVID-19 sets up the President to make a choice, which he says at one point is “the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.’ And, over the course of time, he has chosen to dismiss science and instead risks people’s lives, promoting his sentiment on issues because he doesn’t like the cost to the economy.
  • COVID-19 sets up lukewarm and deceived Christians, who are supposed to be “the light of the world,” to look foolish because they continue to blindly back Trump.

Blind Evangelical Church

If you are an American evangelical, then it is very unlikely that you will recognize the correlation that I have made between the book of Revelation and your current experience. This is, in part, because of the false teaching of dispensationalism that has dominated evangelical thinking over the years. It is so removed in its misinterpretation of Revelation that it has made the prophecy completely useless to Christians who are adherents of this false doctrine. While the Bible explains men like President Trump as being ‘the beast,’ most Christians in America have been robbed of the understanding and comfort that Revelation has for them in the face of such a person. This lack is a judgment on their churches for not testing this doctrine that has been so forcefully espoused by so many over the years.

100 000 Die Under the Beast

As beasts go, President Trump may appear tame. However, 100 000 Americans have died in three months and most of the deaths are due to his bungling of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is directly attributable to his pride and lust for economic success and power instead of having a heart for the American people. What’s more, in the face of these numbers, he continues with his childish pride by not wearing a mask, when wearing a mask protects others from what we might unknowingly have and inadvertently spread. It is an example for others to follow as a way of caring for one another.

Judgement

Clearly, God has been busy using this beast, who is full of pride, as a means of judgement on a nation full of pride. Yet, still, many remain persistent and even belligerent in their unmasked pride (pun intended). In the process, He is also judging His own people for the choice that they made in Trump, and, having made him their choice, for their reluctance to hold him accountable. Instead, they have excused him at every turn and, as a result, he has become the nation’s nightmare. He might have been less brazen had he not had the kind of undivided loyalty that he has received from the evangelicals from the get go.

How Should Christians Respond

Toward the Beast:

Repent! Jesus must be your first love, not a politician. Also, repent on behalf of your brothers and sisters in Christ and those of your nation that have unswervingly embraced him. And, pray for all your leaders, especially President Trump, for God’s mercy is able to reach him, even as it reached Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Then, when elections come, don’t disregard the character of the candidates, for, in so doing, you have already been bitten once.

Toward the Prostitute:

Americans love the “almighty dollar” and many American Christians love it too. Revelation has this to say to them, ‘I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of [the great prostitute], my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues”’ (Rev. 18:4 ESV). You need to repent of the love of money, for the word says, ‘Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”’ (Heb. 13:5). Also, ‘For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs’ (1 Tim. 6:10).

Toward the False Prophet:

Like the Bereans in Acts, test all ministers of the Word of God by the Word of God. For, it is as a result of a lack of this that many false teachers and false teachings have crept in. And, having become established, they have led this generation to embrace a beast who has led them into a full-blown plague.

Learn from these words of Jesus in Revelation to the church in Pergamum: ‘But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth’ (Rev. 2:14‑16).

What have your spiritual leaders taught you to think and practice that is contrary to God? Do you constantly excuse President Trump? Do you love money at the expense of people’s lives? Do you wear a mask out of reverence to God, who has given sanctity to life and who commands us to love our neighbour? Whether you follow the beast or the Lord Jesus Christ will be seen by how you think and what you do. You might need to repent of allowing yourself to be marked with ‘the name of the beast,’ which, in Revelation, symbolically indicates who your allegiance is with in both thought and action.

Toward the Plague:

Do not be presumptuous like good King Josiah was by getting in the way of God’s judgement. Wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance until the plague is over. If you contract the virus, realise that you are not necessarily being judged. As a Christian, this is a test of your faith. If you are lacking faith then ask God and He will give you the faith and grace needed for the experience. He will carry you through it to the other side, whether to be with Him, which is far better, or with your family, which, God willing, He may consider to be better for now.

Toward the Lukewarm Witness:

Let’s begin by looking to see to what extent we are lukewarm witnesses. Let’s also realise that we don’t all have the same pressures. Then, let’s pray for our own needs and for grace for our brother. That said, my word for Vice President Pence is, ‘Do not be deceived, “Bad company corrupts good character”‘ (1 Cor. 15:33 NIV). Love your neighbour and wear a mask! If you are a witness for Jesus Christ, ‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould’ (Rom. 12:2 PHILLIPS). And, that can often include the Christian world. Be a Daniel or a Shadrach and put your neck on the line for your faith.

May we all soberly look at what God is doing in our own nations and all around the world at this time. And, let’s keep praying for grace for one another so that we can represent Him well as His ambassadors on earth.

Rob Morley

Eschatology, Health, Judgment, Leadership, Prophecy

Judgment Calls For Repentance!

Image from Biblical Counseling Insights

 

An All American Cast For Revelation

Many in the evangelical church have backed Trump, the most powerful man alive, who is easily driven by US companies that care less for people’s lives than their own prosperity.
They all make a great cast for Revelation, where the ‘false prophet’ backs ‘the beast,’ who is ridden by ‘Babylon, the Great Whore,’ who cares nothing for ‘the people of the earth.’

Turn To God, He Loves You

Repent, Church, and be devoted to Jesus first and not someone who promises ‘America first’ at the expense of kingdom values. Repent, President Trump, and follow the doctors and not the dollar! And, especially follow Jesus wholeheartedly, for he loves you dearly. He is the perfect deal. Repent, businesses, for God is your provider. And, people of the earth, repent and follow Jesus. And, Church, as for the Great Prostitute, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues’ (Rev. 18:4).

Rob Morley

 

Eschatology, Judgment, Prophecy, The Bad News, The Good News

Is the Coronavirus One of God’s Judgements?

Image from Center for Disease Control (CDC) at https://unsplash.com/photos/w9KEokhajKw

Ever since Jesus Christ’s ascension, God’s judgements continue unabated through Him. Revelation 5 says that He was worthy to open the seals, which bring calamities upon people. Seals opening, trumpets sounding and bowls being poured out are all God’s judgements on those who reject Him.

Today’s mega fires, plagues of locusts, volcanoes erupting, virus outbreaks, wars, etc. are very likely judgements on a world that rejects God, and especially the good news of His Son. As the Bible says, ‘Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him’ (Psalm 2:12).

Those who are born again should not fear the Coronavirus, because we are Christ’s. Regardless of how we die, we will live. Those who reject God should fear Him, because He has power over their souls too.

Rob Morley

 

Continue reading “Is the Coronavirus One of God’s Judgements?”
Eschatology, Life in the Spirit, My Bible, Prophecy

Excellent Outline of Covenant Theology

Here is an excellent outline on Covenant Theology by Ligon Duncan, which he gives in a podcast interview done through The Gospel Coalition: Ligon Duncan – Covenant Theology

 

Posts on Dismantling Dispensationalism

Eschatology, Israel, Jews, Prophecy, The Antichrist, The Millennium

Dismantling Dispensationalism

Responses to ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’

Herewith are my responses to a series of debates put forward by Dispensationalist Ron Rhodes in his book, ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.’ I trust that my posts will help toward establishing God’s truth and dismantling the wayward doctrine of Dispensationalism.


Dominoes Falling (1)

Debate 1

Should Prophecy Be Interpreted Literally or Allegorically?

Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical

Toppling Dispensationalism


Dominoes Falling (2)

Debate 2

Are Israel and the Church Distinct in Bible Prophecy?

Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct


Dominoes Falling (3)

Debate 3

What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times?

Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment?

Israel

Middle East, European Union, Globalism?

Is America in Bible Prophecy?

Israel regathered from Many Nations

Russians and Muslims to Invade Israel on Horseback?


Dominoes Falling (4)

Debate 4

Which View of the Rapture Is Correct?

When Will The Rapture Occur?


Dominoes Falling (5)

Debate 5

How Are We to Understand the Book of Revelation?

Taking Issue with Futurism

Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation

Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses


Dominoes Falling (6)

Debate 6

How Are We to Understand the Antichrist?

The Antichrist – Conundrum and Distraction

Who is the Antichrist?

Who Restrains Him? What Nation is He from? What is the Mark of the Beast?

Timing of the Antichrist


Dominoes Falling (7)

Debate 7

Which View of the Millennium Is Correct?

The Millennium


Dominoes Falling (8)

Debate 8

Is It Okay to Set Dates on Prophetic Events?

Prophetic Events and Their Timing


Other posts referenced:

Numerology in Revelation

Jewish Salvation

Restoring the Kingdom to Israel – The Christian Researcher

Rob Morley

Eschatology, Israel, Jews, Prophecy, The Millennium

Prophetic Events and Their Timing

Dominoes Falling (8)
Debate 8

Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 8: Ron Rhodes asks, ‘Is It Okay to Set Dates on Prophetic Events?’

Dispensationalist, Ron Rhodes looks at both the case for ‘Yes, Set Dates’ and ‘No, Don’t Set Dates’. In response, I discuss interpreting the timing and dates of key prophecies in the Bible.

Timing of Prophetic Events

Firstly, ‘Is It Okay to Set Dates on Prophetic Events?’ is unfortunately a poorly constructed question, because we don’t set dates on prophetic events, God does. Secondly, it is evident that, when it comes to the prophetic events foretold in the Scriptures, details concerning their timing are not always given. For example, with regard to the Second Coming, Jesus made it clear that no one knew that date except the Father. On the other hand, there are many prophecies that were made by the prophets and Jesus Himself that include timing with their predictions.

Problems

Problems arise when timing has not been indicated and folk still try to determine it. In this regard, many have made fools of themselves by predicting dates for Christ’s return. Furthermore, problems occur when assumptions about the timing in other texts affect the texts at hand. In this regard, certain postmillennialists have tried to indicate the start of a literal 1000 year millennium. However, by having knowledge of the start of a literal millennium would mean that one could determine the timing of Christ’s return, which He said no one knows. So, not only do they waste their time with a literal understanding of the millennium, their view also clearly disproves itself.

In this regard, though Premillennialists (including Dispensationalists) have their own versions of a literal Millennium, they escape this problem because they believe that the second coming occurs before the Millennium. For more on this you can read my post, The Millennium.

Next, where timing has been indicated in the Scriptures, often incorrect assumptions and expectations that arise from false doctrine cause many to ascribe wrong or false eras to events in certain texts. This is a common mistake Dispensationalists make with several scriptures. For example, their misinterpretation of the timing of the events in Daniel’s prophecy concerning the 70th Week is the cause of, or results in, their false view of the timing of events in other Scriptures. I say more on this topic earlier in the series, see Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2.

As a result of their misinterpretation of the timing of the texts, they separate what God has joined in Christ, that is to say, the simultaneous salvation of both Jews and Gentiles into His Church. As a result, they sever the Scriptures and falsely align some to a supposed post rapture Jewish period beyond the Church era. Incidentally, another text that has its timing incorrectly assumed by Dispensationalists is Romans 11:25-27, which concerns Jewish Salvation.

Timing vs. Dating

Also of note is that often only general timing is given rather than exact dates. This is done by correlating certain persons and or events with other persons and or events. For example, the exact date of Jesus’ ministry wasn’t predicted in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, it is evident from the Scriptures that His ministry correlates with and follows John the Baptist’s. In this way the timing acts as one of the many proofs that Jesus is the Messiah.

Significant Prophetic Events

Here are examples of prophecies from Scripture with and without time frames:

  1. 70 Years Captivity

Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be in captivity in Babylon for 70 years:

‘And this whole land will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years’ (Jer 25:11).

Clearly Daniel understood the timing in Jeremiah’s prophecy before it was fulfilled:

‘In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the sacred books, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years’ (Dan 9:2).

  1. Seventy Weeks

Daniel was given a detailed time frame concerning the times that Israel would go through after captivity until the destruction of the temple.

Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator” (Dan 9:24-27).

Daniel was given other prophecies with details that fit within the seventy weeks. For example, specifics are prophesied concerning the ongoing conflict between the Seleucid and the Ptolemy kingdoms referred to by Daniel as the ‘the king of the north’ and ‘the king of the south’.

  1. Three Days And Three Nights In The Heart Of The Earth

Jesus clearly gave a time frame concerning His death and resurrection. Consider the following verses:

“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).

“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40).

‘From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matt. 16:21).

  1. Destruction of the Temple

Jesus told His disciples that the temple would be destroyed. This prompted His disciples to ask, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Bear in mind that the discussion was, initially, in relation to one event, namely the destruction of the temple. As such, it is not clear whether the disciples were referring to Jesus’ ‘coming’ with reference to Him destroying the temple or to His Second Coming, or whether they had conflated these. Similarly, ‘the end of the age’ could be with reference to the end of the Temple Age or the end of the Church Age and of the world at Christ’s Second Coming.

Nevertheless, Jesus gives clarity by answering the questions asked by the disciples in connection with the end of both ages. He separates what the disciples may have conflated, i.e. the end of the Temple Age and Christ’s return at the end of the world.

Here is how He answers the questions with regard to the temple:

Q: “When will this happen?” i.e. when will the temple be destroyed?

A: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

Q: “…what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” i.e. what sign will you give that you are coming to destroy the temple?

A: The sign he gives is “‘So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains …’ (Matt 24:15-16)

Bear in mind that Jesus also spoke of His imminent “coming on the clouds,” which clearly had to do with Him bringing judgment upon Israel. He said, “But I say to all of you, from now on you will see the Son of sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt 26:64).

  1. Christ’s Return and the End of the World

Though Jesus new in which generation the temple would be destroyed, He was not yet privy to the timing of His return at the very end. He avoids combining the end of the Temple Age with His return at the end of the world by answering the latter in this way:

Q: “When will this happen?” i.e. when will Jesus return to judge the world?

A: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left”(Matt. 24:36).

Having emptied Himself of His Divine ability and having not yet ascended, Jesus was at this point uninformed concerning the timing of His Second Coming.

Q: “…what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” i.e. what sign will indicate that Jesus is going to return?

A: Jesus does not give a ‘sign’ for this event. Instead He answered them saying, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt 23:4-8).

Having said, “concerning that day and hour no one knows”, Jesus said, “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matt 24:36-44). In this case Jesus’ coming has to do with Him returning to judge the believers’ works, as their sins have already been judged at the cross, and unbelievers for their sin.

Furthermore, the idea that Jesus is referring to two distinct periods, i.e. the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, is evidenced by Jesus indicating that their generation would experience the temple being destroyed and by Him also speaking of prolonged troubles as “the beginning of the birth pains.”

  1. Restoring the Kingdom to Israel

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority…” (Acts 1:6-7).

Concerning the timing of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority” (Acts 1:7). Jesus had willingly told them about the timing of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple as it was already revealed in Daniel, but said nothing concerning the timing of restoring the kingdom to Israel and His Second Coming, because God had said nothing about the timing of these in Scripture.

The restoration of the kingdom to Israel had to do with the giving of the Holy Spirit to believing Israelites, which is Christ’s Church, initially comprising only believing Jews. In this way alone, Israel is restored to her role of being God’s kingdom of priests (see Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:5,9; Rev 1:6,10). Gentiles were only later engrafted as part of God’s restored Israel.

Paul said, not all Israel is Israel, therefore do not confuse God’s restoration of the kingdom to Israel, i.e. the Holy Spirit given to the Messiah’s Church, with Him providentially allowing for a modern state of Israel to exist. For more on this, may I recommend a PDF article that I discovered on the internet, Restoring the Kingdom to Israel – The Christian Researcher.

  1. Things That Were Soon To Take Place

‘The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place’ (Rev 1:1). The phrase ‘what must shortly (or soon) take place’ goes hand in hand with the phrase “for the time is near (at hand)” (Rev 1:3). These verses establish the very imminent nature of what was prophesied. For more on this please see my post Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1.

Conclusion

The main thing we need to know concerning timing is that we are to be about God’s business of reconciliation until Christ’s return, and that each day is a day closer to that incredible day. Until then, He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Hallelujah!

Finally, I would like to close with a link to my post Toppling Dispensationalism. In it I warn of the outcomes of this false doctrine that is taught and believed by thousands of my brothers and sisters in Christ. May God keep our eyes on Jesus as we proclaim His salvation for all in this the only ‘dispensation’ before His return and the final judgment.

Rob Morley

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
  5. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
  6. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 3 – Middle East, European Union, Globalism?
  7. The Signs of the Times – Is America in Bible Prophecy?
  8. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 1 – Israel regathered from Many Nations
  9. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 2 – Russians and Muslims to Invade Israel on Horseback?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing
Eschatology, Prophecy, The Millennium

The Millennium

Robbed of 1000 Years!

Dominoes Falling (7)
Debate 7

Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 7: Ron Rhodes asks, ‘Which View of the Millennium Is Correct?’ and looks at Amillennialism, Postmillennialism and Premillennialism.

The Millennial Views

The term millennium means 1000 years and, concerning the Bible, relates to Revelation 20 that says ‘they will reign with him for a thousand years.’ Interpretations of this chapter have brought about three very different millennial views.

Postmillennialism is the belief that Christ will return after a literal 1000 year period at the end of this Church age in which Christian ethics are practiced in a so-called ‘golden age’.

Premillennialism is the belief that Christ will return before a literal 1000 year period to reign on earth in a ‘golden age’ of peace.

Amillennialism is the belief that the 1000 years in Revelation 20 is to be understood figuratively rather than literally. In other words, no literal 1000 years was intended by the author.

My aim here is to show that the Amillennial view is the natural outcome when interpreting Revelation in its genre. At the same time, it will become clear that the Amillennial view is perfectly congruent with the rest of the New Testament.

Sadly, what will become clear is that many have been robbed of the blessing of understanding the meaning of the 1000 years that was given to the Church for her encouragement as she engages with this world.

They Will Reign With Him for a Thousand Years

‘Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years’ (Revelation 20:6).

Interpretation:

‘the first resurrection – Consider ‘God…made us alive in Christ, even when we were dead in our sins’. Also, Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

‘Over such the second death has no power’ – Having been ‘dead in our sins’, a spiritual death that came upon all humanity as a result of Adam’s transgression, we were raised to life to ‘never die’ again.

‘they will be priests of God and of Christ’ – Consider that Revelation began with the statement, ‘To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood, who has made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever!’ This clearly speaks of the role of all who are in Christ’s Church. After all, concerning our priestly work, Scripture speaks of ‘God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.’

‘and they will reign with him’This speaks of the Church age where its members reign with Christ by way of their priestly role. Remember, Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth and we are ‘seated with Him in heavenly places.’ Furthermore, concerning the reality of Christ’s priestly kingdom in this world, Revelation begins with ‘I, John, your brother and partner in the … kingdom …’

‘for a thousand years – This, therefore, is the period that the Church reigns with Christ.

The Case for Amillennialism

Amillennialism means there is no literal 1000 years. This interpretation is derived from recognizing the use figurative language throughout Revelation, which includes the numbers that are used. In my post, Numerology in The Revelation, I argue that numbers should be considered figurative if –

  • the literature is apocalyptic (a genre that uses symbolic and allegorical language)
  • there is clear use of numerology
  • numerology is used at the outset
  • numbers associated with Biblical numerology are used
  • numbers associated with Biblical numerology are used throughout
  • only numbers associated with Biblical numerology are used throughout
  • credible Biblical meaning is consistently the outcome of interpretation
  • multiple cases in the text make putting it to chance an impossible explanation

Revelation ticks all of the above, therefore, it is imperative that we interpret the figurative meaning of the numbers in Revelation rather than their literal meaning.

Previously, I showed how the number 144000 in Revelation is a numerological construct of the numbers 12, 2, 10 and 3 and explained that these numbers held symbolic meaning in Judaism and in the early Church. Therefore, by interpreting them together, they could understand what was being communicated by the number 144000.

Similarly, the number 1000 would have been recognized as a numerological construct of the numbers 10 and 3, where their meaning was jointly the key to understanding the number 1000.

1000 Years:

10 x 10 x 10 = 1000

103 = 1000

Meaning:

10 = quantitative fullness

3 = God (Trinity)

1000 years is to be interpreted therefore as the full quantity of time (10) that is given by God (3) for the church to reign with Christ in a priestly kingdom, doing the work of reconciliation. During this time, Satan is ‘bound’ by Jesus ‘so that he might not deceive the nations any longer.’ This symbolically means that Satan’s sway over the souls of men is restricted so that he cannot prevent the salvation of those who are being saved through the Gospel.

‘When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations …to gather them for battle’. They will surround ‘the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire’ comes down from heaven and consumes them. And, ‘the devil who had deceived them’ is ‘thrown into the lake of fire’.

Conclusion

In short, the 1000 years is symbolic of the period from the Church’s inception and commissioning as priests under Jesus Christ, who has all authority in heaven and on earth, until this age given for the salvation of mankind is over. Then, Satan is released and is quickly destroyed along with all who follow him.

Rob Morley

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
  5. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
  6. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 3 – Middle East, European Union, Globalism?
  7. The Signs of the Times – Is America in Bible Prophecy?
  8. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 1 – Israel regathered from Many Nations
  9. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 2 – Russians and Muslims to Invade Israel on Horseback?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing
Eschatology, Prophecy, The Antichrist

Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4

Dominoes Falling (6)
Debate 6 – Part 4

Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 6: Ron Rhodes asks, ‘How Are We to Understand the Antichrist?’

Dispensationalists Get Timing Wrong

As I have previously indicated, Dispensationalists would have you believe that most of the book of Revelation is for a time after the rapture of the Church. In other words, they believe that most of the characters and events written about would have nothing to do with the Church. This includes the manifestation of the Antichrist or the Beast as he is known in Revelation. However, how is this even possible to swallow, given that the book of Revelation was given by God to Jesus with the express purpose of showing ‘his servants’, the Church, what must ‘soon’ take place?

Dispensationalists translate the term ‘soon’ as ‘quickly’, believing that it references the speed at which the events in Revelation will take place and not the time. By this interpretation the events that are prophesied are then given over to a distant future that has no direct bearing on the first recipients. But, is this consistent with what the document reveals as God’s intention for the Revelation?

While it is true that certain moments that occur in the Revelation are swift, nevertheless, the roles that the characters play and the sheer number of events require time. It is not even logically possible for the existence of the Beast or the False Prophet to be understood as quick events, let alone imagine that the sum of the series of judgements, i.e. the seven seals, trumpets and bowls, take place ‘quickly.’

Furthermore, unlike the prophecy of Daniel that was to be sealed up for a later time, John was told that this prophecy was not to be sealed up precisely because it was going to begin. Clearly the reason that the Church at that time was the recipient of this Revelation of Jesus Christ was because the contents of the prophecy was going to have bearing on them. The term ‘soon’ further emphasizes this.

If that is not enough, consider Revelation 1:3 that says ‘for the time is near.’ This clearly gives the context and excludes any interpretation that disassociates the book of Revelation from the first century recipients. This is especially true of Dispensationalists who would have you believe that most of the Revelation is for another people after the Church has been raptured.

Is Dispensationalism an Antichrist Ruse?

The Antichrist is not someone else’s enemy in the future, as Ron Rhodes and other Dispensationalists would have you believe. Instead, it is very clear from Scripture that the Antichrist is an enemy of the Church that she would ‘soon’ face and would continue to face until Christ’s return. For this reason, Revelation explains how the Antichrist (the Beast) operates and, most importantly, how the Church overcomes him in Jesus Christ.

Isn’t that the perfect deception, to palm off the identity of one of the Church’s biggest enemies as non-integral and irrelevant to the Church period? In fact, as I see it, Dispensationalism is not merely another interpretation or just some misunderstanding, but, unwittingly, an Antichrist subterfuge to take this powerful message from the Church by teaching them that it concerns another people in a future era.

This shouldn’t be surprising, after all ‘we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.’ Yet, regardless of whether the Antichrist is involved or not in creating this false belief, Dispensationalists are nevertheless clearly grossly adding to and taking away from the prophecy by having it say what was clearly never intended.

What Does It Matter?

It is obviously of utmost importance that God’s word goes to the audience that it was intended for and that it is understood by them. So, if Revelation was written as an encouragement to the Church, then it is a tragedy if the Church misunderstands it by believing that most of it is not for them as Dispensationalists teach.

It is ironic that Dispensationalists have so much to say and time to give to topics that they don’t even believe effect the Church. And, sadly, even more ironic is that their teaching has become a vehicle for the spirit of the Antichrist, the source of the Antichrist that they speculate about.

Rob Morley

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
  5. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
  6. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 3 – Middle East, European Union, Globalism?
  7. The Signs of the Times – Is America in Bible Prophecy?
  8. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 1 – Israel regathered from Many Nations
  9. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 2 – Russians and Muslims to Invade Israel on Horseback?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing
Eschatology, Prophecy, The Antichrist

Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3

 

Dominoes Falling (6)
Debate 6 – Part 3

Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 6: Ron Rhodes asks, ‘How Are We to Understand the Antichrist?’

In this debate Ron Rhodes asks a series of 5 questions which I answer here.

 Who Restrains the Antichrist?

In 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 Paul writes, ‘And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.’ This cryptic message was no doubt meant to guard against openly speaking about the current emperor who stood between Domitian becoming the emperor and fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel.

The ‘mystery of lawlessness… already at work’ was the environment created by the Caesars that would allow for the expected Antichrist to have full expression. Consider how Nero had already behaved brutally toward the Church and Vespasian who had miracles accredited to himself. Then his son, Titus, ruled brutally as the Caesars often did. He was the Emperor who, by way of being in power, was restraining the Antichrist from manifesting himself.

Titus’ untimely death gave way to Domitian, his brother. As I mentioned in my previous post, Domitian went so far as to be addressed as “dominus et deus noster”, which translates, “Our Lord and God”. The saints, of course, refused, which resulted in violent persecution.

Is the Antichrist a Muslim? Is the Antichrist a Jew or a Gentile?

The initial Antichrist manifestation was expected in the 1st century. As such, that Antichrist could not have been a Muslim, as Islam had not yet come into existence. Neither was he a Jew. Instead, he was the gentile Roman Emperor Domitian. This is verified by Daniel’s prophecy which aligns an leader, known as ‘the little horn’ and ‘the 11th horn’, with the period of Roman rule. It was also verified historically by the Church who lived through his persecutions.

Having said that, any belief system that is contrary to Christ is of the spirit of the Antichrist. Therefore, they have always had the potential to produce an Antichrist figure just as Rome and, later, the papal system did.

Will the Antichrist Be Killed and Resurrected?

(This question is answered along with the next question.)

What Is the Mark of the Beast?

‘Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six’ (Rev 13:17-18).

When reading Revelation, you always have to remember that you are involved with interpreting symbolism. The mark of the Beast therefore should not be considered as something literal. Bizarrely, many forget the symbolic nature of the book and come up with all sorts of fanciful literal notions.

Symbolically speaking, being marked on the right hand or forehead symbolized what one did and how one thought. This imagery alludes to the tying of phylacteries (boxes of scripture) on the arm and head in the Old Testament. These were to be ‘a sign on your hand and … a symbol on your forehead’ (Deut. 6:8) to help remember God’s word. Paul teaches that the world is under the Prince of the power of the air. One way that Satan controls humanity is through the Beast, who enforces his thoughts and practices onto society.

For all the attention that the Mark of the Beast gets, it’s worth noting that just as there is a mark on those who follow the Beast, Revelation also says, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” This is a picture of a seal that is put on the foreheads of God’s servants, which echoes the scripture that says that ‘we have the mind of Christ’.

Calculating the Mark of the Beast 666

6 = man

3 = God

666 = Man setting himself up as God

666 = ‘number of the beast…is the number of a person’ (variant 616)

666 = Neron Kaesar (Greek)

616 = Nero Kaesar (Latin)

Six hundred sixty-six depicted ‘the number of a person’. Using numerology, John indicated a person by way of the number 666. Remember that John wrote as a prisoner so this was no doubt cryptically depicted so as to avoid appearing anti-Roman. However, he said that those in the churches who had wisdom would be able to determine who it referred to. This, without doubt, was Emperor Nero. This is later confirmed by the variant 616 in the Latin translation, which calculates as the same person.

However, Nero had been dead a while, so the number would have symbolized a type of ‘resurrection’ or ‘reincarnation’ of Nero. John appears to have toyed with what had been a popular belief that Nero had not died. So, in Nero the Beast had died and in Domitian he was resurrected. Though both are manifestations of the Beast, and both are Antichrists, technically Domitian was the first to be termed ‘the Antichrist’.

The person it pointed to was clearly Domitian, who was extremely brutal toward the Church just as Nero had been. However, the Beast is understood to also manifest throughout the Church’s lifetime as one of her enemies. This has been particularly evident wherever tyrannical Antichrist governments have been established by certain world leaders and popes. And, this will continue until Christ’s return.

This is clearly in contrast to Ron Rhodes’ Dispensationalist view that understands the Antichrist to be someone who exists only after the Church has been raptured and who therefore has nothing to do with the Church.

Rob Morley

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
  5. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
  6. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 3 – Middle East, European Union, Globalism?
  7. The Signs of the Times – Is America in Bible Prophecy?
  8. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 1 – Israel regathered from Many Nations
  9. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 2 – Russians and Muslims to Invade Israel on Horseback?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing