Probably the hardest thing to do, for a normal human being, is to accept what the bible says at face value. The words of the bible are not difficult to understand. They were written in the common speech of the day, Hebrew and Greek, and have been translated into the common speech of its intended audience, in our case English.
“Revelation isn’t hard to understand. It’s hard to believe.” – Henry Morris
The history of Christian Eschatology (the Study of End Times biblical prophecies) is full of interpretations by men who rebel at the plain teaching of the bible. While the early church universally believed a futurist interpretation of the book of Revelation, men like Augustine bristled at the idea that Jesus Christ will actually come back and set up an earthly kingdom, and rule for one thousand years.
Men like Augustine, realizing that such an idea puts the Lord at the center of biblical prophecy, came up with man-centered interpretations like Post-millennialism, Amillennialism, and Preterism. These Eschatological schemes, of which Dominionism is a logical conclusion, make the Lord dependent upon the Church to take over control of the world, before Christ can return. These schemes put the Church at the centre of the End Times events, and make the Lord a secondary player! Accordingly such men are busy attempting to create “the Kingdom of God on Earth”, which ultimately is destined to become the kingdom of the Antichrist!
Gary DeMar, in his book 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed, writes from a Post-millennialist, Dominionist, perspective. As I have been going through this book I have been amazed at how he constantly twists Scripture. The plain-sense meaning is right in front of him and he refuses to see the truth! The problem is that he approaches Scripture with Post-millennialist blinders on.
Chapter 7, “The Myth that the Temple Needs to be Rebuilt”, is no exception to the general thrust of the book. He doesn’t articulate it this way, but essentially what DeMar is saying is that “The restoration of Israel in 1948 was just a cosmic accident that has nothing to do with the bible or the will of God”!
For a man who claims to be a Reformed scholar, who supposedly believes in the sovereignty of God, somehow he believes that the restoration of Israel is a fact that God somehow missed! Reformed belief emphasizes the sovereignty of God to the point of being rather fatalistic; “It must have been God’s will”, and yet when it comes to Israel, they are adamant that the re-establishment of Israel, and a future Temple, simply cannot be God’s will!
Here is how he begins the chapter;
“A battle is raging over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Many Jews want to see the temple that was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70 rebuilt to match its former glory. But there is a big obstacle in the way. The Muslim Dome of the Rock now dominates the site, and Muslims claim the Jews have no right to the site. There are millions of Christians who believe a rebuilt temple is a mandatory prerequisite for the rise of antichrist, the great tribulation, and the final battle of Armageddon.” (10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed, Gary DeMar, page 103)
His first couple statements are absolutely true, and there is indeed a Muslim structure on the Temple mount, exactly as he says. Furthermore he is correct that the Muslims claim that Jews have no right to the site.
Simply as a Christian, and as a man who believes in justice, I have to ask, why don’t the Jews have a right to the Temple mount? If DeMar believes the bible, as he claims to do, who has legal title to the site?
Speaking from a strictly legal perspective; when someone buys a property, who owns it? The purchaser does. He can give it to whom he wants, and when he dies it is left to his heirs. So, when was the last time the Temple mount was purchased? Did Mohammad, or his followers purchase it? No! They claim the right of conquest, and DeMar appears to agree with them! This amounts to the endorsement of theft!
Throughout the world, except in Islam, land taken in conquest remains under the title of the original owners. Even under communism, land that was stolen was eventually returned to the original owners, or their heirs, some seventy years later!
The last time anyone purchased the Temple mount was when David, king of Israel, purchased it from Araunah (or Ornan) the Jebusite, the original Canaanite owner. No one, except the Jews, David’s heirs, has a right to that piece of real estate! They have a deed witnessed by God Himself;
And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 2 Samuel 24:24
When you go on vacation, does that mean that someone else can move into your home and call it their own? Israel did not go on vacation, they were taken away as slaves, yet they retained ownership of their land. Notwithstanding the fact that some people did move into their land while they were away, that land still belongs to Israel, to do with as they see fit.
But, what about End Times prophecy, does the bible indicate that there will be an End Times Temple in Jerusalem?
The only time where Revelation speaks of a temple in Jerusalem is in chapter 11:1-2, all the other references are to the Heavenly temple.
11 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
DeMar claims that the temple that John was commanded to measure had to be the temple that was still standing at the time he wrote, since one couldn’t measure a temple in a vision. There is ample evidence that John wrote long after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, however, and even if he had written before that date, there is no evidence that the early Church understood that the events spoken of in Revelation were related to that event.
Here is an excellent article that helps clear up any questions about the date that John wrote Revelation; https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1552-when-was-the-book-of-revelation-written
The only way that one can claim that Revelation is a historical prophecy about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, is to spiritualize everything in it!
That view makes Nero out to be the Antichrist, yet Nero did not impose a mark on the right hand or on the forehead throughout the world, nor even in the Roman Empire! Nero did not rise from the dead, as the Antichrist will do. Nero died on this earth, and his body is still here, whereas the Antichrist will be picked up alive and thrown bodily into the Lake of Fire.
DeMar claims that the “abomination of Desolation” was accomplished when Antiochus Epiphanes slaughtered a pig on the altar of the Temple, some 180 years before Christ! Jesus must have been ignorant of history when he said;
But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: Mark 13:14
Nero did nothing of the sort. Joab was killed while clinging to the horns of the altar, in 2 Kings 2, and that did not constitute an abomination. While Roman troops did kill Jews in the Temple, that does not constitute the abomination of desolation. Those who were there to witness it had no opportunity to flee to the mountains, but were slaughtered, and the few survivors taken captive were made into slaves.
No. The abomination of desolation is a yet future event which will occur in the Temple in Jerusalem. While DeMar denies that the bible demands the Temple will be rebuilt, in order for Jesus’ statement of Mark 13:14, and Matthew 24:15, to be true there must be a future Temple in Jerusalem.
DeMar states “Rebuilt-temple advocates Tommy Ice and Randall Price are forced to admit that “There are no Bible verses that say, ‘There is going to be a third temple.’” As if this provides conclusive proof that there will not be a Temple in Jerusalem. DeMar should be careful when making such statements. There is not statement that “God exists in the form of three persons” either. Does this mean that there is no Trinity?
Logically following his reasoning he must also deny the existence of the Trinity! I am sure DeMar wouldn’t do that, so why is he so inconsistent in his approach to Scripture? Simply because his Eschatology demands a non-literal approach to End Times prophecies.
Now, go back to Revelation 11:1-2 again. Notice the last statement; “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.”
The Temple mount has been in Gentile hands nearly two thousand years, far longer than the forty two months mentioned here. Forty two months is exactly 3 ½ years. This cannot be a reference to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem simply because their destruction of it lasted far longer than the time given. Again, this prophecy is a reference to a future event after Israel has once again regained control of the Temple mount.
DeMar states on page 105: “A third temple is required only if the Bible requires it and specifically states the requirement.”
Here’s the thing; The Old Testament requires that the Messiah would die on a Roman cross, but never once spells it out. In the same way the whole bible requires an End Times Temple in Jerusalem.
DeMar tries to confuse the Temple in Jerusalem with the Lord’s body by quoting John 2:21 “But he spake of the temple of his body.” This would be kind of like saying “We don’t need a Temple because WE are the Temple, and God dwells in US!”
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
DeMar would have us believe that Malachi was saying that the Lord would suddenly come to His body;
3:1 “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
Once again we have another End Times prophecy that makes no sense using the Post-Millennial method of interpretation. This is clearly an End Times prophecy, for everyone “abode” during Christ’s first coming. This is speaking of Christ’s return in judgment. The sons of Levi have yet to make an offering in righteousness.
How can the Lord come to his Temple if none exists? How can He “suddenly come to his body” when he has occupied it for over 2,000 years?
Which Temple was Paul speaking of, in 2 Thessalonians 2, the earthly temple, the temple of Christ’s body, or the Temple of Heaven? Here’s a hint, the Antichrist will not have access to God’s home in Heaven, nor will he take up residence in the hearts of believers!
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Note that since Christ is the Lord, the day of Christ, and the day of the Lord are the same thing.
DeMar would have us believe that the son of perdition was none other than the Roman Emperor Nero, yet, as we have seen, Nero did few of the things the bible specifies as characteristics of the Antichrist. Nero never even made it to Jerusalem, let alone to the Temple. While Titus’ troops destroyed the Temple, he did not declare himself to be God.
The Thessalonian believers were concerned that they were in the Tribulation period, and were worried as a result. Paul was writing them to comfort them, by showing them that the Tribulation had not yet started. Now Gary DeMar is trying to tell us that the Tribulation period is past history, and we need not worry!
Many of the Caesars claimed to be gods, yet none had the audacity to claim they were the God of Gods, but this is exactly what the Antichrist will do;
36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Daniel 11:36
The “indignation” is the Tribulation period, and it is God’s indignation against the depravity of man. This man will prosper, or succeed, until God is done with him, at the end of the Tribulation. There are many passages that indicate that the whole world will be involved in Armageddon, not merely the armies of the Roman Empire.
Jeremiah 25 contains a list of all the nations who will participate in Armageddon. There are too many to list, and so the author ends by stating “and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth”. Now, the author has already listed the local nations surrounding Israel, so this cannot be them. The plain-sense of the statement must mean all the nations of the world, i.e. the whole world.
The whole world has never attacked Israel together, and will not do so, until the campaign of Armageddon.
Using the Post-Millennial spiritualizing/allegorical methodology, one could say that it meant “many nations”, but that is simply not consistent with the plain sense of the passage. Using such methodology you could make the bible say anything you want! This is the chief advantage of the post-Millennial method, but it is NOT what the original Author intended!
The Temple will be rebuilt. Most Jews refuse the true Messiah Yahushua (JESUS CHRIST), so they believe that they need to reinstate the animal sacrificial system and to have that Temple in order to have that relationship with Almighty GOD. The modern Sanhedrin has already been formed. The animal sacrificial instruments are all made and ready for use. The Jews are simply waiting for the needed space and appropriate plot of land to start building upon. II Thessalonians 2:3-4 is a well oft-used Verse in reference to the Anti-Christ and the “Third Temple”. But, yet, what it says is exactly what it means. The Anti-Christ will enter the Holy of Holies and declare HIMSELF to be “God”. Satan knows what the Holy of Holies is all about. And, for him to lead his Son of Perdition into that most sacred place is just another way of Satan saying “I will sit on the Throne of God”. I totally believe that the “Temple” in the above Verse is also representative of all Church buildings that will exist throughout the Earth during the reign of the Anti-Christ. A possible scenario being that each Church building will contain an “Image of the Beast” for all of his 666 devotees to enter in and worship him on a regular basis, just as we who love and serve GOD do now in the common Church facilities today. The Anti-Christ will be a duplicate, an evil, mocking duplicate, of the true CHRIST. How we Believers treat CHRIST JESUS (Yahushua) is how those who accept the Bestial Mark will treat their “Jesus”, the Anti-Christ.
I am pre-millennial, but a thought came to me some time ago with respect to “the temple of God” and how many students of Biblical eschatology expect there to one day be a new Jewish temple built on the Temple Mount before the Second Coming of Christ, one in which the Antichrist himself would eventually stand in and literally claim “I am God.” While an effort does exist by some orthodox Jewish groups to rebuild the third temple, I think it would be wise for all students of Scripture to consider the possibility that this may not have been what the Holy Spirit was referring to in 2 Thessalonians 2 and Matthew 24.
To understand why, we first need to keep in mind that the Apostle Paul and Jesus both pointed to a Last Days event that would take place just before the Day of the Lord. Paul referred to it as the man of lawlessness/man of sin who sets himself up in “the temple of God” (2 Thess 2:4), while Jesus described it as the Abomination of Desolation standing in “the holy place” (Matt 24:15). Many have assumed that the temple mentioned by Paul must be a physical temple in Jerusalem, however according to the verses below we are continually reminded that the true temple of God is no longer a physical temple — after the final sacrifice of Christ the veil was torn and animal sacrifices were no longer of any value — but is instead now a spiritual temple:
With this thought in mind, let’s turn our attention to another portion of Scripture that many watchers of Biblical eschatology will often use in support of the idea that we should still be looking for a rebuilt Jewish temple. In Revelation 11:1 we read, “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there’” (Rev 11:1).
One thing I’ve always wondered is why was John given a “rod” and told to “measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein“? I’m sure that an entire word study could be done on just the word “rod” (cf Psa. 23:4, Thy rod and Thy staff shall comfort me), or “measure” (cf Hab 3:6, He stood and measured the earth …), but let’s take another look here at temple and the temple imagery instead:
1. The very first time we find the word “temple” in Revelation is in 3:12a regarding the Church in Philadelphia when Christ says, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.” For one to be made a pillar in the temple it must mean that the temple in view here is not one made of stone, but rather one that is made of people.
2. Lampstands/candlesticks were important items that were found in the physical temple in the Old Testament, yet John shows us that this time the lampstands/candlesticks in the temple are represented by the two witnesses (11:4), which again would indicate that the temple in view is not a physical temple made of stone, but rather one of people.
3. In the Old Testament a priest was one who served within the physical temple of God. In Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 we are told that anyone who has been washed by the blood of Christ is a priest, and the Christian understanding of this according to 1 Peter 2:5 is that as priests we now “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” We no longer offer animal sacrifices in a temple made of stone.
In light of what we have learned, could it not therefore stand to reason that when John speaks of the temple being trampled on in chapter 11 that he is referring to God’s people, and not a physical third temple per se built in Jerusalem? Absolutely.
If Jesus in Matthew 24 and the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 are referring to the holy place that is the new spiritual temple of God, the church, then it may be that all we need to watch for in this respect is ‘someone’ of significant importance to stand within or beside, yet against, the ekklesia of God. This new spiritual offensive could even commence as a physical offensive against Jews and Christians at the Temple Mount itself whereby this ‘someone’ would proclaim himself to be something that only the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can lay claim to. And what could that be?
The Muslim world is waiting for a “messianic” figure whom they call “The Mahdi” or “The 12th Imam” that will lead them into a new era of Islamic “justice” that would “spread around the globe” and unite the Ummah (Islamic community of nations) against non-Muslims (see here). Of particular interest here is the fact that Islamists view this figure as the savior, not only for Muslims, but for all of humanity. If the Mahdi proclaimed himself to be — or is proclaimed by the Muslim world to be — the “true savior” of mankind that the whole earth must follow, this would fly directly in the face of God who says in Isaiah 43:11 that “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.” According to Scripture, anyone who would proclaim himself to be the savior of the world would therefore be claiming to be God by attributing to himself a title that only God can hold. Moreover, in a spiritual sense, if this Islamic “savior” is announced to be the savior of humanity who then demands that Judaism, Christianity (and all religions) be abolished and demands that all Christians must convert to Islam and no longer worship Jesus Christ, would he not also be causing the “sacrifice and oblations (offerings) to cease” according to the following verses?
With that thought in mind, we begin to see the text in a whole new light:
One obvious question, however, would be how does this affect Jews living in the nation of Israel if it is referring primarily to the spiritual temple of God? There are a couple of possibilities that we could deduce from this thought, especially if we accept the likelihood that the coming Antichrist will be Islam’s awaited “savior of humanity” called the Mahdi.
1. The Mahdi (according to Islamic teaching) will not only claim to be the ‘savior’ but will also be the driving force behind uniting a coalition of Islamic nations that come up against the nation of Israel. He will also desire to subjugate the world into converting to Islam, according to Islamic teaching. In this way, it would definitely have much bearing on the Jews living in Israel even if this is only referring to the spiritual temple of God.
2. It will have a direct bearing on all Messianic Jews who would — along with Gentile Christians — recognize this “Abomination of Desolation”. I do not believe that the Olivet Discourse or even the Book of Matthew as a whole was for an “orthodox” Jewish audience only as some contend (who would never read the book anyway, I fail to see the point) but rather I believe that it was for Messianic Jews, and by extension all Gentile Christians. (Matt 24:9 says, “… ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Orthodox Jews are not hated because of Jesus’ name, but Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians are. In fact, even many orthodox Jews hate Messianics and Gentile Christians because they adhere to the faith of Jesus).
3. It is possible that there could be a dual fulfillment. Most translations render Matt 24:15 as “standing IN the holy place” which causes those who read the English translation to envision a fully built temple. However, the word for “in” in the Greek is “en” (G1722) and is also translated as “on”, “by”, “at” or “with” in addition to “among”. Although some orthodox Jewish groups are actively seeking to rebuild the third temple, all that they require to offer sacrifices is an altar and an unblemished red heifer. (The alter began construction in July 29, 2009 and has been completed). This could be on the Temple Mount, or right beside the western wall (which I could see happening if they suddenly have a perfect red heifer but no rebuilt temple yet.) Perhaps this could be Christ’s reference to “standing in/on/by the holy place” and the reason why He did not mention a temple per se, whereas Paul could have been referencing the new spiritual temple of God comprised of Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians.
4. There is also one final point that needs to be considered as well with respect to the “man of sin”. We should not discount the possibility that the “man of sin” may not be pointing to one single person as it were, though the general consensus is precisely that, but could instead be pointing to one single entity or system. The ekklesia of God is comprised of a great multitude of believing Jews and Gentiles created as “one new man” in Christ who are marked by God (Eph. 2:15, Rev. 14:1) and described by John in Revelation 7 as the “multitude of the lamb“, ie, Jesus Christ. Conversely, the “man of sin” (2 Thess 2:3) could therefore be its direct antithesis comprised of those who have the Mark of the Beast and described by John in Revelation 13 as the “multitude of a man“, ie, the “prophet Mohammed”. If this is the case, then we may be even closer to the cusp of prophetic fulfillment than many of us realize.
It is my belief that the intended meaning of the temple of God in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, keeping the overall context and teaching of the temple within the full counsel of the New Testament, is a direct reference to the spiritual temple of God — the Church — and not a physical, rebuilt Jewish temple. The Mahdi, or “man of sin”, does not have to outright say “I am God” in order to show (“apodeiknymi”, declare) himself as God. Jesus did the same thing without telling the Sanhedrin “I am God”, yet they understood the theological significance of His words and sought to kill Him. Likewise, this man could merely approach the temple mount where the Islamic Dome of the Rock stands and from there proclaim itself or himself to be the “savior of mankind” whom both Jews and Christians must follow. Not only would Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians recognize this as an affront to the faith of Christ and the significance of this event, even orthodox Jews would know that this would be a declaration of divinity, someone other than God showing himself to be God. They, too, understand Isaiah 43:11 as God declares “I am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.” Indeed, “I am God, and there is none like Me” (Isaiah 46:9).
I think I see where you are coming from. You have seen, as I have, that there is not enough time in seven years, for a Temple to be rebuilt, plus all the other events of the Tribulation. You are correct in this. There just isn’t enough time.
This is why I proposed the idea that both the Psalm 83, and the Ezekiel 38-39, wars are pre-Tribulation conflicts. It also follows that these two wars will be viewed, by many, as being the Tribulation itself. If many professing Christians do indeed view these wars as being the beginning and end of the Tribulation, then they will be looking for a Saviour at the end of them, and that will be the time when the real Antichrist will show up.
This scenario also answers the problem of Islam. Both of these wars are Islamic attacks on Israel, and both result in the defeat of the attacking armies. At the end of these wars, most Muslims will realize that their god can’t help them. They will turn to Christianity, Judaism, the New Age, or an ecumenical form of Islam.
With Israel’s enemies suing for peace, there will be nothing to prevent the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
One other fact it appears you should consider is the end of the Church-age. The Church will be raptured before the Tribulation, though after the Gog and Magog war, and God will revert to dealing with the world through Israel as He did before Christ.
Notice that 65 years after the founding of Israel, the majority of Jews are still outside the land. In fact if you consider the Pathan, and other tribes of Israel in Asia, there are tens of millions who have not returned. Some of them are even Muslim today, like the Pathan tribes. The defeat of Islam in the Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38-39, wars will cause them to reevaluate their religion, and many, if not all, will return to Judaism.
Ultimately we will find that many Muslims in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and throughout the Middle East are actually of Jewish descent. God hasn’t forgotten them! He will use the defeat of Islam, first to bring them back to Israel, and later He will bring them back to Himself.
So, while I agree that the current Temple is the body of believers, I tend to disagree that this means it always will be. The world will be in a different era after the rapture of the Church. Don’t forget that there are several references in the Old Testament to animal sacrifices during the Millennial reign. They will be reestablished, and I think, before the Tribulation begins.
Remember when Jesus said that when they see the Abomination of Desolation in the holy place? What do you think the majority of Jews will do, after waiting 2,000 years to get their temple back? While Jesus told them to “run for the hills” the majority will pick up their Uzis, or whatever weapon they can get their hands on, and they will go to fight the Antichrist, just as they fought against Antiochus Epiphanes.
They remind themselves of this event every year at Hannukah. After two major defeats of Islam, they will feel that they can defeat the Antichrist, and this will be the cause of Armageddon. They will die for their efforts, but the one third who obeys Jesus will survive to go into the Millennial reign!
So, you are correct to be thinking of the difficulties we find in Dispensationalism, but I hope you will consider the answers I have outlined here. I think this will allow a more literal fulfilment of these End Times prophecies.
Thanks so much for writing,
dknezacek, “I think I see where you are coming from. You have seen, as I have, that there is not enough time in seven years, for a Temple to be rebuilt, plus all the other events of the Tribulation. You are correct in this. There just isn’t enough time.”
I am not convinced at all that there is even a “seven year” tribulation. Allow me to explain. First, we should understand that there are three views regarding the 70th week of Daniel, the time in which Daniel writes about “confirming the covenant”. These three views state that the 70th Week is either: A. Already fulfilled, B. Partially fulfilled, or C. Not yet fulfilled.
Although the first view — that the 70th Week of Daniel has already been fulfilled — is the most prevalent view throughout church history, I currently lean towards the second view that it is partially fulfilled only, though I am open to the first view as well to some degree. To the surprise of some, the traditional position of many Western churches — which teaches that the 70th Week of Daniel is still awaiting a full future fulfilment — is a relatively recent invention and was never taught prior to the 19th century. We can verify this by reading any book on Biblical eschatology prior to Edward Irving and John Nelson Darby. Not only is this position the newest, it is, in my view, the weakest as well.
From what can I find in Scripture alone, I am persuaded to believe that Christ is the One Himself who already fulfilled at least the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. When it was pronounced to Daniel that 70 weeks were determined for his people and that the Messiah would be “cut off” after the first 69 weeks, the natural presumption can only be that the death of the Messiah would take place sometime during the last week. What could be more naturally assumed than that the death of Messiah concerned the 70th week? Considering that the Messiah is mentioned more times in Daniel 9:24-26 than anyone else, it stands to reason in my mind that the Messiah is Daniel’s primary focus. (The “people of the prince that shall come”, though an important detail, is largely parenthetical to the overall thrust of Daniel’s passage). In speaking about the Messiah, Daniel then writes:
If a covenant was subsequently confirmed by Christ, then Scripture should affirm this elsewhere. And does it? Let’s allow Scripture to speak for itself and compare Danial 9:27a above with the following verse below:
Not only does it imply as much, Galatians 3:17 uses the exact same language as Daniel 9:27a, indicating that the Apostle Paul was quoting Daniel directly and telling us that Daniel’s 70 weeks did not stop once the 69th week came to an end. It continued right into the 70th week, the time when Messiah began His ministry and the time during which the Messiah would be cut off according to Daniel 9:26. The Hebrew word for cut off is karath, which means to cut off, cut down or kill. Although it is frequently used in the sense of being rejected, it is also used 54 times in the Old Testament in the context of being killed (eg. Exodus 31:14). And indeed, something pivotal took place about 3.5 years after Jesus began His earthy ministry. Not only was the Messiah rejected by the people (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42), He was also crucified in accordance to the plan of the Father for the sins of the world. As the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken” (Isaiah 53:8), and being cut off and the shedding of His blood would be, according to the words of Messiah Himself, the confirmation of the covenant for many:
The Messiah is the Lamb of God. He is our Passover. And because of His sacrifice, the sacrifice and oblations (offerings) of the old law ceased. They were no longer required, and were no longer of any value.
There is nothing in Scripture that I could find to suggest a pause in between the 69th and 70th weeks, as many attempt to do today (and as I have even done in the past). But a pause in time, however, is not out of the question in the middle of the 70th. Admittedly, I could be wrong, and perhaps there is no mid-70th week gap at all and Daniel’s prophecy continued to completion with the stoning of Stephen (Acts 11) about 3.5 years after the crucifixion of Jesus, at which point the Gospel was then preached shortly thereafter to the Gentiles (cf. Romans 1:16). Or perhaps it’s something else entirely. Although the 70 weeks of Daniel can be consecutive from beginning to end, the possibility of a mid-week pause is a strong one in my view. We even find an example of a “mid-pause” in time essentially from a comma. In Luke 4:16-21 when Jesus went into the synagogue and read the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-3 to proclaim its fulfillment, He stopped mid-way in the prophecy. This is what He fulfilled:
Interestingly, Jesus felt the need to mention something a few verses later in Luke 4:25, stating, “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land.” Could this have been a clue to something? Only God knows. But with respect to the 70th week of Daniel, however, if only the first half was fulfilled then the other half is yet to be fulfilled. But what would that be? The answer should be obvious: the 1260 days / 42 months / time, times and the dividing of time spoken of by the prophet Daniel, and John in Revelation. It’s the 3.5 prophetic years of Antichrist during which time the people of God suffer intense persecution by the Beast, during which time a coalition of Islamic nations gather against Israel for the battle of Gog-Magog (that culminates at Armageddon, an answer to the prayer of Psalm 83), and during which time the Beast and its people incur the chastising wrath of God before their ultimate end. Scripture itself never speaks of a future seven-years of anything. It just doesn’t exist. But it does speak of “3.5 prophetic years”, which just so happens to be half of Daniel’s 70th week.
dknezacek, “This scenario also answers the problem of Islam. Both of these wars are Islamic attacks on Israel …”
Scripture describes Armageddon the same way. At Armageddon, it is the surrounding nations only, not every last nation on the face of the earth. This is a very common misconception. Although Antichrist will seek to rule the whole literal earth and force the political and religious ideology of the Beast upon every government and upon every man, woman and child on the planet, Antichrist’s efforts will not succeed — an increasingly evident fact to which the whole of the prophetic texts testify (see Zech 12:2; Zech 14:14; Joel 3:11-12; Dan 11:39-45; cf. Rev 13:3-4, 13:8, 13:12, 13:17, 17:8 and compare with Luke 2:1-3, Mark 1:5, Daniel 2:36-38, Ezra 1:2, Romans 10:18). When Christ returns in power and great glory Scripture lists the nations that He fights against by name, and every nation that is identified in Scripture is today an Islamic nation. In light of the whole counsel of Scripture, the Antichrist’s dominion and political-religious control will be relegated primarily to the whole Muslim world — the nations that today surround Israel — but not the world as a whole.
dknezacek, “The Church will be raptured before the Tribulation …”
I used to believe this, but not anymore and have been forced to change my view after realizing that a pre-trib rapture is found absolutely nowhere in the whole of Scripture unless I first assumed it to begin with. Even Isaiah 27:13 teacahes that when the trumpet is blown “they will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” Isaiah 27:12-13 supports a post-trib rapture (which has us going to Jerusalem with Jesus as He sets His feet upon the Mount of Olives), not a pre-trib rapture (which teaches that we’ll all be whisked away to Heaven).
Allow me to expand on this for a moment. In 1 Thess 4:16-17 Paul says that when Christ descends, the dead in Christ are resurrected to Christ and then we will be caught up to meet Christ and the resurrected saints in the air. The word “meet” is the Greek word “apantesis”, a very special word that only occurs here and in three other places in Scripture. In Vocabulary of the Greek Testament by G. Milligan and James Hope Moulton, “The word apantesis seems to have been a kind of official welcome of a newly arriving dignitary – a usage which accords excellently with its NT usage.” In Matthew 25:1,6 it describes the virgins going out to meet the bridegroom, to escort him back into the house. In Acts 28:14-16 it is used to describe brethren from Rome coming out to Appii Foru, to meet Paul and his company, and then escort them back to Rome. In each example of “apantesis”, the escort back is virtually immediate. We don’t have them going out to meet the subject, then going to where the subject came from for years, and then escorting the subject back. That was not the custom. The subject who was coming is met by those who are already at his destination. And what is His destination? Where we are — earth. When Christ comes back to Earth, we will go out to meet Him, we will remain in the air temporarily until the indignation/wrath is complete, and where ever He goes, we go, and He is going to Jerusalem to set His feet upon the Mount of Olives.
In Greek culture the word “apantesis” had a technical meaning to describe the visits of dignitaries to cities where the visitor would be formally met by the citizens, or a deputation of them, who had gone out from the city for this purpose and would then be ceremonially escorted back into the city. Apantesis was often used to suggest the meeting of a dignitary or king, a famous person, describing people rushing to meet the one who was coming. For instance, when a Roman emperor approached a city, the leading citizens went out to welcome him and had the honor of processing into the city with him. This whole event was described as the “apantesis.”
Apantesis from apantáo from apó = from + antáo = to come opposite to, to meet especially to meet face to face describes a meeting especially a meeting of two who are coming from different directions.
What is Scripture saying? It is saying that we are not removed from the Earth to conveniently go to Heaven while all hell breaks loose down below. Those of us who are alive and remain (the Greek word means those who survive) are transformed from corruptible to incorruptible, and we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air per the “apantesis”, which means that we escort Christ back to earth — ie. Jerusalem — which is consistent with its usage in each of the other verses of Scripture. The pre-trib position, however, suddenly changes the intended meaning of the word (again). Instead of us escorting Jesus back to Earth for His Second Coming, pre-tribism has us conveniently going to Heaven instead, which the text does not say anywhere, at any place, at any time.
dknezacek, “Remember when Jesus said that when they see the Abomination of Desolation in the holy place? What do you think the majority of Jews will do, after waiting 2,000 years to get their temple back?”
Is is not unbelieving Jews that Jesus was talking to. It was Messianic Jews — those who believe in Him, and know His words.
Good discussion, brothers. God bless. 🙂
“I am not convinced at all that there is even a “seven year” tribulation.”
We have in the book of Revelation, two statements that add up to seven years;
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 11:3
And shortly thereafter;
“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.” Revelation 12:6
1,260 days is exactly 3 1/2 years in the Hebrew calendar. We have here two consecutive statements that add up to seven years. Don’t forget that the world is going back to the age of Israel. I know you don’t believe that, but you haven’t given an alternate view of where the seventieth week went.
Don’t forget that the whole Church viewed Revelation futuristically until Augustine came along. Your view that the Antichrist is a footnote in history is entirely wrong. He is not called the Antichrist for nothing! Both he and the people who produce him will perish! He is man’s best attempt at their idea of what a Saviour should be like, and they’ve got it ALL wrong!
By the way, his morality is what is considered “Judeo-Christian” but is in fact “Greco-Roman”. We are so used to this view of morality that we don’t even realize that it does not come from the bible! Read the live of David. That is Judeo morality. True Christian morality is identical to David’s! But I digress.
You mentioned “people of the prince that shall come”, from Daniel 9:26, but you didn’t go anywhere with it. Are you aware that while the Roman armies were marching to Jerusalem, someone else got there first? The Idumeans, or Edomites, were snuck into the city by some of the zealots, and proceeded to kill 20,500 Jews. 8,500 of the victims were in the Temple itself!
Josephus places the entire destruction of Jerusalem at the feet of the Idumeans, because they killed the High Priest, Ananus, and his deputy, a man named Jesus. These two men knew that Rome couldn’t be defeated, and were prepared to negotiate a surrender. With these two men dead, the zealots were left in charge, and they hated the Romans so much that they were prepared to sacrifice the whole city in defiance of Rome, which is precisely what happened.
Based on this eyewitness testimony, and Daniel 9:26, I can say that the Antichrist will come from Esau’s descendants, who today make up about 1/3 of Jordan. No, he is not the pope, but more likely a member of the royal family of Jordan. The Spirit of Prophecy elaborates further on the person of the Antichrist.
“Scripture describes Armageddon the same way. At Armageddon, it is the surrounding nations only, not every last nation on the face of the earth.”
I beg to differ. You need to find Armageddon in the Old Testament;
26 And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. 27 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. 28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. 29 For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. Jeremiah 25:26-29
The only way you can understand this, by your methodology, is to say that “all the inhabitants of the earth” does not mean “all the inhabitants of the earth”. Of course this is Armageddon, and it involves the whole earth. There never has been a battle involving the whole earth to this date, not even WW1 and WW2. You have to stop spiritualizing everything. Accept it as it is written.
Also, notice here that God is bringing judgment against “the city that is called by His name”, Jerusalem, and against ALL the inhabitants of the earth, even those who don’t think they should drink His cup of judgment. That would be Augustinians, of course!
Why would He bring such Judgment against the whole world? Because they have put the Antichrist in Christ’s place. The Judgment against Jerusalem? That is the unbelieving 2/3 of Israel who are fighting the Antichrist instead of fleeing as He commanded. (Zechariah 13:8)
Notice also that the language of the cup of his wrath is the same as Revelation 16:18, and the earthquake you spoke of in Zechariah 14:4-5 also occurs in the same verse.
“When Christ comes back to Earth, we will go out to meet Him, we will remain in the air temporarily until the indignation/wrath is complete..”
Here is where Isaiah says we will go while the indignation is going on on earth;
“19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Isaiah 26:19-21
You said there is no pre-trib rapture passage in the whole bible, and you quoted from Isaiah 27, yet this is an incredibly clear pre-trib rapture passage and it is only one chapter away from the one you quoted!
This passage starts with Israel’s failure, in the preceeding verses, which implies their recall to their place of manufacture, then in verse 19 we have the resurrection of the dead. After this, exactly in the same order as Paul told us, we have the rapture of the Church and they don’t spend the indignation in the air, they are in their chambers, in Heaven.
These “chambers” are the same ones Jesus spoke of in John 14:2, where they are called “mansions”. When He says “come” he is speaking from His home, Heaven, and is inviting the Church to come where He is…while the indignation is going on on the earth! This is exactly a pre-Trib rapture passage, and it is not alone!
Here is another:
“1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you. 3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” Zephaniah 2:1-3
Here we have the return of Israel, before the Tribulation, which indicates that Ezekiel 39:25 occurs before the rapture. Then we have the meek of the earth, the Church, being hid in the day of the Lord’s anger. Are they hid on the earth? Absolutely not! Isaiah 26:20 tells us that the Church will be hid in Heaven. The Tribulation saints are given to the Antichrist and beheaded (Revelation 13:7). Those who escape are a very small number.
The people picked up by angels in Matthew 24:31 are the Tribulation saints, in their earthly bodies. Think of it, when we have a body like Jesus, we will have no need for oxygen. These people do need oxygen, and so stay within the earth’s atmosphere while destruction rains down on the earth beneath them. These are not the Church, and this is not the rapture, these people need their earthly bodies because they will need them to repopulate the earth during the millennium.
I also have to address your statement about sacrifices;
“The Messiah is the Lamb of God. He is our Passover. And because of His sacrifice, the sacrifice and oblations (offerings) of the old law ceased. They were no longer required, and were no longer of any value.”
Hebrews has something to say about this;
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4
When did the sacrifices ever take away sins? The only answer is “never”. The Old Testament sacrifices NEVER took away any sins… ever! “Not possible” does not mean “possible at one time”. “Not possible” means that it was not ever possible! The Old Testament sacrifices were only a foreshadowing of the One Sacrifice to come. (Check out Psalm 50:13-14,
So, if the Old Testament sacrifices were pointing to the One Sacrifice to come, then why can’t the Millennial Sacrifices point back to that one same Sacrifice? With Jesus here, alive, on the earth, and with death a rare occurrence, won’t it be necessary to reinstate sacrifices just to show people what it was that Jesus accomplished? Will animal sacrifices honour Him? I think so.
I’m sory if I haven’t answered all of your contentions. There are answers for them all, if you have an open mind.
Keep in the Word. (I mean the AV)
dknezacek, “1,260 days is exactly 3 1/2 years in the Hebrew calendar. We have here two consecutive statements that add up to seven years. ‘And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.’ Revelation 11:3”
Hi brother Dan, according to the context of Revelation 11, the “two witnesses” are killed at the end of great tribulation, not in the middle of a “7-year tribulation”. Upon being killed John then reveals that “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (11:15). Moreover, this is the time during which the post-trib “orge” wrath comes upon the wicked (cf. Revelation 6:12-17) and the saints are given their reward (11:18). All of this only happens at the Second Coming of Christ, not before, including the “lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail” (11:19 — cf Revelation 16:17-21).
dknezacek, “And shortly thereafter; ‘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.’ Revelation 12:6. 1,260 days is exactly 3 1/2 years in the Hebrew calendar. We have here two consecutive statements that add up to seven years.”
These are not consecutive. Due to the Semitic style of apocalyptic literature employed by John, in addition to many of the specific details that John gives us all throughout Revelation, the seals, trumpets and vials cannot be sequential one after the other. Rather, they are lateral events or judgments whereby the seventh of each all end right around the same time in the eschaton — immediately after the tribulation. This is a view that is supported by many teachers and theologians. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, for example, which is considered by many to be the standard conservative-evangelical work, write in their commentary that “the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven vials, are not consecutive, but parallel, and ending in the same consummation. They present the unfolding of God’s plans for bringing about the grand end under three different aspects, mutually complementing each other.”
Rhett Totten, MDiv, writes, “Some may find it confusing that after this seventh trumpet, John further describes tribulational events in Revelation, but there is a very good explanation. In his book, The Church and the Tribulation, (Zondervan, (c)1973), Robert Gundry brings out that in all three series, the Seals (Rev.6), Trumpets (Rev.8-11), and Bowls of Wrath (Rev.16), the seventh item in each series occurs at the Second Coming of Christ. Gundry points out that this arrangement is favored by the ‘Semitic style of Revelation …according to which the seals, trumpets, and bowls will find somewhat concurrent fulfillment.’ Also, the fact that later descriptions ‘add more detail is a well-recognized feature of narratival style in Semitic literature’ (Gundry, p.75)”.
The Semitic style of Revelation answers why the “orge” wrath of God that we are not appointed unto (1 Thess 5:9) is always found in a post-trib context only. In fact, if we compare the trumpets and vials themselves together side by side, we’ll begin to see a pattern that presents the trumpets and vials as two sides of the same coin whereby the trumpets are the cause, and the vials are the effect. They describe the same events, but just from a different perspective, Revelation 12 being a case in point.
dknezacek, “Don’t forget that the world is going back to the age of Israel.”
What is the definition of the “age of Israel”? Is it separate from the “church age”? If so, how can they be separate when the Church existed in the Old Testament? The reason why I ask is because many of us today are taught that the Church is a New Testament creation that is completely distinct from Israel and is parenthetical to the plan of God, a teaching that is based upon traditional dispensationalism which posits that the Church only began at Pentecost and did not exist in the Old Testament. According to this view everyone — including Jews — can be a part of the New Testament Church if they believe in Jesus. According to the whole of Scripture, however, the traditional dispensational view does not convey the full, Biblical definition of precisely what the Church is.
When Jesus says that He will “build” (oikodomeō) His Church in Matthew 16:16-18 the word build carries with it the meaning “to build up from the foundation.” Contrary to pop-theology, the Church did not begin at Pentecost. According to Scripture, it began in the Old Testament where the foundation of the Church had already been laid. Because of Jesus, everyone who believes would be added to His Church (cf. Acts 2:46-47) and would no longer be foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone (Eph 2).
This should be evident to us when Jesus explained to His disciples how to resolve conflicts in Matthew 18:15-17, saying, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church (ekklesia G1577); and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector….” Now, this is in the book of Matthew and many Christians believe that Jesus was addressing this teaching to a Jewish audience only, yet here He is calling them the Church. Since the Church — as it is taught by traditional dispensationalism — was not yet formed until after Pentecost, what was Christ referring to? The answer is simple: it was the Church, and the dispensational teaching regarding its post-Pentecost nature is incomplete. In fact, Scripture clearly tells us that the Church existed in the Old Testament all along:
According to the Word of God, the Church therefore did not begin at Pentecost. It was increased at Pentecost. The Church began in the Old Testament with the assembly of believers of Israel. These are they who put their faith in God’s promise of a coming Deliverer, in the hope of Messiah. It is because of their Messiah that we as Gentiles who believe are adopted into the family of God. In other words, we should not view believing Jews as being a part of the Church because they believe in Jesus, but rather it is we as Gentiles who are now a part of the Church because we believe in Yeshua. We have become a part of Jacob. This is the Temple that Christ has been building. This is the place that He has been preparing (cf. John 14:1-3).
dknezacek, “Your view that the Antichrist is a footnote in history is entirely wrong.”
He is not a footnote in history, I agree, not sure where I gave that impression. Antichrist, if a man, will be revealed very soon. If Antichrist is a system itself and not a man, then it is here today. The reason why I say that is because some believe that Antichrist may not be an actual man at all, but rather something entirely different. In Revelation 13, the Beast is a kingdom or empire or system, yet is often described as a “him” or “he” anthropomorphically in many translations:
However, from a textual standpoint, this need not be the case at all according to the Greek. The translators of the ESV understood this and rendered the verses accordingly:
Many who now view Biblical eschatology from the perspective of an Islamic End-Time paradigm view the “him” who receives the mortal “head wound” not as a person, but rather as the power and might of the Islamic Empire that ceased with the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924. Today, however, we are beginning to witness a reawakening of Islamism in the Muslim world and are beginning to witness a “healing” as it were of the Islamic Caliphate that received its mortal “head wound.”
As a system, Islam is itself fully and completely Antichrist to the core (1 John 2:22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7) and we should not discount the possibility that the “man of sin” may not be pointing to one single person as it were, though the general consensus is precisely that, but could instead be pointing to one single entity or system. The Ekklesia of God is comprised of a great multitude of believing Jews and Gentiles created as “one new man” in Christ who are marked by God (Eph. 2:15, Rev. 14:1) and described by John in Revelation 7 as the “multitude of the lamb”, ie, Jesus Christ. Conversely, the “man of sin” (2 Thess 2:3) could therefore be its direct antithesis comprised of those who have the Mark of the Beast and described by John in Revelation 13 as the “multitude of a man”, ie, the “prophet Mohammed”. If this is the case, then we may be even closer to the cusp of prophetic fulfillment than many of us realize.
As I mentioned previously on another comment, the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that the “man of sin” or “lawlessness” — whom we often refer to as Antichrist — “takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” It is important to note, however, that the Greek word for “in” is the word “eis” (G1519), but it does not only mean “in.” It is also translated dozens of times as “against” in Scripture. For example:
In the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:4 the Apostle Paul made a reference to the “temple of God.” The natural assumption on the part of the translators would have therefore been to interpret “eis” to mean in. But in light of the full canvas of Scripture we now understand that the New Testament writers, including the Apostle Paul, no longer defined the temple of God in terms of one that was made of stone, but rather as one made of people — the Ekklesia of God — the Church (see 1 Cor 3:17; 1 Peter 2:5; Eph 2:19-22).
In this light, the Holy Spirit could very well have been referring to the “man of sin” or “lawlessness” as the Ummah of Islam (the “Islamic Church”, if you will) which stands against the temple of God, essentially displaying itself as God by usurping the Divine title/office/way of Salvation in claiming that salvation is only found in “Allah and His Messenger” and not in YHWH and His Messiah. And, sure enough, the Ummah of Islam stands against the temple of God and does this very thing today, blaspheming the God of our Salvation and boastfully declaring that “Jews and the Christians are enemies of the [Islamic] believers” who are “cursed” because “adhering to Islam is the only path to enter heaven, and escape hellfire”. If Antichrist is a system and not a man per se, then we may indeed be even closer to the cusp of prophetic fulfillment than many of us realize.
More to come …
dknezacek, “By the way, [the Antichrist’s] morality is what is considered ‘Judeo-Christian’ but is in fact ‘Greco-Roman’ … You mentioned ‘people of the prince that shall come’, from Daniel 9:26, but you didn’t go anywhere with it.”
The majority of popular Biblical eschatology teachers today, even in light of events happening on the global stage, still teach an Antichrist who comes out of Europe, a charismatic leader that rises from within Europe to then lead a One World Government. However, although the “people of the prince to come” mentioned in Daniel 9:26 may have been considered “Roman” soldiers merely because they were (supposedly) under the command of Rome, many of these same teachers have either ignored or were just not aware of the following very significant fact.
By the time Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 AD, the Legions responsible for the destruction were dominated by eastern peoples from Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor (Turkey) and that general area. This is confirmed by Tacitus, Josephus and numerous scholars and historians. Although the Legions responsible for the destruction of the city and the sanctuary in 70 AD were by that time considered Roman citizens, they were not European people. (The Wars of The Jews, History of the Destruction of Jerusalem By Flavius Josephus, Trans. William Whiston BOOK V: Chapter 13; and Soldiers, Cities, and Civilians in Roman Syria by Nigel Pollard, Ph.D, p. 115).
Prior to the turn of the 1st Century the majority of the men who served in the Roman armies were “Italians.” But as the Roman Empire grew it became virtually impossible for it to be manned with only Italian soldiers, so Emperor Augustus was forced to change the ethnic demographic of men who made up the Roman armies, and after the reforms were completed early in the 1st Century just a small part of the Roman army consisted of only Italian men — the Praetorian Guard. The rest of the army was expanding to be increasingly made up of citizens who were from the outer provinces far away from Rome.
Some may say, however, that since Rome gave the order to destroy the city and the sanctuary then Rome is therefore responsible, but this is not the case at all. Josephus records that Caesar did not want the temple destroyed, writing:
The soldiers were hell bent on destroying the sanctuary, despite Caesar’s orders to put out the fire. But they hated the Jews. And as Josephus later writes, “And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation.”
History bears witness to the very fact that the people who destroyed the city and the sanctuary were almost exclusively Arab/Egyptian/Syrian/Asia Minorian, etc. and from that general area. From Tacitus in The History New Ed edition Book 5.1 Editor: Moses Hadas (Translated by Alfred Church and William Brodribb; Modern Library, 2003 NY):
From Josephus in The Complete Works of Josephus, The Wars Of The Jews Or The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem(Book III, Chapter 1):
In the next chapter Josephus writes:
Virtually all Roman scholars concur that the overwhelming majority of soldiers would have been Eastern provincial conscripts by the time Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 AD.
Additionally, Clarence Larkin in “Dispensational Truth Or God’s Plan and Purpose in the Ages”, which many Western AC proponents consider to be one of the best dispensational authors of all time, disagreed with the now popular Roman theory and through Scripture recognized in his own way why Antichrist cannot come from Europe, writing:
Since Scripture calls Antichrist “the Assyrian” numerous times throughout the Old Testament, which would hardly be accurate if Antichrist were to come from Rome (Zechariah 10:10-12, Isaiah 30:30-31, Micah 5:2-6, Isaiah 10:12-13 cf Daniel 7:20, Isaiah 14:24-25), Clarence Larkin would in all likelihood, if he were alive today, be among those to conclude that the Antichrist would arise out of Islam.
With Daniel 9:26 we have a specific reference to the prince that shall come after Messiah is “cut off”, a prince whose people are not only associated with the destruction of the city and the sanctuary, but who are also associated with wars and desolations ‘unto the end’. For the sake of argument let’s consider that Daniel is also referring here to an eschatonic leader and/or people that many consider to be the End-of-Days Antichrist and kingdom (who would seek to destroy the foundations of the spiritual city and the spiritual temple in the Last Days) since the teachers I am arguing against use this very verse to support the idea of a European Antichrist. With this in mind, let’s ask ourselves the following question: If the Antichrist is European, why was Daniel not inspired by the Holy Spirit to say “the country/region (erets – H776) of the prince to come”, but was instead moved by the Spirit to use the word “am” (H5971) which means “people” or “nation”? Does it not stand to reason that this is because the prince and the people who would destroy the city and the sanctuary — and therefore by extension the Last Days Antichrist and people — are not necessarily identified geographically with Europe, but are instead identified primarily with the Middle East? I say yes indeed, and it matters not if they were considered Roman soldiers (even the Apostle Paul called himself Roman, yet he was ethnically a Jew) because there is nothing in the verse to identify the prince to come with Europe geographically.
The overwhelming evidence that we are now beginning to watch unfold before our very eyes in these Last Days, underscored by authors and teachers such as Joel Richardson, Walid Shoebat and now other like-minded thinkers who have begun to re-examine this question such as Chuck Missler, Dr. John MacArthur, Ray Gano and others, is that the Antichrist of these Last Days will not be coming out of Rome or Europe or be associated with “Judeo-Christian” or “Greco-Roman” morality. For many, the blinders of tradition and pop-theology has locked them into a state of eschatological tunnel-vision while a prowling Beast creeps beside them, rising out of the Middle East and ready to devour. But a close examination of Daniel 9:26 along with a brief lesson in history and an even cursory look at current events leaves little doubt about it — Antichrist and the spirit of Antichrist is rising out of the Middle East, from within Islam. Christian author Joseph Chambers concurs, and sums it up nicely by saying:
dknezacek, “You said: ‘Scripture describes Armageddon the same way. At Armageddon, it is the surrounding nations only, not every last nation on the face of the earth.’ I beg to differ. You need to find Armageddon in the Old Testament … The only way you can understand this, by your methodology, is to say that “all the inhabitants of the earth” does not mean “all the inhabitants of the earth”. Of course this is Armageddon, and it involves the whole earth… You have to stop spiritualizing everything. Accept it as it is written.”
Nothing is spiritualized, only understood as the text intends. Many will point to certain verses and take from those specific verses the idea that Antichrist rules the entire literal earth, such as Revelation 13:8, Zechariah 14:2 and even Jeremiah 25:26-29, as you quoted. But are they verses above referring to literally every single person upon the earth, and to literally all nations in the world? To answer this question we must first take a closer look at Scripture to determine whether “all” must always be understood in a literal, universal sense. To begin, let us carefully consider the following:
Using a bit of common sense we already know the answers to the following questions, but in light of the verses above let’s ask the obvious: Did Caesar literally tax the whole world? Did every last man, woman and child in Judea and Jerusalem get baptized in the Jordan River? Did Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus literally rule over the entire earth, ruling over the native Indians in North and South America? Was the Gospel preached to the whole literal earth during the lives of the disciples? We know that the answer to each of these questions is “No” because these verses are obvious examples of a figure of speech known as a synecdoche. It is like saying “the whole world watched the Super Bowl on Sunday.” We read something similar in Colossians 1:23, which says, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” We know that Paul did not preach to crickets, frogs and polar bears, which sounds silly to say, but would be the logical conclusion we’d have to draw if one threw out common sense and read such a verse in a strictly wooden, literal sense. Such statements are never intended to be understood literally and are synecdochical expressions that use a part for the whole, or the whole for a part. This figure of speech is often found in Scripture, especially when we read about kings and their kingdoms, and the end-of-days “man of lawlessness” that many identify as Antichrist will be no different.
Many of us will often recognize this figure of speech in Scripture but then insist that any references to Antichrist could never be synecdochical, despite the fact that numerous other verses in Scripture in the context of this eschatonic Antichrist demonstrate it forcefully. For instance, see Daniel 11:39-45. Antichrist cannot have dominion over the whole literal planet if wars are being waged against other nations. Antichrist cannot have dominion over the whole literal planet if even one nation is able to “escape his hand.” Antichrist cannot have dominion over the whole planet when other resistor nations are themselves waging war against Antichrist right up until the end. Regardless, such logic or way of thinking just doesn’t fit with what many have always been taught by many Christian teachers and prophecy experts.
Many who insist that Scripture does not allow a synecdocical understanding when it comes to Antichrist instinctively piont to verses that speak of the whole “earth” such as Revelation 13:3-4, 13:8, 13:12, 13:17 and 17:8 as “proof.” In each and every single one of these verses, however, the word for “earth” is the Greek word “ge”, which will often be referring to “a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region”. But if this is the intended meaning, how can we know? One clue is found for us in the second part of Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 when John writes that those who worship the Beast are those “whose names are not written in the book of life.” Here, John directs us to an understanding that it will not be literally all that dwell upon the earth that will worship the Beast. It is, rather, a certain group only. Moreover, if the Spirit’s intent were to convey the whole literal planet, John would have likely been inspired to use a much better word such as “kosmos” (cf Acts 17:24) to convey such a meaning. This should also be quite obvious to us when considering the undeniable fact that a great multitude “which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” will come out of Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:9,14). If they come out of Great Tribulation, they had to be in it, and while they were in it they did not worship Antichrist.
Significantly, even the Old Testament prophets themselves allude to a geographical limitation of this eschatonic Antichrist with some very specific details of their own. In describing the armies that come up against Israel at Armageddon, the prophets Zechariah, Joel and Ezekiel all show us that the hegemony of Antichrist’s reign is limited geographically by telling us that the surrounding nations or neighbors are those who will be gathered against Jerusalem, not every nation of the earth universal. But what about Zechariah 14:2? Doesn’t this show us all the nations in the world coming up against Jerusalem?
Who are all the nations? The Hebrew text says “goy cabiyb” and this can very easily also mean the surrounding Gentiles or the Gentiles round about. This is yet another example of a synecdoche, as we’ve learned above, not to mention the fact that Zechariah had just described all of these nations two chapters earlier as the surrounding nations. Contextually, “all nations” in Zechariah 14:2 is simply referring to all of the “surrounding” nations spoken of in chapter 12:
And Zechariah refers to the surrounding nations yet again just a few short verses after 14:2, writing:
The Prophet Joel himself also prophesied:
As did the Prophet Ezekiel:
Zechariah would not have been referring to literally all nations on the planet in Zechariah 14:2, only to then turn around and say just the surrounding nations in verse 14:14, not to mention 12:2. Even the context of Jeremiah 25 is only referring to all of the surrounding nations. Logistically, it wouldn’t even be possible for literally every nation on earth to amass troops, tanks, aircraft, personnel carriers, etc. etc. etc. in one Israeli valley. In the context of Zechariah 14:2 and Jeremiah 25:26 it is quite apparent that the prophets are referring only to the surrounding nations, as Zechariah had already wrote about previously in 12:2 and then again later in 14:14, and as Jeremiah wrote about earlier in the chapter. The prophets Joel and Ezekiel confirm this as well.
dknezacek, You said: ‘When Christ comes back to Earth, we will go out to meet Him, we will remain in the air temporarily until the indignation/wrath is complete..’ Here is where Isaiah says we will go while the indignation is going on on earth; ’19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.’ Isaiah 26:19-21. You said there is no pre-trib rapture passage in the whole bible, and you quoted from Isaiah 27, yet this is an incredibly clear pre-trib rapture passage and it is only one chapter away from the one you quoted!”
Brother, what is the “indignation” exactly, and how long will it last for? I’m sure you’ll agree that it is obviously His final wrath against the wicked upon His return and the wrath that we are not appointed unto, according to the context. Since the New Testament tells us that we are not appointed to this wrath and are saved from it, let’s begin by looking at all those verses:
Next, let’s look at the Greek word specifically used for “wrath” in each of these verses to better understand what we are studying:
1 Thess 1:10, — The wrath that we will be delivered from is the Greek “orge” (G3709).
1 Thess 5:9, — The wrath that we are not appointed to is the Greek “orge” (G3709).
Romans 5:9, — The wrath that we are saved from is the Greek “orge” (G3709).
Eph 5:6, — The wrath upon those who are disobedient is the Greek “orge” (G3709).
The original text of Scripture is simple and straightforward. We are not appointed to suffer, and are saved from, the “orge” wrath of God.
Next, let’s examine the wrath of God that is described in Revelation. The word “wrath” itself is found 13 times in English translations of Revelation, but what many teachers of Biblical prophecy fail to delineate is the fact that, in the original Greek, the word translated as “wrath” is not just simply from the Greek word “orge”. It is from two separate words — “orge” and ”thymos.” Since many Christian teachers fail to identify this significant distinction they also then fail to realize that the “orge” wrath of God that we are promised to be saved from according to the verses above is itself only found six times in Revelation. And here’s the kicker: Each time “orge” is found it is always used in a post-trib context only:
1 and 2. It is mentioned AFTER the cosmic signs and the revealing of Christ Jesus (Revelation 6:16-17). Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms that these signs happen immediately AFTER the tribulation (Matthew 24:29).
3. It is found AFTER the SEVENTH trumpet (Revelation 11:18). When the 7th and last trump begins to sound we find the rapture described in Revelation 10.
4. It is used to describe the final torment of unbelievers in hell (Revelation 14:10, the wine of the “thymos” of God is poured out into “the cup of His indignation”- orge).
5. It is found AFTER the SEVENTH vial/bowl (Revelation 16:19). (The trumpets and bowls are two sides of the same coin. They are separate descriptions of the same events whereby the trumpets are the cause and the vials/bowls are the effect).
6. It is used in connection with Christ’s Second Coming (Revelation 19:15).
Moreover, according to John in the Book of Revelation, the “thymos” wrath is directed upon a very specific group only — the Antichrist, his land, his kingdom, those who have received the Mark of the Beast, those who worship the image of the Beast, those who have shed the blood of the saints (cf. Revelation 16). Those upon whom the vials/bowls of “thymos” are being poured are still given the opportunity to repent, but they refuse (Revelation 9:20-21; 16:9-11). When the “orge” wrath comes, however, there is no such provision for repentance. According to the text, we will be here on earth witnessing these events right up until the beginning of the seventh and last trumpet, at which point we are then immediately gathered together to Christ just before the “orge” wrath comes upon the wicked.
According to the preponderance of the evidence, the text is therefore telling us that the “orge” wrath that we are saved from is not the same type of wrath that we find during Great Tribulation. The “orge” wrath that we are saved from is only found immediately after the tribulation at the Second Coming of Christ. As such, even if the rapture does not happen until immediately after the tribulation we are still saved from the “orge” of God as promised, yet still present to witness the “thymos” wrath of the first six trumpets and vials/bowls upon Antichrist, Antichrist’s kingdom, and Antichrist’s people.
When presented with this reality, some will then incorrectly assume that both the “orge” and “thymos” wrath of God must somehow have essentially the same meaning. If that were the case, however, then why did the Holy Spirit inspire the writers of the New Testament to use them both? Why were they both used at times in the same verse? Why does God-breathed Scripture only tell us that we are saved from the “orge” wrath? Obviously, although both “orge” and “thymos” could have similar meanings they must still be qualitatively distinct. Here are some examples where they are both used in the same verse:
Truth be told, the trumpets are themselves not even identified as “wrath” anywhere at all in the text. As was mentioned above, however, the trumpets and vials/bowls are opposite sides of the same coin where the trumpet is the cause and the vial/bowl is the effect. Knowing that the vials/bowls are called the “thymos” wrath of God would therefore associate the trumpets with “thymos” wrath as well, which is defined as sudden and passionate anger but an anger that will boil up only to subside again later. With the “orge” wrath that is found only after the Second Coming of Christ, however, we see deliberate anger. We see righteous indignation. We see the hostile and violent vengeance of a just and true God, and every time in Scripture we read that we as believers are not appointed to wrath or will be delivered from His wrath it is always the post-trib “orge” wrath of God only. In the “orge” wrath the anger will not subside. It will not abate. It is not a punishment to chasten and invoke repentance like the “thymos” of God — because when the “orge” of God comes it is then too late. And Isaiah says, this post-trib indignation will only be for a “little moment”. It will happen in the day of His return, and in the air we are hidden from His wrath.
Proverbs 10:30, “The righteous will never be removed, But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.”
dknezacek, “These ‘chambers’ are the same ones Jesus spoke of in John 14:2, where they are called ‘mansions’.”
When Jesus was 12 years old Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, taking Jesus with them according to custom. After Passover, Mary and Joseph, along with relatives and friends, left Jerusalem and had traveled for a day, not realizing that Jesus had instead chosen to stay behind in Jerusalem. Once they realized Jesus was missing, they traveled back to Jerusalem in search of Him and, after three days, finally found Jesus teaching teachers who were all amazed at His understanding and answers. When Mary and Joseph asked Jesus why He had stayed behind, worrying them to death, Jesus answered and said, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:39-49, NIV). Obviously, Jesus was referring to the Temple as His Father’s House, not Heaven. Likewise, in John 2 when the Passover was at hand Jesus went up to Jerusalem and found merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves in the Temple. Jesus drove them out, overturning the merchants’ money tables and demanded that they “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (2:14). In John 2 the Father’s house was also the Temple, not Heaven. If in both of these examples Jesus was referring to the Temple as the Father’s house, does it not stand to reason that Jesus would also be referring to the Temple when speaking about the Father’s house in John 14, and not Heaven? Definitely.
But what Temple would that then be today? Obviously, when Jesus said that He would come again to receive us unto Himself, He was referring to a future event that we now understand to take place long after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. As we can clearly see in the examples of the past the Father’s house was the Temple, and this Temple was one that was made of stone. But in John 14 Jesus must have therefore been referring to something completely different during the time of His Second Coming. But what could that be? Well, it would still be the Temple, but according to Scripture the Temple is no longer a physical building made of stone, but is instead now a spiritual temple made of people (see previous comment).
This, therefore, certainly suggests to us that the Temple in view in John 14 at the time of Christ’s Second Coming would not be any sort of rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. Rather, this is the Temple of believers who are being assembled together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. This assembly is the ekklesia. This ekklesia is the Church.
Jesus also said that in His Father’s house were many mansions. Some translations say many rooms. When we look at the word translated as mansions or rooms (monē) in John 14:2 we can see that it means, simply enough, “a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode; to make an (one’s) abode; metaph. of God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers”. What would this therefore mean? As was mentioned above, the body of believers (you and I) are being built together into a spiritual Temple. But as believers in Christ we have also become a dwelling place individually according to 1 Corinthians 6:19, which says, “do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” It therefore stands to reason that as together we form the Temple, individually we are the many mansions or rooms within the Father’s house, for as Jesus later says in John 14:23, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
In the last portion of John 14:1-3 Jesus says that He would come again to receive us unto Himself so that where He is, there we may be also. It should be noted that this is marriage language (cf Ephesians 5:27-32, “that He might present her to Himself a glorious church … For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church”). This includes all believers who have died in Messiah before the cross, all those who have died in Messiah after the cross, as well as all believers who will be alive and remain (“perileipomai” = survive) at the time of His coming when the dead in Messiah have been gathered together and we are caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) during the indignation, or “org” wrath.
It is important to note that the first resurrection, which is the resurrection of all those who have died in Messiah, is after the tribulation according to Revelation 20:4-5. This is when the Marriage of the Lamb takes place according to Revelation 19:7. If the first resurrection is after the tribulation as Revelation 20 clearly states, then there is no resurrection before it, and if there is no resurrection before the tribulation then there is therefore no rapture before the tribulation. It is impossible.
dknezacek, “When did the sacrifices ever take away sins? The only answer is ‘never’. The Old Testament sacrifices NEVER took away any sins… ever!”
Precisely. Which is why I believe that Old Testament were saints were saved then the same way we are today — by faith. Even though it is not fully explained like it is in the New Testament (its revelation to us is progressive), it is quite obvious that Old Testament believers experienced regeneration, as we do today. For instance, consider the logical implications of Christ’s statement and question to Nicodemus:
Why did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he should already know this if nobody could yet be born again, according to what many Christian teachers tell us today? Obviously, this was not some new and profound teaching that Jesus was making, for Jesus effectively tells Nicodemus — a “teacher of Israel” — that he should already know that one must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of God. How could Jesus say “So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” if the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent? Why would Jesus say this, unless being born again was also true in the Old Testament as well? Why did Jesus not say, “So it will be with everyone who will be born of the Spirit?”
In light of Christ’s words to Nicodemus, I searched the Scriptures to see if we could find Old Testament saints that are explicitly described as being indwelt with the Holy Spirit before Pentecost, and consequently, born again. And here is what I found: Joshua was “a man in whom is the Spirit” (Num 17:18). Joseph was “one in whom is the spirit of God” (Gen 41:38). Daniel, whom “in him is the Spirit of the Holy God” (Dan 4:8). In referring to Moses, the prophet Isaiah in 63:11-13 writes, “Then he remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, saying: ‘Where is He who brought them up out of the sea With the shepherd of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit within them, Who led them by the right hand of Moses, With His glorious arm, Dividing the water before them To make for Himself an everlasting name, Who led them through the deep, As a horse in the wilderness, That they might not stumble?” Even John the Baptist – the last of the Old Testament prophets before Pentecost – was “filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). If the Holy Spirit indwelt them before Pentecost, and if being indwelt by the Holy Spirit is to be “born again”, then the Old Testament saints must have therefore been “born again” as we are today and would explain Christ’s words to Nicodemus. In fact, it Christ was their Savior, even in the Old Testament:
If we consider Rev 13:8 and 2 Tim 1:9, even though Christ had not yet come from their linear perspective of time, the promise of Messiah was as good as done and the efficacy of the Cross existed before the death of the coming Deliverer, not just after. As such, it doesn’t seem reasonable to me to conclude that its efficacy was only “retroactive” as some suggest today and limited to our linear time. Christ’s Sacrifice atoned for all those who believed in Him, whether it be those who looked forward in faith to the Deliverer who was to come, or we today who look back to the Deliverer who came.
If, as Revelation 13:8 and 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us, the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world and grace was given in Christ Jesus before time began, then the blood of sheep and goats did not remove sin. Through faith, however, they were offered up to God and, through faith, they were “baptized” in the Spirit of God and therefore born again in the same way that we are today. In other words, since they were preached the same Gospel (Heb 4:2, “we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did“) then Old Testament saints were saved just like we are and were saved by grace through faith, just as we are. But the New Testament explains and expounds upon what Israel experienced, because now the Holy Spirit was now being sent to bring in a world of Gentiles into the household of Israel, to be grafted in to the family of God and become fellowcitizens with the saints (cf Ephesians 2). And thus the Church, being built by Christ, began to increase …
Phew, that’s a lot for one day. 🙂 God bless you Dan …
Well, I think you are correct that all the saints of all ages were, and are, saved by grace through faith.
Still, something different happened at Pentecost, that didn’t happen in the Old Testament. We have statements like John 7:39
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
The Holy Spirit was “not yet given”. There is something very different in the way the Holy Spirit works today that He didn’t do before the cross. You found some statements that some claimed a person had the spirit of God within him, but there is no place where this condition is claimed for all OT believers.
When caught in adultery and murder, David cried “take not thy Holy Spirit from me”, because the Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell OT believers. He really could leave when David fell into sin. Today He won’t do that, although He can be grieved, and might stop communicating with a wayward believer, He will never leave.
Jesus implies that John the Baptizer was not born again, though he was indeed saved;
I think that with regard to the “kingdom of Heaven” that John the Baptist is an invited guest. John was the greatest of those born of women, but the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater because he has experienced the new birth. John knew the Holy Spirit, but he was not permanently indwelt.
You are correct that Nicodemus should have known that the New Birth was coming, because it was prophesied in the OT
These verses are in the future tense, indicating that this was not yet the situation with the believers. They were referring to a time that was yet future; The Church Age.
While many of Israel have experienced the New Birth, Israel as a nation is still a dead nation. Their New Birth as a nation will not occur until after the Church is taken up in the Rapture.
Something to think about,
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very interesting thoughts. Especially the concept of one (or according to John) many counterfeit anti-christs seems me to be very valuable in order to avoid getting confused or buying into any deceit. Personally I doubt that the islam as well as the institution of catholic church and maybe even the European Union have any other purpose in regard of eschatology than to confuse people about the very nature of spiritual threat laying behind all this. But I’m not sure yet, about the significance of muslimic background of the anti-christ. Maybe I have overread it, but is there any biblical evidence that the real anti-christ is not from one of the tribes of Israel? I’m so sorry, but I highly suspect the real antichrist coming from the tribe of Dan ;-). Maybe he will come from some islamic country, but this would not mean that he and his family are moslems or of arabic origine. Following this logic would imply that Jesus Christ himself would have been an Egyptian. Which was obviously not the case. Despite the prophecy that God has called his son out of egypt. (Hosea 11,1. ?). And would the Jews as well as evangelical (neocon-like) Christians really consider anybody to be the messias whose family coverted to an other religion after their own people got hammered by a coalition of non-islamic states (maybe US, EU, Israel joint forces)