PRETERISM PART “2”

June 23, 2018

Matthew Chapter 24, Past or Future?

There are strikingly profound similarities between the eschatology of Jehovah’s Witnesses and that of Full Preterism.   Both groups claim: (1) Christ has already returned; (2) they know the year of His return; (3) they know the location of His return, and finally (4) they have evidence of His return.  

The Watchtower teaches that Christ returned in 1914 while the Preterists teach that Christ returned in A.D. 70.  Both groups assert that the Second Coming of Christ was invisible; while He failed to physically return, His arrival was seen through the manifestation of an historical event (the outbreak of World War I in 1914 proving that the Gentile Times had ended for the Watchtower, and the desolation of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 for Preterists).  This kind of rhetoric reminds me of what Christ warned His disciples of: 

“If therefore they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go forth, or, Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.”  Matthew 24:26. 

The words of Christ need to be read by both groups.  Those who claim to know of His whereabouts, and or know when He was going to return, all speak with a lying tongue. As Christ continues the conversation concerning His return, His statement was crystal  clear: 

For just as the lightening comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:27. 

The words of Jesus Christ at Matthew 24: 26-27 forewarn the coming of men or women who will claim knowledge of His whereabouts or return.  Unfortunately, many will ignore this warning, and will believe the teachings of man over the words of God the Son.  

Among the Body of Christ, we all have our own opinions regarding the subject of Pre, Mid, or Post Tribulation views.  However, Full Preterists (also called Covenant Eschatology or Transmillennialism) believe that the prophecies in Matthew 24 and Revelation were largely or completely fulfilled in the past, hence the latin word preter, which means “past.” 

According to Full preterists, AD 70 saw the culmination of the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist, the Abomination of Desolation, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the restoration of all things; in other words, all biblical prophecy has seen fulfillment.  Ironically, former Full Preterists call Full Preterism heresy.  

Although Partial Preterists are not as extreme in their beliefs, they do mirror the Full Preterist position that the books of Daniel, Matthew and Revelation (with the exception of the last 2 or 3 chapters) have all seen complete fulfillment by AD 70.  The belief system of Partial Preterists are not the focus of this article, but because they hold to the same Book of Matthew position, they too come under scrutiny.  However, that said, it is my understanding that their system of belief includes the denial of the rapture and the millennium, and their use of hermeneutics for Revelation are throughly inconsistent. Those topics will be covered in future articles.  

My book “The Bible vs The Watchtower … YOU Decide …” was written using the authority of Scripture to refute Watchtower beliefs.  This article will be no different.  We will examine the Full and Partial Preterist claims that the Book of Matthew saw complete fulfillment by AD 70, i.e., Matthew Chapter 24 past or future?  However, this article will not be all inclusive.  My primary focus is the physical return of Jesus Christ.  

Our opening verses: 

“ And Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.  And He answered and said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things?  Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down.’  And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’’ Matthew 24: 1-3

As this is interpreted, the entire context must be kept in mind.  Jesus Christ is dealing with issues pertaining to Israel, exclusively, and not to the church.  The Olivet Discourse is the rejection of the Messiah and the disciplining of Israel (Matthew 23), and the questions of the disciples pertain only to Jewish concerns.

The disciples knew nothing (at this point) about the church age.  In His answer, Jesus spoke of things that involved the Jewish people, such as the Sabbath (Matthew 24:20), those living in Judea (Matthew 24:16), the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15), the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), and the presence of false prophets (Matthew 24:11), which would be a problem for Israel (false teachers would be a problem for the church).  In light of this, we should not see the church age in the Olivet Discourse, even as some have in Matthew 24:4-8.  

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum Th.D., and the Second Advent of Christ

“The second coming of Christ does have a major precondition that must be met before Christ will return to establish the Messianic Kingdom.  What this condition is can be deduced from five passages of Scripture.  The first passage is Leviticus 26:40-42 … Moses predicted how, because of disobedience to God’s revealed will, the Jews would be scattered all over the world.  According to the New Testament, this came as a direct result of the rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus.  

By verse 39, the world-wide dispersion is a fact.  Up to this point, Leviticus 26 has been fulfilled.  In verse 42, Moses states that God has every intention of giving Israel all the blessings and promises of the Abrahamic Covenant during the Messianic Kingdom.  It is first necessary for them to fulfill the condition of verse 40: … they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers.  

Something to notice is that the word iniquity is in the singular and that it is specific.  There is one specific iniquity committed by the fathers and continued by them which Israel must confess before she can begin to enjoy all of the benefits of the Abrahamic Covenant. 

The second passage is Jeremiah 3:11-18.  In verses 14-18, Jeremiah describes the blessings which God has in store for Israel in the Messianic Kingdom.  It will be a time of tremendous blessing and restoration for the Jewish people when the kingdom is established by their Messiah.  However, all of these blessings are conditioned by verse 13 where they must acknowledge or confess one specific iniquity which they committed against Jehovah their God.  

The third passage is in the Book of Zechariah.  Chapters 12-14 are a single unit of thought containing one prophecy God gave the prophet.  Chapter 13 speaks of the national cleansing of Israel from their sin.  Chapter 14 describes the second coming of the Messiah (vv. 1-15) and the establishment of the kingdom (vv. 16-21).  However, the cleansing of Israel followed by the second coming of Christ and the Messianic Kingdom are all conditioned on Zechariah 12:10. 

“And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.” Zechariah 12:10

Before Israel will receive the cleansing of her sin, and before Christ will return to establish His kingdom, Israel must first look unto the One whom they have pierced and must plead for His return.  Once they do this, then, and only then, will they receive their cleansing and begin to enjoy the blessings of the Messianic Age.  

The fourth passage is in Hosea five.  The One who is doing the speaking throughout the chapter is God Himself, and God is still speaking in verse 15: 

“I will go and return to My place, Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face: in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

There are certain presuppositions behind the understanding of this verse.  Before anyone can return to a place, he must first leave it.  In this passage God states that He is going to return to His place.  God’s place in heaven.  Before God can return to heaven, He must first leave it.  God left heaven at the incarnation when He became a man, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  Then, because of one specific offense committed against Him, He returned to heaven at the ascension from the Mount of Olives.  This verse further states that He will not come back to the earth until the offense that caused Him to return to heaven is acknowledged or confessed.  

The national Jewish offense committed against the person of Jesus is not, as so many people think, in killing Him.  The actual killing of Christ was done by Gentile, not Jewish, hands.  He was condemned and sentenced by a Gentile judge.  He was crucified by Gentile soldiers.  All this is ultimately irrelevant, for regardless of Jewish acceptance or Jewish rejection, Jesus would have had to die anyway to become the sacrifice for sin.  The national offense of Israel was in the rejection of His messiahship.  According to this verse, only when this offense is acknowledged or confessed will Christ come back to the earth.  

The fifth passage is in Matthew 23 which contains Christ’s denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees, the Jewish leadership of that day, for leading the nation in the rejection of His messiahship.  He was still speaking to them in verses 37-39:  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!  Matthew 23: 37-39.

Speaking to the Jewish leadership, Christ reiterated His original desire to gather them if they would only accept Him (v. 37).  Because of their rejection of His messiahship, in place of being gathered they are going to be scattered.  Their house, the Jewish Temple, will be left desolate and will be destroyed with nothing remaining (v. 38).  He then declares that they will not see Him again until they say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord (v. 39).  This is a quotation of a messianic Psalm, Psalm 118:26.  

Jesus will not come back to earth until the Jews and the Jewish leaders ask Him to come back.  Just as the Jewish leaders led the nation to the rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus, they must some day lead the nation to the acceptance of the Messiahship of Jesus.  This, then, is the twofold basis of the second coming of Christ: Israel must confess her national sin and then plead for Messiah to return, to mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son.  Until these two things happen, there will be no second coming.’” Israelogy: The Missing Link In Systematic Theology, by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Th.M., Ph.D., pp. 781-784.

By the use of Scripture, Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s expertise in Hebrew / Old Testament prophecy reveals the reason Christ has yet to appear.  Without regurgitating Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s insights, it’s no wonder we have yet to see lightning flashing from the east to the west as Christ predicted — the conditions to His return have not yet occurred.  But wait, there is more. 

Scripture teaches us that God’s word never returns to Him empty.  If then, as Full Preterits dogmatically assert, Christ returned in AD 70, when in human history did the Prophetic Scriptures Dr. Fruchtenbaum enumerate materialize?  When exactly did the passages of Scripture below come to fruition? 

For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!  Matthew 23:39.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.” Zechariah 12:10.

“BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him.  Even so, Amen.” Rev. 1:7.

and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with great power and glory.” Matthew 24:30.   

To bring us into the 21st Century for a moment, His physical appearance alone would create a journalistic frenzy.  It would be all over the newspapers and television networks across the world.  Why can I say this?  Because of how the New Testament Greek words describe His Second Coming, and what those words literally mean.  

Although I am not qualified to interpret the Greek words themselves, Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., a Greek scholar, absolutely is.  According to Dr. Zodhiates, the words used to describe the Second Coming of Christ are as follows: 

The word translated ‘coming’ is parousia, which basically means ‘presence’ or arrival.  In Hellenistic Greek it was used to designate the visit of a ruler.  The word parousia is used in Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39; I Cor. 15:23; 16:17; II Cor. 7:6,7; 10:10; Phil. 1:26; 2:12; I Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; II Thess. 2:1, 8, 9; James 5:7,8; II Pet. 1:16; 3:4, 12; I John 2:28.  

The specific meaning of parousia is made clear in I Thess. 4;15 where it is defined as the time when the Lord shall come out of heaven (I Thess. 1:10). At that time the dead who are believers will rise first, and those who are believers and are alive will be changed and be caught up in the air by Jesus Christ.  

Apokalupsis is another Greek word speaking of the return of Christ. There is yet a third word used which is related to the Second Coming of the Lord and that is epiphaneia which means, ‘a manifestation.’ In Ancient Greek, it was used especially of the appearing of the gods and also the manifestation of divine power and providence in extraordinary events.  In the N.T. it is used of the appearing of the manifestation of Jesus Christ on earth (II Thess. 2:8; I Tim. 6:14; II Tim. 1:10; 4:1,8; Tit. 2:13.  These are the only references in the N.T. of the word epiphaneia. The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible – by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. 

The Greek words describing the return of Christ paint a picture of illuminating clarity.   In other words, the whole world will see His physical return.  His arrival will be like the flashing of lightning from east to west: “For just as the lightening comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:27.

But wait, there is more, still.   

Dr. Walter Martin was the author of “The Kingdom of the Cults.”  In his book, under the heading “The Physical Return of Christ,” refuting the Watchtower interpretation of the Greek word parousia, paragraph 3 reads: 

“these arguments are another example of the half-truths used by Jehovah’s Witnesses to lead people astray.  To begin with, Thayer, who is esteemed reliable in the field of scholarship, clearly states on page 490 of his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament that parousia, especially in the New Testament, refers to the second coming of Christ in visible form to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up the kingdom of God. … The physical return of Christ is the ‘blessed hope’ of Christendom (Titus 2:13), and the language used to portray its visible certainty is most explicit.  In Titus 2:13 the Greek word epiphaneia (‘appearing’) is more correctly translated ‘manifestation’ or ‘visible’ from phanero, ‘to make manifest, or visible, or known.’” (pp. 152-153)

Walter Martin then says, “The language is self-explanatory.  When the Lord returns with His saints, “every eye shall see Him” (Matthew 24:30, cf. Revelation 1:7). 

This brings me to the next passage of Scripture, which is important because it is the go-to text of Full and Partial Preterists when pushing their position: “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Matthew 24:34.

Dr. Zodhiates analyzes this Scripture as follows:  

“The signs mentioned in Matthew 24:4-14 can be misconstrued because they are general in character.  But the signs given in verses 15-28 are specific and discernible.  Then in verse 29 the sun, the moon, and the stars will be involved, signs that immediately follow the seven-year period of the Great Tribulation.  These signs point clearly to Christ’s appearance on earth.  In the same way, the fig tree, when ‘its twigs get tender and its leaves come out’, points to summer’s approach.

Jesus said that if we are alert when we ‘shall see all these things’ take place, we will then ‘know’ (from gingko [1097], to experientially know) that the coming of the Lord is ‘near’ (eggus [1451], at the very doors.  The adjective eggus is relative and should be contrasted to heko (2240), to be here, to arrive (2 Pet. 3:10).  ‘These things’ refers to the sensational heavenly disturbances referred to in verse 29.  Through these visible events, the Lord will knock at the doors of people’s hearts.

Jesus concluded His teaching with these words, ‘Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.’ When the sun and moon are darkened and stars fall from the skies, Jesus advised us to realize that the end is near.  These events will take place in rapid succession.  

In general, Jesus taught that the generation that ‘see[s] all these things’ (v. 33) will not pass away without witnessing the completion of all the events prophesied. ‘All these things’ were typically fulfilled in the forty years from A.D. 30 to 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed.  Jerusalem’s destruction was a sign for believers to prepare for the rapture of His church and parousia.  Typical fulfillment of prophecy enhances imminence – the nearness of the Lord’s return.  

Imminence in these verses refers to Christ’s coming in judgment after the Tribulation period and is aimed squarely at unbelievers; as Paul says, ‘Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief’ (1 Thess. 5:4).’” Exegetical Commentary on Matthew, by Spiros Zodhiates, pp. 411-412.

In light of the analysis by Dr. Zodhiates and his expert knowledge of New Testament Greek, illuminating the literal meanings of the words describing Christ’s physical return, Preterists are unable to scripturally reconcile their claim that the Matthew 24:34 “generation” of A.D. 70 ran concurrently with the arrival of Christ.  On the other hand, Dr. Zodhiates’ “typical fulfillment” analysis is contextually sustainable. 

There is but one last passage of Scripture I’d like to focus on because it, too, involves this event.  It is found at Matthew 24:21: “for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” 

“The words ‘great’ and tribulation,’ occurring without definite articles, should be taken generically, introducing us to a special kind of tribulation.  Such” translates a form of the relative pronoun hoios (3634), such a one.  The contrast that follows is between this and every other tribulation.  This will be the severest.  

To this time’ translates heos (2193), until this time. The last phrase, ‘no, nor ever shall be,’ begins with the negative oude (3761), ‘but not.’  This is a contrasting compound conjunction of the two negatives ou (3756) and me (3361) combined as an intensive combination, meaning absolutely not, never at any time.  The intensive negative means that this tribulation will be absolutely unprecedented.  Exegetical Commentary on Matthew, by Spiros Zodhiates, p. 401.

Here Dr. Zodhiates also helps us to understand the literal meanings of the Greek words describing the Great Tribulation.  The phrase “no, nor ever shall be” helps us understand that this event of horror will be unparalleled to anything in human history.  The carnage will be so vast that if not stopped no flesh would survive.

“Full preterism is a small but tenacious movement within some fundamentalist circles.  But the concerned Christian should not allow its size to fool him: it is also a theologically dangerous movement.” Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.

“Full preterism is not just another eschatology. It affects other aspects of systematic theology as well. Theology is systematic. That is, it draws upon the whole of the Bible. Rather than utilizing individual texts in isolation from one another, it attempts to relate various portions to one another, to coalesce the varied teachings into some type of harmonious or coherent whole.” Christian Theology (Erickson, Millard J., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990) p.21.

Despite the failures of both our forefathers and contemporary Christians, the truth of God about last things still stands. One day Christ will return to sum up all things. The dead will rise, Christ will sit as judge, and every human will be examined and consigned to his or her eternal home either in heaven or in hell. These tenets are the stuff of true Biblical eschatology.” The Day and Hour: Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, Inc., 2000) Gumerlock, Francis X.

Summary

My goal in writing this piece was simple — to discuss and analyze whether Matthew Chapter 24 agrees, or disagrees, with Full and Partial Preterists that Christ returned invisibly in A.D. 70.  

Full Preterism attempts to force a square peg into a round hole.  It could also be said that it places the cart before the horse, because before we experience the physical arrival of Christ, certain prophecy must be fulfilled.  

Dr. Fruchtenbaum presented 5 passages of Scripture (4 Old Testament and 1 New Testament) demonstrating what must take place prior to the return of Jesus Christ (Leviticus 26:40-42; Jeremiah 3:11-18; Zechariah  Chapters 12-14; Hosea 5; Matthew 23: 37-39), but none of these events have been fulfilled. 

Dr. Zodhiates presented the literal meanings of Greek New Testament words used to describe the physical return of Jesus Christ.  When Christ does return, His appearance will be so spectacularly revealing that not a soul on earth will miss it.  His Matthew Exegetical Commentary also interpreted Greek New Testament words describing the Great Tribulation, which demonstrate that this event will be so severe and catastrophic, it will be absolutely unprecedented in the history of mankind. No future battle or carnage of destruction will parallel this horrific event.  So if it had already occurred, everyone would certainly know it. 

Conclusion

In lieu of all the unfulfilled prophecies which must take place prior to His return, our insight into the literal meanings and their applications of Greek words used describing His arrival, placed alongside the cataclysmic Great Tribulation’s unparalleled human carnage to any past, present or future war in human history, Preterists are faced with a conundrum.  How can they possibly reconcile their claim that Christ already returned and the Great Tribulation already occurred? 

Although Preterists are faced with a problem with their interpretation of Scripture, the Bible is crystal clear.  There is no ambiguity.  There is no escaping the logical conclusion of which Dr. Zodhiates refers (A.D. 70 was only a “typical fulfillment” of Matthew 24).  To insist that Christ returned in A.D. 70, invisibly, is as credible as the Watchtower’s claim that Christ returned invisibly in 1914.  Therefore, and as demonstrated above, the Bible categorically repudiates Full and Partial Preterism eschatology on their Matthew 24 position. 

Full Preterism Part 2

June 11, 2018

I will soon be posting my new blog article, Full Preterism Part 2.   The article has been completed, but there are still a few adjustments to be made.  That said, allow me to share my first two paragraphs for those who are eagerly awaiting my article:

Their are strikingly profound similarities between the eschatology of Jehovah’s Witnesses and that Full preterism.   Both groups claim: (1) Christ has already returned; (2) they know the year of His return; (3) they know the location of His return, and finally (4) they have evidence of His return.  

The Watchtower teaches that Christ returned in 1914, while the preterists teach that Christ returned in AD 70.  Both groups assert that the Second Coming of Christ was invisible; while He failed to physically return, His arrival was seen through the manifestation of an historical event (the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914 for the Watchtower, and the desolation of Jerusalem in AD 70 for preterists).  

How To Refute Preterism … Part I (70 Weeks of Years Prophecy) Gap Week!

May 19, 2018

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel – Part XII :: by Thomas Ice

This article can be found at raptureready.com … I post it here to refute Preterist Christian ideology.  This is only Part I … I will be posting other articles and or research material, and will present it for the reader to decide the issues; as my book title reads: The Bible vs The Watchtower … YOU decide.

For those unaware of the Preterist ideology; in a nut shell but not all inclusive, Revelation, Matthew 24, and Daniel 9, have already been fulfilled.  There are, however, those Preterists who take a less all inclusive position; believing for example that Christ returned in 70CE.  Because they are of the Body of Christ, I am compelled to address their views and dogmatic teaching posture of Scripture. The article below was written by Dr. Ice, of which, addresses the 70 weeks ‘gap’ position of our Church Fathers.

 

Part I

In this final installment on the seventy weeks of Daniel, I want to deal with the history of the church’s interpretation of it. What has the church believed about this passage down through the years. One of the main reasons for spending time on this matter is that some have said that our view that sees a gap of time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of Daniel is a recent development in church history. Truth of the matter is that it is the oldest known view in church history. Read on and see.

Recent Development Charges

Over the last few years, I have come to expect outburst against all aspects of the literal interpretation of Scripture from preterists who believe that Bible prophecy is a think of the past. They come through in predicable fashion concerning this issue of the historical interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27.

Gary DeMar is perhaps the most strident on this issue when he says, “nearly all Bible scholars agree that the first sixty-nine weeks of Daniel’s prophecy refer to the time up to Jesus’ crucifixion, only dispensationalists believe that the entire seventieth week is yet to be fulfilled.” In a later edition of the same book, DeMar asserts concerning a non-gap view that it “has been the standard interpretation for centuries, except for minor differences in details. John Nelson Darby and other changed all this with their church-parenthesis hypothesis.” After the first sentence of DeMar’s statement, he footnotes a reference to an errant source on the matter, Philip Mauro, who declares the following: “Nor, so far as we are aware, was any other meaning ever put upon them until within recent years, and then only by those belonging to a particular ‘school’ of interpretation.” Of course, Mauro’s recent “school” is reference to those of us who see a future seventieth week in Daniel’s prophecy. Mauro certainly was not aware of what was taught in the early church, as we shall shortly see.

Preterist, Dr. Kenneth Gentry, speaking of his non-gap interpretation insists that “Conservative scholars widely agree on such an interpretation, which is virtually ‘universal among Christian exegetes’—excluding dispensationalists.” Later, Dr. Gentry continues his inaccurate statements by saying “that the early Father held to a non-eschatological interpretation of the Seventieth Week.” This is just not true, as shall be noted below. Now I will examine just what the early church did believe about the seventy weeks of Daniel.

Early Church Views

The main point for which I am looking into the early church view of Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy is whether they held to a gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of years. Interestingly, an article of note was done on this subject, published in a Reformed Journal, which is the general theological orbit of Gary DeMar and Dr. Kenneth Gentry. The article was written by Louis E. Knowles and referenced errantly by Dr. Gentry when he said, “that the early Father held to a non-eschatological interpretation of the Seventieth Week.” Dr. Gentry’s statement is clearly in error when compared with the writings of the early church fathers.

The earliest extant writings of the church fathers reveal just the opposite of Dr. Gentry’s claim, with the exception of The Epistle of Barnabas (about a. d. 90-100), which presents a short and incomplete treatment on the subject. Knowles divides the early church (Barnabas through Augustine) into two interpretive groups, “the eschatological and the historical.” By eschatological, Knowles refers to those who took the seventieth week of Daniel as future prophecy leading up to Christ’s return. By historical, he means those who believe that Daniel’s final week has already been fulfilled. Knowles concludes that Barnabas”envisioned the completion of all the weeks before the development of the church.”

When Knowles deals with the next major contributors—Irenaeus (130-200) and his disciple Hippolytus (170-236)—he describes their views as “undoubtedly the forerunners of the modern dispensational interpreters of the Seventy Weeks.” Knowles draws the following conclusion about Irenaeus and Hippolytus:

. . . we may say that Irenaeus presented the seed of an idea that found its full growth in the writings of Hippolytus. In the works of these fathers, we can find most of the basic concepts of the modern futuristic view of the seventieth week of Daniel ix. That they were dependent to some extent upon earlier material is no doubt true. Certainly we can see the influence of pre-Christian Jewish exegesis at times, but, by and large, we must regard them as the founders of a school of interpretation, and in this lies their significance for the history of exegesis.
Thus, it is clear “that in Irenaeus and Hippolytus we have the originators of that method of interpretation that places the seventieth week of Daniel at the time of the consummation.”

Although, Irenaeus does not explicitly spell out a gap in his writings, there is no other way that he could have come up with his view of a future tribulation period of at least at least three and a half years. Irenaeus speaks of how “three years and six months constitute the half-week” in his section on the prophecy of Daniel 9. This is why Knowles says that in Irenaeus “we have the basic concept for a futuristic construction of the Seventy Weeks, viz., the position of the last week at the end of the age.” Hippolytus, Irenaeus’ pupil is even clearer.

Hippolytus is the first known person in the history of the church to write a commentary on any book of the Bible, and he wrote on Daniel. “Hippolytus give us the first attempt at detailed interpretation of the Seventy Weeks,” observes Knowles. “He is dependent, no doubt, upon Irenaeus for the foundational proposition that the last half-week of the seventy is to be connected with the Antichrist, but the detailed development is not found in Irenaeus.” In fact, Hippolytus refers to a gap or, in his words “division,” multiple times. Hippolytus says,

For when the threescore and two weeks are fulfilled, and Christ is come, and the Gospel is preached in every place, the times being then accomplished, there will remain only one week, the last, in which Elias will appear, and Enoch, and in the midst of it the abomination of desolation will be manifested, viz., Antichrist, announcing desolation to the world.
Le Roy Froom grudgingly admits that “Hippolytus . . . arbitrarily separates by a chronological gap from the preceding sixty-nine weeks, placing it just before the end of the world.” “Certainly Hippolytus’ interpretation does not have the refinements of the later development, but it is the direct ancestor of it,” concludes Knowles.

Other Views

There were a number of others in the early church, up till the time of Augustine (354-430), who spoke about the subject of the seventy weeks prophecy found in Daniel 9. Jerome (340–420) in his commentary on Daniel is reluctant to set forth his own interpretation of Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy, “because it is unsafe to pass judgment upon the opinions of the great teachers of the Church and to set one above another.” So Jerome simply records the various views up till his time. The first view that Jerome cites is that of Africanus (160-240), who does not mention a gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks, but does, like early gap proponents “definitely views this passage as eschatological and decidedly Messianic.” Thus, Africanus fits into the eschatological camp, making him closer to the futurist gap position, and not the historical.

Eusebius (270-340), the father of church history, teaches an historical view, but he places a gap of time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks. Knowles explains:

In regards to the last week, we have some rather distinct views in Eusebius. We must recall that the last week does not follow immediately upon the sixty-ninth, but comes after the ‘indeterminate space of time’ in which the events of vs. 26 are being fulfilled. This last week, then, covers a period of seven years that extend from three and one-half years before the crucifixion to three and one-half years after it.

Knowles speaks of a writer named Hesychius whom Augustine refers to as an opponent of his historical fulfillment view. “Hesychius has questioned Augustine about the fulfillment of the Seventy Weeks, and seems to be an adherent of the futurist school of interpretation.” Thus, it is clear that even in the early fifth century there are still proponents of the eschatological and futurist schools of interpretation of Daniel’s seventieth week. “We have seen the formation of two definite schools of interpretation. . . .” notes Knowles. “All the later developments in Christian literature will be found to fit into one of these categories.”

Conclusion

In one sense it does not matter what others who have come before our current generation think on an issue, since in reality a matter rises or falls upon whether it squares with God’s Word. However, in another sense it does matter what others have thought down through church history, since if something is taught in the Bible then it may be legitimate to ask why others have not understood a particular teaching. While there are a number of doctrines that have gone well over a thousand years before members of Christ’s church have come to realize what was there in Scripture all along, the necessary gap of time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of Daniel is not one of those late teachings. Why opponents of a future seventieth week of Daniel want to make matters worse for themselves by saying that we do not have ancient historical precedent is beyond me. It is obvious that our futurist view was found early and often throughout the early church, and only became scarce when premillennialism was banded from the medieval church as a result of the influence of Augustine and Jerome. “But the saints shall never possess an earthly kingdom,” declares Jerome, “but only a heavenly. Away, then, with the fable about a millennium!” With Jerome’s banishment of early premillennialism went the literal interpretation of prophecy. History would have to wait more than a thousand years for the revival of a literal interpretation of Bible prophecy and the literal approach to the seventieth week of Daniel. Maranatha!

 

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Athiestism v. Jesus Follower

April 12, 2017

Hello, Cochise here.

Many ex JW’s leave the Watchtower; become Atheist.  Stimulating Debate: Two Doctors discuss the issue of Atheism vs. Following Jesus … on opposing sides.

Enjoy … This is a lengthy  discussion.

The Evolution Position Falls To Utter Absurdity

April 12, 2017

Hello, Cochise here …

Christians often struggle with evolutionists.  The 45 minute video, below, will end that struggle!

 

God Bless All of Us!!

Your brother in The Lord,

Cochise Pendleton

 

 

 

How To Improve Your Overall Health

March 5, 2016

Hello, my name is Cochise Pendleton.  I have been writing articles defending God’s Word from Watchtower deception, lies, deceit, and untruth for many years.  The Organization has manipulated millions of lives for more than a century.  They have destroyed families and effectively murdered children and others by teaching that blood transfusions were God-condemned, so many died as a result of refusing such life-saving transfusions.  I will continue to expose Watchtower biblical deception because that is my Christian ministry, but there is another topic that merits attention.

Pastor Rick Warren taught from the Saddleback Church platform the subject of health and longevity.   He brought in various health care professionals to educate over 40,000 parishioners.  They taught us the importance of diet, exercise and the full spectrum of living a healthy life.   As a matter of fact, the whole church got involved with health conscious living with prescribed daily routines for optimal health.  I mention Pastor Rick’s educational program because I also want to share something on the subject of health.  I was recently introduced to something quite profound.  Truthfully, I did not believe what I was being told and had a hard time believing the materials I was given to read.  But after talking with a doctor and listening to another, I was compelled to investigate.  What I found was something so astonishing that keeping it to myself was not an option. This short article will introduce my findings.

Autoimmune diseases affect up to 50 million Americans (this according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association).  There are about 80 million of them with absolutely no cure.   The medical profession has no answers and can only prescribe drugs to treat the autoimmune symptoms.  In other words, they have no cure for the causes of the diseases.  This brings me to the purpose of this article.  If medicine has no answer to these autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematous, Graves disease, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes, etc.), what hope of getting better do we really have? The Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Since medicine can only treat the symptoms of disease, is there a food that can actually make a difference?  The answer is yes!

Hippocrates knew food was the key to health.  Although medicine is a good alternative and helps millions, it fails to cure the actual causes of illnesses.   If, however, nutrition could actually penetrate the cell wall itself and recharge the cell to its maximum potential, our immune systems would have all the energy necessary to defend against invaders.  Therein lies the problem.  Our cells are not being recharged.  Consequently, as a rundown battery becomes worthless, our cells too become useless when they can no longer recharge.   I recently discovered a food that actually penetrates the cell itself and recharges the entire body’s immune system.

First and foremost, let me be clear about something.  The food I have discovered does not “heal” or “cure” anything.  However, because of modern technology, which is explained later in this article, this food is able to bypass our digestive system to the cell itself.  As a result of the micronized substance re-charging the cells’ mitochondria, our immune systems become healing machines on overdrive.  Through this food, our immune systems become empowered – attacking the causes of autoimmune diseases to bring our bodies back to a healthful state.   Remember, age is also a disease.  Imagine reversing your age clock.  One doctor tested 3,500 peoples’ chronological and biological ages, then tested many consuming the product.  Of the people on the product, their respective chronological and biological ages differed by as much as 24 years!  Yes, the results were that profound!

As I mentioned earlier, I did not believe what I was reading, so I proceeded to investigate.  After a few weeks of analysis, I was overwhelmingly  stunned.  The information you are about to read was taken from Kare’s E-book.  Click on the “Purple Rice E-book” at the bottom of this page for your Free copy.  Here’s what I discovered: This strain of “forbidden rice” (it was forbidden to eat and was only fed to Emperors of six of the most powerful dynasties because of its powerful anti-aging and strength properties) was lost in history – until now. This high frequency heirloom “purple rice” now meets a modern-day micronizing technology.  A unique milling machine micronizes the vital rice until the molecules are so very small that they form a highly charged alpha gluten chain that can easily pass through a cell wall as fuel without having to be digested (even when the cell is insulin-resistant).   The multi-million dollar milling machine is able to separate out the heart of the rice (the endosperm) which contains all the ancient and perfect polysaccharides (sugars), all the polypeptides (amino acids – the body’s building blocks), and the outside royal purple covering of the rice which contains anthocyanins (super antioxidants 1,600 times more potent than blueberries).  It takes 60 pounds of rice to make only one pound of this powerful product, because only the vital parts are kept.   Like arrows of perfect fuel of your mitochondrial battery … it can then produce ATP light energy which is absolutely necessary for health and regeneration.  Last, but surely not least, this ancient strain heirloom is growing in a pristine valley in highly mineralized soils which are totally untouched by chemicals, pesticides and GMOs.  It is tended by expert loving hands, watered by crystal clean mountain waters, harvested at their peak perfection and carried out by hand because trucks are not allowed in this sacred valley in Thailand.  This product is not available in any store anywhere.

LISTEN TO DOCTOR JACK TIPS  

DR. JACK TIPS Speaks About “Purple Rice”: CLICK HERE

After listening to Dr. Jack Tips, personally speaking with Dr. Doug, reading testimonial after testimonial, and personally speaking with others that have had profound life-saving stories after consuming this product, the only logical move forward was to try the product for myself.   After I finish my first 3 months eating this “alfa PXP Royal from Purple Rice,” I will then have my blood tested for any internal changes and those results will be posted for all to see.

Every system in our body requires and thrives on ATP light energy.  ATP creates that glow and vitality as each system in your body begins receiving the light energy it needs to power up, repair, regenerate, and function at its highest level.  This is the food for anti-aging, and for turning your Light back on!  So what does this really mean?

Within less than 1 month after I began consuming this food, my salt and pepper facial hair is turning more “pepper.”  See my picture below.  The short term results are truly amazing.

Cochise Pendleton’s testimonial

CochiseSideBySide2

Hello, my name is Cochise Pendleton.  As I mentioned above, here is my picture.  These pictures were taken by me.  The left photo was taken inside my car on February 5, 2016, and the right photo was taken just one month later on March 1, 2016 .  Both photos are time and date stamped.  When I took the right photo I was starring directly into the sun so my face would be exposed to as much sun light as possible (I actually had to squint).  Neither photo has been retouched.  After only 1 month of eating this discovery from Thailand (Micronized Purple Rice), my facial hair is noticeably less white/gray hair.  Not only did my goatee become noticeably darker, but the discoloration on my forehead appears to be evening out and the dark spots are disappearing.  Also, the crease that runs down the right side of my nose to the top of my mustache is smoothing out.  Any doubts I may have had about the effectiveness of this product have just disappeared.   My testimony alone is proof positive to me that that this Micronized heirloom does exactly what thousands of people are claiming.   I did not believe it until I saw it for myself.   After I take this product for 3 months (2 months to go), I will go to the doctor for a blood work-up.  I am really interested to see my internal metamorphosis (e.g. glucose number, overall cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglyceride totals).  At that time, more pictures and my blood results will be posted.

I am 62 years old.  Living that long you learn how to discern truth from fiction.  There is an old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”  Well, that red flag of caution did rise, but after investigating this product and looking at all the empirical data (real people’s lives and their stories, listening to Dr. Tips, speaking with Dr. Doug, and experiencing this on a personal level), I am now able to separate truth from fiction in regards to this Micronized Purple Rice.  Because of this, I now champion this food.  That said, I now distribute this product but do so at my cost.  In other words, what I pay is what you will pay.  Since the medical professionals have no cures and no answers to the causes of over 80 auto-immune diseases, the only humane thing left to do is to share this wonderful discovery family, friends, and yes, everyone!

As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  Well, I just discovered an heirloom micronized food that when fed to the body energizes our immune system to Overdrive status.  Better health means a better quality of life.  When you feel better and yes, look better, your outlook on life takes a dramatic turn for the better.  My mother always said, “Son, without your health, you’ve got nothing, so do everything you can to say healthy.”  With the Lord’s help, I hope to do just that.  Now my attempt to spiritually help ex-JW’s  from Watchtower deception will include helping them and others learn how to become physically healthier through this micronized food.

For more information on this Amazing food, I have created another site.  Click Here: CochisePurpleRice

 

 

~Your brother in the Lord, Cochise

 

 

The Cross

February 20, 2016

 Click Here To Read “The Cross”

 

Salvation

January 2, 2016

How Do You Get It and Can You Lose It?

Our salvation presupposes truly genuine repentance. Therefore, we should never speak of salvation as our sole decision, but rather as God’s acceptance of a truly repentant sinner. This article will biblically demonstrate God’s formula for salvation, man’s occupation working for God’s gift, and whether His gift can be lost.

Let us begin by reading what the Watchtower has to say on the issue of salvation.

March 2015 WT

Do you believe that “these words are faithful and true”? Then, learn more about Jesus Christ, and exercise faith in him. If you do, you will gain Jehovah’s approval. Not only will you experience his rich blessing now but you will gain the hope of life eternal in the earthly Paradise, where “death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.”

17 The hope of everlasting life on a paradise earth. “The wages sin pays is death,” says Romans 6:23. The same verse adds: “But the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” In Chapter 3 of this book, we discussed the blessings of the coming earthly Paradise. (Revelation 21:3, 4) All those future blessings, including life everlasting in perfect health, are made possible because Jesus died for us. To receive those blessings, we need to show that we appreciate the gift of the ransom.

19 How, then, can you demonstrate that you appreciate God’s gift of the ransom? To begin with, get to know the Great Giver, Jehovah. (John 17:3) A study of the Bible with the aid of this publication will help you to do that. As you come to know Jehovah, your love for him will deepen. In turn, that love will make you want to please him.

20 Exercise faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. Regarding Jesus, it is said: “The one who exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life.” (John 3:36) How can we exercise faith in Jesus? Such faith is not shown by words alone. “Faith without works is dead,” says James 2:26. Yes, true faith is proved by “works,” that is, by our actions. One way to show that we have faith in Jesus is by doing our best to imitate him not just in what we say but also in what we do.—John 13:15.

In a nutshell, the Watchtower purports that works are necessary to receive God’s blessings, and that their magazine is required reading for true understanding of Scripture. In essence, the Watchtower implies that the Originator of language does not possess the skill to adequately communicate His message, and that our Infinite God needs His finite creation (the Watchtower) to interpret. That said, we find an interesting parallel of this in the book of Genesis. There, Eve was approached by an interpreter of God’s Word. She believed the interpreter and spread the false information to Adam, leading to the original sin. The lesson learned: Listen and obey God’s Word above all else.

Watchtower dogma teaches that works are needed to experience blessings from God, and also also teach that salvation is not guaranteed. When I was a member of the Watchtower, I was taught that I had to work, wait, and hope. Yes, hope that I was saved. There was no guarantee.

How Is Salvation Received

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

God is crystal clear. He promises us that anyone believing in His Son will not perish and will have eternal life. He does not specify any other requirement or condition (e.g., reading the Watchtower is not a prerequisite).

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-10

God said His gift of salvation is not of ourselves. What does that really mean … “not of ourselves”? The Author of Scripture makes it abundantly clear that He means “not as a result of works.” That is, any effort, job, performance, task, exertion, or activity on our part. Our Lord extends His gift of salvation to mankind because He loves us. The gift is free but came at great cost. His grace alone saves us through our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Nowhere in Scripture does God teach that giving His gift is contingent upon works, labor, meeting attendance, going door-to-door, reading the Watchtower magazine, or any of the man-made rules outlined by the Watchtower.

God is not fickle (bouncing from one side to another on a whim). He is not arbitrary or capricious (given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior). His formula for our salvation has already been communicated in Scripture: “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9) In other words and as I have already said, reading the Watchtower magazine is not part of God’s formula for salvation. God does not need an interpreter. His Word is crystal clear. The Bible provides His formula for Salvation, with all the instructions included.

Salvation Described

The salvation that comes through Christ may be described in three tenses: past, present, and future. When people believe in Christ, they are saved: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved …” Acts 16:31 … We are also in the process of being saved from the power of sin: “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.” Romans 8:3 … Finally, we shall be saved from the very presence of sin: “And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” Romans 13:11

As I said before, our LORD is not fickle, arbitrary or capricious. Our salvation is not contingent upon what we give God. Our eternal salvation was His gift to us before we were even born. I just love the words of Paul below:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35, 38, 39

I highlighted the words “nor any other created thing,” because they refer to any man-made thing, such as the Watchtower. Their created theology of lies, deception, craftiness, cunning and pretense remind me of the character in the Garden of Eden. This guardian of Adam and Eve (the devil) lied and contradicted his Creator (you know the story). The Watchtower is nothing more than the offspring of the devil.

Scripture quoted by the Watchtower with the intent to contradict, mislead or misrepresent what the Bible is actually communicating is a much rehearsed and skilled practice. The devil has taught them well. The Bible, however, contradicts Watchtower “truths” regarding His formula for salvation:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-10.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 4:24

Can Salvation Be Lost?

Nowhere in God’s inspired Word do we find any hint that our salvation, once received, is in jeopardy of being lost or taken away. Some do not believe this by pointing to the example of Judas Iscariot. He, being one of the chosen, is proof positive (so they say) that salvation is not eternally secure. Let us look into this line of thinking.

Jesus in John 17:12 said:

While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou has given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

The Scripture to be “fulfilled” was the following:

Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.” Psalm 41:9

Scholar Sprios Zodhiates affirms the position that Judas’ salvation was never lost because he was never saved in the first place (Never Truly Regenerated; Never Truly Born Again): “The son of perdition was always lost. He was never saved.” (The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible pg. 1593, by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates)

Once someone has repented and is accepted by God (truly regenerated; born again), nothing in heaven or on earth (ourselves included) could separate us from our love for Jesus Christ.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35, 38, 39

Conclusion

Scripture teaches us that God’s plan to save the mankind is twofold: (1) His Love & Grace (2) our faith placed in His Son, Jesus Christ. There are no other qualifications. Man’s participation in God’s salvation formula is restricted to his or her individual acceptance of God The Son. In other words, works are never a prerequisite for salvation; works cannot save us; they are only a by-product. Works become a by-product as evidence of our newly-regenerated heart, not the other way around.

As for losing salvation, this is not found anywhere in Scripture. If God accepts someone who He is not able to keep to the very end, then Christ has failed and that is impossible.  Scripture teaches us that God’s gift of salvation is eternally secure:

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know you have eternal life.” 1John 3:13

God’s Kingdom

October 12, 2015

The Stone That Crushes All Man-Made Kingdoms!

Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that God’s Kingdom began ruling invisibly, in heaven and in the year 1914. Scripture, however, contradicts the Watchtower’s position on every point. The intent of this article is to bring biblical clarity by shining God’s Word over this topic. It will demonstrate when God’s Kingdom will begin to rule and from where, by analyzing the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and how it affects us today.

Scripture foretells that God’s Kingdom will overthrow all man-made governments. It even tells us who will call the shots — the Stone:

(44) “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. (45) Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy.” Daniel 2:44, 45

Here God is speaking to Nebuchadnezzar, an idol worshipper, through this image in a dream, and He is telling Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. He was a world ruler and was concerned about where it was all going to end.

The stone which was cut out of the mountain informs us that it crushes all the governments (represented in Daniel as precious metals). The identity of this Stone will be forthcoming, but first, let us identify the metals that Daniel refers to:

GOLD = Kingdom of Babylon
SILVER = Kingdom of Media-Persia
BRASS = Kingdom of Graeco-Macedonia
IRON = Kingdom of Rome
At Daniel 2:41-43, we find the continued image of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, that of the feet and toes:

(41) “And in that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. (42) And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. (43) And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.”

The Bible communicates a succession of World Powers which began with Babylon as the head of Gold and with Rome as the last world power represented by Iron. While each kingdom was eventually overthrown, Rome was never conquered or defeated by any world power. This begs the question: Who represents the feet and 10 toes of the image?

Scripture continues to describe subsequent but divided kingdoms which appear after the Roman Empire of Iron. These kingdoms will not only be divided, but have the toughness of iron and be partly of pottery. Some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. The iron mixed with common clay will combine in the seed of men but they will not adhere to one another, such as iron does not combine with pottery.

We are living in the period of the latter days, and that is still a question today: What is this world coming to? And who is the “Stone” that is going to overthrow all man-made governments?

The Stone Identified

“Jesus said to them, ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, (Psalm 118:22) THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES?” Matthew 21:42

Jesus Christ is that Stone mentioned in Daniel 2:44 … He is the Stone that the chief priests and Pharisees rejected. If we fall on that Stone, that is, rest in Him by faith, come just as you are without one plea but that His blood was shed for you … you are broken, you come as a sinner, with nothing to offer. But He is a wonderful Stone to rest upon.

Matthew 21:44 goes on to tell us what happens if we reject the Stone: “And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

The Stone is one of many figures of speech in Scripture which speak of Christ in His office as both Savior and Judge. He is the Rock of salvation (Deut. 32:15), and He is the Rock of Judgment (Deut. 32:4). These verses in Daniel speak of the time when He is coming to the earth as Judge to put down earth’s rebellion against God. The reference here is to the second coming of Christ to the earth, which is depicted for us in detail in Revelation 19:11-21.

“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.” Zechariah 14:4

“God’s form of government is going to be one of the most strict forms of government that the world has ever seen. The Lord Jesus Christ is going to be a dictator, and if you are not willing to bow to Him, I don’t think you would even want to be in HIs Kingdom when He establishes it here upon the earth.” Daniel Commentary Series, by J. Vernon McGee, pg. 46.

The Ten Toes

No great world power ever followed Rome. The Roman Empire was the last, and it will be in existence in the latter days. The Roman Empire fell apart from within; it was destroyed by an enemy. Rome is living in the great nations of Europe today — Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, and Spain are all part of the old Roman Empire.

You see, the Roman Empire fell apart like Humpty-Dumpty. Many men have tried to put it back together again (Hitler, Mussolini, Napoleon), but they did not succeed. So far, the man who will accomplish it has not yet appeared. Yes, it will be the Anitichrist, who comes out of Europe.

“What will be the final end of this last kingdom, the kingdom of iron mixed with clay? The clay, I believe, represents the masses, the different nations of the ten toes. The iron speaks of the fact that Rome lives on in this final form of the old empire.

The Antichrist, or the Man of Sin (he has about thirty-five aliases in Scripture), is the one who will bring back the Roman Empire. He will be a world dictator – he will rule the world just as Nebuchadnezzar did at the beginning {see Revelation 13}.” Daniel Commentary Series, by J. Vernon McGee, pgs. 47, 48.

At the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (after the seven year Great Tribulation period – Daniel 9:27), Our King, arrives (Daniel 2:44). He will put down all rebellion against Him. “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.” Psalm 2:9

“This passage presents the Messiah in a different manner from that of Isa. 42.3. Here Christ has an attitude of strength toward the proud and rebellious, but He has a gentle attitude toward the penitent and the humble.” The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible New American Standard, by Scholar Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, pg. 716.

“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.” Zechariah 14:4

Why God’s Kingdom Is a Literal Government

“The basis for the belief in the Messianic Age is based on two things. The first is the numerous prophecies of the Old Testament which speak of the coming of the Messiah who will reign on David’s throne and rule over a peaceful kingdom. There is a great amount of material in the Old Testament on the Messianic Kingdom and the belief in a Messianic Kingdom rests on the basis of a literal interpretation of this massive material. The only real contribution that Revelation makes to the knowledge of the kingdom is to disclose just how long the Messianic Kingdom will last, namely one thousand years, for which the term ‘Millennium’ is used. This is the one key truth concerning the kingdom that was not revealed in the Old Testament.

The second basis for the belief in a coming kingdom rests on the four unconditional, unfulfilled covenants God made with Israel. These covenants are unconditional and so rely solely on God for their fulfillment and not on Israel. They are also unfulfilled and, since God is One who keeps His promises, they must be fulfilled in the future. They can only be fulfilled within the framework of a Messianic Age or a Millennial Kingdom … The first of these is the Abrahamic Covenant which promised an eternal seed developing into a nation that will possess the Promised Land with some definite borders. While that nation, the Jews, continues to exist, never in Jewish history have they possessed all of the Promised Land. For this promise to be fulfilled, there must be a future kingdom. Furthermore, the possession of the land was not merely a promise to Abraham’s seed, but to Abraham personally when God said, ‘To thee will I give it and to thy seed forever.’ For God to fulfill His promise to Abraham (as well as to Isaac and Jacob), there must be a future kingdom. The second covenant is the Palestinian Covenant which spoke of a worldwide regathering of the Jews and repossession of the land following their dispersion. While the dispersion has already occurred and is in effect today, the regathering and repossession of the land still awaits fulfillment in the future. This too requires a future kingdom. The Davidic Covenant is the third covenant which promised four eternal things: an eternal house (dynasty), an eternal throne, an eternal kingdom, and an eternal person. The dynasty became eternal because it culminated in a Person who is Himself eternal: Jesus the Messiah. For that reason, the throne and kingdom will be eternal as well. Jesus has never yet sat upon the Throne of David ruling over a kingdom of Israel. The re-establishment of the Davidic throne and Christ’s rule over the kingdom still awaits a future fulfillment. It requires a future kingdom. The last of these covenants is the New Covenant which spoke of the national regeneration and salvation of Israel encompassing each individual Jewish member of that nation. This, too, awaits its final fulfillment and requires a future kingdom.” Israelology The Missing Link In Systematic Theology, by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum Th.M., Ph.D.pgs. 792-793

In Revelation chapter 20:1-15, Dr. Spiros Zodhiates makes this observation: “In this chapter, we find Jesus Christ coming back to rule and reign on earth for a thousand years. The length of time is specific and definite and cannot be mistaken otherwise. There are a number of O.T references which describe this particular time of the millennium (II Sam. 7:14-17; Ps. 24:1-10; 72:1-20; Isa. 2:1-4; 11:5-10; 35:1-10; Dan. 2:44). Here we have the judgment for the dead who are now in the afterlife (v. 12). The believers have already been raised, and now the unbelievers are raised so that each group may receive its punishment.” The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, New American Standard Bible, Greek Scholar Spiros Zodhiates pg. 1695

Conclusion:

As we have discussed, God’s Word has clearly contradicted the Watchtower’s fantasy view of the location of God’s Kingdom and the year of establishment. It has also brought the geographical area of His return into focus.

After the seven year Great Tribulation period, Jesus Christ the King of God’s Kingdom becomes visible and appears; to destroy the Antichrist, all man-made governments, and all people who oppose Him.

After the seven year Great Tribulation period, Jesus Christ visibly reigns on earth for 1,000 years.

After the seven year Great Tribulation period, the covenant promises God made to Israel will be fulfilled.

NEW JERUSALEM

January 17, 2015

The Eternal Home of The Church

Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

This article will not be an exhaustive piece, but it will give you an overall picture of our future heavenly residence. Unlike my previous articles which compared Watchtower doctrine to Scripture, here I will focus exclusively on the text and will not discuss the Watchtower’s view. With help from Dr. J. Vernon McGee, B.D. Th.M. Th.D, the words of Christ and Scripture concerning our future heavenly residence will be brought into focus. I chose Dr. McGee as my source because of his credentials, but also for his entertaining manner of delivery and unique teaching skills. This entire article is virtually word-for-word out of Dr. McGee’s book, “Man’s Fascination With The Future On Prophecy.” The page number(s) will be noted after each quotation, and I have replaced the Scripture quotations with the New American Standard version, rather than the King James version:

“The fourteenth chapter of John was given by our Lord in the Upper Room, and He introduces something that is entirely new. The first part of the chapter was given to a man to cushion the shock of failure that was to come into his life. Also it was to comfort and put down the fears of this little band of apostles across whose pathway the shadow of the Cross had fallen. Sin was knocking at the door in the Upper Room, demanding it’s pound of flesh. These men were frightened men, and our Lord was speaking to their hearts. He begins by saying, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14:1)

He is putting, as essential, faith in Himself along with faith in God – which, of course, is the thing that makes a Christian today. I was in a hospital visiting a Christian friend, and after I had prayed with him, the man who was in a bed across the room called to me, ‘Preacher, will you pray for me?’ I went over and talked to him and asked, ‘Are you a Christian?’ ‘Well, yes, I believe in God.’ ‘That does not make you a Christian,’ I said, ‘it simply means that you are not an atheist.’ Then I gave him this verse. ‘Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.’ Our Lord begins with His men on that plane, and He continues.

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2

What is the Father’s house? When you go out tonight, look up into the vaulted sky above you, and you will see the Father’s house. That is His house. Our Lord said, ‘In My Father’s house are many moni, many abiding places, many place to live.’ …

Then He says, I go to prepare a place for you.

This place is different from any other in His universe – ‘I go to prepare a special place for you.’ It is a prepared place for prepared people. The One who was the carpenter of Nazareth down here about two thousand years ago is at this moment preparing a place up yonder for those who are His own. Have you ever wondered about that place He is preparing? Do you wonder what it is like? We are going there some day, and we shall live there eternally.

Then He makes the statement,

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3

As far as I know, this is the first time in the Word of God where it mentions that He is going to take someone off the earth out into space. You will not find that in the Old Testament at all. God did not promise anyone in the Old Testament that He would take him off this earth to a place called heaven. The hope of the Old Testament saints was that there might be a heaven down here on this earth, and that is what I understand the expression, the Kingdom of Heaven, to mean – the reign of the heavens over the earth, the day when this earth becomes a heaven. That is the hope of the Old Testament.” (Pgs 235-238)

“ … The glorious hope of the church is the coming of our Lord Jesus to take us into space to that home He has prepared.

Now, where is that place? What kind of place is it? I turn to the only chapter I know of in the Word of God where there is a description of it, the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation.

As we look at this chapter, I shall not try to make a comprehensive study, but rather I shall make a few suggestions that may intrigue you into probing deeper into this fascinating subject. I believe that if Christians were more interested in the place to which they are going, they would be more concerned about the way in which they are living down here.

If you have read Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, which is actually the experience of Bunyan himself, you will notice that when he got up out of the Slough of Despond and started out, the hope that he had from the beginning was this: ‘I am a pilgrim, and I am on the way to the Celestial City.’ And when he would fall down, he would always get up, brush himself off and say, ‘I am a pilgrim on the way to the Celestial City.’ And when he was incarcerated in Doubting Castle, the key that unlocked the doors and set him free was this promise. When he had mountains to climb, when the way was difficult and discouraging and it seemed as though he would not make it, he got his mind and his heart fixed on that Celestial City.

I believe there are many believers today who have lost sight of this city. They have become discouraged along the way. I say to you, friend, that this world is only a camping place for the night. We all are here temporarily – we are merely pilgrims down here on this earth. We are on the way to the Celestial City. We are on the way to the New Jerusalem. The thing that would encourage the hearts of many today would be to know a little about this place to which we are going.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. Revelation 21:1

John here tells us that God is going to trade in this old earth and the old heaven on a new model. He is going to get a new earth – not get rid of earth entirely but merely get a new one. He calls attention to only one great change in His new earth: there will be no more sea. That which covers three-fourths of the earth’s surface today will be entirely removed. What a tremendous population can then be put on the earth! Someone asked the other day, when I made the suggestion of the population explosion that will probably take place during the Millennium, ‘Where in the world will they go, when we don’t even have room today?’ May I say to you that there will be three-fourths more surface on earth, plus the fact that the curse of sin will be removed from the earth so that it will produce as it never has before. You will be able to find a parking space in that day; there will be plenty of parking spaces! That appeals to me, because we need more parking space in Southern California, and if we could use the Pacific Ocean, we would have the problem solved!” (Pgs 239-240)

Greek scholar Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D in his book, “The Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible” (pg 1696), further explains Revelation 21:1: “Here we have the description of a new heaven and a new earth. The word ‘new’ in Greek is rendered by the word kainos (2537) which means ‘qualitatively new’ and not simply another earth and another heaven. Since our resurrection bodies will be changed, so will the environment in which these new bodies will live.”

“But these are things that concern the earth, and we are not an earthly people. We are to leave this earth. The things that interests us is what John sees in the next verse:

And I saw the holy city new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, make ready as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2

Now, this is the first time the New Jerusalem comes into view. The question is asked, ‘Is it in existence before this?’ I do not know, but I rather think that at the Rapture the church will be brought to this place. I believe this city is to be our permanent home. I think that during the Millennium it will be a matter of commuting back and forth from the earth to the New Jerusalem. Yet the New Jerusalem does not come into view until this point because now eternity opens up and reveals the eternal home of the church.

Notice that the city is a holy city. The inhabitants have been made holy in Christ and in no other way. He is there. That makes it a holy city.

The new Jerusalem is in contrast to the old Jerusalem down here on the earth, and it is coming down from God out of heaven.

Now there are men today – better men than I – who believe that the New Jerusalem comes to the earth. I never have been able to see that, I cannot move it that far. I think it comes out into space, and it comes, apparently, within sight of the earth.

The loveliest thing that God could say about it is that it is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. … Thus God uses the figure of a bride to characterize this city. It is a thing of exquisite beauty.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them. Revelation 21:3

The New Jerusalem is the temple for the universe of God. This will be the place, apparently, where Israel and the gentile nations of the earth will come to worship. They will come to worship and then return to their homes on the earth.” (Pgs 240-241)

and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

“The second thing that makes the New Jerusalem a wonderful city is ‘there shall be no more death.’ No death. That makes it different from any city I have heard of down here. There will be no cemeteries, there will be no undertakers. … No more death. Would you like to go to a place like that? … What a wonderful place this will be!

And then it says, ‘neither sorrow, nor crying, nether shall there be any more pain.’ All the hospitals will be closed, doctors and nurses will be out of a job, ‘for the former things are passed away.’ Then we come to something that is quite wonderful:

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Revelation 21:5

I love that. Would you like to start all over again? I want to make a confession. I never have been the preacher that I have wanted to be. I never have preached the sermon that I longed to preach. I honestly never have been the man that I have wanted to be. I have not attained, really, my ambition. I have not reached my goal in life. I never have been the husband that I have wanted to be, and I never have been the father that I have wanted to be. As I come to this place in life and look back, I have regrets. I would like to go back and do things differently. And God is going to let me! He says to my heart, ‘In that city, McGee, I make all things new.’” (Pgs 242-243)

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and hight mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. Revelation 21:10, 11

“The jasper stone is evidently similar to our diamond. The city from the outside looks like a diamond. I like to think of its being the wedding ring of the church. It will be like a diamond flashing out through God’s vast universe. I believe it will be the most beautiful thing that you have ever seen because the twelve foundations, which would be the outer surface, are all precious stones through which the light passes. Varied hues and tints from a galaxy of rainbow colors:

Jasper – perhaps the blue diamond
Sapphire – opaque with a greenish or yellowish color
Chalcedony – perhaps green
Emerald – green
Sardonyx – white and yellow
Sardius – red
Chrysolite – golden lustre
Beryl – sea green, aqua
Topaz – greenish yellow
Chrysoprase – golden green
Jacinth – violet
Amethyst – purple or rose red

The presence of the primary colors suggests that every shade and tint is reflected from this city. A rainbow that appears after a summer shower gives only a faint hint of the breathtaking beauty of the city of light. I believe it will be the most thrilling sight in the world to see this city. Nothing in all God’s universe will compare to it.” (Pgs 244-245) [Revelation 21:19-20 identify the stones.]

And the city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. Revelation 21:16

“It is fifteen hundred miles long, fifteen hundred miles wide, and fifteen hundred miles high. Some men have concluded that it will be a cube; others see it as a pyramid. It is difficult to conceive of either a cube or pyramid project out in space. Cubes and pyramids are appropriate for earthly buildings. I cannot believe that, since God has made everything in space globe-shaped, He would make this square. I do not say this in a dogmatic fashion, for there are many fine Bible students who disagree with me, but I believe that the New Jerusalem is a sphere and these measurements that Scripture gives are the dimensions on the inside of the sphere, a cube within a crystal-clear sphere. I took this problem in solid geometry to a man in the field of theoretical engineering. He worked it out for me and came up with a sphere that is slightly larger than our moon. The diameter of the moon is about 2,160 miles, and that of the New Jerusalem sphere is about 2,600 miles. We live on the outside of the planet called earth, but if my theory is correct, our eternal home will be within the planet called the New Jerusalem.” (Pg 244)

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. Revelation 21:23

“The New Jerusalem will be independent of the sun and moon for light and life. What a contrast to the earth which is utterly dependent upon the sun and the moon. The sun and moon may even be dependent upon the Celestial City for power to transmit light, since the One who is the source of light and life will dwell within the city. Neither will light be furnished by the New Jerusalem Light and Power Company. The One who is light will be there, and the effulgence of His glory will be manifested in the New Jerusalem unhindered.” (Pg 245)

“The New Jerusalem will be the center of the universe. All activity and glory revolve about this city. The nation of Israel and the gentile nations of the earth will walk in the light of it and bring to it their glory and honor. They will not live in the city but will come, as the priests of old came to the holy place in the tabernacle and temple, for the purpose of worship. There will be no need to bring a blood sacrifice, for the Lamb is there in person.

And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. Revelation 21:22

This city has no temple because it is a temple – God is there and Christ is there. It is the holy place, if you please, because Christ is present. That is the thing that makes it such a wonderful place. The Lord Jesus said,

for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3

We are to be with Him throughout eternity. That, after all, will make it heaven – Christ will be there.

Many folk ask, ‘Will I know my loved ones in heaven?’ We shall certainly know our loved ones in heaven. As Dr. G. Campbell Morgan said years ago when someone asked that question of him, ‘I do not expect to be a bigger fool there than I am here, and I know them here.’ Yes, we shall know our loved ones in heaven.” (Pg 246)

“I hope you will want to go to this city. Someone may ask, ‘Well, how do you get there?’ That brings us back to where we started.

When our Lord was talking to His men in the Upper Room, He said, ‘And you know the way where I am going’ (John 14:4). Sitting there was one of His disciples, a man who had a question mark for a brain, Thomas. This man had doubts. He raised questions about everything and he always saw a dark side of things. He really was not a very pleasant fellow to have around, and I do not know why our Lord called him. In fact, I have never figured out why He called any of them – who would want Simon Peter, Thomas, Andrew, James, or John? All of them were problem children, every one of them. But I am glad He called them because if He will use them there is still hope for me and there is hope for you. This man Thomas is a doubter. He says, ‘Wait a minute, Lord. You say that we know where You are going and we know the way. We don’t!’

Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way. John 14:5

I am glad he was there. He raised my question – he save me from having to ask it.

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. John 14:6

My friend, Jesus is the way to the Celestial City. He has gone before us, and He is preparing an eternal home for all of us who have become children of God through faith in His name.” (Pgs 247-248)

Conclusion:

Our Lord Jesus Christ went away to prepare our eternal home in heaven. The Author of Scripture describes this heavenly abode in beautiful detail. The Apostle Paul reminds us all that death is only the beginning and our heavenly home is much preferred over our earthly residence … “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8