Category Archives: Prophecy

Is Jesus promise to “come quickly” in Revelation a “Failed Prophecy?”

coming_again.jpg The Apocalypse or Revelation is written in apocalyptic language which is purposely unclear. We can gain some “large picture” information (in the context of the Roman Empire, God’s people and God’s way will be triumphant and, by extension, under any repressive regime) but, historically, the rest is guesswork. Do I understand Revelation? Not very well, but I’m working on it.

As for “the end of the world,” what Jesus seems to emphasize is that any coming (in judgment or otherwise) will be very quick, like a flash of lightning (Matthew 24:27).

Revelation 3:11 22:7, 12, 20 all use the Greek word, tachu which means “quickly, speedily (without delay)”. The tenor of Revelation is judgment that is soon to come (1:1; 22:6). It is correct to say that “soon” would not be thousands of years later. The judgment upon Jerusalem (Matthew 24 et al.) was going to happen soon. The judgment upon Rome (the apparent target) was going to happen soon and did. It would not make sense then to apply passages in Revelation to thousands of years hence. A good portion of the religious world seeks to make Revelation refer to sometime in the future and the second coming of Christ and the end of time. The context does not seem to support such a view.

There are, however, other passages that teach the return of Christ and the end of the world (2 Peter 3) and emphasize the fact that it may be a long time coming. Peter is saying that God, dwelling in eternity, is not held hostage to time.

In Psalm 110:1 the Messiah is exalted to the Father’s right hand UNTIL all his enemies have been conquered, the last of which is death (see 1 Corinthians 15:23-27 which quotes Psalm 110). Early Christian preaching/writing explained what even believing Jews did not, at first, understand. As Edward Fudge pointed out to me, “Peter explains in the end of his remarks found at the close of Acts 3, that according to God’s plan, heaven has received Jesus the Messiah UNTIL the time for the restoration of all things.”

To sum up, there is a sense in which Jesus will quickly come in judgment against His enemies and a sense in which He will come when His enemies have been conquered. We’d best be ready for any eventuality.

10 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Atheism/Theism, Jesus Christ, Prophecy, Rapture, Religion

Testing Religion

josephsmithgoldplates.jpg     With Mitt Romney among the presidential hopefuls, a lot of Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) are re-examining their faith and a few are leaving it. It is always healthy to re-examine one’s faith. But what standard are we using? Let me suggest several “tests of faith,” for those leaving one of the hundreds of denominations and cults that claim to be “Christian.”

  1. Christ must be the focus. In many religions the church is the focus. It is, “the church does that or the church teaches this.” The focus must be on the teachings and person Jesus Christ and the teachings of the apostles which he sent with His authority. He is the permanent head of His church and no man, no hierarchy can take His place or speak or act on His behalf.
    The teachings of Christ must be followed. Groups that claim to be followers of Christ who hate, persecute, commit genocide, go on “crusades,” torture and kill their fellow-humans, and make wars of aggression against others are not Christian.
  2. There must be a standard authority. For Christians, the standard is the revelation of God, specifically, the Old and New Testaments. Before there was a collection of books that today we call the Bible (the word, “bible” is not found in the Bible), there was the Law, history, poetry and prophecy contained in what Christians call the Old Testament (which leads us to Christ) and the gospels, the book of Acts, the letters and the book of Revelation. These manuscripts were circulated among the churches. The existing copies of the books of the Bible (and there are literally thousands of manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts – more than any other ancient book) are extremely accurate. This cannot be said about the books and collections of laws that some religions use as authority.
  3. You must have an accurate history. Of course not every fact in any history can be proven – not much you can do about that. But the points of history that can be examined must fit the facts. No one can prove that a huge fish (not a whale) swallowed Jonah or that the pursuing Egyptian army was drowned in the sea. But the existence of the persons and places mentioned in Scripture is so accurate that archeologists (both religious and non-religious) use it to locate the sites they excavate. The languages used are known languages. The people and races mentioned are historically and scientifically accurate. The animals mentioned really existed in the time the accounts were written.
    Some say faith is blind. That’s just not true. Faith in what is not seen is based on what can be seen.
  4. You must have prophets whose revelations can be tested for accuracy. If a prophet prophesies something that didn’t happen, he or she is a false prophet. If your religion features a prophet or prophets, check out their predictions for accuracy. Furthermore the prophecies must not contradict what has already been revealed in the standard authority (see No. 4).

Don’t just leave one of the hundreds of denominations and cults for another one! You can be a Christian without joining any denomination or cult. You can simply decide to follow Christ. All He asks is for you to be reconciled to God through Him and by virtue of His sacrifice. If you believe trust and obey Him — that makes you a Christian. For fellowship with others, you can find a group seeking to be just Christians only and gather with them for encouragement and Bible study (see my article on Assembly). They won’t be perfect, but neither am I or you. Are they seeking to apply these four tests? That’s what counts.

Christ’s church has no certain name. He adds to his church those trust and obey Him. This is his assembly, his body, his bride and anyone and everyone can be a member.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, conversion, Current Events, Jesus Christ, Politics, Prophecy, Religion, Salvation

Scare Tactics

scare-tactics.jpg Are you tired of some evangelicals trying to scare you with their predictions of a “rapture” where all your righteous friends and loved ones will be instantly jerked out of the world into eternity? Tell you what…let’s jerk a little reality into the discussion.

Most of these scare-mongers are using their personal interpretation of Bible prophecy to flog their wares (books, movies, etc.). Really, this is nothing new. Here’s the recipe: take an obscure passage from scripture (preferably, Revelation), misinterpret it and, voila! Instant terror! Get ‘em scared and they’ll buy whatever you’re selling. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Preaching/Teaching, Prophecy, Rapture, Religion, Rubbish

Who Owns Israel?

landloss.jpg   Do Israelis have a divine right to what is now called Israel?  Who does the land occupied by the modern state of Israel belong to?  Should Christians support Israel’s right to exist as a divine right?  Are the Jews still God’s separate chosen people?  Consider the following points: Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Middle East, Prophecy, Religion