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The special privilege God meant as a tool for witness, they [the Israelite’s]  were to be a channel and you know what happened don’t you? Instead of them seeing themselves as a witness, instead of them seeing the difference as a way to reach people, instead of them standing up and saying, I’m different and consequently the world is going to say what’s the difference and I can tell them that God has made me different. Instead of that it became an excuse for carnal, selfish, self-glorification and pride.

It can happen with us too. We’re to be different aren’t we? We’re to be completely different than the rest of the world. We’re to walk a different walk, talk a different talk, think a different way. Read later in Ephesians and you’ll find out we are to walk not as the Gentiles walked, not as the heathen walk in the vanity of their mind. We are to walk in love. We are to walk in light. We are to walk in wisdom. We
are to walk in the spirit. Our conversation, our manner of life, our walk is to be totally different than the rest of the world. And that it is to be different because want them to take note of us. First of all, and secondly, God wants to keep us separated so different that we can’t mingle with them. It’s the same two things again. And hopefully the world will see the difference and we’ll say to them it’s Jesus Christ
that made the difference and here’s how He can make a difference in your life. And that’s exactly what Israel should have done. Instead of doing that, Israel became proud, loved the difference, celebrated the difference, became proud about the difference, and elevated themselves as if they were better than everybody else.

And I hate to think about it, but I think it’s even possible that that’s happening in Christianity or could happen. Where Christianity forms some sort of an elite that think they’re better than everybody else. And instead of really being a channel to reach the world, we become an isolated little group of people with our own little lingo and our own little deal and our own little code and our own little bumper stickers and our own little radio stations and TV stations and our own books and our own everything, and it’s us for, no more, shut the door, you know. ~ John McArthur, teaching on Ephesians 2: 11-12

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from John MacArthur’s teaching on Ephesians 1: 6-10

There are five Greek words in the New Testament that come from the legal vocabulary. They have to do with legal things in the Roman world, a legal background.  Let me share them with you and then I’ll show you how they differ.

The first one is dikaiosis. Now dikaiosis is a word that means acquittal. It means acquittal in the court.  When somebody was acquitted of a crime, we translate it in the Bible  justification. Justification. Somebody is justified.

All right, there is a second word, aphesis. That word means to cancel a debt, to cancel a debt.  Sometimes it would be a lawsuit or something would be wrangling in the court and there would be a judgment that would say you don’t owe that man anything the debt is cancelled, or whatever, retribution has been made, the price is paid, there’s the canceling of the debt. Aphesis in its legal sense means to cancel a debt, we translate it in the Bible, are you ready, forgiveness, forgiveness.

The third word is huiothesia. And that is a word that means in legalese, it means in the Greek world – adoption. Like a family would go to court to adopt a child. Now the Bible really uses it to speak of sonship, sonship. Becoming a son of God.

And then there is the word katallasso which legally means reconciliation. Sometimes people go to court for a divorce and they will be reconciled. Or sometimes two fighting factions will be brought into a suit and there will be reconciliation brought about. Now it means in a courtroom reconciliation and that’s exactly the way we translate it in the Bible. Paul talks about being reconciled to God.

The fifth word is apolutrosis, it means to redeem, to purchase to set free. And it is translated redemption.

Now listen and I’ll show you the distinction of these words.

In justification the sinner stands before God accused but he is declared righteous. In justification he stands before God accused but he is declared righteous.

In forgiveness, the second word, the sinner stands before God as a debtor and receives a cancellation of his debt.

In adoption the sinner stands before God as a stranger but he is made a…what? … son.

In reconciliation the sinner stands before God as an enemy but he is made a friend.

In redemption the sinner stands before God as a slave and he is receiving his freedom, you see.

All of those terms speak of the wondrous miracle of salvation. All of those things; justification,
forgiveness, adoption, reconciliation and redemption are provided because Jesus paid the price.

In this three part series by Dr. Paul M. Elliott, we learn specific details of our new life as adopted sons of God.

Part 1 ~ What does it mean to be adopted by God? 

“Adoption is a legal act of God on our behalf, in the same way as justification. Justification is legal language in Scripture. We stand before the judgment bar of God as hopeless sinners, condemned to death, with nothing to offer for our own redemption. But Christ comes and stands before His Father at the judgment bar, and offers His perfect righteousness – His full atonement for our sins and His perfect keeping of God’s law – as our substitute. And so God the Father declares us not guilty. “

Read the full article here.

Part 2 ~ New Privileges, New Relationships, New Responsibilities.

” Because of what Christ has done, God the condemning Judge is now God our loving Father. […]  …[B]ecause of adoption we have a new relationship with God the Son. Not only is He our Savior, the One who paid for our justification, but He is now also our Brother.  […] The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. He comes and brings us to spiritual life by the work of calling us and regenerating us, and He takes up residence within us.”

Read the full article here.

Part 3 ~ New Citizenship, New Bodies, A Secure Inheritance.

“The father’s property was his by right of adoption. And that is true for us. We have an inheritance. Our inheritance is our Father’s property — all the riches that are in Christ Jesus. The spiritual riches of life in Him now, and the riches of the new heavens and new earth in the life to come. “

Read the full article here.

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Dr. Paul M. Elliott is founder and president of Teaching The Word Ministries.

The Kingdom Program in Daniel 2

Michael J. VlachBy Dr. Michael J. Vlach 
Theological Studies 

Daniel’s ministry took place in the context of Israel’s captivity to Babylon. Daniel 2 tells of a coming kingdom of God that will suddenly and decisively crush and replace the reigning Gentile kingdoms. As such it is an important section of Scripture for understanding the timing and nature of God’s kingdom.

Not long after King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon ascended the throne, he had a recurring dream that disturbed him greatly (2:1). Sensing the magnitude of his dream, the king summoned his wise men with an incredible demand. They were to relate the king’s dream without being told of its contents and then interpret its meaning. Failure to do these things meant execution. They pleaded their case to the king, claiming the unfairness of such a request, but to no avail. On the verge of execution Daniel, who was also under the sentence of death, asked for time to beseech the Lord for the dream and its contents (2:18). “The mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision” (2:19) and after giving thanks to God Daniel gained access to the king to relate the dream and interpret its contents.

Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that his dream concerned “what will take place in the latter days” (2:28) and “what would take place in the future” (2:29). In the king’s dream he saw “a single great statue…which was large and of extraordinary splendor” (2:31). This single statue was made of various parts:

  • Head of fine gold (2:32)
  • Breast and arms of silver (2:32)
  • Belly and thighs of bronze (2:32)
  • Legs of iron (2:33)
  • Feet partly of iron and partly of clay (2:33)

The king also saw a “stone” that “was cut out without hands” that struck the statue on its feet (2:34). The entire statue including the head of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of bronze, the legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay “were crushed all at the same time” and became like “chaff” that was swept to the winds “so that not a trace of them was found” (2:35). The “stone” that struck the statue, however, “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (2:35).

Nebuchadnezzar's DreamDaniel then offered the interpretation of the great statue and the stone that destroyed the statue and grew into a great mountain. Concerning the head of gold Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar, “You are the head of gold” (2:38). Thus, the golden head represented Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon. Daniel does not explicitly say what the remaining three kingdoms of the statue represent but many scholars from the early church onward believed that the breast and arms of silver represented the kingdom of Medo-Persia which followed the Babylonian kingdom. It is also believed that the belly and thighs of bronze represented the kingdom of Greece and that the legs of iron referred to the kingdom of Rome (2:39–40). Rome was the most powerful and dominating kingdom of ancient times and is well described by iron. The feet of iron and clay indicate a kingdom related to the fourth iron kingdom of Rome, but this form of the kingdom in a latter state is not as stable since it has the element of “clay” associated with it. Daniel says this kingdom is “divided” and while strong also has a “brittle” element to it (2:41–42). Thus, this fourth kingdom begins as a very strong iron kingdom but then becomes less strong.

The “stone” that “was cut out without hands” is undoubtedly God’s kingdom that is without human origin. The stone that strikes the feet of the statue then becomes “a great mountain that fills the whole earth.” “Mountain” in this context is a symbol of a kingdom. Verses 44–45 state what this kingdom will do to the previous kingdoms:

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. 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.

“In the days of those kings” is probably a reference back to the ten “toes” of the feet mentioned in verse 42. Thus, during the days of the final form of the fourth kingdom (Rome), the kingdom of God will “crush and put an end to all these kingdoms” and “will itself endure forever.”

Daniel 2, therefore, teaches five kingdoms with the fifth and final kingdom crushing the others:

  1. Babylon (head of Gold)
  2. Medo-Persia (breast and arms of silver)
  3. Greece (belly and thighs of bronze)
  4. Rome (legs of iron) and later form of Roman empire (feet mixed with iron and clay)
  5. God’s kingdom (a stone cut out without hands that becomes a great mountain)

The main point of Daniel 2 is that starting with Babylon there would be four major Gentile powers that would rule over the world and Israel, but a day is coming when God’s kingdom will suddenly crush these kingdoms and itself will be established as a geo-political entity over the entire earth forever.

Note that when God’s kingdom comes it dramatically and decisively destroys and replaces the existing four Gentile powers that preceded it. It does not co-exist as a spiritual kingdom alongside these literal kingdoms. As McClain states,

“Now it is deeply significant that in these visions the heavenly Kingdom comes down and destroys and supplants existing political powers” [1]

At one moment a stone from heaven shatters the Gentile kingdoms leading to the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. There is no gradual development of God’s kingdom. It comes suddenly and decisively.

Debate has occurred as to whether this kingdom of God is a spiritual or earthly kingdom. This kingdom of God is spiritual in that it comes from heaven. But when this kingdom of God comes, it invades earth and takes over the realm in which the other four kingdoms ruled. Thus, it is an earthly kingdom as well in that it presides on the earth. The kingdom of God will be spiritual in origin but earthly in regard to the sphere of its existence and domain.

This earthly aspect of God’s kingdom is evident in a connecting point between the fourth kingdom (Rome) and the fifth kingdom (God’s kingdom). The fourth kingdom (Rome) “shatters all things” and “breaks in pieces” its enemies (2:40). Likewise, the fifth kingdom, God’s kingdom, “will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms” (2:44). There is a parallel here—just as the fourth kingdom of Rome crushed all rival political kingdoms on earth, so too the kingdom of God will crush the earthly political kingdoms on the scene when it comes. The coming of God’s kingdom is not progressively taking place over time; it is sudden. This is a stone that violently brings an end to the kingdoms that preceded it. The kingdoms that use to exist are like “chaff” that is swept away by strong winds.

Like the previous four kingdoms, God’s coming kingdom is a real geographical and political kingdom that will exist over the entire earth. It radically replaces the Gentile kingdoms that came before it. In reference to Daniel 2, Blaising states,

“This kingdom is not simply a higher order of spiritual reality that coexists with the present course of affairs, but it is a complete replacement of present conditions on earth with a new worldwide and multinational world order” [2]

Some have argued that God’s kingdom is the church, but this understanding is unlikely. According to Daniel 2:44–45, when God’s kingdom is established it crushes and puts an end to the prevailing Gentile powers of the day who are swept away like chaff with no remnants remaining. This did not happen when the church began. The Roman Empire continued for centuries after the church started. There is no evidence that the leaders of the Roman Empire or anyone else believed their kingdom had been replaced by the Christian church. That would have been news to them. Instead, the kingdom of God of Daniel 2 replaces the fourth kingdom when it comes; it does not exist alongside in a spiritual sense. Plus, just as the four previous kingdoms were tangible geo-political entities, so too will God’s kingdom be a geo-political entity. While the church has a mission to the nations, it is not a geo-political group like Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, or Rome. The coming Christian church simply is not the fifth kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream statue.

The concept of reigning over the earth is an important one in Scripture. In the creation account God created man to rule and subdue the earth (Gen 1:26–28). While God had established a kingdom on earth with Israel (see 1 and 2 Samuel), a nation that was supposed to show God’s glory to the other kingdoms of the world, Israel failed its mission and was judged and dispersed to the Gentile nations who would now rule over Israel. God’s kingly authority over the earth would be given to Babylon and then to the kingdoms of Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and then a weaker but revived Roman Empire. But after this time period of Gentile domination or what Jesus called “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) God’s kingdom will be established over the entire earth and Israel will be restored. In sum, King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream involved the broad panorama of human history from his day through the kingdom of Israel’s Messiah.

Endnotes


[1] Alva McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom, 153.
[2] Craig A. Blaising, “Premillennialism,” in Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, 193.

Is Repentance Necessary  
For Salvation?
by Bill Perkins
Compass International, Inc.

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The “repentance in salvation”question is hotly debated between the dispensationalists and covenant theologians. The idea of “salvation without repentance” understandably sends many into fits of rage. But is salvation without repentence even possible?

The Greek word for “repent” can be used as a noun or a verb so it is imperative to look at the context of the verse to determine how it is being used.
The Greek word for “repent” is metanoia (noun) or metanoeo (verb). It means “to change your mind” and the context must determine what is involved in that change of mind. Does it mean repent for salvation (addressing non-Believers) or repent from error or sin (addressing Believers)?
Strong’s defines the two words this way:
1. (NOUN) meta¿noia metanoia, met-an´-oy-ah; from 3340; (subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication, reversal (of (another’s) decision): – repentance.
2. (VERB) metanoe÷w metanoeo, met-an-o-eh´-o; from 3326 and 3539; to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction): – repent.
When the word repent was used in the Gospels, speaking to the Jews under the law (i.e. Mark 2:17; Acts 3:19) who had rejected Jesus as the Messiah, the word used was the verb “metanoe” … they needed to think differently/reconsider what they thought about who Jesus was. The same is true in 1 Thess 1:9 when they had to change their previous conception about God and turn from idolatry.
But in, for instance, 2 Cor 7:10, a different Greek word was used, the verb “metanoe” — and used interchangeably with “believe.” They “changed their mind” about trusting self, good works or tradition and instead trusted the “finished” work of Jesus on the cross.
Nowhere in the Bible are “believe” and “repent” used together to teach two different requirements for salvation.
Therefore, when salvation from the sinful state is in view, “repent” (a change of mind) and “believe” (a change of what you’re trusting) are in essence used as synonyms.
In Acts 20:21 the two words, repentance and faith, are joined by one article in the Greek text which means that the two are inseparable, although each focuses on a different part of the single requirement of needing a saving faith in the Gospel.
Chafer
Chafer 1871-1952

Lewis Chafer wrote:

“Too often, when it is asserted-as it is here-that repentance is not to be added to belief as a separated requirement for salvation, it is assumed that repentance is not necessary to salvation. Therefore it is as dogmatically stated as language can declare, that repentance is essential to salvation and that none could be saved apart from repentance, but it is included in believing and cannot be separated from it” (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Vital Theological Issues, Roy B. Zuck, General Editor, Kregel, Grand Rapids, 1994, p. 119).
zuck
Zuck

1932-

Roy B. Zuck writes:

“Repentance is included in believing. Faith and repentance are like two sides of a coin. Genuine faith includes repentance, and genuine repentance includes faith. The Greek word for repentance (metanoia) means to change one’s mind. But to change one’s mind about what? About sin, about one’s adequacy to save himself, about Christ as the only way of salvation, the only One who can make a person righteous.” (“Kindred Spirit,” a quarterly publication of Dallas Seminary, Summer 1989, p. 5).
Luke substituted repentance in place of belief in Luke 24:46-47.     “and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the
Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead
the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness
of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the

      nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'” Luke 24:46-47
Ryrie
Ryrie

1925-

Dr. Charles Ryrie says of this verse,“Clearly, repentance for the forgiveness of sins is connected to the death and resurrection of Christ.”(Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Victor Books, p. 98).

Dr. John Ankerberg stated at aSteeling the Mind Bible Conference, Vail, CO, 1997, “It’s not ‘faith’ that saves you, but rather, the ‘object of your faith.‘ You can have faith
Ankerberg
Ankerberg1945-

that your good works will save you, but they won’t. The only thing that can save you is your faith and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” 

The object of your faith must be the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone.
Other passages clearly support the fact that repentance often means faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Acts 10:43 with 11:17-18; Acts 13:38-39 with 2:38; and Acts 16:31 uses only “believe”)
Ryrie also points out that in some 50 uses of “faith” or “believe,” the Gospel of John never uses the word repent, and bringing men to faith is the written purpose of the Book of John. Did John miss something? Did he give only half the gospel? If Nicodemus needed to repent, “believe” is used interchangeably in place of “repent.”

Neither did Jesus tell the woman at the well in Samaria to repent. When she recounted her story, the other Samaritians didn’t “repent,” rather they “believed.”

“Belief in Christ, as an expression of a change of mind, focuses on the new direction that change about God must take, namely, trusting in Christ, God’s Son, as personal Savior. Jews needed to change their minds about Jesus and realize that He is their true Messiah” (Ryrie, p. 98).
Cross - Bible

And finally there is, of course, repentance needed in our Christian walk in relation to specific sins we may/will commit (2 Cor. 7:9; Rev. 2:5, Rom 7).

Christians do sin and when we are convicted about that sin, we need to repent, or change directions, away from the sin toward God’s way. But this repentance has nothing to do with salvation. It’s simply a Believer maturing in his/her faith.

Also it is worth noting that both Nicodemus (John 3:2) and Joseph of Arimathea (John 19:38) were secret Believers. On the outside they appeared like all the other non-believing Jews. But on the inside they had saving faith in Jesus.
In conclusion, when a non-Believer puts their faith and trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they have changed directions/repented of their faith in something that would not save them, or, lack of faith in the only thing that can save them.

I’m trying to understand how those who hold to an Amillennialist eschatology interpret Scripture.   I was shocked by the position presented on 5ptsalt blog which claimed Israel = Jesus.   I have never heard their position stated like that before.

In my personal Bible study, I find clear teaching that God has a plan for the future of ethnic Jews that survive the Great Tribulation.  Just one example is in the 12th &13th chapters of Ezekiel, the nation of Israel recognizes their sin in rejecting Messiah at His first Advent; recognizes that Jesus has the power to save when He defends Jerusalem at the battle of Armageddon, repents and is redeemed.

JMac puts it succinctly when he proclaims:

“And that’s a simple point, folks, you ought to make sure you understand. There is no forgiveness until there is repentance. There is no salvation until there is sorrow for sin. There is no cleansing until there is an awareness that cleansing is needed. And as they mourn and as they see Christ, they are doing what is required by God for cleansing.”

If it’s so understandable to me, however, how is it that those who hold to an Amill position see it differently?  How is it that they ‘replace’ Israel with Jesus?

I found a fabulous explanation from Fred Butler’s blog, Hip and Thigh.  He presents the following list of hermeneutic presuppositions that Amills hold to when they interpret Scripture:

1) The NT provides an over riding explanation of the OT. In other words, the NT must be utilized to interpret to OT. Sometimes the NT interpretation spiritualized the OT so that it is understood in the non-literal sense.

2) OT prophets spoke of the glories of the coming Messianic age from the pre-Messianic age. This means that when OT writers spoke of Israel, the Temple, David’s throne, the Kingdom of God, the NT reinterprets all those images to apply to Christ and His Church. The OT images, as real as they may have been, are really types and shadows found in the reality of Christ.

3) Use of the analogy of faith. Basically, this principle states unclear text will be interpreted in light of clear texts. The NT is the clearest revelation we have, so it will illuminate cloudy, OT texts.

This list apparently was from Kim Riddlebarger, who is from White Horse Inn, I think.

So Amills interpret the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.  They believe that all the prophecies have been fulfilled in Christ and we are now in the ‘1000 year’ reign of Christ.  Really???  Need more research into Amill & preterism.

I had a wonderful Sunday School teacher years ago who used to always say,  “The Old Testament concealed; the New Testament revealed.”  He taught from a pretrib rapture/ literal 1000 year position.

Still noodling it through in my head.  I am confident, however, that at this point I do not agree with the Amill’s position that Israel = Jesus.  God’s plan of redemption for a surviving remnant of ethnic Jews is clearly taught in Scripture–Genesis to Revelation.

by Dr. Thomas Ice
Pre-Trib Research Center

In an effort to resolve some differences among those of us who interpret the Bible and Bible prophecy in a consistently literal way, I will start by looking at our interpretative approach. Literal interpretation is shorthand for our hermeneutic which is called the grammatical, historical, contextual method. What does this mean and what are the implications of such a method.

Literal Hermeneutics

Dispensationalists are well known for their literal hermeneutic. Many opponents of dispensational theology attempt to make it appear that dispensationalists use some special or hyper-literal approach. Such is not the case. Dispensationalists simply apply more consistently the grammatical, historical, contextual method. Dale DeWitt has correctly noted that “dispensational theology owns no other method of interpretation or hermeneutic than that of the Reformation… dispensationalism is not best considered an interpretative method.” [1] DeWitt continues:

Dispensational theology employs no unique or cultic hermeneutic; its hermeneutic is the historic Protestant hermeneutic. But it does attempt to apply this method more consistently to Old Testament predictive prophecy than the Reformers or the denominational traditions coming from them were willing to do. At the same time, dispensationalists effort at the fullest possible literalism has been more a matter of principle than thoroughgoing rigor in practice. [2]

Non-dispensationalist Bernard Ramm points out that in Europe “there was a hermeneutical Reformation which preceded the ecclesiastical Reformation.” [3] Luther and Calvin generally returned the church to literal interpretation. Had they not done this, then Protestantism would have never been born and reformation would have never taken place. Luther said, “The literal sense of Scripture alone is the whole essence of faith and of Christian theology.” [4] Calvin said, “It is the first business of an interpreter to let his author say what he does, instead of attributing to him what we think he ought to say.” [5] However, like many of us Luther and Calvin did not always follow their own theory, but they and like-minded reformers turned the hermeneutical tide in the right direction.

Dispensationalists have always declared that they are simply applying the agreed upon hermeneutic of Protestantism to the entire canon of Scripture, without resorting to spiritual or allegorical methods simply because the text dealt with the subject of prophecy. This means that included within the literal hermeneutic is the ability to recognize and understand figures of speech and symbols without having to abandon literal interpretation. Dr. Ryrie drives this point home when he says,

Symbols, figures of speech and types are all interpreted plainly in this method and they are in no way contrary to literal interpretation. After all, the very existence of any meaning for a figure of speech depends on the reality of the literal meaning of the terms involved. Figures often make the meaning plainer, but it is the literal, normal, or plain meaning that they convey to the reader. [6]

Ramm in his widely accepted textbook on biblical interpretation says, “The program of literal interpretation of Scripture does not overlook the figures of speech, the symbols, the types, the allegories that as a matter of fact are to be found in Holy Scripture. It is not a blind letterism nor a wooden literalism as is so often the accusation.” [7]

In some of their more candid moments, opponents of literal interpretation admit that if our approach is followed then it does rightly lead to dispensational theology. Floyd Hamilton said the following:

Now we must frankly admit that a literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies gives us just such a picture of an earthly reign of the Messiah as the premillennialist pictures. That was the kind of Messianic kingdom that the Jews of the time of Christ were looking for, on the basis of a literal interpretation of the Old Testament promises. [8]

In the same vein, Oswald Allis admits, “the Old Testament prophecies if literally interpreted cannot be regarded as having been yet fulfilled or as being capable of fulfillment in this present age.” [9]

Herein lies the problem with those, whether evangelical or liberal, who do not like where the proper approach (the literal hermeneutic) leads them. It is clear that these conclusions do not fit their a priori worldview or their church’s creed. Thus, the logic of their view leads one to conclude that they do not like the clear biblical teachings concerning the future.

Allegorical Hermeneutics

The dictionary defines literal as “belonging to letters.” It also says literal interpretation involves an approach “based on the actual words in their ordinary meaning, … not going beyond the facts.” [10] The mother of all dictionaries, The Oxford English Dictionary says, “Pertaining to the ‘letter’ (of Scripture); the distinctive epithet of that sense or interpretation (of the text) which is obtained by taking words in their natural or customary meaning and applying the ordinary rules of grammar; opposed to mystical, allegorical, etc.” [11] “Literal interpretation of the Bible simply means to explain the original sense of the Bible according to the normal and customary usages of its language.” [12] How is this done? It can only be accomplished through the grammatical (according to the rules of grammar), historical (consistent with the historical setting of the passage), contextual (in accord with its literary context) method of interpretation. Literalism looks to the text, the actual words and phrases of a passage. Allegorical or non-literal interpretation imports an idea not found specifically in the text of a passage. Thus, the opposite of literal interpretation is allegorical interpretation. As Bernard Ramm in his classic and authoritative book on biblical interpretation said, “the ‘literal’ directly opposes the ‘allegorical.'” [13]

Historically when people do not like what a document says or they want to make it fit their philosophical bent they allegorize that document. This is what Philo did with the Jewish Bible in Alexandria, Egypt and, early on, some Christians picked up this habit from him and imported it into the church. Ronald Diprose tells us about Origen’s allegorical interpretive approach:

However, his exegetical methodology was profoundly influenced by the intellectual climate in which he grew up. The Greeks had used allegorism to make the mythical content of ancient works, such as those written by Homer and Hesiod, acceptable to readers with a more philosophical turn of the mind. Origen was also influenced by the example of Philo, a first century Alexandrian Jew who had interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures allegorically in order to make them harmonies with Platonism. [14]

I have noted in a previous article [15] that only one approach to the book of Revelation and prophetic texts is able to consistently interpret the Bible using literal hermeneutics and that is the futurist system. This means that a significant part of the other three systems of prophetic interpretation (preterism, historicism, and idealism) involves some degree of allegorical hermeneutics. Remember the allegorical element of an interpretative approach would mean that an idea not found specifically in the text of a passage must be imported from outside a specific text and declared to become part of the meaning of a given text. A common example employed by the three systems is that often when the biblical text says plainly “Israel,” they often think or say “church.” There is no textual basis, but since they believe that the church has replaced Israel they think they are justified to allegorize.

All three deviant systems employ allegorical hermeneutics at key points in the interpretive process. Preterism, through the alchemy of allegorical hermeneutics takes passages that require a supernatural means while referring to global events, and turns them into local and natural phenomenon. Historicism allegorizes days into years, Israel into the church, and the future tribulation period into the current church age. Idealism says that symbols do not represent future historical entities, even though similar symbols did have historical antecedents in the past. Idealism reduces future symbols into just ideas that will not play out in future history. Only futurism is able to apply consistently the grammatical, historical and contextual method of interpretation.

Mixing Hermeneutics

Since one should always apply the same method of interpretation and let the text tell us what it means, it makes no sense to mix literal and allegorical hermeneutics. However mixing hermeneutics is too often applied by many futurists who theoretically pledge allegiance to literal interpretation. I think the major aspect of the grammatical, historical and contextual hermeneutic, which is violated by futurists, is in relation to the intended context of the prophecy, which is future history.

Today it is common for a futurist prophecy teacher to see something happening in the news that relates to a prophesied event that is scheduled to take place during the tribulation and say that the prophecy is being fulfilled today. For example, the Battle of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 sees Turkey in alliance with Iran against Israel. For the last 30 years Turkey and Israel have been friends. Now Turkey is turning against Israel and teaming up with Iran. Some are saying that this is a fulfillment of prophecy. It is preparation for fulfillment, but nothing in the Ezekiel prophecy has yet been fulfilled. That is a mixing of hermeneutics by not placing this event in its proper, future context as a result of the study of Scripture. Maranatha!

Endnotes


[1] Dale S. DeWitt, Dispensational Theology in America During The 20th Century (Grand Rapids: Grace Bible College Publications, 2002), p. 6.
[2] DeWitt, Dispensational Theology, p. 8.
[3] Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation: A Textbook of Hermeneutics, 3rd. edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House), 1970), p. 52.
[4] Martin Luther cited in Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, p. 54.
[5] John Calvin cited in Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, p. 58.
[6] Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism (Chicago: Moody Press, [1966, 1995,] 2007), p. 91.
[7] Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, p. 126.
[8] Floyd E. Hamilton, The Basis of Millennial Faith (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1942), p. 38.
[9] Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, [1945] 1947), p. 238.
[10Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged, Second Edition, p. 1055
[11The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary (New York, Oxford Press, 1971), s.v., “literal.”
[12] Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation of Prophecy, (Winona Lake, Ind.: Assurance Publishers, 1974), p. 29.
[13] Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, p. 119.
[14] Ronald E. Diprose, Israel in the Development of Christian Thought (Rome: Istitutio Biblico Evangelico Italiano, 2000), p. 86.
[15] “Consistent Biblical Futurism,” Part 1, Pre-Trib Perspectives (Vol. VIII, Num. 77; June 2010), pp<. 6–7.

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Think he’s home schooled?

 

 


 

 


For the LORD shall rise up as [in] Mount Perazim he shall be wroth as [in] the valley of Gibeon that he may do his work his strange work and bring to pass his act his strange act.
Isaiah 28:21

The judgment work of Christ is not an easy work to speak on because, you see, even Isaiah in Isaiah 28:21 calls it God’s quote “strange work,” because to Isaiah it seems to be so contrary to the greatest attribute of God which is His love, the supreme quality of His nature. But you see, God must be a God of judgment because He loves. You see, He loves so much that the day is coming when He’s going to protect those who are the objects of His love from evil forever. And the only way He can do it is to destroy evil, you see? So even that is an act of love…to protect and preserve the full manifestation of His love to His people forever. And so He will come in judgment to destroy sinners and sin. (emphasis added)

~John MacArthur
The Saga of Two Conquerers, Part 2
(~from the commentary on Zechariah 9:9-17)


The Second Coming — In Two Part Harmony

By Jack Kinsella
The Omega Letter

The Bible often appears to address the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as if it were one event, but upon closer examination, it is obvious that it takes place in two separate parts with an interval of time between them.

The Lord returns once for His Church as its Redeemer and then again at the end of the Tribulation Period as its Avenger. The first coming is in secret. It is signless – that is to say – there is nothing that must occur first.

That first, secret coming for His Church could have taken place at any time in history from the 1st century until now, something known to theology as the “doctrine of immanency.”

This secret coming is called the Rapture of the Church.

There will be some who will argue that the Rapture is a made up doctrine and point to the fact the word rapture does not appear in the Bible as ‘evidence’. (It is worth noting at this point that the word ‘Bible’ isn’t in the Bible either.)

The word ‘Rapture’ comes from the Latin word rapios which is itself a translation of the Greek word ‘harpazo’ which means, “to snatch away, grab, or carry off.”

So it’s not a very compelling argument, and its rebuttal is devastating:

The word ‘Rapture’ doesn’t appear in the English Bible for the same reason that there IS an English Bible. Because the Greeks and Romans used different words for everything than we do. Duh.

Whether the word Rapture is in the Bible or not, the picture of the Second Coming taking place in two-part harmony is unmistakable.

The Rapture of the Church is clearly not a new doctrine invented by a Scottish schoolgirl, or by C.I. Scofield or by J.N. Darby. For fourteen hundred years, it was a lost doctrine, along with the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.

Martin Luther didn’t discover a new doctrine when he read Ephesians 2:8-9, he rediscovered what the Vatican had buried during the Dark Ages. (That’s why they were called “the Dark Ages” in the first place).

Luther rediscovered the truth that salvation comes through grace and by faith, not by paying money to a priest for absolution from purgatory.

To the degree one can credit Scofield or Darby or anybody else, it can only be for the rediscovery of a doctrine long buried by the Vatican for the same reason. If the Lord is to come for the living saints, then the Vatican dogma that requires additional purification in Purgatory collapses.

It is beyond question that the Bible presents the Second Coming in two-part harmony – to argue otherwise is to argue that the Bible contradicts itself, rather than harmonizes.

Having established the clear Biblical timeline that proves the Second Coming is in two parts, the next question is whether or not the Rapture takes place before, during or after the Tribulation.

Note with me the one doctrine that demands the Second Coming must be in two parts. The doctrine of immanency. (2nd Peter 3:10Revelation 3:3,Luke 12:40Luke 12:46Matthew 24:36,42Mark 13:32)

I could fill the page with similar references that confirm that the date of the Rapture will be incalculable, whereas the length of the Tribulation period is precisely outlined and concludes with His visible return, and can therefore be calculated. (Daniel 9:24-27Daniel 12:7,11-13)

This is the same problem with the Pre-Wrath, Mid-Trib and Post-Trib views – each conflicts with the doctrine of immanency, a doctrine Jesus hammered home many times.

The Rapture of the Church could have happened at any time in history without being early and the Tribulation could still be future without being late. That has always been the spiritual status quo – until this generation.

For this generation, that equation is turned on its head. Instead, the Rapture is like a floodgate on a dam. During the Church age, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit within believers serves to hold back the onset of unrestricted evil.

When that floodgate is removed, then evil is allowed to flow unrestricted. We are that floodgate – once the Church has been removed, there will be nobody left to stand in the way.

In the meantime, we are all that stands in the enemy’s way.