Tag Archives: Philip Mauro

Will There Be Fasting in a “Jewish Millennium”?

fasting

I am a former dispensationalist. I went from dispensationalist premillennialism to historic premillenniallism and later to historic (not ivory tower idealist) amillennalism. Without making sweeping generalizations and without building strawman arguments it could be safely said (please correct me if I am wrong) that some (if not all) classic dispensationalist teachers have taught that the Sermon of the Mount was a law for a future Jewish earthly Kingdom (“Jewish Millennium”) and not really for the Church. Here’s a quote :

“Some dispensationalists hold that the sermon on the Mount and most of the Gospels belong to the Kingdom Dispensation which is yet future. The Book of Revelation after the third chapter also is said to belong to the future. Thus only part of the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles are said to be intended for the Christians of today.”

source : “THE SCOFIELD BIBLE and DISPENSATIONALISM” article

In the middle of the Sermon of the Mount (Matthew chapter 6) Christ prescribed 3 different things for individuals: 1) almsgiving, 2) prayer and 3) fasting. Notice for each of those 3 things Christ said “WHEN you” give alms/pray/fast and not “IF you” give alms/pray/fast. It is implied then that all 3 of those things (in varying degrees and depending upon circumstances) would be done freely by believers acting upon right motives (for the glory of God) as led by the Holy Spirit. (How many physically able North American believers have done all 3 in their lives? And we wonder why there is so much spiritual impotence and so much pride, materialism and worldliness in the professing North American Church.) Each one of those things is to be done privately without fanfare and each one prescribes to believers a certain attitude toward God, others, time, money, food and material possessions which is consistent with the last verses of the same chapter which teach putting trust in God for material needs and seeking the Kingdom first (using time, energy and material resources).

In a “Millennium” of peace and MATERIAL PROSPERITY (according to the generally held viewpoint of premillennialism whether historicist premillennialism or dispensationalist premillennialism) will there be a need to give to the materially poor if there will be no poor to speak of ? (Unless there are to be slums and ghettos during the “Jewish Millennium” which wouldn’t sound like much of a golden age on earth, right?) How then could the first verses of Matthew chapter 6 have anything to do with some future “Jewish Millennium”?

In the Lord’s Prayer contained in the same chapter it prescribes praying that the Kingdom come but would such a prayer be necessary during a “Jewish Millennium” when the “Kingdom*” (according to dispensational thinking) would already be there?

* I believe the Kingdom has a present reality, a progressive development and a future more visibly glorious consummation awaiting it (please carefully read the parables of Christ… especially the mustard seed parable… is the fully grown tree “dumped on earth” when Christ returns or is there gradual growth starting from very small beginnings? could the Glorious Return of Christ be likened to a mustard seed?

Can fasting be consistent with a “Jewish Millennium” governed by a physically present Christ on earth (according to premillennialism) in light of Matthew 9:15?

“And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn*, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.”

* in the immediate context Christ was clearly answering a question concerning REGULAR fasting not once-every-few-years-if-ever fasting… there is no ambiguity here

Will the Bridegroom (Christ) be taken away during the whole period of the “Jewish Millennium” (as conceived by dispensationalists)? Is not rather the opposite taught by mainstream dispensationalism? Fasting is to be done according to Christ (and not someone’s arbitrary opinion) during His PHYSICAL absence* and that means fasting (and consequently the rest of the Sermon on the Mount unless we are to pick and choose what we prefer) is for the Church and not for some future earthly golden age where racially Jewish are some kind of master race. (I do believe in a future golden age for the Earth after the physical return of Christ but not limited to 1000 years but rather to last eternally. I AM NOT A LIBERAL OR A GNOSTIC.)

* or can be taken spiritually as referring to when our fellowship with God has gone cold and that we need to “leave our bed of comfort” and seek the Bridegroom more fervently (Song of songs chapter 5, Church of Laodicea, Church of Ephesus, Church of Sardis)

****************************

See also:

The Millennium : Some Helpful Resources

Our New Website on Amillennialism

The Millennium Part 2 : Another Interesting Book

Video : “Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom” (Prof. David Engelsma, critique of reconstructionism, postmillennialism and preterism, defense of reformed amillennialism)

Practical Issues : Fasting

Leave a comment

Filed under False teachings, Practical Issues, Prayer, Prophecy

Hanukkah

istock_000022269197xsmall-0eceecbb0b1b549198a35d2ddb196d7526b9fd96-s6-c30

Since it is that time of the year again I thought I would briefly mention an article I wrote about Hanukkah a few years ago:

Hanukkah, the Maccabees and the Book of Daniel

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Prophecy

Video : “Against the World – I Was Robbed by Dispensationalism”

************************

See also:

When Southern Baptists and Dispensationalism Did Not Go Together

A Biblical Refutation of Dispensationalism

The Charge of Antisemitism Against Calvinists

Refuting Full Preterism : Some Helpful Resources

Leave a comment

Filed under False teachings, Prophecy

Hanukkah, the Maccabees and the Book of Daniel

240px-Hanukia

“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt with flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32)

Having already put up a blog entry concerning the historical fulfillment of the last verses of Daniel chapter 11, I thought I would also add information about the historical fulfillment of some other verses in the same chapter. The events prophesied in verses 32 to 35 occurred almost 400 years later during the times of the Maccabees (167-160 B.C.). And this fits in with what was mentioned in the previous post about Daniel chapter 11. If the last verses of that chapter found their fulfillment in King Herod the Great (”THE king” of verse 36*) and in the conflict between Mark Antony (along with Cleopatra who represented the “King of the South”) and Octavius (“King of the North”) then it follows that the preceding verses in the same chapter refer to times between the coming to power of Antiochus Epiphanes (reign described in verses 21 to 31) and the coming to power of King Herod the Great (verse 36).

* let us remember that the vision was given to a Jew (Daniel) and Herod was the first king of Judah after the Babylonian Captivity

This is especially appropriate since it’s near the time of the Jewish Hanukkah.  This feast is related to extra-biblical historical events prophesied by the prophet Daniel (chapters 8 and 11) and which occurred between the ministry of the prophet Malachi and the coming to power of Herod the Great . We learn from the apostle John that “Hanukkah” or the feast of dedication was celebrated by Jews in the days of Jesus:

“And it was at Jerusalem THE FEAST OF THE DEDICATION, and it was WINTER. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.” (John 10:22-23)

istock_000022269197xsmall-0eceecbb0b1b549198a35d2ddb196d7526b9fd96-s6-c30

Hanukkah is “known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE**.” (source : Wikipedia)

** B.C. = Before Christ!… none of this Before Common Era (B.C.E.) nonsense! Common era? Common to what?

“From the Hebrew word for “dedication” or “consecration”, Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the forces of the King of Syria Antiochus IV Epiphanes and commemorates the “miracle of the container of oil”. According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.” (source : Wikipedia)

Antiochus IV (reign : 175-164 B.C.) of the Seleucid dynasty

Antiochus IV (reign : 175-164 B.C.) of the Seleucid dynasty

“Hanukkah is also mentioned in the deuterocanonical books of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees. 1 Maccabees states: “For eight days they celebrated the rededication of the altar. Then Judah and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the rededication… should be observed… every year… for eight days. (1 Mac. 4:56–59)” According to 2 Maccabees, “the Jews celebrated joyfully for eight days as on the feast of Booths.” (source : Wikipedia)

While 1st and 2nd Maccabees are not inspired books (2nd Maccabees contradicts the Bible and 1st Maccabees as well… Roman Catholicism claims it is inspired and curses those who think otherwise through its Council of Trent) and should not be included in the Biblical Canon they do offer much information (in the more reliable parts of those books) which shows historical fulfillment of certain prophetic passages found in the Book of Daniel.

Wojciech Stattler's "Machabeusze" ("The Maccabees"), 1844

Wojciech Stattler’s “Machabeusze” (“The Maccabees”), 1844

Hanukkah is an example of fulfilled prophecy. Daniel prophesied about it. It happened centuries later. The Jews and their religion were preserved providentially so that the prophecies concerning Messiah could be fulfilled because Christ was to come out of the tribe of Judah and He was to visit the temple (Malachi 3:1) which means the temple had to be around for the Coming of Messiah. Hence the need for the Maccabean revolt to bring about the fulfillment of different prophecies.

I will quote the following from chapter 8 of Philip Mauro’s book “The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation” :

“Verse 32 of the prophecy speaks of two classes of Jews, (1) “such as do wickedly against the covenant;” and (2) those “that do know their God.” Of the former it is said that they shall be corrupted “by flatteries;” and of the latter that they “shall be strong, and do exploits.”

“Concerning the first class it is recorded in I Mac. 1:11 et seq. that “In those days there went out of Israel wicked men who persuaded many, saying: Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen, that are round about us…Then certain of the people were so forward herein that they went to the king, who gave them license to do after the ordinances of the heathen.” Many Jews, including even Jason, the brother of Onias the high priest, were corrupted and won over to Antiochus by flattery and self-interest (II Mac. 4:7–14).”

“The second class of persons spoken of in verse 32 of Daniel 11, “those that do know their God,” is easily and completely identified in Mattathias, the godly and patriotic priest, and his five sons, who led a successful revolt against Antiochus, and in those of his family who ruled Israel as governors and priests for 130 years. These were indeed made “strong” through “knowing their God,” and performed “exploits” of greatest valor particularly Judas, who was surnamed Maccabeus, that is the Hammer of God. This nickname of Judas has been applied to the whole family, but they are properly the Asmonean Princes.”

“There is no need to speak of the heroic “exploits” of Judas and his brothers, Jonathan and Simon, who succeeded him, for they are well known. But the terms of verses 33-35 call for some explanation.”

“And they that understand among the people shall instruct many…” (Daniel 11:33a)

Philip Mauro :

“Verse 33 reads: “And they that understand among the people shall instruct many.” Upon good authority we can say that the tense of the Hebrew verb used calls for the rendering “they that cause to understand.” Likewise in Chapter 12:3 the literal rendering would be “they that cause to be wise.” These terms aptly designate those who have the Word of God and who teach others therein those who impart to others the knowledge of the ways of God, and who cause them to be “wise unto salvation.”

“This description, therefore, applies particularly to Mattathias and his family, who not only were priests by their birthright, and thus the divinely ordained teachers of Israel, but were true priests, faithfully performing their duty to God and to His people.”

“Further verse 33 says: “Yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity and by spoil many) days.” This was most literally fulfilled in the history of the Asmoneans. Judas himself, and a great part of his army, were slain by the sword (I Mac. 9:17–18). Jonathan also was slain with a thousand men (I Mac. 12:48). The chief tax collector set Jerusalem on fire (I Mac. 1:31; see also II Mac. 7). Forty thousand captives were carried away by Antiochus (II Mac. 5:14).”

“Now when they fall they shall be holpen by a little help” [or better, by the help of a few]; “but many shall cleave to them by flatteries.” (Daniel 11:34)

“To be “helped” in Scripture means to be helped effectually; and what is here pointed out is that the Maccabees should accomplish their great victories with the “help” of a small number; and this was wonderfully fulfilled in that Judas, time and again, defeated, with very small forces, large armies of Syrians, Idumeans, and others (I Mac. 2:28; 3:9–11) etc. But later on, many did cleave to them by flatteries, professing friendship to them, etc. (I Mac. 10). Thus Alexander Bala, successor to Antiochus Epiphanes, made with Jonathan a league of mutual assistance and friendship (I Mac.10:65).”

“Daniel 11:35 foretells that some of them of understanding, or that cause to be wise that is to say the teachers of God’s people shall fall, to try them, and to purge them, and to make them white, unto the time of the end. The family of Mattathias continued for several generations to serve the people of Israel in the capacity of priests and teachers (I Mac. 10:21; 14:35; 10:24; and Josephus Ant. XIII 8, 1). Of these “some” fell by violent deaths and by captivity (I Mac. 6:46; 9:18; 9:36, 42; 12:41–48; Ant. XIV 4, 5; XIV 13, 10; XV 6, 2). And this continued to the very “end” of the Asmonean era; for the last of the family, Aristobulus, who held for a short time the high priesthood, was murdered at the command of Herod (Ant. XV 3, 3).”

“The words “unto the end” would most naturally be taken to mean the end of the Asmonean era, which had a very definite beginning and an equally definite end; for it is in connection with the history of that family that the term is used. But if it be taken that verse 35 describes a state of things which was to continue to the time of the end (the final era) of this period of Jewish national existence, it would be true in that sense also. For to this final era verse 35 brings us.”

I believe another verse in the Old Testament which was written many years before the rise to power of Alexander the Great and his empire also refers to the Maccabean era described in verses 32 to 35 of Daniel 11. It is found in the Book of Zechariah whose prophetic ministry began when the Persian Empire was dominant:

“When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O ZION, AGAINST thy sons, O GREECE, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.” (Zachariah 9:13)

Many sadly have erred in interpreting certain verses of chapter 11 because of their belief that this chapter has something to do with the AntiChrist. In the Book of Daniel the AntiChrist is solely mentioned in chapter 7 as the little Roman horn (eleventh horn). He is not mentioned in Daniel chapter 8 or in Daniel chapter 9. (I have already written elsewhere concerning the AntiChrist.) Daniel chapter 11 deals with the time period beginning from the reign of Cyrus the Great to the coming to power of Caesar Augustus, years before the birth of Christ. In other words events which happened during the long period of 70 prophetic weeks of 7 years each (total of 490 years). Cyrus the Great decreed the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple marking the beginning of Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks. Caesar Augustus by His decree of taxation brought about the fulfillment of the prophecy Micah 5:2 concerning the birthplace of the Messiah. Chapter 11 points towards Christ’s coming not AntiChrist’s coming. In other words events which happened during the long period of 70 prophetic weeks of 7 years each. Daniel chapters 10 to 12 expand upon the prophecy given to Daniel in chapter 9 just as chapter 7 expands upon chapter 2. Some prophecies in chapter 11 find counterparts in chapter 8’s prophecies.

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Prophecy

Antony and Cleopatra and the Book of Daniel

"Antony and Cleopatra" by Andrea Casali

“Antony and Cleopatra” by Andrea Casali

“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at [or “with”] him [immediate context : “THE king” mentioned in previous 4 verses]: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships…” (Daniel 11:40)

Note : Those words were recorded by Daniel almost 500 years (!!!) before the Battle of Actium (31 B. C.) which will be mentioned later in this post

I had the idea recently to write this blog entry concerning the historical fulfillment of a verse contained in Daniel chapter 11 (verse 40) which involves Mark Anthony, Cleopatra and Octavius Caesar (later called Augustus Caesar, the Roman emperor who reigned at the time of the birth of Christ). I will quote some portions of chapter 9 of Philip Mauro’s book “The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation”  (which can be read here) to show historical fulfillment of the previously quoted verse:

“The words, “the king,” should suffice, in the light of the context, without further description, to identify Herod [the king of Judea at the time of the birth of Christ] to those who thoughtfully read their Bibles; for Herod alone is called by that title in the Gospels, and he alone had the rank and authority of “king” in Israel in the days after the captivity, “the latter days.” The text does not speak of A king, but of THE king, the emphatic Hebrew article being used. This is in marked contrast with the terms of v. 40, where the original speaks of “a king of the north,” and “a king of the south.”

King Herod the Great

King Herod the Great

“The events foretold in this part of the prophecy took place “at the time of the end;” that is to say they were coincident with the last era of Jewish history, the era of the Herods. At that time a king of the south (Cleopatra, the last to occupy the throne of Egypt, aided by Mark Antony) made a push with Herod, who was in league with them, against Syria, which had meanwhile become a Roman province. This was the beginning of the great Actian war.”

Mark Antony (83 B.C. - 30 B. C.)

Mark Antony (83 B.C. – 30 B. C.)

Bust of Cleopatra VII (69 B. C. - 30 B. C.)

Cleopatra VII (69 B. C. – 30 B. C.)

“As to the manner in which that war began, we have a very clear account in Plutarch’s “Life of Mark Antony,” by which it appears that the fulfilment of the prophecy was marvellously exact, not only as regards the manner in which the war began, but also in respect to the sides on which the different parties were at first engaged in it, in regard also to the outcome, to the peculiar arms, “chariots and horsemen and many ships”–by means of which the victories of Augustus were achieved, and finally, in regard also to the rapidity of his conquest, which was effected within the space of a single year.”

Augustus (63 B. C. - 14 A. D.)

Augustus (63 B. C. – 14 A. D.)

“The first move in the Actian war was made by Antony (at the urgency of Cleopatra), in which he was assisted by Herod. Says Plutarch: “Antony, being informed of these things” (that is of certain disputes between Augustus and others in the Senate at Rome) “immediately sent Canidus to the seacoast with sixteen legions. In the meantime he went to Ephesus attended by Cleopatra. There he assembled his fleet, which consisted of 800 ships of burden, whereof Cleopatra furnished 200 besides 20,000 talents, and provisions for the army.”

historian Plutarch (46 A. D. - 120 A. D.)

historian Plutarch (46 A. D. – 120 A. D.)

“Antony advanced to Athens, with constantly increasing forces, Augustus being wholly unprepared to meet him; for says the historian: “When Caesar was informed of the celerity and magnificence of Antony’s preparations, he was afraid of being forced into war that summer. This would have been most inconvenient for him, for he was in want of almost everything. * * * The auxiliary kings who fought under his (Antony’s) banner were Bocchus of Africa,” &c. a list being given–”Those who did not attend in person, but sent supplies were Polemo of Pontus, Malchus of Arabia, HEROD OF JUDEA, and Amyntas of Lycaonia and Galatia.”

“Thus a king of the south was the first to make a push in this war, and he pushed with Herod. As showing the accuracy of the prophecy it should be noted that, as Plutarch records, the Senate of Rome declared war with Cleopatra alone, ignoring Antony, so that it was strictly between a king of the north, and a king of the south.”

“Mr. Farquharson points out that the predictions of the prophet were strictly fulfilled also in respect to the character of the forces engaged in the war. For, notwithstanding that each side assembled large numbers of infantry, and notwithstanding that such are the arms usually relied upon to decide a war, yet in this case the infantry were not engaged at all, the issue being decided (as the prophecy indicates) by chariots and horsemen, and many ships.”

“A strange feature of the affair is that, although Antony’s footmen outnumbered those of Augustus, and although his generals urged him to bring the matter to an issue in a land battle, nevertheless (to quote again from Plutarch)–”Such a slave was he to the will of a woman that, to gratify her, though much superior on land, he put his whole confidence in the navy; notwithstanding that the ships had not half their complement of men.”

“This brought on the great naval fight of Actium, which ended in a complete victory for Augustus; and thus did a king of the north come upon a king of the south, with the effect of a whirlwind, with many ships. A more literal and exact fulfilment of prophecy could not be found. But that is not all. For Plutarch records that, after the disaster at Actium, Antony’s infantry deserted him, so that the infantry were not engaged during the entire war.”

Wikipedia.org : "A baroque painting of the battle of Actium by Lorenzo A. Castro, 1672. The Maritime Museum of Greenwich, Director's office, UK"

Wikipedia.org : “A baroque painting of the battle of Actium by Lorenzo A. Castro, 1672. The Maritime Museum of Greenwich, Director’s office, UK”

Battle of Actium (31 B. C.) : order of battle (Wikipedia.org)

Battle of Actium (31 B. C.) : order of battle (Wikipedia.org)

“But,” says Farquharson, “when Antony arrived in Egypt, and endeavoured to defend it, to fulfil the prediction of the Prophet that the king of the north would come with chariots and horsemen, as well as with many ships–there were actions with cavalry.” For Plutarch says, “When Caesar arrived he encamped near the hippodrome (at Alexandria); whereupon Antony made a brisk sally, routed the cavalry, drove them back into their trenches, and returned to the city with the complacency of a conqueror.” It was the conduct of their fleets and cavalry that sealed the fate of Antony and Cleopatra, and left them without resource in their last retreat.”

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Prophecy

The Millennium : Some Helpful Resources

As I mentioned in a recent post about the AntiChrist my views on eschatology have changed over time (from dispensationalism to Protestant historicism) through reading certain documents and hearing certain sermons. Let me not forget to mention Bible study, meditation upon the Scriptures and fervent prayer as other means which brought about the change. My views on eschatology (AntiChrist, Millennium) changed during a period in my life which I would consider the most fruitful/fervent in terms of prayer, Bible study, evangelism, service and sanctification (2004-2009). I mention it so that no one may falsely think I became an amillennialist while being in a state of personal spiritual declension.

Premillennialism is one of the three great positions held on the Millennium with Postmillennialism and Amillennialism being the other two. In each of the three positions there are different views. In 2005 I had exchanged a more recent form of premillennialism (dispensational premillennialism) for something I believed was closer to the truth (historic premillennialism). Historic premillennialism sees the Book of Revelation as spanning the entire period of the Church age while dispensational premillennialism sees most of the things foretold in Revelation as occurring within a short period of time in the future. Great writers of the past held to historic premillennialism (e.g. John Gill, Joseph Mede, Thomas Newton, Isaac Newton, E. B. Elliott, H. Grattan Guinness) and it is believed that the Prince of Preachers himself, Charles Spurgeon, was a historic premillennialist (read here). For the first few years of my Christian life (2001-2007) I had prejudice against amillennialism and had not really bothered until the fall of 2007 to look at why godly and orthodox amillennialists held to that position on the Millennium. I thought one reason why amillennialists rejected premillennialism was possible racism toward racial Jews. Yes it is a sad fact that there have been some amillennialist Christians in the past who expressed contempt for non-Christian Jews (e.g. Augustine of Hippo) but not all amillennialists have been anti-Jew racists. Let us avoid blind generalizations. I am an amillennialist Christian and I am not anti-Semitic. I don’t know of any amillennialists personally who are anti-Semitic. Even the best of men under God’s grace still remain sinners (Ecclesiastes 7:20) so even one who may be right on a great number of fundamental Biblical doctrines may sadly be guilty of racism toward a particular racial group. That does not excuse the racism of course. And yet that does not mean all of the doctrinal positions of such a man are automatically incorrect either. Let us be noble Bereans (Acts of the Apostles 17:11) and look at how a doctrinal position stacks up Biblically. Let us lay aside strawman argumentation and labels (e.g. “you don’t take the Bible seriously”, “you spiritualize everything”, “you don’t take the Bible literally”**, “you teach replacement theology”***, etc…) and look at the Scriptures. Sola Scriptura. Acts 17:11. I hold to an amillennial understanding of the Book of Revelation because I believe the Biblical evidence points toward what has been historically labelled amillennialism*. It’s about grace. Not race. It’s about hermeneutics plain and simple. It’s about looking at how Christ and His apostles interpreted the Old Testament prophecies/promises. Does not the Christ teach us all things (John 4:25)? Should not the clearer light of the New Testament (John 1:17b; Matthew 13:16-17) help us interpret the figurative prophetic passages and dark sayings (Hosea 12:10; Numbers 12:6-8) of the Old Testament? Should not the Book of Hebrews be considered a surer guide for us than the harder-to-understand Book of Ezekiel?

* the term “a-millennial” would mean “no millennium” (just like “a-theist” means “not a theist”) but that’s not a fair and correct view of our position… we believe there is a Millennium but not in the way the premillennialists conceive it to be… I use the term because for better or worse that’s the name that has been attached to the position

** There are different styles found in the Bible : historical narrative (e.g. Genesis 6-day Creation account of events that happened close to 6000 years ago), poetic passages (e.g. Psalms, Song of Songs), parables, similitudes, proverbs, figurative prophetic passages (Hosea 12:10), etc… that means we can’t spiritualize away historical events which occurred in this physical realm (e.g. 6-day Creation account with “days” actually meaning literal days and not millions of years) or apply a wooden literalism to prophesies which were delivered in figurative language… to each its own… were not the Jews in the days of Jesus guilty of carnally interpreting His words which were meant to be taken figuratively (Jesus : “I am the bread of life”) with a wooden literalism (Jews: “how can he give us his flesh to eat?”)? I prefer saying that I take the Bible SERIOUSLY rather than using the term “literally”

*** I hold to EXPANSION theology not REPLACEMENT theology

Like in my previous post on the topic of AntiChrist I will present here a list of documents and audio sermons which helped me come to my present understanding of eschatology. I would say the first document which seriously led me to reconsider historic premillennialism was a very good book written by Patrick Fairbairn, a postmillennialist, called “Prophecy viewed in respect to its distinctive nature, special function, and proper interpretation (1866)” which can be downloaded for free here. (Note : Charles Spurgeon, thought by some to be a historical premillennialist, had recommended the book.) I had decided to read it because it dealt with hermeneutics and the author was well-reputed for his published works on Biblical typology. I didn’t read the book because the author was promoting at the end of his book a postmillennialist view of Revelation chapter 20. In fact I only became aware of the author’s postmillennialism when I got near the end of the book. In the part of the book dealing with the Millennium issue he brought up good arguments against premillennialism which bothered me at the time (around the beginning of the fall of 2007). Yet I was not convinced enough to adopt the postmillennial view of the author. I thought within myself that it would be good to find a prophecy book written by an orthodox Protestant amillennialist in order to look at the Biblical arguments put forth in support of amillennialism. I forget if I audibly prayed to God at that time in order to find the right book on the topic. Whether or not I did so at the time the Lord knew my thoughts and He knew my sincere desire to adhere to a correct understanding of the Millenium.

Patrick_Fairbairn

Patrick Fairbairn

Approximately 2 weeks after having for the first time a desire to read a prophecy book written by an amillennialist I was sent by a Pentecostal brother-in-Christ a book dealing with the Millennium issue…. written by an amillennialist! The book was written by W. J. Grier and called “The Momentous Event” (in French : “Le grand dénouement”). I had not told my Pentecostal friend or anyone else for that matter that I was having questions concerning the Millennium issue itself. He already knew I had rejected the secret rapture teaching 2 years earlier. This same brother-in-Christ had tried years earlier (months after my conversion) to convince me that the secret rapture teaching was false but I was not mature enough spiritually at the time to calmly consider his arguments. It would be another 4 years (early 2005) before I would completely reject the secret rapture teaching. My friend seeing my initial resistance to his warnings concerning the secret rapture teaching thought it was best to send me the aforementioned book at a later time. His timing could not have been better… I believe it was not a happy coincidence… God led me to question the premillennial position and also led my friend who was living in another city (and as I mentioned before unaware at that time that I was reconsidering the Millennium issue) to send me the book shortly after.

http://www.amazon.com/Momentous-Event-W-J-Grier/dp/0851510205

I read the book (about 120 pages) and finally came to the conviction that amillennialism was the correct view of the Millennium of Revelation chapter 20. I enjoyed the book and have recommended it to others. I think the book is a good starting point for looking at the Millennium issue.

historic model for amillennialism, source : http://www.genevaninstitute.org

historic model for amillennialism, source : http://www.genevaninstitute.org

source : http://www.genevaninstitute.org

futurist model for amillennialism, source : http://www.genevaninstitute.org

After reading Grier’s book I desired to learn more about what amillennialism generally teaches so I subsequently read more documents and listened to sermons. Here are the TEXT DOCUMENTS I remember reading after receiving amillennialism :

Philip Mauro, “The Hope of Israel, What Is It?”

General outline for “The Gospel Millennium” series of sermons (source : www.LetGodBeTrue.com)

George B. Fletcher, “The Millenium : What It Is Not”

www.LetGodBeTrue.com : “What About the Land?”

www.LetGodBeTrue.com : “Who Is The Seed of Abraham?”

Anthony Hoekema, “Amillennialism : Introduction”

Cornelis P. Venema, “Revelation 20: Part I – The Premillennialist Case”

Cornelis P. Venema, “Revealtion 20 : Part II – The Millennium is Now”

Cornelis P. Venema, “Revelation 20 : Part III – The Binding of Satan”

Cornelis P. Venema, “Revelation 20 : Part IV – The Believer’s Reign with Christ”

Philip Mauro, “Things Which Must Soon Come to Pass”

Tony Warren, “Amillennialism : A Word Direct From the Scriptures”

http://www.amazon.com/Revelation-International-Greek-Testament-Commentary/dp/080282174X

Ralph Woodrow, “His Truth is Marching On” (sold here)

David J. Engelsma, “A Defense of (Reformed) Amillennialism”

Philip Hughes, “The Millennial Reign”

David L. White, “My Shift to Covenant Theology and Amillennialism”

Lewis Neilson, “Why Not Postmillennialism?”

Philip Mauro, “The Gospel of the Kingdom”

Mark Alvis, “Ezekiel’s Temple”

Here is a list of known amillennialist authors : L. Berkhoff, A. Kuyper, W. Hendriksen, O.T. Allis, D.H. Kromminga, G.C. Berkouwer, A.A. Hoekema, G. Girod, H. Hoeksema, R.C.H. Lenski, J. Adams, G. Voss, A. Pieters, F.E. Hamilton, G. Murray, W. Rutgers, M.J. Wyngaarden, W. Messelink, W.J. Grier, W. Cox, T. Graebner, A. Hughes, Kliefoth.

*****************************************

Here is a list of AUDIO SERMONS/INTERVIEWS teaching/promoting the amillennialist view of Revelation:

http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 1”

http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 2”

http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 3”

http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 4”

http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 5”

http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 6”

http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 7”

http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 8”

Chris Hand, “Are the 1000 Years of Revelation 20 Literal? Revelation 20:1-15”

http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=1130217042

Chris Hand, “Amillennialism Described and Defended Matthew 24:1-51”

http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=12402191718

Chris Hand, “Amillennialism (continued) & Historic Premillennialism Revelation 20:1-15”

http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=320255628

Chris Hand, “Dispensationalism Defined”

http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=3902103021

Chris Hand, “Dispensationalism – It’s Doctrine Examined”

http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=3230216251

Kim Riddlebarger’s Lectures on Amillennialism :

http://christreformedinfo.org/mp3s-and-real-audio-of-academy/

Art Azurdia, “The Anticipation Of The Consummation (Revelation 20:1-3)”

Art Azurdia, “The Anticipation Of The Consummation (Revelation 20:4-6)”

Art Azurdia, “The Last Battle Take 2 (Revelation 20:7-10)”

Sam Waldron on Chris Arnzen show (“Iron Sharpens Iron”) : “The End Times Made Simple”

http://sharpens.blogspot.ca/2008/03/dr-sam-waldron-end-times-made-simple.html

Sam Waldron on Chris Arnzen show (“Iron Sharpens Iron”) : “Amillennialism Defended”

http://sharpens.blogspot.ca/2010/02/blog-post_22.html

7 Comments

Filed under Prophecy, Revelation

Doctrines of Demons Part 4 : “the Spirit speaketh EXPRESSLY”

gray-demons

“But THE SPIRIT SPEAKETH EXPRESSLY, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1st Timothy 4:1)

****************************

Let us look at 2 aspects of the statement : “the Spirit speaketh expressly” :

1) “the Spirit speaketh”

2) “speaketh expressly “

***************************

Part 1 : “the Spirit speaketh”

Harry Ironside : “All prophecy is by the Holy Spirit. It is He alone who can foresee the future. It is not given to man to do this. Men may guess what the future may be, and sometimes their guesses may turn out to be correct, but no man can speak authoritatively as to the future. He does not know what the next day may bring forth.”

John Wesley : “But the Spirit saith – By St. Paul himself to the Thessalonians, and probably by other contemporary prophets.”

The Pulpit Commentary : “… (For examples of these prophetic utterances, see Acts 11:28; Acts 13:2; Acts 20:23; Acts 21:11; 1 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Corinthians 14:1-40. ’30, 32, etc.)”

Adam Clarke : “It is very likely that the apostle refers here to a prophecy then furnished by the Holy Ghost, and probably immediately after he had written the words in the preceding verses; and as this prophecy contains things nowhere else spoken of in the sacred writings, and of the utmost moment to the Christian Church, we cannot hear or read them with too much reverence or respect.”

Matthew Poole : “It was usual with the prophets, when they declared the oracles of God, to assert in the beginning of their revelations, that the Lord hath spoken, Isaiah 1:2 ,Jeremiah 1:2, Joel 1:1. The apostle in the same manner, in the beginning of his prediction of things future…”

John Gill : “The prophecy hereafter mentioned was not an human conjecture, but, as all true prophecy, it came from the Spirit of God, who spoke or delivered it; either in the prophets of the Old Testament, who, as they spoke of the Gospel dispensation, so of the defection that should be in it… or in the Lord Jesus Christ, who foretold that false prophets would arise and deceive many; or in some of the prophets in the Christian church, such as Agabus, and others, who might in so many words foretell this thing; or rather in the apostle himself, at this time…”

Commentators are not in complete agreement as to when this prophecy was first given. Some believed that this was a new prophecy given to the Apostle Paul during his ministry. Some commentators like Mede and Poole on the other hand believed that the words “the Spirit speaketh/saith” did not refer to a revelation given in the New Testament era but rather pointed to a prophecy already found in the Old Testament in Daniel chapter 11 because of the words “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, NOR THE DESIRE OF WOMEN…” (Daniel 11:37a) which are the only prophetic words in the Old Testament to my knowledge pointing in any way to celibacy if this be how we are to interpret the words “the desire of women”*. I tend to believe that Paul had received a new prophecy giving further characteristics of the future apostasy which he had already mentioned previously during his ministry (see warning to the Ephesian elders in Acts chapter 20, 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2). I don’t believe Daniel chapter 11 has anything to do with 1st Timothy chapter 4 because the events of Daniel 11 were all fulfilled prior to the Coming of Christ as ably demonstrated in Philip Mauro’s book “The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation”.

*concerning the “desire of women” here is what we find in the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown commentary : “Elliott rightly makes the antitypical reference be to Messiah. Jewish women desired to be mothers with a view to Him, the promised seed of the woman (Genesis 30:23; Luke 1:25, Luke 1:28).”

***************************

Part 2 : “speaketh expressly”

Albert Barnes : “Speaketh expressly – In express words. It was not by mere hints, and symbols, and shadowy images of the future; it was in an open and plain manner – in so many words. The object of this statement seems to be to call the attention of Timothy to it in an emphatic manner, and to show the importance of attending to it.”

Vincent’s Word Studies : “Expressly. In express words.”

John Wesley : “Expressly – As concerning a thing of great moment, and soon to be fulfilled.”

Matthew Poole : “… that is, either clearly revealed it to me, as Acts 10:19, and Acts 13:2, thus expressly is opposed to obscurely; for sometimes the revelations given to the prophets were under shadows and figures in divers manners, but the Spirit discovered in a most intelligible manner what seducers should come in the church”

John Calvin : “By a solemn announcement, therefore, he recommends to us this prophecy; and, not satisfied with doing this, he adds that it is plain, and free from all ambiguity.”

Adam Clarke : “Manifestly, openly.”

John Gill : “… this prophecy was delivered not in dark sayings, in an enigmatical way, in an obscure manner, as prophecies generally were, but in plain language, and easy to be understood, and wanted no interpreter to unriddle it; and seeing that it is nowhere to be found in so many express words elsewhere: and moreover, the apostle does not say the Spirit “hath spoken”, but the Spirit “speaketh”; then, at the time of the writing of these words, in and by him….”

As I mentioned in a previous post I find it sad that many professing Christians today have not taken the proper time to study the prophecy in 1st Timothy chapter 4 (its context, meanings of original Greek words especially the two Scriptural meanings attached to the word “daimonion”, Church History, comparing Scripture with Scripture, etc…) and have mistakenly interpreted it in so many different ways.  The true and unique historical fulfillment of the prophecy was understood by Bible believers in the past. I believe the wording of the first part of the prophecy forbids multiple and divergent interpretations of the passage: “The (Holy) Spirit speaketh EXPRESSLY”.  In other words : not with ambiguity, not figuratively, not symbolically, not darkly and not in parables.  If there is confusion today the fault is not with the prophecy, which is expressed clearly, or with the Apostle Paul but with the interpreters who because of historical ignorance and/or Scriptural ignorance and/or lack of study and/or intellectual pride (which is not lacking among Protestants and Baptists today) and/or lack of prayer/fellowship with God and/or prejudice and/or emotional attachments  and/or ecumenical compromising are unable or unwilling to understand the true fulfillment of this prophecy (and the accompanying prophecy of 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2).  Did not Paul in his own day fear the circulation of false teachings concerning the Lord’s return (2nd Thessalonians 2:2-3a)? I believe the devil has been busy in past centuries spreading confusion through his ministers (2nd Corinthians 11:13-15) not only about the Return of Christ but also concerning the coming of the son of perdition, the spiritual leader of the great apostasy. That could also explain in part the different interpretations of this passage despite the fact the Spirit spoke EXPRESSLY.

I believe if interpreters had spent more time considering the 2 possible meanings of the Greek word “daimonion” (translated “demons”) then they would have better understood the doctrines concerning demons. Consequently they would have properly identified the apostates who have held them historically. I hope to explore these “doctrines concerning demons” in detail in a future post God willing.

In considering the present spiritual declension within professing Christianity I believe we would be wise to look at (rather than automatically dismiss) the eschatological teachings of pious believers of past centuries. Let us not act foolishly like Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, who disdained the wisdom and experience of the elders who stood before his wise father and preferred new ideas (1st Kings chapter 12). Question : could all of those past Bible believers who were more pious than we are, who were more zealous for the Bible than we are, who were humbler before God than we are, who were more fruitful in Christian service and evangelism than we are and who were more apt to pray and fast than we are have been completely ignorant concerning the fulfillment of Bible prophecies pertaining to the long period of time of the Church age? Should we zealously promote the writings of the Puritans while rejecting most if not all of their eschatology? Why would God have kept those past, zealous believers “in the dark” while supposedly giving greater understanding and discernment to the lazy, comfortable professing Christians of today? What some past believers may have lacked in terms of a historical vantage point they more than made up for in terms of Scriptural wisdom. I do not believe past Protestants were perfect in their understanding of each prophetic detail – I disagree with some authors on minor points of interpretation – but when it comes to interpreting the figurative, prophetic language of the Scriptures why not go to the experts: the most spiritual, pious, doctrinally-sound, fruitful believers in history? Believers who have been on the spiritual battle front. Believers who have been used instrumentally by God to lead sinners to repentance and faith in Christ. Believers who could teach us a thing or two about self-denial. Believers who were part of true spiritual revivals. If you want advice on how to play hockey at a professional level don’t seek the advice of a minor league player… go to Wayne Gretzky or Patrick Roy or Mark Messier. Let us remember that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10a). If one wants to properly understand Biblical prophecy one must fear the Lord in sincerity and truth. Who would be the better example of a professing believer fearing the Lord, Gary Demar or Jonathan Edwards? Who would be the better example of a man of fervent prayer, Kenneth Gentry or John Knox? Who would be the better example of Christian service, David Chilton or Charles Spurgeon? Who was persecuted more for their views of AntiChrist, the German preterists of the 19th century or the Waldensians of the Middle Ages? Who evangelized more in more hostile circumstances,  John Walvoord or John Wesley? Who had a higher view of the Scriptures, Hugo Grotius or John Gill? Doesn’t Christ call us to look at the spiritual fruit of teachers (Matthew chapter 7)?

****************************

TO BE CONTINUED

****************************

See also :

Doctrines of Demons Part 1

Doctrines of Demons Part 2

Doctrines of Demons Part 3

Paul’s Pastoral Prophecies : From Self-Flagellation to Self-Flattery

Revelation 9’s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9’s Beatles – Part 6

****************************

Leave a comment

Filed under False teachings, Prophecy