Posted by: watchmancurtis | December 9, 2010

The Dangers of Partial Preterism Postmillennialism

I’ve come to the realization that many of today’s most well-known Christian leaders believe and teach a very different view of the End Times than I see the Bible teaching.  Some of these teachers are open about their preterist/postmillennial views while others seem to fly under the radar without openly stating their views.  Still others have a mixture of teachings which are very difficult to follow or pin down on what they actually believe.  Do you know what Eschatology those you listen to teach?  Perhaps you should find out.  I wrote this at the request of a friend who was struggling to see the dangers and problems of this teaching.  Hopefully it helped him and perhaps it will help you as well.

Here are three definitions you will need to understand before proceeding further.

Preterism- The belief that the prophecies of Revelation as well as Matthew 24  have already been fulfilled.

Partial Preterism- The belief that most of Revelation has been fulfilled, but Jesus has not returned yet.

Post-Millennialism- The belief that we are currently in the 1,000 year (not literal) reign and that Christ will return at the end of it.  They see the world getting better and better with Christians becoming the dominant force on the Earth which will allow Jesus to return. 

The Dangers of Partial Preterism (Past Fulfillment) and Postmillennialism (We are in the 1,000 year reign now)

1.  It teaches Replacement Theology.  Partial Preterists believe that God is finished with Israel and now all the promises of Israel and the Jewish people belong to the church and no longer to Israel. 

            -Romans 11  has Paul telling the Gentiles not to become conceited and think that they have replaced the Jews.  He reminds them that the church does not support Israel…Israel supports the church.

2.  It ignores the clear commands of Jesus to watch and be ready because, according to them, Jesus will not come until we have taken dominion of the earth.  In my opinion, the church should be in a time of repentance and preparation, but Partial Preterists see no need to prepare for difficult times because things are going to get better and better.  (Matthew 24:42-44, Matthew 25:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 2 Peter, 3:11)

3.  It causes the church to look for world-wide revival instead of the signs of the times. (Matthew 16:3, 2 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 13, Daniel 7-12)

4.  It teaches a flawed hermeneutic (way of understanding scripture).  Some things are seen as literal (although fulfilled) and others are spiritual.  It becomes a pick and choose cafeteria style way of reading scripture which calls into question a lot of what is taught.

5.  It relegates large portions of scripture as irrelevant for today.  They teach that all but the last two chapters of Revelation, Matthew 23-26 and 2 Thessalonians 2 have all been fulfilled…not to mention Daniel and many Old Testament sections.

6.  It  places the millennial reign today instead of after Christ returns.  Because of this, it makes the flawed assumption that scripture applying to the 1,000 year reign of Christ is for us today.

 

7.  It teaches that we are reigning today, when the Word teaches we will reign with Christ when He returns.  1 Corinthians 4:8 says that we are not kings and we are not reigning yet.  Daniel and Revelation both say that God’s kingdom will come once Jesus returns.  Revelation 1:6 has sometimes been misunderstood to say we have been made kings and priests when it should read a kingdom of priests.  We are not reigning yet.

8.  Paul specifically taught against Preterism both in dealing with Hymenaeus and Phyletus (2 Timothy 2:17-18) as well as in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. 

9.  It puts the blessed hope as being a Christianized world where peace is brought on by the church as opposed to the return of Jesus and the peace which He establishes.

10.  It teaches a misguided mandate that we are to have dominion over the earth as opposed to Jesus coming to establish dominion.  (Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 11:-15-19)

11.  Partial Preterism can lead to full Preterism (which in my opinion is even worse).

12.  Prophetic words given by Partial Preterists will always be heard through a flawed filter that refuses to see the world getting worse and God’s judgment awaiting.  They will always filter through a “The world is getting better” viewpoint.

13.  It teaches that the Day of the Lord happened in A.D. 70 and there is no future wrath of God.  Again this relegates large portions of scripture as irrelevant and takes the warning away for us.

14.  It teaches a message that is nice to hear, but isn’t truth.  (2 Timothy 4:3-4, Jeremiah 6:9-11, Isaiah 30:9-10, Lamentations 2:14 (the prophet exposes sin and leads to repentance))

15.  Some teach that there will be no rapture.  They say the rapture is when God’s church rises to the level of Christ Himself.

16.  Teaches that Jesus cannot come unless the church does it’s part.  (Trusting in our strength and limiting Jesus)

17.  Some teach and believe that we are the manifest sons of God and that we will be a new breed of super Christians who will usher in the return of Christ.

18.  Because they see the world becoming “Christianized”, they are more willing to extend an ecumenical hand to places that I believe we should not…such as the Catholics and Mormons.

19.  Partial Preterists teach more than one coming of Christ.  They claim He returned in A.D. 70 in judgment.  Some say this was a literal coming while others say it was a spiritual coming.  Full Preterists teach this was the second coming of Christ and He will not come again.  It is my belief that the Bible teaches only one return of Christ.  (Acts 1:11)

20.  Some teach that God’s character would not allow a time of testing like this to take place with an evil ruler in place over the world and the wrath of God to kill so many.  The early Christians however, endured much evil and persecution as do many Christians in the world today.

21.  In my opinion the teachings of those who say we are in the millennial reign now are open to the possibility of following the Antichrist.

          In the words of Prof. H. Hanko…

“How nice it would be if we did not have to worry about persecution, about the terrible tribulation of the Antichrist’s kingdom. How nice it would be if we could rather look forward to our faith pervading all the world. The song of postmillennialism is a lullaby. It is a sweet siren song that gradually sings the child of God to sleep. It is a song which is so beautiful, so entrancing, that he forgets all about this calling to watch for the coming of the Lord. And so when a very beautiful and glorious kingdom comes to this world, he will say: Ah, our dreams are realized, our hopes are fulfilled, our longings are satisfied; the kingdom of our Christ has come. But, lo and behold, it is the kingdom, not of Christ, but of Antichrist.

Do you respond to this by saying , “Never fear. I will be able to tell the difference. I can never possibly confuse the two. I know how Christ’s kingdom is different from that of Antichrist”?

If you say this, then all I can do is warn you that the deception is very real and very much a possibility. The Lord was deeply concerned about this very thing when He told us, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch, that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before” (Matthew 24:23-25). The hope of the believer, and for this I am profoundly grateful, is not on any kingdom in this sorry world, but is fastened with eagerness, with longing and with great optimism, on the everlasting kingdom of righteousness which shall be realized only in the new heavens and in the new earth where sin shall be no more.

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Posted by: watchmancurtis | September 28, 2010

Revelation Study 14

Time has a sneaky way of slipping by.  I have had every intention of continuing our study in Revelation, but have just been in an extremely busy season.  It’s been good busy, but still busy.  Today I wanted to pick up our study in Revelation chapter 8.  We have just seen what I believe is a clear picture of the rapture in chapter 7 and we ended on such a great note with believers before the throne of God promised to be taken care of forevermore.  Chapter 8, however, takes on a different tone.  We will quickly see that while it is hugs and hallelujahs in heaven, those left upon the earth must deal with the wrath of God. 

Verses 1-2:  Here we have the seventh seal being broken.  The mood shifts immediately because now we have complete silence in heaven for about half an hour.  I believe this silence is the heaviness and seriousness of what is about to come.  It is the calm before the storm if you will.  There are many chapters in the Bible which describe the wrath of God and none of them are pleasant to read.  God is a God of love, but he is also a God of justice.   He has been patient with His wrath according to 2 Peter 3:7-9 which says, “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  While His patience has put off the wrath and judgment of men, it will come at some point.  It is here in chapter 8 that we see it begin as seven angels who stand before God are given seven trumpets which will declare the judgment of God upon the earth.  It is possible that Gabriel is one of these angels because we are told in Luke 1:19 that he stands in the presence of God. 

Verses 3-5:  Here we have an interesting scene of an angel before an altar.  He adds incense to the altar to add to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne.  I’m guessing many of us do not see our prayers in this way.  I think it is a beautiful picture of our prayers being lifted up before the Lord like incense.  They are a beautiful aroma to the Lord.  2 Corinthians 2:15 says, “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God…”  After this picture we have the angel take the censor, fill it with the fire of the altar and throw it to the earth.  The peals of thunder, sounds, flashes of lightning and earthquake represent the presence of God as we have seen throughout the book of Revelation.

Verse 6:  The seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets.

Verses 7-12:  The first trumpet sounds and hail and fire, mixed with blood were thrown to the earth, and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.  One thing I should note here is that the seven trumpets come out of the seven seals.  They are not transpiring at the same time.  It is when the seventh seal is opened that the trumpets are given.  When we arrive at the bowl judgments, we will see many similiarities, but on a grander scale as amazing as that is.  This first trumpet judgment reminds me of Sodom and Gomorrah where we are told in Genesis 19:24 “The Lord rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah- from the Lord out of the heavens.”  Both judgments are due to the rebellion and sin of the people.  Both groups of people were given chances to turn away from their ways and yet refused.

The second trumpet sounds and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.  This sounds like a meteor, but it cannot be proven that is what it is.

The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of the waters.  The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.  Again, we have something that sounds exactly like a meteor or asteroid falling to the ground with different results.  This one makes the waters bitter.  Water generally represents the Holy Spirit and we can make a parallel with what is happening here.  I think appropriately we see that because of the rebellion of these people, they have rejected Holy Spirit and  are left with water that is bittered and poisoned. 

The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.  The ungodly who are left to endure the wrath of God have refused the true light of Jesus.  He tells us in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Now we see this judgment begin to take the literal light away even as they have refused the light the God offers through Christ.

These judgments are horrific and huge in scale and yet are not even the worst of what is to come.  I know that many people do not want to think of a God who would cause this kind of devastation and death, but His character demands justice and holiness.  Just as Christ was slain before the foundation of the world, the wrath of God has been on hold from the moment Adam and Eve brought sin into the world.  We must remember that His love and patience is what has kept it on hold.  He gives so many chances.  Those who are left for the wrath are there only because they heard the truth and spit on it.  We will see later on that even in the midst of their dire situation that they will still refuse to turn away from their wickedness.

Verse 13: We see an eagle flying in midheaven saying, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”   Basically we are told here that the worst is yet to come. 

This chapter is a heavy chapter.  It is easy to see why there is silence in heaven before the trumpets are sounded.  Instead of focusing on the heaviness and darkness of this chapter though, I would like for us to use this as a time for thankfulness and self-examination.  Let us be thankful for a merciful and patient God who loves us and offers us forgiveness.  Let us be thankful that we are not appointed to wrath according to 1 Thessalonians 5:9.  God did not create hell for man.  He created hell for Satan and his demons.  He sent Jesus for us.  It is His will that we should all put our faith and trust in Christ and thus be saved from the coming wrath.  But before we leave, let’s take an inward look at ourselves.  As a believer in Christ I will not have to face the wrath of God, thankfully.  I do, however, want to make sure that my heart is set on things above.  Let us make sure that we are living for the Lord.  Let us be quick to repent when we make a mistake.  Let us love the truth and pursue it with all we have.  Finally, let us do all that we can to save the lost from the wrath that is coming for those who do not accept Jesus and the forgiveness that He offers.  Be blessed!

Posted by: watchmancurtis | March 9, 2010

Revelation Study Week 13

Finally, I am back to blogging our study.  I’ve had to take a few weeks off, just because I haven’t had the time to blog.  Today, however, I am beginning the road to catching up.  Last week we examined Revelation chapter 7 as we rapidly approached the wrath of God being poured out on the earth.  Before God’s wrath is poured out, however, we see two important events transpire which not only give us an interesting break, but are one of the greatest hopes of our faith.

Chapter 7 verse 1: If you remember our look at the first six seals in our last study, you will remember that we were comparing Matthew 24 to the seals of Revelation 6.  As we start chapter 7 we see this continued as John mentions the angels at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds.  Matthew 24:31 says, “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”  Now the context is slightly different, but we will see in a minute that there is an explanation for this.  In Matthew 24 we see a picture of the rapture as Jesus sends out His angels to gather his people together.  In Revelation chapter 7, however, we see four angels holding back the four winds which are part of God’s wrath.

Verses 2-3: We see an angel carrying the seal of God telling the angels to hold off until the bond-servants of God have received  the seal on their foreheads. 

Verses 4-8: The number of those sealed is 144,000.  We are also told that the ones sealed are 12,000 from each tribe of Israel.  I have heard a lot of speculation regarding this verse.  I grew up being taught this number was purely symbolic…representing the complete church in heaven.  There are a couple of problems with this reasoning, though.  The first problem is that there is no indication that the number is symbolic.  Now I’m not saying that there is no meaning in this number, but there is nothing here to say that it should not also be taken literally.  The second problem is that the ones who are sealed in no way represent the church.  These are taken from the tribes of Israel.  Now if you hold to replacement theology (which teaches that the church has replaced Israel) then you would have no trouble making this leap.  In my opinion, however, that is a teaching that is impossible to reconcile with the Bible and a dangerous view as well.  These 144,000 are Jewish people who are sealed and will go through the wrath of God.  They will be protected, however during this tumultuous time.  We will see them again and find out a bit more in Revelation chapter 14.

Verses 9-14:  This is one of the most fascinating sections in the book of Revelation.  Here, between the 6th and 7th seals, we find a great multitude in heaven wearing white robes.  This group of people are praising God and giving thanks.  One of the elders approaches John and asks  him who these people are and where did they come from?  John, turns it back to the elder and seeks and explanation for him.  The elder obliges by saying, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  This, in my opinion, is a very clear picture of the rapture.  These people are not martyrs.  We see the martyrs in Chapter 6 under the altar.  This is a different group entirely.  We are also told specifically where they come from.  They come out of the great tribulation.  You have to be in something to be taken out of it.  We as Christians will experience a good part of the 70th Week of Daniel, including the great tribulation.  The great tribulation, according to Jesus in Matthew 24:15-21, begins after the Abomination of Desolation which does not happen until the mid-point of the 70th Week of Daniel.  In my opinion, this group in chapter 7 represents those who are raptured out of the great tribulation, but before the wrath of God is poured out.  Up until now, we have not experienced the wrath of God.  I know many teach that all 7 years is the wrath of God, but that is really not the case.  The first 3 years are the rise of the Antichrist’s power climaxed with the Abomination of Desolation and the declaration of the Antichrist that he is God.  That begins the  great tribulation and continues up until the rapture followed by the wrath of God in the trumpets and the bowl judgments.  We see this in the 6th seal in chapter 6 verses 15-17.   “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hid us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the WRATH of the Lamb; for the great day of their Wrath has come, and who is able to stand.”

Verses 15-17:  This section of scripture is our hope.  This is what it means once we are finally in the presence of the Lord.  “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”  Don’t lose sight of this.  When struggles come…remember these verses.  One day it will all be different.  One day those struggles will be gone.  One day we will be with Jesus.

We continue to enjoy our study as we delve into the mysteries of Revelation.  I am blessed to be surrounded by people who not only love the Lord, but love and seek truth.  That makes all the difference.  Be blessed and I will hopefully have this weeks study blogged in the next day or two.

Posted by: watchmancurtis | February 2, 2010

Revelation Study Week 12

Today’s study had us examining the mysterious and challenging seven seals of Revelation.  We covered a lot of ground today as we jumped back and forth through the Word trying to gain a better understanding of this topic.  About four years ago I was asked to fill in as the leader of a study of the book of Revelation and the topic was the seven seals.  There was only one problem.  I had no clue of what they meant.  I remember asking the Lord to give me understanding in this area and I am thankful He did.  The Lord led me to Matthew 24 which was like a puzzle piece fitting perfectly into place.  Once you understand the seven seals I think you can see that they are the key to understanding the rest of Revelation.

Derek Prince called Matthew 24 the spine of End Times prophecy.  It is a remarkable account of the signs to watch for before Christ returns.  What I was amazed to find there on that day in which I prayed for help, was the seven seals.  Each seal is mentioned in order by Christ.  They aren’t called seals there, but it is hard to miss them when you know what to look for.  As we go through each seal I will also list them from the account in Matthew 24.

Seal 1: Revelation 6:1-2 The first seal is a white horse with a rider carrying a bow.  He is going out to conquer.  I have heard it argued that this represents Christ since the rider is on a white horse and we see Christ on a white horse at the end of Revelation, but there are a few problem with this theory.  First of all, Jesus is the one opening the seals.  He is not the one going forth.  Secondly, Jesus returns with a sword coming out of his mouth…not a bow.  Perhaps this is someone who wants to look like Christ.

Matthew 24:5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.”  This first seal seems to be a false religion personified by the Antichrist who conquers by deception.  He will claim to be God and will mislead many.

Seal 2:  Revelation 6:3-4 The second seal is a red horse with a rider who takes peace from the earth so that men slay one another.  He represents war.

Matthew 24:6-7a “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.  For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.”

Seal 3: Revelation 6:5-6 The third seal is a black horse and a rider carrying a pair of scales in his hand.  A voice is heard saying that it will cost a days wages just to get a little food.  Yet there will be rich people concerned about their oil and wine.  This seal represents famine.

Matthew 24:7b “And there will be famines”

Seal 4: Revelation 7-8 The fourth seal in an ashen/pale horse and Death is its rider.  Hades is following close behind.  They are given authority over a fourth of the earth to kill with sword, famine, pestilence and beasts of the earth.

Matthew 24:7b-8 (King James Version) “And there will be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”  We have seen war, famine and pestilence now in these seals.  So far they match up perfectly.

Seal 5: Revelation 6:9-11  This seal is different from the previous four.  We do not see a horse and rider here.  Now we see those who have been killed for the cause of Christ.  These are martyrs.  They are waiting for justice to be done, but they are told to wait a little longer.

Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.”

After this Jesus gives a few more details of this period of time.  We are told that when you see the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel that those who are reading this in Judea are to flee to the mountains.  The Abomination of Desolation does not happen until the midpoint of the 70th Week of Daniel…that is three and half years into the seven year period.  This is found in Daniel 12:11 where there will be 1,290 days or three and half years.  We are also told that it is at this point that the Great Tribulation begins (Matt. 24:21).  Those who hold to a Pretribulational rapture see the whole seven years as the Great Tribulation.  Yet Jesus says that the Great Tribulation does not begin until the Abomination of Desolation is set up. 

Seal 6: Revelation 6:12-17  This is a powerful seal.  There are cosmic signs in the heavens.  The sun is darkened and the moon is turned to blood.  The sky is split apart like a scroll rolling up.  Every mountain and island are moved out of their places and the kings of the earth and many others hide because they realize the wrath of God has come.  You will find these very cosmic signs in Matthew 24:29-31, Isaiah 13:6-16, Joel 2:30-32, and Acts 2:20-21.  It is interesting to note that it is only after the sixth seal that the wrath of God is said to be about to come.  Most people see the wrath of God has the full seven years of the 70th Week of Daniel, however that is not the case.  The wrath of God or the Day of the Lord is not until the end.  In fact is impossible for the wrath to be the full seven years unless the cosmic signs happen first.  Joel 2:30-32 tells us that these signs will be sent BEFORE the day of the Lord.

Matthew 24:29-31 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.  And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” 

Immediately is a very important word here.  It is time sensitive.  As soon as the tribulation of those days is over the cosmic signs will be seen and then Jesus will come and have his angels gather his elect from one end of the sky to the other.  This is a very clear picture of the rapture to me.  Can we see this in Revelation as well?  I think so.  Revelation chapter 7:9-17 shows a great multitude in heaven after the cosmic signs.  John is told that these are those who have come out of the Great Tribulation and they will not have to suffer any longer.  At the beginning of Revelation 7 we even see four angels at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds.  The same picture we see in Matthew 24.  I know many do not teach this, but I firmly believe that is clear in scripture.

There was a question at this point regarding Matthew 24:24 where Jesus said that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”  This is the verse that Preterists (those who see these things as already being fulfilled in A.D. 70) hang their hat on.  They say that these verses are not pointing to a future event for us, but events that had to be fulfilled during the lives of the people Jesus was talking to.  Yet is that what Jesus was saying?  Let’s look at the preceding verses.

Matthew 24:32-34 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too when you see all these things, recognize that He is near right at the door.  Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

The fig tree, in my opinion, represents Israel.  You can see this is Jeremiah 24 and Hosea 9:10 and someone else mentioned Jesus coming to Nathanial under the fig tree.  Jesus is saying that the generation that sees Israel blossom again will not pass away until all of these things have been fulfilled.  Israel became a nation in May of 1948.  Jerusalem was gained back in 1967.  In Luke 21 we are told that “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  My friends the time of the Gentiles is closing if it hasn’t already closed.  Jesus is coming back soon.  I believe with all my heart that there will be people alive who saw either the miracle of 1948 (which fulfilled a prophecy in Isaiah 66 about a nation being born in a day) or the gaining back of Jerusalem, when Christ returns.  He is at the door and we must be ready. 

Like I said, we covered a lot of ground today.  I didn’t have time to cover everything we talked about, but our next study (in two weeks) will be a review of everything we talked about today so perhaps I’ll be able to share more then.  Until then be watchful, prayerful and ready.

Our Revelation study ended up as a review and closer examination of last weeks look at the 70 Weeks of Daniel.  It was a great discussion and one that was needed I think.  I know one of the questions that is common in this study is “have these things already happened?”  The answer for me is a resounding no!  I came up with 20 reasons why the 70th Week of Daniel has not been fulfilled.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will help.  Next week we will delve into the seven seals of Revelation 6.  It should be fun.

 

1.     National Israel has not accepted Jesus as their Messiah…thus finishing transgression, receiving atonement and bringing in everlasting righteousness for the Jewish people.  (Daniel 9:24)

2.     Vision and Prophecy have not been sealed up.  (Daniel 9:24, Acts 2:17)

3.     The Most Holy Place has not been anointed.  (Daniel 9:24)

4.     The firm covenant comes AFTER the destruction of Jerusalem which was in A.D. 70.  (Daniel 9:27)

5.     Jesus did not confirm a seven year covenant that ended sacrifices and grain offerings three and a half years into it.  (Daniel 9:27)

6.     There was no seven year covenant that ended sacrifices and grain offerings in the middle of it in A.D. 70.  (Daniel 9:27)

7.     Jesus spoke of the Abomination of Desolation as a yet future event.  (Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:31, Matthew 24:15)

8.     Daniel 11:31 makes it very clear that Jesus is not the one who stops the sacrifices or sets up the abomination of Desolation.

9.     There was no one in A.D. 70 who came in accordance with Satan with all power and signs and false wonders.  (2 Thessalonians 2:9, Revelation 13)

10.   The Prince who is to come was not destroyed by the second coming of Christ in A.D. 70.  (Daniel 9:27, 2 Thessalonians 2:8)

11.     There was no false prophet who set up an image of the Beast/Antichrist/Prince who is to come, demanding people to worship him.  (Daniel 9:27, Revelation 13:14-15)

12.    There was no mark given people in A.D. 70 that kept Christians from buying or selling unless they worshipped the Beast.  (Revelation 13:16-17)

13.     Revelation was not written until A.D. 96…more than twenty years after the events of A.D. 70.  (quote from Irenaeus puts Revelation during the time of Domitian.)

14.     There was no resurrection or rapture in A.D. 70 which precede Christ’s coming to the earth and the Day of the Lord.  (Daniel 12:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)

15.      The sun was not darkened and the moon was not turned to blood in A.D. 70.  (Joel 2:31, Matthew 24:29, Acts 2:20, Revelation 6:12-17)

16.      There was no world-wide tribulation unequaled by any other time in A.D. 70.  (Daniel 12:1, Matthew 24:21-22)

17.      The kings of the earth and great men and slaves did  not hide from the wrath of God in A.D. 70.  (Revelation 6:15)

18.      All ungodly people did not worship the beast in A.D. 70.  (Revelation 13:8)

19.      There was no earthquake stronger than any other in A.D. 70.  (Revelation 16:18)

20.     The kings of the earth did not gather their armies to battle Christ and His army in A.D. 70.  (Revelation 19:19)

Posted by: watchmancurtis | January 19, 2010

Revelation Study Week 10

Today we looked at one of the, if not the, most amazing prophecies in the Bible.  This prophecy shows how awesome, powerful and all-knowing our God is.  It should increase your faith…I know it has mine!  It should also make you ask this question, “Am I ready and watching for the return of Christ?”  Microwave some popcorn, grab a drink and something to write on and take a look with us at the astounding prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Daniel.

Today’s study kept us in the book of Daniel for all of our time.  I felt it was imperative that we lay a foundation for what we will be looking at in the rest of Revelation.  It is very hard to study Revelation without looking closely at Daniel in the process. 

Before we get into Daniel I want to bring up a few verses in the New Testament that puzzled me for years.

  • Mark 5:42b-43- “…they were all completely astounded.  And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this,”
  • Mark 7:35-36- “And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly.  And He gave them orders not to tell anyone;”
  • Luke 4:41- Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!”  But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.
  • Luke 5:13b-14- And immediately  the leprosy left him.  And He ordered him to tell  no one
  • Luke 8:56- Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.
  • John 2:3-4- When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”  And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us?  My hour has not yet come.”

All of these verses made me wonder why Jesus did not want people to tell about who He was and what He was doing.  You would think He would want everyone telling about it.  The answer to my question was found in the book of Daniel.  In Daniel chapter 9 we find a prophecy that was given to Daniel and the Jewish people.  This prophecy not only answers my questions, but much more.

24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.  25 “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.  26 “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.  And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.  27 “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Ok…that is a lot to take in.  Let’s break down this prophecy into manageable parts.  The word weeks here means seven.  In this context it is referring to 70 sets of 7 years.  That is a total of 490 years.  The beginning point of this prophecy is a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.  That decree can be found in Nehemiah chapter 2:1-8.  The 70 weeks are broken up into three groups.  There is seven weeks/sevens (49 years), sixty-two weeks/sevens (434 years) and one seven (7 years). 

The first week is the start of the prophecy and covers 49 years which covers the time that Jerusalem was rebuilt.

The end of the sixty-nine weeks (49+434=483 years=173,880 days) was when the Messiah was to come.  Luke 19:28-44 tell of Jesus riding in on a donkey.  As He is riding in, His disciples begin waving palm branches and declaring, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  This infuriated the Pharisees nearby because they knew that these people were declaring Jesus to be the Messiah.  They ordered Jesus to rebuke His disciples.  This day was not just any ordinary day, however.  Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”  This was the day that had been prophecied by Daniel.  This was the day that all of Israel should have been looking and watching for.  The sad fact is they missed it.  Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem and began to weep saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace!  But now they have been hidden from your eyes.”  It saddened Jesus that so very few recognized this day and recognized Him as King.  Daniel had seen to the very day when Jesus would come…how amazing!  This then, is the answer to my question.  Jesus did not want it announced that He was Messiah the King, because there was a day where that was to be done.

So we see the beginning of the prophecy and that during the time of Nehemiah Jerusalem would be rebuilt in times of distress.  We see that the very day of Jesus’ first coming was foretold.  Verse 26 says that after the first sixty-nine weeks the Messiah would be cut off and have nothing.  It was at this point that Jesus was crucified.  Verse 26 of Daniel chapter 9 goes on to say that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed by the people of the prince who is to come.  This prince as we will see many times in our study is the Antichrist/False messiah.  When Israel missed that special day, Jesus said that it would now be hidden from their eyes.  It was at this point that the 70 Weeks of Daniel comes to a stop until a future time.  Paul refers to this time in Romans 11 as the time of the Gentiles.  Once the time of the Gentiles finishes, Israel will recognize Jesus as their Messiah and will be saved. 

So we are now waiting for the last week (7 years) to begin.  What will start this period of time?  Verse 27 says that the prince who is to come (Antichrist) “will make a firm covenant with the many for one week (7 years), but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”   So in the middle of this last seven (7 years) the Antichrist will break the covenant (which is most likely with Israel, since this prophecy is for the Jewish people and involves many nations) he has made and an abomination of desolation will be set up in the temple.  We will see this picture in Matthew, 2 Thessalonians and Revelation too. 

I know this has been a lot of information.  I pray that I have been able to present it in a way that is clear and understandable.  We had a great study with lots of questions.  This is kind of like the calculus of Bible study.  We are no longer adding and subtracting.  It isn’t always easy, but it is clear if you search it out.  Next week we will be looking at the seven seals in Revelation chapter 6.  This chapter, to me, is THE key to understanding the book of Revelation.  I am looking forward to delving into it and hearing what everyone has to say.  Feel free to ask questions or make comments.  If you disagree with what has been posted here, that is fine; but please do so in a gentle and loving spirit.  Be blessed today and keep watching. 

Posted by: watchmancurtis | January 12, 2010

Revelation Study Week 9

What is the throne room of heaven like?  It’s a question most of us have asked at one time or another.  What would it be like to be able to glimpse the glory and majesty of the dwelling place of the Most High God?  The Apostle John was given just such a glimpse.  The great thing about that is that he wrote it down for us to get at least a taste of.  Today we examined chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation and marveled at the magnificence of both Almighty God and Jesus the Lamb.  Take a peek with us as we look into this heavenly courtroom scene.

Chapter 4 Verse 1– This chapter begins with “After these things.”  This phrase tells us that we are moving on from the letters to the churches.  The phrase “Come up here” is often used as a picture of the church being called up to heaven in the rapture.   The problem with this is there is no contextual evidence that this is so.  One test I use throughout scripture is to ask myself one question.  If the reader had no prior teaching on the scripture in view, would they see it in that light?  The answer here, at least to me, is clearly no.

Verses 3-11-   John shows us a heavenly scene with the very throne of God in view.  These verses focus on the throne of God and what is in his presence.  We see the twenty-four elders and the four creatures as well as a sea of glass.  The identity of the twenty-four elders has been widely speculated on.  There are many who believe these represent human people, possibly the patriarchs or leaders of the twelve tribes of Judah as well as the twelve apostles.  There are others, including myself, who see them as angelic beings.  I don’t think you can be dogmatic about either, but is interesting to think about.  The four living creatures can also be seen in Ezekiel chapter 1, which is another mind-blowing view of heaven.  These creatures do not cease saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”  The elders fall down before the Almighty and cast their crowns before Him saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”   When I read those sections of scripture I get goosebumps.  Our God is truly a holy and amazing God.

Chapter 5 Verse 1- We see immediately that not only is God sitting on His throne, but He is holding something as well.  He is holding a book written inside and on the back which is sealed up with seven seals.  The obvious question here is what is this book and why is it sealed.  The verses that follow only add to the mystery. 

Verses 2-4-  Here we see a strong angel (are there weak ones?) ask, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?”  John looks and realizes there is no one in heaven on earth or under the earth who can do it.  The importance of this book is seen in the fact that John begins to weep because no one is found who can open it.

Verse 5- One of the twenty-four elders comforts John and tells him that there is One who can open it.  Jesus came to earth to free us from sin, show us how to live a victorious life in Him, and offer eternal life to all those who follow Him.  He also came for this moment that we are witnessing in Revelation.  Jesus overcame so He could open this book.

Verse 6- Jesus is seen here as a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.  What a description!  Horns represent authority and rule throughout the Bible.  Jesus has seven horns which means perfect authority and perfect rule.  We are told exactly what the seven eyes represent.  This represents the perfect Spirit of God.  It is the Holy Spirit which has seven parts and is sent into all the earth.

Verse 7- Jesus comes and takes the book from the Almighty’s right hand.  The right hand is a symbol of power.

Verses 8-14– The very act of taking this book causes those gathered around to fall before the Lamb.  I find the last part of verse 8 interesting in that the prayers of the saints  are seen here as golden bowls of incense.  Those who have fallen before the Lamb begin to sing, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”  The phrase in verse 11 “myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands” is significant as we will see in a moment.  All of them say in loud voices, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”  Verse 13 caused one of our members to wonder about the timing of all of this because it says that every created thing in heaven, on earth and under the earth and on the sea and in the sea, were saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”  Such an event has never occurred to this point in history. 

Now let’s take a look at this heavenly scene from a broader perspective.  The reason we covered two chapters today is that they present one scene.  It flows together.  It is my personal belief that this scene is a yet future event that will begin sometime before the 70th Week of Daniel and carry all the way through it.  It will last at least seven years as the Lamb opens each seal and events upon the earth begin change.  This scene can also be found in Daniel.  Daniel 7:9-14 shows the throne of the Ancient of Days.  We find the phrase, “thousands upon thousands and myriads upon myriads” here as well.  Verse 10 says that the court sat and the books were opened.  This is a picture of the One book that has seven seals, but also a bigger picture of Judgment that we will see in the latter part of Revelation.  Verses 11-12 give us a time marker for this event.  This involves the judgment of the beast (Antichrist).  Verses 13-14 give us the picture of Jesus as the Son of Man.  Daniel and the book of Revelation go together like a hand and glove.  This is just one example.

We had a small group today and I was really blessed.  Not just from the study, but just being with friends and enjoying time together.  Next week we are going to be in the book of Daniel for most, if not all, of our study.  We will be laying the foundation for what we will see in the rest of Revelation.  I am so excited about the next few weeks.  We are going to be looking at some of the most incredible and amazing prophecies and sections of scripture.  We are in for a wild ride!  Be blessed, and I pray that the Lord brings truth forth in your life.

Posted by: watchmancurtis | January 11, 2010

End Times Harvest of souls Challenge

Here’s an honest question for those of you out there that hold to a great worldwide revival/End Times Harvest of souls.  What verses, specifically in the New Testament show this to be so?  I’ve spent the last several weeks trying hard to find where this is coming from and all I have found so far are out of context verses from the Old Testament.   Now I’m not asking this because I have an ulterior motive.  I’m asking this because I really want to know.  I know many people who hold to this view and yet I have not heard any verses to support it.  Here are a few things I have heard in regards to it.  “God is a winner…He wouldn’t let things get worse when Christ comes back.”  “It is in the character of God for there to be an End Times Harvest.”  “If you don’t believe that the world is going to come to Jesus then you have a negative outlook.”  “Thinking that the world is going to get worse leads to a doom and gloom worldview.”  “If you think things are going to get worse you have no faith.”   These are just a few of the comments I’ve recently heard.  Yet all of them, no matter how well intentioned, are looking somewhere other than the Word for answers.  Hopefully someone can shed some light on the Biblical basis for this view.

Just this weekend I heard a very well-known minister on tv say, “It is Biblically irresponsible for us to take promises from the Bible and apply them to a future period known as the Millennium.”  This is where I think the view comes from….Postmillennialism.  This is the view that there will be no future Millennium, because either we are in the Millennium now or we are about to be.  The world will be Christianized so that Jesus can then return.  Almost every verse in regards to a great revival/end times harvest of souls is taken from verses applying to what I believe are a future millennial reign of Christ upon the earth or verses that were directly promised to Israel. 

It is my belief that many people who believe in a great revival/end times harvest are not post-millennial, yet have been unaware that the people they have listened to are.  Check for yourselves.  Be like the Bereans and search the scriptures daily to make sure that what is being taught in your pulpit and to those you listen to is true.  The Bible must be our measuring stick.  There are a lot of things that sound good and tickle our ears, but just simply aren’t true.  One verse I have seen many times is Matthew13:39, “The harvest is the end of the age.”  The problem with this verse is that the next part of the sentence tells us that the angels are the harvesters.  This is a clear picture of the rapture in my opinion.

One last thing I should mention here is that I am not looking for verses that show a revival in Israel during the Last Days.  I believe that Israel will come to know Jesus as their Messiah.  I believe there will be a great revival in the Holy Land even as the world has come against them.  I also believe that there will be a revival on some level in other parts of the world as “those who have insight instruct many” as Daniel says.  What I am looking for specifically are verses that teach that the majority of the world is going to come to Jesus and the world is going to get better as a whole.  Hopefully that will clarify things a bit.  Be blessed.

Posted by: watchmancurtis | January 5, 2010

Revelation Study Week 8

If you had to describe what kind of Christian you are, what would you say?  Do you think your description would be different than how others would describe you?  Would Jesus describe your relationship with Him differently than you would?  Sadly, the church in Laodicea was in this position.  They viewed themselves quite differently than how Jesus saw them.  They had allowed their pursuit of wealth and material things to pull them into a state of apathy and indifference.  We had a great study today as we looked at some of the lessons to be learned from this church.  Let us be vigilant in keeping our relationship with the Lord strong as we look at the last of the seven churches in Revelation.

Laodicea means “judgment of the people or opinion of the people”

Chapter 3 Verse 14– There are three descriptions that Jesus gives us of Himself here:

  • The Amen- The Greek word here means truly or let it be so.  The Hebrew word means true.  Jesus is the final and ultimate truth.  This is used as a title for God the father in Isaiah 65:16.
  • The Faithful and True Witness- Jesus knows the End from the beginning.  He is just and fair.  He can be trusted in what He says.  The concept of a witness was extremely important to the Jewish people.
  • The Beginning of the creation of God- John 1:3 says, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”  Colossians 1:16-17 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things have been created through Him and for Him.”  This description of God led to the question of whether Jesus was created or not.  While I personally do not believe He was, it was an interesting discussion.  The question was definitely not asked in order to call into question the deity of Christ as some do, but in trying to understand the trinity and their representations of God.  It was a thought-provoking discussion.  You can find more of the discussion over at my friend’s blog here http://beautyofthebible.com/2010/01/06/jesus-creator-created-both-or-other/

Verse 15– The people of this church were neither hot nor cold.  I grew up hearing that hot meant on fire and saved while cold meant against God.  Someone brought up a wonderful illustration of what I see as a more accurate description of this meaning.  There were two sources of water flowing near Laodicea.  One of these was a river that was icy cold while the other was a hot spring of water.  The cold river was refreshing while the hot spring was used for medicinal purposes.  Yet where they met the water became lukewarm.  It was neither refreshing or helpful in medicine.  Jesus isn’t telling the church that he would rather them be opposed to Him than lukewarm.  He is saying that He would rather they be helpful and passionate in some way rather than apathetic and indifferent and of no help to anyone.

Verse 16– What does it mean for Jesus to say that He will spit them out of His mouth?  I cannot see that this is talking about salvation.  While I do believe a person can throw away their salvation, I do not believe God cuts the strings of salvation on His own.  Verse 19 will bring us some enlightenment on this question.

Verse 17– The people of this church see themselves as rich and in need of nothing.  Jesus sees them very differently.  He sees them as wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.  Quite a different picture.  The people here had deceived themselves.  Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”  We have to guard against deceiving ourselves.  I’ve been contemplating this verse for a few days now.  I’ve challenged myself to answer this question and I’ll encourage you to do the same thing.  Do I see myself differently than others see me?  Do I see myself differently than Jesus sees me?  We cannot allow our perceptions to cloud us from the truth like the church of Laodicea.

Sadly, the church in Laodicea is the only church in Revelation that has no encouraging word said about it.  There is no commendation.

Verse 18– We would do well to take the advice that Jesus gives here!  Here are 3 nuggets of advice that our Lord gives:

  • Buy gold from Him that has been refined by fire to become truly rich.  The gold that Jesus is referring to is not material.  I believe that the gold He speaks of symbolizes faith.  1 Peter 1:7 may shed some light on that.  Are we storing up treasures here on earth or in heaven?  Isaiah 55:1-2 talks about the poor coming to God to buy wine and milk without money or cost.  The money we use is our faith and trust in Jesus.
  • Buy white garments to be clothed and cover nakedness.  White of course represents purity.  Adam and Eve sinned and immediately knew they were naked.  The sad part about the Laodicean church is that they do not recognize the fact that they are naked in God’s eyes.
  • Buy eye salve to anoint eyes so that sight might be gained.  The local people in this area used to make a salve for the eyes our of the waters of nearby Heiropolis.  Jesus is telling them that they need the real salve not the worldly salve.  Their vision problems are spiritual in nature.  They are not being led of the Spirit but instead are following their own desires.

Verse 19– Jesus/God disciplines those He loves.  Proverbs 3:12 and Hebrews 12:6 echo this idea.  The discipline of God is not something that is talked about much these days.  We would rather focus on the grace and prosperity of God, which are definitely part of His character.  We cannot however, ignore the fact that He disciplines as well.  One mother in our group spoke about how she disciplines in order to correct and several others offered some options for discipline for children and then we looked at it from God’s perspective and how He might discipline us.  For a child you may give a verbal warning or reminder to start things off.  If that doesn’t work you might move to a timeout or eventually a spanking.  You don’t automatically start out at the most severe and neither does God.  One of our young members of the group made a great comment by saying that the 40 years of wandering for the Israelites was like a 40 year timeout.  God disciplines out of love.  He loved His people in Laodicea, but He loved them too much to let them continue in the path that they were headed.  Once again we see repentance is the key to changing the situation.

Verse 20– The invitation is open to all.

Verses 21-22– He who overcomes will be allowed to sit down with Jesus on His throne.   The plural form of church in verse 22 implies that the audience for these letters is not just for the literal churches during John’s time.  Let us take heed!

Our study was wonderful and heartfelt today.  It is so important to examine our priorities and make sure we are in the will and protection of God.  One member of our group shared a personal story of how she didn’t have much growing up, but her family had so much love that they were happy.  Later on when she had more material things she realized that she was happier when she had less.  We think that we are so blessed in this country because we have so much, yet sometimes those blessings can be turned into a curse when we put them first in our lives.  Let us take a good long look in the mirror and make sure that our heart and our priorities are in the right place.  Have a blessed week!

Posted by: watchmancurtis | January 4, 2010

Upcoming Encounter The Cross

Just over a  month from now we will hosting our third Encounter the Cross weekend at Camp Butman near Sweetwater, TX.  The date will be February 19-21.  The Encounter the Cross weekends are a weekend of ministry based on Isaiah 53 and Luke 4:18.  You will learn about the doors we open to allow Satan to have legal access to our lives and how to close them.  It is a great opportunity to fellowship with Spirit-filled believers, encounter the power of the Holy Spirit, and get rid of some baggage along the way.  If you have an interest in attending please sign up here…http://www.waterhoseministries.com/abileneencounterapp.html

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