For the last 175 years the Futuristic prophetic viewpoint has been gaining prominence within evangelical Christianity. During that time its influence has increased from a trickle to an overwhelming flood-tide in doctrinal statements and evangelistic preaching. The curriculum of most Bible colleges and theological seminaries have totally ignored the prophetic viewpoints of our Protestant Reformation fathers and other great Bible scholars of the past. Instead, they have strictly adopted the viewpoint of prophecy which had its origin among the Jesuit priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church’s counter-reformation. It was picked up by the Plymouth Brethren churches of Great Britain and then brought to the United States and widely promoted which influenced multiplied thousands of ministers and laymen alike.
Within the last seventy-five years or so ever since the “fundamentalists” accepted Futurism, there has been a plethora of sermons and written material that has thoroughly convinced millions of Christians that it is the truth of God’s Word. They are so thoroughly convinced that most are more than willing to break fellowship with other believers and even condemn them to the region of the eternally damned over any disagreement or denial of their belief. Very few other religious issues have created more modern pharisees within the ranks of the body of Christ.
Many sincere saints have contacted this ministry and expressed their fear and apprehension to even mention in their church fellowships their doubts about the rapture. Some have even been excommunicated and considered as heretics. A classic case is a recent letter that we received from some truth-seeking trembling souls. They wrote; “my pastor says there is a rapture before the tribulation, and if I don’t believe his way, I can leave the church. Please, please help me. I am very depressed and anxiety ridden, as is my wife. We are so scared of being kicked out of the church if we disagree with the pastor. Our nerves are a jumble every time we listen to him. He sends shivers up our spines. I want the truth! I want the truth! Signed __________
Within the last forty years with the rapid advance in technology, the distress among nations, social and cultural unrest, there has been a heightened interest in prophecy with an expectation that something big is about to happen. Prophecy ‘experts’ have taken advantage of this social, political and religious climate to promote and even ‘cash in’ on the prosperous prophecy market.
The shelves of most religious book stores are attractively arranged to catch the eye and the pocketbook of the innocent and naive Christian public. Most of this material is promoting Futuristic ideas such as a secret pre-tribulation rapture of the Church, the rise of a one- man Antichrist that makes a covenant with the Jews which he breaks after three and a half years, a seven year tribulation which is purported to be the seventieth week of Daniel, the rebuilding of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem and the reinstitution of the Old Testament animal sacrificial system.
The Definition of Futurism
Futurism is that distinctive religious interpretation of Bible prophecy, allegedly based upon the message of the angel Gabriel as recorded in Daniel 9:20-27. It places the fulfillment of the last nineteen chapters of the Book of Revelation into the future with its starting point at the rapture of the church and lasting for seven years. This seven year period is supposed to be the seventieth week of Daniel. The Futurists utilize other Scriptural passages throughout the Bible to support their theory, but mainly: Matthew 24, I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and others while interpreting all symbols in a literal sense.
The Development of Futurism
In order to properly understand the historical development of Futurism, one must first have a general knowledge of the religious climate of the times in which the Roman Catholic Church was most dominant in Europe. Many Bible students of the 13th and 14th centuries accepted the “Historicist” interpretation of prophecy. This included many teachers who were loyal to the Church of Rome. Many of that time who adhered to the Historicist school of thought taught that the Beast of Revelation was a symbol of the Roman Papacy. It was this interpretation that was later adopted by the Reformation fathers of the 14th to 16th centuries. This list includes such worthies as:
- John Wycliff 1329-1384 - The “Morning Star of the Reformation”
- John Knox 1514-1572 - Scottish Presbyterian Reformer
- William Tyndale 1494-1536- Reformer, Bible translator, martyr
- Martin Luther 1483-1546 - German Reformer
- John Calvin 1509-1536 - French theologian and Reformer
- Ulrich Zwingli 1484-1531 - Swiss Reformer
- Philip Melanchthon 1497-1560 - wrote the Augsburg Confession
- Sir Isaac Newton 1642-1727 English Scientist and Bible Scholar
- John Huss 1373-1415 - Bohemian Reformer
- John Foxe 1516-1587 - wrote “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs”
- John Wesley 1703-1791 - Father of Methodism
- Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758 - Pastor, “First Great Awakening”
- George Whitefield 1714-1770 English Evangelist
- Charles G. Finney 1792-1875 American Evangelist
- Charles H. Spurgeon 1834-1892 - English Baptist Pastor
- Matthew Henry 1662-1714 - Welsh Bible Scholar
The above names are far from being a complete list of great Bible scholars, pastors and evangelists who believed the Historicist approach to prophecy with some lasting through the 19th century and well into the 20th century. The advocates of Historicism view the seventy weeks of Daniel as being completely fulfilled in the old Judah nation and ending in A.D. 34. It also views the Book of Revelation as portraying a survey of the overall history of the Christian Church. It would include the major events of European history including the Roman Empire, Papal Rome, the rise of Mohammedanism, the Protestant Reformation, the development of Christian Western Civilization and the future consummation of God’s plan of the ages in the city of New Jerusalem of Revelation 21-22.
For a more thorough explanation of the Historicist interpretation and the book of Revelation please order the book entitled, “The Book of Revelation - From an Israelite and Historicist Interpretation” which is available from this ministry.
With the brutality and iniquity of the Papacy being exposed for so long through the powerful influence of the Reformers, Rome was forced to do something to counter-act this campaign in order to maintain its strangle-hold on the common people and monarchs of Europe. A short and clear explanation is given in the book, Revelation - Four Views, a Parallel Commentary, edited by Steve Gregg. Pp 31-32.
“Coming to the defense of the papacy, Spanish Jesuits presented two alternative approaches to the historicism of the Reformers. One response was that of Francisco Ribera (1537-1591), a professor at Salamanca,(Spain) who taught that John in Revelation only foresaw events of the near future and of the final things at the end of the world, but had none of the intervening history in view. The antichrist was defined as a future individual who would arise in the end times. Babylon was seen as Rome - not under the popes - but in a future corrupted state. This was the beginning of many of the ideas that are now a part of the Futurist approach to Revelation.”
In 1826, the Librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury, S.R. Maitland discovered Francisco Ribera’s writings and published them. This theory of the postponement of the antichirst and the tribulation period into the future had already been taught for 250 years by the Jesuits. To add fuel to the fire of Futurism, another Jesuit named Emanuel Lacunza published his book entitled, “The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty” in 1816. Lacunza, along with other fellow Jesuits, had been expelled from Chile for their encouragement of treachery and violence. He wrote his book under the name of “Rabbi Ben Ezra,” a supposedly converted Jew. He added a prayer asking the Almighty to use his book for the enlightenment of the Jewish people. Lacunza set forth the theory that Jesus was to have a future two stage coming; once for His saints and then with His saints at a later date. The ultimate result of the writings of Ribera and Lacunza were that:
- the events of Revelation 4:1 and following were to take place in the future;
- the appearance of the Antichrist and the two witnesses and relative prophecies also in the future;
- all these prophetic events are scheduled to transpire in a very short space of seven years between the first and second comings of Jesus;
- the rapture of the church is to take place as a future event which will be the starting point for all the other events to follow.
Lacunza’s book came into the hands of Edward Irving, a young and brilliant Scottish Presbyterian minister during the 1820’s. He accepted the task of translation of this devious theory from Spanish into English. Irving was aware of the true identity of Lacunza as being a Spanish Jesuit and not a converted Jewish Rabbi. Still, he continued to translate and publish a theory that would turn out to be one of the most detrimental misconceptions of Scripture in the 2,000 year history of the Christian Church. When he published his English version in London in 1827, he claimed he heard a voice telling him to preach a secret rapture of the church with the two-stage theory of Christ’s future comings.
In 1830, Margaret MacDonald, a young Scottish lassie supposedly had a revelation by means of a ‘vision’ from God. In her ‘vision’ she saw Jesus coming in a secret rapture to remove the righteous saints from planet earth. At the time she was attending a church that was connected with the Brethren Movement of which Edward Irving was closely associated. Naturally, Irving seized upon this ‘vision’ as a witness to his teaching and began to spread this theory even more enthusiastically.
In 1833 in the city of London, meetings were being conducted by some Irvingite followers. Among those invited to the meetings was John Nelson Darby, who possessed a keen interest in prophecy and had exceptional writing skills. Soon he became convinced of the Irvingite teaching of a secret rapture and other Futuristic interpretations of prophecy originated long before by the Jesuits. Darby began to publish and distribute his new found secret rapture theory. He eventually made five trips to the United States and convinced many new converts, among them being Cyrus Ingerson (C.I.) Scofield, a one-time law student turned ‘preacher’. This new theory of prophetic interpretation was introduced to the Bible conferences that were being conducted in the late 19th century. From this venue was the springboard for advancing this theory to the American evangelical church world.
Historical records show that the personal, family and business life of C. I. Scofield included dishonest business practices, unpaid debts and refusal to support his wife and family. This was only a part of the immoral character of the man who was to later publish a study Bible that would influence multiplied millions of Christians world-wide. For a complete history of his life and work read Joseph M. Canfield’s book entitled, “The Incredible Scofield.” (This book is not available from this ministry.) With the sponsorship of James H. Brookes, a die-hard Darbyite, and later the leadership of Arno C. Gaebelein, Scofield was accepted into the fellowship of the Bible conferences at Niagara Falls, New York. It was here and other conferences where the “lost truth” of Futurism was hammered out. Scofield developed his notes to place in the margins of his now famous Bible. The Scofield marginal notes to millions of unsuspecting Christians have become as sacred as the Word of God itself. Thus the historical trail of the prophetic interpretation of a vast number of “Protestants” today can be easily traced to the Jesuit priests, Emanuel Lacunza, Francisco Ribera and company.
Throughout the development of the Futurist interpretation of prophecy, the advocates of this false theory have capitalized on certain ‘future’ events which they feel are extremely critical. They include the Mark of the Beast, a one-world government and church (which they are ignorantly helping to create) the establishment of the Zionist State of Israel as being the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, the present day Jewish people as being the totality of all twelve tribes of Israel, a seven year tribulation period, and their highly prized lucrative doctrine, the secret rapture of the church. In their fervor to promote this theory (which many truly born-again saints sincerely believe, yet never researched) they have used many Bible passages as part of their support system. The following are just a few:
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
The experience that John the Revelator records here has been mistakenly used to teach the timing of the rapture as being just before the beginning of “the tribulation.” This call to John to “come up hither” is supposedly the call for all the saints to rise up to their eternal home. When honestly reading this text, there is no indication whatsoever that there is any rapture at all taking place. This call to John applied only to him to rise in spiritual ecstasy in order to receive revelations about coming events.
Paul the Apostle records in II Corinthians 12:1-6 that he “knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth:) such an one caught up to the third heaven. . . How that he was caught up into paradise…” This was a very similar experience like John, yet the rapture teachers never use this passage to prove their theory. If John’s experience was a type of the rapture, why isn’t Paul’s experience a type of the same alleged rapture? These were supernatural experiences to individuals for the purpose of receiving divine revelations.
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
The phrase, “the one shall be taken and the other left” has been widely used to mean that the saints are “taken” in the rapture and the wicked are left behind to endure the horrors of the tribulation. When any elementary Bible student reads the text concerning the days of Noah in verses 37-39, it is evident which ones are taken. It is not the righteous ones, Noah and his family, that were taken away in the flood. For sure, Jesus Christ is coming again. When He returns it is not the righteous that He is going to remove, but the wicked. Our Lord’s lesson of the removal of the wicked first is very evident in the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. Jesus said that during the harvest at the end of the age the angels shall first gather the tares out of His kingdom and burn them. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father. Paul the Apostle wrote to the Thessalonian saints and set the record straight when he said;
“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”
II Thessalonians 1:7-10
I Thessalonians 5:9
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I once asked a professor of Dispensational Futurism for proof of the pre-trib rapture theory. The professor was a genuine born-again believer, highly educated with more than one doctorate degree and very qualified in his field of study. He was setting forth the party-line of pre-tribulation rapture. My question was; “Doctor, what concrete biblical evidence is there for believing that the Christians will be raptured away before the tribulation to avoid the wrath of God that is poured out during that time?” With a puzzled look on his face, and contemplating a minute concerning his answer, he said, “The only real evidence I can think of is, ‘God hath not appointed us to wrath.'”
Ever since that day I have wondered how does that apply to the thousands of first- century saints who became martyrs to whom that admonition was written. How does that fit with the sixty million Christians martyred under the heavy hand of Papal Rome, the multiplied thousands of saints who were murdered under the dictates of Josef Stalin or the untold number of believers who died without mercy during the communist takeover of China in 1948. Several years ago an interview with Corrie Ten Boom was recorded where she stated that during World War II when Northern Europe was being overrun by invading military forces and Christians brutalized, that many Christians ran to their pastors and asked them, “Where is the Rapture?” The pastors had no answer and the saints had been living with a false hope.
When these facts are pointed out to a rapturist teacher, their immediate rebuttal is; “Well, that means Christians sometimes suffer the wrath of man, but not the wrath of God and the tribulation is God’s wrath and not man’s.” Yet these same rapture teachers tell us that during the tribulation the Antichrist will have complete control and kill those who “have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” What about the souls under the altar crying for vengeance in Revelation 6:9-11?
What about the saints “which came out of great tribulation” in Revelation 7:9-17? Surely, they endured the wrath of man during the time when the pre-tribulation rapturist declare that this will be a time of the wrath of God. Under close scrutiny of logic and the searchlight of the Scriptures, the pre-trib rapture theory and all its props simply are washed away like a sand castle during high tide.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
From this and other Scriptural passages it is evident the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is coming again. When He descends, He comes to remain on the earth and remove out of His kingdom that which offends and works iniquity (Matt. 13:41). The angel Gabriel told Mary that her son Jesus, shall be given the throne of His father David and He shall reign over the House of Jacob forever (Luke 1:31-33). This definitely sounds like He will be reigning here on the earth forever. Even Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."(Matt. 6:9-10). Paul the Apostle wrote words of comforting expectation to Titus when he said “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
When Paul wrote to the saints at Thessalonica, he was addressing one of their major concerns. That was, the state of the righteous dead. He then assures the living saints that their Christian loved ones will not be forgotten by the Lord when He comes again. Their bodies will be resurrected as he stated in I Cor. 15:15-57. The Apostle declares that when Jesus returns He will bring the spirits of all the sleeping saints with Him. In verses 15-17 he reassures the hope of the living saints by saying that:
- The resurrection of the living saints will not prevent (the old English word for ‘precede’) or take place before the resurrection of the sleeping saints.
- The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a very loud arrival announcement - a shout, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. There will be nothing secret or quiet about His arrival (see II Thess. 1:7-8, Matt. 24:31). Where is the ‘secret rapture’ mentioned in this verse where family members will quietly disappear without notice?
- Then the bodies of the living saints at Jesus’ coming shall be changed (I Cor.15:51-54) into an incorruptible body and they shall possess a glorified body like unto their Lord.
- This latter group of living saints shall then be ‘caught up’ or removed from their present state of being to join the former group of ‘sleeping’ saints.
The Lord Jesus is not returning alone. Jude says that “Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints” (Jude 14). This vast company of saints is what comprises the ‘clouds’ of I Thess. 4:17. The ‘living’ saints shall join this vast ‘cloud of witnesses’ (Heb. 12:1) while meeting the Lord ‘in the air’. The writer of Hebrews clearly applies the ‘cloud’ of witnesses to the people that he listed in chapter eleven. “In the air” denotes the location of the state of elevated and spiritual union with the ‘sleeping’ saints and with the Lord Jesus. This Scriptural passage which is used as the main stronghold of the rapturists says absolutely nothing about flying away to another planet called heaven. If there is a ‘rapture’ to any degree at all, the saints will only go up as far as the air extends. ‘Air’ is the elastic and invisible mixture of several gases (nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, etc) that surrounds the earth. This is the atmosphere of space above the earth’s surface. How far up from the earth’s surface does the air extend? Then that would be the extent of their distance of travel. It would be less than seven miles.
The writer Jude also gives us the purpose for which the Lord returns. He says, “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” The Bible teaches that there will be just one future glorious, visible, physical and audible coming of our Lord; 1) to execute judgment upon the ungodly, and 2) to be glorified in His saints II Thess. 1:7-10.
Among all the hype that is generated as a result of the prophetic theory of Futurism are false predictions and vain speculations. The false predictions concerning the time of the rapture is nothing new. Men who claimed they had special knowledge and insight into the future have mustered a devoted group of followers around themselves have felt ‘safe’ in making outlandish predictions. The predictions of the timing of the coming of Jesus to ‘snatch away His bride’ have ranged from 1844 to present. The basis for many of the false predictions have been things such as; the measurements between various points inside the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the religious, social, economic and political “signs of the times”, the word ‘generation’ used by our Lord in Matthew 24:34, the date of May 14, 1948, which was the establishment of the modern Zionist state of Israel, etc.
In 1987 there was one brave rapture teacher that was bold enough to publicly proclaim the date of the rapture as May 14, 1988. He based his predictions upon the 40th anniversary of the modern Zionist State which he so rashly proclaimed as the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. There was a later prediction of September 1988. Needless to say, both predictions failed. To my knowledge the latest date that has been predicted by one of the most publicly acclaimed prophecy ‘experts’ is 2007 to 2012. At least he is smart enough to give a five year window of escape.
Vain speculations have also been a tragic result in the wake of Futurism’s captivating influence. For many years Futurist teachers have attempted to identify who the Antichrist would be. At one time Mussolini was the likely candidate, but after the people strung him up by his heels, then Hitler was their choice. Some even thought it was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Some ‘experts’ are for certain that the Antichrist must be a Jew, while others assure their supporters that he will be of Oriental descent. Others are certain that the Antichirst will be a man of Western Europe in order to rule over the ten nations of the Revived Roman Empire. All these false predictions and vain speculations are a direct result of twisting, distorting and even raping the sacred Scriptures. Our modern day ‘protestant’ evangelical church world has fallen in step with the schemes of the Jesuit’s counter-reformation.
Who is the Antichrist? Where will he come from? When will he be revealed? What supernatural powers will he display? Has he already been born? These and a host of other questions are now the topic of books, sermons, seminars and conferences being sponsored by last day prophecy gurus. They have thoroughly convinced the vast majority of modern day Christendom to the extent that they are infatuated with this unknown charismatic character. According to the Futurists this mysterious one-man epitome of evil has been designated in Scripture by many descriptive names such as; the little horn, the man of sin, the idol shepherd, the Assyrian, the prince that shall come, and ‘he’ of Daniel 9:27, etc.
The real question is; “Does the Bible really teach a future one-man Antichrist?” The term ‘antichrist’ is only found in the Bible five times. In none of these five places does it refer to a one-man antichrist. In considering these five references where this term is used, an honest minded Bible student must consider the times and conditions in which they occurred. The Apostle John is writing his first general epistle and makes reference to the many people in his day that once identified themselves with the early church, but were not genuine Christian believers. They were antichrist.
I John 2:18-19
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
The two references to ‘antichrist’ in verse 18 refers to people in John’s day that were once numbered with John and the other believers. For some reason they had left the fellowship of believers. John points out that because they left the fellowship that was proof that they were never genuine believers to start with. They were possibly Judaizers in the church for the purpose of perverting the saints from their belief in the sovereign grace of God and the total sufficiency of the cross-work of Jesus Christ.
I John 2:22-23
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
Here in this reference, John identifies anyone who denies the divinity of Jesus Christ as being antichrist. He also calls them a liar. There were many false teachers in John’s day who traveled from church to church teaching perverse things about the person and work of Jesus Christ. Many denied that Jesus was the true Messiah and therefore John considered them antichrist.
I John 4:1-3
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
Here John gives a warning to beware of these same false teachers. John was the same writer who told us that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” John 1:14. John labeled this teaching as being the ‘spirit of antichrist.” He emphasized that this was a ‘spirit’ and not just an individual person. He said “believe not every spirit”, “try the spirits” (v. 1), “every spirit that confesseth not” (v. 3). He said that “spirit” was already in the world in his day and that has been well over 1900 years ago.
II John 1:7
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
Here again John is warning the believers to beware of the many deceivers that existed in his day. These false teachers were considered deceivers and antichrist. Never once in the above five references to antichrist did John refer to:
- “The” Antichrist;
- one individual man;
- or a future appearance.
John did refer to antichrist as being:
- a spirit - 4:3;
- a denial of the incarnation of God in Christ - 4:2;
- already present in his day - 2:18; 4:3
- Liars who denied that Jesus is the Christ - 2:22;
- deceivers - II John 1:7;
- there were many who were antichrist - 2:18;
- false believers who left the fellowship - 2:19.
Seventy Weeks of Daniel
One of the many serious errors of Futurism is built upon a misconstruing of the message of the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel. Futurism teachers have naively fallen in line with the Jesuit theory that the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy has been separated from the first sixty nine weeks. This position is taken in order to create a time-line for their whole prophetic scheme. This time period between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks is conveniently called, the gap or parenthesis. This period is characterized by the ‘age of grace’ during the church age! This period of approximately 2000 years is when God is dealing with the people they call ‘Gentiles’, which according to the Futurist teachers is everyone that is not a Jew. They promote the idea that during this so-called ‘Church age’ the Lord is mainly calling the Gentile people to form His ‘Gentile Bride’ while allowing the vast majority of the Jewish people to remain untouched by the Gospel. They say that immediately after the ‘Gentile Bride’ is raptured away, then Jewish evangelism will explode with astounding success.
Where do the advocates of such man-made ideas get their audacity to arbitrarily cut-off one ‘week’ from a calendar and build a complete prophetic viewpoint on that one false presupposition? Upon this one false premise they do more injustice to Scripture by claiming that ‘he’ of Daniel 9:27 refers to a future antichrist. It is clear from the whole context of Daniel’s prophecy that the ‘he’ refers back to the Messiah in verse 26, which was to be cut off. This is plainly referring to the crucifixion of our Lord at Calvary. Gabriel’s message to Daniel goes on to say that ‘he’ (the Messiah), shall “confirm the covenant with many for one week.” The confirming of a covenant is what Jeremiah referred to in his prophecy. He proclaimed,
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
The writer of the Book of Hebrews repeats Jeremiah’s prophecy and clearly applied it to the making and confirmation of the New Covenant (Heb. 8:6-13). This is the New Covenant that Jesus ratified with the sacrifice of His own blood. As our Melchisedec priest, during the last Passover meal with His disciples, our Savior affirmed the fact that by the shedding of His blood a new covenant was made. He said, “For this is my blood of the New Testament (covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).
The angelic messenger plainly stated the six-fold purpose of this seventy weeks or 490 year period. The Messianic purpose was:
- to finish the transgression - Isaiah 53:5, Hebrews 10:12-14
- to make an end of sins - Hebrews 9:26
- to make reconciliation for iniquity - Rom. 5:10, Heb. 10:17
- to bring in everlasting righteousness - II Corinthians 5:21
- to seal up the vision and prophecy - Matthew 5:17
- to anoint the Most Holy - Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38
The anointing of the Most Holy refers to Jesus Christ when He was anointed at His water baptism which marked the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel. In Mark 1:15 Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled. . .” referring to the beginning of His public ministry and His work of redemption on the cross for His people. In the middle of the seventieth week the Messiah (Jesus Christ) was ‘cut off’ or crucified (Daniel 9:26-27). At His crucifixion Jesus caused the Levitical sacrifices to cease and made reconciliation for our sins (Daniel 9:24, 27). Through Biblical exegesis and a basic understanding of history, it is very evident that all seventy weeks were completely fulfilled. No where in this prophecy does it make reference to:
- a one-man Antichrist;
- a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem;
- “the” Antichrist making a covenant with the Jews;
- “the” Antichrist breaking a covenant;
- the 70th week of Daniel being separated from the 69th week with a ‘gap’ of 2000 years.
The Two Witnesses
In Revelation 11:3-12 is described the two witnesses with their work, their death and their resurrection. From the fundamentalist, Futuristic standpoint of Biblical interpretation of prophecy, it is commonly taught that the two witnesses are two men of the Old Testament era that have been resurrected or either the two men of the Old Testament that did not die and therefore are brought back into their physical bodies and placed back on this earth as the two witnesses. Ordinarily, it is believed that the two witnesses are either Moses and Elijah, Elijah and Enoch or Moses and Enoch. There is quite a dispute over the difference of opinion as to which of the two men of these three it will be. These three men have been chosen because their lives, while they were on earth in their physical bodies, are somewhat a type of the work and description of the two witnesses described in Revelation 11. Staying true with the text, we are given the best clue as to their identity in verse four.
First, let us ascertain from the Old Testament who God refers to as His two witnesses. In Isaiah 43:10 it is stated unto Jacob which is inclusive of both houses of Israel, “Ye are my witnesses saith God and my servant whom I have chosen. . .” The prophet is referring to Jacob, yet he says, ye are my witnesses, which denotes more than one or a plurality of witnesses. In Isaiah 44:8 it is stated, “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? Ye are even my witnesses.”
Here again, God is speaking through the prophet unto Jacob His servant, that the house or family of Jacob are His witnesses. In Revelation 11:3 the possessive personal pronoun “my” is used again as it was in both Scriptures in Isaiah. He says, “I will give power unto my two witnesses.” “My” must have an antecedent which is referring back to the angel in verse one. This angel is Jesus Christ. He is telling us through the prophet Isaiah, who His witnesses are. Does Christ have different witnesses than what is stated in the Old Testament? No, His witnesses would be the same.
In Psalm 114:2 the Psalmist speaks of Judah as being the Lord’s sanctuary while Israel as being His dominion. This denotes a two-fold office of religious and civil authority within the family of Jacob.
In Revelation 11:4 we are given a strong clue as to the identity of these two witnesses by the reference to the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the whole earth. In Haggai 1:1 and 14 is mentioned two men and their respective offices which were instrumental in the restoration of the city of Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. Joshua the High Priest and Zerubbabel the Governor are the two men which are types of the two witnesses of Revelation 11. It is very significant to remember that the two God-given institutions that were reestablished during this post-exilic era were civil authority under the leadership of Zerubbabel the Governor and religious authority under Joshua the High Priest. The parallel remains the same. Those two institutions are civil authority and religious authority under the dual office of the Messiah originally intended to be exercised through His Church in His Kingdom. Someday Jesus Christ will execute full authority in both of these offices as is reflected in His title, King of kings and Lord of lords.
The three and a half prophetic days or three and a half literal years covers the period of time of May 5th 1545, the date of the fifth Lateran Council to October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five thesis to the Wittenberg Castle Church door in Germany. During this time there were no protestant voices crying out against the corruption of Papal Rome. The bodies of the two witnesses were “dead” (11:18) and the Papal Church of Rome rejoiced (11:10).
Through proper Biblical interpretation, while allowing the Scriptures to speak for themselves, we are given a clean understanding who the two witnesses are. While following the Futuristic scheme ‘Protestants’ remain in darkness and once again bow to the bidding of the Jesuits.
THE TRAGIC AFTERMATH OF FUTURISM
When one considers the origin of Futurism and its tragic results, the words of our Lord so clearly apply; “an enemy hath done this” ( Matt. 13:28). The tragic aftermath has been a major departure from our historic Protestant faith. The false predictions and vain speculations about the future have diverted Christians from the centrality of Christ to a daily political watch. The high profile rapturists have become nothing more than newspaper ‘prophets’ for profit. Prophecy has become a lucrative economic market. Hard core Dispensational Futurism in its blind devotion to the modern political Zionist State of Israel is redefining Christianity into a religious, political and military campaign to bring about their desired Armageddon. Modern apostate Christianity, along with Zionistic Judaism and radical Islam are the “three unclean spirits like frogs” (Rev. 16:13-14) gathering the nations to battle.
Very influential Dispensational Futurist ministers are helping to determine our national foreign policy, especially in Middle Eastern affairs. In their misguided zeal, they are calling for a war of “end-time apocalyptic” proportions with Islam in order to protect the modern political Zionist State of Israel. They view political Zionism as fulfillment of Bible prophecy while being totally captivated by the “God’s chosen people” myth.
Futurism also advocates a rebuilt Jewish temple including the Levitical animal sacrifices which is an affront to the sufficiency of Christ’s complete sacrifice for sin. This practice would include those “. . .who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite (insult) unto the Spirit of grace?” “Hebrews 10:26-29).
The Futurist approach to the prophecy of Scripture does an enormous injustice, not only to proper Biblical exegesis, but also common sense in understanding the development of human affairs. Its unrealistic attempt to squeeze the vast majority of Revelation events into seven short years with a strict literal application defies both logic and Biblical typology. Though it is this interpretation that is the most popular and financially rewarding. When one understands the Historical viewpoint of the Book of Revelation, as the prophetic outline of the history of God’s true covenant people Israel, it brings all of history into proper focus.
No where does the Bible teach a rapture of the saints to fly away to another planet called heaven. What the Bible does teach is that Jesus Christ is returning to this earth to remain. He will then possess His Kingdom. The resurrection of the saints will take place as He returns in glory and power. His coming results in resurrection and immortality, not in a rapture.
The main purpose of prophetic utterances of Scripture is not to generate fear and uncertainty about the future, but to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ in all His glory and majesty. All true prophecy glorifies our Lord Jesus, because “the testimony of Jesus is the (true) spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).
Truth in History Ministries is the evangelistic outreach of The Bible Educator Ministry and is a Christ centered and Bible based ministry proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His sovereign control of human history as taught in the Holy Scriptures. It is our mission and purpose to proclaim Jesus Christ as our only Savior, Healer, Baptizer, Sanctifier and coming King; to teach the Holy Scriptures in order to edify Christian believers and strengthen local churches. We endeavor to proclaim this message through the means of a web site, printed literature, sermon tapes and other available electronic media for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. We believe and proclaim Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King!