WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
From the book by Marvin Pate:
Pate corectly says that the Kingdomj of God is a major theme in the Bible.
Much indeed is written about the subject in the Old Testament, where as
Pate says: "...the concept of God's PRESENT reign as king are references
to a day when God will BECOME king over his people (Isa.24:23; 33:22;
Zeph.3:15; Zech.14:9)" (page 20).
And this ephasis on God's Kingdom continues in Judaism with its anticipation
of the age to come. The orthordox Jews still look for the Messiah to comw
in glory and power to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
The Kingdom of God is throughout the Gospels, especially the "synoptic"
Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), where it is mentioned more than 100 times.
As Pate says the "Kingdom of heaven" in Matthew is a synonym for "Kingdom
Pate points out that in Judaism there is the present age and the age to come.
For Jews the advent of the Messiah will bring the movement from this age to the
new age. Jusaism viewed the two ages aas CONSECUTIVE!
Pate correctly shows that the Kingdom age in one sense HAD ARRIVED (Luke 4:43;
6:20; 7:28 etc.) yet at the same time the Kingodm was yet TO COME at the return
of Christ (Luke 13:28-29; 14:15; 19:11; 21:31 and etc.).
Pate tells us that this is called in theology circles "inaughurated eschatology"
the two ages simultaneous - Christians live in between the two ages until the
"parouia" - the second coming of Christ (page 21).
So we have a PRESENT Kingdom of God made up of true Christians, yet there is a
future Kingdom of God to come to earth when Jesus returns ro rule all nations
and bring in that age to come, which in the 20th chapter of Revelation is an age
of ONE THOUSAND years in duration.
THE MILLENNIUM AGE
Marvin Pate correctly informs us that this teaching of the 1,000 year age had been
taught and preached for 2,000 years now. And he is correct in saying, "Thus we do
not need to panic when we meet someone on the street holding a sign saying, 'The
end of the world is near!" It doesn't look like God's good green earth is going
anywhere too fast (though I could be wrong). So we can relax a little bit when
thinking about the issues" (page 22).
Pate gives a brief summation of the "church's view" of endtime prophecy:
1. THE CHURCH FATHERS - 2nd to 4th Centuries
Most of these so-called "church fathers" were PRE-millennium in teaching.
One example would be Papias (60-130 A.D.), a bishop "in Asia Minor, had
persoanl contact with the disciples of Jesus, especially John. He stated that
the Lord used to teach concerning the end times that Christ would return visibly,
resurrect the dead, and set up a literal one-thousand-year, blissful rule on earth.
This was so because the Kingdom of Christ was thought to be his temporary reign
on earth (Revelation 20), which would give way to the Kingdom of God of eternal
state in a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21-22). According to Papias, this
was what the apostle John meant in Revelation 20-22" (page 23).
Pate writes that "The Epistle of Barnabas" (seconf century) maintained that six
days of creation are actually a period of 6 thousand years, because a thousand
years are like one day to God (2 Peter 3:8). Thus after six thousand years of world
history, Christ will come a second time and establish the millennium - a thousand
year Sabbath rest on earth" (page 23.
The problem with this idea is three-fold: 1. Trying to figure the chronology of time
only from the Bible as Bishop Usher did, brings you to 4004 B.C. for Genesis 1.
Hence we have already gone beyond 6,000 years since Genesis chapter 1. The Bible
cannot be used to chronology BACK to Genesis chapter one. 2. People who come up
with such a teaching always forget to quote the other part of 2 Peter 3:8 - "and one
day is like a thousand years to the Lord." The whole verse is not trying to teach
an idea of a 6,000 year time followed by the 1,000 year time of the Messiah back on
earth. Peter is simply telling us that time with the Lord is not time as we think
of time - the Lord is in control of time, and he can lengthen it out or shorten it
up, as he wills. 3. It is now a proven fact that people have been on this earth LONGER
than 6,000 years - the Indians of North America have a history that goes back 10,000
Pate tells us that Irenaeus (130-200 A.D.), a bishop in Southern Gaul (modern day France)
was taught by Polycarp, the disciple of John, and in his "Against Heresies" he mad a
strong case for "pre-millennimialism."
Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.) belived in the second coming of Christ, which will bring
about, "A resurrection of the dead and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then
be built, adorned, and enlarged" (Pate - page 24).
Tertullian (160-220 A.D.) from North Africa, stressed that at his second coming Christ
will set up his millennium Kingdom in Jerusalem (Pate page 24).
So it is obvious the first leaders of the NT church, some taught directly by the apostle
John, taught a literal second coming of Christ and a literal Kingdom of God reign on
the earth for 1,000 years by Jesus Christ living in Jerusalem.
This is the correct way to read and understand the prophetic books of the Bible.
THE MEDIEVAL CHURCH - 5th to 15th Centuries
This age of the popular church focused on the already and not-yet aspects of eschatology.
That is, they believed the Kingdom of God had already arrived at the first coming of
Christ, but that it was not yet complete; this awaited the second coming. The a-millennium
interpretation exchanged a future, literal one-thousand-year utopia on earth for a present,
spioritual Kingdom of God in the church. The "a" means NO literal mullennium" (Pate p.25,
It was through THREE individuals that this teaching held firm for over 12 centuries.
Those individuals were Prigen (185-254 A.D.). The Roman emperor Constantine (275-337 A.D.),
and above all Augustine (354-430 A.D.).
The example of Origen is perhaps the best example, for this a-millennium teaching as
Origen spiritualized away the Bible, or he advocated a spiritual/figurative interpret-
ation to just about everything in the Bible. Just about nothing for him was literal.
Then when emperor Constantine made "Christianity" the state religion, and persecution
of Christians came to an end, there was little thought about Christ coming in power
and glory to crush and put down the enemies of Christians, and rule the heathen nations.
Augustine then came along and in his "City of God" maintained that Revelation 20 is
actually describing the present age into which the Kingdom of God has entered through
the church. Thus the teaching of a great Babylon whore false church and an Anti-christ,
which Christ comes to destroy and then set up his Kingdom, gave way to Christ reigning
now through his church.
All this theology teaching is crazy garbage from planet Pluto.
THE REFORMATION AND ITS INFLUENCE - 16th to 19th Centuries
Pate tells us that with the Protestant Reformation and Luther's thinking, there was
a return to literal interpretation of Bible prophecy. The reformers now looked upon
the Pope as the Anti-christ; the church of Rome becoming the Babylon Mystery Religion
of Revelation. But there was a juggling of the a-millennium and post-millennium.
Christ rules in his true church but a literal anti-christ that attacks the true church,
will also be a reality.
As Protestant Reform swept across Europe many believed it had brought in the millennium.
Then as Pate tells us there was this Daniel Whitby fellow (1638-1725 A.D.), rector of
St.Edmund's Church, Salisbury, who published the two-volume "Paraphrased and Commentary
on the New Testament" in 1703. He taught that the earth's population would be converted
to Christ, the Jews restored to the Holy Land, the Pope and Turks vanquished, and then
the world would enjoy a thousand-year golden age of universal peace, happiness, and
righteousness. At the CLOSE of that period, Christ would personally come to earth, and
the last judgment would take place.
AND WHAT UTTER NONESENSE THAT IDEA WAS!!
The there was the guy called Jonathan Edwards (1703-58 A.D.). He also adopted the POST-
millennium idea. Some say he was one of the most "brilliant American philosophers and
theologians of all time." When you read what he taught you soon come to see he was a
fruit-nut theologian who had not a clue what he was talking about, and less a clue about
understanding the Bible. His ideas grew out of the revivals of the so-called "Great
Awakening" of the 1740s.
Edwards stated that the preaching of the gospel would achieve a golden age on earth.
Edwards identified the fifth bowl judgment of Revelation with the eventual destruction
of the papacy - the anti-christ - by the Protestant Reformation. He predicted this would
happen in either 1866 or 2016. He thought the great awakening in America was the prelude
to the millennial Kingdom. Heresy, infidelity, and superstion would be destroyed, along
with Islam. The Jews would be converted and the heathen won to Christ. It would be a time
of peace, immense learning, and holiness. At the end of the millennium, there would be
a final, temporary revellion against God, but Christ would crush the revolt when he
returned at the end of history (Pate pages 28,29).
UTTER GARBAGE WAS EDWARDS IDEAS ALSO AS TIME PROVED!
It was an age when people thought things were getting better and better, hence leading
many to false understanding of all the prophetic books of the Bible, especially Daniel
and Revelation. And I could add Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Luke 21. These so-called "ed-
ucated" theologians were so far off the track it would be laughable, if they were not
as serious about their teachings as they were. They were all proved to be DEAD WRONG -
they all DIED and their ideas shown to be utter garbage and so they went down with all
the other false prophets of past history. What crazy ideas have come in the last three
hundred years concerning Bible prophecy .... well time has proved how silly and crazy
they were. Which sad to say also came along during and after the Second World war of the
20th century, with people setting the decades of 1970s, 1980s, 1990, for the return of
Christ. Now as before some are setting certain years in this decade (2010-2020) for the
return of Christ.
THE MODERN CHURCH - 20th and 21st Century
Pate says the maze of interpretation of prophecy and that which concerns the millennium,
has multiplied greatly, and has left the modern reader in a millennium maze, with seem-
ingly no escape from its confusion. He gives us the varying interpretations in his chapters
2-6. Which I shall start to beiefly go over next time.
There is a present aspect of the Kingdom of God. God does reign now in the lives of His
children. So it is true as Jesus once said, "The Kingdom of God is WITHIN you." He said
this in the Gospels in answer to the Pharisees who wanted to see some great miracles and the
Kingdom of God coming with power and glory. Jesus did not deny this aspect of the Kingdom,
as showm by many other of His statements and teachings on the matter, but He purposely
moved the Pharisees away from that aspect, and hit them between the eyes with the aspect
that THEY needed to see RIGHT NOW - THE KINGDOM OF GOD WAS NOW AMONG THEM, NOT ONLY IN
THE FORM OF THE KING OF THAT KINGDOM (Christ Himself) BUT ALSO THE KINGDOM OF GOD WAS
BEING PREACHED THAT GOD WAS TO COME AND REIGN WITHIN THEM, THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT - A
REPENTACE TO HAVING SALVATION AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THEM NOW DURING THIS PHYSICAL
LIFE TIME, WITH THOSE WHO WOULD ACCEPT JESUS THE CHRIST AS PERSONAL SAVIOR.
THE PHARISEES COULD ONLY SEE IN THEIR MIND, THE LITERAL ASPECT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON
EARTH (WHICH JESUS TALKED ABOUT AT OTHER TIMES AND DID NOT DENY THAT ASPECT) AND WERE
LACKING THE REALITY OF SEEING THE ASPECT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD AS IN JESUS THE CHRIST,
AND HAVING HIM AND THE KINGDOM WITHIN THEIR HEART AND MIND IN THE NOW PRESENT.
Pate is correct when he says: "The Kingdom of God has already dawned with the first coming
of Christ, but it is not YET COMPLETE. The latter aspect awaits the return of Christ"
To be continued