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TRIUMPHANT Return and the Kingdom

Literal of Spiritual?

                             TRIUMPHANT RETURN

                         THE COMING KINGDOM OF GOD


by Grant R. Jeffrey

AN ANALYTICAL ANSWER 

The book that Grant Jeffrey has written is probably the basic
type book that comes from the "Christian Fundamental" prophets.
I shall present the important parts and give my answer. There
will be much where I agree with Jeffrey, yet there will be areas
where the fundamental teachers go astray and are in error in;
this I will also fully comment on.
Keith Hunt (January 2009)




Introduction


     Will Jesus Christ literally return to earth in the last
days? Will Christ defeat evil and set up His kingdom? Does the
Bible prophesy that Jesus will establish a thousand-year
millennial kingdom? After waiting for almost two thousand years,
why should we believe that our generation may live to see the
fulfilment of these prophecies? How should we answer critics who
claim that these prophecies were actually fulfilled almost two
thousand years ago when Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70? What
did the early Church believe about the Second Coming, the
Millennium, and the Antichrist? The ultimate question to be
answered is this: What does the Bible teach about the time of
Christ's Second Coming? Will He return before the Millennium to
defeat Satan and establish the Kingdom of God as
premillennialists believe? Or will the Church gradually create
the Kingdom of God on earth in preparation for Christ's Second
Coming a thousand years from now? The question about when and how
Christ will return is vital to everyone who longs for the day
when the Lord shall victoriously appear to usher in the righteous
kingdom of God.
     The answers to these important questions are revealed in the
fascinating research presented in this book. Triumphant Return
provides compelling proof that the Scriptures clearly teach that
Jesus will return at the end of this age to set up His dominon
the kingdom of God is the central idea of the entire dispensation
of revelation; the kingdom of God is the end and motive of all
heavenly revelation and institutions of the old and new
covenants; yea, of the creation and promise from the beginning.
The general foundation of this idea is the all-inclusive power
and dominion of God.
     A careful analysis of the entire Bible shows that numerous
prophecies concerning the kingdom of God reveal that this is the
most prominent doctrine taught in the Word of God. A number of
respected biblical scholars, including Dr.Pye Smith and Johann
Peter Lange, have calculated that there are more scriptural
passages that teach about "the kingdom of God" than all other
separate doctrines combined. This discovery provides powerful
evidence of the importance of the coming kingdom to the plan of
God. Johann Peter Lange (1802-1884) acknowledged the fundamental
importance of Christ's coming millennial kingdom in his
Commentary on the Scriptures: "The kingdom of heaven must form
the central point of all theological learning."
     The preaching of John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, as
well as His disciples and apostles, often dealt with the coming
dominion of God. This topic also formed a major part of the
teachings of the early Church during the first few centuries of
the Christian era. The disciples continually questioned Jesus
about the meaning of His parables regarding the coming kingdom.
They wanted to know when "the kingdom of God" would appear on
earth and what their future role would be in it. Significantly,
the New Testament affirms that the message of Jesus is "the
gospel of the kingdom." Matthew wrote that Jesus began His
ministry teaching about "the gospel of the kingdom": "And Jesus
went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and
preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of
sickness and all manner of disease among the people" (Matthew
4:23). Jesus foretold that this kingdom doctrine will be preached
by the tribulation witnesses to an unbelieving world during the
Great Tribulation, just before the return of the Messiah. "And
this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for
a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew
24:14).
     The life, ministry, trial, and death of Jesus Christ are
deeply connected to His promised millennial kingdom. Jesus
declared that He is the promised King and that He will return to
set up His prophesied dominion. Jesus taught His followers to
pray the Lord's Prayer, which specifically focuses on the coming
kingdom of God: "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy
name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in
heaven.... For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the
glory, for ever. Amen" (Matthew 6:9-13). The prophecy of our
eternal home in the heavenly New Jerusalem is the glorious
promise of God to all those who place their faith and trust in
Him. However, Jesus also prophesied that the Christian saints
will rule and reign with Him on earth forever as priests and
kings. The coming kingdom on God will someday encompass the
entire universe including the redeemed earth, the New Jerusalem,
and heaven itself.

     These facts should encourage Christians to carefully and
prudently examine those prophecies concerning the Second Coming
that clearly relate to our generation and to the role that Christ
has assigned us in His future government. The Lord commanded His
disciples to watch diligently for the fulfillment of those
specific prophetic signs that would indicate His soon coming. The
Lord declared, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then
look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth
nigh" (Luke 21:28). The prophetic message about the Lord's return
is not a pessimistic message of "doom and gloom" to those who
love Him. Rather, Christ's message is a prophecy of hope and
redemption for all those who place their faith and trust in Him
and look for His approaching divine rule of peace and
righteousness. The return of Christ will usher in the
long-awaited kingdom of God where humanity will finally
experience the peace, justice, prosperity, and joy that we have
always longed for.


Importance of the Second Coming and the Kingdom of God

     When any vital doctrine of the Word of God has been
neglected in discussion and in preaching from the pulpit or has
suffered serious and sustained attack by its critics, it is the
profound responsibility of those Christians who uphold such a
biblical doctrine to reaffirm this truth as strongly as possible.
In addition, those who affirm a fundamental doctrine should do
all within their power and gifts to motivate the Church to return
to the faith "once delivered to the saints."
     One of the greatest of the foundational doctrines of
Christianity - the prophecy about the literal Second Coming of
Christ to establish His kingdom - has unfortunately been
neglected by many within the body of believers in our generation.
However, the prophecy about Christ's return is presented
throughout the Word of God. The Parousia, "the coming of the
Lord," is taught as a personal, literal, and imminent event that
the Church should hope for every day. Furthermore, the New
Testament teaches us that Christ's promise of His Second Coming
is a powerful motive to put on the "whole armor of God," to excel
in victorious holiness, and to be watchful for His soon return.
     The triumphant return is constantly presented in the
Scriptures as the basis of our spiritual confidence despite the
evil we confront in our present world. Specifically, the New
Testament teaches that Christ's return will end the reign of
unrestrained evil, defeat Satan by casting him into the
bottomless pit, and then establish Christ's kingdom. The truth of
the parousia is so prominent and central to the teaching of the
early Church that the open repudiation of the parousia in the
last days was prophesied as one of the last great signs of the
end times' apostasy pointing to the imminent return of Christ.

     Tragically, there is a tremendous spiritual apostasy in our
generation that is marked by a turning away from the clear
teaching of the New Testament and early Church's beliefs
regarding the literal Second Coming. Many in the western Church
have succumbed to the false teaching that Christ's Second Coming
refers to the gradual spread of Christianity throughout the
nations of the earth. The truth is that many believers are quite
content and satisfied with their position in our present world.
Consequently, they possess no discernible desire to see the
dramatic return of Jesus Christ from heaven to establish His
messianic dominion here. The Word of God presents Jesus Christ as
the Bridegroom of His bride, His beloved Church, composed of the
living and departed saints throughout the ages from the Day of
Pentecost until the future Rapture resurrection. The strongest
reason why many in the western Church are now acting as an
unfaithful "bride" in their spiritual accommodations to both
materialism and the pagan New Age spiritual teachings is because
many of their leaders have abandoned any serious expectation of
their Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, quickly returning in our
generation.

     This "falling away" from the historic and prophetic "faith
of our fathers" regarding the promised return of Christ naturally
causes great concern among all those believers who still hold
to the orthodox and apostolic teaching of the New Testament.
     However, those who believe the Scriptures and the words of
the prophets also recognize that this situation of apostasy is
precisely what the Bible warned would occur in the final days
leading up to Christ's dramatic return from heaven. More
important, at the same time we are witnessing an astonishing
revival of the biblical doctrine of the soon return of Christ
within Christians in many other nations. This book will
demonstrate the scriptural truth of this vital teaching of our
Lord and will document that the Second Advent is a doctrine that
awakens the true Church to her important role in the events of
the last days, leading to the establishment of the kingdom of God
that will transform this planet and its inhabitants forever.

     In the late 1880s, the well-known anti-millennial critic J.
Stuart Russell, who rejected the literal return of Christ,
acknowledged in the Preface to his book "Parousia" that the
medieval and modern Church have lost sight of the critical
importance of the vital doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ
that had motivated the early Church to turn their world upside
down.
     No attentive reader of the New Testament can fail to be
struck with the prominence given by the evangelists and apostles
to the Parousia, or "Coming of the Lord." That event is the great
theme of New Testament Prophecy. There is scarcely a single book,
from the Gospel of St.Matthew to the Apocalypse of St.John, in
which it is not set forth as the glorious promise of God, and the
Blessed Hope of the Church. It was frequently and solemnly
predicted by our Lord; it was incessantly kept before the eyes of
the early Christians by the Apostles; and it was firmly believed
and eagerly expected by the churches of the primitive age. It can
not be denied that there is a remarkable difference between the
attitude of the first Christians, in relation to the Parousia,
and that of Christians now. That glorious hope, to which all eyes
and hearts in the apostolic age were eagerly turned, has almost
disappeared from the view of modern believers.

     Whatever may be the theoretical opinions, expressed in
symbols and creeds, it must, in candor, be admitted that the
"Second Coming of Christ" has all but ceased to be a living and
practical belief.

     Those who reject the literal Second Coming of Christ to
establish His future kingdom suggest that all of the numerous
scriptural passages that refer directly to this event should be
interpreted in an allegorical or spiritual manner that robs these
passages of any literal reality. However, the clear and
consistent teaching of the Bible reveals that the world will be
in a desperate spiritual crisis under the wicked rule of the
Antichrist during the last days when Jesus Christ will return to
earth to defeat Satan's opposition and establish His own
righteous rule.

     Some writers, who call themselves preterists (meaning
"past"), believe that the prophecies of Matthew 24 and the book
of Revelation concerning the Second Coming and Christ's kingdom
were actually fulfilled spiritually in A.D.70 when the Romans
destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple. This preterist
interpretation obviously depends on treating the specific
prophecies as mere allegories or symbols without any literal
meaning. We shall prove in a later chapter that the doctrine of
preterism is false, as demonstrated by both Scripture and early
Church history.

     While the preterists and numerous postmillennial and
amillennial scholars deny the truth about the literal return of
Christ, they suggest that the Christian Church will progressively
defeat the forces of evil in our world and will triumph over
Satan to establish the kingdom of God for a thousand years before
Christ will return. However, the Scriptures clearly teach that
the world's population will never be totally converted to
Christianity through the efforts of the Church before the time of
the end. Despite the best efforts of ministers, missions,
evangelists, Christian media, and the hundreds of thousands of
faithful churches, the Scriptures teach that the spiritual "wheat
and tares" (believers and unrepentant sinners) will grow together
until the arrival of the final harvest. In other words, we should
not be surprised that we are witnessing unprecedented growth of
the body of Christ even as evil abounds more and more in these
days leading to Christ's return. Jesus prophesied, "And this
gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a
witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew
24:14). Christ also said, "Let both grow together until the
harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,
Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to
burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn" (Matthew 13:30).
     Unfortunately, millions in the Church have neglected the
literal sense of the Old and New Testament prophecies during the
last century due to the erroneous interpretive system of
spiritualizing and allegorizing the language of the Scriptures.
Tragically, this rejection of the literal Second Coming has
caused millions of Christians in numerous denominations to miss
the meaning of the coming kingdom of God.

     Some writers have mistakenly taught that the return of
Christ occurs to each believer at their moment of death. However,
the clear and repeated statements of the Scriptures repudiate any
such interpretation. For example, Jesus spoke to the apostles
Peter and John and prophesied that Peter would die as a martyr to
the faith. Then Christ made a clear distinction between death and
His Second Coming in His statement to Peter about John: "Jesus
saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that
to thee? follow thou me" (John 21:22). It is obvious from this
passage that death and Christ's coming are two different events.
Furthermore, death is described repeatedly in the Bible as our
enemy. "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1
Corinthians 15:26). In contrast, the Second Advent is based on
the triumphant victory of Christ over sin and death that will be
demonstrated by His resurrection of all of the saints who lived
and died in faith. It is significant that Christ continually
admonishes us to be watchful and ready for His imminent return
but He never commanded believers to watch for or prepare for
death.
     The Lord's great purpose in this present Church "Age of
Grace" is to gather out of the earth's population a remnant group
of the "elect" who will repent and turn to God to ask forgiveness
for their sins. God's purpose in this age was never stated to be
the total conversion to Christ of the entire population of
humanity. The Scriptures reveal that the gospel will be preached
"for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come"
(Matthew 24:-14). You can search the Scriptures from Genesis to
Revelation and you will not find any support for the theory that
God will save all of humanity. To do so would require God to
override the sovereign free will of all humans and force them to
accept His salvation as if they were spiritual robots. However,
the Bible affirms that God created each of us to be free to
either obey Him by asking for His forgiveness for our sinful
rebellion or to freely reject His offer of salvation. The Age of
Grace is manifestly the time of spiritual election, but it is not
the time of universal conversion. Luke wrote about God's purpose,
"Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the
Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name" (Acts
15:14).


The Second Advent is the most important doctrine in the Bible
after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

     Both of these doctrines are based on events that occur
historically on a single day. However, both events are profoundly
transformational in their impact on humanity. Both the
resurrection and the Second Coming of Christ to set up His
kingdom, will transform all of human history forever after. It is
obvious to Christians that the resurrection of Jesus broke
forever the chains of death and fear for all those who place
their faith and trust in Christ's power to resurrect all those
who trust in Him.
     The return of Christ will close the Church Age of Grace, and
usher in the eternal kingdom of God. For two thousand years,
faithful Christians have obediently prayed the Lord's Prayer,
which expresses our longing and prayer for the coming kingdom of
God. The Lord's Prayer exhortation "thy kingdom come" and the
expression at the end of Revelation, "come, Lord Jesus," should
be the daily prayer of all true believers in Christ. As faithful
believers, we look back in time to the sacrificial death of Jesus
Christ on the Cross. To be faithful to the Word of God, we also
should obediently look forward hopefully to Christ's return.
Jesus promised, "And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am,
there ye may be also" (John 14:3).
     The apostle Paul promised Christians that Christ would
return with a special reward for all faithful disciples who
longed for His return, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a
crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge,
shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them
also that love his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8). The apostle Peter
encouraged believers to be "looking for and hasting unto the
coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall
be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" (2
Peter 3:12).

     Jesus Christ's return will be both literal and personal; He
will appear in the same literal manner as He departed when He
physically ascended into the clouds of heaven in the sight of His
disciples: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into
heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven,
shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven"
(Acts 1:11). The truth of the literal return of Christ in the
sight of men is affirmed also in the Apocalypse: "Behold, he
cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also
which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail
because of him. Even so, Amen" (Revelation 1:7).
     When Jesus Christ returns, the earth shall be renewed and
the curse of sin will be removed, Satan shall be bound in chains
in the lake of fire for one thousand years, God will reward the
righteous saints, and the wicked unrepentant souls will be
punished. The establishment of the millennial kingdom of Christ
will immediately follow the Second Coming. After He returns the
prophet wrote, "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of
the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk
2:14).


How Should We Understand Prophecy?

     The study of prophecy is known as eschatology, the study of
last things. This is not simply another branch of theology that
is an optional area of study for a mature Christian. The prophecy
scholar, J. Barton Payne, calculated that 8,352 verses out of a
total of 31,124 (27 percent) verses in the Bible contain
prophetic themes. The fact that one quarter of the whole Bible is
prophetic indicates the level of importance that God places on
this subject. This provides a powerful and compelling indication
of the importance of prophecy in teaching and understanding the
"whole counsel of God."

     The prophecies reveal God's sovereign plan for the
redemption of Israel, the Gentiles, and His Church. The message
of the prophets encompass two major themes: God's approaching
final judgment of unrepentant sinners, and His promise of
Christ's Second Coming to establish the kingdom of God, the
ultimate triumph of God's purpose for humanity. The past, the
present, and the future are entwined together in the inspired
message of the prophet. The Scriptures reveal that God is guiding
humanity toward the culmination of history at that future Battle
of Armageddon when the kingdoms of this world will truly become
the kingdom of Christ, the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."

Prophetic Interpretation

     The principles we use to interpret the prophetic portions of
Scripture are obviously linked to the principles we use to
interpret the rest of the Bible. Several fundamental principles
of interpretation, which have been proven sound through centuries
of biblical studies as well as during my own thirty-five years of
Bible study and teaching, are reflected in this book. The
critical principles of interpretation of prophecy that have
guided this study are:

(i) We should interpret the language of Scripture, including the
prophetic portions, in its ordinary, usual, and natural
grammatical meaning, unless the context of the particular
prophecy makes it obvious that the statement is purely symbolic.

(2) The symbols found in the prophecies are almost always
interpreted by other scriptural passages.

(3) The inspired message of the prophet was intended to be
understood by those readers living in the time of the prophet as
well as by the generations of believers that would follow. The
purpose of prophecy is not simply to provide factual information
about the future, but rather to challenge the spiritual behavior
and choices of everyone who reads the prophecy in every
generation.

(4) God will never abandon His eternal covenant with Israel.
Jesus Christ promised He would return at the appointed time to
defeat the Antichrist, save Israel from destruction, and usher in
the long-awaited messianic kingdom of God.

During the last two thousand years, many in the Christian Church,
beginning in the fourth century, have dismissed Israel's role as
a vital part of the plan of God to redeem humanity. Many forgot
the eternal covenant that God made to Israel's ancient
patriarchs. They believe that God has rejected and abandoned
Israel forever because most of the Jews rejected Jesus Christ as
their promised Messiah. However, the apostle Paul warned the
Church against this terrible spiritual error: "For I would not,
brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye
should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is
happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come
in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There
shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away
ungodliness from Jacob" (Romans 11:25-26). God will still fulfill
all of His promises, including that He will "give thee for a
covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles" (Isaiah
42:6) during the coming Tribulation. Tragically, many in the
Church during the last two thousand years as well as many today
have falsely assumed that God rejected Israel as His Chosen
People and that He has substituted the Church as a replacement
for Israel in His plan of redemption. However, the apostle Paul
declared that Israel's spiritual blindness was only "in part" and
that it would last only "until the fulness of the Gentiles be
come in." After this, "all Israel shall be saved" when Jesus
Christ returns in glory and power to set up His kingdom.


Why Prophecy Is Vital Today

There are four major reasons why prophecy is vital to Christians
in this generation:

(1) The evidence of the fulfillment of past prophecies
authenticates the Bible as the supernaturally inspired Word of
God.

(2) The message of the prophets calls the Church to live in
purity and holiness in the midst of an unholy generation awaiting
Christ's soon return.

(3) The prophetic message of the imminent return of Jesus Christ
should motivate Christians to witness with enthusiasm to those
around us who do not yet know Him as their Lord and Savior.

(4) The message of prophecy is unquestionably one of the most
effective tools for evangelism we have to reach those who have
not yet accepted faith in Christ. Many nonreligious people are
quite fascinated by prophecy and will consider the salvation
claims of the Gospel for the first time once they are convinced
that the Bible is the supernaturally inspired word of God.
The Lord declares repeatedly that He is the only one who can
accurately prophesy future events in detail and bring them to
pass, regardless of the plans of humanity. Isaiah wrote,
"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is
none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end
from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not
yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my
pleasure" (Isaiah 46:9-10). In other words, the Lord declares
that He alone correctly predicts the nature of future events and
will bring them to pass as evidence of His sovereign control of
the universe.


The Reasons We Should Study Prophecy Seriously

     While it is certainly true that many of the details in the
unfolding plan of God will never be fully understood until they
come to pass, four factors encourage us to carefully examine
those prophecies in detail that point to the events leading to
Christ's return to establish His dominion.

First: we must consider the importance that God places on His
prophecies. It is certainly significant that over one quarter of
the Bible is prophetic. Furthermore, the Lord directs us as His
disciples to study the prophecies. The apostle Peter declared,
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well
that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place,
until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts" (2
Peter 1:19).

Second: the literal fulfillment of all past prophecies leads us
to the conclusion that the prophecies that describe future events
will also be fulfilled in a similar literal manner. The Lord
assures us that He will continue to fulfill His ancient
prophecies in the same manner as He did in past centuries. The
Lord Himself declares, "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Malichi
3:6).

Third: Jesus Christ severely criticized the Jewish religious
leaders for failing to pay serious attention to the messianic
prophecies being fulfilled in their lifetime, and failing to
"discern the signs of the times" (Matthew 16:3).

Fourth: the apostle Paul specifically reminds Christians that
while it is true that "the Day of the Lord so cometh as a thief
in the night" to unbelievers, he immediately declares: "But ye,
brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you
as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of
the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let
us not sleep, as do others: but let us watch and be sober" (1
Thessalonians 5:4-6). Paul commands us to consider the prophetic
signs and to watch for "that day" that will usher in the kingdom
of God. In other words, the Lord has revealed that Christians are
to watch for the fulfillment of the prophetic signs of His soon
return and that we should govern our lives and priorities
accordingly.


How Should We Interpret the Prophecies?

     How should we interpret the thousands of prophecies found in
the Word of God? Since over one quarter of the verses found in
the Bible deal with prophecy, it is vital that we properly
understand God's prophetic message to His Church. There are two
basic interpretative methods that students of the Word have
applied in their attempt to understand the Bible's prophecies
during the last two thousand years - the literal method and the
allegorical method.


The Literal or Normal Method

     The first method of interpretation is the literal or normal
language method. This approach assumes that the biblical writer
wrote his prophecy with the expectation that he would be
understood in a natural manner exactly as in any other portion of
his writing. In other words, the literal approach assumes that
the reader would interpret the language of the prophet in the
same manner that they would apply when reading any newspaper
account or a nonfiction book. The literal method naturally
acknowledges that prophetic language often contains figures of
speech and prophetic symbols. However, these prophetic symbols
always point toward something that is itself literal. This
natural method avoids subjective interpretation and wild
speculation.
     It is important to note that Jesus Christ and the apostles
who wrote the New Testament always interpreted the prophecies of
the Old Testament prophets in this literal and normal manner. For
example, Matthew recorded that the soldiers gambled for Christ's
garments and pointed out that this was predicted literally,
quoting the original prophecy as given in Psalm 22:18, "They part
my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture."
     A comprehensive analysis of hundreds of fulfilled Old and
New Testament prophecies reveals that all of these were fulfilled
in a literal and precise manner. For example, there are
forty-eight distinct and separate messianic predictions found in
the pages of the Old Testament, written centuries before Jesus
was born, that reveal precise details about the life, death, and
resurrection of Christ. None of these four dozen predictions were
fulfilled in an allegorical or "spiritual" manner. As we examine
the literal method in which every one of these prophecies were
fulfilled, we have confidence that the prophecies that remain to
be fulfilled in the last days will be fulfilled in exactly the
same literal manner. In the second century of the early Church,
the respected Christian writer, Justin Martyr, wrote about the
certainty of prophetic fulfillment:

     Since, then, we prove that all things which have already
     happened had been predicted by the prophets before they came
     to pass, as we must necessarily believe also that those
     things which are in like manner predicted, but are yet to
     come to pass, shall certainly happen. For as the things
     which have already taken place came to pass when foretold,
     and even though unknown, so shall the things that remain,
     even though they be unknown and disbelieved, yet come to
     pass. For the prophets have proclaimed two advents of His:
     the one which is already past, when He came as a dishonoured
     and suffering Man; but the second, when according to
     prophecy, He shall come from Heaven with glory.


     I have spent thousands of hours during the last thirty-eight
years in detailed study of the prophecies of the Bible and their
precise fulfillment. As a result of my analysis, I have concluded
together with most of the prophecy teachers of the past two
centuries that the Scripture's prophecies should be interpreted
literally and in a natural manner. Significantly, the writers of
the primitive Church during the first few centuries following the
life of Christ also understood the prophecies about the
pre-millennial return of Christ in the same literal manner. In a
later chapter we will explore the fascinating prophetic beliefs
of the apostolic Church.

     Powerful evidence in favor of such a consistent literal
interpretation is found in the following passage of the
Scriptures. In Luke 1:31-33 we read the following prophecy of the
angel Gabriel, "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and
bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be
great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord
God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he
shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom
there shall be no end." Virtually all Christians accept the
literal reality of the first verse of this great prophecy. The
consistent principles of interpretation demand that we interpret
the last two of the three verses of this prophecy in the same
literal manner. Luke prophesied the literal truth about the birth
of the promised Messiah. However, the prophetic words of Luke
also declare with equal authority that "he shall reign over the
house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no
end." It would be illogical and inconsistent to accept the
literal reality of the first verse in this passage about Christ's
first coming and then to reject the literal truth of the final
verse that describes Jesus' Second Coming. Thus, we must conclude
that the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ will ultimately rule
over "the house of Jacob" forever in His messianic kingdom.

     There are two fundamental principles that should govern our
approach to the interpretation of all Scripture and especially
those prophecies related to the return of Jesus Christ. 

First: the authority and teaching of the Scriptures are the basis
of all of our knowledge concerning the fact that Jesus Christ
will return from heaven to set up His millennial rule. The
overwhelming importance of the Second Coming to the writers of
the Scriptures is demonstrated conclusively by the fact that up
to one verse in every twenty-five verses in the New Testament
(over three hundred verses in all) deal with the return of
Christ. 

Second: the language used in the Bible provides our sole source
of knowledge about the time and manner of Christ's prophesied
return to set up His divine government. The method to determine
the meaning of the text of the scriptural prophecies regarding
Christ's return depends on the established laws of grammar and
language. The vital issue of whether the language of the prophets
should be interpreted literally or allegorically is examined in
this chapter.

     As the Protestant Reformers rediscovered the fundamental
importance of a literal interpretation of the Holy Scriptures,
they pursued their study of the major doctrines of the Bible.
Eventually, they began to focus on the area of eschatology, the
study of last things. Bishop Richard Hooker (1554-1600), a key
writer during the Reformation, taught that if given a choice
between a literal and an allegorical interpretation, the literal
was closest and the allegorical the furthest from the biblical
truth. Hooker wrote, "I hold for a most infallible rule in
expositions of the Sacred Scriptures, that where a literal
construction will stand, the furthest from the letter is commonly
the worst. There is nothing more dangerous than this licentious
and deluding art, which changes the meaning of words, as alchemy
doth, or would do, the substance of metals, making of anything
what it pleases, and bringing in the end all truth to nothing."

     The great scientist and Christian writer Sir Isaac Newton
was fascinated with prophecy. Newton wrote of his belief that in
the last days God would raise up men who would devote their
efforts to the study of the prophetic portions of Scripture and
"insist upon their literal interpretation in the midst of much
clamour and opposition." Both the teachers of the early Church
during the first few centuries of the Christian era and the
writers on prophecy during the last few centuries believed firmly
in the literal prophecies that announced the premillennial return
of Christ. The theologian Johann August Ernesti (1707-1781)
acknowledged the fundamental law of biblical interpretation is to
utilize the same rule we apply to the interpretation of classical
or secular writing. Ernesti wrote, "Theologians are right when
they affirm the literal sense to be the only true one."

     In the early 1800s, the recovery of a literal method of
biblical interpretation of prophecy and the truth of the
premillennial return of Christ transformed the Church,
reawakening its zeal for missions and evangelism. The spiritual
fruits of the Church's earnest longing for the Lord's return have
been revealed in the explosion of modern evangelism, the enormous
missionary efforts to reach the world with the gospel and a
renewed commitment to "occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13) expressed
in numerous missions to provide humanitarian aid to the most
needy throughout the world.

     Some have criticized premillennialism, claiming that those
who truly believe that Christ could return at any moment will
therefore ignore the ills of society and abandon both social
assistance and evangelism. However, experience shows that this
fear is misplaced. The truth is apparent for all who will examine
the record of evangelism during the last three hundred years. For
the last two centuries, churches that enthusiastically taught the
literal premillennial and pretribulation return of Christ have
been at the forefront of the worldwide medical missions as well
as missionary efforts to reach the lost. Church leaders who held
the premillennial doctrine led the tremendous social reforms that
ended child labor and created a strong universal educational
system. For example, the Methodists, led by John Wesley
(1703-1791) and Charles Wesley (1707-1788), strongly affirmed the
literal truth of the Second Coming and wrote over 5000 hymns,
most of which focused on the triumphant return of Christ.
Significantly, the Weslyian revival produced a social revolution
in Britain as well as North America with the introduction of
universal education, the Sunday School movement, charitable
hospitals, and strong support for social reform in labor laws to
protect women and children. The religious movement to abolish
slavery throughout the British Empire as well as in America was
led by evangelical premillennial Christians such as the Wesley
brothers, John Newton (1725-1807), and William Wilberforce
(1759-1833). The Church Missionary Force and the British and
Foreign Bible Society were assisted in their formation by
Wilberforce. Far from leading to spiritual escapism, the earnest
hope of the return of Christ at any moment motivates Christians
to live in spiritual purity and to witness with urgency to their
world while there is still time.


The Allegorical or Spiritual Approach

     The second method of interpreting the prophecies is to treat
them as mere allegories, or symbolic pictures of some spiritual
truth. This allegorizing approach to interpreting the Scriptures
was adopted for the first time in the Church by Origen
(A.D.185-254), a teacher in Alexandria, Egypt. His teaching was
so spiritually unbalanced that he taught reincarnation and
actually sexually mutilated his body to help him reject carnal
temptations. Origen was the first major Christian theologian to
adopt the allegorical principles of the Gnostics. The Gnostics
were a heretical group that rejected almost all fundamental
biblical doctrines held by the orthodox Church. Tragically, the
great theologian St.Augustine followed this allegorical approach
of Origen and gradually influenced most teachers in the Western
Empire over the following centuries to reject any literal
teaching of the prophecies about the Second Coming and the
millennial kingdom that would follow.
     Since the time of St. Augustine, many Christian writers have
interpreted the prophecies of the book of Revelation
idealistically as simply a symbolic description of the ultimate
spiritual war between good and evil, promising that good will
finally triumph. To hold this idealist position, they interpret
the visions and prophecies of Revelation as mere allegories and
figures of speech. In other words, they do not expect any of
Revelation's detailed prophecies of the Antichrist, false
prophet, and the Battle of Armageddon to be literally fulfilled
in the future. Many postmillennial and amillennial writers in
both of the Catholic Church and Protestant mainline denominations
interpret Revelation's prophecies in this purely allegorical or
spiritual manner to avoid the clear predictions of Christ coming
to defeat Satan's Antichrist before the Millennium to set up His
earthly rule from the Throne of David.
     The allegorical method of interpretation first became
popular with mystical Jewish rabbis who ignored the obvious
literal sense of the Old Testament passages in the centuries
following the Babylonian Captivity (606-536 B.C.). This method of
interpretation became the pattern followed by the Jewish
religious and intellectual leaders who gathered in Alexandria,
Egypt. As mentioned earlier, Origen was influenced by these
allegorical approaches. He adopted a threefold sense of
interpretation that dismissed the literal approach. Origen's
voluminous writings began to influence other writers in the
following years, including Ambrose (A.D.339-397) and Bishop
Augustine of Hippo (A.D.354-430). Augustine became the most
influential theologian in the Church with his book "The City of
God." He gradually adopted the allegorical interpretation
teaching that there was a threefold or fourfold non-literal sense
to every passage. He dismissed the literal teaching of prophecy
including the thousand-year millennial reign of Christ as taught
in Revelation 20:1-5. The medieval Church gradually dismissed the
literal truths of Scripture. This process was facilitated by the
fact that the fall of the Roman Empire produced a massive loss of
literacy as Europe entered a thousand years of intellectual and
spiritual darkness known as the Dark Ages. The fact that the
Bible was only available in Latin made the Scriptures a virtually
closed and mysterious book to the vast majority of Christians,
and even to a large number of the priests who could not read
Latin. The impossibility of open access to the Scriptures for
many people made it difficult for most Christians to recognize
and reject the gradual introduction of theological errors and
heresies that developed over the medieval period before the
Reformation made the Bible widely available to believers
throughout Western Europe.

     An example of this allegorical method of interpretation is
illustrated in the theologian Emanuel Swedenborg's book "The
Apocalypse Revealed," in which he interpreted the natural and
literal sense of biblical language as being of little importance
and meaning. For example, Swedenborg interpreted that cows in
Scripture symbolize "good natural relations" while a horse
represents "the understanding of the Word of God."
     Church historian Joseph Milner describes the theological
confusion that developed when the theologians abandoned the
fundamental principle of literal interpretation during the long
medieval period: "A thick mist for ages pervaded the Christian
world, supported and strengthened by his [Origen's] allegorical
manner of interpretation. The learned alone were considered for
ages implicitly to be followed; and the vulgar, when the literal
was hissed off the stage, had nothing to do but to follow their
authority wherever it led them." The tragedy is that this "mist"
has still not been completely swept away from the teachings of
many Christian denominations in our generations.

     For almost a thousand years the most fundamental biblical
doctrines as taught in the Scriptures were lost to the true
Church until a few brave souls such as John Wycliffe, John Huss,
William Tyndale, John Calvin, and Martin Luther risked their
lives and livelihoods to translate the Holy Scriptures into the
common European languages of their day to enable Christians to
read the Bible for themselves. The placing of the sacred
Scriptures in a readable format into the hands of millions of
believers produced the greatest spiritual and intellectual
transformation the world had ever witnessed. The great reformer
Martin Luther wrote the following comment in "On God's Word," -
"I have grounded my preaching upon the literal word; he that
pleases may follow me, he that will not may stay." In his
commentary on the book of Deuteronomy, Martin Luther defended the
literal sense of interpretation as follows:

     I here once more repeat, what I have so often insisted on,
     that the Christian should direct his efforts toward
     understanding the so-called literal sense of Scripture,
     which alone is the substance of faith and of Christian
     theology, which alone will sustain him in the hour of
     trouble and temptation, and which will triumph over sin,
     death, and the gates of hell, to the praise and glory of
     God. The allegorical sense is usually uncertain, and by no
     means safe to build our faith upon; for it depends for the
     most part on human opinion only, on which if a man lean he
     will find it no better than the Egyptian reed.


     Another great leader of the Reformation, the Swiss reformer
John Calvin, confronted the allegorical interpretations by his
critics such as Quinten who wrote, "We are not subject to the
letter which killeth, but to the Spirit which giveth life.... The
Bible contains allegories, myths which the Holy Spirit explains
to us." However, Calvin rejected this argument with this
response: "You make your Scriptures a nose of wax, and play with
it, as if it were a ball."

     The Protestant Reformation was based on the unshakable
principle "Sola Scripture" (only Scripture). The clear teachings
of the Bible refuted the accumulated errors and traditions of
almost a thousand years. The Reformation unleashed the greatest
outpouring of creative intellectual and spiritual energy that
transformed the rest of history. One of the greatest effects of
the Protestant Reformation's return to a literal principle of
interpretation was the unlocking of the mind and spirit of
humanity to discover the literal truth of prophecy. As the
literal teachings of prophecy were taught in the West for the
first time in many centuries, millions of believers began to
understand the great plan of God to redeem humanity and the earth
from the curse of sin when Christ would establish His rule
forever.


     Unfortunately, many modern theologians reject the literal
and normal interpretation of the prophecies. They insist that
almost all of the biblical prophecies should be interpreted
allegorically, metaphorically, or symbolically. This allegorical
method of interpretation rejects the clear literal meaning of the
prophecies that point to the return of Christ in the last days.

     Preterist theologians who espouse the Kingdom Now, Covenant
Theology, and Dominion Theology positions often use this
allegorical approach. They sometime identify themselves as
Reconstructionists because they hope to reconstruct society upon
the basis of their theology. For example, preterists interpret
Jesus Christ's prophetic message recorded in Matthew 24 - and in
Daniel and Revelation - in an allegorical manner, suggesting
all these prophecies were fulfilled only thirty-eight years later
in the burning of Jerusalem and its Temple in A.D.70. This
allegorical method allows the interpreter to reject the teaching
of the literal premillennial return of Christ, the last days'
role of Israel, the rebuilt Temple, a personal Antichrist, and
the final Battle of Armageddon to establish Christ's kingdom by
denying that the words are to be interpreted in their normal
literal, and grammatical sense.

     The apostle Peter declared his confidence in the absolute
certainty of the prophetic message of the Scriptures: "We have
also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye
take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until
the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. Knowing this
first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private
interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will
of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy
Ghost" (2 Peter 1:19-21).
     In this key passage Peter explained that prophecy was given
by God to His Church to be a spiritual light to Christians to
enable them to understand God's purpose during their spiritually
dark times. Furthermore, prophecy was intended to motivate
believers to walk in holiness and to witness with urgency in
light of the Second Coming. In addition, Peter warned that
prophecy did not come "by the will of man," nor is it "of any
private interpretation." The message of prophecy is a divinely
inspired message from the Holy Spirit to the Church in every
generation to live expectantly and walk in personal holiness as
we witness to those around us in light of His imminent return.


The Specific Language of Prophecy

     The Bible's prophecies were written in a distinct form of
religious literature, which is called "apocalyptic" or
"apocalypse" relating to the revelation of truth that has been
previously hidden. While the Bible often uses symbolic language
and figures, the Scriptures contain interpretations of these
prophetic symbols so we are not left in darkness to guess at
their correct meaning. For example, in Revelation: 12:7 we read
the symbolic language that "Michael and his angels fought against
the dragon." Rather than being left to wonder about what the
dragon symbol represents, the prophet John reveals a few verses
later that the symbolic dragon is "the Devil, and Satan"
(Revelation 12:9).

     Another clear example of the Bible interpreting its own
prophetic symbols is found in the same chapter of Revelation,
when John prophesied: "And there appeared a great wonder in
heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her
feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (Revelation
12:1). What does this remarkable symbol of a woman clothed with
the sun, moon, and twelve stars represent? While hundreds of
biblical commentaries have creatively speculated on the possible
meaning of this symbol, any religious Jew, such as John or any of
Christ's disciples, would have instantly known the true meaning
of this prophetic symbol. Every Jew had grown up attending
synagogue every Sabbath, and the rabbis would sequentially read
and discuss every portion of the first five books of the Bible
every year. As a consequence of this annual course of sabbatical
study, every Jew was as familiar with every portion of the Torah,
as modern Christians are familiar with the details of the
Christmas and Easter story concerning Jesus Christ. As a
consequence of this annual, lifelong study of the Torah, every
Jewish Christian would have immediately remembered the similar
symbol used in Genesis when Joseph declared to his brothers,
"Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and
the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me" (Genesis
37:9). Joseph's remarkable dream was understood by the Jews as a
prophetic symbol of Israel and her twelve tribes (Joseph plus his
eleven brothers), as we should understand the vision in
Revelation 12:1. This symbolic picture of the woman with the sun,
moon, and the twelve stars definitely prophesied about the
faithful remnant of Israel that will be persecuted by the
Antichrist during the Tribulation.


A "Generation"

     The word generation appears in the Scriptures in reference
to several distinct time periods. The most common use of the word
is found in the Bible as a reference to the average length of
life of most healthy humans - usually seventy or eighty years.
For example, Moses wrote: "The days of our years are threescore
years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be four score
years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon
cut off, and we fly away" (Psalms 90:10). Another use of the word
generation often appears in the Bible in reference to a distinct
period of spiritual judgment or a time of God's governing of His
people. The scriptural use of the word generation often referred
to a distinct period of forty years, including thirteen separate
forty-year periods of judgment in connection with the rules of
Joshua, Gideon, King Saul, King David, King Solomon, et cetera.
     However, in this book the word generation will be used as it
often appears in the Scriptures in the sense of the lifetime of a
group of people living at a particular time with a duration equal
to the natural lifetime of most people - seventy or eighty years.


The Major Views of Prophetic Interpretation

     There are four major interpretive approaches to the
prophecies such as the book of Revelation that have developed
during the last two thousand years.

The Futurist View

     The first method of interpretation, the futurist, teaches
that most of the biblical prophecies will be fulfilled literally
in the last days, culminating in the physical return of Jesus
Christ to establish His thousand-year dominion and the New Earth
to follow forever. The futurist view was taught by virtually all
of the early teachers of the apostolic Church during the first
three centuries following Christ's resurrection. The futurist
interpretation will be followed throughout this book's study of
the extraordinary Old and New Testament prophecies about the
Second Coming and the establishment of His kingdom.
     Futurists interpret the visions of Revelation and Daniel to
refer primarily to the future prophetic events that will
culminate in Christ's return at the end of this era and His
establishing His kingdom on earth forever. Jesus and the apostles
prophesied the coming of Christ at the end of this age. This
futurist view was clearly believed and taught universally
throughout the early New Testament Church, as we will see in the
next chapter. Unfortunately, as the Church gradually departed
from the evangelical and biblically based faith in Christ's
return in the fifth and sixth centuries, it slowly abandoned the
teaching of prophecy. The literal and futurist view was replaced
by the allegorical method of interpretation, popularized
throughout Western Europe by Ambrose (A.D.339-397) and the famous
theologian Augustine of Hippo (A.D.354-430). During the centuries
that followed and throughout the medieval age, very little was
actually written about prophecy. In the dark years that followed
the fall of the Roman Empire, general literacy died and very few
laypeople even had access to a Bible in a language they could
read.

     Compounding the problem, very few priests had access to the
Scriptures or could read Latin. Consequently, the study and
teaching of prophecy almost disappeared and most laypeople and
priests had no clear understanding of the Bible's teachings about
other central issues, such as justification by faith (Romans
1:17). After the Protestant Reformation in 1520 and the
rediscovery of the literal view of biblical interpretation, the
futurist prophetic view increasingly came into favor. The
Reformers progressively recovered many of the key doctrines of
the faith that had been lost during many centuries of spiritual
darkness. After 1800, the literal and futurist method of
interpretation became the dominant Protestant approach to
interpreting Bible prophecy. This literal method motivated the
Reformers to re-adopt the premillennial view that was virtually
universally taught by the early Church.


The Historical View

     The historical method interprets the Bible's prophecies,
especially Revelation's visions, as referring primarily to
historical events that have already impacted the Church from the
first century throughout the centuries until the end of this era.
A fundamental part of this view is the "year equals a day
principle," which interpreted the 1,260 days of Daniel and
Revelation as referring to 1,260 actual years (Daniel 12 and
Revelation 11:3). As an example, this theory interprets the 1,260
days of Revelation, not as literal future days during the last
three-and-a-half-year global rule of a personal Antichrist during
the Great Tribulation, but rather as a 1,260-year period of
antiChristian tyranny from the rise of papal Rome (approximately
A.D.666) until the defeat of papal troops by the French emperor
Napoleon around 1800.
     This historical view was tentatively developed for the first
time in the twelfth century by medieval theologians who were
concerned about the growing abuses in the Church. Since many of
these Reformation writers had lost family and friends as martyrs
to the Inquisition, they naturally tended to see their religious
opponents in the prophecies of the book of Revelation. This
theory mistakenly interpreted the papacy as both the Antichrist
and Babylon. However, Revelation 17 clearly foretells that the
future Antichrist and the ten nations will destroy the Great
Whore of Babylon, the ecumenical false church of the last days.
Therefore, the Antichrist cannot possibly be the Papacy. This
historical view became very popular with the early Reformation
writers and prevailed up until approximately 1820. When all
possible termination periods for the 1,260 years expired without
any historical fulfillment, most Christians abandoned this method
of interpretation as an obviously erroneous theory. Only a few
small groups strongly endorse the historical view of prophecy in
our day.

(Not so. It depends on who you claim is the anti-christ; the man
beast, or the false prophet. It is the "false prophet" of
Revelation that is the anti-christ, while coming in the name of
Christ, he will by his teachings and orders to the civil
resurrected Roman/Babylon Beast empire, be AGAINST the truth and
way of life of God. The "beast man" with the civil Europe
Roman/Babylon empire, will in the end turn on the "religious"
anti-christ part of the Empire and destroy its religious hold on
the Western world - Keith Hunt)


The Preterist View


     The preterist view-sometimes called Covenant Theology,
Dominion Theology, or Kingdom Now - interprets John's apocalyptic
visions in Revelation about devastating worldwide war, famine,
earthquakes, pestilence killing one-third of humanity, et cetera,
as poetic or prophetic symbols that were totally fulfilled in the
burning of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D.70. The word preterist
is derived from the Latin word praeter, which means "past." An
obvious contradiction to this theory is that the internal textual
evidence in Revelation and the overwhelming historical evidence
of the early Church confirms that John's prophecy was written in
A.D.96, some twenty-six years after the fall of Jerusalem. Since
the book of Revelation contains detailed prophecies about the
future global events affecting all of humanity during the last
days when Christ returns to earth, these predictions cannot
possibly refer to past events concerning the destruction of a
single city. This obvious contradiction is the reason preterist
Kingdom Now and Dominion theologians vehemently reject the A.D.
96 date for John's writing of Revelation. They are forced by
needs of their theory to try and establish the date for John's
writing of Revelation to A.D.68, during the reign of Emperor Nero
just a few years before Jerusalem was destroyed. Later we will
examine the critical historical evidence that Revelation was
written by the apostle John in 96, not 68, confirming that the
preterist and Kingdom Now position is logically untenable.
     Post-millennialist and amillennialist writers admit that
their preterist system is false and will utterly fail if it can
be proven that the book of Revelation was written at any time
after the A.D.70 burning of Jerusalem. The preterists admit that
if John wrote his book after Jerusalem fell then Revelation's
prophecies must logically point to the future coming of Christ to
set up His millennial kingdom. Kenneth L. Gentry, in his
enthusiastic review of the preterist David Chilton's "Dominion
Theology" textbook, "Days of Vengeance," wrote: "If it could be
demonstrated that Revelation was written twenty-five years after
the fall of Jerusalem, Chilton's entire labor would go up in
smoke.""
     Those who are committed to a post-millennial or amillennial
position reject the future return of Christ to defeat the
Antichrist and set up His kingdom. Preterist theology rejects the
biblical hope of an imminent Second Coming of Christ despite the
fact that this doctrine was taught by most orthodox Christians
during the last two thousand years. However, the historical
evidence presented in this book will prove that Revelation was
written after A.D.70. The preterists will be forced to come to
terms with the Bible's clear pre-millennial teaching that Christ
will come at some point in the future to defeat Satan's
Antichrist and establish His millennial kingdom.

     Lastly, some writers believe the Bible's prophecies are
simply a symbolic description of the ultimate war between good
and evil, promising that good will finally triumph. To hold this
idealist position, they interpret the visions and prophecies of
Daniel and Revelation as mere allegories and figures of speech.
     In other words, they do not expect any of Daniel's,
Matthew's, Thessalonians', or Revelation's prophecies about the
coming Antichrist, False Prophet, and the Battle of Armageddon to
be fulfilled in the future. Many postmillennial and amillennial
writers interpret Revelation's prophecies in this purely
allegorical manner to avoid the clear predictions of Christ
coming to earth to defeat Satan's Antichrist before the
Millennium to set up His rule from the throne of David. A
multitude of prophecies reveal that Jesus will return in the same
physical manner in which He ascended to heaven. The prophecies
declare that He will defeat Satan and set up the promised
kingdom.


The Premillennial Hope of the Early Church

     During the first two and a half centuries following Christ's
resurrection, the Early Church universally held a firm belief in
the premillennial coming of Jesus Christ to defeat Satan's
Antichrist and establish His glorious reign. They expected an
apostasy would occur during the last days, followed by the rise
to power of a personal Antichrist and the False Prophet, a Great
Tribulation of terror, and then the cataclysmic Battle of
Armageddon, when Christ will destroy His enemies and set up His
kingdom.

(Here again Jeffrey is wrong in saying "Antichrist and False
Prophet." The antichrist IS the false prophet, the other man is
the "beast man" - the political/secular leader of the end time
resurrected Holy Roman/Babylon empire. The false prophet will
come in the name of Christ, be the leader of the largest [even
now over One BILLION in his church organization] so-called
Christian church on earth. He will sound like he is on Christ's
side, but in actual reality of teachings and practices he will be
anti-against-Christ - Keith Hunt)


     Premillennialism is a system of prophetic interpretation
that teaches the doctrine that the Second Coming of Christ will
precede and establish the Millennium. The first century
Christians interpreted the Bible literally, exactly as the New
Testament demonstrates that Christ and His apostles interpreted
the Old Testament prophecies. The well-established literal and
futurist method of interpretation is the foundation of the
premillennial view of prophecy. Some complain that a literal view
destroys the true spiritual understanding of the prophecies.
However, this is not true. The New Testament interprets the Old
Testament prophetic passages literally, revealing God's stamp of
approval on this literal interpretive system. In fact, every
single prophecy that has been fulfilled throughout history has
been fulfilled literally. There are no examples of a purely
allegorical fulfillment of biblical prophecy. The literal method
is biblical, practical, and logically valid as we seek to
understand God's prophetic message to the Church. However, this
method is also spiritual in that we must always seek to
understand the spiritual implications of these vital biblical
prophecies.

     The evidence presented in this book provides
incontrovertible historical evidence that the primitive Church
almost universally believed (during the first three centuries) in
the doctrine of a literal return of Christ setting the stage for
a one thousand-year millennial reign of Christ's saints.

     Following the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine,
the issuing of the "Edict of Toleration" by co-emperor Galerius
in A.D.311 set the stage for freedom of worship for the Christian
Church throughout the Roman Empire. From that moment on,
political considerations and power politics gradually entered
into the highest councils of the Church during the following
centuries. The premillennial teaching about Christ coming to
defeat the evil government of this world naturally became
unpopular with the civil rulers once Roman emperors and their
successor kings entered into a mutually profitable and unholy
alliance with church leaders. It is not surprising that the
emperors of Rome did not want to hear that Jesus Christ would
someday return to overthrow their governments and ultimately
replace them with His eternal kingdom.


Amillennialism, the Allegorical Method of Interpretation

     Origen, a third-century theologian in Alexandria, Egypt,
popularized an allegorical method of teaching borrowed from the
Greek pagan writers and the discredited heretical Gnostics. He
was brilliant but rather unbalanced - at one point, he castrated
himself to help him live a pure life. Among other false
doctrines, Origen taught the reincarnation of men into animals
and he rejected a literal belief in the scriptural statements.
Unfortunately Origen's writing influenced many, including
Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, an influential church writer from
North Africa. Augustine of Hippo wrote his pivotal book "The City
of God" in the beginning of the fifth century. This work rejected
the literal interpretation of Scripture and denied the
premillennial return of Christ and instead espoused an
allegorical method of scriptural interpretation. With the
allegorical method, there are no fixed standards or rules for
interpreting Scripture; everything is symbolic or allegorical and
can therefore be interpreted according to the theological
preconceptions of the interpreter without reference to the normal
sense of the prophecies.
     Augustine adopted an amillennial view that rejected any
literal period of a thousand-year kingdom of God before or after
Christ's return. This amillennial position gradually became the
dominant view of the medieval Church from the fourth century on
and has remained so until today. The study of prophecy was
virtually abandoned in Western Europe except for the occasional
mention in writings that the Antichrist would someday appear.


     Following the Protestant Reformation in 1520, the Reformers
examined doctrine in light of the Scriptures and consequently
rejected the theological heresies that had developed during the
medieval period. Unfortunately, most of the Reformers did not
seriously study the area of prophetic truth, except to identify
the papacy and the popes as the Antichrist and the Great Whore of
Babylon. Most of the early reformers continued with an
amillennial view.

     Irenaeus, a respected Church leader who taught in the late
second century, wrote "Against Heresies" as a rebuttal of the
Gnostic heretical teaching that was beginning to corrupt the
Church's hope of the Second Coming. He held to a literal,
common-sense interpretation of the prophecies of both the Old and
New Testament. "If, however, any shall endeavor to allegorize
(prophecies) of this kind, they shall not be found consistent
with themselves in all points, and shall be confuted by the
teaching of the very expressions." Allegorical interpretation
produces confusion because each teacher will supply his own
interpretation according to his preconceptions, imagination, and
personal feelings, rather than the normal sense of language.

     Amillennialism denies the supernatural and visible return of
Christ to establish His millennial rule. Rather, amillennialism
replaces the Church's confident and biblically based hope for the
Second Coming with a vague idealism in which the kingdom of God
becomes little more than a symbol or an intellectual abstraction.

     The Postmillennial View (including the Preterism Theory)
An English pastor named Rev.Daniel Whitby created a "New
Hypotheses" called postmillennialism in 1800. This theological
theory suggested for the first time in history that the Lord
would not return to establish His kingdom on the earth until
after the completion of a one thousand year Millennium. This
theory suggested that the Millennium would be established by the
Church through the successful Christianizing of the world by
believers during this Age of Grace. The postmillennial view also
depends upon allegorizing the scriptural prophecies which
literally describe Christ's return to set up His kingdom when He
defeats Satan's Antichrist. Rev.Whitby acknowledged that this
postmillennial theory was something totally new, by calling it a
"New Hypothesis." This postmillennial view teaches that the
Church will gradually expand throughout the globe until the
population of the earth will someday worship Christ without the
need for the personal return of Jesus Christ from heaven to
destroy Satan's Antichrist and establish His righteous rule.
     This postmillennial view rejects the premillennial teaching
of the Scriptures that points to Christ's return at the end of
the Tribulation to defeat Satan's Antichrist and establish His
righteous kingdom on earth forever. Postmillennialists often
adopt an allegorical interpretation of the scriptural prophecies
about the Second Coming to avoid the obvious conclusion that
Jesus will physically return to destroy the armies of Satan and
will then set up His holy kingdom on earth to be ruled by the
saints under the Messiah. Many postmillennialists have adopted
the preterist theory that suggests that all of the prophecies of
Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation were actually fulfilled
when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem in A.D.70. Overwhelming
historical and scriptural evidence proves that this preterist
theory is totally false as documented in a following chapter.


Literal Prophecies about Christ's First Coming

     The strongest argument in favor of the literal
interpretation of the many scriptural prophecies about the Second
Advent and the kingdom in the future is the overwhelming evidence
that all of the detailed prophecies about Christ's first coming
were fulfilled literally. The evidence demonstrates that Jesus
Christ was born, lived, and died exactly as prophesied,
fulfilling the numerous predictions about Israel's suffering
Messiah as found in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. The following list
demonstrates just a small portion of the many specific
predictions fulfilled during the first coming of Christ:

     Consider just seventeen of the forty-eight specific and
detailed prophecies fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus
Christ. Note that every one of these specific predictions was
recorded in the Old Testament over five centuries earlier and
every one was fulfilled literally.

*    "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a
virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name
Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14): Jesus was born to a young virgin.

*    "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among
the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto
me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been
from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2): The Messiah was born
in Bethlehem, the city of David.

*    "Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah,
lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children
refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not"
(Jeremiah 31:15): King Herod slaughtered the Jewish children.

*    "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my
son out of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1): Jesus' family was called out of
Egypt.

*    "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit
of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the
spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:2):
The Messiah was anointed with the Holy Spirit.

*    "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of
Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and
having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt
the foal of an ass"(Zechariah 9:9): Jesus entered Jerusalem as
the Messiah riding a colt.

*    "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did
eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me" (Psalms
41:9): He was betrayed by Judas, a friend, after the Last Supper.

*    "And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a
goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty
pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the
Lord." (Zechariah 11:13): A potter's field will be bought for
thirty pieces of silver, the betrayal money, which Judas had
thrown into the Temple.

*    "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man
that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd,
and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon
the little ones" (Zechariah 13:7): The disciples deserted Jesus
upon his arrest.

*    "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that
plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting"
(Isaiah 5o:6): The Messiah was spit upon and scourged.

*    "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken"
(Psalms 34:20): Jesus' bones were not broken at the crucifixion.

*    "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they
gave me vinegar to drink" (Psalms 69:21): They gave Jesus wine
vinegar to drink on the cross.

*    "For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have
inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet" (Psalms 22:16):
Jesus' hands and feet were nailed to the cross. 

*    "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon
my vesture" (Psalms 22:18): The soldiers at the cross gambled for
Jesus' garments.

8    "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in
his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any
deceit in his mouth" (Isaiah 53:9): He was buried in the tomb of
a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea.

*    "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou
suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalms 16:10): The
Messiah was resurrected and His body did not decay.


     A careful and unbiased analysis of the dozens of Old
Testament predictions about the coming Messiah will conclude that
they were historically fulfilled during the life, death, and
resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. A thoughtful review of these
remarkable prophecies will also conclude that every one of these
predictions was fulfilled literally in a manner consistent with a
normal interpretation of the original prophecy.

     Many of the most important Old Testament prophecies about
the first coming of the Christ were part of larger prophetic
passages that also contained predictions of events that would
occur in the "last days" when the Messiah would return to
establish His rule. One of the specific prophecies about the
coming Messiah foretold that He would be descended from King
David, who was the son of Jesse. The New Testament specifically
recorded the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth to demonstrate that
He truly was descended from King David, the son of Jesse, as
prophesied by the ancient seers of Israel.

     And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
     and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of
     the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and
     understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit
     of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him
     of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall
     not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after
     the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he
     judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the
     earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his
     mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the
     wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
     and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also
     shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down
     with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the
     fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
     (Isaiah 11:1-6)


     The prophet Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would "come
forth" "of Jesse" and would "grow out of his roots." His
predictions were literally fulfilled by the birth of Jesus from
Mary who was descended from Jesse (see Matthew 1). However,
Isaiah also prophesied that the Messiah will ultimately become
the supreme ruler of the earth when He would "judge the poor" and
"smite the earth with the rod." Christ will transform all life on
earth when His supernatural power will transform even the animal
kingdom until death will be eliminated from nature. In light of
the fact that Isaiah's initial predictions were fulfilled
literally, it logically follows that his prophecies concerning
the Messiah's return will also be fulfilled literally at Christ's
return.

                            ...................


NOTE:

I agree fully with Grant Geffrey, when he says, as the Old
Testament prophecies of Christ's FIRST coming were fulfilled
literally, we have no alternative but with common logical sense,
to understand that all the prophecies concerning the Messiah's
SECOND coming will also be fulfilled LITERALLY!!

Keith Hunt (January 2009)


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