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The Literal Method of Interpretation

The Literal Method of Interpretation

            The Literal method of interpretation stands in direct opposition of the Allegorical method discussed in the previous study.  The Literal method of interpretation is defined by Pentecost as “that method that gives to each word the same exact basic meaning it would have in a normal, ordinary, customary usage, whether employed in writing, speaking, or thinking.” (Pentecost, 1974)  In short, this could be stated in the more simple idea that God meant exactly what He wrote.  There is no need for trying to decipher words or phrases in search of some “deeper meaning”.  The Literal method also employs using both the grammatical and historical considerations of the passage, which helps to bring writing from antiquity into a more understandable meaning today as it also accounts for customs and practices of that time period. (Pentecost, 1974)

It is noted by Ramm that Ezra is considered to be the first of the Jewish Interpreters and therefore the first instance of using Biblical hermeneutics. (Ramm, 1970)  As this method moves throughout history, the key component of its practice is that the interpreters continue to use the Word of God as the Authority for interpretation and that interpretation is based in a literal rendering of the passage.  Some of the key rules developed during these periods in history are still in use today.  Ramm points out that these include:  (i)Words must be understood in terms of the sentence , and a sentence in terms of its context. (ii) Scriptures dealing with similar topics should be compared to relieve apparent contradictions. (iii) Clear passages should be given preference over one less evident if both are dealing with the same subject matter. (iv) Very close attention should be paid to spelling, grammar, and figures of speech.  (v) Logic can be used to determine the application of Scripture to problems in life not specifically treated, and (vi) God has chosen to speak in the tongue of man so that he can understand it.  (Ramm, 1970)

There would continue to be schools of Allegorists to emerge during this same time and would be in direct opposition to the Literal approach but much support can be given for the Literal method.  Some of these included by Pentecost are:  (i) The literal meaning of sentences if used as the normal approach for all languages. (ii) Any secondary meanings found in the passage are dependent upon the previous literal meaning of the terms. (iii) The majority of Scripture makes adequate sense when interpreted literally.  (iv) The literal approach maintains room for figures of speech, symbols, allegories, and types when the nature of the passage demands so.  (v) The literal approach is the only approach that offers a way to check and confirm the interpretation. (vi) This approach clearly fits with the nature of Inspiration of Scripture. (Pentecost, 1974)  One point to re-emphasize is the fact that the Literal method does allow for figurative speech.  When figurative speech occurs in the Scripture, the Bible student realizes that the purpose of the figurative speech is to reveal a literal truth but never at the cost of destroying the literal truth that is intended in the Scripture. (Pentecost, 1974)

The Literal approach is certainly not without its objectors.  Three objections are brought out by Pentecost concerning this approach:  (i) The Bible contains figures of speech. (ii) God is a spirit and therefore the teachings of Scripture are Spiritual in nature and are taught with earthly objects and human relationships. (iii) The Old Testament holds deeper meaning in its words than what they appear to literally contain. (Pentecost, 1974)  How is the Bible student to answer the critics on these objections?  Is there merit for these complaints of the Literal method?  In answer to the appearance of the figures of speech found in Scripture, it has already been shown that both the literal method and figures of speech can easily co-exist within the boundaries of sound hermeneutical practice as long as the Bible student realizes that the figures of speech are there to reveal a literal truth.  The student must remember that the Literal method includes the historical characteristics as well, which include figures of speech possibly found and known to the people of the period.  For example, all throughout Scripture the Lord is referred to as the “Shepherd”.  The Bible student clearly understands that the Lord is not a physical Shepherd in the sense of having sheep, a sheepfold, pasture, etc.  The figure of speech however is used to express the great and marvelous fact that the Lord very much has the duties and characteristics of a Shepherd towards His people.  No harm is done with the fact that this “picture” is used to teach the literal truth of God’s provision and protection for His children.  Literal methods of interpretation and figures of speech can be used in harmony.

The second attack on the Literal method employs the idea that, because God is a Spirit, there is no “tangible” teaching of literal things to be drawn out of Scripture.  There is merely “ideas” and “life mottos” that one can take and use to commune with God on a Spiritual plane.  God simply used earthly objects and human relationships understandable by carnal man to present Spiritual teaching.  This idea would be used to support the heretical Allegorical approach.  Things such as the Garden of Eden, The Flood, even Satan himself are “stories” to present a humanistic lesson to mankind.  This could not be further from the truth!  God, though existing in Spirit, very much longs for His creation to know Him and to know His Word.  It is not a Book of suggestions and ideas, but is a Living Book that is overflowing with literal truth for the Christian.  It is the Literal accounts of Biblical lives of God’s people and truths given to mankind inspired by the Spirit.  Sin is real.  The penalty for sin is real.  A real Hell awaits for all those who die without Christ.  What a sad account it would be if that is where it ended!  There is also the fact that Christ and His Sacrifice is real!  Salvation through His shed blood is real!  Heaven and the future Kingdom and new Heavens and Earth are real!  The idea of “spiritual” ideas and philosophies without tangible truths is totally unfounded.

           The last argument deals with the idea that there is more in the Old Testament that meets the eye.  Lessons and truths brought forth in the Old Testament and discussed in the New Testament seem to perhaps go deeper than realized at first glance.  Interpreters then use this idea to allegorize Scripture.  When the Bible student truly studies this relationship, however, the conclusion is arrived that shows the New Testament truths of the Old Testament are brought about through literal fulfillment.  Types are many times used in the New Testament to refer back to the Old Testament, yet this is not allegorization.  Just as with figures of speech, types are used to represent and teach a literal truth that can be used by the believer.  God has perfectly chosen the components of Scripture for mankind.  Its truths are real.  The Literal interpretive approach is the only vehicle through which the Bible student can arrive confidently at the intent and teaching of Scripture.

Bibliography

Pentecost, D. J. (1974). Things To Come. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Ramm, B. (1970). Protestant Biblical Interpretation. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Cushing-Malloy, Inc.

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The Dangers of Misusing Allegorical Interpretation

The Dangers of Misusing Allegorical Interpretation

            The proper interpretation of Scripture is crucial to the Bible student if he wishes to correctly know and apply Biblical knowledge to his life.  It is no different than attempting to read a road map with a distorted view or complete misunderstanding of which highways lead to the destination one needs.  If the wrong highway is chosen, then the destination could be missed by blocks or by thousands of miles.  In either case, the person fails to reach the destination.  It doesn’t matter how much they trusted in the map because, although the information was placed there correctly by the original writer, misuse and ignorance of proper utilization by the map user negated the true facts and caused him to err in his travel.  Such is a simple example of Biblical Interpretation.  When one fails to use the Literal Interpretation of Scripture and trusts in Allegorical “suggestions”, there is no end to the number of destinations one will arrive at.  One thing remains certain, however:  among all the many directions Allegorical Interpretation can take the Bible student, it will never deliver them to the true destination of correct Biblical Exegesis of Scripture.

Allegorical Interpretation can be defined as “the method of interpreting a literary text that regards the literary sense as the vehicle for a secondary, more spiritual and more profound sense.” (Ramm, 1970)  A simple paraphrase of this definition could be stated:  “read between the lines”.  Its belief is that the words are simply the method of delivery to the reader and its underlying tones and unwritten meaning must be gleaned by “experienced scholars” and delivered to the layman.  This lie has been propagated for thousands of years by Roman Catholicism who have taught its people that only the “church” can truly read and understand what Holy Scripture says and therefore must be the “voice of God” and the only one to distribute “knowledge” to the people.  This has created untold wars throughout history, but sadder is the fact that it has sent untold millions to an eternity of damnation.

The Bible student would do well to understand that, according to Pentecost, there are three real dangers associated with Allegorical Interpretation of Scripture. (Pentecost, 1974)  These are not mere “grey areas” of argument and debate but are indeed core problems with the very root of this Interpretive System.   The first danger associated with Allegorical Interpretation is that it does not interpret Scripture.  This makes it very easy for the interpreter to make very broad and even abominable uses of God’s Word.  It leaves the area of passage interpretation open to much speculation.  An account such as the Creation Story found in Genesis 1 is held by true Bible Students of the Literal Interpretative method as the documentation of the actual events involving actual people in history past.  Because of this, the student realizes the origin of sin in mankind, the reason for the depravity of man up until this time in history, and the future judgment as well as redemption that awaits different groups of people.  Not so with the Allegorical approach.  Much speculation and “fairy tale” characteristics are attributed to this account under that system.  God’s powerful and mighty Word is reduced to nothing more than a “bedtime story” for children that speaks of “make believe” events that help the reader to understand good and evil on earth, thereby rendering the transforming power of the Word as “none effect” in the heart of the unregenerate.

The second danger seen in the Allegorical Interpretative approach to Scripture is that it moves the Authority of Scriptures from the Word itself to mankind.  This is perhaps the most dangerous error of the three in that it takes God’s Sovereign and Omniscient power as Creator and delegates it to a product of His creation:  man.  There is the absence of the believer being “illuminated” by the Spirit as he reads the Scriptures in humble and authentic thirst for the Word and is replaced by total dependence upon a man and his view of the passage.  Intense study and prayer in search of Biblical meaning has been replaced by “soaking up” another man’s unfounded beliefs and opinions.  The student is easily led down the path of heresy because of the lack of personal diligence and labor in the pages of God’s Word.  His sword is “dull” so to speak, and he is simply unable to rightly divide the Word of Truth in this setting.  This has been seen throughout history with the endless number of Cults who have mislead countless numbers of people away from God’s true Word to that of manmade religion and idolatry.

The third danger of using Allegorical approach to Interpreting Scripture is simply that there is no way to test the conclusions of the Interpreter.  Without solid Literal Interpretation and a clear “black and white” approach to the passage, there is no way for the Bible student to reproduce the same meaning or message of the text in question.  It is opinion.  Just as in Science, if there is no way to repeatedly glean the same meaning from the experiment, then there is no way to fully rest in the satisfaction and security of its contents.  Allegorical Interpretation stands guilty of this practice time and time again.  Once again, its unfounded beliefs and practices have been used throughout history to twist and pervert God’s Word offering alternate views of the Gospel and of even sin itself.

The Allegorical approach to Scripture is a very dangerous practice.  Its conclusions are the attempts of man to create a Utopia on Earth and be “co-laborers” with God in the Redemptive process of mankind.  Its teachings lead people in spiritual darkness and in the end can deliver their souls to an eternity of hell and damnation.  The Allegorical approach to Scripture must at all costs be avoided by the Bible student seeking to know the truth.

Bibliography

Pentecost, D. J. (1974). Things To Come. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Ramm, B. (1970). Protestant Biblical Interpretation. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Cushing-Malloy, Inc.

 

 

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Hermeneutics and Its Critical Role to Biblical Interpretation

Hermeneutics and Its Critical Role To Biblical Interpretation

            The task of interpreting what the world views as the “antiquated literature” of Scripture has been one of special challenges down through the centuries.  Unlike other written works, however, man’s eternal soul and fate rests on its correct translation and application.  For this reason, a thorough understanding and working knowledge of Hermeneutics is an absolutely necessary tool for the Bible student.  Hermeneutics is simply defined as the science and art of Biblical interpretation.  While its definition may be simple, it correct use and application is something of a weightier matter.

The study of Hermeneutics accomplishes many things for the Bible student, of which the most important is without question to rightly understand what God has said to mankind in His Holy Word.  An improper or absent use of a hermeneutical principle can yield something as small as an ignorant idea to as something as serious as an occult teaching.  Another useful benefit of correct hermeneutical practice is that it helps the Bible student to better understand what the Biblical writers actually penned.  Whether it be a language, culture, geographical, or religious barrier, Hermeneutics helps to clear the picture of the past and translate the true meaning into the “thought” or “language” of today.

There are two basic approaches to the interpretation of Scripture:  Literal and Allegorical.  It is how one views these approaches that ultimately shapes his Biblical doctrine and Eschatological beliefs.  For example, if one approaches Scripture with the Literal approach, he would expect the Book of Revelation to describe events yet still in the future- including a thousand year reign on Earth by Christ Himself upon the throne of David.  The Literal approach takes God literally when it is possible to do so.  Literal interpretation takes God’s message delivered to the Writers and trusts exactly what has been penned down to have occurred or to occur exactly as it has been recorded.  There is little room for compromise or alternative definitions when the Bible student takes this approach.  The logical conclusion of Literal interpretation, therefore, is that the Bible student will come away from the study of the Scripture with a very definite and clearly defined view of the passage.  When the Bible student taking a Literal interpretative approach reads:  “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire,” it is with clear understanding that it is realized that a devastating and physical future judgment awaits those who reject Christ.  (Revelation 20:15, KJV) 1

In sharp contrast to the Literal interpretation of Scripture, the Allegorical interpretation leaves much room for misinterpretation and even gross misuse of Scripture.  The Allegorical method would move away from a “statement” that the Scripture is teaching to more of a global “idea” of the passage.  Literal words and sayings become nothing more than “pictures” and “symbols” used to support the view of the one doing the Interpretation.  Because of this, the logical conclusion of using this method of interpretation of Scripture can be summed up in one word:  chaos.  The Bible student who employs this approach to his studies does nothing more than put his faith in what or whom he is learning from.  Sadly this approach has been used to condone homosexuality, polygamy, drinking, and other Sociological problems of today.  It has also robbed the Bible student of the “blessed hope” of the future Rapture and Millennial Kingdom as this approach commonly denies the two events.  This approach commonly takes the Bible student from relying on the Holy Spirit for illumination of Scripture in personal study to a dependency upon “scholars” who claim to know how to interpret the sayings of old.  It is a means of Interpretation best left in the waste can of liberal teachers from which it originated.

Endnotes

1All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Bible version, Royal, 1971.

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God’s Future Kingdom: The Best Is Yet To Come!

God’s Future Kingdom:  The Best Is Yet To Come

            God is a God of order.  Throughout over 6,000 years of human history, God has always fulfilled His word just as He promised.  These facts should bring comfort to the believer while issuing a cold warning to the unregenerate at heart.  The same God that sent His Son in millennium past to offer Salvation to His creation will soon judge in righteousness those who have neglected the call.  Included in this righteous judgment will not only be those unsaved peoples and multitudes throughout the ages, but also the architect of evil and immorality himself:  Satan, and his fallen band of angels.  Throughout the present time, Satan has been allowed dominion of this world, and “walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8, KJV).¹  There is coming a time soon when this domination will finally end.  That time will begin with the Millennial reign of Christ upon this Earth.  Daniel records that Christ will indeed be the ruler of this Kingdom, and that, while the period will last for one thousand years, the Kingdom itself will last for all eternity (Daniel 2:44; 7:18, KJV).

The future Kingdom will be one in which Righteousness will reign.  Isaiah records that it will be a time of peace without end, as Christ rules from the earthly throne of David to “establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever” (Isaiah 9:7, KJV).  Unlike today where sin abounds and evil appears to prevail, the future Kingdom will be a government which operates as God intended.  This will also be accomplished by Satan being bound by God in the bottomless pit for the entire 1,000 year period (Revelation 20:1-2, KJV).  This will be the first time in history where Satan is bound!  With the “accuser of the brethren” being subdued, Righteousness will flourish during this time, and sin will quickly be punished and put down.

Isaiah further records that the Kingdom period will be a time when “they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat…” (Isaiah 65:21-22, KJV).  It indeed will be a peaceful, joyous time when God will allow His people to enjoy the long awaited reign of her Messiah.  It will once again be a time in which man will work the land and enjoy the fruits thereof.  Even nature itself will respect its Creator as “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock:  and dust shall be the serpent’s meat”  (Isaiah 65:25, KJV).  Both the human and animal kingdom will recognize and give honor to the Creator and Lord of all.

The inhabitants of this future Kingdom will be comprised of two groups of people alive at the end of the Great Tribulation.  First, those believers who are alive at the end of the Great Tribulation period will enter into the New Kingdom in their physical bodies.  These Gentiles will have accepted Christ as their Savior during the Tribulation period.  The Second group will be those Jews who have also accepted Christ as their Messiah during this period of time.  The Book of Matthew records these events (Matthew 25, KJV).  People will continue to procreate during this one thousand year reign, and those born during this age must accept Christ as their Savior just as has been the case throughout history.  This will, in essence, create a third group of people during this period, which will indeed be those who are unregenerate and in need of a Savior.

At the end of this one thousand year reign, Satan will be loosed for an amount of time in a final attempt to be like God.  Revelation records that Satan will be utterly and totally put down at this time and will be cast into the Lake of Fire for all of eternity (Revelation 20:7-10,KJV).  It is also at this time the new heaven and the new earth will be presented by God, along with the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21, KJV).  What a glorious time this will be as once and for all, God will have completed His restorative work of His creation!  The Jewish people will finally realize the promise of their physical land for all of eternity with Christ reigning from the throne of David on this new earth.  The church will inhabit the New Jerusalem, and will enjoy a city which needs no sun nor moon for light, “for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23, KJV).  Every saint will have access to each place, and will forever be with their Savior and Messiah.  The relationship of the Kingdom to the new Heavens, Earth, and the New Jerusalem will be in complete harmony, as believers will travel to and from these locations throughout eternity in the worship and service of the Lord and Savior. 

These events still await in the portals of eternity future.  There has not been such a Kingdom set up at this time in history and cannot be established until all of God’s Word is fulfilled in the order of His timing.  God is a God of truth.  His Word does not return void.  As He has written, so shall it be.  Truly, the best is yet to come.

Endnotes

1All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Bible version, Royal, 1971.

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The chronological events of the Second Coming of Christ

One of the dividing lines within the Christian community is without a doubt, the teaching of the Second Coming of Christ and its significance to the world today.  There are those who hold the Historical view that claim that all the end time events between the 1st and 2nd coming, including chapters 4-19 of Revelation, have already occurred and there is nothing in the future except that of Christ’s return.  The viewpoint of the Preterist says that all events concluded in 70 A.D. and Christ’s Second Coming is all that waits.  Still, others hold to a non-literal viewpoint of the book of Revelation and take an Allegorical approach.  All three preceding viewpoints do not take a literal view of Scripture as one should in reading God’s Word.  The Futuristic approach is undeniably the most accurate, most literal, and most sincere way to define and interpret the book of Revelation.   To hold a Futuristic viewpoint necessitates that those events mentioned after Revelation 4:1 are events that are yet unfulfilled and remain fully active in God’s prophetic time table.  One such event is indeed the Second Coming of Jesus Christ back to this earth.

The Second Coming of Christ can be seen in two stages.  The first stage of this event occurs at the Rapture, mentioned- though unnamed- in Revelation, chapter 4:  “…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…”(Revelation 4:1, KJV).1  Christ will descend out of heaven and the saints 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” (I Thessalonians 4:17, KJV).  At this point, the church will be removed off the face of the earth and the seven year period known as the Tribulation will begin.  This event was indeed an occurrence to which the Old Testament Prophets were unable to see and recognize.  They were grounded in the fact of the Lord’s return one day to set up His Kingdom, yet could not foresee the Church and the age to which it would occupy.  For this reason, and by God’s design and perfect will, the Old Testament Scriptures prophesy and proclaim the Second Coming of Christ back to the earth, which event is still future and will culminate at the end of the last 3 ½ years at the campaign of Armageddon. 

The Second stage of Christ’s Second Coming is realized in Revelation, chapter 19, as John presents him coming in the clouds “on a white horse…and the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses…” (Revelation 19:11,14, KJV).  Christ will, at this time, physically return to the earth and his feet will rest on the Mount of Olives, causing it to split and make way for the enemies of Israel to flee into the Jezreel valley (Zechariah 14:4,5).  Christ is seen at this time returning with his saints to put down the rule of the Satanic trinity.  At this point, Jerusalem will have been invaded by her enemies, the women raped, and part of the city devastated according to the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 14:2, KJV).  The purpose of Christ’s return is so that he shall “go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle” (Zechariah 14:3, KJV).  This battle will come to full fruition in the Jezreel valley where Christ will put down the enemies of Israel.  That battle will be so great that the blood will flow up to the horse’s bridles for a distance of 176 miles (Revelation 14:20, KJV).  At the end of this campaign, Christ will make the trek of 176 miles to the land of Edom, unto Bozrah, where the fortified city of Petra will have served as the divine protection of the Jews during this period (Isaiah 63:1-3, KJV).  At this point, Ezekiel records that Christ will collect his people from Petra and will return unto Jerusalem, through the Eastern gate, and will ascend up into the Temple which he has prepared for the Millennial reign (Ezekiel 43:2, KJV).  With the beast and the false prophet defeated and thrown into the Lake of Fire and Satan bound one thousand years in the bottomless pit; Christ will rule from his throne in Jerusalem forever (Ezekiel 43:7, KJV).

            The Second Coming of Christ will indeed usher in the restoration of the Jewish people as a nation, and will also allow Righteousness to reign as God intended so many thousands of years ago.  God’s perfect will and plan will be accomplished.  The end-time events will finally culminate in the permanent judgment and punishment of Satan at the end of the one thousand year reign (Revelation 20:7-10, KJV).  Those that died without Christ will also stand before the Lord as Judge at the Great White Throne during this time (Revelation 20:11-15, KJV).  The final act of Christ in closing out this period will be a gift to those who know him as Savior of eternity future with a new Heaven, new Earth, and  New Jerusalem.  Until that time, it should be every believer’s desire, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”(Revelation 22:20, KJV).

 

 Endnotes

1All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Bible version, Royal, 1971.

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The components of the Tribulation period

The Components of the Tribulation Period

There remains in future events, a period of time that will be unlike any other ever witnessed on earth.  This period of time will usher in the culmination of God’s judgments, promises, and His will that was set in motion in eternity past.  This period of time is known as the Tribulation.  The book of Revelation records these events that will soon take place.  It is of great importance that the Christian read and understand the events to come recorded in this book.  The Scripture promises “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein:  for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3, KJV).1
To hear these words is indeed a privilege- to obey them is indeed a duty.

The events of Revelation involve two groups of people- Gentiles and Jews- yet centers on and honor bestowed upon its rightful owner:  “The Revelation of Jesus Christ…” (Revelation 1:1, KJV).  To correctly interpret the book, one must approach its content through a futuristic approach, which calls for the events after Revelation 4:1 to be viewed as unfulfilled prophecy that will literally take place just as God has recorded.  The key character in this passage, as has already been stated, is Jesus Christ Himself.  It is through Revelation that God unfolds (1) the Person; (2) the Power; and (3) the Program of Christ.  The Person of Christ reveals the God given authority and royalty of Christ as Judge and Lord of all.  The Power of Christ is shown through the workings of His will and His victorious triumph over the evil one and sin.  The Program of Christ is laid out in explicit detail of: “(1) the things that are seen; (2) the things that are; and (3) the things that shall be hereafter”(Revelation 1:19,KJV).  The “things that are seen” and the “things that are” were accomplished in chapters 1 through 3, while the “things that shall be hereafter” remain awaiting fulfillment.

The Tribulation period is set to begin at any moment at the inception of the Rapture, at which time God calls to His people to “come up hither” (Revelation 4:1, KJV).  It is at this point in time that the two groups of people remaining on earth, will, in essence, switch focus in the eyes of God.  The Gentile population has spent the last several thousand years in control of human history.  The focus now shifts to that of the Jewish people.  During this period of time, the priorities on God’s table of events will include:  (1)Evangelize the Jew; (2)Bring an end to the Gentile world powers- also known as the “times of the Gentiles”; and (3) Bring an end to the Satanic trinity.  The Jewish people, as a nation, has until now lived in a state of Holy deception due to their rejection of their Messiah at the first advent.  This will no longer be the case during this time, but God, through the work of the 144,000 Jewish male virgin evangelists, will go throughout the world proclaiming the true Gospel and through this time Israel will, finally as a nation, recognize her Messiah.  At the same time, Gentile powers will fall and those who rejected Christ and His offer of Salvation prior to the rapture will seal their fate as they are sent a “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:11-12,KJV).  The end of the Satanic trinity will also be brought about during the Tribulation period, with the Antichrist and the False Prophet being cast into the Lake of Fire.  Satan will be bound at this time for 1,000 years in the Bottomless Pit awaiting the final culmination of God’s plan, at which future time He, too, will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

God indeed is a righteous judge and a faithful witness.  What He says will come to pass will indeed come to pass.  The judgments that will come forth out of this period of time will indeed be the most horrific and severe judgments ever known to man.  There will be three sets of judgments meted out by God:  (1)The Seal Judgments; (2)The Trumpet Judgments; and (3)The Vial Judgments.  Through the work of the two witnesses, the holy angels, and even the satanic host themselves, God will bring about a holy and righteous judgment upon lost mankind.  Each set of judgments will increase in severity and horror.  The purpose of this period, again, is to make Israel see her true Messiah, but also to give men a chance to call upon God for He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).

The seven year period of time known as the Tribulation is but a short summons away.  The rapture could occur at any moment and this horrific series of events begin to unfold.  Christians should be ever aware of the times in which they live and “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…”(I Peter 3:14).  Having done that, all that is left to do is to keep looking up- until.

 

Endnotes

1All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Bible version, Royal, 1971.

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