The Divine Divorce of Israel

The Divine Divorce of Israel

The Bible is unique among the religious books of the world partly because it is structured around a story which has a beginning, a plot, a climax and an end; and partly because this story is also a love story. Its lead character, God, is its hero. He takes a bride. His bride flourishes. Tragically, she wanders from her husband into adultery and then harlotry. Her husband pleads with her for her to return to Him. She refuses. He is left with no option but to divorce her. But the story does not end there.

 

She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.
Jeremiah 3:8

GOD’S MARRIAGE TO ISRAEL

The Bible’s story opens with a marriage in Genesis chapter 2. From the outset, marriage is presented as the highest and closest union between a man and woman and was always intended to reflect the intimacy within the Godhead. As such, this unique relationship is identified as a covenant. This is the type of relationship which God also ascribes to His relationship with Israel. As the Scriptures unfold, we see that God thus describes Himself as a husband to Israel (Jer. 31:32). 

For your Maker is your husband,
the LORD of hosts is His name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth He is called.
Isaiah 54:5

Ezekiel describes this marriage in a metaphorical story of God taking these Hebrews and bestowing magnificence upon them.

I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.  And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck.  And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.  Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty.
Ezekiel 16:10-13

When the nation of Israel suffered a political division which divided them between north and south with ten tribes to the north being known as Israel (or Ephraim, or identified by its capital: Samaria) and the remaining two tribes in the south (Judah and Benjamin) being known as Judah (often identified by its capital: Jerusalem). From this point, God’s relationship with the Hebrews was then described as being married two sisters.

Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 23:4

 

GOD DIVORCES EPHRAIM

God gave Israel laws regulating the practice of divorce in Deuteronomy 24. Prior to this, a man could verbally divorce his wife and virtually confine her to a lifetime of impoverishment.  

¶ “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4

There are two particularly important things to note about these regulations. Firstly, the divorce had to be a written document. Secondly, the husband divorcing his wife could not remarry her. Jesus Christ elaborated on this and stated that if a man divorced his wife and married another while his former was still alive, he was committing adultery. And if the wife he had just divorced was to marry another, he would be causing her to commit adultery.

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
Matthew 19:9 NKJV

The terms of the covenant between God and Israel included blessings and curses, terms and penalties. The terms of the covenant with God could be summed up with the word – devotion. The blessings of the covenant could be summed up with the word – prosperity. The terms of the covenant could be summed up with the word – Law. The penalties of breaking the covenant could be summed up with the word – exile

And the LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.
Deuteronomy 28:11

And the next generation, your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, will say, when they see the afflictions of that land and the sicknesses with which the LORD has made it sick— the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath—all the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.’
Deuteronomy 29:22-28

When Israel abandoned the Lord, God sent them prophets who each reminded them of their Covenant with God. These prophets to the Northern Kingdom of Israel included: Hosea, Amos, Joel, and Jonah. If, as Jeremiah declared, God had given Israel a written decree of divorce, chances are it was penned by at least one of these prophets. What we cannot be as certain about is whether there is a Canonical (Scriptural) record of this decree. In Second Kings 17 there is a reference to prophets giving this prophetic decree to Israel without including the precise retelling of its wording or naming any particular prophet.

until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as He had spoken by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.
Second Kings 17:23

Initially it appears that the book of Hosea is the most likely candidate. Support for this candidature includes its historical context. It was written before Israel was exiled to Assyria. It metaphorically pictures Israel’s marriage to God and their adulterous unfaithfulness. It foretells of a coming new covenant, which would involve God taking a new bride. But in order for this to happen in accord with what Christ said about divorce and remarriage, one of the parties would have to die. This will be discussed shortly.

 

SENT AWAY

Divorce involved the sending away of the divorced wife. When Abraham divorced Hagar, it necessarily involved sending her away (Gen. 21:14). In Israel’s case, this was carried out by the Assyrians who took them into exile.

¶ In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
Second Kings 17:6

The Southern Kingdom of Judah faced the same threat from the Assyrians, but unlike their northern sister, they turned to the Lord.

Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ …  ¶ Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard … ¶ “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it.
Second Kings 18:30; 19:20, 32

But eventually, despite the Prophet Jeremiah’s pleading, Judah also abandoned the Lord and committed spiritual adultery with idols. This eventually led to them also being divorced from the Lord. 

Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD.’”
Jeremiah 3:20

 

THE NEW COVENANT & GOD’S REMARRIAGE

The New Covenant was foretold by the prophets, particularly Jeremiah. It depicted a remnant of the twelve tribes of Israel being reunited under a new covenant.

In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.
Jeremiah 3:18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Binding of Satan

The Binding of Satan

The Binding of Satan

The Theological study of Satan is known as Demonology. Many Futurists believe that it is the role Christians today to “bind” Satan…

I’m a ‘Pentecostal’ Preterist. To be more precise I’m a Pentecostal Partial Preterist. If you’re wondering what on earth does any of that mean? It means I wake up every morning to start my day living for Jesus, rather than againstSatan. I don’t have to bind Satan to get over difficulties or to make it through life. Let me explain further…

If I was a Full-Preterist I would have to believe that every prophecy and every intention of God was already fulfilled- and therefore that the supernatural gifts of Spirit ceased with the close of the Old Covenant in 70AD. But I’m not a Full-Preterist. I believe in miracles for today. I believe in the New Testament’s promise of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit for the believer today. I’ve been a Pentecostal Pastor now for more than 20 years. But I’m not a Dispensational Pentecostal (which I find an oxymoron) who regard the Devil as requiring the believer to mortally combat in order to further the Great Commission. This Dispensational concept of over-stating the power and role of Satan is rooted in the heretical notion that Christ descended into Hell to wrestle the keys of Hell and Death out of the hand of Satan in the corridors of Hell in order to achieve our salvation. And therefore in order for the believer to live a victorious life they must constantly battle Satan, says the Dispensational Pentecostal.

HOW PARTIAL PRETERISM REGARDS SATAN…

Defeated. Conquered. Bound.

In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross of Christ.
Colossians 2:15

Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil and according to Colossians 2:15 He did just that by dying on the Cross.

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
Hebrews 2:14

It wasn’t in the corridors of Hell that salvation was achieved and the Devil was defeated, it was on the Cross! While Dispensationalists argue that a method of salvation was achieved by the Cross, they reject the notion that the Devil was defeated because of the Cross. Because they read Revelation as largely unfulfilled, they also read the account in Revelation 20 of Satan’s binding as also unfulfilled and yet to happen. But this interpretation is against the tenor of the New Testament’s description of Satan’s position since the Cross.

 

“BINDING” IN THE BIBLE

“Binding” can be physical, such as being bound by shackels, chains or ropes (Mk. 5:4) or bandages (Lk. 10:34). But it can also be non-physical. That is, someone could be bound by an oath (Mat. 23:16; Acts 23:12), a condition, or an obligation. Jesus questioned whether it was right for Him to heal a woman who had been ‘bound by Satan for eighteen years‘ (Luke 13:16). Christ also stated that we could only ‘bind’ people on earth with what what they were already bound by in heaven. In this sense, binding referred to obligations and it meant that people who could no longer do what the Pharisees had done when they invented certain rules they called ‘binding rules’ (things forbidden), instead they could only restrict people from doing what God said they were restricted from doing.

When it comes to interpreting the passage in Revelation 20 about Satan being bound at the beginning of the one thousand year reign of Christ it is assumed by the Pre-millennialist (one who believes in a literal and future 1,000 reign of Christ on earth) that neither the Kingdom (“1,000” years) or the binding of Satan has taken place. Silly simplistic arguments are used to rebutt those, who like me, regard the “1,000” years as linguistically representing the rule and reign of Christ from the close of the Old Covenant in 70AD to the present day (and beyond). To ignore the way the Bible uses the number “1,000” and to then impose a wooden-literal understanding of it into the Revelation 20 text is perilous. Job says that he could ask a thousand questions of God and have them all answered. Surely this language is stating the enormous depth of God’s knowledge rather than limiting God to the capacity to only answer a thousand questions. The Law-Giver says that God’s love extends to a thousand generations to those who keep His covenant. Surely God’s love does not expire after a thousand generations of humanity? The Psalmist said that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Does this imply that the cattle on a 1001st hill are not God’s? It appears that the Biblical usage of a thousand paints a picture of a number so large that it’s not meant to be counted. That’s exactly what it means in Revelation 20.

And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
Revelation 20:2

Secondly, since Satan is a non-corporeal being (that is, he doesn’t have a physical body) physical objects, such as metal chains, cannot restrict him. Therefore, whatever binding means in Revelation 20:2, its certainly cannot mean a physical restriction. Since we have already seen that binding can mean something non-physical, it is far more probable that the binding referred to in Revelation 20:2 is symbolic language for restriction. The Cross terminally weakened Satan, and the culmination of the Old Covenant in 70AD destroyed his ability to exploit the condemnation of the Mosaic Covenant.

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
Revelation 12:12

The teaching of the New Testament is that Christ came to defeat the works of the Devil. For those who believe that nothing changed for Satan since the Cross, then the statement in Revelation 12:12 becomes non-sensical as they are forced into the absurd position of claiming that the Devil’s short time is from the Cross to the present day. This type of Bible interpretation requires mental, theological, and exegetical gymnastics. For those of us not prepared to abandon the ordinary rules of Bible interpretation (including: Context, Non-Contradiction, Original Intention) such fanciful interpretations are not only ridiculous but impossible.

Since we know that the Cross announced the end of the Old Covenant which continued to function until the the New Covenant had been preached to every Jew in the Empire, and which Christ said was conditional for the ending of the Old Covenant-

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world [Greek word: “oichoumene”, def’n: ‘Roman Empire’] as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 24:14

The writer of Hebrews, who wrote to discouraged Jewish Christians encouraging them not to succumb to the taunts of Pharisaic Jews that the Mosaic Covenant has not been done away with since the Temple, Priesthood and Sacrifices were still in place, revealed to them-

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8:13

Satan did everything he could to prevent the first Church from preaching the Gospel to every creature-

because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.
First Thessalonians 2:18

But despite Satan’s best efforts, the Gospel prevailed by 70AD-

the word of the truth, the gospel,
which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—
Colossians 1:5b-6a

if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Colossians 1:23

When all those living under the Old Covenant had had an opportunity to convert to Christ and accept the New Covenant, the Old Covenant could end. With the end of the Old Covenant came the ‘binding’ of Satan. From that point Satan could no longer come into the presence of God (as he did in Job 1-2), instead he was ‘bound’ from approaching God, and ‘bound’ for eternal damnation (“bottomless pit”).

 

MILLENNIALISM & PARTIAL PRETERISM

Satan was defeated at the Cross. He was bound at the close of the Old Covenant. This means that he is restricted from deceiving nations and accusing the brethren in the presence of God (since he is now cast out of heaven). For those who claim that if Satan is bound now “he certainly has a long leash” – I suggest that if he isn’t bound now he certainly lacks imagination! If Satan is not now restricted from conducting unlimited evil by the Lordship of Christ then his lack of rampant evil is bewildering.

Futurists are quick to ignorantly attribute natural disasters to Satan as evidence of his unbounded evil. But so-called natural disasters are more often than not a vital part of God’s maintenance plan for sustaining creation. Earthquakes, tsunamis, bush-fires, floods are all designed by God for the purpose of sustaining life on earth. (I explore this issue further in my article on the Boxing Day Tsunami.)

The Biblical expression “1,000” speaks of not meant to be counted. God owns the cattle on a 1,000 hill, Job could ask 1,000 questions and each time receive an answer, God’s faithfulness is to 1,000 generations, and so on. In a similar way, after the close of the Old Covenant Age with the destruction of the Temple and abolition the sacrificial system, Christ established His New Covenant reign. There will eventually come a time when Christ will hand over this Kingdom to His Father (1Cor. 15:24) at His Appearing.

 

HOW FAR INTO THE FUTURE DID REVELATION CLAIM SATAN WOULD BE BOUND?

Dispensationalism claims that the Book of Revelation was written about events which were to be fulfilled in the much distant future. But the Book of Revelation makes emphatic claims that its contents pertained to its original audience. The opening verses of Revelation could not be clearer-

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John…Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
Revelation 1:1, 3 ESV

It flies in the face of logic to claim that although it plainly states that its contents are immediately about to happen, it actually meant that they were thousands of years off! That is an absurd interpretation. This also relates to what it says about the doom of Satan. Partial Preterism interprets Satan’s “time is short” (Rev. 12:12) as the forty or so years (an incredibly short time in the scheme of Biblical history) as being from the Cross to the destruction of Jerusalem. To suggest that Satan’s “short time” was from the Cross to the present day defies all ordinary senses of language.

In my eBook, The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible (Understanding The Book of Revelation), I present the case for most of the Book of Revelation being fulfilled. Therefore, there is a strong case to be made from both the witness of Scripture and history that the Dispensationalist’s claim that Revelation is mostly about the future is without credibility.

 

The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible, eBook, by Dr. Andrew Corbett

The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible, eBook, by Dr. Andrew Corbett

I have written a fuller explanation of the book of Revelation in my eBook- THE MOST EMBARRASSING BOOK IN THE BIBLE (click here to read a preview). The application from the Book of Revelation is that despite what appears to be an impotent Church struggling to serve an apparently impotent Christ, the Church is in reality made up of overcomers who lay down their lives gladly to promote Christ and His Gospel. In so doing, the Kingdom of Christ is extended, prayers are offered and heard, miracles are graced, and the believer can die with infinite hope that their Lord will keep them for eternity and clothe them with a new body which can not be subject to pain, injury, sorrow, or sin. With this knowledge we can endure momentary hardship during the brevity of this life on earth. We can be assured that our greatest delights and deepest moments of fulfilment are yet to come in the life to come.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

John 5:25

Amen.

Dr. Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania, Australia, 25th December 2006

Are We Trying To Christianise Our Society?

Are We Trying To Christianise Our Society?

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Are We Trying To Christianise Our Society?The claim is sometimes made that as Christians around the world are getting more involved in politics that they are plotting to christianise their societies. Even many Christian leaders have criticised this Christian political movement by saying that it is not right to enforce Christian standards (such as marriage) onto a secular society. One leader even defended his view that marriage need not be limited to a man and a woman, based on the assumption that it is wrong for Christians to expect non-christians to act like Christians. He cited Canada as an example of how non-christian standards had not caused the “sky to fall in” on their society.

 

SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE

This line of reasoning often includes the appeal to a “separation of Church and State” where this means that the Church should not expect non-christians to uphold Christian teaching (which is not what this expression was ever intended to mean). This expression has now been so pummeled into this new definition that even some Christians now unquestionably accept it. The concept of separation of Church from State was originally proposed to describe the illegitimate role of secular governments interfering in the affairs of Church matters- not the other way around! The Church surely has as much right as any other lobby group or organisation to promote views it regards are for the best welfare of a society.

Claiming that Gay-Marriage or any other aberration of marriage should be accepted by society with the argumant that marriage is as much secular as it is Christian and therefore secular variations should be accommodated is misguided. Marriage is neither intrinsically Christian or even religious. Marriage is actually “original” and a part of the Covenant of Creation which God made with people. It is therefore found in every culture in every time throughout the history of mankind. It is not a Christian concept, but a divine one which overrides any appeal made by secularism.

 

BY SPEAKING OUT AREN’T WE CHRISTIANISING?

When we defend the place of the Moral (or “Natural”) Law aren’t we in essence appealing to non-christians to at least behave like Christians? Not at all. In fact, if this was what we were asking for we would be severely injuring the cause of Christ since Christianity is not merely about a change of behaviour but a change of heart!

If we were trying to “christianise” our societies we would be asking for Holy Communion to be made compulsory for every citizen, or for Sunday to the day for compulsory church attendance. That would be attempting to Christianise our society.

When we defend the rights and welfare of individuals and their property we are simply upholding the moral law which are laws common to all whether they are religious or not. The Moral Law tells us that certain things are right and certain things are wrong- no matter what our opinion of those things might be.

The test of morality is the welfare of the individual. That which is immoral is inherently harmful to a person’s welfare. Therefore murder is immoral because it is so harmful to a person’s welfare. Adultery is immoral because it too is harmful to not only the parties involved but also the betrayed spouse. Sexual misconduct is immoral because of the harm it inflicts physically, emotionally and spiritually upon its victims.

To claim that when immoral legislation (that which counters the Moral Law) has not really harmed a society, such as Canada, is a curious statement when these decision were only made within the last few years and already there is indeed negative fall out from it (none the least from those who have taken advantage of this radical legislation).

The “sky” doesn’t actually have to “fall in” for a negative impact to be made upon a society!

Sometimes legislative decisions take decades for their full implications to be outworked. It then sometimes takes generations to undo the damage done by what secularists felt at the time was rather innocuous legislation. For example, the Prohibition of the 1920s in the USA is frequently cited as an example of how it is just not possible to legislate morality. Yet the Prohibition of Alcohol in the USA was introduced due to the alarmingly high rates of alcohol induced family breakdown, domestic violence, workplace absenteeism and deaths, and premature deaths. The rate of hard liquor consumption in the USA at this time had reached record levels on a per capita basis. The Prohibition lasted 15 years. At the end of this time the rate of alcohol consumption per capita plummetted! Interestingly, so did the rate of negative welfare affects. Did the Prohibition stop all people from drinking? No. Does that mean the Prohibition failed? No. Facinatingly, the rate of alcohol consumption in the USA did not return to the pre-Prophibition rate until 1975! (Which demonstrates the powerful educative role any legislation plays.)

People who claim that Morality can not be legislated because legislation does not change anyone’s behaviour do not understand that the purpose of any legislation is to articulate what is right (moral) and what is wrong (immoral). If we honestly believe that morality can not be legislated then we would do away with any legislation which didn’t bring universal observance. The question should then be asked, “Is any legislation universally observed?” The answer is no. Think about it. If we believed that legislation against murder was failing to prevent murders, then why not simply do away with laws against murder- if legislation is only valid if it changes everyone’s hearts and behaviour!

Are we trying to Christianise our societies by speaking up for laws which reflect the Moral Law? Not at all. Are we claiming to be superior to our society because we are religious? Not at all. Do we want to see penalties prescribed under the Old Covenant enforced today for people who violate sexual laws? Not at all. All of the penalties of the Old Covenat Law have been borne by Christ. Does this mean that these sexual laws no longer reflect the Moral Law? Not at all. Indeed we have compassion for all people caught up in any form of immoral sexual addiction. But compassion should not be confused with tolerance.

I don’t think there is any other group within society that does more for both the victims and perpetrators of crime than Christians. While Christians are cast as intolerant soap-boxing, finger-pointing bigots, the reality is that it is Christians who have established halfway houses, soup kitchens, prison visitiation programs, drug rehabilitation centres, medical clinics, and schools to show compassion to all people, and especially those impacted by violations of the Moral Law.

We are trying to promote laws which are beneficial for all of society. We know that this is often met with hostility by those who interpret this as bigotry. And it is our wish that all those who believe in Higher Laws will defend this position graciously and in a way that is genuinely compassionate for those who hold a different perspective.

© Andrew Corbett, 23 November 2004

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Why Left Behind Should Be Left Behind

Why Left Behind Should Be Left Behind

Why "Left Behind" Should Be Left Behind!

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For LEFT BEHIND to be true it has to invent it’s own set of rules for Bible interpretation. What most LEFT BEHIND fans may be shocked to discover is that the pivotal sections of Matthew and Revelation upon which LEFT BEHIND is based was fulfilled by 70AD! And it had to be since that’s what Christ said!

“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”
Matthew 24:34 (NKJV)

The highly aclaimed atheist, Bertrand Russell, said this verse alone was enough to discredit both the Bible and Jesus Christ!

Like many evangelical Christians I was raised on a diet of End Times Prophecy. I was told that those who didn’t repent and accept Christ could find themselves in the most gruesome Great Tribulation where people would be randomly executed daily for not accepting “the silicon chip [mark] of the Beast”. The motivation for such a message was to encourage people to accept Christ before the highly imminent “rapture”.

But an examination of what the Bible says about the end times may surprise those who hold to the Dispensational view that God must remove the Church via a secret rapture, then allow a period of tribulation to commence to introduce an “Anti-Christ” who will set himself up in the Third Temple in Jerusalem and then start annihilating Jews and defy the true Christ. But this is heresy! And it this scenario upon which the LEFT BEHIND series is based. But in order for this fanciful interpretation to be true it requires the acceptance of some patently unacceptable hermeneutics (principles of Bible interpretation).

THE LAW OF “DOUBLE REFERENCE”?

With very little effort it can be shown that all of Matthew 24 has been fulfilled. The LEFT BEHIND scholars accept that most of Matthew 24 may have been fulfilled but that the Law of Double Reference demands that it must be fulfilled again. Therefore, although the temple was unquestionably destroyed in AD70, it will be rebuilt and then destroyed again under the rule of the Anti-Christ. This is accepted by dispensationalists even though there is no reference to an Anti-Christ in Matthew 24 or the entire Book of Revelation!

Secondly, there is no reference or indication in Matthew 24 that the events which Jesus foretold would have two fulfilments. In fact, there is no where in Scripture where it teaches a dual fulfilment of any prophecy!

THE DELIBERATE CHANGING OF KEY WORDS!

The Dispensational system requires the changing of key words in Matthew 24 in order to make its highly implausible interpretations have any possibility of acceptance. For example, the use of the word “you” in Matthew 24. Who is “you”? The clear meaning of Matthew 24 is the present disciples. To suggest anyone else is absurd.

Secondly, the meaning of Matthew 24:30-31 is taught as the culminating return of Christ when in fact the text makes no mention of Christ’s return down to earth. In fact, it is a direct quote from Daniel 7 which refers to Christ ascending into the presence of His Father (the Ancient of Days) and receiving the decree to judge Jerusalem. The Matthew 24 text clearly describes the event as the appearing of the Son of Man in the heavens. This is not the final, all culminating return of Christ to Judge all the dead (as described in Revelation 20).

Thirdly, the end of the Age is not the end of the World but the end of the Old Covenant. While it is true that the Cross marks the legal end to the Old Covenant, it wasn’t until the integral elements of the Old Covenant (the Temple, the Sacrifices, and the Priesthood) were done away with in AD70 that the Old Covenant was finally abolished (note Hebrews 8:13).

Fourthly, the term this generation is changed by Dispensationalists to read that generation. Perhaps these people have been singing the Pentecostal song “This is that” and they’ve carried over into their Bible reading! This means “this”. When Jesus said in Matthew 24:34 that “this” generation would not pass away before all these things happened, He didn’t mean “that” generation as Tim LaHaye and other Dispensational advocates teach. If we say that this means that then where do we stop with the rest of the Bible?

Fifthly, the word “world” in Matthew 24:14 is the Greek word for the Roman Empire (Gr. = “oikoumene“), not the whole earth (Gr. = “ge“). When we consider Colossians 1:5-6, 23 we see that Matthew 24 was fulfiled within the lifetime of the generation which Christ was addressing.

THE RAPTURE IS RUBBISH!

The references in Matthew 24 to one being taken and one left, has nothing to do with rapture but refers to the indiscriminate massacre of the inhabitants of Jerusalem during the Roman catapault attacks. Josephus describes this. The passage in First Thessalonians 4 has nothing to do with rapture – it is entirely about resurrection! Consider the context of that passage and this will be immediately seen. Once these two key passages are correctly understood, the Dispensational concept of a rapture vaporises.

When Christ does finally return to culminate time (Eph. 1:10) and judge the world (Matt. 25) after the Great and General resurrection (Rev. 20) there will be no Anti-Christ figure challenging Him from a rebuilt Jerusalem Temple situated in a reclaimed Judeo-Palestine at the end of Great Tribulation period. All of this fanciful drama might sell books and form the basis for movies and radio plays, but it has nothing to do with Scripture.

You may like to read my unfolding commentary on the Book of Revelation which explains some of these things in more detail. The first 4 chapters are available online now and the entire audio series is also available for free in our audio section.

THE MOST EMBARRASSING VERSE IN THE BIBLE expounds the entire chapter of Matthew 24 and shows why we can know that it is entirely fulfilled!


READ DR. CORBETT’S MOST EMBARRASSING VERSE eBOOK FOR JUST $AU3.95!

© 2003, Dr. Andrew Corbett

The Rapture Has Ruptured!

Understanding the Book of Revelation

The Difference Between Hyper-Preterism and Preterism

Matthew 24 Exposition – MP3

This, and other such issues, is dealt with more fully in my downloadable ebook on the Book of Revelation- The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible.

I’m on a mission to counter this discrediting of Scripture. It is my mission to help reverse Biblical illiteracy rates and produce resources to help readers understand what they are reading and how to correctly interpret the Scriptures. I opened this article by saying that the issue of eschatology is secondary to how we read and interpret the Scriptures (Hermeneutics). That’s why I’ve made my eBook- The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible available for an immediate download. Thousands of people around the world have now read this eBook and many have written to me thanking me and others for promoting a more sound method for reading and interpretting the Bible. I encourage you to download this eBook and read for yourself an alternate view to End Times than the one presented by many of these pop-preachers. When I first released this eBook several years ago I was a bit of a lone voice. But now some big ministries are beginning to say the same things. Most notably is Hank Hanegraaff’s latest book, Unlocking The Apocalypse Code, where he now makes the same assertions. I predict that in the days, weeks, months, years to come, Jesus Christ will be Lord and His Word will be found true and reliable.

Download Dr Corbett’s eBook explaining the Book of Revelation. Thousands have!

Download Dr Corbett’s eBook The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible.

Amen.

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The Background To The Book of Revelation

The Background To The Book of Revelation

Understand The Background to the Book of Revelation

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He’s considered to be one of the twenty greatest preachers of all time…

The Background to the Book of Revelation, written by Dr Andrew Corbett, President of ICI Theological College Australia, and author of the popular commentary on the Book of Revelation- The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible [September 22nd, 2009]

If you were downtown and looked across the street over the parked cars and saw someone you knew rushing intently to push a little old lady over, what would you think of that person? Would your opinion of this person change if you later discovered that the cars you were looking over obscured your view of this person actually pushing this little old lady out of the way of a speeding sports car which was hurtling towards her and about to hit her? Sometimes, a bigger picture changes the entire picture!

This is what reading the Book of Revelation is like for some people. They have their understanding of the Book of Revelation obscured by their lack of understanding about history, Biblical language, and even modern opinions.

The Problem With The Book of RevelationAnd this is one of the biggest problems with how people approach the Book of Revelation: the historical background to the Book is unknown to most readers. The second huge problem is that most people who promote themselves as experts on “End Times” or “Bible Prophecy” do not understand how the principles of sound Biblical hermeneutics apply equally to the Book of Revelation. For example, one of the first assumptions that those who employ sound hermeneutics use is, treat any Biblical book as if it was written to someone else. This demands that we study the original audience context as well as the Biblical context. But this presents a problem to the modern reader since we are at least two thousand years removed from the original audience. If we fail to address these problems when interpretting the Book of Revelation, we are doomed to commit the same errors that have plagued the history of Revelation’s interpretation. (I have compiled a small list of such of failed interpretations.)

Revelation as Apocalyptic LiteratureAnyone who studies the Book of Revelation will soon come across the term “apocalyptic”. The language of the Book of Revelation is regarded as “apocalyptic”. Similarly, the student of Revelation will read that “apocalyptic” has to do with symbolic prophetic language regarding the end of the world. This definition though is somewhat unsubstantiated. “Apocalyptic” does not mean the end of the world, rather it means to unveil. It comes from the Greek word, apocalypsis. This is the original Greek word for the English word “Revelation”. Thus, while the nature of the term apocalyptic is certainly symbolic, certainly prophetic, and certainly about the ending of something, but it is not necessarily (if at all) about the end of the world.

Speculation about the Book of RevelationIf a student of the Book of Revelation (i) ignores the historical context of the book, (ii) assumes that it is describing the end of the world (an expression no where found in the Book itself) – it will inevitably lead to some wild speculation about what this book means. History reveals that this speculation has brought much discredit to the cause of promoting Christ and His infallble Word when well-meaning (but mistaken) people make bold claims that the Book of Revelation predicts the fortunes of their own nation in their own day. The Book of Revelation not only does not make this claim, it actually claims to be speaking to a first century audience within the existing Roman Empire. But I am now rushing ahead of myself.

Understanding the Book of RevelationThe Book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible for good reason. It requires some knowledge of the rest of the Bible in order to appreciate it. Without understanding the overall context of the Bible, it is impossible to understand the Book of Revelation. It draws upon the language and imagery of the Old Testament. For example, in Revelation 17 it describes a great prostitute who is curiously dressed in the exact fashion described in Exodus 29 yet with deliberately different embossed wording. Failure to appreciate the Old Testament will cause the reader to miss this connection and then fail to get the point of what the author is trying to say.

Background to the Book of Revelation

The Persecution was the TribulationThe single greatest historical factor affecting the first century Church was: persecution. This was coming from two colluding sources. Knowing this dramatically affects how we interpret the Book of Revelation. These two sources are consistently referred to throughout Revelation- Beast and the False Prophet, Beast from across the sea and the Beast of the Land, the Seven Headed Beast and the Mother of Prostitutes.

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:9

The Church was being persecuted by Jerusalem and Rome. Christians were being martyred. We are told in Revelation 2 that Antipas had been killed for being a Christian. We are told in Revelation 6 that there were many martyrs who had been killed for following Christ. Even John was writing this Book as a persecuted Christian. It looked to many believers that the Church would be conquered by this unrelenting persecution. But John’s visions of Christ’s Revelation, reassured the suffering Church that Jesus was indeed Lord, and that He would indeed conquer.

The collusion between Rome and Jerusalem against the Church

The Book of Revelation was not written to an English-speaking Church living in Western affluence. It was written to a First Century Church undergoing intense tribulation and wondering whether their faith in Christ had been in vain. Just as there are lessons for the modern Church from any New Testament book, there are some powerful lessons for today from this ancient book.

I have written a fuller explanation of the book of Revelation in my eBook- THE MOST EMBARRASSING BOOK IN THE BIBLE (click here to read a preview).

Amen.

Dr. Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania. This article originally appeared on this site, September 22nd 2009

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