At the start of every
new year there are always hopeful believers who claim that
this is the year that Christ will come back. Some of these
believers move beyond hope and practice unhelpful distortion
of Scriptures to arrive at their wild guesses. Is there are
genuine Biblical basis for believing that this will be year
that the Lord will come back?
the name given to teachings and customs
that are neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture.
When it comes to End Times teachings there is apparently
a lot of adiaphora going on.
These End Times guesses have become so fused with Christian
thinking that most believers can't recognise them for what
they are (adiaphora) and distinguish them from what
the Bible actually says (exegesis). Listed below
are few End Times Guesses, that despite being wong, have
become almost unquestioned in the thinking of many Evangelicals.
THE REBUILT TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM IN THE LAST
For example, a few years ago I was lecturing
in a closed country on the topic of Hermeneutics (how to interpret
the Bible) when one student asked me about the "Third
prophesied in the Bible as a sign of the Last Days. This student
had innocently adopted an End Times Guess (adiaphora) as if
it was a Biblical idea. My question in response to her question
was which text in the Bible was she basing her question?
She looked at me stunned! She thought I was playing some game
with her. Of course the Bible prophesies that the Temple will
be rebuilt in the Last Days in order to usher in the return
of the Lord, she responded. Again I asked her- Where? I
have asked this question in lectures in several countries and
have never been shown where the Bible prophesies a
Last Days rebuilt (Third) Temple!
For those people who have accepted the idea
that Matthew 24 prophesies a rebuilt (Third) Temple in Jerusalem,
I suggest two things: firstly, consider that Jesus pointed
at the stones of the existing Temple in His day and prophesied
"See these stones, not one will left
upon another..."; secondly, purchase and download
the highly acclaimed eBook on Matthew 24 (The
Most Embarrassing Verse In The Bible) which details how
every prophecy which Christ made was fulfilled by 70AD- or
Christ is a liar! (Refer to Matthew 24:34).
FALLING STARS, DARKENED MOON, NO SUNSHINE...
Some believers have
taught that the Last Days will be characterised by strange
astronomical phenomena such as falling stars and a burnt-out
Sun. This type of interpretation of Scripture is often appealed
to as "the simple meaning of
the text is usually the correct meaning of the text".
The problem is that this type of interpretation is usually simplistic, rather than simple. I don't
speak Japanese (I barely speak English well). For those who
have learnt the Japanese language they tell me that it's
incredibly simple (especially compared to English). But the
process they had to go through to understand the different
characters, different sounds and tones, different idioms,
and different sentence constructions was anything but simplistic!
And it's the same with Scripture. The "simple" meaning
of a text is only apparent when the student has done the
rigour to understand Biblical metaphors, idioms (ways of
speech), and Old Testament symbolism. A simple meaning of "Don't
count your chickens before your eggs are hatched!" would
be not to assume that everything will always go your way;
but a simplistic meaning would be that you are a chicken
farmer who loves to count new chicks before they're hatched.
In the same way, when Matthew 24 records Christ
saying that stars will fall from the sky, the moon will be
darkened and the Sun will no longer give forth its light, it
is not an astronomical prediction but a Biblical idiom which
speaks of Israel rebelling against God. This is further explained
in the eBook on the Book of Revelation - The Most Embarrassing
Book In The Bible.
WARS, EARTHQUAKES, DISASTERS...
Some believers have unquestionably accepted
the idea that wars, earthquakes and disasters must dramatically
increase in the Last Days in order for the Lord to come back.
But the statement about these things in Matthew 24 doesn't
actually say that they will 'dramatically increase'. As some
believers, who have dared to think, have wondered, has there
ever been a time when there was not wars, earthquakes and natural
disasters? A closer look at the text in Matthew 24:7 might
be in order-
For nation will rise against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and
earthquakes in various places.
Matthew 24:7 ESV
Note what Jesus didn't say? Once you've done
that, filter that verse through the time-frame Christ gave
in Matthew 24:34 and it doubly reveals that He was not prophesying
that wars, earthquakes and disasters would increase as a sign
of the Last Days to announce His coming back. This is explained
further in the eBook on Matthew 24 (The
Most Embarrassing Verse In The Bible)
THE 'COMING' OF THE LORD IN THE CLOUDS...
In Matthew 24 the expression "the coming of
the Lord" is a Biblical idiom for the Lord bringing to account
or judging. Note its established use in Isaiah 19:1; 26:21;
before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
In none of these references is the implication
of a physical appearing of the Lord. Its worth noting
that the reference in Matthew 24:30 does not include the vital
(and assumed) word back. That is, it doesn't say "when
the Lord comes back..."
The Biblical use of "clouds" is
also often metaphorical. It is used to describe and speak of God's
glory. When the Bible refers to Christ "coming in
the clouds" it speaks of Christ being glorified. A closer
look at Matthew 24:30 also reveals that the clouds mentioned
are not "earthly" clouds but "heavenly" clouds. This reinforces
that what Christ is talking about is His vindication not His
WILL JESUS CHRIST RETURN THIS YEAR?
The earliest Creeds of the Church affirmed
that Christ was now "seated at the right hand
of God, from whence He shall come to judge..." This creedal
statement affirmed the Biblical message that one day Christ
would return to culminate time and life as we now know it,
and usher in a new order where there would be a "new heaven
and a new earth".
Is this going to happen this year? The danger for Biblical
credibility in the minds of onlookers is that the average believer
cannot distinguish between exegesis (what the Bible says) from
adiaphora (what sounds Biblical, but actually is not) and will
therefore hear these preachers make wild claims about how the
return of the Lord must be this year - which they
make sound like they are based on the Bible but actually are
not! Will Christ return this year? Perhaps it might be better
to expose this apparently simple question for what
it truly is: a simplistic question. Better questions
might be: does Christ have to return this year? Could the
physical return of Christ be many centuries away?
And while we're getting all inquisitive, here's
some Bible study questions for you to consider-
Where in the New Testament does the expression "second
Where in the Book of Revelation does the word "Anti-christ"
appear? (For that matter, apart from John's epistle's, where
does it occur in the New Testament?
Where in the New Testament does the word "rapture" occur?
Where in the New Testament does it prophesy that Israel
will be returned to the land of Palestine and take it by
force to prepare the way for the return of Christ?
Throughout this site, you will find an alternate
view of Bible prophecy that is much older than the current
ideas of an imminent rapture, a tribulation, an
Antichrist, Armageddon, and 1,000 year earthly reign of Christ
Dear Dr Corbett,
I was absolutely thrilled and blessed by your interpretation
of Matthew 24 as well as of the 2 witnesses in Revelation.
I had long suspected that the dispensational interpretation
was "leaky" to say the least but some of their proponents
come across pretty smart in defending this theory.
By the way thank you so much for the 2 ebooks (most embarrassing
verse and most embarrassing book in the bile) which so far
are a great and exciting read and blessing to me.
J. Kloeg, New Zealand (26/12/2006)
In the eBook, The
Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible (Understanding
The Book of Revelation), the case is presented for most
of the Book of Revelation already 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.
Will Jesus Christ come back this year? A better question
is what you are going to do this year to know Him more
intimately and make Him known to those who don't yet know
Him? It is actually Christ who is our hope, not His return.
Andrew Corbett, 6th January 2007