'Faith' is not believing something despite the facts - on the contrary - Biblical faith is a matter of believing the facts.

"It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting, it's that it's been tried and found difficult!" - G.K. Chesterton


Dr. Andrew Corbett, December 2017

Even the best of people misunderstand what God’s Word means. For example, John the Baptist, despite having heard directly from God about the identity of the Messiah – and shortly afterwards seeing this word come to pass when Jesus came to be baptised by him – had made certain assumptions about what this Messiah would do and be like. But when John was thrown in prison by Herod, he sent messengers to Jesus to ask Him a question which was perplexing Him.

¶ The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’”
Luke 7:18-20

John had done what many people do when they read the Bible. Rather than accepting the Word of the Lord for what it says, John had made certain interpretations and assumptions of it. Perhaps, like many of the Jews of his day, John had interpreted the prophecies of the Messiah as the conquering King who was to vanquish the Romans, restore the throne of David, and ultimately usher in world peace. But Jesus the Christ did not fit John the Baptist’s interpretation of who the messiah was supposed to be.  

And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
John 1:32-34

When the messengers from John the Baptist came to Jesus with John’s question, Jesus didn’t correct his misinterpretation. Instead, He answered John’s question with evidence confirming that He was indeed the One.

Many people do the same today with Bible prophecy. They read Bible prophecies and, like John the Baptist, they make some wild assumptions about them and mistakenly declare their interpretation to be the word of the Lord. For example, take the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 and 25. Many people assume that Matthew 24 is about the return of Christ. This is despite the word ‘return’ not appearing in the Disciples’ questions to Christ – or in His answer to them! In Matthew 24:30 Jesus says that He was to “come” on the “clouds of heaven”. Yet despite this, many people assume that when He said “come” He meant return, and that when He said it would be on the clouds of heaven that He actually meant the clouds of planet earth. I wonder how many people realise that He was citing a Daniel passage in which the Son of Man is described as ‘coming’ up to the Ancient of Days?

¶ “I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a Son of Man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.
Daniel 7:13-14

 Whenever we bring our assumptions to a Biblical text we are committing eisegesis. Whenever we practice eisegesis will can only ever misinterpret the Bible and thereby misrepresent it to others and set ourselves up for disappointment.

There is, however, a safer way to interpret Bible prophecy. This involves exegesis rather than eisegesis. By allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, reading texts in context, noting original audience understanding, and not interpreting a verse of Scripture in a way that contradicts the overall message of Scripture, we are undertaking exegesis.

To read my exegetical exploration of the Olivet Discourse, download my eBook, The Most Embarrassing Verse In The Bible. To begin to listen to my audio teaching series on the Book of Revelation, click here.

The Bible isn’t the problem, but often people’s interpretations of it are.

Andrew Corbett

And when it comes to teaching on some of the most difficult subjects, such as End Times, discover why thousands of pastors from around world have found the eBook, THE MOST EMBARRASSING BOOK IN THE BIBLE so helpful for them to understand what the Church’s role in this world should be amidst the shrill of so many Bible-Prophecy ministries which forecast doom and gloom. Check it out and you’ll see why. PREVIEW

How The Feasts of Israel Were Prophetic Types

The seven feasts of Israel were prophetic pictures of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. Most of them can be proven to be fulfilled, but there are still some to be fulfilled…

The wonder of God’s amazing revelation in Scripture is that not only has He spoken directly of His plan for mankind, but that He has also given us some beautiful historical pictures of His plan of redemption embedded within the precepts of the Mosaic Law. The ceremonies, rituals, and prescribed festivals each have priceless insights into the life, work, death and resurrection of the coming Messiah- Jesus Christ. Understanding these prophetic pictures should not just amaze us, they should inform and reassure us that God’s plan of redemption through Jesus Christ has unfolded perfectly and will continue to do so.

Glossary of the Book Of Revelation

Some scholars regard the language of Revelation as “apocalyptic”. By this, they mean- ultimate doom language presented in symbolic terms. If we accept this narrow definition as the working definition of “apocalyptic” then we are forced to reject the Book of Revelation as truly being apocalyptic language. The reason for this is that the Book of Revelation is not about the end of the world as much as it is about the end of something else.

Other scholars take a broader definition of the word apocalyptic and employ it to simply mean prophetic symbolism. Clearly the Book of Revelation is full of symbols. The challenge for the Bible student is to learn its language and interpret what the symbols mean. We do this by following the standard rules for sound Bible interpretation.

What Is Morality?

The issues of right and wrong are integral to the study of ethics which is a core component to morality. Right is understood as morally right, as distinct from absolutely right such as in the science of mathematics. Naturally, wrong is understood as morally wrong, as distinct from incorrect. Moral is understood to be: the best individual and social outcome. As Christians we believe that the best individual and social outcome is only achieved when the mind of God is sought and followed. In the Old Testament era, this was encapsulated within the Decalogue (The Ten Commandments). Now in the New Testament era, its understanding is enhanced by Christ’s teachings.

 In the story, Gulliver’s Travels, the author continually depicts Lemuel Gulliver travelling among different peoples who each reflect an aspect of British morality and culture. After describing the British as either war-mongers, snobs, greedy, or, out-of-touch intellectuals, he finally concludes with a scene where Gulliver travels to an island of savages, called Yahoos. These savages are caucasian, filthy, and promiscuous. Also on this island are horses (referred to as Houyhnhnms). The Houyhnhnms are cultured. They know nothing of lying, greed, or stealing. Each Houyhnhnms is committed to just one other Qwinum as their spouse.

Was The Original Creation of Paradise Perfect

How would you define “perfect”? l’m not sure that too many people have pondered how many things in life are perfect. Perhaps most Christians would regard only two things as ‘perfect’: (i) God, and (ii) The original Creation.

I try to teach my church that Biblical literacy involves being able to discern what is indeed a Biblical statement, and what is meant by a Biblical statement. When it comes to pondering what “perfect” means, we may have a problem if we look to support our two examples with Scripture. Firstly, Matthew 5:48 asserts that God is perfect. Not only is God essentially perfect, but so are His ways (Deut. 32:4), and His will (Rom. 12:2).

But the second assertion is a little more difficult to demonstrate from Scripture. In fact, it’s so difficult we may have to concede that it’s impossible. Yet, despite this obvious difficulty the idea that God’s original creation was “perfect” is so widely assumed that to suggest otherwise meets with astonished bewilderment. Yet it is this unquestioned assumption that forms the foundation for several seriously important teachings. I want to suggest that what we regard today as being “flawed” with our world (earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, storms) were probably a part of God’s original design. Therefore the “perfection” of the original creation which is described as being “good” and “very good” may not have been the kind of perfection that might have romantic notions of.

The Marriage Supper of The Lamb

The marriage supper of the Lamb is the celebration of the ultimate marriage made in heaven. It is the picture that God has given us to portray His relationship with His people. That’s why “marriage” is so important: it’s a reflection of Christ as the Bridegroom wedded to His Bride, the Church! This has sombre implications for any attempts to introduce ‘same-sex’ marriage…

The closing book of the Bible begins to culminate by describing a marriage supper between Christ and His Church.

How Dispensationalism Distorted Biblical Creationism

The Bible is emphatic that God is the Creator. It’s entire message of redemption is founded upon this truth. If God is not Creator then the Scriptures have no authority at all – let alone credibility. Similarly, if the entire human race is not descended from one man: Adam, then its revelation about man’s fallenness is without basis.

This opening account in the Bible of the Creation Story must be factual for Scripture, or Christianity for that matter, to have any credence. In the USA in the early part of the 20th century this issue became the basis for a court case where a High School Science teacher was charged with teaching something other than this (evolution) in what famously became known as the Scopes’ Monkey Trial. Curiously, Christians were called to defend their position rather than Mr Scopes his, and only one school of thought was presented during that trial – Dispensational Fundamentalism, which claims that the six creation days were consecutive 24 hour periods, and that all of this took place just 6,000 years ago. This court case was made into a Hollywood movie (Inherit The Wind) and presented Christians as bumbling, ignorant, bigotted, empty-heads. Although the movie was riddled with historical inaccuracies, the thrust of the actual ‘Christian’ presentation was not.

Will Jesus Come Back This Year?

For example, some time 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 Temple’ supposedly prophesied in the Bible as a sign of the last days immediately preceding Christ’s return. 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 such a last days rebuilt (Third) Temple!

About Narnia

CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia are now acclaimed as the standard for what is considered ‘classic’ in Children’s fantasy literature. The seven book series, The Chronicles of Narnia were first published in the 1950s. CS Lewis wanted to write a ‘good’ story rather than a ‘Christian’ story. Yet the allegorical Christian message in the Chronicles of Narnia is hard to miss. In fact, to loosely quote from the Magician’s Nephew (Book 1 in the series), “Even though you know that the lion was singing, if you pretend really hard – you make yourself believe that it is just a lion roaring!” And in the same way, if you pretend really hard you could make yourself believe that CS Lewis was writing about something other than eternal truths…

The Chronicles of Narnia take vital elements of the Gospel and communicate them in fantastic (literally- “of fantasy”) images. The eternal truths of a Supreme Emperor, an incarnated Son of the Emperor, the problem of evil and sin as a universal condition of all people, the ultimate redeeming sacrifice of the Creator Himself, the empowering of all those who chose to follow the Creator, and the promise of a final solution to evil are key ingredients to the Narnia stories.

The Eschaton

The End. That’s what the Greek word “eschaton” means. But a question that some are now asking is, “The end of what?” Up until recently most Christians would have said- the world, but now good Biblical scholarship is shedding greater light upon this highly controversial word and revealing that most of us may have been wrong!

When I went to church as a young boy, ‘End Times’ teaching was all the rage. Afterall, there were wars in the Middle East, famines in Africa, natural disasters in Asia, and economic struggles in Europe and America. There were conspiracy theories, global uncertainty, a worldwide fuel crisis, and the emerging cashless society. All of these things were apparently predicted in the Bible many thousands of years ago as being the last signs before the end of the world. As the last three decades have unfolded however, it has become obvious that none of these things have led to the end of the world, and now most people realise that the Bible doesn’t even make reference to them – let alone pinning the triggers for the end of the world upon them! With so much error in this speculation it’s little wonder that many Christians have put eschatology (the study of ‘final things’) either in the too-hard basket or now regard it as not worth worrying about because nobody knows anyway.

About The New (Heavenly) Jerusalem

When we approach references in Scripture refering to the New or Heavenly Jerusalem we are guided by these principles of hermeneutics (The Method of Bible Interpretation). Added to this, we are also guided by our system of Eschatology. Our Eschatological system will give us certain presuppositions which heavily influence our understanding of the Bible. If for example, we have a Futurist Eschatological system, we will regard references in Jeremiah and Ezekiel of Israel being returned to their land after exile as pertaining to a last days regathering of Israel to the Promised Land which we would claim is being fulfilled today. But if we have a Historicist Eschatological system, we would regard the exact same references as predicting the return of Judah from exile in Babylon when the conquering Emperor, Cyrus, issued the decree allowing them to return (as chronicled in the Biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah). Eschatological systems matter. Here are some of the features that a sound eschatological system should possess-

+ a means to accommodates all eschatological references

+ the ability to identify whether a prophecy is fulfilled or not

+ the capability to make certain testable predictions based on the Biblical text

Subscribe and receive regular updates and special offers

Subscribe To Our Finding Truth Matters (ftm) Perspectives eMail

Subscribe to receive the latest news, updates and discounted special offers.

Thank you for subscribing to the Finding Truth Matters PERSPECTIVES with Dr. Andrew Corbett regular eMail