20 Studies in Bible Prophecy

Study 1 - The Importance of Prophecy

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 1 - The Importance of Prophecy
 

In the study of prophecy we must begin here.

Is The Study of Prophecy Important?

Some would contend that one has to be either mentally unbalanced, a religious crank, or heretic in doctrine, to show an interest in such a subject. Others fight shy of the subject because it is beset with so many difficulties, and is too controversial. There are those however, who feel they cannot afford to neglect any phase of Biblical teaching, and therefore give themselves to a study of the great truth of Christ's Second Coming.

While not professing to unravel every prophetical problem, yet such are assured that history is moving towards its climax, and events in our world bristle with prophetic significance. God has a plan for the future, and that plan is outlined in His Word, "the Bible is a talking book".

Study 2 - The Second Advent Explained

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 2 - The Second Advent Explained

 

We have seen that prophecy occupies a large place in the Scripture. To neglect its study, avers Dr. Rene Pache, is to deprive ourselves of "an essential vitamin" in our spiritual nourishment.

Of all the subjects taught in the Bible, this is the greatest, and when the secular world speculates about tomorrow's world, we should be proclaiming the crowning article of our Christian creed, the Return of Jesus Christ, first to receive to Himself His Church, and then to appear on earth to reign for a millennium of years.

These are two separate events and must never be confused. In our next study we will differentiate between the Rapture and the Revelation.

Study 3 - The Rapture: The Next Event...

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy

Study 3 - The Rapture: The Next Event In The Prophetic Programme

 

The next great event set before the Christian is the translation or Rapture of the Church. This event is the crowning and closing episode of this Christian dispensation, and entails what the Lord's return will mean for the Christian, dead or alive. It will be the next issue in the prophetic programme, but it will also be the first movement in the great drama of the end. As Dr. Skevington Wood puts it, "Christ's coming for His own touches off the chain reaction of startling consequences connected with the final age. An entire sequence of events awaits the signal of the Lord's return to transfer the saints to be with Him forever". In this age of grace, which began at Pentecost, and will terminate at the Rapture, God has been calling out a people from among the nations. That company, termed in the Scriptures as the Church, the Body of Christ, (1 Cor. 12:13-17; Eph. 1:22, 23; 5-23, 30, 32; Col. 1:18), will be the caught up company when Jesus descends from heaven and shouts the quickening word. It is very evident that the Church has not only a heavenly origin, but a heavenly destiny, and, wrote Robert Middleton in (THE COMING GREAT WORLD CHANGES), "The only way in which the Church is connected with prophecy is in connection with her translation to glory." The Rapture is decidedly the Christian hope.

Study 4 - The Resurrection

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 4 - Resurrection

 

Thinking about the subject of resurrection we call into view belief in immortality. Our use of the word "immortality" suggests a belief in the survival of the soul after physical death. Indeed the Scriptural concept of immortality exceeds the mere existence of the soul, it involves the self-conscious existence of the whole person, in a state of felicity, resulting from the redemptive work of Christ.

Survival beyond the grave has been a matter which has been almost universally accepted, to a greater or lesser degree. As Dr. Herbert Lockyer puts it: "The hope of immortality, resident within the breast of both savages and saints, was planted there by Him who has no beginning or end."

Death is not a full-stop to life, for, if there is nothing beyond this life, there is nothing in life. In this area alone, philosophers and rationalists have drawn a blank, while Christian eschatology affirms that the true evaluation of this world must be seen against the background of its impermanence.

The Bible assumes man's immortality as an undisputed postulate, as it does the existence of God. The Old Testament teaches immortality, but not with the lucidity of the New Testament. Indeed the latter is an inspired commentary of the former.

The one concise message of the New Testament is that Jesus Christ has fulfilled the hope and expectation of the Old Testament.

Study 5 - The Review Of The Believer

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy

Study 5 - The Review Of The Believer

 

The Lord in the closing chapter of the Bible stressed that the Rapture of the Church, the subject matter of Study 3, will be implicational, (Rev. 22:12).

It is clearly implied in the New Testament that following the Church's removal from the earth there will follow the examination of the believer.

Now it is admitted that this is a serious aspect of the great hope, yet, observed Dr. Denny, "The Christian hope is not clouded by the judgment seat of Christ; it is sustained at the holy height which befits it."

It will be recognised that no aspect of the doctrine of the Advent is of greater importance to the believer than this one. The Christian must be prepared to face up to the Scriptural challenge of this truth, since it is one that should actuate his life for the better.

Study 6 - The Marriage Of The Lamb

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 6 - The Marriage Of The Lamb

 

This is one of the prime features of eschatology, and it can be safely stated that it will be conducted in heaven, following the removal of the Church from earth and the review of the believer at the judgment seat of Christ.

This shows that the period separating the Rapture and the Revelation is not a vacuum. Indeed the events which are to take place following the translation of the Church, i.e. the bema, the presentation of the Church to Christ, and the marriage of the Lamb, make an interval of time necessary.

As we view the Scriptures, the next great event in the drama of our redemption will be the Rapture of the saints, an event which concerns the Church, and must be distinguished from Christ's appearing on earth as indicated in (Zech. 14 and Revelation 19:11-16).The first will be to the air as the returning Bridegroom to claim His bride, and the second will be to the earth in company with His bride, then the wife of the Lamb, to execute judgment and reign in equity.

To confuse these two events and class them as one is to do an injustice to prophetic truth.

Since this nuptial celebration concerns the Church, it is necessary to take a look at this spiritual superstructure, composed of all regenerated believers from Pentecost to the Second Coming.

This Church is the bride of Christ and nothing is more descriptive of the union that exists now between Christ and His Betrothed bride, consummating in this marriage in the heavenlies, subsequent to the removal of the saints from the earth at the Rapture. It is imperative, therefore, that we trace the Church of God in this parenthesis of grace, and in the glory yet to be revealed.

Study 7 - The Disclosure Of The Seventy Weeks

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 7 - The Disclosure Of The Seventy Weeks

 

 Daniel 9 has been called "the backbone of prophecy". The understanding of this most important prophecy is essential to a correct appreciation of the divine programme for the ages. Here we have the key to the under-standing of all New Testament prophecy. It is an amazing prophecy, given to Daniel, who was not only a prophet, but a student of prophecy. In the first year of Darius (v1), a fact which shows that the final six chapters of this prophecy are not chronologically arranged, Daniel was studying the Old Testament Scriptures available to him, probably (Jer. 25:9-14 and 29:10-14), when he was stabbed awake by the discovery that the 70 years captivity had well-nigh run its course.

This sent Daniel to seek the Lord, and the Rev. Geoffrey R. King remarks, "I believe with all my heart that the reason why Advent Testimony is not being blessed today in most places as it should be is because the people of God are simply taking prophecy as a thrill and are not doing what Daniel did. Daniel was thrilled by the prophecy, but it brought him to his knees."

So Daniel 9 contains both a prayer and a prophecy, and two-and-a-half millennia nearer the goal of his prophecies, these two great subjects are still intimately linked together. While the lessons we could learn from this chapter about prayer are tremendous, our main consideration must be the vision of the seventy weeks.

Study 7a - The Seventieth Week

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 7a - The Seventieth Week

 

An interesting point emerges here when we read in the A.V. "After three-score years shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself." The authorities agree that the phrase "but not for himself" is inaccurate. The R.V. changes it to "and shall have nothing".

The late Dr. Campbell Morgan argued that this was a mistranslation duly corrected in the R.V. The revised phrase "and shall have nothing" means that He would not possess the Kingdom and be acknowledged King. G. H. Lang adds a timely note here: "His career had commenced in a borrowed manger. It closed in a borrowed grave.

Study 8 - The Great Tribulation

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 8 - The Great Tribulation

 

Having already concentrated on events in heaven following the rapture of the church, we now turn our attention to events on earth following that great day.

This period of unprecedented judgment will immediately precede the arrival of Christ on earth, and will coincide with the reign of the Man of Sin, the Antichrist, This dreadful drama is referred to quite clearly in the Bible, and it is our task to relate this era of divine wrath to God's prophetic programme and discover something of God's design to be accomplished in the day when the earth is completely in the hands of the "devil's messiah".

Study 9 - The King of the North

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 9 - The King of the North

 

Turning our attention to the age of Gentile dominion, we must take a look at the expression "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24). This phrase refers to the era of Gentile world domination, which commenced with the ascendancy of Nebuchadnezzar, and will terminate with the advent of Christ to reign. The time limit of this dominion is lucidly denned in the Scofield Reference Bible. It reads: "The times of the Gentiles is that long period beginning with the Babylonian captivity of Judah, under Nebuchadnezzar, and to be brought to an end by the destruction of Gentile world-power by the 'stone cut out without hands' (Dan. 2:34, 35, 44) i.e. the coming of the Lord in glory (Rev. 19:11,21), until which time Jerusalem is politically subject to Gentile rule".

During the closing stages of this period, when man is doing his best to govern, the Bible predicts world chaos, with wars on a universal scale, and men's hearts failing them for fear as they contemplate international confusion and economic crisis. Indeed the Bible confirms that "mystery of iniquity" doth already work (2 Thess. 2:7), but as noted in the last study, there is a restraining hand. When the church is taken out of this world, that hindering influence will be removed, and out of the confusion and turmoil there will emerge the devil's superman, the "future Fuehrer" or the Antichrist. He will be the head of a ten-nation confederacy, or the resuscitated Roman Empire. Beyond this ten-kingdom federation of other nations under the dominion of the Beast (Rev. 13 : 1-10), there will be a federation of other nations which will contest the Antichrist's rulership of the Holy Land.

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