20 Studies in Bible Prophecy

Study 10 - The King of the South

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 10 - The King of the South

 

There is general agreement among prophetic scholars that the "King of the South" has reference to Egypt, inasmuch as this power is referred to as that south of Israel (Dan. 11:5, 6, 9, 11, 14, 15, 25, 29, 40). Indeed it is not possible to understand the history of Palestine without a knowledge of the history of Egypt. If we take a careful look at (Dan. 11:40) it becomes evident that we are dealing with prophecy. "At the time of the end" are words, which allude to a time beyond the day of Daniel. At this time after the close of the present church age, when a dark power will rule over Israel (Dan. 11:36-45), this "king of the south shall push at him". Edward J. Young in his commentary on this Danielic prophecy argues that this king of the south typified ancient rulers in Egypt from the time of Alexander the Great and will be a ruler at the end time. Indeed it is evident from (11:43) that he will wield great influence at the end time, in confederation with other powers, Arabic and African. Dr. Tatford argues very convincingly in his excellent commentary on Daniel that "This powerful league may well think itself capable of teaching the northern ruler a well-deserved lesson and the assault upon Palestine may be the first step in a planned campaign against the king of the north".

Study 11 - The Kings of the East

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 11 - The Kings of the East

 

The two previous studies dealt with the northern confederacy, or the "King of the north," and the "King of the south", which by general agreement has reference to Egypt. We come now to examine the federation of the Far East, the vast oriental armies of S.E. Asia, referred to in (Rev. 17:12) as the "Kings of the east". The word "east" comes from the Greek "the rising of the sun". This seems to have undoubted reference to oriental races and nations, and Prof. Walvoord says, "the rising powers of parts of the orient in our day in countries such as Japan, China, India, as well as lesser nations, makes such an invasion a reasonable prediction". It is reasonable to conclude that any future consideration of events on a cosmic scale would include the orient with its teeming millions. Indeed, "the real sleeping giant of Asia is awakening".

Study 12 - The Future of Israel

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 12 - The Future of Israel

 

To emphasise the importance of this study we must remember that we are considering a unique race. The Jews form a large part in the purpose of God. In fact, states Alan Hayward in PLANET EARTH'S LAST HOPE, "the whole history of mankind, both past and future, revolves around the history of Israel." John Urquhart, a writer of a much earlier day, put it very succinctly when he said, "The Bible lives in the Jew. His whole history is a testimony to the historic truth."

God has not finished with Israel. Liberal theologians ignore any reference to Israel, while others, some within the ranks of conservative evangelicalism, aver that God is through with Israel, and that the Jews have been set aside and superseded by the church composed of Jews and Gentiles. Says one such thinker, making reference to the words of Jesus in (John 4:21), "Jerusalem in Palestine was abolished for ever as to its spiritual significance." He continues in his thesis to argue that the "Zion" referred to in (Isa. 59:20, 21 and Rom. 11:26, 27) can only refer to the New Testament Zion, i.e. the church of our Saviour Jesus Christ." To argue in this fashion betokens a failure to differentiate between Israel and the church, resulting in theological confusion. Prof. Dwight Pentecost states that "these two groups cannot be united into one, but that they must be distinguished as two separate entities with whom God is dealing in a special programme." Any attempt to interpret certain Old and New Testament prophecies relative to Israel, otherwise than literally is not sound, and the idea of spiritualising such prophecies and applying them to the church makes nonsense of Scripture.

Study 13 - The Beast and the False Prophet

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 13 - The Beast and the False Prophet
 

The passage of Scripture dealing specifically with this study is found in Revelation 13. The first ten verses deal with "a beast", a character who will figure prominently in the Great Tribulation, the subject, of study 8. This beast emerges from "the sea", which in Biblical usage indicates that he will spring from the great mass of humanity. A. J. Pollock comments, "the sand of the sea referring to the multitudes of mankind, the sea to the unstable and revolutionary forces at work." A reference to (Rev. 17:15) will explain the type used. It will be from the chaos and confusion of the nations in the end-time that this vile personality will rise. Prof. Dwight Pentecost says that "the sea" depicts Gentile nations.

Study 14 - The Rise and Fall of Babylon

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 14 - The Rise and Fall of Babylon
 

In this study we will be forced to take a look into the distant past while at the same time we penetrate the future when, in a world without the church, an idolatrous system will appear upon the scene, linked with an apostate religious system with extensive influence. So modern Babylon in its wider applications, suggests Oliver Boyt, ". . . incorporates the whole of apostate Christendom, wherever her priestcraft, ritual and idolatry are practised or her superstitions penetrate."

Study 15 - The Return of Jesus Christ in Person

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 15 - The Return of Jesus Christ in Person to this Planet

 

The rapture will be aerial, the King's appearing will be earthly. Failure to comprehend this two-phase aspect of the advent results in confusion, and it is necessary to differentiate between Christ's coming for and with His saints. If we look closely at Old Testament predictions relative to the coming of the Lord, there is "no effort to synthesize the prophecies; and the effort to decide which prophecies apply to the church age, which apply to the millennial era, and which apply to the age to come, ignored the basic fact of the prophetic perspective." (So writes Dr. Eldon Ladd in THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM).

Old Testament prophecy pictures things to come without disclosing the varied stages in the fulfilment of God's purpose. The long-distance view of the prophets did not disclose the details, and perhaps this fact is clarified in the words of (1 Pet. 1:12), "not unto themselves, but unto us did they minister." It is only when we study the New Testament that we see the advent presented in two stages, and it is essential to acknowledge the difference. If we examine the announcement of (Matt. 25:6), concerning the coming of the Bridegroom, and (Rev. 19:11, 15) where the figure used is highly military, a two-phase appearing is the only answer. The Rev. lan MacPherson observes, "To try to make a composite photograph of these two portraits and force them to apply to a single historic occurrence is logically impossible. In the former Christ comes to make love: in the latter to make war. The first analogy is marital, the second military. The one is nuptial, the other martial." So in thinking of the return of the Lord this distinction is necessary and avers Prof. G. G. Findlay, "Christ is pledged to a definite and visible return to this earth in language than which none can be found more expressive and positive."

Study 16 - The Judgment of the Nations

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 16 - The Judgment of the Nations
 

Judgment is God's "strange work", and as William Hoste observed, "There is a sense in which God is at the present time judging nations and His people, but this is corrective and temporary." The aspect of judgment we are now examining is final and penal.

The Sequence. The relevant verses in (Matt. 25:31-46) do not present a parable. The whole picture is literal, beginning with the appearance of the Son of Man, accompanied by His angels, and around Him the Gentile nations. This scene depicted by Christ tallies with that described by the prophet Joel (3:1, 2, 11, 12). From a survey of Joel's Prophecy it becomes evident that we are transported into "the day of the Lord." One writer states that this "is the period which closes the present era of man's misrule on earth, ushering in the terrible judgment, issuing at last in full and permanent blessing."

Study 17 - The Millennial Kingdom

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 17 - The Millennial Kingdom
 

Having consummated His purpose for the church in the rapture (see Study 3), God will bring in His kingdom of peace and righteousness. Psalmists and prophets speak of this in most inspiring terms, while Jesus taught His disciples to anticipate the climax of redemption's story. What a prospect! Jesus Christ in supreme control, reigning from shore to shore. This golden age can be realised only when Jesus returns to the planet as King.

The term "millennium" is of Latin origin and denotes in theology the thousand years of Christ's administrative reign referred to in (Rev. 20:1-7). The phrase "a thousand years" is used six times in that section. Millennarianism is belief in the thousand year reign of Christ between Christ's coming for His church (the rapture) and the end of the world. The crucial passage relative to millennial teaching is (Rev. 20:1-7). Indeed here we have the first and only reference to the chronology of the reign, but this is not the sole reference to an earthly kingdom. This truth is the subject of Old Testament prediction and the content of much in the New Testament. It is clear from (Rev. 20) that there is to be an interregnum, an administrative kingdom which will precede the finality of the human race and give place to the eternal state. An honest examination of both Testaments serves to direct our hope forward to a Messianic kingdom on earth, to a throne with a royal occupant of the house of David (Luke 1:32-33).

There is a clash of opinion among prophetic scholars on this particular issue, and we must look at this by way of introduction.

Study 18 - The Post-Millennial Rebellion

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 18 - The Post-Millennial Rebellion
 

The final revolt at the close of the millennial reign of Christ on earth will be the concluding test for the world, and will bring to a close the satanic enslavement of mankind since the tragedy of Eden.

The verses which relate to this revolt are found in (Rev. 20:7-10), and they show that the millennium will terminate with the release of Satan for a brief period. No sooner is he released than he resumes his iniquitous activities, the human response proving that even after an extended period of peace and universal blessing, there is still latent in the human heart in innate evil which is ready to revolt against earth's rightful King. Dr. Rene Pache in THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST has a chapter entitled The Shadows of the Millennium in which he states that "the millennium will have a disconcerting denouement." Such a thought staggers the imagination and demands our closest study. There are three important matters that rise out of this final revolt.

Study 19 - The Great White Throne

20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 19 - The Great White Throne
 

Revelation 20, having described cosmic blessing, cosmic rebellion and cosmic destruction, follows on with cosmic judgment (vs. 11-15). This will be the Final Session, the last Great Assize. Dr. Myrddin Lewis observes in GOD'S ULTIMATE, "In this amazing twentieth chapter of the book of Revelation, we see the doom and end of this earth, the doom and end of Satan, and finally the doom and end of all wicked dead. It is the most frightening scene in the Bible, and no one can read it without a feeling of great awe and horror."

This will be the judgment of the unchristian dead. No redeemed soul will stand at this judgment since the sin question for believing sinners was settled at Calvary (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1). All Christians will rise at the first resurrection to eternal life (John 5:29; 1 Thess. 4:16), and the rest of the dead will not live until the close of the millennium. Man must meet God at Calvary or at this final judgment.

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