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Q13. Who are the two witnesses of Revelation 11 and what is their role?

 

Burning Questions answered by Rev Colin Le Noury.
Q13. Who are the two witnesses of Revelation 11 and what is their role?
 

Much speculation and interest has surrounded the identity and role of the persons referred to as 'The Two Witnesses'.

Generally they have been regarded as two charismatic individuals with great oratorial skill with strong spiritual and miraculous powers. They are thought to be destined to arrive on the scene during the Great Tribulation period as God's mouthpiece to the Jewish nation and the world.

But is the general view correct? What should we understand about the Two Witnesses?

In assessing the identities of these men I propose to cover what I consider to be the five most common theories regarding the subject. Our interpretation will, of course, depend on whether or not we accept a Historicist or Futurist viewpoint of prophecy. Combined with this is the matter of whether we take an allegorical or literal interpretation of the passage.

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.

Q14. Should We Believe in Hell, or is Annihilation more Christian?

 

Burning Questions answered by Rev Colin Le Noury.
Q14. Should We Believe in Hell, or is Annihilation more Christian?
 

Back in the Middle Ages religious art was largely dominated at that time by pictures of heaven and hell. Those of heaven displayed cherubs and heavenly creatures inhabiting a place of golden bliss.

On the other hand, hell was usually portrayed with images of fire, demonic beings and, of course, the devil himself as a hideous horned creature with a long tail and a fork in his hand.

These artistic images coloured the minds of people for centuries and have influenced our conception of heaven and hell. But how correct are they?

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.

Q15. Who is the Scarlet Woman of Revelation 17?

 

Burning Questions answered by Rev Colin Le Noury.
Q15. Who is the Scarlet Woman of Revelation 17?
 

REVELATION 17 is one of the most interesting and graphic of all the visions given to John on Patmos. In v.3-6 he gives a very clear description of an obviously corrupted woman, clothed in purple and scarlet riding a scarlet coloured beast.

The beast itself is unmistakably satanic since v.8 tells us it ascended from the bottomless pit and is destined for perdition. The beast is clearly the kingdom of antichrist with his personage at the head.

The scarlet woman is seen 'to ride' the beast, suggesting a harmonious working relationship with antichrist's kingdom. Although further reading of the passage reveals that there will be a breakdown in that relationship.

The question is: who is this scarlet woman? It is my firm belief that it will be a one world church - a global ecumenical religious system. This religious system will probably be led and dominated by the Roman Catholic church, but will also include liberal protestants, along with all the major faiths and religions of the world.

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.

Q16. Who is the Restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2 v 6-7?

 

Burning Questions answered by Rev Colin Le Noury.
Q16. Who is the Restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2 v 6-7?
 

The identity of the person or force referred to in the above verses is, and always has been, a matter of some mystery and no little controversy among lovers of prophecy. Commonly referred to as 'The Restrainer', this person or entity clearly has an important role in the prophetic calendar since the removal of such will allow the rise of Antichrist and will usher in the tribulation period.

For this reason it is very important to try and accurately identify 'The Restrainer' as this will have a bearing on our understanding of the chronological sequence of events in the last days.

Let us look closely at the verses. Two phrases seem to stick out: '...ye know what withholdeth ...' (v.6); and '...he who now letteth will let until he be taken away ...' (v.7).

Paul is talking about the last days and the emergence of Antichrist referred to in v.3 as 'The man of sin' and in v.4 as 'He who opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God' and in v.8-9 as 'That Wicked ...whose coming is after the working of Satan.'

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.

Q17. Is it true that the Spanish Jesuits Alcazar and Ribera formulated respectively the Preterist and Futurist interpretations of the book of Revelation?

 

Burning Questions answered by Rev Colin Le Noury.
Q17. Is it true that the Spanish Jesuits Alcazar and Ribera formulated respectively the Preterist and Futurist interpretations of the book of Revelation?
 

 Is it true that the doctrine of the Secret Rapture’ arose in the 19th century as new ideas spread by Maitland, Darby and Irving, who absorbed the Jesuit teachings of Ribera and Lacunza?
 
I AM grateful to Mr. Bertram Lewis of Exeter for posing the above questions, which enable me to paint some of the background to prophetic teaching and to dispel some of the myths regarding the prophetic truths that we believe.
 
The two questions are addressing separate issues but as they are closely linked together we will treat them as two parts to one question. The first part has to do with the various viewpoints on the interpretation of prophecy and centres particularly on our approach to interpreting and understanding the books of Daniel and the Revelation.

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.

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