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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.

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."

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