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?
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. There are, in fact, three viewpoints; the Historicist, the Preterist and the Futurist. The Historicist I will come to in a moment. The Futurist as its name suggests sees the great tribulation, the rise of Antichrist, the Lord’s return and the millennial kingdom as future events. The Preterist, by contrast, views the prophecies in the book of Revelation in the light of the struggle between the early church and the persecuting Roman Empire, and therefore relegates many of these prophecies to the past.
The statement in our question regarding the Moon being turned into blood is something that has fascinated Bible students for years. The generation to which these words were spoken must have been greatly puzzled by this prophecy, as indeed many other generations down through the centuries. I believe, however, that this present generation is better poised than any before it to understand and interpret the prophecy.
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?
I have received many questions on the whole subject of children and the rapture of the church. I must confess that in some ways it is one of the most difficult subjects to deal with, both because of the sensitivity of it, and because of the lack of direct scriptural evidence. The fact of the rapture is clear and unmistakable. Scripture in 1 Thessalonians 4 vv 16-17 and in 1 Corinthians 15 vv 51-52 plainly and positively declares such an event. The fact that Christian believers are the subjects of the rapture is also undeniable. But beyond these basic truths we move into areas of some speculation since scripture becomes silent at this point
The question highlights an objection often raised by unbelievers and theologians alike. The idea that at one given moment in history literally millions of souls disappear from the face of the earth in a fleeting moment of time is, for some, too hard to conceive. Our analysis of the subject must begin as always with scripture. Let us see what the word of God says. Two passages of scripture are especially poignant and unmistakably clear. Paul, the apostle, writing to the Thessalonian church says:
The recent heavily publicised takeover of Hong Kong, during the summer, by the Chinese, has raised new interest and questions about its prophetic role. I have to say that the name China is not found anywhere in scripture but there are important prophecies which, I believe, relate to this superpower. Some of the clearest of these prophecies are found in the book of Revelation, and events taking place today would suggest that China is the subject of them. China is an ancient civilisation with a long and colourful history. For most of that time it has been dominated by the ancient religions of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. However, the seeds of change began to flower about 100 years ago ...
No! No! No! and a thousand times No! God has not terminated His relationship with His ancient people Israel. This fact cannot be overstated, especially in these days when so-called "Replacement Theology" is gaining popularity; asserting that the church has taken the place of Israel in God's plan and purposes. The question posed above, however, is not a new one, nor is it merely a reaction to the falsehood stated. The same question obviously existed in peoples minds in the New Testament days. The great apostle Paul, the theologian of the New Testament, poses this question rhetorically in his treatise on Israel in Romans 9-11. He says, "Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which He foreknew" (Romans 11 :1-2a).
The partial rapture theory is not a widely held one but it is gaining some popularity; especially among some extreme charismatic groupings. The parable of the virgins is just one of a number of scriptures used by proponents of this theory in support of their particular belief. Partial Rapturists will seize hold of particular verses and use them as proof texts. Such verses centre on the idea of 'watchfulness' and 'readiness' - sentiments held, of course, by all believers of the imminent r
To understand who these people are and exactly what there function will be we need to consider three things. Firstly, we must look at their chronological appearance; secondly, their genealogical background; and thirdly their eschatological role. All of this can be gleaned from the two short passages in which they are mentioned - Revelation 7 v. 1-8 and 14 v. 1-5.