Introduction to Biblical Prophecy

Mat 24b

Beware. This site may be uncomfortable to some Christians who have blindly accepted what you have been taught about Bible prophecy without checking it against God’s Word. Remember: We are instructed to search the Scriptures to find out whether the things we have been taught are so (Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). But, if you are ready to search the Scriptures about Bible prophecy, you have come to the right place!

This is a brief introduction to my book: Christian Hope through Fulfilled Prophecy: Is Your Church Teaching Error about the Last Days and Second Coming? An Exposition of Evangelical PreterismIt is available at Amazon:

CHRISTIAN HOPE by Charles Meek

(For more articles, see the “Index of Topics” at the upper right.”)

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Have you ever been concerned that what your church is teaching about Bible prophecy does not match up to what the Bible actually says?

Eschatology—the study of prophetic “last things”—is an area in which there is remarkable disagreement among Christians. It is a complicated area for several reasons. One reason is that there are so many passages of Scripture on the topic that must be reconciled. Over one-fourth of the New Testament is about this, and includes such topics as: a new heaven and new earth, the Day of the Lord, a Great Tribulation, the “rapture,” the Second Coming of Jesus, and more. On the other hand, when you begin to see the consistency on these topics, Bible prophecy becomes much easier.

Biblical eschatology appears to be undergoing a radical revision among scholars. R. C. Sproul, for example, perhaps the most influential modern theologian, has said that his views on eschatology had changed to a version of “preterism.” Preterism is the view that most if not all prophecy was fulfilled in the 1st century. Hank Hanegraaff (the popular Bible Answer Man) has adopted a similar view. On the other hand, Dallas Theological Seminary, a highly influential center of dispenational “end times” prophecy, appears to be modifying its views. Christians have simply tired of the continual failed predictions about the end of the world, which have been a persistent but embarrassing theme of many Christians. We are ready to take a fresh look at what the Bible actually teaches. The coming years are likely to witness an upheaval in the field of eschatology.

In my book, CHRISTIAN HOPE through FULFILLED PROPHECY, I explain the different views of Bible prophecy: premillennialism, postmillennialism, amillennialism,  historicism, idealism, and preterism. Surprisingly, the church has never had a serious and concluding discussion on eschatology. The continued failed predictions of the Second Coming and the end of the world have been embarrassingly wrong. Much clarity is needed.

There are over 100 passages in the New Testament that declared the imminence of the prophesied events. It is clear that Jesus and his disciples expected his return while some of them were still alive—in their own generation. (See Preterism 101.) 

Here are just a few interesting passages, to which the question must be asked, “Were Jesus and the writers of the New Testament wrong?”:

  • Every mention of the “last days” limits them to the first century. Examples include: Acts 2:14-20; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20. Indeed, in 1 Peter 4:7, Peter said that “the end of all” was at hand for him and his contemporaries. In 1 John 2:18, John insisted that it was the “last hour.” So we cannot be living in the last days in the 21st century. The only conclusion that is faithful to Scripture is that the “last days” were the end of the old covenant world, not the end of the physical universe.
  • In Matthew 10:23, Jesus told his disciples that He would return before they had finished going through all the towns of Israel.
  • In Matthew 16:27-28, Jesus told his disciples that He would return before some of them had died.
  • In Matthew 26:64, Jesus told Caiaphas, the scribes, and the elders that they would personally see Him returning in judgment.
  • In Luke 21:22 and 32, Jesus told his disciples that all prophecy would be fulfilled in THEIR generation. In Luke 21:36 Jesus further emphasized that the prophetic events He just listed were ABOUT TO HAPPEN. (See the New American Standard, New International Version, or Young’s Literal Translation for correct translation.)
  • In Revelation 1:1-3 and 22:6, 12, 20 Jesus said to the first-century Christians that the events of Revelation “must shortly take place” and further that his return was “soon.”

head-in-the-sand

What’s at stake? Well, nothing short of the authority of Scripture and indeed the divinity of Christ. Perhaps the number one charge against Christians over the years is that Jesus promised his return in his own generation—that virtually all of the New Testament writers spoke of this as well—but they were wrong. So, they say, Jesus did not return as he predicted, making him a false prophet, and thus the Bible is unreliable. For example, skeptics Bertrand Russell in his book Why I Am Not a Christian, and Albert Schweitzer in his book The Quest of the Historical Jesus, made this charge. Jewish and Muslim critics make this charge as well.  

Indeed, even the famous Christian apologist C. S. Lewis recognized the problem. In reference to various passages of Scripture, including the “Olivet Discourse” found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, Lewis said this:

“Say what you like, the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things are done.’ And He was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else. It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.”

Christians address these challenges by putting their head in the sand. This must change. In my book I explore the compelling biblical and historical evidence that Jesus (and his disciples) were right all along, proving the opponents of Christianity wrong, and confirming the incredible accuracy of Scripture! While this may seem strange at first glance to those unschooled in biblical apocalyptic language, I examine whether Christians have wrongly interpreted the “last days” as the end of physical universerather than the end of the Old Covenant Age. And perhaps they have compounded the error by wrongly expecting a return of Jesus in his pre-ascension body, rather than a coming in judgment (similar to numerous comings of Yahweh in the Old Testament).

What I and my several contributors explore is the possibility that most, if not all biblical prophecy has already been fulfilled—the preterist viewThis is a minority view among Christians today. But authors Gary DeMar and Francis X. Gumerlock in their book The Early Church and the End of the World argue that forms of preterism were an important, if not the dominant, view in the early and medieval church. It is again gaining ground as Christians return to Scripture for answers.

The torrent of popular books and claims about biblical prophecy in recent decades, aside from taking up lots of shelf space in Christian book stores, seems to have a peculiar appeal to lay believers who, curiously enough, find hope in an expected destruction of the planet and its replacement with a utopia in which even carnivorous animals will take up vegetarianism. It is simply taken for granted that the Bible predicts and explains an end of time, and that there is no number of elapsed centuries spent waiting for it that cannot be called the “end times.”

Such notions should be critically examined. My book should be of considerable interest to any Christian who takes the Bible seriously, but is not confused, confounded, and frustrated with the near comical, but the sad state of affairs that afflicts modern Christianity on the question of the supposed end of all things.

Instead of reading the Bible through the lens of the daily newspaper, perhaps Christians should read it through the lens of first-century audience. In doing so, the reader may agree that the prophetic events were fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and along with them the end of the Old Covenant system of sacrifices for sin. Every objection to the preterist view is examined in detail in the book.

There is always much resistance to a challenge to widely held beliefs. We often have very ingrained presuppositions and we have much at stake if most of our neighbors hold to a common (but perhaps incorrect) view of something. There is the problem of what psychiatrists call “cognitive dissonance,” which is “a mental conflict that occurs when . . . confronted with challenging new information, most people seek to preserve their current understanding of the world by rejecting, explaining away, or avoiding the new information.”

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Fear not to be challenged and changed. See other articles on this site and at my Facebook site Evangelical Preterism. And check out the book at Amazon!

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00012]

                                                                   —Charles S. Meek

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21 Responses to Introduction to Biblical Prophecy

  1. Nelson F. Favenir says:

    The truth of the matter is, Jesus Christ already returned in the 1st century, in His generation just as He promised He would. (Matthew 16: 27,28). The church should not be singing Soon and Very Soon We Are Going to See the King nor the Church should be proclaiming or preaching Jesus is coming soon!! The only people who have the right to preach or proclaim that Jesus is coming soon are those Christians who live in the 1st century generation before AD 70!!!

  2. Bruce Thevenot says:

    This post and its related blogs on prophecy should be enough for every candid and thoughtful Christian to see beyond any question that the New Testament sets forth a realized eschatology, and does so in perfect harmony with the Old Testament. The 21st century church faces many crises demanding a New Reformation. Among those crises is a wholesale default of credibility on the issue of biblical prophecy. It is a fearful thing to expose the God of the Word and the Word of God to ridicule, especially when those responsible purport to bear His name.

    I am grateful that in the last 25 years a re-examination of prevailing assumptions about prophecy are correctly focusing on the end of the O.T. age as opposed to a future planet-wide catastrophe and notions of a new heaven and earth based on tawdry material expectations. More recently, scholars and authors have also begun a parallel effort to correct common errors concerning the early chapters of Genesis. Whether in Genesis or Revelation, or in the vast body of prophetic content between the two, the fabric of error which dominates the dogma of modern Evangelicalism is fundamentally woven from a faulty hermeneutic which mishandles or ignores history, language, and audience-relevance. Not satisfied that the Bible was written for us, the purveyors of error insist that it was written to us, and build arguments on the false notion that prophecies and events from the 1st century are to be fast-forwarded to our day and our future as though it is all about us. That might be the typical attitude of many in our culture about everything in our lives and our world, but must we press the Word of God into such a service?

  3. Patrick says:

    I believe that there is substantial support for the premillennial reign of the saints.
    See my article here:

    http://www.unravelingtherevelation.com/m1-premillennialism

    on the other hand I believe amillennialism best describes the binding of Satan…article forthcoming.

    Patrick Stone
    http://www.unravelingtherevelation.com
    http://www.whiteroberesurrection.com
    http://www.thepreteristpost.ning.com

    • Thanks Patrick for weighing in. Your info is nicely done. Let our readers see what you have laid out and decide whether your system is biblically logical or beyond comprehension. I think it helps prove our point that millennialism is a concocted sytem. John Calvin was right to say that millennialism is a “fiction” that is “too childish either to need or to be worth a refutation.” But then your side is in the majority. Our side is in the minority these days. But we would just love to see you answer our questions in the two other posts. They are arranged by topics; so how about taking one topic at a time.

  4. Paul Richard Strange Sr says:

    Family events have delayed me from responding to your announcement, but let me assure that I am overjoyed that Christians are challenged by your excellent website to not only re-think dispensational disappointment, but also the amillenial system which has unwittingly done much to discourage serious Christian investigation of any Bible passages which are not pre-authorized by amilleniallism!

    We have a war on our hands that must be fought with graciousness to our many detractors, yet with bold confidence that the “word of the Lord will be glorified”, which we desire more than gratification of human approval, to the glory of God!

    Paul Richard Strange SR
    Waxahachie Texas

  5. Bob Sexton says:

    I look forward to the different viewpoints to be offered on this web site. Too many sites will only post comments which agree with the beliefs of the site owner. Not much learning takes place under those circumstances.
    My beliefs are full preterist and there is one thing about us preterists that concerns me somewhat. Seems like most of us will never use a simple word when a more complicated one can be found. Why is that I wonder? Maybe pride? Pity!

    Bob Sexton
    Columbia, KY

  6. Jesus sent His Holy Spirit in the 1st Century. That is the ONLY sense in which He was present after His resurrection. It is interesting that theologians of this age are not aware that the Lord can make a statement that is directed to people of every generation, since time has no limitations where the creator of time is concerned. It must be frustrating to tie the Master of all things into one’s own “little” way of seeing things. God is not a man that He should lie…Jesus was sinless and never lied … therefore, when He told His disciples (and all who would become disciples) that He would come again and receive us unto Himself that where He is, we may be also – WE CAN BELIEVE GOD AND HIM WHO HE SENT.

    • Thanks for your comments, John. We believe that you are mistaken about the Holy Spirit being the only sense in which Jesus came in 70 AD. He came to judge Israel in the same sense that God came on various occassions in the Old Testament to judge the Jews or their enemies. We document this pretty thoroughly. Also, keep in mind that the words of the Bible were spoken FOR us and not TO us. We must be aware of how the original audience would have understood the words of the Bible. You are invited to answer the questions we pose on the site.

    • Susan Ligon says:

      I was waiting to see if some one would say this. Thank you;

  7. Lenny Pannucci says:

    Charles, great site thanks. I am curious about about the Dallas Theological Seminary statement though. You said: “Dallas Theological Seminary, a highly influential center of dispenational “end times” prophecy, appears to be modifying its views”.

    I’d like to know in what way and where this information came from?
    Thanks again.

    • Lenny, my info about DTS come in bits and pieces from different sources. A recent DTS grad told me that he was in a room where a high profile professor was speaking to a large crowd. He said approximately this: “Dispensationalism, at least as you have known it, is dead.” My friend said that there was a loud applause. FYI, my friend has abandoned dispensationalism for preterism.

  8. keithfife says:

    Yes. I agree whole heartedly to this blog! I come from a background in dispensationalism and millinealism and through much tribulation I came to see that the Preterist view of Biblical prophecy is Biblically correct. In my journey, I studied the Biblical Text of the KJV as well as courses in translation, literature, astronomy, History of the Alphabet, History of Israel, History of Rome, History of Greece, Biblical Hebrew and Greek, the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus’ Histories, Rabbinic Judaism and the Talmud. The name of my book is “Revelation In Context.” It is available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or http://www.Amazon.com, or http://www.XulonPress.com.
    Free downloads are also available at http://www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.

  9. Pastor Paul says:

    Wonderful. …..Amazing

  10. James Barcelona says:

    You Nailed it! Amen!

  11. Quinn says:

    So would you consider yourself a full preterist then or a partial? Would you say there are any events/prophecies in the NT that have yet to be fulfilled? If so which ones. Thanks.

  12. I’m happy to have found this blog. The landscape of Christendom these days seems mostly filled with “end times” ideas. It’s very difficult to connect with anyone who has a different interpretation, especially where the idea of a pre trib rapture is concerned. Everything gets tied into the end times scenario, so it gets a little confusing when it comes to information about such things as CERN and the collider (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BluV6rPUrt0). The idea is being put forth that this piece of tech will be used to open portals into the abyss, from which will emerge creatures as described in the Revelation. If you have a chance to look at the link, and could give your impression of it, it would be greatly appreciated. Could it be that, because of the heavy indoctrination of dispensationalism, we see current events through a peculiar lens we’ve been given which skews the view? I never bought into the Hal Lindsey approach way back when, and also realized that Jesus was speaking about the end of the old covenant age – it’s kind of right in your face when you just read what He says. But beyond that, I’m admittedly new to Preterist views. Thanks.

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