Prophecy Update Featured Article
Yesterday's Prophecies - Today's Headlines
The Wise Shall Understand - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8023
''But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.'' (Daniel 12:4)
Imagine if you will, that one day scientists abandon the flawed and completely illogical theory of Darwinian Evolution. Imagine what science could accomplish without that biased monkey hanging on their back?
For many of these men and women, it would revolutionize the way they analyze a problem. Rapid advances in our civilization came because men like Isaac Newton, Nicolai Tesla, and Albert Einstein did not follow the status quo.
Like the harnessing of electricity, or the invention of the printing press…mankind’s great leaps forward in time propelled understanding to a new level. A new paradigm opens up and thus spins off subsequent discoveries like a Fibonacci Spiral. What has largely kept men at bay, was our own preconceived notions about what was logical, feasible, and possible. Because of that reason, knowledge was often bottlenecked in various points throughout the course of human history.
A great discovery is made, and there is an explosion of new ideas that spiral out from that one and continue on until it reaches a point when further progress becomes frustrated or stifled. And whether that road block comes in the form of a government, a church, or just our preconceived notions about how to do something. It would seem that man’s capacity for increased knowledge comes in brilliant, brief flashes…followed by long periods of darkness.
A great example of this is in our understanding of the prophetic scriptures, or in how we have come to know what we know.
Most of the Early Church Fathers (ECF) believed in a literal return of Christ and a literal kingdom that He would establish one day in the end times. (Daniel 2:44-45, Isaiah 65:17-25, Revelation 20). I imagine we would have had considerable more information about what their thoughts on the prophetic texts were, but the ECF soon became valiantly engaged in battling the Gnostics, Judaizers, pagans, and skeptics for the better part of 250 years against them making inroads into the Church. They fought just to keep the basic tenets of Christianity intact. They were able to do all that, and still face ten periods of intense persecution by a pagan Roman Empire. (Smyrna)
But beginning in the year 313, Constantine legalized Christianity in the Edict of Milan. Christianity went from being persecuted and fringe, to being accepted and legal. Over the course of the rest of that century, instead of Christianity going out into the world, the world would come into Christianity. (Pergamum)
As Christianity became more acceptable to the establishment (Roman Empire), political correctness got its toe in the door of the church. I imagine it wasn’t all that popular to be preaching that Christ would soon return and destroy all the kings and kingdoms of the world, while under the watchful eye of an Emperor. Allegorizing scriptures provided a way for priests and bishops to remain politically correct and still keep their jobs. This had begun in earnest by an early “Christian” mystic named Origen in the 3rd Century.
A century later, a Christian priest named Jerome was commissioned to translate the Bible into Latin, finishing around the year 405 A.D. Around that same time, a Christian theologian named Augustine of Hippo (who had been influenced by Origen), had begun applying that same method of allegorizing the scriptures to all of his interpretations of the Bible. This type of hermeneutics would create a new strain in Eschatology called ‘Amillennialism’.
'Amillennialism' denied that Christ would literally return to earth, but that the Kingdom was spiritual and ever present. Since Augustine was in large part, the ‘doctrinal-father’ for the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), ‘Amillennialism’ became THE eschatology for most of Christendom. And as the RCC gained power and authority, they retained their clergical power by making the Latin Vulgate the only legal and acceptable translation of the Bible. The only people still able to read and speak Latin were the clergy within the RCC, which ensured that they would have a monopoly on anything that was called “Christian” for the better part of a 1,000 years. (Thyatira)
Removing the Veil
But the times they were a changing. A new translation had been handwritten in English by a scholar named John Wycliffe in the 1380’s. (He was killed). He was followed by another man named John Hus (burned at the stake) who also began handwriting Bibles in English. The Guttenberg press was invented in the 1450’s and came out with a printed German Bible. Pretty soon, there was an explosion of interest into Christianity. For the first time since the early church days, people could read the Bible in their own language. They did not have to rely on a priest to tell them what a Bible said.
The 1500’s brought about the Reformation movement led by a Catholic monk named Martin Luther who was sick of how corrupted the system had become Protestant groups began popping up all over Europe as the word was put into the vernacular of the common man. Although the “protesters” may have corrected a lot of the doctrinal abuses on orthodox Christianity by the RCC, their major failing was that they kept the Catholic Eschatological view point of Amillennialism. (Sardis)
The First Great Awakening occurred toward the end of the 1700’s, and Protestant Missionaries were sent out around the world to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. An evangelistic movement broke out in Ireland in the mid-1800s called the ‘Plymouth Brethren’. They came together and began to study their Bibles in a literal manner shaking off the confines of denominationalism altogether.
The result of doing this was that they began to recognize that the Bible could be taking literally, and it led them to the ultimate conclusion that the Bible is Dispensational, Pre-Millennial, and they were somewhere near the end times. So it wasn’t that John N. Darby and company created Pre-Millennial Eschatology out of thin air, but really only rediscovered what had been hidden in plain sight for almost 2,000 years. (Philadelphia)
“About the Time of the End, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the Prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamor and opposition” Sir Isaac Newton
Precept upon Precept
It was said that Sir Isaac Newton wrote more about biblical prophecy than he did on any other topic. He was fascinated particularly by the books of Daniel and Revelation. But even with all his mental genius and boundless energy to write and study the prophetic word, he remained largely “ignorant” of prophetic events that even the average Bible prophecy student today takes for granted.
Here at the Omega Letter, many of us looked up to (and still do) Jack Kinsella as not only a pastor, but a mentor. He provided a straight forward and simple understanding of not only Bible Prophecy, but of what it means to be a Christian living in these last days. Jack’s mentor was Hal Lindsey. Hal’s mentors were most likely men like Lewis Sperry Chaffer, Cyrus Scofield, and Clarence Larkin. Larkin and Scofield picked up on what the Plymouth Brethren had been doing, which simply was returning to a literal understanding of the Bible. Thanks to those men, we know that we are in that last church age that precedes the coming of our Lord. (Laodicea)
Each group or generation of men learned from the previous, and that knowledge was passed on, built upon, and measured against the current events of that day. So we here today, are the recipients of over a 150 years of accumulated learning and study.
This learning has been greatly accelerated by the use of the Internet, study bibles, commentaries and teachings. What had been hidden to many in Christianity only a century ago, has come to light with the return of national Israel to their ancestral homeland. But even as early as 1919, Cyrus Scofield noted in his Scofield Study Bible, that Israel HAD to become a nation again because a literal reading of Ezekiel 36-37 demanded it. I imagine he caught a lot of grief for including that in his Bible back then...that is…until 1948.
But we only know what we know today, because we have stood on the shoulders of giants. Not only do we benefit from their diligent study and willingness to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, but we have accumulated more history then them.
We’ve had the privilege to see Israel become a nation again. We’ve seen the formation of revived Roman Empire via the Europe Union, coming together into a single political and economic body. We’ve seen the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reemergence of Russia. We are now seeing Red China rising and the US declining. We are seeing the push for a New World Order that will one day lead to a one-world currency, religion, and political body. We are seeing the signs of increasing natural disasters in both frequency and intensity. We are seeing technology moving at a frightening pace that allows men to play god and computers to become like men.
Communications have become global with an instantaneous reach. Artificial intelligence is leaving the realms of science fiction and becoming reality. There is in increased fascination with the supernatural, occultic, and unexplainable.
Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?”
And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. (Daniel 12:8-10 NKJV)
Once again we are reaching that point in time where the prophetic text has been studied, preached, taught, and dissected so many ways…by so many great teachers, that it seems impossible that we could still pull any new information out of what we already know. Any study, about any verse of the Bible is available many times over in either written, audio, or video formats. I don’t know what else can be brought out of the most intensely studied book in the history of the world.
I know that these are indeed exciting times, but the watchmen can grow very weary in seeing how rapidly the world is sinking into spiritual and moral depravity. It weighs heavy on our hearts. We are instructed to be ready, to watch, and to lift our heads up when these things begin to happen.
But one thing I do know, we will have the privilege of seeing what the prophets, apostles, early church fathers, and those godly men of old, longed to see. If we are patient, we will be that generation in the not too distant future who hears the shout, the voice of the Archangel, and the Trump of God calling us home.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)
Even so, Come Lord Jesus!