There is much debate about Bible Prophecy within the broad realm of those who claim to be Christians. Everything from subtle nuances related to specific prophetic events, to whether there are any further prophecies that await any future fulfillment at all.
There are those who believe that events foretold in the Bible should be taken literally, and there are still others who believe that most prophetic events foretold in the Bible are figurative, symbolic, or allegorical in nature.
For instance, there are those who believe in a literal future 1,000-year kingdom known as the Millennium, or the Millennial Reign of Christ, and yet there are others who believe the 1,000 years are not 1,000 literal years, but instead they are “figurative,” representing the here and now.
Those who reject the Millennium as a literal 1,000-year period when Christ will return to earth to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords, are saying that the Bible doesn’t mean what it actually says. God’s Word clearly states that there will indeed be a period of 1,000 literal years when all things in heaven and on earth will be summed up in Christ:
“And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 19:16, 20:4b).
“That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him” (Ephesians 1:10).
It is a mystery how anyone can rationally conclude that all things on earth are currently gathered together in Christ, when taking into account the absolutely depraved evil currently spreading around the globe like a poison gas.
It is not being outside a particular denomination or church that causes misinterpretation and blindness; it is being outside of the teaching of the Holy Spirit that leads to prophetic apathy:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13).
“These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him” (1 John 2:26-27).
John means that the true Christian does not need any teaching apart from what is found in the Word of God. Faithful teachers will only teach what is found in the Word of God. In John’s day, the Gnostics professed to have additional truth which gave rise to additional teachings. However, John says that there is no need for additional truth outside of the Word of God in our heads, and the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
Be wary of anyone or any group that would rather quote the words of men in regard to biblical truths as opposed to reading the words of God Himself. Quoting the Bible should always take precedence over quoting the “blessed” (orthodox, catholic, etc.) church fathers or councils.
Theology based upon verses taken out of context is a misinterpretation and a misrepresentation of the Bible. For instance, to quote 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood….” in order to teach that believers are currently reigning on earth with Christ right now, is to ignore the entire context of Peter’s teaching.
Just a few verses later, Peter shows that he agrees with Paul when Paul taught that “our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
“Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme…” (1 Peter 2:13).
As it is God’s desire that children progress in their knowledge of the world they experience around them as they grow older, so it is also His desire that the generations of mankind should grow in their understanding of His plan for humanity, as the time of the end draws near.
“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3).
Unfortunately, due to human nature, we stunt our own growth in the knowledge of the Lord’s plan for us through pride:
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).
God prophesied through Daniel that knowledge about God’s plan for the generations will increase when the time for its final fulfillment is near:
“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).
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).
God clearly teaches that it is His will to unveil more knowledge of His plan for mankind according to His timing and authority:
“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you'” (Acts 1:6-8a).
“Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him” (Ephesians 1:9-10).
The Lord Jesus Himself said that there are still more prophets to come:
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist” (Matthew 17:11-13).
The Lord’s disciples asked Him about Elijah because Malachi had prophesied to Israel that Elijah must come prior to the Messiah’s advent:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5).
The Lord agreed that Elijah indeed had to come first as a prophet announcing a change in God’s provision for salvation. When Jesus explained that Elijah had already come through the ministry of John the Baptist, “then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist” (Matthew 17:13).
John the Baptist was not Elijah but he had come “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17). If Israel had accepted John the Baptist and his message, then he would have fulfilled the prophesied role of Elijah:
“For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:13-14).
However, according to the foreknowledge of the Lord, the nation of Israel did not receive and recognize the significance of the ministry of John the Baptist. Instead, they rejected him as they would also reject the true King.
There is every reason to believe that before Christ’s Second Advent, a prophet will arise to prepare Israel for the coming King. Whether it will be Elijah personally or someone with a similar ministry is nearly impossible to say at this point.
In relation to Bible Prophecy, the Word of God has either been twisted to mean something entirely different than what it actually says, or the signs that have been revealed to those of us living in the last days are ignored as being not originally taught in the early church.
There are many indications that the return of Jesus may be very near:
1. The formation of Israel in 1948 as prophesied in Ezekiel 39:21-29 and Luke 21:29-31. For the first time in many centuries, the Jews have a national existence in their own homeland.
2. The rise of numerous other nations as prophesied in Luke 21:29. Jesus predicted that not only would the fig tree shoot forth, but that all the trees would as well. The demise of historical colonial governments has given rise to many new nations within the last century.
3. The ecumenical movement was prophesied in Revelation 17 and 18, as “Babylon the Great.” A vast religious, political, and commercial system made up of apostate religious bodies that profess to be Christian, is hastily moving toward creating a new world super-church.
4. The great apostasy and falling away from true fundamental biblical faith as prophesied in 1 Timothy 4 and 2 Thessalonians 2, is taking place around the world today.
5. The drastic decline of moral standards as prophesied in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. The truth of this total moral depravity and breakdown cannot go unnoticed in our modern age of 24-hour social media and news.
6. Widespread violence and civil disobedience as prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. This mystery of lawlessness is working overtime through the spirit of the antichrist.
7. The rise of anti-Christian spiritualism that takes the form of “Christianity” was prophesied in 2 Timothy 3:5-8 and 1 John 2:18. This false Christian spirit is manifested in many false cults which profess to be Christian but deny almost every fundamental doctrine of the true Christian faith. They deceive by intimidation.
8. The current will of nations to align themselves together into groups that either approximate or outright fit the lineup of nations as prophesied in Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc.
9. The rise in frequency of earthquakes, the threat of worldwide famine and disease, and the increasing racial tensions among nations as prophesied by the Lord in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21).
10.And finally, the outright apathetic denial of the impending intervention by the Lord into the affairs of mankind by way of the Rapture, the Tribulation judgment, and the literal 1,000-year Millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation'” (2 Peter 3:3-4).