The Parousia - How to study bible prophecy


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This presentation discusses the different ways Bible prophecy may be interpreted and makes a case for the premillennial approach

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The Parousia - How to study bible prophecy

  1. 1. The Parousia An In-Depth Study on the Second Coming of Christ
  2. 2. The Parousia How to Study Bible Prophecy
  3. 3. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. ” (Revelation 1:3)
  4. 4. Eschatology The Study of the End Times
  5. 5. A Brief Overview of the Different Positions
  6. 6. Four Major Eschatological Positions 1. Preterist: means “the past”. A Preterist interpretation of prophecy holds that most of the New Testament prophecies of the book have already been fulfilled. 2. Historicist: believes prophecy (especially Revelation) is a foretelling of all history from the time of the first coming of Christ unto the end of the age. The Tribulation is/has been occurring for hundreds of years 3. Idealist: doesn‟t look for specific fulfillment of the prophecies of the book; rather, the Revelation is perceived to contain spiritual lessons that may find recurrent expression in history. 4. Futurist: prophecy describes events that are largely future to all but those living just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
  7. 7. The Consequences of a Wrong View David Koresh (whose real name was Vernon Wayne Howell; he changed it to David for Israel‟s king and „Koresh‟, which is a transliteration of the Hebrew name of Cyrus , but he later told FBI agents it meant „death‟ to him) held to a Historicist view of Revelation – a likely holdover from the group‟s Seventh Day Adventist roots. He believed that he and his followers were in the Tribulation and that the first six seal judgments had been poured out on the world. He believed he was the Lamb of Revelation 7:17 and he was ready to open the seventh seal judgment of Revelation.
  8. 8. Amillennialism (no millennium) The amillennial view teaches that there is currently a spiritual reign of Christ over the church and it will continue until He returns for His saints. The thousand year period spoken of in Revelation is symbolic and not literal. There is no tribulation, no earthly millennium, and no eternity on a new earth; Christ simply returns and eternity in Heaven begins. It is the view held by Catholics and many Protestant denominations. Jesus The Church Age Unknown Period of Time
  9. 9. Preterism The term preterist is Latin for „past‟. Thus, preterists believe that Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the past. Therefore, they view the major prophetic passages of Scripture, such as the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation, as already fulfilled. There are 2 flavors of preterism: 1. Extreme (“realized eschatology”) – believe all prophecy was fulfilled in the past; no return of Christ to the earth 2. Moderate - believe in a future Second Coming, but still insist on interpreting the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation as basically already fulfilled in the past.
  10. 10. Postmillennialism (after millennium) The postmillennial view teaches the Church age will eventually evolve into a golden age where the Church will rule over all the world. This will be accomplished through the „Christianization‟ of the nations. Once the Church has carried out its mission of redeeming the world, Christ then returns and eternity begins in Heaven. Jesus The Church Age The Golden Age Church Expanding Church Reigning
  11. 11. Premillennialism (before millennium) The premillennial view teaches that the Church age will end with the Rapture, after which starts the tribulation period. The tribulation lasts seven years and climaxed by the second coming of Christ, who establishes a reign upon the earth that lasts 1,000 years. After the 1,000 years, the last earthly rebellion is crushed, God creates a new earth for His people, and eternity begins. Jesus The Church Age The Tribulation The Millennium Unknown Period of Time Seven Years 1,000 Years
  12. 12. Comparison of Three Views Premillennial Amillennial Postmillennial Literal Millennium Yes No No Resurrection before Millennium One None None Thousand Years in Revelation Future Present Present Resurrections Two (at least) One One Literal interpretation of Prophecy Yes No No Unconditional Old Testament Yes No No Covenants with Abraham Distinctions between Israel and Yes No No the Church Messianic Kingdom Future Present Present Rapture / Second Coming Separate Same Same Binding of Satan Future Present Present Moral Progress Decline Decline Improve Major Judgments Two One One
  13. 13. The Second Coming Should be Approached… •In a Futurist manner… •Using literal biblical interpretation… •With a Premillennial perspective…
  14. 14. Why Believe in a Futurist Approach?
  15. 15. Israel‟s Covenant was Unconditional and still Unfulfilled “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father‟s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” ” (Genesis 12:1–3)
  16. 16. “The Abrahamic covenant contributes to the eschatology of Israel by detailing the broad program of God as it affects Abraham‟s seed. . . . It is not too much to say that the exegesis of the Abrahamic covenant and its resulting interpretation is the foundation for the study of prophecy as a whole, not only as relating to Israel, but also for the Gentiles and the church. It is here that the true basis for premillennial interpretation of the Scriptures are found.” - John Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy
  17. 17. Israel‟s Covenant was Unconditional and still Unfulfilled • It is unconditional – “I will bless you” • It is national (make you a great nation) • It is geographical (involving the Holy land) • It is perpetual (to you and your offspring) • It is international – all peoples blessed. • Israel has never possessed the whole land • They have been dispossessed of the land • Even in the New Testament, the kingdom has not yet been restored to Israel. Jesus and Paul both spoke of it as Future (Luke 19, Acts 1) • Romans 11 states there is a national future for Israel. • The specific promises of God to give the land to Abraham and his descendants is repeated twenty times in Genesis alone (12:1–3, 7–9; 13:14–18;15:1–18; 17:1–27; 22:15–19; 26:2–6, 24–25; 27:28–29, 38– 40; 28:1–4, 10–22; 31:3, 11–13;32:22–32; 35:9–15; 48:3–4, 10–20; 49:1–28; 50:23–25).
  18. 18. Davidic Covenant is still Unfulfilled “I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you. “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:11–16)
  19. 19. Davidic Covenant is still Unfulfilled • 2 Sam 7:11-16 says that Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. • The crowd saw this when Jesus appeared in Mar k11:10 and said “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David.” • Isaiah 55:1-3. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. • Psalm 89:20-37 – says that God would establish David‟s line forever.
  20. 20. How did the Early Church View Christ‟s Coming? The oldest non-biblical Christian document that exists is called The Didache. The Didache is a simple distillation of Bible doctrine, which is dated near the end of the first century, the earliest being A.D. 80 – after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. It was used by the historian Eusebius and others. A full copy was discovered in 1873 in Constantinople. It proves that those who lived from the events of A.D. 70 regarded the Olivet Discourse as future and unfulfilled prophecy: “For in the last days . . . The world-deceiver shall appear as a son of God; and shall work signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unholy things, which have never been since the world began. Then all created mankind shall come to the fire of testing, and many shall be offended and perish. . . . And then shall the signs of the truth appear . . . Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.” – Didache 16:3-8
  21. 21. How did the Early Church View Christ‟s Coming? Justin Martyr was born in the first century and likely knew many believers who had lived through A.D. 70. In his Dialogue with Trypho, he writes: “Two advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering … and crucified; but the other, in which He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy . . . shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians. . . . The rest of the prophecy shall be fulfilled at His second coming.” – Chapter 110.
  22. 22. If the Preterists and others who hold to a non-Futurist view are correct, then some of the most astute students of Scripture and leaders in the early church utterly missed the fulfillment of the very prophecy Jesus indicated no one in the world would possibly be able to miss.
  23. 23. Those who dismiss a futurist approach also fail to remember the parable where Jesus indicated He would be gone “a long time” (Matt. 25:19). Peter also mentioned there would be those who would see the delay and scoff at His coming: “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” ” (2 Peter 3:3–4)
  24. 24. Simple Refutation of Extreme Preterism ““Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. ” (Revelation 1:19) “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” (Revelation 4:1) Literally “Hereafter”. The plain reading of the text points to future events.
  25. 25. Other Considerations • Revelation 1-18 are spoken of in connection to the second coming, final resurrection, and coming kingdom. They are an inseparable unit. • No literal fulfillment of many of the events in Matt 24-25 (stars falling, Jesus returning, goat-sheep separation) • Jesus Matthew 19:28 throne prediction has not happened. • Plagues stated in Revelation never fulfilled • The events in Revelation are universal and not just confined to local Jerusalem • The Matthew 24 tribulation “never to be equaled again” has not happened ; plenty of events have exceeded AD 70 • 2 Tim 2:18, says that men who claim the resurrection have already taken place have gone astray from the faith. It is a heretical view. • No sign given for the rapture – but plenty for the other events of tribulation • The church is mentioned in Heaven during the tribulation and coming down out of Heaven. Jesus comes WITH His Church not FOR His Church
  26. 26. Why a Literal Interpretative View?
  27. 27. “You don‟t take the Bible literally do you…??!” “Is Jesus really a door?” (John 10:9) “Does God have wings?” (Psalm 61:4) „Reductio ad absurdum‟ argument
  28. 28. Literal Interpretation Symbolism Object Meaning Miraculous Symbols Sword at east of Eden (Gen. 3:24) Breach of God/man fellowship Burning Bush (Ex. 3:2) God‟s holiness and presence Visionary Symbols Dry bones given flesh (Ezek. 37) Israel physically restored Four beasts (Dan. 7) Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome Seven stars (Rev. 1:12) Ministers of the seven churches Material Symbols Blood Life Bread and wine Christ‟s body and blood
  29. 29. Literal Interpretation Tips for Distinguishing between Literal and Figurative • Use the figurative sense when the passage is stated to be figurative (e.g. Zech. 126: - “like”) • Use the figurative sense if the literal involves an impossibility (e.g. Rev. 1:16) • Use the figurative sense if the literal commands immoral action (e.g. John 6:53 “drink blood”) • Use the figurative sense if the expression fits into one of the figures of speech (e.g. Zech 12:2 – a metaphor) • Use the figurative sense if the literal involves a contradiction with a parallel passage
  30. 30. Key Prophecies Concerning Christ‟s First Coming • The Messiah would come before the end of Daniel‟s 483rd week (Dan. 9:27) • The Messiah would be betrayed by a close friend (Ps. 41:9) • The Messiah would be betrayed for 30 shekels of silver (Zech 11:13) • The Messiah would be pierced (Ps. 22:16) • The Messiah would have his clothes gambled for (Ps. 22:16) • The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) • The Messiah would come through the line of Abraham and Judah (Genesis 12:2, Genesis 49:10, 2 Samuel 7:12-16) • The Messiah would come before Judah‟s scepter departed (Gen. 49:10) • The Messiah would be preceded by a messenger (Malachi 3:1). • The Messiah would come to his people mounted on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). • The Messiah would be virgin born (Isaiah 7:14) • The Messiah would be of the line of David (Isa. 11:1-5) • The Messiah would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6) • The Messiah would remain silent/suffer at the hands of men (Isaiah 53) • The Messiah would be disfigured at the hands of men (Isaiah 52) • The Messiah would have no bone broken (Psalm 34:20) • The Messiah would be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9) • The Messiah would not decay in the grave (Ps. 16:10) • The Messiah would ascend to Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Luke 24:50-53)
  31. 31. How were the prophecies on the previous slide that referenced Christ‟s first coming fulfilled … literally or spiritually/allegorically?
  32. 32. If all the prophecies concerning Christ‟s first advent were fulfilled literally, then why believe those that refer to His second advent will be fulfilled spiritually or allegorically?
  33. 33. Why Believe in Premillennialism?
  34. 34. The One Thousand Year Reign of Christ “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. ” (Revelation 20:1–6)
  35. 35. A Few Reasons for Premillennialism • 2 Thess. 2:8 says that the Antichrist will be destroyed by Christ‟s coming. Has never happened • Matt. 24:29-31 says the Son of Man is to come “immediately” after the Tribulation; this never occurred • 2 Tim. 3:13 says that evil people/deeds will grow worse, not better – that the wheat and tares would grow together. We look for Christ, not the Millennium without Him • The Church is commanded to watch for Christ (Matt. 24:42) not for the Antichrist, and is told that no one knows the day/hour – that it would be a surprise. Yet Daniel‟s last week can be counted with near pinpoint precision once Antichrist signs the covenant with Israel • The leaders of the early Church were all premillennial. An example is Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, a disciple of John, called the father of Premillennialism.
  36. 36. What is the primary Scriptural objection that those opposed to a futurist, literal, and premillennial interpretation use?
  37. 37. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:34)
  38. 38. “He [Jesus] certainly thought that His second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time.” - Bertrand Russell “Why I am Not a Christian”
  39. 39. “It [Matthew 24:34] is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. Yet how teasing, also, that within fourteen words of it should come the statement "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance grow side by side. -C. S. Lewis “The World‟s Last Night”
  40. 40. Other New Testament References ““But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, ” (Matthew 11:16) “Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” ” (Mark 8:12) ““The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. ” (Luke 11:32) ““But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. ” (Luke 17:25) In all the above references, “this generation” does appear to refer to the generation of people living at the time when the words were spoken…
  41. 41. “all these things…” “Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” ” (Matthew 24:1–2) ““But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. ” (Matthew 24:8) “so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. ” (Matthew 24:33) “all these things” refers to the catastrophic signs of the tribulation period that Jesus has just finished describing in the chapter ““Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. ” (Matthew 24:34)
  42. 42. The Verse in Context [Prediction of the Temple Destruction] – vv. 1-2 [The Disciples Questions re: Temple destruction and end of the age] – vs. 3 [The Signs of the End] – vv. 4-28 [The Sign of Christ‟s Coming] – vv. 29-31 ““Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father “Proleptic” (in advance) alone. ” (Matthew 24:32–36) speech “this generation” refers to the present generation who witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem AND the generation that sees the signs described in vv. 4-28 – the budding of the fig tree [end of the age]
  43. 43. A Similar Statement by Christ ““Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, „You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.‟ ” (Matthew 13:13–15) “He said, “Go, and tell this people: „Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.‟ “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people And the land is utterly desolate, ” (Isaiah 6:9–11) “This people” refers to the ones in Isaiah‟s day and Jesus‟ day. Commentaries agree that the devastation spoken about in Isaiah refers to the Babylonian captivity, yet Jesus says in Matthew it is still being fulfilled and will until Israel turns to its true Messiah in the end times.
  44. 44. The Second Coming Should be Approached… •In a Futurist manner… •Using literal biblical interpretation… •With a Premillennial perspective…
  45. 45. The Parousia How to Study Bible Prophecy