A FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE IN ESCHATOLOGY

PMW 2019-042 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Since Hal Lindsey originally burst on the scene in 1970, biblical prophecy has become a fun game that the whole family can play. Biblical prophecy has thus become a toy and has led many game winners (who have sold in excess of 100 million books to qualify) to be excitedly declared “Prophecy Experts.” But as for me and my house, once I hear the term “prophecy expert,” I turn the channel. Even if I do not have the TV on. I don’t take chances.

When I was first converted in 1966, I got caught up in prophecy rage, especially when The Late Great Planet Earth was published in 1970. I longed to watch new Olympic sports events, such as “Pin the Horns on the Antichrist” or “Guess the Date of Rapture.” Or even to see a new TV game show: “I’ve Got a Secret (Rapture). Eventually I even received a B.S. degree in Biblical Studies from a college committed to such dispensational activities. “Those were the days, my friend, / I thought they’d never end.” But fortunately I grew up and walked away from such. And have not looked back (though, admittedly, I like salt).

One of the most important principles for understanding biblical prophecy is known as the “Now but Not Yet Principle,” also known as the “Already/Not Yet Principle” (it is never called the “See You Later Alligator Principle” or “Take It Easy Greasy Principle”). If Christians would take this interpretive principle to heart (or better: to mind), a lot of embarrassment from failed prophetic expectations could be avoided. And a lot of money saved on books that give the latest Rapture predictions. Continue reading

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FOCUSING ON HIS COMING

Few doctrines of the Bible receive more attention among evangelicals today than the Second Coming of Christ. And since his Return is a foundational doctrine of the historic Christian faith, it well deserves our notice.

Unfortunately though, the Second Advent is more deeply loved and firmly believed than biblically understood. We tend to have a “zeal without knowledge” in approaching this doctrine. This is tragic in that properly comprehending it is vitally important for framing in a Christian worldview. After all, it exalts the consummate glory of his redemptive victory, completes the sovereign plan of God for history, and balances a full-orbed theology of Scripture. Continue reading

TWO PHASES OF THE NEW CREATION

Christianity affirms the material order. In creation God made the physical world (Gen. 1) and man with a tangible body (Gen. 2:7). In redemption God effects the incarnation of Christ (Heb. 2:14) and his physical resurrection (Luke 24:39). We should not be surprised, then, that even in the consummation we will once again inhabit physical bodies (John 5:28-29) in a material environment (2 Peter 3:13). God has created us as men, not angels. As redeemed vessels of mercy we will inherit a glorious, perfect, physical realm when God refashions the world in the new heavens and new earth.

We find the fullest explanation of the glory of the consummate new creation in Revelation 21-22. But we cannot simply leap to the closing chapters of the Bible and expect to understand it properly. Revelation is the capstone of prophecy, not the foundation stone. Without adequate preparation for interpreting it, it can become a stumbling stone. Continue reading

OUR FUTURE HOPE

PMW 2019-039 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In his letter to the troubled Corinthian church, Paul lists three Christians virtues while exhorting them to a closer walk with Christ: faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:13). This three-fold cord of holy values provides a strong bond of commitment for the Christian, and has tied the Church of Jesus Christ together throughout the ages.

Faith and love are not only beautiful threads knitting together the fabric of the Christian life, but are easily recognized as such. They weave a strong carpet for the Christian walk; they serve as dual strands tugging us forward in our holy calling. And though hope is certainly not a detached thread from the Christian garment, it has been snagged loose and at best is only partially visible to the eye of faith today. Continue reading

WHY IS AD 70 IMPORTANT?

PMW 2019-038 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Since “Moses and all the Prophets” point to the first century coming of Christ (Luke 24:27), we know the very “fulness of the time had come” (Gal. 4:4). This ample revelation in the Old Testament word prepares us for the abundant redemption in the New Testament world. All Christians are well aware of the unparalleled redemptive-historical significance of the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. We are equally well apprised of His victorious pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in A.D. 30. But too few realize the significance of the pouring out of His holy wrath upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Continue reading

IS POSTMILLENNIALISM IMPOSSIBLE?

PMW 2019-037 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Our Lord Jesus Christ ministered for over three years proclaiming the coming of the kingdom of God. But after initially drawing a “great multitude” of followers (Jn 6:2), John records with disappointment that “many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (Jn 6:66). In fact, toward the end of his ministry one of his own twelve disciples turned against him, literally selling him out to the authorities (Jn 13:18; Ac 1:18-19). And even his remaining faithful disciples forsook him in cowardly fear as he was on trial for his life (Mt 26:31, 56; Lk 22:31-34), locking themselves away from opponents (Jn 20:19).

With such a shaky start, what might we expect to become of the kingdom of God, which Christ initially proclaimed as near (Mk 1:15; Mt 4:17) and eventually established as present (Mt 12:28; Lk 17:20-21)? In other words, what is the outlook for the Christian faith in the historical long run? How should we answer a query such as Christ poses: “When the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth” (Lk 18:8)? Continue reading

PRETERISM IN HISTORY

PMW 2019-036 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The preterist perspective is making its presence felt in current prophecy discussions. Unfortunately, dispensational eschatology, which arose in the 1830s and is built on the futurist system, thoroughly dominates evangelical preaching, education, publishing, broadcasting today, and day dreaming. Consequently, evangelical Christians are largely unfamiliar with preterism, making it seem to be the “new kid on the block.” Preterism, however, is as hoary with age as is futurism. And despite its overshadowing in this century, it has been well represented by leading Bible-believing scholars through the centuries into our current day.

PATRISTIC CHRISTIANITY

One of the best known and most accessible of the ancient preterists is Eusebius (A.D. 260-340), the “father of church history.” Continue reading