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Friday, August 08, 2014

Christ and the Fulfillment of Prophecy


          One of the most compelling lines of biblical evidence for the amillennial position is how a number of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in the New.1 Setting these matters out carefully is important when treating the subject of the millennium, especially since dispensational premillenarians insist on a literal fulfillment of these prophecies in a future millennial age. If these prophecies have already been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, much of the dispensational case for a future earthly millennium simply evaporates. Dispensationalists tell us that these prophecies remain unfulfilled until Jesus Christ returns to earth to establish his millennial kingdom. Paul, on the other hand, told us, “What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened” (Rom. 11:7). Thus, true Israel, those Jews who have embraced Jesus Christ through faith, has already received the inheritance promised God’s people, since they are the children of promise (Rom. 9:6–8).

Christ, the True Israel

When we use the prophetic vision of Israel’s prophets and look to the future, what do we see? The prophets anticipated a time when Israel would be restored to her former greatness. Such a prophetic vision included not only the restoration of the nation but also a restoration of the land of Canaan, the city of Jerusalem, the throne of David, and the temple. The nation had been taken into captivity, the magnificent temple had been destroyed, and the priesthood had gone some five centuries before Christ’s first advent, so these prophetic expectations spoke of a reversal of fortune—the undoing of calamity that had come upon the nation. In fact, with apostolic hindsight Peter told of how “the prophets, who spoke. searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1Pet. 1:10–12).

The prophet Isaiah spoke of a future restoration of Israel in these terms:
“But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you” (41:8–9). The same promise was reiterated in the next chapter of Isaiah (42:1–7), when the Lord declared of his servant, “I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles” (v.6).Isaiah continued to speak of this servant in chapters 44 (vv. 1–2) and 45 (v.4).

Dispensationalists, who interpret such passages literally, assign the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies to a future earthly millennium in which Israel will coexist with Gentiles under the reign of the Davidic king.2 Is this how the New Testament interpreted these messianic prophecies regarding the servant of the Lord? Who is this servant of the Lord—the nation of Israel or Jesus, Israel’s Messiah? The Gospel writers interpreted these prophecies from Isaiah as fulfilled in the messianic mission of Jesus. As Jesus cast out demons and healed the sick, Matthew saw in this the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies of a suffering servant who would take upon himself our infirmities and carry our diseases (Matt. 8:17 with Isa. 53:4). Luke spoke of both Israel and David as servants of God (Luke 1:54, 69). Yet, in Acts, Luke pointedly spoke of Jesus as the servant of God (Acts 3:13). After Jesus’s crucifixion, God raised him from the dead so that people everywhere might be called to repentance (Acts 3:26). Later on, when the Ethiopian eunuch read Isaiah 53:7–8 and asked Philip to whom this prophecy referred, Philip told him that this passage was about Jesus (Acts 8:34–35). But this is not all that is in view here. The prophet Hosea quoted God as saying, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son” (11:1). But Matthew told us that Hosea’s prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus’s parents took him to Egypt for a time as a baby to protect him from Herod’s “slaughter of the innocents” (Matt. 2:13–18). Thus, Matthew, not the “spiritualizing amillenarian” centuries later, took a passage from Hosea that referred to Israel and told his readers that it was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

According to many New Testament writers, Jesus was the true servant, the true Son, and the true Israel of God. Recall as well that Isaiah spoke of Israel and the descendants of Abraham as the people of God. It was through the seed of Abraham that the nations of the earth would be blessed. Therefore, even as Jesus was the true Israel, he was the true seed of Abraham. Paul made this point in Galatians 3:7–8 when he said that “those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’” Paul’s words here are important for several reasons. First, they tell us that Abraham believed the same gospel that Paul preached to the Gentile Galatians. There has been only one plan of salvation and one gospel from the very beginning. This, of course, raises serious questions about the dispensational theory of distinct redemptive purposes for national Israel and the Gentiles. Paul also explained, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). From the beginning of redemptive history, the true children of Abraham, whether Jews or Gentiles, will be heirs of God’s promise if they belong to Jesus Christ, the true seed of Abraham.
          The ramifications for this on one’s millennial view should now be obvious. The New Testament writers claimed that Jesus was the true Israel of God and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. So what remains of the dispensationalists’ case that these prophecies will yet be fulfilled in a future millennium? They vanish in Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled them.

The Land of Canaan, the City of Jerusalem, and the Mountain of the Lord

When God established his covenant with Abraham and his descendants after him “to be your God and the God of your descendants after you,” he also promised the great patriarch, “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God” (Gen. 17:7–8). According to classical dispensationalists, this promise was “an unconditional covenant made with Israel and therefore cannot be either abrogated or fulfilled by people other than the nation Israel.”4 In other words, God’s unconditional promise of a land to Abraham’s descendants is everlasting and therefore can be fulfilled only by the return of national Israel to her ancient homeland. At first glance, this appears to be a compelling argument, especially since the nation of Israel was formed in Palestine in 1948, amounting to a return of the Jews to the land of their fathers. But once again the critical question is, How did the authors of the New Testament view this prophecy?

To answer this question, we must first answer a different one. How did Israel’s own prophets understand this promise of a land that God made to Abraham? Once again, returning to the words of Isaiah, we find language such as this:

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. (Isa. 65:17–25; cf. 66:22)

The promise of the land in Canaan made to Abraham was reinterpreted by Isaiah to mean a new heaven and a new earth, not just the land of Canaan. This is an easy claim to make, but what is the evidence for it? As we have seen, Joshua regarded God’s promise of the land of Canaan as provisionally fulfilled when Israel took possession after the exodus (Josh. 1:2–9; 21:43). Israel’s prophets, writing during the exile, when Israel had been cast from the land, universalized the promise of a land in Canaan to include a new heaven and a new earth, the fruit of the eschatological victory won by the suffering servant and conquering king.5 Because God swore the oath of ratification in the covenant of promise, God ensured that the everlasting promise entailed by the covenant would be realized. This would be true even if God’s covenant people disobeyed and lost their inheritance, receiving instead divine sanctions, such as being cast from the land.

The idea of land promised under the Abrahamic covenant was also universalized in several passages in the New Testament. In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul described the role of Abraham in redemptive history. Notice again the promise God made to Abraham: “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. The whole land of Canaan. I will give as an everlasting possession” (Gen. 17:7–8). In Romans 4:13, Paul saw the fulfillment of this as follows: “It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.” As Robert Strimple so aptly puts it, “Where in the Old Testament do you find the promise that Paul refers to here? Nowhere if you insist on a strict literalism. But you find it in Genesis 17:8 if you see that this is inspired apostolic interpretation of the Old Testament promise that Paul is giving us here.”6

The author of Hebrews made a similar point when he wrote that ultimately Abraham was not looking just to Canaan, even though he and his descendants after him lived in the Promised Land. Abraham “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). Peter also picked up on this prophetic expansion of the Promised Land when he wrote, “In keeping with his [God’s] promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2Pet. 3:13). The inheritance promised to Abraham, which was couched in premessianic terms as a reference to the land of Canaan, was, after Israel took possession of the land under Joshua, subsequently reinterpreted by Isaiah, Paul, the author of Hebrews, and Peter as a new heaven and a new earth.7
         If the New Testament writers did in fact reinterpret the promise of a land in terms of a new heaven and a new earth, this raises great difficulties for premillenarians who assign these prophecies to an earthly millennial age—a halfway consummation yet to dawn—instead of understanding these promises in terms of a new creation and the final consummation. If this interpretation is correct, amillenarians are no less literal in their hermeneutic than the New Testament writers. This same pattern of a premessianic prophecy being reinterpreted in the New Testament also holds for those prophecies dealing with the city of Jerusalem and the mountain of the Lord. Like the prophet Isaiah, Micah gave us the following vision of what lies ahead: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. (4:1–5) In this amazing vision, Micah foresaw not only a glorious time for Israel but also a period in which the knowledge of the Lord will extend to the very ends of the earth. 

Dispensationalists are clear about how this prophecy is to be interpreted. This text, they say, along with a similar passage in Isaiah 2:2–4, refers to Israel’s future exaltation during the millennial age when the city of Jerusalem is the seat of God’s millennial government.8 But this is an erroneous interpretation because it ignores an important step in the interpretive process, namely, how the New Testament writers understood this prophecy in light of the coming of Jesus Christ.The pattern for how these premessianic images were interpreted should now be clear. We ask one more time, What did the New Testament writers do with these Old Testament prophecies?

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews could not be more clear about how he understood this prophecy. Though Old Testament prophets spoke of the earthly city of Jerusalem, the New Testament writers did not say these prophecies would be fulfilled in a future earthly Jerusalem. On the contrary, the author of Hebrews said the prophecy was already fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

        You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (12:18–24) In Jesus Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem has already come, even now.9

This point is especially problematic for postmillenarians who see Micah 4:1–5 and Isaiah 2:2–4 as important texts supporting the idea that a millennial age, in which the nations will turn to Christ, is yet to dawn in this present age. Agreeing with amillenarians that this prophecy is fulfilled before the second advent of Jesus Christ, postmillenarians see this passage as finding fulfillment in the last days in which “a spiritually renewed church attracts the nations (v.2) to the Christian faith by the vitality and depth of its worship, doctrine and life.”10 

The problem with the postmillennial interpretation is simply this:
If it is self-evident that this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, why did the author of Hebrews speak of the fulfillment as a present reality? We can go a step farther. Strimple shows us that postmillenarians “must view Christ’s kingly reign as a failure so far.”11 This, it seems to me, is highly problematic. Yet, dispensationalists will undoubtedly remind us that the same author who said that in Jesus Christ the new Jerusalem has already come also said in the next chapter, “We are looking for the city that is to come” (Heb. 13:14). This is a problem for dispensationalists because they fail to distinguish between the earthly copy and the heavenly reality.12 The earthly city is a redemptivehistorical picture of a heavenly reality yet to come. A word of explanation is in order. The apostle John spoke of the new Jerusalem as though it were yet future (Rev. 21:2). When we look more closely at the text, however, we see that this heavenly city is even now coming down from heaven. The new creation, which will be consummated with the coming of Christ in judgment on the last day, has already been inaugurated and is a present reality for the people of God.13 But how can the new Jerusalem be said to be both present and future? To understand this, we need to distinguish between the earthly copy and the heavenly reality. The author of Hebrews distinguished between earthly and heavenly things: “It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence” (9:23–24). When we speak of the premessianic prophetic expectations regarding the city of Jerusalem and the mountain of the Lord as fulfilled in Christ but awaiting a final consummation at the end of the age, we are speaking of the earthly Jerusalem serving as a type or a copy of the heavenly reality, which now is realized in principle. If true, this strikes a serious blow to the root of dispensational and premillennial expectations about Jesus reigning over an earthly kingdom from a new Jerusalem. The earthly Jerusalem was intended to point us to Jesus Christ and to serve as a shadow of the realities to come when God makes all things new.

David’s Greater Son

Dispensationalists place great weight on their interpretation of the Abrahamic covenant, but the Davidic covenant is right behind it in terms of importance. Based on God’s promise that he would establish the kingdom of David’s son forever (2 Sam. 7:12–16), dispensationalists believe this promise was partially fulfilled in the first coming of Christ, with the final fulfillment delayed because of Israel’s stubborn refusal to embrace Jesus as her messianic king. This prophecy stated that the throne of David will be established forever. Since dispensationalists believe that such prophecies must be interpreted literally, this necessitates a literal rule of Jesus Christ on the earth during a future millennial kingdom. At that time the postponed kingdom will be finally consummated. John Walvoord feels so strongly about the literal fulfillment of this prophecy that he believes amillenarians commit exegetical fraud by spiritualizing literal prophecies such as this one.15
         Since no one wants to be guilty of such an offense, the safest course of action is to return to the New Testament interpretation of the Davidic covenant. Before we do so, we ought to note that the prophecy of 2 Samuel 7 does not stand alone. In the famous words of Isaiah 9:7, we read, regarding the coming Redeemer, that “of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” In Psalm 2:7–9, we find the following: “I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’” That a descendant of David would return to Israel and rule over his kingdom was a major aspect of the prophetic expectation of Israel and occupied a significant role in the New Testament. From the beginning of Jesus’s messianic mission, his identity as the heir to David’s throne was clearly established. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’s link to David was established through the use of genealogy (1:1–17). In the birth narrative in Luke’s Gospel, Luke informed his readers that the angel Gabriel told Mary: Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. (1:30–33)

According to Matthew and Luke, the prophecies of Samuel, Isaiah, and the psalmist were fulfilled in Jesus. But how does his birth fulfill the prophecy of an everlasting kingdom? The answer to this is also found in Luke’s writings, though not in the infancy narratives. When Peter delivered the Pentecost sermon, he preached to Jews who did not yet believe that Jesus was the Christ. To make his case, he had to demonstrate that Jesus was exactly who he claimed to be. The two most effective tools to do this were the apologetic arguments from fulfilled prophecy and miracle. Therefore, Peter pointed out that the eternal kingdom promised to David’s son was finally realized in the resurrection of Jesus. Because Jesus conquered death and the grave, Peter could say with confidence: Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:29–36)

It was in Christ’s resurrection and ascension, therefore, that God fulfilled his promise that David’s greater son would rule the nations with an everlasting kingdom. People’s greatest foe is death, and in his resurrection Jesus emerged victorious. This is why his kingdom is everlasting and why he is both Lord and Christ. When dispensationalists complain that amillenarians spiritualize these great Old Testament prophecies by saying they are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, perhaps they should take this up with the apostles who did the very thing of which dispensationalists are so critical.

Christ, the True Temple

Jesus declared of himself, “One greater than the temple is here” (Matt. 12:6) and told the Samaritan woman that he could give her “living water” (John 4:10–14). Such declarations give us a major clue that the authors of the New Testament reinterpreted the premessianic understanding of God’s temple in light of the coming of Israel’s Messiah. The temple occupied a principal role in the witness of Israel’s prophets regarding God’s future eschatological blessing for the nation. When we see that this imagery pointed forward to Jesus, we can better understand the nature and character of the millennial age.

Let us consider the Old Testament expectations regarding the temple of the Lord. Both Isaiah 2:2–4 and Micah 4:1–5 speak of God’s future blessing on Israel in the last days when his people will go up to the temple on the mountain of the Lord and learn his ways. In Isaiah 56, we read of those who hold fast to God’s covenant (v.4) and love the name of the Lord and keep his Sabbaths (vv. 6–8). God will bring them to the holy mountain and the temple, which will be a house of prayer for all nations (v.7). A similar vision was given in Isaiah 66:20–21, which says that the Israelites will bring their grain offerings to God’s temple, and he will renew his priesthood. In Zechariah’s prophetic vision, we learn that one day Israel will once again offer sacrifices acceptable to God (14:16–19). With all this prophetic expectation in the minds of Jews living in Palestine in the first century, it is no wonder that Jesus’s declaration of God’s judgment on the temple—“Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Matt. 24:2)—came as a shocking offense. How dare this man say that their expectation of a glorious temple was fulfilled in him! He said, ”Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19). It was not until after Christ’s resurrection that the meaning of these words became plain to his disciples. When he spoke of the destruction of the temple, he was speaking of his own body (John 2:22). This is what he meant when he said that one greater than the temple had come. Ezekiel prophesied that the temple will be rebuilt, the priesthood will be reestablished, sacrifices will be offered, and the river of life will flow from thetemple. How we interpret this prophecy will have a significant bearing on the question of a future millennial age on the earth.  It should come as no surprise that dispensationalists believe that this prophecy will be literally fulfilled in the millennial age. 

According to J. Dwight Pentecost:
The glorious vision of Ezekiel reveals that it is impossible to locate its fulfillment in any past temple or system which Israel has known, but it must await a future fulfillment after the second advent of Christ when the millennium is instituted. The sacrificial system is not a reinstituted Judaism, but the establishment of a new order that has as its purpose the remembrance of the work of Christ on which all salvation rests. The literal fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy will be the means of God’s glorification and man’s blessing in the millennium.16 Traditional amillenarians criticize such images of perpetual animal sacrifices and temple worship after the second advent of Christ, saying this would undercut his saving work, especially since these aspects of Mosaic economy werefulfilled at Calvary.17 So Pentecost is careful to argue that Ezekiel’s prophecy is not connected to a renewed Mosaic economy but to an entirely new order, one that commemorates the saving work of Christ in the past. But is this what the authors of the New Testament taught about these prophecies? We have already seen that the New Testament taught that Christ is the true Israel and David’s greater son. The Old Testament prophecies regarding Jerusalem and the mountain of the Lord are fulfilled in Christ’s church. The promise of a land, as we have seen, will be fulfilled in a new heaven and a new earth in the consummation. Likewise, the New Testament taught that Christ is the new temple and that a new order of commemoration involving the ceremonies typical of the earthly temple can only commemorate the types and shadows, not the reality. This presents a serious problem for dispensationalists, who argue, in effect, that redemptive history takes a U-turn in the millennial age, as the reality in Christ supposedly returns to the types and shadows of the Old Testament.

How, then, is the temple imagery from the Old Testament fulfilled by Jesus Christ in the New? In Exodus 40:34, we are told that the glory of the Lord filled his temple. When viewed against the backdrop of redemptive history, we see how this pointed to Pentecost, when, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, the glory of the Lord filled his true temple, the mystical body of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 12:12ff.).18 If Christ’s body is the true temple and as Paul put it, “We are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16), what use remains for a future literal temple? That to which the temple had pointed is now a reality through the work of the Holy Spirit. Why return to the type and shadow?
It is also clear from Hebrews 8–10 that Jesus fulfilled the priesthood typology of the Old Testament in his death, and he put an end to the sacrificial system in his own blood once and for all. The author of Hebrews said, “We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man” (8:1–2). If the reality to which the Old Testament sacrifices and priesthood pointed is found in this true sanctuary and tabernacle in heaven, why look for a return to the shadows in the form of an earthly temple, which pointed us to this heavenly scene? Contrary to the view of dispensationalists, the prescribed New Testament commemoration of the ratification of the new covenant will not be found in a new order of temple worship, which includes a new temple, a new priesthood, and animal sacrifices, supposedly in an earthly millennial kingdom. At the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19–20). He instituted the divinely approved method of commemorating his sacrificial work, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. In this way, the people of God feed on the Savior through faith and commemorate his dying on their behalf.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that he could give her living water and that “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:14). Jesus declared that he fulfilled the image Ezekiel foretold in chapter 37 of his prophecy when he spoke of water flowing from the sanctuary.19 If Jesus is the true temple of God, he alone gives us the “living water” that takes away the thirst of human sin and longing. Therefore, the dispensationalists’ insistence on a return in the millennial age to the types of the Old Testament sacrificial system amounts to a serious misunderstanding of the nature of redemptive history. By arguing for a new commemorative order based on Old Testament typology in the millennial age, dispensationalists see the future not as a consummation but as a return to the past. And this, of course, sadly obscures the person and work of Christ by seeing the ultimate reality not in him but in the types and shadows destined to perish when the reality entered the theater of redemption.


Extracted from the book entitled A Case for Amillennialism - Understanding the End Times by Kim Riddlebarger. You can download and read the whole eBook HERE in pdf format.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Persecutions and WORLD WAR III

Bible Believing Christians specifically in the Reformed Faith are firm and strong believers in God's Sovereignity. It is God who is in total control, and all around Him are only instruments of His ordained plan before the world ever begun. God has ordained specific events in history and these events in history are part of His plan until the coming of His Son the Messiah. The Holy Scripture is clear about "rumours of wars" as Jesus Christ of Nazareth prophesied in the Gospel of Matthew. He said; "And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places." (Matthew 24:6-7)

If ever World War III will break out tomorrow or in the next few years, the Lord has assured us that these things must come to pass and it's not yet the END OF THE WORLD. We must not be troubled. He is in total control of everything. Let us remember that what we hear and see from the world's main stream mass media, news like EBOLA VIRUS, TROPICAL TYPHOONS, EARTHQUAKES, FAMINES and so on are sure to come but THE END is not yet... We are often mislead by many false teachers that these things are SIGNS of HIS SECOND COMING and THE END OF THE WORLD. There is no further from the truth. Let us not be deceived by these false teachers and false prophets who twist the Word of God and cast spell on people not only to deceive but to gain filthy lucre from them who are being deceived. We know these people are all over the world and we know their doctrine is of the devil. (See 1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 4:6)

Man's history is full of many wars, earthquakes, pestilence, etc. I have no exact statistics since the beginning of time of how many of these things and events happened and occurred in the planet. Perhaps there were hundreds or even thousands of wars were fought since Jesus Christ of Nazareth said those words in the Book of Matthew 24. I can only speculate that perhaps there were 100's of major deadly diseases occurred from the 15th century to the present time. Who knows? Written history is not that precise nor there are profoundly recorded evidences we can refer to of how many wars, hunger and earthquakes, etc happened in the last few centuries. But I can assure you according to His words that these things will surely come to pass but THE END OF THE WORLD is not yet. So what are these things then? If we read and understand the Book of Matthew 24, Jesus Christ of Nazareth is talking to His disciples and of course to us His children who will read the Bible... and saying that these things will happen. He said expect these events to come and "see that ye be not troubled". The Lord said do not be bothered by these things because they will be SURELY events that will distress you. I believe He is saying BE STRONG & ENDURE (Mt.24:12) because these events are frightening. The word of the Lord are assurance to the disciples that these events must come but make sure it will not weaken you and give you fear for it is not yet the end of the age. Although if we read further we will understand that these events will be the beginning of sorrows. The Lord made it clear these events will give us sorrow, sadness, weeping, suffering, heartache, misery and so on BUT BE STRONG! The Lord also said; "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended , and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise , and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound , the love of many shall wax cold . But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved ." (Mat. 24:9-12)

Indeed these things are happening. The Church from the time of the apostles until now is in tribulation until the coming of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ before His Angel will preach the Everlasting Gospel of the Kingdom to the whole world (Revelation 14:6) then The End will come.



Christian Persecutions.

I'd like to lead you now to the article of J. Warner Wallace (a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity) entitled, Were the Early Christians Really Persecuted? 

I have copied and pasted below extracts from his article entitled, Were the Early Christians Really Persecuted? where you will read about how the Disciples of Jesus and the Ancient Church were AFFLICTED, KILLED, and HATED because of Jesus of Nazareth (Mat. 24:9-10)

" The Persecution of the Apostles Was Anticipated by the Gospel Authors
The New Testament Gospel authors (writing the earliest accounts of the life of Jesus and his followers) described the threat of persecution even while Jesus was alive. They documented Jesus’ repeated warnings to his followers related to persecution (i.e. Matthew 24:9, John 15:18-21, John 16:1-4, Luke 14: 25-33).

The Persecution of the Apostles Was Described by the Author of Acts
Luke described the immediate persecution of the disciples following the Ascension of Jesus in his Book of Acts (written in the 1st Century):

Peter and John were arrested (Acts 4:3 and Acts 5:18),

Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 6 and 7),

The believers were persecuted as a group (Acts 8:1),

Members were pulled from their homes and taken to prison (Acts 8:3),

King Herod put James (the brother of John) to death and arrested Peter (Acts 12).

The Persecution of the Apostles Was Described Personally by New Testament Authors
Paul (writing again the 1st Century) described his consistent persecution (i.e. 2 Corinthians 11:24-28) and Luke corroborated Paul’s suffering:

In Jerusalem, Paul spoke openly and challenged the Hellenists. They, in turn, tried to kill him (Acts 9:28-30)

In Antioch, the Jewish leadership encouraged persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and eventually expelled them from the area (Acts 13:48-52)

In Iconium, both Jews and Gentiles attempted to stone Paul and Barnabas, forcing them to flee to Lystra (Acts 14:5-6)

The Jewish residents of Lystra convinced the citizenry to stone Paul as well. He nearly died from this stoning but was rescued by the disciples (Acts 19-20)

Paul and Silas were beaten openly and thrown into prison in Philippi (Acts 16:19-40)

In Berea, the Thessalonian Jewish believers incited the crowd and forced Paul to flee by sea (Acts 17:13-14)

Paul was eventually arrested in Caesarea and taken Governor Felix (Acts 24:1). He was ultimately taken to Rome where he was placed in house arrest under guard (Acts 28)
The Persecution of the Apostles Was Described by the Second Generation of Christian Authors
The early students of the Apostles described the martyrdom of their teachers in ancient non-Biblical documents. They also described the persecution of other early Christians.

Clement of Rome (80-140 AD) confirmed Peter “endured not one but many labors, and thus having borne his testimony went to his appointed place of glory” (1 Clement 5:4). Clement also confirmed Paul “had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned” (1 Clement 5:5) and “when he had borne his testimony before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the holy place, having been found a notable pattern of patient endurance” (1 Clement 5:6).  Clement also described “sudden and repeated calamities and reverses which are befalling us” (1 Clement 1:1).

Ignatius (105-115 AD) described Paul as a martyr (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, Chapter 12). He also described himself as a “a condemned man” and anticipated his martyrdom in Rome, where he would “become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans, Chapter 4). Ignatius also referred to the persecution of the Church in Antioch (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, Chapter 10).

Polycarp (110-140 AD) described the martyrdom of Paul “and the rest of the Apostles” in addition to the martyrdom of “Ignatius and Zosimus and Rufus” along with “others also who came from among yourselves” (Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians 9:1)

The Persecution of the Second Generation of Christians Was Described by Subsequent Authors
Followers of the Church Fathers wrote about the martyrdom of these early Church leaders, claiming they were following the examples of the Apostles.

Clement was banished from Rome by Emperor Trajan and forced to work in a stone quarry reportedly drowned as a martyr (c. 99AD)

Ignatius was reportedly martyred in the Roman Colosseum under Emperor Trajan (c. 117AD)
Polycarp was reportedly martyred (along with six others) by Antoninus Pius (c. 160AD). After refusing to recant his faith, he told his persecutors, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never did me wrong, how then can I blaspheme my king who hath saved me?”

Justin Martyr was prosecuted (together with his companions) by Junius Rusticus. Justin was ultimately beheaded as a martyr (c. 165AD)

The Persecution of 1st and 2nd Century Christians Was Described by Ancient Non-Christians
Early non-Christian sources confirm the persecution accounts of the early Church.

Tacitus described the persecution of Christians in Rome (c. 64-68AD) within 30 years of Jesus’ crucifixion. “Nero falsely accused and executed with the most exquisite punishments those people called Christians.”  According to Tacitus, some Christians “were seized who admitted their faith, and then, using the information they provided, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much for the crime of burning the city, but for hatred of the human race.” These early Christians were brutally executed, “and perishing they were additionally made into sports: they were killed by dogs by having the hides of beasts attached to them, or they were nailed to crosses or set aflame, and, when the daylight passed away, they were used as nighttime lamps.” (Annals)

Suetonius (69-122AD) also described the persecution of the early Christians. He said Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) “expelled them from Rome,” (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars;Claudius 25)and reported that, under Nero, “punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition” (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars;Nero 16)

Pliny the Younger (Governor of Pontus / Bithynia) confirmed the persecution of Christians in his letter to Emperor Trajan (c. 112AD).  He asked the Emperor “whether pardon is to be granted for repentance, or, if a man has once been a Christian, it does him no good to have ceased to be one; whether the name itself, even without offenses, or only the offenses associated with the name are to be punished.” Pliny told Trajan, “I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed.” Pliny excused those who rejected Christ and proved their allegiance to the Roman gods: “Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ–none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do–these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.” Trajan, in his response to Pliny, confirms the means by which early Christians could avoid persecution: “If they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it, that is, by worshiping our gods, even though he was under suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance.”

The Persecution of 1st and 2nd Century Christians Was Described by Ancient Christians
Early Christian leaders wrote about the ongoing persecution of believers
Justin Martyr (100-164AD) described the continuous persecution of the Christian community in a letter to Emperor Augustus Caesar. He wrote, “You can kill us, but cannot do us any real harm” (The First Apology of Justin Martyr)

Tertullian (160-225 AD) described the suffering of the early Christians as he wrote to Roman governors in an attempt to stem the persecution of Christians in his era (Apologeticus)
Even the most skeptical critics of Christian history typically accept the 3rd and 4th Century records of large scale persecution of Christians under Emperor Decius (c. 250’s AD), Valerian (c. 260’s AD), Diocletian (c. 280’s AD) and Galerius (early 300’s AD). These four emperors persecuted Christians vigorously. Under Valerian alone, many well-known known Christian leaders were martyred, including Cyprian (Bishop of Carthage), Sixtus II (Bishop of Rome) and Saint Lawrence.

The evidence for the early persecution of Christians is robust, including the 1st Century Biblical record, the 1st and 2nd Century Christian non-Biblical record, and the accounts of ancient 1st and 2nd pagan historians and writers. Like any cumulative case, the strength of this evidence is compounded by the diversity of the sources. Is the early persecution of Christians simply a myth created by Christians to advance the cause of Christianity? Those who propose such a theory must account for the following:

The records of persecution originate over the entire course of Christian history, from New Testament era to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation of Christian believers

The records of persecution originate in geographically diverse locations

The records of persecution originate in culturally diverse Christian communities

The records of persecution originate from both Biblical and non-Biblical authors

The records of persecution originate from both Christian and non-Christian authors

The records of persecution were unopposed by ancient objectors

While skeptics in our day may deny the ancient Christian claims of martyrdom, the opponents of antiquity were silent. The Christian record remains the one unopposed, dominant voice from antiquity, describing the persecution of ancient Christians and identifying this persecution with their refusal to “[reject] Christ and [prove] their allegiance to the Roman gods.” "Partly taken from http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/were-the-early-christians-really-persecuted )


You can also read the Wikipedia entry about Christian Persecutions and you will find out how the Prophecy of Jesus based on the verses in Mt 24:9-12 were fulfilled and also being fulfilled. - Click Here to see the Wikipedia Entry.

The Olivet Discourse (Matthew Chapter 24) is a progressive declaration by Jesus Christ of Nazareth of many events and mainly the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. by the Romans, The Persecutions of Christians until His 2nd Advent, The 2nd Coming likened to the time prior to the Deluge of Noah's time, then the Great Judgement Day when He will literally reign supreme in a New Heaven and Earth where the righteous will reign with Him and the wicked to everlasting damnation. (Daniel 12:2,3)

WORLD WAR III?
It seems it is hard to believe that there will be another World War or perhaps it is true that there is a spiritual entity who is an agent of all of these destruction, famines, pestilences, calamities and wars on this planet. If you believe God is in control of everything and you are His child, then I assure you there is nothing to fear. God in the Bible from the times of the patriachs until the time of His apostles has continually assure us to fear not but trust Him in all circumstances. If ever WWW III will suddenly come we know we have nothing to fear. 

"But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid." - Jeremiah 46:27

"According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not." - Haggai 2:5

Jesuit Illuminati New World Order and WWW III

Leuren Moret: MH17, like MH370, is failed Jesuit false flag, using 2 Ukrainian missiles to undermine Putin & BRICS, protect Israel, and trigger WWIII



Vancouver, BC – In an ExopoliticsTV interview with Alfred Lambremont Webre, independent scientist Leuren Moret exposes both the methodology and motives of the false flag operation Malaysian Airlines MH17 as a highly coordinated but failed Jesuit false flag operation that used Ukrainian air traffic control on July 17, 2014 to divert flight MH17 over war zone Donetsk, while MH17 by Ukrainian air force interceptor that used an air to air missile to destroy one of MH17’s two engines. As MH17 made a sharp left turn trying to stabilize, a Ukrainian BUK missile deployed two days earlier in the Donetsk area completed shooting MH17 down. Immediately NATO controlled media began to blame Putin and Russian controlled rebels in the Ukraine. On July 22, 2014, Russia released the full radar and other data that evidenced the above scenario as true.
The basic methodology of MH17 false flag is based on Operation Northwoods, a planned 1962 false flag proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Military which planned to shoot down civilian airliners over the USA, blame the Cuban Air Force, and provide a false pretext for a US invasion of Cuba. Then President John F. Kennedy rejected the plan


Motives for MH17 False Flag
In her interview, Leuren Moret details the major motives for the flase flag, starting with the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines MH370 and MH17 as the bookends of the US government's "pivot to Asia". The MH17 false flag was designed to:
  • Set up Valdimir Putin as the patsy to the flase flag and brand Putin as an amoral aggressor;
  • Attack and undermine a contemporary meeting of BRICS leaders in Brasilia after the World Cup to set up the BRICS central bank as a competitor to the US dollar;
  • Divert public attention from the ongoing Israeli invasion of Gaza;
  • Serve as part of a trigger-mechanism to a humanocidal WWIII, part of the Illuminati depopulation policy to reduce world population to as low as 500 million from 7 billion.
  • By targeting Malaysia Airlines, warn other Asian nations against charting an independent economic course as Malaysia has done, and serving payback for the war crimes judgments against Illuminati nations United States and Israel by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal
Report on MH17 False Flag (27 pages)
You can review this 27-page analysis of the false flag, as well as a description of the NATO drill that accompanied the MH17 false flag while you watch this wide-ranging and revealing interview.
1. MH17 Verdict: Real Evidence Points to US-Kiev Cover-up of Failed False Flag
3. This article may provide useful context as to the MH370 false flag operation as you watch the interview. Part 1 - Leuren Moret: Confirmed – MH370 shot down by US over Singapore airspace as UK Inmarsat leads 30 day false flag psyops for 5 NWO objectives [READ FULL ARTICLE]
http://exopolitics.blogs.com/peaceinspace/2014/04/part-1-leuren-moret-confirmed-mh370-shot-down-by-us-over-singapore-airspace-as-uk-inmarsat-leads-30-day-false-flag-psy.html
4. VERY  IMPORTANT: This is the full Russian military briefing on MH 17 - July 22  (maps etc.)   (English translation)  and right at the start, the General reports MH17 off flight path about 7 mins before shootdown - crew could not get it back on flight path - either US Navy AWACS or US Navy ship in NATO exercise took over the MH 17 flight controls to position it for BUC hit.
Malaysian Airlines plane crash: Russian military unveil data on MH17 incident over Ukraine (FULL)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bNPInuSqfs   [29:18]

5. GERMAN PILOT: Shocking Analysis of the ‘Shooting Down’ of Malaysian MH17
This article has photos of 30 mm DU bullet holes from strafing the right wing tip probably when it hit the right engine with a small fighter jet rocket, and shocking photos of the cockpit exterior showing where very hot large and small DU fragments (all different sizes) from the BUK DU warhead launched head on into the cockpit region.  The warhead fragments into all kinds of pieces, and hit on the side we cannot see and ripped through the cockpit  exiting on the side shown in the photo (exit holes).  This shows definitively that the Ukrainian forces fighter planes in the air hit MH 17 from both sides, and that the BUK hit caused the plane to crash (it explodes and creates a spherical debris field that impacts the target from every direction.  The cockpit crew members were most likely also wounded or killed by the BUK missile.  No damage produced yet shows the cabin was directly hit - instead it looks like it got a shower of red hot DU fragments.  The direct targets were the right engine by one of the fighter jets, and the BUK missile targeted the front of the plane or cockpit area where the electronics to control the plane were.
http://www.anderweltonline.com/wissenschaft-und-technik/luftfahrt-2014/shocking-analysis-of-the-shooting-down-of-malaysian-mh17/

6. It was reported that the Ukrainian govt. military moved into Donetsk with 4 BUK launchers and 9 communications posts two days before MH 17 crashed.  It was also reported that two days after the crash, the BUK launchers were removed from the area.  This clip shows three BUK launchers loaded on huge trucks leaving the Donetsk area on July 19, 2 days after the crash.  Here is the documentation.
Ukraine Military Plated Transport Trucks Transporting Three BUK's out of Donetsk Republic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdDF8hIf2M4    [02:21]


7. U.S. Navy expert: "The entire MH 17 "exercise" was run by the US Navy ships with the NATO multinational exercises taking place offshore from Crimea.  Everyone in the NATO exercise was involved in order to implicate them in the crime just like MH 370  The US also had a new hi-tech satellite over the Ukraine during this time.  He also said the Ukrainian forces went into Donetsk two days ahead of the crash with 9 communications posts so they could synchronize everything with the NATO forces offshore."      
References
LEURENMORET.INFO

Leuren Moret: MH17, like MH370, is failed Jesuit false flag, using 2 Ukrainian missiles to undermine Putin & BRICS, protect Israel, and trigger WWIII

Monday, August 04, 2014

Doctrine of The ANTICHRIST.


ANTICHRIST IS ANTI-GRACE AND HIS MARK IS THE TEACHING OF WORKS-BASED SALVATION

We will take an aside here to examine some things that will help us identify this pernicious and lawless Antichrist.  Going back to a verse we looked at briefly, that being the next verse from the pen of Paul:

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Th 2:13)

Remember that Paul is being as wise as a serpent, but as harmless as a dove (Matt. 10:16).  He has purposely and openly declared to the Thessalonians who the evil restrainer is (Pagan Rome), but he has done so in a manner that would protect the church from undue persecution.  Now, continuing in this fashion, and directly following his statements, he offers a further clue as to the identity of Antichrist:

(1.)That God has CHOSEN and predestined those who would be saved through His own power is a clue to the identity of the one who would be ANTI-CHRIST, because this Antichrist will also deny this critical element of our faith.  Paul plainly exhorts the church at Thessalonica that they will not be deceived by this Antichrist, because GOD has chosen his elect, and has decreed that they will identify him.  Whereas in verse 10 he plainly states that the un-elect (reprobate) will be deceived about the identity of the  Antichrist because God has withheld the BELIEF OF THE TRUTH from them, saying, “they received not the love of the truth”, he now tells us that the gift of BELIEF OF THE TRUTH comes from God and is bestowed upon His elect alone!  God has from the beginning chosen those who would be saved by giving them the gifts of sanctification of the Spirit, and BELIEF OF THE TRUTH!

(2.)By identifying the Doctrine of Election with the great deception concerning the identity of Antichrist, Paul further establishes the fact that the Antichrist system will be known principally by its opposition to the Doctrines of Grace.

Let us see if John agrees with this assessment:

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.  But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.  I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:18-22)

In his dissertation on Antichrist, John makes some important statements that we would do well to heed:

(1.) Antichrist (the Man and System) is still to come.  John writes this epistle some time between 85-90 a.d., almost 20 years AFTER the destruction of the Jewish Temple.  Just as in the book of Revelation, John makes NO MENTION of a current Temple standing in Jerusalem, in fact John’s only mentions of the Temple in the entire book of Revelation regards the Temple that is in heaven.  There is no mention of the Jewish Temple AT ALL in John’s epistles, proving that the temple had already been destroyed, and that the revealing of Antichrist, and therefore the Antichrists destruction by the return of Christ was still future.

(2.) John states plainly that the Antichrist system is already in place (although in embryonic form), and that the System of Antichrist WENT OUT FROM US (verse 19)  This agrees with Paul’s statement that the Apostasy was already beginning, and would precede the revealing of Antichrist.  This also proves that the Antichrist would come from, and would claim CHRISTIANITY, and that their particular apostasy was one of false doctrine.

(3.) John asserts that the true believer has an UNCTION from the Holy One, and will not remain deceived about the identity of the Antichrist.  This agrees with Paul’s teaching that;

a)Election is the key to understanding the identity of Antichrist, and,
b)The Elect will not be deceived because they are to receive this truth through the gift of BELIEF from God.

(4.) John states that we may identify the Antichrist because in doctrine and in action they “denieth the Father and the Son.”  This is the evidence that we will examine next.

THE PAPACY DENIES THE FATHER AND THE SON

Let me first state that it is inconsistent and unacceptable that a teacher should commend the Authorized King James Bible as Holy Spirit given, while disdaining the plain statements of its principle human author (William Tyndale) and of its human translators (The King James Translators).  We have already shown in our previous essay that the King James Translators identified the Papacy as Antichrist in their introduction to that book.  Now let us read the words of Tyndale on this subject from his commentary on the 1st Epistle of John:

“Antichrist is one of the first who sees the light, and who comes and preaches Christ for a while, seeking his glory in Christ’s Gospel. But when he discovers that there will be no glory for himself besides that of preaching, then he goes and preaches that doctrine which is contrary to Christ. If he cannot disguise himself, nor his scheming, whereby his poisoned heresy is hidden under the bait of true doctrine, then is he a professed and open enemy.

 The Apostles were clear-eyed and spied Antichrist at once, and put him to flight, weeding out his doctrine quickly. But when charity waxed cold, and the preachers began to seek themselves and to admit glory, and honor of riches, then Antichrist disguised himself after the fashion of a true Apostle and preached Christ with subtlety and cunning, bringing in first this tradition, later that tradition, darkening the doctrine of Christ, and setting up innumerable ceremonies, Sacraments and images, giving them significations at first, but later their signification was set aside, and works were instead preached as holy deeds to justify, to put away sin, and to save the soul. Antichrist taught that men should put their trust in works and whatsoever was unto his glory and profit; and under the name of Christ ministered, leaving Christ out altogether, becoming head of the congregation himself.”

Tyndale goes on to say,

“Christ in the Scripture is called the holy because he only sanctifieth and halloweth us. And he is called Christ, that is to say, anointed, because he anointeth our souls with the holy ghost and with all the gifts of the same. Ye are not anointed with oil in your bodies, but with the spirit of Christ in your souls; which spirit teacheth you all truth in Christ and maketh you to judge what is a lie and what is truth, and to know Christ from Antichrist. For except he taught your souls within, the pouring of words into your ears would be in vain. For they must be all taught of God, John 6:45. And the things of God no man knoweth, save the spirit of God; and the carnal man knoweth not the things of the spirit of God. On the contrary, the spiritual that is anointed with the spirit judgeth all things, 1 Cor. 2:11-15. Therefore, we are forbidden to call any of us Master upon earth, Matt. 23:10, seeing we have all one Master now who is in heaven who only teaches us with his spirit, though by the administration and office of a faithful preacher.”

And specifically concerning Antichrist and the Papacy, Tyndale says,

“Forasmuch as Antichrist and Christ are two contraries, and the endeavor of Antichrist is to quench the name of Christ, [it is asked by our adversaries] how can the Pope and his sects be Antichrist when they all preach Christ? Say I again to thee, how was Pelagius Antichrist, whose doctrine the Pope defendeth in the highest degree, and how were all other heretics Antichrist? Verily, Sylvester the Pope did what all heretics do –- he abused the name of Christ. He gathered offerings, tithes and rents in Christ’s name, bestowing them to his own honor and not Christ’s. He brought the conscience of the people into captivity through superstitious fear, as though such authority was given him by Christ. And every syllable [in Scripture] that sounded as though it fit his purpose, he expoundeth it falsely and fleshly, and therewith deceived and bewitched the ears of the people, making them his own possession, to believe what he wished, as though it made no difference to them if he preached true or false; so they believed and did as he biddeth them.

 But all the texts which show the Pope his duty, he puts out of the way, including all the texts which set the conscience at liberty in Christ, as well as those which prove salvation to be in Christ only. With Pelagius he preacheth the justifying of works, which is the denying of Christ. He preacheth a false binding and loosing by confession to a priest which is not [grounded] in the trust and confidence of Christ’s shed blood. He preacheth the false penance of deeds, neglecting to preach that we rein the flesh so that we sin no more. Rather, he teaches that we make satisfaction to redeem our past sins. What else can this be but the denying of Christ, who alone made redemption for our sin? The Pope maketh of the works of the ceremonies, which were customarily used to be signs and remembrances of things to be believed or done, service unto God and his Saints which are spirits, to purchase with their merits whatsoever the blind soul imagines. All are the denying of Christ. For if thou wilt receive an anointing of grace or mercy from anywhere besides Christ, he is no longer Christ unto thee.”

So, concerning the 4th point we made above about John’s identification of Antichrist, Tyndale plainly states:

“Now, though the Pope and his sects give Christ these names, yet they rob him of the effect, taking their significations unto themselves, making of him a hypocrite, as they are  themselves. They be right Antichrists who deny both the father and the son. For they deny the witness the father bare unto his son, as they deny the son of all power and glory that his father gave him.”

OCCLUDING THE IDENTITY OF ANTICHRIST – JESUIT PROPHECY TEACHINGS


We have shown previously where the Testimony of the Spirit concerning the identity of the Antichrist is uniform throughout the Church age.  The martyrs of Christ, the reformed Bible translators, and the introduction to the Bible itself claim that the Papacy was the seat of Antichrist.  Now let us look at how (as prophesied by Paul and John) this Antichrist, working in the spirit of the wicked one, would occlude his identity to those who had not received the gift of a love of the truth.

The Above articles are extracted from the website of Michael Bunker entitled The Doctrine of the Papal Antichrist. You can read the whole article by Clicking HERE.



Antichrist: A Very Present Danger 

So then, in popular modern Christian doctrine the restrainer – be it the Church, the  Holy  Spirit  or  a  political  power  –  is  now  holding  Antichrist  back  somehow. This  doctrine  has  been  aggressively  articulated  without  ambiguity  in  modern Bible versions. A random sampling: 

RSV (1946): For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 

New English Bible (1970): For already the secret power of wickedness is  at  work,  secret  only  for  the  present  until  the  Restrainer  disappears from the scene. 

New  Jerusalem  Bible  (1985):  The  mystery  of  wickedness  is  already  at work, but let him who is restraining it once be removed, 8and the wicked One will appear openly. 

Any reader of these modern versions must think the Bible teaches that only when the  restrainer  is  removed,  or  “disappears  from  the  scene  (NEB)”,  can  Antichrist rise  to  power  and be  identified.  And  what fear  this  causes  in  some  circles,  with people  searching  out  who  this  evil  man  is  going  to  be!  But  in  fact,  though  it appears more and more aggressively in modern Bibles, this doctrine of a future Antichrist is not a modern teaching. It is many centuries old, and long predated Tyndale. It is a doctrine that arose early in the Church, and by the 16th century it was  apparently  as  pervasive  among  Roman  Catholics  as  it  is  now  among Protestants, and also Mormons and other groups.  

But William Tyndale departed from the common view. His warnings, which have been forgotten or suppressed, are that Antichrist is a spiritual thing, and always a very  present  danger.  Furthermore,  we  must  watch  out  for  his  coming  as  a Christian imposter. In Christian Churches he will seek authority, professing faith and assuming appearances of faith, but in fact teaching so as to undermine the faith. “Mark this,” Tyndale wrote, “above all things”: 

Mark this also above all things – that Antichrist is not an outward thing, that is to say, a man that should suddenly appear with wonders, as our fathers talked of him. No, verily; for Antichrist is a spiritual thing. And is as  much  to  say  as  against  Christ;  that  is,  one  that  preacheth  false doctrine, contrary to Christ.  

Antichrist  was  in  the  Old  Testament,  and  fought  with  the  prophets;  he was also  in the time of Christ  and the apostles, as thou readest  in the Epistles  of  John,  and  of  Paul  to  the  Corinthians  and  Galatians,  and other  Epistles.  Antichrist  is  now,  and  will,  (I  doubt  not)  endure  till  the world’s end. But his nature is (when he is revealed and overcome with the word of God) to go out of play for a season, and to disguise himself, and then to come in again with new raiment. As thou seest how Christ rebuketh the Scribes and the Pharisees in the gospel, (which were very Antichrists,)  saying,  Woe  be  to  you,  Pharisees,  for  ye  rob  widow’s houses; ye pray long prayers under a colour; ye shut up the kingdom of heaven,  and  suffer  them  not  that  would  enter  in;  ye  have  taken  away the key of knowledge; ye make men break God’s commandments  with your  traditions;  ye  beguile  the  people  with  hypocrisy  and  such  like; Which things all our prelates do, but have yet gotten them new names, and other garments, and are otherwise disguised.  

There  is  a  difference  in  the  names  between  a  pope,  a  cardinal,  a bishop,  and  so  forth,  and  to  say  a  scribe,  a  Pharisee,  a  senior  [elder] and  so  forth;  but  the  thing  is  all  one.  Even  so  now,  when  we  have exposed  him,  he  will  change  himself  once  more,  and  turn  himself  into an angel of light (2 Cor. xi.).17

We can now see how Tyndale’s understanding would have led him to translate 2 Thessalonians  2  as  he  did,  showing  the  restrainer  as  presently  working  the mystery of iniquity. He had looked in all the Scriptures and seen that in the past the work of Antichrist had been accomplished through the religious leaders and false  prophets  of  the  Old  Testament  who  locked  up  God’s  word,  and  then  later through  the  scribes and  Pharisees  (“very  antichrists”)  of  Jesus’  time.  And  in his own  time  it  was  being  accomplished  through  popes,  cardinals,  bishops, priests, and monks.  

Therefore  as  to  Antichrist’s  “new  raiment”,  should  we  not  take  care  in  our  own Churches  and  professing  Christian  congregations  concerning  our  own  religious leaders and prophets, our pastors, priests, prophets, or elders, no matter by what names they call themselves or how they are clothed? For as Tyndale said, “the thing is all one” – or, in modern parlance, it is all one and the same thing.  

Of course I am not suggesting that all pastors, priests, or elders are of Antichrist. They are not, thanks be to God. But we must be alert for signs of Antichrist now. He sends his emissaries to lodge in the branches of Christendom wherever and as high up as they can climb. The apostle Paul said that that which ‘holds back’ 
was at already work when he wrote. The Scriptures confirm that antichrist was at work in the 1st century and warn of false apostles: 

For there are certain craftily crept in (Jude 1:4). 

Little  children,  it  is  the  last  time,  and  as  ye  have  heard  that  antichrist shall  come,  even  now  are  there  many  antichrists  come  already. Whereby we know that it is the last time (1John 2:18).  

These false apostles are deceitful workers, and fashion themselves like the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is changed into the  fashion  of  an  angel  of  light.  Therefore  it  is  no  great  thing  if  his 
ministers  fashion  themselves  as  though  they  were  the  ministers  of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). 

 What Does Antichrist Withhold? How? 

The  questions  that  arise  in  response  to  Tyndale’s  translation  are  now  evidently answered. His translation again: 

3Let no man deceive you by any means, for the Lord comes not, unless there  come  a  departing  first,  and  that  sinful  man  be  revealed…6And now  you  know  what  withholds,  that  he  might  be  revealed  at  his  time. 7For the mystery of that iniquity does he already work, which only locks until it be taken out of the way.  

(1) What is withheld or locked up? There can only be one answer, for there could only be one thing worthy of Antichrist’s virulent attention: the word of God. For it is only by the true word that men are saved, rescued from captivity to Satan, and given  eternal  life.  Only  by  the  true  word  may  we  know God  through  Christ  and  worship  in  spirit  and  in  truth. Nothing  is  as  important  as  this,  for  God’s  word  is  Spirit 
and it is life (Deut 32:47). Tyndale’s great lament, as we have seen, was that God’s word was so badly locked up by  the  dominant  Church  that  the  people  were  denied salvation:  the  Church  was  apostate  and  sinful,  was murderously  opposed  to  reformation,  and  was  teaching salvation  by  false  means  such  as  fasting,  penance,  and the purchase of indulgences. Tyndale wrote: 

The  kingdom  of  heaven,  which  is  the  scripture  and  word  of  God,  may be so locked up, that he which readeth or heareth it cannot understand it:  as  Christ  testifieth  how  the  scribes  and  Pharisees  had  so  shut  it  up (Matthew 23) and taken away the key of knowledge (Luke 11) that the Jews,  who  thought  themselves  within,  were  yet  locked  out,  and  are  to this  day,  so  that  they  cannot  understand  a  sentence  of  the  scripture unto their salvation. 

Antichrist is ever seeking reason and occasion to suppress the word: it must be kept  in  Latin;  it  must  be  interpreted  only  according  to  his  decrees;  it  must  be locked  away  behind  the  Book  of  Mormon  or  the  Watchtower.  It  is  darkened  by occult  doctrine,  as  among  the  Charismatics.  It  is  darkened  by  purpose-driven doctrine. It is denied by a ‘wiser’ morality that would affirm homosexuality, etc. 

Antichrist will also suppress or destroy those things which serve the word and the faith  of  the  word,  such  as  the  sacraments  of  baptism  and  Holy  Communion. These  are  diminished  or  distorted  by  false  teaching,  they  are  ignored  or carelessly  performed,  or  they  are  made  the  objects  of  false  traditions:  in  times past,  some  persons  delayed  baptism  until  near  death  in  order  to  avoid condemnation for later sin, and some insisted on nude immersion.  

In  the  16th  century  the  Roman  Church  had  so  fallen  that  its  tradition  was  to minister the Lord’s Supper only once per year, and then only the bread, keeping the  cup for  the  priests.  The  service  was  glossed  with  superstitious  notions,  and whatever  truth  remained  in  the  liturgy  was  lost  because  it  was  given  in  Latin. Thus  Holy  Communion,  God’s  ordained  means  of  grace whereby  we  receive  of  and  commune  with  the  Living  Word himself,  was  locked  up  and  shut  away.  Nowadays  the 
Jehovah  Witnesses,  like  their  avowed  enemies  the  Roman Catholics before them, will only celebrate the Lord’s Supper once  a  year.  To  such  persons  the  Reformation  martyr Thomas Cranmer wrote:  

“In  the  beginning,  when  men  were  most  godly  and  most fervent  in  the  Holy  Spirit,  then  they  received  the Communion daily. But when the Spirit of God began to be more  cold  in  men’s  hearts  and  they  waxed  more  worldly  than  godly, then  their  desire  was  not  so  hot  to  receive  the  Communion  as  it  was before… But to them that live godly, it is the greatest comfort that in this world  can  be  imagined;  and  the  more  godly  a  man  is,  the  more sweetness  and  spiritual  pleasure  and  desire  he  shall  have  often  to receive it.”18

Antichrist  further  suppresses  Christian  feast  days  –  holidays,  or  “holy  days”  as Tyndale  called  them  –  cunningly  characterizing  them  as  false  traditions,  or,  a thing  very  common  today,  as  pagan.  Thus  ‘Easter’  becomes  an  evil  word,  and Christians  fear  that  they  are  being  unfaithful  to  the  Lord  if  they  celebrate Christmas.  The  Puritans,  Jehovah  Witnesses,  and  even  some  Evangelicals,  do 
greatly err when they anathematize and suppress Christmas as a pagan festival, thereby abetting the suppression of the knowledge of the incarnation of Christ. O what a subtle beast is the serpent! Indeed the subtlest of the beasts in the field.  

Behold:  that  is  false  which  suppresses  the  Gospel, not  that  which  celebrates  it.  Examples  of  false 
traditions  are  the  preaching  and  sale  of  indulgences for  salvation,  or  ministering  Holy  Communion  once per year – not celebrating the birth of Christ. Further, even  if  Christmas  were  a  problem,  which  it  isn’t,  the  Apostle  Paul  said  that  no matter  how  Christ  was  preached,  he  rejoiced  (Phil  1:18).  But  Antichrist  will  not suffer  us  to  show  forth  or  remember  holy  things,  and  leads  us  astray  with 
objections  which  have  the  appearance  of  piety,  but  serve  only  to  suppress  the faith. Beware objections that do not in reality serve the faith!  

Tyndale's view on sacraments is worthy of consideration. He recognized baptism and the Lord’s Supper as supreme and divinely instituted, by which we, through faith, may receive grace for remission of sin through Jesus Christ our Lord. But he also regarded any “visible sign,” practice, or ceremony that could stir up faith 
as  a  lesser  sacrament  of  sorts,  because  it  “provokes  us  and  helps  our  weak faith”.19  This  would  include  the  observance  of  holy  days,  which  are  visible  and public  signs,  especially  when  meaningfully  celebrated,  and  which  he  obviously treasured  in  the  Church’s  calendar.20  He  recognized  also  marriage,21  fasting,22 and more.23 Anything that puts us in mind of holy things and helps our faith may therefore be called sacramental, provided of course it is not to be understood in the  same  way  as  baptism  and  the  Lord’s  Supper,  nor  given  superstitious “signification”  or  meaning.  Tyndale  further  wrote  that  those  who  suppress  or distort the sacraments are “destroyers”: 

O a merciful God, and a most loving Father, how careth he for us! First, above  all  and  beside  all  his  other  benefits,  to  give  us  his  own  Son Jesus,  and  with  him  to  give  us  himself  and  all;  and  not  content therewith,  but  to  give  us  so  many  sacraments  or  visible  signs,  to provoke us and to help our weak faith, and to keep his mercy in mind: as  baptism,  the  sacrament  of  his  body  and  blood,  and  as  many  other sacraments  as  they  will  have,  if  they  put  significations  to  them  (for  we destroy  none,  but  they  destroy  who  have  put  out  the  significations,  or feigned some [that have no meaning].24

Sacraments  and  holy  days  serve  and  support  the  faith  and  the  word;  therefore they become the targets of Antichrist along with God’s word. 

(2)  Who  or  what  withholds  God’s  word?  Who  “locks”  it?  In  the  earth,  the  only ones  who  could  do  so  are  those  who  have  control  of  it,  those  who  possess  it. Historically  this  has  meant  professing  Churches  of  Judaism  and  Christianity. Thus  Antichrist  works  the  mystery  of  iniquity  through  a  Church  that  wrongly keeps  the  word  from  men  through  persecutions,  by  withholding  the  Gospel,  or through  false  teaching  (as  Tyndale  would  say,  “false  glosses”:  distortion, diminishment, false interpretations, false applications).  

Here  we  see  the  significance  of  the  second  sense  of katĕcho:  Antichrist possesses  and  locks  up;  he  seizes  control  over  the  written  word  and  then withholds it by various means, or he assumes authority as holy teacher and then locks  its  true  sense  away  by  false  teaching.  One  of  the most  insidious forms of withholding  is  to  provide  all  kinds  of  “bible  teaching”,  even  much  talk  about  the Gospel  and  the  need  for  the  Gospel,  but  to  never  actually  give  the  Gospel.  In such congregations the people may hear much that they think to be biblical, but they never hear the message of the great salvation bought for us by the blood of the  Lamb.  And  yet  that  great  preacher,  the  apostle  Paul,  determined  to  know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified when he was among the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2:2).  

(3) Why is Antichrist referred to as ‘he’ or a ‘man’  if Antichrist never will be one particular  individual? Or,  how  can  Antichrist  also  be  many  antichrists  as  related by the apostle John (1 John 2:18)?  Tyndale’s answer, as we saw above, is that Antichrist  is  a  spiritual  thing.  ‘He’  is  a  spiritual  power,  often  personified  in Scriptures.  He  is  opposed  to  Jesus  Christ.  He  works  through  men.  One  of  his major works in the last days, since Jesus rose from the dead and returned to be with  the  Father,  is  to  profess  faith  in  Christ  while  cunningly  destroying  Christ’s witness and testimony. 

Antichrist and the iniquity he works are, of course, of Satan, the father of lies and implacable enemy of God, mankind, and truth. This writer is not a Greek scholar, but  it  is  perhaps  noteworthy  that  the  Greek  word  translated  ‘man’  in  the  ‘sinful man’  of  2  Thessalonians  2:3  is  anthropos,  which  generally  refers  to  the  human face  or  countenance  and  is  used  to  distinguish  man  from  other  species  or orders,25 or the things of man from other things, but not to identify an individual. As Tyndale understood it, spiritual Antichrist ‘has’ a human face and assumes a human  face,  for  he  has  power  and  dominion  over  men,  and  he  works  in  earth through men against Christ to keep or lead all people (if it were  possible) away 
from God’s word. So then, Antichrist is not any single man, although he may be epitomized  in  certain  men  (or  women),  who  at  times  are  referred  to  as  ‘very antichrists.’ Or an unfaithful and apostate person who is the head or highest ruler might  be  referred  to  as  ‘the  Antichrist,’  because  in  him  the  forces  of  darkness wield supreme authority.   

When  Martin  Luther  and William  Tyndale  lived  and  wrote,  Christendom,  though fraught with sects and division, was under a supreme and fierce pontiff who, by his  laws,  deeds,  and  doctrine,  his  indulgences,  dispensations,  inquisitions,  and burnings, was revealed as the Antichrist of that kingdom. The power of any pope to  hurt,  burn,  and  maim  has  been  diminished,  but  it  will  ever  remain  that antichrists may be among us, wielding greater or lesser power as they advance within their own kingdoms, secret traitors to the true faith, in a Christendom that is  now  greatly  divided  along  denominational  lines  and  scattered  around  the globe.  The  apostle  John  warned  almost  20  centuries  before  our  time,  “Little children  it  is  the  last  time,  and  as  ye  have  heard  how  that  Antichrist  shall come, even now are there many antichrists come already. Whereby we know that  it  is  the  last  time  (1Joh  2:18).”  We  live  in  the  last  time  of  which  the beloved apostle spoke, and if we believe him, we know to look out for “many antichrists.”  

(4)  How  is  the  mystery  of  iniquity  taken  out  of  the  way?  It  is  ultimately  by restoring truth that the mystery of iniquity is taken out of the way and Antichrist’s grip is broken, at least for the time being. This happened when the Lord came in the  flesh  in  the  1st  century.  By  then  the  departing  had  come,  the  apostasy  of verse 3: 

Let no man deceive you by any means, for the Lord comes not, unless there come a departing first, and that sinful man be revealed, the son of perdition  which  is  an  adversary,  and  is  exalted  above  all  that  is  called God, or that is worshipped: so that he shall sit as God in the temple of God, and show himself as God. 

When the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees reigned in Jerusalem at Christ’s first coming, the Scriptures had been locked up, or “shut up”, by the teaching of those blind guides:  

M’t  23:13:  Woe  be  unto  you  scribes  and  Pharisees,  hypocrites,  for  ye shut  up  the  kingdom  of  heaven  before  men:  ye  yourselves  go  not  in, neither suffer ye them that come, to enter in. 

M’t  23:16-19:  Woe  be  unto  you  blind  guides,  which  say  whosoever swear by the temple, it is nothing: but whosoever swear by the gold of the temple, he offendeth. Ye fools and blind: which is greater, the gold 
or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And whosoever sweareth by the altar, it is nothing: but whosoever sweareth by the offering that lieth on the altar, offendeth. Ye fools and blind: which is greater, the offering or 
the altar which sanctifieth the offering? 

Jesus  taught  his  apostles  great  truths,  and  the  Holy  Spirit  opened  great mysteries  to  them.  Then  they  taught  others  by  preaching  and  by  pen  –  despite the roaring of Antichrist against them. Through their faithful teaching the iniquity worked by false prophets in Judaism was taken out of the way for a time.  

But the time of the pure and true faith was to pass, and apostolic teaching was progressively  shut  up  by  the  Roman  Church  as  the  centuries  progressed,  until the  full  departure,  or  apostasy,  of  Tyndale’s  era  manifestly  revealed  Antichrist. Then  Antichrist’s  withholding  was  taken  out  of  the  way  once  more  in  the Reformation  of  the  16th  century,  during  more  times  of  roaring  and  intense struggle,  when  God  through  men  like  Martin  Luther,  William  Tyndale,  and Thomas  Cranmer  (to  mention  only  a  few  of  many)  restored  truth  and  brought much  light  to  bear  again  upon  the  Scriptures  and  the  sacraments.  But  then  the process  of  locking  up  began  again.  The  light  has  been  darkened,  often  gravely so,  in  a  great  many  places,  including  in  so-called  evangelical  and  Protestant Churches,  let  alone  among  such  groups  as  the  Mormons,  Christadelphians, Christian Scientists, Jehovah Witnesses, and so on. 

Therefore Tyndale taught that the restoration of truth is the “coming of the Lord” referred  to  in  verse  2:3.  He  comes  in  truth  to  and  for  those  who  love  truth.  He comes notably  when apostasy is at its worst. Apostasy displays the man of sin, Antichrist,  for  those  who  have  eyes  to  see.  Then  comes  the  Lord  through  his prophets and faithful servants. This cycle has been repeated in world history, and we might expect it to end only with the Lord’s final and most glorious coming. 

In my view, the withholding power of the man of sin may also be considered to be at  least  partly  taken  out  of  the  way  when  his  power  and  authority  to  persecute and suppress the saints is diminished. 

A few final notes before leaving this section:  

(1)  A  perhaps  unintended  difference  between  the  KJV  and  Tyndale  is  at  verse 2:4.  Speaking  of  Antichrist,  Tyndale  put  that  he  will  sit  as  God  in  the  temple  of God, and show himself as God. This is logical, saying that Antichrist would make a display of himself as if he were God. Obviously he would be showing himself to others. But the KJV says (due to archaic or ungrammatical syntax or punctuation 
perhaps?)  that  Antichrist  shows  himself  to  himself:  “showing  himself  that  he  is God.”  This  rendering  might  put  us  off  guard:  if  Antichrist’s  posturing  is  inward only, why would we be concerned about the outward?  

(2)  Consider  verse  2:3,  where  both  Tyndale  and  the  KJV  committee  supplied words that were missing in the Greek. Tyndale:  the  Lord  comes  not,  unless  there  come  a  departing  first,  and  that 
sinful man be revealed… 

With  “the  Lord  comes  not”,  Tyndale  used  what  grammarians  call  a  “timeless present tense”. It points us neither to the future nor to the past, but simply makes a statement about when it is that the Lord comes, and thereby allows for one or more comings. This enables the understanding of the historical cycle of apostasy that we see in the Scriptures – the coming of the Lord in truth whenever apostasy is full blown. It also allows for the final coming.  

However the King James Version is worded such that it points to the future, to a day that is yet to come: that  day  shall  not  come,  unless  there  come  a  falling  away  first,  and that man of sin be revealed… 

‘That’ in the KJV verse is a demonstrative adjective pointing out a particular day for  consideration,  and  ‘shall’  is  generally  understood  in  the  future  tense,  thus looking  to  a  future  day  of  apostasy  and  setting  up  the  expectation  of  a  future Antichrist. 

In conclusion, I submit that Tyndale’s 1534 rendition of the man of sin passages in 2 Thessalonians 2 is logical, clear, internally consistent, and realistic. It admits of no ambiguity. It makes preeminent sense given the primacy of place that the Scriptures  claim  for  themselves  in  true  faith.  It  makes  sense  given  what  was historically  evident  in  the  Church  when  Tyndale  wrote.  And  it  makes  sense considering  what  the  Scriptures  teach  about  the  course  of  God’s  word  in  the hands of men, who will ever apostatize.  

Tyndale understood where we must spy out Antichrist: he was slain by a Church that called itself ‘holy’. But what a hard teaching it is, the mystery of iniquity that may be worked by Antichrist through a professing Christian Church. True, most of  us  in  the  West  no  longer  suffer  the  vicious  inquisitions  and  tribulations  that Tyndale and so many others did. But seasons of relative peace ought not to blind 
us  to  the  warnings  and  proofs  of  history  and  of  the  Scriptures.  The  beast  does not always show himself a wolf, but may speak like a lamb. We must watch and awake as the Scriptures do exhort us, so that we may remain among the faithful.       


The Articles Above are extracted from the eBook entitled Tyndale’s Doctrine of Antichrist And His Translation of 2 Thessalonians 2 By R. M. Davis. You can Download and Read the whole book by Clicking HERE in PDF FORMAT or you can visit NewMatthewBible.org for more articles.
 
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