Gradient
Book Reviews - [page down to read reviews and articles.]
Index of Articles and Book Reviews.
     1) The rise of Anti-Christ and the arrival of the final days. The mathematics contained in Daniel's prophecy. Sir Robert Anderson's "The Coming Prince".
     2) The three views of the Millennium. A-millennialism, Post-millennialism, Pre-millennialism.
      3) The Feasts of Israel and the Church (in process)
      4) A complete eschatology [end-times]from the gospels (in process)
      5) A complete eschatology from the minor prophets (in process)

 

 

1.) The rise of Anti-Christ

     Sir Robert Anderson's THE COMING PRINCE stands as a classic among writers of Bible Prophecy. Anderson wrote over 100 years ago but his insight into prophecy is highly relevant today. Anderson saw correctly that for end time prophecy to have fulfillment, ushering in the reign of Christ on earth, that Israel must achieve nationhood. He searched his world in his day for signs that seemed at that time to be a political possibilities for events to be right to usher in the Millennial Kingdom. He found that in his day it would be impossible but what would he find were he to live in our day, with signs clearly pointing to the end of times? Anderson explains for us, the seventy-weeks prophecy of Daniel in detail and how it is the key to understanding Biblical prophecy, the coming Anti-Christ, and the coming King of Heaven and His kingdom.

     In THE COMING PRINCE Anderson looks at the end, when the evil Prince that comes, is born Anti-Christ. Anderson looks at the signs we must see before the evil Prince arrives, and the signs of the approaching Tribulation. (Anderson, Sir Robert. The Coming Prince. Kregal Classics, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 10th Edition, 1957.)

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     How did Anderson know that the Tribulation period had a specific seven year time period, was Jewish in origin but would also be a worldwide event? Anderson's analysis has stood the test of time in this detailed account of end time prophesy. Anderson's book is detailed and is not an easy read, but let's look at his analysis, and seek to make it understandable. 

     In Daniel chapter 9, Daniel begins to pray in earnest for the restoration of Israel, and confess his sins and the sins of his nation. In verse 20 we find that the angel Gabriel came to Daniel to deliver a message that encompassed the life, events of Israel's destruction as a nation, and finally to make an end of sins and bring in everlasting righteousness. In the end "the Most Holy" one would be anointed. We find as we look at the book of Daniel, and as Anderson states, seventy weeks are allowed for Israel yet, to fill up, it's life as a people before Christ's second coming to reign on Earth. Each of these "weeks" are periods of 7 years. Of these 70 weeks, the last week, is actually a period of seven years and is the time of Tribulation. After this final week, Messiah comes. It is important to note Anderson's proof, that when we speak of years in prophecy, the year was composed of 360 days.

     Are we approaching that 70th week? Anderson would give a thunderous YES to the question. 

     Anderson's first task is to establish periods of time for the weeks, which angel Gabriel reports to Daniel. Anderson, from ancient writers, understood that the common understanding of the ancients, weeks were meant to be considered to be years in prophecy. Daniel's exile was one week of 70 years span from Jeremiah 25. The angel Gabriel stated that 70 weeks [with each week being equal to 7 years] were determined for Israel from the issue of the decree to rebuild the CITY of Jerusalem. In other words, when Israel entered once again into nationhood from it's exile during Daniel's life, it would have 70 weeks of future existence nationally. Now, these weeks were not to be consecutive. Sixty-nine weeks were decreed from the issue of the decree to rebuild the city, until Messiah [Jesus] would be cut off [when Jesus would die on the cross]. After that period, a gap of undetermined length would occur between the 69th and 70th week and the final week would begin once Israel again found nationhood, and the week occur within a single Bible generation. 

     So to simplify - Daniel's 70 weeks would occur when nationhood, after exile occurred, the end of the 69th week would occur when Messiah was 'cut off', and the final week would occur, a period of Tribulation of one week [or seven years], would start sometime after nationhood occurred again for Israel. 

     The proof of Anderson's scheme of weeks to be years, is proven as specific dates are established for the "decree" until the time of Messiah being "cut off". If those intervening years, prove to correspond to the "weeks" theory, then the rest is true as well. And Anderson proves his point.

     Disregarding the three 'decrees' in Ezra as not part of this prophecy, Anderson finds that the decree in Nehemiah precisely fits the angels message. In Ezra, decrees were issued by pagan kings to rebuild the sanctuary and clear ruble, but in each of those, the people lack energy and divine earnestness and the job is not completed, even twenty-five years later. But the decree in Nehemiah produces results. Orders were issued to rebuild and within four months, the city was enclosed with ramparts and gates before the feast of Tabernacles.  "This was a revival of the national existence of Judah, and therefore it is fitly chosen as the epoch of the prophetic period of seventy weeks." (Anderson, pg. 63). 

     Anderson carefully recounts the date of reckoning for the issuing of the proclamation of Artaxerxes, in his 20th year as king. King Artaxerxes ascends the throne on July BC 465. The command to rebuild was given in the month of Nissan BC 446. This is strong proof from Scripture for a week, being 7 years of length. But when was Jesus 'cut off'? Christ's birth occurred not earlier than autumn of BC 4. Jesus began to minister on August 19th, AD 28 Anderson determines. His first Passover was in the month of Nissan, AD 29. Jesus entered Jerusalem on 10th Nissan, AD 32 or April 6th AD 32. The command to go forth occurred on 445 BC, March 14th. That is equal to 69 weeks, with a week equal to 7 years, and each year of 360 days, or 173,880 days, precisely from the decree until Jesus entered Jerusalem in AD 32.

     In the book of Revelation the number of days for the Tribulation is given as two periods of 1260 days (Revelation 11:3) or 7 years.  During that period of time the Prince, the evil one, comes. He will reign on earth, and subject the whole earth to the rule of Satan. This will occur during the Tribulation period, which is the final, and 70th week of Daniel. This week, like all the previous 69 weeks, has as it's focus, the nation of Israel. 

     The final week, the 70th week, is composed of two periods of 3 1/2 years each from Revelation 12: 6 & 14 with each half composed of 1260 days, or 42 months, or 3 1/2 years. Anderson believes that Revelation teaches that when the Anti Christ betrays Israel, when the Prince puts an abomination in their new temple, that this occurs half way through the last week, and from that point on, persecution of the Jews is intense. 

     Anderson deals with the seeming confusion in Scripture that asserts that God's people are "caught up" , removed from the earth, and at the same time in Matthew 13:40-43 it appears the wicked are removed from the earth and the righteous are left "to shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father".... Anderson concludes that their is only one solution to this apparent dilemma. He states that what we term "the advent" of Christ is not a single event, but includes several distinct manifestations. 

     One event will be to take up from the earth the righteous dead and the living saints - and once this occurs the days of Israel begin again. The Church will remove with Him and God will once again include Israel in His prophetic plan. Anderson concludes that the initial stage of His advent to it's last stage has an interval. 

     The Jews as a nation, Anderson concludes, are without excuse as to being cast off for a time. In Mathew 10, the disciples were finally commissioned, before Israel was to know it's Messiah, to preach the gospel, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, cleanse lepers and raise the dead. In this tiny land, these disciples spread a powerful testimony that was undeniable. Yet despite this, Israel's leaders met to plot Jesus death. At this point, Anderson shows, Jesus ministry continued, but the gospel of the Kingdom ceased. He told everyone he healed to not make Him known, and He taught in parables. His ministry had entered a new phase, with His people excluded, and the gospel coming to the Gentiles as they would become the Bride, while Israel was cast off for awhile until the 70th week of Daniel should begin. In Mathew 13 no longer is Jesus sharing the Kingdom but the 'mysteries' of the Kingdom. Jesus became a sower of seeds rather than a King but a day would come when all should be fulfilled. After Jesus taught his disciples of this new plan in Mathew 24:3 his disciples asked "What shall be the sign of Thy coming and the end of the age?" 

     Jesus, according to Anderson, then gave them a prophetic utterance in the 15th verse, that fixes a point that connects the teaching of Jesus in the post Kingdom mystery teaching, the vision of John in Revelation, and the prophecies of Daniel. Daniel's vision of the defilement of the Holy place is the signal for the great trial, the fiercest persecution, the greatest fight against God's people, Israel, ever known - the Great Tribulation. 

     Anderson, writing in the late 19th century, determines that Israel must be restored in Palestine as a nation for Mathew 24 to have fulfillment. He could say based on that observation, that the end, was not yet, and not in his time period. We, today, are unable to say that same thing because Israel is a nation, as of 1948. If we, my friends, are to take a Bible generation to be from 70 to 80 years according to Psalm 90:3, then the generation time period, specified in Mathew 24:34, will end in 2028. 

     Anderson wrote, "...when that nation comes again upon the scene, the element of miraculous interpositions will mark once more the course of events on earth."  

     Anderson describes the present church age "the present dispensation"  - the age of the Church - the mystery hidden from all eyes - known of God - but not the "stated" goal of God. The goal of God was to Israel and to make His kingdom in their midst. God has not cast away His people, and the prophecy of Daniel's 70th week will resume shortly. 

     Anderson's writing includes more detail of the events moving through the Book of Revelation, and the Seal judgments, which I invite the reader to peruse. 

     Anderson sets a different course than many popular theorists today believing that Anti-Christ is defeated outright and quickly. He notes that his quick defeat was a popular notion in his day, but we know only that his defeat occurs during the anti-Christ's lifetime.  He believes their is an interval after the 70th week concludes and Christ's return. 

     This coming Prince, this Anti-Christ, will come when society will have reached full transgression against God, when Apostasy will be paramount. The coming prince, will be characterized as one who sets his face against all others, he will magnify himself with pride, shall do according to his will, shall magnify himself against every god, and understand dark statues, he shall not regard the God of his fathers, nor have desire for women, and he will honor the god of forces, or paganism. 

     The coming Prince's actions are also listed: his acts and his power will not come from men, he is able to destroy and astound at the same time, he shall get stronger and stronger through his actions, he shall be inventive and all new craft will come from him, he destroys peace, he will speak against the Most High, he decorates his new god with silver, gold, and jewels [reminiscent of the description of Satan in Ezekiel 28:13], he will make war and flow over his enemies and conquer many countries. 

     In the last days, wrote Anderson, serpent worship will become prevalent "...as all the world wondered after the Beast, and they worshipped the Dragon [serpent] which gave power unto the Beast, and they worshiped the Beast."  ( Revelation 13:3,4) 

     "The beast will command the homage of a world that has rejected grace." (Anderson, pg 219). 

     Anderson notes that a special blessing is reserved for those who study the prophecies (Revelation 1:3) and that they give light to "...warn, guide, and cheer His saints in evil days." May we blessed as we look to Him in these last days. 

     

     

2.) The three Millennial positions.

- A-millenial

     - Post-millennial

          - Pre-millennial

views.

    From- John Walvood, The Millennial Kingdom. Zondervan publishing house, Grand Rapids, MI, 4th printing, 1979.

     What do these terms mean and how should we understand them? The difference between the A-millennial, Post-Millennial, and Pre-Millennial views can be confusing. In an effort to help the reader understand the differences when they are mentioned, I am overviewing a portion of John Walvoord's excellent scholarly work, in which he devotes about 2/3rds of his book, The Millennial Kingdom, to the differences in these positions. I am reviewing just the first 137 pages to provide a concise summary for the readers use. 

     The book of Revelation [chapter 20] mentions a period of time of one-thousand years, six times. From that chapter we get the term millennium - a term all are agreed, describes a kingdom. From that point, agreement breaks down among Bible scholars and users/readers of Scripture. Some view that kingdom as occurring now, some in the future, some literal, and some allegorical, even fanciful. Walvood describes for us broad views of this term and time period. The prevailing ideas of today have been developing since the 3rd century and are : 1) A-millennialism, that we are now living in the millennial period, in increasing peace and prosperity, and have been in that kingdom since Christ's first advent, 2) Post-Millennialism, that Christ will come back after the millennial period is complete, to receive His kingdom from our hand, as our gift to Him, as it were, following our renewed, and enlightened preaching and good work on earth, 3) Pre-Millennialism, society will decline first, in Apostasy, leading to Tribulation, at which point Christ will return, to rescue mankind from destruction and He will set up His millennial kingdom on earth. 

     Pre-Millennialism [taking them in reverse order] is a literal view, in that the prophecy related to the Millennial Kingdom can be viewed literally in most instances, and symbolic, in places where symbol was clearly intended. It does not take a positive view of society, or of the ability of the gospel to ultimately change society to millennial standards, but sin will reign, apostasy will appear and increase, until it is defeated by Christ. Pre-millennialism or Chilism [the Greek word for one-thousand] appears to have been the view during the Apostolic age, as history records that the Apostolic church with one voice condemned all those who opposed pre-millennialism. It was not until Augustine, in the 3rd century, that A-millennialism had a reputable adherent. A rising tide of opposition to pre-millennialism began in the 3rd century, with the rise of the Catholic Church while it's adherents gave a vigorous defense. As Roman Catholicism grew the view lost it's hold on much of the Church. In general, Pre-millennials view Israel as a separate entity from the Church. Jews during the present Church age [defined as a distinct period or dispensation, from Pentecost until the Church is raptured] may become Christians, but Christians are neither Jew nor Gentile but a new creation. Pre-millennialism sees old and new testament prophecy concerning Christ's second coming and kingdom as being eventually fulfilled literally and it will be fulfilled in the future. In the pre-millennial scheme, the next prophetic event on the calendar is the Rapture of the Church, which happens just prior to the seven year Tribulation period. The Church is transformed into the Bride of Christ in Heaven, while the earth undergoes Devine punishment, and Israel is persecuted. Before all flesh is lost {Mathew 24:22} Christ will return. Pre-millennialism has exalted the study of prophetic truth, takes a literal view of Scripture, and is based on the thesis of the infallibility of Scripture.

     Post-Millennialism, which began in the writings of Daniel Whitby (1638-1726) hold that the millennial promises will be fulfilled by preaching the gospel, improving the lives of earths citizens, morally, which will impact justice and fair treatment. Man will establish the millennium. Christ will return after the millennium in this view. Eventually, in this view, the whole world will be Christianized and brought to submission to the gospel message, before Christ returns. In general, Post-millennials take a literal view of Scripture for OT prophecy, with one of it's leading proponents being theologian Charles Hodge. They are full of optimism for the work of the gospel and it's impact on society. They hold that the Church's ministries will literally bring fulfillment to prophecy concerning His coming and Kingdom. Some hold that Augustine was a post-millennial proponent because he held that Christ would return after the millennium, but his views are so spiritualized as to deny the millennial kingdom and so he is more closely allied with A-millennialism. Post-millennialism declined after WWII, after two brutal wars dampened the optimism of a view that holds that a progressive view of personal renewal, science and education will flow from preaching to improve the world. As a sense of peace declined, and the tension associated with a potential 3rd World War loomed during the nuclear age, the Post-millennial view also declined as hope for millennial levels of peace and security evaporated. Any new periods of prosperity and optimism seem to regenerate and re-invigorate this view. During the nuclear age, liberal theologians began ascribing the millennial period to Heaven only, further swelling the ranks of the A-millennials who began to deny a millennium on earth. Walvoord contends that theologians who had been Post-millennial, could not conscience, that Pre-millennials were correct, who had for years predicted a moral decline in society rather than an advance, and so sought refuge in conservative Reformation thinking which ignored the millennium completely and instead focused on "...the real issue ... faith in the Bible and in the person and work of Christ." (Walvoord, page 10). This gave rise to the so-called "pan-millennial", almost tongue in cheek, view that "it will all pan out in the end". Today numbers of churches ignore completely discussion of the millennium, Tribulation, or Rapture, rising from an antithesis toward Pre-millennialism. Essentially, this ignores the prophetic Scriptures concerning the millennial period, much like liberal theological thinking. Many of these churches who ignore this discussion had church history imbedded in the Post-millennial view.

     A-millennialism, the largest held belief concerning the millennium, finds it's roots in the 3rd century work of Augustine and Origen, and it's proponents include the many adherents to the Roman Catholic Church. It denies the literal reign of Christ on earth. They read prophecy and believe that Satan is currently bound now, since the 1st coming of Christ. They hold that all of the years between His 1st coming and 2nd coming are the millennial period. Some of this view hold with Augustine that the millennium is on this earth now, and some hold with Kliefoth that the millennium is occurring in heaven. They believe that Christ will return, after however long this current millennial period is, and immediately the Eternal State will begin. Their are large divisions of belief in this view, some holding that His second coming is not literal, but should be spiritualized, in that the works of the saints today, are in fact His second coming. Others see a literal 2nd coming occurring at some distant point, and one's view determines the interpretation of large swaths of Scripture. Romans Catholics are A-millennial and generally hold that the coming kingdom is fulfilled in the good works of the Church. A third influence, contends Walvoord, for the advance of A-millennialism comes from the liberal theologians, the skeptics of Scripture, who have united against a literal view of the earthly reign of Christ. Liberals who denounced Pre-millennialism found that they could robe themselves, and disguise their true intentions, by becoming "defenders" of the Reformed faith, and so seem to be advocating with disappointed Post-millennialists, that the true focus should be "...faith in the Bible and the person and work of Christ" even though they deny the authority of Scripture secretly. 

     My purpose in this brief presentation, and simplified version of Walvoord's writing is to be able to overview the three views of the millennial period to help the reader understand the basic distinctions between them. Their are strong proponents of each view today, teaching in various churches, and schools, but the minority view, that of Pre-millennialism, is as usual, the least popular, albeit the correct one, in my opinion. In future posts I will be covering these views in greater detail.

     Within the minority Pre-millennial group, their is a difference of opinion as to when the Rapture of the Church will take place. Some hold that it comes at the beginning of the Tribulation, and so the Church avoids the wrath of God (Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory). And some hold that the Rapture occurs Mid way through the Tribulation period, at the start of the Great Tribulation, or final 3 1/2 years of tribulation (Mid-Tribulation Rapture theory). While some (Post-Tribulation Rapture theory), hold that the Rapture takes place 10 days before the end of the Tribulation, and Christ and His Bride will descend to end the Tribulation period and begin the Millennial Kingdom. 

Augustine, A. City of God. Translated by Marcus Dods. Vol 11 of The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of

     the Christian Church. New York: The Christian Literature Co., 1887.

3.

The Jewish Feast Days.    From- Notes and Scripture, and Dr. Richard Booker's book, Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts. Destiny Image Publishers, 2016. (In Process)

     Why look at the Jewish feast days? What has this to do with the Christian? Do the Jewish feast days tell us anything about the events of the Christian calendar? In fact, it appears that they do, and if you are like me, you get excited as you watch the events on the Christian calendar move closer and closer. The Next big event for the Church is the Rapture of the Church and for the world, The Tribulation period. Opinions are divided on the issue of shared experience for believers with God's wrath upon the Earth during the Tribulation period. In other words will the Church experience any portion of those terrible years, the seven year period identified above by Sir Robert Anderson, or will the Church be Raptured off the earth in advance of those calamities? The Jewish Feasts shed light on this issue, and when viewed from a variety of passages in the New Testament, may help us predict when these events will occur. 

     Let us now look at the Jewish feasts in order as they relate to the Christian. 

  • Feast of Passover - Leviticus 23:4-4. [Pesach]. 1st Nissan. March-April in the Gentile calendar. To the Christian, Christ was our sin sacrifice.

  • Unleavened Bread - Leviticus 23: 6-8 [Hag HaMatzah). Starts right after Passover for three days. To the Christian, Christ was the sinless offering, an offering made for us.

  • Feast of First Fruits - Leviticus 23:9-14 [Bikkurim]. Occurs three days after Passover. To the Christian, He is the first fruits from the dead. The first resurrection of many.

  • Feast of Pentecost - Leviticus 23:15-22 [Shavuot]. Occurs 50 days after First Fruits. To the Christian, The law was given to Moses on this day, and the law written in the heart was given on this day, as Jesus ascended.

  • Feast of Trumpets - Leviticus 23:23-25 [Rosh HaShanna]. 7 Tishri. Jewish New Year. September on the Gentile calendar. To the Christian, it is the day of the awakening, the day of the Last Trumpet, the Rapture.

  • Feast of Atonement - Leviticus 23:26-32 [Yom Kippur]. Occurs seven days after Trumpets. Seven days of awe precede Atonement. Judgments occur on the earth. The Millennial Kingdom begins.

  • Feast of Tabernacles - Leviticus 23:33-34. [Sukkot]. God Tabernacles with His people for 1,000 years.

      Passover was the feast to celebrate in Israel, and to remember Israel's deliverance from Egypt in a most unusual way, by the death of an innocent lamb that would provide the blood necessary when applied to the doorposts of each home and hovel so that people would be protected. When God's death angel judged with death, the blood would cause the angel to pass by the home marked by blood. By this event, Israel was released from bondage as Egypt reacted to the death of each first born. This unusual way of deliverance signaled a much deeper plan in the mind of God, that God would deal with sin, by the death of His own Son, who by John the Baptist, called Jesus, The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29). Jesus fulfilled this type, deliverance by the death of an innocent, perfectly. ​The Passover lamb was set apart and examined for five days prior to sacrifice, just as Jesus was examined publically by the Jewish rulers from the day He entered Jerusalem, according to Booker, on the 10th of the month of Nissan. On the 14th, Pilot declared "I find no fault in Him." (John 19:4). At 9 AM Jesus was nailed to the cross, the same time of day, the Lamb was prepared. The Lamb was killed at 3 PM, the exact time of Jesus death. By 6 PM, Jesus was laid in the tomb. 

     Unleavened Bread . This was a feast lasting seven days. It began on the first day after Passover at 6 PM on the 14th. Jesus was in the tomb on the 15th of Nissan. No leaven was permitted in ones home in Israel during the feast of Unleavened Bread. Leaven symbolizes sin. All leaven was to be removed from the home in a ceremony prescribed by God in which the women would completely remove all leaven but hide ten pieces of small leaven in the home. The father and children were to search for it, and when it was found, dust the leaven into a wooden spoon and then wrap it in a cloth and cast it from the home. The next day, the cloth was to be taken to the temple for burning. Some believe that the spoon represents Jesus cross. The leaven is placed upon him, and then removed from the house, wrapped in a linen. In that way it symbolizes sin being placed upon Him, as He paid for our sins with His sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21, The Feast Of Unleavened Bread www.feastsofthelord.com). On the Passover, a bag containing three pieces of bread are used. The 2nd one, the middle, is removed from the bag, wrapped in a linen, and hidden away until later in the ceremony, thereby symbolizing Christ between two thieves, wrapped in a linen, hidden in the tomb, until later. He is the bread of life (John 6:33).

     First Fruits.  The feast of First Fruits was a seven day feast which began after the High Sabbath at Passover. Their were two Sabbaths the week of Passover. On Passover a special or High Sabbath was observed, as well as the Sabbath at the end of the week. After the Passover Sabbath, the seven day feast of First Fruits began. "Since Yeshua was slain on the tree on the day of Passover (Pesach), the fourteenth of Nisan, and He arose from the grave three days and nights after He was slain, Yeshua arose from the grave on the seventeenth of Nisan, the day of the festival of First Fruits. In fact, Yeshua is called the first fruits of those who rise from the dead." (www.feastsofthelord.com) Jesus was the first fruits of many brethren, the first begotten of the dead, "Christ the first fruits" (1 Corinthians 15:23, cf Hebrews 1:6, Colossians 1:15, Revelation 1:5, Romans 8:29). In the Feast, the first sheaf of the harvest, is taken to the priest and waved in the temple before any of the harvest is consumed. It was special, and segregated. Booker believes that is why Jesus asked Mary not to cling to Him until he was fully offered to the Father in (John 20:17). Booker erroneously relates this feast to the rapture of the Church which we will discuss later. 

     Pentecost.  

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