Index by Subject

The Battle of Armageddon

It seems that every time the country has a recession, premillennial speculations go on the upswing. The opposite is true for periods of prosperity: premillennial speculations decrease. When these speculations begin to circulate, people want to connect biblical events to events in the Middle East. I have heard it said that whenever someone sneezes in the Middle East, someone in America thinks it is the end of the world!

One of the events we have heard the most about is the battle of Armageddon. Revelation 16:16 says, “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” This is supposedly the one final battle after the seven year tribulation period and before Christ sets up His earthly throne in Jerusalem to rule for one thousand years. Most premillennial theories revolve around two major events in Revelation: the battle of Armageddon in chapter 16 and the millennium in chapter 20.

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Associate Editorial: Why Do We Try to Make the Bible Say Stuff It Just Does Not Say?

“Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen” (1 Peter 4:11, ESV).

Does that verse say what I think it says? Whatever it is we do or say, the purpose is to insure God gets the glory. “…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” is the text. That word “everything” is no slip of the tongue. The Holy Spirit knew what He was inspiring to be written and preserved throughout eternity. He said everything and He meant everything. We are to do, and God is to get the glory for His revealing to us what it is we are to do.

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Premillennialism

The Kingdom of God

Introduction

Christ will come again! Christians eagerly anticipate the Lord’s Second Coming (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 16:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6). However, this does not mean that we accept the tenants of Premillennialism. Many religious denominations advocate this doctrine: Southern Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Assemblies of God, and other Pentecostal bodies, etc. Promoters among the denominations include William Miller, Charles Taze Russell, Cyrus Scofield, Billy Graham, and most recently, Tim LaHaye. Proponents among brethren were R. H. Boll & his followers.

There are as many variations of premillennialism as there are proclaimers of this theory. However, there are several common themes that remain constant. Postmillennialism is “the theological doctrine that the second coming of Christ will occur after the millennium” (Webster). Premillennialism is “the view that Christ’s return will usher in a future millennium of Messianic rule mentioned in Revelation” (Webster). In contrast, amillennialism affirms a symbolic understanding of the 1,000 year reign of Christ, which began on the day of Pentecost and will continue until Jesus returns.

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Premillennialism

Speculation on the “end times” is certainly a popular pastime these days. In 1970, author Hal Lindsey wrote his best-seller The Late Great Planet Earth, predicting that in that generation the present state of mankind would cease. He updated his predictions in his book The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon. In the preface of that book, he wrote:

    “During the 25 years I have been studying prophecy, I have seen incredible events forecast 3,000 years ago happen right before my eyes. Especially in the past 10 years, I have watched current events push us toward the climax of history the prophets foretold. I believe many people will be shocked by what is happening right now and by what will happen in the very new future. The decade of the 1980’s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it.” (emphasis his).

Lindsey took the escalating cold war, and attempted to insert into prophecy a battle between Israel and the now defunct Soviet Union. His efforts convinced many that the end of time was coming. Now, despite the failure of his predictions, he continues to write and predict, and his writings are still followed by millions. His speculations are characteristic of most who believe in the theory of premillennialism.

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Voices from the Past: Defending the Truth (E.R. Harper)

Bible Banner, August 1938

For this opportunity of writing to this paper regularly in defense of the truth I am grateful. While I am not an experienced writer, I shall always try to be clear in my articles, that there may be no misunderstandings concerning any position taken by me. I shall at all times be glad to make myself understood regarding those questions that have to do with the peace and progress of the brotherhood.

The question I have chosen to discuss in this article is that of “defending the truth.” It seems to me that in certain sections that we have grown into a condition that is rather alarming and that bids fair to take the church into sectarianism, to accept and fellowship “creeds,” and to bid God’s speed to the human churches about us. I do not know which constitutes the greater danger–fellowshipping the creeds or making the creeds. Continue reading » Voices from the Past: Defending the Truth (E.R. Harper)

The Foolishness of Preaching the End Times

Just about the time you think the false teacher has exhausted his pathways of perversion up pops another. If it is not original, it is an offshoot of one previously existing. It is no different concerning the end of the world. I am certain the defenders of the faith become weary from fighting the foe coming from every direction (Gal.6: 9; Neh.4: 12).

Some years ago I saw a documentary by Walter Cronkite concerning the running of the marathon in the Olympics. I recall vaguely the story of one runner who came into the stadium as he completed the 26 mile run. The huge crowd shouted encouragement as he stumbled and staggered around the track. He was so exhausted from having run the great distance that he came to what he thought was the finish line and collapsed thinking he had won the race. However, some 20 minutes later another runner came jogging into the stadium and won the race.

How terrible to have run as hard as the first runner and collapse thinking he had won only to awake to hear he had lost. He was so close, but so far. Being close didn’t count in that race nor in our spiritual race to heaven (Heb. 12:1-2). What if I die believing I have completed the race God has appointed for us, but fail to finish my course (2 Tim.4:7)? Will he reward me with the crown of righteousness (2 Tim.4:8; cf. Matt.7:21-23)? Continue reading » The Foolishness of Preaching the End Times

Solid Food: Were the Ten Tribes Really Lost?

A statement from Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible says, “As in their own land, the children of Israel had forsaken the Lord and had worshiped idols, so after they were taken to these distant lands, they sought the gods of the people of those lands and ceased to be Israelites; and after a time they lost all knowledge of their own God, who had given them his words and sent them his prophets. So there came an end to the Ten Tribes of Israel, for they never again came back to their own land, and were lost among the peoples of the far east.”

A basic tenet of the premillennial system is that the ten tribes which separated from Judah under the leadership of Jeroboam, identified as Israel, were taken captive by Assyria about 722-721 B.C. and were consequently lost to view as a nation. “Lost” is not used here in a symbolic or metaphoric sense but literally. It is held that these Jewish people have had no sure identity, have not returned from captivity and that some Old Testament prophecies are yet to be fulfilled in them, namely, those dealing with a “return from captivity.” Amos 9:14 is an example of only one such disputed passage supposed teaching a modern return of Jews to Israel. Amos says, “And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.” It is maintained that this prophecy was not fulfilled prior to the time of Christ and must, therefore, be fulfilled at a later date. Consequently, the establishment of the modern state of Israel and later migrations of Jews to that land have become “signs of the times,” signaling the imminent return of Jesus to earth to begin His millennial reign as a fulfillment of prophecy. It is the purpose of this article to suggest that this position is not factual and to stimulate more study on this subject which is so popular among the sects. Continue reading » Solid Food: Were the Ten Tribes Really Lost?