Satan’s Death Throes

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St Michael and his Angels Fight the Dragon Fight, Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) Source: Albrecht Durer the Complete Works

Introduction

It is an undeniable fact that throughout the New Testament there is a consistent sense of anticipation concerning Christ’s impending return.

There are scholars today who claim Jesus and the Apostles got it wrong. Those who do so undermine the inspiration of the Scriptures.

Equally, the 1st century church eagerly awaited the imminent demise of Satan.

I will attempt to explain how and when Satan met his end, which is an aspect rarely addressed today. I will produce scriptural evidence to prove that not only did Jesus return as promised, He also defeated all His enemies, including Satan!

Reluctance to Proclaim Outright Victory

Other than a fleeting comment that Satan is a defeated foe, many sermons about him quickly revert to how he is causing havoc in the world today. Consequently, a typical theme is the ‘wiles of the devil’; exhorting believers to guard against the pitfalls Satan has set for the unsuspecting believer.

Many scholars are willing to defend the view that Christ defeated Satan, yet reluctant to affirm His outright victory! Why should this be? In my opinion, empirical evidence has replaced the inspired Word of God.

Due to the evil prevalent in the world today, the perception is that Satan is alive, well, and more active than ever. Perhaps if Christians accepted what the Scriptures actually teach regarding the defeat of Satan, their outlook would dramatically change for the better.

If Jesus said it, then I believe it! Regardless of how things may appear, believers must put their trust in the Word of God, and not allow every sensational headline or crisis to strike fear in their hearts.

Infatuation with the Origin and Character of Satan

It is not difficult these days to find highly imaginative scenarios as to the character of Satan. There is a profusion of websites, religious and secular books, and fantastic works of art on the subject. All of which nourish an unhealthy fascination with Satan and the occult. Other dubious sources include extra-biblical writing, mythology, and the vain imagination of ‘man’.

Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28

Dramatic sermons often describe the origin and character of Satan, deduced from reading between the lines of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. Correct me if I am wrong, but neither the Lord Jesus Christ nor any of the New Testament writers ever quoted from or alluded to these two chapters. Considering the magnitude of this doctrine and its influence on the Church today, surely it is reasonable to expect some references, since these have formed the foundation of the doctrine.

My articles ‘Who Is the Bright and Morning Star? Jesus or Lucifer’ and ‘There Never Was a Pre-Adamic Race?’ may help to explain my viewpoint on this particular aspect of the doctrine of Satan.

Satan’s Purpose

The Hebrew word ‘ha-satan’ means ‘the adversary’, ‘the obstacle’, and ‘the accuser’.

It is interesting to note that Robert Young in his highly acclaimed literal translation of the Bible, took the time to translate ‘ha-satan’ as ‘The Adversary’ on every occasion. Many translators retained the Hebrew ‘satan’ and personalised it by adding a capital ‘S’, thereby raising his status.

God is Sovereign

God in His infinite wisdom chose to use ‘The Adversary’ in His great plan of redemption. Satan, irrespective of his origin and character, had exceptional powers, although he was restricted in his opposition. Only God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, Satan was a created being and never possessed any of these divine attributes.

I will leave it to the speculators whether Satan was an angel who had fallen from favour or otherwise. It is of far greater importance that believers are aware of Satan’s end rather than his beginning!

Satan in the Old Testament

Relatively speaking, the references to Satan in the Old Testament are few by comparison to the New Testament.

Satan’s Adversarial Actions

The beguiling of Eve… Genesis 3:4; 2 Corinthians 11:3

The testing of Job… Job 1:12

The provocation of David… 2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Chronicles 21:11

The adversary of Joshua the high priest… Zechariah 3:1

Satan in the New Testament

Satan dramatically exploded onto the scene at the advent of Christ in a vain attempt to thwart every move to establish the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men.

Satan’s Adversarial Actions

The temptation of Christ… Matthew 4:1

The sifting of Peter… Luke 22:31

The buffeting of Paul… 2 Corinthians 12:7

Satan’s Titles:

The prince of this world… John 14:30

The god of this world (age)… 2 Corinthians 4:4

The prince of the power of air… Ephesians 2:2

The power of darkness… Colossians 1:13

The great dragon, the serpent, the devil, Satan… Revelation 12:9

‘Deliverance to the captives’

Luk 4:18-21 KJV The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.’

‘deliverance to the captives’ This quote from Isaiah 61 alluded to Satan’s overthrow. Jesus added ‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.’

The Binding of Satan

Mar 3:27 KJV No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.

The miracles that accompanied Jesus’ ministry were evidence of Satan’s binding.

The binding of Satan occurred during the first advent of Christ, and his ‘loosing’ was for a short time prior to Christ’s return on the great and terrible day of the Lord in AD 70.

The Return of the Seventy

Luk 10:17-18 KJV And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

‘even the devils are subject unto us through thy name’ It was when the seventy returned with joy, having exercised the power of God in the casting out of devils through His name, Jesus declared ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.’

Luke 10:18 ‘I beheld Satan – That is, when ye went forth, I saw the kingdom of Satan, which was highly exalted, swiftly and suddenly cast down.’ — John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

The Casting Out of Satan

John 12:31 KJV Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

‘now shall the prince of this world be cast out’ Why do scholars insist Satan is as active as ever? Surely ‘now’ means ‘the present time or moment’, his casting out is history.

A Quote from John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible

John 12:31 ‘Now – This moment. And from this moment Christ thirsted more than ever, till his baptism was accomplished. Is the judgment of this world – That is, now is the judgment given concerning it, whose it shall be. Now shall the prince of this world – Satan, who had gained possession of it by sin and death, be cast out – That is, judged, condemned, cast out of his possession, and out of the bounds of Christ’s kingdom.’

Dispensationalism’s Dilemma

According to Dispensationalism, Satan’s demise is at the end of the 1000 years reign of Christ on earth. However, Paul wrote to the Romans to reassure them the ‘crushing’ of Satan was about to happen within their lifetime. Did he give them false hope? Of course, he didn’t.

Romans 16:20

The Crushing of Satan under the Feet of the Saints

Rom 16:20 (King James Version) And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Rom 16:20 (Young’s Literal Translation) and the God of the peace shall bruise the Adversary under your feet quickly; the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen!

Rom 16:20 (Bible in Basic English) And the God of peace will be crushing Satan under your feet before long. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

‘the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly/quickly/before long’ According to Dispensationalism, the Lake of Fire awaits Satan at the end of the 1000 years reign of Christ on earth, irrespective of Paul’s assurance to the Romans of the impending ‘crushing’ of Satan. This is a typical example of a clear and simple statement of imminence being misconstrued, with its meaning thrust into the far and distant future to support an ill-founded doctrine.

Bruise

‘Bruise συντρίβω suntribō G4937 soon-tree’-bo From G4862 and the base of G5147; to crush completely, that is, to shatter (literally or figuratively): – break (in pieces), broken to shivers (+ -hearted), bruise’  – Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries

According to Strong’s dictionary, this ‘bruise’ was not just a slap on the wrist!

Did Paul get it wrong? Of course he didn’t. Not only would doubt be cast over the Epistles of Paul, the inspiration of the Word of God would be undermined.

The Destruction of Satan

Heb 2:14 KJV Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Hebrews 2:14 ‘He might destroy – That he might “subdue,” or that he might overcome him, and “destroy” his dominion. The word “destroy” here is not used in the sense of “closing life,” or of “killing,” but in the sense of bringing into subjection, or crushing his power. This is the work which the Lord Jesus came to perform – to destroy the kingdom of Satan in the world, and to set up another kingdom in its place. This was understood by Satan to be his object: see the Mat 8:29 note; Mar 1:24 note…’

The Timeline of Satan’s Demise

Jesus Had the Keys

Rev 1:18 ISV the living one. I was dead, but look-I am alive forever and ever! I have the keys of Death and Hades.

At the time John received the Revelation, Jesus said ‘I have the keys of death and Hades’. He thereby announced He had complete control over Satan. The Revelation was for the encouragement of believers in John’s day, and unveiled the impending sequence of events leading to the final destruction of all Christ enemies.

Rev 20:2-3 KJV And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

According to Dispensationalism the binding of Satan begins at the future 1000 years reign of Christ, then loosed for a short season at the end. This view contradicts the foregoing Scriptures that clearly describe impending judgement.

The Thousand Years and Chilias or Chilioi

In my opinion, the millennium was not a literal 1000 years. The timeline began with the binding of Satan during Christ’s ministry… Matthew 12:21 and continued until set loose for a short time leading to the Roman/Jewish war, AD 66 to AD 70.

John did not write the Greek numerical ‘thousand’ (chilias) years’, six times he wrote the Greek ‘thousand’ (chilioi) years’. So what is the difference?

A Quote from Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary

‘G5505 ÷éëéÜò chilias khil-ee-as’ From G5507; one thousand (“chiliad”): – thousand.’

‘G5507 ÷ßëéïé chilioi khil’-ee-oy Plural of uncertain affinity; a thousand: – thousand.’

In Revelation 20, ‘thousand’ was not ‘chilias’ the numerical 1000, but always ‘chilioi’, it was suitable for figurative speech.

Rev 20:7 KJV And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

With Satan released from the abyss, the end of ‘1000 years period’ drew near. The Dragon enlisted the beast to make war with the saints… Revelation 13:7 Many suffered martyrdom for the testimony of Jesus… Revelation 20:4

At that time the Old Covenant was still in effect but was ready to pass away; it ended with the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in AD 70.

Rev 20:10 KJV And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

God has accomplished His great plan of redemption; therefore, there is no longer satanic deception of the nations.

Why is There Still Evil in the World Today?

Jas 1:14-15 KJV But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

According to the Scriptures, this world’s problem is no longer Satan but mankind’s sinful nature.

Joh 8:44 KJV Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Col 2:18 KJV Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Sin has been the major contributing factor in this grief stricken world.

Jer 17:9 KJV The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

1Jn 2:16 KJV For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

‘Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity’

Hos 4:1-2 KJV Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. 2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.

Hos 8:7 KJV For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

Hosea prophesied God’s judgement upon the Kingdom of Israel because of their idolatry and wickedness. The idols they had created and worshipped would prove incapable of rescuing them.

‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind’ God revealed to Hosea the reason why and its consequences. In other words, it was inevitable their sins would catch up with them.

The Assyrian Empire swept down and laid the Northern Kingdom to waste, enslaving its inhabitants.

Hos 10:13 KJV Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.

Personally, I believe this tragedy is a reflection of the sinful condition of mankind. Throughout the annals of history to the present time we constantly read of such events.

Gal 6:7-8 KJV Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

It is impossible to reap anything other than sown. Notwithstanding, ‘man’ never takes the blame or responsibility for his sinful actions, instead he claims ‘the Devil made me do it’.

The modern idiom comes to mind, ‘What goes around comes around’.

Conclusion

I have presented Scriptures that describe Satan’s demise during the lifetime of Christ’s generation. These Scriptures contain words such as bind, fall, cast out, judge, bruise, crush, and destroy. All of which vividly portray the ‘death throes’ of Satan.

At Christ’s parousia, the final blow was struck during the great and terrible day of the Lord in AD 70. God’s great plan of redemption was accomplished, bought and paid for by the blood of the New Covenant.

Unfortunately, many New Covenant believers are encouraged to continue a war that has already been won, instead of rejoicing in Christ’s victory.

Where is Satan today? Satan was completely ‘whipped’ and ‘stripped’ of his kingdom and cast into the Lake of Fire.

1Jn 3:8 KJV He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

A Quote from Vincent’s Word Studies

1 John 3:8 ‘The Devil See on 1Jn 2:13. Compare Joh 8:44. “The devil made no one, he begot no one, he created no one; but whosoever imitates the devil, is, as it were, a child of the devil, through imitating, not through being born of him” (Augustine).’

Satan’s only legacy today is found in his imitators who prefer darkness to the light of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Scriptures proclaimed Jesus would return quickly to complete His victory. I believe He did exactly that.

Was Christ a failure in His mission to defeat the Devil? Of course He wasn’t.

What do you think?

 

 

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

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The Story of Lazarus and Dives, Meister des Codex Aureus Epternacensis, (c1035-1040), National Museum, Nuremburg Source: Wikimedia Commons

Introduction

In my opinion, many scholars misconstrue the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in an attempt to validate their doctrine of Eternal Torment in Hell. Thereby, ambiguity has eclipsed the simplicity of the narrative. Most Christians believe its purpose was to illustrate the final state of believers and unbelievers after physical death, but was that really Jesus’ intention?

Audience Relevance

If we establish exactly to whom Jesus was speaking, we will obtain a clear understanding of the parable.

Luk 16:14-15 KJV And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Jesus recounted this story in response to the contempt and greed exhibited by the Pharisees. He exposed the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders of His generation and warned them of impending judgement. If the parable pertained to the modern day concept of ‘Heaven and Hell’, how do we account for the following?

The Rich Man

Luk 16:19 KJV There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

Why would a rich man be chosen to represent the unbeliever bound for Hell? It is the love of money that is the root of all evil, not the possession of wealth… 1 Timothy 6:10
Surely, Joseph of Arimathaea would rest on Abraham’s bosom even although he was wealthy, the difference being, he managed his wealth honourably.

This parable described the self-indulgent lifestyle of the Pharisees; Jesus warned them that by their mistreatment of the poor in body and spirit they would soon reap what they had sown.

Lazarus

Luk 16:20-21 KJV And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table’ Why would a beggar be chosen to represent the heaven bound believer?

Psa 37:25 KJV I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Why would a child of God desire the crumbs from the rich man’s table rather than look to God and His people to meet his need? Obviously, the parable was specifically directed at the Pharisees and not Heaven and Hell.

Abraham

Luk 16:22 KJV And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

A Quote from Vincent’s Word Studies

Luke 16:22 ‘Abraham’s bosom – A Rabbinical phrase, equivalent to being with Abraham in Paradise. To the Israelite Abraham seems the personal centre and meeting-point of Paradise (Goebel).’

Jewish tradition taught the righteous dead went to Abraham’s bosom in Sheol. Josephus mentioned this in his writings.

A Quote from Josephus

’For there is one descent into this region, at whose gate we believe there stands an archangel with an host; which gate when those pass through that are conducted down by the angels appointed over souls, they do not go the same way; but the just are guided to the right hand, and are led with hymns sung by the angels appointed over that place, unto a region of light, in which the just have dwelt from the beginning of the world; not constrained by necessity, but ever enjoying the prospect of the good things they see, and rejoice in the expectation of those new enjoyments which will be peculiar to every one of them, and esteeming those things beyond what we have here; with whom there is no place of toil, no burning heat, no piercing cold, nor are any briers there; but the countenance of the fathers and of the just, which they see, always smiles upon them, while they wait for that rest and eternal new life in heaven, which is to succeed this region. This place we call The Bosom of Abraham.’ An Extract from Josephus’s Discourse to the Greeks Concerning Hades

Luk 16:23-24 KJV And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Babylonian and Greek mythology influenced Jewish tradition. Jesus did not teach or correct the Pharisees’ understanding of the doctrine of ‘Hell’, many were rebellious and beyond instruction. Instead, He used Jewish tradition popular at the time, to accentuate the moral of His parable.

A Quote from Andrew MacLaren

Luke 16:19-31 ‘II. In the second part of the narrative, our Lord follows the two, who had been so near each other and yet so separated, into the land beyond the grave. It is to be especially noticed that, in doing so, He adopts the familiar Rabbinical teaching as to Hades. He does not thereby stamp these conceptions of the state of the dead with His assent; for the purpose of the narrative is not to reveal the secrets of that land, but to impress the truth of retribution for the sin in question. It would not be to a group of Pharisaic listeners that He would have unveiled that world. He takes their own notions of it-angel bearers, Abraham’s bosom, the two divisions in Hades, the separation, and yet communication, between them. These are Rabbis’ fancies, not Christ’s revelations. The truths which He wished to force home lie in the highly imaginative conversation between the rich man and Abraham, which also has its likeness in many a Rabbinical legend.’

The rich man saw Lazarus and Abraham in bliss and they could see him in torment. Do you think Abraham and Lazarus could watch a man in eternal torment and be at peace and happy?

Why did Abraham say to the rich man ‘Son’? The Jews proudly boasted that Abraham was their father. Again, audience relevance is important; Jesus was speaking to Jews in a narrative they could understand… Matthew 3:8-9

Luk 16:28-31 KJV For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them‘ If this parable was about eternal torment in Hell, why did Abraham tell the rich man his five brethern had Moses and the prophets? Moses taught blessings and curses in this life, he never mentioned eternal torment in Hell. Old Covenant Israel was a privileged nation. If the Pharisees had obeyed and taught the Torah instead of the traditions of men, the imminent judgement would have been averted in AD 70.

Conclusion

This parable does not describe the outcome of mankind. The moral of the story is simply this:

The hypocritical Jewish leaders had led astray the nation of Israel. Without conviction of their evil ways along with sincere repentance, judgement was about to come upon them, and it ultimately did in AD 70.

What do you think?

 

 

Jesus Never Mentioned Eternal Torment in Hell

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The Valley of Hinnom, Public Domain Source: Wikipedia

Introduction

In my opinion, Jesus did not teach the doctrine of eternal torment in Hell.

With roots in post Babylonian Jewish thought and Greek mythology, these influences resulted in the development of a doctrine without scriptural support. Astonishingly, woven into the tapestry of Christianity over the centuries, it became a means of control and extortion.

Writers, for example, Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) the author of Inferno, and the English poet John Milton (1608-1674) the author of Paradise Lost, were also contributing factors. Artists including Michelangelo and Hieronymus Bosch provided dramatic approbation and credibility.

I will attempt to explain why I reject this doctrine.

Lost in Translation

Mat 23:33 KJV Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Mat 23:33 YLT ‘Serpents! brood of vipers! how may ye escape from the judgment of the gehenna?

Jesus preached the ‘judgement of gehenna’ and the ‘fire of gehenna’ to Old Covenant Israel as a warning of imminent national judgement. The fulfilment of His prophecy was ‘the great and dreadful day of the Lord’ in AD 70.

The Greek ‘gehenna’ referred to the valley of the son of Hinnom. This vicinity was used by Old Covenant Israel during times of idolatry, which included the sacrificial burning of children. It later became Jerusalem’s garbage dump. Perpetual fire burned to consume rubbish and the dead bodies of criminals.

When Jesus warned His generation of impending judgement, He used ‘gehenna’ to drive home the severity of the punishment that awaited those who were unwilling to repent.

The translation of the Scriptures from Greek into English added to the misconception when ‘gehenna’ was translated ‘hell’, with its pagan connotations.

A Quote from Thayer’s Greek Definitions

‘G1067 γέεννα geenna 1) Hell is the place of the future punishment called “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire”. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.’

gehenna’ appears 12 times in the New Testament. The KJV translated ‘gehenna’ as ‘hell’ on every occasion. However, Robert Young never used ‘hell’ in his highly acclaimed literal translation.

Surprisingly, ‘gehenna’ appears 11 times in the Gospels, but only once in the remainder of the New Testament.

Peter, John, and Paul never mentioned ‘gehenna’ in their writings!

The Fire of Gehenna

The Jews were familiar with the significance of ‘gehenna’ in Christ’s preaching, due to its association with horror and suffering.

It was with good reason the valley of the son of Hinnom became known as ‘the valley of slaughter’, having been filled with the blood of innocents.

King Ahaz and the Fire of Gehenna

2Ch 28:3 KJV Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.

King Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king of Judah, and reigned for 16 years (744-728 BC). He was an evil king who led his people into pagan worship. Idolatrous Ahaz ‘burnt his children in the fire’, as did King Manasseh and King Amon… 2 Chronicles 33:6; 2 Chronicles 33:22

King Josiah and the Fire of Gehenna

2Ki 23:10 KJV And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.

Josiah (648-609 BC) the son of Amon became king of Judah when he was eight years old and reigned for 31 years. He was a good king and introduced many reforms, including the renovation of the Temple. Josiah removed the worship of Molech in Topheth during his purification of the land.

A Quote from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary

2 Kings 23:10 ‘Topheth so called from Toph – a ‘drum.’ It is the prevailing opinion among Jewish writers that the cries of the terrified children made to pass through the fire in that place of idolatrous horror were drowned by the sound of that instrument.’

Jeremiah and the Fire of Gehenna

Jer 19:2-6 KJV And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee, 3 And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. 4 Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; 5 They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: 6 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.

Jeremiah called to the office of prophet c 626 BC; lived during the reign of Josiah. The Lord told him to go to the valley of the son of Hinnom and prophesy judgement on Israel.

The Jews came to know Hinnom as a place of punishment and burning.

When Jesus preached the ‘fire of gehenna’, He warned of impending judgement at the end of the Old Covenant Age, not the end of time or the end of the world.

The Unquenchable Fire

‘Unquenchable fire’ was uncontrollable fire that caused utter destruction not everlasting fire. There are examples in the Scriptures of fire that ‘shall not be quenched’, but ceased when God’s purpose was fulfilled.

Isaiah and the Unquenchable Fire

Isa 34:9-10 KJV And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. 10 It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.

Isaiah used figurative, prophetic language when he prophesied God’s judgement with fire and brimstone on Edom. Although Isaiah said it shall ‘not be quenched’ it is not still burning today, it finally quenched when God’s purpose was accomplished.

Ezekiel and Unquenchable Fire

Ezekiel used prophetic language when he prophesied national judgement on Judah. The Babylonians fulfilled his prophecy by the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC; Jerusalem has not been burning since 586 BC!

From their prior knowledge of the Scriptures, something we are inclined to underestimate, Jesus’ audience would have understood that He referred to national judgement. The concept of eternal torment in Hell would not have entered their minds.

John the Baptist issued warnings of impending destruction, and used the same prophetic figurative speech as the other Old Testament prophets… Matthew 3:12 The fulfilment of John’s prophecy was in AD 70, the ‘unquenchable fire’ is not still burning today.

The Worm Dieth Not

Isa 66:22-24 KJV For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. 24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Isaiah prophesied the establishment of the ‘the new heavens and the new earth’, the New Covenant Age. The fulfilment of this prophecy took place when the Old Covenant Age passed away in AD 70.

Mar 9:44 KJV Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

When Jesus spoke of the undying worm and unquenchable fire, He quoted from Isaiah. The worm would thrive and hasten the corruption of the dead, the phrase metaphorically emphasised the shame and disgrace of the deceased.

The ‘worm dieth not’ should not be taken literally.

The first mention of ‘gehenna’ was during the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus came to the Jew first and preached the Kingdom of God was at hand. He graphically described the ‘gehenna of fire’; His audience would have recalled the horrific stories recorded in the Old Testament.

Only through repentance could they avoid the fiery national judgement at the hands of the Romans.

The Gehenna Timeline

Mat 23:36 KJV Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

Jesus actually stated the time of ‘the judgement of the gehenna’.

Mat 24:34 YLT Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

It is not difficult to understand when taking into account audience relevance that Jesus was admonishing His generation. His warning is inconsequential to a generation 2000 years in the future.

Old Covenant Israel finally ended in AD 70, God’s remnant escaped to Pella and lived to enter into the New Covenant Age; the spiritual Kingdom of God… Matthew 24:16

Josephus recorded that a multitude of dead bodies filled the valley of Hinnom  following the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.

‘Now the seditious at first gave orders that the dead should be buried out of the public treasury, as not enduring the stench of their dead bodies. But afterwards, when they could not do that, they had them cast down from the walls into the valleys beneath.’ — Josephus

Conclusion

Consider the following:

If Hell is a place of eternal torment and the final destiny of those who remain ‘in Adam’ rather than ‘in Christ’, why did God not make it clear to Adam from the beginning?
God told Adam the penalty for eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was that he would die… Genesis 2:17 At what time did He add eternal torment in Hell?

If Paul declared all the counsel of God… Acts 20:27 How could he make such a claim since he never mentioned Gehenna or eternal torment in Hell?

So what will become of the lost and unrepentant? In my opinion, the Scriptures are silent. However, I do know it is far better to be ‘in Christ’ with the assurance of everlasting life, and to enjoy the blessings of fellowship with our Heavenly Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, than to dwell in darkness and carry the burden of accountability with fear and uncertainty.

I endeavour to speak only when the Scriptures speak, and remain silent when the Scriptures remain silent. In my opinion, the Scriptures do not fully reveal the fate of the lost.

‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?’… Genesis 18:25

What do you think?

 

The Denigration of Adam: Does it Really Matter?

 

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Adam and Eve in Paradise, Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815) Source: Wikimedia

Introduction

A clear perspective on the life and ‘deaths’ of Adam is pivotal to Christianity.

In my opinion, there are those with a hidden agenda behind the denigration of Adam. By diminishing the creation and fall of Adam, not only does it impugn the Scriptures, sin and the fallen nature of man are reduced to irrelevant issues.

Sadly, it is not only unbelievers who are dismissive of Adam, some Bible scholars also teach he never existed and the creation account in Genesis is simply an allegory. Others that a Pre-Adamic race existed prior to the creation of Adam, thereby, undermining God’s great plan of redemption.

I will attempt to explain why I believe the Genesis account of Adam and Eve. I don’t expect to change the minds of ‘all’ sceptics, but I do hope to inform and encourage fellow believers confronted by intransigent critics.

So how should Bible believing Christians respond? Our ensample is the Lord Jesus Christ, who constantly responded to His critics with the Word of God.

The Inspiration of the Scriptures

2Ti 3:16 KJV All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

If believers accept without question that Adam and Eve never existed, the implications have far reaching repercussions, in particular, the defamation of the Word of God.

Reputations are at risk, Job, Luke, Paul, James, Jude, and the Lord Jesus Christ, all affirmed the existence of Adam and Eve. If we undermine their testimony how can we rely on anything else they said or wrote.

Job’s Reference to Adam

Job 31:33 KJV If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:

Job referred directly to Adam’s transgression and his vain attempt to hide from God.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Job 31:33 ‘If I covered my transgressions as Adam – Here is a most evident allusion to the fall. Adam transgressed the commandment of his Maker, and he endeavored to conceal it; first, by hiding himself among the trees of the garden: “I heard thy voice, and went and Hid myself;” secondly, by laying the blame on his wife: “The woman gave me, and I did eat;” and thirdly, by charging the whole directly on God himself: “The woman which Thou Gavest Me to be with me, She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” And it is very likely that Job refers immediately to the Mosaic account in the Book of Genesis. The spirit of this saying is this: When I have departed at any time from the path of rectitude, I have been ready to acknowledge my error, and have not sought excuses or palliatives for my sin.’

Ezekiel’s Reference to Job

Eze 14:14 K JV Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

Some scholars also claim Job was a fictitious character, while Ezekiel revealed Job had a soul.

The Scriptures confirm Job’s existence. On two occasions, Ezekiel included Job with Noah and Daniel, when he described them as three righteous men… Ezekiel 14:20

James’ Reference to Job

Jas 5:10-11 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Not only did James describe Job as a man of patience, he included him with other great men of God, ‘the prophets’.

Luke’s Reference to Adam

Luk 3:38 KJV Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

Luke traced the genealogy of Christ back to Adam. How did he do that if Adam never existed?

If we reject Luke’s research, we are obliged to accept that Christ is also a fictional character! How could Jesus descend from someone who never was?

Paul’s Reference to Adam

1Ti 2:13-14 KJV For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

It is interesting to note that none of the inspired writers suggested or alluded to an allegorical Adam.

Paul not only affirmed the existence of Adam, he revealed Adam was not deceived.

Adam knew exactly what he was doing when he ate the fruit, and was fully aware of the consequences.

According to some scholars, the serpent deceived Adam into believing he would be like God, which contradicts Paul’s account. The serpent beguiled Eve; she partook of the fruit and persuaded Adam to do the same.

Gen 2:24   KJV Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Adam loved Eve and joined in her disobedience that she might not be alone in the death she had brought upon herself. They were one flesh.

A Quote from John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

1Timothy 2:14 ‘The apostle’s positive assertion is to be taken without any such limitations or qualifications; Adam never was deceived at all; neither by the serpent, with whom he never conversed; nor by his wife, he knew what he did, when he took the fruit of her, and ate; he ate it not under any deception, or vain imagination, that they should not die, but should be as gods, knowing good and evil. He took and ate out of love to his wife, from a fond affection to her, to bear her company, and that she might not die alone; he knew what he did, and he knew what would be the consequence of it, the death of them both; and inasmuch as he sinned wilfully, and against light and knowledge, without any deception, his sin was the greater: and hereby death came in, and passed on all men, who sinned in him:’

The repercussions of Adam’s sin were far reaching in that his posterity would also experience the same spiritual death.

Jude’s Reference to Adam

Jud 1:14 KJV   And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

Jude wrote that Enoch was the seventh patriarch from Adam. Enoch may even have met Adam, since they were alive at the same time.

The Lord Jesus Christ Alluded to Adam and Eve

Mat 19:3-4 KJV The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

Mar 10:6 KJV But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

The Pharisees tested Jesus by asking Him to explain His view on divorce. Jesus began His discourse by asserting that in the beginning of creation God made male and female, thereby, He alluded to Adam and Eve. Since Jesus attested to the existence of Adam and Eve, who are we to judge otherwise.

If we trust the Word of God, and are satisfied that Adam and Eve really existed, we can confidently find more answers.

Adam Chose Eve Rather Than the Lord

Adam forfeited all the blessings of the Garden of Eden through his disobedience. Why did he do that?

Jud 1:6 KJV   And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

God imputed Adam with certain attributes, but immutability was not one of them, he was subject to change. Nevertheless, he did have freewill similar to the angels who had the ability to choose between loyalty and rebellion.

Personally, I do not believe mankind has freewill to the same degree as Adam prior to his fall. The only exception being freewill in secular matters, allthough marginalised and impaired by outside influence.

The capacity to assimilate the options available is essential to freewill. On understanding the alternatives, desire increases, only then choice becomes attainable.

1Co 2:13-14 KJV Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Regarding spiritual matters ‘man’ does not have freewill, because ‘man’s’ natural mind cannot grasp spiritual concepts. Natural ‘man’ is dead in trespasses and sin and consequently unable to discern spiritual matters, therefore desire and choice remain quiescent.

Adam could comprehend from experience a spiritual relationship with God his creator, and a loving relationship with his wife. His desire was realised when he rejected the Lord and chose Eve.

The Deaths of Adam

Adam lived, died, continued to live, and died at 930 years of age, how could that be? God said if he ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would die that day.

Gen 2:17 KJV   But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Some scholars claim that although Adam did not die physically that day, by applying the often misquoted ‘one day is with the Lord as a thousand years’… 2 Peter 3:8 they deduce he began to die.

Adam was told categorically he would die that day. Who are we to challenge such a clear statement?

Gen 3:4-5 KJV   And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5   For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Satan told Eve she would not die. God said they would die. I believe God!

Gen 3:6 KJV And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

The day Adam ate the fruit he immediately received the knowledge of good and evil, it is therefore reasonable to conclude he also died that day.

Gen 3:17   KJV And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life’ It is obvious biological death was not the result of disobedience. God said Adam would die the day he ate, yet God told him his punishment for sin was the life of an outcast..

Adam and Eve died spiritually that day in accordance with God’s Word. Jesus came to redeem man from spiritual death; physical death was never the issue.

Eph 2:5-6 KJV Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

It is important to understand that Adam’s spirit did not die, spiritual death meant alienation from God. Adam was cast out through disobedience. Christ’s death and resurrection was the way ‘man’ was restored to his creator. By being born again ‘man’ is resurrected to life with God.

The Result of Adam’s Fall

During the Old Covenant Age, if someone was cast out from the Children of Israel that person was out of covenant and therefore considered dead.

Luk 15:24 KJV For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

The parable of the prodigal son is an illustration of a loving father and a disobedient son. While the son was in a far away country, he was dead to his father. When the son returned with humility and repentance his father forgave him and restored his privileged position; he had been ‘resurrected’ from the dead. The New Covenant introduced by the Lord Jesus Christ is also one of forgiveness, resurrection, reconciliation, and restoration.

For as in Adam all die’

Rom 5:12 KJV Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Paul alluded to Adam when he taught the sin of Adam had brought death upon mankind.

1Co 15:22 KJV For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Again, Paul affirmed the existence of Adam when he compared the consequences of Adam’s sin to the redemptive work of Christ. All descendants ‘in Adam’ suffer spiritual death; all who are ‘in Christ’ enjoy spiritual resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:22 ‘in Adam all — in union of nature with Adam, as representative head of mankind in their fall. 

in Christ … all — in union of nature with Christ, the representative head of mankind in their recovery. The life brought in by Christ is co-extensive with the death brought in by Adam.’ — Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Some scholars teach that God never intended Adam to eat of the tree. Of course He did! By what other means would man know ‘good’ without knowing the difference between good and evil?

God created Adam with the ability to exercise freewill. Adam would not have learned the difference between good and evil without the opportunity to choose an alternative path, God used His adversary Satan to accomplish His great plan of redemption.

Unfortunately, Adam acquired knowledge in depth and was cast out of the Garden of Eden, he exchanged the blessings of the Kingdom of God for the evil taskmaster and the kingdom of darkness.

1Pe 1:19-20 KJV But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

God had no need of a ‘plan B’, He was not surprised by Adam’s disobedience. The Lord being omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, knew the end from the beginning. He knew ‘man’ would fail the test; nevertheless, God had already prepared His great plan of Redemption before the foundation of the world.

A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

1 Peter 1:20 ‘It follows from what is said in this verse:

(1) That the atonement was not an afterthought on the part of God. It entered into his plan when he made the world, and was revolved in his purposes from eternity.

(2) It was not a device to supply a defect in the system; that is, it was not adopted because the system did not work well, or because God had been disappointed. It was arranged before man was created, and when none but God could know whether he would stand or fall.

(3) The creation of the earth must have had some reference to this plan of redemption, and that plan must have been regarded as in itself so glorious, and so desirable, that it was deemed best to bring the world into existence that the plan might be developed, though it would involve the certainty that the race would fall, and that many would perish. It was, on the whole, more wise and benevolent that the race should be created with a certainty that they would apostatize, than it would be that the race should not he created, and the plan of salvation be unknown to distant worlds. See the notes at 1Pe 1:12.’

God’s Great Plan of Redemption

Joh 11:25-26 KJV Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Physical death is not a prerequisite for resurrection. Believers, who were once spiritually dead, experience resurrection by grace through faith in Christ.

Psa 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Should physical death hold fear over those in Covenant with God? Biological death does not separate the believer from God. Physical death is the way into the greater plan of God for those who have put their trust in Him.

Conclusion

Jesus is the antitype of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden.

I believe from a Christian perspective, the Scriptures provide the answers to the questions that plague the conscience of ‘man’. Unfortunately, the natural mind cannot contemplate the spiritual things of God, and thereby reacts disparagingly to anything Christianity proffers. Only the Holy Spirit can enlighten the heart of ‘man’.

If you are not born again, and this article has stirred interest in your heart, call on the Lord, and ask Him to reveal His plan of salvation, He will answer.

What do you think?

There Never was a Pre-Adamic Race

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St. Michael and Satan, Raphael (1483-1520) Source: Olga’s Gallery

Introduction

There are numerous conflicting views on Creation within Christianity today.

Personally, I was influenced by the ‘Gap Theory’, which is another dubious teaching popularised within Dispensationalism.

During the 19th century in particular, some scholars attempted to harmonise the Scriptures with science. This was a vain, yet genuine attempt to defend the Word of God from the onslaught of emerging scientific ‘discoveries’. As if such a course of action was necessary!

The Gap Theory not only attempts to explain Creation, it incorporates the doctrine of the Rise and Fall of Satan.

The problem is, the Scriptures do not support this view.

The Domino Effect of the Gap Theory

According to Dispensationalism, a Pre-Adamic race existed between Genesis 1:1-2 with Lucifer its ruler. Ultimately, he rebelled and sinned against God. The result was his fall and the destruction of the Pre-Adamic world. Notwithstanding, after a considerable ‘gap’ in time, God recreated the heaven and the earth from the formless void that remained, with Adam the pinnacle of His new creation. However, fallen Lucifer caused Adam to disobey God when he tempted Eve in the garden and the rest is history.

Those who promulgate the ‘Gap Theory’ are immediately confronted by an insurmountable difficulty; the ‘domino effect’ on their ‘Origin of Satan’ theory. If Lucifer fell during a Pre-Adamic world, how could he possibly fit the description of the person described in Isaiah and Ezekiel?

Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 being the premise to support Satan’s origin and fall.

Topple one domino and others fall, the same apparently applies to false teachings.

Eze 28:13-15 KJV Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Pastor Bill Britton clearly explains the dilemma:

A Quote from Pastor Bill Britton lighthouselibrary.com

Ezekiel 28:13 ‘As for Satan being ‘Lucifer’ (King James Version only) of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, consider this… this being who fell was described as holy and beautiful and wise before he fell, and was described as being in the Garden of God, walking among the stones of fire, etc. Read Genesis account of creation, and find that the Garden was prepared for ADAM, not Satan, and that according to the ‘gap theory’ (a foundation for the Holy Angel Lucifer theory), the Garden was not even created until after ‘Lucifer’ was supposed to have fallen and become Satan. So Satan could not have walked in the Garden of God in a holy state, as per Ezekiel. Read the footnote on Isaiah 14:12 in the Amplified Bible, as to why ‘Lucifer’ is only in King James.’

Disseminators of the Gap Theory

C Larkin, F J Dake, J N Darby, C I Scofield, T Chalmers, Chuck Missler, and Jimmy Swaggart (to name a few) helped promote this doctrine, now considered by many to be the orthodox view.

‘The manner of the “creation” of the Pre-Adamite Earth is not revealed in the Scriptures. They simply declare that-“In the BEGINNING GOD CREATED the heaven and the earth.” We have to fall back then upon Science.’ — Clarence Larkin, Dispensational Truth

We have to fall back then upon science’! In that case rule me out.

Let us stand by the adage ‘let us speak when the Scriptures speak and be silent when the Scriptures are silent’. The Scriptures are silent about a Pre-Adamic race having ever existed.

‘Satan before his fall was the “Anointed Cherub that Covereth”. That is, he was the Guardian of the “Throne of God”. The probability is that the original Earth was placed under his “Governorship”, and was the scene of the first rebellion against the “Kingdom of God”, for which Satan was responsible…’ — Clarence Larkin, Dispensational Truth

Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 and a Pre-Adamic Race

Even although Charles Larkin used the word ‘probability’ in his statement, many believe his theory is ‘factuality’! In my opinion, without scriptural support, he should have remained silent instead of allowing his imagination to run wild.

The Scriptures cited to support the Gap Theory are taken out of context, and thereby fail to add any credibility to the view.

Let’s examine the Scriptures that reputedly prop up this doctrine.

Genesis 1:2 and a Pre-Adamic Race

Gen 1:2-3 GW The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of God was hovering over the water. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light!” So there was light.

formless and empty’ The phrase simply means the earth was still unformed; it was not the finished work of creation. This Scripture does not support the assumption that a Pre-Adamic rebellion by Satan caused the Earth to be ‘formless and empty’.

‘Genesis 1 is not a history of the original creation, but of a reconstruction following a cataclysmic judgment which had befallen the original creation. Gen_1:1 Original creation. Gen_1:2 its destruction. Gen_1:3 and on, Reconstruction.’  — The Summarised Bible Commentary

The Summarized Bible Commentary not only endorsed the theory of a cataclysmic judgement between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:3; it surrendered to science in the process.

The Prophet Jeremiah Mourning over the Destruction of Jerusalem

Jeremiah 4:24 and a Pre-Adamic Race

Jer 4:23-26 KJV I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. 25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.

‘the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void’  This phrase may allude to Genesis 1:2 but it does not automatically endorse the Gap Theory. Jeremiah described the utter devastation that had overwhelmed the Kingdom of Judah.

A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Jeremiah 4:23-26 ‘In four verses each beginning with “I beheld,” the prophet sees in vision the desolate condition of Judaea during the Babylonian captivity.’

Jeremiah used poetic prophetic language to describe the result of God’s judgement.

Luke 10:18: and a Pre-Adamic Race

Luk 10:17-18 KJV And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Luke 10:18: ‘This refers to the casting out of Satan when he invaded heaven from the earth long before Adam.’ — F  Dake, Annotated Reference Bible

Many scholars misquote Luke 10:18 to support the casting out of Satan and his angels from Heaven during a Pre-Adamic rebellion. By doing so, the verse is taken out of context and misinterpreted.

How could Dake postulate such a theory? Luke 10:18 has nothing to do with a Pre-Adamic race. The seventy, filled with joy, reported to Jesus they had fulfilled His commission to preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. Jesus responded by saying, ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven’.

A Quote from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary

Luke 10:18 ‘…that is, “I followed you on your mission, and watched its triumphs; while you were wondering at the subjection to you of devils in My name, a grander spectacle was opening to My view; sudden as the darting of lightning from heaven to earth, lo! Satan was beheld falling from heaven!…’

Jesus taught more on His response to the seventy in the following chapter.

Luk 11:21-22 KJV When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

As the seventy preached the Kingdom of God and witnessed the manifestation of its power, Jesus saw the ‘beginning of the end’ of Satan’s power and control. Matthew described it as the binding of the strong man… Matthew 12:29 Only through the binding of Satan could the seventy spoil his goods.

A Quote from the Wycliffe Bible Commentary

Luke 10:18 ‘Jesus implied that the power was broken, and that the success of these disciples was an evidence of the victory.’

Luke 10:18 ‘I beheld Satan – That is, when ye went forth, I saw the kingdom of Satan, which was highly exalted, swiftly and suddenly cast down.’ — John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

2 Peter 3:4-7 and a Pre-Adamic Race

The context of this portion of Scripture appertains to Noah and the flood, not to a Pre-Adamic flood known as the Luciferian flood.

2Pe 3:4-7 KJV And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

the earth standing out of the water and in the water’ The earth after the third day of creation… Genesis 1:9-10

‘the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished’ This was the antediluvian world prior to Noah’s flood… Genesis 6:17

Scoffers alleged God was negligent concerning His promises by contending all things continued as before, they wilfully misconstrued the Scriptures. Peter reminded them of God’s promise to destroy the earth by flood during the days of Noah. He then proceeded to warn them that judgement awaited them for their complacency. Judgement came to Peter’s generation on ‘the great and terrible day of the Lord’, the second coming of Christ in AD 70.

2Pe 3:2 KJV That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Peter said his authority was the words spoken by the prophets and the precepts of Christ, why would he extrapolate on a Pre-Adamic world bereft of scriptural support.

Peter did not allude to a Pre-Adamic race; he spoke of the fathers who had lived and died since Adam.

Revelation 12:9 and a Pre-Adamic Kingdom

Rev 12:9 KJV And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Some scholars use Revelation 12:9 to validate the fall of Satan during a Pre-Adamic civilisation. However, the Revelation was a vision of an imminent event that involved the fulfilment of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel. The physical evidence was the destruction of the temple, Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews in AD 70.

The war between Michael and the dragon took place during the ‘great tribulation’ when Satan was ‘loosed’ on earth for the last time.

Rev 12:4 KJV And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

If the phrase ‘the third part of the stars of heaven’ was a reference to the rebellious angels being cast out with Satan, it does not give license to apply it to an angelic host being cast out during a Pre-Adamic race.

Conclusion

Consign dominoes to the purpose originally intended, likewise the Scriptures.

The aggrandised theories of Satan’s origin and a Pre-Adamic race can only be supported by the vain imagination of ‘man’ in conjunction with mythology, extra-biblical writings, and the misappropriation of Scripture; confusion being the end result.

In my opinion, the Scriptures are silent concerning the casting out of Satan during a Pre-Adamic race.

Let’s leave fiction to Hollywood.

What do you think?

 

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath

 

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The Disciples Plucking Corn on the Sabbath, Gustave Dore (1832-1883) Source: Dore Bible Gallery Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D

Introduction

There are those who teach that Christians should keep the Sabbath. Some go as far as to insist that Christians should observe the Sabbath on a Saturday, thereby condemning Sunday worship in the process.

This issue has been around since New Testament times; Paul constantly rebuked the Judaisers who sought to mingle Mosaic Law with the Gospel of Grace, consequently bringing believers into bondage.

Today Christians are being encouraged by Christian Television (I use the term loosely) to share in the weekly Sabbath, the Jewish Feasts, and even to purchase Jewish prayer shawls!

Col 2:16-17 KJV Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

A Quote from the People’s New Testament

Colossians 2:16-19 ‘Let no man therefore judge you. As the law was nailed to the cross (Col_2:14), let no man compel you to keep its ordinances.   In meat, or in drink. By requiring you to eat only what the Jewish law prescribes (Lev. 7:10-27). See Rom_14:17; 1Co_8:8; Heb_9:10. Compare 1Ti_4:3.
Or in respect of a holy day. Such as the Passover, Pentecost, etc.
Or of the new moon. The monthly observances (Num_28:11).
Or of the Sabbath day. The Jewish Sabbath had passed away with the law.
Which are a shadow of things to come. The body, or substance, which casts the shadow is Christ. We are to pay no attention to the shadows since Christ has come, but to observe what we find in him and the gospel…’

I will endeavour to explain why I believe ‘born again’ believers are not required to observe the Sabbath.

The 4th Commandment to Remember the Sabbath Was to Old Covenant Israel, not the Gentiles.

The leading question asked by those promulgating the Sabbath doctrine is:

Do you keep the 10 Commandments, yes or no?

If the Christian answers yes, but does not keep the Sabbath, the debate begins as to the reason for breaking the 4th commandment.

If the Christian answers no, this leads to the accusation of disobedience to Jesus’ commandment. ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments’… John 14:15

The Book of Acts and the Law of Moses

Act 15:5-10 KJV But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

The Apostles and Elders concluded it was not necessary for gentile believers to keep the Mosaic Law, which included the Sabbath. If the Sabbath was an exception, why was it not discussed at the gathering?

Act 21:25 KJV As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

The Apostles upheld the decision approximately eight years later in Acts 21. Once again, the Sabbath was not an exception.

Romans and the Law of Moses

Rom 7:6 KJV But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Romans 7:6 ‘But now we have been delivered from the law. By death. Having died in Christ (Rom_6:2-4), we are released from the dominion of the law. See Rom_7:1. So that we should serve in the newness of the spirit. This service of Christ is the new service of those living new lives. It is a spiritual service: “God must be worshiped in spirit and truth.” God’s law under the new covenant is “written in the hearts” (Heb_8:10); hence it is not a bondage, but a free, willing service.’ — The People’s New Testament

Galatians and the Law of Moses

Gal 3:1-3 KJV O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Gal 4:9-11 KJV But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

Paul challenged the Galatians as to why they desired to return to the bondage they once knew under the Law.

James and the Law of Moses

Jas 2:10 KJV For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Should the Christian observe the Law? Can you name the 613 commands? If we cannot name all the commands, how could we hope to keep them?

James said if the Law observer failed in one point then that person was guilty of all.

Believers are in danger of taking their eyes of the Lord by mixing Law and Grace. The incorporation of Jewish traditions into the Church would result in a watered down gospel, the emphasis would shift from faith to works.

Man Was not Commanded to Observe the Sabbath since Creation

Sabbath observers also insist that because God ‘rested’ on the seventh day, consequently, observance of the Sabbath was demanded of mankind since creation. However, there is no such commandment found in Genesis, neither is there any evidence of the Patriarchs having kept the Sabbath.

Exo 16:23 KJV And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

A Quote from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

‘The statement that God set apart the 7th day for holy purposes in honor of His own rest after six days of creative activity is boldly challenged by many modern scholars as merely the pious figment of a priestly imagination of the exile. There are so few hints of a weekly Sabbath before Moses, who is comparatively a modern character, that argumentation is almost excluded, and each student will approach the question with the bias of his whole intellectual and spiritual history. There is no distinct mention of the Sabbath in Gen, though a 7-day period is referred to several times (Gen_7:4, Gen_7:10; Gen_8:10, Gen_8:12; Gen_29:27 f). The first express mention of the Sabbath is found in Exo_16:21-30, in connection with the giving of the manna……. If we cannot point to any observance of the weekly Sabbath prior to Moses, we can at least be sure that this was one of the institutions which he gave to Israel. From the days of Moses until now the holy Sabbath has been kept by devout Israelites.’

There is no mention of Sabbath observance in the Scriptures prior to Exodus 16.

The Greek words ‘katapausis’ and ‘katapauo meaning ‘rest’ were used constantly in Hebrews 4. On one occasion however, in Hebrews 4:9 the Greek word ‘sabbatismos’ was used instead, thereby differentiating between the Law and the believer’s Sabbath Rest found in Jesus.

Jesus Is the Believer’s Sabbath Rest

Luk 24:44 KJV And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Jesus fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets and we ‘rest’ from our works by grace through faith in Him.

Hebrews and the Believer’s Sabbath Rest

The answer to those who would bring bondage to the Christian by raising a straw man argument with regard to Sabbath keeping is in Hebrews 4.

Heb 4:7 GW So God set another day. That day is today. Many years after your ancestors failed to enter that place of rest God spoke about it through David in the passage already quoted: “If you hear God speak today, don’t be stubborn.”

The writer to the Hebrews alluded to Psalm 95:8-11. He reminded Jewish believers of their ancestors demise during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness; due to their unbelief, they failed to enter into God’s rest.

A Quote from the Summarized Bible

Hebrews 4:1-16 ‘…The privileges by Christ under the Gospel are far greater than those enjoyed under the Mosaic law. The seventh day rest commemorating a finished creation, was but a type of heart-rest which is to be had by covenant relation with Jesus Christ, and which is offered to those who will renounce their own works as a means of salvation and put their entire trust in the finished work of the Great High Priest who has passed into the heavens.’

The Judaisers who undermined the teachings of Paul, were subverting the 1st century Church by persuading believers to observe the Law. By adhering to these erroneous teachings, they were in danger of missing the even greater ‘sabbatic rest’ through faith in Christ.

Jesus or Joshua?

Heb 4:8 KJV For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

Heb 4:8 YLT for if Joshua had given them rest, He would not concerning another day have spoken after these things;

Many Bible Translations including the KJV translated ‘Jesus’ instead of ‘Joshua’ (the son of Nun) in Hebrews 4:8 and by so doing jeopardised the context of the passage.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Hebrews 4:8 ‘For if Jesus had given them rest – It is truly surprising that our translators should have rendered the Ιησους of the text Jesus, and not Joshua, who is most clearly intended……. The apostle shows that, although Joshua did bring the children of Israel into the promised land, yet this could not be the intended rest, because long after this time the Holy Spirit, by David, speaks of this rest;…’

Heb 4:9 YLT there doth remain, then, a sabbatic rest to the people of God,

The Greek words ‘katapausis’ and ‘katapauo’ meaning ‘rest’ were used constantly in Hebrews 4. On one occasion, however, in Hebrews 4:9 the Greek word ‘sabbatismos’ was used instead, thereby differentiating between physical rest and the believer’s Sabbath rest found in Jesus.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Hebrews 4:9 ‘There, remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God – It was not, 1. The rest of the Sabbath; it was not, 2. The rest in the promised land, for the psalmist wrote long after the days of Joshua; therefore there is another rest, a state of blessedness, for the people of God; and this is the Gospel, the blessings it procures and communicates, and the eternal glory which it prepares for, and has promised to, genuine believers…’

Heb 4:10-11 YLT for he who did enter into his rest, he also rested from his works, as God from His own. 11 May we be diligent, then, to enter into that rest, that no one in the same example of the unbelief may fall,

The Mosaic Covenant Ended in AD 70

A Quote from Halley’s Bible Handbook

‘Hebrews, One of the objects of this Epistle was, we think, to prepare Jewish Christians for the approaching Fall of Jerusalem. After accepting Jesus as their Messiah, they continued to be zealous for the Temple Rites and Sacrifices, thinking, we suppose, that their Beloved City, under their Messiah’s reign, was about to become Capital of the World. Instead, they were to receive the shock of their lives. By one stroke of the Roman Army the Holy City was to be wiped out, and the Temple Rites cease.’

Forty years after the crucifixion the destruction of the temple ended the Old Covenant Age with its Law and Offerings, the Judaisers fell in the judgement that took place in AD 70.

The 1st century believers who had rested from their works through faith in Christ entered into the New Covenant Age.

Has this Hub challenged you to search the Scriptures?

Conclusion

Eze 20:12 KJV Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.

The Children of Israel received the Sabbath as a sign of the Old Covenant.

Col 2:16 KJV Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Colossians 2:16 ‘Therefore – Seeing these things are so. Let none judge you – That is, regard none who judge you. In meat or drink – For not observing the ceremonial law in these or any other particulars. Or in respect of a yearly feast, the new moon, or the weekly Jewish sabbaths.’ — John Wesley, Explanatory Notes

Prior to the time of Moses there was no reference to Sabbath observance in the Old Testament.

The ‘sabbatismos’ rest promised in Hebrews 4 is redemptive life in Jesus Christ; the believer is to cease from his works and rest in the finished work of Christ.

From the physical aspect, it does make sense to have one day of rest in the week, but it is folly to allow the traditions of men to distract us from the reality of true ‘Sabbatic Rest’.

What do you think?

The Atonement: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus

IMG_3746

Paradise and the Fall, Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) /
Source: Art and the Bible

Introduction

There are many Atonement theories in Christendom today, some emphasise a particular aspect of the Atonement while others do a great disservice to the Lord.

I may be accused of over simplifying the matter, but my intention is to state my understanding of this important doctrine by allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.

Christ Died for Our Sins According to the Scriptures

1Co 15:3-4 KJV For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

The Atonement provided the forgiveness of sins through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, by whom reconciliation between God and ‘man’ became possible.

I will explain my understanding of the important doctrine of Atonement and its crucial link to Jesus our High Priest’s return.

Christ Died for Our Sins According to the Scriptures

1Co 15:3-4 KJV For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

The Atonement provided the forgiveness of sins through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, by whom reconciliation between God and ‘man’ became possible.

The Rite of Sacrifice

To comprehend the rite of sacrifice it is crucial to understand the demands of justice regarding payment for sin, the forfeit of the life of the transgressor.

A sacrificial sin-offering was a substitute for the transgressor, and involved the death of a pure and innocent animal by the shedding of its blood. The sinner should have been the one put to death; but God in His mercy allowed a sacrificial offering, thereby granting life and forgiveness.

The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were a type and foreshadow of the ultimate sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ that would take place at God’s appointed time.

Adam and Eve and the Atonement

The Protoevangelium

Gen 3:15 KJV And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This first prophetic declaration concerning the Messiah in the Scriptures, ‘the Protoevangelium’ or First Gospel, would have been communicated by Adam and Eve to their descendants.

Gen 3:7 KJV And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

The day Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he died spiritually, being cast out from the presence of God and the Garden of Eden. He did not die physically.

Gen 3:21 KJV Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of the first recorded victims of sacrificial death. The Scriptures do not specifically record the Lord’s original instruction to offer animal sacrifices as sin-offerings, although it is interesting to note that the only physical deaths mentioned as a direct result of the fall were those of the animals slain to be a covering for Adam and Eve.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Genesis 3:21 ‘God made coats of skins – It is very likely that the skins out of which their clothing was made were taken off animals whose blood had been poured out as a sin-offering to God; for as we find Cain and Abel offering sacrifices to God, we may fairly presume that God had given them instructions on this head; nor is it likely that the notion of a sacrifice could have ever occurred to the mind of man without an express revelation from God. Hence we may safely infer, 1. That as Adam and Eve needed this clothing as soon as they fell, and death had not as yet made any ravages in the animal world, it is most likely that the skins were taken off victims offered under the direction of God himself, and in faith of Him who, in the fullness of time, was to make an atonement by his death. And it seems reasonable also that this matter should be brought about in such a way that Satan and death should have no triumph, when the very first death that took place in the world was an emblem and type of that death which should conquer Satan, destroy his empire, reconcile God to man, convert man to God, sanctify human nature, and prepare it for heaven.’

Cain and Abel and the Atonement

Gen 4:4 YLT and Abel, he hath brought, he also, from the female firstlings of his flock, even from their fat ones; and Jehovah looketh unto Abel and unto his present,

Abel’s Acceptable Sacrifice

The Lord looked favourably on Abel’s animal sacrifice.

The first mention in Scripture of ‘man’ offering an animal sacrifice is in Genesis 4:4. It is reasonable to contemplate that the acceptable animal sacrifice made by Abel was the result of the concept communicated to him and his brother either directly by the Lord, or through their father Adam who had first hand knowledge of the Lord.

Heb 11:4 KJV By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

According to the writer to the Hebrews, Abel ‘obtained witness that he was righteous’ because his offering was by faith and a contrite heart.

Cain’s Unacceptable Offering

Gen 4:5-7 YLT and unto Cain and unto his present He hath not looked; and it is very displeasing to Cain, and his countenance is fallen. 6 And Jehovah saith unto Cain, `Why hast thou displeasure? and why hath thy countenance fallen? 7 Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.’

Cain’s offering and attitude was unacceptable to the Lord.

A Quote from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary

Genesis 4:7 ‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? — A better rendering is, “Shalt thou not have the excellency”? which is the true sense of the words referring to the high privileges and authority belonging to the first-born in patriarchal times.
sin lieth at the door — sin, that is, a sin offering – a common meaning of the word in Scripture (as in Hos_4:8; 2Co_5:21; Heb_9:28). The purport of the divine rebuke to Cain was this, “Why art thou angry, as if unjustly treated? If thou doest well (that is, wert innocent and sinless) a thank offering would have been accepted as a token of thy dependence as a creature. But as thou doest not well (that is, art a sinner), a sin offering is necessary, by bringing which thou wouldest have met with acceptance and retained the honors of thy birthright.” This language implies that previous instructions had been given as to the mode of worship; Abel offered through faith (Heb_11:4).
unto thee shall be his desire — The high distinction conferred by priority of birth is described (Gen_27:29); and it was Cain’s conviction, that this honor had been withdrawn from him, by the rejection of his sacrifice, and conferred on his younger brother – hence the secret flame of jealousy, which kindled into a settled hatred and fell revenge.’

Gen 4:8 YLT And Cain saith unto Abel his brother, `Let us go into the field;’ and it cometh to pass in their being in the field, that Cain riseth up against Abel his brother, and slayeth him.

The Lord gave Cain the opportunity to repent and make an acceptable ‘sin-offering’, he continued to rebel and as a result he murdered his brother.

1Jn 3:12 KJV Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

The Old Testament contains many types and shadows, Christ being the antitype. To understand the Atonement of Christ it is advantageous to grasp the significance of the Old Covenant sacrificial system.

Moses Coming Down from Mount Sinai

Old Covenant Israel and the Atonement

The Law of Moses

Lev 4:3-4 KJV If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering. 4 And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock’s head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.

Lev 4:12 KJV Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt.

The Law of Moses required the sacrificial victims be free from blemish. An animal’s death did not automatically make a person right with God in some ritualistic way. God provided the means of atonement in the sacrificial system, but the Israelites had to recognise the seriousness of their sin… Leviticus 16:29-30; Micah 6:6-8 They also had to identify themselves personally with the victim that died… Leviticus 1:4

Lev 17:11 KJV For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

During the Old Covenant Age, did the blood of an animal cleanse their sin? Yes it did.

Heb 9:22 KJV And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

The Law of Moses was the fundamental principle by which God continued with them, the taking of a life by the shedding of blood was required when the Old Covenant people broke the Law.

Heb 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Rom 3:25-26 KJV Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Although Old Covenant believers received genuine atonement, the sacrifice of animals was unable to meet the demands of God’s judgement upon sin. A greater sacrifice was necessary, the Lord Jesus Christ… Romans 3:25

The Day of Atonement

Lev 16:34 KJV And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.

The Day of Atonement first began c 1490 BC and was an annual cleansing of all the sins of Israel committed during the course of that year.

Heb 9:11-12 KJV But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

The Great High Priest of the New Covenant was the antitype of the Old Covenant high priest.

Heb 10:8-12 WNT After saying the words I have just quoted, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS OR WHOLE BURNT-OFFERINGS AND SIN-OFFERINGS THOU HAST NOT DESIRED OR TAKEN PLEASURE IN” –all such being offered in obedience to the Law– 9 He then adds, “I HAVE COME TO DO THY WILL.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 It is through that divine will that we have been set free from sin, through the offering of Jesus Christ as our sacrifice once for all. 11 And while every priest stands ministering, day after day, and constantly offering the same sacrifices–though such can never rid us of our sins– 12 this Priest, on the contrary, after offering for sins a single sacrifice of perpetual efficacy, took His seat at God’s right hand,

A Quote from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Hebrews 10:1-10 ‘The apostle having shown that the tabernacle, and ordinances of the covenant of Sinai, were only emblems and types of the gospel, concludes that the sacrifices the high priests offered continually, could not make the worshippers perfect, with respect to pardon, and the purifying of their consciences. But when “God manifested in the flesh,” became the sacrifice, and his death upon the accursed tree the ransom, then the Sufferer being of infinite worth, his free-will sufferings were of infinite value. The atoning sacrifice must be one capable of consenting, and must of his own will place himself in the sinner’s stead: Christ did so. The fountain of all that Christ has done for his people, is the sovereign will and grace of God. The righteousness brought in, and the sacrifice once offered by Christ, are of eternal power, and his salvation shall never be done away. They are of power to make all the comers thereunto perfect; they derive from the atoning blood, strength and motives for obedience, and inward comfort.’

Under the Law of Moses, the sacrifices were ineffectual in that they could not remove sin permanently. However, these were types and shadows of the coming Christ who would be the perfect and final sacrifice for sin.

The ‘Lamb of God’ and the Atonement

The Lamb of God

Joh 1:29 KJV The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Gen 22:8 KJV And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Genesis 22:8 ‘My son, God will provide himself a lamb – Here we find the same obedient unshaken faith for which this pattern of practical piety was ever remarkable. But we must not suppose that this was the language merely of faith and obedience; the patriarch spoke prophetically, and referred to that Lamb of God which He had provided for himself, who in the fullness of time should take away the sin of the world, and of whom Isaac was a most expressive type. All the other lambs which had been offered from the foundation of the world had been such as Men chose and Men offered; but This was the Lamb which God had provided – emphatically, The Lamb Of God.’

Isa 53:7 KJV He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Many Jewish scholars insist that Isaiah 53 does not apply to the Lord Jesus Christ, the suffering Messiah. Instead they claim it was a description of the sufferings of the nation of Israel.

Act 8:32 KJV The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

The Ethiopian eunuch was endeavouring to understand Isaiah 53 when Philip, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, approached him and preached Christ from that very portion of Scripture. The result was the conversion of the ‘eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians’… Acts 8:27

Matthew and the Blood of Christ

Mat 26:28 KJV For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Paul and the Blood of Christ

Eph 1:7 KJV In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Col 1:14 KJV In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Col 1:20 KJV And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

The Writer to the Hebrews and the Blood of Christ

Heb 9:14 KJV How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

John and the Blood of Christ

1Jn 1:7 KJV But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Rev 1:5 KJV And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

The Atonement of Christ is reconciliation by redemption through His blood for the forgiveness of sin.

Gal 3:13 KJV Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

The Lord Jesus was born by supernatural conception and was not tainted with Adam’s sin, having no sin of His own He had no sin counted against Him; therefore death could not hold Him.

When He died as our substitute He ‘bare our sins in His own body on the tree’… 1 Peter 2:24 Isaiah who lived c 700 BC prophesied ‘the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all’… Isaiah 53:6

Lev 17:11 KJV For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

To denigrate the efficacy of the Blood is to attack the integrity of the Scriptures. In recent times, those offended by the preaching of the ‘Blood of Christ’ described Christianity as the ‘slaughterhouse religion’. In fact, a ‘Christian theologian’ created the slogan; I use the term loosely!

Prophetic Fulfilment and the Atonement

Heb 9:7-8 KJV But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

By comparing the Old Covenant high priest with the New Covenant High Priest in Hebrews 9, we discover a clearer understanding of the full and fulfilled atonement.

On the Day of Atonement, the high priest offered an annual blood sacrifice. However, it was not until he descended from the temple, thereby providing evidence of an acceptable sacrifice, could the Children of Israel rejoice having been reconciled for another year… Leviticus 16:16-18

Lev 16:17 KJV And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.

Likewise, Jesus our High Priest had to return to us before our salvation was complete.

The simple fact is, if Jesus our High Priest has not returned from the heavenly ‘temple’, then He has still to finish the work He set out to do. Not only is a 2000 years gap inconceivable it also discredits the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles; His imminent return was their clarion call.

2Co 1:22 KJV Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Heb 6:5 KJV And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

Did the blood of Christ cleanse 1st century believers from sin? Yes it did. Nonetheless, it is necessary to take into account that prior to the parousia in AD 70 there was a ‘transition period’ of 40 years, sometimes referred to as the ‘already, but not yet’. The 1st century believers were sealed and had already tasted the Word of God and the powers of the ‘age’ to come, but until Christ returned in AD 70 they were unable to enter fully into all the blessings of the New Covenant Age.

Heb 9:28 KJV So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

The return of our Prophet, Priest, and King meant the completion of our Salvation.

Dispensationalism’s Dilemma and the Atonement

Through the full and fulfilled atonement of Christ, the Scriptures declare all the types and shadows of the sacrificial system have their antitype in Christ. There is no justifiable reason for reinstating animal sacrifices even as a means of remembrance, as some scholars suggest.

For Dispensationalism to teach the re-establishment of animal sacrifices during a millennium reign of Christ on earth, is not only totally contrary to the Scriptures, it does a great disservice to the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

Not only did Jesus fully atone for sin, no other future sacrifice is required.

A Quote from Charles S Price

Leviticus 17:11 ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the souls.” In the heavens above–in the water beneath–in the world in which we live–there is no atonement for sin except through the blood. From the time when our foreparents in the Garden of Eden were told to make skins with which to cover themselves, unto this day, there has never been ONE SINGLE CASE of atonement for sin without the shedding of blood. The sacrifice of Cain was rejected while the sacrifice of Abel was acceptable to the Lord. In all of the types of priesthood that we discover in Old Testament scripture, there was never any system or method of atonement offered to them except the shedding of blood. Type and antitype must correspond. The life of the body is in the blood–and Jesus shed his precious blood upon Calvary–and thereby gave His life for the atonement of all of our sins.’

We may never fully understand why God in His infinite wisdom chose to do things the way He did. With a thankful heart we rejoice in the fact He has made reconciliation a reality.

That’s my Saviour!

What do you think?

Footnote

The Old Covenant Offerings

Voluntary Offerings

Burnt Offering… Leviticus 1:1-17… for consecration…Romans 12:1
Meat (meal) Offering… Leviticus 2:1-16… offered with the Burnt Offering
Peace Offering… Leviticus 3:1-17… for reconciliation

Compulsory Offerings

Sin Offering… Leviticus 4:1-35… for sins against God
Trespass Offering… Leviticus 5:1-7… for sins against man or holy things

The Book of Revelation was Written Before AD 70

St. John the Evangelist on Patmos Titian 1544 Source Olga's GallerySt John the Evangelist on Patmos, Titian (1544) Source: Olga’s Gallery

Introduction

In my opinion, John received the Revelation prior to AD 70, to encourage and prepare the Church for the events leading to the vision’s imminent fulfilment. I believe therefore, Christ’s second coming described in the Revelation took place during the ‘great and the dreadful day of the Lord’ in AD 70. On that ‘day’ of judgement, Old Covenant Israel ended with the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem; the remaining survivors of the Jewish nation were enslaved and dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. All the Lord’s promises to Old Covenant Israel were fulfilled by AD 70, with the establishment of the New Covenant Age.

Futurists, Dispensationalism in particular, adamantly oppose this view by insisting on a post-AD 70 date, in an attempt to refute Preterism. However, the AD 95 date is heavily dependent on the writings of certain Church Fathers, primarily a 2nd century quotation taken from the writing of Irenaeus, found in the works of Eusebius, Book 5, and Chapter 8.

I will attempt to explain why I am convinced the pre-AD 70 date is the correct one, by allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. Thereby, affirming the Revelation was a vision of the destruction of Old Covenant Israel, not an apocalyptic event 2000 years later.

Irenaeus’ Quote: the only Grounds for the Late Date Theory

‘We, therefore, do not venture to affirm anything with certainty respecting the name of antichrist. For were it necessary that his name should be clearly announced to the present age, it would have been declared by him who saw the revelation. For it has not been long since it was seen, but almost in our own generation, about the end of Domitian’s reign.’ (Irenaeus, Against Heresies).

I fail to understand why most scholars today confidently date the Revelation around AD 95 based on the above quote. The source of the statement is from a Latin translation, which does not instil confidence in its accuracy. I can only conclude it accommodates their ‘end times’ theory.

Several Church Fathers also wrote that Domitian (AD 51-AD 96) was Roman Emperor when John received the Revelation. However, it is possible that they too based their information on the writings of Irenaeus.

The Word of God is our final authority and it makes sense to search the Scriptures to find the answer, rather than depend on an ambiguous quote passed down by the Church Fathers.

Hebrews 12:22-24 and the Revelation

Heb 12:22-24 KJV But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

The Epistle to the Hebrews AD 61-63 (Halley) includes quotes from the Revelation. The writer and the Hebrew believers were obviously familiar with the Revelation given to John.

IMG_0104On the Epistle to the Hebrews: ‘In short, it is placed beyond all reason-able doubt that since the author of the Apocalypse cannot be supposed to have drawn his description from the epistle, the writer of the epistle must have derived his ideas and imagery from the Apocalypse.’ — James Stuart Russell (1816-1895)

James 1:12 and the Revelation

James is also worthy of mention because of one small but significant gem of information.

‘the Lord hath promised’ The Epistle of James AD 60 (Halley) contains the only reference to the Revelation’s ‘crown of life’. James referred to the promise of Jesus to the Church at Smyrna!

Is it unreasonable to suggest the Apostle James had read the Revelation?

2 Peter 2:15 and the Revelation

Nicolaus in Greek has the same meaning as Balaam in Hebrew; John called the followers of Balaam, ‘Nicolaitans’.

The dilemma troubling the Revelation’s Church at Pergamos was the same issue addressed in the epistles of Peter and Jude. Peter even included Asia amongst others on his mailing list… 1 Peter 1:1 He wrote that some were ‘following the way of Balaam’ which was precisely the charge against the Nicolaitans in the Revelation!

Since the AD 67 (Halley) date is attributed to 2nd Peter and Jude, the early date for the Revelation can hardly be denied.

This proves the Revelation is not a ‘stand alone’ book in the Bible; it played a significant part in the pre-AD 70 Church.

Caesar Nero and the Revelation

Rev 17:10 KJV And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

The Historian Suetonius’ Chronology of the Emperors

‘five are fallen’ Julius; Augustus; Tiberius; Gaius/Caligula; Claudius
‘and one is’ John wrote in the present tense, Nero was ruling at the time John wrote the Revelation. Nero was Roman Emperor from AD 54 – AD 68.

‘the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space’ Galba ruled only a matter of months. He was the first of the ‘year of the four emperors’ in AD 69, which was a time ‘of wars and rumours of wars’… Matthew 24:6

Four Emperors ruled in remarkably quick succession, which was evidence of the turmoil in the Roman Empire leading to AD 70: Galba; Otho; Vitellius; Vespasian

The Temple and the Revelation

Rev 11:1 KJV And there was given me a reed like unto a rod:and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

Revelation 11 ‘The reference to Jerusalem and the Temple in chapter 11 seems clearly to imply their existence at the time the Book was written; and this, together with the expectation of Christ’s speedy second coming, accords well with the early date. If this view be correct the Revelation was the first of John’s Writings, not the last, though its subject-matter naturally gives it its place as the conclusion of the New Testament and of all revelation.’ — W Graham Scroggie, DD (Edin), Know Your Bible

John was to measure the temple, the altar, and them that worshipped, which strongly implies the temple was still standing when he wrote the Revelation.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 11:1 ‘And there was given me a reed – See Eze_40:3, etc. Measure the temple of God – This must refer to the temple of Jerusalem; and this is another presumptive evidence that it was yet standing. Revelation 11:2 ‘ But the court – is given unto the Gentiles – The measuring of the temple probably refers to its approaching destruction, and the termination of the whole Levitical service; and this we find was to be done by the Gentiles, (Romans), who were to tread it down forty-two months; i.e., just three years and a half, or twelve hundred and sixty days. This must be a symbolical period.’

The measuring rod was a building term. The rod was for the demolition as well as the construction of a building. Metaphorically, the temple awaited its impending destruction.

2Ki 21:13 KJV And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.
2 King 21:10-13 is an example of building terms used in times of judgement and destruction.

A Quote from John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

2 Kings 21:13 ‘And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria,…. The Targum is, the line of destruction; and the sense is, that the same measure should be measured to Jerusalem as was to Samaria; that is, the same lot and portion should befall one as the other, that is, be utterly destroyed: and the plummet of the house of Ahab; the Targum is, the weight or plummet of tribulation; signifying, that the same calamities should come upon the families of Jerusalem, and especially on the family of Manasseh as came upon the family of Ahab. It is a metaphor from builders that take down as well as raise up buildings by rule and measure, see 2Sa_8:2.’

Rev 11:2 KJV But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

A Quote from Easton’s Bible Dictionary

‘Several remains of Herod’s stately temple have by recent explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer court, called “the court of the Gentiles,” intended for the use of strangers of all nations. These two courts were separated by a low wall, as Josephus states, some 4 1/2 feet high, with thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the Jews.’

It has been suggested by those who promote the AD 95 date of the Revelation that the temple in John’s vision was not Herod’s temple, since it was destroyed in AD 70. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note John’s reference to the Court of the Gentiles, which was an extravagant addition, commissioned by Herod. Therefore, it is likely John saw Herod’s temple in the Revelation.

Forty and Two Months and the Revelation

‘to scatter the power of the holy people’ Daniel prophesied a sign of the end Old Covenant Israel would be the dispersion of the nation. History records that catastrophe occurred in AD 70.

forty and two months’ Daniel also prophesied it would be accomplished during ‘a time, times, and an half’, which most commentators agree that in prophetic language a ‘time’ is one year, ‘times’ is two years, and ‘half’ is half a year, equivalent to forty-two months.

Luk 21:24 KJV And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

During the Olivet discourse, Jesus foretold the events leading to the destruction of the temple, Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the people in AD 70. He also taught this national calamity was the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 12:7.

Rev 11:2 KJV But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread underfoot forty and two months.

Jesus affirmed in the Revelation the timeline of Daniel’s prophecy, which was exactly the duration of the pre-AD 70 Jewish-Roman War. Therefore, the Revelation existed before the destruction of the temple. Albert Barnes made the following insightful observation:

Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Matthew 24:15 ‘The abomination of desolation – This is a Hebrew expression, meaning an abominable or hateful destroyer. The Gentiles were all held in abomination by the Jews, Act_10:28. The abomination of desolation means the Roman army, and is so explained by Luk_21:20. The Roman army is further called the “abomination” on account of the images of the emperor, and the eagles, carried in front of the legions, and regarded by the Romans with divine honors.

Spoken of by Daniel the prophet – Dan_9:26-27; Dan_11:31; Dan_12:11, see the notes at those passages.

Standing in the holy place – Mark says, standing where it ought not,” meaning the same thing. All Jerusalem was esteemed “holy,” Mat_4:5. The meaning of this is, when you see the Roman armies standing in the holy city or encamped around the temple, or the Roman ensigns or standards in the temple. Josephus relates that when the city was taken, the Romans brought their idols into the temple, and placed them over the eastern gate, and sacrificed to them there, “Jewish Wars,” b. 6 chapter 6, section 1.

Whoso readeth … – This seems to be a remark made by the evangelist to direct the attention of the reader particularly to the meaning of the prophecy by Daniel.’

The Imminent Factor and the Revelation

The Revelation predicated the Lord’s imminent return. So why do most Bible commentators ignore or misinterpret what is clearly in the Scriptures?

The Lord made it transparently clear on four occasions in the first chapter and four times in the final chapter. In my opinion, it impugns the intelligence of believers to teach and adamantly maintain the Revelation applies to a generation in the far and distant future!

It would have been cruel to say the least, if the Lord gave the Revelation to John for the encouragement of believers, during a time of great tribulation and persecution under the Emperor Nero, containing a message of His imminent glorious return, knowing the event would not transpire for thousands of years.

The AD 95 Factor

If the correct date of the Revelation is AD 95, what major imminent event took place within months or a few years of its publication? The answer is none!

‘Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of’ Jesus in His reply to James and John explicitly predicted their martyrdom. Did Jesus get it wrong? Of course, He did not.

Topography and the Revelation

(Topography: the study of the detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area, district, or locality.)

Joh 5:2 KJV Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

Most theologians assign all John’s writings to AD 90-95. If scriptural evidence for a pre-AD 70 date were available, academic credibility would be seriously in question. Topography provides an irrefutable argument for the pre-AD 70 date of John’s Gospel.

John told of a pool by the sheep gate called ‘Bethesda, having five porches’. This is a significant statement because the destruction of the porches took place in AD 70.

In John 5:2, John clearly stipulated ‘there is at Jerusalem’ not ‘there was at Jerusalem’. If he had written his Gospel in AD 95 he would not have used the present tense, therefore, John must have written prior to AD 70. See C H Dodd’s Historical Tradition In The Fourth Gospel, for further study along this line.

The following is a must read for skeptics who claim the Pool of Bethesda never existed:

A Quote from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

‘The discipline of biblical archaeology and its resulting discoveries are forcing Jesus Research to undergo a paradigm shift. It is challenging the skeptic scholar because the recent discoveries of the Pool of Bethesda and Pool of Siloam demonstrate that the author of the Gospel of John knew intimate details of pre-70 AD Jerusalem that even Josephus failed to know or mention. He also knew things about Jerusalem that we did not know ten years ago. “The accuracy of the Johannine information is clearly established,” writes Urban C. von Wahlde, Professor of Theology at Loyola University of Chicago, in his work Jesus and Archaeology. John can no longer be read as strictly a theological work comprised of invented stories to illustrate its theological truths. Moreover, biblical archaeology is proving edifying to the passionate believer who can now point with confidence to the excavated Pool of Bethesda and say, “Jesus healed a disabled man here.” Or, they can sit on the steps of the Pool of Siloam, read John 9 and imagine how the story unfolded before their very eyes, bolstering their faith in the Light of the world.’

https://int.icej.org/news/special-reports/jerusalem-finds-validating-gospel-john

John 5:2 ‘There is in Jerusalem – Hence it appears, that St. John wrote his Gospel before Jerusalem was destroyed: it is supposed about thirty years after the ascension. Having five porticos – Built for the use of the sick. Probably the basin had five sides! Bethesda signifies the house of mercy.’ — John Wesley, Explanatory Notes

Christ’s Olivet Prophecy

The Jewish people suffered the ultimate calamity when the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed in AD 70. Additionally, the nation suffered defeat, devastation, and humiliation; the survivors were dispersed and enslaved throughout the Roman Empire. Yet, John failed to mention the fulfilment of Christ’s Olivet prophecy!

A Quote from John A T Robinson (1919-1983)

Robinson commented further saying ‘the silence is nevertheless as significant as the silence for Sherlock Holmes of the dog that did not bark’.

Speaking more specifically on John’s Gospel, Robinson wrote ‘there is nothing that suggests or presupposes that the temple is already destroyed or that Jerusalem is in ruins’.

A Quote from Robert Young’s Concise Commentary on the Holy Bible

‘The Gospel of John was most probably written at Ephesus, A.D. 68, and, judging from the comparative purity of its Greek, after the composition of the ‘Revelation’ in Patmos.’

The post-AD 70 date for the writings of John was never an option for the highly respected translator and theologian Robert Young (1822-1888).

John’s Demise and the Revelation

Joh 21:22 KJV Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

Not only is there conflict of opinion over the dating of the Revelation, the year of John’s demise is also open to question.

‘If I will that he tarry till I come’ Many Futurist scholars misrepresent John 21:22 in a vain attempt to support their view that John lived into old age and wrote the Revelation in AD 95. If Jesus has not yet returned and John has died, then Jesus’ prediction failed.

Mar 10:37-39 KJV They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:

‘Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of’ Jesus in His reply to James and John explicitly predicted their martyrdom. Did Jesus get it wrong? Of course He didn’t. Personally, I believe it is reasonable to suggest John did not live to old age, but suffered martyrdom during the ‘great tribulation’ prior to AD 70.

A Quote from Robertson’s Word Pictures

Mark 10:38 ‘Or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with (ē to baptisma ho egō baptizomai baptisthēnai). Cognate accusative with both passive verbs. Mat 20:22 has only the cup, but Mark has both the cup and the baptism, both referring to death. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane will refer to his death again as “the cup” (Mar 14:36; Mat 26:39; Luk 22:42). He had already used baptism as a figure for his death (Luk 12:50). Paul will use it several times (1Cor 15:29; Rom 6:3-6; Col 2:12).’

Post Apostolic Writing and the Revelation

According to Paul, he fulfilled the great commission during his lifetime, if the AD 95 date of the Revelation were correct it would be post apostolic literature.

Why would it be necessary to unveil the Revelation after the New Testament was complete? … Acts 17:6; Romans 1:8; Romans 16:25-26; Colossians 1:5-6

A Quote from Robert Young’s Concise Commentary on the Holy Bible (1865)

Introduction to The Revelation

‘It was written in Patmos (about A.D. 68), whither John had been banished by Domitius Nero, as stated in the title of the Syriac Version of the Book; and with this concurs the express statement of Irenaeus (A.D. 175), who says it happened in the reign of Domitianou, i.e. Domitius (Nero). Sulpicius Severus, Orosius, &c., stupidly mistaking Domitianou for Domitianikos, supposed Irenaeus to refer to Domitian, A.D. 95, and most succeeding writers have fallen into the same blunder. The internal testimony is wholly in favour of the earlier date. The temple at Jerusalem was still standing (ch. 11.1-10); the exact duration of the siege is foretold, viz., 42 months, 31/2 years, or 1260 days; the two witnesses are to be slain in the city where our Lord was crucified; Nero was reigning at the time, for it is said of the seven kings of Rome; ‘five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come, and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.’ The five kings are Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius. The ‘one who is ‘ is Nero; the one who ‘must continue for a short space’ is Galba, who reigned only seven months. Everywhere the events are ‘to come quickly,’ lit. ‘with haste,’ or speed (ch. 1.1; 2.16; 3.11; 11.14; 22.7, 12, 20). The escape of the Christian Jews from Jerusalem to Pella is undoubtedly referred to in ch. 7.1-8, compared with Mat. 24.30.’

Conclusion

Contrary to popular opinion, although the Revelation is the last book in the Bible it does not mean it was the last book written. The books of the Bible are not in chronological order.

Having examined the Scriptures in support of the pre-AD 70 date, ask yourself this question:

Can I risk misinterpreting the Scriptures on an ambiguous statement taken from the writings of Irenaeus, or should I allow Scripture to interpret Scripture?

Either way our answer will have a profound effect on our understanding of the New Testament.

What do you think?