Prophecy – Axiom 1
Deuteronomy 28-30 is prophecy. God is on the verge of granting Israel new life. He has given Israel instructions on how to live. The rest is up to Israel herself. The universal church is hardly united on how to comprehend prophetic passages. Should you find yourself disagreeing with anything in today’s extended comment, take comfort that there are a host of good men and women who agree with you, and who disagree with me. I do not think myself obliged to tell all sides of the story; rather, it is adequate that I alert you that there are other positions, and that these other positions are held by people whose spiritual regeneration is not up for dispute. And I trust that they could write the same words about me.
Within Deuteronomy, there is no need to introduce terms such as pretrib, midtrib, amil, or postmil. These are all Church terms. Deuteronomy – as well as the entire Old Testament – discusses history (both past history and future history) from an Israel-only perspective.
That said notwithstanding, two axioms deserve mention:
· Axiom 1: Biblical prophecy is NOT being fulfilled today.
I firmly believe that Jesus Christ may return any minute. He may return before I finish typing this sentence. [Pause…. Or maybe He won’t.] There is no event remaining on the prophetic calendar that I can point to and say that Jesus Christ must defer His return until that particular prophecy has been fulfilled.
Following Christ’s ascendance, Jesus was capable of returning at will. I will concede a transition period. There are at least two events to occur in this transition period:
1. In John 21:18-19, Jesus shares with Peter the details of his death – though He does not share them with us. Had Peter bothered to reason it out, he might have discerned that Jesus could not have returned in his lifetime.
2. Jesus foretells the leveling of Jerusalem in Matthew 24:2. Nobody of any stripe disputes history’s recording that this was fulfilled in the year 70.
But from the year 71, all the way through the year 2012, and possibly beyond, the times have been fully ripe for Jesus to return. Nothing has occurred that will make the times more fully ripe for His return. No prophesied event remains unfulfilled that requires Jesus to defer. The next event in prophecy is either the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) or the cleaving of the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). It is not necessary for me to disclose which of the two I believe will occur first.
To those of you mentally preparing a rebuttal based on Israel’s regathering in 1948, 1948 was a non-event on the prophetic timeline. The most obvious demonstration that it was a non-event is to go back in time. Leila Morris’ hymn, “What if it were today?” celebrates its 100th birthday this year:
As the Churches of Philadelphia were praising God in hymn, should I have interrupted their worship service and preached, “Jesus cannot possibly come today. The Bible says that Israel must first be regathered.”?
There are other reasons to regard 1948 as a non-event prophetically. 1948 was a creation of Winston Churchill and David ben-Gurion. Israel will one day be regathered, but her regathering will be an act of God (Deuteronomy 30:3). And if you read the prophetic account of Israel’s regathering in Deuteronomy 30:1-8, the events of 1948 to the present day do not match.
Some people read the modern automobile as a fulfillment of Nahum 2:4. Ordinarily, I would take no position on that one: If the modern auto fulfills the prophecy of Nahum 2:4, fine; if it does not, then that is fine too. But I allow nothing in Nahum 2:4 that permits one from the 19th century to claim that Christ must defer His return until after Henry Ford does his thing. Finally on this point, there is a class of prophecy that might be being fulfilled today – the wars, rumors of wars, earthquake passage. The concession acknowledges the vagueness of the prophecy so that no man can protest Jesus’ return on the basis that we still need a few more earthquakes to fulfill Jesus’ earthquake prophecy.
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