Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
July 27, 2016
Last Updated :
July 27, 2016
Stubborn Resistance: New Wine Must Be Poured Into New Bottles, The Dangers Of Following The Doctrines And Traditions Of Men, Willful Blindness To The Truth, Our Personal Responsibility To Study The Scriptures, Don't Make Forced Interpretations Of The Scriptures, New Questions As A Result Of This Truth, Discouraged By This Truth, Grave Responsibility Of Teaching God's Word, Questions From The Futurists, I Don't Have All The Answers, God's Word Is Settled Forever, Countless False Predictions Regarding Christ's Return, Spend Time In God's Word, Deceived By Our Own Choice When We Reject God's Word, Kingdom Of God Comes Without Observation And Is Spiritual In Nature, Futurists Want Physical Evidence So Don't Believe The Kingdom Of God Has Already Arrived, The Nature Of True Faith, Futurists Chop Up And Extend Parts of Ancient Prophecies Into The Distant Future, Daniel's 70th Week Was Already Fulfilled, Flesh And Blood Cannot Inherit The Kingdom Of God, It Is All Spiritual In Nature, Do Christians Go To Heaven Or To The New Earth?, Other Ages Since Prophetic Age Of The Apostles, About My Articles, Harvest Of Souls: The Rapture, Harvest Of Wrath
Despite all of the Scriptural evidence which I have provided in this controversial series, which in my view confirms what I have stated here, as I noted in part one, there will still be many Christians who will soundly reject these truths. Not only will such people reject what is plainly stated in the Scriptures, but they will accuse me of being a liar, a false prophet, and a misguided deceiver. Some of my online friends may very well unfriend me as well. Why will they do these things? Once again, a clear answer is found in God's Word. Consider the following verses:
"No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."
Matthew 9:16-17, KJV
"No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles."
Mark 2:21-22, KJV
"And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better."
Luke 5:36-39, KJV
". . . Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."
Matthew 15:6, KJV
"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men . . . Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition . . . Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."
Mark 7:7-13, KJV
"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
1 Corinthians 2:4-5, KJV
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8, KJV
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
2 Timothy 4:3-4, KJV
Thus, despite what I have shared in this series, some of my readers will cling to their current beliefs regarding the Return of Jesus Christ. They will refuse to accept -- just as I did for many years -- that what they believe is simply wrong. They have been so heavily indoctrinated, and in fact brainwashed by the Futurist theological perspective, that it will be too difficult for them to accept that Jesus has already returned. They will cling to the false hope that He is going to return during their lifetimes. In my opinion, it amounts to willful blindness, after having heard the truth.
If you are one of such people, believe me, I sympathize with you. After all, I clung to that same hope for forty years of my life. As I explained earlier, I was totally convinced of what I believed. I also waited for the very same sequence of prophetic events -- such as a Third Temple being built on the Temple Mount, a Seven-Year Holy Covenant, the arrival of the Antichrist, etc. -- just as you probably do right now. That is in fact the Futurist belief package. However, once the Lord began to open my eyes and reveal the true meaning of certain Scriptures, I simply could not rebel against it or reject it. I had to accept it. What about you?
The irony of this current situation is that those very same truths have always been there. They have been there in black and white for us English speakers every since people such as John Wycliffe and William Tyndale began to translate God's Word into our native language. The problem -- as I have said so many times before -- is that instead of reading the Bible for ourselves, and asking God for spiritual guidance in our understanding, we have relied upon organized religion, and modern Bible teachers and preachers of every persuasion -- and they are indeed many -- to tell us the truth. To that I say the following:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, AND SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY, WHETHER THOSE THINGS WERE SO."
Acts 17:10-11, KJV
Let me say again that we cannot make forced interpretations of the Scriptures. We must accept them for exactly what they say. As I have taught for a long time now, when we possess a proper understanding of God's Word, verses and meanings will just flow together in harmony, without us having to try to force them together. We just can't twist, distort or pervert certain verses so that they seem to support our particular doctrines and what we want to believe. I have not done that in this series. I have shown you word-for-word, verbatim, what Jesus and the Apostles said, taught and believed. I have likewise relied in part on the original meanings of certain Greek words, as as well on the actual historical record to prove some of these points, such as the Roman invasion and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD.
As I said at the beginning of this series, it would probably create many new questions in your mind, just as it provides clear answers to other questions you have probably wondered about for a very long time. After all, suddenly realizing that Jesus returned two thousand years ago just as He had promised to do, really turns our beliefs topsy-turvy, does it not? So it is only natural that you are now confronted with a list of new questions to ponder in your mind and heart.
I also realize that for many of my Christian friends, what I have shared here may very well result in a very heavy degree of discouragement, because it dashes a hope which you have clung to for so long; that is, the hope of Jesus Christ's imminent or near-future return during your lifetime. I am truly sorry, but there is nothing that I can really do about that, because the truth is the truth, and God's Word remains the sole and final authority in the lives of we Christians. Furthermore, I too was forced to deal with this realization, and for a time it discouraged me as well. Perhaps even more so in my case, because not only did I utterly believe in the imminent return of Jesus Christ for so many years of my life, but I have taught the very same thing to others as well. I am reminded of this verse:
"My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."
James 3:1, KJV
Please note that while the word "masters" is used in the previous verse, it is in fact translated from the Greek word "didaskalos", which is likewise translated as "teachers" in other verses which are found in the New Testament. Teaching God's Word is very serious business which should not be taken lightly. The Scriptures need to be handled with extreme care. Clearly, this is one thing which we are definitely not seeing on the Internet. The way in which certain "wannabe prophets" carelessly toss around verses and sloppily interpret the Word is alarming. I have observed it for years now, and it causes me to shake my head.
At any rate, if I am right about all of these things, even if Jesus isn't returning during our lifetimes as many of us have expected, should it really make a difference in how we live, think or feel? Shouldn't we continue living for the Lord to the best of our ability? Shouldn't we continue to share the message of Salvation with others if that is our particular calling? In the end, we are all still going to go to our Heavenly Reward, whatever it is. Instead of allowing ourselves to become discouraged, perhaps we should do the exact opposite and be encouraged to know that we have more time to serve the Lord. Personally, I still have a lot of work to do for the Lord, so I am glad that He is not taking me Home just yet.
As I mentioned earlier, despite all of the Scriptures I have shared in this series, many Futurist Christians will probably continue to cling to their "Jesus-is-coming-at-any-moment" mentality, and will probably begin firing off the usual line of questioning -- such as the following questions -- in order to convince themselves that they are still right, and what I have stated here is wrong:
1. If Jesus has already returned and set up His Kingdom, why is the Earth still in such a hell of a mess? It looks like the Devil still rules this place.
2. Where is this Kingdom? I certainly don't see it anywhere.
3. If Jesus returned two thousand years ago, shouldn't we be living on the New Earth with new heavens by now?
4. Where is the Heavenly City, New Jerusalem? Shouldn't it be on the Earth by now?
My friends, I will be completely honest with you. I do not pretend to have all of the answers. In fact, at this current time, I probably have just as many unanswered questions as you do. With this Scriptural revelation regarding the timing of Jesus Christ's Return, my personal belief system has been turned upside-down just as much as yours has. So many things which I have assumed to be true for so many years have to be discarded. In a prophetic sense, the result is obviously a huge vacuum in my personal understanding. Perhaps with time, as I continue to delve into the Scriptures, my understanding will be broadened, and I'll be able to provide more concrete answers to some of the questions which have now been created in your and my mind. No doubt, it will be a slow process.
However, let me emphasize how important it is that we do not reject this new understanding, just because it results in a lot of new unanswered questions. God's Word is God's Word; and as we read in the Old Testament, it is indeed settled forever in Heaven:
". . . For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven."
Psalms 119:89, KJV
Thus, if the Prophets of the Old Testament, Jesus, and the Apostles and Disciples of the New Testament all wrote about, said, taught, believed and anticipated that Jesus would come back sometime during the First Century at the conclusion of that Prophetic Age, then that is what we must also choose to believe as well, even if we don't quite understand it all, and even if it creates a lot of new questions in our minds. That is called having faith in God's Word. The only other option is to remain deceived by the Futurist theological perspective which erroneously claims that the Lord has not returned yet. Let me remind you again of a verse which I shared with you in part one:
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving,and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13, KJV
Really stop and think about this. In your lifetime alone, how many different churches, denominations, organizations and individuals have made some kind of prediction or any kind of statement regarding the imminent return of Jesus Christ? They are countless, aren't they? In fact, even before you and I were ever born, these kinds of prophetic predictions were being made. However, it is an absolute glaring fact that to our own embarrassment, not one single one of them has ever proven to be true or correct. Thanks to misguided men and women of God, we have made ourselves the laughing stock of the world, without any help from our enemies. What a sad statement that makes about our faith.
So why have all of those predictions been so wrong? Now, of course, some of the promoters of the Futurist perspective will more than likely argue something like "Well, they just misunderstood the Scriptures. It just isn't time for Jesus to return yet." I'm sorry, but that is not what all of those previous verses tell me. They tell me that the Lord already returned two millennia ago, and that is why every single one of those predictions has been wrong, wrong, wrong.
Now, regarding some of those previous Futurist questions, what I can tell you is the following. For quite some time now, I have considered the possibility that this deception on our part regarding the correct time frame for Christ's Return, is in some cases our own fault. Yes, we can point to all of the misguided Futurist Bible teachers and preachers who have pounded into our brains for many decades now, the belief that Jesus is coming back at any moment now, or at least in the near future. We can blame them if we so desire.
However, as I pointed out earlier, the bottom line is that we each have a personal responsibility to seek out the truth for ourselves. We spend so much time online, or watching TV, or watching movies, or playing games on our mobile phone, or reading books, or going to sports events, or doing so many other things; yet how much time do we dwell in God's Word? Of course we are going to be ignorant of the truth if we do not even take the time to diligently study the Scriptures. For many Christians who do know God's Word, in some cases, our sin has been that we have knowingly rejected some of it, because it does not agree with what we want to believe.
More to the point, in my view, one of the big reasons why we have become deceived by the Futurist theological perspective is because in some cases, we have rejected what is plainly stated in the Scriptures regarding the nature of the Kingdom of God. The previous four-point list offers clear evidence of this. In other words, if we truly believe the Scriptures, we wouldn't even be making such comments. Do you know why? Here is your answer, straight from the Bible:
"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, THE KINGDOM OF GOD COMETH NOT WITH OBSERVATION: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
Luke 17:20-21, KJV
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
John 4:24, KJV
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV
In short, many aspects of the Futurist perspective are based on physical observation and physical realities. Futurists want to see the Kingdom of God physically here and now, on the Earth -- on this Earth -- in the flesh. However, as you can see from the previous set of verses, such expectations appear to be totally contrary to the Scriptures, and to what Jesus plainly taught regarding the true nature of the Kingdom of God. Futurists soundly reject the idea that Jesus already returned and set up His Kingdom, simply because they cannot see any evidence of it. Thus, because their physical senses cannot detect it, they conclude that it must not be true. Is that true faith? Consider these verses:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen . . . But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Hebrews 11:1, 6, KJV
As I said earlier, I don't claim to have all of the answers. I am trying to sort out all of this new information just as much as you are. At best, right now, all I can tell you is that I have a working theory in progress. In fact, I have pondered some of these ideas for quite some time now, years in fact. It goes something like the following:
If we accept the plain black and white truth of all of the Scriptural evidence which I have presented in this series, and if we also accept what Jesus taught regarding the nature of the Kingdom of God, then the logical conclusion is that not only did Jesus return during the late First Century as He said He would do, but He also set up His Kingdom at that time as well. That means that He has been ruling it, along with the Apostles and other Elders, ever since that time. It simply does not make any sense that the Lord would claim His Kingdom two thousand years ago, and then do nothing.
This is precisely one of the problems with the Futurist way of thinking. They cut up, and chop up, and slice and dice certain prophecies -- such as the 70th week of the "Seventy Weeks" prophecy -- and stretch out certain events into the distant future, so that it neatly fits into their personal interpretation of Bible prophecy, and their particular expectations for the future. That is precisely why so many Futurist Christians believe in and accept a so-called "Last Seven Years" scenario, which includes a third Jewish temple, the rise of the Antichrist, the signing of a Holy Covenant, the Abomination of Desolation, the Great Tribulation, the Rapture, and the Return of Jesus Christ. For all those years, I did too, so I know exactly what I am talking about here.
As I already pointed out to you earlier, as far as I know, the "Seventy Weeks" prophecy was fulfilled in the 490-year Prophetic Age that ended around 70 to 73 AD. It was one long continuous period of time which began during the reign of King Artaxerxes. Contrary to what modern Futurists believe, I have come to accept that the 70th week of that Prophetic Age was fulfilled by all of the tragic events which occurred during the seven-year First Jewish-Roman War, which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by General Titus, and which culminated with the Return of Jesus Christ. I no longer believe that the 70th week is a final seven-year period -- which some Christians refer to as the "Last Seven Years" or the Great Tribulation -- which is yet to occur in our future. I now view it as a deception and false doctrine.
Furthermore, based on the events which are described in the Book of Revelation, and the amount of time which has passed since the First Century, we might also conclude that not only are both the New Earth and the new heavens already in existence, but the Heavenly City called New Jerusalem has already descended upon the New Earth as well. Remember again what Jesus said:
"The kingdom of god cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
Luke 17:21, KJV
So again, just because we cannot physically see it does not mean that it does not already exist. If these things don't come with physical observation, then as Jesus plainly told us, they must exist in the Spirit World. It is a spiritual Kingdom, with spiritual inhabitants, living on a spiritual world, in a spiritual city, who worship God, who as Jesus plainly told us, is a Spirit. As you may know, the Apostle Paul completely agreed with what Jesus said in John 6:63 above. Paul wrote the following:
"Now this I say, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
1 Corinthians 15:50, KJV
So none of it is flesh and blood. None of it is physical. That is why we cannot see any of it, despite the fact that it already exists. Maybe it is simply another dimension, or another plane of existence, or a parallel spiritual world which co-exists with our physical world. Perhaps they even exist side-by-side. I really don't know for certain. In fact, for some years now, I have considered the possibility that when Christians die, they do not go to Heaven, as is commonly believed by millions of Believers. Now before you become alarmed by such a statement, let me tell you why -- or show you why -- I entertain this possibility:
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God."
Revelation 21:2-3, KJV
As you can see, Heaven -- and thus God -- come down to dwell with men. The Heavenly Headquarters -- a.k.a. the Heavenly City, or New Jerusalem -- settles upon the New Earth. Thus, I am leaning towards the belief that if the entire Book of Revelation has already been fulfilled -- please note that I am not absolutely certain yet regarding this point -- then perhaps when we Christian die, we don't actually shoot up to the stars to some place in the distant Universe. Perhaps we are simply transported to the New Earth, wherever it happens to be located. That is the great mystery, isn't it? Exactly where is it, assuming that it already exists in the Spirit Realm?
In fact, for some time now, I have likewise wondered if the harvest of souls which is briefly described for us in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, might possibly be a process which has been ongoing down through the ages, since the Prophetic Age that ended during the First Century. Consider these verses:
"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped."
Revelation 14:14-16, KJV
That there have been other ages since the completion of the "Seventy Weeks" prophecy so long ago, seems to be indicated by a verse which I shared with you earlier in this series. The Apostle Paul wrote as follows:
"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 2:7, KJV
So, while the 490-year Prophetic Age in which Paul and the other Apostles and Disciples lived came to an end, time has continued to march on, and there have apparently been other ages since then, during which God has performed His Will. Whether or not the harvest that is described in Revelation chapter fourteen is an ongoing process, or a one-time event, I am really not certain at this point. As with other things I have stated in this series, some events simply are not very clear for those of us who live at this current time. Because we do not have a lot of additional information to go by, at times, all we can do is speculate and wonder out loud.
On a related note, please understand that everything I say in my articles should not be taken or interpreted as strict doctrine. My articles are not only my way of sharing what I firmly believe, but they are likewise my way of thinking out loud, and pondering things that may possibly be true. Oft times, I share ideas with my readers which I myself am still considering, and which I am not sure of yet. Please keep this point in mind as you read my body of work. Thank you.
Returning to our previous topic, allow me to also add that being as the harvest of souls in Revelation chapter fourteen is immediately followed by the harvest of wrath, I suspect that what may actually be described there is the Rapture of the Saints near or at the end of that 490-year Prophetic Age. In other words, somewhere between 70 and 73 AD. This event was immediately followed by God's Wrath being poured upon those people who remained behind. This becomes evident by this group of verses:
"And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."
Revelation 14:17-20, KJV
In fact, the previous verses are directly related to verses which I shared with you earlier in part five. Here they are again for your personal consideration:
"The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the [age]; and the reapers are the angels . . . So shall it be at the end of the [age]: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,"
Matthew 13:39, 49, KJV
Please go to part seven for the conclusion of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .