Copyright 1994 - 2023 Bill's Bible Basics
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August 28, 2016
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August 28, 2016
Ages Old Question: At What Point Are We In Bible Prophecy?, My Personal Quest For Scriptural Truth, Birth Of The Bill's Bible Basics Online Ministry, Available BBB Study Resources, Knowledge Puffeth Up: Error Of Assuming We Understand A Lot, Power And Deception Of The Futurist Theological Perspective, Towing The Futurist Party Line, Blinded By Futurism, Being Ostracized And Persecuted Because Of The Truth, I Re-examine My Beliefs, Fulfilled Prophecies Belonging To Distant Past, Ubiquity Of Futurist Doctrinal Propaganda, Depth Of Futurist Deception, My Choice: Embrace Scriptural Truth Or Else Stay Deceived, Not In The Chronological Prophetic Place That Many Christians Think We Are, My Longtime Dedication To KJV Bible, KJV Bible Is Inspired But Not Inerrant, Basic Premise Of The Futurist Theology, Why Futurists Believe As They Do, Olivet Discourse And End Of The World, Greek "Kosmos" Translated As "World", Greek "Aion" Primarily Means A Period Of Time An Age Or Eternity, Why KJV Translators May Have Translated "Aion" As "World" In Certain Verses, Pure Translation vs Doctrinal Biases, NCRAP: New Corrupted Revised And Perverted Versions, My Personal Bible Research Approach, Temptation To Manipulate Meaning Of The Bible, Brittle Old Bottles Set In Doctrinal Ways, Be Persuaded In Your Own Mind, Avoid Doctrinal Debates
Over the years, in fact, over many decades and centuries, Christians of every persuasion around the world have found themselves searching and pondering the Holy Scriptures, and wondering about exactly where we are, insofar as God's great plan of Redemption and Salvation is concerned. To be even more specific, many of us have asked ourselves exactly where we currently stand when it comes to the profound subject of Bible prophecy. Like many of you, ever since I first became aware of the importance and significance of Bible prophecy about forty-five years ago, I too have often asked myself these very same questions.
Furthermore, due to my thirst and hunger to know the truth, since that time so many years ago, I have dedicated many countless hours to reading and examining God's Word, trying to make sense of it all, and then sharing my thoughts with anyone who has an interest. While I had engaged in my share of one-on-one personal witnessing endeavors in years prior, as I explain in the article called "The Internet: Our Final Frontier; Your Last Chance?", it was during 1994, that as a member of the FidoNet BBSing network, and a moderator of my own FidoNet echo, I first began to publish my personal ideas regarding the Bible online. This was on "The Treasure Trove" BBS, later to be known as the "Armageddon BBS"; a name which it retained until I took it offline some time ago.
A few years later, in 1997, my BBSing endeavors evolved into the very first version of my website. This was followed a year later in 1998 with setting up my first Hotline server, which was likewise dedicated to sharing God's Word with the world. As some of my readers will know, for about sixteen years, my website was known as Endtime Prophecy Net, due to the fact that while I delve into many different topics that are of interest to modern Christians, understanding Bible prophecy has always been a central theme in many articles.
However, just recently, the ministry went through another change when I retired both the Endtime Prophecy Net website name, as well as the domain name endtimeprophecy.net. The reasons for these changes are fully explained in some of my more recent articles, such as "Jesus Christ's Return: Have We Been Deceived?". The website is now known as Bill's Bible Basics, and can be found at www.billkochman.com.
At any rate, since I first began writing online twenty-two years ago, I have authored several hundred articles, many of which are actually multi-part series. In more recent years, I have likewise expanded this ministry to include thousands of Bible-based graphics which I create on my computer, about five hundred twelve-line poems, and over five hundred and seventy topical KJV Bible verse lists, which I first began compiling fourteen years ago. All of these study materials are freely available to you on my website, on my BBB Blog, and on the seven social networks in which I currently participate. So when my health and other issues haven't gotten in the way, I have kept myself rather busy serving the Lord, and sharing His Word with the online world.
As I said, I have dedicated many, many hours to studying the Scriptures during this time period. As a result, and as I point out in "Jesus Christ's Return: Have We Been Deceived?", and in "Tradition or Truth? Old Wine or New Wine?", for the longest time, in fact, for over forty years, I was under the impression that I had a pretty good understanding regarding Bible prophecy. Obviously, I did not understand every single detail -- and I still refuse to make such a boastful claim -- but generally speaking, I assumed that I was on the right track. Perhaps it would have helped if I had been made aware of the following verses earlier on in my life:
"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
1 Corinthians 8:1-2, KJV
But then, several years ago, certain New Testament verses began to yell at me for an explanation which I simply did not have at that time. You see, as I more fully explain in the aforementioned articles, just like many of you who are currently reading this series, I had fallen under the deception of the Futurist theological perspective, or point of view, at a rather young age. As continues to occur today, back then, Jesus Christ's imminent Return -- and the other prophetic events which are usually associated with it -- was all many Christians talked about. The idea that there might be alternative points of view to the "Jesus is coming at any moment" scenario was pretty much unheard of. Again, just as occurs today. That is just how powerful and influential that interpretive method was, and remains to this day as well.
Thus, being a young Christian, and because I was not very well grounded in God's Word, I simply accepted what I heard from others, and I towed the party doctrinal line just like everyone else. In other words, I faithfully promoted the Futurist point of view, which stresses that we are currently living in the Endtime, and Jesus Christ is going to return at any moment now. I mean, if everyone else was preaching it, surely it couldn't be wrong, could it? Yes, my friends, I am purposely being a bit facetious and sarcastic here.
But you see, the thing is, because like any good Futurist, I looked at so many important prophecies as events which had not yet been fulfilled, and which would occur at some point in the near future, it blinded me to the actual truth of the Scriptures. That is why I struggled with certain verses which did not make much sense to me. In some cases, I just chose to ignore what some verses seemed to be implying, because they made me uncomfortable. What I really should have done a lot sooner, was to question my beliefs, and try to understand why those particular verses conflicted with what I believed.
Furthermore, as some of you probably already know, to believe in a doctrine which is not embraced by mainstream Christianity is really going against the grain, and it will upset some people. Doing so can cause a person problems of one sort or another, such as being ostracized, being called a false prophet, or worse. For the First Century Christians who embraced Jesus and His doctrines, it eventually meant persecution -- even by their own families -- and sometimes even death. Of course, suffering for His Name really should not bother us too much, if we are convinced in our hearts that we are being guided by God's Spirit and His Word. Jesus Himself spoke on this topic, as did the Apostle Paul, as we see by the following sample verses:
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another."
Matthew 24:9-10, KJV
"Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death."
Mark 13:12, KJV
"But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls."
Luke 21:12-19, KJV
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."
John 15:18-21, KJV
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:"
2 Timothy 2:12, KJV
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
2 Timothy 3:12, KJV
But regarding my personal situation, all I can say is God is faithful. Thus, as I explain in the aforementioned articles, in more recent years, I began to re-exam the Scriptures, I put my beliefs under the microscope, and I strived to better understand some of those more difficult verses. If you have been reading some of my more recently-released articles and series, you will already know that I arrived at the startling conclusion that quite a few of the ancient prophecies which I had for decades viewed as being unfulfilled, were in reality fulfilled prophecies which pertained to events of the distant past. To make matters worse, these were things which I had been erroneously teaching in my articles for almost two decades.
Furthermore, they are the exact same misguided things which many Bible teachers and preachers continue to teach today as well in their books, from their pulpits, on their websites, on social networks, on YouTube, etc. At the same time, these misguided Futurist beliefs are likewise promoted in a number of commercial movies, in home videos, and in other forms of media. That is why it is so difficult for people like me to fight against and expose this mass deception. Many Christians simply do not want to hear the truth. The "Jesus is coming at any moment" doctrine has been so drilled into their heads for so many years, that to consider any other possibility, or any other interpretation of the Scriptures, is impossible for so many of them. In fact, they view it as heresy, and a doctrine of devils, if one even suggests that maybe Jesus is not going to return soon. That is how deep the deception runs.
But personally, when I came to realize that I was in error, I was faced with an important choice. I could either do as so many Christians continue to do, and allow myself to keep on believing in the deception, or else I could discover and embrace the Scriptural truth, and begin the very long, hard, laborious task of updating many of my articles, so that they reflect my current understanding regarding Bible prophecy. I obviously chose to do the latter, because I fear God, and I have a grave responsibility to teach His Word properly. If you are interested in a more detailed, and Scripture-based, explanation regarding how I came to realize that I had been wrong about so many of my views concerning Bible prophecy, then I again encourage you to read the aforementioned two articles. They may be an eye-opener for you as well.
One of the results of finally having my eyes opened to the true meaning of certain Scriptures, is that I came to realize that, contrary to what so many Christians believe today, we are not at the chronological place in Bible prophecy where so many of my Christian brethren continue to think we are, and where I too thought we were as well, for so many years. In other words, if key portions of the Book of Daniel, the Book of Revelation, and Jesus' own prophecies regarding the future are indeed now past events from our perspective, then where does that leave us today? As I asked at the beginning of this series, where are we in regards to God's long-term plans and timeline?
If I am correct with all of the assertions I have made in my recent new articles and series, and article updates, then I have to conclude that we are a lot further along than most people realize. I won't pretend to know exactly where, and I don't have an answer which will satisfy everyone's personal expectations either. However, while conducting research for my series "Jesus Christ's Return: Have We Been Deceived?", I did come across a verse which offers an answer which I find quite pleasant, comforting, and nice. Quite simply, I just really like the way in which the Apostle Paul states it. To understand what Paul wrote -- I will be sharing it with you in a moment -- I need to share with you a few other things first.
As I point out in the series entitled "Is the KJV Bible the Inerrant Word of God?", as well as in "In Defense of the KJV Bible", for almost forty-five years now I have used the King James Version of the Bible as my Bible of choice. The reason for this is that I believe that it is an inspired version of God's Word. It is also very beautifully written. However, at the same time, contrary to the position that is embraced by staunch KJV Bible supporters, I do not believe that the KJV Bible is without error; that is, it is not inerrant. Whether it was due to unintentional human error, ignorance to the proper meanings of certain words, or maybe even intentional manipulation of certain words due to personal religious or political biases, I am convinced that there are some words which were not properly translated into English by the KJV translators. We will be discussing two of these words in a minute.
Now, in case the previous paragraphs have not made it clear to you yet, without going into an extended and complicated explanation, the basic premise of the Futurist theological perspective is that certain events which are described in Bible prophecy have not been fulfilled yet, but they will be fulfilled sometime in the near future, culminating with the Return -- or Second Coming -- of Jesus Christ. As I already said, this is the very same position that I embraced for a major portion of my life, and which until very recently, I have heavily promoted in many of my articles, because I was introduced to and exposed to it when I was still young in the faith a long time ago. I was young, naive, idealistic, and very gullible, to say the least.
Some of the main reasons why Futurists are convinced that Jesus has not returned yet, are because they do not see the new heavens or the New Earth, or a glistening Heavenly City called New Jerusalem sitting on the New Earth. Furthermore, they do not see everlasting righteousness, or Jesus reigning on the Earth. In addition, they have not witnessed the rise of the Beast and the False Prophet, or seen a third Temple raised in Jerusalem. Neither have they seen the Antichrist sign a Holy Covenant, and then later profane the Temple, or heard any news regarding two Sackcloth Witnesses. The Battle of Armageddon likewise appears to be nowhere in sight; nor does the destruction of Babylon the Great by the Beast and the Ten Horns. All of these points are in fact key tenets of Futurist theology. Thus, they conclude that not only has the Lord not returned yet, but none of the prophecies concerning these events have been fulfilled yet either. As I said, I fully understand why they believe as they do, because I was a Futurist for over four decades of my life as well.
But another big reason why some Futurists believe as they do is because they have not witnessed the end of the world yet. But exactly why are they expecting this to begin with? Well, because of verses such as the following one which is found in the Gospel of Matthew. This is in fact part of what has been called the Olivet Discourse, being as Jesus gave this sermon while He sat on the Mount of Olives with His followers. It has companion chapters in Mark 13 and Luke 21:
"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
Matthew 24:3, KJV
Based on the aforementioned points, we might be led to the conclusion that the Futurists are right, and that they have a strong case for believing as they do. After all, it does seem that the Disciples were making a connection between the Lord's Return and the end of the world. But what if I told you that they never really asked Jesus when the world would end? What if they asked Him something different which was actually lost in the translation? If Jesus' followers didn't ask Him when the end of the world would come, then what did they really ask Him? To discover the correct answer to our question, we need to examine two Greek words that are used in the New Testament. So let us begin.
According to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, the word "world" is translated from the Greek word "kosmos" one hundred and eighty-six times in the New Testament. It refers not only to the Earth itself, but also to the inhabitants of the Earth, and to the governments of the world. Furthermore, it can also sometimes refer to the actual Universe itself. It is easy to recognize that it is also from this same Greek word that we derive our English words cosmos, cosmopolitan, cosmology and similar words. This word "kosmos" is used in such verses as the following:
"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not."
John 1:10, KJV
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV
"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;"
Matthew 4:8, KJV
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid."
Matthew 5:14, KJV
"The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;"
Matthew 13:38, KJV
"Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."
Matthew 26:13, KJV
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Mark 16:15, KJV
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
Mark 8:36, KJV
"For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world . . ."
Hebrews 9:26, KJV
Taking into consideration the previous verses, there should be no doubt in your mind what the Greek word "kosmos" means. However, please notice that I did not include Matthew 24:3 in that group of verses, even though it includes the phrase "end of the world" in it. As you will see momentarily, there is a very good reason why I have not included it there.
The second Greek word that we are going to examine is the word "aion". According to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, the primary meaning of this word is a period of time, or an age. It can also refer to perpetuity of time and eternity. In all cases, "aion" primarily concerns units of time. In fact, as you may have already figured out, it is from this Greek word that we likewise derive our English word "eon". We all know what an eon is. It is an extremely long period of time. In the fields of astronomy and geology, it in fact represents one billion years. Yes, I understand that some of you will find exception to that statement, but I am simply informing you what the word "eon" signifies to geologists and astronomers.
Now, if you doubt what I am saying here, you can go to Google Translate right now, select Greek on the left side, type in the word "aion", and then see what appears on the right side in English. At any rate, we find the Greek word "aion" properly translated as "ages" in the following two verses:
"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
"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:"
Colossians 1:26, KJV
But now we run into something rather strange. While the word "aion" primarily refers to a period of time or an age, in all of the verses below, the KJV translators chose to translate it into English as "world", instead of as "age". Consider for yourself:
"The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels . . . So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,"
Matthew 13:39, 49, KJV
"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Matthew 28:20, KJV
". . . world without end. Amen."
Ephesians 3:21, KJV
So the question with which we need to concern ourselves is this: If the word "aion" means an age or a period of time, then why did the English translators of the King James Bible choose to contradict the actual meaning of this Greek word, and translate it as "world" in the previous verses, while they chose to translate it properly as "ages" in the two verses I shared with you before them? As I mentioned to you earlier, I have suspected for some time now that the men who translated the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, may have purposely translated a number of verses in such a way, so that those verses would both agree with their personal theology, as well as with the doctrines of the Church of England. While KJV purists don't like to hear such talk due to their staunch belief that the KJV Bible is inerrant, I have just provided you with some solid, verifiable proof that it is indeed not inerrant. It does contain a number of translational errors.
You see, I suspect that in their particular way of thinking, translating the word "aion" in the previous four verses in any other way than as "world" would not have made very much sense to them, due to their doctrinal background. In other words, in certain places, some Greek words were translated into English, only after they had passed through a kind of built-in theological filter in their minds. This would then result in a translation that agreed with, and conformed to, what the translators -- and likewise the Church of England -- embraced as doctrinal truth.
Because of this, I believe that to some undetermined degree, the purity of their translation of both the Hebrew and Greek texts into our English language was hampered and limited by, and perhaps even lost due to, their doctrinal biases. Again, the KJV purists will no doubt not agree with me regarding this point, and may even condemn me for taking this stance. Nevertheless, that is the way I view this situation, after reading and studying the KJV Bible for forty-five years now.
In regards to the particular verses we are discussing, if the KJV translators believed that Jesus was going to return at the end of the world, then regardless of what the original Greek text may say, I think they may have felt compelled to translate the text as "end of the world", because that is the only way in which they could understand the verse themselves. As I said, doctrinal blinders or filters may have prevented any other kind of translation for them.
Sadly, in my view, this applies to modern Bible translations even more so. Why else would there be literally hundreds of different Bible versions on the market today? While it has a lot to do with money and the profit margin, it also has a lot to do with the fact that Bible publishers like to think that they have a newer and much better translation, even if that translation does remove entire verses from the Scriptures, or relegates them to some obscure footnote which few people will ever take the time to read. If you have read my series "In Defense of the KJV Bible", then you may recall that while the big Bible publishers like to refer to their doses of devilish doctrine as the NIV, the NKJV, the NASV, the Message, or as something else, I prefer to classify them all in one category which I refer to as NCRAP; that is, the New Corrupted Revised And Perverted versions, because that is precisely what they are, in my view.
These classy, modern versions of the Bible are like the neat, pre-fabricated meals which are conveniently served at so many fast-food restaurants these days. Such meals may look really nice and smell nice, but they're loaded with growth hormones, grease, cholesterol, sugar and other harmful substances. In these modern Bibles, everything is likewise already prepared for the reader, with personal commentaries in the margins, so that nothing is left to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The unsuspecting reader is told exactly how he should believe as he reads, and different doctrines are pushed in his face.
As I have already stated, in my case, I prefer to use the old KJV Bible which does not have all of the marginal notes and footnotes which attempt to mold my beliefs for me. If I have a question or a doubt, I will judiciously compare Scripture with Scripture, in order to arrive at my conclusion. If I am still not certain, I will refer to just a few extra-Biblical sources -- such as Strong's Numbers and the Hebrew and Greek lexicons, for example -- in order to discover the meanings of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words which are used in the original text. I may likewise refer to historical documents, Bible dictionaries, and a few online tools as well.
However, let me point out again that we must still be very careful, because a lot of the Bible study tools which are available now are quite doctrinal in nature, and promote the author's or publisher's own views and opinions regarding the meaning of certain words and Bible passages. Sometimes it is okay to read what they have to say, but in the end, we still have to be led by God's Spirit in our understanding.
While I have exposed the manipulation of Bible text by some of the big publishers, it is also important that I point out to you that those of us who read and study God's Word, and in particular, those of us who teach the Bible to other people, face this very same kind of temptation to manipulate, twist and distort the meaning of the Bible, so that it conforms to what we want to believe, and seems to support our doctrines.
Let's be perfectly honest with ourselves. The simple truth of the matter is that most longtime Christians already have what we can call a set of established beliefs. If one happens to be a church-going Christian, this is even more true, because you cannot survive for long in a particular Christian social club -- that is, in a church or denomination -- unless you pledge loyalty to their particular beliefs at some point. You either tow their doctrinal line, or you just keep quiet, or else you are eventually forced out. I discuss this very same issue to some degree in articles such as "Are You Just a Baby Huey?" and "Tradition or Truth? Old Wine or New Wine?".
Sadly, today, it seems that some Christians are so deeply entrenched in their views, that challenging their beliefs by asking the simplest of questions, is viewed as declaring open warfare on them. If you doubt that this is so, then you must be hiding under a bushel somewhere, because the Internet is just filled with heated doctrinal debates occurring between different Christian factions and individuals. It is for this very reason that I wrote such articles as "Humility in Our Understanding of God's Word" and "Should Christians Engage in Doctrinal Debates?".
While the Apostle Paul did in fact write in Romans 14:5 that each individual should be fully persuaded in their own mind, what he said should not be interpreted as a license to go out and attack other Christians who disagree with you. While I was to some degree more argumentative in my younger days as a Christian, as I grew older and more mature in the faith, I came to realize that for me personally, the best approach is to use my articles as a vehicle to share my beliefs with the world. As you know, I do my very best to support my personal beliefs with the Scriptures, but then I leave it up to the reader to decide for themselves. After all, you cannot force anyone to believe anything against their will.
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .