Monday, March 27, 2006

Eschatology 101 (Part 7)

"False christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect." (Mark 13:22)

Continuing our look at the things which must happen before Jesus returns we come to the appearance of false christs and false prophets. The first thing to note here is the plurality. There will be false christs (plural) and false prophets (plural). This is different from THE false christ or anti-christ which we will study later.

The part of the word for christ used there in Mark 13 is exactly the same word as used elsewhere in the scriptures for the real Christ. In Greek it is "pseudochristos", a fake, pretend or false Messiah.

Have there been false christs and false prophets... Certainly... Too many to list here. Here is an extract from the UK's Guardian newspaper in 2002:

' Sergei Torop was a traffic cop in the small Russian town of Minusinsk until 1989, when he announced that he was the son of God. Now he commands a following of thousands and rules over a large swath of the Siberian mountains...

"It's all very complicated," he starts quietly. "But to keep things simple, yes, I am Jesus Christ. That which was promised must come to pass. And it was promised in Israel 2,000 years ago that I would return, that I would come back to finish what was started." '

Many have been led astray... Remember, watch, pray and be ready for his appearing.



Thursday, March 02, 2006

Eschatology 101 (Part 6)

In our last study we mentioned several things which need to happen before Jesus returns. The first one we are going to look at is from Matthew 24:14 where Jesus says, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be
preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come."

The questions for this study are: Has that happened already? Is it happening now? Is it in the future?

Before asking ourselves if this has already happened we need to understand what was said. Jesus didn't say that every person in the world would hear the message of the gospel before the end comes. He also
didn't say that every nation,tribe or people group would hear the news of the kingdom, but rather than it would be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony.

Of course the whole world is a big place and just because the gospel might have been preached in the USA or Europe that doesn't mean it has been preached throughout the whole world. Conversely because it hasn't reached a certain tribe or people group in an isolated area that doesn't mean that it hasn't been declared throughout the whole world.

Robertson puts it like this "Heralded in all the inhabited world. It is not here said that all will be saved nor must this language be given too literal and detailed an application to every individual."

Adam Clarke also mentions that the phrase 'in all the world', perhaps only means no more than the Roman empire". He mentions Luke 2:1 which reads, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." Clearly, argues Clarke, "this means no more than the whole Roman empire: as a decree for taxation or enrollment from Augustus Caesar could have no influence but in the Roman dominions"

It is also interesting to note that when Paul writes to the Colossians he says of the gospel, "Which is come to you, as it is in all theworld..." (Colossians 1:6)

The purpose of this declaration of the gospel is as a testimony, a witness to what God has done through Christ. A testimony needs only be a light shone in a dark place, a standard held up for those, who are
looking, to see.

So, has this happened already? Maybe. A testimony of the kingdom has certainly been preached over the last two thousand years and it has beenpreached, at varying times, throughout the whole world.

Is it happening now? Certainly. This message is still being preached and this testimony is still being made.

Is it in the future? Maybe. God could, in his grace, provide one last missionary thrust into all the world before the end comes... But don'tcount on it!

Remember, watch, pray and be ready for his appearing.