Thursday, May 29, 2014

Overview of Daniel's 70th Week

Daniel 9:

24    Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25    Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26    And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27    And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.


This prophecy reveals that there is 70 weeks of years (70 x 7 = 490 years) determined upon Israel and the city of Jerusalem until Christ comes to establish His kingdom (seven is a key number in God's dealings with Israel). We know that 69 weeks (483 years) was fulfilled at the time of the crucifixion of Christ. There is one week (7 years) that is yet to be fulfilled, i.e. the tribulation period. We are living in a parenthetical mystery age that was revealed through the apostle Paul in which God is building the church which is the body of Christ. This age will end with the mystery of the rapture and at some point after that the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy will be fulfilled. The body of Christ is not the subject of prophecy (it was a mystery, i.e. secret, hid from the prophets, Eph. 3) and will not go through any part of the prophesied tribulation period.
 
Daniel’s 70th week is split into two periods of 42 months. In the first 3 ½ years the antichrist rises to power through false peace, makes a covenant with Israel, and helps to restore the sacrificial system in the temple. But peace will be taken from the earth and wars will abound followed by famine and pestilence. A fourth of the world’s population will die in the first 42 months of the tribulation period. In the midst of the week Satan enters the antichrist and he will break the covenant with Israel, cause the sacrifices to cease, and will sit in the temple and declare himself to be God (the abomination of desolation). This marks the beginning of the “great tribulation” which will last 42 months. The world will be required to worship him and those that do will receive his mark in their forehead or in their right hand. Those that refuse to take his mark and worship him will not be able to buy or sell. The godly remnant of Israel that refuses to worship the beast will be the special object of his persecution. Many of them will be beheaded and the rest will flee into the wilderness where God will supernaturally provide for them just as He did in the Exodus. In the great tribulation Satan will pour out his great wrath knowing that he has but a short time. But God will also pour out His great wrath. Jesus said of the great tribulation that “except those days should be shortened, there shall no flesh be saved”. After the great tribulation the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven and He will return in power and great glory to wipe out His enemies, save His people, and establish the kingdom.
 
The Lord Jesus prophesied of the tribulation period in His discourse to His disciples on the Mount of Olives. His prophecy in Matthew 24 lines up perfectly with Revelation 6. Both passages give us an overview of the 70th week of Daniel. 
 


Matthew 24

Revelation 6

False Christs (v.4-5)

False Christ (v.1-2)

Wars (v.6-7)

Wars (v.3-4)

Famines (v.7)

Famine (v.5-6)

Pestilences, beasts (v.7)

Pestilence, beasts (v.7-8)

Martyrs (v.9-28)

Martyrs (v.9-11)

Signs in heaven (v.29-30)

Signs in heaven (v.12-17)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heresy

Acts 24:
[14] But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and prophets:
 
One of the hindrances to sound Bible study is the use of man's modern definitions for God's Biblical terms. The word "heresy" is a case in point. How most people use this word does not line up with how it is used in the Bible. Generally speaking, most Christians think that heresy is simply any belief and teaching that is false. But if that is what heresy really is it would mean that all of us are heretics to some extent because we are not infallible. We will never be 100% right about everything we believe until we are glorified. The Bible is infallible but because of our fallibility it is always possible for us to misinterpret the scripture- regardless of our sincerity. I think that the words "heresy" and "heretic" are used entirely too carelessly and frequently.
 
The first and only mention of the word "heresy" in the Bible (Acts 24:14) teaches us several important things about heresy:
  It is a word that religious people love to use against those who do not follow their religious traditions.
   The apostle Paul worshipped God in a way that was called heresy by the Christ-rejecting Jews that exalted their traditions above the word of God. 
   Being a genuine Bible-believer that follows Paul (1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1) will make you a heretic in the eyes of religious people.
 
The plural word "heresies" is used three times in the Bible (1 Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20; 2 Pet. 2:1). The word "heretick" is used just once (Titus 3:10). Studying these references will teach us what heresy really is and how we are to deal with it.
 
We need to know what the Bible teaches about heresy so that we don't go around like religious ignoramuses carelessly accusing everybody that disagrees with us of heresy. God only gave one religion through Israel and the Jews corrupted it. The Body of Christ is NOT about religion but a real relationship with God through Jesus Christ (Col. 2:8-17). All religion today is of man and holds to traditions of men. Religious people love to accuse people that disagree with their views of heresy.
 
Down through history the roman catholic hierarchy has set up councils in which they have identified what they considered heresy. They have excommunicated “unrepentant heretics” (which to them means losing any hope of salvation) and they have murdered thousands of so-called heretics by burning them at the stake and other forms of torture.
 
Protestants (groups that came out of the catholic religion) are labeled as heretics by the catholics but they too have labeled groups that disagree with their traditional beliefs as heretics. Protestants have been persecuted by the catholics but they in turn have also persecuted others.
 
You may be thinking, "Well, at least the Baptists do not falsely accuse people of heresy". Sadly, that is not true. There are Baptists that promote what they call the "Old Time Religion" and hold to traditions that are not based on the scriptures, rightly divided. Many of them think that only the churches that are exactly like theirs are TRUE churches. They may not persecute those that they view as heretics but they certainly label and shun them. 
 
Our English word heresy is from the French word heresie. The word literally means "a choice", and by implication a sect, faction, or belief that one has chosen that is different from that which is commonly accepted. Thus, heresy can be any school of thought, although it is usually taken in the bad sense. A heretick is simply one who maintains heresy.
 
The same Greek word that is translated "heresy" is also translated "sect" five times in the KJB. According to Webster's 1828 dictionary, a sect is "A body or number of persons united in tenets, chiefly in philosophy or religion, but constituting a distinct party by holding sentiments different than those of other men." For example, the Saducees were a sect among the Jews that were united in their tenet that there was no resurrection.
 
According to how the word is used in the KJB, heresy is more than false doctrine. Heresy is holding to a false doctrine to the point of creating a faction or sect and thereby causing division (2 Pet. 2:1-2).
 
While I am sure that the devil loves heresy and tempts people to be heretics, he should not get all the credit for heresies because the scripture teaches that heresy is a work of the FLESH (Gal. 5:19-21a). Notice how "heresies" is mentioned between "strife, seditions" and "envyings".
 
Pride and the possibility of self advancement motivates those who hold to spurious doctrines to promote their views in an attempt to draw away disciples unto themselves and thereby forming a sect (Acts 20:28-30).
 
Heresy, being a work of the flesh, is an ever present threat to any local church. The church at Corinth had heresies among them and Paul said that it must be so (1 Cor. 11:17-19). The positive thing about heresy is that it causes "they which are approved" to be made manifest because they are the ones who can answer and correct the heresy. Who are the approved (2 Cor. 10:18; 2 Tim. 2:15)?
 
In the context of 2 Tim. 2:15 we see that rightly dividing the word of truth will prevent us from heresy and enable us to identify and deal with heretics (v.16-18).
 
How are we to deal with heretics?
   Patiently instruct them in meekness (2 Tim. 2:23-26)
   If unrepentant after 2 clear admonitions, reject them (Titus 3:10-11)
   Mark and avoid them (Rom. 16:17-18)

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