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Somewhere In Time
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Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Pete Garcia

For much of the last 2,000 years, most of the Bible’s prophetic passages remained hidden to believers. The reason they remained hidden, was because there was nothing to measure them against. Like a road with no known destination, mile markers and way points, they don’t mean much unless you know where you’re going.

Prophetic passages concerning the land, the Kingdom, and the Promises had all been directed towards Israel, and since the nation of Israel’s demise to the Romans in 70AD and 135AD, those Old Testament promises lost their intended target. They were seemingly up for grabs for several centuries, that is, until they were absorbed by the dominant rising force in Christendom of that time, the Roman Catholic church. With the rise of the Holy Roman Empire, the world would enter into the Dark Ages.

When Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517 against the Roman Catholic church, he began what is known as the Protestant Reformation. Certainly, there were men of earlier times (like Wycliffe) who had already been protesting, but Luther’s was the one that really took off.

The Protestant movement rallied around five main points:

  1. Sola scriptura (only scriptures)
  2. Sola fide (by faith alone)
  3. Sola gratia (by grace alone)
  4. Solus Christus (Christ alone)
  5. Soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone).

This movement wanted to unfetter the shackles of bureaucracy, legalism, and ritualism that had been weighing down believers for a thousand years. Protestantism was successful in this, but what they did carry forward from the Roman Catholic system, was Augustinian eschatology (Amillennialism). They held on to this, because the prophetic passages contained within Daniel and Revelation remained hidden to them.

It remained hidden because Israel was still not back in her land, and all those prophetic promises couldn’t find fulfillment within the Christian church. Therefore, the Church quit watching, and pretty soon, was wrapped up in the doctrines and dogmas of men, which inevitably led to the splitting of the Protestant denominations six ways from Sunday. It wouldn’t be until the 1800’s before men’s eyes would be opened by the Holy Spirit to the prophetic significance of the coming end of the age.

The return to a literal understanding of the Bible, led men to began interpreting the Bible in having different Dispensations, to accommodate the seemingly contradictory and conflicting passages.

If we were saved by grace through faith, than maintaining the Sabbath was not necessary for salvation (either to get it or to lose it). Baptism was a ritual done for disciples, not a requirement to get saved. We didn’t need to sacrifice animals, circumcise infants, or maintain particular dietary restrictions for salvation, because those things did not apply to us now in the age of the Church.

For the first time since the Apostles penned the epistles, the complete picture started to come into view. Men like Scofield, Sir Robert Anderson, and Clarence Larkin applied the practice of ‘rightly dividing the word’ (2 Timothy 2:15) as the key to not only understanding prophecy, but the Bible in its entirety.

Scofield, recognized in 1909, that in order for the prophetic promises to be fulfilled, Israel would have to become a nation again, which at the time, seemed as unlikely as ancient Atlantis rising up from the ocean.

C.I. Scofield was one of the first who saw the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches as not only to those local congregations, but also symbolizing seven specific periods of the age of the church. One would have to have hindsight to be able to look back over 1900 years and see the big picture, which no one had until just the right time. It was like a puzzle piece that was missing, and without it, makes the whole picture incomplete and unknowable.

It wasn’t until time caught up with the Bible, that the prophecies would begin to make any sense. Even the most brilliant men of ages past (Isaac Newton) were seemingly dumfounded by the shroud of mystery that surrounded eschatological passages within the Bible.

Men like Darby, Scofield and Clarence Larken recognized a single significant point: the Church was not Israel, and Israel was not the Church. Therefore, the promises given in the Old Testament COULDN’T be applied to the Church. Similarly, the Church had undergone six stages thus far (as represented in the 7 Letters), so it was at this appointed time, that God allowed men’s understanding to be enlightened.

So where are we now?

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4

I’ve often wondered about several statements about the end times, and how we, who are seeing these things transpire, should make sense of them all. Jesus says, that no man will know the day or hour (Matt 24:36). Yet, we have the Olivet Discourse, chocked full of signs that point to the end (Matt 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). Jesus also compares the end to the times of Noah and Lot (Luke 17:26-30).

If you are looking at the two points of reference Jesus uses (Noah and Lot’s day) these would be as examples of the time just before His return. This would be the nonchalant, laissez-faire attitude of the world as to its place in time. But here we are at a point in time, when the unsaved world is beginning to wonder...”what is going on?”

The weather has been going crazy these last ten years. Earthquakes, tsunamis, comet fly-bys, volcanoes, and hurricanes are pummeling the planet. So how can the world be caught off guard when it’s expecting it to end in 2012, even if it is doing so with a nervous sort of laugh? Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5, is reaffirming the Lord’s command to be watching, and in so doing, you would recognize the season you were in, even though you won’t know exactly when (i.e...day or hour).

Here we are today, and we see so many things lining up: politically, religiously, militarily, and economically that are fitting exactly into what the Bible says the end times will look like. The world doesn’t know exactly what is occurring, but it knows something is askew.

Also, in the days of Noah, only eight were saved (out of the possible billions alive), and only Lot and his immediate family were rescued out of thousands in those cities. What does that mean in our day, when millions are still coming to Christ around the world every year? Does the Church have to wait until we reach a time when the lost are no longer responding to the Gospel anymore?

That doesn’t seem likely to me. As long as the Holy Spirit is in the business of drawing men and women to Christ, people will still respond. At some appointed time, there will be a Gentile fullness to the Body of Christ (Rom 11:25), when the Father will draw the Holy Spirit back (2 Thess 2:7) . When that day comes, the Holy Spirits’ role of restraining evil in this world will come to an end. In Genesis 6, the Lord makes the following statement, which I believe has a veiled (dual application to the future Rapture) by saying:

And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3

If God is omnipotent (He is), and He knew that Jesus would come to die on the cross to take a people for Himself (He knew), and that one day, Jesus would come to claim those who were sealed by the Holy Spirit (He will), than what is said here in Genesis 6:3 is as valid in Noah’s day as it was in ours.

From Darby and Scofield’s day, until ours, we too have had to let time catch up with the Bible. I think about the brilliance of those men who lived in a day and age, which had no signs, yet, could take the Bible literally, and see where the world was heading a hundred years before it ever came.

Today, we are inundated with so many signs, that it’s desensitized most of the Church. At exactly the point in time when the Church should be the most excited and anticipating our Lord’s return, it is asleep at the wheel. Not that this surprised the Lord, because He saw this 2,000 years ago and said...

"Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you." Revelation 3:3

About Pete Garcia

Last week: The Cult of Moses

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