Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

The Great Hoax of FUTURISM

Some misguided ministers claim that while the exact day and hour of the Messiah's return cannot be determined, the year itself can certainly be arrived at. Is this true? These ministers look for supposed future events such as the Antichrist and the so-called "great tribulation" that they claim must immediately precede the end-time event of the Messiah's second coming. A careful study of the Word of YEHOVAH God and secular history shows that these events were fulfilled long ago and that there are no signs that will even point to the time or year of the Messiah's coming.

by John D. Keyser

The perpetuation of the Futurist interpretation of the Biblical prophecies is a continuing roadblock to an understanding of the true story the Bible tells. Yet the Christian world has become so steeped in this Jesuit-inspired approach to an explanation of the prophetic passages in the Bible that, with hardly an exception, its blighting influence is prominent in most Fundamentalist writings on prophecy, in textbooks in theological seminaries, in Bible studies sponsored by various churches, recommended by the clergy and extolled by evangelists.

The Historical View

Up to the time of the Reformation, the historical interpretation of prophecy, which is concerned with the progressive fulfillment of the prophecies of the Bible throughout the Christian Era, was generally accepted by Christians. In the Introduction to the book, Study in Revelation, it is stated by Howard B. Rand:

"It is impossible to understand prophecy...without a working knowledge of recorded history. This is because prophecy is merely history prewritten, while history is the record of prophecy fulfilled" (Destiny Publishers, Merrimac, MA. 1985, p. x).

Proponents of Futurism, on the other hand, agree with such questionable statements as the conclusion reached by Dr. C. I. Scofield:

"Prophecy does not concern itself with history as such, but only with history as it affects Israel and the Holy Land." (The Scofield Reference Bible, p. 918.)

The Antichrist

A basic tenet of the Futurist belief is the role of the Antichrist in the scheme of Bible prophecy. The fathers of the Reformation readily identified the Papacy with the Antichrist for the reason stated in the booklet entitled When the Trumpet Sounds:

"The term 'antichrist' appears only four times in the Scriptures; it is mentioned by the Apostle John alone (I John 2: 18 & 22; 4: 3; II John 7). In the original Greek, 'antichrist' means 'vice-Christ' or 'vicar of Christ.' Thus, 'antichristos,' the Greek translation of 'vicar,' makes the two words in reality one. The Pope calls himself the Vicar of Christ, a substitute for Christ rather than an antagonist of Christ." (Page 4.)

The importance of the concluding sentence in the above paragraph should not be overlooked, for it provides the KEY to understanding the role of the Antichrist. Each pope in Rome calls himself the Vicar of Christ, a substitute for Christ -- not an antagonist of Christ. The succession of popes, from the inception of what we now call Roman Catholicism, has, each in his turn, occupied the seat of the Antichrist.

However, the Roman Church could not tolerate the stigma attached to her, resulting from what was entailed in the identification of the Papacy with the Antichrist. Around the Roman hierarchy an intricate and elaborate fabrication of rites and ceremonies had developed, many of them styled as "mysteries," seeking the amalgamation of Pagan and Christian practices and constituting the greatest religious fraud in all Christendom. Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church gradually attained more and more acceptability in the Christian world, particularly in recent years due to the popularly acclaimed endeavor of the so-called ecumenical movement to unify divergent religious bodies in the modern world and place them under the standard of Rome.

To intercept, and ultimately hide, the untimely disclosure of the true Papal purposes, the Futurist theory of prophetic interpretation was invented by Franciscus Ribera, a Jesuit priest of Salamanca, Spain, about 1585 A.D. The avowed objective was to combat and overthrow the historical interpretation held by the early Church fathers and accepted by the Reformers of the sixteenth century. The Futurist system was introduced into the Protestant Church, about 1830 A.D., by Samuel R. Maitland, a clergyman of the Church of England, who unfortunately accepted the prognostications of Roman Catholic writers. This erroneous teaching spread rapidly in England, and eventually from England to the United States.

The foundation of the Futurist interpretation consists of three basic points at issue:

1) A yet future revival of the Roman Empire and the development of ten interlocking kingdoms.

2) The rise of a future Antichrist, or "man of sin," within the revived Roman Empire.

3) The Temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem by the Jews; the Antichrist to make a covenant with the Jews for seven years; in the midst of these seven years, he is to break his covenant and desecrate the Temple.

Having thus formulated their program, the Futurists then go to the scriptures in a futile attempt to find texts that will appear to substantiate the agenda they have projected. For example:

1) Paul's statement in II Thessalonians 2: 7-8, and many other not necessarily related passages in both Old and New Testaments, are made to apply to a coming "man of sin," who, they say, is the Antichrist.

2) Through an erroneous interpretation of the statement in Daniel 9:27, again embellished by unrelated Biblical statements, a case is fabricated for the predicted actions of this future "man of sin."

3) The Futurists teach that the events symbolically portrayed in the Book of Revelation are all in the future; that is, from the fourth chapter and onward.

Chain of Suppositions

A recent article, attempting to outline what may be expected in connection with the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah, employed the only kind of phraseology possible in order to make a case without positive scriptural evidence to substantiate the statements made. It was asserted that certain scriptures "point to" what will occur during the activity of "Satan's champion, called by the Bible 'Antichrist,'" because of what "is generally indicated in the Bible." Then the comment is made that "perhaps" the "tribulation" will be seven years, or "perhaps" shortened to a half of seven years. Thus, a great chain of suppositions are connected together by texts taken out of context, associated in a manner that, it is hoped, will give credence to the Futurist theory of interpretation.

Space will not permit specific elaboration, but suffice it to say that, in the first place, the entire Futurist view concerning the revival of the Roman Empire rests upon a false premise. Their literature constantly refers to a "he" who will "make" a covenant as the coming head of that revived Roman Empire, and Daniel 9:27 is cited in confirmation of this. However, the verse states that "he shall confirm the covenant," not "make a covenant," and this "he" refers to the Messiah who is mentioned in the 25th and 26th verses, who would be "cut off" as the result of his crucifixion.

The arbitrary and misleading rendition given in The Living Bible can obviously have no other purpose than to attempt to verify the Futurist interpretation of the statements given in Daniel 9:27:

"This king will make a seven-year treaty with the people, but after half that time, he will break his pledge and stop the Jews from all their sacrifices and their offerings; then, as a climax to all his terrible deeds, the Enemy shall utterly defile the sanctuary of God. But in God's time and plan, his judgment will be poured out upon this Evil One."

By taking this incredible liberty with the Word of YEHOVAH God, the Futurist position is made to appear correct by substituting the word "king" for "he" and changing the word "confirm" to "make." Then a wholly suppositious case is made for the Futurist interpretation of these passages.

The Messiah's Work

The angel Gabriel told Daniel he would be given a full understanding of the knowledge disclosed to him. By a thorough examination of the scriptures, taking note of the entire setting and considering each text within its context, careful study by the Biblical researcher will reward him with the same understanding that diligence and skill gave to Daniel. Gabriel outlined, by progressive steps, what would be accomplished by the Messiah, as recorded in Daniel 9:24, commencing with the baptism that initiated Yeshua's ministry. There are two divisions and three parts to each:

1) To finish the transgression.

2) To make an end of sins.

3) To make reconciliation for iniquity.

All this was accomplished at the first appearance of the Messiah, finished upon his death by crucifixion on the tree. The second three parts will have complete realization only upon his second appearance:

1) To bring in everlasting righteousness.

2) To seal up the vision and prophecy.

3) To anoint the Most Holy.

The Hebrew word, translated here "Most Holy," is Qodesh hag-qodashim and means Holy of holies. Just what is this "Holy of holies"? The Holy of holies refers to the innermost room of the Tabernacle and, later, of the Temple and is also known as the Most Holy. While the Tabernacle was in the wilderness the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God resided in, or just above, the Holy of holies and was visible to the entire camp of Israel. Then, when Solomon built the first Temple, and later Zerubbabel built the second Temple that was modified by Herod, YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory also resided, at times, within the Holy of holies of these two structures.

However, before the Tabernacle and the Temples were suitable residences for the ETERNAL, the Holy of holies had to be anointed -- thus dedicating it as sacred and holy to the Almighty. This we see in Exodus 30:25-29 --

"...you shall make from these [items] a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting [and, later, the Temples] and the ark of Testimony; the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base. You shall sanctify them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them MUST BE HOLY."

So, in Daniel 9:24, after the Messiah returns to this earth, the Most Holy -- or Holy of holies -- in a NEW THIRD TEMPLE will be anointed to make it ready for the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God! The Bible is full of prophecies that show that YEHOVAH God Himself, in the form of His Shekinah Glory, will also return to this earth and reside in a newly built Temple in Jerusalem! Prophecy also shows that Yeshua the Messiah will be responsible for the construction of this Temple shortly after his return, and that he will be our High Priest ministering to YEHOVAH God in the Temple! For more information read our article, The Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

It is to be understood that each of the final two verses in Daniel's 9th chapter begin by stating what will occur during the ministry of the Messiah during the first century, and then sweep on to the climactic events that will close the age. Thereupon, the triumphant return of Yeshua the Messiah will take place, followed by YEHOVAH God Himself who will then reside in Jerusalem in the new Third Temple!

The 26th verse states that "after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself." The 27th verse states that "he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week." Just what covenant is referred to here? We should not lose sight of the fact that Gabriel was discussing with Daniel that which was concerned with the activities of the Messiah.

The New Covenant

What covenant would be confirmed as the result of the "cutting off" -- that is, the crucifixion -- of the Messiah? Surely Yeshua the Messiah was commissioned to confirm the New Covenant, the terms of which were foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah:

"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah....after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:31-34.)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua set forth just how the New Covenant would be implemented (Matthew, chapters 5-7). The apostle Paul, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, declares plainly that it is Yeshua the Messiah who was able to confirm the terms of the New Covenant following his crucifixion and resurrection, validating Jeremiah's prophecy. Yeshua is called our High Priest (Hebrews 8: 1), of whom it is written:

"But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as he is also Mediator of a better covenant [the New Covenant], which was established on better promises....In that he says, 'A new covenant,' he has made the first obsolete." (Hebrews 8:6-13.)

Again, in the 10th chapter of Hebrews, what Yeshua accomplished at his first coming is stated very clearly:

"Then he said, 'Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.' He takes away the first that he may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:9-10.)

Therefore, YEHOVAH God's gracious invitation could be extended to all those who believe on the Messiah:

"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, his flesh, and having a high priest over the house of God." (Hebrews 10:19-21.)

He is the Messenger of the New Covenant, to be heralded as recorded by the Prophet Malachi:

"And the LORD [YEHOVAH], whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple. Even the messenger of the covenant [Yeshua the Messiah], in whom you delight. Behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts." (Malachi 3:1.)

The Revived Roman Empire

Now what about a still future revival of the Roman Empire, which Futurists insist must occur before the second coming of our Messiah can become a reality? It is our argument that there will be no such future revival. Admittedly, the early Church fathers looked for a coming revival of Rome future to their day. It did take place and has long since become a matter of historical record. Therefore, it cannot be an event future to our generation.

The Prophet Daniel was given knowledge concerning the life-span of Babylon, Media, Persia and the Islamic Empire. Commentators try to claim that the fourth kingdom mentioned by Daniel is in fact Rome -- but Daniel nowhere mentions Imperial Rome. For details see our articles Media AND Persia: Two SEPARATE Kingdoms of Daniel 2 and Islam and Daniel's Four Kingdoms. Each of those empires occupied the stage of world hegemony for a period of time, and in that order -- the Islamic Empire being the last.

In 476 the last Western Caesar -- Augustulus -- was forced out of office by the Goths. As a result, the Roman Empire passed from the scene of human history, and only the title remained on record as evidence of its former glory. The fifth century saw the end of this once-great power among nations. The stage had now been cleared for the next scene in the prophetic drama: the rise to power of the man of sin.

With the passing of Imperial Rome, Papal Rome rose to power, seizing the mantle that had slipped from the shoulders of Pagan Rome. Thus, we have the appearance of the Papacy on the world scene, promulgating bulls, selling indulgences, formulating Papal rescripts or issuing decrees of excommunication -- speaking great things. And then attacking YEHOVAH's people and changing times and laws. Writes Ralph Woodrow --

"As far as human laws, the Papacy has annulled the decrees of kings and emperors; it has thrust its long arm into the affairs of the nations; it has brought rulers to its feet in abject humility. In religious things, the Pope claims infallibility in pronouncing doctrine. By exalting himself to such a position -- and millions have believed this dogma -- it is evident that he has thought to change divine things. He has instituted the observance of days for which there is no scriptural basis [i.e., Christmas, Easter, etc.], has instituted rituals and rites that were borrowed directly from paganism, and has set himself up as the final authority on matters of doctrine" (Great Prophecies of the Bible, p. 140).

Papal Rome became so powerful that no man dared make war against her. She could, and did, set up and depose kings (Revelation 17: 2). Thus, in Ecclesiastical Rome, through the ascendancy of Papal autocracy, the spirit of Imperial Rome was revived. John was shown that the operations of this revived empire would continue for many years, until it would eventually go "into perdition" (Revelation 17: 11); that is, into extinction.

The Great Apostasy

The Apostle Paul makes reference to a spreading apostasy when he speaks of "the mystery of lawlessness" that was already at work in his day:

"For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way." (II Thessalonians 2: 7.)

The early Church fathers taught that the "restraint" mentioned here was to be none other than the Roman Empire. With the removal of Imperial Rome, and its revival under the Papacy, the succession of those who would fit the qualifications of "Antichrist" took their seat, each one displaying an arrogant assumption of Divine authority.

Much confusion exists among students of the scriptures concerning certain developments which were to mark the ending of the age as they were enumerated by Paul in the second chapter of II Thessalonians. These events were to announce the arrival of what Paul designated as "the day of Christ" (II Thessalonians 2:2). When Paul cautioned his own generation they were not to look for these happenings then, he emphasized the fact that the positive indication of their coming would be a "falling away," which means a descent into apostasy.

The Greek word that is here translated "falling away" is apostasia, defined by Strong's Concordance as "defection from the truth." This was not to be a falling away from religion into atheism, or even agnosticism, but rather a falling away that would develop within the realm of the Christian Church. Explains R.C.H. Lenski in The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles:

"This is apostasy. It is, therefore, to be sought in the church visible and NOT outside the church, not in the pagan world, in the general moral decline, in Mohammedanism, in the French Revolution, in the rise and spread of Masonry, in Soviet Russia, or in lesser phenomena" (p. 433).

Has this "falling away" already happened -- or is it still in the future? Those well-versed in church history know the answer. The original New Testament Church of YEHOVAH God was filled with truth and spiritual power. But as the years went by, there began to be departures from the true faith -- just as the apostles had warned in Acts 20:29, 30; I Timothy 4:1-3 and II Peter 2:2,3. The mystery of lawlessness was at work under the guiding hands of Simon Magus and his followers. Compromises were made with paganism and, finally, what the world recognized as the "Church" in the fourth and fifth centuries had actually become the FALLEN church! Only if Christianity had remained doctrinally pure through all the centuries until now, could the apostasy possibly be yet future. This most certainly has NOT been the case!

As the falling away developed, the bishop of Rome rose to power claiming to be the "Bishop of bishops," demanding that the whole Christian world should look to him as head -- and to ROME as headquarters for the church. Through the centuries, this apostasy has continued with a "man," at Rome, exalting himself above all others, claiming divine honors and worship. This is a CONTINUAL REMINDER that the falling away took place centuries ago!

The Man of Sin

The revealing of what the "falling away" entailed came first and then Paul unveiled the identity of the "man of sin" who is the "son of perdition. Paul clearly links the man of sin with the falling away -- "That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed..." (II Thessalonians 2:1-3). Thomas Newton, in his Dissertations on the Prophecies, wrote --

"If the apostasy be rightly charged upon the church of Rome, it follows that the man of sin is the pope, not meaning this or that pope in particular, but the pope in general, as the chief head and supporter of this apostasy. The apostasy produces him and he promotes the apostasy" (London: 1754, p. 463).

Albert Barnes concurs, saying that: "...his [the pope's] rise was preceded by a great apostasy, or departure from the purity of the simple gospel, as revealed in the New Testament, cannot reasonably be doubted by anyone acquainted with the history of the church. That he is the creation or result of that apostasy, is equally clear" (Barnes Commentary, p. 1112).

According to Paul's prophecy, the man of sin was to "exalt himself above all...in the TEMPLE of God" (II Thessalonians 2:4). Futurists assume Paul was speaking of a future Jewish Temple in Jerusalem prior to the Messiah's return. Paul, however, NEVER applied this term to the Jewish Temple! He repeatedly used this expression in reference to true believers, to YEHOVAH's Ecclesia -- never to a literal building. Notice --

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are" (I Corinthians 3:16-17).

"[You are] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the spirit" (Ephesians 2:20-22).

The place, then, in which this man of sin would be found is, as Barnes says, "the Christian church." To this Barnes adds -- "It is by no means necessary to understand this of the temple at Jerusalem....The idea is that the Antichrist would present himself in the midst of the church as claiming the honors due to God alone....The authority claimed by the Pope of Rome, meets the full force of the language used here by the apostle" (Barnes Commentary, p. 1114).

The man of sin would, then, "sit" in the temple of YEHOVAH God "as God" -- implying he would claim a place of rulership within the church. "Sit" (kathizo) implies a "seat" (kathedra), from which is derived the word "Cathedral" -- the bishop's seat. When the pope speaks "ex cathedra," he is speaking from his seat officially, such pronouncements being considered infallible! Writes H. Grattan Guinness:

"There, in that exalted cathedral position, and claiming to represent God, the man of sin was to act and abide as the pretended vicar, but the real antagonist, of Christ, undermining his authority, abolishing his laws, and oppressing his people" (Romanism and the Reformation, p. 57).

The man of sin is further described in II Thessalonians 2:4 as "[he] who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." It is quite clear from this description that the man of sin would exalt himself in great pride, would make great claims and would magnify himself above all others. The man of sin would exalt himself above all others in the church!

Not only would he claim to be "a" leader in the church, but he would actually claim to be "the" leader. He would claim to be "as God," exalting himself as overall head of the church -- a position that belongs only to YEHOVAH God Himself -- "showing that he is God." There is no article before "God" in this case; the meaning is that the man of sin would claim divine attributes. "This expression," states Albert Barnes, "would not imply that he actually claimed to be the true God, but only that he sits in the temple, and manifests himself as if he were God. He claims such honors and such reverence as the true God would if he should appear in human form" (Barnes Commentary, p. 1114).

So, have the popes claimed to be above ALL that is called God (YEHOVAH)? Have they claimed to be as YEHOVAH God in the temple of YEHOVAH God? Have they attempted to show that they are divine? The answer is YES to all of these questions! The popes have claimed to be above all kings and emperors. They have claimed not only the rule of the earth -- but heaven and hell as well! They have claimed attributes and titles which can rightly pertain ONLY to YEHOVAH God!

The man of sin's rise to power was to be accompanied by claims of supernatural signs and wonders. "The coming of the lawless one [man of sin] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception..." (II Thessalonians 2:9). A full account of all the miracles that have supposedly occurred within the Roman Catholic Church would fill volumes: crucifixes have spoken; images of Mary have appeared in all sorts of unlikely places; idols have sweat, tears, blood, have turned their eyes, moved their hands, opened their mouths, healed sicknesses, raised the dead, mended broken bones; souls from purgatory have appeared on lonely roads and begged that masses be said on their behalf, etc. All of these "miracles" -- whether supposed, real or fake -- greatly enhanced the fallen church in the eyes of many.

We see, then, that the man of sin would appear in conjunction with the falling away. He would rise to power within the very framework of Christianity -- claiming to be above all others, as YEHOVAH God! His rise to power would be accompanied with lying signs and wonders. We have seen evidence, point by point, that these things did indeed find fulfillment in the Papacy -- and NOT in some FUTURE person!

The "man of sin" is identified with an ecclesiastical system that would be active during the entire Christian Dispensation. Coming directly to the point, the head of the Roman Catholic Church today fulfills all the requirements which identify him as the one:

"Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." (II Thessalonians 2: 4.)

He is called the Pope, a word that comes from papa, or papas, and means "father." It was not until the fourth century, after the power of Imperial Rome had passed away, that Pope became the distinct title of the Roman Pontiff. Pontiff means "pathfinder" or "waymaker" -- one who speaks oracularly; that is, who resembles an oracle, the medium by which a god reveals hidden knowledge or makes known a divine purpose.

Having assumed the role as the Vicar of Christ (that is, someone instead of the Messiah), Paul recorded the following prophecy as to the time of the Papacy's everlasting damnation:

"Whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." (II Thessalonians 2: 8.)

Ferrar Fenton renders the latter part of this verse, applying to those who sit on the Papal throne, whom the Lord shall "extinguish by the manifestation of his presence"

The Parenthesis or Gap Theory

A system of interpretation known as the "parenthesis" or "gap" theory is an integral part of Futurism. According to this interpretation a huge gap of 2,000 years or so separates the 70th week from the other 69 weeks that measured unto the Messiah. It is thought that Hippolytus, who was active about 200 to 250 A.D., was the first Christian writer to mention this "gap" in the fulfillment of prophecy. Dr. C. I. Scofield, a leading exponent of this dysfunctional speculation, proposed the basic idea:

"With the rejection of Messiah the Prince, the 69th week closed and an indefinite period of unreckoned time follows; when that is expired, the last prophetic week of years will begin and run its appointed course."

Dr. Scofield observed further that "with Israel [although using this term, he meant `Jews'] out of the land, God's Jewish clock stops" Making the same error concerning the identity of YEHOVAH's people, the Christian Workers' Commentary stated:

"Prophetically speaking, God does not count time with reference to Israel [again meaning the Jews] while she is in captivity or dispersed or dominated by any other nation."

Herein lies the crux of the misinterpretation. When the modern identity of all the branches of YEHOVAH's people is recognized, particularly the truth that the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples are the House of Israel in the world today, the need for a "parenthesis" in the fulfillment of prophecy disappears. Actually, it is preposterous to propose that the intricate pattern of Biblical chronology would be subject to a "gap" in the Divine reckonings at any time in history! YEHOVAH God has at no time relinquished His overruling surveillance of the movements of all peoples and nations. Nor has the clock of the Divine agenda ceased to operate for a single instant throughout the ages, as Esdras affirmed:

"For he has weighed the world in the balance, and has measured the times with a measure, and carefully counted the hours, and he will not move or disturb them, until the prescribed measure is reached." (II Esdras 4: 35-37, Goodspeed Trans.)

The fulfilled interpretation does NOT require this mystical gap, but maintains that the 70th week followed the 69th in logical sequence. The erroneous futurist interpretation links the 70th week to the Antichrist --that he will make a covenant with the Jews, allowing them to offer sacrifices in a rebuilt Temple at Jerusalem, only to later break this covenant, causing sacrifices to cease. The fulfilled interpretation links the 70th week to Yeshua the Messiah -- that he caused sacrifices to cease by becoming the perfect and FINAL sacrifice at Golgotha!

The fulfilled interpretation regarding the 70th week is the CORRECT one! This is a prophecy about Yeshua the Messiah -- not the Antichrist!

Writes Philip Mauro --

"The alteration of God's measuring line whereof we are speaking has been effected by the strange expedient of inserting many centuries of time (more than nineteen hundred years thus far) between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth week. And the result is that, instead of a definite and "determined" measuring line of 490 years, we have one which already is over 2400 years in length, and is growing longer every day.

"Nothing can be more evident than that the usefulness of a measuring line depends firstly, upon its accuracy, and secondly, upon the user's knowledge of its length. Hence to tamper with and alter the dimensions of a measure or gauge of time or space, or to change the location of any of the markings thereon, is to destroy its usefulness" (The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation. Emissary Publications, Clacakamas, OR, p. 113).

Mauro goes on to say:

"...not only has God's measuring line been altered as already stated, but it has been changed from a line of determined length to one of indeterminate length. (It would really seem as if the word "determined" had been inserted in the angel's message as a caution and warning against this very mutilation). For, according to the idea we are discussing, the number of years to be inserted between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week is still an unknown quantity. The last week, when thus detached from its 69 companions, does not belong to any known series whatever. This...not only destroys the usefulness of the prophecy, but turns it into an absurdity" (ibid., p. 114).

Disastrous Fallout

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the Futurist interpretation of prophecy is the conditioning of its adherents into conformity with those who say in their hearts, "My master is delaying his coming" (Matthew 24: 48), because of their conception of the order of the events which are to lead to the second appearance of the Messiah. This inclination toward heedless unpreparedness was displayed in correspondence with an eminent Bible student, and professor in a theological seminary, who negated the imminence of the revelation of the presence of the Messiah, giving as his reason:

"Because we must have at least a seven-year period of tribulation, and we are not in that period yet."

This should impress forcefully upon the mind the truth of what is stated in Luke's Gospel:

"For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." (Luke 21: 35.)

An attitude of complacency does away with alertness, in distinct violation of the Messiah's oft-repeated admonition:

"Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming...Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of man is coming at an hour when you do not expect him" (Matthew 24: 42-44.)

Why must the averseness to alertness always narrow down to one verse in Mark's Gospel? There the record of the Messiah's declaration is:

"But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mark 13: 32.)

The quotation from The Scripture of Truth by Sidney Collett gives us the exact meaning of our Lord's words. He stated in part:

"It ought however, to be more widely known that the Greek, translated 'but' [in Mark 13: 32], consists of two words, the simple English of which is 'if not' -- thus, ei equals 'if' and me equals 'not.' The late Archbishop Trench, one of the greatest authorities on words, when lecturing to a London college, called attention to this about fifty years ago, and it can be seen by anyone on reference to a good Greek lexicon. So that the clause should read, 'neither the Son if not the Father,' " (See the Introduction to Marvels of Prophecy.)

Yeshua referred to himself most often as the Son of man and he used this title in the surrounding context of the scriptural passage in question. It is said of him:

"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he [the Messiah] himself likewise partook of the same nature....For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham." (Hebrews 2: 14 and 16.)

Therefore, as the Son of man (John 5: 27), and as one who did NOT preexist with the Father and who was NOT God, it was not revealed to him the exact time of his second arrival -- which is precisely set in the Divine counsels -- nor was it to be generally disclosed in advance.

Nevertheless, those who are his watchmen are enjoined to be constantly alert, for they will not be unaware of the approaching hour and what this portends (Revelation 16: 15). Paul declared that those who are "the children of the day...not of the night" are not to be in ignorance concerning the chronology of the "times and seasons" of "the day of the Lord" (I Thessalonians 5: 1-8). The Prophet Amos made the positive assertion:

"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3: 7; cf. Rev, 10: 7.)

The Sign of His Coming?

Futurists who are so obsessed with the idea of looking into the future for a coming "man of sin" who acts as a time-marker in determining the Messiah's return, are wholly unaware of what the Messiah actually said about his second coming! In the latter part of Matthew 24, the Messiah changes from giving precise prophetic information to giving only general information about his return. He makes plain only ONE thing -- that NO immediately preceding signs would be given for his people to determine that his arrival was near. Notes Philip Mauro --

"This feature of his coming again -- its unexpectedness -- is stated in so many different ways, and is so emphatically applied and illustrated (see Mark 13:32-37) that we are absolutely controlled by it in the interpretation, not only of the Mount Olivet discourse, but of every other prophecy relating to the second coming of Christ" (The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, pp. 261-262).

The Messiah's own coming would be at a time unknown even to himself and, moreover, there would be NO SIGN to let his people know of his imminent arrival. So, for this very reason, he impressed it upon his people to WATCH "at every season" (Luke 21:36). Of his arrival, the Messiah said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, IF NOT THE FATHER" (Mark 13:32).

There are those who try to circumvent these plain words of the Messiah by saying that it is only the precise "day and hour" of Yeshua's coming that is left in doubt, and that his words do not preclude trying to figure out the year of his return. But that attitude not only denies the Messiah's own words, but it also leads people on into a false sense of security. He plainly meant to say -- emphatically -- that the time of his coming was a matter of uncertainty. Not only that, but the very next verse says, "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is," so it is not merely a question of the day and hour, but of the TIME in general. And furthermore, the parable found in Mark 13:33-37 makes it clear that the uncertainty of his return was to extend through the entire period of his absence.

The question of the time of the Messiah's return was purposely left in uncertainty from the very beginning of the parable so that, after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the only way for his people to insure themselves against being taken unawares was "to watch." He was "coming suddenly," and therefore there was always the possibility that his people might be found "sleeping."

While in Mark's account the Messiah was showing the possibility that he might arrive at any watch of the night, Matthew's account (and also Luke's -- 17:24-30) highlights the fact that the Messiah's coming would NOT be preceded by any sign whatsoever. It would be "as in the days that were before the flood" when the ordinary activities of life continued unabated "until the day that Noah entered into the ark" (Matthew 24:37-38); and "also as it was in the days of Lot," when the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah came suddenly and unexpectedly, there being NO WARNING, "but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed" (Luke 17:29-30). These words could not be plainer!

From these sayings of the Messiah we can clearly see that it is, and always has been, an IMPOSSIBILITY to calculate -- from any figures given in the Bible -- the year, or even the approximate year, of the Messiah's return. Think about it -- if that was unknown, even to the Messiah himself when he spoke those words, then there was certainly no information in the Bible from which it could be computed!

We can also see how CONTRARY to the Messiah's teaching is the idea -- accepted by so many at the present time -- that he will be "revealed" after the appearance of a future "Antichrist" and at the end of a supposed "great tribulation" of either seven years or three and a half years in length -- depending on who you talk to! Those who locate the arrival of Yeshua the Messiah at the end of "the great tribulation" of current teaching, plainly CONTRADICT the Messiah's own teaching in that they make the supposed "tribulation" a sure sign that his coming is at hand!!

Those who insist on having a "sign" of the Messiah's return will have to make do with the ONLY sign mentioned in the Bible -- that sign which appears at the split second of the Messiah's arrival, notice --

"Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30).

This is the only sign given which should claim the vigilant attention of those who are watching for the Messiah's appearing -- putting them on notice to expect the sudden, unheralded glory of his presence. Nothing should deter the watchful believer from an unswerving determination to make his calling and election sure (II Peter 1: 10), in conformity with the Messiah's exhortation:

"Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass [i.e., the hour of temptation -- Rev. 3: 101], and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21: 36.)

In Contrast

It is fitting to close this treatment of the subject of the errors of Futurism with an observation by H. Grattan Guinness, in the American Edition of his book, The Approaching End of the Age (printed in 1880 and now out of print). He contrasted the Futurist theories with the historical interpretation of prophecy, stating that "the Futurist view denies progressive revelation," whereas the historical prophetic foreview is verified by what history discloses:

"Two main systems of interpretation of this final revelation of Scripture are then before us. Which is likely to be true? The one characterized the infancy of the church; the other was the offspring of mature experience. The one sprang up amid utter ignorance of the actual purpose of God; the other in view of His accomplished providence. The one can never be brought to any test; the other, at every point, exposes itself to critical examination...The one leaves us to form our own opinion of the greatest fact in the history of the church, the Papal system of ecclesiastical corruption and tyranny; the other gives us God's infallible and awful judgment about it. The one was never more than a barren speculation; the other has been, and is, a mighty power for good. The one leaves us in dismal doubt as to our place in the prophetic calendar; the other makes us lift up our heads, to catch the glow of the coming sunrise."

 

Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.
www.hope-of-israel.org

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