What saith the word?
I mentioned Premillennialism last Sunday in a sermon and thought I should give a summary for you to keep. Premillennialism has many views, but in general is the teaching that God did not accomplish what was prophesied in the Old Testament, and therefore Christ will return for a “do over” where he will establish an earthly kingdom before his final return. All scripture is inspired and does not contradict other scripture, and I have included a few of the many verses which show this man made doctrine is not found in the Bible.
Jesus is recorded in Matthew 4:4 as saying ”But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Each of us as Christians must live according to the Scriptures by which we will be judged (John 12:48), and this requires diligent study. Therefore, let us look at some suggestions which may help us to fulfill the command in Matt. 4:4
1. Make Bible study a priority.
Each of us has priorities in life, but for many Bible study is not one of them. Bible study must be moved to the front of the list, and this means scheduling a regular time each day and giving it priority in our life. Some prefer morning and some prefer evening. Whatever your best time is, begin your regular study and make it a priority.
2. Remove Obstacles.
This may mean giving up video games or some time from your favorite hobby. It may also mean scheduling a time when the children are asleep or out of the house in order to allow you to spend uninterrupted time in the Scriptures. Shut off phones and ignore Facebook and other distractions.
3. Incorporate self-discipline or accountability.
Study the same book, chapter or topic as another Christian who can help you to be accountable, and discuss what you have learned on a regular basis. If you study on your own, keep a calendar or notes to keep you on track. If you have problems with a verse, a study partner may help with your understanding. Be very careful of the sources you use during your study as many are not worth the paper they are printed on.
4. Pray for an understanding and application of the scriptures.
Pray for an understanding mind when studying. Allow the word itself to give you an understanding of what you are reading based on context, audience, and the purpose for the passage. The Bible is its own best commentary and will never contradict itself. The Bible is compared to nourishment, and we will be weaker without it (I Peter 2:2). The Bible is the seed of spiritual life. No Bible equals no life (Luke 8:11; James 1:18; I Corinthians 4:15). We can't answer for our hope apart from the word (I Peter 3:15; Acts 17:11). We can't be approved of God without it (II Timothy 2:15). Only the doctrine in the Bible will save those who are obedient to it (I Timothy 4:16). So, ask yourself honestly, have you been studying the Bible as often as you should or are you letting “more important” things deter you from knowing the truth?
With springtime upon us, it is a good time to review what the Bible says about pleasing God with our dress. Public immodesty is accelerating the breakdown of morality in our society and is also desensitizing the minds of Christians to accept and behave in a fashion which God has declared to be sinful. The Bible is clear about clothing and how Christians are to be adorned. It is extremely sad that a trip to the local mall allows our young boys (and fathers) to see 20 foot posters in the store windows displaying what they should not see except during marriage. Unfortunately, a heavy emphasis of “sensuality” and “sexuality” has been forced upon as a normal behavior. Let’s look at a few verses that help us to understand modesty, without getting hung up on specific types of clothing.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 (KJV) 9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
Sinful women are pictured in the Bible wearing extravagant clothing which drew attention to their bodies and revealed their sinful motives. Godly men are warned to avoid such women (Proverbs 5; Revelation 18). Many men and women today go out of their way to dress without any regard to the standard of Biblical modesty. Some, even Christians, ensure that their clothing is extremely form-fitting in order to reveal just enough to draw attention while still giving the appearance that they are “attempting” to remain modest.
Christians (both men and women) are commanded to avoid arousing the desires of the flesh (Colossians 3:5, 6; 1 Peter 1:13-15; 1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 4:1-5; Titus 2:11-14; Romans 13:14). Men and women who dress in such a way as to purposefully draw attention to their bodies and arouse illicit sexual desire in others are sinning. We cannot control what others will wear, and therefore the Christian will often need to guard their eyes (especially men). However, we can control the clothing we choose and our intentions for how we dress. Dressing attractively (which most want to do) does not mean dressing immodestly or seductively. As one person has wisely stated, "If we want men and women to see the image of God in our faces, we will need to keep our bodies clothed in an appropriate manner."
The Day Age Theory is a View point held by many who are theistic evolutionists (believe in God and evolution). Theistic evolution is the combination of the belief of evolution and the belief of creationism. However the scriptures do not support this view. Those who hold to the Day Age Theory believe that the days in the creation account were long periods of time, thus allowing evolution to take place. The Bible itself gives evidence that the days in the Genesis creation account were literal 24 hour days. The Hebrew word “Yom” which is translated as “day” is defined in the text itself. Genesis 1:5 declares this was a 24 hour period, and in the literal Hebrew it states “evening was, morning was, day one”. “Yom”, is the day period in regular succession of light and darkness due to the earth rotating on its axis, and has continued ever since the creation account recorded in Genesis.
If the days were long periods of time as claimed by those who hold to the Day Age Theory, how do they explain Genesis 1:14 (KJV) “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:”. If days are actually long periods of times, what are the years in verse 14? This literal day (24 hour period) allowed man to define seasons and years just as we do today on a calendar. If something as simple as defining the word day can not be accomplished, how can one ever hope to interpret or understand the Scriptures at all? Whenever the Hebrew word “yom” is preceded by a numeral, it always without fail refers to a literal 24 hour period. Over 100 times in the Old Testament you will find the word “day” (Yom) preceded by a numeral, and each time it is a literal 24 hour period. In the verses in the Old Testament where the word “day” (Yom) is not preceded by a numeral, it is not a literal 24 hour period. Two examples of the use of the word “day” (Yom) that are not 24 hour periods of time are seen in Gen 2:4 (stands for the six days of creation) and Genesis 4:3 (translated as “process of time”). This can also be seen in Gen 26:8 (a long time) and Psalm 95:8-9 (“Day of temptation” which refers to the wilderness wandering). There were other words in the Hebrew language that Moses could have used through inspiration to describe long periods of time (“Olam” and “Dor” strictly mean long periods of time), if he wanted to teach the Day Age Theory. Next, if these days were long periods of time, how did the plants survive without sunlight. The plants were created on day three, but the sun was not created until day four. Long periods of time without sunlight would have caused the plants to die. The evidence confirms the creation account was Inspired and accurate.
The word tribulation was used by Jesus and the apostles more than twenty times in the New Testament to refer to the distress and trials that Christ’s followers must suffer in this life. For example, Acts 14:22 tells us that Paul and Barnabas taught that we should “continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. The words “great tribulation” found in Matthew 24:21 describe a period of unparalleled suffering. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Premillennialism incorrectly teaches that the “great tribulation” is a seven-year period in the future that follows the “rapture” of the church and precedes the Lord’s second coming. (There are variations among premillennialists, but these ideas are generally accepted.)
The disciples asked Jesus privately, “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). Notice they asked about two things: “the sign of thy coming,” and “the end of the world”. These two separate things are the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Lord’s second coming at the end of the world. Chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew give Christ’s description of these two events. Matthew 24:1-35 describes the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in 70 A.D., while the remainder of the passage describes the Lord’s second coming.
The great tribulation, which Premillennialism wants to project to the end of time, is a description of the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus said, “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34). Therefore, within a Biblical generation (thirty to forty years), the events Christ described would come to pass. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. fulfilled this prophecy. Daniel had prophesied a coming “abomination that maketh desolate” (Daniel 11:31; 12:11). Jesus stated “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)” (Matthew 24:15). The abomination of desolation was the desecration and destruction of the temple by the Romans as they destroyed Jerusalem.
The fact that this great tribulation was the destruction of Jerusalem, and not a coming period of misery, is demonstrated by Jesus’ instructions to His followers to watch for the signs, and “flee into the mountains” to escape, and saying they should pray that it “be not in the winter,” when the weather would be bad, nor that their flight be “on the Sabbath day” when the city gates would be closed (Matthew 24:16, 20). History shows that Christians understood this warning and were able to escape the destruction of Jerusalem by fleeing. Eusebius the historian reveals that Christ’s prophecies were realized and the believers obeyed the warnings, fled Jerusalem to a town called Pella (and others), and saved themselves. Eusebius wrote: “The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella.” All who follow Christ will suffer tribulation, but the period of great tribulation has already passed.