Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 13
GREAT WHITE THRONE
I hope you have begun to study your Bible since you have joined our Bible study. To really study and compare Scriptures with Scriptures takes dedication, but this is the only way you can study correctly. This can make a tremendous difference in your lives and everything you do and say. We have been studying the Kingdom, and I have become aware that there are a lot of folk that stand staunchly against the concept of an earthly Kingdom. They have spiritualized the Scriptures, and everything that pertains to the Kingdom is spiritual in their eyes. Consequently, they refuse to accept the fact that the Bible is teaching a literal physical, political, earthly Kingdom. There will be families, and tremendous reproduction beginning with believing parents.
Just the other night a fellow in one of our classes showed me a little book that his pastor had given him. All I have to do is read through these and I see the same things over and over. I make no apology for the fact that I read the opposition. It’s almost like being a football coach. Right after the last game is over you must scout the next team you play. Well, that’s the way I do it. I have the Book of Mormon at home. I read and study it so I have a good idea what’s in their book. I’ve read quite a bit out of the Koran so I know a little about it. I read a lot of what Armstrong has written, and I’ve always read Jehovah Witness material, because I want to know where they’re coming from. It’s the same way with these people who are absolutely contrary to, and in opposition of, this concept of an earthly Kingdom, and Christ’s Second Coming ahead of it.
I would like to take this lesson to enlighten people because, as one of my dear students who is the Dean of one of the colleges of one of our universities here, came up to me and said,“Les you’re breaking new ground, you’re throwing things at some of the students that we have never heard before.” So let me try to enlighten each of you on the opposing views with regards to end-time events:
1. Pre-Tribulation and Pre-Millennium. These are of the same persuasion as myself. What we are talking about is the return of Christ. We believers in the Church Age believe that Christ is going to come from heaven to meet us in the air, to take us out before the Tribulation. So we speak of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. But then we speak in the next term of the Second Coming of Christ actually coming to the Mount of Olives, as being Pre-Millennium. That means that Christ will return to earth before this thousand years’ Kingdom on earth is established.
2. Amillennium – This the opposing view. And in the English language when you put an A in front of something, what does it mean? `No,’ or `without.’ So you have the Pre-Tribulation, Pre-Millennium concepts of the Scriptures, versus the Amillennium – that there is no such thing as an earthly Kingdom of a thousand years. There is no return of Christ to set up an earthly Kingdom.
Several years ago, there was a pastor in the town of one of my classes who was strictly Amillennial (I had a lot of his church members in my class. But as you know, I never try to get people to just follow me. I just have a free-lance Bible study and we teach people in whatever denomination they are in, and they continue to attend their own church). So to refute my teaching the pastor handed out a little typewritten two-page publication ridiculing my stand on the Millennium, the Rapture and so forth. I read it a couple of times to see what he was thinking. What it said was that this whole concept of the Rapture and the Tribulation, and the setting up of an earthly Kingdom had its beginning with some little teenage girl in Spain who had dreamed it all up. It sounded so good that a lot of people listened. and out of that they concocted this whole idea of the Millennium. So several of those people wanted to know if there was any basis for this, because you don’t find any teaching concerning the Rapture and the Millennium back at the time of the reaffirmation of Luther, Calvin, and so forth. And that is true.
People do not understand that for the first 250 years of Church history (from about 40 or 50 AD to 300 AD), the Church stood solidly on what we call Pre-Millennalism. They had a different word for it, Chilioiism, from the word Chilioi in the Greek, which meant 1000 years, just like `mille’ means a thousand. So the words mean the same thing. During those first 250 years, we had all kinds of Church fathers who stood adamant on the fact of the soon departure of the Church, beginning with the Apostle Paul who actually thought it would take place in his lifetime, and the writing of Barnabas who was a contemporary of the Apostle Paul. And John, and Justin Martyr, and others in their writings stood on the millennial earthly rule of Christ, without any apologies.
Now the amazing thing is during that same period of time, there was not one single writer in opposition to it. But one of the strongest opponents was Whitbe. If you need a bibliography of that, call me, and I can give them to you. This Whitbe, who was totally Amillennial, wrote that Pre-Millennialism was passed down amongst the Christians for 250 years. He admitted it. Another one of great Amillennialists was a man by the name of Allis. And he, too, admitted that in the early Church writings there was nothing but the concept of Pre-Mellennialism. So we are prone to ask what happened if, for 250 years, that was the teaching. You know the twelve disciples looked for the Kingdom. I’ve shown you that more than once. Let’s look at it again. Go to Acts Chapter 1, because I always like to use as much Scripture as I can. The Lord has been crucified and raised from the dead and has spent 40 days with the disciples. Now verse 3:
“To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs (that He had risen from the grave), being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the (what?) kingdom of God:”
The Kingdom is the Kingdom is the Kingdom. You might say it’s (this time when the earth would be regenerated, the curse lifted, and it would be the Utopia that everybody is looking for). It’s been on the mind of man since the dawn of human history. Now verse 6:
“When they (the disciples) therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, `Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the (what?) kingdom to Israel?'”
Now in the thinking of the Jews of Jesus’ day, what Kingdom stood out as the high point in all of Israel’s history? David’s and Solomon’s beautiful Kingdom. Solomon’s especially, it was arrayed in such glory. What did the Queen of Sheba say? “The half hasn’t yet been told.” Well, the twelve understood that this kind of a Kingdom was once again going to be brought back to the Nation of Israel. But instead of a Solomon it would be a greater than Solomon, it would be the Messiah who would be their King. Then they are asking Him, since all of this has been accomplished: He had died at the Crucifixion, and raised from the dead; will he now give them the Kingdom? In the last verse we looked at in our last lesson, there was the promise that Christ had made to the disciples. Let’s look at it again. That is what makes Bible study so beautiful, how it all fits together.
“And Jesus said unto them, `Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration (many people just slip over that word without really knowing what it means. If you have a dead car battery and want to restore it’s original power, what do you do? You generate it. A generator generates a flow of electricity into that battery making it like new. That word means the same thing here. One day the earth will be regenerated (made like it was in the beginning) when the Son of man (The Christ) shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also(the disciples) shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'”
All of this written in the four Gospels especially rests on the Abrahamic Covenant. We need to look at that for a time. So go to Genesis 15. I call this the Chapter of Israel’s title deed. Most of you already have that written in your margins. Here God has come down and, as He did in the Old Testament, He appeared unto Abraham. And he literally went through the rites of transferring title deed to Abraham. And after He had done that, verse 18:
“In the same day (God transferred the title deed to Abraham) the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, `Unto thy seed (Abraham’s offspring) have I given this land, from the river of Egypt (near the Nile) unto the great river, the river Euphrates:'”
The Euphrates goes through present day Iraq, down to the Persian Gulf. Then all the way back to near the Nile river in Egypt, up to the Mediterranean Sea north and back to the Euphrates river. That’s all going to be Israel’s homeland when the Kingdom comes in. Israel has never had it yet. David and Solomon got part of it, but not near all of it. Tonight, Israel just has a small amount of the land that God gave Abraham, but the day is coming when the Land of Israel will actually cover that whole Middle East. But this title deed will not be fulfilled until Christ sets up the Kingdom. And the twelve apostles will sit under Christ’s throne there in Jerusalem, ruling over the twelve tribes just like it says in Matthew Chapter 19. That’s the Kingdom as the twelve apostles understood it.
Paul speaks of the Kingdom and since the Kingdom is not now on earth, but in heaven, Paul then speaks of our citizenship being in heaven. And he says so in Colossians 1 so plainly:
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”
When Christ returns to the earth with His Kingdom, where will we be? With Him. That’s the whole concept of Scripture, that when the Kingdom is set up we’ll come back with Him. We won’t have physical bodies of reproduction (male and female) like the survivors of the Tribulation. Jesus said we will be as the angels, but nevertheless we will be bodily present and will reign and rule with Christ. So the early Apostles believed in this earthly Kingdom. Paul taught it. John taught it and wrote the Book of Revelation.
Well, what happened then that this opposing view crept in. You want to remember that shortly after 300 A.D. something fantastic took place. Emperor Constantine, the Roman Emperor, embraced Christianity. And when he did that, what did that do to the Church? It exploded in numbers. People came in by droves, because after all it was the thing to do. Then the Church fathers, Origen being the first one, were down there at a big seminary in Alexandria Egypt. When he saw that Christianity was exploding across the Roman Empire, he reflected back – the Jewish temple had been totally destroyed; the Jews had been uprooted out of their homeland and sent like vagabonds and Gypsies throughout the Roman Empire. So he got the great light bulb explosion in his mind that evidently God was all through with the Jew. He would have nothing more to do with them, and consequently, all of the promises that God had given to the Nation of Israel and to Abraham were now blotted out, and instead, God gives all those promises to the Church.
What does that do? It destroys all end-time prophecies, because as I stressed when we first started prophecy several months ago, all prophecy is directed solely to the Jew. So when you take the Jew off the scene, what do you do with prophecy? You throw it away. And that’s exactly what they did. They took away all references to end-time prophecy, and would say it can’t be, because Israel is no longer a viable thing. Then some years after Origen there came a great Roman Catholic Bishop named Augustine. He was a tremendous man, and sometimes I even make reference to some of his writings. But Augustine also followed this concept that since Christianity was engulfing the whole world, that is how the Kingdom would be brought in, and there would be no more need for the Tribulation or the Second Coming because the Church is the literal Kingdom. He even went so far as to feel that Satan was defeated and locked up at the time of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. With that, they were already in the Kingdom.
It wasn’t too long after Augustine, as the world was already starting to slip deeper and deeper into sin, that they realized their concept wasn’t true. Then Augustine precipitated what we call Amillennialism. That all the promises given to Israel had now been given to the Church. And there were no prophecies left to fulfill.
Then the reformers came along. Martin Luther, Calvin and all the rest. That was about 1511 AD. They were so caught up in this whole concept of salvation and faith, doing away with the excesses that Roman Catholicism had brought in at that time, that they didn’t get to the place where they considered what we call eschatology or end-time events. Even from the Reformation there was nothing taught concerning the end-time. And then a fellow by the name of Joseph Mede, who lived from 1586 to 1638, began to write concerning the Nation of Israel going back to the land, and that there would be a thousand-year reign. Few paid much attention to him. But from Mede on, more and more men began to recover what we call millennialist teachings. Then, about the middle 1800’s, a gentleman from England by the name of John Darby (who many feel wrote one of the best translations of the Bible that has ever been written), became the tremendous proponent of what we call Pre-Tribulation, and the Pre-Millennial coming of Christ.
Since Darby, there have been literally thousands of tremendous theologians. And with everything that is happening on the earth tonight, we can see the whole prophetic plan coming together, and it’s much easier to embrace these things now than to say, “Well, God’s all through with the Jews.” But let me remind you that there are large groups in Christendom (I suppose at least 80%), who still hold to Amillennialism. They still have not come to the place where they recognize that the Nation of Israel is visible. In fact, most of these groups will say, “The Jews in Israel tonight have nothing to do with the Israel of Scripture.” And, as you know, I disagree with that thinking completely. I maintain the Jews in Israel tonight are the fulfillment of this Book. They are the very stamp that this Book is true and we can rest on it. And now with Israel back in the land, and the Jews planning to rebuild the Temple, the whole world political and economic system is being set up according as we see it in Scripture. So I make no apology for my stand on the Millennium, on Christ’s return, on the Rapture and Tribulation or everything else that I have been teaching. Amillennialism is fine for those that want it. But as for me, I believe otherwise!