Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XXVI
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FUTURISM AND THE THIRD ANGEL’S MESSAGE
See Romans 2: 25-29 first. Here Apostle Paul settles once and for all the issue as to who the spiritual Jew is. As the Passover, first observed on the last night of their Egyptian bondage, the first of their three annual festivals, began with the birth of the Hebrew nation, New Testament Christianity, which Christ introduced, replacing Old Testament Judaism, grew rapidly from the Day of Pentecost. The Jewish apostasy made the work of the first apostles especially difficult. The first bitter persecutors of Christ and His followers were the Jewish people led by their spiritual leaders.
“The book of Galatians deals with the greatest single doctrinal problem of the apostolic era—the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. To Christian believers of that time, and to Jewish Christians in particular, this was a perplexing problem. . . .As devout Jews they naturally expected Gentile converts to conform to Jewish ritual requirements . . .About A.D. 49 the Jerusalem Council (Acts ch 15) officially resolved the issue, declaring Gentile Christians to be free from the requirements of Jewish law (vs 19, 20) . . It was difficult for [the Jewish Christians) to grasp that the ritual system divinely ordained 15 centuries before had now become obsolete and unnecessary. A Judaizing party arose that advocated that all Gentile converts should become practicing Jews, and sought to force their point of view upon Paul’s Gentile converts.
Such were the circumstances that called for the Galatian epistle . . . Against Judaizing argument that Gentile believers must accept circumcision, the sign of the covenant and of admission to the commonwealth of Israel, Paul maintained that justification comes by Christ in faith alone (Gal. 6: 13; 5: 1-4).”- SDA Bible Dictionary, Commentary Reference Series, Vol. 8, p. 380.
Thus Paul wrote by inspiration: “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” Rom. 2: 25-29, N.K.J.V.
L. F. Were says: “Whereas the Papacy-fostered system of interpretation known as Futurism applies literally, in a Palestinian-sense, the things pertaining to Israel, the Third Angel’s Message follows the system of interpretation outlined in the New Testament and Spirit of Prophecy and applies the things of Israel in aspiritual, world-wide sense.
“The New Testament teaching is clear and decisive that, since the rejection of the Jewish nation, city and temple [see Dan. 9: 24-27], the church—spiritual Israel—is now God’s ‘Jerusalem’ or ‘temple’. See Rev. 11: 1, 2; Eph. 2: 21, 22, etc. ‘The man of sin’ who was to sit ‘in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God’ (2 Thess. 2: 3, 4) is the Papacy within the spiritual temple—the professedly Christian church. Futurists—whether papal or supposedly-Protestant—apply this prophecy in connection with a literal temple yet to be built in literal Jerusalem by an enemy of the literal Jews.
“The Roman Catholic teaching is stated in the following extract from the ‘Controversial Catechism,’ p. 115, by the Rev. Stephen Keenan:— “Is it clear from the Scripture that Rome will be the seat of the Antichrist? Ans.: No; it is much more evident that Jerusalem will be his seat. In the Gospel of St. Matthew (24: 1-15) Christ speaks first speaks first of the temple of Jerusalem, and immediately after connects this with the abomination of desolation to be seen to be standing in the holy place; evidently pointing out that temple as the holy place, where the beast should be enthroned; and this is clearly confirmed by the Apocalypse (11:8) where, speaking of the wars to be carried on by the Antichrist, and those that were to be slain by him, St. John says: ‘And their dead bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.’ Now, the Lord was crucified in [actually, outside of] Jerusalem, not in Rome therefore Jerusalem, not Rome, will be the seat of the Antichrist. See also on this subject: Apoc. 11, 12, 13, 17.” – Ibid, p. 81.
L. F. Were says: “Thus, by interpreting literally the things which at one time pertained to national Israel, Roman Catholics and Protestants are blinded to the truths of the Third Angel’s Message, which has for its basis the teaching that the things that were literal and Palestinian in the days of national Israel now have theirspiritual, world-wide application in connection with spiritual Israel—the church.” – Ibid.
“Advocating the erroneous Futuristic system of interpretation, the comments in Scoffield’s [Reference] Bible declare:– “ Israel . . as a nation, is yet to have its greatest exaltation as the earthly people of God. . . .According to the prophets, Israel, re-gathered from all nations, restored to her own land, and converted, is yetto have her greatest earthly exaltation and glory.’ Notes on Rom. 11. ‘Jerusalem is yet to be the religious centre of the earth.’ ‘In the days when Jerusalem had been made the centre of earth’s worship, the Jew will then be the missionary, and to the very nations now called Christians. Notes on Zechariah 8.’”- Ibid.
“Had the Jews been faithful,” L.F. Were continues, “such prophecies as Ezekiel 38, 39; Zechariah 14; Joel 3, depicting the gathering of many nations against Israel, followed by their destruction and Israel’s triumph,would have been fulfilled in their literal, Palestinian sense. Now, however, they meet their spiritual fulfillment in connection with spiritual Israel. Writing of the last days, God’s servant says: ‘If he [Satan] could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete.
As he influenced the heathen nations [referred to in Eze. 38, 39; Joel 3; Zech. 14] to destroy Israel, so in the near future he will stir up the wicked powers of earth to destroy the people of God.’ (PK 587, 588). . . The Spirit of Prophecy applies the gathering of nations against Israel and Jerusalem, depicted in Zech. 14, in connection with the attempt of the people of spiritual Babylon to destroy spiritual Israel. Eze. 38, 39; Joel 3; etc., are parallel prophecies giving additional features of thesame spiritual struggle, and must be interpreted the same way as Zech. 14.
By interpreting these prophecies in a literal, Jewish, Palestinian sense, Futurists fail to recognize the Third Angel’s Message. The Revelator points to our day (Rev. 12: 12, 17) as the time of special Satanic hatred against the remnant of [spiritual] Israel. Those prophecies depicting the final gathering of the forces of evil against Jerusalem and Israel, and Israel’s triumph over her enemies through the wonderful intervention of God, are precious messages of encouragement for the remnant church [Rev. 12; 17; 19: 10; 22: 14].” – The Certainty of the Third Angel’s Message,” pp. 82, 83; First Impressions 776 Bluff View, Berrien Springs, MI 49103.
“Satan deceives today as he deceived the Jews. History repeats itself. As Satan blinded the eyes of the Jews to the true understanding of the prophecies (PK 686, 687) in order to prepare the way for the rejection of Christ at His first coming,’ so, today, the evil one causes people to reject the Third Angel’s Message by misinterpreting the same prophecies in the same way as the Jews.” Ibid, pp. 80-82.
WHO IS THE ISIS/ISIL? What Role do they Play in End-time Prophecy?
In 1909 Ellen G. White wrote: “Everything in the world is in an unsettled state. The nations are angry, and great preparations for war are being made. Nation is plotting against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. The great day of God is hasting greatly.” – Review & Herald, Jan. 28, 1909. “Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. God’s people should be preparing for what is to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.” –Maranatha (Devotional), p. 161.
E. G. White hardly wrote anything on Daniel chapter 11 where “the king of the north” and “the king of the south” are mentioned. See verses 6-8, 11, 13, 15, 40, 44. This has to be for a good reason. But this she wrote about Daniel 11: “The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecy of the eleventh chapter of Daniel has nearly reached its complete fulfillment. Soon the scenes of trouble spoken of in the prophecies will take place.” – Christian Service, p. 54/ 9T 14.
We are considering unfulfilled prophecies. Therefore, we pause to ponder upon the prudent words of the Advent pioneer, James White, husband of Ellen G. White, and editor who cautioned those in his time who were strongly asserting their expositions regarding the “Eastern Question,” particularly who the “king of the north” was. Some s urged it was France during the French Revolution (1793-1797); others, such as Uriah Smith, said that it was Turkey, the central power of the tottering Ottoman Empire.
NOTE: Two years prior to the event, Josiah Litch, one of the leading ministers of that time preaching the second advent message, published his exposition based on Revelation 9, predicting the fall of the Ottoman Empire on the “the 11th of August, 1840.” At the specified time, Turkey, through her ambassadors, placed herself under the control of the Christian powers of Europe, exactly fulfilling the prediction. (See GC 334, 335). Historical hindsight shows that neither France nor Turkey is the king of the north. The king of the north is the revived papacy. Who then is the “king of the south”? It was on these and like questions that James White wisely cautioned:
“In exposition of unfulfilled prophecy, where the history is not written, the student should put forth his propositions with not too much positiveness, lest he find himself straying in the field of fancy. There are those who think more of future truth than of present truth [emphasis mine]. They see but little light in the path in which they walk, but think they see great light ahead of them.
Positions taken upon the Eastern Question are based upon prophecies which have not yet met their fulfillment. Here we should tread lightly, and take positions carefully, lest we be found removing the landmarks fully established in the advent movement. It may be said that there is a general agreement on this subject, and that all eyes are turned toward the war now in progress in between Turkey and Russia as the fulfillment of that portion of prophecy which will give great confirmation of faith in the soon loud cry and close of our message.
But what will be the result of this positiveness in unfulfilled prophecies should things not come out as very confidently expected, is an anxious question.” –Review & Herald, Nov. 29, 1877.
All would benefit from the foregoing when considering global current events, including the mass shooting last Wednesday in the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center where the young couple who committed the horrible crime (14 dead, 17 wounded), both killed later in a police shootout, were allegedly Muslims, or when being presented with various detailed expositions as to who the ISIS/ISIL are, and the role of Islam or the Muslims in end-time prophecy.
(To be continued next week)