By Nathan Jones
Has the Church replaced Israel in God's promises? Wasn't all Bible prophecy fulfilled during the First Century? Can we know anything about the timing of Jesus' return?
Lamb & Lion Ministries interviewed Bible prophecy expert and all-around nice guy Don Perkins, the founder and director of According to Prophecy Ministries in San Diego, California, about how he would respond to 14 common misconceptions that are out there concerning Bible prophecy. The following are the last five Don was asked to comment on.
10) The Church is the fulfillment of all the Kingdom promises in the Bible.
Some believe there's no Kingdom yet to come, or that the Kingdom has already come. But, the Church has not replaced Israel. There are physical prophecies that must take place, and since they haven't been literally fulfilled yet, they must so in the future. Christ will sit on the physical throne of His father David. Isaiah 9 says the government will be on His shoulders. Now, we know Christ rules and reigns within us, that's true. He doesn't reign over the nations of the world at this time. So, He must and He will come to physically reign.
That's one of the fundamental teachings of Amillennialism is the idea that Jesus is reigning over the whole world right now through His Church and the Kingdom is here. But, if He's reigning over the nations of the world today, He's doing a very poor job of it because every one of them is in rebellion against Him. I mean, if you watch the local news you would know that Jesus is not reigning over all the nations.
God's always had a kingdom on this earth. His original kingdom were the patriarchs who responded to Him in faith. Then the Kingdom became more manifest in Israel. Then the Kingdom became more manifest in the Church. And next, the Kingdom's going to become more manifest in the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. But even then, it's going to become permanent on the New Earth when Jesus surrenders the Kingdom to His Father. And, it will truly be a theocratic kingdom where God will rule.
11) The Church has replaced Israel and inherited its blessings.
That's nonsense! Those prophecies, they are physical prophecies. The fact that Israel is a nation today tells me that is not so.
Replacement Theology has resulted in more anti-Semitism than any other thing. For 2,000 years both the Catholic Church and Protestantism have taught that the Church replaced Israel, that God washed His hands of Israel, that there's no purpose left for Israel, and Israel today is an accident of history. It's nonsense. Read Romans 9-11. God has a plan for Israel. All through the Old Testament it says so. Romans 9-11 asks, "Has God washed his hands of Israel because of their unbelief?" The Church for 2000 years has said "yes!" But, what does Paul say?
The Church doesn't like those three chapters — nine, ten and eleven — of Romans. But in those chapters Paul gives a stern warning to the Church not to exalt themselves against Israel because God has a future plan for them.
12) Bible prophecy was all fulfilled in 70 AD.
To me this is the weirdest thing I have ever heard taught in Bible prophecy. I do not know of anything weirder than this, and yet there are people all over the place being deceived by the teaching that the prophecies in the Book of Revelation were all fulfilled in 70 AD when God poured out his wrath on Jerusalem.
I've studied the Book of Revelation, and the end of the Book of Revelation tells me that I'm going to spend eternity in an eternal world with my God. If the Book of Revelation is complete today, what I'm seeing today is not what the Book of Revelation teaches. Revelation has not been fulfilled.
Those who hold this view — they're called Preterists — teach that Nero was the Antichrist. I mean, again, all those are false views.
That whole theology depends on one thing — that the Book of Revelation was written before 70 AD. All the evidence — internal, external, everything — says it was written in 95 AD. In fact, the Early Church Fathers state that point blank that's when it was written, and that's when Domitian began to persecute the church. The persecution under Nero was a concentrated persecution in Rome. For Domitian, it was all over the empire, and that occurred in 95 AD.
For them to teach that the Book of Revelation is complete, again, they're spiritualizing a lot of things. They're putting things together that really do not fit.
Every time I hear somebody say that all the prophecies were fulfilled in 70 AD it reminds me of Paul saying, "Avoid these two guys!" and named them because he said they teach the resurrection has already occurred and had already past. These guys, the most radical of them, are teaching that the Second Coming has already occurred.
One danger of that view, that belief, that misconception, is that it robs the Church of the hope of eternity. I mean, again, if the Book of Revelation is complete, then this is all we have to look forward to.
13) The Church is destined to take over the world and reign over it for a thousand years and then the Lord will return.
Now that's a falsehood for sure. That is a misconception because it's totally out of sync with the Scriptures. We know that the Church will be raptured. We know that the Church will come back with Christ, going into the Millennial Kingdom. The Church will not fulfill that event and then Christ comes back. This turns it all upside down. This view has us presenting the Kingdom of Jesus. But, it won't happen. Jesus is coming to establish the kingdom!
You'd have to spiritualize a lot of Scripture to say that the Church is going to take over the world. Jesus said that the vast majority of people will always reject the Gospel. The Church is not going to take over the world. It won't happen. Jesus is going to take over this world!
The Millennial Kingdom is a good example of man running the Kingdom. Even though Christ will be here, even though Christ will be a man, we'll still have sin. It's going to be like God's last attempt to show mankind that you cannot live without God.
Many people today are errantly trying to get people into politics to change the government to make this Millennial Kingdom come to pass.
14) There is absolutely nothing that can be known about the timing of the Lord's return.
I don't believe that because in Romans 13:11-12 it says, "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here."
How can we know the time? Now, it doesn't mean that we know the actual date, but Christ has given us indicators showing that we are in the time period — the season — of His return.
Jesus proclaimed that when we see these things, we'll know He's at the very gates and is about to return. Hebrews 10 states there are things that we can see that will show us we're in the end times. Where we see the indicators is proof to us that Jesus is almost at hand.
For me, because I understand the signs of the time and the indicators, it has put an urgency in my heart to evangelize. I can see the indicators like the nation of Israel is here. 100 years ago today, there was not one single, tangible, measurable sign. The first one was November 1917 with the issuance of the Balfour Declaration. Today, there are so many signs it's like God has a neon light in the sky flashing on and off saying, "Jesus is coming soon! Jesus is coming soon!" There's so many you can't keep up with it, but there are many signs and we can know that the season is near.