Why are there so many conflicting interpretations of Biblical prophecy when the words in Scripture are the same? Well here is a very good example of the saying "don't look for Satan in Soho (although he is there in form) but look for him in the pulpit". This comment was used quite often by Dr. Bullinger to make the point that misinterpretation of Scripture by teachers, pastors, elders, Priests and Vicars; to eager listeners, who are very often very sincere in their hearts, was/is to be carefully checked against the Bible!
Easier said than done in some cases. Why should that be?
Unfortunately, there are as many interpretations as there are Groupings which have developed since the Protestant Reformation, which was meant to undo the damage of the Roman Church, but which has since spawned its own misleading teachings leading to even more confusion and heartache among sincere Christians! See: Scripture Corruption:
As almost, if not all Biblical prophecy relates to Israel, and the bulk of it is regarding "the end times", if a person or group is wrong in their interpretation of who is being referred to in Scripture; (see: www.revelationsmessage.co.uk) they are going to be wrong in the majority of their teaching and understanding. Their corrupted fundamental precepts project onwards into all their Bible study which can/will have serious consequences for both the individual and/or the group. All truth seeking Christians will accept that Israel is the subject of Biblical prophecy, that Christ Messiah is returning to Earth in power and great glory, that He will save "the remnant" of Israel, and will judge the nations and peoples of the Earth into "sheep and goats", Matt. 25:31-46 (see: The Sheep and Goat Judgement ), prior to setting up His Millennial Kingdom. Those groups that do not accept these future events, and teach differently will be subject to whatever the Lord Christ Jesus dealings are at His return (see: Matt. 25).
A very clear example of wrong teaching is given in Isa. 28, where just prior to their exile to Babylon the Jews are shown by Jehovah God that they had erred in their knowledge and behaviour where vs 7-14 define their error and sin in not learning God's truth.
Two very obvious examples of corrupted teachings, are the Roman Church which introduced Babylonian teachings, and who say that all of Revelation is history, thus negating all prophecy in the Bible. Also all Groups that reject Israel as the main subject of prophecy! This latter Grouping applies to many Churches and Sects, who have displaced Israel with "the Church", and therefore apply to themselves the many prophecies regarding "the end times" and incorporate it in their teaching! See: Replacement Theology.
The following examples from Wikipedia, give some idea of the very many differences of opinion at large in the world today regarding the subject of "the last days", these being recognised basic views on the subject, which term relates to Old Testament prophecy, particularly in Daniel. The term "last days" does not mean "end of the world" as is interpreted by for example The Church of England, but "the end of the Age", or end of a predetermined period of time. The term used generally for the study or teaching of this subject is "Eschatology".
Christian Eschatology is the branch of theological study relating to last things, such as concerning death, the end of the world, the judgement of mankind, and the ultimate destiny of mankind. Eschatological passages are found in many places in the Christian Bible, with many being found in the Old Testament prophets, especially in Isaiah and Daniel. Many are also found in the New Testament books, such as Matthew 24, Matthew 25, the General epistles, the Pauline epistles, and the Book of Revelation. This article is currently a general overview of the different Christian eschatological
interpretations of the Book of Revelation. The differences are by no means monolithic as representing one group or another. Many differences exist within each group.
PREMILLENNIALISM in Christian eschatology is the belief that Jesus Christ will literally and physically return to the Earth and take the righteous back to Heaven with him. This is referred to as the Rapture, and rather than Jesus descending to touch the Earth, the righteous will be raised to meet Him in the air. Bible passages such as 1 Thes 4:16-17 & Rev 20:1-6 are cited as evidence. The doctrine is called premillennialism because it holds that Jesus' physical return to Earth will occur prior to the inauguration of the Millennium. It is distinct from the other forms of Christian eschatology such as postmillennialism or amillennialism, which view the Millennial rule as occurring either before the second coming, or as being figurative and non-temporal. For the last century the belief has been common in Christian fundamentalism.
Premillennialism is based upon what is said to be a literal interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6 in the New Testament, which describes Jesus' coming to the Earth and subsequent reign at the end of an apocalyptic period of tribulation. It views this future Age as a time of fulfillment for the prophetic hope of God's people as given in the Old Testament. Others such as the Eastern Orthodox claim that this passage of Revelation describes the present time, when Christ reigns in Heaven with the departed saints; such an interpretation views the symbolism of Revelation as referring to a spiritual battle rather than a physical battle on Earth. (Which is not the view of the writers.)
In Christian end-times theology, (eschatology), POSTMILLENNIALISM is an interpretation of Chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation which sees Christ's second coming as occurring after (Latin post-) the "Millennium", a Golden Age in which Christian ethics prosper. The term subsumes several similar views of the end times, and it stands in contrast to premillennialism and, to a lesser extent, amillennialism (see Summary of Christian eschatological differences). Postmillenialism was a dominant theological belief among American Protestants who promoted reform movements in the 19th and 20th century such as abolitionism and the Social Gospel. It has been criticized by 20th century political conservatives as an attempt to Immanentize the eschaton.
AMILLENNIALISM (Latin: a- "no" + millennialism) is a view in Christian end-times theology named for its rejection of the theory that Jesus Christ will have a thousand-year-long, physical reign on the Earth. This is in opposition to premillennial and some postmillennial interpretations of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation.
In contrast, the amillennial view holds that the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 is a symbolic number, not a literal description; that the Millennium has already begun and is identical with the current church age, (or more rarely, that it ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 -- see Preterism). Amillennialism holds that while Christ's reign during the Millennium is spiritual in nature, at the end of the Church age, Christ will return in final judgment and establish a permanent physical reign.
Many proponents dislike the name amillennialism because it emphasizes their differences with premillennialism rather than their beliefs about the Millennium, and although they prefer alternate terms such as NUNC-MILLENNIALISM (that is, now-millennialism) or realized millennialism, the acceptance and widespread usage of the alternate names has been limited.
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