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The Harvester, which originally started as a field report of work being done by our graduates and staff, is now the school’s monthly journal. It consists of teaching articles and announcements regarding the school. Read it and get acquainted with us.
Official Publication of the Florida School of Preaching
January 2017 | Volume 37, Number 6
Brian R. Kenyon, Editor
Florida School of Preaching
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"Do You Understand The Biblical View of End Times?"
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Florida School of Preaching
Do You Understand The Biblical View of End Times?
January 2017, Volume 37, Number 6 - Brian Kenyon
Thoughts about end times, or what people think are end times, often arise following major current events such as an American presidential election in which a controversial, outspoken character won against an established, what some thought would be an easy winner, candidate. “Could this president elect be the Antichrist?” or “Does he have the mark of the beast?” or “Is this the signaling of the end?” and other such questions have been asked. We thought it appropriate, way before the presidential election unfolded to focus this year’s lectureship on end times, or, as it is commonly called in theological circles, eschatology. Below are some quotes from the book that will give our readers an idea about this lectureship and what they can expect from the book, which will far outlast the actual lectures delivered January 16-19, 2017.
Even though the term itself is not in the title of the book, its definition is appropriate here. The editor writes: “‘Eschatology’ is transliterated from a word that combines two Greek terms, eschatos (ἒσχατος), which means ‘last, final,’ and logos (λόγος), from which the Latin logia comes, which means ‘the study of.’ Therefore, ‘eschatology’ is the ‘study of last things.’ This is a ‘branch of theology’ that studies ‘the doctrines concerning death, the condition of man after death, the end of this world period, resurrection, final judgment, and the final destiny of the good and the wicked’ (McClintock and Strong).”
Included in this book is material on the resurgent AD 70 doctrine. David W. Hester, who debated Don Preston in July 2016, wrote in his chapter, “What People Need to Know About the AD 70 Doctrine”: “The ‘first’ coming of Christ was from heaven as a babe in Bethlehem (Jn. 6:38; Gal. 4:4). Later, Jesus came: (1) to be baptized (Acts 13:34); (2) from the tomb (Mt. 28:16); (3) to the apostles (Jn. 14:18, 23; Acts 2:1-4); (4) to Saul of Tarsus (1 Cor. 15:8; Acts 26:16); and (5) to John on the Island of Patmos (Rev. 1:12-18). In the future, Jesus ‘shall appear a second time’ (Heb. 9:26-29, emphasis added, DWH) in contrast with his first personal ‘coming’ from heaven. Jesus promised, ‘I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also’ (Jn. 14:2-3). This has not been fulfilled! Jesus did not say, ‘While I am away, you renovate this earth, and prepare it, so that where you are, there I may be also’!”
A study of premillennialism must also be included in any study of end times. Walt Person writes: “The question is often raised, even among Christians, ‘Why study premillennialism?’ There are at least three reasons to emphasize. First, many Biblical principles must be denied for people to believe it. Again, it is good to be reminded that ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God …’ (2 Tim 3:16-17, NKJ). Premillennialism perverts the prophetic nature of revelation … the purpose of the church and the resurrection of Jesus are [also] distorted. Second, there is widespread belief in premillennialism. In fact, most fundamentalist groups believe in it (Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, etc.). … Finally, premillennialism is a subtle form of infidelity. In that way it is like the theory of evolution. It is only a theory. It is unproven and unprovable. Some, even in the church, think it makes no difference whether a person believes it or not.”
Concerning “The Antichrist,” Bob Bauer writes: “The problem with this is that the Bible does not teach about a specific future Antichrist. John uses the term ‘antichrist’ four times (1 Jn. 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn. 1:7). In these verses John revealed that antichrist was coming and many had come and remained (1 Jn. 2:18). He wrote that the antichrist is the one who denies the Father and the Son (1 Jn. 2:22). The antichrist was already in the world (1 Jn. 4:3) and did not acknowledge Jesus the Christ coming in the flesh (2 Jn. 1:7). Some associate the ‘man of lawlessness’ (ESV) of Second Thessalonians 2:3-4 as the Antichrist, but even so, Second Thessalonians 2:7 says that the ‘mystery of lawlessness’ was already at work. There is nothing in the New Testament that points to some future super villain who would rise up against the people of God. It does teach that there were and will be those who are against Christ (i.e., antichrists). Such as there have been in every generation (Jn. 3:19).”
Since the Biblical view of end times involves the bodily resurrection of the dead, this quote from Daniel Stearsman’s chapter, “End Times Preaching in the Book of Acts,” is appropriate: “Central to preaching the Gospel is preaching the death and resurrection of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:1-5). The sermons of Acts are rich with the preaching of Jesus and the resurrection. When an apostle was chosen to replace Judas, they chose a witness to the resurrection (Act 1:22). When Peter compared David to Jesus, he magnified Christ as exalted over David because of what happened in the resurrection (Acts 2:24, 29-30). When Peter and John greatly annoyed the Jewish council, they were preaching the resurrection (Acts 4:2). When Peter preached the good news to the Gentiles, he preached the resurrection (Acts 10:40). On the first missionary tour when Paul and Barnabas preached in Antioch of Pisidia they preached the resurrection (Acts 13:30). When Paul went before the Epicureans and Stoic Philosophers in Athens, he preached Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18, 32). When Paul preached to the Sanhedrin, he said, ‘it is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial’ (Acts 23:6, ESV). When Paul was before Felix he said, ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day’ (Acts 24:21). Elsewhere Paul stated, ‘Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead’ (Acts 26:8)?”
In considering “End Times Teaching in the Book of Hebrews,” Stephen Atnip writes concerning Hebrews 10:27: “As the Hebrews writer finishes his great exhortation in 10:18-25, he sternly warns his readership of the dangers of failing to heed the exhortation. There was only a terrifying expectation of judgment and a spirited fire reserved for the adversaries of God. … The reader is warned of this end time judgment of God that is associated with a fear and terrifying expectation greater than any that man can inflict, and nothing can be gained and everything lost by rejecting the sacrifice of Jesus by returning to an impotent Old Testament sacrificial system. In Hebrews 10:28-31, this fiery judgment is said to be worse than the Mosaic death without mercy, as God will exact divine vengeance on those who trample underfoot the blood of Jesus, treating it with contempt. In Hebrews 10:31, the author again stresses the terrifying nature of that judgment yet to come, enacted by the hand of God. One may either choose the sacrifice of Christ or the terrifying judgment of God to come.”
Since all will rise to face judgment, we must live a certain way now, as Forest Antemesaris writes: “Esau was, just like the Hebrews writer described him, an immoral, unholy man. He lived for the ‘now.’ He abandoned the promises of God for the rumblings of his belly. People do the same thing when they choose their own desires over God’s commandments. It is especially important that young people understand that they live like Esau when they abandon the principles of God in sexuality: ‘Sexual temptation specifically appeals to the hunger of the flesh, persuading us to forget about the glory and honor of an undefiled marriage bed (Heb 13:4). But as was the case for Esau, the tradeoff is never worth it, and only leads to many years (if not a lifetime) of heartache (Whitworth 245).’ … Do not put at risk the amazing blessings of God for some fleeting pleasure. … Live not for the temporal ‘now,’ but for the eternal ‘then,’ which has been promised by God though his Son Jesus Christ.”
Whether you are (or were, depending on when you received this Harvester) able to attend the lectures in person, this book will provide a rich study on end times. May all of us take seriously God’s teaching about this life’s preparations for eternity and make the proper application so we can joyously “look for him [when Jesus] shall … appear the second time without sin unto salvation”!
Ways You Can Help Us
Since 1969, the Florida School of Preaching has operated by the free-will offerings of local churches of Christ and individual Christians. The Lord has always provided, and we are confident that He always will! We need also to realize that He works through His people (Mt. 5:13-16). The school and its students continue to need support. The value of the school has proven itself over the years, not only in training preachers but also in stabilizing congregations in the word of God. As 2017 budget planning takes shape, here are ways you can help us: (1) become familiar with our work; (2) pray for our work; (3) financially support our work (student expenses and/or operating expenses); and (4) remember us in estate planning. By God’s grace and with your help, we can continue training preachers and strengthening souls through another year and beyond. We thank you in advance. —Brian
2017 Lectureship Schedule