The Analysis of Scripture

Advanced Bible Doctrine – The Analysis of Scripture

featuring:

Isagogics (Introduction to Philippians)

Exegesis of the Koine Greek Language

The Greek Verb

Greek Nouns, Pronouns, and Prepositions

Hermeneutics and Etymology

Categories of Doctrine

The Pastor-Teacher

Basic Bible Doctrine       The Techniques of the Christian Life       Prophecy       All Series

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The Ends of the Earth

What are The Ends of the Earth?

Psalm 135:7, Job 37:3, and Daniel 4:11 reference “the ends of the earth.” Another way of saying the “ends of the earth” is to refer to the “extremities of the earth.” In this case, as is also the case for “the four corners of the earth,” the word “earth” refers to the land mass, country, or continents, as opposed to the globe (Exodus 10:12-15). Since the word “earth” can be used as synonymous with “land,” the “ends of the earth” thus refer to the points of land most distant from some a central point.

For the Bible, this central point is the land of Israel. On a globe, a great circle passing through Jerusalem and the north and south poles very nearly cuts the Pacific Ocean in half and leaves four continental “corners” or “ends,” namely the Chukchi Peninsula of the Soviet Union (opposite the Bering Straits of Alaska), Alaska, the southeastern tip of Australia, and the Cape Horn of South America. These four geographical locations can account for the four corners of the earth. Alternatively, since there was probably a land-link between Siberia and Alaska at the time the Bible was written, the four corners of the earth could be Norway, Newfoundland, Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope.

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The Doctrine of the Dispensations

The Dispensations

featuring:

A Summary of the Dispensations

The Age of the Gentiles

The Age of the Jews

The Age of the Church

The Age of the Kingdom

Basic Bible Doctrine       The Techniques of the Christian Life       Prophecy       All Series

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When Will the Rapture Occur?

How long do you REALLY think we, the New Testament church, have left before the rapture? 

Thank you for your question. I will give you a direct answer to your question as to when I believe the rapture will occur. However, I would first like to give you some background on my thoughts.

Over the years I have done a lot of thinking about when the rapture will occur. However, I have had mixed feelings about discussing it, for several reasons:

– The Bible does tell us that nobody knows the day or the hour when Christ will return (His Second Coming).

– Many foolish people have spent way too much time on this when their time would have been better spent in other pursuits. This includes the many people who have predicted the end of the world, only to have been proven wrong when the time of their prophecy came and went without incident (so they usually just established another date in the future).

– Regardless of when we believe the rapture will occur, I believe that this should have no impact upon how we live our daily lives. We should live our lives today for Christ, no matter if the rapture occurs today or in a thousand years. This is especially true considering the fact that we could be wrong in our expectations, just like so many others already have been.

However, when I read your question, I felt moved to give you a direct answer. I have a B.S. degree in Mathematics, and I have always been intrigued by numbers, dates, etc. When combined with my desire to know God’s Word, this has resulted in my spending quite a bit of time in thinking about when the rapture (the next prophecy of Scripture) would occur.

However, like many before me, I have had to be careful about staying intellectually honest about this subject, without letting my emotions interfere. After all, it’s only natural that a believer would hope that the rapture would occur soon, and sometimes our hope (wishes) can sway our sound judgment.

At one time, I felt quite certain that the rapture would occur in the year 1988, primarily because that would have been 40 years (one generation; i.e., Matthew 24:34) after Israel was re-established as a nation in 1948 (although this passage refers to the Second Coming, and not the rapture). When 1988 passed and the rapture did not occur, I went back to the drawing board. So, over the past 30 years, I have developed a new “prediction” about the rapture, based on several different trains of thought, and I’ll know share those with you here:

1) In 1987, I published a book entitled, “Believe: A Synopsis of the Entire Bible.” This book is available free on my website at Believe, A Synopsis of the Entire Bible. While doing the research for that book, I decided to construct a timeline of Biblical events by using the Bible as my only source. I went through the painstaking process of recording every event in the Bible that had a specific time frame associated with it. This included every place where the Bible noted a certain number of years between events, etc. Then I had to sort of backtrack in order to determine the historical perspective for all of these events, including the date (in B.C. years) as well as the number of years after Creation. As a result, I included some timeline charts in the appendices at the end of my book, and you can view these at the web page noted above.

2) When I had completed my timeline, my results showed that God created the earth in the year 4,241 B.C. My extra-biblical research indicated that this did not agree exactly with anyone else’s timeline. The most widely accepted date for Creation was/is 4,004 B.C. I decided that I could still accept my date with a fairly high level of confidence, based upon the fact that others included extra-biblical sources for their timelines, while my timeline used only the Bible. Then one day I happened to be at the library (back in the days before the Internet), and I decided to do some more research to see if I could find any reference to the date 4,241 B.C. What I discovered was that this is the first date recorded in the ancient Egyptian calendar. Although all sources do not agree on that fact either, I decided that it was good enough for me. I elected to interpret this as direct confirmation from God that my calculations were correct, so I suddenly had an extremely high level of confidence in my timelines.

3) There is an extra-biblical book called The Book of Barnabas which was not included in our New Testament Canon. I think that there is the possibility that it does indeed belong in our New Testament. However, regardless of whether or not it was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, I believe that we can learn much from many of these ancient extra-biblical books. The Book of Barnabas 13:3-5 says this: “And even in the beginning of creation He makes mention of the Sabbath. And God made in six days the works of His hands; and He finished them on the seventh day, and He rested on the seventh day, and sanctified it. Consider, my children, what that signifies, He finished them in six days. The meaning of it is this: that in six thousand years the Lord God will bring all things to an end. For with him one day is a thousand years; as Himself testifieth, saying, Behold this day shall be as a thousand years (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8). Therefore, children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, shall all things be accomplished.” It just makes sense to me that God would follow this pattern.

4) I am a dispensationalist, so I believe that God grants stewardship to certain groups of people throughout certain eras of time. This includes the Age of the Gentiles, the Age of the Jews, the (current) Age of the Church, and the Age of the Millennial Kingdom.

5) Now, I also believe in the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18) at the end of the Church Age. Based upon the above, I believe that the same amount of time will be granted to the Age of the Gentiles, the Age of the Jews, and the Age of the Church. The charts mentioned above can be summarized as follows:

  • The Age of the Gentiles from Creation in 4,241 B.C through the call of Abram in 2,218 B.C. This is 2023 years.
  • The Age of the Jews from the call of Abram in 2,218 B.C. through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in 29 A.D. This is 2247 years.
  • The Age of the Church from the death burial, and resurrection of Christ in 29 A.D. through the rapture (see below).

Now, you can see that these first two time periods are not equal in length, but there’s a caveat: There are many places during the Age of the Jews when the Bible says that “God forsook Israel.” Most of these occurrences are during the times of the Judges, and they’re all denoted in my charts. I believe that God is not counting the time when He forsook Israel; i.e., He didn’t count those years when He decided how long to extend time. So, here’s how the numbers work out when this is considered:

  • The Age of the Gentiles was 2023 years
  • The Age of the Jews was 2247 years, less the 224 years when God forsook Israel. This results in 2023 years.
  • If the Age of the Church is also 2023 years, then this is from 29 A.D. through 2052 A.D. So, this is when I believe the rapture will occur: 2052 A.D.

6) I received some unexpected confirmation on this as well. It turns out that Sir Isaac Newton was also a mathematician, as well as a theologian. Some of his notes have indicated that he expected the world to end in the year 2060 A.D. Now, I don’t know how he came to this number, but it seems to coincide with my calculations. If the rapture occurs in 2052 A.D., as I expect, and this is followed by the seven-year tribulation period, then Christ’s second coming (the end of time, as we know it–as well as the beginning of the Millennium) would occur in 2059 A.D. This is a difference of only one year from Newton’s date, and this could easily be due to a rounding error or a different reconciliation for the year zero. Now, I know that 2023 years for each dispensation results in 6069 years instead of exactly 6000 years, like Barnabas indicated. I can’t explain this for sure, but the difference could be due to something like the way that years were represented in the ancient calendars.

For example, I’ve often read that the Jewish calendar used 360-day years instead of 365-day years. If the 6069-year time periods were 360-day years, then this would be 5986 years in 365-day years, and this is even closer to 6000 years. Again, I can’t really explain this difference, but this is the closest I can come with my current understanding. There is, however, an interesting coincidence here. If we considered that the 2023 years was given in terms of a 360-day calendar, then we can calculate that this would be 1993 years in terms of a 365.25-day calendar. If this period of time actually corresponds to 1993 years, and we added that to the year 29 A.D., we get the year 2023 B.C. So, again, the number 2023 shows up–this time as a date instead of a number of years. So, I guess the year 2023 A.D. could be an alternate date for the rapture.

So, of course, I could be wrong, but I believe that the rapture will occur in about 30 more years. What about you? When do you think the rapture will occur? Do you think that my argument above is worth considering? I’ll tell you what: If we’re still here in the year 2053, send me another e-mail, and we can discuss how I need to modify my prediction! However, I’ll probably be long gone by then!

Thanks,

Owen

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Amazon Pays No Taxes

The Washington Post reported on Sunday, February 17, 2019 that Amazon, the e-commerce giant helmed by the world’s richest man, paid no federal taxes on profit of $11 billion last year. In fact, Amazon actually received a federal tax rebate of $129 million, giving it an effective tax rate of -1%. This was the second year in a row that Amazon has enjoyed a negative federal tax rate on multibillion-dollar profits.

This was legal due to a variety of tax credits and tax breaks. In comparison, the poorest 20% of American households had a larger effective federal tax rate of about 1.5%.

In summary, Amazon is a $1 trillion company in the market cap of its stock; it grossed some $232 billion; its gross profit was $93 billion; its net profit was $11 billion; and, it paid no taxes, but instead received a $129 million tax rebate in 2018. What’s wrong with this picture?

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Infanticide and Abortion are Equally Wrong

Peter Singer, an atheist professor of bioethics at Princeton University, says that it’s morally okay to kill disabled newborns if their parents don’t want them.

Kathy Tran, a Democratic State Delegate of the Virginia legislature, has a bill that would legalize murdering the baby at any point, through the third trimester, up to 40 weeks–up to the moment of birth, as they were being born, and after.

Virginia governor Ralph Northam said, “The infant would be delivered (and set on a table, like a piece of furniture). The infant would be kept ‘comfortable.’ The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” And then the baby would be killed by letting it starve or completely dehydrate, or by administering lethal chemicals. A Gallup poll has found that only 13 percent of Americans favor making third-trimester abortions ‘generally’ legal. I wonder what the percentage is of those who would legalize infanticide, especially after viewing a video of this.

Life starts at conception, and killing the child at any point is murder. I don’t care at what point of pregnancy the unborn human is fully formed with arms, hands, feet, fingers, fingernails, or teeth, or if the mother is dilating or even in distress; except that it may be repulsive enough to some people to make them see that abortion is wrong.

The baby is undeserving of violent death on either side of the mother’s cervix; and, there’s nothing “comfortable” about it.

It seems that the only common ground I have with pro-abortionists is, “If abortion is OK, then infanticide is too.” They are both murder.

To see why abortion is wrong, please read Abortion and Is Abortion Wrong. To see why infanticide is wrong, read Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder.”

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Does the Bible Imply That the Earth is Flat? 

Ezekiel 7:2 and Revelation 7:1 reference “the four corners of the earth.” Similarly, Isaiah 11:12 references “the four quarters of the earth.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines “corner” to mean “An extremity or end of the earth; a region, quarter; a direction or quarter from which the wind blows.” The word “corner” comes from a Latin root “cornu,” meaning “horn,” as seen in words such as “cornet,” “corn,” and “cornucopia.” So, the four corners of the earth can be interpreted as referring to the four cardinal directions–north, south, east and west. In addition, the “four corners of the earth” can also be interpreted as four “horns” of the earth. One obvious example of such a “horn” is Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America. So, the usage of the phrase “four corners of the earth” does not necessarily signify a flat, rectangular earth.

Also, in general, one must be aware of the poetic language and symbolism often used in the Bible, especially in the poetic books like Psalm, and the prophetic books like Revelation. Incidentally, to me, one of the stronger verses arguing for a flat earth is Job 38:13, which says, “that it might take the earth by the edges.” My only explanation here is the use of poetic language; i.e., a circular view of the earth from heaven cannot be argued here, since a circle has no edges.

On the other hand, there are many verses in the Bible that do indeed agree with what we know about science, so far. In fact, these even make the words of the Bible more powerful, when we realize that the Biblical writers stated scientific truths thousands of years before astronomy, geology, or archaeology confirmed them. Please consider the following:

– The Bible does, in fact, teach the concept of a round or spherical earth. Isaiah 40:22 says, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” The fact that this verse speaks of the “circle of the earth” can mean one of three things: 1) The earth is not a flat square but a flat circle. If that is true then what of the four corners of the earth? A flat circle has no corners. 2) The earth is shaped in a way that is spherical but has a square cross-section somewhere, at the equator, for example. 3) The earth is spherical in shape. This last option is further strengthened by observing the reference to the inhabitants as grasshoppers, implying a perspective from on high, particularly, the outermost heaven. This verse serves only to strengthen my faith, as it reveals God’s omniscience, in His knowledge that the earth was round, a fact that was not discovered by man for thousands of years.

– Proverbs 8:27 says, “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth…” The word “compass” can mean a circular enclosure or a spherical envelope. Since the verse speaks of an extended area, the spherical enclosure for “compass” is a better interpretation than a circular enclosure.

– Luke 17:31-36 says, “In that day, he which shall be upon the house top, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not turn back …. I tell you, in that night, there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left…. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” In regard to the shape of the earth, these verses speak of day (verse 31) and night (verse 34) as occurring simultaneously. The activities are listed in the context of that global event, the rapture, which Paul describes as occurring in the “twinkling of an eye” (I Corinthians 15:52). The simplest explanation for this simultaneous daylight and night is that the earth is spherical in shape.

– Acts 1:8 says, “Jesus gives His commission to His disciples to be witnesses “unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Note here that the word “part” is singular. A flat earth with four corners would be indicated by the plural “uttermost parts.” However, a spherical earth would have only one uttermost part, its opposite side. So, the Bible does not necessarily teach that the earth is flat.

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What Does Paradise Mean in the Bible?

What does the biblical term “Paradise” mean?

In Old Testament times (including the times referenced in the Gospels), when people died, their bodies went into a grave, but there was a temporary holding place for their souls. The Bible uses a term called hell, such as in Matthew 5:22, but the terminology is slightly different than what we normally use. Hell is actually the lake of fire where all unbelievers will spend eternity (Revelation 20:14-15). However, the temporary holding place (sometimes called Sheol, or Purgatory) had separate compartments for believers and unbelievers (paradise and Hades).  Unbelievers spent this period in the chamber called Hades (Luke 16:23), while believers spent this time in the chamber called paradise (Luke 23:43, 1 Corinthians 12:3-4, Revelation 2:3-7), or Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19-31).

Then, upon the event of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, the Old Testament saints were resurrected (Matthew 27:52-53), and transferred from paradise to Heaven. Today, now that Christ’s resurrection has already occurred, when Christians die, we are taken directly to heaven. The strongest argument I find for this is 2 Corinthians 5:3-8, which says, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” This says that for we believers of this age, being in this current body is mutually exclusive from being in the presence of God in heaven. So, at the point of death, we’re no longer in the body, but with the Lord.

In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31 refers to Hades, or torments, which is where the rich man was. This is the opposite of the place of Abraham’s bosom where Lazarus was.  Bible scholars have associated Abrahams’s bosom with the word “paradise.” This confirms that, in Old Testament times, those who died were taken to one of these temporary chambers, awaiting their transfer either from paradise to heaven or from Hades to Hell.

Incidentally, this probably also explains the origination of the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, which would equate to Hades in this case.

Also, the passage in Matthew 7:52-53 is a very difficult passage.  You may also be interested in my article on Matthew 27:52-53 at https://www.christiandataresources.com/matthew2752.htm.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

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What Happens to a Christian When He Dies?

What happens immediately after death for a believer? 

Thank you for your question.  Death means separation, and for a person, physical death means separation of the soul from the body.  For a Christian, since he also has a living spirit, it means separation of the soul and spirit from the body.  At the point of physical death for a Christian, his soul and spirit are immediately transferred to heaven to be with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:3-8).  His body, of course, is left on earth to be buried, cremated, decay, etc.  This is all temporary.  At the point of the rapture, our (decayed) bodies will be restored for the us, and we will live in eternity with our resurrected (glorified) bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  We will return to the earth with Christ at His Second Coming to help with the administration of the 1000-year millennium (Revelation 19-21).  Then, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire, and God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1), and our permanent home for eternity will be that new earth.

For more information, please see my FAQ article at https://www.christiandataresources.com/frequentlyaskedbiblequestions.htm.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

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Federal Employees Cost $1 Million per Minute

According to a new report, the federal government collectively paid 1.97 million federal employees $136.3 billion, That works out to $1 million per minute, $66 million per hour, and $524 million per day. Read the full article. 

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