Bible Concepts & Terms
A Guide to Understanding Scripture
The Bible is God’s very Word to Christians. We should love studying the truths of the Bible and should desire to obey it’s commands. Loving God means loving His Word. This page is dedicated to helping you study the Bible.
The premise of the Bible can be categorized into “four truths” if you will:
- Fixed Truth – The Final Written Word
- Full Truth – The Whole of Scripture
- Focused Truth – The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
- Future Truth – The End of this Age & The Second Coming of Christ
On this page, we have outlined those four truths in such a way as to assist in understanding the Bible as a whole. This page can also serve as a reference for more in-depth study with the extra resource links provided.
Table of Contents
(Authority & Nature of Scripture, Jesus & Scripture, Sola Scriptura, Historic Confessions, Spirit of God & Scripture, General/Special Revelation)
(Sufficiency of Scripture, interpreting, canon, Christian worldview & apologetics, discernment, orthodoxy, aberrant, heretical, cult, call to preach & duty of ministry)
(O.T. prophecies fulfilled, the Incarnation, Creeds, Crucifixion, Resurrection & Ascension, Gospel preached)
(Christ’s Kingdom present & future, the end of the age, Babylon the Great: the 3-legged stool of Revelation, visible return of Jesus Christ)
#1 Fixed Truth: The Final Written Word
God’s Word is “fixed” in that Scripture is complete and final in its authority and sufficiency as God’s revelation. The fact that God’s Word is fixed does not have to be a complicated issue. Study the Bible. Listen to a Bible-based Preacher/Teacher. Meditate upon it. Memorize it. Listen to it read to you. Read it out-loud yourself. Most importantly, firmly plant your feet upon it with full confidence! Do not let anyone or anything else convince you that some other voice is “His Voice.” He now “speaks” to us by illuminating our minds to His already revealed truth, His Word. It is the already and final written Word of the Living God. And, His Word is Fixed.
A. General Revelation versus Special Revelation
What is General (Natural) Revelation?
General Revelation is the reality that God has made known His existence to each individual of mankind. General revelation itself is never salvific in nature. Scripture states the instruments of God’s general revelation:
1. through the heavens which declare His glory – Psalm 19:1
2. through the creation which shows His divine nature and His eternal power – Romans 1:18-23
3. through the moral law and human conscience which is evident in every human being and culture upon the earth – Romans 2:14-15
4. through the earths provisions which show He is the Benevolent Sustainer of mankind – Acts 14:17
What is Special Revelation?
Special Revelation is the reality that God has communicated in specific times, by specific means, and with specific words to specific people or peoples in history. It is a supernatural revelation and communication of Himself. Special revelation differs from General Revelation in that it is salvific in nature. However, it does not always have this end result. Here are a few examples in Scripture to show us the reality of Special Revelation:
1. God commanded Adam in the Garden of Eden to eat of any tree therein except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:16-17
2. He appeared to Moses in a burning bush and communicated with him and sent him on a mission to the house of Israel and against Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Exodus 3:1-4:17
3. He performed wonders to lead His people out of bondage in Egypt. Spoken: Exodus 4:18-23 Fulfilled: Exodus 5:1-14:31
4. He spoke His Law to Moses and Israel. Exodus 19-31 Hebrews 12:25-26
5. He delivered a dream to King Nebuchadnezzar and subsequently revealed the dream to Daniel along with its’ interpretation. Daniel 2:1-45
6. He speaks to Jeremiah in a Word-Picture. Jeremiah 1:11-12
7. He speaks to John in a vision. Revelation 1:9-19
8. He speaks to us through the Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 2 Peter 1:20-21
9. He has perfectly, completely, and finally spoken and revealed Himself to us in the Lord Jesus Christ, His only Son. Hebrews 1:1-4; Colossians 1:15-20; John 1:1-18
What is Revelation?
What is Inspiration?
Inspiration is the operation of the Holy Spirit which enables a speaker or writer to communicate truth that is inerrant and infallible. But it is not dictation. God can and does so overwhelmingly act upon the instrument during inspiration that he does not have to bypass the normal language, style or historical setting of the human author in order to communicate His perfect Word.
What is Illumination?
Illumination is the divine opening or quickening of the human mind by which it is enabled to understand truth already revealed in Scripture. It is distinguished from revelation and inspiration because those two items have already occurred and are perfectly completed before there is the possibility for illumination. Illumination is an enlivening of the mind and heart and will by the Spirit of God. That same Spirit who spoke the Word in the past now communicates that same truth once again into a person. (Luke 24:32 & 45; Matt 16:17; 1Cor 2:12 & 14) This is the on-going work of the Holy Spirit – to illumine the same truth into a person that He spoke through a person and was recorded in Scripture.
The Doctrine of Scripture – Sermon by Dr John MacArthur
C. Nature of Scripture: Infallibility, Inerrancy, Reliability
What is Inerrancy?
What is Infallability?
What is Reliability?
When we speak of the infallibility and inerrancy of the Scriptures we are referring to the original manuscripts. But we don’t have those original manuscripts. We instead have thousands upon thousands of copies. Those copies do not perfectly correspond with each other even though they are overwhelmingly exact. Through the scholarly study of these manuscripts it can be determined that there are slight variations. We know where they occur and they are not of “significant” nature in their differences. There is a field of study that distinguishes and evaluates what manuscripts are more reliable to the original based upon certain criteria. But, nevertheless, we affirm that the Bible that we have – if indeed it has been effectively translated from reliable manuscripts – is indeed the reliable Word of God. Christians would agree that the God who breathed out the Holy Scripture is the God who safeguarded the integrity of the Scriptures as they were transmitted and translated. So reliable means just that. Our current day translation is the reliable and complete and sufficient – Word of God.
For further study on the nature of Scripture:
The Necessary Consonance of the Doctrine of Scripture: Inspiration, Inerrancy, & Authority – By Steve Curtis
The Witness of the Bible to Its Own Inerrancy – By Gleason L Archer
D. Jesus and the Scriptures: The Incarnate Fulfills & Confirms the Written
Did Jesus' life and teaching reflect the Authority of Scripture?
2. Jesus believed He had absolute authority to not only affirm the O.T., but to interpret the true meaning of any text in contrast to misinterpretations.
3. He believed that since all Scripture is true, then it must be fulfilled.
4. He believed that He Himself would fulfill all the Scripture that spoke of Him.
Did Jesus believe O.T. prophecies of the Messiah would be fulfilled in Him?
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:44-47 NASB
Did Jesus ever distinguish between God's Word of Command & the traditions of men?
The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” Mark 7:5-8 NASB
Did Jesus believe that only part of the Scripture was true and to be fulfilled or the whole?
“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.” Luke 16:17 NASB There are times in Scripture, after Jesus taught or did something, which state Old Testament Scriptures were being fulfilled. He often said, for example: “…but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures.” Mark 14:49b NASB
If the Incarnate Word took the Old Testament Written Word as true and completely authoritative to the point where He knew He would teach, submit to and fulfill that Word - Should we not think our love for Him should exhibit the same attitude and submissiveness?
Jesus Himself seems to think so… “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19 NASB
Jesus Christ on the Infallibility of Scripture – By Dr David Livingstone
E. Sola Scriptura: The Reformation & the Authority of Scripture Alone
What does the Latin phrase "Sola Scriptura" mean?
What was the Reformation?
Why is Sola Scriptura called the "formal" principle of the Reformation?
1. Scripture Alone (The “formal” principle of the Reformation)
2. Faith Alone (The “material” principle of the Reformation)
3. Grace Alone
4. Christ Alone
5. To God Alone be Glory
The Authority of Scripture – By Richard L. Mayhue
F. Historic Confessions Regarding the Scripture
Throughout the history of the church, certain men have made profound statements regarding the authority of Scripture. These are found in what we call creeds or confessions such as:
G. The Relation of the Spirit of God to the Scripture
The above Protestant Confessions of faith reflect their thoughts concerning the relation of the Spirit to the Word he breathed out. Here is one example from the Westminster Confession of 1647 (Chapter 1)
VI. THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD, CONCERNING ALL THINGS NECESSARY FOR HIS OWN GLORY, MAN’S SALVATION, FAITH, AND LIFE, IS EITHER EXPRESSLY SET DOWN IN SCRIPTURE, OR BY GOOD AND NECESSARY CONSEQUENCE MAY BE DEDUCED FROM SCRIPTURE: UNTO WHICH NOTHING AT ANY TIME IS TO BE ADDED, WHETHER BY NEW REVELATIONS OF THE SPIRIT, OR TRADITIONS OF MEN.1 NEVERTHELESS WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE INWARD ILLUMINATION OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO BE NECESSARY FOR THE SAVING UNDERSTANDING OF SUCH THINGS AS ARE REVEALED IN THE WORD;2 AND THAT THERE ARE SOME CIRCUMSTANCES CONCERNING THE WORSHIP OF GOD, AND GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH, COMMON TO HUMAN ACTIONS AND SOCIETIES, WHICH ARE TO BE ORDERED BY THE LIGHT OF NATURE AND CHRISTIAN PRUDENCE, ACCORDING TO THE GENERAL RULES OF THE WORD, WHICH ARE ALWAYS TO BE OBSERVED.3
1. 2 TIM. III. 15–17; GAL. I. 8, 9; 2 THESS. II. 2.
2. JOHN VI. 45; 1 COR. II. 9, 10, 12.
3. 1 COR. XI. 13, 14; XIV. 26, 40.
Please note in Chapter 1, Point VI, of the Westminster Confession the following:
1. The whole counsel of God (all truth from God for His glory & for believers) is expressly stated in Scripture or deduced from such.
2. Nothing is to be added to Scripture as if it is from the Spirit – whether through revelation or tradition.
3. The Spirit who breathed out that Word also illumines that Word inwardly.
4. There are secondary and common matters associated with the corporate affairs of Christians in various cultures. These would include things like certain aspects of church governance and worship. These are to be guided by corporate reason/conscience with a continual look to the obedience of Scripture for any foundational truth related to such subjects.
Addendum: The London-Baptist Confession is virtually identical to this Westminster Confession at this point.
By His Word and Spirit: How Christ Exercises His Saving Rule – By Henry Krabbendam
The Word and the Spirit – By Ray C Stedman
Summary of Fixed Truth:
The Word of God Has Been Delivered!
“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1:3 (NASB)
“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Rev 22:18,19 (NASB)
The Word of God is Objective!
“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17 (NASB)
The Word of God is Unchanging & Eternal!
“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8 (NASB)
“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89 (NASB)
“Of old I have known from Your testimonies, That You have founded them forever.” Psalm 119:152 (NASB)
#2 Full Truth: The Whole of Scripture
God’s Word is whole, complete, and sufficient. We should study all the Scripture – each part in its context, each part in relation to the whole, and the whole knit together and seen with the light of each part. It is a full and complete revelation from God. We can believe it with full confidence. We are to firmly plant our feet upon all of it with full confidence. There are certain things listed below that we must understand in order to appreciate the fullness of God’s truth.
Each text or part of Scripture is to be seen and understood in light of the whole of Scripture. As the saying goes, “A text without a context is a pretext.” So, there are certain subject matters below that we must attach importance to in order to understand and appreciate the full truth.
A. The Perspicuity, Profitability, and Sufficiency of Scripture
What does the word "perspicuity" mean?
In what regard is the study of Scripture profitable?
Why is it so important to claim the Scripture as sufficient?
The Interpretation of Scripture – By James I. Packer
How Should We Interpret the Bible: Principles for Understanding God’s Word – By Tim Chaffey
C. The Canon of Scripture
What does the word "canon" mean?
The Formation of the Canon of the New Testament – By B.B. Warfield
D. Christian Worldview & Apologetics
What is a Christian or Biblical Worldview?
What is Apologetics?
What’s Your Worldview? – By Dr John MacArthur
E. Importance of Discernment
What does the word "discern" actually mean?
Discernment in an Age of Deception: Defining the Believer’s Biblical Call to Judge – By Bob DeWaay
F. Orthodox, Heterodox, Heretical, Aberrant, Christian Cult
What does the word "orthodox" actually mean?
Has the church actually defined orthodox teachings?
“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1:3 NASB
What are the five foundational truths that make a Christian “orthodox” in their belief?
These are considered foundational because as soon as anyone would begin to question them it leads them down the path of serious compromise in regards to the true faith.
1. The Scripture: it is the absolute authority, the very words and truth of God Himself through revelation
2. The Trinity: God has revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; each fully God and yet only One God
3. The Person of Jesus Christ: He is 100% God and 100% man, each defined distinctly and yet, not two persons, but only One Person, Jesus Christ
4. Salvation: it is by God’s plan and purpose, by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
5. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ: He has risen from the dead and will once again appear – this time in His resurrected/glorified and descending body to come to earth as King and Judge.
What is heterodoxy?
These consist of teachings that are at variance with orthodox beliefs. The term is commonly used to describe false teachings that do not meet the criteria of being “heretical” in nature. They do not “undercut” orthodoxy. They are contrary teachings to orthodox but do not necessarily undermine foundational truths in Scripture. In fact, it is possible some teach opposing viewpoints in tandem and do not know they are doing so. The Greek word “heteros” means “other, another” and “doxa” means “opinion.”
What does it mean to be "heretical" in teaching?
We see the roots of its use and meaning in the Bible:
“Reject a factious man after a first and second warning” Titus 3:10 NASB
The Greek word for “factious” is hairetikon (in the accusative used as an adjective) which is where we get our word “heretic” and it means sect, party, dissension, faction, opinion. In the particular use in our context in Titus 3 it refers to a person who is divisive or opinionated even in an area of secondary matters. They want to elevate and fight about things that are not profitable to the hearers. They are to be warned about their “overbearing opinions and willingness to constantly fight” a first and a second time and then the church is to have nothing to do with them. It should go without saying that if they are being factious about a foundational teaching – saying the opposite opinion about that which is extremely relevant to the faith – that we should apply the same drastic measures. And in fact this meaning of the term is what is prevalent in our day.
What is a Christian Cult?
A. Mormonism 1. Believes in the Bible PLUS three other books: a. The Book of Mormon b. The Pearl of Great Price c. Doctrine and Covenants 2. Each person pre-exists before their earthly life: their soul is sent to their body. 3. Undermines the Doctrine of the Trinity: Jesus is not the unique Son of God, he is like other men in being sent to earth, but he is the “firstborn” of the new “spirit-children” of God. 4. General and Individual salvation and Hell is non-existent. There are three levels of eternal glory.
B. Jehovah’s Witness 1. Undermines the Doctrine of the Trinity: neither Jesus or the Holy Spirit are God, Jesus Christ is thus a created being and less than God, Jesus in his pre-existent state was Michael the Archangel, brother of Lucifer who rebelled against God, after Jesus death he returned to his pre-existent state as Michael. 2. Salvation by works 3. Hell is non-existent 4. Only True Scripture: The New World Translation
C. Christian Science 1. Additional Scripture: Science & Health by Mary Baker Eddy 2. God is defined in pantheistic terms 3. Undermines the Doctrine of the Trinity: Jesus is not God, Jesus is defined separately from Christ and Christ is a principle rather than a person. 4. Salvation: actual sin is an illusion and salvation is embracing the divine Christ principle.
What does it mean to be "aberrant" in teaching?
The term “aberrant” in teaching is going beyond this point. “Aberrant teaching” is usually defined as teachings which mean that someone is drifting beyond this secondary norm and is becoming unbalanced in their views. Their view has gone beyond mere discussion of possible differences to the point of being dangerous to our Christian belief or walk when fully embraced. It could potentially refer to those who might take a stance to the point of “spiritual abuse” or “psychological cult-like type following or abuse” in their ways.
As the enemy of the church attacks it – aberrant views are apt to pop up just about by anyone and anywhere. Leadership should fix us upon the sole authority of the Word of God and safeguards to unreasonable thinking – or aberrations as the case may be – should be in place and in force.
What are the 3 points of error in Reformed position on fundamental articles?
by Richard Muller
“The Reformed orthodox in connection with the idea of fundamental articles, note three kinds of doctrinal error:
(1) errors directly against a fundamental article (contra fundamentum)
(2) errors around a fundamental or in indirect contradiction to it (circa fundamentum)
(3) errors beyond a fundamental article (praeter fundamentum)
The first kind of error is a direct attack–such as those launched by the Socinians–against the divinity of Christ or the Trinity.
The second is not a direct negation or an antithesis but rather an indirect or secondary error ultimately subversive of a fundamental–such as a belief in God that refuses to acknowledge his providence.
The third category of error does not address fundamental articles directly or indirectly but rather involves faith in problematic and curious questions (quaestiones problematicas et curiosas) that do not arise out of the revealed Word–hay and stubble!–and that, because of their curiosity and vanity, constitute diversions from and impediments to salvation.”
Richard Muller, Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics
Where in the New Testament do we find the phrase "the full (whole) counsel (will) of God?
Why is it important to proclaim the full counsel of God?
Summary of Full Truth:
The Word of God is complete and sufficient!
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5 NASB
“The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” Psalm 119:160 (NASB)
“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3 NASB
#3 Focused Truth: The Person & Work of Jesus Christ
Truth is “focused” in and upon the one who declared Himself to be the truth. The whole of the Scripture is pointing to the salvation that the God of truth has brought us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The following subject matters help us to understand who Christ is and what He has done.
A. O.T. Prophecies of Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus Christ
Related Material: Fulfilled Prophecies at the Birth of Christ – By Tim Chaffey
B. The Incarnation: The Person and Nature of Jesus Christ
The Apostles’ Creed – 2nd Century A.D.
The Nicene Creed – 325 A.D. – The First Ecumenical Council
The Creed of Chalcedon – 451 A.D. – The Fourth Ecumenical Council
The Athanasian Creed – circa 500 A.D. – Athanasius 293-373 A.D.
Peccability & Impeccability of Christ: Able Not to Sin, Not Able to Sin – By Steve Camp
C. The Trinity
The word “trinity” is not used in the Bible. Yet the doctrine of the trinity – God is One, God is Three Persons, Each Person is Fully God – is clearly seen in the truth of Scripture.
God is One in His Being – Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 46:9; Galatians 3:20
God is Three Distinct Persons
Father – John 6:27; Romans 1:7
Son – John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9; Romans 9:5
Holy Spirit – Acts 5:3-4
Each Person is Fully God
Father – Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:1
Son – John 1:1,14; 20:28
Holy Spirit – Genesis 1:2; Acts 5:3-4
The Three Working as One
At Jesus Baptism – Matthew 3:13-17
Salvation – 1 Peter 1:1-2
Christian Baptism – Matthew 28:18-20
Christian Growth – 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
The early creeds of the church took on a very clear response to false teachings that were circulating at the time. They articulated the eternal nature of God, the Father and, God the Son, Jesus Christ and God, the Holy Spirit as One. They defined God’s will as One. They defined the nature of Jesus, as both fully God and fully man, with both the divine will and a human will, distinguished but only One Person, Jesus Christ. It was a very thorough job in response to attacks upon the Scriptures truth.
D. Jesus Earthly Ministry: Prophet, Teacher, Healer & Miracle Worker
An Outline of the Story of Jesus Using Maps – By JB Phillips
E. The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
2. Our Substitute: Atonement and Propitiation
The Death of Christ – Sermon #173 – By Charles Spurgeon
Christ Set Forth As Propitiation – Sermon #373 – By Charles Spurgeon
The Scriptural Necessity of Christ’s Penal Substitution – By Richard Mayhue
3. The Courtroom of the Eternal God: The Righteous Judge and Justifier
Christ Died for God – By Dr John MacArthur
F. The Resurrection & Ascension of Jesus Christ: Our Great High Priest & Sole Mediator
G. Gospel Preached: Jesus Christ Our Lord & Savior
Christ Crucified – Sermon #7 – By Charles Spurgeon
Grace Abounding – Sermon #501 – By Charles Spurgeon
Preaching: Man’s Privilege and God’s Power – Sermon #347 – By Charles Spurgeon
Our Manifesto – Sermon #2185 – By Charles Spurgeon
H. Jesus Christ is unto us: Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, Redemption
Summary of Focused Truth:
The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.
Christ was sent by the Father into the world, incarnate in the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. Throughout His earthly ministry, He lived a perfect and holy life before God as His Only Begotten Son. He taught, performed miracles, and finally died on the cross, shedding His blood for sin. His sacrifice was perfect and complete, once for all, the just for the unjust. Further, He was raised from the dead, declared with power the Son of God. He is now raised at the right hand of God and will soon return again: visibly, powerfully, in salvation and judgment. And, He will establish His Kingdom forever.
The “focus” of truth is the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ who died on Calvary, not anything or anyone else. If you do not know Jesus Christ, repent of sin and believe in Him, and you will know Him. Know Him, and you will love Him. Love Him and you will serve Him. Serve Him and you will long for His return!
#4 Future Truth: The End of this Age & Second of Christ
The blessed hope for all believers is Christ coming in His Kingdom and His glory at the end of this evil age. It will be salvation for those who know Him and judgment for this world and those who don’t know Him. His second coming is as sure as His promise. The below articles will give you a basic groundwork in the study of the last things called eschatology.
A. Christ’s Kingdom (Kingdom of God/Heaven): Present and Decisively Future
Although this particular truth, future truth, is ultimately directed to Christ’s Future Kingdom and the second coming of Christ, we must first grasp the meaning of His present rule. One would think there would be incredible agreement among Christians about Christ’s Kingdom, present and future, but this is not always the case. Below are a few different perspectives on Christ’s Kingdom.
Preaching the Kingdom of God – By Tom Wells
Within Orthodox Christianity there are generally four ways of looking at how Christ reigns and how the future will unfold. Each view is formed from different interpretations of Revelation 20 along with various supporting texts. However, in holding any one of these four views, the Christian should never be distracted from the central hope which is the second coming of Jesus Christ. We have these four views for teaching purposes in this section. However, the articles on this website, when considering the end-times, will reflect our firmly held view of historic premillenialism.
Amillennialism: Amillennialism – By Anthony Hoekema
Post-Millenialism: Postmillennialism – By Loraine Boettner
Dispensational-Premillenialism: Reflections on Dispensationalism – By Dr John Walvoord
1. The Old Testament Book of Daniel
Are the events of Daniel’s life placed in chronological order in the book?
See: A Historical-Chronological Look at the Book of Daniel
Are there thematic patterns in the book of Daniel?
See: Parallel Themes in the Book of Daniel
Are there prophecies about the final world kingdom in Daniel that are yet to be fulfilled?
See: Prophecies Concerning the Final World Kingdom Yet to Be Fulfilled
2. Matthew 24
What does the unfolding of the end of the age look like?
Will Christians Know Who The Antichrist Will Be? – By David Sheldon
4. The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John
* Satan Given Authority to Act – Revelation 13:1-2
This describes the fact that God will soon allow Satan to have sway in exercising his authority upon the earth. This is initially seen in Revelation 13 in the form of the beast-antichrist and in the false prophet. It might help us to think of Rev. 13 as the unholy triumvirate: 1) Satan, as the false source 2) Beast-Antichrist, as the false object and 3) The False-Prophet, as the false desire/means to worship the others.
* The Rise of the Beast-Antichrist – Revelation 13:1-18
The final world kingdom of Antichrist is seen as ten horns that fulfill the prophecies of Daniel. This “beast” is ten regions/persons (which will go from ten to seven) that rule the world. It should be specifically noted that when this is described it is very specific. It is an overarching economic rule. This ten/seven horned beast rules the world because it first rules the world economically and the antichrist is its head. This beast has a fatal wound that is healed, and the world is amazed and follows after this beast.
* The Rise of the False Prophet – Revelation 13:11-18
The false prophet is that system/person that “causes fire to come down out of heaven in the presence of men,” and the one who gives “breath” to the image of the beast. He may indeed provide false signs and wonders, false pyro-techniques. But, we shouldn’t miss the point: he is the false desire, breath to the image, as the catalyst and means for false worship of the beast and his image.
* The Image of the Beast – Revelation 13:14-15; 14:9-11; 19:20
Some hold that the “Image of the Beast” in Revelation 13 is a literal statue of the antichrist himself. This may or may not be true. It should be noted, however, that the false prophet does not help the world make an image of the beast, rather an image to the beast. I would tend to see this as a progression. This is a description of the false prophet energizing the world toward self-worship of “the image” that is, the fallen image of man as if that image is God. (Remember the serpents promise to Eve?) It is a description of each individuals’ self-worship, reflected in the whole and in the Antichrist as if that is worship of God. (Think Hitler) This is the deification/worship of Satan and Antichrist (Rev. 13:4) and also the deification/worship of the image to Antichrist (Rev. 13:15) i.e. self-worship reflected in the worship of Satan/the Beast. This is what the false prophet energizes, his power coming from Satan himself.
* The Rise of the Harlot Church – Revelation 17:1-18
Revelation 17 describes “a Woman” (false religion) that is drunk with the blood of the saints. This is religion gone astray. She sits upon the scarlet beast, but as the scene unfolds there is no doubt about who is in control. It is the beast. He is using her.
The Great Harlot – By David Sheldon
* The Persecution of the Saints – Revelation 13:7
The Beast is given authority to persecute God’s people for the last 3 1/2 years of this present evil age.
* God’s Judgments Before Christ Returns – Revelation 6-9, 16
God’s judgments are given in three descriptive sevens. Seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls.
Summary of Future Truth:
God will dramatically intervene in this world once again!
Not only will He bring judgments upon the earth at the end of this age, he will first fulfill all the Scriptures that speak of what is going to happen before this end. God is going to send back the Lord Jesus Christ in power, glory, salvation, and judgment!
God will, with great splendor and glory, send back His Son Jesus Christ on the Clouds of Heaven!
God will, finally, establish His eternal state for Christian believers, a new heaven and earth!
These “future” truths, based on the Scriptures, are fully sufficient. Each person should study His Word for themselves to know about His Second Coming. If you are saved, you are already a member of God’s Kingdom, both present and future. Therefore, be sober toward prayer and look forward to His Coming. His present reign is clearly displayed by our obedience to Him through His Word. When we are faithful to His Word and commands, He uses us as vessels to multiply His Kingdom. He is already completely in charge and seated at the right hand of God. One day He will make that very, very apparent to all of creation! If you are not saved, repent and believe in the Jesus Christ who died on Calvary for your sins before it is too late.