Isaiah wrote about making a highway in the wilderness, and mountains being made low.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Interpreting the encoded message of prophecy correctly reveals the glory of God. In Isaiah’s prophecy the mountains are symbols of the prophecies and promises of scripture. Those who investigate Bible prophecy are a lot like explorers or mountaineers seeking a way through unexplored, rugged country.
In his recent article at Bible Prophecy blog, on The Coming Kingdom (Part 6), Andy Woods discussed the dispensational idea that Christ’s kingdom was offered to Jews, but the offer was postponed when they rejected Christ as their king.
Woods views the kingdom as conditional upon whether or not ethnic Jews believe the gospel, a doctrine that paints Christ as rather powerless, and as a wanna-be potential king whose hopes were disappointed like the runner-up in an American election campaign. But this is not the Jesus the apostles knew. Woods wrote: “The dispensational premillennialist understands that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. However, the kingdom is not a present reality since first-century Israel never satisfied the condition of faith in Christ.”
An edited version of an article I wrote about the mount of Olives in the prophecy of Zechariah 14 has been posted on agnus dei – english + romanian blog, without proper attribution. The blog seems to incorrectly attribute some of my work to a person named Justin Taylor. Portions of my original article are omitted. I did not approve of the alterations, apparently made by Rodi Galis. In the post below, my article is reproduced and the portions missing in the unauthorized post are designated in quotes.
On Tuesday, 23 August 2011, Mike Vlach posted his discussion of the Theological Implications of Zechariah 14, the last in a series of three blog posts on Zechariah 14. A post by Lynda O on Zechariah 14 and God’s Divine Purpose links to all three posts, the first two of which I responded to here and in this post.
Vlach notes that in Zechariah’s prophecy Christ reigns as king over the whole earth [vs 9]; the kingdom, he says, follows tribulation; the focus of the prophecy is Jerusalem and Israel; it has universal influence, and he concludes that the kingdom and conditions described do not apply to the present age, or to the eternal state, and so all the events described in the chapter must apply to an intermediate period: the seven year tribulation and the millennium of dispensational theory.
A connection between the mountains and the gospel exists, because David wrote that God’s righteousness is like the great mountains, and the apostle Paul said that the gospel reveals God’s righteousness. [Psalm 36:6; Romans 1:16-17]
In the second of his three posts on Zechariah 14, titled Zechariah 14:10-21 and the Nature of the Coming Kingdom, Mike Vlach focused upon the significance of verse 9, which says the Lord will be king over all the earth. He reasoned that because the prophecy described the nations coming to Jerusalem to keep the feast of tabernacles, the period to which the prophecy applies, when the Lord is king over the earth, must be during a future millennial age. He concluded:
In sum, this section reveals that the Lord will reign from Jerusalem over the nations. The nations must show their allegiance by observing the Feast of Booths. Those nations that do not obey the Lord will experience negative consequences, including the withholding of blessings.
In verses 6-7, the light is neither clear, nor dark. Any attempt to apply the prophecy of this chapter to a future millennial age is thwarted by what is said about light.
In August 2011 Mike Vlach posted a three part series of blogs on Zechariah 14. Part 1 was Zechariah 14 and the Timing of the Kingdom; part 2: Zechariah 14:10-21 and the Nature of the Coming Kingdom; part 3: Theological Implications of Zechariah 14. His concluding comments seem mainly intended to discredit the idea that Christ now reigns as king on the throne of David.
The theological position Vlach defends is dispensationalism, and his posts seem chiefly designed to prop up dispensational dogma, rather than to expound the true meaning of Zechariah’s prophecy. For example, he does not mention the significance of the day of the Lord at all.
In the table below, some common beliefs connected with dispensationalism are contrasted with the teachings of the prophets and apostles.
In a blog post titled More on Acts 1:6-7 etc, “mac” argues that those verses support the idea of an earthly materialistic kingdom, and he says that Acts 1:6 “challenges the supercessionist view.”
What does Acts 1:6 teach? After the resurrection of Jesus, his disciples asked if he was about to establish his kingdom, which was a very natural question for them to ask. At that time, the Holy Spirit, which would later enlighten their understanding, was not yet given. Very likely, the disciples were thinking in terms of an earthly, political kingdom, and the restoration of national Israel.
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Revelation 16:17-21 describes the events that occur when the seventh angel pours out his vial with the last of the seven last plagues. In verse 19, John wrote of a great earthquake, unprecedented in scale, and connected with it, he said, in verse 20: “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” The earthquake must be viewed as spiritual in nature, just as the mountains and islands are spiritual.
In his Olivet Discourse, Jesus exhorted those who are in Judea to “flee to the mountains.” This implies that they are able to find the mountains. In each prophecy, the mountains meant are not literal mountains, but they represent promises of God to the saints, who are represented by “them that be in Judea.” The mountains Jesus intended us to seek are invisible ones.
Paul explained in 2 Corinthians 1:20 that all the promises of God are made available to us through Christ; he wrote: “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” In the Old Testament, these promises were given to God’s people Israel, but the New Testament shows that those who believe in Christ share in them, as they have become part of the true Israel of God through faith. Some of these promises are listed in table below. The notes in the right hand column suggest how they are fulfilled by Christ and his church.
The prophecy of Ezekiel 39:11-16 describes the burial of the slain corpses of the armies of Gog and Magog. The following particulars are given:
- Burial location: east of the sea, in the valley of Hamongog
- Identity of those who are burying: the whole house of Israel
- Duration of the work: seven months
- Results: God is glorified, and the land is cleansed
What were the keys of the kingdom given to Peter?
Did the apostles teach that the kingdom had come?
What is meant by the key of David?
Who reigns 1,000 years? Christ, or the saints?
What is meant by a thousand years?
How does Rev. 20:1-7 connect with Ezekiel?
Did John say χίλιοι ἔτος, thousands, in Revelation 20:1-7?
In prophecy, are years literal, but days figurative?
What does John intend to teach in Revelation 20:1-10?
When he returns, will Christ reign for a thousand years?
When do the saints become “a royal priesthood”?
Is part of Revelation 20:5 spurious?
Where can I see the Codex Sinaiticus manuscript?
What is the first resurrection?
What is Discrete Millennialism?
What happens when the thousand years end?
What is the territory of God’s kingdom?
The following are comments by Lutheran scholar Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg on determining the meaning of Old Testament prophecies, and pitfalls that exist in either literal or excessively figurative views. [From Christology of the Old Testament, Volume 2. T. & T. Clark, 1858. pp. 430-439.]
In the 10th of his 15 arguments against the idea that Christ reigns upon the throne of David now, in this article, George Zeller commented on the prophecy of Amos 9:11-15, which James applied to the church in Acts 15:16. Zeller wrote:
In the 12th of 15 arguments against the idea that Christ now reigns upon the throne of David in this article, George Zeller discussed the question that the disciples asked Jesus in Acts 1:6-8, about whether he would now restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus said it was not for them to know the times and seasons. Zeller wrote:
In the 9th of his 15 arguments against the idea that Christ now reigns upon the throne of David, in this article, George Zeller applies a prophecy of Hosea, that Israel would “abide many days without a king” to ethnic Jews, and so concludes that Christ can not now be reigning on the throne of David. Zeller wrote:
In the 8th of his 15 arguments against the idea that Christ reigns upon the throne of David now, in this article, George Zeller asserts that “literal interpretation is to be preferred.” He wrote:
The 4th of the 15 arguments by George Zeller against the idea that Christ now reigns upon the throne of David in this article was that Jesus will reign on earth, since the throne of David was on the earth at Jerusalem.
In the 2nd of 15 arguments against the idea that Christ reigns upon the throne of David now, in this article, George Zeller claims that the trouble and warfare in the present world means that Christ is not reigning, as his reign is to be a reign of peace. Zeller wrote: