Allan Beechick is a dispensationalist author, known for his book The Rapture Solution, in which he offered a unique but flawed interpretation of Luke 17:36-37.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Four things are brought together in the prophecy: good tidings, mountains, the feet of the messenger, and the fact that God reigns. The meaning of good tidings was identified by Paul, who applied the scripture to those preaching the Gospel. [Rom. 10:15-16]
John the Baptist said to the Jews, “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” [Luke 3:8]
Rivers bring the water from places where the rain falls, or from high snowy mountains, to places that normally receive very little rain. The prophetic rivers are metaphors. Rain represents God’s word, and the prophetic rivers are streams of God’s revelations, themes of knowledge that extend throughout the Bible. Isaiah said,
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
The rivers depict themes of the gospel, and they are parables, that illustrate how God’s promises work out through the ages.
The prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 34 distinguishes between the mountains of Israel, and the mountains of other lands.
Ezekiel 34:6 says, “My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.”
God’s sheep are scattered upon the face of the earth, in tens of thousands of sects and denominations, and ministries, with many different beliefs.
Isaiah said in the last days, referring to Judah and Jerusalem, that the mountain of the Lord’s house would be raised up, to the top of the mountains, and exulted above the hills.
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
When we compare this with Ezekiel’s prophecy about the river flowing from the house of the Lord, a paradox appears. Any tectonic event that would elevate Jerusalem in a literal sense, would increase the slope in the surrounding area. But in Ezekiel’s description, the river in the vicinity of Jerusalem is shown to have a very gentle gradient, comparable to that of a football field, where a minimal slope is needed for drainage. In about half a mile, the depth of the river increases by only about three feet. [Ezek. 47:1-7]
The better land of Hebrews 11:16 is heavenly, and yet, the saints remain on the earth, which seems to be a paradox. How can people dwelling on the earth be in a better land, if it is located in heaven? Perhaps it is not located in heaven, but has a heavenly character.
The better land represents the knowledge of God, and the spiritual inheritance of the saints. As the earthly Canaan was watered by rain, the better land is watered by God’s Spirit. In many prophecies, rainfall is a metaphor representing the Spirit, which enables our minds to understand the scriptures.
Bible scholars have suggested various meanings for the mountains of Israel in Ezekiel 36:1-15. These include (1) the land; (2) the people of Israel; (3) either the land or the people; (4) they are metaphors representing God’s promises. Correctly interpreting the mountains is key to understanding the prophecy. Daniel I. Block wrote on the theological significance of this prophecy:
David wrote, in Psalm 36:6, “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains.” The great mountains of the earth are regions of snow and ice, that remained inaccessible to men until the nineteenth century when adventurers developed mountaineering skills, and began to discover routes to the tops of the high peaks of the European Alps, and other mountains of the world.
The reason David compared God’s righteousness to high mountains must have to do with their altitude, and their metaphorical connection with high and lofty thoughts, such as the prophet Isaiah referred to when he described God’s thoughts as higher than those of man.
Israel’s promised land, described as a land of milk and honey, and the seventh day sabbath, are both types of the rest that Hebrews 3-4 encourages believers to enter. Entering this rest requires belief.
After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, they endured 40 years wandering in the wilderness. At the end of that period Joshua addressed them, and he spoke of their promised inheritance as rest. “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.” [Joshua 1:13]
Israel was promised blessings in their land, if the people kept the law. [Leviticus 26:3-5] If they abandoned the law, however, the land would no longer yield her strength to them. [Leviticus 26:18-20]
In many prophecies, the land is described as desolate. Isaiah connected the desolation of the land with understanding and believing the words of the prophets. In response to his question, how long will it be before the people of Israel understand with their heart, and convert, and become healed? Isaiah was told, “until the land be utterly desolate.”
In his Ezekiel 36 Commentary, Bruce Hurt quoted from the works of numerous authors who support dispensationalism. However the author identified himself as a literalist rather that a dispensationalist. In his comments on verse 1 he wrote:
The land promise to Abraham is connected with the promise that he would be the father of a multitude, who will number as the stars of heaven, and the promise of a seed in whom all nations will be blessed, who Paul identified as Christ. [Galatians 3:8, 16]
There are three components to the promise to Abraham: an innumerable number of descendants, land, and a seed, who is Christ. The three components are inseparable. A vast number of descendants specified in the promises to Abraham would require a large area of land, but the land of Canaan was one of the smallest countries. The three part promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are presented in the following tables.
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?