Audience Relevance and Time Prophecy
A huge step in helping others to understand the Bible, and particularly the end times is a greater awareness of "audience relevance". This term simply means interpreting a text in a manner that is relevant to the original audience to whom it was given. This is especially true for "time prophecies" or prophetic passages which have a chronological time stamp. Such time stamps are inherent in kingdom and coming (second coming) prophecies.
The common error of much prophetic interpretation is that people who live in the 21st century read the Bible as though it were written yesterday. This is bound to cause many errors. It must be read as a person living in the time when it words were first spoken to understand the proper culture, history and context and especially time references.
The Law and the Prophets Were Until John
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." (Matt. 11:13)
The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Lk. 16:16)
From the above texts we find that the Law and prophets prophesied until John. With the coming of John the Immerser, something radically changed from the time of the Law and the prophets regarding the kingdom. What was it?
For the first time, the kingdom was announced as imminent by the phrase "at hand". While all the O.T. prophets spoke of the kingdom as coming, John (and Jesus) changed the message to one of greater urgency.
The Time Is Fulfilled
Why the urgency? It's because the time was fulfilled of which the prophets had spoken. "In those days came John, the Immerser saying 'Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!' (Matt. 3:2) Jesus taught the same message (Mat. 4:17).
Again, why were they preaching this message "in those days"? These were the days of Tiberius Caesar, Pontus Pilate and Herod Agrippa I, (Lk. 3:1) They were not the days of Harry S. Truman or any U.S. President.
In Mark, Jesus said the time is fulfilled, meaning to fill to the brim, (Mk. 1:14-15). The word time is kairos which means "the appointed time". It was the time set by the prophets. That means the time for the appearance of the kingdom was imminent in the days of Caesar, Herod and Pontus Pilate. The appointed time had come. There was to be no future time for which the kingdom's arrival was appointed.
To ignore the time facts and parameters of the kingdom is to fall a victim of futurism and Christian Zionism. The result is delay theories, false flag prophecies, disillusionment, disappointment and destruction of faith.
The Time Error
If one chooses to ignore the time indications Jesus and John made above, it becomes easier to fall for the crafty deception of Christian Zionism. The latter suggests the timing Christ and John gave is invalid. They don't see the kingdom established in the "appointed" time relating to an imminent first century occurrence at all. In fact, they claim Jesus lied, was mistaken, post-poned or simply failed at his mission.
However, if the time indicators found above and throughout the New Testament are true, there is no possible way the kingdom can arrive, unless of course we can raise Tiberias Casesar, Pontius Pilate and Herod from the dead. Would it not be easier to accept the words of Christ?
Yet, these Christian Zionists have advocated that very idea when they claimed the European Union was the revival of the old Roman Empire until it began to dismantle. With that theory busted, they headed off in the direction of Russia and Iran as the seed bed of their "must happen now" prophecy program.
The Kingdom Postponed
Christian Zionists teach the kingdom was postponed. They claim the church was the accidental substitute of Christ's failure to keep his promise. They reason the Jews rejection and crucifixion of Jesus was a sort of monkey wrench thrown into spokes of the plan of God.
Was Jesus' Suffering and Crucifixion a Failure of God?
Genesis 3:15: Most Christian Bible scholars and commentaries understand Gen. 3:15 to be a reference to Christ be bruised by the serpent. Christ is the seed of the woman who's heel is bruised. He in turn crushes the head of the serpent. So, almost 2000 years before God made a promise to Abraham, the crucifixion is clearly prophesied.
The Secretary bird (Quetzalcoatl) unique to Africa, and from which certain "bird kings" were named, is a bird specifically suited for killing serpents or snakes In the bird symbolism it is a keeper of the tree of life and guardian of the river of life. The African kings who dressed in this symbolism danced to bring the rains (water of life) to heal the parched grounds and replenish the earth. "Ivan Van Sertima, "They Came Before Columbus" pp. 73-89.
The symbolism in this bird and Christ as a king who destroys the serpent restoring the tree of life with the river of life is striking. Interestingly, the rivers which parted Eden to water the garden in four riverheads encompassed the whole land of Cush (Ethiopia). It is likely that African included not only what we today know as the continent, but also the boundaries of the Tigris and the Euphrates.
Cush's son, Nimrod, built Babylon (Iraq) and Nineveh of Assyria, and thus the Cushite presence extended from Ethiopia to the Tigris River by the time of Genesis 10:6-11.
Psa. 22: David prophesied the betrayal and agony of Christ on the cross. This is prophecy. How could Jesus' death not be part of the plan and purpose of God? Dispensationalism must reject the Scriptures to make their case.
Isaiah 53: Isaiah prophesied the suffering of Jesus Christ by a violent death. Note again the use of the term "bruise" (v. 10). The Eunuch reads Isaiah 53 and learns that Jesus was the Messiah, (Acts 8:26-40).
Daniel 9:26-27: Daniel prophesies Christ would suffer a violent death. This prophecy is embedded in the heart of the 70 weeks prophecy of which Christian Zionists build so much of their doctrine. They claim all other parts of the prophecy are the divine purpose of God while claiming Jesus' crucifixion to be the foiled plan of God. They are amazingly selective at reading!
Acts 2:22-23: On the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2) Peter said Jesus was crucified by the predetermined and foreknowledge of God.
All these texts are proof his death was not an accident.That means there was no postponement of the kingdom. This is the doctrine of Zionism stealthily infused into the Scofield Bible to deceive innocent Christians who don't read or who are unaware of the text.
Others reject the imminent statements of the kingdom on moral grounds. They cannot reconcile the "evils" they see in the world with the presence of the kingdom. There are two fundamental errors with this view.
The first is, they have imagined the kingdom to be a sort of utopia where no evil exists. This is not a biblical view. In the book of Revelation, the kingdom having arrived, presents several facts about evil.
The tree of life (in the kingdom) is for the "healing of the nations". That means men are not perfect in the kingdom. According to chapter 21:25-27, the kings of the earth bring honor and glory into it as their lives are changed. In chapter 22:15, those outside of the kingdom continue in their wickedness. This demonstrates that the destruction of the wicked in Revelation 20:14-15 is not a removal of the wicked from the earth, otherwise, they would have ceased to exist after the arrival of the kingdom. These verses indicated that the judgment in the text is covenantal.
The second, is they fail to understand the meaning of putting away "the sin" (a corporate c Compare 1 Cor. 15:56-57.
The Time of Arrival "This Generation"
The time of the kingdom's arrival is during the days of the Roman empire, the same empire in existence when the prophecy of the kingdom was first announced as at hand. Daniel 2:44-45 states the kingdom would be established "in the days of these kings". These were the kings/days of the Roman empire.
John, the Apostle claimed he was "in the kingdom" and patience of the Lord Jesus Christ, (Rev. 1:9). The Hebrews Christians were at the time of writing the epistle, said to be receiving the kingdom, (Heb. 12:28).
All time indicators point backward to the first century, to the time of the generation living when Jesus was on earth. That is the first century generation.
"So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place", Lk. 21:31-32.