The Purpose of Life
The Purpose of Life Website Ministry
Originally published in 2006; newly revised Nov. 2011
My Journey

Although I was brought up in a Baptist church (Counterslip Baptist in Bristol, UK), which gave me a basic grounding in the Scriptures, it wasn't until my late teens, while I was emerging from a huge state of darkness and rebellion having spent some years in the heavy metal/biker scene, that I became really interested in studying the Bible much more seriously. The main reason for this new-found enthusiasm was due to an interest in the subject of Biblical Prophecy. Even in my early teens, I'd had an interest in prophecy and events related to the second coming of Christ. I can recall one of the first times I led a Bible study in the youth group at church (the 'after eight' meeting, as it was called) when I was about 14 years old, and the subject I picked was 'The Second Coming of Christ.' Nevertheless, it was some years later, after my period of rebellion, that I really got hooked.

I was fascinated with the subject when I read Hal Lindsey's
Late Great Planet Earth in the late 1980's, when I was in my early twenties. This truly started my exciting journey into prophecy and the study of God's Word. It was not too long after this that I began to study and write. Within a few years, in about 1990, I'd written a 20-page booklet entitled A Basic Outline of Revelation and Other Prophecies. I realise now that I got a lot of stuff wrong, often echoing to a large degree the dispensational teachings of Hal Lindsey, Dave Hunt and others. In my zeal, I could at times be rather dogmatic and forthright in communicating to others what I believed to be 'the truth'! I'm still quite bold when expressing my beliefs and convictions to others, but hopefully I do it now with more grace and humility, and with more of a searching, open mind!
Anyhow, as you may have gathered by now, I couldn't get enough of studying this amazing book, the Bible. Most people who knew me probably thought I was a right religious nut (I'm sure some still do)! After a while, I naturally (and supernaturally) felt the call of the Father upon me to be a teacher of the Scriptures. So I obeyed and entered the 'school of Christ' - and here I am. The journey is still interesting and fascinating, and the more I learn, the more I marvel at the precision and accuracy of the Bible and God's sovereign control of history - as well as His immense love for us all.
What I will say at this point is, forget the 'prophecies' of Nostradamus and other so-called seers and mystics - no other is equal to the Hebrew prophets of the Bible! They are the genuine article, because they were truly inspired by the Spirit of God, and God really spoke to them in the Form of His Son, The Word - and the accuracy and foresight of their predictions, of which the majority is now history, is utterly astounding! It defies all probability. I am so glad that God is truly in control of this world and the destiny of all mankind. And the ultimate end of that Plan and Purpose is one of GOOD NEWS!
Anyhow, getting back to my journey of Truth - as I've moved on, inevitably, this has meant that a number of so called 'traditional' doctrines have had to go or be adjusted as the Light has increased, seeking to get back to what the Scriptures really teach. This has given me a fresh understanding of various misunderstood 'traditional' doctrines (most notably what I believe to be the error of 'eternal torment in Hell'). Of course, as I've continued to study Biblical prophecy over the years, this also has led to a number of changes and adjustments in my original beliefs in some areas (in particular, what is clearly the error of the 'pre-tribulation rapture,' as well as a slightly different view of the 70 Weeks prophecy in Daniel, amongst others). But this is good and right, for the light must increase as the journey progresses.

Although God used Hal Lindsey's books to start me on my quest for deeper truth (and others like Dave Hunt, J. Dwight Pentecost, Clarence Larkin, H. A. Ironside, etc), I nevertheless have seen over the years (particularly during 2003-2007) that the system of pre-millennial Dispensationalism (or Futurism) certainly has its flaws (as do a number of its teachers), some of which are clearly fundamental errors. Yet having said that, I still firmly believe that this system contains a lot of truth and it can be a useful tool for teaching us some basic principles of interpretation. We mustn't completely throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water!

Nevertheless, like Israel in the wilderness, we can't remain camped in the same place all the time, for the Glory will always move on, taking us to a deeper and higher place in truth - but we ourselves must also move and follow the Presence of God if we wish to experience the spiritual blessings. Sadly, many church denominations, ministries and systems of interpretation, besides individuals within them, have remained camped in one place - and the Glory has moved on!
Methods of Interpretation

I hope you will bear with me here, as this 'introduction' may appear a little long for some, but I wish to lay out some important details and background information to show you where I'm coming from, laying a good foundation, so to speak. Prophecy is a big subject and there are a number of differing interpretations out there, so I need to say a little about this before we get stuck into the main meal of the subsequent studies. I don't really like 'theological' chatter myself, but sometimes it is necessary to understand the various points of view.

For a start, I don't believe that any one system of hermeneutics (the science of interpretation) has all the truth. The three main systems of interpretation that have a great bearing on our subject of prophecy, particularly in relation to New Testament (NT) prophecy and the vision of Revelation, are
a) Dispensationalism (or Futurism)

b) Preterism (or past fulfillment) and

c) Historicism.
There is obviously truth in all these systems, but there are also inconsistencies and errors as well, particularly within Dispensationalism, and what has been termed 'consistent or hyper Preterism'. Although Dispensationalism has had the greatest influence in my early studies, Preterism, or more accurately Partial-preterism, has brought me to a greater understanding of prophecy, particularly in more recent years.

I strongly believe that to arrive at a proper understanding of Scripture, we need to use the historical-grammatical method of interpretation, which also allows for allegories and metaphors where appropriate. God is the Creator of laws and principles, and He's a God of order, not chaos, so it follows that there are simple laws that need to be heeded if we are to understand His Word. This includes certain grammatical laws, as well as certain spiritual laws. We must remember, as the Apostle Paul said, that Scripture uses spiritual words and phrases to communicate spiritual things to us (1 Corinthians 2:13), as well as using natural language to communicate natural things. It's just a matter of rightly dividing the word of truth in this regard. This is the approach that I use in these studies.

Before we take a look at Preterism, I'd like to say a few things about the other methods.
Historicism

I have found that one method of interpretation that largely uses these principles accurately and consistently is Historicism. This method acknowledges the past fulfillment of prophecy, and also the future fulfillment of certain texts, such as the return of Christ, while also recognising the spiritual or allegorical fulfillment in the Body of Christ Ecclesia or Christian church. This method interprets the book of Revelation as a prophecy of the whole Church era from the first century AD to the second advent of Christ. In other words, generally speaking, it continues on from where the book of Daniel and others left off, giving us a preview of history in advance using biblically coded signs and symbols. This historical-parallel method of interpretation sometimes utilizes the Idealistic or Poetic view of interpreting the book of Revelation, a view such as that expounded by William Hendrickson in More Than Conquerors.

Historicists also incorporate elements of historical Preterism when interpreting NT prophecy, although this is applied rather differently when interpreting the book of Revelation. There are a number of similarities, and there is much agreement, between Historicism and Preterism when interpreting prophecy, the only primary difference being that of Revelation. I do think that caution is needed though when using the Historicist method to interpret the vision of Revelation, because like some futurists, there is a tendency to arbitrarily speculate a little too much about certain symbols and their meaning in history and for the future.
I am greatly indebted to the work of Fred P. Miller in introducing me to the Historicist method of historical parallelism. I was led to his site while searching for some confirmation of my fresh understanding of Daniel's time periods, which have to do with the events of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the Maccabees, and I hadn't previously come across this specific understanding before. I found the confirmation I needed when I discovered Fred's work. I would recommend his books Revelation: A Panorama of the Gospel Age and Zechariah and Jewish Renewal. I do not agree with all his conclusions, yet his knowledge and insight is invaluable. Many Christian teachers and scholars down the centuries, particularly the Reformers, interpreted elements of the NT in this historicist manner, most notably Matthew Henry in his well-known commentaries, Sir Isaac Newton and Henry Grattan Guinness.

When approaching biblical prophecy, especially the book of Revelation, there are four main views:
1. Preterism

2. Futurism

3. Historicism

4. Idealism
Preterism believes that the vast majority of prophecy has already been fulfilled either in the 1st century AD or shortly after with the fall of Rome and the rise of Christendom. Great emphasis is placed on the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. Futurism does the opposite and believes that many prophecies, particularly the main bulk of Revelation, are still in our future, at the end of this age, just before the return of Christ. Historicism views Revelation as a prophecy of church history until the return of Christ, while it's interpretation of the rest of prophecy is virtually the same as the Preterist view. Finally, the Idealistic view, also known as the Symbolic or Poetic view, takes a more generalised approach, focusing on the spiritual principles of Revelation and other aspects of prophecy rather than the fulfillment of specific, historical events.

I believe that there are two legitimate ways of interpreting the book of Revelation using this historical method, which refers the symbols to actual historical events - Historical Preterism and Historicism, and I will attempt to show this in the following studies. The method of Idealism doesn't usually apply the symbols to any specific historical event, so its principles can be applied to any era. It's worth noting that virtually all those who hold to these differing views would accept that the book of Daniel was prophesying specific historical events given through visionary symbols, and that the vast majority of these prophecies have already been fulfilled in history. This then gives us a solid biblical foundation from which to build the remainder of NT prophecy, particularly the vision of Revelation.
Futurism and its Problems

The method of Futurism, which is the popular dispensationalist view, places too many divisions in Scripture where there are none, particularly in relation to Israel and the Church, and the coming 'millennial' kingdom. It also emphasises a future literal fulfillment of certain prophetic texts that have already been fulfilled in history - literally or spiritually, or both! One of its greatest errors is the interpretation of Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weeks (or Sevens), in which it breaks off the final 'week' of 7 years and places it in the future as a 'Great Tribulation.' According to this theory, a Rapture takes place before this Tribulation begins (a pre-tribulation rapture) or midway through the tribulation (mid-tribulation rapture) taking the church out of this world. I was innocently led astray with this interpretation for nearly 20 years!

I strongly believe that the simple truth of the matter is that the full 70 Weeks of 490 years has already been fulfilled, as will be shown later in these studies. It began with Ezra's return to Jerusalem in 458 BC and was all fulfilled in Jesus Christ Himself by 33 AD, after which followed the events of the Roman/Jewish War of 66-70 AD. In fact, there aren't
two rulers in this prophecy, as usually taught (and as many versions seem to suggest), there is only the Messiah, the Ruler. It's all about Jesus Christ.
I think one of the biggest problems with Futurism is the belief that certain prophecies have been 'suspended' in time and can only have relevance to our modern era! What about the past 1900 years of Church history? And what about the generations of the 1st century AD to whom the prophecies were originally written? It all sounds a little self-indulgent and short-sighted to say the least! The height of this error is to say that the majority of Revelation is still future! This leads to all kinds of crazy speculative theories!

One of the 'problems' interpreting Revelation in particular is how to understand the numbers in it. Are they to be viewed as literal or symbolic? The futurist view tends to see them all as literal, while the other methods generally see a mixture of symbolic and literal. (Some time periods can also be interpreted using the day-for-a-year method, taken from Ezekiel 4:5-6. This is often used in the historicist method). I've come to see that, for the most part, the numbers are symbolic, because the vision is highly symbolic - yet this must include the 1000 years of Christ's Reign in Revelation 20, commonly called the Millennium! The numbers in Revelation are rounded up to specific 'lengths' of time or specific amounts, and even though some have the probability of being literal as well (e.g. the 42 months, three and half years, 1260 days) first and foremost they are symbolic.
The Millennium: Literal or Symbolic?

Viewing the 1000 years of Revelation 20 as symbolic came as the greatest shock of all to me, which subsequently caused the whole system of Dispensationalism to come crashing down before my eyes, in spirit. ("Wow," I said to myself, "this means I must now be a post-millennialist or an a-millennialist! You've got to be kidding! Shock! Gasp!"). Of course there were other issues as well that caused the crumbling of my long-held doctrines of premillennial dispensationalism, but the millennium was a key issue. I have now come to see that Revelation 20 is essentially describing the spiritual events that transpired at Christ's First Advent, with the establishing of the spiritual Kingdom of God at Pentecost, resulting in Satan being bound and no longer keeping the world in the darkness of myths and idolatry, along with the truths revealed through Paul concerning the spiritual position and blessing of the Body of Christ Church, right up to the Second Advent at the end of this age. In essence, this is the teaching of the NT apostolic epistles, encompassed in a mini-vision in Revelation 20.

It also appears to be describing a final period of this present age (which I believe we're already experiencing) in which Satan is being set free to deceive the nations en masse through a return to moral depravity and the spiritual darkness of ancient Babylonian religion, causing an immense spiritual battle for the true Church of God, in a time that will result in a counterfeit era of 'Peace and Security.' Ultimately, though, God will triumph in judgment when Christ returns in the fiery Day of the Lord.
What convinces me, though, that the 1000 years in Revelation 20 is not a literal future millennium is the fact that, when studying the NT texts (in an unbiased manner, that is) that deal with the ultimate general Resurrection and Judgement Day, for both believers and unbelievers, it becomes clear that all these events occur in the last day, at the Second Advent of Christ (also referred to as His Arrival or Presence or Coming or Revealing or Manifestation or Unveiling). That Day also includes the establishing of a New Heavens and a New Earth, also referred to as the Restoration of All Things - that is to say, the events of the Second Advent of Christ include the general resurrection and judgement of all mankind followed by a new creation! NOW, according to the order of events in Revelation 20-21, the Millennium occurs BEFORE the Judgement Day and the new creation, and not after, as pre-millennialists teach!

Therefore, if we let the clear teaching of the NT lead the way (without dispensational presuppositions), and then interpret Revelation 20 in this light, the conclusion will be self-evident - the 1000 years occur BEFORE Christ returns, and they are to be taken symbolically. The main difference between an A-millennialist and a Post-millennialist is that some Post-mil's view the 1000 years as a more specific period of victory for the Church that will last a long time.
It's amazing that this one passage of Revelation 20 and its 'Millennium' is the basis for the three main schools of thought on the whole subject of Biblical prophecy (pre-millennial, post-millennial and a-millennial). Yet we must remember that this is a vision full of signs and symbols! And brothers and sisters - whatever we do, let's not cause division and faction on the basis of our prophetic interpretation, though it has to be said, there are elements that strike at the heart of the gospel, and this we need to stand for, no matter what - but always in a spirit of love and grace.

Just to make it clear for those who are unfamiliar with these things, a Pre-millennialist (whether an historic premil or a dispensational premil) believes that a literal 1000 year reign of Christ will occur
after his Second Advent. An A-millennialist emphasises the symbolic nature of the 1000 year reign, applying it to Christ's heavenly rule throughout this church age before Christ returns. A Post-millennialist also emphasises the symbolic nature of the 1000 year reign before Christ returns, although there is also great emphasis on the victory of the gospel throughout the world. Some postmil's see the 1000 years as a literal period of victory for the church when most of the world will be converted to Christianity, but this is still before the Second Advent.
Dispensationalism - We have a Problem

So, to my understanding - if there isn't going to be a literal millennial kingdom to come, in which earthly Israel will rule with Christ from Jerusalem, with a literal rebuilt Temple; plus there isn't a 7 year (or three and a half year) Tribulation or a Pre-trib Rapture - then the whole basic system of Dispensationalism (or futurism) disintegrates! I did publish a book through iUniverse Publishing in 2003 entitled Ancient Prophecies Unveiled: The Times of the Nations. It was a chunky volume at 470 pages! I was very proud of my achievement - and still am! Frustratingly, it is now discontinued due to the fact that I'm no longer a premillennial dispensationalist, because the book was very dispensational in its interpretive approach, so I felt I should do the right thing and withdraw it from print - but there's probably about 50+ copies still out there somewhere!

Nevertheless, having tolled the bell of Futurism's doom, I have to say that one of the subjects that Dispensationalism correctly understands to a large extent is the doctrine of the Ages and the Administrations (though they call the latter
dispensations, but the basic principle is correct). Scripture clearly teaches about Ages and Administrations, as any good concordance will prove, and there are a number of articles on this site that attempt to show this.
Preterism: Full or Partial?

When I originally wrote this Introduction in 2006, I said some incorrect things about the Preterist system of interpretation. At the time, I confess that I hadn't fully searched the matter out, so my knowledge and understanding fell a little short. Since then I have studied much more on the various systems of interpretation, particularly in the field of biblical prophecy, so this latest revision aims to correct my previous mistakes (a few other earlier articles in this section will be getting some revision also). Even though it's taken a few years, I have come to view Preterism in a very different light indeed. In fact, I am convinced that it is the best system of interpretation by which to understand biblical prophecy accurately.

During 2008, it came to my attention, through reading the excellent work of Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr,
Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating The Book of Revelation (and others), that the weight of evidence for the writing of Revelation, both externally and internally, actually leans heavily toward the early date of c. 65 AD, during the reign of Emperor Nero. The evidence also indicates that the whole New Testament canon was completed before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, which makes a lot of sense when reading the NT in its 1st century context. John A. T. Robinson in his book Redating the New Testament presents a strong case for the pre-70 AD writing of the NT.

It turns out that there were actually two early traditions in Church history for the composition of Revelation: a) during Nero's reign (c. 60's AD), and b) during Domitian's reign (c. mid-90's AD). It would appear as though the late date under Domitian's reign was essentially based on the writings of Irenaeus, yet his statement is open to question, both as to translation and interpretation. The strongest evidence for the early date is the internal witness of scripture itself, and the huge importance of the fulfillment of prophecy concerning Israel and Jerusalem in 70 AD. Jesus did say that those '
days of vengeance' and 'wrath' and 'great tribulation' would be the fulfillment of all that has been written (Luke 21:20-23). Also, speaking to the Jewish leaders of his day, Jesus declared a number of times that judgment would fall upon 'this generation,' that is, to those he was talking to (cf. Matthew 23:35-36; 24:34). And the apocalyptic vision of Revelation begins and ends with the terms 'the time is near' (Revelation 1:3 & 22:10 ) as well as opening with the statement that the contents of the vision would 'take place soon' or 'occur quickly' (Revelation 1:1).
Therefore, if Revelation was actually written before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD, then the Partial-preterist view is correct. Therefore, contrary to what I have said in the past, the whole system of Preterism doesn't collapse, but instead becomes a valid, and extremely probable, way of interpreting the vision of Revelation - and all NT prophecy.

I am strongly convinced that the vision of Revelation can be interpreted on
three levels of truth. This view carries much weight when it is understood that this is the last divine vision given in Scripture, so we should expect something very extraordinary in relation to its message.

If John did indeed receive this vision about 65 AD, during the persecution of Nero, as the evidence strongly suggests, then the
primary interpretation is the Partial-preterist view that this was largely a prophecy of the Jewish War, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD, thereby ending the Old Covenant era of ancient Israel, and firmly establishing Christianity as the New Covenant kingdom. This was the apocalyptic fire that the Hebrew prophets associated with the coming of the Messiah in the great and terrible Day of the Lord. This is, in fact, the primary meaning of 'the coming of the Son of Man' taken from Daniel 7:13-14 (cf. Mark 14:62).
The secondary interpretation is the Historicist view that it is prophesying many key events of this present Church Era until the Second Advent of Christ, and that essentially, Revelation carries on where Daniel left off (with a little overlap). I would say that whereas Daniel was largely prophesying the Times of the Hebrews under the Old Covenant, John in Revelation is largely prophesying the Times of the Nations under the New Covenant (as well as prophesying the end of the Old Covenant system and the 'days of vengeance' upon Israel and Jerusalem in the 1st century).

The
third interpretation is the purely allegorical Idealistic view that views the sub-visions within Revelation as purely spiritual truth that can be applied to any and every generation throughout this age. This is the wonder of God's Word!

All of these methods fit the criteria of Revelation that its fulfillment would begin in the 1st century AD for '
the time is near.' That is, the message had great relevance to the 1st century Church and beyond. On the other hand, the Futurist method of interpreting Revelation doesn't fit the biblical criteria at all, because it postpones virtually all of the vision to what is already 2000 years into the future!! This is one of the reasons as to why I reject the Futurist system.

I would also go so far as to say that the largely futurist 'dispensational' teaching of Christian Zionism is, in fact, bordering on heresy, because it seeks to re-establish Judaism and the 'middle wall of partition' of a literal temple in complete contradiction of the New Covenant in Christ for all nations. It strikes at the heart of the gospel message which Paul vigorously defended. The days of the physical, worldly temple and its shadows and types are over.
There will be more on these things in the following studies.

Now at this point I wish to make it clear that there is a big difference between Full-preterism (also known as Consistent or Hyper preterism) and Partial-preterism. Full-preterists believe that ALL prophecy has been fulfilled in the 1st century AD - and that includes the Second Advent of Christ, and the general resurrection and judgement day. I am NOT a full preterist! I can understand why some have gone down that route, but I still believe this position is grossly in error. Yes, I would say that a large portion of NT prophecy has already had its fulfillment in the early centuries of the Church, and I believe that much of what Jesus had to say about 'the coming of the Son of Man' actually referred primarily to 1st century events, yet it is evident that the Second Advent of Christ and the final Resurrection and Judgement Day haven't occurred as yet - and the NT clearly teaches these things. There is definitely a tension between what has already occurred and what is yet to come.

We must be very cautious about those who say that 'the Day of the Lord is present' or has already taken place (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) implying also that the resurrection has occurred (2 Timothy 2:17-18), because the ultimate resurrection for Overcomers is intimately linked to the Day of the Lord, that is, Christ's Second Advent (John 6:39-40; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 20:4-6). It is true to say that these things are present now IN SPIRIT,
by faith, but the actual fullness or manifestation of it all hasn't occurred as yet. In answer to these false teachings, Paul tells us "Don't let anyone be deluding you by any method..." (2 Thessalonians 2:3 CV) and then he goes on to give some specific information about what we are to expect before that Day arrives, which ties in with the prophecies of Jesus.
My Viewpoint

Anyhow, to sum things up, I wish to say loud and clear that I don't adhere to any one system completely. For instance, I largely agree with the Amillennial writings of Anthony A. Hoekema (The Bible and the Future), William Hendrickson (More Than Conquerors) and Kim Riddlebarger (A Case for Amillennialism). Yet I also largely accept the Postmillennial writings of Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. (He Shall Have Dominion), David Chilton (The Days of Vengeance) and J. Marcellus Kik (An Eschatology of Victory). I have to say that, overall, I presently lean more towards the Postmillennial viewpoint of Ken Gentry, which emphasises the victory of Christ's kingdom through his Church in this present age. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that the world will be converted before Christ returns, but I do believe that there will be a great world-wide spiritual harvest before this age is over. I also believe that this victory of Christ will continue to have its effects in the age to come also, for "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:7).

I also largely agree with the
Partial-preterist views of Ken Gentry, yet there are some points, such as the interpretation of the Man of Lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2 and the second Beast of Revelation 13, where I would tend to agree more with other Partial-preterists such as Ralph Woodrow. In the examples given, Gentry interprets these texts as having been fulfilled in the 1st century AD, whereas Woodrow interprets them as having been fulfilled much later in the empire of Christendom and papal Rome. I tend to agree with the second view, as I've already shown in some of my writings - although I don't rule out Gentry's view altogether. Of course, there can be many variations and overlaps in these differing viewpoints, and that is why I don't like to pigeon-hole someone or become too dogmatic and stay in only one camp! The whole theological labeling can get really confusing for some, but it's necessary within serious biblical studies to describe the various methods of interpretation and one's doctrinal position.
In the following studies, we shall see that 'the apostasy and the man of lawlessness' that Paul talks about in 2 Thessalonians 2 has already taken place in the events of Emperor Constantine and the Christianization of the Roman Empire, along with the rise of Papal Rome and the Holy Roman Empire. The Apostasy still continues within Christendom in general and it will last until the end of this age.

At this point I just wish to mention another Partial-preterist teacher from whom I've learned a great deal - Philip Mauro. His work,
The Seventy Weeks, helped me to see that the 70 Weeks prophecy, and much of what Jesus prophesied in the Olivet Discourse, has been fulfilled (though I don't agree fully with all of his conclusions). In fact, I aim to be using a large portion of Mr. Mauro's work in the study on Daniel 11.
Hence, my understanding of Biblical prophecy is therefore a 'Partial-preterist/ Historicist/ Idealist/ Postmillennial/ A-millennial' viewpoint! To narrow it down, it's primarily a Partial-preterist/Postmillennial view. BUT please don't let that put you off reading my articles if you happen to be of another persuasion. You may be surprised at what you learn!

Anyhow, I would say that we are now in a symbolic millennium (or more accurately, the brief period that follows it when Satan is released to deceive the nations again - see Revelation 20), after which Christ will return to establish the New Creation in fullness, which is ultimately the New Age of
Tabernacles.

That is to say, there are three major eras that are represented by the three main Feasts of the Lord:
1. The era of Israel under the Old Covenant (the Law) which was equivalent to Passover

2. The era of the Spiritual Body of Christ under the New Covenant (Grace) which is equivalent to Pentecost

3. The coming Age of the New Creation, which will be established at Christ's Return, which is represented by Tabernacles.
Yet whatever disagreements I may have with others, the most important thing is that of love; and making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in peace with other believers. The victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death is the foundational issue, and walking in obedience to the Master's commands.

Another useful method of interpretation worth mentioning here is Midrash, which confirms the view that Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled in cycles and patterns, leading to an ultimate fulfillment. For further details see
Midrash and Prophetic Patterns. A number of years ago, I found the teaching of Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries very useful in regard to the subject of Midrash, though he is very 'dispensational' and pre-millennial' in his outlook.
Bible Translations

There is something else that is just as important as interpretation (if not more so) when studying Scripture - and that is translation. We need to know that the original words and intent of the writers (and ultimately of God Himself) are revealed as clearly as possible through correct translation. The two main versions of the Bible that I use are the New International Version (NIV) and the Concordant Literal Version of the New Testament; and available portions of the Concordant Literal Old Testament (CV). The CV is one of the most accurate translations that I know of, although it's not the easiest to read. For further information see The Concordant Version. I am greatly indebted to A. E. Knoch, and others associated with him in the work of the Concordant Publishing Concern, in enlarging my understanding of the Scriptures, but I have to say that I firmly believe that their 'ultra-dispensational' approach of, among other things, separating Bride and Body, is actually unscriptural and very misleading.

It is true to say that there isn't any particular version of the Bible that is 100 % accurate due to the difficult nature of translating ancient languages such as Hebrew and Greek into modern English. On top of this, we have almost two thousand years of Church history that has introduced numerous errors into the Scriptures over the centuries, contrary to what many Christians like to think (such as believing that the Authorised King James Bible is virtually perfect - I'm sorry to say, but it's not! - or that all so-called 'orthodox' doctrines are the original doctrines of the early church). Yet having said that, God has given us enough evidence and information to find the truth, but we have to search hard and dig deep if we wish to find it all.
Therefore, there are also other versions that I occasionally consult to check certain texts, such as KJV, English Septuagint (LXX), Young's Literal, and the New English Bible (particularly for use of the Apocrypha when studying the history of the Maccabees). I also use a number of Concordances, namely, Strong's, Wigram's Hebrew Concordance, and the CV's Keyword Concordance of the NT. The LXX has proved very useful in the studies on Daniel particularly. (Apparently - as I haven't personally checked out every instance - virtually all Old Testament quotes in the New Testament are taken from the Greek LXX. This is not to say that the LXX is divinely inspired, but overall it seems to get the Divine stamp of approval because of its use in the NT).

The book of Daniel especially has been greatly criticised over the years by those who do not wish to believe in the divine origin of the Bible. This criticism is largely due to its amazing accuracy of fulfilled prophecy in history (which could only occur by supernatural means), as well as some of its 'seeming' contradictions in relation to historical dating. Yet to those who approach this book in faith, and who are willing to search out the truth, the majority of problems and contradictions will inevitably disappear.
In the following studies, wherever possible I have sought out at least two or three reliable sources to confirm a particular truth or fact, whether it is regarding translation or historical facts or dates, as this follows the Biblical principle of 'every matter being established out of the mouth of two or three witnesses' (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1). Even where there are variant translations of certain words, phrases or sentences, as will be shown, the truth is made evident in both versions of the text.

In recent years, I have been reading and researching the works of Josephus (especially
The Jewish War and Antiquities) and other historical sources, much more than I have done in the past. This has helped me to see even more clearly how many prophecies have already been fulfilled. I have found some of the answers to certain questions I had by reading these works of Josephus.
Personal Revelation

It needs to be said that I have read much over the years, and I have researched a lot of material, especially in recent years, and I am indebted to a number of wonderful teachers and scholars for some of the things that I have learned, and I try to give credit to them where credit is due, some of whom are mentioned above. (Two others I wish to mention are Stephen E. Jones and Ernest Martin. A number of their books have aided me in my research in recent years). I am very aware that there is a lot of stealing and plagiarism out there amongst many teachers and preachers, and I wish to avoid this at all costs and to walk humbly before my God in truth and righteousness. Nevertheless, it also needs to be emphasised that I have come to my own conclusions by myself, under the influence of God's Holy Spirit, through my personal study of Scripture and of history.

Spiritual truth is something that comes from God alone, yet it becomes ours by revelation and illumination. Some of the conclusions I've reached in the following studies (particularly in relation to certain parts of the Seventy Weeks prophecy and the time periods at the end of Daniel) are entirely my own, in so far as I didn't come across them anywhere else until recently, and these findings have only confirmed to me what the Spirit was already showing me.

Therefore, although numerous books and articles have been written on the subject of Biblical prophecy, I still believe that I have something to offer in regards to this important subject. There is a lot of spiritual illumination coming forth in these days, and there are many of us who can play a part in this as servants of the living God. The Great Prophetic Plan of God is something that we all need to grasp and understand because it shows us, and the world, who the one true God really is, and that He is certainly in control of history, and He ultimately has a wonderful plan for us all. I hope you enjoy the articles in this section. May you be enlightened and blessed.
Copyright © Gerry Watts 2006; extensively revised 2011
Dispensationalists also have some revelation of the Mysteries (more accurately called Secrets) of the New Testament, though they often take things too far and begin chopping up the NT to create divisions and distinctions that just aren't there. Jesus began to reveal the Secrets of the Kingdom through His parables, and then it was given to the Apostle Paul to enlarge on this and to reveal the rest. It will be shown in the following studies that one of the greatest and most important secrets that he revealed in relation to prophecy is the Secret Administration of Grace (Ephesians 3:1-12). This means that the Last Days are being extended indefinitely. Many dispensationalists also realise that the book of Acts is largely covering the transitional period of 33-70 AD whereby the Old Covenant was fading away and the New Covenant was taking its place, but they appear to misunderstand the place of the Jewish nation in all of this, particularly since 70 AD, so that they teach a future restoration of fleshly Israel in a situation not unlike the Old Covenant!

Yet in relation to the last days, not only is it true to say that the 'time of the end' arrived at Christ's First Advent, particularly in relation to the end of the Old Covenant system and fleshly Israel's place as the chosen nation, it is also true to say that there is a greater 'time of the end' yet to come in relation to Christ's Return. This was originally a secret that only Paul revealed in full. For further details, see the
The Last Days and Prophecy Fulfilled and the studies in Daniel in this section.