Did you know that most evangelicals today believe interpretations of the prophecies of Daniel, Matthew 24, and the Book of Revelation that are based not on what the Bible says, but what John Nelson Darby (18 November 1800 – 29 April 1882) and C.I. Scofield (August 19, 1843 – July 24, 1921) says it means?
Scofield’s Endtime teaching is based on Darby’s teaching. Darby read into Bible prophecy stuff that is not there! Sound Bible prophecy interpretation should be based on what is called, “exegesis” which comes from Greek and it means “to lead out”. Exegesis means to interpret a text by way of a thorough analysis of its content. In other words, we should stick with what the Bible says it says and not insert our own ideas based on assumptions.
John Nelson Darby, C.I. Scofield, and most modern Bible prophecy interpreters have have used a method of interpretation called, “eisegesis” which is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, or biases into and onto the text. This is commonly referred to as reading into the text.
Let me give you examples of eisegesis:
- The 70th Week of Daniel being ripped off from the first 69 weeks and thrown into the future.
- The “he” of Daniel 9:27 interpreted as the Antichrist.
- The word “confirm” of the KJV changed to “make” in modern translations.
- The “covenant” interpreted as something the Antichrist will make with the Jews in the Endtime. It is also called “treaty” in some modern Bible translations.
- The “one week” interpreted as the last 7 years of Satan’s reign through the Antichrist.
- “He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease” interpreted as the Antichrist breaking the covenant with the Jews, stopping all animal sacrifice, and declaring himself to be God.
I submit to you that all of the above is eisegesis, reading into the text something that is not there!
Now lets apply exegesis or a “reading out” of the Scriptures to Daniel 9, and lets see what we can come up with:
- The 70th Week of Daniel is connected to the first 69 weeks.
- The “he” of Daniel 9:27 is the Messiah, the proper noun already in context and in the preceding verse. A pronoun needs to be based on a noun, right? No mention of Antichrist in Daniel 9.
- The “confirm the covenant” is what Jesus did. He confirmed the Abraham covenant – already in existence – which is why the word “confirmed” is the correct translation in the KJV and “make” is not correct. As Paul testified in Gal. 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ…
- The “covenant” is the same covenant God made with Abraham which is also mentioned in verse 4 of the same chapter. Daniel 9:4 ¶And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
- The first part of the “one week” is Jesus’ ministry to the Jews. He was killed in the midst of the Week or after 3 years of His ministry. His death on the Cross meant no more need for animal sacrifice and oblations. The next half of the seven years years was the Apostles’ ministry to the Jews up till the stoning of Stephen. After that God raised up the Apostle Paul and the ministry to the Gentiles began.
What do you think? I think the latter interpretation makes a lot more sense. I think it is based not on bias and speculation, but what the Word of God already tells us.
Now, let’s get into the even more controversial passage of Matthew 24 and apply the same principle of exegesis. In this case, we have friends of Matthew who can help us! Their names are Mark and Luke. The wonderful thing about the synoptic Gospels is though they are similar in content, the wording is not identical between them which means we can compare scriptures of the same passages and see if they shed further light.
Matthew 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Mark 13:2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
Luke 21:6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
As we compare these verses, notice that only Matthew says “the end of the world” but Mark and Luke do not. I submit to you that the disciples question to Jesus was specifically about His prophecy of the destruction of the Temple, not about His return at the end of the world. I know some preachers who say the KJV is the inerrant Word of God would not agree with me saying the “end of the world” of Matthew 24:3 could have been better translated as “the end of the age” of God’s dealing with the Jews. I think the KJV is a great translation, but I think no translation can possibly be error free.
A sound exegesis of the above Scriptures gives us the prophecy of the then coming destruction of the Temple, but nothing more.
Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Mark 13:14 ¶But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,)
Luke 21: 20 ¶And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
Dr. Luke tells us exactly what the abomination of desolation is! It was the siege of Jerusalem and its destruction by the Roman army! Daniel described it:
Daniel 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Sound exegesis of Scripture tells me Daniel 9:26 and the synoptic Gospels are talking about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon, and not about an Endtime event.
All 3 synoptic Gospels say immediately after these passages:
“Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Knowing that the Roman army attacked Jerusalem, it makes perfect sense why Jesus said Judaea. All the Christians who knew this prophecy and who fled into the mountains were saved from death, and all the Jews who stayed in Jerusalem were killed. The prophecy about fleeing into the mountains applied only to those living in Judaea, not elsewhere or in another time.
Matthew 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
Of course in winter it would be harder to live in the mountains because of the cold, and on the sabbath day the gates of Jerusalem would be closed so that nobody could get out!
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Has there ever been a greater tribulation as such as happened in 70 A.D.? Not according to Jesus. Applying the same reasoning, we are not to expect anything like it in the future either. Therefore, the idea of a final and future Great Tribulation is invalid according to Jesus’ very Words. There have been tribulations and persecutions over the years, but nothing a great as what happened in 70 A.D.
Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Who was Jesus talking to? His disciples, not us. Did that generation of disciples live to see the destruction of Jesus and of the Temple? They did.
Comment from a friend: I notice that on your website the testimony of the Pastor Baldwin who changed his views and he no longer believes that Mt. 24 refers to future events. Do you agree with him on that point?
Yes I do! And I am greatly encouraged that such a great man and scholar has come to see the truth about it.
Comment from a friend: “It would seem that logically you would have to lay claim to the position that Jesus has already returned in the sky in His glory,”
YES I DO! How can I make that statement? It’s based on the exegesis of the following passages:
Mark 14:61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Who shall see? Who was Jesus talking to? The high priest and his men! Did they live to see the events of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21? According to what Jesus said, they must have been alive then. They witnessed His appearance in the clouds.
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
This happened during the destruction of Jerusalem. When Jesus appeared in the sky, the high priest and all the Jews knew then it was Jesus Himself who allowed the Roman Army to destroy them as punishment for their rejection of Him as their Messiah.
The entire notion of a need for a rebuilt Temple of Solomon in the Endtime is invalidated by a reading out of the Scriptures what it actually says, and not putting in our own ideas. I summit to you that if a temple is again constructed in Jerusalem, it will just be another Endtime deception to fool Bible believers. There is no prophecy of Scripture that says the Temple of Solomon will be rebuilt in the Endtime. It’s only speculation and theory as DBB himself confessed.
Moreover, if a temple is indeed rebuilt in Jerusalem, would you call it a Temple of GOD? Is it indeed a “holy place”? The Temple of Solomon used to be called that, but since Jesus died and became the ultimate sacrifice for sin, what would a resumption of animal sacrifices in a rebuilt temple be called? I would call it an abomination and further rejection and denial of the Gospel and Who Jesus is.
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. – 2 Thessalonians 2:4
Is 2 Thess talking about an Endtime Antichrist standing in a rebuilt Temple of Jerusalem? Until sometime in the beginning of the 19th century, Protestant Bible teachers interpreted the Temple of God to be the Church, and the guy who calls himself “God” to be the Pope! They were not yet influenced by Jesuit teaching from Darby and Scofield. And they knew what the Temple of God is.
¶Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? – 1 Corinthians 3:16
Back to Matthew 24 and the passages in Mark and Luke, I realize some verses do indeed sound like the Rapture at the very end of time, but because of the context of the these chapters, I cannot see it to be so.
Moreover, when Jesus returns to catch us in the air, that will be the end of the wicked on earth as well.
Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. I don’t agree anymore with teaching of putting the marriage Feast of the Lamb 30 or 45 days before Jesus comes to throw the Beast and False Prophet into the lake of fire after the Battle of Armageddon. That is not what the Bible says, only what some Bible teachers think it means.
Up to the 18th century and before John Nelson Darby’s eschatology which influenced C.I.Scofield, Bible teachers believed the views I hold to be true in this post. What happened? I believe Darby was influenced by false doctrines from Jesuit priests of the 16th and 17th century.
Below are quotes from The Evil Empire of Jesuit Futurism
In the midst of this growing anti-Protestant climate in England, there arose a man by the name of John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). A brilliant lawyer, pastor, and theologian, he wrote more than 53 books on Bible subjects. A much-respected Christian and a man of deep piety, Darby took a strong stand in favor of the infallibility of the Bible in contrast with the liberalism of his day. He became one of the leaders of a group in Plymouth, England, which became known as the Plymouth Brethren. Darby’s contribution to the development of evangelical theology has been so great that he has been called The Father of Modern Dispensationalism. Yet John Nelson Darby, like Edward Irving, also became a strong promoter of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture followed by a one-man Antichrist. In fact, this teaching has become a hallmark of Dispensationalism.
Dispensationalism is the theory that God deals with mankind in major dispensations or periods. According to Darby, we are now in the “Church Age,” that is, until the Rapture. After the Rapture, then the seven-year period of Daniel 9:27 will supposedly kick in, and this is when the Antichrist will rise up against the Jews. In fact, John Nelson Darby laid much of the foundation for the present popular removal of Daniel’s 70th week away from history and from Jesus Christ in favor of applying it to a future Tribulation after the Rapture. Thus, in spite of all the positives of his ministry, Darby followed Maitland, Todd, Bellarmine, and Ribera by incorporating the teachings of Futurism into his theology. This created a link between John Nelson Darby, the Father of Dispensationalism, and the Jesuit Francisco Ribera, the Father of Futurism. Darby visited America six times between 1859-1874, preaching in all of its major cities, during which time he definitely planted the seeds of Futurism in American soil. The child of the Jesuits was growing up.