The Blessing of Living in the Last Days.

When Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire, hundreds of thousands of Pagans joined the church. Most were not converted, but joined for economic, political or personal gain. They brought their pagan myths, traditions and doctrines into the church. The only way to reconcile Bible prophecy and pagan doctrine at that time was to use allegory. This eventually spread to other doctrines in the Church and the Church became infected with apostasy.
By the time Martin Luther was born, allegory was used to change the plain sense of simple truths into complicated, twisted pagan doctrine that did not resemble Bible doctrine at all. The church replaced Israel; Rome replaced Jerusalem, the pope replaced Jesus as ruler of God’s kingdom on earth; and finally, the sacraments replaced God’s grace.
When Luther studied the book of Romans, he was struck by the phrase, “the Just shall live by faith,” and by the word, “righteous” As he taught the book of Romans at Wittenberg University, he began to understand that the righteousness of God is that the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. His discovery rocked the Catholic Church and the medieval world.
After posting his 95 thesis, which was a call for debate, it wasn’t long before the revolution in Luther’s heart and mind played itself out in all of Europe. The revolution was based on five ‘alones.’ These five ‘alones’ were, ‘Faith alone. Scripture alone, Grace alone, Christ alone and To God be the glory alone.’ The principle that enabled these five statements to have such power was that Scripture should be understood in a literal sense. These principles became the basis of a revolution in which a mere 103 years later, in 1620, led to the founding of the Plymouth Plantation and the writing of the Mayflower Compact. The Mayflower Compact was the first time in history that a people initiated a covenant with God.
But the Reformers understanding of Scripture in a literal sense was incomplete. They didn’t apply a literal understanding to all of Scripture; because they didn’t understand prophecy. Because they didn’t understand prophecy, they thought of prophecy as a special situation which needed a special method of interpretation. Passages like Zechariah 14:3-4, was not understood. “Then the Lord shall go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from the east to the west by a very great valley and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north and half of it shall remove toward the south.”
Martin Luther wrote two commentaries on the book of Zechariah. His German Commentary left out chapter 14 and in his Latin “commentary, he said about chapter 14, “I don’t know what the prophet is trying to say.”
Today, I don’t think you could find an Evangelical preacher or a Christian who has read a book on prophecy who couldn’t give a cogent explanation of that passage. Does that mean that the average Christian today is smarter that Martin Luther? No. In Daniel chapter twelve, the angel, after giving Daniel a timetable of God’s plan for Jerusalem and the Jewish people, he told Daniel, “The books are closed until the last days.” Daniel didn’t understand what the angel was saying and neither did Martin Luther, because they were not living in the last days. What a privilege it is to live in the last days and see prophecy unfolding before our eyes.
However, because the books of prophecy are being opened in our day, with that privilege comes an immense responsibility. Because of the opening of the books of prophecy in our days, there is a great opportunity for Satan and his false prophets to insert false doctrine into sermons by sincere preachers. As we look back at church history, we see false doctrine arising when the Church started to leave the literal understanding of Scripture and looked at the Bible as written from an allegorical standpoint.
Another point to consider when in parsing Scripture is to understand passages in context. That means to understand the writings as if we were the son of the writer looking over the shoulder of the writer and having a knowledge of whom the writer is addressing, what their world view is like, what their problems are and how ‘they’ view the writing.

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