On today’s podcast, Gary discusses the hermeneutics (the method of interpreting) of Bible prophecy.
One of the first things a Christian must learn in interpreting the Bible is to pay attention to the time texts. Failing to recognize the proximity of a prophetic event will distort its intended meaning.
Certain destructive events confronted the early Church, events that were “near” for those who first read the New Testament prophecies (Matt. 24:32–33; Rev. 1:3; 22:10). The Apostle Paul mentions “the present distress” (1 Cor. 7:26). There is no getting around this language, that most of the verses that many believe are yet to be fulfilled already have been fulfilled.
Why is this discussion so important? First, we want to be accurate in our understanding of Scripture since it is God’s only Word to us, the expression of His will. To misinterpret Scripture is to misinterpret God’s will. Second, the integrity of the Bible is at stake. Critics of the Bible have studied Jesus’ words in these passages and have concluded that He was wrong! Jesus predicted that He would return within a generation, as Matthew 24:34 clearly states, and He did not. The conclusion? The Bible cannot be trusted as a reliable book. It is filled with errors. The well-known atheist Bertrand Russell seized on what he perceived to be a mistake and concluded that the Bible was not trustworthy. He wrote the following in Why I Am Not a Christian:
I am concerned with Christ as he appears in the Gospel narrative as it stands, and there one does find some things that do not seem to be very wise. For one thing, He certainly thought that His second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time. There are a great many texts that prove that and there are a lot of places where it is quite clear that He believed that His coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living. That was the belief of His earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of His moral teaching. 
If Jesus was wrong on the timing of His coming, Russell concludes, then His moral worldview should be questioned as well. Jesus’ moral teaching is based on His character. If His character is flawed, so is His morality.
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On today’s podcast, Gary discusses the hermeneutics (the method of interpreting) of Bible prophecy. Too often, the Bible’s plain language is said to mean something else and events spoken of as ancient events are said to point to modern events. This is not how we interpret and understand the Bible.
 Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957), 16.