As far as humans go. An accurate understanding of Bible prophecy does not come without hindsight.


     Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.

     One has to wonder how the apostles and the rest of the disciples could sit under the feet of Jesus for over three years and not remember the many ways he said that the Kingdom of God was being removed from ancient Israel. Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I to you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth its fruits. Such is the nature of the Bibles prophecy and the sad reality of the darkness humanity walks in. The point to be noted about this though is that an understanding of the times and seasons of Bible prophecy was being withheld from the very Apostles of Jesus. In fact, when reading the New Testament it is pretty easy to see that the only perfectly accurate understanding they had of Bible prophecy was concerning things that had already come to pass. There was however a notable exception among them. The Apostle John. Why? Because he was the only one of them that lived long enough to see the fulfillment of the prophecies about the end of the Old Covenant age. When Jesus told Peter he would suffer the same death as he, Peter asked: John 21:21...... and what shall this man (John) do?  22 Jesus said to him, If I will that he remains till I come, what is that to you? You follow me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brothers, that that disciple  (John) should not die: yet Jesus said not to him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he remains till I come, what is that to you? So right here we can see the difference between having hindsight regarding a prophetic statement verses not having hindsight. Everyone thought that Jesus saying John would remain until he comes meant that John would not die; which implies being caught away, (raptured).  This is the big difference between Johns gospel verses the others. John's seems to be written with hindsight. Written based on an understanding of what happened rather than speculations based on purposely difficult to understand prophetic language of the Bible. Written after the fact rather than before it as prophecy. Which is why I alluded in another section of this article as it being one reason John did not include Jesus's prophecy of the end of the age in his Gospel.  In Johns statement above. The churches and most likely the other Apostles interpretation of Jesus's words was that John would not die but be caught away.  John however gives the correct interpretation based on the fact that he saw its fulfillment with his own eyes. Simply put John lived to see the coming of the Lord. He was alive to witness the whole thing.

     Here is another example of John writing with hindsight verses Paul; who was murdered by the Romans long before he had a chance to see the fulfillment of the things he and others were prophesying.

     2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him, 2 That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now you know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

     1st John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.....22 Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son. 4:3 And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 2nd John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

     Paul's teaching based on prophecies that were yet to come pointed out a particular individual who was tagged as "antichrist." People who believe all the end time prophecy in the Bible is still in the future also call this person "the" antichrist. John who has hindsight is correcting this misunderstanding of prophecy saying antichrist is not a particular individual. It is people who make a choice to oppose Christ and the spiritual influence behind that choice. The reason antichrist was something to come was because the Gospel must be heard first and at least sort of grasped before a decision can be made to oppose him. The vast throngs of people hadn't heard yet making it future based on them eventually hearing. Believe it or not this choice greatly manifests itself politics. You can see this clearly in todays world. Which is why in Paul's teaching about what the churches were seeing and hearing in words and visions about this subject looked like a political figure. Not to say Titus the emperors son who was a "god" who was soon to be emperor "god" himself did not sit in Herod's temple, he did!  Or, if you had been reading Josephus writings in this article you can see part of the tribulation was over the fact that Caligula wanted his statue placed in Jerusalem's temple and worshiped as god. He sent an army to do it but the general had compassion on the Jewish nation and hazarded his own life by disobeying his orders. Caligula died before he got word of the disobedience.

     Two other things of note as far as the title of  "the son of perdition"  is concerned. First it's not used to describe just one person in the Bible. Once more John, probably not by accident, clarifying what the churches were not correctly understanding. John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name: those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, (Judas;) that the scripture might be fulfilled. Second, perdition means destruction. So a son of destruction is one who destroys himself like Judas did or one who brings destruction like Titus did. Titus was prophesied about and described in Daniel 9: 26. And after sixty-two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come and shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end of it shall be with a flood, and to the end of the war desolations are determined. 27. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.


      This scenario is somewhat but not totally unique in the  New Testament compared to the Old Testament.  In the OT we don't really see teachings by the prophets about their prophecies. They simply prophesy and write down what the Lord showed them. When this is done in the four Gospels it's Jesus doing the teaching so that is on a different level.  In the letters to the churches though, it is a pretty unique thing. We have the Apostles teaching. or trying to teach how and when these end time prophecies would be fulfilled. Not just the Old Testament and Jesus prophecies about it either. The Holy Spirit was giving them and others in the churches words and visions of what would happen. In their letters though they are not recording it the same way prophets of old did or like the book of Revelation. They are explaining and teaching what they think it all means.....thereby inserting misperceptions of the meanings based on the fact that they had no hindsight and what they are hearing from God was coming to them in the highly illustrative language of prophecy. Immediately some will jump to the conclusion that I am saying the Bible is not accurate and therefore can't be inspired by God. Or, that I am just trying to cop out on some of the New Testament letters that my eschatology does not line up with.  Let me give you some reasons this is truth.


 1.  If acts 1:6 says anything at all it at least says they would not have a perfect understanding of future events. It does not say they would not prophecy about them. It just says they would not be given an intimate knowledge about them. How much more intimate can ones knowledge of a prophesied future event get than seeing it fulfilled?

2. In the letters to the churches the words us, we, you are used emphatically regarding who would see the fulfillment of the prophecies. If they did not come to pass during the lives of many of those who were hearing the apostles teaching about them. The apostles would have been falsely prophesying.  Instead they, as Jesus did, are instructing the hearers about the days that lay in their future. They are not instructing future generations of those days.

3. To those who think this would lesson the Bible's authority as the Word of God.  That the Apostles understanding of the future is not perfect and you can ascertained that in their teachings. Here are a couple of answers to that.

     a. I would answer more than anything else it validates the scripture as the Word of God. The way it was written reflected real prophecy that came to pass when it was said it would come to pass.  At the same time. Those scriptures do not reflect the exact knowledge of an after the fact fraudulent writing posing as prophecy. No one can can use the scripture itself to question it's validity based on a fact that it was obvious it was written after the fact when it was obvious it was written before the fact. They try this with the book of Daniel because of its hyper accuracy, (but fail.)

     b. Then I'd like to know somewhere else in the Bible where the warts and blemishes of the saints are purposely hidden. In fact the contrary seems true. God is glorified, he is glorified in his saints but his saints, their faults, misunderstandings, their sins are laid bare for all the world to see. The apostles are not infallible, never portrayed as such. In fact their fallibility seems magnified.  This is another noteworthy thing about the Bible. It is written by the hands of minimum of 33 fallible human beings who's individual writings have to be taken in conjunction within the context of the council of the whole Bible. The fact that at least 33 people over a 2000 year period wrote those books that can be taken and perfectly melded together to give us the whole council of God as his Word is the most amazing testimony in the history of mankind. Yet no individual author writing stands on his own as perfect; possessing and reflecting complete knowledge.  The individuals were not given complete and perfect knowledge. That only shows up when you take the Bible as a whole and see the inspiration of God in its words, as a whole. The apostles were not an exception to this. Their words have to be taken in the context of the whole council of the Word of God. Otherwise the shortcomings in their wording, in their piece of the puzzle as a part not the whole will not be understood as God would have the reader to understand it. There are a hundred Christian denominations based on this fact. People focus in on one writers words and fail to balance their opinion on those words with other writers words. It's not that there is a giant contradicting of doctrine between the writers but a contradiction of opinion by the reader as to what they meant. The Bible is written in such a way that if you are taking something wrong out of it. There will be texts that completely contradict your opinion somewhere else. 

     c. So to clarify what was said in a. & b. above. The words and visions that they taught about were from God and came to pass exactly as and when God said they would. However God did not give every single writer every single piece of information necessary to have a perfect understanding of those prophecies. Therefore when they taught about them the teacher could only reflect the limited knowledge the teacher got from God. We know in part and we prophecy in part said the Apostle in 1st Corinthians 13.  We  are parts of a body not the whole body. In fact you can see this is almost a principle in  God's revealing of prophecy in the Word. He starts with a big picture in Daniel. Then almost every single prophecy about future events reveals an additional piece of information about that big picture. No one gets all knowledge, not even Jesus himself when he walked as man on the earth.  Mark 13:30 Truly I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32 But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Although Jesus knew his prophecy would occur in the lifetimes of those he was ministering to. He could ascertain that from Old Testament prophecies. He didn't now the exact day or hour. Probably not even the year.  Guess what? There were people on the earth who knew something Jesus didn't.  The day and the hour. Because they lived to see it!

© Daniel Martinovich 2012-2017