book of Revelation

Is Jesus' Return Imminent

TruthTalks: Is Jesus’ Return Imminent?

Is Jesus' Return Imminent

Lately it hasn’t been hard to imagine that Jesus’ return is imminent and that the end of the world as we know it is just around the corner.

Listen to Dr Christopher Peppler talking on this topic as he goes through what the bible tells us about it, and what we should do. Click on the play button below to listen now or read the article this TruthTalks audio is based on HERE.

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TruthTalks: A Book that Reveals

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Dr Christopher Peppler looks into the night sky and what it reveals and asks:

How many people have gazed in awe at the scope and grandeur of God’s creation? Millions and millions of people, all looking at what is in essence declaring that “the heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1)
Many of the ancient people who looked up into the night sky not only saw the stars, but also the story of creation and redemption, and passed this knowledge on from generation to generation. Today this  revelation is used to identify the constellations, but the real story is still there and it is all explained in “The Book of Revelation: In the Light of the Stars”

This book is the culmination of many years work and study and is a phenomenal read. But don’t take my word for it, listen to Dr Chrisopher Peppler’s presentation to the faculty of the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which is included in this podcast, along with a great overview of the book. I urge you to purchase his book to fully understand the fascinating last book of the Bible.

Click on the play button below to listen or save this TruthTalks audio podcast, and please comment, share, and pass this along. The book is available HERE and the additional resources that accompany the SATS presentation can be found HERE.

Until next time, thank you for your continued support, love Admin

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A Book that Reveals

Top ImageThe Book of Revelation in the Light of the Stars

It is not often from where I live that I can look up into a clear night sky, but when this is possible I am amazed by the sheer number of stars and planets that exist out there. I wonder how many people have gazed in wonder and awe at the scope and grandeur of God’s creation? Millions upon millions spread over the hundreds and thousands of years all confirming what King David declared when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

What you may not know is that many of the ancient people saw even more than grandeur and glory in the night sky, they saw a profound story. A story written in the stars? Well, you see, writing only arrived in the biblical lands between 1700 and 1500 BC, so how then did God communicate the story of creation, sin, and redemption before then? The obvious answer is that it was passed on from generation to generation using stories, but just how did these verbal stories stay true to the original and all come together in one grand narrative?

How did Word of Mouth Stay Accurate

The answer that I propose is that the ancients, under God’s direction, drew a series of pictures in the night sky by imagining lines joining prominent stars. Each picture told a sequenced part of the grand narrative and acted as a memory aid to all in every generation initiated into this ‘secret’. These star pictures (constellations) are still used in our day by astronomers to map the heavens.

In my book ‘The Book of Revelation: in the Light of the Stars’, I show how these star pictures can be read to reveal the amazing story of divine redemption.
Interesting as this may be, it doesn’t mean much to us as present-day disciples of the Lord Jesus because we now have all sixty-six books of the bible as our grand narrative of God’s redemptive story. However, these same scriptures contain many references to the ancient star-story and you can find some of them in Job 9:9, 26:13, 38:31-32, and Amos 5:8. However, when we come to the last book of the bible, the Revelation of John, we find that it is rich with references and allusions to the star-story.

What is more, chapters 12,13, and 14 of the book of Revelation are very difficult to understand without reference to the star-story. Not only do these chapters validate the authenticity of the star-story, but we need an understanding of this story to more fully understand them. So, my book is both a commentary on the book of Revelation and a disclosure of the star-story. It is, as far as I know, a unique contribution to evangelical biblical interpretation.

Now Revised and Updated

This book is a revision of what I wrote several years ago under the title ‘Revelation in the Stars: the Sidereal and Written Word’. I have tried to clarify difficult portions and I have also updated where necessary. After a lot of hard work by myself and my daughter Karen the revised edition is now available on Amazon Kindle.

To get an idea of the book’s main themes and contribution, listen to my presentation to the faculty of the South African Theological Seminary AUDIO HERE and have a look at the PowerPoint slides that accompanied it SLIDES HERE.

Please consider reading the entire book as I believe that it will both enlighten and encourage you in living out your Christianity in a world that seems to be winding down into chaos. Oh, and it will encourage you because the story has a happy ending as God wraps up this sin-sick world and creates a new HeavenEarth where He lives forever with His faithful children.

Click HERE to go straight to the Amazon preview of the book, look at its content and introductory pages and hopefully purchase the book.

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Revelation Revisited Final Post

The City of Light

Revelation Revisited final post

When I was sixteen years old I wrote a poem that contained the words, ‘Deep down in the folds of time, hid from the mortal eye, lies a city of light and love that calls us when we die.’

Chapter 21 of Revelation contains a graphic description of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven, radiant as a bride. Its dimensions are incomprehensibly big; about 2,200 kilometres wide, long and high, and its walls are thicker than an Olympic sized swimming pool is long! Everything in Revelation is profoundly symbolic, so we should not be expecting a planetoid size city walloping down onto the earth anytime soon. No, in Revelation, the city of Babylon stands for all that is not of God and the city of Jerusalem stands for all that is of God. In a more specific sense, it represents both the Old Testament people of God and the Church that Jesus founded. It is shown as coming down from heaven because the church truly is ‘from above’ born of spirit and fire (Acts 2) and with the ascended Lord Jesus as its head.

What is more, the church in heaven, consisting of the redeemed of the Lord, will accompany Jesus from heaven to earth when He comes again in glory.

The identity of the New Jerusalem as both the Old and New Testament people of God is borne out by the description in Revelation 21:12 of the twelve gates of the city each bearing the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and its twelve foundations bearing the names of Jesus’ twelve apostles (21:14). Its dimensions are 12,000 cubits wide and 12,000 cubits long. 12,000 x 12,000 = 144,000 which is the symbolic number of those who bore the name of Jesus and the Father in Revelation 14:1. Do please remember that THESE ARE SYMBOLIC images.

This is what John wrote concerning the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, the City of Light …

‘I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life’. (Revelation 21:22-27)
Next, John gives us a wonderful insight into the City of Light; he tells us that the Garden of Eden is within the city, but it is greater than the original garden. The river of the water of life flows from the throne of God down the middle of the great street of the city (Revelation 22:1-2). There is not just one Tree of Life but instead, there are 12, with 6 on either side of the river, bearing fruit every month. (22:2). John records that ‘There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light‘ (22:5).

New JerusalemGod walked with His people in the Garden of Eden, He met with the representative of His people in the Tabernacle and the Temple, He lives within His church (Ephesians 2:22), and He is soon to dwell for ever with His children in the New HeavenEarth. John writes; ‘And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”’ (Revelation 21:3-4)

The book of Revelation closes with a three-fold promise; “Behold, I am coming soon!” (22:7)… and again, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (22:12-13)… and yet again, “Yes, I am coming soon.” (22:20).

What more is there to say except ‘The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life’ (22:17).

Amen

The End

 

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Meddlesome Millennium

That Meddlesome Millennium

Millennium matters

Millennium is a word that has caused more confusion than possibly any other word in the Bible, but it isn’t actually in the Bible.

Revelation 20:3 refers to a 1,000-year reign of Christ. The Greek word used for 1,000 is ‘chilia’ but in 405AD Jerome  compiled the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible and translated the word as ‘millennium’. So this became one of the several Latin words that have crept into some English translations of the Bible that never were in the earliest Greek manuscripts.

Millennium Matters

Over the last several hundred years, various scholars have built systems of interpreting biblical prophecy based on the books of Daniel and Revelation along with the meddlesome Millennium. But it’s not really the word itself that is the problem, it’s the insistence by its champions in interpreting Revelation as a literal calendar of events.

The basis of the various Millennium schemes is that Jesus will return physically to Earth to rule ‘with an iron sceptre’ (Revelation 2:27) for 1,000 years.

This idea is developed from just six verses of scripture, Revelation 20:1-6, and the outline of most schemes goes like this:

  • Jesus will return physically to Earth and set himself up in a rebuilt temple on The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
  • He will rule like an Old Testament king, re-institute the temple sacrificial system and the Law, and administer justice with iron resolve.
  • Salvation through Faith alone will no longer apply.
  • Any contact with God will only be possible through physical exposure to King Jesus.
  • In some schemes, 144,000 Jews will serve as the immortal soldiers of the King.

Now consider more carefully some of the problems caused by this belief system:

  • The presence of God would then be limited once again to one place in geography and time. One of the great benefits of the Holy Spirit coming into the world is that any saved person, anywhere and at any time can enter into the presence of Almighty God.
  • If the Lord returned to take up long-term residence on Earth, then where would he locate? In Jerusalem, of course; and a rebuilt Temple would probably be his headquarters. The problem is that 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 has this to say; “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” So, if the temple is ever to be rebuilt in Jerusalem it will be a sign of the antichrist, not of the return of Jesus.
  • During the 1 000 years, there would be many millions of people living on Earth. Would they remain alive all that time? Would babies be born? But more importantly, how would they be saved? If Jesus is ruling with a ‘rod of iron’ as the ultimate benign dictator, then what of free will and what of grace? Would salvation again be a matter of works?
    There is also a very serious theological problem with the doctrine of the Millennium that imputes the value of the Atonement. Revelation 20:1-3 reads; “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time”. In terms of a literalistic scheme of interpretation, this would mean that Satan is only “‘bound” when Jesus returns at the beginning of the 1,000 year period. So what was the crucifixion all about then? What did Jesus mean when He declared to His disciples two millennia ago that “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18)? And what did Paul mean when he wrote: ‘And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross’’(Colossians 2:15)? Surely any teaching that claims that when Jesus died on the cross He did not decisively deal with Satan is seriously in error and effectively empties the cross of Christ of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17).

What do I believe concerning the 1,000 years referred to in Revelation Chapter 20? Well, I can’t really state it any better than I did in my book Revelation in the Stars, which is available as a free pdf, should you wish to read it, HERE:

I believe that the millennium is a present reality. Christ ushered it in with his first advent, and it will be succeeded by the final state at his second coming. I believe that Almighty God has only one plan of salvation, based on the finished work of Calvary. God saved specific Old Testament saints through their trust in his grace, and all other believers since have been saved by faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that there are just two ages – this present age, and the age to come referred to as the new Heaven and Earth. I believe that at the cross Jesus Christ bound Satan from having authority over humankind, but that he will loose the devil on Earth near the end of time. Actually, I think that Satan will incarnate as the final anti-Christ. I believe that the church lives in a world of tribulation, but that this tribulation will grow progressively worse. At the very end, Jesus will come again, in a single cataclysmic event, to bring history to its close, and to usher in the final state. He will come with those believers who have previously died and have been with him in Heaven. As he comes again to Earth, the believers still on this planet will join him (be raptured) and accompany him to the planet’s surface, where he will judge all mankind. God will resurrect all humanity with immortal material bodies, both the saved and unsaved, and all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. He will banish forever from his presence those whom he does not know, the unsaved. Those who are his disciples will receive rewards in accordance with what they have done during their earthly lives. Then this present world will be purified by fire, destroyed, and remade without the limitations of space and time as we know them. Heaven and Earth will be one, and God will at last dwell within his creation with his beloved children.

 

 

 

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.