Jesus and the End Time | FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Part 1: General Questions:

Why should readers take this End Time prophecy website seriously?

One reason readers should take this End Time prophecy website seriously is that the writer is not affiliated with any church or religious institution and, consequently, has no preconceived ideas about what the King James Version of the Bible (or KJV Bible) does or should say. The writer is therefore in a doctrinally neutral position from which he can present the actual words of KJV Bible texts that (1) quote or describe End Time teachings of Jesus, (2) point out and discuss other Bible texts that seem to shed light on their possible meanings, and (3) in appropriate cases go on to discuss how these words and meanings may affect the relative merits of different interpretations of those teachings. This, in turn, assures that this website not only treats the words of the Bible as more important than any claims or arguments made by the writer, but also allows readers to use the Bible to verify the correctness of any claims or arguments he does make. This approach also helps the writer realize his ultimate goal of making it easier for readers to understand what the Bible has to say about the End Time teachings of Jesus when it is allowed to speak for itself. Thus, one answer to the question of why readers should take this website seriously is that it takes the words of the Bible seriously.

Another reason that readers should take this End Time prophecy website seriously is that it does not provide any financial incentive for the writer to "spin" his presentation in a way that favors some interpretations of End Time prophecies of Jesus over others. This is because neither this website nor this writer is subsidized or supported in any way by any ministry, denomination or other group that engages in religious or political activities. As a result, the writer is able to explore and discuss End Time prophecies of Jesus which are clearly supported by the words of the KJV Bible, but which established religious or political groups may be motivated to gloss over or interpret away. Thus, another answer to the question of why readers should take this website seriously is that it is not subject to the corrupting influence of money or political advantage.

Why should readers take the writer seriously?

Although the writer is not a formally trained Biblical scholar, he believes that there are good reasons for taking seriously the things he says in this writing. One is that he is a well-educated person who earned degrees in both engineering and law at a large state university, and went on to have a long and successful career as an attorney-at-law and patent attorney. During this career, he gained valuable experience preparing and interpreting complex legal documents, and writing and obtaining patents on inventions of all kinds, many which involved ideas as complex and multi-faceted as those included among the End Time teachings of the Bible. Another is that this career provided him with ample opportunities to develop and sharpen his skills at reading and using words carefully, and at drawing fine distinctions between them. Still another is the fact that the writer has a deep and abiding interest in the Bible, and in the history of the time just before, during, and after the time Jesus lived. As a result, he has spent countless hours studying the Bible, and books about it and the history of late second-temple and early Christian times, with the same care that he spent studying the cases and controversies on which he worked as an attorney. Thus, one answer to the question of why readers should take the writer seriously is that he has had a long and successful career which demonstrates that he is a well-informed and serious person.

While the writer does not claim to be an authority on the Bible in the strict, academic sense of that word, he is a serious student of it, and is in a good position to present and explain his findings to other serious Bible students. His reasons for claiming this can be understood by thinking about reading this writing as analogous to taking a guided tour through the Grand Canyon. This is because the kind of person who is best suited to serve as a tour guide depends on the kind of tour his guests are interested in. For a guided tour through a place like the Grand Canyon what is required (other than honesty and general trustworthiness) is not necessarily a person who is a highly educated earth scientist or geologist, but rather a person who has read a lot about it and studied it carefully during countless trips through it, who has a lot of experience describing things, and who wants to help his guests see and understand the things they are most likely to be interested in. In any case, it is the latter kind of guide through the End Time teachings of Jesus that the writer tries to be. Thus, another answer to the question of why readers should take the writer seriously is that he has all the knowledge and experience necessary to perform the task he has set for himself.

What does the writer hope to accomplish by creating this website?

The main thing the writer hopes to accomplish by creating this website is to provide a Bible study resource that people can use to raise and discuss important questions that involve the End Time or things closely associated with it. Arguably the most important of these is the soundness of interpretations of the teachings of Jesus about hell which claim that it is a place of punishment by fire that continues without end for all eternity, a fate once commonly described as everlasting punishment, but now often described as eternal conscious torment. Related to it are questions like whether the words 'eternal' and 'everlasting' accurately convey the meanings of the words from which they were translated into English, and whether these meanings can be reconciled with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures as Jesus probably knew them. While questions like these can be difficult to answer, they could hardly be more consequential. As a result, people are often afraid to even try to decide for themselves whether the Bible actually describes and supports the idea of eternal conscious torment. This, however, can make them easy prey for those who offer easy and foolproof ways to avoid this fate, but who may be more interested in getting peoples' money and political support than they are in the truth. By creating this website the writer offers an alternative to these choices. This is to face up to the difficulties such questions present, identify the issues on which their answers depend, and then discuss the merits of the facts and arguments that determine how these issues ought to be decided. By supporting these efforts with Biblical or other information that can be verified, the writer hopes to enable readers to feel confident that the decisions they reach are sound or, at very least, that they have a solid foundation for subjecting them to further scrutiny. Proceeding in this way will not always be easy but, as scholars have told kings and princes since ancient times, "There is no royal road to knowledge."

One thing the writer did not seriously hope to accomplish by creating this website was to make money for himself. In fact, he has so far used only his own time, effort and money to create it and, as anyone who has read it knows, nowhere asks for money. He does, however, cherish the hope that this website will eventually expand and develop into an online video forum on which Bible scholars and ordinary people with a serious interest in the End Time can appear and discuss or debate this subject in real time. Until such time, if ever, that there is enough financial support to take that step, he will content himself with maintaining a Facebook page on which readers may comment on items posted by the writer, or add and invite comments on posts of their own. Readers may reach this page by clicking on the Facebook link on the Home page of this website.

If I can read only a few parts of this website, which parts should they be?

If a reader is unable to read all parts of this website, the writer recommends that he read at least the page titled 'Introduction', and the PDF document titled 'Issues'. He recommends the Introduction page because this page includes definitions of the key terms that are used throughout this website, and gives examples of the kinds of Biblical words, phrases, and concepts that do and do not fall within these definitions. This page then goes on to describe the scope of this website by discussing which subjects are covered, and which are not, and why. The Introduction page also includes a description of how the documents that make up this website are divided into Main and Auxiliary End Time Files, and how readers may take advantage of this division to quickly find the documents or parts of documents where the End Time teachings of Jesus that they are most interested in may be found. Once these documents or parts of documents have been found, readers can then use the search capabilities and Special Display Features described later on this page to find groups of Bible texts that relate to the same subject, and show them adjacent to one another in ways that make them easier to compare on a line-by-line or word-by-word basis. This ability to show and compare Bible texts in this way is important because it enables readers to quickly determine how they are related, and if and how they may affect each other's meanings.

The other document that the reader recommends to those who are unable to read all parts of this website is the PDF document titled 'Issues'. He recommends this document because it shows, in one place, at least the most important ones of the questions raised by the KJV Bible texts that are shown and discussed in all other parts of this website, and discusses them in an order that makes them easier to understand as related parts of a single coherent whole. To this end the writer devotes Issues 1 through 6 of the Issues PDF to a well-documented, step-by-step discussion of the way that the Bible describes the prophecies and other teachings of Jesus about the End Time. He then devotes Issues 7 and 8 of this PDF to a careful discussion of how historical developments may have affected the continued viability of these prophecies and teachings. Finally, in Issue 9, the writer discusses proposed answers to questions about the things which will happen before or during the End Time that have been the subject of controversy from early Christian times down to the present day. Whether readers agree with these proposed answers or not, the writer hopes that this discussion will help readers better understand these questions, and make better informed decisions about their answers.

Why does this website rely so heavily on the King James Version of the Bible?

The writer is aware that the KJV Bible has a number of shortcomings. He knows, for example, that, since it was first published, scholars have learned that its translators did not use what Bible scholars now regard as the best manuscripts or readings of the documents from which they translated it. He also knows that it also contains words or passages the meanings of which did not become clear until after the discovery of better manuscripts or translations of its books, or of older versions of these books found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. In spite of these shortcomings, he believes that the KJV Bible has advantages that justify its continued use. One of these is that it has been around for so long and been so widely distributed that it is readily available to almost everyone in the English speaking world. Another is that KJV Bible was translated and published at about the same time that William Shakespeare wrote his works, a fact that endows its words with a Shakespearean quality and patina of antiquity that has caused many people to become quite fond of it, the writer among them.

The KJV Bible also has a number of practical advantages. One is that it is foundational in the sense that many later translations of the Bible can reasonably be thought of as improvements to or corrections of it. This, in turn, allows readers of writings like this one to use it to introduce themselves to and orient themselves within those later translations. Another is that readers can use its texts as a text finding tool that helps them find the most nearly similar texts in other translations, in spite of differences in the words used in those translations. Arguably the most important of its advantages, however, is that the words of the KJV Bible are in the public domain and, consequently, can be copied and discussed freely, without violating the legal rights of the owners of the copyrights on more recent translations. This is important because it means that the owners of those copyrights cannot use them to stop the publication of works that express points of view they do not agree with.

Why does this website spend so much time discussing the Old Testament?

While the things Jesus said about the End Times are of great importance, they are not things he said in a vacuum. On the contrary, he said these things not only in a particular place and time, but also to a people whose religious world view was shaped by the Holy Scriptures as they existed in that place and time. As a result, it would not be reasonable to interpret the things Jesus is described as saying in the New Testament without taking into account the Scriptural background against which he said them. With the exception of certain second-temple writings that did not make it into the canon of the KJV Bible (the apocrypha, 1 Enoch, Jubilees, etc.), the Holy Scriptures that existed in the time of Jesus included versions of the books that Christians now call the Old Testament. As a result, it makes sense to use those books whenever possible to shed light on the true meanings of the teachings of Jesus about the End Time in general, and about hell and eternal conscious torment in particular.

Based on his own experience, the writer believes that the better a person knows the Old Testament the more he is struck by how often the things Jesus said are taken from or patterned after things said in the Old Testament. Importantly, these things include not only statements that he quotes from a named prophet, but also words that he uses to paraphrase or allude to the words of an unnamed prophet, or of a Psalm or of one of the Books of Moses. These things also include terms like the kingdom of God, the elect, the children of God, and the Judgment which he does not define or explain, apparently because he expected his listeners to understand what he meant by them from their study of Scripture. By citing a large number of texts that identify the parts of the Old Testament that Jesus quotes from, or that he seems to paraphrase or allude to, the writer hopes to enable readers to understand these terms in something like the same way as the people who heard them from the mouth of Jesus himself.

End of Part 1

To keep the size of this part of the Frequently Asked Question page within manageable limits, the writer ends it here. In the full-length PDF version of this document that appears on the Table of Contents page, this part of the document is followed by other parts which discuss more technical aspects of this writing. One of these is a part titled "The Form and Punctuation of Documents on This Website", which explains why the writer shows and punctuates the documents included on this website the way he does. Another is a part titled "The Use of Special Display Features Like Horizontal Tiling", which describes how readers may use the Adobe PDF reader to show any two or more KJV Bible texts included in this writing in a horizontally tiled relationship that makes them easy to compare on a word-by-word or line-by-line basis, and how they may use this reader's text searching capabilities to take full advantage of that relationship.

See  TABLE OF CONTENTS  to read or download complete copies of all files
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