Complete Sermon Notes

​You Don’t Take the Bible Literally, Do You?


Many avoid literalism so they can avoid application.

Fundamentalism – 1910 to 1915


You Don’t Take the Bible Literally, Do You? Yes I Do…

  • We use Metaphors [John 10:9], Similes [Job 41:24], Allegories [Isaiah 5:1-6] to “express” ourselves.


Dr. David L. Cooper, the founder of The Biblical Research Society, said “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; Therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise.” If the plain sense makes good sense seek no other sense lest it result in nonsense.

  • The Old Testament is vital in understanding eschatology.

Take it literally unless…

  • The literal interpretation contradicts axiomatic [self-evident] and fundamental truths – God doesn’t have a right hand.
  • The context shows that it cannot be taken literally – “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him…”
  • The literal sense does not make sense in light of related passages – “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”

A Good Reminder: Jesus warned 5 of the 7 churches to repent and return.


Literal churches with Spiritual significance [lampstand]:


  • Ephesus – forsaken its first love
  • Smyrna – suffer persecution
  • Pergamum – has been infected by the world
  • Thyatira – had a false prophetess
  • Sardis – had fallen asleep
  • Philadelphia – patient endurance
  • Laodicea – lukewarm


AGAIN – “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; Therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context…indicate clearly otherwise.”


MATTHEW 24 “Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

      • Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple

The historian Josephuswrote that Titus wanted to save the temple, but his soldiers were so mad at the Jews that they burned it. The remaining Jews were slaughtered or sold as slaves.

The Siege of Jerusalem, AD 70 by Josephus – Jerusalem fell, after a siege, to a Roman army under Titus. Josephus was a Jew who had gone over to the Romans. Throughout the city people were dying of hunger in large numbers, and enduring unspeakable sufferings. In every house the merest hint of food sparked violence, and close relatives fell to blows, snatching from one another the pitiful supports of life. No respect was paid even to the dying; the ruffians [anti-Roman zealots] searched them, in case they were concealing food somewhere in their clothes, or just pretending to be near death. Gaping with hunger, like mad dogs, lawless gangs went staggering and reeling through the streets, battering upon the doors like drunkards, and so bewildered that they broke into the same house two or three times in an hour. Need drove the starving to gnaw at anything. Refuse which even animals would reject was collected and turned into food. In the end they were eating belts and shoes, and the leather stripped off their shields. Tufts of withered grass were devoured, and sold in little bundles for four drachmas.

But why dwell on the commonplace rubbish which the starving were driven to feed upon, giver that what I have to recount is an act unparalleled in the history of either the Greeks or the barbarians, and as horrible to relate as it is incredible to hear? For my part I should gladly have omitted this tragedy, lest I should be suspected of monstrous fabrication. But there were many witnesses of it among my contemporaries; and besides, I should do poor service to my country if I were to suppress the agonies she went through…The whole city soon rang with the abomination. When people heard of it, they shuddered, as though they had done it themselves.


DIFFERENT VIEWS: No rapture, there is no coming Tribulation, there is no coming Antichrist, or a mark of the beast. Why? Because they already took place.

  • Was Revelation written prior to 70AD?


  • Great Tribulation in Daniel 12:1b, which says, “And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.”


Your Bible may say- The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be [“not one stone left”]? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”


      • D.A. Carson, a New Testament scholar, begins his commentary on Matthew 24 with the following words: “Few chapters of the Bible have called forth more disagreement among interpreters than Matthew 24 and its parallels in Mark 13 and Luke 21. The history of the interpretation of this chapter is immensely complex” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary,volume 8, page 488).


David Guzik –


i. One reason why prophecy may seem vague or imprecise is because God wants every age to have reasons to be ready for Jesus return. We should not think of Jesus’ return as an event far off on a timeline, but something we have been running parallel with since the day of Pentecost.

ii. Others suggest that God’s intention was to keep the future somewhat vague and clouded to confound the Devil, even as the resurrection of the Messiah was vague in the Old Testament.

iii. Though some prophetic interpretations are different, we are sure of this:He is coming again, and we must be ready.


KEY QUESTION: Are the Abomination that Causes Desolation, the Greatest Tribulation, and the Coming of the Son of Man Past or Future Events?

Beginning many chapters back, Jesus is preparing the disciples.


1 Event –  How you view this changes everything… The disciples believed that “time of the end” was near and that the messiah (John 12:12-18) would be announced soon. They probably viewed this as one event – that the end of Jerusalem would usher in the “time of the end”.

      • When they asked about his “coming,” they didn’t have a “second” coming in mind. Jesus would immediately rule in Jerusalem, and it would last “forever.” To them, there is not a “first” and “second” coming.

Separate Events –  “And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

      • If this is an audience shift, it may be the only place it occurs:


Take these things literally – regardless of your position, we can learn a lot.


4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these thingsmust come to pass, but the end is not yet.

      • “No One Deceive You” – “One notable example of this was the prophetic expectation in 1846 with William Miller in the United States. Because of his prophetic interpretations, calculations, and publications, there were hundreds of thousands in the United States who were convinced that Jesus would return in 1846. When He did not, there was great disappointment, with some falling away and some cultic groups spawned from the prophetic fervor” (David Guzik).


The great deception –


  1. Not taking the Bible literally.


The young mom who said, “I know what the Bible says, but God wants me to be happy.”


  1. Not ready for His return. How we live reveals how prepared we are.

Download Your Free eBook!

Enter your email below to download your free eBook "40 Days to Reset Your Life"

You have Successfully Subscribed!