A couple of days ago, I received a flier in the mail, an invitation to a prophesy seminar.  Now, not too many years ago, I entertained a fascination with the whole The Late, Great Planet Earth, Left Behind phenomenon.  I believed there would be an Advent 1.5 seven years prior to the ‘real’ Second Advent.  I believed Christ would perform, as a cheeky someone whose name I do not recall  once said, a ‘touch and go’ to extract the church from the world before the great tribulation. The church would be spared ‘the great suffering’ .  I accepted the whole peculiarly American contemporary evangelical rapture theology, a theology of costless entitlement,  without much question.

I want to state up front that in no way, shape , or form do I question the intent, character, motives, or sincerity of those who sent this invitation to this seminar.  I also want to state that there are many godly men and women who accept this eschatology.  Sophisticated, I ain’t, and all that being said,  I think most would  have to raise an eyebrow at the images from the flier below.

I think that this view of Christ’s return forces a focus on current headlines rather than the Word.  Perhaps more accurately, it forces Scripture to be interpreted in the context of current news, a lens far removed from the context of the original readers through which Scripture is to be first understood.  I also think this eschatology is a bit dangerous because it infers that the contemporary Church will not have to suffer tribulation as history approaches closure.  Think about the persecuted church through history; think about those Christians  in the third world, in Islamic countries, in China, in this day and age, who are being martyred for their faith in Christ.  Where is their ‘rapture’ from tribulation?  So much could be said on the subject.

In closure, as I read and study the Word, I am moving more to an amillennialist eschatology.   I also look forward with great anticipation the return of my King, our mighty Redeemer and Saviour, Christ Jesus.  His return may occur within the next heartbeat or long after I pass on, but I long to see my Saviour.  Whatever your eschatology, I hope you, too, long for the Lord’s return.

scan0002 endtimes-1

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4 thoughts on “Lurid eschatology…

  1. I have no idea where I come in on the prefix-to-“millenialism” concept, I don’t fall into the pre-trib rapture idea although I can see where the argument *could* be made for it from some of the Thessalonians passages and even John MacArthur makes a convincing argument for it, but I do think the church needs to be prepared for the very real possibility that we could well face the tribulation period, which I do believe we are at the dawn of, and be brought home just prior to the outpouring of wrath. We’ll known when we get there, for sure! But my own pre-trib Armenian dispensationalist pastor walked into an unexpected theological dilemma for himself not too long ago I asked him – given the fact that it is the Holy Spirit who draws a person to Christ in the first place, and if the Holy Spirit is gone with the rest of us in a pre-trib rapture, where do the tribulation martyrs come from? His answer – God will mark those he chooses.

    Oh! Really! So there we have the doctrine of election?

    He coughed and moved on. But two Sundays ago he actually said in a sermon that God chooses us. I nearly fell out of my pew.

    Long story short — all pieces of the puzzle come together through the whole counsel of God. And the rest, I ‘m happy to say, by the grace of God, I’m more than happy to accept with a child-like faith.

    But I still watch the headlines – not with fear and trepidation, but with hope and the realization that there is much work to be done NOW. There are people to love as times get tougher. This is the time to seek Him, deeper and deeper, feeding from His word and spreading His love and His grace and His heart that He has had the love and grace and mercy to share with us….particularly as times get harder and harder and peoples’ idols start falling out from under them. The bridegroom is at the door – it’s time to prepare.

  2. I can relate to you, as I was an avid Scofield fan. When you interact with dispensationalists, they would tell you all kinds of things they have learned all throughout their lives, but they would never explain from Scriptures why they believe so. And when you offer Biblical texts, they would just say they don’t believe you.

    For example, there are all kinds of Biblical texts showing that there’s one general resurrection on the last day. Ask them where in those texts does it say that there will be a thousand years between the resurrections of the righteous and the wicked, and their response would be Revelation 20:1-6! (See “The Lost Thousand Years”).

  3. It seems that we both got the same flier in the mail and I commented (briefly) on this subject on my blog. When dealing with eschatology, there are certainly some things that the Scripture clearly indicates: Christ will return, we will all be judged, God will dwell with believers forever, etc. Yet, eschatology has to deal with many texts of Scripture that are difficult to interpret because of their highly symbolic nature. Yet, the type of theology represented in the drawings above is built almost entirely on speculative readings of texts such as Daniel and Revelation. Furthermore, dispensational theology is built upon a hermeneutical foundation that sharply distinguishes between OT Israel and the NT church. It sees the church as God’s “plan B.” Yet, the NT argues against such a distinction. The believing church has been engrafted into believing Israel (Romans 11). Furthermore, Paul clearly indicates that it is those of faith that are the true heirs and children of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). I could say more, but I’m starting to run down a rabbit trail.

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