First, let me say that “end-time” prophecy does indeed matter, and having a clear understanding, at least as clear as possible, of end-time events is essential to healthy Christian living. In other words, future, and near-future prophetic events should not cause fear, but rather hope. Also, our eschatological views, no matter the variance, should not cripple our testimony and mission of preaching the gospel to all people, and at all times.
Just as Paul charged Timothy:
2 Timothy 4:1-2 (ESV)
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
Our end-time, prophetic views should purify us, not scare us, or for that matter, scare people into believing the truth of Jesus Christ. Also, our hope is not in heaven, but in Christ, and it’s when He is the center and focus of our hope that we become pure, as he is pure.
1 John 3:2-3 (ESV)
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
So, in light of this, let’s discuss the impact of today’s end-time, prophetic views on Christianity; on our mission and influence.
Pre-tribulation rapture and premillennialism is a few of Christianity’s great deceptions, and it became popular at the turn of the 19th Century and spread like a virus into the 20th Century. It began with a Jesuit Priest, named Manuel Diaz Lacunza, (1731 – 1801), who’s false eschatological teaching influenced John Nelson Darby, (1800-1882), and others. Later, C.I. Scofield, (1843 -1921), popularized the premillennial and dispensational views, and Dr. Scofield’s notes, sermons, and commentaries were actually published on the pages of the Bible. Scofield’s Reference Bible is still available and in print today! The Scofield Reference Bible had sold over two million copies by the end of World War II.
I really encourage you to check these things out for yourselves. Please check out the following link, as well as the links and references at the end of this article:
The Apostles and the early Church Fathers did not teach this end-time interpretation and theory. In modern times, men like Charles C. Ryrie, born March 2, 1925, along with Hal Lindsey, and Tim LaHaye, are but a few of the modern-day prognosticators and purveyors of end-time prophecy. They are responsible for the unintended consequence of Christianity’s focus on millennialism, and away from the Great Commission of Christ, and the preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in the here and now.
Matthew 24:14 (ESV)
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
I have read a lot of these authors, teachers, and pastors, and I am not rejecting or denying their faith and belief in God. I am only pointing out how their focus of millennialism, whether it be pre, post, or nonexistent, has distracted mainstream Christianity from the gospel mandate in reaching the lost world. If Christianity remains so focused on vacating earth, and end-time theological theory, America will grow dark like Europe, as Christianity has left Europe’s shores years ago.
“Operation Rapture,” has created a defeatist attitude, which has gripped mainstream Christianity, and taken it off the task and messaging of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It abandons the present reality and proclamation of the Kingdom of God, pushing it off into the distant future, and rejects the here and now the presentation of the Kingdom of God, preached and taught by Jesus Christ himself, some two thousand years ago.
Furthermore, it repudiates and marginalizes the great tribulation and suffering, which most of our Christian Brothers and Sisters are, and have been undergoing presently, and for past decades. Please read the following letter excerpt, written by the late Corrie Ten Boom in 1974:
“In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly,
“We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution, rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes, – to stand and not faint.”
I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.” – Corrie Ten Boom (written 1974)
“Beam me up, Scottie!”
It really bothers me when I hear my Christian friends bemoan the trials of this life and their worries of apocalyptic doom, yet the only good news out of their mouths is that of the rapture, “Operation Rescue.” This defeatist attitude and their longing for “the airlift” into the heavens, has neutralized Christianity’s spiritual and cultural impact on the earth. We want to be “beamed up to heaven” rather than impact the earth for the glory of God and for the sake of the Gospel. The Church benefits the believers, while the Kingdom of God benefits the world. The Church equips believers to expand the Kingdom of God, rather than to expand Church buildings.
Now, we’ve all learned that Islamic-jihadist terrorists are beheading Christians, as well as other non-Islamic believers, and doing terrible atrocities, even to their own people. And this horror has touched, and is touching our own shores and heartland.
If this were not hideous enough, we’ve recently learned that Planned Parenthood, right here, in the “good ole US of A,” is heinously dismantling and harvesting partially aborted babies for their organs, tissue, and limbs!
Do they do this while the baby is still alive?
But, don’t you worry a thing, its useless tissue anyway.
Do you want to be “raptured,” or do you want to make a difference?
John 17:15-19 (NKJV)
Jesus Prays for His Disciples:
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is the truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes, I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
Make no mistake, I believe in a soon and coming appearing of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the taking up of the saints; his judgment and reward for his children, and eternal judgment towards those who’ve rejected the Gospel and the Only Living Truth, Jesus Christ. However, this should stir us towards preaching the Gospel, not whining and crying for the return of Christ and Operation Rescue. While mainstream Christianity is preoccupied with the rapture, its mission and influence are disappearing from the earth! It certainly has in Europe and is now fast becoming invisible here in America.
John 4:35 (ESV)
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”
Are we lazy Christians? Shouldn’t we understand by now that we are “Operation Rescue” to a dying world, which needs to hear about the only hope and message hidden within your hearts and souls?
Jesus Christ, came to earth, born as a man, to redeem those born under the law of sin and death that he, through your testimony and preaching, may save those who are perishing. The sowers have been sowing the seed of Truth for centuries, and now the easy work of harvesting is yours.
Yes, your redemption is drawing nigh, but so is the condemnation and eternal judgment of those whom you’ve failed by not preaching and living the Gospel!
2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV)
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
Saints are being murdered, beheaded and imprisoned throughout the world. Yet, your belief of a pre-tribulation rapture and premillennial eschatology seems to have forgotten them, and they feel left behind and forgotten by the Western Churches! And the world, well, they’ve not seen hide nor hair of the present Kingdom of God, and the glorious economy of the Risen and ruling King of Kings. You’ve kept kicking the can of God’s Kingdom down the road, instead of announcing, it’s existence and the power of His Kingdom!
Mainstream Christianity has corrupted herself in the prosperity messages of Heaven now, Kingdom later, and that persecution and tribulation are for those poor souls “left behind.” You’ve been duped and led astray by false shepherds; gathering to themselves many disciples, and lining their pockets with loads of your money and celebrity acclaim. Don’t you see? Their perversion and the false messages are designed to appeal and to attract you; corralling you into their tents, and away from your true calling and mission!
Matthew 5:10-12 (ESV)
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV)
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”
Are we foolish Christians? Have we become so weak in our understanding and faith that the suffering life of Christ is not good enough for us? Maybe our opposition and fear of tribulation and persecution are because we have refused to live the crucified life, and preach the crucified and risen Savior. We have become addicted to the single attribute of Love, and have rejected the Wrath and Vengeance of God, His Justice; Holiness and Righteousness. The world needs to hear the truth of their condition before the arrival of The Righteous and Holy God. Salvation through repentance of sin and belief in the Son is their only access to the Father and everlasting life.
Our trivial handling of God’s grace and his love has produced a God, which requires no repentance, or sorrowfulness of our sins.
The only remedy against the wrath and anger of God is the belief in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Only believing in Christ Jesus will God’s righteous and holy anger be averted. The world, and yes, even your neighbor remains under God’s wrath, unless you venture out from your comfortable living and abandon your distraction with your ex-filtration. You are the rescue, and your “Ops” is to infiltrate the world with the message of salvation.
If God is all Love, then what did God pour out on Christ Jesus? And what is waiting for, and held in reserve for those whom you’ve failed to speak the only remedy against God’s wrath?
Your “Love Card” only presents a tolerant God, who winks and giggles at sin and compromise. Yes, God is Love, but only to the believer, those who love God.
1 John 4:8 (NET Bible)
“The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
“You are like unfaithful wives, flirting with the glamour of this world, and never realizing that to be the world’s lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who deliberately chooses to love the world is thereby making himself God’s enemy. Do you think what the scriptures have to say about this is a mere formality? Or do you imagine that this spirit of passionate jealousy is the Spirit he has caused to live in us? No, he gives us grace potent enough to meet this and every other evil spirit, if we are humble enough to receive it. That is why he says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
Through belief and teaching of Pre-Trib Rapture, Premillennial Eschatology, Dispensationalism, Prosperity Preaching, and the Love Card, we have turned the only Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ into a Golden Calf, and we call it Yahweh.
Pray for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ throughout the world, who’ve been in great tribulation for years, and have been “Left Behind” by Christianity, preoccupied with leaving the world, rather than occupying and transforming it.
Revelation 21:8 (TLB)
“But cowards who turn back from following me, and those who are unfaithful to me, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those conversing with demons, and idol worshipers and all liars—their doom is in the Lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This is the Second Death.”
“Surely we are not going to be men who cower back and are lost, but men who maintain their faith until the salvation of their souls is complete!”
Please listen to the video message from Corrie Ten Boom: (You will have to confirm your age, do to the content of the video)
Notes & References:
For further study, check out the following sites:
Dispensationalism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dispensationalism is an evangelical, futurist, Biblical interpretation that understands God to have related to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants in a series of “dispensations,” or periods in history. WIKIPEDIA
*All Bible quotes are from http://www.BibleGateway.com.