Friday, December 6, 2013

Reasons why we must be careful what we teach about the end times

 I have been concerned about some of the radical views held by those captured by certain end times teachings.  I was there once.  Held them dear. Then when discovering the truth.. and coming to a grasp of what it all really means... I began to see how much damage bad teaching in this area does.

It's not that these are bad people, they are sincere.  They think they are warning the flock.  What they are really doing is putting chains of bondage on them.  There is a wide panoply of end times views.  They can't all be right. 

I am most concerned with those who use the Rapture Ready theologies.  They are simply in gross error and the negative view they offer is very damaging.  Here is an article I lifted.  I didn't write it, but I agree with it:

"The bad fruit of holding to a Negative view of the future."
Love usually takes the back seat while fear is emphasized. Sometimes the fear is covered over by a rapture escape or Divine protection from coming wrath.

All long-term thinking becomes limited. It becomes impossible to even prophesy beyond a few decades because of the supposed any minute return of Christ.

It creates a fear of technology because that new GPS, computer, smartphone, laptop, etc; might be used as the “mark of the beast.”

It harbors a fear of politics because the antichrist could be right around the corner.

It breeds an anti-Culture view to the point of irrelevancy. Yet, even the Apostle Paul was able to quote from the popular culture of his own day. (Acts 17:28)

It demotivates from pushing forward in health, medicine, the environment, or technology because why would one work for the good of a world that is going to burn?

It has created a bizarre form of Christian racism. Many have become Pro Israel to the point that no political thought is exercised. For example if Israel were to mistreat her surrounding nations many modern Christians would give them a free-pass because they are God’s chosen people. Christians have literally accepted a new form of Pro-Israel/anti-Arab racism. Also there is a suspicion toward other countries that has become anti-Russian and anti-Chinese. This Christian racism is rooted in a wrong understanding of the end-times.

Hope is narrowed down to a rapture escape.

The negative end-time view is the seedbed of most cults and militias.

Many have turned to massive hours of fasting, prayer, quick evangelism and looking for a rapture rather than studying and training for a lifetime of advancing the kingdom.

The negative view doesn’t take the time texts of scripture seriously or literally.

Many silly conspiracies come from believing the negative view. This view fits perfectly with those who believe in the Illuminati, the NWO, and other secret society theories.


Gene said...

A comment left By a reader of this post:

It's sad to see people behave the way they do, as a result of a 'pessimistic' end times view. I don't think anyone would deny that these behaviors are common. I hate the fact that people use fear of some catastrophic scenario to evangelize the lost. It isn't necessary or helpful and it isn't the commission Jesus gave us. You can hold a futurist view and not get sucked into the "end times" hysteria if you choose.

So I'd like to share a few observations.

The events described in the book of Revelation are not pleasant. In developing views of eschatology, we must assign a time-frame to them. The essential question is - do we prefer to think of them as past, or do we prefer to see them as future?

I don't think any rational person likes the idea that bad things may be in store for us down the road. I certainly don't. And the idea of being taken to heaven before it happens doesn't lessen the burden. At least not for me.

To call pre-millenialism a 'negative' view is to focus on the near term aspect of the view. It's true that this view sees some bad things coming in the future, but following them, the same victory is assured that is present in the other views. In that respect it's as positive as any other view.

The church may have held an historic view of these events, but it's hard to say for certain. If it did, it's understandable. The history of civilization has been one of a progressively growing light as we moved from the ancient Roman Empire into the middle ages then into the period of the renaissance. It seemed as though the world was moving toward utopia.

This trend gave us reason to believe the bad stuff was, indeed behind us. That is, until the 20th century dawned and with it, a lot more bad stuff emerged. The wars and political unrest of the 20th century gave some people reason to ask whether the bad stuff was really behind us, or if we were in fact, headed toward disaster. It seemed a re-assessment was in order.

Those who were concerned about the re-emergence of the bad stuff, looked again at scripture and saw that if it were interpreted differently, the bible may actually predict all these bad things. They opted to place the bad stuff in the future, perhaps because that's the direction in which they saw the world going. Some would argue that this view is a type of self-fulfilling prophecy. If we expect bad stuff to happen, we're going to create a future that looks like our expectations. I'm not convinced that this is true, but it's just speculation.

Gene said...

Continued from earlier comment by a reader...

One of the major difficulties of eschatology is Israel. You're right in saying that Zionism has gone a bit overboard. But extremists don't decide the validity of any view. Prior to 1948, the church was justified in thinking of Israel as a thing of the past. But today, things are different. If the historic view is correct, then what about Israel? When God birthed the New Covenant church, did He not know that Israel would re-emerge 2,000 years later?

If the church historically saw Israel as a thing of the past, how could we not re-examine our eschatology when she was made a sovereign nation once again?

So once again, we have two views. One that prefers to think all the bad stuff and the place of Israel in God's plan as history and one that says they are future. There is of course a tendency to accuse those who hold the opposite view of being deceived, but each side stands by it's view.

I personally can't believe that the global catastrophic events described in Revelation refer to the things that happened in AD70. The scope of these events doesn't come anywhere near that which is described in the bible, even taking into account the possibility that many of these things could be symbolic. I also don't think God was surprised by the re-emergence of Israel and that they must have some part in His greater plan.

The real question about our theological differences is whether they have the power to divide us. If they do, it's only because we've given them such power

Anonymous said...

Well Gene sometimes difficult times are real and we are on the brink of the most difficult times we have ever seen as a nation. It isnt abot negative ir positive its about truth. We are facing thre best of times and the worst of times. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. We are facing hunger, econonomic devastation and war in America. We are facing government upheavel and racial war. But in the end a new, stronger nation will arise out of the ashes. And the Glory of the Lord will be more magnificent than we have ever imagined. The Latter rain is about to fall which is 7 times greater than the former. Imagine 7 times great Glory than the book of acts. This is the truth. We can use this information to get closer to the Lord and to make physical preparations or we can use it to be fearful.It's negative if we choose to look at it this way. The bottom line is through all this upheavel His Kingdom will come. The greatest War of the ages is before us as is the greatest harvest of souls.

Fallout said...

Anyone who believes that the “rapture” could happen at any moment hasn't considered this verse:
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Of course I too hate the idea of having to go through trouble. But when one considers just American history, every generation seems to go through some sort of major trouble. From the Civil War, WW1, the Great Depression, WW2 and many other smaller events the USA has endured many troubles. In the natural it would seem that we are due for another period of distress.

The trouble described in Revelation could be considered as two different tribulations*. The first tribulation are the world's troubles and the take-over of Anti-Christ with his political and religious government. The second is the wrath of God against those who are not His.

Regarding the second tribulation, we have nothing to fear:
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,...

The vials or bowls are the wrath of God:
Rev 15:7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

*(Or if you like, the tribulation and God's wrath.)