Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Rapture: Is this the next event on your apocalyptic calendar?

Every morning I awake to famous radio pastors named James MacDonald and Greg Laurie when I prep for work. Why do I listen to these two men? Is it because they’re the best theologians on the planet? No. It’s because I love local radio programming and I’m too lazy to load my favorite pastors on my smart device.

I’m not the only Christian listening to these men, and other pastors of their persuasion. I have a very intelligent friend that listens to Greg Laurie on her I-pod every day. Generally, she’s hearing a good gospel message spiced with a heavy dose of Calvinism each day. Her first choice is Greg Laurie. If I had the inclination, none of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture pastors would be my first choice. Their message is close enough to the truth. However, when these pastors preach about eschatology, how accurate are they?
In my opinion, pastors like these two preach 95% fact and 5% fiction in theology. With James MacDonald, his increased volume usually signals when he’s wrong. Often times, pastors are confused on eschatology, believing an errant theological message merits you a one-way trip to Sheol (Hell). Most of these pastors should be commended because they preach a wonderful salvation message. However, if you believe their errant eschatological message, what happens? I submit their errant eschatological messages may cause a “Great Falling Away” someday. It’s that serious.

It’s our job to discern when pastors are preaching God’s word, and when they’re preaching in their own spirit. Most of us can’t tell the difference, and that’s the danger.

The past few mornings, Greg Laurie has been teaching on Revelation. In his “Fly-over” speech, he told us, “The next event is the Rapture…then the Gog/Magog war…and then the Great Tribulation.” I doubt if many of his listeners know enough to present another timeline. Most listeners are “Sheeple,” hanging on his every word. That means I need to present an alternative theory.
A biblical end time’s timeline should be biblical. Let’s address the overview first and errant theories second.


2 Approaches to prophetic interpretation

2.1 Preterism, 2.2 Historicism, 2.3 Futurism, 2.4 Idealism
* I’m a Futurist believer.  (2.3-In Futurism, parallels may be drawn with historical events, but most eschatological prophecies are chiefly referring to events which have not been fulfilled, but will take place at the end of the age and the end of the world. Most prophecies will be fulfilled during a global time of chaos known as the Great Tribulation and afterwards.)

11 Major theological positions
11.1 Premillennialism, 11.1.1 Pretribulation Rapture,  11.1.2 Midtribulation Rapture, 11.1.3 Posttribulation Rapture

11.2 Postmillennialism
11.3 Amillennialism

* I’m a Premillennial, Posttribulation Rapture believer. (11.1-Standard premillennialism posits that Christ's second coming will inaugurate a literal thousand-year earthly kingdom. Christ’s return will coincide with a time of great tribulation. At this time, there will be a resurrection of the people of God who have died, and a rapture of the people of God who are still living, and they will meet Christ at his coming. A thousand years of peace will follow, during which Christ will reign and Satan will be imprisoned in the Abyss. Those who hold to this view usually fall into one of the following three categories:11.1.3-Posttribulationists hold that Christ will not return until the end of the tribulation. Christians, rather than being raptured at the beginning of the tribulation, or halfway through, will live through it and suffer for their faith during the ascendancy of the Antichrist. Proponents of this position believe that the presence of believers during the tribulation is necessary for a final evangelistic effort during a time when external conditions will combine with the Gospel message to bring great numbers of converts into the Church in time for the beginning of the Millennium.
Errant theory #1:The Doctrine of Imminence (before the Rapture)-This means nothing needs to occur before the Rapture. It’s false. Look around you every day; you’ll see that many things need to occur before Yahushua returns. We need the Seven Seals to open. We need something called “Melo HaGoyim” to occur. This means the time of the Gentiles and their church will dissipate, and the predominance of the Judeans (the Jews) will increase. We’re not there yet.

By labeling something vague with a church doctrine, all those with an opposing viewpoint are suddenly unorthodox, or worse, they may be labeled as a heretic. It’s like one group bullies the other group because there’s a litmus test to join their group. The problem is the Doctrine of Imminence group is the most obsessed with news that doesn’t need to happen before the Rapture occurs. Do you see the errant circular logic of their theory?
Errant theory #2: The Pre-Tribulation Rapture-There are no verses in the Bible that directly prove a Pre-Tribulation Rapture; however that’s not needed with these people. In every other case scripture interprets scripture, but not in this case. In Matthew 24:29 Yahushua states that “after” the tribulation of these times, he will return in the clouds. It doesn’t matter when the Pre-Tribulation Rapture has been elevated to doctrine status. Now the theory is untouchable, and very wrong.

I give Pre-Tribulation Rapture pastors a pass on this theory. God has shown me that to preach anything else would appear harsh. However, they’re loving their “sheeple” into paranoia when they run out of answers in a few years. It’s like Sally was heart-broken when Linus was wrong with the “Great Pumpkin Theory.” Don’t be like Sally. Open your Bible now, and learn about eschatology.
Errant theory #3: A-millennialism-Most Roman Catholics and Lutherans spiritualize that we’re already living in the end time’s 1,000 year millennial reign of Yahushua. Wrong! The Bible clearly states he will return and then reign for 1,000 years.

Errant Theory #4: God told me-I always give prophets the benefit of the doubt when they say, “Thus saith the Lord.” Recently, one of my favorite prophets stated this on his website:
Oct. 28, 2012 - Prophecy Relevant the Election: The Lord told me two months ago that Romney would be elected with much trepidation. I APOLOGIZE. I missed it!”

God doesn’t make mistakes. Maybe that was another god whispering in his ear.
Errant Theory #5: Partial Preterism-Does God fulfill prophecies once, and that’s it? No.  A Partial Preterist will permit God to fulfill prophecies multiple times, however not the eschatological prophecies. My advice is to never put God in a box. Revelation 12 may be fulfilled 3 times or more, why fight it? Two of my favorite pastors are Partial Preterists. We’ll agree to disagree.

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