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The challenge of eschatology

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The challenge of eschatology

There is no shortage of theories regarding the identity of the antichrist, Mystery Babylon, or any of the various elements of Bible prophecy that have yet to come to pass. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is filled with prophecies. Many have been fulfilled, particularly pertaining to the first coming of Yeshua, but there are just as many that point to the end times, the latter days, that have yet to come to pass.

The identity of Mystery Babylon, the seat of Satan, and how things will play out with the rise of the mark of the beast have poised many to go into deep studies in order to learn and share it with the world. Some of these theories are farfetched. Others make a lot of sense. The biggest challenge that we face with it all is that there is compelling evidence that any one of them could possibly be the reality that we soon will face.

Some of the prevailing theories regarding from where the antichrist will rise and who will take over the world for a time include (in no particular order):

  • Rome, the Vatican, and/or the Roman Catholic Church
  • The European Union
  • A revitalized Ottoman Empire
  • The United States
  • The United Nations
  • Syria/Lebanon (or whoever is in control of Mount Hermon when it all gets started)
  • Mecca (either under the control of Saudi Arabia or following an invasion by Iran or Turkey)
  • Aliens

Over the last few years, I’ve made it a hobby to study eschatology. I would love to devote more than a few hours per week to the studies, but between the distractions of the world and a need to study the Bible itself as well, it can only be a hobby right now. However, over time I believe that I’ve listened to (without deep exploration) a large amount of theories and there are a few things that I’ve seen to be universal about them:

  1. Those who present their ideas based upon fervent study are absolutely convinced that they are right.
  2. Each theory, at least upon cursory inspection, seems to have legs. In other words, if you focus on the ones that are based upon facts, sound interpretation, and common sense, they stand up as being possible and worthy of exploration.
  3. Many completely contradict each other. This is one of the most perplexing elements of eschatology because most prophecies that have been fulfilled have clear meanings in retrospect with very little contradiction. This would point to an outside force spreading disinformation in order to conceal the truth through competing theories.

Let’s take a look at some of the challenging elements of eschatology to try to discern a proper path to explore.

Watch for the signs but do not be misled

To quote a lyric from rock band Tesla’s song Signs: “Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs.”

This is very true today. There are ministries that are dedicated to watching the news and world events to identify signs happening today that point to Bible prophecy unfolding. Some would argue that these signs are nothing new, that even those who walked the earth at the time of the apostles were seeing signs of Christ’s return or of prophecies coming true. This is true, but a better argument could be made that the signs today are much more pronounced and compelling.

To quote a better resource than rock and roll, let’s look at the Book of Matthew:

Matthew 24:23-24

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

If you set your mind to looking for signs of the end times, of the identity of the forces of evil, or of the imminent return of Yeshua, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of seeing significance in nearly everything. I have yet to see a video with modern interpretations of end times prophecies that did not have at least a few instances where the content producer was reaching in order to make a point. They wanted something to be true, so they took facts, spun them around, and presented them in a way that tried to prove their point rather than taking it all at face value. We have a tendency as humans to see what we want to see.

It’s one thing to keep your eyes open, to pray for discernment, and to collect the understanding that our Father is putting before us. It’s another thing altogether to allow our desire to see the signs cloud our understanding and point us in the wrong direction. There’s a reason that this is so easy. It’s because that’s what Satan wants.

Forces of evil at work

There’s a reason that many of the prophecies of the Old Testament clearly point to Yeshua being the promised Messiah. When comparing them to the stories of the New Testament, they act as 100% validation that He is the Christ. Between the two books of the Bible, the only way to come to any conclusion other than that Jesus Christ was exactly who He said He was is to be fooled by having a closed mind.

The events of the end times will be the final proof of the validity of the Bible and the forces of Satan know this. That is why they have gone about clouding the issues for the last two thousand years. They have systematically manipulated men to preach false doctrine and to point to incorrect paths for those who want to follow Yeshua. When the truth will be made clear, the only way for them to confuse the masses is to make false paths that will seem to be clear as well.

We have discussed one of the original changes in doctrine, the switching of the Sabbath, as well as other false paths that are designed to mislead such as EasterHalloween, and the pre-tribulation rapture (or the secret rapture concept as a whole). There is no shortage of manipulations designed to mislead those who seek salvation.

The end times pose the greatest challenge of them all for Satan because he knows that this last great deception will have to be his greatest manipulation ever. This is the reason for all of the confusion. If the watchful are looking in the wrong places or convinced to walk down a false path, they will not be able to warn others or spread the Word of the Gospel before it’s too late.

No man will know the time or the hour, but we will be given the Spirit to understand it when it’s happening. As faithful believers continue to explore and anticipate the terrible events before they unfold, they will be faced with poor information. In essence, they will be unwittingly assisting in the misleading of the masses. This is happening today in churches. It is happening in videos and on blogs. This deception is turning tools of righteousness into vehicles to guide people in the wrong direction.

There’s only one way to see clearly.

Study in prayer

Eschatology is one of the most exciting types of Biblical study, particularly for those who believe that we truly are in the end times. I personally felt myself drawn to it years ago before I had a better understanding of the reality of faith and truly submitting to the Will of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As a result, I went down the wrong path on more occasions than I care to admit.

Before diving into the concept of what is to come, it is paramount to be properly covered in pure faith in Yeshua as your Lord and Savior. Then, one must wear the whole armor of God that is spoken of in Ephesians 6 because no man is strong enough to face the evils alone. One of the most important individual verses of the Bible is Ephesians 6:12:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Before, during, and after studying eschatology, you must be in prayer. To do otherwise opens you up to be taken down the wrong path. The forces of Satan are stronger than you. They are smarter than you. They are able to mislead you with things that you see with your own eyes or hear with your own ears. However, they are not powerful enough to penetrate the armor of God.

Wear it before you go out into the world.

 


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Culture and Religion

2 Thessalonians 3:5 – ‘patient waiting for Christ’

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2 Thessalonians 3:5 patient waiting for Christ

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (KJV)

This is a very straightforward verse, but with a subtle undertone that must be understood. We are flawed creatures who cannot do well nor even have faith in God without God’s intervention. In verse 2 and 3, it is clear that men have no faith but the Lord is faithful. That is why He directs our hearts to love Him and gives us patience to carry on until Christ’s return. Even faith requires what God has put in our hearts.

This should be comforting, especially to those who are unsure whether or not they truly have faith. The faith we have is not our own but given to us by God. If it is given to us by Him, we can be certain it will be true.

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The biggest threat to Christians is the teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture

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The biggest threat to Christians is the teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture

In many scriptures of the Bible, there is a “falling away” or discussion of great deceptions that are coming to the world. It has been hard for believers in Christ to comprehend the possibility of the masses falling away from Christianity because faith has been a powerful part of society for nearly two millenniums, but we are seeing it today. Moreover, we are seeing the spreading of a seed that will cause further apostasy among believers in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior: the myth of a pre-tribulation rapture.

Most who have gone to church in the last hundred years have likely considered the possibility at the very least that the rapture of the church will occur before the tribulation that is spoken of in many books of the Bible, including the Book of Revelation. Some estimates put it at 90% of the Christian church believes in a pre-tribulation rapture. The vast majority of popular churches teach that believers will be called up to Heaven before the tribulation. Simply stated, the Bible does not support this claim.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

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;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Jesus will come in the clouds and call up those who are believers. This will not happen prior to the tribulation. The sun and moon will be darkened, and then He shall return. The majority of churches that teach Imminency, the concept that Jesus will return at any moment and His people will be raptured at that time, point to one verse to counter the argument of signs that will precede His second coming:

Matthew 24:36

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

This is obviously a true statement. It is also one that is completely misunderstood. The fact that we nor anyone else can know the day or the hour does not mean that He can come at any time. Throughout the Gospels and the writings of Paul, we hear of things that must happen before His return. It is not for us to know the day or the hour, but the season will make itself very evident. We will see certain events occur. One of those series of events are known as the Great Tribulation.

Why it is believed

The simply answer when asking why so many people, even “educated” church leaders, is that we want to believe it. It’s human nature to want to avoid persecution, war, sickness, and beheadings, all of which are spoken of as parts of the tribulation. If someone of authority tells us that we will not have to go through these things as long as we believe, it’s a message that can resonate. Those who hear the truth, that we may be living in the end times and that as a result many of us will go through great suffering due to our faith – it’s just not as positive of a message.

The not-so-simple answer is that Satan is pushing this as part of his agenda. It is Satan that rules the earth. His goal is to pull as many people away from the faith as possible, which is why he and his minions began deceiving Christians at their core starting in the early 19th century with the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture. He has brought about and continues to bring about waves of deceptions to pull people away from even considering the Word of the Bible, but this particular deception is to attack those who are wanting to be strong in their faith. It’s designed to shake the spirits of the believers to the point of non-belief.

Think about it. If you make people believe that they are not going to face suffering, that they are “special” and will avoid all of the troubles that will engulf the world, then they are weakened as a result. They will not be ready. When the tribulation does begin and they’re still on this planet going through it, they will begin to question their own faith. They will not be prepared to fight against persecution. They will be more willing to be deceived in order to save their lives. They will be more open to deceptions of the Anti-Christ. They will be more likely to worship the false messiah to take his mark in order to buy and sell. They will see the formation of the one world government, the one world economy, and the single world leader and they will do so more willingly than those who have their eyes open.

This is arguably the greatest deception that Satan has pulled off thus far.

Why churches teach it

Building a church is not as black and white for most as it is for others. It’s much easier to build one with a happy message than to try to build one through promises of fire and brimstone, persecution and suffering. There are those sitting in the seats of church leadership who realize that a pre-tribulation rapture is not correct but they continue to preach it in fear that their congregation will shrink or disappear altogether if they go against the grain.

As with any man-made organization, the Christian church world has a “club” among the leaders. There are those who are in the club and those who are not in the club. Those who are in the club are able to speak at events, sell books, build up an online following, and prosper as a church. Those who are not in the club have a much harder time finding relevance in this world. Today, the club is made up of pre-tribulation rapture teachers. If you’re not preaching a pre-tribulation rapture, you can’t be in the club.

It’s a catch-22 for many. Not all do it because of ignorance or greed. There are those who teach it because they feel that a message that can resonate with more people is better than a message that alienates many. In other words, they realize that they are not teaching this particular issue properly but if they can misinterpret this one little point, they’ll be able to get the other important messages out to more people. It’s a misguided attempt at an honorable sentiment that is actually more dangerous than not reaching the people at all. We believe there is a likelihood that many people will fall away in the last days, but others will open their eyes as well. If they open their eyes and start reading the Bible, they will see what they had missed their whole lives and will have an opportunity to head down the right path before it’s too late. If, however, they are weakened by expectations of a pre-tribulation rapture, it will be more difficult to bring them back to the truth.

Debating the Issue

It is sad when I read some of the assertions of those who continue to fight the truth of post-tribulation rapture. They are often excellent writers or orators fighting from a misguided perspective. For example, in the book Triumphant Return by Grant Jeffrey, he states:

Several incorrect premises have caused some to reject the pretribulation Rapture and accept the position called the “postribulation Rapture.” The first premise is an emotional contention that it would be unfair for the modern Church to escape to heaven scot free to escape the martyrdom that other believers have experienced.

In all of our studies of those promoting a post-tribulation rapture, I have never heard this premise before. It’s appalling that Jeffrey would lead with such a poor premise, as if trying to mislead the readers into believing that the post-tribulation doctrine is so weak that those who believe in it are emotional and ignorant simpletons.  Below, you will see videos of people who have formed their doctrine based solely on the Word of the Bible, who make it crystal clear that a post-tribulation rapture is without a doubt the reality, and that the theory of a pre-tribulation rapture is damaging to those to which it is taught.

The Words of Jesus Christ should be the resounding end of any debate that He will return before the tribulation:

Matthew 24:29-31

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

There are other verses that also make it clear, but this is obviously the most specific. There are those who will say this is referring only to the Jews. There are those who will use charts and graphs to convince you of a pre-tribulation rapture. They will point to interpretations by Darby, Ephraem the Syrian, and Scofield as proof. Do not be misled.

Rather than point to the evidence or attempt to debate the concept, I will defer to a few people who have done more research on the subject than me. Please take the time to watch these videos and share this article. It’s important that believers are prepared for what’s to come. Whether it’s today or in a thousand years, we cannot allow people to be guided down a path that can lead them to be part of the falling away the Jesus spoke of in His ministry. We must open our eyes, see the truth, and spread it to all that we can.

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Liz Wheeler to Catholic girls: ‘Stop pretending you’re a victim because you broke the rules and rolled up your skirt’

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Liz Wheeler to Catholic girls Stop pretending youre a victim because you broke the rules and rolled

Students at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego are protesting their dress code. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence; there have been plenty of protests over the years, especially by feminists, in opposition to school dress codes that require girls to wear skirts. But this protest is different. The students are protesting because girls are no longer allowed to wear skirts.

Principal Kevin Calkin, the principal at Cathedral Catholic High School, changed the dress code in the most recent iteration of policy. Now, it states: “The most significant change is that skirts will no longer be an option for girls. Dress code is a perennial challenge. The dress code exists for at least three good reasons: to foster unity, to encourage modesty, and to minimize pressure to conform to particular styles or clothing brands. Basically we hope to foster a faith-based environment where students are focused on learning and not on outward appearances.”

But students brought signs and demanded the old policy be put back in place. Signs had various messages from “My body, my choice” to “Even Jesus wore one.”

The policy was put into place after the principal and others on staff had handed out “hundreds of hours of detention” to girls who would break the knee-length minimum for skirts, especially by rolling up their skirts to reveal more of their lower bodies.

One America News host Liz Wheeler lambasted the students, who apparently can’t tell the difference between rights and privileges. Only in America can students feel so victimized because they can’t wear skirts to school.

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