End Time Views Can Get Us in Trouble! 0813

End time views can get us in trouble!

In my life, i have not given much importance to the wild speculation of end time prophesies. Being described in literal, symbolic or metaphoric language, it is subject to wild speculation. If you want to believe in pink elephants, go right ahead.

Lately however, I have been driven by God to be more of a Berean. I have come to see that end time prophecies tend to undermine the clear Gospel and affects evangelism by engaging in an “ends justify the means” approach that is often unBiblical!

These end time models try to link old testament and new testament prophesies in ways that can explain them, but probably don’t. It violates the basic rule of interpretation that states that we must trust the simple clear passages to guide our interpretation of less clear or more difficult passages.

There are 4 schools of thought about the interpretation of end times scripture: preterism, idealism, historicism, and futurism.

Preterism holds that most or all of biblical prophesy was fulfilled by the 1st century. I agree that much of prophesy has already been fulfilled – but not all. Some prophesy has near and far fulfillment. Its kind of like looking at a mountain range. Some are closer than others. Sometimes it appears that 2 are at the same distance, even though they are separated by miles! This was a common view during the first 3 centuries.

Idealism holds that prophesy are to be interpreted spiritually, allegorically, and non-literally. While prophesies can and do contain some of these characteristics at times, prophesies are often literal. This is why I don’t presume to fully understand prophesies, although I can see symbols, allegories, and types.

Historicism associates biblical prophecies with actual historical events and identify symbolic beings with historical persons or societies. Prophesies prove God’s omniscience. Prophesy is best viewed in the past. Many try to predict the future and its timing with prophesies, but more times than not end up looking foolish. This school was popular from 3rd to 19th century.

The Fourth and currently most popular view ( thanks to the “great awakening”, Scofield Bible, Dallas Theological Seminary, print media and movies) is called futurism. Much of the Futurism school discussion deals with one verse in Revelation.

“And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. “(Revelation 20:7 NKJV)

This is called the millennial kingdom. Three views have been constructed to explain this verse: Post-millennial, Pre-millennial, and Amillennial. To put it another way, does the millennial kingdom come before or after Jesus return to earth?

The Amillennial view held that the kingdom of God would reign until Jesus returned. God’s kingdom is spiritual, 1000 years was symbolic (10x10x10) a trifold perfect number 10 to mean perfect completion-when God determined that everyone he has intended to be saved has been.

The Post-millennial view was prevalent during the 18th & 19th century leading people to travel to all places throughout the world to share the Gospel with everyone and apply Christian principles to politics and progressive thought to Christianity. This view held that the world would become better and better due to the presence of Christ over His millennial kingdom rule. World-wide evangelism (good) and progressive politics (bad) were the result.

The Pre-millennial view was created in the 1830s during a German progressive movement that corrupted theology and science.It is the most literal view and pulls prophesies from throughout the old and new testament to construct a third coming of Jesus (although they deny this based on Jesus meeting us in the clouds and not touching he ground), a future tribulation, a restored Jewish kingdom with restored temple rituals. This view holds to a future millennial kingdom followed by Armageddon and judgement. Some with this view are dispensationalists who say that God’s promises are limited to certain audiences and times, including the rapture of the church before tribulation, Armageddon and judgement. This view also separates Israel from the church, stating that the Church will be raptured and miss the great tribulation and Israel won’t. This has led gentiles to either condemn israel for crucifying Christ or condone the rejection of Christ and work to return unredeemed Israel to the holy land and help them re-establish the temple and temple worship. Biblically, this is misguided and Biblically unsupported. The faithful Israelis are God’s people and the saved Gentiles are God’s people by adoption in Christ. Until Jesus’ one and only future return to the earth, both Jews and gentiles are saved in the identical way, repentance of sin and faith in Christ.

Most people expect a physical return of Jesus to defeat evil, the physical end of this sinful world, judgement followed by reward or punishment.

Each of these ideas tries to put God in a Box. Each has points of truth and areas of error. But I can’t help but notice How the evil one has used each to deceive many and deny the Gospel given to us by God!

What does the Bible support?

1) There have been saved in the Kingdom of God since AD 33.

But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29 NKJV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)

But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28 NKJV)

and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15 NKJV)

And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” (Mark 9:1 NKJV)

But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:14 NKJV)

Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him. (Mark 12:34 NKJV)

But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Luke 11:20 NKJV)

“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Luke 16:16 NKJV)

nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21 NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:3, 5 NKJV)

2) We have been in the end times tribulation since AD 33, at the hands of both the Jewish and Roman leaders.

yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. (Matthew 13:21 NKJV)

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9 NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)

strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22 NKJV)

except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. (Acts 20:23 NKJV)

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; (Romans 5:3 NKJV)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35 NKJV)

3) Old testament prophesy points to Jesus’ first and second (future) coming. New testament prophesy points to Jesus’ second coming at the end of the age. Most of the old testament prophesies have already been fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming.

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. (Jeremiah 23:5 NKJV)

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord : I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31, 33, 34 NKJV)

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29, 30 NKJV)

so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. (I Thessalonians 3:13 NKJV)

4) God’s people is by faith, not necessarily or exclusively by ancestry. Only those in Jesus Christ, spiritually covered in Jesus’ blood by faith can be and are saved. The old testament saints by faith in a promised future Messiah; the new testament saints by faith in the completed work of Christ on their personal behalf. Israel didn’t become the church. The Church became Israel by adoption by Christ and marriage to Christ.

Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38, 39 NKJV)

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17 NKJV)

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. (Romans 9:30-32 NKJV)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:1, 3-8, 13 NKJV)

5) God knows the future and chooses its timing. He warns the church (seven churches of revelation) which were actual churches of the first century and iconic prophesy of what was in store for the visible church.

The age of Ephesus is the apostolic age.
The age of Smyrna is the persecution of the Church through A.D. 313.
The age of Pergamus is the compromised Church lasting until A.D. 500.
The age of Thyatira is the rise of the papacy to the Reformation.
The age of Sardis is the age of the Reformation.
The age of Philadelphia is the age of evangelism.
The age of Laodicea represents liberal churches in a “present day” context.

6) The church becomes heirs to the promises God made to Israel. Israel is blessed by the better covenant that fulfills and replaces the old Covenents (Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic. )

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. (Romans 9:6-8 NKJV)

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11:26, 27, 29 NKJV)

And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (Galatians 3:17, 18 NKJV)

So in closing, end time prophesies are fun to ponder but easy to abuse. Hold to the Gospel and don’t let men complicate or change the Gospel with fanciful tales of end times. I don’t know the future, but I know my Savior who does! I trust that He will guide and protect me through each new day. I can’t wait for the day when He brings me home!

In God’s kingdom today and through eternity!



~ by az4christ on August 13, 2013.

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