That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The End is Coming

Have you ever been reading your Bible and completely not understood what it was talking about AT ALL???  I have.  When I think about difficult passages of the Bible, Revelation and end times immediately comes to mind.  There's so much strange stuff going on in Revelation.  And what about all those prophecies in Daniel and Ezekiel??  Oh, and then there's I Thessalonians 4, and Jesus talked about the end times in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 and Luke 21.  There's a lot of different eschatological views out there, but one thing Christians do agree on is that Jesus is coming back, and the world is going to end at some point.... or do they????

I read the following article today, and I've copied it below.  You can read the entire article here.  [Permission to repost this article is given by the author of the website]. 

Evangelical bookstores typically feature many writers who hate the doctrine of an imminent Rapture of the saints, in spite of the fact that it is plainly described in Paul’s writings and the early saints were living in expectation of it.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44).

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

James and Peter and John also taught that the Lord is at hand (James 5:9; 1 Peter 4:7; Revelation 1:3).

In contrast, consider the following heretical statements against the imminent return of Christ:
Tony Campolo hates dispensationalism and rejects the doctrine of Christ’s imminent return. He calls it “a weird little form of fundamentalism.” Speaking at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s annual meeting in June 2003, Campolo said: “That whole sense of the rapture, which may occur at any moment, is used as a device to oppose engagement with the principalities, the powers, the political and economic structures of our age” (“Opposition to women preachers evidence of demonic influence,” Baptist Press, June 27, 2003). [Actually, I'm pretty sure the idea of the "imminent" return of Christ makes me more engaged in society.  If Christ is coming at any moment we need to get the gospel out NOW! If He's not coming then... well... tomorrow I'll tell my neighbour about the Lord.  There's still time.] 

Brian McLaren mocks the “fundamentalist expectations” of a literal second coming of Christ with its attendant judgments on the world and assumes that the world will go on like it is for hundreds of thousands of years (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 305). He calls the literal, imminent return of Christ “pop-Evangelical eschatology” (Generous Orthodoxy, p. 267) and the “eschatology of abandonment” (interview with Planet Preterist, Jan. 30, 2005, McLaren says that the book of Revelation is not a “book about the distant future” but is “a way of talking about the challenges of the immediate present” (The Secret Message of Jesus, 2007, p. 176). [Not sure what to say about this one.  It's an interesting way of looking at Revelation.  I guess he missed Rev. 1:19 where Jesus tells John to Write the things ... which shall be hereafter... i.e. "future events"].

Mark Driscoll mocks the idea of a Rapture for believers and a one-world government with an Anti-christ who makes people wear a mark to buy, sell or trade (Confessions of a Reformissional, pp. 49-50). He adds that this kind of end-time “mission” is not a message from Jesus but rather one “concocted from a cunning Serpent” (“Mark Driscoll Rejects McLaren but Embraces Contemplative,” Jan. 11, 2008, Driscoll mocks the imminent RaptureHe claims that the Rapture doctrine is evidence of the sickness of American Christians and mocks those who have the goal of leaving “this trailer park of a planet before God’s tornado touches down on all the sinners” (The Radical Reformission, p. 78). He libelously calls dispensationalists “nutty, Christian, end-times-prophecy Kaczynskis” (p. 165). [Ted Kaczynski was the “Unabomber” terrorist who murdered three people and maimed 23 others in his 18-year-long campaign against modern technology.] [There's probably worse things to be compared to than a Unabomber... I just can't think of anything right now.  What kind of Christian calls other Christians names like that anyways?  I don't like Mark Driscoll's theology, or the way he uses vulgar language, or the fact that he has shown R rated movies at his church, but I've never called him a name or compared him to a terrorist!]

Dan Kimball describes how that he rejected dispensational theology and the doctrine of an imminent Rapture and moved to his current position that “the kingdom of God is here, now” (Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, pp. 87-90, 102). [If what we have now is God's kingdom, it's certainly NOT what I was looking for! Wars, famines, natural disasters, starvation, persecution, etc.  Uhh... yeah, that's a great kingdom].

Ed Stetzer says it is wrong to worry about whether the Rapture is imminent. “When the disciples had an inordinate interest in the end times, much like we do today in North America among evangelicals, Jesus said, ‘Do not get focused on that’” (Breaking the Missional Code, p. 40). Stetzer is referring to Acts 1:6-8, but Jesus was not talking there about the timing of the Rapture but about the coming of the kingdom of God. The disciples were expecting the kingdom to be set up immediately, but Jesus told them to focus rather on preaching the gospel and leave the kingdom to Him. This passage corrects the emerging church doctrine that we are building the kingdom of God in the world today, but it does not support the idea that we shouldn’t be concerned about the imminent return of Christ. 

The rejection of the imminent Rapture is not a light matter. 

As we have seen, Christ, Paul, James, and Peter taught that the return of Christ is imminent and is to be expected at any time (Mat. 24:44; Phil. 4:5; Jam. 5:8-9; 1 Pet. 4:7). The early Christians lived in expectation of Christ’s return the literal fulfillment of the prophecies (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

The doctrine of a pre-tribulational Rapture is a great motivator for purifying one’s personal Christian life. 

It encourages the believer in trials and persecutions (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18). It keeps the church’s focus on the Great Commission (Mat. 28:18-20; Mk 16:15; Lk. 24:44-48; Acts 1:8). It teaches us that preaching the gospel, winning people to Christ, and establishing churches as the pillar and ground of the truth is the most urgent matter. D.L. Moody had it right when he said: “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat and said to me, ‘Moody, save all you can.’” The imminent Rapture motivates us to be busy in the Lord’s work (1 Cor. 15:58), to live obedient lives (1 Jn. 3:1-3; 1 Th. 5:4-7), and to separate from evil (Tit. 2:13-14).

I have to say, I was pretty shocked after reading this.  There's some "big-names" on that list, and they don't believe Jesus is coming back!  I'd really like to know what these guys think about end times, and what Scripture they use to back it up!  As for me, I'm not giving up my blessed hope!!!!!
Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.


  1. I don't know where people get ideas like these. Certainly not in the Bible. Well, maybe they can be found in other "translations," but an imminent rapture is so clearly taught that I would think not even a corrupt translation could mess it up that bad. I suppose that we are seeing II Timothy 4:3 come true before our eyes. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears..."

  2. I agree! It's so obvious from the Scripture that Christ is returning, and I think it would be pretty hard to mess it up "that bad" too. But, you never know in this day and age. I think of II Timothy 4:3 a lot when I read things like this. What I find most sad is that a lot of Christians aren't even aware of things like this. I know of a church in my area that's doing a video Bible study by Mark Driscoll in their young adults group, and I'm sure they have no clue he doesn't believe in the Second Coming. If they did I don't think they'd be using his stuff. Or maybe they do know, and just don't care. It's that not caring part that's really sad! I'm not sure if people really get that these kind of beliefs are wrong, and God is not pleased by them!

  3. The Bible says that many will believe a lie and be damned. I think that authors need to be looked into to see what they really believe before they start a Bible Study. There are many false prophets out there.
    Christ returning for His Church may be closer than many believe. We need to watch and pray.

    Thanks for commenting about Logan. This family is an example of faith and God is using it. Thanks for praying.

  4. Hi Aliene,
    I totally agree that authors should be looked into! Deception is real and scary and we need to protect ourselves from it. Sometimes I think the best Bible study is just studying the Bible itself. No doubt there are many materials out there to assist us, but ultimately our study should be coming from God's Word, and not some writers interpretation of it.

  5. [Hello, Seeking...Found this on the web! Angel]

    Christ's return is NOT imminent !

    by Bruce Rockwell

    (Pretrib rapturists claim that Christ's return is imminent, that is, capable of occurring at any moment. Theologian and pastor Norman MacPherson, in his excellent book "Triumph Through Tribulation," offers proof that the Bible has never taught an any-moment return of Christ. Here are the points brought out and discussed at length by MacPherson:)

    1. Great Commission fulfillment implies a long period of time.
    2. Seed growth in Matthew 13 is a time-consuming process.
    3. Paul expected death, not rapture, in II Timothy 4:6-8.
    4. Jesus predicted Peter's martyrdom in John 21:18-19.
    5. Matthew 24 teaches that signs must come first.
    6. Many passages speak of a large interval between Christ's ascension and return: Jewish dispersion into "all nations" (Luke 21); "man travelling into a far country," "after a long time the lord of those servants cometh" (Matthew 25).
    7. Apostasy of last days takes time to develop.
    8. Bridegroom tarried in parable of virgins.
    9. Pastoral epistles teach Church's continuing ministry, which involves time.
    10. Paul says Christ's coming is not imminent (II Thessalonians 2:1-3), for apostasy and Antichrist must come first.
    11. View of seven phases of church history (seven churches of Revelation) involves big lapse of time and imminence difficulties for pre-tribs; could Christ have come before the last phase?
    12. Exhortations to watch and be ready are tied to what pre-trib teachers regard as the second stage (which is necessarily non-imminent) in Matthew 24 and 25, I Corinthians 1:7, Colossians 3:4, I Thessalonians 3:13, II Thessalonians 1:7-10, I Peter 1:13 and 4:13, and I John 2:28.

    (How can an "imminent" return of Christ have a greater practical effect on us than the indwelling of the Holy Spirit already has, or should have, on us? For more on pretrib beliefs and history, Google "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," "Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts," "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty.")

  6. Anonymous:
    I hesitated to publish your comment first of all, because I disagree, but mostly because of the misinterpretation of Scripture, and I don't want others to be led astray. I have decided to post the comment, because I hope my readers will be discerning and search the Scriptures for themselves. Many Scriptures are given at the outset of this post that CLEARLY teach the return of Christ.

    Anonymous, do you believe Jesus is returning????

    In answer to some of MacPherson's points:
    The Great Commission is not prophecy, therefore, does not need time to be fulfilled before the return of Christ. All the signs in Matt 24 have happened. Apostasy is rampant in the church. It's been 2000 years since Jesus' resurrection and ascension, so I'd say plenty of time has passed for the seed to grow, the Bridegroom to tarry, the church's ministry to continue, and the Jews to be dispersed. Regarding II Thess. 2:1-3, you must consider context. Paul is writing the the church because they thought Christ had already come and left them behind! He's not saying the return of Christ is non-imminent, just that we don't have to worry because we'll know when it happens! In II Thess 2:7 Paul says the mystery of iniquity is ALREADY at work. That means events were already taking place that will culminate in the return of Christ. Regarding the 7 churches in Revelation. They are 7 churches. To say they are 7 periods of history is reading into the text something that is not there. This is not a difficulty for pre-tribs. I'm not sure what is meant by point 12? It doesn't make sense to me?????

    Why hasn't Christ returned for 2000 years? It's not because His return is non-imminent, but because of the mercy and longsuffering of God.
    II Peter 3:3-12: Look especially at verse 4 and 8-9!

    3. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

    4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. [from what I read of the theologians you quoted they fall into this category]

    5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

    6Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

    7But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

    8But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [Consider this in regards to the points you made about time needing to pass before Christ's return].

    9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise [AMEN], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. [AMEN, AMEN, AMEN. God knows the end from the beginning. We cannot predict when Christ will come. His mercy is GREAT, and He gives us time to come to Him. That doesn't cancel out the fact that Christ can return at any moment.]

    10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

    11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, [even Peter uses the return of Christ to motive the Christian to serve Him. This is a greater practical effect].

    12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?