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Prophecy is tough! Harold Camping finally repents and apologizes

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, you have to at least give the guy credit for (finally) owning up to his mistakes. I really thought he was going to hold fast to his false convictions until the end…

http://www.christianpost.com/news/family-radio-founder-harold-camping-repents-apologizes-for-false-teachings-59819/

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed when studying prophecy, it’s that coming to any certain conclusions is tough. I guess that’s how God constructed it so that while watchful believers would see prophecies come true and believe more firmly, the rest of world would not deliberately try to thwart His plans. Believers should also continue to live dutifully in this world (see 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) and not sit around counting down or anything…as tempting as that can be. As long as God is our primary purpose in life, we aren’t called to stand on rooftops holding up signs reading: “Come take us away, Jesus!”

We are to study these things and prepare spiritually (and perhaps take some practical measures as well), but we are not to date-set or tell people precisely how things will come to pass. For instance, we may know that there will soon be one world currency, utilized through the “mark of the beast,” but we shouldn’t boldly proclaim the nitty-gritty details. We don’t know if it will be a “666” blazoned across people’s foreheads (most assuredly not) or some microchip implanted in people’s hands. It could be something else that we don’t know of yet. Speculating is fine as long as we don’t push one possible way as the only way.

The ultimate example of prophetic difficulties, of course, is Jesus Christ himself. He was prophesied numerous times in the Old Testament, and the Jewish people thought they had a firm grasp of what to expect. For instance, the Jews were sure that the Son of Man coming on the clouds to reign in Daniel 7:13-14 showed their Messiah as an all-powerful ruler on earth. The 12 disciples themselves thought they were following this very man who would rise to the very top and stay there forever.

They were right…more or less. Jesus is certainly that “Son of Man” in Daniel 7. However, there was a wrinkle that no one really expected. They didn’t expect that Jesus would first be the suffering servant depicted in the Old Testament—see, for example, Isaiah 53 (they used to think that servant was symbolic for Israel, which actually doesn’t make a lot of sense if you read it with our present knowledge). So when Jesus was crucified and killed, the disciples were shocked and in disarray. They were so sure that Jesus would be a conquering hero, not a slain lamb. Only after seeing Jesus risen, post-crucifixion, did the disciples finally get it: Jesus would return as ruler of the world at his SECOND coming, after Daniel’s 70th prophetic week (see Daniel 9:24-27). Some of Jesus’ teachings, such as Matthew 24, only came into focus after the disciple’s shifted their expectations and were able to mold their ideas to the truth. Atheists, on the other hand, seem to fix their truths firm, and if something doesn’t conform to their thinking (or immediately “make sense”), they throw it out…but I digress. 

I think a lot of present-day prophecy is like this. We come to conclusions, only to realize after the fact that there is something we didn’t take into consideration: an extra wrinkle or layer beyond the surface…

Don’t get me wrong, some signs are pretty blatant. While we need to be careful to avoid jumping to hasty conclusions—which I have admittedly done in the past somewhat—that doesn’t mean we should stop being watchful. Please don’t take the opposite extreme of living your life as the world does, thinking that nothing can be known or expected (see 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6). Take in what you hear with a grain of salt. Use discernment and prayerfully consider things. Sometimes our best efforts may not be good enough, but hopefully we’ll at least come close.

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Why there was no fall Rapture

October 3, 2011 2 comments

A few months ago, September seemed like it was shaping up to be a very important month. Now, it’s October, and not much has changed. What happened? Let’s dig in a little bit…

Israel and Palestine are still a ways off from a peace/sharing agreement.

We all knew that Palestine was going to submit its bid for statehood at the UN, which would end up splitting up Israel’s land (including Jerusalem…a big no-no in God’s eyes). We also heard about a rash of diplomatic efforts leading up to the general assembly, so it seemed possible that both sides could reach some sort of agreement. Both sides had something to lose, something to gain.

Instead, there seems to be a new deadline for a peace agreement between the two peoples: December 2012. Knowing the middle east, even that date might not mean much. Further delays are certainly possible. But that’s the latest information we have so far, and you can bet that they’re not going to rush to get peace talks finished far in advance. They will probably take as long as they can.

Remember that the peace agreement that starts the final seven-year period (Daniel’s “70th week”) must include some provision to share the holy grounds so that Israel can start rebuilding their temple.

Comet Elenin was a dud.

NASA told us that it was small and that it was pretty much fizzled out, but it still seemed possible. “Maybe there was something they didn’t account for.” It seemed that it got destroyed in transit. Whatever the case, there were no major earthquakes or natural disasters that seemed to correlate with the past alignments (Earth-Elenin-Sun). The coincidental timing around Rosh Hashanah ended up being just that: coincidental.

Rosh Hashanah and the “woman in the sky”

Considering that four of God’s redemptive acts matched up with the first four Jewish feasts, it seemed logical that the next major act of God would land at the same time as the fifth feast, Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets. In fact, Jesus’ second coming is often described as being accompanied with the sound of a trumpet.

To further add to the number of “coincidences” coming together, people talked about Revelation 12’s sign in the stars (if this is even a correct interpretation of the passage) happening this year during Rosh Hashanah. This doesn’t seem to happen often, so people started wondering if this was also significant.

Looking back, there are two major problems here:

1) I am still convinced that the next major redemptive move by God will happen during Rosh Hashanah (not sure which year, of course). But who’s to say that it has to be pre-Tribulation Rapture? Jesus’ second coming after the Great Tribulation (some people call it “post-trib rapture”) seems more probable as I study scripture and prophecy.

With a pre-trib view, the Rapture would probably fall during Rosh Hashanah (the fifth feast). The sixth feast, Yom Kippur, could represent the Tribulation, while the seventh and final feast could be either the millenial kingdom or the new heaven and new earth.

With a post-trib view, the second coming of Jesus Christ—which happens at the end of the Great Tribulation—could happen during Rosh Hashanah. Then, the millenial kingdom would be established, after which there is one final uprising from Satan and people on earth. This could be on Yom Kippur. Finally, when Satan is forever defeated and the new heaven/earth is established forever, that could be the seventh and final feast.

2) If you take Revelation to be chronological overall, which I do, the “woman clothed with the sun” sign this year didn’t really make sense. Why would something that appears in chapter 12 take place now? As I understand it, chapter 11 or so is the halfway point of the seven years, so the woman sign should be approximately 3.5 years after the peace agreement.

Here’s a breakdown of what time period the chapters might represent:

Chapter 1: The past

Chapters 2-3: The present (e.g., American Christianity—and others like it—may be represented by the church of Laodicea)

Chapters 4-5: Some people think the Rapture takes place here, while others think these chapters simply show God and the angels preparing for what’s to come.

Chapter 6-19: The seven-year period, also known as the Tribulation (though really, the “Great” Tribulation is probably only the last 3.5 years).

Chapter 20: After Jesus is victorious, the millenial kingdom is established.

Chapter 21: New heaven and new earth

By the way, the next time this sign in the sky will coincide with Rosh Hashanah? 2017, though it’s not even certain whether this is significant. There’s nothing in the Bible to indicate that this takes place during the Feast of Trumpets.

“This generation will not pass away”

While it’s true that fig trees are sometimes a metaphor for Israel in certain parts of the Bible (e.g., Jeremiah 24), it’s not clear that this applies to the Olivet Discourse, as found in passages like Matthew 24:34. Judging from the structure of the language, it’s not even apparent that Jesus is including the fig tree as part of His end time prophecies. It could simply be an analogy of watching for signs. Therefore, it’s not on solid ground to assume any sort of 70-year window after Israel was established as a nation in 1948.

So when will it happen?

Date setting is probably just a recipe for disappointment (or from the outside, mockery), so it’s imperative that we not get too attached to any particular timeframe. I need to keep myself in check as well! Personally, I’m kind of happy that it didn’t happen already. I want to do so much more for God’s kingdom before I leave, and if it had happened, I wouldn’t have much to show for my life. Perhaps more people can be saved during the wait.

It is important to be spiritually ready at all times and to keep an eye on current events. The only thing we can watch for, really, is the peace agreement. Whether that will indeed take place next year in December (I will refrain from drawing any connections with the whole Mayan calendar/2012 theory) is impossible to determine.

What is clear, however, is that things seem to be accelerating at a rapid rate. Various economies and governments are crumbling before our eyes, and everything seems to be moving toward a world government. Certain nations, like China, have already suggested that we move to one world currency. We have the technology in place to implement a worldwide tracking and commerce system. Peace seems somewhat possible between Israel and Palestine, and groups are ready to rebuild the Jewish temple.

The table is set, we’re just waiting for the steak.

End Times: Hyperinflation just around the corner?

September 16, 2011 1 comment

A lot of people are just living their lives as if they have a long, stable, and controllable future ahead of them. They seem to think that their spiritual relationship with God is one of those controllable variables—that they can fit Him neatly into their plans once it’s convenient or “the right time.” Rather than sensing any urgency in getting right with God, they reason, “Oh, I’ll take care of that right after I have kids…right after this promotion…once I send the kids off to college…once my 401(k) is nice and cushy…”

But what does the Bible say?

James 4:13-15: “13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

But of course as Americans, we don’t like the idea that anyone else is in control of our lives other than ourselves.

Well, this is a myth. We are not our own. And financially speaking, our economy and currency are largely in others’ hands as well: namely, China.

http://www.zerohedge.com/print/437859 (thanks bro for the link!)

If at any point China decides to dump the dollar—as some recent signs would indicate—then we could be in for an economic downward spiral. Hyperinflation, to unprecedented levels, could result and it seems imminent.

“If for some reason [China selling off their U.S. investment] the reserves of dollars held overseas by investors and creditors were to come flooding back into the U.S., we would see a hyperinflationary spiral more destructive than any in recorded history. As the supply of dollars around the globe increases exponentially, so too must foreign demand, otherwise, the debt machine short-circuits, and newly impoverished Americans will be using Ben Franklins for sod in their adobe huts. As I will show, demand for dollars is not increasing to match supply, but is indeed stalled, ready to crumble.”

Reminds me of a verse in Revelation, speaking of hyperinflation in the end times in a way that John could understand. I don’t even think they had the concept of hyperinflation in those days, so he had to describe it the best way he knew how…

Revelation 6:5-6 says: “5When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. 6And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”” (A whole day’s wages for a quart of wheat…)

So the practical application, I guess, would be to get right with God immediately. Stop waiting around as if the world works on your timetable and your meticulous planning. Work and money is important, of course, but it’s a distant secondary priority to your walk with God.

Random thoughts: Cool stuff in the Bible plus an illustration of salvation

September 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Just wanted to share some stuff that I found/learned/thought of.

First off, an interesting quote from Mark Twain about the Jewish people from 1898:

"The Greeks and the Romans...are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out...the Jews saw them all, survived them all...all things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces passed, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"

The secret, Mr. Twain, is that they are God’s chosen race of people. They will never be wiped out—all the Holocausts and persecution in the world won’t overcome God’s ultimate plan for them. That’s why.

Anyhow, I learned some cool things about end times prophecy again. In Daniel 7, I always wondered what the four beasts could mean or represent. They include the lion with eagles’ wings, a bear, a four-headed leopard, and a beast with 10 horns.

Some people interpret these symbols in light of other scripture, but I tend to believe it cannot be done this way because in Daniel 12:9, God clearly tells him that the meaning of these visions cannot be known until the time of the end. Well, many people think we’re now in the time of the end (or approaching it), which means we should have a better understanding of the vision than was possible thousands of years ago.

One interpretation is that the lion represents England. Why? Because their national symbol is a lion, which represents royalty/monarchy. But why the eagle’s wings? Well, perhaps they represent another country whose symbol is an eagle. That would be, of course, the United States. Notice that in verse 4, the wings of the eagle are torn off and lifted off the ground, given an independent mind of its own. This could represent America breaking off from England and declaring its independence as a country. Another cool thing? This is in Daniel chapter 7 verse 4. It just happens to coincide with our U.S. Independence Day, 7/4.

The bear represents Russia, while the four-headed leopard represents Germany (which is in its Fourth Reich…also notice how it too has wings, but Daniel deliberately doesn’t mention an eagle or specific bird). The beast with 10 horns? Tough to say, but perhaps it’s something like the EU or UN. Tellingly, the little horn that speaks from it represents the Antichrist, which means that he will come from this symbolic beast. At least the other countries mentioned are in the clear somewhat.

Also, I thought it was fascinating how almost 2,000 years ago, John foresaw the Jewish temple being shared with foreigners to the land, or Gentiles. In Revelation 11, God instructs him to measure the temple of God and the altar, but he’s told to exclude the outer court. Why? Because “it has been given over to the Gentiles” (non-Jew) or “the nations.” In modern terms, we know that the Jewish people will eventually be able to rebuild their temple during the end times, but they will have to share the holy land with Gentiles; that is, the Muslims/Palestinians. Bill Clinton, during his presidency, worked to make peace in the Middle East by having them agree to share the land rather than fight over it. It has been an urgent, ongoing process ever since. I thought it was pretty cool how John saw it around 95 AD!

Finally, I was thinking in the shower (the best place to think) about a picture of salvation, and it’s kind of like this.

We’ve been falling in a bottomless pit since we were born into this world of sin. We just keep falling and falling. But next to us in this pit is a rope for us to grab. If we grab hold of it, we can start climbing upward and be saved from whatever lies at the bottom of the pit (if there even is an end to it…probably just a pit of fire). The problem is, there is a limited amount of time to grab the rope. Eventually, it will run out and the chance to grab it will be no more.

But why doesn’t everyone grab hold of it? Because many would rather fall. They reason to themselves, “I don’t even know where the rope leads. Who knows if it can even save me? So I might as well just enjoy the fall.” Others think, “I DO want to be saved! But grabbing that rope is going to hurt my hands…it’s going to burn for a while. And I don’t want to spend my life climbing and struggling. Maybe it’s just easier and more pleasant to just free fall and hope for the best.” Some people who are falling try to grab onto other things to save them or to bring them “meaning in life,” but they don’t realize right away that those things are falling right alongside them. They are not secure.

Now true, grabbing onto the rope might mean some initial pain and adjustment. Fighting gravity isn’t easy, and it might require you to give up some of the ease of life. But eventually, you’ll be glad you did, and what’s better is that the Holy Spirit is like a floating platform for your feet; He never allows you to fall, and He actually assists you in climbing upward, so it’s not nearly as hard as you once thought it would be.

One day, Jesus is going to come for us. He’s going to come on a helicopter (haha) and attach the rope to it from the top, then take us off to heaven. Whether you just grabbed on recently or if you’ve been climbing for years, we will all be saved. The people left falling in the pit will regret not grabbing on when they had the chance.

Once we get to heaven, God will hand out eternal rewards and mansions. The best selections will go to those who had climbed the highest and earned the greatest reward, while those who barely got in will wait patiently at the back of the line. But everyone will be glad and rejoice in the end, for all eternity.

The End Times: Rapture or Aliens?

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

First, let me start by clarifying that when I say “Rapture” here, I am referring to the idea of a pre-Tribulation Rapture. That is, that all believers on earth—including those who have passed away—will be swept up into heaven before the seven-year Tribulation begins.

Now, assuming this is correct, it leads me to wonder how the rest of the world that is left behind could possibly account for the disappearance of millions “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). Will some kooky scientists come out of their basements and affirm the reality of spontaneous combustion? Or will people speculate about some massive government conspiracy?

Some people believe that the world will actually try to explain this great disappearance as a worldwide alien abduction act. Here’s one example of a video on this view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_5cG1dOutY.

According to this person, the “Satanic lie” has been cultivated by the devil himself for many years. Random sightings here and there, people claiming to have been abducted, persistent rumors of “Area 51,” the depictions of aliens as having large, bulbous heads and black eyes (which surprisingly can be found in even some ancient drawings…Satan must have gotten a head start)…heck, even Hollywood has played its part in making it imaginable and graspable in our minds.

Perhaps this verse is even referring to the alien deception:

Revelation 16:13: “Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”

(From John’s perspective, he was limited in his ability to describe certain things he saw in his vision because he had never seen such things before. So he had to do his best with what he knew.)

“Came out of the mouth” could figuratively mean that the dragon (Satan), the beast (Antichrist), and the false prophet spoke about this, telling the world. Since there will be no other plausible explanation—at least to those who adamantly leave God out of the picture—people will be drawn to this possibility.

Not only that, but 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 says this: “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

Basically, this is where God sends the judgment of delusion upon those who rejected Him for so long. His patience finally runs out and He says, “Fine, you didn’t want to accept me, so I’ll let you believe whatever you want.”

Is it so hard to believe that the world could be deceived into believing that aliens abducted millions of people? How else are they going to explain it?

Heck, Francis Crick—co-discoverer of the DNA molecule—couldn’t get over science’s inability to explain the origins of life, so he theorized that extraterrestrials could have implanted earth with the first living molecules. Even Richard Dawkins, Mr. Head-Honcho New Atheist, seems open to the possibility:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoncJBrrdQ8

Don’t believe the lie. If we do indeed get Raptured up pre-Tribulation, the rest of you remaining here hold fast to the truth.

The End Times: The Antichrist = Islam’s Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi?

August 30, 2011 4 comments

One of Satan’s favorite tools is to take something that is true and wonderful and twist it ever so slightly to achieve his ends. Because the lie maintains the outward appearance of truth, people get sucked in easily and led to their own destruction.

I believe Islam is like that. It took a lot of the surface-level ideas from Christianity and the Bible, and altered them just enough to make the new lie convincing but deadly. Jesus was a powerful prophet who did miracles, but He is not the son of God (Islam claims). Jesus was captured and sentenced to death, but never was actually crucified. God made Adam and Eve, but not in His own image. Jesus Christ is coming back to rule the earth…but not alone.

Muslims claim someone will rule before Jesus Christ, and then alongside Him. This person is called the Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam.

How long will this Mahdi reign? Interpretations vary somewhat, but the most prevalent view is seven years.

Do we know of anyone else the Bible tells us will reign for seven years? That’s right, the Antichrist.

It is expected that Muslims will flock to this leader, thinking him to be their Mahdi—their prophesied redeemer. (Likewise, Jews will think it is their messiah—a powerful political leader—finally come to rule the world…at least for the first 3 1/2 years.)

What are some characteristics of this Mahdi?

Well, here are a pertinent few, according to Islam:

– He will fill the world with justice and fairness at a time when the world will be filled with oppression, which is war and calamities.

– He will rule for seven years as a fore-runner to Jesus’ Islamic Rule.

– His face shall shine upon the surface of the Moon. (See a video about a supposed Imam sighting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXpScktgvPE. Notice how they think he is a being of light.)

What do we know of the Antichrist from Bible prophecy?

– He will bring unity to the world in a time of war, famine, earthquakes, and economic distress…before demanding worship and dooming his followers to hell.

– He will rule the earth for seven years at a time called the Tribulation. Afterward, Jesus will come down to conquer.

– If the Antichrist is anything like his partner/boss, Satan, he will portray himself to be a wonderful person, even a being of light. Satan becomes an “angel of light” to deceive people (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Talk about fishy business here. It’s becoming incredibly obvious that Satan is going to use the fastest growing religion of Islam to achieve his ends. Very clever you are, Satan, but some of us are onto you.

(Holy Spirit protect me!)

The End Times: My view on the Rapture and Great Tribulation

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Oh boy, this is a heavy topic, and I have absolutely no idea how this post is going to turn out. It could literally go on for thousands and thousands of words. But I think it’s better that I attempt at least something now rather than wait…

In the Bible, this information is found primarily in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse (found near the end of the gospels, such as Matthew 24 or Luke 21) and, of course, the Book of Revelation. You’ll also find tons of information and parallels in Old Testament books like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and a couple others. I find Daniel to be the most helpful and easy to use.

I’ll start by sharing a quick overview of the end times.

Basically, the Bible gives us certain signs to watch out for. They range from the general to the very specific. Some of the general signs include talks of war, famine, and earthquakes. There has been an increase in all three of these areas in the last century. The Bible also talks about increasing corruption and moral decay…yep, you can check that off the list as well. In fact, if we follow biblical precedent, this movement of legalizing gay marriage in America could be signs that judgment is at the door.

However, beyond these are very specific signs we can scope on the horizon. A couple of them have already happened, but most of the rest won’t happen until the seven-year Great Tribulation, which is when pre-tribulationists believe Christians will be gone from this world anyway. What’s important is to see them coming. An analogy one pastor uses is this: If we see the decorations for Christmas going up (Tribulation), then we know Thanksgiving is coming soon (Rapture).

The most important sign that has taken place is that Israel became its own nation in 1948. Before this, for about 1,900 years, the Jews had been widely dispersed with no homeland of their own. Now, they have migrated back to Israel and not only that, they are speaking in their ancient tongue of Hebrew again. This is unprecedented in human history, and it happened within the lifetimes of our parents or grandparents. (I really don’t understand how there could have been Rapture predictions before this point in history.)

So once that happened, the clock started ticking. Things are being set in motion at a faster pace than ever before.

We also know that the Great Commission—God’s command to preach His gospel to all the nations of the world—is all but completed.

Further into the future, we know that certain things are going to take place during the Tribulation (these are just a few of many):

– At some point (probably right after the Tribulation begins), the Jewish people will rebuild their temple in Jerusalem once again. There are currently groups in place to rebuild once they get the OK. They have all kinds of tools, materials, and religious objects on the ready. In fact, with modern technology, they estimate that they could complete the temple within 8 months (in biblical times, it took over 46 years).

– The economic systems of the world will all come crumbling down until eventually, a desperate unifying measure takes place. There will be one world currency—probably a cash-less system—where people must receive the “mark of the beast” in order to buy or sell anything. This won’t happen until halfway through the Tribulation period. Some speculate that this could happen in the form of a microchip implant. While this particular prophetic sign seemed far-fetched even less than a decade ago, we’ve been seeing world economies and currencies crumbling before our eyes, seemingly all at once. Even the big honcho, America, recently saw its dollar downgraded. Experts know that we are stretched far beyond our capacity already, so it’s only a matter of time…

– The world will unify under the leadership of one man. The Jews will think that this is (finally) the coming of their messiah. He will promise peace and harmony,  even leading the world toward a single world religion. Of course, we know this person to be the Antichrist. While he may seem like a nice chap at first, he will fully reveal himself and his true intentions at the 3 1/2-year mark of the Tribulation by setting up images of himself (or an “abomination”)  in the temple to be worshiped. This is also when the Jews will realize the error of their ways and turn to the true Christ.

Notice that all of these things are going to have positive, practical implications at first. For instance, the one world currency is really going to help clean up the economic mess worldwide. A cash-less system will be hailed as decidedly convenient; no more credit cards or check books to deal with. Perhaps the implant or mark will also store medical records for easy access. It will have all of your personal information stored in one easy place that you can’t lose. Maybe it’ll help stop illegal immigration…

One world religion is going to seem great to the masses. There will be no more divisions or holy wars. “How wonderfully tolerant!” will be the common mantra. Thanks will be given to the Antichrist for being unity to the entire world.

It’s easy to imagine then why persecution of Christians is going to increase to epic proportions. The believers who remain on this earth are going to be the societal outcasts, refusing to get the mark of the beast. The rest of society will write us off as anarchists who hinder progress (kind of like the underground dwellers in the movie Demolition Man). Christians will be synonymous with intolerance, refusing to adopt the one world religion that every “sensible” person has. It’s not hard to imagine; the seeds of these thoughts have already been planted throughout society. It will take full bloom during the Tribulation.

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

This is the majority view in the church today, and it’s been further popularized by books (and movies) such as Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. One thing that surprised me was that this view was almost nonexistent until the 1800s when John Darby started espousing this belief. That doesn’t necessarily hurt its credibility, but it’s something to keep in mind.

A very important thing to note about this view is that nothing more needs to be fulfilled in order for the Rapture to come. It could happen at any time.

As you can tell from its name, this view states that true Christian believers will not have to go through the Tribulation, but rather will be swept up into heaven “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). We will receive our new, glorified bodies (without which we cannot enter heaven), and go up to heaven along with the believers who have passed away on earth. Some believe there will be massive earthquakes at around this same time, perhaps to open the graves.

Pre-tribulationists point to verses like Matthew 24:40, where it says that two men will be working in a field (living their everyday lives) when one will be taken, one will be left. Also, they point out that in Revelation 3:10, Jesus says this to the church of Philadelphia, which represents the rare “good church” today: “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” 

The problem with this view, however, is that it requires some reading between the lines. There doesn’t seem to be an explicit mention of a sneaky Rapture to be followed later (after the Tribulation) by the real second coming of Christ. Even the verse in Revelation 3:10 can be interpreted alternatively as “keeping you through the hour of trial,” as in protecting us through it.

Many parallels are drawn to Old Testament events, such as Noah’s flood. Pre-tribulationists will point out that like the Rapture, warnings were given to the world but most of them just ignored it. Meanwhile, the faithful were busy preparing the ark. When the flood came, it was too late for the rest of the world, and God saved them from the waters (representing the Tribulation).

Post-tribulationists will point out that while God saved them from it, they were still in it. They were just protected throughout.

Post-Tribulation Rapture

This view states that the Tribulation is kind of like one final test for believers. While God is trying to win back many of his people—the Jews—we as current Christians must endure until the end. If we die during the Tribulation, we are assured that we won’t taste the second death, and that we will enjoy our eternal lives in heaven.

People who hold this view will point out that there only seems to be one explicitly mentioned second coming of Christ, which will be signaled with trumpets and lightning at the end of the seven-year Tribulation. If you remove preconceived notions from your head about Rapture, they argue, you will see that post-tribulation is the most biblical view.

Matthew 24:29-30 (NIV) says: “Immediately after the distress of those days (other translations call it “tribulation”)….Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven…”

Of course, pre-tribulationists will question whether those verses are referring to the Great Tribulation, or just times of trouble, which we are in now. The problem, though, is that this passage clearly indicates that Jesus is going to come in glory for the world to see, announced by trumpets. This hardly sounds like a secret Rapture, but rather sounds like the second coming of Christ described in other passages as happening after the Tribulation.

Which way do I lean?

I’m going to give a cop-out answer: I really have no idea. On certain days, I feel almost certain it’s pre-tribulation. On others, I swing almost completely the other way. If I write what I think currently, chances are I’ll have to come back and edit this post a million times—even more than I probably will need to already. Both views are biblical, and God seems to have painted this amazingly ambiguous picture that we can’t decipher until after the fact. Perhaps He doesn’t want people giving up on this life and getting lazy. Perhaps He wants us to prepare for the worst (post-trib), or be spiritually ready now rather than procrastinate (pre-trib). Who knows?

What about timing? How much time do we have left?

No one knows for sure, and if they tell you they do (like Harold Camping), they’re deceived. Like honest pastors and theologians will tell you, prophecy is only 100% clear in retrospect. Even in light of fulfilled prophecy in the New Testament, if you go back to the Old Testament passages that foretell those events, you can see why nobody (or very few) could actually see it coming. It makes perfect sense after the fact.

That doesn’t mean I won’t speculate somewhat, however. I do believe that the end times are near. What’s happening around the world economically and politically seems to fall in line with an imminent Tribulation. Look at what’s been going on in Libya, Syria, and countless other places.

I think there’s a chance that we will see big things moving in September of this year. Why? Because talks between Palestine and Israel could take place. Perhaps they will come to some sort of peace agreement, which could set things into motion very quickly.

Furthermore, the timing of Christ’s work seems to correspond directly with the traditional Jewish feasts (found in Leviticus 23). There are seven feasts, and the first four have corresponded with these acts:

1) Passover: Jesus’s crucifixion

2) Unleavened bread: Jesus’s death and burial

3) Firstfruits: Jesus’s resurrection

4) (50 days later) Weeks/Pentecost: The Holy Spirit comes down to earth, 10 days after Jesus ascended up to heaven.

The fifth feast is called the Feast of Trumpets, and it takes place at the end of September.

So what? What’s special about this year? Well, it could be a coincidence, but there is also a comet called Elenin which has been nearing Earth, and it’s scheduled to reach its closest point around late September to early October. Furthermore, it is going to be in alignment with the Earth and the Sun, which in the past (according to NASA models) has corresponded with great earthquakes and tsunamis in the world. Sure, it could be coincidental, but the correlations so far have been hard to ignore.

Consider the parable of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32, Mark 13:28, and Luke 21:29). Obviously, Jesus is not talking about a particular fig tree sprouting, signaling the imminence of the end times. The principal of first mention reveals that fig trees also represent the nation of Israel. If you interpret the parable to mean Israel sprouting as an independent nation, you might take note of the year 1948. Jesus also says that after this fig tree sprouts, “this generation will certainly not pass away.” Now, there is some debate as to what a generation means exactly, but the traditional interpretation is 70 years.

You may notice that the Bible loves to use the numbers 7 (the number of perfect completion) and 70. Whether Jesus is talking about how many times to forgive someone or Daniel is calculating the number of years until Jesus arrived on the scene, these numbers are everywhere. (Note: Daniel 9:24-27 is particularly specific.)

Add 70 years to 1948, and you get 2018. But we also know that Jesus’ second coming takes place after the tribulation, which is 7 years. Subtract 7 from 2018 and you get 2011.

Now, I don’t mean to spread false information or anything, nor do I know how to calculate dates with the Jewish calendar. But the point is, we need to be ready. We need to apply the Word of God urgently to our lives and to others.