Saturday, November 19, 2005

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? 

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
(Rom 13:11)

A former NASA rocket engineer turned prophecy teacher by the name of Edgar Whisenant gained quite some notoriety nearly 20 years ago with a publication titled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be In 1998.  In this booklet, Whisenant predicted that Jesus would return to rapture His church sometime during the Jewish holiday of Rosh-Hashanah in 1988.  When that did not happen, the prevalent joke was that he was working on a sequel to be titled 89 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be In 1999.

But beyond that, Bible teachers and prophecy proponents fell back to their default position:  “Matthew 24:36 teaches that we can not anticipate when the Lord might return.”  And this in spite of Paul’s clear teaching:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
(1Th 5:1-4)

So there you have it.  No man knoweth the day or the hour, but you have no need to question the times (year) and the seasons (month).  For if you are prepared for the month and the year, that day will not overtake you unexpectedly!  In the minds of the simple or the careless, this passes for a contradiction that must somehow be resolved, which is generally achieved by denying that we can know the month and/or the year of the Lord’s return based on Mathew 24:36!

This type of sloppy and inconsistent exegesis has been successfully passed off on the Body of Christ as “Christian scholarship” with the same aplomb with which John Tetzel was able to hawk indulgences in Luther’s Germany in the early 16th century.  

Having said all that, do I claim to know the year and the month of the Lord’s soon return?

I don’t claim to have a handle on that, but that is a far cry from saying that no could ever know because somehow the Scripture prohibits it.

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…
(1Ch 12:32)

Ah—an understanding “of the times” in which one moves and has his or her being is a rare thing indeed.  It is much easier to look back and claim to have a clear understanding of the whens, whys, and wherefores of events past.  To have and understanding of what ought to be done in the present, which is of much more crucial importance, is a much less prevalent gift.  For the clearest example possible, see the Congressional Democrats braying that the war in Iraq was a big mistake and Bush lied, etc.  Not one of them has set forth what the U.S. should do now that we are involved up to the neck in the conflict.

So here is the bottom line.  We are much closer to that day than we have ever been before, and we ought not to be surprised, shocked, or offended by anything that might be around the corner that would signal the great, final shaking has begun.  It is also a time when apostasy and deception will abound.  This deception may very well take the form of a great revival marked by unprecedented “signs and wonders.”  How does one prepare for that!?

Not by sloppy, silly, and inconsistent exegesis of the God-given prophecies intended to reveal the mystery of the eternal purposes and intents of the Almighty to those who “love His appearing,” (This, by the way, is the basic immunization against the coming deception.  It is those who love something else, whatever that may be including healing, signs, miracles, revival, more than they love His appearing.

God help us.  Lord, please raise up even a handful of prophets and teachers who have an understanding of the times we are in and who will deal straight with the brothers and sisters.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Then Cometh the End--Day Certain 

And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. (Rev 9:15-16)

How many of us were taught that the timing of the Tribulation and the End of the World was totally dependent on each one of us as individuals and our effectiveness in spreading the Good News?  There is a magic number of Gentile believers known only to God, and when that magic number is reached—POOF!  We will all be raptured out of here in an instant.  Therefore, we have the ability to hasten or speed up the Second Coming by preaching the Gospel and getting sinners saved.

That is what I believed until the implications of Revelation 9:15 really began to “sink down in my ears.”  The fact of the matter is, there is a moment in time that has already been set, and that moment consists of an hour or time of day, on a certain day, of a certain month on a certain year that is known only to God.  At that moment, on that day, in that month of that year, the final slaughter will be unleashed.  It will result in the death of 1/3 of the population of the earth at that time.  That hour and day and month and year is already determined.  And that is without reference to anything else other than the predeterminate will and knowledge of God.

That is to say, God went ahead and made plans for the end of the world without any respect for how you thought it should work, or for your own interpretation or misinterpretation of Romans 11:25.

In Revelation 2 and 3 the then future history of the church age is laid out prophetically in seven periods, or “churches,” beginning with the Apostolic period of church history, followed in turn by the age of general persecution, the assimilation of Roman paganism into Western Christianity, the ascendancy of the papacy, the Reformation, the recovery of Premillennial, dispensational truth (the Fundamentalist movement), culminating in the Charismatic Renewal (the church associated with a desire for, if not the possession of, health, wealth, and prosperity, power, signs, and miracles).

The most significant facet of this outline is that there is nothing more to follow after the Charismatic Renewal as far as the timing of the End of the World goes.  This does not bode well for those who for some reason believe the Bible predicts a coming age of Great Revival prior to the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord (if you have any inkling what the scriptural basis for such a belief is, I would appreciate it if you would contact me at webmaster@midnightcry.net and explain it to me.  I am obviously at a loss to find anything in the Word of God that would lead me to believe there is a period of Great Revival yet to take place in the church before the end can come.

Some things that must transpire before the end include the revelation of the Son of Perdition, which requires the rebuilding of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, a great falling away (apostasy) in the church, and deception on a grand scale created by false signs and wonders that are being done in the name of Christ.  There is also a coming invasion of Israel by Russian and allies including Iran.  Write me and I’ll give you the scripture for each of these events.  

Other events that seem certain are the invasion of aliens in their space ships, nuclear attacks on the mainland of the United States with the sudden elimination of major cities, and mass executions of Christians and Jews in FEMA camps around the country.  Scripture can also be provided to support these claims, although not as convincingly as the events previously mentioned.

But there is far more scriptural support for an alien invasion than there is for a major Revival, local or worldwide, occurring before the end.

One thing is certain, now is our salvation than when we believed (Romans 13:11).  And it will happen a time certain, and at a time not so long from now.

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