Friday, July 25, 2008


The end times and the rapture in particular generate countless volumes of speculative fiction – much of which goes under the name of “teaching”. Often these books stir up fear, attempting to drive people to God to escape what they say will happen to those “left behind”.

The issues of the rapture and the great tribulation will take care of themselves if we ensure we give Jesus the priority. Put Him first and we will have no reason to worry. Draw closer to Him and we will increase in the confidence that He will never forsake us.
Personally I am convinced that NO Christians will be raptured prior to the tribulation. I came to this conclusion after putting aside all the books and turning to the scriptures to study the subject for myself. What I found completely changed my previous pre-tribulation theology.

Does that cause me to be afraid of what may be in store for me should I still be alive when the great tribulation comes? I can’t say I would look forward to it – but when my confidence is in Jesus, why should I let fear rule my life?
One of the reasons the book of Revelation was given to the church was to encourage saints who suffer extreme persecution, in particular those who will suffer the greatest persecution immediately prior to Jesus’ return.

In Revelation, alongside the trouble on earth, we are shown the glory of God in His heaven and that HE remains in control. We are shown how those martyred during the tribulation will be taken from earth to be with Him – and those who continue to suffer through this time, without the release given by death, can be encouraged by the joy of knowing that Jesus Himself will be returning VERY SOON. In fact the length of this whole period is continually reinforced – it will be only three and a half years!
Imagine how you would feel at this very moment if you could know for sure that Jesus would be returning in three and a half years time and all uncertainty of how long we have to wait for Him was removed.

And this is the big difference between most books about end times and the scriptures. The books create a sense of fear while the scriptures give encouragement and a sense of joyous expectation. The scriptures prepare us to be ready to welcome the Lord and inform us that believers will be reigning with Him after His return. And it is significant that those who have suffered during the great tribulation get SPECIAL mention among those who will reign with Jesus during the millennium.

Many people put their trust in books about the end times because of the perceived difficulties of understanding biblical end time prophecy. Unfortunately these books are more likely to result in confusion and the adoption of false doctrine.
Personally, I would recommend that BEFORE people turn to the teaching and ideas of others regarding end time prophecy – that they study the basics for themselves, relying ONLY on the Holy Spirit’s teaching from scripture. Recognise that the scriptures were not written for theologians, or for those with exclusive insight. The scriptures were written for us – the every day believer.
Start with the plain, simplest and most straight forward interpretation of what you read. If there’s something that seems to difficult to understand, come back to it AFTER you’ve built a foundation of what you CAN understand.
My suggestion would be to start with the prophecies of Jesus - such as Matthew 24. This gives a good basic frame work.

When you get to Revelation, don’t get overwhelmed by the symbolism. Too much concern about the things we don’t understand can lead to us forcing an interpretation upon the text. Ask the Holy Spirit for understanding, then put our questions aside and allow Him to do the teaching. The answers may not come as quickly as we like – but that usually means we need to learn something else first. (In school we couldn’t tackle mathematical problems until we’d come to grips with basic arithmetic.)

Most of the confusion with end time prophecy has come because we’ve followed the teaching of man rather than the teaching of the Holy Spirit. My own introduction to the subject was via books like Lindsay’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” – today many are introduced by La Haye’s novels.

ALL of those things need to be ignored. The BIBLE should be our only written source of doctrine.

When I put away all of the books and teachings of men and did my own bible study; firstly I found that it wasn’t as complicated as I’d been led to believe, and secondly I had to change my beliefs significantly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Most interesting! I've noticed that several articles on Google reinforce, with recently found historical evidence, what you have stated. They include "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," "Famous Rapture Watchers," and "Walvoord's Posttrib Varieties - Plus." Arthur