To be perfectly honest, I am growing weary of the many voices I hear saying that the world makes no sense today. It makes perfect sense if one understands the proper eschatology or doctrine of the “last days.” The problem is that there is either little or no interest in the topic or it is being taught improperly. Why is it that even the History Channel, A & E, Discovery Network, etc. are paying more attention to it than the churches? In most churches it was shelved 20 years ago as “controversial,” “divisive”, and “gloom and doom.” What is gloom and doom about the fact that the King is coming? Hanging on to this “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) should be able to get the believer through most any trial.
Here’s why the world makes no sense to one whose eschatology is off base but makes perfect sense to those who understand God’s prophetic Word in the Bible. You cannot understand the rush to the one world, globalist system (Rev. 13 & 17); the Middle East conflict with Israel in the news daily; the decline of the culture (II Tim. 3); the foreshadowing of the one world religion/ecumenism now forming (Rev. 13 & 17); the massive apostasy or falling away from sound doctrine (II Thess. 2; I Tim. 4); the role of Europe and the old Roman Empire (Dan. 7); all nations having “distress with perplexity” (Luke 21); the incredible story of Israel today as foretold by a dozen prophets of old; the comparison of Noah’s day to ours (Matt. 24); the longing for peace and a “man of peace” with an accompanying cry of, “peace, peace, when there is no peace.” That’s the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even hit on all the signs of the end spelled out in II Timothy 3 with men being complete lovers of self, money, pleasure, proud, blasphemers, haters of good and God, and much more. And with Israel in the news daily, if one doesn’t place her on center stage past, present, and future, one also doesn’t understand why all the nations of the world, including America, are coming against her in the “end-times” (Zech. 12). Also men’s hearts failing them for fear for what is coming upon the earth (Luke 21) and the sea, the roaring waves, and nature out of control (Luke 21).
Let me run down with just a paragraph the false eschatology teachings flourishing today that are confusing people and further causing them to flee from prophecy. They fuel the argument that “You can’t know any of this for sure because there are many interpretations and we don’t know which one is true.”
LATTER RAIN, KINGDOM NOW, DOMINION THEOLOGY: These false teaching says that the church will perfect the world and thus usher in the Kingdom of God. As a result there will be a massive end-time revival (there may, indeed, be pockets of revival) but the “massive revival” only takes place during the Tribulation. Two world wars caused these theologies to diminish but they have resurfaced in the last 20 years in spite of 9/11 and other world disasters due to man’s evil nature.
PRETERISM: This has been made popular by some high-visibility teachers and it says all prophecy is history. It took place in 70 AD with the destruction of the saints. So you and I missed it and I ask, what are we doing here?? Nero was the antichrist, but died in 68 AD and wasn’t raised from the dead as the real antichrist will. But when you take Revelation as allegory and don’t take it literally, you come up with strange conclusions. There is no role for Israel present or future. We’re in the Millennium now. Some Preterists believe Jesus’ Second Coming is yet future and some believe it took place in 70 AD. It doesn’t get much stranger than this.
REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY: Only a few denominations don’t embrace this. It teaches that the Church is the new Israel. Her sins and lack of conversion to Christ cancelled out ALL the promises made to her. That should scare Christians. God could cancel out all His promises to the Church as well if this theology were sound. Again, all current events are going to get skewed as Israel is the focus of the world today one way or another. This will lead those who teach this (mainly Catholics and Mainline Protestants) to be pro-Palestinian and believe that Israel is beating up on them, even though there were no “Palestinians” or push for “Palestine” before the 1967 “Six Day War” when Arafat made it his pet project. Before that, Arabs in Israel were Jordanians, Egyptians, etc. but the myth of “Palestine” has stuck around and other than a few evangelicals, most buy into it.
AMILLENIALISM: This also says we’re in the Millennium since the cross and Satan was bound then and is bound now. But the Bible says he is still the “prince and power of the air” and still “roams about seeking whom he may devour.” They simply do not believe in the literal thousand-year reign of Christ on earth and many of the above theologies don’t either. There is no role for Israel present or future.
THE TRUTH: PREMILLENNIAL DISPENSATIONALISM: Sometimes I just call this “Left Behind” theology to make things simple, whether one likes the series of novels or not. With this theology Israel plays the key role present and future, there is a Rapture or snatching away of the church (the timing often debated and to be an in-house discussion, not cause for division), a literal antichrist, Battle of Armageddon, return of Christ with the saints, literal thousand-year Millennium with Jesus ruling out of Jerusalem, Satan bound, followed by the Eternal state. I am leaving out legions of detail due to space.
Many in all denominations that teach the false theology don’t buy into it to their credit.
How clever of the enemy to allow in these last days which also has little discernment the rise of false eschatalogical theologies to confuse people and turn them away from the topic! Bottom line: No, you cannot understand the times today without understanding the proper kind of eschatology. God designed prophecy, which is one-fourth of the Bible, to be a blue-print for us today to follow, watch the “signs of the times,” be encouraged to win the lost, and cause us to live more holy lives. He wanted prophecy to help us make sense of the senseless.
Please stand by ministries that stand for the truth as it concerns God’s prophetic Word! And when you see the signs listed above come to pass in a foreshadowing of what will be much greater, “Look up and know your redemption draws nigh” (Luke 21:28). Read the last chapter. Guess who wins? The remnant that hold to truth and sound biblical doctrine. In the meantime, “Occupy ’til He comes” (Luke 19:13).
(Jan Markell is founder/director of Olive Tree Ministries. To learn more or sign up for her e-mail alerts or print newsletter, visit the Web site, www.olivetreeviews.org.)