End-time Bible prophecy is perhaps the most debated topic in all of scripture among Christians. Healthy debate is expected, given the multiplicity of denominational backgrounds and varying levels of Bible knowledge. While differing views about the end-times can be a good thing, there is a dangerous unbiblical precedent being set. Bible prophecy is being attacked from within the church. Let’s look at the deception that Jesus and the apostles warned us would come (Jude 1:17-19).
I have noted in past articles that what makes false teaching so dangerous is that it is mingled with truth. If you want to deceive someone, you don’t blatantly deny scripture; instead, you twist it and teach it out of context. This is exactly what a growing number of leaders are doing in their attempt to negate end-time prophecy (2 Peter 3:3-12).
In the New York Times Bestseller The Purpose Driven Life, here is what was written about Bible prophecy: “If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy. It’s easy to get distracted and sidetracked from your mission because Satan would rather have you do anything besides sharing your faith.”
The Purpose Driven Life labeled prophecy as a distraction, so I want to make a distinction between sensationalism and sound end-time teaching because there is a vast difference. True distractions are marked by nonsense such as: Trying to figure out who the antichrist is. Setting dates and making predictions that aren’t fulfilled (false prophets). Correlating every global event with prophecy (think Y2K). Proliferating conspiracy theories, Illuminati connections, and blood-moon hype all to create a narrative that draws attention to oneself and away from Jesus. This usually has much to do with making a profit, not with presenting the gospel.
What I’m addressing here is something completely different. It is the all-out assault on end-time Bible prophecy proliferated by a growing number of leaders in the church. When these people call Bible prophecy a distraction or make fun of it, they aren’t calling out the sensational; they are maligning the Word of God.
There is a recently published book I want to mention. Unraptured: How End Times Theology Gets It Wrong by Zack Hunt is a blend of memoir and diatribe against end-time Bible prophecy. Hunt paints an unfair and slanderous view of Christians who study Bible prophecy.
While The Purpose Driven Life calls Bible prophecy a distraction, Unraptured goes a step further and calls the rapture an invention. I’m not talking about Christians agreeing to disagree about the timing of the rapture, because that’s not what’s being said. The book says the rapture is an invention and it’s nowhere in the Bible.
The word Trinity isn’t there either but anyone with a basic grasp of biblical doctrine understands references to God the Father, Son and Spirit are woven throughout scripture. The word rapture won’t be found but the Greek word harpazo is there. It’s clearly a catching away and taken by force (rapture) in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. It’s one thing to deny what the Bible plainly teaches; it’s another thing to deceive others.
When it comes to evangelism, the book Unraptured asserts: “We must make sure to keep our focus on loving them as an end in itself. We have to make sure we don’t objectify them as potential converts. This assertion clearly contradicts the great commission.”
Here is what Hunt writes regarding salvation: “It (Revelation) was written to people like them (impoverished families in Nicaragua), people in need of salvation, not from eternity in hell, but the hell of this life-the hell of poverty, oppression, and injustice.” He goes on to write: “Salvation is communal and so is the apocalypse. It’s something that happens to and through all of us.”
That isn’t the repentance and salvation that Jesus preached in Matthew 4:17 or that Peter preached in Acts 2:38 when the crowd of convicted sinners in Jerusalem asked, “What must we do?”
The fact that books like The Purpose Driven Life and Unraptured trash end-time Bible prophecy is very telling because when they do, they contradict what Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets said about it.
When the disciples asked Jesus about his coming and the close of the age in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, He told them to be alert, stay awake, and be ready. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul affirms the rapture and tells us to be informed and encouraged. In 2 Timothy 3:1-9, Paul warns of spiritual conditions in the last days and affirms all scripture. Finally, in 2 Peter 3:11, he exhorts us to holy living, waiting for and hastening the coming Day of God.
Here’s what Spurgeon wrote about end-time prophecy: “Brethren, no truth ought to be more frequently proclaimed, next to the first coming of the Lord, than his second coming.”
A.W. Tozer wrote the following about Bible prophecy: “The point of Bible prophecy isn’t to alarm us but to alert us to the circumstances leading up to the Lord’s return. This alertness spurs us on to be ready, and the Bible says a lot on how to be ready for his return.” -Tozer, Preparing for Jesus’ Return
Many churches have become emerging, ecumenical, seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven country clubs with programs and pep-talks galore, but no mention of God’s holiness, sin, judgment, repentance, or atonement. All while ignoring, deriding, and scoffing at Bible prophecy which accounts for approximately 27% of scripture.
I’m not here to attack these men but to warn you about them and their deceptive teachings. We live in a day when almost everything passes for sound doctrine if it seems spiritual enough. But our standard can’t be man’s opinions, no matter how popular, hip, or relevant they may seem.
Love is the sum total of all we do as believers, and it is to abound more and more with all knowledge and discernment (Philippians 1:9).
God bless you as you evangelize, disciple, and care for the least of these in Jesus’ name. Maranatha!
All for Him,