Prophecy Update

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148 Responses

  1. Amill here. Makes the most sense out of the most data. Also, you don’t need charts, graphs, an easel, and a hotline to the Pentagon to explain it.

  2. Michael says:

    Jason,
    I can safely say after hearing the exposition last night that you and I will split hell wide open. 🙂
    Shout out coming shortly for your new article…

  3. Ha ha! And thanks, every bit of press helps.

  4. Went to lunch, read this and thought “Michael is a glutton for punishment today.”
    I have no fixed eschatology beyond “Jesus is coming back” much more open to viewpoints from years of false prophecy by pretribs.
    This is not meant to denounce the pretrib position or all people who hold it. Just meant to explain my own non position.
    I am more favorable to amill than I used to be.

  5. Michael says:

    Derek,

    I might be 😉
    It’s an important issue though…I’ve received multitudes of emails over the years from people questioning the whole faith because of bad teaching on eschatology.

  6. As you may guess, I don’t think of this as a secondary issue (something that is never defined) and i don’t think that my dispensationalist friends think of it as a secondary issue either.
    1.) I think it is primary in the fact as you stated above, these Rapture fans read the bible improperly – they always, and I mean always ignore what Jesus and the apostles said that the OT prophecies meant. Let me repeat – not sometimes, everytime. Brothers and Sisters, this is not a secondary issue.
    2.) Dispensationalists themselves do not consider this a secondary issue. Try this – tell them since eschatology is a secondary issue, for the sake of our conversation let’s talk as if Israel has no place in prophetic history … they won’t

  7. Michael says:

    I do believe that it’s a vital, but secondary issue.
    The lines drawn in the lecture i listened to (and have heard a hundred times before) make it clear that it’s a primary issue to many.

  8. jtk says:

    “Two hours as well of invitations to join the church on their next trip to Israel…I’m sure brochures and pricing will be available soon.”

    Anybody else think it’s a problem that whoever leads the trip gets to go for free while the sheep pay?

    I’d put my end-times chart up here, but it’s sooooo complicated and my hand writing is soooo bad that you wouldn’t be able to understand it….

    so I’ll just defer to the Rapture Ready index that implies that Jesus’ return is somehow tied to US unemployment figures, inflation and interest rates…..http://www.raptureready.com/rap2.html

  9. Michael says:

    jtk,

    Of course it is…Jesus takes His cues from American evangelicalism.

  10. My end times chart can be hand drawn by anyone. Read Matt 25:31-46 and start charting – from the lips of Jesus. 🙂

  11. Papias says:

    Eschatology has its place – Jesus is coming back, and no man knows the day or the hour. Honestly, I haven’ studied it in some time, and I doubt that I will have much time in the near future. I got my set of Jonathan Edwards books and downloaded Packers lectures on Ephesians, so I’m going to be tired enough at the end of the day with those!

    Michael – I hope that you are well and that you interview was productive!

  12. erunner says:

    I would be more interested in hearing from men like Dave Rolph concerning this topic than the stuff you sat through Michael. I spent thirty years listening to prophecy updates and all that goes with it. I spent my early years as a believer evangelizing using the rapture as a big focal point.

    I’ve seen too many mistakes made as to prophecy and the rapture that I’ve arrived at the point I’m not sure what I believe other than trying to walk daily with God and to be a witness through my life. I shy away from end times stuff now as I want to focus elsewhere.

    For the life of me to see how divisive this topic is among believers is very disheartening.

  13. Michael says:

    Papias,

    Thank you…we’ll see if they call back…

  14. FWIW, here’s the amill scenario (and please, try to keep up):

    Christ could return at any moment, at which time he will resurrect/judge all people, sending them to one of two eternal locations. The end.

  15. Michael says:

    erunner,

    Dave would probably have a much more nuanced and much less accusatory take than I heard.
    The difference is education…the guy I listened to had obviously never read a thing outside of his own tradition.

  16. erunner says:

    Michael, a bit off topic but I read that N.T. Wright has a unique take on what happens to our spirit/soul after we die. If I recall he doesn’t believe we go immediately to be with the Lord but rather into a type of sleep. This is something I’ve never heard of. Is this unique to him and did I misrepresent his belief??

  17. Nonnie says:

    So Hubby and I wondering who waxed on for 2 hours about Israel. 😀

  18. Yes, I am wondering to – I want to applaud him for holding it down to 2 hours. 🙂

  19. Michael says:

    erunner,

    Here is Wrights view on the intermediate state…I think it’s biblical.
    http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Rethinking_Tradition.htm

  20. Michael says:

    Nonnie, MLD,

    I have some friends who enjoyed the talk immensely and it would insult them to put the name up on a critical article.
    I only wanted to insult the preacher… 🙂

  21. erunner says:

    Thanks Michael.

  22. erunner says:

    How about letting us guess Michael. All you have to do is say warm or cold!! :mrgreen:

  23. Josh Hamrick says:

    Is he…bigger than a bread basket?

  24. Michael says:

    Waaaaaay bigger…. 🙂

  25. CrucifiED says:

    I remember the stink surrounding Jon Courson when he did the communion service at CCSPC several years ago. I listened to the audio of that service and nothing he said bothered me even though I was a steeped in the CC culture at the time.

    But, I haven’t heard anything about him since then. I remember he used to be at almost every pastors and mens conference I went to for years until that communion service happened. Then after that, everyone stopped even mentioning the guys name as if we were all going to pretend we haven’t just spent all those years with Jon Courson.

    It’s one of the many events that started to change my mind about CC. I just don’t want to be a part of a group of Christians who will so easily erase you from their ministries and memories if there is a problem. We’ve all seen that happen over and over to so many people over the smallest of problems and/or disagreements.

  26. Xenia says:

    Amil here.

    I think they should be required to play the tape of last year’s Prophecy Update to see if any of the stuff they said actually happened.

  27. CrucifiED says:

    Michael, I’ve heard so little about Courson since that day. What were you sensing about his eucharistic views from the service you were watching last night?

  28. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I wish I could go back and review ten years of updates and do just that…

  29. Michael says:

    CrucifiED,

    I don’t want to judge based on one viewing, but it sounded somewhere between the Lutheran and Reformed view…it certainly wasn’t anywhere close to a memorial view.
    He was pretty clear that we really encounter Christ in the Supper…

  30. Tim says:

    For what it’s worth, I’m very pre-mill/pre-trib, but I’m always hesitant to do prophecy updates. In our 9 years as a church fellowship, I’ve only led one…and that was by request. We did have a New Year’s service last night (being that it fell on Wednesday night), and instead of making it a prophecy update, we had a prayer service. We looked at the prayer of the early church in Acts 4:23-31, being reminded of (1) our culture’s growing opposition to the gospel, (2) the ongoing work of the church that still needs to be done, (3) God’s equipping of the church through the Holy Spirit.

    We went on from there to break into small groups and spend time in prayer for our church, our community, our nation, and our world.

    I enjoyed it far more than the prophecy update – and the added bonus is that we still got to pray for Jesus’ soon return for the church. 🙂

    (By the way…congratulations Michael on 10 years!)

  31. Michael says:

    Tim,

    Thanks!
    Sounds like a very good way to bring in the New Year!

  32. Papias says:

    I don’t know about others, but when I attended CCCM in the young adult days, going to the Prophecy Update on New Years eve was just the Christian thing to do, kind of like Sat night at Harvest Crusade.

    Courson was heir apparent to the throne(like he had any chance against Brian), so to speak,for CCCM, until all the kerfluffle over his emergent(ness) of communion. So you can be CC if you hold to the same views on eschatology… and leadership….and communion…and ? Other than that, you can believe just about anything…. 😉

  33. I don’t see the problem with the CC ‘authorities’ taking issue with Courson’s view. I would think if some pastor in the LCMS publicly held to a memorial view that his Lutheran card would be revoked.

  34. Kevin H says:

    Here is my Prophecy Update:

    I quote Michael on the first comment of the Happy New Year thread, “My New Years resolution is to remember to turn on the comments before I publish…”

    I prophesy that Micheal will fail at this resolution in a very soon fashion (hint, hint, check the “My New Years Wish” thread). 🙂

  35. Papias says:

    But MLD… CC is not a denomination…. 😉

    There’s no card to carry in CC… you just don’t get asked to show up anymore.

    But you just may be getting cranky. 😉

  36. Hmm, I defend CC and I get accused of being cranky? It must show how rare a defense on a single point is.

    I don’t know why Jon doesn’t just leave … I did when i was teaching at CC and caught myself teaching truth. 😉

  37. parker says:

    Michael,

    Are his initials J.H.?

  38. My jury is out. I want to be pre-trib, but I lean toward pre-wrath. Prophecy updates are worthless, IMNSHO. I boil it all down to trusting that Jesus will return because He said He would.

  39. Jim says:

    Amil here. Come Lord Jesus.

  40. Josh Hamrick says:

    I’m strictly “Left Behind”ist.

  41. We’re here at least another 20,000 years, we keep learning from our mistakes, step up, put our faith into action by personally living according to Jesus as we know Him from the 4 gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, clinging to Him, having families, aging, dying, influencing our contemporaries, winning by showing those outside our faith what eternal, age abiding love really looks like…

    …we continue until He personally returns for each of us, or if he decides to shake the Etch-A-Sketch and do something new.

    this is the surest eschatology I can subscribe to

  42. ” we keep learning from our mistakes”

    LOL, do you want to talk about Afghanistan, Iraq?

  43. CrucifiED says:

    MLD, I don’t know for sure but Courson may not still be a part of CC. If he is, nobody will refer to him as a CC feller anymore. Like I said, he was being shut outside after that service.

    I’m from the midwest and he used to come out here and to the east coast frequently to speak until after that happened. Now it’s like, “Jon who?”. I even had one pastor tell me Courson was gone from Calvary after that, a pastor who works closely with all the important ones of CC. Although, I don’t think he was right about that. He may have spoke to soon.

    I don’t agree with CC or Courson’s doctrinal slants anymore but I do have to say that Jon Courson spoke more than a few messages at those conferences that really helped me through some tough times.

  44. CrucifiED says:

    I never had a problem with what Courson said at that service. I was a CC pastor at the time and didn’t think it was any thing far off from how we always observed communion. At CC we were always quoting the, “where two or more are gathered” scriptures for prayer meetings and communion services.

    As I became a Lutheran learning their view on the presence of Christ, it didn’t take much for me to be OK with that because it didn’t seem all that different than what we were quoting from scripture about our communion services at CC.

    In other words, I understand CC’s having disagreements with transubstantiation, but not so much with the presence of Christ. Sure, a couple of theological thinkers could argue all the technicalities of the subject, but overall it’s not a severe difference between a memorial service where we proclaim the presence of Christ is with us because 2 or 3 are gathered here.

  45. CrucifiED,
    There is more to the difference in the supper between the memorial and the real presence. When Jesus says that he will be with us when 2 or 3 are gathered, how does that happen? is Jesus there spiritually? Is he there physically? How does that work?

  46. Ian Elsasser says:

    Michael,

    I am amillennial and King Jesus and the kingdom are central!

    I don’t do prophecy updates nor do I tune in to them. Those who do them should stop; it would be more beneficial to the kingdom, the church and the world!

  47. Michael says:

    I had to step out for awhile…
    Courson is very well respected among many of the bigger CC names…he can pretty much be in and out as he pleases.

  48. Michael says:

    Ian,

    My concern is that we throw the baby out with the bath water…there is much to glean form a good study in eschatology.

  49. “LOL, do you want to talk about Afghanistan, Iraq?”

    …like I said, 20,000 years, and I am talking about Jesus’ followers

  50. Dude says:

    Hi Micheal
    The main foundation of our common faith is Jesus…..who do you I am.Rapture mania is not.Being a former Calvary Chapelite this kind of nonsense leavese me irked ,spending 2 or more hours bible bombing others over a nonesental .By the way I stand by Pre wrath…Pre trib.

  51. Michael says:

    Dude,

    I was really surprised that there was no talk of the kingdom of God or that Christ was ruling and reigning even now…it was a two hour worship of Israel.
    I made a note not to do this next year… 🙂

  52. parker says:

    I see my question went unanswered …… mmm hhmmm. That’s what I thought.

    😉

  53. Linnea says:

    parker…fill us in…who is JH?

  54. Intrigued by the premise … FIND A GOOD REPRESENTATIVE OF THE VIEW… I notice it was a vain pursuit. I applaud the checklist of the obvious errors in the view.

    As a devoted amillennialist I have to say that anyone who believes the kingdom is present finds eschatology front and center to their faith. It is the essence of how I live the Christian life, how I interpret politics, how I discern ethical choices and how I confront trauma and drama. Since the age to come has been inaugurated in this age I am obsessed with embracing all that it means. This is also vital to my embrace of the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit since they constitute the power of the age to come but also strangely will become irrelevant when faith becomes sight.

    As for Courson and his quasi-sacramental view of the supper…. welcome aboard. My Catholic friend and critic told me he virtually agrees with my description of the supper. Now that being said I do not embrace all that he says about the supper.

    As for premil-pretrib I am sorry I have never heard a description of it that sounds anything like scripture itself. It is a view that no one could come to by themselves reading scripture while the simplicity of the amillennial view makes it a failsafe position. Now historic premil is a view that one might come into just by the difficulty of understanding Rev 20 but a very small amount of turning the lens rescues one from it.

    I might add as a postscript that it is amusing to see the times when Michael eschews naming people and when he robustly exclaims them. Usually relationships are in the weeds maybe universally.

  55. Neo says:

    CC end times teaching is largely going with Chuck Smith and Dave Hunt. Tied too closely to the Fox News crowd, it mainly finds it’s relevance in places like Idaho and with groups like Seniors and maybe Senõrs.

  56. Neo says:

    Taking an honest approach to Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 rather than a sensationalistic one might be the way to go from here on out.

  57. Steve Wright says:

    We had a New Year’s Eve Service. We worshipped in song for 30-35 minutes, I shared my opinion that the least covered news story of the year was the execution of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and that we must be aware of what it means to follow Christ in most of the world – made a connection to Smyrna and how there was no earthly promise for an earthly deliverance….then encouraged us to walk through whatever open doors the Lord has for us in 2014 – to keep His word and not deny His name (i.e. Philadelphia) no matter the cost. Reminded us all that life is not about this world and life, read Matthew’s account of the crucifixion and had communion together – closed in another time of worship in song. Dismissed and then hung out and ate and fellowshipped for an hour or two.

  58. Michael and I would have enjoyed Steve’s service and fellowship.

  59. Steve,
    That sounded like a most excellent service.

  60. Ian Elsasser says:

    Michael,

    A good study of eschatology is good but is that what “prophet updates” are about? What’s being “updated”?

  61. Ian,

    If I catch your drift, as a charismatic believer, prophets use the beginning of the year as a time to make declarations for the new year. The track record on these updates is about the same as that of the ‘prophecy updates’ of the premil crowd. Both groups start with current events and both prognosticate the significance and future. Neither ever admit error nor are the discouraged by the past when predicting the future.

  62. One problem that I have never been able to get around in the Amill position is the two resurrections that they seem to always combine into one. That millennium in between is sort of inconvenient for their position.
    Hey, just because I am more favorable, doesn’t mean I don’t see weak spots.

  63. What is to ‘update’ about a prophecy? It is either fulfilled or unfulfilled.

    So, it seems to me the speaker would say – “OK, this one in Isaiah, still unfulfilled as it was last year. This one from Zechariah, still unfulfilled as it was last year. OK, this one about false teachers, fulfilled, just as it was last year and every year.”

    Are some claiming that there is such a thing as a half fulfilled prophecy??? That would be mega strange.

  64. Derek, it depends on what you see as the 1st resurrection

    Read John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” – this is the 1st resurrection

    Jesus in the next verse says “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”

    When we come to Christ, that is the 1st resurrection.

    I hope Jesus cleared it up for you. 🙂

  65. Ian Elsasser says:

    errunner,

    RE: #16

    Tom Wright doesn’t hold to soul sleep. He has rejected the view in writing.

    His view is that at death believers are with Christ and conscious but that this is not the goal, rather, resurrection from the dead to live on a renewed earth. He has spoken out against North American fundamentalism and evangelicalism which speaks as though “going off to heaven” is the goal, ignoring or downplaying resurrection. His meme is “life after life after death.”

    Aventists, Christadelphians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. hold to soul sleep. A better term is “conditional immortality” which is the view I hold. Many mainstream and evangelicals hold this minority view of death.

  66. Neo says:

    I think….Jesus gave us prophecy that’s been 99% fulfilled….He left just 1% to keep future generations on our toes. 😉

  67. Sorry MLD, but a few verses down makes it seem a bit more complex than that.

    Hey, not downing your view, just saying I have yet to see a position that doesn’t have some possible flaws in it.

  68. Ian Elsasser says:

    BD,

    RE: your #62

    I must have the wrong activity in mind, then. I thought it was a “premil crowd” update rather than prophetic utterances (though the latter are many times premillennial, though I recognize there is diversity). Though if the utterances fail each year, then it could use a good critique, holding speaker and words accountable. The danger is many will discount prophetic utterances in total rather than trying them and holding the good while rejecting bad.

  69. CrucifiED says:

    MLD, I do understand the differences. It’s just that as I learned to be Lutheran and understand their view of the presence of Christ in communion, it wasn’t a shock to my spiritual understanding since we were always declaring the presence of Christ with us at CC during every prayer meeting or communion service because of that scripture.

    So, yes, there is a lot of discussion that can be had about the nature of that presence but it wasn’t a severe leap for me to go from CC into the Lutheran communion service. In other words, when I heard Jon’s message from the pastors conference, before I parted ways with CC’s teachings, I wasn’t alarmed at all by anything he said. I guess I didn’t have enough discernment. : )

  70. CrucifiED says:

    MLD, what was your email address again if you don’t mind me asking?

  71. DavidH says:

    I’ve not listened to a “prophecy update” in years. I’ll bet I could find an old tape of one of Chuck Smith’s “updates” and it would be virtually the same, except for the dates. I’ve grown weary of each worship service ending with something along the lines of “we are living in the endtimes,” “we are in spiritual overtime,” etc.

    I’m still working out my eschatology.

  72. My view? Jesus is coming back. Saw a bumper sticker once that said: “Jesus is coming soon. Look busy.”

  73. CrucifiED
    mld1517at yahoo dot com

    this is also for anyone who wants to email me.

  74. erunner says:

    Ian @ 66… Thanks for taking the time to respond. I read about his views for the first time while observing Advent through December. As it was shared it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Thanks again.

  75. Ian,

    I think you understood the original … I interjected the other kind because I thought you were interjecting it.

  76. filbertz says:

    “prophesy update” is an oxymoron.

    sat through months of them with courson in the past…don’t miss them at all. Perhaps communion, regardless of the trappings, was a wiser use of the time.

  77. Steve W., we didn’t have a New Year’s Eve service this year. I wish I would have made the 6 hour drive to CCLE.

  78. Courson may have been blacklisted by some CC guys, but not all. He filled in at Harvest after Greg Laurie’s son died. He has spoken at CC Ft. Lauderdale and just last year spoke at a men’s retreat for a CC here in Arizona.

  79. Ian Elsasser says:

    erunner, your welcome. I have read enough of his books and articles to understand his view.

    Dread, thanks for the clarification and the additional insight on the other practice. We have prophetic words uttered in our gatherings but don’t have the kind of events you describe.

  80. Ian Elsasser says:

    your welcome = you’re welcome

  81. brian says:

    for what its worth I dont think Jesus ever left in any practical sense. I see Him everyday I go to work, come here, and walk down the street. Our personal “end times” is only one lifetime away, I always found that sobering.

  82. Pretty much agree with brian

  83. Ixtlan says:

    Pre-millennial. Makes the most sense biblically and you don’t need charts or graphs. Most of the early church fathers were pre-millennial. I do not know whether pre, mid, post or pre-wrath, but definitely pre-millennial.

  84. Ixtlan.
    You are correct to a point. However,pre-millennial and pre-millennial dispensational are nothing alike and have nothing in common except ‘pre millennial’ in their name.

    The historical pre mil position has no rapture, no Daniel’s 70th week, and none of the Israel stuff.

    What they do have in common is the error that Jesus will set up a 1,000 yr period to sit on David’s throne – which Peter clearly denies in Acts 2.

  85. Ixtlan says:

    mld,
    Take a closer look.

    Irenaeus (Against Heresies 5.25) and Hippolytus (On the Anti-Christ 43) both saw a gap between the 69th and 70th week with 70th week taking place at the end of history just prior to the return of Christ. Both were pre-millennial but not dispensational.

  86. Ixtlan says:

    just reread my comments on #84.
    The early fathers were pre-millennial and what we would call today post-trib.
    My comment; ” I do not know whether pre, mid, post or pre-wrath, but definitely pre-millennial” was expressing my own view, not that of the early fathers.

  87. Mark says:

    Jon Courson has not been blacklisted by anyone. He cut down his travel for a season- but now that his boys have pretty much taken reign of his home church he travels and speaks at CC conferences regularly. I don’t know how this nonsense gets started- but unless you are currently plugged into CC you should not try to make judgments about CC.

  88. Mark says:

    Further- Pastor Jon Courson does not hold an emergent or Eucharistic view of Communion. He has preached communion at our church- our pastor got saved at Applegate- and Jon only states that we must be careful not to downplay the importance of communion. Jon points out that it was important enough for Jesus to establish it- and we shouldnt just “downplay” it as a mere memorial. He believes there is a mystery in Communion that goes beyond just a memorial- but he has never mentioned transubstantiation or any other liturgical view. He just places a sacredness to the ceremony that other CCs may not emphasize.

  89. Mark says:

    At one point Lighthouse Trails spread a false rumor about numerous CC pastors “walking out” of a conference when Jon preached communion. That never happened and the myth was debunked.

  90. Bob says:

    “Our personal “end times” is only one lifetime away, I always found that sobering.”

    This is a truth that everyone should get a hold of. I often teach everyone has, “and and to their age,” and while the prophetic maybe talking about the end of the age of sin ruling over humanity there is a practical “end of the age.” for all of us.

    When I got a hold of this two things happened in my life:

    1. I stopped worrying or debating the pre, mid, post or other theories of eschatology, because they really don’t matter to the individual.

    2. I realized the importance of learning and teaching people the story of the scriptures, about people who lived with, walked with and ignored the God of creation.

    3. Finally life walking in the ways of God, following the path of Jesus isn’t about getting to heaven at all (that is a benefit however).

    4. The gospel isn’t about me.

    Thanks Michael!

  91. Bob says:

    OK I added two more and I’m sure there are many more things.

    Thanks again

  92. “Our personal “end times” is only one lifetime away, I always found that sobering.”

    Hmmm, odd view of the end times. Our death and being in the presence of the Lord is not “our end times” nor is it the planned end times.That just puts us in an intermediate state.

    The resurrection of my body from the grave is the important end times event for any believer.

  93. Muff Potter says:

    About 5 years ago I heard Courson on KWVE (CC radio). For most of the air-spot he rattled and railed about the evils of even a good Chianti with your favorite pasta and pasta sauce. I’m wondering if the almost Islamic aversion to alcohol even in moderate amounts will eventually evaporate now that the beloved leader (Smith) has gone on to be with he Lord.

  94. Bob says:

    MLD

    After reading a lot of brian’s posts I believe there is quite a difference in many aspects of his theology and doctrines I may disagree with, but on the subject you commented on I agree with him.

    However, may I point this out; what is “sobering” to me is the day my eyes close for the last time is the day I stop living in a life that struggles with all the junk of this age and enters into the presence of Jesus, Messiah and Lord. I too understand and look to the hope of the day when bodily resurrection happens, as you state.

    Now if that “sobering” moment is really a state of fear, fear that I didn’t “believe” right, live right, know the right doctrine or just plain fear of death, then yes you are correct, something is missing.

    While I live, walk and exist in His Kingdom today, I only do it as looking in that dim and dirty mirror. It is only part of what is to come, a down payment on the promise of what is to come.

    But my age ends in either two events, the day I die or the day (and I haven’t closed my physical eyes for the last time) He returns in all His glory!

    I look forward to either day, but today has enough troubles and it isn’t over yet.

    So what eschatology really matters?

  95. Bob says:

    Muff

    “I’m wondering if the almost Islamic aversion to alcohol even in moderate amounts will eventually evaporate now that the beloved leader (Smith) has gone on to be with he Lord.”

    The good news is we don’t live in a republic which has such laws, in fact I’ll bet for you tokers out there someone is setting up tours to Colorado and Washington State where weed is now legal for non-medical enjoyment.

    I wonder how that applies to “end times?”

  96. “So what eschatology really matters?”

    I guess in the end, to be on the sheep side of the divide! 🙂

  97. Dave says:

    If pastors would simply interpret events in scripture as to whom it was written to and not only to whom may be blessed by reading it thousands of years later; we could avoid 90% of this pre trib sensationalist Zionistic nonsense. I hear some evangelical pastors joke about seminary being “cemetery”, while reaping all the benefits of men who studied deeply to advance Christianity from apostles to creeds, to councils and to ultimately reclaim the gospel in the reformation and translate the bible into English, so I guess you cant expect them to really care much about history or scholarship….

  98. Muff Potter says:

    Dave @ # 98,
    Well said. In my opinion, not every jot and tittle of Scripture has to have an absolute application for today, some are granite blocks and some are grains of salt. You might enjoy reading The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark A. Noll. In it he argues that this mindset is not much more than 40-45 years old and almost exclusively American in origin.

  99. Xenia says:

    Even amil folks can get all caught up in current events. We may not believe in the several-stage return of Christ that the Rapture people hold to be we do believe the world will get worse and worse, culminating in the rise of Anti-christ and so on. We see omens and portents in slightly different things but we still see them.

  100. If pastors would simply interpret events in scripture as to whom it was written to and not only to whom may be blessed by reading it thousands of years later; we could avoid 90% of this pre trib sensationalist Zionistic nonsense

    Agreed!

  101. Xenia says:

    As far as projecting obscure passages from the OT into today’s world, I think Christians have always done this, especially mystics, be they genuine or wanna-bees. I think the Dispensationalists are unique in formalizing this into a coherent, albeit very convoluted, theology. The Zionist aspect is a unique addition to the soup.

  102. I agree with Xenia’s #100 – heck Harold Camping was an Amil guy.

  103. Xenia says:

    If you want to hear some wild end-times conspiracy theories, head to your closest Orthodox monastery and you will hear some things that make the Rapture Ready folks look calm and reasonable!

  104. Muff Potter says:

    Xenia @ # 104,
    Chuck Missler is no slouch either. He’ll sell you DVDs with everything from ‘Bible Codes’ to Vatican conspiracies with Lucifer & UFOs.

  105. Ixtlan says:

    @98. Good points Dave

  106. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I’m pre warth rapture, I also believe in a thousand year reign of Christ here on earth

  107. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Wrath

  108. SolRod,
    “I also believe in a thousand year reign of Christ here on earth” – can you show me that in the NT?

    I always thought when Paul was giving his great Israel speech in Romans 9-11 that would have been a great place for him to mention it.- or that Stephen would have mentioned it in his Acts speech.

  109. Like I said earlier, the whole thousand year period is one of the reasons I would probably never go Amill.

    See I would rather let John interpret John on that matter. The verse that MLD brought up earlier (and the ones also in the context) seem to be better expanded upon by reading Revelations as a bit more in depth on the matter to me of the Millenium.

    Heck and the church I was brought up in was Amill.
    But, they hardly ever taught on it so I delved myself and foolishly fell into too much Pretrib stuff in the 90’s.

    It is good to get older and wiser.

    Going to study up on the Early Church Father’s views, maybe some PreMill without all the current events that eventually embarrass would be refreshing.

    But. like I said, It will probably be sometime before I ever adopt a view on the matter.

  110. Steve Wright says:

    I think the Bible was written for me…and for that matter, for you all too.

  111. Derek, there is nothing in the scriptures that connects the 1,000 yrs to an earthly reign of Jesus on earth … not a thing.

  112. Okay, MLD
    Not looking for an argument.

  113. Derek, me neither – it’s just that that lack of connection should be what drives you to amil … not away from it. 🙂

  114. David says:

    Steve; I agree totally!
    But “For” and “To” make all the difference in the world when specific people are addressed in letter form.

  115. Steve Wright says:

    David. I believe in exegesis which as you know speaks foremost to the original author to the original audience in the original language.

    I also think that eschatology is a valid part today of any systematic theology..one part..but a valid one. And so if the verses at issue are eschatological, not sure how much advantage the original audience had over us today.

    I would counter by saying if the church today would be willing to budge on traditional beliefs of the past when it comes to eschatology, grant the possibility that maybe the early church (and later believers through the centuries) had some big issues to deal with by God’s grace and leading when it comes to Christology, Pneumatology and the like – so that Eschatology was a little further down the totem pole…

    Well..at least it would stop what I think is the most ridiculous hermeneutic today, namely that Israel, as a nation, hated by the world, surrounded by enemies, peace talks in the highest levels of every government as to Jerusalem…..that all of this has ZERO, not one lick of prophetic significance or direct Scriptural relevance to any prophecy…New or Old Testaments.

  116. “that all of this has ZERO, not one lick of prophetic significance or direct Scriptural relevance to any prophecy…New or Old Testaments.”

    A terrifying thought I am sure for the rapture crowd. 🙂

  117. Michael says:

    The most ridiculous hermeneutic today is the one that condemns and mocks people who don’t hold to a pre trib rapture.
    I believe Israel has a place in Bible prophecy…but those who don’t are trying to be every bit as “biblical” as I am.

  118. Xenia says:

    A Calvary Chapel pastor told me a few years ago that The Great Apostasy (“The”) was not believing in Christian Zionism.

    Craziest thing I ever heard.

  119. Ixtlan says:

    As to Israel, the Old Testaments prophets, particularly Isaiah and Jeremiah have much to say about a future time of fulfillment where the Messiah reigns (hasn’t happened yet) over the nations from Zion (that would be Jerusalem). These prophecies are not spiritual only, but material. They were not fulfilled at the return of the Jews from Babylonian exile, nor were they fulfilled in the 1948.

  120. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Spoken or not, I think that’s a common belief in that crowd…

  121. Xenia says:

    If you believe that the Church is Israel a lot of hermeneutical problems are solved.

    The words of Jesus and Paul make it pretty clear that just being a descendant of Abraham does not make one an Israelite. They seem pretty clear that the real Jews are those who believe in the Messiah.

  122. The funny part is that Steve used the term “hermeneutic” while ignoring that the great hermeneutic is that when the NT speaks of an OT passage, that we go with the NT interpretation of that passage.

    Everytime it comes up it is a denial of what the rapture folks say it is.

    1.) Will Jesus one day rule in Jerusalem from David’s throne? Peter in Acts 2:29-36 gives the answer – NO! Peter says clearly that what Jesus is doing today fulfills that prophecy.
    2.) Does Israel return a 2nd time into the land? Matthew says yes and describes the event in Matt 2:13-23 as Jesus, the Seed, Israel reduced to one coming back into the land.
    3.) Is there a land promise to national, ethnic Israel? Paul tackles that issue in Romans 4:13 and says that the promise is the whole world – not some little strip of land in the Middle East.

    You can go down the list – it is all fulfilled in Jesus Christ and the fulfillment carried out through God’s people now called The Church.

    But look, if the rule and reign of Christ on David’s throne were to be a real physical fulfillment as is sometimes stated, why didn’t Paul ever mention it in his ‘Israel’ passage in Romans 9-11? Would that not have been an appropriate place for it?

  123. Steve Wright says:

    The mocking flows both ways – as is readily seen here. I am talking about the hermeneutic itself. As expressed by MLD and others. The “fluke” idea…

  124. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I have never heard an amill condemn someone or accuse them of apostasy on the basis of eschatology.
    I hear it all the time from pre tribbers.

  125. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Those are very compelling passages…and while I don’t fully agree with the conclusions drawn from them, they have to be wrestled with honestly.
    The Romans 9-11 thing is an argument from silence and of little value in my opinion.

  126. I will go even a step further and state (IMHO) that the rapture is a completely made up teaching and is not even what is being discussed in 1 Thessalonians.

    We have absolutely no evidence that Paul went around Asia Minor teaching about a rapture of christians only – therefore the Thessalonians would have not reference for asking about it.

    Paul did teach about the resurrection and it was that teaching that had the Thessalonians confused about the timing and whether they had missed it. So, Paul is answering their question about the resurrection NOT the rapture.

    But to be able to have this special time of Israel, the church needed to be removed, so dispensational theology changed Paul’s discussion from being about the resurrection to being about this rapture of the church.

  127. Michael says:

    The resurrection was associated with the Second Coming and the Day of the Lord…which is what I believe is in view in the Thessalonian passages.

  128. Which is my view and point. But the rapture folks will tell you it is a rapture passage. I would refer anyone to Greg Laurie’s radio program new year’s eve morning where he “explained the rapture.”

  129. Ixtlan says:

    “If you believe that the Church is Israel a lot of hermeneutical problems are solved”

    and many more begin. An honest intensive study of the covenants reveals a distinction of Israel and the Gentiles. However, the gentiles,( of which you could place the church in that category) are under the same covenants and receive the blessings of salvation through them.

  130. Steve Wright says:

    I have not said a single word about the rapture. That is not my point at all. My point is simple – is Israel as a people in any way part of God’s plan at the end. I say, Yes. Others say, No.

    Those theologians in the past saw Israel scattered to the four winds, rightly interpreted it as a judgment of God for their rejection of Christ (as Jesus Himself said) but then went one step too far to say that God is done with Israel as a result. I understand WHY one would believe that in centuries past, I can’t understand why one would continue to hold onto it today – except for what I believe is the age-old conundrum of tradition over the most simple and direct teaching of Scripture

    The rapture discussion is a rabbit trail to the larger picture – and not my concern at all here (or for that matter in my teaching through the Old Testament prophets which I do, every chapter).

    Even Xenia I believe has expressed her view that national Israel likely does play some role in the endtime saga before the Return of Christ (forgive me if I put words in your mouth Xenia, but I think it was you who wrote that in the past)

    As to Xenia’s point in post 122 – I would shout an Amen. Being a Jew does not save anybody. In fact, it never has (those wicked kings in history were Jews too, as were many sons of Baal). Gentiles and Jews are saved alike, and so in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile. MLD likes to make up stuff about dispensationalists thinking that Jews have their own path to salvation apart from Jesus but no sensible dispensationalist would argue that.

    But having said all that, what does THAT have to do with God’s promises to national Israel being forfeitted. Why does soteriology get mixed in with eschatology?

  131. Steve Wright says:

    and many more begin.
    ——————————–
    Yes. One example and I will call it a day. In going chapter by chapter through the Old Testament we read over and over about Israel being gathered INTO THE LAND from the north, south, east, and west….AND we see this gathering to be precursor to wonderful blessings which I think most would associate with Christ’s return. There is a definite connection to these blessings and this regathering.

    (Maybe the Church needs to move to Palestine?)

    I do not see how the Babylonian captivity and subsequent return can possibly fit the teaching of bringing them back from the north, south, east, west, where they have been scattered, nor can one see the fulfillment of blessings anywhere between the return from exile and the later judgment by Rome.

    All the more so when you see that this return is associated with yet another promise to never uproot them again – an Old Testament promise that obviously was not fulfilled then given the events of 70 AD

    We see before our eyes Jews going to the land of Israel, the same geographic spot as in the past – from all over the world where they have been scattered. We see them hated by enemies, mostly Islamic, bent on their utter destruction. Nations in Europe, North America, Asia all wondering what to do about Jerusalem and Israel. All of this taking place on God’s earth but apparently having no connection to God’s eschatological plan despite the many verses that give direct support if not allegorized awat

  132. Steve,
    “MLD likes to make up stuff about dispensationalists thinking that Jews have their own path to salvation apart from Jesus but no sensible dispensationalist would argue that.”

    That is a total misrepresentation of what I have said. My point, and I have used this example with you before is that the dispensational position is that Israel and the Church are on 2 separate parallel tracks chugging along. Both sets of tracks go through the tunnel known as Jesus, but God has them each on their own track for their own purpose and the 2 never come together

    Every dispensationalist I know (I would rather call the group “the rapture folks” because most people who are into this rapture theology have no idea what dispensationalism is.) – well .every dispensationalist I know sticks to what Chuck Missler says when he says the critical point is to know the difference between Israel and the Church – so if they are different, they must be different for a reason.

    Hence, God’s 2 track plan – Israel is on track A and the Church is on track B

  133. “The rapture discussion is a rabbit trail to the larger picture ”

    The invention of the rapture is critical to rapture / dispensational theology – you cannot have God and Israel back on center stage without the removal of the church… voila, the rapture.

    I think that is pretty central.

  134. “All of this taking place on God’s earth but apparently having no connection to God’s eschatological plan despite the many verses that give direct support if not allegorized awat”

    Why did Paul say that the land promise was the whole world? Was he allegoizing it away?

  135. Steve Wright says:

    That is a total misrepresentation of what I have said. My point, and I have used this example with you before is that the dispensational position is that Israel and the Church are on 2 separate parallel tracks chugging along. Both sets of tracks go through the tunnel known as Jesus, but God has them each on their own track for their own purpose and the 2 never come together
    ———————————————————–
    I don’t want to misrepresent you (or anyone else) MLD – but your explanation here is a distinction without a difference.

    Jews and Gentiles both come through Jesus. They are on the same track now. There is no distinction.

  136. Steve Wright says:

    you cannot have God and Israel back on center stage without the removal of the church
    ————————————————
    And this is where you repeatedly get stuck. If you would write “You can’t have God pouring out His divine wrath on those seen as equal in righteousness to Jesus Christ” then you would be in the proper frame of mind to discuss such things.

    As long as it is a Jewish rant, then there is no hope of discussion.

  137. Michael says:

    The wrath of God isn’t poured out until the sixth seal…didn’t know you were pre wrath… 🙂

  138. “Jews and Gentiles both come through Jesus. They are on the same track now. There is no distinction.”

    I agree and it will be the exact same forever. You make the distinction, you have a time when God works with the Church one way, by rapturing them out and deals with Israel another way through tribulation etc.

    My theology is constant, Jews come to Jesus one by one – the Apostles Paul and Peter, me and Marty Goetz. 🙂

    btw, this is not a Jewish rant – doesn’t that sound like race baiting to you?. I say all called Jews get to heaven through Jesus just like anyone else, including Peruvians.

    My objection is the obsession that there is a special place for a national ethnic Israel.

  139. Steve Wright says:

    you have a time when God works with the Church one way, by rapturing them out and deals with Israel another way through tribulation etc.
    —————————————————————
    Nope. He deals with the whole world the same way, after the rapture as before. People need to come to Jesus and get saved.

    Michael, the prewrath view has much to offer.

  140. Steve Wright says:

    My objection is the obsession that there is a special place for a national ethnic Israel.
    ————————————————–
    My obsession is with Scripture. My objection is to those who ignore it.

    It would be fascinating to sit down with you and look at every prophetic verse in the Bible and see you answer as to when it was fulfilled, and how. To see the gymnastics necessary when you actually go verse by verse by verse and rather than just argue a general theology have to explain…what does THIS verse mean/ Who is it about? When did it happen?

  141. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – are you aware that foundational to dispensational theology is a judgment upon Christ-rejecting Jews AFTER the rapture too. That all of these Jews are denied the millennium and damned?

    Serious question.

  142. How would we determine which are the prophetic verses and which are repeats. I have seen the way you count – you come up with too many 2nd comings, too many resurrections, too many judgment days etc.because you don’t realize that the different writers are writing about the same event.

    You will look at similar prophecies from Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariah (pick any combinations) and then you will want to see 3 separate fulfillments.

    Here is our main difference, I see Jesus Christ as the sum and substance of all prophetic scripture and you don’t. We will probably need to leave it there.

  143. Your #142 is a good example that you have separate judgment days for the Jews vs the general public.

  144. Xenia says:

    Steve is correct, I have said (and still say) that I would not be at all surprised if the physical nation of Israel has some role to play before all is said and done. I don’t know what form this roll will take because I do believe that the Church is the real Israel.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that OT prophecy is was not always fulfilled in predictable ways. The Jews interpreted the Messianic prophecies all wrong- they, too, were expecting a physical kingdom. There are also many places in the NT where Jesus, Peter, and Paul will look at something that has just happened and connect it to some odd OT passage that no one ever thought to connect it with before. OT prophecy gets fulfilled in unexpected ways and sometimes it takes an Apostle to understand what has happened.

  145. Steve Wright says:

    Thanks Xenia –

    I would simply add they did not interpret “all wrong” in looking for an earthly kingdom as much as they were premature. I’m sure you know of the 2-Messiah belief…rather than the One Messiah coming twice

  146. Steve Wright says:

    Here is our main difference, I see Jesus Christ as the sum and substance of all prophetic scripture and you don’t.
    ——————————————-
    Like I said. This is laughable.

    By the way…I did not get your “race-baiting” comment earlier, now I do. When I said ‘Jewish rant” I did not mean anything about your Jewish blood. Forgive me for that clumsy expression. I was not thinking that in the least.

    I meant your rant against the Jews/Israel….which, given this latest here, I continue to hold. You are so insistent that dispensationalists are more focused on Israel than Jesus that discussion is rather fruitless pretty quickly.

    It is both tremendously wrong (and insulting on your part, and deliberate it would seem) to say I do not see Jesus Christ as the sum and substance of ALL Scripture, prophetic as well as everything else.

    We’ll leave it there.

  147. Steve,
    My comment about the race baiting had nothing to do with “my jewish blood.” It seems like any conversation here about end times and Israel that does not align with ‘normal and acceped’ rapture theology is automatically classified as a Jewish rant. Hey, I spoke with my 86 yr old jewish mother this morning and even told her I loved her. I spoke to my atheist jewish brother today and at the end of the phone call told him I loved him. How many jews did you say “I love you” today? 😉

    I guess I had better define my terms – if Jesus Christ IS the sum and substance of all prophetic scripture, that means that all prophetic scriptures point to Jesus (even if it is in a clouded, opaque way) and that all of those scriptures are fulfilled in Jesus.

    Hey, I still love ya brother – OK, that’s 2 jews and a dispensationalist all in one day. I had better cut it out before I get all mushy.

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