I have a Bible question. I have been reading a lot of the material on the Bible.ca website. I found most of the information super excellent and very, very good at exposing the heresy of the word-faith / Pentecostal type of movement.
I have also checked out the section that is about debunking the Premillennialism theory. I found this section very confusing, and full of a lot of broken sentences. I have much difficulty trying to understand the argument presented. Also, there is nothing offered on that part of the website to tell what the truth must be if Premillennialism is not true. So, is there supposed to be a seven-year tribulation or not? Are the beliefs of the author of the site the same as the Post-Millennial theory? I think the website insinuates that Jesus will return only once, at the end of the tribulation.
But if that is so, how does the Bible verse make any sense that says Jesus will come in the twinkling of an eye? The Bible seems to me to describe two different comings that are different from each other. Some verses say all eyes will see him, and another verse says he will come like a thief in the night. Also, if Jesus were to come only at the end of the tribulation, what sense does it make of the verses that say one will be standing and another taken? If Jesus were to come at the end of the tribulation only, He would either have to take everybody to create the new heavens and earth, or else come down to earth for the millennial reign, and that would make no sense for Him to bring people up into the sky if He were coming down to earth for His reign?
If I remember correctly, the website tries to rebuke the theory that there will be a millennial reign at all. So, what then is supposed to happen? What are the future events then supposed to be? For me to find out if the website's theories are true or not, I would have to hear what the future events are proposed to be so I can compare that to Scripture and see if it fits with all the Scriptures in the Bible. But the Bible.ca website does not say anything about what they believe the Bible predicts -- it only gives info on debunking certain theories. I can not learn if those theories are true or not without seeing what the whole picture is supposed to be; without hearing what the theory of future events is believed to be.
I hope I have written this clearly enough for you to understand what I am trying to say. I really want to learn and find out if the website's theories are true or not, but I need more information to be able to make that decision. Also, as I mentioned before, I did not find the reasons the Premillennialist theories are wrong to be very clear, so I could not understand much of it. The rest of the website that I have seen so far is very clear and well written and excellently informative and excellent for revealing the truth and exposing much false doctrine and false prophets.
I hope also that you have the time to answer my questions thoroughly. I do really want to learn what the truth is, and understand what the Bible says about future events better than I do now. I hope to learn enough Scripture and the varying theories out there to be able to form my own opinion as to what the Bible says. I have learned that being like a Berean is the best way and that even a seemingly great Bible teacher can be wrong at times, and one shouldn't believe what someone says about one thing just because they were right about other things that the Bible says.
I appreciate your help greatly and am surprised that this service of being able to ask a Bible question is provided. This is wonderful.
Along other lines, I know a couple who have been pretty nice to be, but also judgmental because I am disabled, and they believe that if I have enough faith, etc., that God should heal me. They believe strongly in teachers such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Oral, and Richard Roberts, the Crouch's, and so on. I have sent them e-mails with links to websites that are apologetic in nature, and show very well that the word-faith/Pentecostal movement is heresy. I have written to them about certain false teachings they have said that should be clearly recognizable as being contrary to Scripture, such as Benny Hinn claiming Jesus would appear in person to the Muslims. I also sent attachments of many writings about why these teachings are false. Some of the writings included the plans of the Illuminati, and also how the self-proclaimed prophets, including Billy Graham, are pushing for a one-world religion and compromising doctrine in the process. Here is the message they sent back to me:
"We think you should be very careful about the things you read and believe. A lot of things you have sent us are fear-producing and doesn't lead to the Lord. Just because it sounds good or eye-opening doesn't mean it is real and from the Lord. I would really like to see you focus more on your relationship to the Lord and material that is uplifting. Most of this material doesn't exalt the Lord or draw you closer to Him. Please, Please dwell on positive things. The Bible tells us to set our minds on what is lovely, pure, of good report. It says to think on these things. Have a good day."
I think they are incorrect in their response. They want to close their eyes to the truth. I think it is because the vast number of Christians are "sleeping" that these leaders are able to do what they are doing to form a one-world religion and keep teaching heresies that bring the church further and further away from the truth, and closer and closer to being ready to believe the anti-Christ is some great godly leader who should be worshipped and to believe all his teachings without question. They are right that this is frightening, but that does not excuse closing your eyes to it, and ignoring it, and not speaking up about it and trying to do something about it! Hardly anyone spoke up when heresy crept into the church in Germany's Hitler era, and the consequences of that lead to Hitler rising to power and killing a huge number of people. Why, oh, why are people so blind? Why can't these friends of mine see the truth when it is right in front of them! Just because something is not a "happy thought" does not mean we should not think about it. Many unhappy things are written in the Bible, including Jesus being horribly crucified. I think their beliefs in thinking only happy thoughts come from the New Age pagan beliefs of "Positive Thinking." It is not Christian at all in the manner in which they apply it. The Bible means by that that we are not supposed to be thinking wicked, unholy thoughts, sinful thoughts. Not that we cannot accept reality!
I hope you have some kind of encouragement to tell me about this situation I am in. I think I am probably going to lose them as friends for sending them this information. They judge me a lot for not believing the way they do and think I am the one who believes wrongly, and I am the one who can't see the truth in the Scriptures. I do not see how they can perceive apologetic teachings as being something that is not uplifting to the Lord. What could be more uplifting than teaching the truth? We are supposed to bring the gospel where we go and are called the bearers of Good News. So, they are wrong that exposing lies and heresy is not uplifting because you have to think negative thoughts to do so. I have a feeling that they are probably feeling very insulted. I had and have no intentions of insulting them, but only to show the truth and expose the lies! I just can't understand how they can be so blind! I shared many, many Scriptures with them, so the truth was right in front of them. I think perhaps the reason they can't see the truth is that in their heart, they do not want to. They want to believe in the prosperity gospel. They want to believe, as the husband told me of himself, "I am the righteousness of God!" He repeated that statement to me three times in a row, and then said to me, "Do you have a problem with that? You better not, or you are going against Scripture!" Can you believe that? How can he think he is as perfect and righteous as God is? No one but Jesus could ever claim that! He's heard too much of Copeland's teachings. He believes anyone filled with the Holy Spirit is the righteousness of God.
I do hope you have the time to write me a few encouraging words. I am disabled and almost completely homebound, so I can't get out to meet new people. Besides that couple, I have only one other friend. It's not because I am not good at making friends at all - it's because I can't get out to where people are, and my former friends all either moved away to another state or died. So, I am lonely and hope you have the time to write to me more than just a quick note. Perhaps my approach to try to show them the truth was wrong. I never said anything about, not even hinted at saying anything like what they believe is wrong. I only said that people following those false prophet's teachings are being deceived. I never accused them in any way. It's so hard for me to understand how they could have responded in the way they did. How can they be so prideful to believe they have the truth and look down upon me as well as others who don't believe the same as they do and judge me or us? As you can see in her statement, she totally assumed that I am not reading Scripture at all, or having much of a relationship with God. Just because I don't believe the same as her. That's the way those Pentecostal's are; they are very judgmental of others who are believed to not be as spiritual as they are. It irks me! I do not look down on them. I actually wanted to help them and cared so that they have a chance to see the truth, and spent a whole lot of time gathering evidence and writing letters to them. One letter I wrote was eight pages long. But they show no appreciation whatsoever, and instead, look down upon me even more. I just don't see how they cannot see the truth.
Well, I shall stop now because this letter is getting long, too, and I don't want to take up too much of your time. But I do hope you have the time to give me a pretty good response and can offer some encouragement or even advise for my situation.
Thanks so much and may God Bless you
This is a big question that may take several attempts to get all the information in it. The problem with all of the "millennial" theories is that none of them are true. This may be why you are looking for an answer that actually can't be given. You've also done an excellent job in pointing out some of the logical inconsistencies that come from the post-millennial and premillennial theories, no matter what specific details are contained in the theories. It is also great that you are looking at the scriptures to see what is true. So, let's look at the scriptures and let them tell us what is going to happen.
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare" (II Peter 3:10).
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
I see these two passages as key to understanding the end of the world. Whatever conclusions that we reach have to harmonize with these two very plain explanations of the end. Several things that I see that stand out:
- The passages do not say that Jesus will actually touch the earth again. Those still living and going to Jesus will go with him.
- The earth will be destroyed by fire with his coming. That would not leave much room for anyone to set up a kingdom.
- The dead rise just prior to all the living Christians leaving the earth.
There is no mention of any battle, no seven years of tribulation, no thousand-year reign. It is all just quick, bang, and it is over with.
I won't try to anticipate too many follow-on questions, but I know there is one that always gets people, and that is trying to get Matthew 24 into the description.
Matthew 24 and the first few verses say: "Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"" (Matthew 24:1-3).
The question that starts the speculations is the disciples asking their three-part question. The key to understanding Matthew 24 is to determine when Jesus is answering which question or if they are a one-in-the-same question.
The first part of their question is "when will this happen". The only "this" that they can be referring to, is Jesus' statement about the temple being thrown down to the point that no stone remains on another. This is actually easy to check in secular history because the temple was completely destroyed in around 72 AD by the Romans.
The second part asks about the "sign of your coming". We have to remember that the disciples did not understand the nature of Jesus' kingdom at this point. In Acts 1:6 -- after the resurrection, the disciples were still asking if that was the time when Jesus was going to restore Israel. They were still misunderstanding what the was going on. It is not likely that they even understood the question that they asked. However, there are still two ways that the question could be taken. The "sign of your coming" could mean the "sign of your second return" or it could mean "the day of your wrath." The second return is not actually very likely given the context. They were talking about the temple and not the end of all things. The "day of your wrath" has more backing. All through Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Joel, there is a phrase "the day of the Lord". In all cases, it is talking about the day the Lord executes his judgment on the sinful nation of Israel (these are the prophets that speak about the impending delivery of Judah into the hands of the Babylonians). God did not physically show up on the day the Babylonians won, but it was still God who was executing his wrath on Judah.
What many people assume is that the disciples were also interested in the end of the world. They think that the question "end of the age" means "end of the world". However, there are multiple ages that have to be dealt with. Jeremiah 31:31-34 says that God was planning on starting a new covenant and this new covenant was going to be different than what was then current. Each covenant is also an "age". So, we have to determine from the passage did Jesus talk about the end of the world here or the end of the then-current age. The new covenant had not been started yet because Jesus had not yet died on the cross. Jesus taught during the Mosaic Age (the age of the law of Moses). Indeed he was the fulfillment of the prophecies of that age. So, it is possible that the "end of the age" is talking about the end of the Jewish age.
Therefore, as you try to piece together Matthew 24, you are seeing a very detailed description of the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem. Keeping this viewpoint in mind while reading what Jesus had to say actually makes Matthew 24 much easier to understand because there are no logical jumps that have to be made. Of course, it then becomes somewhat disappointing to those who want to get at least a little bit of the second coming in Jesus' statements.
You also mentioned the response that you get from religious friends when you point out the inconsistency of their doctrine. It is unfortunate that not everyone wants to really listen to what God has said in his word. Many people just listen superficially, think they understand what was said and then go on their merry way. They don't take the time to check to see if the doctrine they are espousing can actually stand up to a close cross-examination. I would like to point out, though, that Jesus, the master teacher, did not have all that many people that were willing to listen to what he taught.
Some inconsistencies of your friends that I noted in what you wrote:
- "if I have enough faith, etc., that God should heal me". This is completely inconsistent with what Paul taught. Paul mentions a "thorn in my flesh" in II Corinthians 12:6-8 that he had to contend with. There are some people who think Paul was referring to some other person, but I think you would see from the context that he was talking about something physical. In I Timothy 5:23, Paul tells Timothy do take some wine to help with his stomach problems. If all Christians are supposed to lead a life free from infirmities, then why mention drinking wine? Also, if the mission of the Holy Spirit were to make everyone's life pleasant and free of hardship, why does Paul in II Corinthians 1:8 mention that he had hardships that challenged his faith? The Holy Spirit does not have a mission of serving man, but of proving the words of God actually came from God. See Acts 14:3 and Hebrews 2:4.
- "A lot of things you have sent us are fear-producing, and doesn't lead to the Lord." I find this statement to exactly opposite of what is in the Bible. Psalms 111:10 and Proverbs 1:7 both say that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 9:10 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Hebrews 10:31 says, "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." All through the Bible, fear is mentioned as a good thing. Proverbs 19:23 says, "The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble." Fear is what leads people to God. Love may keep them there, but it is fear that gets them to the door.
- "Please dwell on positive things. The Bible tells us to set our minds on what is lovely, pure, of good report. It says to think on these things." You know the Bible does say this. It is in Philippians 4:8. So how do we determine what is a "positive thing"? Do we consider Jesus saying in Luke 13:4, "I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish" to be a positive statement? How about Paul saying in Galatians 1:8, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"? Generally, those who want to use Philippians to narrowly define what we need to dwell on also want to be the ones who define what constitute pure and positive things to dwell on. I don't have any problem with keeping our minds focused on pure and lovely things, just remember that it is God who gets to define what is pure and lovely. Pure and lovely does not mean daffodils and daisies. It means learning and living by the word of God.
I would suggest that when talking to your friends, that you stick with scriptures as much as is possible. While apologetic writing may be good for enhancing our understanding, it is seldom taken by others as being accurate unless it happens to match the way they are thinking. Proper biblical responses do not require a special degree or knowledge of old languages. It requires a dedication of mind and spirit to look at what God wrote. That won't guarantee that they will turn their thinking around. You may lose the friendship of your friends, but you will maintain a relationship with Jesus, which is far more important.