With each step I took, I begged the Lord to work on my behalf. I had waited long enough; it was time for things to change. Surely God would listen to my desperate cries for help. I had recently interviewed for a promotion at work and was sure it represented the answer to my financial woes. As I awaited the decision of the hiring manager, I used my late afternoon runs to plead with the Lord to give me the position I so earnestly desired.
Most of us have seen it at some point in our lives. The daytime sky becomes dark ahead of an approaching strong storm; the blackness of the clouds makes it seem like night outside our window as our smartphones buzz with weather warnings. This happened outside my window as I was writing this post.
In Jesus’ day, people did not have our technology to warn of approaching storms. Instead, they learned to recognize signs in the sky that told them what to expect.
On the afternoon of June 19, 2019, the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) voted to remove the word “premillennial” from their statement of faith. As one who has attended EFCA churches in the past, I feel a deep sense of sadness at the decision. I believe this removal of the word “premillennial” takes the EFCA in an unacceptable direction.
I believe that the members voting in favor of removing “premillennial” from their statement of beliefs made their decision the basis of three false assumptions.
In my last post, I looked at what Scripture teaches about our glorious role in Jesus’ kingdom during the millennium, which takes place between the Second Coming of Christ and the eternal state (referred to as “eternity” in the above timeline). For those of us in Christ, this thousand year period of time will be a thrilling time of renewal as we reign with Jesus for a thousand years sharing in His inheritance.
After reading my previous article, some might ask, “Is the millennium really necessary for us to experience the wondrous restoration you wrote about? Won’t these things also be true in the eternal state?”
At some level, all believers share in the sufferings of Jesus. We may not face torture and martyrdom for our faith as many of our brothers and sisters in Christ experience throughout the world. But nonetheless, we know the pain of rejection and ridicule as a result of our love for Jesus and His Word.
Just as we share in Jesus’ suffering we will also someday share in His triumph. Now we endure the ridicule and persecution of those who reject the Savior; in the future we will reign with Jesus.
Scripture tells us the last days will marked by those who mock our hope in Jesus’ imminent return. The apostle Peter reveals that in the last days scoffers will appear ridiculing such hope with this question, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:3-4).
How can we recognize these modern day scoffers? Below I list five ways they make themselves known:
The opposition to Jesus’ future reign on earth remains intense. Although premillennialism grew dramatically during the twentieth century, many Bible-believing teachers and pastors have reverted to Augustine’s platonic view of reality that denies biblical teaching regarding the millennium.
What has caused this reversal in recent decades? I believe the roots of today’s passionate opposition to premillennialism lie in Satan’s continuing hatred of anything to do with Jesus’ future reign.
During the past year, I have written many articles defending my belief in premillennialism, which is the belief that Jesus will return to earth after a literal seven year tribulation, destroy the armies arrayed against Jerusalem, and rule the world for a thousand years seated on the throne of David.
At this point you may be asking, “What difference does it make?” After all, many pastors who deny these things preach the Gospel and expound the Word with great conviction. Does it really matter if they deny Israel’s place in future biblical prophecy or regard the book of Revelation as having little relevance for us today apart from the final two chapters? Yes, it absolutely matters.
Back in the last century, most Bible-believing churches affirmed premillennialism. Not only that, many of these churches held week-long prophetic conferences teaching believers about the rapture, the tribulation, Jesus' second coming, the millennium, and the eternal state.
Sadly, this has changed. Many pastors no longer believe Israel has a place in God's prophetic program. The Lord's promise that we will reign with Him in the millennium is either relegated to another era or completely dismissed.
When it comes to the book of Revelation, many divorce the opening chapters from the remainder of the book. They do so by regarding the opening chapters as “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:1), but not the remainder of the apocalypse.
Jesus’ words to the seven churches, for example, represent not only Jesus’ message to a sampling of current congregations, they also reveal the future of the church. This article provides a few examples of how we can connect the dots from the introduction to the remainder of the book of Revelation.
Believers who do not know how to defend the message of the book of Revelation can become easy prey for those who seek to rob them of its message of comfort and hope.
Why do I make such a seemingly outrageous clam?
It’s because even some pastors of Bible-believing churches relegate much of the book of Revelation to allegory.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the life expectancy in the United States has declined for the third year in a row. The last time this happened was a century ago, 1915-1918, when our country entered World War I and 675,000 Americans died because of the Spanish Flu.
This time it’s not war or a flu pandemic contributing to the decline in life expectancy, it’s hopelessness. The key contributors to the current decline are drug overdoses (at least 90,000 in 2018), suicides (45,000 in 2017), and alcohol abuse. Researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton have dubbed these as "deaths of despair.”
We live in a time when believers are “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph. 4:14). This is especially true in regard to the return of Jesus. Today, we face a myriad of differing “schemes” regarding the rapture and other end time events.
How do we find our way in the midst of such confusion?
In my last post, I began listing reasons why we should regard the rapture as a separate event from the Second Coming. Much confusion exists today over this mater.
Because so many today fail to make the distinction between the two events, or fail to even believe in a rapture, it’s important to understand why it is different than the Second Coming.
It’s becoming increasingly popular in Bible-believing churches to believe that God rejected the nation of Israel after the first century Jews rejected Jesus. Those who hold this view believe that the Lord has replaced Israel with the church. As a result, the church now inherits the kingdom promises of the Old Testament in a “spiritual” sense.
This teaching often goes by the name of “replacement theology” or “amillennialism.” I have many problems with such teaching starting the words of Paul in Romans 11:2, “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.” I am not sure how some get around Paul’s clear assertion in this text that God has not rejected Israel, but many do.
A recent news story about a thief in Rochelle Park, NJ caught my attention. In the process of robbing a home, he woke up the couple who lived there. Not wanting to get caught, he climbed back out of the window through which he had entered the house and fled from the scene.
Here’s where the story gets interesting. He had previously arranged with a car service to meet him in the neighborhood to unwittingly provide his way of escape. However, in his haste he climbed into the backseat of a police car parked a block away from the home he had attempted to rob.
It’s ironic when you think of it. Those who attack prophecy teachers for saying we are in the last days are themselves fulfilling a key biblical prophecy of the last days.
Peter wrote this about these end time scoffers, “. . . knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:4-5).
The group the apostle addressed denied the Genesis account of the flood and hence the reality of God’s judgment. Today this scoffing springs from a variety of sources, including those in the household of faith.
This is my third article on how an amillennial view of Scripture can, over time, open the day to Socialism. I’m writing in response to an article depicting how socialism is gaining a foothold in many churches across the United States.
Please note I am not saying all amillennialists are Socialists, certainly not. My point is that churches with a long history of amillennialism and its accompanying worldview seem to be much more susceptible to a Marxist way of thinking.
I believe this is because they distort the biblical worldview in a number of ways:
Immigration remains a hot topic in America. Caravans of migrants are traveling up through Mexico hoping to break into the United States. Some believe we should let them all in and take care of them. After all, isn’t that the “Christian” thing to do?
Others support President Trump in sending the military to protect our border. Our nation has long been a haven for asylum seekers and immigrants, but there is a process for those seeking to enter our nation.
Why are believers so divided on this issue? I believe this comes from confusing the role of government with that of our responsibility to help the needy.