Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Prophecy

I don't know how or when, but sometime over the past 5 years or so I became interested in prophecy in scripture. Specifically, end time prophecy as told to John in the book of Revelation. Having read all of the Left Behind books, I was interested in finding out what was truth from scripture. If you've never read Revelation, or if you have given up reading certain parts of the book because it is too confusing with all the bowls, trumpets, and what-not, then you were probably as confused as I was digging into the scritpure farther than I had ever done before. A couple of years ago, I found a book called "Revelations: Hearing the Last Word" by David Levy, and I promptly used this book as one person's reference for interpretation as I read and re-read Revelation. As I began to put the pieces in Revelations together, I knew that there was so much more to Revelation than what was being made known in churches and other Christian public forums. That book is promise to God's people- us- and how he was going to come again to claim this world and everything in it as his. How powerful!
I continued to read other books about interpretations of Revelation, and each and every one of them had the "Futuristic" point of view that so many Christians have: all of a sudden, Christians will disappear, and an Anti-Christ will rise and rule the world, and there will be 7 years of tribulation before Jesus sends his army sweeping to victory in the battle of all battles, Armageddon. This view is based on the fact that all end time prophecy will be fulfilled in the future. I wondered while reading this interpretation "So there has been nothing going on since the days of the Bible that is according to the last days as proclaimed in Revelation? That's weird. "
Enter the world of Steve Wohlberg and his "End Time Delusions" book. After reading Revelation, every Christian should read "End Time" word for world, page by page, and have their Bible open and ready to cross reference what Wohlberg brings to light. I didn't realize how there are 3 major prophetic schools that different Christian churches preach about, or that the Christian reformers were murdered in by the Catholic Church because they were considered "Historics" who wouldn't preach "futurism" (the Christians vanishing into thin air, 7 year tribulation teaching). Historics see the book of Revelation as actual events that occurred throughout the history of Christianity from the time of John until the return of Christ.
This blog is getting pretty long, but I encourage everyone to check out the website www.endtimeinsights.com and let me know what you think, if anything, about prophecy. Also, if anyone wants to borrow "End Time Delusions" I will be more than happy to lend it out.

12 comments:

Martha said...

Their header is a little scary. Looks interesting.

Kristen said...

I totally agree that studying prophecy in the Bible is fun and exciting. I may bombard you with questions tho since my reading habits end up being about 1 chapter a month. I would like to borrow the book eventually. I read part of the first chapter on-line. It kind of seemed like he might not believe in a "rapture" at all or is it just the caught up in silence thing he disagrees with? Also he attributes 1 Thess 5:1-6 to coincide with 1 Thess 4:13-18 as referring to being "raptured" but it was my understanding that this is referring to "the day of the Lord" which is a separate event. Does Wohlberg explain more in depth? I'm already a little confused. Help! One last thing, you mentioned the 3 schools of thought about end times and I feel like Ive heard them but I can't remember. Would you fill me in and which school does Wohlberg follow? Okay I think I'm finally finished for now.

P.S. If this is to long to respond to we can just talk about it later.

Randy said...

What!? Mixing personal relations and web log relations is strictly prohibited by NAFTA, the Geneva Conventions, ACLU policy, Bono, the esteemed Dr J. Dobson, as well as all self respecting web loggers world wide. Gosh Kristen, do you WANT to get beat up?

jacquie said...

go, kristen! life is all about interpersonal relationships! who cares about all those other organizations. and dobson would agree with me!!

The One and Only Bugg said...

Kristen- you can borrow the book from me. It is very interesting.
Wohlberg follows the "historicism" school. The other 2 are the "futurism" and "preterism" schools.

Martha said...

I think I am a "wait and see what happens-ism" school of thought.

JaredB said...

I haven't checked out that web site yet, but as for my thoughts on end time philosophy, my main guiding principle in that matter is to stay away from any strict interpretation of those kind of passages that tries to tie the events described to current ones (or even future predictions), because they are usually making assumptions that are based on things outside of the scripture, and therefore are fallible.

My personal take is that although there are certain things that are clear, some are so open to interpretation that it is only speculation to try to form a dogma around them. For example, many believe in a "rapture" that means that the "Christians" of the world are taken away to heaven and everyone else is left here (it's more complicated, but that's the basic summary). But then if you read passages like Matt. 13:37-42 it makes it sound like the "evil" ones are the ones who will be taken away. The passages that talk about "meeting Jesus in the air" when he returns don't necessarily mean that the Christians will be taken away from the earth. When you come to my house, I "meet you at the door" and then we both go back inside the house.

Anyway, my take is that the "last days" include the period from the moment Jesus left to the moment he returns. A lot of Revalations was given to the church that was being heavily persecuted at the time, and I think it was designed to give them (as well as us) hope for the future, and a sense of the overall sovereignty of God.

If you read all the stuff in scripture about the end times, it seems pretty obvious that there is an intentional lack of detail on some issues, and Jesus even says so himself ("no one will know... etc."). That seems to indicate to me that it isn't so much a puzzle meant to be solved as it is a promise that one day things will change, and through it all, God will continue to be in control. This is a tremendous comfort (especially to those who are faced with imminent death), to be able to understand that (relative to eternity) the world as we know it will be over in the blink of an eye, and that "life" means so much more than our brief time here, as we are experiencing it now.

I don't even necessarily think that the 3.5, 7, or 1,000 years have to be literal years either (just like the 7 "days" of creation), it doesn't change who God is or how he would call me to live.

I certainly find the speculation on such matters interesting, but in the end I have to avoid the temptation to get caught up in those kinds of theories at the expense of living an abundant life in the way God has called me to live. Some people get so caught up with this stuff that they forget about *living* (serving, giving, etc.) and just settle down and wait to die or be "raptured".

Whether he comes tomorrow or a million years from now, scripture has already spelled out so clearly the model (in Christ) of how we are to aspire to live, day by day, moment by moment, and that is certainly enough of a challenge and adventure for me.

The One and Only Bugg said...

Although I agree with the greater part of what you are saying, Jared, there's no theories to get caught up in. Like any other part of the Bible, one can learn and study from it and rely on what God speaks to you while you are reading it. Studying prophecy as fulfilled in Revelation is no different than studying any other theme in the Bible. I find it interesting that you said you must 'avoid the temptation to get caught up in those kinds of theories'. I don't think that studying other people's interpretations of scripture is wrong or "tempting", as long as you know that they are just man's interpretations. Truth is found while reading scripture, and the things revealed by God himself in Revelations does spur me to lead a full, abundant life. If anything, I read Revelation and am so interested in prophecy because it is the ultimate promise God has for those on Earth who believe in him. It's about the end of Time, laid out (not all the time in details) for us to read and study. Very interesting subject for some, but not always for everyone.

Martha said...

It is interesting Jared, that you said something about time and it not being literal. In the statement of what they believe on that website they specifically state that the earth was created in 7/24 hour days. I guess I never really thought about it but how can anyone really say that or anything about specific time frames at all. The Bible even says not to say "I will do this or that tomorrow". So, you really never know what tomorrow is. This is probably way off topic but I just thought it interesting.

The One and Only Bugg said...

Time is a weird thing in the Bible. Can one day be 7 years, or is one day even 24 hours? I might be repeating your comment, Martha, but I just don't get that time thing in the Bible. Que confusion!

Randy said...

I agree with both Kristi and Jared's statements.

Nate said...

I would like to make a book recommendation on your book recommendation post. It's titled Things To Come. It's kinda text-booky but it's really good. The author is pre-millennial, pre-tribulations, dispensationalist who strictly interprets scripture literally, but he covers in depth many of the other views of the Apocalypse. I think I will read End Time Delusions so I can make a comparison.