Wednesday, 26 February 2014

End Times Prophecy

 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)

Last week, I had a fair bit of travelling to do, preaching 3 nights in a row. So I had plenty of time to listen to some downloaded messages on end times prophecy. They were probably a bit on the long side (usually just over the hour mark) but that suited me fine in my circumstances. Many an otherwise weary mile was passed. I really enjoyed these messages even though I do not belong to the prophetic school of the preacher. He is a Pre Millennial (Post Trib for those who want to know more and anti Dispensational) while I tend towards the A-Mill stuff.

This enjoyment set me thinking about end time prophetic preaching in general. A few thoughts:

#1 The preacher spoke at length about the importance of prophetic study. At least one whole message was dedicated to this importance observation. It was entirely neutral stuff. Any one from another prophetic school could have preached it word for word. (For those who preach other men’s messages word for word. I don't.)

#2 His little jibes along the way at those of other schools of thoughts could easily have been returned by those from other schools. In sporting parlance, it was a wee bit of “hand bagging” rather than serious charges. I smiled rather than reached for the on/off button.

#3 Much of his preaching concerned the coming of our common Saviour. In a sense, no matter who is expounding what (i.e. within the general basic Evangelical doctrine of Christ's physical return) - the true believer sees beyond any errors in the detail and sees his Beloved. The believer leaves the message sighing out "Even so, come Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20) It is so easy for the preacher and subsequently the listener to get taken up with the details. The signs rather than the Saviour become the focus and while the curiosity is fed, the spirit remains starved. Happy is that message when even those who belong to another prophetic school still leave blessed. "Sirs, we would see Jesus" even (and especially) in prophetic preaching.

#4 His application of his prophetic principles centred round the need to watch and wait. Again, this was basic stuff which all the various schools would apply. It was this, in particular, that got me thinking, leading ultimately to this article. The preacher drew certain inferences that might or might not prove to be true e.g. that the old Roman Empire will revive again and probably through the monolithic European Union.* Suppose I rubbish that one - notice that I haven’t done so  – yet wherein do I seriously differ from my Pre Mill brethren who think otherwise? What will I agree to in a future day where they won’t? Is there something they will see from their prophetic viewpoint as corrupt where I will see it as pretty harmless? From a Christian point of view, I am no fan of the European Union as it is now, so any dark dealings in a future day will hardly go unnoticed.  Or will the present principles of godly living in the every day life of the here and now (e.g. 2 Corinthians 6:14-17/Ephesains 5:11/1 Timothy 6:3-5/Ephesians 6:10-18 etc.) not suffice then? Will there be a future event that will see the Pre Mills take one side while the rest of us lesser prophetic students take the opposite? What will be evil in the days just prior to our Lord’s return that would not be recognised as evil in this day?

#5 I can ultimately live with whatever prophetic plan the Lord sees fit to bring to pass. The issue here centres around the interpretation of certain key Scriptures e.g. Matthew 24/Revelation 20 etc. I remember having a friendly discussion a while ago with a good friend of mine who is a Dispensationalist. With an obvious twinkle in his eye, he said that he would bid farewell to me as he and the Pre Trib Pre Mills passed through the air, leaving me and other Post Tribs behind to face the Great Tribulation. Of course, even according to his own theology, that is not going to happen. Apart from the obvious in built flaw that he has but the time it takes the twinkling of an eye to say his goodbyes, yet the event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 will see all the elect people of God (of whatever school) meet the Lord in the air. If the temple is indeed to be rebuilt again in a literal Jerusalem and the blood of bulls and goats be slain on Jewish altars once more, then who am I to tell the Lord that I would do it better? So be it. Thy will be done on earth as in Heaven. However, this just isn’t the way I or many others read the Scriptures at the moment.

So these are just a few passing thoughts on a deep subject. There are certainly other interpretations of scripture that I would be more dogmatic on than my presently held prophetic views.

* If this proves to be so (on both accounts) then it will be an EU without Scotland and Ireland, because the Romans never conquered these two countries. They got out as quickly as they could.  Long before Bannockburn, my Scottish forefathers “sent them homeward to think again” :o).  So there is a bit of mileage left yet before the Great Event.


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