Tuesday, May 20, 2003

It's not the European Union

I understand the pre-trib, premillennial position, and how it fits snugly with dispensationalist theology. I even have an appreciation for dispensationalism as a self-consistent systematic theology.

But what I don’t understand is the overwhelming tendency among the per-trib, premill crowd to be extremely confident that we are currently living in the end times.

Now by end times I do not mean last days, for surely we are living in the last days
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Heb. 1:2)

14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! 16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17" 'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:14-17)
By the end times what is meant is the end of the present age and the commencement of the eternal state.

Allowing 40 years per generation, there have been about fifty generations since the time of Christ. No doubt in every single one of those generations, there were a sizable percentage of all Christians who believed they were in the end times. Like the Christians of today, they looked at the political situation of the day, and at recent natural disasters, and convinced themselves the signs were obvious. Like Tim LaHaye of the modern era, they probably thought that only the biblically illiterate could not see the obvious.

Yet they were all wrong. If you think history is almost over, can you honestly say why every other generation was wrong, but this time you’ll be right?

And are you simply ignoring passages such as:

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Mat 24:44)

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Mat 24:36)

Do you know more than the Son?

If you spend your time pondering whether 10 horned beasts are the European Union, I submit that you are in fact wasting your time.

Here is an exercise. Go back and study the Messianic prophesies and see, just based on that text, how accurately you could have predicted the precise nature and timing of Christ’s ministry. For example, we rightly look to
his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:23)
as a prophesy fulfilled in Christ’s crucifixion. Yet it does not talk about crucifixion, but about a tree. Indeed, crucifixion was unknown at the time. So there is no way that an old testament LaHaye could have predicted, especially if he adopted a strictly literalistic approach, that Christ would be crucified on a cross. Yet the LaHayes and the Lindseys claim that level of detail in their predictions of the end times, in spite of the fact that passages such as Mat 24:36, 24:44 (above) imply that the prophesy concerning the second advent can not be as clear as the prophesy concerning the first.

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