ESCHATOLOGY has been subjected to more bold and careless assertions than any other branch of theology, because we all must WAIT until the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ to find out WHO WAS RIGHT. Therefore, men are willing to take liberties with the interpretation of prophecy that they dare not take with any other theological subject, and have filled the world with an assortment of various and contradictory "scenarios" for how the World-Story ENDS. This "liberty" to have and assert one's own opinions about prophecy can be seen by examining the available commentaries on The Book of Revelation; in which you will see INFINITE variations on the interpretation of the symbols and events described. We all rather doubt that we have heard the last word on these things, so, anyone who can come up with "a new twist" on how to interpret The Book of Revelation is assured of at least temporary celebrity status.
AFTER READING more than 20 commentaries on the Revelation, which were written at different times by various men who held to an assortment of theological persuasions, I only arrived at a few firm conclusions. Nearly every commentator was able to produce a most convincing argument in behalf of his own peculiar way of interpreting certain and particular symbols and passages. NOT a SINGLE ONE of these commentators was able to adhere to his own rules for interpretation throughout the book: but all found it necessary to compromise their previously established principles to avoid flatly contradicting one or more of their fundamental premises. I truly respect these men for making the attempt, and I certainly do not think that I could do any better.
THE FASCINATION that men have always had with the Book of Revelation springs from the one thing they ALL agree on: it does tell us HOW the World-Story ENDS. We look into this strange and baffling Book to find ourselves; to see if we can find OURSELVES among those who survive the Final Conflict. We wish to see ourselves described among the Righteous: we look to find our religious adversaries described among The Doomed. We wish to know HOW LONG we shall have to WAIT until this Present Age ENDS: for we are taxed; for we are tired: we are weary with the constant toil and disappointment of this present life. Our hearts ache with longing for The Day, when God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Rev. 21:4).
YET WE ALSO KNOW that not everyone will find vindication and comfort in that INFINITELY REVEALING MOMENT: in which it will be IMPOSSIBLE to DECEIVE, PROCRASTINATE, or MAKE EXCUSES any more; for the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters,
AND ALL LIARS,
shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the SECOND DEATH (Rev. 21:8).
AT FIRST GLANCE, this "list of the damned" appears to have overlooked the infamous False Prophet: the perennial "bad guy" of the Bible; but he is there all right. In The End, every FALSE PROPHET is found out to be JUST a LIAR............a common....... ordinary.......liar.
CERTAINLY, no one more deserves to be called a LIAR than the man who MISREPRESENTS God; but that cannot mean that everyone who has EVER spoken amiss "for or about" God ends up being "labeled" as a LIAR by The Judge. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body (James 3:2).
A man may very well think that he has heard from God, and tell others what he has "heard" with the best of intentions. A man may also temporarily misunderstand something he has read in the Bible, and teach others the same. It is always evil to MISREPRESENT God: but there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between the man whose error is the product of reckless enthusiasm, and any man who with PREMEDITATION and for a DEFINITE PURPOSE will CONSPIRE to DISTORT or CONCEAL certain information which might discredit the "doctrine" he prefers to preach. You can see that God makes an "accommodation" for the POSSIBILITY of ERROR THROUGH IGNORANCE in the wording of the 9th Commandment.
|Exodus.20:16||Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.|
The 10 Commandments were written with the finger of God (Ex. 31:18), so the FORM of this Commandment must express PRECISELY what God wanted to say to us about "telling the Truth". Every repetition of this Commandment in the Bible occurs in this SAME FORM, and when Our Lord Jesus repeats it, He reduces it to Thou shalt not bear false witness (Matt. 19:18). The 9th Commandment DOES NOT READ "Thou shalt not tell less than the perfect truth". For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know IN PART; but then shall I know even also as I am known (1 Cor. 13:12). Since we now only know in part; EVERYTHING we say contains the ERROR OF IGNORANCE in part. If we are meant to understand the 9th Commandment as a prohibition against saying ANYTHING that is not TOTALLY and PERFECTLY True; it then becomes a Commandment against SPEECH itself; for EVERYTHING we EVER SAY is somewhat less than the PURE and TOTAL Truth.
The 9th Commandment condemns the man who with PREMEDITATION, conspires to DISTORT, or SELECTIVELY reveal, or SELECTIVELY conceal, INFORMATION; for the purpose of preventing his hearers from being able to make an INFORMED and INDEPENDENT judgement. Before anyone can bear false witness; they have to have been a witness of something FIRST. The false witness has SEEN and KNOWN something; but he INTENTIONALLY misrepresents what he has SEEN and KNOWN in order to promote HIS OWN personal AGENDA: he doesn't want all the facts to be known, because some of them may work against his purpose. There are MANY, MANY WAYS to tell a LIE; and a really clever liar can tell a GREAT BIG LIE without telling any "lies"; for by selectively revealing certain verifiable facts, and by selectively concealing other EQUALLY verifiable facts, he has left his listener with a COMPLETELY FALSE impression.
Most of the FALSE PROPHETS who will eventually be branded as "JUST LIARS", and be thrown into the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, will be men who, for the sake of personal ambition or the protection of selfish interests, have conspired to selectively reveal Biblical testimony which APPEARS to confirm the doctrines they prefer to preach; while CONCEALING or PRETENDING IGNORANCE of other equally verifiable Biblical testimony which APPEARS to contradict the "doctrines" they prefer to preach. They bear false witness to what they have SEEN and KNOWN by presenting a DISTORTED or INCOMPLETE picture.
I'm sure that you can think of at least one "other" church or Denomination that has at least one "doctrine" that you judge to be HERETICAL and also TOTALLY UNBIBLICAL. Please take a moment, and think of that Denomination and that doctrine.
NOW CONSIDER THIS:
A clergyman who is "employed" as a Pastor or Priest in that "other" Denomination is REQUIRED to subscribe to and teach that particular doctrine that YOU KNOW cannot be supported from the Bible. One day, as he is reading the Bible, he notices one of THOSE VERSES that OUTRIGHT CONTRADICT that doctrine. This troubles him somewhat, so he decides to do a full scale investigation into the matter: BUT, the more he looks into the matter, the more apparent it becomes that the Bible CONTRADICTS the "official doctrine" of his Denomination. He has now SEEN and KNOWN something which CONTRADICTS the "party line"; but nobody knows what he has SEEN AND KNOWN but himself and God, so far. You have ALWAYS KNOWN about THAT verse; and you also know that anyone who reads the Bible very much will come across THAT VERSE, or others like it. You simply cannot imagine how any HONEST MAN could read THAT VERSE and MANY OTHER VERSES that you know about, and CONTINUE to teach that FALSE DOCTRINE!
Now THIS CLERGYMAN has seen THAT VERSE; and during his investigation, he ran across ALL THOSE OTHER VERSES that YOU know about. He has become thoroughly acquainted with ALL YOUR REASONS for believing what you believe.>
AND NOW, if this clergyman is going to continue to teach that SAME DOCTRINE just as he always has; he must CONSPIRE to DISTORT or CONCEAL the information; which would, if revealed, appear to challenge or contradict the OFFICIAL DOCTRINE of his Denomination. . . . . .RIGHT?
BUT IF this clergyman comes right out and DISAGREES WITH or DENOUNCES the OFFICIAL DOCTRINE of his Denomination; he gets "fired" and loses his "job". . . . . .RIGHT?
SO THERE HE IS. . . . . .sitting at his desk in the privacy of his office, with his Bible open; STARING in perplexity at THAT VERSE that YOU know about. What do you think that he will do?
AND WHAT IF HE JUST DECIDES to PRETEND that he didn't understand THAT VERSE, and ALL THOSE OTHER VERSES that you know about? And what if he decides to just "forget" that he EVER SAW those verses that YOU KNOW ABOUT? And what if he just goes on preaching that SAME OLD FALSE DOCTRINE as if he NEVER HAD A REASON to question it? And what if he ALSO begins to compose some kind of LONG-WINDED BOGUS ARGUMENT for the defense of his "Official Doctrine", just in case someone in his congregation brings up THAT VERSE? Would you respect such a man? Do you think that SUCH A MAN actually FEARS God and LOVES Truth? Let me "clear the air" for you on these questions. . . .
Any man who is willing to DISTORT or CONCEAL certain facts in order to "prop up" or leave unchallenged certain "doctrines" for the sake of his own career or popularity cares neither for the Glory of God, NOR for the welfare of the people he preaches to. Jesus said: The Truth will make you FREE (John 8:32). Such a man DOES NOT CARE whether his congregation hears the Truth or not; and he also does not care whether they experience that freedom Jesus promised or not: his rightful place is in the lake of fire.
One of the most totally false and destructive proverbs in the world is that popular saying, "Ignorance is Bliss". Ignorance is not, and NEVER has been BLISS. If children are ignorant and yet live in bliss; it is only because their PARENTS are NOT ignorant. A man who goes walking out upon the frozen lake may not know how THIN the ice is: but THIS IGNORANCE is NOT BLISS. He may very well be "innocent" of criminal negligence; but THAT "innocence" only makes his fate more tragic is he falls through and drowns. How can anybody with a sound mind say "Ignorance is Bliss"? Sometimes knowledge is painful or costly, but IGNORANCE is NOT BLISS. Ask the business man: he doesn't think that ignorance is bliss! Ask the soldier on the battlefield: he doesn't think that ignorance is bliss! Ask the parents who have school aged children: they don't think that ignorance is bliss either!
Is there a man on this earth somewhere who has NEVER HEARD of Jesus Christ and knows NOTHING about the Bible? Do you envy this man? Do you account IGNORANCE of The Word of God to be BLISS?
There is another kind of ignorance; which is NOT ONLY not bliss; but is actually a DEADLY and DAMNING SIN: WILLFUL IGNORANCE of Religious Truth.
|Matt.13:15||For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.|
Some of those who conspire to distort and conceal certain facts for evil and selfish purposes have NEVER actually SEEN and KNOWN the facts they wish to suppress. They simply do not want to CHANCE seeing, learning, or knowing ANYTHING that may challenge or discredit their present doctrine or course of action. These are the only people who actually think that IGNORANCE is BLISS; because they think that if they can "somehow" remain IGNORANT, they have escaped ACCOUNTABILITY to God for what they have REFUSED to SEE. Such men usually adopt their religious opinions from their family and friends without serious reflection, and they treat all challenges or probing questions which are directed to their "faith" with smug indifference. They studiously avoid contact with literature or people that may require that they produce a reason for their opinions, or a response to challenging evidence. If some ANNOYING FACT manages to disturb them for a moment, they exert themselves to ignore or reject that fact until their sense of insecurity fades: they are rarely disturbed by unanswered questions about God, or Truth, or prayer, or justice: they live in THE BLISS OF THE DAMNED.
The ostrich that sticks his head in the sand to escape the sight of the charging lion is NEVERTHELESS still torn limb from limb and devoured by that lion. The man who thinks that ignorance of Bible Truth is BLISS has stuck his head in the Devils Dung Heap, and he won't even know that the lion was EVER coming until it is TOO LATE (1 Peter 5:8). He is a LIAR, for he has conspired to CONCEAL THE FACTS;even from himself. To those who think that WILLFUL IGNORANCE of the Bible will amount to some kind of "innocence", God has spoken this: Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof; I also will LAUGH at YOUR CALAMITY; I will MOCK when YOUR FEAR COMETH (Prov. 1:24-26).
|Acts.20:25||And now, behold, I know that ye all among whom I have gone preaching the Kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.|
|26||Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.|
|27||For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.|
IMAGINE 2 chemists who are racing to discover a MEDICINE which will cure a terrible disease which is infecting thousands of people. They both discover that a certain formula seems to slow down the disease. They both go racing off to the patent office, and they both secure the right to market the same medicine. But one of these chemists is not quite satisfied, so he continues his research for a little longer, and he discovers, that by adding JUST ONE PERCENT of an ADDITIONAL compound, that the medicine becomes TWICE as EFFECTIVE. He abandons his "original formula", and secures the exclusive right to make and sell his "new formula". The other company, by law, is not allowed to copy and sell the "new formula". There is an awful lot of money at stake.
Now both formulas are made available to the public. BOTH formulas have a curative effect; but ONE formula is TWICE AS EFFECTIVE as the other. The formulas are the same, EXCEPT, one formula has THAT ONE PERCENT DIFFERENCE.
Someone in your family comes down with the dreaded disease, so you go looking to find the medicine that will help them. You find yourself looking at 2 bottles of MEDICINE that both CLAIM to have a curative effect. BOTH bottles are covered with ADVERTISING, and they BOTH CLAIM to be THE BEST; but ONE BOTTLE has these "magic words" on it: "THE ORIGINAL FORMULA" and "ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES". Well, that's all you need to see; you're NOT ABOUT to be giving any "substitutes" to YOUR loved one; neither are you willing to be "led astray" by someone who CLAIMS that their "version" is SUPERIOR to "THE ORIGINAL FORMULA". You already know that "THE ORIGINAL FORMULA" works, and you are unwilling to conduct any "experiments" on your loved-one, so, "THE ORIGINAL FORMULA" is what you buy, and what they get .
The "ORIGINAL FORMULA" helps; but NOT ENOUGH, for your loved one eventually DIES from the disease. Then, you begin to hear that the formula that has the ONE PERCENT DIFFERENCE is keeping people ALIVE until they recover from the disease. SUDDENLY, that ONE PERCENT DIFFERENCE has become INFINITELY IMPORTANT.
NOW, your loved one has DIED because "THE ORIGINAL FORMULA" claimed to be JUST AS GOOD or BETTER than any other. NOW, you are filled with RAGE at the company that sells "THE ORIGINAL FORMULA", for in YOUR VIEW, they have KILLED your loved one with their LIE. NOW, you are thinking about LAWSUITS, and VENGEANCE, and PUBLIC CRUSADES against the company that made and marketed the "so called" Original Formula, BECAUSE even though it "worked", it did not work as well as the "other formula"; the one that had THAT ONE PERCENT DIFFERENCE.
NOW, the "word" has gotten out about THE ONE PERCENT DIFFERENCE, and a SALESMAN (clergyman) from the COMPANY (church) that makes and sells the "so called" Original Formula has HEARD ABOUT IT: he has SEEN and KNOWN something.
SO THERE HE IS. . . . .sitting at his desk in the privacy of his office; with the literature in from of him; STARING in perplexity at THAT ONE PERCENT DIFFERENCE. What DO YOU THINK that he will do?
AND WHAT IF HE JUST DECIDES to PRETEND that THAT ONE PERCENT DIFFERENCE doesn't really make a difference? And what if he just goes on recommending and selling THAT SAME OLD "so called" Original Formula as if he NEVER HAD A REASON to question it? And what if he ALSO begins to compose some kind of LONG-WINDED BOGUS ARGUMENT in defense of his "ORIGINAL" FORMULA just in case one of his CUSTOMERS (church-members) brings up THAT ONE PERCENT DIFFERENCE? Do you think that SUCH A MAN actually CARES about the people he SELLS his "version" of THE CURE to? Let me "clear the air" for you on these questions. . . .
Any man who is willing to DISTORT or CONCEAL certain FACTS in order to continue SELLING what he KNOWS to be a LESSER CURE for the sake of HIS OWN career; cares neither for the Truth, NOR for the welfare of the people he SELLS his "version" of THE MEDICINE to. Maybe he counts loyalty to his own COMPANY (church) to be some kind of virtue; but he is a LIAR, and also a MURDERER: his rightful place is in the lake of fire.
The Truths of Religion are like medicine; and are provided by the Grace of God to CURE the sickness of SIN. The difference between medicine and the Truths of Religion is that if your "Religious Truth-Medicine" fails to work "well enough", the patient NOT ONLY dies; but he is also DAMNED.
ANYONE who will DEFEND a PARTIAL CURE against a BETTER CURE: even if the BETTER CURE is only "slightly better", is UNSPEAKABLY WICKED.
In The END, most of the FALSE PROPHETS who will be finally "labeled" as JUST LIARS before they are thrown into the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone will NOT be OUTRIGHT brazen LIARS: they will just be men who were DEFENDERS OF A LESSER TRUTH. They will not find any excuse in saying that the BETTER TRUTH was "not perfect either". Neither will they be able to say "God didn't show me", for THE BIBLE was right there on their desk, and the Spirit of truth was always there to guide you into all truth (John 16:13).
|John.3:19||AND THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness (willful ignorance) rather than light, because their deeds were evil.|
|20||For every one that doeth evil HATETH the light (the whole story; all the facts), neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (shown up for what they really are: acts of dishonesty, pride, selfishness, and cowardice).|
|21||But he that DOETH TRUTH cometh to the light (even if there is a cost or risk involved), that his deeds may be made manifest (exposed and revealed for what they really are), that they have been wrought in (with the approval of) God.|
NOW, I have had to drag you through this long dissertation about all the different ways that men can LIE by selectively reporting or concealing certain facts BECAUSE THE LAST TRUMPET is about ESCHATOLOGY: the MOST difficult and complicated of ALL theological subjects. Before I begin to subject myself to the contemptuous sneers of lazy and ignorant men; whose "version" of how The World-Story ENDS is either borrowed from the last book they read; or is dictated to them by the Religious Social Club that they currently pay dues to; I think I should acquaint YOU, dear Reader, with the INSURMOUNTABLE DIFFICULTIES involved in attempting to come up with a CLEAR and FINAL, TRUE and UNCONTESTABLE, eschatology.
I neither CLAIM, nor THINK; that I have THE LAST WORDabout EXACTLY how or when the PROPHETIC EVENTS which will surround the 2nd Coming of Our Blessed Lord and MY Savior Jesus Christ are going to take place.
After 20 YEARS of agonizingly meticulous Bible study: and after many long hours of prayer and detailed research just for THIS one article: THE LAST TRUMPET; I realize that the MOST that I can claim to offer you is a "somewhat better" Truth. Because this book that I am writing is of such a provocative and controversial nature; I was DISMAYED, and even ready to give up and just QUIT rather than set forth ANYTHING that I could not SUBSTANTIATE and PROVE against every REASONABLE argument. Being consumed with insecurity about this; I cried out to the Lord, "Why didn't You just make this SIMPLE? Why didn't you provide us with a nice ORDERLY LIST of the EVENTS that will mark The End of This Age?" The Lord answered me in A DREAM; and He showed me, that He has PURPOSEFULLY obscured the details that surround His Return. He did NOT tell me WHY He has done this: and NEITHER did He solve the "riddle" for me. As it stands, then: the Lord has TOLD ME that I DON'T HAVE THE LAST WORD about EXACTLY how and when the PROPHETIC EVENTS that will mark The End of This Age will take place. Yet The Same Lord also COMMANDED me to write a book about THE GREAT and FINAL APOSTASY of Christendom: which APOSTASY is AMPLY described in both the Old and New Testaments. One of the places where THE GREAT and FINAL APOSTASY of Christendom is described is 2 Peter 3:3-4. In order to show you how this prophecy is FULFILLED, I shall have to commit myself to a DEFINITE POSITION on the MOST DIFFICULT and MOST DEBATED of ALL eschatological subjects: WHEN THE RAPTURE HAPPENS.
I am thoroughly familiar with ALL the arguments that are advanced by the proponents of the 3 DIFFERENT explanations for WHEN THE RAPTURE will HAPPEN. I HAVE SEEN, and I DO SEE, some relative merit to all 3 arguments. I am ALSO familiar with a 4th "explanation" which was advanced by a very well known and reputable Bible Scholar, who attempts to resolve the 3 contradictory arguments by asserting that there are 3 RAPTURES: One at the beginning of the Tribulation; one at the middle; and one just before the end. His argument is MOST COMPELLING; and I find myself SUSPECTING that he may be RIGHT.
HOWEVER: I can only see 1 Rapture which could answer to a prophecy, that there shall come in the last days, scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and SAYING, Where is the promise of His Coming? Now most will admit that we are in the last days; but no one in Christendom who has the power to reach a large audience is SAYING that Jesus will NEVER return. And, it is important that we pay careful attention to EXACTLY what the Apostle says; for he DOES NOT SAY that these scoffers are denying the eventual return of Christ. They say, Where is the PROMISE....of His coming: they are NOT SAYING "Where is the COMING....that He promised". They are denying that a certain promise of a certain coming can be found: for they say, "Where is IT?" The only "coming" of Jesus Christ which is being openly challenged in Christendom today is the Pre- Tribulation Rapture. Neither can you suppose that these scoffers are a feature of The Great Tribulation, and are denying a Mid or Post-Tribulation Rapture, because The Great Tribulation is NOT the last days of The Church Age, but is 'the first days' of The Day of The Lord. These scoffers are a feature of the last days of this age. And then, none of these scoffers would be saying, Where is the promise of his coming AFTER the Antichrist has already arrived, for that would be to deny that THEIR "Christ" has arrived. Peter goes on to explain just what it is that they are denying:
|2Peter.3:5||For this they WILLINGLY are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:|
|6||Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:|
What they are WILLINGLY ignorant of, is that AFTER the "few" were removed to safety in Noah's Ark, the rest were destroyed. What they are denying, is that God will remove a few to safety, destroy the present "world order", and then return the few to take over the earth. This is clearly descriptive of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
Then OF COURSE, there are some who deny that there ever WILL BE such a thing as a Great Tribulation. AND, there are some who deny that there will ever be a Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ on the earth. AND, there are some who deny that Jesus Christ actually makes a PERSONAL and PHYSICAL return to the earth.
As I said: ESCHATOLOGY is the MOST difficult and complicated of ALL theological subjects. God has chosen to make it IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to arrive at any firm conclusions from a casual inquiry. After a brief review of the APPARENTLY conflicting Biblical addresses to The End of The Age and/or of The World, I shall present you with a "somewhat better" explanation for HOW This Age will end, and show you WHO the scoffers are in 2 Peter 3:3-4.
Just Remember: LIARS DON'T MAKE IT.
IF WE WILL ASSERT that the Christian Bible is INSPIRED, then we must PRESUME that God foreknew what it's contents would be. The FACT then; that the Bible provides no ORDERLY LIST of the SIGNS and EVENTS which mark the CLOSE of The Church-Age and the BEGINNING of The Next Age MUST be the PURPOSEFUL design of The One Who INSPIRED that Bible. The Apostle Peter makes a CLEAR MENTION of the Millennial Kingdom of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Acts 3:20-21: BUT, when this SAME Apostle makes his longest and most detailed address to The End of This Age, he appears to regard the 2nd Coming as The End of THE WORLD (2 Peter 3:10-13). Also, Peter makes NO MENTION of separate resurrections for the righteous and the wicked; a PERSISTENT subject with the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 15:23-24). BUT THEN, the Book of Revelation makes a PLAIN MENTION of 2 DISTINCT RESURRECTIONS; to be SEPARATED by an interval of 1000 YEARS (Rev. 20:4-6). Go figure. . . . . .
When Our Lord Jesus said: The meek shall inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5); He MUST be referring to some SPECIFIC time-period when this would happen, or Jesus Himself becomes a FALSE PROPHET. Up until NOW, the meek HAVE NOT inherited the earth. Jesus also PROMISES a distinctly EARTHLY REWARD to those who have forsaken earthly comforts and privileges FOR HIS SAKE in This Present Age (Matt. 19:28-29). This wording has the resurrected Saints living in houses with mothers, fathers, wives, brothers, sisters, and ALSO children. BUT THEN, when the Sadducees ask Jesus about the resurrection, He says in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven (Matt. 22:30). THIS appears to confirm what is commonly understood from 2 Peter 3:10-13: that the resurrection occurs at The End of the WORLD, and appears to DENY any such thing as a Millennial Kingdom of God on earth. BUT THEN, we find Jesus talking about being recompensed at the resurrection OF THE JUST (Luke 14:14), as IF the resurrection of the just is somehow DISTINCT from the resurrection of THE WICKED. There JUST ISN'T any PLAIN and SIMPLE resolution to these apparent CONTRADICTIONS.
In order to place a Millennium between This Present Age and The End of THE WORLD; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall MELT with fervent heat; the earth ALSO, and the works that are therein; shall BE BURNED UP: you must PRESUME 2 things.
FIRSTLY: that 2 Peter 3:8 IMPLIES a Millennial Kingdom of a thousand years, AT THE END OF WHICH the earth AND the heavens are COMPLETELY DESTROYED.
|2Peter.3:8||But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.|
|9||The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.|
|10||But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.|
|11||Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness;|
|12||Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?|
|13||Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.|
I frankly admit, that without reference to the other scriptures which promise and describe a Millennial Kingdom on the earth, these verses would not, and could not, be taken to mean anything but that the day of the Lord will result in the complete and final End of This World. I do not see here any intentional allusion to, nor any purposeful allowance made for, any Millennial Kingdom whatsoever. Rather, we are urged to be looking for and hasting unto the day of God, after which there will be new heavens and a new earth. These verses in 2 Peter stand alone in the Bible, as the only place in which the day of the Lord is directly associated with the complete and final destruction of the entire material universe. The entire case for Amillennialism rests completely, (and rather serenely), on 2 Peter 3:10-13. I suppose that I must allow for the possibility that someone is sincerely convinced by these verses that there can be no Millennium: but they will then have to either ignore or "spiritualize" the scriptures which appear to present and describe a Millennial Kingdom; and THESE are many; while 2 Peter 3:10-13 stands ALONE.
Even Peter can be found referring to the Millennial Kingdom as a prophetic fact to which he concedes:
|Acts.3:19||Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;|
|20||And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you.|
|21||Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.|
Peter says that Jesus will remain in heaven until the times of restitution, which word means the same thing as RESTORATION. He DOES NOT say until the "new creation". And then, all the holy prophets testify to the Millennial Kingdom, and describe it.
I must take it then, that the day of the Lord begins with the Great Tribulation, includes the Millennium, lasts a thousand years, and ends at the day of God. I see the Millennium allowed for in the words, "in the which", which can be translated without violence to, "DURING WHICH".
Peter calls this destruction The Day of God, not The Day of The Lord. This term, "The Day of God" only occurs once in the entire Bible and only here. If you see no need to make a difference between The Day of The Lord, and The Day of God, you have, in fact, disagreed with the Holy Spirit; for He, in inspiring the Bible, thought it good and necessary to make this difference.
SECONDLY: that the 1st and the 2nd Resurrections are addressed and described independently of each other in some scriptures; and addressed as if they were the same event in others.
In other words; we are left to DISTINGUISH which Resurrection is being addressed by examining the context and by comparison with other Resurrection scriptures. If you assemble ALL the scriptures which treat of Resurrections together and try to make them into a single event, you will have a hodge-podge of IRRECONCILABLE contradictions before you. Unless you are willing to make careful distinctions between the Resurrection scriptures in THIS WAY, you CANNOT establish that there is ANY Millennial Kingdom of Christ on the earth to last a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6). You simply cannot have the saints reigning on the earth (Rev. 5:10) and the earth also, and the works that are therein being BURNED UP (2 Peter 3:10) AT THE SAME TIME. You cannot have the meek inheriting the earth (Matt. 5:5) and the earth being burned up at THE SAME TIME. You cannot have a situation in which a man who fails to live longer than a hundred years is considered to have died a child (Isaiah 65:20) and at the same time SAY there is no more death (Rev. 21:4).
There is still a considerably large portion of Christendom that DENIES that there EVER will be a Millennial Kingdom of Christ upon the earth: they take the liberty to "spiritualize" the scriptures which describe SUCH A KINGDOM. On the other hand, those who assert that there will be a Millennial Kingdom are usually embarrassed and confounded when asked to account for the plain language of 2 Peter 3:10-13.
I refer you to all that you have just read under LIARS DON'T MAKE IT; for I have just pointed out WHY most of those who have a particular ESCHATOLOGY to present ALWAYS FAIL to "remember" the EVIDENCE that is put forth by those who hold opposing views. Even though there are scores of books available now which pretend to give you ALL THE FACTS and present the "true scenario", most of the authors I have read appear to be just "singing for their own friends". By failing to deal humbly and honestly with the evidence presented by their adversaries, they only reveal their lack of sobriety and integrity. They are only writing for the applause of those who already agree with them, and they either IGNORE or arrogantly dismiss the scriptures that APPEAR to contradict their theories. Everyone can see this, and so all is in doubt.
This CONFUSION only increases when you try to assert a TIME for the Rapture, because most of those who like to debate this subject have never even proved to themselves that there is a 'time space' between the First Resurrection and The Second Coming. What they SAY they believe about these things is little more than a glib and thoughtless repetition of what they think their own family, friends, or church will say. They haven't even "proved it" to themselves; but they wrangle on with each other, taking their confidence from the crowd they presume to defend. Should they be so stumped or confounded by some clever argument or weighty evidence that they feel the need to do some "research", they simply retreat to the safety of their favorite scribes: There, they will find their favorite scriptures and arguments repeated over and over again: even though these "scribes" do not provide satisfactory answers to the opposing evidence either. There is rarely any serious attempt by any of these "schools of opinion" to answer to the arguments and evidence presented by their adversaries; instead, they strive to find some new quirk in a word or phrase to flatter the prejudice of those who ALREADY agree. One who reads these "arguments" carefully and seriously will be left in a sea of confusion; for their lack of integrity in dealing with the opposing evidence leaves EVERYTHING in doubt. That same SELF-INDUCED BLINDNESS that prevents them from seeing The Great And Final Apostasy Of Christendom (2 Thess. 2:3) doesn't just 'go away' when they consider any other subject.
I believe that I have shown you THE DIFFICULTY of coming up with a PLAIN, CLEAR, and UNCONTESTABLE eschatology. I remind you of my assertion that these DIFFICULTIES are PURPOSEFULLY engineered into the Bible by the God who inspired the Bible: they ARE NOT the result of "mistakes", and they ARE NOT "irreconcilable contradictions". It simply must be concluded that God INTENDED to make it EXTREMELY difficult for anyone to resolve these "problems"; and that He has a good and specific reason for doing so. To suggest otherwise, IS IN FACT, to deny both the inspiration and the reliability of the Christian Bible: and THAT'S THAT.
And remember: LIARS DON'T MAKE IT.
LIARS DON'T MAKE IT
RULES FOR INTERPRETATION
THOSE WHO CLAIM to have an interest in The God of The Bible ought then to show an interest in The Bible of The God: and millions say they DO.
But the fact that we HAVE a Bible has not brought us all into agreement. The PROBLEM appears to be INTERPRETATION. It behooves us then, as men who want to know The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth; to establish some RULES among us for how we shall INTERPRET the words and phrases in The Bible. None of us will permit any other man to "make up the rules" and then dictate them to the rest of us. Even if you and I got together and drew up some rules that we agreed upon, they would have no REAL authority. We are not bound to accept and believe a LIE just because someone lured us into an agreement that turns out to unjustly favor their opinion.
WHAT WE NEED is an AUTHORITY for the RULES that regards NO MAN and favors NO particular OPINION. Such an AUTHORITY would also have to be universally recognized and acknowledged by ALL MEN. We need an AUTHORITY which has the POWER to VINDICATE itself; so that NONE of US is required to defend or enforce it. We need an AUTHORITY that is SO GREAT, and so UNIMPEACHABLE, that it's DECISIONS are NEVER RESISTED in ANY serious business; so that even in a Court of Law, both the JUDGE and the JURY will always submit to it. We need an AUTHORITY which embraces ALL LANGUAGES; and has it's RECOGNIZED REPRESENTATIVES in EVERY land. This AUTHORITY must recognize how language changes through time; and it must be able to distinguish the ANCIENT from the MODERN in EVERY matter of STYLE, USAGE, GRAMMAR, and DEFINITION. If it can be proven that such an AUTHORITY for THE RULES OF INTERPRETATION actually exists; then all debate about the RULES becomes needless: and whosoever would RESIST such an AUTHORITY is a LIAR. Do you agree?
I propose to you then, that such an AUTHORITY DOES EXIST; and that we need not look far to find it; for the REPRESENTATIVES of this AUTHORITY reside in EVERY school, EVERY university, and in almost every home in the ENTIRE WORLD. That AUTHORITY is: The Common Dictionary.
|2Cor.1:13||For we write none other things unto you, than what ye can read or acknowledge (recognize and understand); and I trust ye shall be willing to acknowledge them even to the end.|
The Bible declares on it's own behalf, that it has been given to us in LANGUAGE that EVERY man can acknowledge, RECOGNIZE, and UNDERSTAND: it is the UNIQUE and RELIABLE EXPRESSION of the Mind, Will, Character, and Purpose of God; ACCOMMODATED to all the NORMAL RULES FOR LANGUAGE and all the NORMAL DEFINITIONS FOR WORDS.
|Isaiah.5:20||Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.|
The ONLY reason WHY men will insist on "special rules" for language and "abnormal definitions" for words when INTERPRETING the Bible is BECAUSE they DISAGREE with what the Bible SAYS. The insincere and dishonest man who is COMPELLED by custom or social pressure to make VERBAL CONCESSION to the Divine Authority of The Bible rarely has the courage to DENOUNCE or DENY the message of The Bible in any conspicuous way. When a dishonest man who CLAIMS to be a Christian is CONFRONTED with any PLAIN LANGUAGE from the Bible that he finds offensive or inconvenient; he quickly asserts that The Bible is "subject to interpretation". If the DICTIONARY, the GRAMMAR, the LEXICON, and the COMMENTARY are all shown to CONFIRM and SUPPORT the PLAIN LANGUAGE that the dishonest man is offended at; he denies any obligation to submit to the opinions of other men. If this same man is asked HOW he arrived at his "own interpretation" of The Bible, he claims that he was "taught by the Holy Spirit". If we ask this same man WHY the Holy Spirit didn't "teach" the rest of us the same thing; he neither knows nor cares; for all he really wants is for you to LEAVE HIM ALONE.
|Matt.7:6||Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before the swine, lest they trample then under their feet, and turn again and rend you.|
Since I have no authority to dictate the RULES OF INTERPRETATION to anyone; nor the power to force anyone to comply with ANY rules at all, no matter what their origin: I yield the matter entirely to Him Who Judges Justly. The Author of The Holy Bible knows what His RULES FOR INTERPRETATION are; and whether or not He has made His RULES known to us as well. God knows who all the LIARS are; and He has already made arrangements for them. THEY shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
LIARS DON'T MAKE IT!
IMAGINE, if you can, that you are standing on the Via Dolorosa in Old Jerusalem on the day when Jesus is being led away to His crucifixion. The street is lined with spectators, and YOU are among then. As Jesus and the soldiers approach, you can see that He is in bad shape; bleeding, and looking haggard: Jesus staggers and stumbles along. JUST AS the entourage reaches YOU, Jesus collapses to the ground; EVIDENTLY He is too weak and exhausted to drag the cross any further. The soldiers stop and confer among themselves, and, looking upon the crowd, their eyes fasten on YOU: they seize you by the arm and pull you out into the street, and order YOU to bear Jesus' cross along behind Him (Luke 23:26).
|Luke.23:27||And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.|
|28||But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.|
|29||For behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts which never gave suck.|
|30||Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.|
|31||For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?|
Jesus PROPHESIES of a time when women; FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY; will count themselves FORTUNATE to have never given birth to ANY children, and FORTUNATE to have never been RESPONSIBLE for the care of children. THOSE days have already come; they are here NOW. We are living in THE AGE OF ABORTION: when children are often thought of as an "inconvenience" or as an UNWANTED "expense". Even among those who profess Christianity there is the attempt to escape from the "burden" of providing for ADDITIONAL children by practicing BIRTH CONTROL, or by rendering themselves PERMANENTLY STERILE through surgery. A woman who realizes that she is pregnant is LIKELY to be at least temporarily DISMAYED at THE COST and THE BOTHER of it all. She may not be able to AFFORD to leave her JOB or hire a full time babysitter. She may not have a husband to support her; and EVEN IF SHE HAS A HUSBAND; he MAY NOT BE HAPPY about the "blessed event". It COSTS A LOT OF MONEY to have a baby in the civilized world, and those who CANNOT "pay the bill"; OR who fail to seek out EVERY form of medical assistance and supervision that MONEY CAN BUY, are regarded as IRRESPONSIBLE: and in some cases, they may even be brought before the courts; be charged with, and found guilty of, CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE or RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT.
EVEN WHEN a woman WANTS to bear children, and EVEN IF the MONEY is no problem, she is subjected to an endless barrage of WARNINGS about the risks and dangers of pregnancy. The television, the radio, the newspaper, the magazine, her family, and her friends, are CONSTANTLY REMINDING HER that SOMETHING CAN GO WRONG; and that a single MOMENTARY oversight on her part can result in a terrible TRAGEDY: a tragedy for which SHE MAY BE BLAMED. If she has a headache, she is not allowed to take a pill, but must endure the pain, lest she "damage" her baby. If she smokes cigarettes, eats the "wrong foods", or if she drinks EVEN MODERATELY; someone IS SURE to accuse her of being a "bad mother".
IS THERE ANY WONDER that these are the days in which they say, Blessed are the barren?
Jesus said: Ye cannot serve (work for, obey) God AND mammon (Matt. 6:24). Mammon is the Hebrew/Aramaic word for BANK ACCOUNT; yet it is the BANK ACCOUNT that usually decides IF and WHEN most people shall marry, and it is the BANK ACCOUNT that usually decides IF and WHEN most people shall have ANY children. ONLY THE WEALTHY, who can AFFORD all the doctors; and who can AFFORD to stay home with their children; and who can AFFORD to buy the clothes, the food, and the toys: ONLY THE WEALTHY, who can AFFORD to live in the "better" neighborhoods; who can AFFORD to pay for the private schools: ONLY THE WEALTHY, who can AFFORD to take their children on vacations and show them ALL THOSE WONDERFUL SIGHTS, are relatively FREE from those GLOOMY SPECTERS of POVERTY, ILLNESS, SUFFERING, HEARTBREAK, SHAME, FAILURE, and DISAPPOINTMENT that linger over EVERY discovery that ANOTHER BABY is going to be born into the world (John 16:21).
|1Cor.1:26||For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise (highly educated) men after the flesh, not many mighty (popular and powerful men), not many noble (born into wealthy and influential families) are called:|
|James.2:5||Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him?|
AND SO IT IS. . .that the overwhelming majority of the ABORTIONS take place among the poor and disadvantaged in society; and these are the very people God hath chosen to be heirs of the Kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him. This "Massacre of the Innocents" has depopulated Christendom of it's MOST IMPORTANT members: the young and zealous. There is a conspicuously profound lack of children who are "on fire for Jesus" in the churches today, because they have all been MURDERED. Those children who are "religious by osmosis" from their parents do little to add any lustre to the Church. It's the young people who come to Church on their own, and even over their parent's protest, that give the most LIFE and HOPE to Christendom. These CHILD- CONVERTS who are willing to make sacrifices of their time and money for Jesus WITHOUT being dragged into Church by their family are the SAME ONES that grow up to be PILLARS OF THE FAITH in their adulthood.
I cannot prove this: but I propose to you that both ABORTION and BIRTH CONTROL have been targeted directly at the saints who WOULD HAVE BEEN born into the world. I do not suggest that MEN thought to decimate the Church by this means; but that the Devil has found a NEW WAY to pull one of his oldest tricks. The Devil convinced Pharaoh that there were "good reasons" to kill the children of the Hebrews AT THE SAME TIME that Moses was born (Exodus 1:15-22). That same Devil moved Herod to kill off all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under when Jesus was born (Matt. 2:16). Certainly, that Devil must have SOMETHING IN PARTICULAR in mind for our day; for he has managed to "snuff out" MILLIONS and MILLIONS of babies in the nations of Christendom BEFORE they ever had a chance to hear The Gospel or attend any church.
|Romans.8:29||For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.|
|30||Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.|
We need not sorrow FOR those babies whom He did foreknow; for ALL IS WELL with them, and we shall see them and meet them some day. The LOSS is OURS: For we are living in those prophetic days in which the tree that was green and lively has become dry and DEAD (Luke 23:31). The tree is Christendom: and WITH EACH PASSING MINUTE; as the older saints leave this world; what ONCE WAS CALLED Christianity is FADING AWAY out of the earth. We are NOW living in the days of the dry tree: which is just another way to say that THE GREAT and FINAL APOSTASY of PROPHECY (2 Thess. 2:3) has ALREADY taken place. Jesus NEVER went to or sought out the affluent AT ANY TIME, and even when He announces His Divine Commission, He EXPLICITLY declares that He is sent to the LOWER CLASSES of society, because it is THERE among the "rabble at the bottom" that He expects to find His own sheep (John 10:4): BECAUSE, that is WHERE God has ordained for them to be born into the world. The FACT that ABORTION is primarily practiced by the poor and disadvantaged is NO ACCIDENT. The Devil, who is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), has managed to create for us a civilization in which children are a LUXURY for the upper class and a CURSE and a BURDEN for the lower classes.
|Luke.4:17||And there was delivered unto Him the book of the Prophet (Isaiah). And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written,|
|18||The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted (hopeless and dejected), to preach deliverance to the captives (of poverty and degradation), and recovering of sight to the blind (who see no way out of their misery), to set at liberty them that are bruised (emotionally crippled from blow after blow by a cruel and unjust world).|
|19||To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.|
|20||AND HE CLOSED THE BOOK, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened upon Him.|
Jesus stopped reading and closed the book BEFORE He finished reading THE REST of what He quotes from verse 19 above. As a matter of fact, Jesus cuts off the quotation right in the middle of a verse.
|Isaiah.61:2||To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the DAY OF VENGEANCE of our God; to comfort all that mourn.|
The acceptable YEAR of the Lord is to be followed by the DAY of vengeance of our God. The contrast between a year and a day suggests that the day of vengeance will be a very short period of time in comparison with the acceptable year of the Lord that precedes it. Furthermore, the day of vengeance of our God is going to COMFORT all that mourn:
|Isaiah.61:3||To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.|
But I will not use this OPPORTUNITY to prove a Pre-Tribulation Rapture; though the evidence is before you. I would have you observe that the comfort is for them that MOURN in Zion: they mourn because THE TREE is DRY. They themselves are CONTRASTED with the dry tree; and are called trees of righteousness. The comfort will only be for those who are in mourning over the CORRUPTION and APOSTASY in Zion.
Now Jesus said, that AFTER the days in the which they say, Blessed are the barren; THEN shall they BEGIN to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
|Rev.6:15||And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;|
|16||And said to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:|
|17||For the great DAY of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?|
|Isaiah.2:12||For the Day of the Lord of Hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low;|
|19||And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.|
|1Thess.5:1||But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.|
|2||For yourselves know perfectly well that the Day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.|
|3||For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them (not us) as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.|
|Dan.12:1||And at that time shall the Archangel Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, EVERY ONE THAT SHALL BE FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK.|
|Matt.24:21||For THEN shall be GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be (again).|
And I am not going to fill pages and pages with Scripture that predicts and describes THE GREAT TRIBULATION, which is also called The Day of the Lord. Any SO CALLED "Bible scholar" who denies that This Present Age will END in THE GREAT TRIBULATION is a LIAR. Whether it lasts for 3 1/2 or 7 or 20 years is INSIGNIFICANT: IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.
Return to Home Page
See part 2 of Chapter 4: THE LAST TRUMPET, part 2 of 3
Questions or responses: e-mail to "US" (1John 4:6)