Skip to comments.Apocalypse soon
Posted on 10/07/2008 8:41:53 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
The pages of failed end-of-the-world prophecies could make up a whole new testament. Now there's the Rev. David Jeremiah, an East County mega-pastor and TV evangelist who says the end is coming, in the words of a familiar church song, soon and very soon.
In a new book that hit bookstores this week, Jeremiah offers 10 prophetic clues he says point to an imminent conclusion many Christians have clung to for 2,000 years the Rapture (when the faithful will be summoned instantly into Heaven), followed by the Tribulation (a seven-year period of turmoil), Armageddon (the final battle of good versus evil) and the Second Coming of Jesus (to reign on Earth).
Jeremiah doesn't set a date in What in the World Is Going On? (Thomas Nelson; $22.99). But his urgency is clear: His return is close at hand, he writes, adding that Christians should be motivated as never before to live in readiness.
I have no intention of setting any dates or saying this is when this is going to happen, Jeremiah says, settling back on a couch in his office at Turning Point, his international television and radio ministry headquartered in Lakeside.
All I'm saying is some of the things that the word of God prophesied would take place as we near this time are happening in ways you cannot contradict.
The 67-year-old senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, where he preaches to 7,000 people at weekend services, says he was motivated to write this book after so many people kept questioning him about world events.
He reached out to other biblical prophecy scholars for their thoughts. Among them was Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling Left Behind series of Christian apocalyptic novels. In 1981, Jeremiah followed LaHaye as senior pastor of Scott Memorial Baptist Church, which later became Shadow Mountain.
The 10 signs Jeremiah settled on range from the emergence of Israel as the dominant country-of-residence for Jews and the rise in power of Russia and Iran to the world's reliance on Middle Eastern oil and the coming together of countries under the European Union.
I'm not a sensationalist, says Jeremiah, a grandfather and two-time cancer survivor who is a well-known speaker at evangelical venues like the Billy Graham Training Center.
I would be the last person in the world to try to draw sensationalist truths from the Scripture, he adds. You can get a crowd if you know how to frame your stuff, but I'm past all that. I don't need to do that. But what I do know is this: This is a different day unlike anything that I've ever known, unlike anything the world has ever known. So what does that mean?
What it means for him is that conversion efforts need to be jump-started like a battery in a long-idled sedan.
We've forgotten that there's an urgency about what we've been called to do, he says. He leans forward on the couch, as if to emphasize his impatience. I think it puts an urgency and a seriousness into our walk. Jeremiah is particularly tough on Islam in his book. Islamic terrorism is among the signs he says are pointing toward the end times.
One of the most baffling and unsettling puzzles about Islam is the constant contention on the part of some Muslim leaders that they are a peace-loving people, he writes. Yet even as they make the claim, Islamic terrorists continue to brutally murder any person or group with whom they find fault.
Jeremiah does not believe Allah and God are the same. He also believes that Islam hates Jews and Christians.
Experts say that 15 to 20 percent of Muslims are radical enough to strap a bomb on their bodies in order to kills Christians and Jews, he writes. If this number is accurate, it means about 300 million Muslims are willing to die in order to take you and me down.
His solution: convert Muslims to Christianity.
Jeremiah says he is not trying to be incendiary; he's just being true to his convictions. I'm not intolerant, he insists. I just believe totally what I believe, and if I have to go along in order to get along, water down what I believe, I'll never do that.
But Khaleel Mohammed, associate professor of religious studies at San Diego State University and a voice for moderate Islam, says Jeremiah isn't helping matters.
It's not constructive in any way for the Christian or the Muslim, Mohammed says. Everything he is saying is so divisive.
Mohammed also thinks Jeremiah's portrait is one-sided; after all, thousands of Muslim civilians have died in the American-led invasion of Iraq.
I'm not denying there are Christians and Muslims agitating against each other, but I don't think it's religious, Mohammed says. Still, he adds, the future lies in interfaith cooperation, a move the old guard on both sides is resisting. They are just fighting against the tide. ... Among Muslims, you'll find preachers who are as nonsensical as Jeremiah.
Scholars who study end-times prophecies say Jeremiah's book, and others like it, should be handled with care.
I would say the odds are enormous, if not overwhelming, that he, like every other Christian prophet over the last 2,000 years, will be wrong, says Richard Landes, associate professor of history at Boston University and director of the Center for Millennial Studies.
Jews and Muslims also have their doomsday beliefs, Landes says, but apocalypticism has been particularly rampant in Christianity. It was, after all, Jesus himself who forewarned his followers in the New Testament to keep watch and be ready for his return.
Ever since, Christians have watched for signs of the Second Coming, scanning the Bible for clues and codes, says Jon Stone, a religious studies professor at Cal State Long Beach.
Stone acknowledges there is a built-in audience for books like Jeremiah's. I think people like to be in on a secret, to know something other people don't know, he explains. This is, by far, the biggest secret in terms of religious things.
Jeremiah is planning a series of sermons at Shadow Mountain this fall on living with confidence in a chaotic world. He plans to tell the congregation, among other things, that this is the time for the faithful to hang together, to focus on the church and the Bible.
Jeremiah says biblical prophecy isn't a popular pulpit topic. A lot of buddies of mine say they don't ever preach on prophecy because they think it's irrelevant. ... Well, if they read the Bible, they will find out that if you study prophecy, it gives you incredible insight as to how you should live your life today.
He resists efforts to be coaxed into being more specific about when all this is going to happen. It's not about that, he repeats. It is about the awareness of what the events that are happening in the world today mean and how we can look at it through the third lens of the Bible and make more sense of it than we would otherwise.
You said — I think a more applicable question would be, “What does the Bible have to say about the rapture?”
Now, I agree with that, for sure. BUT, you must remember that this “issue” was raised by others, in that there was no one who ever understood that the Bible taught that (i.e., the “Rapture”, or being “taken up”).
So, this was not given as an answer from authority on the “teaching of the Rapture” — but rather — only an answer to some “criticism” that no one else ever saw the same thing (before) in history. And that was clearly not the case — as has been shown here.
NOW, having said that — indeed — the Bible is the authority for this teaching and not whether someone taught it five years ago, 100 years ago or 1,000 years ago.
In that light — *even* the “criticism” (from others) is illegitimate (according to your “thinking” above) because their criticism seems to indicate that for the Bible to have something to say “authoritatively” about an issue — it *must* have been “authenticated” by another person’s commentary and writing on the matter, sometime in ancient history (or else, the Bible is not “authoritative” on the issue). That’s absolutely false thinking.
No matter *when* a teaching is “promoted” by “people” — the Bible, alone and by itself, is the only authoritative teaching on the matter — no matter how many years or centuries it takes “people” to “discover” it.
You must remember that the “church” is something that was not known or taught about in the centuries before Jesus. It was a new thing. Now, I’m not saying the teaching of the Rapture was a new thing (because it wasn’t and it was quite old, going back many centuries) — but I’m just saying that to make a “criticism” on the basis of the “age of a teaching” is not legitimate.
AND..., from that standpoint — indeed, the Bible does teach such a thing as the Rapture (being caught up, taken up — forcefully, as in “Strong’s”).
Thanks for making that point and perhaps it will take people away from trying to make a big issue on “when” a teaching became known to the public and rather — into the authoritative word of God (instead).
Amen to that!
LOLshalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai
Was the "church" started at the YHvH commanded or Did the "church" exist earlier ? Using the LXX as a guide we see that the Ekklesia
A study of the word "church", in the Koine Greek : Ekklesia. shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai
Feast day of Shavuot (pentecost) as some say ?
is first used in Deuteronomy 4:10
NAsbU Deuteronomy 4:10 "Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God Also see : Deu 4:10, Deu 9:10, Deu 18:16, Deu 23:3, Deu 23:4, Deu 23:9, Deu 31:30,
at Horeb, when the LORD said to me, 'Assemble the people to Me, that I may let
them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on
the earth, and that they may teach their children.'
Jos 9:2, Jda 20.2, Jda 21:5, Jda 21:8, Jdg 20:2 Jdg 21:5, Jdg 21:8, 1 Sa 17:47,
1 Sa 19:20, 1 Ki 8:14, 1 Ki 8:22, 1 Ki 8:55, 1 Ki 8:65, 1 Ch 13:2, 1 Ch 13:4, 1 Ch 28:2,
1 Ch 28:8
Was the "church" started at the YHvH commanded
Did the "church" exist earlier ?
Using the LXX as a guide we see that the Ekklesia
I would have to do a lot more reading up on it to comment more thoroughly. Several things do come to mind, though. While the LLX is a translation from the original language that renders that word (that you reference, Ekklesia), I would think that one would want to go to the original language for a more thorough understanding of what was being said originally.
Now, for the New Testament, it was written in Greek, so that would be legitimate. For the Old Testament, I would want to hear how some of those language scholars compare the original language to the Greek version. And then, one would want to get into things like context and to whom it was written and so on.
The other initial thought that I had was that this would tend to mix up the distinction between the Jews and the Church, as the Bible speaks to these different groups and in different ways. If the Jews are the Church and the Church is the equivalent (or maybe a superset of the Jews) — then that would seem to play into Replacement Theology, in that the Church has assumed all the promises of God, which were given to the Jews (i.e., national Israel) and Israel has forfeited their rights and/or promises (to the Church).
Anyway, these are not really developed thoughts but only initial ones and I would have to go further into it and see where it leads. If it leads to the wrong places, then there would definitely be something wrong with it.
That remains to be seen...
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai
Very specifically: Romans 11 where Paul discusses who is grafted into whom.
NAsbU Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off,
and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them
and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,
NAsbU Romans 11:19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off
so that I might be grafted in."
Paul warns against the pride of a Gentile follower of Yah'shua.
NAsbU Romans 11:22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God;
to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness,
if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
NAsbU Romans 11:23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief,
will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
A Jew who comes to know the Jewish Messiah for their salvation
does not become a Christian,
They become a "called out one", a member of the Ekklesia.
They become a Messianic Jew.
The L-rd's name ( Shem ) is not je-zeus;
it is Yah'shua ( YHvH is my salvation )
NAsbU Romans 10:13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."
Which is why you must call on His Name for salvation.
We will have to agree to disagree on what the Bible teaches about the rapture. Nonetheless, I am sure that we can find common ground on John 3:16 as one of the key passages to describe a member of the invisible church.
I understand your argument about man not having to authenticate the Word of God. I agree that the Word of God stands on its own. My point is that there have been, throughout history, false teachers who teach one part of the Bible but ignore its message in its entirety. People unequipped with a broad understanding of the Bible and are in a teaching position can quite easily lead someone astray. In fact, at the time of the Reformation there were a number of teachers who thought they could go outside of the Church's boundaries now that they had "permission" to read the Bible. They were unequipped to teach, yet they in some cases collated large crowds. Sadly, in many of these cases, these crowds met an awful fate at the hands of authorities. It is still necessary for those that teach the Word of God to be solidly grounded in that word. The Bible must be used to interpret the Bible, not another man's commentaries. It is a self consistent book incapable of contradicting itself. Those who think they can teach who know but some of the Bible are mistaken. That is my point.
So, this was not given as an answer from authority on the teaching of the Rapture but rather only an answer to some criticism that no one else ever saw the same thing (before) in history. And that was clearly not the case as has been shown here
I am not arguing the history of the definition of the rapture. As an amateur historian, I find such debates interesting, but in terms of growing my faith, a distraction. I understand your point and have no further comment.
Christ said let no man deceive you.... so what is that GREAT deception that was continually warned would occur????? Ever heard of the mark of the 'beast'? Well it is what is in the mind and how that the physical labor is put forth via that right hand for the beast 'system'.
Just for the record and so we are not talking past one another, why don't you post the quotes from these ancient authors which you believe teaches a pre-trib rapture theory.
Sadly most modern Christians have NO clue who those of Israel literally are.... there were and are two houses that it is written that it will be Christ Himself that will rejoin and He was NOT talking about a piece of real estate that in modern times got called Israel. Remember that ‘civil’ war wherein the two houses were split and the Northern kingdom called ten tribe/Israel were sent into captivity to the Assyrian king and then the House of Judah with Benjamin were sent to the king of Babylon????
Yah, so? If that all it takes (speculation) to classify someone as a worldwide evangelist of incomparable proportions, then you can pretty much have the Bible say anything you want it to say.
We can see that this time of the Tribulation, besides being a time of Judgement is also a time of proclaiming the Gospel, too, as the angel is sent out to proclaim it all over the world.
Hmmm, curious. Rather than try to explain why angels (and only angels) in the book are the ones specifically identified as preaching the gospel, you want to extend that to the group symbolically referred to as the one hundred and forty four thousand in order to bolster your end-time theories. All with hype about worldwide evangelization.
But, Ill guarantee you that these 144,000 wont have their priorities wrong
More speculation. Based on what? You still havent told us from the Bible exactly who they are and what they will be doing or why there were identified by God.
They call their brothers "RACA" for not agreeing with their anti-semitism.
Feigned humility is most unbecoming. but if that fails, just toss out the "A"-word.
just toss out the "A"-word.
That's an automatic forfeit, isn't it?
Looks like I got ~75 posts to catch up on.
Actually, the Bible makes it pretty clear that the Church, Gods called out people, has existed in all ages. It was foretold to Abraham, who was called the after of many nations, and came to faith while he was still a gentile. Romans 4 and Galatians 3 teach that all those who are of faith are children of Abraham. The author of Acts speaks of the Church (called-out assembly, ekklesia) in the wilderness (Acts 7:38).
God has always had a plan for one people, and that plan was revealed in the Old Testament and fulfilled perfectly in the New. (cf. Psalm 22:27,28; Isa. 42:1-9; 49:5,6,22,23; Zech. 2:11).
Desperation preceding surrender.
Looks like I got ~75 posts to catch up on.
"Do not go into the way of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt. 10:6)
Is it your contention that when Jesus says "Israel" He was specifically excluding from outreach an members of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin?
Sadly most modern Christians have NO clue who those of Israel literally are....
OK, so assume we are looking for biblical answers. What do you have to offer?
there were and are two houses that it is written that it will be Christ Himself that will rejoin and He was NOT talking about a piece of real estate that in modern times got called Israel. Remember that civil war wherein the two houses were split and the Northern kingdom called ten tribe/Israel were sent into captivity to the Assyrian king and then the House of Judah with Benjamin were sent to the king of Babylon????
Doesn't the word have multiple meanings in the Bible? Yes, it can refer to just the so-called "ten northern tribes". But it also has another meanings. (cf. Acts 7:42; Heb. 8:10 (contrast with v. 8)).
Where was "Israel" at the time of Christ? Are you saying that when Jesus and his disciples used the word "Israel" (gr, israel) to refer to the nation in the 1st century living in the plot of land in the Middle East, they were mistaken also?
Oh, and dont forget to pick up your prophecy chart so you too can know whats next.
You know, collecting end times trash 'n trinkets might be an interesting hobby. I keep seeing these B grade end of the world flicks in the 2 denarius bin at Walmart.....
All orthodox Christians agree that at Christs return, all the saints are resurrected and receive their glorified bodies. Those who are living at the time are changed and go into the glorified state without tasting physical death. Those who are alive will not precede those who have died in this transaction. All orthodox Christians also teach a resurrection of the unrighteous followed by their entry into eternal torment.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
What all orthodox Christians do not agree upon is the notion that the resurrection of the just and the unjust is separated by a period of time, whether it be 1000 years or 1007 years, or ??? Or, for that matter, whether there is a separation in time between the resurrection of one group of believers and another group.
In order to justify the second scenario, a whole lot of speculative ideas have to be read into 2 verses of the Bible, namely 1 Thess. 4:16,17. You have to believe (impose upon the text) that because Paul only mentions believers that he intended to place a chronological gap between the resurrection of the just and the unjust. Or, because Paul uses the phrase to meet the Lord in the air that somehow that means that Jesus turns the boat around and we all hightail it back to heaven to sit out the great tribulation. And because of this convoluted theology you have to assert that the trumpet of 1 Thess. 4 is different from the last trumpet of 1 Cor. 15. Or that the last trumpet of 1 Cor. 15 is really not the last trumpet because they are plainly other last trumpets in the book of Revelation (which supposedly all happens after the rapture, according to the popular theory).
So if you look a the two scenarios, and compare them to the Bible, the orthodox version which claims one resurrection of both the just and unjust and one general judgment of all men, and the second, with multiple coming, multiple appearances, multiple resurrections, multiple judgments, etc., you can understand why this second scenario has been rejected by the majority of Christians since its development in 1830.
Most of us have had enough time to study it over the last 170 years and found it does not, in fact, fit with all we read in the Bible.
The Rapture is a resurrection...Surely you've read about resurrections in the bible...
The rapture of the church is coincident with the resurrection. "And I will raise him up on the last day."
They go up and head towards and beyond the NORTH star..Cite, please. And suppose there isn't one when this happens. The pole precesses over time, you know.
Hah! I keep threatening my boys that if they ever cross me bad I'm going to rent every last Left Behind-type movie from the video store and make them watch them until their eyeballs bleed.
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