Overfocus on the Endtime?
Here are some parts from a recent book I published questioning the theory of the theory of Pre-Tribulation rapture. This book came about during a visit to Africa. Many churches requested teaching on this subject, as there were so many confusing theories flying around. This resulted in some church members making unwise decisions, financial and otherwise, based on the idea that Jesus could return at any minute. Thus came the idea for this publication, a collection of Bible verses on the subject from both the Old and New Testaments.
There are several part of the book that caution the reader about the pitfalls of over focusing on the Endtime, which touched some folks who have read the book. I've gotten more than a dozen reactions to the book (eight published on Amazon). Here is the link to the book and some of the parts I wrote that got some good positive reactions.
Recently, an editor friend of mind, fellow-worker, and fellow follower of Jesus wrote me saying "IMNASHO this is good stuff. Thoughts about starting a discussion on OEG? :-)" So, here it is, thanks to our friends encouragement! And if you want to read the full book, please purchase at the link above, Thanks! -- and leave a reaction on Amazon too if you feel led!
Note about the Antichrist: Throughout history, there have been countless theories and speculations about who the Antichrist might be. In my lifetime, I have heard of various popes, presidents and politicians as being possible candidates for the Antichrist. Jeane Dixon was sure we would see him by the year 2000. It seems ridiculous when we think of the amount of energy and finances, books published, and conferences held on this subject, when those funds could have been diverted to more fruitful endeavors to feed the hungry and help the needy as Jesus brought out in Matthew Chapter 25 verses 34-36.
In the fourth century, Saint Martin of Tours said, “there is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born.” That would make him about 1600 years old! — Unless Martin Luther got it right when he quipped that he was “certain the pope is the Antichrist.” The Antichrist would only be 500 years old!
It can be a dangerous pastime of Christians to guess who the Antichrist is and it is actually a discredit to the true body of Christ. Evangelical Christians have left quite a long trail of false prophecies and speculations behind them with regard to who the Antichrist might be. Far too often prophecies are reapplied as newspaper headlines change.
We might even end up doing more harm to the cause of Christ by our obsession with the endtime. We actually empower the atheists. There is a kernel of truth in what Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: “The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.”
In John Chapter 12, Jesus said “if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.” Spending more time lifting up the beauty of Jesus will win more people than all our speculations about who the Antichrist might be.
We are missing the whole point in our obsession to put a label on every horn of the beast to the neglect of the most important commandments of Christ, to “love one another” and “feed his sheep” with the Word. (John 13:34; John 21:15)
It will be obvious when the Antichrist world government is here. For the third time, a third Jewish temple will very likely be rebuilt in Jerusalem, a new monetary system and a cashless society will also be instituted in many parts of the world. There may be mandatory chipping of humans. Until we see these signs, let’s stop playing the “guessing game” of who the Antichrist is and focus more on serving others and ministering to the poor and needy. When the time comes, the Lord will reveal it to us.
Also, my closing note:
Note from the author:
In this booklet, we studied verses that give credence to the belief that believers will go through the tribulation. The aim is not to “argue doctrine” or to prove which “side is right.” Whether you believe in pre-tribulation rapture or not is minor compared to our obligation to “love one another as he loved us” which Jesus commanded us to do in John Chapters 13 and 15. For way too long, many Christians have argued doctrine instead of seeking to humbly “serve one another in love,” (Galatians 5:13) and work together to build His kingdom.
In our attempts to prove our side doctrinally correct, we often hinder the fulfillment of one of Jesus’ final prayers:
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me — John 17:20,21NKJV
If we sought more for Christian unity and truly embraced the fascinating differences in the many branches of Christianity, we may find that more people in the “world may believe” as they see our love for each other despite our different interpretations of the Gospel.
We too often divide ourselves over minor issues instead of seeking to “have fervent charity amongst ourselves.” 1 Peter 4:8
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:35 NKJV
Harm has been done to the cause of Christ by people over focusing on the end time scriptures to the neglect of the major Christian principles of “loving our neighbors as ourselves,” and humbly striving for unity amongst believers.
I pray this is a blessing to you and it will motivate you to “redeem the time” by actively serving others as Jesus would have us to. Whether the Rapture comes before, during or after the Great Tribulation, it behooves us all “to work the works of him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4) We have one life, and that may soon be past, only what is done for Christ and His love will last!
Among other things, the author points out the deplorable phenomenon of some Christians (secretly or not so secretly) actually hoping for another war in the MidEast or finding reason to rejoice over the latest catastrophe and suffering while exclaiming: “Praise the Lord! It’s a sign of the end. Jesus is coming soon!”
Helps one reflect on attitudes! The apostle Paul referred to the glorious 2nd coming of Christ as “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13); nothing blessed about reliving in another war or global suffering.
Just want share a verse I got for you and your refugee work: “God …will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”
I am working on a new book, a short follow-up to "Triumph in Tribulation." I hope to publish it in early 2022. One questions it covers is why we and many Christians have spent so much time focused on Matthew 24 (a brief endtime period in the millenniums of history) yet we fail to ask ourselves the deep deep questions that Jesus brought out in Matthew 25: "'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
It seems to me that we should focus more on the questions that will affect our eternity!