Saturday, 24 September 2011

WHY I DON'T BELIEVE IN A 2-STAGE COMING




WHY  I DON’T BELIEVE IN A TWO-STAGE COMING  [Sometimes called the Dispensational Interpretation]

* It is not supported by Scripture.   Let’s look at the Scriptures the two-stagers quote:-

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18.  Paul is reminding the Thessalonians that their loved ones who have died are with the Lord and He will bring them with Him when He returns. [v14] He then goes on to speak about the Second Coming.  The bodies of those who have died in Christ [those who are coming with Him] will be resurrected first, then Christians who are alive will rise to meet Him. When Christ comes into this Earth’s atmosphere in all His resurrected glory, the whole Earth will be renewed including the dead bodies of the saints.  This is the time of “the restoration of all things”[Acts 3:21]Nowhere does it say we will all then go back to Heaven.  It simply says that we will always be with the Lord.  Where is He going to be?  Right here on the Earth. Why would those who have all this time been with the Lord in Heaven, suddenly need their resurrected bodies if they’re going back there?   We will need our bodies, resurrected and glorified, to live in this earthly realm.

The prophetic picture of this event is seen in Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on that last Passover:- He descended from the Mt of Olives with His retinue of disciples plus others from the surrounding villages.  The crowds in Jerusalem went out to meet Him because that’s the way a king was welcomed into a city.  Then together they all escorted Him back into Jerusalem.

The story doesn’t end in Heaven; it ends right here on the Earth.  It will be an Earth restored to its original state or better – an extension of Heaven.  Jesus will be here, Heaven will be here, the city of God will be here; why would you want to be anywhere else?

Matthew 24:29-31   A Second Coming Scripture “all of the tribes of the earth’ will see Him.

1 Corinthians 15:51-58  Another 2nd Coming Scripture.  This is clearly describing the same event as in the Thessalonians Scripture. Note “the last trumpet” and compare with previous two Scriptures.  These Scriptures are all speaking of the one event, the Second Coming, yet it is claimed that these portray two different events.

Revelation 4:1,2  This is a clear instance of making the Scriptures fit an already arrived at position.  Those who hold the popular end time scenario state that when it comes to the Book of Revelation, you take literally what can be taken literally and what cannot be taken literally, you take to be symbolic.  Yet they do not apply that principle to this Scripture.  John is caught up [whether in or out of the body we do not know]. He records what he sees. He comes back.  There is absolutely no warrant to say that this is the Rapture of the Church.  The two-stagers do so because they have to get the Church out of the way before all the scary things happen, in order to fit in with their theory.  John is having an experience similar to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12, where he was lifted up to the third Heaven where he saw things “unlawful for a man to utter” No  one would suggest that, Paul’s experience was the Rapture of the Church and neither was John’s experience.



Dispensationalists have a very literal interpretation of Revelation which makes for some very strange scenarios.  For instance, Revelation speaks of a Beast which has seven heads one of which receives a deadly wound, and ten horns, clearly symbolic.  Yet this is interpreted to be a man - the Antichrist, who gets shot or wounded in the head and is resurrected.

 Revelation is a highly symbolic book. A literal interpretation doesn’t do it justice.  It is much bigger than that. There are other ways of interpreting Revelation which seem more likely.  Revelation 13:18 speaks of the number of the Beast [666] and says “it is the number of a man;” other translations say “it is the number of man.” In Bible numerics, 6 is the number of man. I tend to think that 666 is the number of Humanism, the “Beast” which has been around since Eden.  It has infiltrated into every area of our society. It is the Antichrist spirit which is in the world and growing stronger daily.  It may well be that a man could come to power who personifies all that Humanism stands for – the “little horn” of Daniel 7:8,20 but I don’t think he will have seven heads and ten horns.



When it comes to end-times, there is a lot of talk or debate about whether there will be a “pre-trib” and “post-trib” Rapture, the main concern for some seems to be whether they will go through the anticipated Tribulation or not.  But I wonder if that is supposed to be the focus for the Christian.  Should it not be rather “Have we finished the job Jesus gave us to do?”

“....make disciples of all the nations....teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you:”

There are at least 50 nations in the world which are less than 5% Christian.  The Chinese “Back to Jerusalem” movement is dedicated to doing all they can to finish the job, pledging their lives to it. Of them it could be said “....they loved not their lives to the death” They believe that Jesus won’t come back until the Great Commission is completed. If all the Church was like minded, and if all the energy and resources that go on preaching an imminent Rapture, went into prayer for the nations and working together to evangelize them, we would be a lot further advanced. 

It is asserted that Jesus will rapture the Church out before the tribulation, because we are “not appointed to wrath” and it is true that those in Jesus do not come under the judgement of God on sin, but when God sent judgement upon Egypt, where were His people?  They were still in the land and God looked after them.  He didn’t have to evacuate them first in order to judge Egypt .  In the judgement of Noah’s day, the people of God were kept safe in the Ark which is a type of Christ.  It was the others who were “taken away” in judgement.  Noah and his family came through the Flood and inherited the Earth – a very different Earth, cleansed by the Flood.

It matters a great deal what we believe about end-times.  God’s will is accomplished through His people.  If we don’t have a vision for taking the Earth for God, then it won’t happen. Christians who believe in an imminent rapture tend to opt out of involvement in the world.  In the meanwhile satan is having a heyday.  Abortion, same sex marriage, euthanasia drugs lawlessness, all kinds of godlessness is on the increase with very little opposition from the Church.  Preachers should be inspiring their congregations to stand up and be counted and make a difference.  This is God’s world and Jesus said “Occupy till I come.” We are assured of victory if only we will fight.  Rapture-at-any-moment makes for popular exciting teaching, but is it right?  I don’t think so. Rather it tends to immobilize the Church.  We are supposed to be the Army of God. We are supposed to wage spiritual warfare for the nations and also to stand up for the principles of the kingdom here in the Earth.



* I do not believe in the Dispensationalist Interpretation because:-

It short changes the Cross. 

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” Colossians 1:19,20

The Cross paid for the reconciliation of all things.  Dispensationalists have the Army of God retreating from the battle for the Earth, leaving it to the ravages of the enemy and the majority of its population headed for hell.

There is no expanding revelation of the Cross in Dispensational teaching.

The Reformation and the Wesleyan revivals restored the truths of Justification and Sanctification which are the truths of Passover.  The Feasts of Israel were harvest festivals which coincided with great events in their history.  Restoration of the Passover truths brought in a great harvest for the Kingdom.

The Pentecostal and Charismatic renewals restored the truths of Pentecost and another great harvest was reaped.  The Pentecostal revival settled into a new denomination and a Bible School was started.  Not having text books of their own, they adopted a text book of another former movement and simply added the teaching of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Along with the text book they adopted its eschatological teaching which is also found in the notes of the Schofield Bible. Thus this interpretation of end times was passed on without question. This same text book stated that speaking in tongues was of the devil.  The Holy Spirit is given to lead and guide us into all truth and show us things to come. Spirit filled people should be looking for the revelation of the Spirit on the Word, yet they have accepted the teachings of people who, although good solid Christians, don’t believe in or seek the infilling of the Spirit and teach that it is not for today. Acceptance of dispensational teaching is preventing Christians from receiving further revelation.

Yet to be restored are the truths of the Feast of Tabernacles, the feast of the final great harvest.  The Day of Atonement brings us into a revelation of the finished work of Christ.  Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, His work finished, waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. Everything necessary has been done to bring in the Kingdom of God on Earth as it is in Heaven.  The Blood has brought the reconciliation of all things, the devil has been defeated and His people have been made heirs of the Kingdom and empowered to possess it.  It remains for them to rise up and possess the Earth for the Kingdom.

This is not the time for the Bride to be getting ready for the wedding. This is the time of the Warrior Church. “And the time came for the saints to possess the Kingdom.”  Daniel 7:22

I appreciate the Body of Christ in all of its various forms, but the time has come for us to be united in purpose and to get focused on knowing and doing God’s will.

The question for pastors, preachers, and teachers is:-  What are you building into the psyche of your congregation?  A vision for flight from the Earth, or a vision for fight for the Earth? 

Jesus said “You will not see Me again till you say,  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’’

Jesus won’t come again until all the nations are made His disciples and the earth cries out for His return.
Some things have yet to happen:-
The Church has yet to rise "unto the measure of the stature of Christ." [Ephesians 4:13] It will be "a glorious Church not having spot or wrinkle"[Ephesians 5:27] The Great Commission has yet to be completed[Matthew 28:19,20] and the gates of hell brought down [Matthew 16:18].
Looks impossible? God knew we'd think that so He has it all done before in the Journey to and possession of, the Promised Land, just to show us how it's done.  Read all about it in "the Other Bible code."