A pastor whom I knew back in my college days recently linked with this article on his Facebook page (Michele Bachmann: proof that end-times theology will poison your worldview). I think that the article typifies at least a portion of what is wrong in the Church today. Let it be known at the outset that I am one of the dangerous ones that he discusses since I hold to the dispensational view of Scripture.
What follows is the message that I sent to my college friend. His name is removed in order to not upset anyone, or get sued, or something along those lines.
I am saddened that you would place your stamp of agreement on that article. I am not here to argue. Instead I would like to simply direct our attention back to what Scripture teaches since it is the standard of truth, and doctrine.
2 Peter 3:3-4, 7, 10-11, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation…But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men…But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!”
I could continue with Peter’s words, but simply notice what he said that the practical outcome of understanding the severity of “day of the Lord” and the coming judgment/destruction of the present earth should be – it is to have a purifying effect on God’s people – “what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…” 1 John 2:28-3:3 gives the same basic message that the imminent return of the Lord should cause His people to live pure lives.
1 Peter 4:7, “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit of the purpose of prayer.”
Peter claimed that in his day the end had already drawn near. This verb, “is near” is in the perfect active indicative meaning that it is a “completed action with a resulting state of being…with the emphasis on the resulting state of being.” In other words we are living at the end of all things, and if the end of all things had already drawn near at Peter’s time, logically it is even closer now.
Just as he had done in the previous passage, Peter describes what this knowledge should produce in the life of the Christian; 1.) sound judgment, 2.) sobriety in spirit (in control of one’s thought process so as not to think irrationally) 3.) in order that we are able to pray in a focused manner. All-in-all Peter again is teaching that knowing that we are living in the last days, that Christ may return at any time, is to have the effect of causing us to live in obedience to the word of God.
1 Peter 4:17, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
I’m sure that I’ve acted like a Pharisee even more times than I am aware, but this is not one of them. Peter said that we are living in the time he called the end of all things, and here he says that judgment is beginning first in God’s own household, meaning us. Our brothers and sisters around the world are being put to the test in ways we cannot imagine. It very well may come to us also. However, a much more severe judgment is reserved for those “who do not obey the gospel of God.” Those who refuse to trust in Jesus Christ alone will face God’s judgment. Revelation 20:11-15 is painfully clear;
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it…And I saw the dead, the great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book…which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds…And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Any Dispenstionalist, of which I am one, who is worth his salt takes all of this together and realizes that we aren’t to be hunkering down in our bunkers, but we are to be sharing the gospel of salvation in Christ alone with those who need to know before they must stand before the Righteous Judge. I don’t condemn anyone to hell. It is not up to me. God will be the one who hands down final judgment. I’m just the one waving a flag warning the drivers to stop because the bridge ahead is out.
I’m not sure that you want to be in agreement with a man who is a scoffer concerning the end times – especially since they were specifically called out by Peter. I would encourage you to look again at what the Word says. It is the standard by which we are to judge any teaching. Contrary to what the author of the article wrote, Paul told Titus that the grace of God has appeared and instructs us how to live “in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13) – grammatically Paul identifies the appearing of the Lord as our blessed hope. We should be looking for it, longing for it. Yet, the brother who wrote the article says that it is a dangerous doctrine. Paul told Timothy that “there is laid up for me (Paul) the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day (day of the Lord); and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 2:8). I want that crown, and believe that I will get it because I am looking for and will love the coming of our Lord.
I pray that you will too.