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There’s not a lot that I like about the Appalachian mountain version of Christianity that surrounds me here in southeastern Kentucky, but at the top of a short list is their attitude toward the end of the world. If you are looking for the #1 fear producer in contemporary evangelicalism, you need look no further than the subject of the end of the world. In my years working with students, I’ve had thousands of conversations with Christian teenagers on hundreds of subjects. For these students, the idea of missing out on their American-version of paradise on earth is nearly unthinkable. Several years ago, a youth worker at a nearby church became convinced that Christ was going to return in a particular month that year.
One of the primary problems in evangelism among evangelicals in the inability to distinguish between fear and genuine conviction of sin. An eschatology that affirms “Jesus will return in judgment,”? however, should not produce fear among Christians!
The thought that eschatological judgments may arrive unexpectedly is frightening, but as John Piper says in Don’t Waste Your Life, western Christians tend to be deluded about issues of risk and security in general, believing that we are able to secure ourselves and guarantee the future.
The industry that exists around the notion that scaring people into the Kingdom and into Christian living is a sad embarrassment to the Christian community.
Christians should specifically distance themselves from, and condemn if possible, fearmongers like John Hagee, whose boldly detailed predictive books on coming world wars, etc.
This is a good reminder of one of the more colorful aspects of evangelical culture, and one that we need to revisit and moderate. The book of Revelation is often described as a€?frighteninga€? by evangelicals, but the actual message of the book is that God has sealed his servants and nothing can harm them, even in the midst of the most terrible judgments on the a€?world.a€? It was a message of assurance, not of fear. Hmm, the Bible is filled with threats, warnings, and exhortations to believe, repent, and persevere.
There is a BIG difference between the fear tactics that is being written about here and Paul’s warnings to the Corinthians.
The way I see it, the first is like a mother scaring her teenager into being so fearful that he or she is completely unable to drive, because of all the bad things that could happen vs the same mother warning the same teen of specific hazards, such as a blind curve ahead or that habitual speeding will lead to a ticket or worse. First, a quick sidenote, I am not speaking against premillennialism per se, just the tactics that some people use, who often are premillennialists. On the topic at hand: I am not saying there is no place in our preaching for warnings or for the mention of judgment. What was is that someone said about living long enough to see all of your enemies float by? I think there are lots of aspects of Christianity which amount to emotional and spiritual abuse. I don’t know any evangelical futurist premillennialist who has this mentality you describe.
My pastor at the mega church I attended in DC attached the rapture as part of orthodox Christinaity.
MODERATOR: Comment deleted because in response to a comment that the one submitting asked to be removed. And even when it doesn’t reach the level of Grinning Apocalyptism, it sets in as passive despair.
Apostates like Jim Wallis and turncoats like Frank Schaeffer are favorite whipping boys of evangelical traditionalists who equate ideological purity on social issues with theological orthodoxy. If these so-called evangelicals have aligned themselves with LDS, JWs, and other cults with a similar socio-political and eschatological agenda then THEY are the ones who are turncoats. I just have a serious problem with mainline liberal Christians because their worldview and perspective is not in accordance with Scripture and the teachings of the historical church. However, human in their zeal (however good the intentions are) have a tendency to warp things.
When I was immersed in the Gospel According to Hal LIndsay (this was long before Left Behind), there was NO rejoicing in it. It’s as if this type of believer was just standing on the Metro platform waiting for his train to arrive and whisk him away. It’s understandable if you look on it as the passivity of the completely overwhelmed.
I see a start contrast between this conversation and a thread on this same site regarding homosexuality.
Shouldn’t evangelicals be worthy of the same love and tolerance that we want them to show for others?
It is the backwards nature of our culture of tolerance… you must tolerate everyone except those who tolerate less than you do. IM now has a group on Facebook, which is designed to help readers of the Internet Monk blog connect and communicate in other ways and places. To make this as safe and user-friendly as possible, we have made the iMonk Community an invitation only group.
Below are the same links with additional links marked "FS" (Further Study) which lead to this commentary and others.
Any Christian bookstore, radio station or television station will quickly provide you with evidence that fear-mongering and fear-motivating by holding out the imminent end of the world is still a major evangelical obsession.
I’ve rarely ever seen any of those students seriously and consistently frightened except when they came to me with questions about if and how the world was about to end. John Piper, in his book God is the Gospel, is courageous enough to say that a fear of hell is not a sufficient definition for the faith that embraces Christ as the all sufficient author of salvation.
This is the amazing irony of what we see in evangelicalism, and it reveals what an idolatrous and materialistic condition the church has lapsed into.
Christian eschatology is a matter of giving up control of the future to God, and recognizing his sovereign hand in all events that may occur.
Atheist websites such as Landover Baptist.org rightly skewer this kind of approach, and Christian leaders should develop the courage to insist that the work of human beings in frightening other human beings is not the same as the Holy Spirit showing us issues of our eternal destiny. Not just hope that there is a resurrection beyond, but hope that Christ gives us victory over fear in the here and now. While some doomsday prophets made their usual noises about God’s judgment, other Christians made meals and did the work of the Good Samaritan, sharing the Gospel as they served.
The Day of the Lord is a day of fearful darkness, but it also the revelation of the Kingdom of our savior, and we should greet him with worship, missions and service done in the hope of his soon return.
In fact, almost all of them have great sorrow that many people will suffer God’s wrath at the end of the age.
Or when, when our Lord told the seven churches to keep faith or else be eternally judged (Revelation 2-3)? I also don’t care much for the socio-political theories of the Religious Right or many other fundies. Not is their socio-political agenda just plain wrong, but their eschatological apathy is spiritually destructive.
The reason most commentaries fail to enlighten the book’s contents is because they violate one or more of the three basic principles of sound biblical interpretation.
I’ve seen far more evangelical teenagers afraid that Jesus would come back than that they or someone they know would go to hell. Evangelicals need to hear this message, because they are increasingly given to Tetzel-like tactics in order to produce what they believe is true faith, but is nothing more than fear of judgment or hell. Even if Preterists have something to teach us (and they do), there is still a strong element in the New Testament that affirms an eschatological inbreaking of the Kingdom and the unknown, but certain, future arrival of judgment.


Our attitude toward the future is a reflection of our confidence in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and nothing about that confidence should result in terror and fearfulness. It is rare for Christians to hear any view of eschatology that isn’t filled with the kind of rhetoric that would not be at all out of character in a fascist country. The likelihood of a nuclear detonation, viral epidemic or environmental catastrophe may be real, but Christians have always been able to minister, serve and love in the midst of the worst of times precisely because they believed all these events were under the control of the Lord of history and could not, ultimately, take anything of real value away from us. Those who served had an eschatology as well, but it was an eschatology that produces the fruit of hope, not the fruit of fear and fearful rhetoric. Isn’t it curious that while Paul and other apostles admonish the churches, as children, they do so only while bridging to a greater, ultimate point? Instead of practicing for the rapture we should be concerned about the very real upcoming Rupture of the Body of christ!
I left it yet I’m still bothered today (13 years afterward) of what I was involved in.
The compromise in faith are among those who put eschatology in the waste bin, whatever church tradition they come from. Because the Word of God does come back empty and without accomplishing it’s purpose, whether or not we see the fruit (at least according the to the Prophet Isaiah). The propaganda produced by evangelicals on the subject of the end times is world class, to our shame. But intensionally boiling the idea of Christ’s return down into a cheap scare tactic to motivate people to repent (or do anything else) strikes me as dubious. In my case with what I encountered in evangelicalism, fear produced someone who threw away God becuase he found no pleasure in a personal relationship with God. When they sing about it, preach about it or pray for it, it’s almost always saturated in happiness.
As Michael notes, it confuses psychological terror with contrition; it’s also manipulative, by intensionally setting out to scare a person, merely in order to offer them relief, if they will only do what you want them to do! My question to God is this…”What are you trying to accomplish in this here church God? I don’t have time to go through the hundreds of comments that go into spam every day, but let me know and if it's in spam I can do a quick search and set it free. The book reveals Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible, in His role during the Tribulation and as King of Kings (subjective genitive) and is the revelation from Jesus about the events that will transpire during the Tribulation and afterwards (objective genitive).God wishes us to understand His Word (cf. What you have said againt fundamentalist premillennialist evangelicals can be squared at Scripture too.
As an adult, I’ve come to be very wary of any action (in myself or others) motivated by fear. To overcome these obstacles they imagineer the texts and interpret them in a figurative manner. This is represented by charts similar to the one below:While this interpretation is widespread in Christendom it is has no Scriptural basis. The language associated with them is wholly Jewish; no Pauline or Church language is present. This method alone can integrate and interpret consistently the hundreds of Old Testament prophesies and the words of our Lord concerning end-time events (cf.
Matthew 24).Interpretive MethodsAnother essential factor in understanding Revelation is its method of interpretation. Those who engage in a figurative hermeneutic wrestle the text into almost any shape they wish. For example, a figurative approach declares the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are the Church. No, everyone recognizes Isaiah was using a figure of speech to communicate our bodies are mortal.
We know the Beast is the Antichrist, the one who comes in the place of Christ and opposes Him.
The most natural interpretation is the two witnesses are two men God has commissioned as servants to reveal Him and oppose the Antichrist. Lastly, since Revelation is a Jewish book, many of the symbols in the text allude to events and language of the Old Testament. The meaning of such passages can be found by comparing Scripture with Scripture.If one is open to a normal reading of the text and will allow the Scriptures to speak plainly, Revelation is quite straightforward.
The events recorded in Revelation reveal an entirely different world in which Jews are the key actors. The language surrounding them is wholly Jewish and vastly different from the way Paul addressed churches constituting members of the body of Christ.
We find nothing of Paul’s language of grace, peace, the cross, resurrection, the body of Christ, etc. Those composing the ???????? of Revelation were Jews who believed the gospel of the kingdom. The word ????? (from which we get tachometer) means either (or both) something that will happen soon or something that will happen speedily. The word ????? means to be near either (or both) in time or place.To make their case, Preterists place enormous weight upon the terms ????? and ?????. The Hebrew word ?????? corresponds to the Greek word ????? and means near in time or place.
That is another story and the subject of a future article.4DateMost commentators maintain Revelation was written about 95-96. The primary evidence for dating Revelation during Domitian’s reign (95-96) comes from Irenaeus. Not to mention their destruction in a book like Revelation would be like an American history text failing to mention the Civil War or WW2. 70, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the temple–is never once mentioned as a past fact. It is, of course, predicted; and these predictions are, in some cases at least, assumed to be written (or written up) after the event.
But the silence is nevertheless as significant as the silence for Sherlock Holmes of the dog that did not bark. Brandon made this oddness the key to his entire interpretation of the New Testament: everything from the gospel of Mark onwards was a studied rewriting of history to suppress the truth that Jesus and the earliest Christians were identified with the revolt that failed. It might be supposed that such an epochal-making crisis would even furnish criteria for determining the dates of some of the NT writings. 70 would not have shown the scars–or, alternatively, would not have made capital out of this signal evidence that they, and not non-Christian Judaism, were the true Israel. But in fact our traditions are silent.The book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible in our canon for good reason. His chief warning to them in His Olivet discourse was not to be deceived (??????) (Matthew 24.4, 5, 11, 24). The reason Jesus gave this warning was that deception will characterize the Day of the LORD (the Tribulation). Beyond revealing the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the events that will transpire until His return, its primary purpose is a survival guide. In His Olivet message Jesus declared the Tribulation period would be a time of extraordinary deceit. Nothing in Jesus’ words indicate that the members of these assemblies had salvation as a present possession.


Jesus warned of the tremendous pressure that will be exerted to earth’s inhabitants to worship and identify with the false Christ.
Such language presents an impossible hurdle for preterists and historicists since this has never happened. By “saved” Jesus meant both eternal salvation and physical salvation.Another thing to note from the Matthew 24 passage is that the “gospel of the kingdom” will be preached during the end time.
This gospel was the good news John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve proclaimed: that Christ was the Messiah-King.
Believing Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, means one will reject the Beast, the Antichrist as God–worshiping and taking his mark.ConclusionThe book of Revelation serves strategic and tactical purposes. The strategic purpose is to reveal Christ, His return, the setting up of His kingdom, the defeat of Satan, and establishment of the eternal state (new heavens and new earth).
The tactical purpose, which is most of the book, is to reveal the horrors of the Tribulation and how one can be saved in the midst of tremendous deception and pressure.1 Dating is based upon several factors. Had Israel repented, the Tribulation would have occurred during the reign of Nero, who would have fulfilled the requirements of the Antichrist.
One of the cities John wrote was Laodicea, which was destroyed (along with Colossae and Heirapolis) in 60-62 A.D. Paul mentioned believers in both of these cities in his letter to the Colossians, but neither Colossae or Heirapolis is mentioned in Revelation. Thus, this meeting marked the end of the gospel of the kingdom proclaimed by the Twelve (Acts 15.11, cf. The gospel preached during the time of Revelation is the gospel of the kingdom, not Paul’s gospel of the grace of God. Seiss wrote: He says he “was in Spirit in the Lord’s day,” in which he beheld what he afterwards wrote. Some answer, Sunday—the first day of the week; but I am not satisfied with this explanation. They are simply the two forms for signifying the same relations of the same things” (J.
I have always been lead to believe, and it has always made sense and uncannily matches with church history, the interpretation that sees the various ages of the church through history and the description of the 7 churches in revelation. Also, what is your understanding of the following: Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. Revelation 1.19 is simply the command for John to write all that he has seen, not just what he had witnessed in the previous verses.
So why do you use his material on this blog if you don’t agree with his hermeneutics? If I die after he reveals himself but reject him and hold fast to Jesus, then I have endured and will be saved?
Some will be alive and be changed, never to experience death, as Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15.51-52. Everything in Revelation concerns Jews and the nations (see 1 Corinthians 10.32) for the categories of man. To be saved requires faith in the identity of Christ, that He is the true God, not the pretender, the Antichrist. All who have believed Paul’s gospel, that Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) are saved and members of the Church, the body of Christ. There are those I know who don’t only follow Pauls Gospels but apply the Epistles to their daily living but also believe, that Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead. Very Typical of most Christians (I being one of them in the past, yet I know I was saved whilst under this false teaching.) So what damage was I doing to myself whilst assuming the Epistles was written for me. Please don’t think I am challenging you in any way but its my deep thinking process that has caused me to ask this question. Reply Stan says: June 15, 2014 at 9:08 pmI agree with you that the letters to the 7 churches doctrinally apply to assemblies during the Tribulation, however, can one state dogmatically that historically these were purely Jewish churches who were saved by believing the gospel of the kingdom? So these Jewish believers were NOT in the body of Christ, hence their salvation was based upon faith in Jesus Christ PLUS overcoming.
In one of your other articles you stated Paul was saved by the kingdom gospel so when did he become a member of the body of Christ?
That being the case the Jewish believers in Revelation would have been in the body of Christ and therefore saved by faith alone. I guess basically what you are saying is that there was a period of transition where there were two types of believers, those in the body of Christ and those Jews who were saved by the gospel of the kingdom, and it is these latter who belonged to the churches in Revelation?
Do you believe that the 7 churches can at least be seen as types of the churches in the church age? We can know the Church, the body of Christ, did not began in Acts 2 (even though that is what 99% of Christendom teaches) by the definition of the body of Christ–that no difference exists in Jew and Gentile in Christ. He knew nothing of Gentile salvation at this point and the concept of equality was completely alien to his thinking. I think we depart from sound exegesis to see the 7 churches in Revelation as types for the Church age. The reason people think salvation has always been by faith alone is because Paul has been read into the Old Testament and gospels.
What a massive demonstration of grace!I don’t think you have to look too far these days to see how Jesus is being sidelined by what I would term the institutional church.
This would have been around 60 to 61 AD and it is clear from the text that he also expected his writings to be shared with other churches in the region, one of which was the church in Laodicea.Does not the reference in Col4:15-16 suggest that the church in Laodicea was one under Pauline influence?If so, would not this be the same church that John refers to in the last letter in Revelation 3? Made up of believers who had been taught the Gospel of Grace?Pauls letter to the Ephesians, would also have likely been written between 60-62 AD as it forms part of Paul’s prison epistles along with Philippians, Colossians [as mentioned] and Philemon.Again, would this not be the first church that John refers to in the first letter of Revelation 2?Even at it’s earliest dating, the book of Revelation was written around 64 AD and 96 AD at the latest.
This would still place Johns writing at least three years after Paul had sent circular letters throughout the region teaching that salvation is by the grace of God and not of works.I find it difficult to reconcile that from 61 AD onwards, one or more of the other Apostles were still teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Therefore, Revelation would not be addressed to congregations made up of Jewish believers who were unaware of the Gospel of Grace as revealed to Paul.I note your point on interpretation in its content and ask does not content also mean our understanding of the social context and other information that supports the interpretation?The fact that the style of Revelation is not Pauline, does not mean it doesn’t share the same Pauline end game.
You and I have a different way of expressing our thoughts on paper, yet we have a common faith and common foundation – although the way we place words on a page may not convey that on analysis of the linguistics alone.Sorry to bother you with the response but it has been on my mind this week and so thought I would ask. In fact I have been studying a lot of new approaches to Revelation lately, despite the fact that I had been quite comfortable in my dispensationalist, pre-trib understanding up to now.
But my current pastors have led me to rethink.What I don’t get though, is how you could say that Paul teaches a different gospel than the one Jesus preached Himself? How could anything contradict or update Christ?And how was the church not started at Pentecost? The fact that the Gentiles as a group were yet to be recognized as believers is just an administrative detail, as it were. Peter was saved by believing WHO Jesus was, not WHAT he would do (die for our sins and be raised)–see Matthew 16 and John 11 to see what he (and Martha) believed for salvation. The advent of the Holy Spirit was a Jewish promise (the New covenant, Ezekiel 36, Jeremiah 31).
In fact, no Gentile evangelism occurred for several years–until after Paul was saved. Jesus did not minister to Gentiles in the gospels (with a couple of exceptions) and ordered His disciples not to go to them (Matthew 10.5-6).



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