My Two Very Different Encounters on the Topic of Bible Prophecy
Late Sunday evening, I returned from Idaho after doing two full days of content projects for American Vision. Upon arriving in Atlanta very late that evening I took the shuttle to where my car was parked.
I don’t know how the conversation with the driver started, but she made a comment about how our nation was moving toward socialism. I agreed with her. Then she brought up that we were most likely living in the last days.
I didn’t agree. She asked me why, and I went through a brief explanation. She was a Christian and believed the Bible. She listened and thought about what I said, and was very receptive. I told her I would send her some of my books. (This is important as you will read.)
She wrote down her address. I gave her a generous tip and drove home, arriving just after midnight.
While on my trip, a woman named Wendy posted some comments in response to my article “The Mark of the Beast and Buying and Selling” that has had more than five thousand shares. Here’s how it went:
Wendy: This is not true. I pray the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to the truth. Jesus is literally taking His true bride home soon and some who do not believe will be left behind to face horrific times. I’m praying for you.
Me: Where is the Bible passage that says what you are claiming?
Wendy: You have to be a born-again believer through faith in Jesus to be saved and have your eyes open. Also, you have to read the (whole) Bible. And believe every word of it. See how Bible prophecy has literally come true and will continue to literally unfold before our eyes. I have no fear because I know where I am going when I die or when Jesus takes me home. Which ever happens first.
Me: I am a born-again believer, and I believe every word of the Bible. I want to know how you know “Jesus is literally taking His true bride home soon.” The operative word is “soon.” I’m very familiar with the topic of Bible Prophecy having written ten books on the subject, debated it on radio and in various venues, and have written dozens of articles on the subject.
Wendy: Do you believe in the rapture of the church? All I know is I don’t read man’s books. I read, trust in, God’s word, the Bible. All others are sinking sand. I’m looking forward to a literal resurrection of my body, just like Jesus promised. No one can take this away. Jesus said. So, I have no fear. But I do pray for people who have no hope and are lost in their sins. To put their faith and lives in Jesus’ hands. He is the Way, The Truth, and The Life. Amen
Me: Show me a verse that says the Church will be taken off the Earth before, during, in the middle of, just before the wrath of God is poured out, or at the end of a 7- year period, and it’s all going to happen “soon.” You say you trust God’s Word, as I do, what verse says this? You have never read a single book written by a man about any part of the Bible or listened to a message or sermon about the Bible? I find that hard to believe since you asked me about “the rapture of the church.” Where does the word “rapture” appear in the Bible? You learned about the “rapture of the church” from someone else.
Wendy: I can use the word caught up to meet Him in the sky if that’s better?
Me: You used the word “rapture” after telling me you do not read anything but the Bible. You didn’t get that word from reading the Bible. You learned the doctrine of the rapture from someone else. The rapture refers to the church being taken up to heaven prior to (pre-trib), in the middle of, partially, before the wrath of God is poured out (pre-wrath), or after (post-trib) a seven-year period in which the antichrist makes a covenant with Israel, rebuilds the temple, breaks a covenant with Israel, etc. First Thessalonians 4:13–18 does not mention any of these things. There is no verse that mentions these necessary definitions of what is taught as the “rapture of the church.”
Wendy: And then those who remain will rise to meet Him in the sky. It’s coming soon!!! I am so excited!!!
Me: I see you have avoided answering my question. Here’s the next one: How do you know “it’s coming soon”? The operative word is “soon.” Where is that in the Bible that you know “it’s coming soon”?
Wendy: Jesus said when you see these things come to pass, look up, your redemption draweth nigh.
Me: What things? In Luke 21:28, Jesus was describing what was going to take place before their generation passed away (21:32). Notice that Jesus uses the second person plural throughout the chapter (vv. 8, 9, 12, 13, etc.). This entire prophecy was fulfilled before their generation passed away in the lead up to an including the destruction of Jerusalem that took place in AD 70. It was near for them.
Wendy: You will believe what you want. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. If a bunch of Christians disappear during your lifetime though, just don’t take the mark of the beast. Continue to claim Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That’s all I’m saying. No sense arguing. The Bible says to avoid silly and vain disputes. If you have read the (whole) Bible multiple times and have a daily relationship with Jesus through His word and prayer, then I am confident you will be ok. If you are lying and have not read the whole Bible in daily relationship with Jesus and prayer, then there is nothing more I can say to convince you. Love and prayers coming your way. I wait for the promise of my literal resurrection body to be with my Lord and Savior forever. Amen.
Me: Actually, it’s not all you are saying, and you have not convinced me on the subject of Bible prophecy since you did not make your case using the Bible. You said you only read the Bible and don’t read any other books. You said you believe the Bible. When I asked you to defend your position you didn’t and repeatedly changed the subject.
Too often doctrines are manufactured out of bits and pieces of the Bible that follow the hopscotch approach to hermeneutics. Something is pulled from Daniel 9:24–27 that’s not found there (a gap, an antichrist, making and breaking a covenant with the Jews), that’s linked with prophecies outlined by Jesus in Matthew 24 that were fulfilled before that generation passed away (Matt. 24:34), a rebuilt temple that is nowhere mentioned in the New Testament, the Jews returning to their land as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, something the New Testament does not say, the rapture of the church, and so much more.
There is a connection between what people believe about Bible prophecy and the culture. In both cases, my two encounters linked world conditions to some imminent end-time event. The shuttle driver was willing to hear and consider a different way of looking at the topic and was receptive enough to read more on the subject. The Facebook responder had no desire to engage in a discussion. For her, the end is inevitably near and she is excited about it. What should Christians do until this “rapture” takes place, an event that has been near for nearly 2000 years?