Why are there so many prophetic views?
In studying prophecy, I have found about six different views of Bible prophecy that have conflicting tenets. Why do we have so many views held by godly and academic people? How do we know which one is correct? We have all asked these questions. This is an excellent beginning place.
In our view, Bible students come from different interpretations of: (1) the Church; (2) God's Plan for people; (3) what the Cross accomplished; (4) God's plan for Israel after the Cross; (5) the understanding of Daniel's seventieth week; (6) what is the definition of the Church; (7) the abomination of desolation in the Olivet Discourse; (8) what is the purpose for the endtimes Tribulation; (9 )what must occur for Christ to bring the Tribulation; (10) what must happen before Christ can rapture the Church; and (11) the understanding of the spiritual warfare between Christ and Satan. As a result interpreters have come up with all the possibilities of the sequence of Daniel's seventieth week, the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the 1000 years. Some believe there is no endtimes Tribulation.
Beginning with God's Plan for history, resolution comes when we see: (1) that Daniel's seventieth week is history when Christ brought the new covenant; (2) the abomination of desolation is when the Romans in AD 70 destroyed the temple; (3) the Church contains all believers in Christ (both Jew and Gentile) from all of history; (4) the Church is defined as all believers who have been transferred from the Dominion of Satan into the Kingdom of God; (5) the Cross broke down the barrier of the dividing wall between the Jew and Gentile so as believers they are one in Christ (no longer ethnic divisions); (6) God's main purpose for us is to bring us to maturity under Christ having Him as first place; (7) God divorced Israel as of the Cross and is now marrying the Church; (8) the Tribulation can only come when the sin in God's endtimes favored nation (the United States) becomes mature; (9) the Rapture cannot come until the heavenly court after the Tribulation determines that Christ has won the spiritual warfare over Satan; and (10) the 1000 years (as a day of time) come during Christ's Second Coming (not before or after). When these are seen, the Rapture comes after the Tribulation at Christ's Second Coming, and the 1000 years come during His Coming. Our main objective is that we become mature in Christ so we can know and relate to God toward His fullest.
When does the Rapture Come?
The Rapture occurs at Christ's Second Coming after the heavenly court awards Christ the Kingdom of the World that becomes the Kingdom of God and also the Title Deed of the Earth. These were usurped by Satan in the Garden of Eden. Having these awards, Christ has the legal authority, according to God's Plan, to rapture the Church and bring the final resurrections and judgments - the consummation of history. The Tribulation is used by God to formally polarize the beliefs of all the then living people to make formal binding acceptance or denial of the Gospel. The Rapture (the separation of the wheat from the tares) can only take place after all people who are to live, have lived, and have made formal decisions to accept or deny the Gospel. God uses Revelation's seven-sealed scroll for the method by how Christ wins back the Title Deed of the Earth from Satan.
How Do I Become a Christian So I Can Go to Heaven?
We become a Christian as God works in us by: (1) believing and admitting we are sinners and thus transgress God's laws that requires a satisfied justice; (2) believe that Christ died on the Cross satisfying God's Justice for our sin only according to the Holy Bible (no other church, book, person, or religion); and (3) we activate our faith in the Cross by calling upon God in prayer stating we so believe, but only according to the Scriptures, and by no works of man of any kind or any amount. The Cross is complete in itself and efficacious.
What is the Definition of the Church?
The Church is defined as consisting of all believers (from all periods of biblical history) in the Cross of Christ (the Gospel) and, as a result, have been translated from or called out from the Dominion of Satan under Satan's eternal control into the Kingdom of God under Christ's eternal control. One cannot be a believer in the Cross without being in the Church. Christ died on the Cross to satisfy God's Justice for sin. All people sin and fall short of God's Glory. All people since Adam and Eve are born as sinners in the Dominion of Satan under the condemnation of God. When one believes in the Cross, this condemnation is removed. All believers in the Cross go to heaven after death to be with God and Christ forever. All unbelievers in the Cross will go to the Lake of Fire away from God forever as an alternate way for God to satisfy His Justice for sin. The Lake of Fire is a most terrible place. We do not want anyone to go there.
Why Did God Put Us on the Earth?
We cannot be absolutely sure, but it appears that God placed us on the earth for us to become maximally mature in Christ-likeness so that we could know and relate to Him toward His fullest throughout eternity, God is perfect in every respect. Thus, relating to Him and fellowshipping with Him in His perfection is all there is. We should ensure we are pursing this maturity because God commands that we do so for whatever purpose He might have. We want to do so we can know more of God's Greatness and fellowship with Him amidst this Greatness and His Glory. There is the possibility that the spiritual ability we have in Christ we will have forever, The Bible does not teach directly either way. God has left it as a matter of faith. But because God commands us to pursue this maturity and all the biblical events lead to this result (the world, flesh, and the devil and our sin natures will not be in heaven), it appears strongly that our maturity can be fixed as death. In any case we should pursue this maturity as God commands so we can have the best of God.
What is the Job of the Church?
Christ has entrusted to the Church that she evangelize the entirety of the earth including the entirety of local areas. He has entrusted to the Church that she mature her people and new converts in Christ-likeness so they can know and relate to God toward His fullest. Doing less than these objectives brings sins of omission. In these endtimes, the Church is to warn her people that the Tribulation can come at any time.
What is the Purpose of the Endtimes Tribulation?
God uses the Tribulation to: (1) formally polarize the beliefs of all people (those remaining to the end) as to whether they will formally accept or deny the Gospel; (2) as a means for Christ to win back the Title Deed of the Earth from Satan; and (3) as a means to discipline the church and world's people in the final pattern sequence and then deliver believers at its end. When all people who are to live, have lived, and have made formal binding decisions to accept or deny the Gospel, then Christ can bring the termination of history.
Does Daniel's Seventieth Week Refer to the Endtimes Tribulation?
Daniel's seventieth week is history and does not refer to the endtimes Tribulation. The purposes of the seventy weeks were to tell the Jews when the Messiah the Prince would come and bring the New Covenant for salvation. They include satisfying the atonement for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness. These were brought in by the Cross of Christ. Christ was cut off and crucified after the sixty nine weeks. Christ was anointed the Messiah at the end of the sixty nine weeks. This means Christ was crucified in the middle of the seventieth week. It was in the middle of the seventieth week when Christ brought the New Covenant for salvation. The seventy weeks do not refer to the endtimes Tribulation or to the anti-christ. They are not in the context of the passage. For a good reference, see the scholarly work of Dr. Martin Anstey in his book: The Chronology of the Old Testament and my book: Watchman Warning.
When do Revelation's 1000 years occur?
Interpreters have made choices that they occur before and after Christ's Second Coming. When a detail study is made, the 1000 years occur during the time of Christ's Second Coming. When Christ comes, He kills all the remaining people after the Rapture. So they do not come after His Coming. A study of Revelation 20 shows the 1000 years occurs after the Beast Period, showing they do not come in the Church Period. They come after the resurrection of the Just during the time of Christ's Coming. 2 Peter 3:8 signals the 1000 years may be but a day of time.
How Do We Become Mature in Christ-likeness?
None of us may know all the aspects. But they include living by faith in God to fulfill His promises. We activate our faith by obeying the instructions associated with the promises. When we live this way, we live without sin, and we gain more revelation from God. We are to obey God's commandments from our love for Him and each other. When we do, we live holy, and we learn more of God's heart. We are to appreciate the Greatness of God so that we do that for direction in our lives only from Him as a source. We are also to live by the character qualities for church leadership and by the attitudes in the beatitudes. We are to live as Christ lived with the Father in head-subordinate relationships where all direction for life comes from God the Father. (Today from the Father is found in our Bibles.) We are to glorify, obey, and worship God. We are to live godly lives In relationships. We are to help accomplish God's work of evangelizing, discipling converts, planting churches, building godly families, and reaching out to help the needy. We are to live so that God works all things together for our ultimate good. There is no doubt much-much more.
What is the Current Jewish Situation?
The Jews were used for vital reasons in the Old Testament. They brought the Law, the Scriptures, and the genealogy of our Savior. They as a covenant nation were married to Christ as Jehovah. Israel was divided into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. God divorced the Northern Kingdom in her history by declarative teaching. When Christ died on the Cross, this dissolved the marriage to the Southern Kingdom. In effect, by a blood covenant, they were denying forever Christ to be their Messiah. They were taking full responsibility for His death. Thus, as of the Cross, God is no longer married to Israel. He is now married only to the Church because He cannot have two wives at the same time. We know that the divorce and dissolution took place because Christ is now marrying the Church and a spiritual leader, by Christ's laws, cannot have two wives at the same time. It was Satan that brought the current Israel back to her land for his endtimes purposes. God only brings back Israel in her repentance. The current Israel is in essentially complete apostasy. They believe that God gave them title to the land. But they have no interest in Christ as their Messiah. This divorce and dissolution means that there will be no future Jewish Periods, and there will not be a Rapture before the Tribulation.
What Did the Cross Bring in Addition to Salvation?
The Cross broke down the barrier of the dividing wall between the Jew and the Gentile. Now there are no ethnic divisions for those believers who are in Christ as Savior. Both Jewish and Gentile believers comprise the Church and Body of Christ. There is no Jew or Gentile, male or female, or bond or free, All are now one in Christ. Only Christ can have preeminence and first place. The Cross put aside the Jewish system of worship of animal sacrifices and physical temples forever. The Church is now to be a living sacrifice and the temple or sanctuary of God. This means there will not be any future Jewish Periods, and there will not be a Rapture before the Tribulation.