A dramatic upheaval is beginning to boil in the church on eschatology, that is, Bible prophecy.
There is astounding disagreement among Christians on Bible prophecy. I love the church. But about a dozen years ago I decided that I could no longer blindly listen to Christians radio or TV, or even to my pastoral staff on this subject, because what most of them are teaching did not match up with the Bible. I became determined to get to the bottom of this subject. There were too many questions I had that the church just could not answer adequately.
After years of study, I became convinced that Jesus was telling the truth when He said that ALL prophesied last-things events would be fulfilled in his generation (Luke 21:22; etc). I became a preterist. Preterism is the view that most, if not all prophetic events happened with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. It appears to be the fastest growing view of eschatology as other systems are being discredited.
Over one-fourth of the New Testament is concerned with eschatology. If you are willing to consider a different viewpoint from the one you may now hold, below are some of the questions I could not honestly answer as a futurist:
- Why have Christians made failed predictions about the end of the world for 2000 years now?
- If time means nothing to God, why does God constantly use time-restricted statements about the fulfillment of prophecy—such as: shortly, at hand, near, quickly, soon, last times, last hour, last days, this generation, etc.?
- Why did Jesus frequently insist that his PAROUSIA (Second Coming) and indeed the fulfillment of all prophecy would be fulfilled while some of his disciples were still alive (Matthew 10:23; Matthew 16:27-28; Mathew 26:64; Luke 21:22, 28, 32; Revelation 1:1-3; Revelation 22:6, 12, 20)? Was Jesus simply wrong? If so, can we trust Him on other things He said?
- If the teaching that one day is a 1000 yrs and a 1000 years a day to the Lord. . . . DOES THAT MEAN?—1000 yrs in Revelation are a single 24 hour day (2 Peter 3; Revelation 20)?
- If any of the New Testament was written after AD 70, why is there no mention anywhere in the New Testament IN THE PAST TENSE about the incredible events surrounding the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in that year?
- If the Great Tribulation is still future to us, why did Jesus tell the first century Christians that they could avoid it by fleeing to the mountains (Luke 21:21; ref. Matthew 24:21)? And why did the Apostle John tell his readers a few years later that THEY were in the tribulation (Revelation 1:9)?
- If the book of Revelation is for us today, why would John write to the 7 churches if it had nothing to do with them? Why would John torture these first-century Christians with impossible and intricate symbolic labyrinths that applied only to people 2,000 years later? Why does Revelation say some 30 times that the events MUST be fulfilled SOON? (Examples: Revelation 1:1-3; 22:6, 12, 20)
- Why does Hebrews 10:37 say that in a VERY VERY (“very” is there twice in the Greek) LITTLE WHILE Jesus would return and not delay? Were the writer of Hebrews and the other biblical writers that expressed the same thing FALSE PROPHETS?
- If the biblical “last days” are in the 21st century, why does Peter and Paul both say the last days were in their time (Acts 2:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2)?
- If the biblical “last days” started in the first century, but continue to this day, why did Peter say the end of all things was at hand, and the judgment was about to begin when he was writing (1 Peter 4:7, 17)?
- John said it was the “last hour” (1 John 2:18). Does that mean that its fulfillment is now 17 million hours late?
- If the GREAT COMMISSION is not yet fulfilled, why did Paul say it had been fulfilled when he was writing (Roman 1:8; 10:18; Colossians 1:5-6, 23)?
- If “heaven and earth” have not yet passed away, does that mean that not one jot or tittle has passed from the law and Jesus has not fulfilled it yet (Matthew 5:17-18)?
- If the NEW JERUSALEM is a future physical location, how is it possible that the Hebrews in the first century were already there (Hebrews 12:22)?
- If Jesus was going to return literally and physically (Acts 1:11), why do we read that his ascension was hidden from view by a cloud? If Jesus is going to return LITERALLY “in like manner” (Acts 1:11), does that also mean that He will return riding a white horse (Revelation 19:11)?
- If Jesus was to return in a physical, visible appearance to the whole world, why did He tell his first-century disciples (John 14:19) that the world would never see him again?
- If the King James Version of the Bible really speaks of an end to the physical universe, why is “end of the world” found there consistently translated as “end of the AGE” in modern translations?
- If the last-days events are still future to us, why are there over 100 passages in the New Testament that declare that these events would happen soon?
- If “soon” means “2000 years later,” does that mean it was going to take Timothy 2000 years to be sent to the Philippians by Paul?
- How many more ways could the writers of the New Testament have stated the imminent fulfillment of the last-days events (soon, near, this generation, while some of you are still alive, must shortly take place, the end is at hand, etc.)?
- If the prophetic passages were fulfilled once in the first century, and then again thousands of years later, why is there no hint of this by Jesus and the biblical writers?
Charles Meek is the author of a new book CHRISTIAN HOPE THROUGH FULFILLED PROPHECY: IS YOUR CHURCH TEACHING ERROR ABOUT THE LAST DAYS AND SECOND COMING?