Tuesday, September 29, 2009

End Times Transfer of Wealth

There's an idea floating around that in the end times, the righteous will inherit the wealth that the wicked have been hoarding. Some Christian leaders have started preaching that the time is drawing near for this "end times transfer of wealth," since the American economy is in for a major collapse. Their message is to remain faithful to God and be responsible with your money so that you will be a beneficiary of the supernatural redistribution of wealth. Ironic that the leaders purport this message have invested their money into real estate, exchanged their money for precious metals, used their money to stockpile goods, and/or taken the pains to get themselves free from all credit (debt-based) accounts. I'd be wary of believing a message that the preacher doesn't seem to hold any stock in himself.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Will the Church Be Raptured from Tribulation?

I was raised with the idea that the believers in Christ would be delivered from the "day of wrath" described in apocalyptic passages (Daniel 12; Revelation 6-9, 15-16, 20 for starters) by being "caught up together with the Lord in the clouds," an event known as "the rapture" in Christian jargon.
"I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left." (words of Jesus, Luke 17:34-35, NIV)
Sounds just like the rapture depicted in popular literature like "Left Behind," right? Well, look at the verses immediately preceding and following, and you'll get a different picture. Here's an example:
"Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all." (words of Jesus, Luke 17:26-27, NIV)
The ones taken are the wicked, not the righteous! The idea of the righteous being zipped away into thin air is NOT what is being conveyed here. However, notice that the destruction comes AFTER Noah entered the ark, and in verses 28-29, AFTER Lot left Sodom. So, there may be some evidence that the righteous are protected or set apart before God pours out his wrath on the earth. This, though, would mean that the righteous would still be on the earth!

Also, Paul tells us that two things must happen before we see the coming of the LORD. In 2 Thessalonians 2, he tells us that before Jesus returns to gather his church, (1) there will be a great falling away, and (2) the man of lawlessness will be revealed. The next verse goes on to say that this man of lawlessness will set himself up in the temple, which is an event that biblical scholars mark at the beginning of the Great Tribulation (which last for a period of 3 and 1/2 years). So, if Paul meant that the church would simply see the man of lawlessness in the public eye, then that leaves room for Jesus to return before the 7-year tribulation. But, if Paul was trying to say that the church would see the man of lawlessness establish himself in the temple, then that would mean Jesus would gather his church together after the 7 years had already started. So, that would leave either a mid- or post-tribulation rapture as a possibility.

As I've been doing research, I've become skeptical of whether there is actually a rapture at all. I know Paul says we will be caught up in the clouds in the twinkling of an eye, but maybe he's using some sort of apocalyptic language that implies that we will be gathered in judgment or something (since clouds often carry the meaning of judgment in the Old Testament). Currently my thought is that either there is no "rapture" at all (in the Evangelical sense of the word), or that the rapture occurs sometime right before or after the Great Tribulation. All I know is that I don't want to be one of the 10 virgins who ran out of oil in the middle of the night and ended up missing the bridegroom's return.

If anyone has any thoughts on this, feel free to comment.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Replacement Theology... or Not

So I've been reading some of the Old Testament prophets in search of enlightenment concerning end times, and after reading Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and parts of Isaiah and Jeremiah, I do not understand how anyone could think that the church "replaces" Israel as God's chosen people in these prophecies. For one thing, it seems that Israel is also strongly connected to a specific geographical location, which is intimately tied into most of these prophecies. Someone could maybe convince me that a lot or even all of the prophecies have already been fulfilled... but it would take a creative mind to come up with an explanation for some of the events described, like "they will not learn the craft of war," "the Lord himself will settle their disputes," "the Egyptians will come up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles," "They will do no harm or destroy on the mountain of the Lord, because the world will be full of the knowledge of the LORD like waters cover the sea," etc. Also, when there is talk about Israel occupying the land of Philistia and Gilead to the North, what could that possibly symbolize if the prophecy is concerning the church? If someone wishes to argue that the church will be gathered to Jerusalem and the surrounding area (because the LORD will gather his people from the four corners of the earth), then that's a little more plausible... but I'd say that there would be a huge over-population problem. I guess that depends on your other theological and escatalogical beliefs. In my opinion, though, the most plausible explanation of the Old Testament prophecies is that they are referring to Israel, and not the church.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Am Waiting

I am next on the list for special music at church, and since I had previously decided to write a song this time around, I thought I would include an exhortation to learn God's truth within the lyrics (since this topic has been on my mind a lot this week). Instead of posting my thoughts and feelings about scripture passages today, I will instead post the lyrics to the song I just finished writing for Sunday. Enjoy.

I Am Waiting

I tremble and hide
In the darkness of my heart,
In the midst of all the things I’ve stored inside.
I don’t realize
I am trapped within myself,
But I got here through selfishness and pride.

There was a time
When my heart wasn’t so crowded.
I made room for a heav’nly friend of mine.
But over time
I forgot about his presence
And reclaimed his space with selfish loves of mine.

Yet I’m still waiting
For the gifts of joy and peace,
And I’m praying
For my life to be complete.
But I’ve failed to recall
That he’s the Lord over all,
So I’m still searching.
I am waiting
But no one hears my cry.


I sit in tears
Then I hear a still, small voice
Reminding me of what I’d known for years.
If I want to be free
I can not trust in my own strength.
I must trust the one who first befriended me.

So I lift my eyes
And reach out from the darkness,
Then Jesus takes my hand, to my surprise.
He says, “Let me teach you my ways
So that each and every day
I can empty your heart and dwell with you again.”

“'Cause I’ve been waiting
For you to seek my face.
I’ve been waiting
While others take my place,
But I gently call
For you to give your all.
I am knocking,
I am waiting...”

“I am waiting
For you to seek my face.
I am waiting
For you to take my gift of grace.
Now I gently call
To you, one and all.
Will you answer?
I am waiting…

Will you answer?
I am waiting…

Will you answer?
I am waiting…”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Blog Post Format

Hello world,

I started this blog with the intention of recording my thoughts about daily scripture readings. If you look at the posts before this date, you will notice that they are in a daily devotional type format. Well, this is too type-A for my personality (relative to this sort of thing), so I'm going to just post ideas that have been on my mind. I hope that this will still be a fruitful endeavor, and I pray that God will teach me truths as I seek him everyday.

~Rachel :-)