Tag Archives: pre-wrath

Eschatotality…

fathersonspiritLately I’ve been thinking about a matter that seems to occupy my mind on a fairly regular basis. The toughest part is perhaps simply just trying to come up with a term or description of what “it” is in the first place. I don’t know if the made-up term “eschatotality” even makes that much sense, but it’s what I got for now. Anyways, there have been two sources in the last few weeks which really seemed to tie into this concept I’m hoping to elucidate, so I’ll start by touching on them both.

First, a friend wrote a piece about Eschatology. She makes several points which contained a fair amount of uncomfortable truth, such as “In Christianity, some people take their eschatology very seriously, men especially seem to love to ponder these things, partly because of the intellectual exercise and partly because of their heightened desire to do everything they can to try and protect their loved ones”. I know that isn’t designed as a slam, but perhaps it just hits a little close to home in terms of the kinds of things I’ve heard from family and friends at times. Particularly the female types.

I’d be lying if didn’t come clean and admit that yes, men tend to be somewhat more prone to turning eschatology into an intellectual exercise which itself becomes much more a function of pride and distraction that of real practical value. That’s a very real danger, I agree.

But as my understanding has increased over the past few years of both what the scriptures really teach about the Last Days and the broader conflict between the kingdoms of Heaven and hell, and the rather grim historical reality of the world in which we live, I have become increasingly convinced that “eschatology”, the parts of it that truly matter, aren’t really so much about focusing solely on a relatively brief instance of time where the anti-Christ has power over the earth and everything is crazy and bad and scary. It is about so much more than that…

The other thing I encountered recently which acted as a touchstone to this whole question was a podcast by Alan Kurschner. Alan speaks and writes almost exclusively about the “Pre-Wrath” position (as opposed to Pre-Trib), and I find his material pretty interesting and so I’ve been listening to him somewhat regularly. Lately though, he seems more and more caught up in trying to tackle the pre-Trib position head on, and almost sounds a little frustrated by how unyielding and unwilling to engage in debate/conversation most pre-Trib teachers are. I bring this up here because listening to him has really made me think a lot about how the doctrine of the pre-Tribulation rapture, if you really step back and look at it, isn’t something that just stands alone, but is in fact only one piece in a larger theological/cosmological paradigm, and this is why (I would argue) it is so difficult to convince people that it is something they can and should let go of.

I am probably only able to have much of an awareness of this because it essentially outlines the shift in my own view on the Bible, and the world as a whole.

When I myself used to hold to the assumption of pre-Trib truth, as I was taught in church, one of the central underlying components of this belief was that it was the event of the “silent rapture” itself that would provide the necessary global scenario, namely world-wide chaos and panic, that would set the stage for the anti-Christ to suddenly rise to absolute power. I remember reading a book by Dave Hunt when I was a teenager, who very heavily argued for this, and at the time it seemed to make a lot of sense to me. It’s basically the concept put forth by all those infernal “Left Behind” books and movies too. Million of people suddenly “vanish”, and as a result there are countless car crashes, plane wrecks, and overall freaking out because everyone “left behind” is wondering what the heck happened to everyone who suddenly disappeared, yadda yadda yadda…

But this is rather crucial, you see, the notion that the in order for the anti-Christ to arise, there must be this “post rapture chaos”. This perspective basically assumes that up until this moment, the world is really more or less progressing forward on a fairly “upward path”, largely due to the presence and influence of “Judeo-Christian values” and “Western culture” and other such drivel. But see, this is why they believe that when they, the Church, the “Christian influence in the world”, is taken out of the way, that the powers of Darkness will suddenly swoop in to fill the void. It’s really a pretty self-idolatrous approach if you ask me…

Anyhow, this is what I see as being a part of larger rift between the two doctrines. Much more than merely a question of timing, I see it now as being a question of the willingness to acknowledge just how much influence and control the Enemy is able to have, here, now, even while the Church is fully present in the world and in the flow of human history, as has had, ever since the Fall…

You often hear Christians warn or complain about focusing “too much” on the darkness, the deception, the occult. Don’t focus too much on the negative, it only “glorifies Satan”. I find this argument terribly misguided. After all, what if you were taking a course on Medieval history, or any history for that matter, would you say to your professor “Please sir, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t focus so much time and detail on all these horrible wars, and political intrigue, and clashes of kingdoms. I find it all to be terribly ‘negative’…”? No! History is history. Fact is fact. Reality is reality.

And this, I feel, is the real purpose and value of investing time in studying “eschatology”, not because we need to obsess over the minutia of exactly what might transpire within a window of 3 1/2 to 7 years, (thought those conversations are important too, don’t get me wrong!), but it is really about understanding the WHOLE story. Our whole story. The real histories and motivating elements behind our own stories, our lives, our various countries of origin, and yes, the governments and institutions and corporate powers which effect all of us daily. Everything…

I find it telling that you don’t seem to get a lot of resistance or backlash from established Church authorities, if you were to devote much of your life to studying and regurgitating the “official” history of things. The institutional church has really no issue with their congregants attaching themselves to pursuits which affirm the broader institutional paradigm. Be a doctor, a lawyer, a politician even. Join the army, become a general. Teach philosophy at a university like the Christendom’s hero C.S. Lewis. Be a marine biologist. Whatever. Study anything you like, so long as you are not wasting your time studying that which would suggest the ridiculous notion that “Civilization” as a whole is in fact NOT the glorious by-product of our marvelous Christian heritage, but rather the construct of an entourage of fallen angelic beings, led by Lucifer himself, a construct which in fact serves as the mechanism by which he ultimately aims to use in order to establish his fully-realized kingdom on Earth.

Scripture teaches us that our war is not against flesh and blood. The modern, carnal church, however, clings to a largely human-centered and mechanical view of things, and this is a large factor in why the bizarre, unbiblical teachings on a pre-Trib rapture and things like “dispensationalism” and various forms of Christian dominionism were eventually developed. They all, in one way or another, elevate the importance and supposed genius of man, while belittling the significance of the real battle going on in the spiritual realms, and in this one, as it all overlaps. This I believe is why so many people have such a hard time letting their pre-Trib views being challenged. Not because it’s hard to demonstrate it’s inconsistencies with scripture, but because to question it is to really start questioning their broader view of history and the world as a whole. The “matrix”, if you will.

Whether or not the world as we know it ends tomorrow, or many generations after I’m gone, it really doesn’t matter. The fact remains that having an unfiltered and adequate understanding of the world in which we all live is not folly, obsession, or mere intellectual sport. Indeed it is really the only true reason to study or seek truth at all…

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