What Do I Believe About the Second Coming of Christ, The Rapture, The Millennium?
First – I am not committed to any of the classic doctrines of understanding eschatology (especially about millennium). Why? Because I notice flaws in each of them. Therefore, I tend to know better what I don’t believe about the second coming of Christ, rapture, and millennium than what I do believe about how all the pieces of prophecy fit together. I must be pro-millennium – because I believe that the Almighty will put it all together perfectly in a way that may astound all of us! 😊
Second – I’ve read and reread the book of Revelation many times, I have a general outline of the book in my mind. I know the outcome (We win! Almighty God is The One and Only Sovereign!). Revelation is not a book of doom and gloom for believers! However, I’ve also read commentaries enough to realize that dedicated Christians who love God and His Word, as well as being careful scholars of both Bible and history, differ widely in their understanding and interpretation of the details. Therefore, I believe it is both foolish and ungodly for believers to fight and divide over their interpretations of unfulfilled prophecy. (Jesus said, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20-21 (NKJV)
Third – I belive that inferences and assumptions – no matter how logical to the interpreter – are not Bible doctrine.
Fourth – I also believe the hermeneutical principle that symbolic language should be interpreted in the light of the plain, clear doctrinal statements in the Word of God – just as the symbols in geometry must be interpreted in the light of basic math.
Fifth – I believe that all of the Bible is to be taken seriously – but not all literally. Why? Because there are different styles of writing in the Bible – as in any library! Historical narrative and legislative rules, as found in the first five books of the Bible, I take literally. Why? Because history and law are written in literal language. I do not read all that is contained in the Old Testament prophets or in the books of poetry, or in the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” literally because much of it is written in symbolic language. For example, Psalm 50:10 says: “For every beast of the forest is mine. The cattle on a thousand hills.” Should we believe that every beast of the forest belongs to Almighty God, but His ownership of cattle is limited to only 1000 hills? In view of Hebrew parallelism in their poetry plus the fact that numerically, Hebrew does not have millions, billions, or trillions; one thousand is the biggest number in Hebrew. In view of symbolic language, I believe that all cattle do ultimately belong to our awesome God, Who created them. How about you? Therefore, when we read The Revelation (a book full of signs and symbols), should we assume that the 1000 years in the twentieth chapter must be literal?
In view of these facts and Biblical principles of interpretation, as well as in keeping with the concept that it is wise to keep the main thing the main thing – here are several truths that all believers in Christ and His Word can agree on:
- We must live in view of our “blessed hope” – be ready and stay ready to meet Him in His glorious appearing! “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:42 (NLT) “So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too… Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith…. Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-11; 13:5, 11 (NLT)
- We who are in Christ will be singing the victory song before the throne of our Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Conqueror of Satanic Kingdoms – King of Kings, Lord of Lord! Hallelujah! The joy will be beyond description but the warning for those unsaved is potent and pertinent: “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 (NLT)
- David Jeremiah wrote: “We are living in a world where anything goes, but nothing satisfies!” True – nothing that the world has to offer. We can still offer you His invitation now – but the hour is late, and the appeal is urgent! “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.” Revelation 22:17 (NLT)
If this does not seem appropriate for December because it doesn’t seem like a “Christmas message,” think again! It is all about Jesus! He came the first time to be our Savior. He is coming again as our Judge. Are you ready?
Our God is precise, and for the first coming of Jesus, He came when the time was ripe and the timing fine-tuned to perfection. The Word of God tells us: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV) Wouldn’t it be logical to think that the second coming of Jesus will also be precisely in the fullness of time? The Word of God also says, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:8-14 (ESV)
The Power of Light vs Power of Darkness as told by Adrian Rogers
A prominent scientist (or engineer/technician) who worked for NASA came to Adrian and asked, “Pastor, will you help me?” So Adrian asked him what his problem was. He replied that his wife wanted to commit suicide – and he didn’t want her to. Adrian met with his wife and asked why she would want to commit suicide. She told him that her husband was a drunkard, a gambler, and an adulterer – and she didn’t believe that she could put up with it anymore.
Adrian met again with the husband to ask him about the accusations. (I think he tried to sidestep those questions.) Adrian asked him, “Are you a Christian?” He replied, “No! I’m an atheist!” So Adrian asked him: “Isn’t an atheist someone who knows that God does not exist? The man agreed. So Adrian asked him if he knows everything that can be known, to which he replied, “Of course not!” So Adrian asked, “Do you know half of all that can be known?”, which he still denied. Adrian then told him that he would be willing to grant him the possibility of knowing half of all that can be known – then asked him if it would be possible for the existence of God to be in the realm of knowledge that he didn’t know. He agreed, then said, “Okay! I’m not an atheist – I’m an agnostic!” Then Adrian asked him, “Are you an honest agnostic or a dishonest agnostic?” So the man asked him to clarify what he meant by that question. Adrian told him that an honest agnostic is someone who doesn’t know, but is willing to learn – but a dishonest agnostic is one who doesn’t know, doesn’t want to know, and is unwilling to learn because he is committed to being an unbelieving skeptic (cynic). At this, the man declared himself to be an honest agnostic. Therefore, Adrian asked him if he would be willing to pass a few tests to prove that he was a sincere and honest agnostic. He agreed.
Adrian told him that the first test would be for him to read the Word of God with an open mind. The second would be for him to ask God – if He exists – to demonstrate His truth to him as he reads. The third test would be for him to obey what God commands to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (in accord with John 17:17). “If anyone’s will is to do God’swill, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” (ESV). Adrian gave him the assignment to start with the gospel of John. Soon he was asking Adrian probing, honest questions about faith in Christ. His life was transformed, his marriage was restored, and that scientist became a witness for our Lord Jesus.
How about you? Are you an honest seeker of truth? Are you willing to “taste and see that the Lord is good!”? You may think you are happy and content with your selfish, sinful lifestyle, but Adrian Rogers has also pointed out that it would be better to go limping into heaven than dancing into hell! Think about that!
Are you also tired of hearing this post-modern indication of indifference? First of all, what does post-modern mean? It means the death of truth – the abandonment of any hope of knowing anything for certain. It is discarding truth to the category of flimsy opinion. For example: “You can have your truth; I can have my truth!” “Whatever!” Is it true that we cannot know anything for sure? That there is no absolute truth? (Have you noticed that “there is no absolute truth!” is an absolute statement?) Please carefully, prayerfully notice these verses of Scripture: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13 (ESV) “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” 2 Timothy 1:12 (ESV)
However, in spite of my disdain for the post-modern philosophy, I want to cut some slack for the post-modern generations who have been bombarded with other lies as well. (Hitler’s propaganda specialist, Goebbels, was right about one thing – “if you tell a lie often enough and big enough, most people will believe you.”) Some of the other lies are those that they have heard over and over in so-called “science” classes that we are nothing but stardust and pond scum formed by evolutionary random processes with no plan, no purpose, no design and no designer. “Therefore, you are meaningless, and your life is meaningless and there is nothing you can do about it.” Can you imagine the confusion of sitting in such a hollow “science” lesson, hearing the end-of-class bell, then meandering down a hallway to a psychology classroom to hear a lecture on building your self-worth and self-respect in order to go out and “conquer the world” as a brilliant entrepreneur? Wouldn’t you also be tempted to sit there indifferently, shrug, and say, “whatever!”?
Is it any wonder that suicide has been skyrocketing – especially among the younger generations? Suicide is a deadly result of hopelessness. Evolutionism, secular humanism (also known as atheism) and post-modernism are hopeless philosophies. The hope of the world is Jesus! He is the author of life, truth and hope – and He proved His Person, His Power and His Promises by conquering sin, death and hell by rising from the dead! To His apostles He “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs…”! Acts 1:3 May our risen Lord always be your hope and your joy!
Candid Confession of Conflict
Della and I deeply, truly, love each other, and often we have considered asking our Father in Heaven if He would take us both Home at the same time! Wow! If Jesus appears “soon, and very soon,” that will be the reality. However, if He takes us both simultaneously in a car accident, for example, that would make it easier for us, but harder for our kids and grandkids. So, since we know that our awesome God is the only true Sovereign, and that “Father knows best!”, we are content to leave that choice with Him and be at peace about whatever He chooses. If He chooses, on December 14, we will celebrate our 58th anniversary. We realize that it is rare for a couple to have so many years together after their wedding commitment, “til death do ye part.” Since Della Lu and I invested about 16 months getting to know each other and growing in love with each other before pledging before Almighty God and witnesses “to have and to hold until death we do part” on December 14, 1962, and now we have had 58 years to continue growing in love and working out differences and conflicts, you may assume that we are now perfectly compatible in every possible way. 😊 Think again! 😊 Assumptions can be dangerous!
Have you, by chance, noticed that males and females do not think alike, and often do not hold the same priorities? In fact, they may differ greatly in their priorities – and sometimes clash over those priorities! When you add to these observable facts the difference in personality types, plus the difference in home backgrounds, the possibility for conflict grows exponentially and does not miraculously disappear with the years. For example, Della Lu is a gifted detail person with a strong bent to perfection. Because of this, she has successfully served as secretary or treasurer for several churches (and even secretary/treasurer). For our own personal finances and our Overseas Outreach finances, she is secretary treasurer. I honor her for her commitment to accuracy, but since I place a high priority on time (and the Bible says we should be “redeeming the time”) I find it impossible to see the logic in spending hours of concentration to correct an error of a few cents in our bank book. I tell her: “Your time is more valuable than that, so if it is only a few dollars or cents, just write it off and move on!” She does not agree – and can be pretty stubborn about getting it exactly right! For another example, my priority of time use means that I’m often guilty of arriving late somewhere because I was still trying to squeeze in a few more minutes on a project important to me before leaving. She, on the other hand, has a high priority of being early to any (and every) appointment – no matter how casual. Do you see how we just may at times frustrate (irritate) each other???
On another track, recently Della has been experiencing the yo-yo effect with her blood pressure – when it spiked up dangerously high, she had a bad headache, plus feeling foggy-headed and confused, and the blood pressure medicine wasn’t working very well to bring it down. My desire to protect her and care for her kicked in. So, I insisted (demanded) that she take a break from her financial problem to lay down on the couch to rest. She complied – until I tried to take away her phone so she would not be disturbed from her rest. I was trying to protect her (it’s part of my job description as a loving husband), but she would not comply. She erupted in frustration and anger because she was waiting for an important phone call from a special lady. Did I respond with calm, kindness, and mercy? (What do you think?) NO! I reacted in anger because my patient was no longer being compliant and obedient. Besides, she wanted to tell me how to do my job out in the yard. (Grrrr!) (If she were a puppy who bit my hand when I was trying to feed her, I would have slapped her mouth! I didn’t do that! Are you proud of me? 😊 I hope not – my reaction didn’t go over at all.) We were both frustrated and irritated, and each convinced we were right.
On Sunday, November 8, we celebrated my 77th birthday – and even before the official date I had asked my Della Lu if she remembers what the perfect number according to Scripture is. She got it right – the #7! So I asked her, “Doesn’t that mean that 77 is double-perfect?” She didn’t follow my form of logic and didn’t concede! What a crying shame! ☹
Please Pray for Us!
Yes, we are certainly very fallible human beings who are learning how to handle conflict. (Those of you reading this who are already perfect, please pray for insight so you can understand! 😊) The rest of you can easily relate! Actually, I learned from Chuck Swindoll a very practical, Biblical path for reconciliation and healing after conflict. It consists of four short, simple phrases:
- I was wrong! 2. I am sorry! 3. Please forgive me! 4. I love you!
It is important to remember to share them sincerely and in that order. Even if I think she was 90% wrong and I was only 10% wrong, I am to confess what I was wrong about – without any accusations! (Oh, is that hard! I too often forget!) When I do it right, I’m leaving the door open to the Holy Spirit to convict her about her own guilt. When I get in the way, she gets defensive! Try it – you might like it! Someday I may be congratulating you on your 58th anniversary! 😊
I normally pray at least once a day for God to heal Della from head to toe (from eyes to toes), but both of us recognize that He may not choose to do so until we both receive our new bodies in the resurrection. Why? Jesus said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
Also, we recognize that God may have a higher purpose for allowing Della to suffer in this life – as He did with Job, the apostle Paul, and Joni Eareckson Tada. Actually, there are many more examples of suffering believers – both Biblically and contemporarily. This reminds me of the words in a wonderful hymn: “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus! Life’s trials will seem so small, when we see Christ! All sorrow He will erase when we see His dear Face. It will be worth it all, when we see Christ!” “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3 (NKJV)
Whoa! What About the LGBTQ Plus Confusion?
Perhaps you noticed that earlier I mentioned only the different perspectives between males and females. Why didn’t I mention that according to our current, confused, corrupted culture that confidently claims that there are multiple genders we need to recognize with their various perspectives?
The reason I did not mention such matters earlier is that, at that point, I was dealing with Scriptural and scientific facts. God Himself created sex, manifested in two genders – male and female – no more, no less. They are equal, but different and complementary. God also told us His purpose – love, marriage, companionship and pro-creation to produce godly offspring. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that ]moves on the earth.’” Genesis 1:27-28 (NKJV) “Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. ‘For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.’” Malachi 2:14-16 (NKJV)
However, the reality in our confused culture that is so broken, besieged and beleaguered with false fantasies, is that there is hardly an extended family in America that is not pressed and perplexed with the problem of a confused child who doesn’t know if he is male, female, or something else. The cry is “What do I do?” The concern is deep, and the hurt is real. I have three suggestions.
- Recognize that he (or she) is confused and in a state of rebellion against Almighty God – Who created him male (or her female). Therefore, love him (or her) while refusing to compromise with rebellion.
- Study the parables of Jesus in Luke 15, especially verses 11-32, and pray earnestly for repentance!
- When he comes Home to Jesus, and to you – receive him with open arms of love and grace. Then throw a party! Remember that the goodness of God leads to repentance!
What About the Future of Overseas Outreach?
As some of you may remember, for at least ten years I was going to Ukraine twice a year and spending four to six weeks at a time. Then I cut down to one trip a year, and often included a week or two for Germany, where we had ministered for seven years. This year I had hoped to make a trip to both Ukraine and Germany, but the shutdowns closed that idea. I did make a trip to Texas for a fossil dig.
Between trips, I’ve always tried to keep in touch with a growing number of ministry partners in both countries. If you wonder what I’m doing now, please go back and read our last few prayer letters.
My highest priority now is transferring leadership to our highly skilled and effective ministry partners (representatives) in Ukraine – and if, as well as when, to Edward and Paul who are interested in working with us for Overseas Outreach. I’m realizing that with Della’s health issues, including the high blood pressure and severe, stabbing feet pains so that she can barely walk at times, I may not be wise to make more overseas trips. (We are very thankful that Sandy and family live only two miles from us, Randy and family only three miles and our very special friends, Jim & Kim Scott, have moved to a house two and a half miles from us. 😊) I hope to still make some short trips in USA for speaking appointments.
1. Please earnestly pray for the multitudes of suffering people in Ukraine from various causes, including rampant corruption, inflation, war for nearly seven years, the Covid-19 virus, and the hardships of the resulting shutdown.
2. Earnest prayer and fasting for the rescue of America from a Marxist takeover. “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
3. Earnest prayer also for an increase of $600 per month for Overseas Outreach in order to be able to send an additional $300 per month to Ukraine and to use the other $300 per month for expansion and outreach here through a radio broadcast focusing on our purpose: To use the “many infallible proofs” concerning Christ, creation, and the accuracy, authority and infallibility of the Bible to win souls to Christ and to prepare bold witnesses for Jesus wherever we are. My big goal for USA is the same as it is for Ukraine – to see Almighty God transform this nation from a predominately perverted/pagan/ evolutionist/Marxist nation to a nation with a predominately Biblical Christian worldview where evangelism thrives.
4. Praise: Sergei Golovin is recovering very well from his bout with both Covid-19 and viral pneumonia, and his wife and daughters did not come down with either. God miraculously intervened for them! (If you want a more detailed report on this, please contact us.)
“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11
“If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God.” – George MacDonald
In our chaotic world there are so many who are discouraged and hurting. Will you join me in looking for those you can encourage with a smile or a caring word today?