This particular blog is really a commercial in the ongoing series about "End Times". Hence it's Part 2.5, not Part 3. I'm well aware that discussions about Eschatology (the study of "End Times") tend to make some people in the Church very uncomfortable. It has been known to be divisive, which it simply shouldn't be. It's not a foundational doctrine. We're dealing here with prophecy, which involves "seven-headed beasts" for crying out loud. This can be strange writing indeed and shouldn't be made the foundational teaching of any church. If you read this series, apply the tools I'm sharing for interpreting Scriptures, and come away with a different understanding of prophecy than what I believe, that's totally fine. If you believe the Great Tribulation to be in our future, while I believe it to be in the past, that shouldn't keep us from worshipping and serving the risen Christ together.
So, because this can be divisive, some won't touch it with a ten-foot pole. I've been told that I should leave this stuff alone (I have to wonder if people would still tell me that if my view agreed with theirs.). Here's the deal. I'm willing to bet that each of you reading this hold to some views about the End Times, even if you're not exactly sure where you got them. Are you waiting for the Rapture? Are the current events in the news signs of the coming tribulation? Are you keeping an eye on political figures in case they might be the Antichrist (Well...we might currently find agreement on that one. Lol.)? Will Jesus have the Temple rebuilt in Jerusalem so He can preside as High Priest over the sacrifices?
Those are common beliefs about the End Times. If you do believe those things, great, but I challenge you to ask yourself "why?". Why do you believe those things? Where did you get that information? I believe it's not only important what we believe, but why we believe it. We all wonder why people in cults don't do their homework. If they would just dig a little, they'd discover the truth, right? Similarly, (though I'm not at all making a comparison between differing end times beliefs and cults), we need to dig a little and do our homework in order to know why we believe what we believe. Don't simply accept something because the pastor says so, it looks good on paper, or because it just "feels right". I encourage you to do your homework.
For example, reading the Left Behind series, as entertaining as it may be, isn't the same as reading through Matthew 24, deciphering the context (see Part 2), understanding the parts of speech and time references, and making linguistic comparisons to the prophecies made in the Old Testament. Having worked through those things, we can know why we believe something. We can point to it, explain the context of the passage, and give sound Biblical reasons for believing what we believe. If you still come out believing in a future tribulation and Rapture, that's totally cool with me. You'll be stronger in your faith knowing you came to that belief through proper study rather than by Kirk Cameron's unforgettable and convincing performance in Left Behind.
By going through a series like this, we can learn skills that will help us better understand all Scripture. You can grow by tackling prophetic passages in Scripture. Ignoring them altogether in the name of "well, this stuff can be divisive" may not prove to be wise. Somebody will be willing to tackle these for you and expect you to simply "take their word for it". I don't believe that's how I'm supposed to teach. My job is to equip the saints (Eph. 4:12), which I believe includes equipping them to read and interpret the Scriptures for themselves. That's what this series is about.
Dave became the Senior Pastor in April 2015 at TCC after serving as the Director of Children's and Praise Ministries for 9 years. He graduated in 2011 from A.W. Tozer Seminary with a Masters in Christian Leadership. He and his wife, Katie, live in Sequim with their 6 children, 2 dogs, 15 chickens, and 50,000 honeybees.
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