Tag Archives: end times

Apocalyptic Misquotes . . . Part I

“God has a plan for me!” & “The Last Generation”

Today’s Jesus culture and its focus on experience over obedience have left the Church largely scripturally illiterate. This is supported by statistics reporting that 95% or more of people who say they’re Christians don’t’ study the Bible regularly or thoroughly or actively engage in discipleship. Evidence of this sobering trend pops up regularly in the form of misquoted and abused Scripture spouted as out-of-context clichés or carelessly misrepresented words of God, our Christ, the prophets, or the apostles.

My use of Apocalyptic in the title is two-fold: One, to represent the unfortunate abuses of end-times / apocalyptic references twisted to support manmade end-of-the-world doctrine and, two, to represent the incredible magnitude of inadequate training of the Saints and the resulting lack of faith building and scriptural abuse. So, we’ll look at two examples weekly with one related to the return of our Christ (or at least related to apocalyptic literature or prophecies) until I’ve run out of low-hanging examples.

Let’s begin Apocalyptic Misquotes Part I with a look at abuses that give birth to a spiritual rock star mentality and erroneous end-of-the-world timing.

Misquote #1: “God must have a specific plan and purpose for my life!” This is a common Christian culture cliché based on taking Jeremiah 29:11 out of context. First and foremost, we are compelled by Christ and others (like the apostle Paul) to follow; that way may be difficult and costly (from a worldly point of view). Second, the context is God’s admonishment to Israel during her exile to Babylon and is a reiteration that He has a last-days plan for that nation to be reconciled to Him. Abuse of these words of God today plays right into a spiritual entitlement mentality and promotes the question, “Common God – what do you have for Me?” instead of “God – what can I do to help You in Your desire to be reconciled with Your creation?

Misquotes #2 & #3: “Jesus said the generation that sees Israel become a nation in 1948 will see His return!” and “Jesus said the generation witnessing the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD will see His return!” Both are wrong and are abuses of the following verses in the support of pre-tribulation (former) and preterist (latter) end-times views.

  • Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.  —Matthew 24:32-33.
  • Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. —Matthew 24:34.

In context, Jesus is just telling His disciples that the generation that sees the signs He’d just revealed in verses 21-31 will see His return (‘when you see this, you will see that’) to gather His ‘bride’ for the marriage supper in heaven. (See Matthew 24:30-31 and 26:29, and Revelation 7:9-17 and 19:5-10 for examples of prophetic and apocalyptic glimpses of the betrothal and wedding shadow Jesus is fulfilling (and will complete) with those who will enter into a covenant with Him.

By the way: the original idea of a 40-year generation and a 1988 return of Jesus didn’t happen (as you can surmise) so the debates about longer generational lengths such as 70 years rage on as men struggle to validate faulty doctrine.

For more information regarding the return of our Christ and our ‘marriage’ to Him, and of the end of our world as we know it, please consider studying my very comprehensive guide “Finding the End of the World”. You’ll easily find it in paper and electronic format at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and www.ronbraley.com.

Next week, we’ll look at bad doctrine related to tithing and 1,000-year-long God days as we continue to explore common misquotes and abuses of Scripture.

Mountains out of Molehills . . . Seven, in Fact!

According to Revelation 17:9, the seven heads of the beast the harlot sits on represent seven mountains. Church traditions claim that end-times wickedness will come from Rome since it historically has been known as the “city on seven hills.”

This is done to pave the way for a doctrine that also states the pope will be either the Antichrist or the False Prophet in charge of an adulterous religious system – the Catholic Church. Another reason for traditionally assuming the source of end-times evil will be Rome is the incredible persecution Christians suffered at the hand of emperors like Nero.

However, the Bible repeatedly shows that last-days prophecies will be fulfilled in Jerusalem and by inhabitants of the countries surrounding it.

And while Rome is indeed a city on seven hills, Jerusalem is a city situated on seven mountains. According to historian Flavius Josephus, the seven mountains of Jerusalem are Mount Goath, Mount Gareb, Mount Acra, Mount Bezetha, Mount Zion, Mount Ophel, and Mount Moriah.

Also, Jerusalem, not Rome, is the city highlighted in the Revelation as being at the center of end-times events.

  • Jerusalem as the great city: (Other references to the “great city” in Revelation include 14:8, 16:19, 17:18, 18:10, and 18:16-20.)

And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. —Revelation 11:8.

  • Jerusalem will be the “great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18).

So, let’s not make ‘mountains out of hills’ because of faulty manmade apocalyptic doctrine. My comprehensive guide, Finding the End of the World (available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and http://www.ronbraley.com) can help do just that in an unbiased and informative manner.

No Need for the Temple of God?

Some people believe the third temple mentioned in Scripture is symbolic and not a physical structure. A component of this false teaching is that the biblical third temple is actually representative of every Christian. While it’s true that Jesus’ followers are called the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 2:21 and 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 & 6:19), there’s no reason to believe the third temple itself will be anything other than what the Bible says it will be: a temple of the Lord built for God by the Jews, and desecrated by the Antichrist. God’s Holy Spirit does reside in and with Christian believers, negating the need for them to have a temple, but apocalyptic literature in the Bible has revealed that the Jews will build one in fulfillment of end-times prophecy.

Is anyone serious about building the third temple? You bet! Many Jews have looked forward to this since June 1967 when the Israelis once again controlled the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock (where they believe the Holy of Holies and Ark of the Covenant had been in Solomon’s days). The control only lasted for a few hours, but many Israelis still hope to one day obtain permission to rebuild the temple. Several significant sources raise funds, create temple articles, or educate the public on the topic of the Temple Mount and temple: Temple Institute (www.templeinstitute.org), Temple Mount Faithful (templemountfaithful.org) and Temple Mount resource compilation (www.templemount.org).

Some of the preparations already made for the third temple include:

  1. Reestablishment of the Jewish Sanhedrin.
  2. Creation of cornerstones in 1989 (attempts made annually to place these have been unsuccessful thus far).
  3. Attempting to determine the exact location of where the temple should go (the location may be several hundred feet from the Dome of the Rock, allowing it and the new temple to exist simultaneously and peacefully).
  4. Seeking the Red Heifer (the ashes of which are necessary for the process of temple purification).
  5. Creation of various temple vessels to include the menorah and temple utensils.

In the end, both ‘temples are necessary: the bodies of Jesus’ followers for the Spirit of God; the Jewish temple for prophetic fulfillment.

War in Heaven: Past or Future?

And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. . . . And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan . . . And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman . . . So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. —Revelation 12:7-17.

Despite unnecessary awe and lots of misinformation, the Revelation given to John in about 90 AD is fairly simple, straightforward, and sequential. It’s not the to-be-avoided mystery most would like to make it out to be. It’s also not to be used out of context and out of sequence to support manmade doctrine. One example places the war in heaven seen in Chapter 12 at the very beginning of time before Adam and Eve.

This position is based on taking Isaiah 14:12-14 out of context. Isaiah chapter 14 is an apocalyptic writing that contains an unveiling of the last days. In it, Isaiah witnesses the end-times Antichrist (labeled as the “Assyrian” in a near-far prophecy), Satan’s influence on him, and his eventual destruction. Isaiah sees something that will happen in the future. John’s vision in Revelation Chapter 12 confirms this and puts the war in the heavenly realm in the context of the beginning of the future three-and-a-half year authority of the Antichrist. During this time, he’ll persecute and kill God’s people – both Jew and Christian.

So, if the war in heaven hasn’t happened yet, does Satan still have access to heaven? Yes! We understand that he lost his authority as one of the archangels created by God.  However, he has had, and still has, access to heaven. You only have to look at the Book of Job and John’s Revelation (i.e. Revelation 12:10) for confirmation.

Need more? Let’s look at the sequence of the Revelation and the war’s position within it. Here’s a breakdown of the entire apocalyptic book:

Chapters 1-5: Introduction by John, letters from Christ to 7 churches of Asia Minor, and an invitation to heaven to watch the end-times events.

Chapter 6: Seals 1-6 depicting birth pangs and Great Tribulation ending with a complete darkening of the sun, moon, and stars (see Matthew 24:29-31 for corroborating information!).

Chapter 7:  Protection of the 144,000 of the Jewish remnant against God’s imminent judgments; bride of Christ seen in heaven after the gathering at the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars.

Chapters 8-9: Seal 7; God’s trumpet judgments 1-6.

Chapter 10: Seventh trumpet judgment, which ends the 3.5-year reign of the Antichrist.

Chapters 11-13: Three-and-one-half-year period of Great Tribulation detailed (Chapter 11 = 3.5 year witness of God’s chosen two; Chapter 12 = 3.5 year persecution by Satan through the Antichrist after losing the war in heaven; Chapter 13 = details on the 3.5 year reign of the Antichrist).

Chapter 14-18: all things that will happen at about the end of the three-and-a-half-year Great Tribulation or shortly thereafter by the end of the trumpet judgments; Seven vial judgments that will complete God’s wrath; Description (and destruction) of figurative Babylon near the end of God’s wrath; Antichrist kingdom details.

Chapter 19-22: Armageddon at the end of God’s wrath; marriage supper of our Christ and His Thousand-year reign; great judgment following Christ’s kingdom; New heaven and earth after the judgment; Final admonishments and closure.

Rather than take a chunk out the middle of an otherwise sequential Revelation, let’s take it all together and in context. The future will reveal a defeated Satan, resulting reign of the Antichrist, and darkening of the natural lights after about 3.5 years. You may want to check out my 2011 book titled, “Finding the End of the World” (available from ronbraley.com, Amazon, or Barnes&Noble) to learn more about what the Bible and history have to say on the subject of the end of the world to include the war in heaven.