The Course of Wisdom
We believe a wiser course is to go back to the drawing board, so to speak. Go back to the plain and open teachings of Jesus and build our faith upon that foundation. Perceive the difference between plain teachings and prophecies, let go of all the prophetic interpretations that are now being taught as if they were facts, and reexamine them in the light of the true character of our God and our Lord. This is indeed where true discernment comes in.
Man’s intellectual sophistry often gets in the way of the plain and open teachings of Jesus and actually clouds our spiritual vision. All the more does this generation need to train its perceptive powers so they can create in themselves wisdom that will lead to the accurate knowledge of truth.
For example, we know our Lord is the Prince of Peace. We know Jesus taught us to love our enemies, not fight them. And we know Jesus is neither a hypocrite nor a schizophrenic. Therefore, any prophetic interpretation that pictures him in any other light is error – plain and simple. Perhaps the character depicted in the prophecy is not Jesus. Perhaps the aggressive acts are not literal. And perhaps, just perhaps, the prophecy has been tampered with.
Since we do not know for a certainty which of these things has occurred, we believe it is wiser to back off of prophecy a bit and focus on what we can know for a certainty – that God is the Father of every man, and that every man is our brother; that we are all part of a large dysfunctional family that has lost its way; and that, like the parable of the Prodigal Son, our Ineffable Father will welcome into His heavenly kingdom and His loving merciful arms all who turn away from badness and serve Him. That is the good news of the Kingdom!
Now, to our brother’s email. What you have done is cull together various scriptural texts and created a story. Parts are taken from the books of Daniel, Thessalonians, Corinthians and Revelation. What you have omitted are the plain teachings of the will and character of our God and Father, and of His Christ as recorded in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Here is what your interpretation supposes:
- That even before Christ came, God decided he was going to destroy the vast majority of mankind;
- That God pre-determined that the message and ministry of Jesus would be ineffectual and unable to capture the attention of the vast majority of creation;
- That all of the advances of mankind in spiritual understanding, in brotherly love, in respect for life have no real value;
- That mass destruction of life and property is God’s means to accomplish His will;
- That all faithful Christians will be taken to heaven before God’s war against the remainder of mankind, but Jesus would establish a kingdom on earth for the survivors who were not good enough to be raptured.
- That the sophistry of the Antichrist is more powerful than the good news;
- That Jesus Christ will have not only a second coming, but a third coming; and foremostly,
- That there is nothing we can do, not matter how many people turn to God, that will turn back the anticipated calamity.
These are assumptions and presumptions we cannot assent to. They simply are not consistent with the God Jesus plainly revealed, with the character of Jesus as he displayed when on earth, nor with the peaceful and hopeful teachings. Since your interpretation is an opinion, we cannot say you are wrong because opinions are neither right nor wrong. They are simply opinions to which we are all entitled. However, we caution you about asserting your opinions as if they were doctrine, especially in light of the implications of your interpretation.
And we hope we have persuaded you to reconsider your opinion based on the information we provide above and these scriptural thoughts:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
– John 3:16-17
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
– John 16:33
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
– Matthew 28:18-20
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
– Matthew 6:33-34
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”
– Philippians 3:13-16
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
– Colossians 3:2
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
– 2 Peter 3:9
Yes, these may be ‘terrible times’ (2 Timothy 3:1-7), but we must not be among those who are ‘having a form of godliness but denying its power’ (2 Timothy 3:5) by denying the ability of the good news to save our world. As Paul wrote to Timothy:
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”
- 1 Timothy 4:7-10
No, the Father does not desire anyone to be destroyed (John 3:16), neither should we. We should be spending our time and energy in spreading the good news of the kingdom – glad tidings instead of instilling fear. We cannot emphasize this enough. As the saying goes, it is insanity to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. We cannot reasonably expect an outcome any different from the first century Jewish system if we fail to discern the plain teachings of Jesus and the subordinate position of prophecy. We must learn from history or we are destined to repeat it. Remember, it was not the nations that were destroyed, it was the people who failed to perceive the superior and merciful purpose of the Father and His loftier ideals as represented in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
In our next article, Bringing Heaven Down - The Perfect Will of God, we continue in the theme of ‘bringing heaven down.’ We will seek to clear away the baggage of old wine, and look to the new wine – the present day will of God – with keen spiritual perception.