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I knew this was coming. In fact, several New Age pagan writers have toyed with this, among them, Ruth Montgomery and Marylin Ferguson.
So, here it comes into the church house, courtesy of many slick flakes. Beware. You may become very lonely as the days go by, that is, if you stay with the old Black Book.
From: "The Belfast
To: "Belfast Berean Newsdesk" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Fw: THE NEW ESCHATOLOGY
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE NEW ESCHATOLOGY
WHICH IS ALREADY EMERGING IN THE PUBLIC DOGMA OF CHRISTENDOM. THIS "NEW EXPLANATION" FOR HOW THE AGE OF THE CHURCH ENDS IS EMERGING SPONTANEOUSLY, AND WITHOUT FORMAL PRONOUNCEMENT, IN EVERY DENOMINATION AND OUTPOST OF INSTITUTIONAL CHRISTENDOM. IT IS THE PRODUCT OF NECESSITY; IN WHICH THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST MAY BE ANTICIPATED WITHOUT SIGNALING THE DESTRUCTION OF CIVILIZATION BY APOCALYPTIC WARS, NATURAL DISASTERS, AND COSMIC CATACLYSMS.
It will be argued that The Church has always been "more or less" apostate, and that a total failure by Organized Religion is prevented by Matthew 16:19. The prophecy in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 will be interpreted as a "rebellion" AGAINST the Institutions of Christendom; and NOT as describing a final failure and apostasy BY Christendom. This view presumes that God sees NO clear distinction between the multitudes of professing Christendom, and the minority of True Believers that dwell among them.
It will be pointed out that the doctrine of The Rapture is a "recent innovation", and that it was first taught by "disreputable persons". 2 Peter 3:15-16 will be presented as evidence that the "false doctrine" of The Rapture was anticipated in prophecy. We will be reminded of all the unfulfilled predictions by "fools and fanatics" about the year and day of The Rapture. Rapture Believers will be challenged to provide a clear and specific proof-text for The Rapture that will answer to all the apparent difficulties involved with reconciling a "Rapture" to other End Times Prophecies. Rapture Believers will be UNABLE to provide any answer that will satisfy their critics or win public support.
It will be demonstrated by elaborate argument and exhaustive historical evidence that the prophecies describing The Great Tribulation apply only to the Jews, and were fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Evidence will also be produced to prove that the events described in Revelation, chapters 5-18 are PAST history; and that Revelation chapter 19 is the final triumph of Christendom over the world under the leadership of The Christ, who has already returned, and who leads them to a military victory over their adversaries. The use of the word TRIBULATION will be confined to describing the historic persecution of the Jews; the trials faced by individual believers; and the challenges and dangers that have confronted the Bureaucratic Institutions of Christendom throughout history.
We will be reminded that references to "an antichrist" are NOT consistent: sometimes a "he", sometimes an "it", sometimes a "beast", and sometimes a "THEY". Elaborate arguments and exhaustive historical evidence will be presented to prove that all prophetic references to SPECIFIC "antichrist-type-persons" were fulfilled in the past by people like Antiochus Epiphanes and Nero.
We will be given a NEW DEFINITION for the "final, end-times antichrist" of prophecy derived from 1 John 2:18-19. People who depart from or DENOUNCE Organized Religion will be labeled INDIVIDUALLY and COLLECTIVELY as the "End-Times Antichrist" of Bible Prophecy.
But without ANY previous signs, such as The Apostasy, The Rapture, or The Great Tribulation. He will be proclaimed as the rightful King of Israel, and WARMLY WELCOMED by most of the leaders of Organized Religion. Any person or group that protests against The New Eschatology or intends to defy their "Christ", will be labeled as "Antichrist", and will be overcome quickly.
A New World Order of "peace, prosperity, and progress" under the "coming Christ" will be proclaimed, and begun with a POLITICAL AGENDA; which when finally headed up by the "coming Christ" will have speedy and remarkable success in resolving the world's major social, racial, economic, and military problems.....for a while.
This NEW ESCHATOLOGY will gain public acceptance and prevail over all other theories, regardless of source or past popularity for these 3 reasons.
An enormous mass of apparently confirmatory evidence for THE NEW ESCHATOLOGY can be produced from the historic writings of the Church; including the Church Fathers; who usually referred to the return of Christ as a simple event. The fact that the Church Fathers rarely if ever went any further than simply asserting that Christ would return and establish His Kingdom, will be offered as evidence that they knew nothing of "Raptures", "Apostasies", or "Tribulations". During the 1800's, many well respected Protestant authors offered commentaries on the Book of Revelation which attempted to demonstrate that chapters 5-18 were fulfilled in the history of the Church. I have read several of these "Historicist" commentaries, and they are quite convincing. Every attempt to hinder public acceptance of The New Eschatology will be ineffective. Past popular teachers of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture like Scofield and Dake will either be discredited, or "forgiven" for being carried away with the "errors of the times".
A theological premise called "Reconstructionism" (also called Dominion Theology), underlies and supports The New Eschatology. In this view, The Great Commission (Matt.28:19-20) is understood as a mandate for The Church to gain social and political dominion over the whole earth. They understand Romans 13:1-7 as establishing the divine authority of The State in all matters, including religion.
The laws of The State are regarded as equal to Divine Commands, as long as they do not intrude on the prerogatives or property rights of Christendom. When The State is seen to act contrary to the expansion and influence of Christendom; this is regarded as a Divine Judgement against the Church for failing to "take over" in the first place. Reconstructionists understand "evangelism" to include SOCIAL ACTIVISM and POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT. Their goal is to harness the power of The State, for the enforcement of "decent morality", and for the suppression of "false religions". This premise sees the Church and The State as "cooperative agencies", that ideally, WORK TOGETHER to achieve an orderly, productive, and morally upright society. Any professing Christian that will not help them GAIN CONTROL is accused of being lazy, selfish, and ungodly.
Those who openly denounce their political and social ambitions will be labeled as renegades. Their goal, is in fact, to return to the social and political circumstances of The Holy Roman Empire: in which the Church and The State are seen as "two legs on the same man"; and those who resist either the Church or The State will be equally accounted as criminals.
There is coming a NEW INQUISITION, and those who resist or denounce the pretensions of Apostate Christendom will find themselves fulfilling John 16:2.
Because The New Eschatology has NO "Great Tribulation", their "Christ" will arrive to a relatively stable world, in which ALL the present religious and political bureaucracies are still in power. As long as the leaders of The World's Religions cooperate with The New World Order, and SUBMIT to their "Christ" when he arrives, they will be permitted to continue. I refer you again to what I said before: that this New Eschatology is the product of NECESSITY; in which the return of Jesus Christ may be anticipated WITHOUT SIGNALING THE DESTRUCTION OF CIVILIZATION by apocalyptic wars, natural disasters, and cosmic cataclysms.
When their "Christ" arrives, Every eye shall see him (Rev.1:7), because this "Christ" will undoubtedly make his public debut on TELEVISION. "The Christ on TV" will become the image of the beast (Rev. 13:14-15), to which everyone is required to do homage. This "Christ" will perform miracles over the TV just like our modern Televangelists. The abomination of desolation (Matt.24:15) may well be nothing more surprising than a television set on the pulpit in the Jewish temple or a Christian church.
When The Rapture happens, it will be "explained" as a cleansing of the world from a certain kind of "spiritual vermin", among whom I expect to be classified by those who hate this book. (March, 1991)
They will have their "proof text" of course, but I have told you ahead of time; that they are going to quote Matthew 13:41-43, saying, that now that these "bad influences" are gone, "the righteous" shall finally be able to shine forth in the kingdom of their Father. No account will be taken of the fact that this is said to take place at the "end" (Grk. SUNTELEIA) of this world: NOT in "The Last Days" of this age. Neither will they care that the word SUNTELEIA does not refer to any point in time at all: but means, "the consummation", "the entire completion", or as we say in modern parlance: THE WRAP-UP.
But....I am aware that there is a hole for every rat, and that every rat can find a hole. So even if I were to answer astutely to every single objection that anyone can raise against a Pre-Tribulation Rapture; it wouldn't make any difference to them anyway. Very few people, and NONE of the world's big-shots are going in the Rapture, so it won't turn the world upside down when it happens. The "Christ on TV" is going to be the PAROUSIA (presence) of The New Eschatology.