Positives From Rapture Books and Movies

There are positive things that come from movies and books about the end times. Although

there are misunderstandings of the end of time in many of these works of fiction, there are some Biblical teachings present that we can learn from.

      1. Belief in God. These stories compel you to believe in God.  There is a direct appeal for people to have a dependent faith in God. As Christians we have the responsibility to develop personal faith in God and to challenge our society with God (Matt 28:18-20).
      2. Bible Knowledge. Stories like Left Behind insist that everything we need to know is in God’s word. Although God has not told us all we want to know, His Word tells us everything we need to know to serve Him faithfully. Of course with any presentation about God’s Word, we need to compare what is taught with the scriptures (Acts 17:11).
      3. Repentance. A story line about the end of time will call for repentance of those who do not have active faith.  In contrast to Left Behind, there will not be time after Christ’s return to repent. The time to change is now this side of eternity (Heb 3:7-13).
      4. Prayer. These stories promote belief in prayer and dependence on God. We need constant reminders of our constant need to be in contact with out heavenly Father.
      5. The End of Time. The overall message of the Left Behind series compels the audience to consider the end of time. Although the events that happen in Left Behind are not consistent with what Scripture teaches, there is a message to consider the Lord’s return.  There is a heaven and hell, we need to consider the reality of the end and ask ourselves, “Am I ready for Jesus to come again?”

There is a great day coming! Are you ready for that day to come?

- Scott

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Filed under Christ's Coming, Christian living, Judgment, second coming

When the End Comes

A bumper sticker on many cars when I was a child read, “In case of the Rapture, this car will be unmanned!” Today a popular ipad 094teaching about the last days of earth include emphasis on the Rapture and a Thousand Year Reign by Christ and His faithful on earth. These teachings usually include a mysterious disappearances of righteous people (living or dead) from earth, followed by a period of great tribulation, that will usher in 1000 years of peace under Christ’s reign.

From 1995 to 2007 Tyndale House published series of sixteen books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins that promote this end time doctrine. In 2001 Kirk Cameron stared in a movie based on the first book, “Left Behind” and this week Nicholas Cage will star in a new movie with the same title based on the same book.  The book is a work of fiction, yet the authors and producers of the book and movie present the material as if it is fact that will take place.  One executive producer explained that while we teach our children and neighbors about Adam and Eve, the birth of Christ, and other Bible stories, this movie is a way we can tell our neighbors about the rapture.

Is the doctrine of a rapture Biblical?

The doctrine (teaching) that supports the story line in Left Behind is basic pre-millennialism. Pre-millennialism asserts that the end of time includes:

  1. Rapture of faithful
  2. Great tribulation
  3. Another return of Christ and the raptured for a thousand year reign on earth

Cyrus Scofield popularized the doctrine of pre-millennialism in American by notes in the KJV Reference Bible he authored in the early 20th century. One danger of this doctrine is that it communicates, no it implies that Jesus failed to establish His kingdom when He came the first time, and had to postpone the Kingdom as He went back to heaven to formulate a different plan. Now He will return to establish His Kingdom reign. Yet the Bible speaks differently. Jeremiah 22:24-30 God promises that none of David’s descendants will reign in Judah through the heritage of Jechoniah (Coniah). Jesus is a descendent of David through Jechoniah (Coniah). Jesus cannot reign in Jerusalem according to this prophecy. Additionally, a limit of a thousand years to Christ reign is foreign to Scripture.

Revelation 20:4-7 teaches the thousand-year reign as figurative. 1,000 is a number to represent completeness. It is a reference to the age we now live in where Jesus is the Head of the Body the church, His Kingdom (Colossians 1:3).  Those who reign with Him in Revelation 20 are reigning in heaven and not on earth.  They are martyred Saints (from persecution) and not all Christians.  There is no connection to Christ’s Second Coming. The sense in which we as Christians reign with Christ is as kings and priest; as a royal priesthood now (1 Peter 2:9).

We need to remember that the term rapture is not a Bible term. The word is Latin based and means “to take” or “to seize.”  The popular idea is that Jesus will remove the faithful from the earth before the years of persecution begin on earth.  There are verses that speak about a time when some will be taken. One place is Matthew 24:40-41. In this passage some will be taken and some will be left.  As we consider the context of this chapter we discover these verses are about the destruction of Jerusalem that would take place in A.D. 70 and not the end of time.

We learn from Jesus Himself what happens at our resurrection in John 5:28-29 that all the dead will be raised at the same time, both good and evil. When Paul speaks of the resurrection in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 he is comforting his immediate readers about the loss of loved ones and the end of time. He says we will rise to meet the Lord in the air and will always be with Him. There is no mention of the wicked being left behind. There is no mention of a tribulation. There is no mention of third return to reign with Christ on earth for a millennia.  When the events described in the Bible take place, the “end will come” (1 Corinthians 15:20-28), not the beginning.

These are just some things to consider as you hear more and more about the return of Christ.  Later, I will write about some positive things that can come from this popular series of books and movie, even if the basic storyline is not an accurate portrayal of end time events.

-Scott

p.s. I owe much of this article to thoughts from a review of the first Left Behind movie by Gary Dodd in Gospel Advocate March 2001.

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Ten Things to Think About

About 4 years ago I heard Vance Hutton share a message entitled “Things to Remember.”  I wrote his list in the back leaf of my Bible and every once in a while I look back at it. I looked at the list this morning and decided I would share it with you because, well it is worth sharing.

  1. You have a God to glorify.10
  2. You have a Savior to imitate.
  3. You have a Soul to protect (save).
  4. You have a Body to “put to death.”
  5. You have Virtue to acquire.
  6. You have Heaven to seek.
  7. You have Eternity on which to meditate.
  8. You have Temptation to resist.
  9. You have the World to guard against.
  10. Perhaps today you have to Death to meet or perhaps the Lord will return today.

Get to thinking!

-Scott

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Don’t or Do?

I remember it like it was 30 years ago . . . well it was 30 years ago. I was in high school and a classmate brought me a Six Step Evangelismcassette to listen to in the car. It was a copy of a comedic routine with a religious focus. I want to remember that it was the first time I heard Mark Lowry, but it may not have been him. The comedian spun a tale of the influence his godly grandmother had on him, including hitting him over the head with a “90lbs Bible.”  Then he turned serious for a moment.  He confessed that he did not read the Bible as a young person because all he knew about the Bible was that it was a “bunch of don’ts” and he did not want to be told what not to do.  He like most of us did not want anyone, even God, to squelch his good times. Then one day he decided to read the Bible for himself and he said he found out that the “Bible is a bunch of “do’s” and when you do the “do’s” you don’t have time to do the “don’ts.”  That rang a chord with me. That made complete sense, why in my 17 years of life had I not figured that out.  Now 30 years later, I want you to understand that simple truth.  Jesus said the same thing using these words, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven,” (Mat 7:21).

While thinking about that comedy routine as I drove to the study this morning I thought I would share a list of things you and I can do each day to help us keep from doing the don’ts.

  1. Encapsulate your day with prayer. Begin a prayer when your feet hit the floor and you are still sitting on the bed.  Close that prayer when you sit back on the bed at the end of the day. In other words, keep an open line of communication with God all day long. “Pray without ceasing” during the day.
  2. Engage your mind with the word of God.  Spend 10-15 minutes reading or listening to God’s. Bible Apps like YouVersion will read to you. Reflect on that reading. Think about why it was written, what the author intended, what the first audience needed to learn, and what you need to learn from the text.
  3. Encourage others in their walk with God. Do this everyday as long it is called today (Heb 3:13).
  4. Enjoy life in Christ. Live in the joy of your freedom from slavery to sin. Live in the joy of forgiveness and Grace. Let me say it again, rejoice! (Phi 4:4).
  5. Evangelize, that is to say share the good news of salvation in Christ that is available to all. Tell others how great it is to live in service to God. Tell them how God blesses your life. Let them see Christ in your daily life.

- Scott

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Stop It! Quit Now!

I Quit!

If you are like me and everyone I know, you find yourself adopting some bad habits. You struggle to do what you know is right and find yourself doing things that waste your time while keeping you from investing in the work of God.  Paul, that renowned apostle, understands your struggle. Notice his words, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Rom 7:15).

I have some advice for you. Those thing you know are wrong, those excuses you make for not doing what is right.  STOP IT!  Quit now! For example:

  1. Stop blaming others for your decision not to be a Christian.
  2. Stop using the hypocrisy of others as an excuse for your lack of commitment.
  3. Stop listening to Satan’s lies.
  4. Stop refusing to live in God’s Grace.
  5. Stop putting your wants (yourself) above God.
  6. Stop focusing on the world and start focusing on God.

Stop it!

As motivation consider the advice of Bob Newhart in this “therapy” skit.

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Video Blog

Here is a video to invite you to be with us this Sunday at Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa.

- Scott

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Reducing Stress

Maybe I do not create too much stress for Amy.

Maybe I do not create too much stress for Amy.

This morning as I was driving to my study, the “Nearly Impossible Trivia” by Lisa Mason on 106.9 FM (Birmingham, AL) asked  this question, “50% of moms say this their biggest source of stress, what is it?”  Listeners called in with answers about getting children read for school, getting everyone out the door, discipline, and I was thinking it might be preparing a meal that everyone likes or paying bills.  The correct answer was  . . .  (drum roll please) . . . THEIR HUSBANDS!

Husbands, let me talk to you about reducing your wife’s stress.  Here are a few suggestions you can implement today:

  1. Get yourself ready.
  2. Help her get ready in the morning – iron her clothes.
  3. Make the bed while she is getting ready.
  4. If you have small children help her help them get ready.
  5. Help around the house – laundry, cleaning, and cooking (especially if she works outside the home).
  6. Be an adult not another child for her to care for.
  7. Be a father not your child’s best bud. (Do not let her be the only one to discipline the children and back her up when she does.)
  8. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1Pe 3:7).

- Scott

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