by Mike Ratliff
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NKJV)
As I have stated several times, I have been doing hours and hours of research on the various Eschatological views that we have all had to deal with. It is utterly amazing how confusing this gets if you dig down past the veneer of each one to look at each one’s foundation and then see the inconsistencies, the outright attempts to say something is Biblical when it is found nowhere in Scripture, the overwhelming use of Biblical Eisegesis and cherry picking of scripture rather than relying solely on solid Biblical Exegesis and context. I have followed claims by so many “prophecy experts” who claim they have disproven this or that view of Eschatology only to find out that they are simply giving their opinion based on more Biblical Eisegesis and cherry picking of scripture. I have had this headache that has gotten worse and worse over the last few weeks that I simply cannot get rid of unless I relax, get away from my books and computer, drink some hot tea, and ask God to help me sort things out. I mean, after all, there is no way all these people could be right.
Several years ago I was pretty much in the same place and I got so sick and tired of the morass of nonsense that I decided to wipe it all away the way you would clean a white board and start over. It was at that same time that I made friends with two men who have somewhat different Eschatological views, but both are bound to the two pillars of solid Biblical Exegesis and context. The first was Alan Kurschner. Now, we interacted in the blogosphere not in any way having to with Eschatology. We just kept running into each other in various places on the internet. His patience and scholarly demeanor impressed me and caused me to examine myself resulting in a great deal of self-chastisement both in my bluntness with those I disagreed with and also, in my lack of knowledge that he obviously had. I ran into Alan in two other areas outside of commenting on each other’s blogs. One was when he hosted The Dividing Line for Dr. James White while he was gone on a tour for a short time. Alan’s Koine Greek skills were impressive even back then. The other place we came in contact was on the blog of Dr. Kim Riddlebarger.
Dr. Riddlebarger and I had connected and he had just published his first book, A Case for Amillennialism. I ordered and read it in just a few days. He told me his next book was coming out soon and when it did he would let me know. The name of it is The Man of Sin. When it was available I ordered it and I read it just like I did his first book. I devoured it. Both of these books are still in my library. For many years I considered myself to be an Amillennialist. I knew that through my study of these books I had come to the point of my rejection of Dispensationalism. I made comments on Dr. Riddlebarger’s blog about some of his articles and there would be Alan doing the same, which was always fun.
Then in 2013, right after I moved back from Kansas to Oklahoma City Alan contacted me and told me had finished his first book and it was being published. He wanted me to read it and write a review of it. I agreed to do that. The name of his book is AntiChrist Before the Day of the Lord. This is a very scholarly book. Also, as you can see, Alan is now Dr. Alan Kurschner. I can remember Dr. James White kidding about Alan going to Harvard to get his Ph.D. so he could study Greek under one specific professor. If you go to Alan’s website you will see that he has a ministry called ESCHATOS Ministries. It is based on educating Christians about a view of the End Times called the Pre-Wrath Rapture position. That is also what Alan’s book is about.
Please think with me, I was a professing Amillenniailist because that seemed to be the only Eschatological position that preserved my sanity, but I read Alan’s book on the Pre-Wrath Rapture and it just opened things up for me. How can this be? What is the view that both of these reject? It is the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view. Any one who seriously digs into Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, Paul’s teaching on the Rapture and End Times in 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians and then John’s Revelation account will find zero support for a Rapture of the Church that is secret with no precursors. No, instead what we find is a persecuted Church going through suffering or tribulation then is raptured before our Lord returns to gather all of them, alive and dead, to be with Him forever, then God pours out His wrath on the unbelieving world in the Trumpet and Bowl judgments. The Amillennial view paints this as mostly allegorical, but the Pre-Wrath does not.
So, am I still and Amillennialist? I don’t think I ever was one. However, I most certainly was working very hard to get my understanding about Eschatology lined up with what the Word of God says it is instead of what PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR.I am convinced that a lot of pastors know what the Bible really says, but they continue to preach what people want to hear for pragmatic reasons and this simply sets people up for failure. We are so close to the Beast setting himself up in Jerusalem and working with the False Prophet to force everyone to live under his iron rule. At first he will look like a savior and many will say peace and safety and since the Rapture hasn’t happened yet they will flock to him to serve him and will do whatever they are told to do. We must have wisdom and be separate. We must do this even if it means we cannot buy or sell. The visible church looks large, but this will reveal who the remnant really is.
So where to do we start? We must start right now being separate from the World as our brother Charles Spurgeon says in the following devotion from Spurgeons Morning by Morning for September 11.
C. H. Spurgeon
“Be ye separate.”—2 Corinthians 6:17.
The Christian, while in the world, is not to be of the world. He should be distinguished from it in the great object of his life. To him, “to live,” should be “Christ.”1 Whether he eats, or drinks, or whatever he does, he should do all to God’s glory. You may lay up treasure; but lay it up in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, where thieves break not through nor steal. You may strive to be rich; but be it your ambition to be “rich in faith,” 2 and good works. You may have pleasure; but when you are merry, sing psalms and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. In your spirit, as well as in your aim, you should differ from the world. Waiting humbly before God, always conscious of His presence, delighting in communion with Him, and seeking to know His will, you will prove that you are of heavenly race. And you should be separate from the world in your actions. If a thing be right, though you lose by it, it must be done; if it be wrong, though you would gain by it, you must scorn the sin for your Master’s sake. You must have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Walk worthy of your high calling and dignity. Remember, O Christian, that thou art a son of the King of kings. Therefore, keep thyself unspotted from the world. Soil not the fingers which are soon to sweep celestial strings; let not these eyes become the windows of lust which are soon to see the King in His beauty—let not those feet be defiled in miry places, which are soon to walk the golden streets—let not those hearts be filled with pride and bitterness which are ere long to be filled with heaven, and to overflow with ecstatic joy.
Then rise my soul! and soar away,
Above the thoughtless crowd;
Above the pleasures of the day,
And splendours of the proud;
Up where eternal beauties bloom,
And pleasures all divine;
Where wealth, that never can consume,
And endless glories shine.
1 Philippians 1:21 2 James 2:5
Soli Deo Gloria!