Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Last Days According to Jesus

This will be my first post here at The Tribulation Times Herald-Exhorter.  I would like to thank FishHawk for inviting me to be a contributor to this effort.  I can regularly be found at Dickster's Random Thoughts.   

In college, when I was still a fairly young Christian, I was fascinated by Biblical prophecies of the end times.  Mostly the types of books I read and seminars that I attended on the subject were centered around the interpretations of Hal Lindsey and his book "The Late Great Planet Earth," and others of that ilk.  At the time, it was fascinating to me to study their explanations of how 1st century writers like John the Revelator would describe weapons of our day.  It all seemed perfectly logical and plausible to me at the time.  That was in the late 1970's to early 1980's.

Over the years, I looked at just about every rumbling in the Middle East as evidence that we were rapidly approaching the era leading up to the last days.  I held on to that view for some time.  When Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins began producing their "Left Behind" series of books beginning in 1995, I found myself devouring them.  Sure they were fiction, but they were based on Biblical truth as I knew it.  As time passed, with each new Hal Lindsey update assuring us we were on the verge of his interpretations coming to fruition, and with each new "Left Behind" book being released, I started to look at their work as a cottage industry to sell more books.

Still, be that as it may, that eschatology was the viewpoint that I held for over 20 years until I read a book by one of my favorite theologians of all time, Dr. R.C. Sproul.  I had been a student of the work of R.C. Sproul for several years.  I was such a devotee of his work, that I once volunteered an entire weekend to help at a three day seminar in the Baltimore/Washington area.  It was an opportunity for me to see him up close and to be able to load up on some of his books, videos, and audio cassettes at a discounted price.  The book that Dr. Sproul released in 1998 was called "The Last Days According to Jesus."   

Sproul examines the words of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse and attempts to answer the questions of which generation would see these things.  He argues that the generation that was listening to Jesus preach would be the generation that saw those things prophesied.  Sproul takes a partial preterist viewpoint in dealing with the subject of the last days.  The partial preterist view is that most of the prophecies were fulfilled by 70AD when Jerusalem was invaded and the Temple destroyed.  Sproul also argues that the Beast with the number 666 would have been known to the readers of The Revelation of John and that the Beast was most likely Emperor Nero.

A full preterist would argue that all of the prophecies of the end times were fulfilled by 70AD.  Sproul on the other hand holds to a partial preterist viewpoint.  As such, he holds that there was a return of Jesus in 70AD, but he also holds that there will be a final return of Jesus at the end of history as we know it. While he believes there was a fulfillment of the prophesies in 70AD, he also believes that there will be an ultimate fulfillment of all things in the future.  These days, I tend to take the partial preterist view.  Still, as the events in Egypt unfolded before us this past week, I started to wonder if maybe the interpretations of Lindsey and LaHaye could be closer to fruition.  

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FishHawk said...

Wow, this is an incredible article! I was raised to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, but I am now more inclined towards post-trib. No, I cannot say for sure that this has come from our Heavenly Father. For He has wanted me to focus on the fact that our own individual "ends of this world" could come at any second. Nonetheless, I am still fascinated with end-time prophecies, and I was not aware of some speculation about Christ Jesus returning again in 70 A.D. No, I still do not believe that the reign of the Antichrist will come anytime soon, but our great-great grandchildren (or so) may have it really rough.