Thursday, February 19, 2015

My New Obsession

Yes, life is busy.....and yes, long weekends are marvelous and short weeks are treacherous.... This week has been full of travel, babysitting, loving on family and friends, Bible studies, meetings for retreat and leadership selection, Mom & Mentors and book clubs....but really, my time is short and my attention away from blogging because.....

I am immersed in Daniel, Revelation and Matthew. I'm "facilitating" a Beth Moore study on Daniel. (Do we like to term everything facilitators because we think we'll not fall under the "stricter judgment" for teacher clause in James if we don't "teach"? Just wondering.....)  I believe a teacher, or facilitator,  has a responsibility to teach the word of God as accurately as she can. I am not one to parrot any Bible study teacher/preacher.  I may agree with the view of the video lecturer but I want a breadth of knowledge on the topic when I "teach." I want to KNOW what I believe when I lead a study.  I want to know WHAT and WHY others believe DIFFERENTLY.  BUT this whole End Times thing is not one I've been worried enough about to spend the hours needed to be sure I know what I believe....and so I'm doing Beth Moore and MORE.....much more. It's amazing all the really good, free resources you can find online.

I feel like the eschatology thing is a big, tangled, messy knot.  As I look at one leads to another....and another but I'm never quite sure how it all connects - except for the big knot in the middle. I suspect there is one strand,  I'll grab and it will unravel the whole tangled knot.....maybe when least expected. Sort of like the daily tug of war with Stacia's snarls.

I take comfort in believing there are spine and rib issues in the body. In eschatology the fact that Christ WILL come again seems to be a spine issue. When and how seem, to me, to be rib issues. I'm comfortable disagreeing on these issues - not being dogmatic - but I do want to know WHAT I believe and WHY I believe it and WHICH Scriptures lead me to believe it.

4 Gentile Empires
At this point, I've discerned the differences between Amillennialists, Historic Premillennialists and Dispensational Premillennialists.  I've looked at pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib and now pre-wrath views for the second coming of Christ. I'm through Daniel's second prophecy and they ARE to see the fulfillment and how figures we've studied in history fit into the picture....I understand the Little Horn of Ch. 7 is not the "small horn which grows" of Ch. 8....and the beasts - always the beasts.

I discerned  the  view of my upbringing - Dispensational/Pre-trib Premillennialism.  I've accepted this view  without a lot of questioning or understanding as to what was really believed, not fully understanding WHY some verses were interpreted to be "referring to Jews." Beth Moore teaches Pre-Trib Dispensational Premillennialism.  I AM familiar with this view - the more I study the less sure I am  this is where I will ultimately land. 

I've always wondered about scriptures which seem to place believers in the tribulation....and now I see the Pre-trib dispensational premillennialist camp defines "saints" as "Jews"....therefore, when they see an END TIME verse which mentions saints or believers they interpret it to mean "Jews" or "Jewish Believers." They see a clear distinction between the "church" and "Israel or Jewish believers."  My summary of the view would be something like this, Jesus raptures the church before the hairy stuff begins and all the nasty stuff happens to the Jewish nation and then we all come back and live happily for 1000 years with Jesus. Of course, if you know ME, you know my next thought is WHY would you define "saints" as, and I quote from Kay Arthur/Zodhiates here, "holy ones set apart by God, for God; a transaction which happens the moment one believes in the Messiah in both the NT and OT,"  and then interpret the  term in Daniel or Revelation  to mean Israel?.  I just need one of the experts in this camp to answer the WHY for me - but they haven't so far in all my reading.

I'm also currently studying Ephesians on Wednesday night with chapel adults. Paul goes to great lengths to say there is ONE body - that Jesus died to create ONE CHURCH that is both Jewish and Gentile....and Galatians says the same...  I'm stuck looking for a solid understanding of why Jesus would die to create one church and then in the end separate them and then unite them again. Yes, I HAVE read Beth Moore, John MacArthur, Kay Arthur,  David Jeremiah, John Walvoord and  David Guzik. I grasp and understand why they believe this - I'm not sure I do. I'm not sure I don't. As I said - I see it as a rib issue - but I would like to know what I believe nonetheless. I'm a Berean type who has avoided this tangled mess long. LOL

In my reading I find Kay Arthur has changed her view on some of these issues - and if KAY ARTHUR can change her mind on something she previously researched, I figure I can be open to changing too. ::snort:: She gave a challenge in a lecture on Revelation to find any mention of a seven year tribulation in the Bible....she says Scripture talks of a 31/2 year GREAT TRIBULATION but not a 7 year tribulation. Not sure what her point would be other than she's  possibly open to a mid-trib interpretation these days - though the charts all show pre-trib. ::wink::

So where am I? In the middle of the knot. I AM enjoying it - which surprises me. I'm loving it in fact. I would like to find some reputable, scripturally accurate scholars who hold a view other than pre-trib premillennialists to explore. Beth Moore insists over and over that many "brilliant Biblical scholars" hold different positions on eschatology.  I'd like to find some from the varying camps to read. I'm mainly finding dispensational premillennialists.  I've done my word studies and find I need a bit of commentary at this point to understand why some take the same word this way and others another.  All my familiar commentaries, not surprisingly, take the view of my childhood; quite possibly the view of most my readers and friends. 
I've learned that Historical Premillennialism was the earliest church belief on End Times - the church would go through the tribulation and there would be a literal kingdom established afterwards.  Pretribulational premillennialism or dispensationalism, gained popularity since the nineteenth century. Maybe that's why all the stuff I find holds this view - it's more "current."

I've learned a lot - and I'm loving it. I'm still searching for the one strand that will answer my questions as to WHY we split the ONE CHURCH to two during the tribulation and join together again at the Second Coming.

I never looked serene giving birh
And the two groups I'm "leading?" We are enjoying Daniel. Beth's lectures always help to answer some of our questions. She explains her position well - if not as fully as *I* would like.  The group is not in the middle of the tangled mess with me - I don't think.  Beth makes total sense to them.  Seriously, if God gives one a spiritual gift of teaching - that one will be driven to understand all sides....I am not confusing the group with my obscure finds. LOL

If you have resources to recommend I read - send them along. I HAVE discovered David Jeremiah
Wayne Grudem and John Walvoord do NOT make great bedtime reading....unless you LIKE dreaming of beasts, horns, women giving birth and swarms of vultures.

Bottom line - I do believe, regardless of what we believe, it will all turn out exactly as God plans for it to turn out in the end. One of our college professors borrowed the term "pan-trib," it will all pan out in the end.

It's incredible how many words I had to add to my "dictionary" writing this post - and wow did blogger's spell check light up. ::snort::

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