The Holy Spirit Taught Me…

January 13, 2010 at 1:39 AM

(Please note:  I have added to this latest published blog today, January 13, 2010)

Declarative Statements
I am amazed how many times I either read or hear people make comments like this:

I decided to lay out my biblical understanding of this much disputed doctrine here in this blog. During my walk with God, I have flipped flopped having first believed when I went to a Tim LaHaye conference several years ago. This occurred when I was a true babe in Christ and had only just begun a sincere walk. Subsequently as I began to read the Word myself and let the Holy Spirit guide me in all truth.”

The above quote – especially the bolded sentence – is similar to others that I have heard.  Even though people do not necessarily mean it to come across this way, by itself, it is an arrogant statement to make.  When someone makes that statement, what they are doing is stating that they have been directly taught by the Holy Spirit and anyone who holds a different viewpoint has not.  It’s really that simple.

Normally, this type of statement is made in connection with discussions concerning the PreTrib Rapture.  People will pretty much denigrate the Bible college learning that folks who believe the PreTrib Rapture have had, by making comments like “These people just take what they are taught at Bible college verbatim and believe it, without really thinking about, or studying the Scriptures on their own.”  This comment is also made with respect to the pastors who teach the PreTrib Rapture position.

Again, what is being stated is that the people who believe in a PreTrib Rapture position do so because they:

  1. Do not think for themselves
  2. Trust the teaching of others without studying on their own
  3. Are not taught by the Holy Spirit
  4. Are deceived (in some cases)

I’m all for simply discussing Scripture and anything directly connected to it, such as

  1. Word studies
  2. History
  3. Cultural jargon and idioms
  4. Context of Scripture

Talk to the Hand
Individuals who make the type of accusations and statements noted above are also usually the first to go outside the Bible for their “evidence” and “proof.”  Normally, one of the first people they run to is Dave MacPherson since he has eight (yes, EIGHT) books on the subject of the PreTrib Rapture.  Apparently, Mr. MacPherson considers this to be of supreme importance, as I have yet to see his name associated with any work that deals specifically with salvation.

But let’s be clear here.  When people start making statements like “I prayed that the Holy Spirit would teach me,” one must stop to ask how could the Holy Spirit be teaching three or four different versions of the same theological topic?  What’s more is that each person who holds a different view than another individual (who also prayed that the Holy Spirit teach them), believes they are correct in their view and that the Holy Spirit taught them.  Logic demands that not all views can be correct, so therefore the Holy Spirit could not have taught each of the opposing views as truth.  Yet, to each their own and their own views are correct.

Here is an example of the dogmatism that comes with believing that your view and your view only has been taught to you by the Holy Spirit:

There is no PreTribulation Rapture.  Mark it down.  It is not in the Bible.”

The PreTribulation Rapture has no basis in Scripture.  It is a myth.”

“There is nothing in the Bible that even remotely teaches a PreTribulation Rapture.”

Here is My Fact on the Subject
I’m sure I don’t need to continue.  You get the idea.  What is scary is when people have determined beyond doubt that issues, which are peripheral to salvation, are either correct or incorrect.  Had these opinions (that is what they are), been stated with disclaimers like “In my opinion…” or “I do not see…” or “I believe…” or something else along those lines, they would be easier to accept.  However, when people toss out declarative statements like the ones above, they are meant to stop all conversation that opposes it.  In fact, the person who makes these hard and fast statements obviously has no wish to discuss the possibility that they may, in fact, be incorrect in their view.  For them, they have been “taught by the Holy Spirit,” and because of this, they BELIEVE wholeheartedly that the Holy Spirit has brought them to certain conclusions.  Since this appears to be the case, then for them, the discussion IS closed.  There is no room for debate, because they are convinced that they are perfectly correct.

In studying any theological topic, it behooves us to thoroughly search the Scriptures and folks, as you are aware, this takes a great deal of time, in many cases, depending upon the depth of the particular topic being studied.  Eschatology is difficult at best.  Most of us should know this and it only takes hardly a glance in Daniel to know how much Daniel studied the writings of the prophet Jeremiah.  This is the same Daniel who prayed three times each day and the same Daniel who was greatly favored by God.  It is clear that Daniel wanted to know God’s will and it is clear that he dedicated himself to two things; 1) prayer, and 2) studying.

Daniel was Incorrect!
It is also interesting to note – and this is very important! – that Daniel arrived a certain conclusions, based on prayer and study.  Unfortunately, it turns out that his timeline was incorrect.  What?  How could Daniel have been incorrect?  After all, he studied and prayed diligently to know God’s mind and he arrived at an answer!  How could he have been wrong?  Well, as it turns out, he was wrong, but please note that he was also humble.  When it was pointed out to him that he was wrong, he was quickly able to change gears, acknowledging that this new information was correct.  Let’s look at the text, in Daniel chapter 9.

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans– in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years,” (Daniel 9:1-2 NASB). 

But He was a Man of Prayer!
Here we see that Daniel has spent probably a good deal of time studying and praying.  Because of this, he arrives at a conclusion, which he believes is correct; that the number of years of Israel’s captivity was almost complete and that number was 70 years.  All right, so far, so good, but let’s continue.

So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes,” (Daniel 9:3 NASB).

Daniel has just finished studying and believes that he has found the answer for which he had been searching regarding the end of Israel’s Babylonian captivity.  What does he do?  He does NOT issue declarative statements as if he has “arrived” at the truth and everyone else has not.  He immediately humbles himself before the Lord, by seeking Him in prayer and supplication.  He also fasted and put on sackcloth, and put ashes on his head.  Obviously, if someone is going to fast, we are talking about a period of time.  It is clear then that he prayed and fasted for several days.  How many days?  We do not really know.  It could have been one day or seven days.  However, it was during Daniel’s prayer of thanksgiving, confession and request that the angel Gabriel appears with the answer to Daniel’s prayer.  Please note though, that Daniel was in the middle of confessing HIS sins as well as the sins of Israel when he was interrupted by Gabriel’s appearance.

Gabriel Offers the Truth
Gabriel then reports to Daniel that it is NOT 70 years, but 70 sevens of years (cf. 9:24), or “seventy weeks”!  In one swell swoop Daniel goes from thinking that the time of captivity is almost over, to realizing that it is not 70 years, but 490 years!  The next chapter shows us Daniel’s grief and sorrow over this news.  In fact, verse 2 states that Daniel had been in mourning for three weeks (21 days)!  That is a long time to be in mourning, but then again, the news he had received from Gabriel had not been at all encouraging.  Notice though in Daniel 10:1, it says, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar; and the message was true and one of great conflict, but he understood the message and had an understanding of the vision.”  (emphasis added; NASB)

Daniel Was Able to be Taught
So now Daniel actually understood the message, whereas before he only thought he understood it.  If anyone would have thought he was being guided by God’s Spirit, it would have been Daniel, who prayed three times daily, and kept himself as pure as possible.  He arrived at a conclusion based on his study, his way of life and his prayer and supplication to God.  Yet it was wrong and he was ultimately corrected.  However, if you had asked Daniel if he was sure about the 70 years (as opposed to the 490 years), he would have undoubtedly told you that he was positive!  Yet, he needed to be corrected.

My point is simple:  ALL of us need to be humble when we approach the Lord’s Word.  Even after we arrive at certain conclusions, we need to be willing to acknowledge that we might be incorrect in our view.  This does not mean that we become wishy-washy Christians, unable to show why we believe as we do.  It means that we have a teachable spirit, understanding that we will never arrive at perfect knowledge in this life.  It just will not happen, as much as we would like it to.

Eschatology Should NOT be a Fightin’ Word
Too many Christians have turned aspects of Eschatology into fighting words.  It seems as though words are used as weapons to defeat anyone who deigns to disagree with us.  “How dare he disagree with me!  Isn’t he aware that I have been taught by the Holy Spirit?!”  What about everything that Paul and Jesus taught?  Are we to not love the brethren with a pure love?  If so, how can that be happening if we are ready to “kill” them with words of rebuke?

In my opinion, the only views worth fighting for are those that are directly or indirectly connected to the following:

  1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
  2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
  3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
  4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
  5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).

Compared to the above theological areas, how important is Eschatology?  Is it something you would be willing to die for?  Are you so sure of your particular belief regarding the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Second Coming, etc., that you are willing to lay your life on the line?  Moreover, why were Christians persecuted and killed during Paul’s day?  Why are Christians still killed throughout the world today?  Is it because they are unwilling to recant their belief in some aspect of Eschatology?  Hardly.  They are killed because they are unwilling to deny Jesus Christ, Savior, Lord and God.

Who is Deceived?
Yet, Christians are still caught up in believing that if someone has a wrong view of Eschatology, then they are in danger of going off the deep end spiritually.  Frankly, I am much more concerned about people who tell me unequivocally that the Holy Spirit taught them.  That scares me more.  This is not to say that the Holy Spirit does not teach, however, as I have stated, those who stand behind that use it as a means of negating any other viewpoint that is not in harmony with theirs.

It reminds me of the years I spent in the Charismatic movement.  All too often, people play the “The Lord told me to tell you” card and imagine if you ignored that.  They would assume that you were in rebellion, because the Lord have given them a “word” for you, and you were ignoring it.  It becomes ridiculous after a while.  Part of the problem within Christendom is not that the Holy Spirit does not teach us.  The problem is that we have developed this arrogant attitude that makes us believe that the Lord is required to teach us first or directly about some theological tidbit, or position.  What about people that God has actually raised up to pastor and teach those within the Church?  Of course, they are not going to 100% correct about everything, and neither are you (or me), but does that preclude our ability to trust their teaching?

God Gave Some to Be Prophets and Teachers…
There are very intelligent, godly individuals whom God has raised up who are experts in Hebrew and Greek.  There are others who are gifted in areas of history, or archaeology as it applies to the Bible and the cultures of the Bible.  There are other individuals who are blessed with the gift of applying Scripture to our daily lives.  To ignore these people (if they are on target theologically – the five fundamentals), is nothing more than rank arrogance and the Church needs to stop with that.

Jesus warned us that in these latter days there would be many false Christs, who would come presenting “another” Gospel.  Well, they are here and they have been here for some time now.  To the authentic Christian who understands what the Bible teaches about the five fundamentals of the faith, these false Christs are very obvious.  They are presenting another Gospel and pointing to another Jesus.  Understanding who they are and the error they teach keeps us away from them.

Theological Areas of Wiggle Room
However, there are also numerous areas in theology, in which wiggle room exists.  Eschatology is one of those places.  For me, reading a book by a Preterist on the End Times is like reading a comedy of errors.  I personally believe that the Preterists and the Covenant or Reformed theologian is completely wrong when it comes to the End Times equation.  However, they can be authentic Christians.  That does not come into question.  There are other areas, which are also not as fully established, such as water baptism.  Some argue that one must be fully immersed.  Others argue that sprinkling does the trick.

There are many other areas that we can touch on, like the sign gifts, including speaking in tongues.  Are these gifts for today, or did they die out after the last living apostle died?  Speaking of apostles, there are those who believe that people can be apostles today.  Others believe that there were those during Christ’s time (including Paul) and that is it.

The Great Commission Has Nothing to do with Eschatology
Now, what the Church needs to do is focus on the thing it was called to do:  evangelize the world.  This is the Great Commission, which Jesus gave to His followers as their marching orders.  When we all stand before Him, what will separate us from those who are lost is one thing and one thing only:  salvation.  Salvation is not affected if my belief in the End Times includes believing in a PreTrib Rapture.  In fact, for all those individuals who strongly believe that I am wrong and that it could mean ultimately being deceived, I am still waiting for an answer on why the fact that my death could occur at any moment does not create within me the same type of deception or error.

In other words, people deny the PreTrib Rapture for all sorts of reasons; many of them simply man-made.  One of the chief reasons has to do with the idea/belief that those who believe in a PreTrib Rapture will not only be shocked and disappointed when the Rapture does not occur prior to the Tribulation (if alive at that time), but because of it, they will have done nothing to secure their own maturity in Christ, believing that they will be whisked off the face of the earth prior to any real drama starting.  Apparently, I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs in preparation of my twinkling of an eye departing from planet earth.  I can’t be actually dedicated to Jesus because I am waiting to escape the future trouble that this earth will undergo.  I can’t be spiritually mature because not only have I arrived at a different opinion about the Rapture than other people (who have apparently been taught by the Spirit), but also because of my waiting to be removed from the earth.

Is Today Your Last?
However, am I not supposed to live each day as if it was my last?  Could I not die tonight in my sleep, or tomorrow in a car accident, or sometime during the day sitting at my desk, composing another blog, or writing another book?  The answer is of course I could die, and my upcoming death is absolutely unknown to me.  I do not know when it will occur, nor can I pry that information from God.  He is not telling me.  I may realize my death is upon me mere seconds prior to dying.

So if I am to live every day as my last – which is really like expecting the Rapture to happen any day now – then someone needs to tell me the difference in these two scenarios.  In each situation, I am:

  • living each day as if it is my last day on earth
  • living my life submitted to His will, not mine, as best as I can
  • living with the expectancy of seeing my God, my Lord and my Savior in the next second
  • concerned about eternal things, not earthly endeavors
  • separating myself from those things which have no eternal significance whatsoever

Now, for those individuals who are so sure that the Holy Spirit has taught them that the PreTrib Rapture is wrong, let me ask you this:  Are YOU doing the bulleted list above?  If not, why not, because your death is just as close to you as mine is to me.  I do not live those bulleted items perfectly – no one will in this life in spite of their claims to the contrary – but if I believe that I could be in His actual presence in any upcoming second, do you think for a moment that that makes me sit around filling my face with food, melding with the couch, as I watch my favorite TV show?  How absurd is it to think that this is what I’m doing.

Death: The Greatest Motivator
Think about something – those of you who firmly believe that the Rapture is far off (at least seven years; at the end of the Tribulation), what is your motivation to live as if every day is your last?  The answer is your death, and my friends, your death will bring you to the same place that the Rapture will bring you to – standing before Jesus Christ at the Bema Judgment.  If you are truly living your life as if you could die in the next second, then you are living your life no differently than the authentic Christian who believes that he could be Raptured out of here in the next second.  In either case, the thought of standing before Christ is enough to make your bowels loosen.  I am NOT being sacrilegious when I say that either.  Think about it.  In any one upcoming second, you and I could be transported into His presence – either through death or Rapture – and the thought of it should at once make us jump for joy and also cause us to examine our lives.  The people who never think about their deaths, or believe that they’ve got at least seven years to go before they see Him have less motivation to do what I have just described.

Far from being deceived, or straying into areas of erroneous doctrine, the PreTrib Rapture causes me to consider (daily) my standing before Him.  Will I be embarrassed?  Will I wish I had done things differently?  I’m sure I will because there is absolutely no way I will ever arrive at perfection in this life and in this sin-laden body.  However, the thought that I may see Him in the next instance tends to purify all that is within me, causing me to separate myself from those things, which are worthless.  Didn’t John say this in 1 John 3:2-3:  “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.  And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (emphasis added; NASB)

Eschatology SHOULD Purify…
Isn’t John saying that as we think about seeing Him, we will instantly become like Him.  As we dwell on this change that will occur within us and to our bodies, we become purified because our mind is no longer connected to those things on the earth, which passes away.  We can then weigh what is truly important in this life, which is spreading the salvation message, and communicating the salvation that Christ purchased for us, to a lost and dying world.  We will be no good at it if we are concerned with life down here; if we focus on what we have or do not have, or how much time we believe we have before we are taken out of this world into His presence.

One day, at the precise moment in time, God will call each one of us home.  It will either be through the Rapture or through our death.  Are we living as if each day is our last?  Proving a point about a particular pet theology is one thing.  Living for Christ on a daily basis is another thing altogether.  Which one do you find to be more important?

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, dispensationalism, Life in America, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Earthquakes in Various Places… Socialized Gospel vs. Eschatology

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