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CoffeeCat
Sep 23rd 2008, 09:51 PM
Up until now, I haven't said anything on this board about the end times. I know we have a whole section related to it... but I've avoided it. Here's why.... two reasons.

1. I don't believe we're in "the last days" or "the end times". I don't believe that we've only got, say, a generation or so (give or take some time) left. I'm someone who believes we were created a long time ago, and that we're moving along, alright, and that we'll keep moving along..... for how long? Who can say? But I'd guess that we're only PARTLY through the span of human existence, not at the end of it.

2. I don't really like arguing with fellow Christians. On this topic, I honestly think it boils down to a philosophy that says "you think we're in the end times right now, while I think people have ALWAYS thought we were 'in the end times' no matter what year they were living in.... so let's both just agree that CHRIST should be our focus, and let's be ready for His return no matter WHEN it happens -- whether it's 40 years from now or 1,000 years from now."

So here's the thing. I avoid end times discussions. I don't like to date set, I don't really think anyone SHOULD be even loosely date-setting by saying "we're X number of years away from THIS happening". When the end comes, we'll ALL know it, and however prepared we are at that point is... well... up to us, really. I'm a LOT more concerned with being prepared to LIVE my life, and help others know who Christ is. The "end times", for me, is the last day I draw breath. That's the day I cease all communication with the people I love and the people I want to reach, so I better have really focused on all the time leading up to that point, rather than that point itself.

I just... I guess I'm a little frustrated. I REALLY want to find common ground with Christians who are end-times enthusiasts... but it seems the only way to "talk about something we both understand" is just to ignore this whole end times focus, and discuss very basic beliefs - ie, belief in Christ as saviour. But it's been harder and harder to even study the Bible with folks who do want to talk about the end times and assume we're literally living in them now. I find myself sitting in a room, listening to discussion and silently disagreeing and keeping my mouth shut, feeling more separated from the other Christians in the room who DO believe these things than I did when I walked in.

There are a couple options I can see.

- I can somehow try to force myself to see the world the way they do, and start TRYING to believe we're living in the last few human generations of earth..... but I honestly think I'd drive myself nuts trying to make myself think something I don't think I'm capable of. It's not much of an option, the same way I couldn't make myself believe the world was roughly a cube shape rather than roughly a spherical shape.

- I can just ignore this big huge purple elephant in the room and pretend it doesn't exist for the sake of "common ground". And that's the position I've taken on Bibleforums so far, simply because I don't want to offend someone who is VERY serious about their affirmative ideas on the subject.

- Maybe I'm deluded, in denial, haven't done enough research.... I don't know. But I don't think that's the case. I just think that I've rejected the "we're living in the end times right now" theory, and I'd much rather focus on what we do with the life we've got in terms of loving others the way Christ wants us to. Of COURSE people who hold end times views ALSO want to love others and help them while here..... but unlike people with end times views, I don't want to do it because I literally think we've only got a few generations (or less) left.

You can maybe see why I stuck this in Contro. People might read this and think "yeah, she IS uninformed and deluded... the end's coming in 15 years or less and I have a hundred Bible quotes to prove it!" while other people might read this and think "we've probably got a few thousand years left". It's obviously a loaded subject.

So.... what should I do, really? So far, I've TRIED to understand why people think we're living in the very last days.... but being someone obsessed with History, I've had it ingrained in me that famine, strife, murder (all those "end times signs") have been going on... well... forever. They're not really signs to me. I want to RESPECT people who think differently than I do.... but I really wish I didn't feel like I had to ignore such a huge issue to 'keep the peace'.

I'd be curious to see where people land on the issue.... and where YOU land will depend on your own views on end-time arguments, whether or not you care to have them, and how you try to communicate with people who hold views opposite to yours.

Rebelnote
Sep 23rd 2008, 09:59 PM
End times discussions kind of bother me to. Especially when there's so many things we could be doing rather than arguing over "end times" theology. There are people who are lost, who are without food, shelter, cloths, etc... There are so many other ministries where we can be the hand of God, but instead we try to be the mind of God, trying to figure out things that in reality, don't matter. When we stand before God in judgment will God care if we knew the day, time, or year of Christ's return? Or will He be more concerned with how many people we have loved, and cared for? Have we obeyed His callings for us? Did we do our bests to reflect His light and love? The ONLY way to prepare for Christ's return is to have Him in our hearts.

Buzzword
Sep 23rd 2008, 10:54 PM
I used to be hardcore into eschatology, especially after learning to analyze literature.

Trying to interpret the symbolism in Revelation, especially in light of the fact that language was much more limited in its scope back then, was a game for me as a child and teenager.

But once I was in college, and was able to HARDCORE study eschatology (Christian and otherwise), it just wasn't as important anymore, especially as I came in contact with people of other faiths.

I was suddenly in the position to really witness to people for the first time, and apocalyptic literature just doesn't matter anymroe.

Because God has brought me to the place where I am in daily contact with people who WEREN'T raised in the church, I've gained a new perspective on how nonChristians view our infuriating squabbles over theological issues that have no place in day-to-day life (the "rapture," the Tribulation, dates and numbers, etc etc).

All it does is drive potential Christians away.

moonglow
Sep 23rd 2008, 11:29 PM
My take...we have been in the end times since Christ ascended back to Heaven...which was over 2000 years ago so I figure God isn't in any big hurry...;) Some even say we have been in the end times since the beginning of Genesis..after the fall of man!

I am one of those who has a view that isn't popular at all so I kind of know what you are talking about. I am not worrying about who the antichrist will be or what the mark of the beast is or how I will survive the tribulations. I notice alot of people are giving up the pre-trib rapture view and believe they will be living through (or rather dying in) the great tribulation. They are trying to figure out how to survive....so I can see how this would take alot of their time in thinking about that.

From my point of view, the GT already happened in the first century. Nero was the beast and the mark was spiritual. Most do not agree with me and some get pretty angry about it! I try very hard to just respect them and their views and expect the same. I won't go and argue about it.

I had a dream one time when I used to debate heavily (on every topic in the bible not just this) and with believers and nonbelievers. I saw Jesus standing on a mountain and the souls of people were flowing like a river up the mountain and over it..right past Him the falling into the dark abyss. These people were all debating each other and SO intent on winning their debate, they flowed right past Jesus and didn't even notice Him. It was a scary dream! And a warning I believe for me.

So I guess I am no help in advising you on this...:rolleyes:

God bless

IPet2_9
Sep 23rd 2008, 11:35 PM
I am one of those who has a view that isn't popular at all so I kind of know what you are talking about.

You'd be surprised. Actually, your view has a name--it's called the Idealist view. It basically says that Revelation is an allegory of our spiritual walk, more than it is an apocalyptic writing about the end times.

CoffeeCat
Sep 23rd 2008, 11:50 PM
Interesting, Moonglow. Are you a bit into partial preterism, then? :) (the idea that some, but not all, has been fulfilled.) And it's funny... because I was a Philosophy minor in University, and the word "End" had a very different meaning for me. Your "End" was "the thing you lived for"... the thing that mattered most to you. What you were trying to achieve. (Think of the phrase 'a means to an End')....

For example, some say love is their highest End. Some say Christ is theirs. Etc....

In THAT sense alone.... I'm a strong advocate of the "End" times, and I think it's here and now -- each of us should be 100% focused on living our lives with our highest 'End' constantly in mind.

...... yes, I am a Nerd, and I did approve this play on words/message. ;)

moonglow
Sep 24th 2008, 12:16 AM
You'd be surprised. Actually, your view has a name--it's called the Idealist view. It basically says that Revelation is an allegory of our spiritual walk, more than it is an apocalyptic writing about the end times.

You quoted me IPet2 and I am partial preterism...not an Idealist..


CoffeeCat Interesting, Moonglow. Are you a bit into partial preterism, then? (the idea that some, but not all, has been fulfilled.) And it's funny... because I was a Philosophy minor in University, and the word "End" had a very different meaning for me. Your "End" was "the thing you lived for"... the thing that mattered most to you. What you were trying to achieve. (Think of the phrase 'a means to an End')....

For example, some say love is their highest End. Some say Christ is theirs. Etc....

In THAT sense alone.... I'm a strong advocate of the "End" times, and I think it's here and now -- each of us should be 100% focused on living our lives with our highest 'End' constantly in mind.

...... yes, I am a Nerd, and I did approve this play on words/message.
I like nerds...cause they are smart and I like picking their brains. As I said above, yes I am partial preterism...probably one of the more peaceful end time views actually. Except for the debating/discussion part...then its certainly not! :lol:

Anyway I totally agree with what you are saying our focus should always be Christ first...always...

Oh and I will play too...;) The End really isn't the end..its the beginning...eternal life starts the moment we are saved and its not about waiting to 'get to Heaven' or for the 'end' to happen....its another phase in the grand scheme of things. What's that one saying, this is the first day of the rest of your life...I always thought that was one of the most senseless saying I ever heard...but it could be applied to this. Once you are saved..brought from death to life...(first resurrection by the way) it is really the first day of your of the rest of your life!

God bless

CoffeeCat
Sep 24th 2008, 01:05 AM
Yeah. I've heard the sentiment that eternity starts the moment we come to Christ.... I suppose Paul put it another way when he said that to live was Christ and to die was gain; he meant that either way, he was with Christ. I have some sympathy for this concept... that eternal life DOES start the moment we're saved.... and I see the value in it, because if people honestly believed that, it REALLY wouldn't matter when they actually physically died so much.

But I'll be honest. The majority of me is more than hoping that "eternal life" will really FEEL LIKE eternal life in Heaven. Most of the time, nearly all the time, I KNOW I'm with God.... but it feels very much like ordinary day-to-day life, to me. I can only hope that I'll find some overjoyed emotional sense of eternity when I actually do shuffle off this mortal coil, because the lack of an emotional relevance, a WOW moment, a "wow, I'm really part of God's kingdom now and eternity's started NOW!" sense of awe.... has always lacked for me.

I think honestly, that's why 'end times' issues haven't ever been very relevant to me. They don't neccesarily excite me, rile me up, or send me into an emotional response as they do in other people. I don't worry about them, don't dread them.... nadda.

(And you'd think the caffeine would make me more bouncy. Go figure.)

In terms of which view is probably closest..... I don't know. Partial preterism makes more than enough sense to me, I guess.

HisLeast
Sep 24th 2008, 01:10 AM
I unsuccessfully stay away from end times threads for a far less noble reason. The possibilities plain old scare me. It didn't so much a year ago. Now I'm married, and have a wife to worry about. In a year, we'll probably have a baby on the way too. Do I have what it takes to look starvation, torture, etc etc in the eye? I dunno... and it keeps me up at night wondering.

CoffeeCat
Sep 24th 2008, 01:21 AM
HisLeast, I know what you mean. Sometimes, more than anything, I wonder how those living in the world today who face stuff like starvation or torture regularly manage to keep going... let alone looking it all in the eye. The stuff they're made up of has to be incredible indeed.

moonglow
Sep 24th 2008, 02:59 AM
HisLeast, I know what you mean. Sometimes, more than anything, I wonder how those living in the world today who face stuff like starvation or torture regularly manage to keep going... let alone looking it all in the eye. The stuff they're made up of has to be incredible indeed.

That is because God hold's them close...otherwise I am sure they would just fall apart. Those in other parts of the world that are Christians are suffering terribly for sure...we have been very lucky in that. God is closest too them. That is why I don't have any fear on this. The bible doesn't say the beast (if you have a future end time view) will bother with torturing millions of Christians it simply says if they refuse to take the mark they will die (and they did in the past). It just says they were killed. And yes in horrible ways (in the past).

I have watched some really old movies made in the 50's I think it was about how Nero went after the Christians and how they were put out in arenas for the lions and other wild animals to kill or made to fight to the death...that type of thing and these movies so touched me. Yes I realize they are just movies...but much of it's based on facts. The Christians put in the Roman arenas sang praises to God before being killed...which so infuriated Nero. Peter fleeing Rome...was meant by Christ asking him where he was going...Peter was so ashamed...he turned back knowing it meant his death. They wanted to nail him to a cross but he felt unworthy to be killed like Christ so asked they do it upside down...so they did. (kind of kills the idea of an upside down cross being evil). Paul faced his beheading (also ordered by Nero) by singing quietly on the way...

Now do any of us truly think they mustered up this amazing strength on their own? Of course not. God was with them.

When they threw John in boiling oil in front of a crowd and he didn't die...apparently wasn't even hurt...I heard most of the crowd coveted to Christianity. These deaths weren't in vain at all but the greatest testimony to others. So if I am wrong and everyone is right and there is some future tribulation that I am alive for...I know God will give me the strength to not only deal with it but praise Him as I die.

All of this I just wrote I didn't get from just a couple of old movies, I have also read the historical document on it and heard preachers tell some of these stories.

As Jesus says, don't worry about tomorrow, today has enough troubles in it. (paraphrasing) and I know I certainly do! For years I carried the burden of worrying about the end times and what would happen...I no longer do.

God bless

CoffeeCat
Sep 24th 2008, 03:24 AM
Thanks for sharing, Moonglow. I appreciate that. You mentioned how Christians deal with persecution and torment.... they have their faith and it must surely be rock solid. What I do wonder, often, is how non-Christians manage to endure it all. If I HAD to guess, I'd say God was holding them up through it, helping them daily, whether they recognized it or not. It's not as though He seems to ONLY bless and help those who are Christian. (This was TOTALLY a different topic than the OP, but since I started the OP, I'm hardly worrying. ;) )

Back to the original topic....

I guess there's no easy answer. Agree to disagree. If a fellow Christian is very adamant the world will end very soon.... then they'll just have to hold their opinion, I'll have to hold mine and we'll have to respect one another. It's funny. A family friend of ours, for the last.... 10 years or so.... has continually told us we're in the 'last few years' before the tribulation hits. And every couple years, he keeps having to move his timing up. :lol: We're very fond of him, so he's teased gently for it..... but he won't be swayed. He's strongly pre-trib.... he has those tshirts that say "in case of rapture, you can have this t-shirt..."

So when we asked him "since you won't need any of the money in your bank account, we'll be getting it all in the next 5 or 10 years, right?"... we were met with an evil glare and a "I NEVER SAID THAT YOU'D GET MY MONEY!". :lol: It was fun.....

Ashley274
Sep 24th 2008, 03:31 AM
Hey CC I go into some of those thread and add a cent or two..if anything. I just don't care where we are in the end times...I tend to think we MUST be close because all my life I asked Jesus to let me be here when He comes back...since I started that prayer when I was like 10 I would guess He will honor it.....though He could say...no ;) So I AM just glad HE IS coming back ....don't worry on what year..If He said YES I will be here....you all may wanna pray for a long life for me :lol: OR very short :hug: I would be thrilled if He came tomorrow . I firmly believe my feet will be on this earth when He comes back

I just don't fight with people...I do think folks can talk about it and still witness all day long....OK I am done..off to shower

Literalist-Luke
Sep 24th 2008, 03:32 AM
I unsuccessfully stay away from end times threads for a far less noble reason. The possibilities plain old scare me. It didn't so much a year ago. Now I'm married, and have a wife to worry about. In a year, we'll probably have a baby on the way too. Do I have what it takes to look starvation, torture, etc etc in the eye? I dunno... and it keeps me up at night wondering.So you prefer the "ignorance is bliss" approach? http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w40/litluke/twitch.gif

BrckBrln
Sep 24th 2008, 03:34 AM
The end times is what got me serious about my faith right after high school. If it weren't for it then I wouldn't be where I today. It got me closer to God and it got me into reading since I bought a bunch of Dispensational (that was my belief at the time) books and it opened the door to theology and philosophy and also a love of books. So I am so grateful for that even though I have all but abandoned the study for the study of theology and philosophy. There is just so many viewpoints on the end times and it drove me crazy and I couldn't and still can't find the truth so I just let it be for the moment.

Fenris
Sep 24th 2008, 12:13 PM
I just believe in the general concept. How things will play out is impossible to say.

Teke
Sep 24th 2008, 02:18 PM
- Maybe I'm deluded, in denial, haven't done enough research.... I don't know. But I don't think that's the case. I just think that I've rejected the "we're living in the end times right now" theory, and I'd much rather focus on what we do with the life we've got in terms of loving others the way Christ wants us to. Of COURSE people who hold end times views ALSO want to love others and help them while here..... but unlike people with end times views, I don't want to do it because I literally think we've only got a few generations (or less) left.

You can maybe see why I stuck this in Contro. People might read this and think "yeah, she IS uninformed and deluded... the end's coming in 15 years or less and I have a hundred Bible quotes to prove it!" while other people might read this and think "we've probably got a few thousand years left". It's obviously a loaded subject.

So.... what should I do, really? So far, I've TRIED to understand why people think we're living in the very last days.... but being someone obsessed with History, I've had it ingrained in me that famine, strife, murder (all those "end times signs") have been going on... well... forever. They're not really signs to me. I want to RESPECT people who think differently than I do.... but I really wish I didn't feel like I had to ignore such a huge issue to 'keep the peace'.

I'd be curious to see where people land on the issue.... and where YOU land will depend on your own views on end-time arguments, whether or not you care to have them, and how you try to communicate with people who hold views opposite to yours.

CoffeeCat your not alone. :hug:
I use to go into the End Times forum when I first came on the board. And your right, they are less concerned with Christ and more concerned about their dispensational theology on the matter. From time to time a few older Christians would try to talk sense to them, but you can't change a mind made up. I tired of wasting my time....

Jesus Christ is the Eschaton (end time) for Christians. He is the first and last, beginning and end, alpha and omega etc. and that is all there is for us to ponder. So to study end times is to study Christ.

Since Jesus the Messiah came, we have been living in the Messianic era which is considered the end times.
I wouldn't worry about anything anyone wants to "prophecy" about end times unless it concerns a better understanding of Him as He is the end of all prophecy and the final Prophet.:)

moonglow
Sep 24th 2008, 02:19 PM
Thanks for sharing, Moonglow. I appreciate that. You mentioned how Christians deal with persecution and torment.... they have their faith and it must surely be rock solid. What I do wonder, often, is how non-Christians manage to endure it all. If I HAD to guess, I'd say God was holding them up through it, helping them daily, whether they recognized it or not. It's not as though He seems to ONLY bless and help those who are Christian. (This was TOTALLY a different topic than the OP, but since I started the OP, I'm hardly worrying. ;) )

Back to the original topic....

....

Well the bible says God gives everyone life...their breath..everything so yes even the nonbelievers are sustained through Him. If He ever withdrew totally from them they would not only drop dead in an instant but probably shrivel up and blow away too. They have no clue. Its like denying there is air because you can't see it but the second that air is removed they suddenly believe! 30 seconds into not having air, they not only believe they start realizing how much it was apart of your life. At 60 seconds they start truly and deeply wanting air back in there life realizing they can't even live without it let alone live any kind of life...

Though in the case of the tribulation...if there is a beast, a great ruler the bible says all those OF this world will believe and worship him and think he is greatest thing ever! So they won't be suffering in that respect. The wrath of God part though...well obviously God isn't going to be helping them through it...:rolleyes:


I guess there's no easy answer. Agree to disagree. If a fellow Christian is very adamant the world will end very soon.... then they'll just have to hold their opinion, I'll have to hold mine and we'll have to respect one another. It's funny. A family friend of ours, for the last.... 10 years or so.... has continually told us we're in the 'last few years' before the tribulation hits. And every couple years, he keeps having to move his timing up. :lol: We're very fond of him, so he's teased gently for it..... but he won't be swayed. He's strongly pre-trib.... he has those tshirts that say "in case of rapture, you can have this t-shirt..."

So when we asked him "since you won't need any of the money in your bank account, we'll be getting it all in the next 5 or 10 years, right?"... we were met with an evil glare and a "I NEVER SAID THAT YOU'D GET MY MONEY!". :lol: It was fun.

I did a thread once about wondering why God was allowing us to all have such hugely different ideas on the end times...it was an interesting discussion. Since He is in charge of everything...He must be allowing this to happen. I really think if we needed to know as believers, we would all be on the same page regarding this. I think this topic just like SO many regarding the bible we are allowed to have different views because the main one...our core shared belief is all the same...that Jesus is our Savior and the Son of God, who died for our sins...etc...and that one day He will return.

That truly is the only important thing there is to know. I know not everyone will agree with that...but considering so many believers in the world don't even have bibles in their language or aren't allowed to have bibles...this is the only thing they need to know! This is the one thing there is no debate on among us...its our core belief and what binds us together. Most of those in these other countries ARE going through a tribulation and don't really need to be told what its about...they are living it already...:cry:

That fellow you know...that doesn't want to leave his money to you...reminds me of the story of the rich young man that asked Jesus what he could do to have eternal life ...he kept all the commandments but when Jesus told him to give up all he had...he wouldn't do it. His money was more important to him...:(

God bless