Everyone thinks their view is correct, but how can you really tell, and how important is it really?
Both Jesus and Paul tell us to be careful that no man deceive you concerning this issue… Matt. 24:4, 2 Thess. 2:3. Peter tells us that those who don’t get it correct, “..twist the scriptures as the always do…” 2 Pet. 3:16. So obviously the warning stipulates that there is a lot of deception and twisting of the Word.
If you are interested in the truth, you must be willing to set aside all opinion, assumption, conjecture and speculation. If you can do this the truth will become available to you. This is not an easy task, especially if you have studied a lot of man’s opinion, and therefore see through those lenses. If you, however, are new to the study, let the Bible be your guide. Otherwise, you must be able to set aside all the movies, and ideas that may have bombarded you with man’s opinion over the years.
One certain way to understand that the Word of God has been tampered with is that certain ideas or doctrines create loose ends that must be tied up and explained by man. Like a child who has told a lie and must tell others to cover for the first on. These ideas create sub-doctrines that cannot be substantiated by the Word and must be explained by someone in order to be understood. You will not be able to find any explanation from the Word, because they are super-scriptural, and therefore added to the Word. For the truth to be found the idea must flow with the whole of Scripture and all “loose end” must be dealt with by Scripture, leaving no room for man to interfere.
Here is an example of a loose end or sub-doctrine: The pre-tribulation rapture view tells us that the bride is raptured seven years prior to the second coming. That is the initial idea. However it creates many loose ends that must be explained and must be addressed solely by man. One loose end is the sub-doctrine of the tribulation saints. The tribulation saint cannot be the bride, because the bride is in heaven (according to the view). This causes many problems with the whole of Scripture; “we are one body in Christ Jesus”, the promises that apply to the bride, don’t apply to the tribulation saints, etc. How can the saints be one body as a bride, and another as separate from the bride, and remain one body? Man’s explanation of this view, tells us that the tribulation saints must become eternal heavenly servants of the bride. This in effect makes the tribulation saints greater than the bride, because, “He who wishes to be greatest in the kingdom of heaven must become a servant of all.” If that is the case, it would be more desirable to be a tribulation saint than a member of the bride. There are a lot of other complications that this the concept of tribulation saints bring, and those who carry this particular view cannot agree exactly on how this all plays out. Here in lies the problem. It is super-scriptural in nature. Not explained by the Word and therefore the end result must be conjured to make sense of it all. As a result there will be many views concerning the sub-doctrines. Be careful that no man deceive you!
Another issue is a doctrine changing the Word to be able to accommodate their view. Peter addresses this. In order for the doctrine to be received it must be taught to those with a shallow understanding of the Word.
Here is an example of this: Luke 21:36 tells us to pray always that we may be counted worthy to escape all that is coming upon the earth… The pre-tribulation view tells us that the word “escape” in this passage refers to the rapture. Okay if that is the case, what does this concept do with the rest of the verse? “…Pray always that you may be counted worthy…” Most have the understanding that the prerequisite to being raptured is being saved. We are saved by grace and not by works or being worth… Eph 2:8,9. However, for the word “escape” to be the rapture, we must be raptured by our worthiness and pray always accordingly. So now we are told that only some Christians will be raptured because not all are worthy, although saved. To continue this thinking, they would also loose any bride status in order to become tribulation saints. Perhaps even having to have to face martyrdom to earn their way into heaven because Christ died for the bride, and not for them. This verse creates division among those who hold the view. Some believe there is no division of those raptured at the rapture and some do. Overall the understanding of salvation equating those “assigned for rapture” must be severed, otherwise we would have to be saved by works, contrary to the Word. Jesus told us the parable of the 10 virgins in Matt. 25. The five foolish were not only told, “depart from me, I never knew you,” but “go to hell” as well. What they were not told is that they would get a second chance as a tribulation saint. As you can see the Word gets changed to accommodate the view.
You must ask yourself, is your own desires clouding your view? Often I get asked, “Why would you want to go through the great tribulation?” As if what I want as anything to do with God’s plan. The obvious conclusion to those who ask this question is that their personal desires have clouded their perception of the truth.
If Peter tells us that those who do not get it right concerning the view of eschatology (end times), “twist the scripture as they always do.” The “as they always do” is huge. That means that your perceptions of truth concerning your “end time” beliefs exemplifies your perception of the Scriptures as a whole. This put great importance upon the study of eschatology. We must be lovers of the truth, if not God Himself will send a delusion upon us as stated in 2 Thess. 2 at the end of chapter.