Blood Moons, Shemitah,, and Last Days Nonsense


Four Horsemen of the ApocalypseWhere I live, everyone has been running around like crazy, preparing. Kids are off school. People have been buzzing about how it might all go down, and who will be chosen and who will not. Some have been anxious, others elated. What has long been awaited is finally upon us.

In other words, it’s the week of the county fair.

You thought perhaps I was speaking of something else?

Like that blood moon thing. Oh, that’s yesterday’s news. Who’s going to win Best of Show in cattle is more important right now.

As for me, I’m not so much a county fair person. I’m more concerned with the aftermath of this month of September within the pathetic prophetic community in charismatic and dispensationalist Christianity.

An unhealthy fascination with the Jewish holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which fall within September, is an area of concern. This year is also a Jubilee year in Judaism, which happens every 50 years (7 X 7 Shemitah years plus one) and marks a time of the forgiving of debts and the releasing of those in bondage of any kind. Add in the blood moon tetrad we just experienced, and all manner of End Times craziness afflicted us in 2015.

Over at Charisma magazine online ( and it’s sister site,, it’s business as usual, save for a few rare posts wondering why nothing happened. For the last year or so, these sites have been spewing predictions about this month’s eschatological “certainties.” I know this because my Facebook pages have been strewn with Christians posting End Times articles sourced from these two websites.

What was supposed to happen as prophetically announced through various pricey books, DVDs, teaching seminars, and other big money generators was the end of the world, the Second Coming of Christ, the exposing of the Beast and Antichrist, the Last Battle, all manner of Israel-related stuff, signs in the heavens, and signs on earth.

Oh, and that Catholic leader guy visited America. Surely he had to fit into all that too. Had to. Gotta read all the signs.

Here’s the scorecard:

Blood moon tetrad events – FAIL

Wonders related to Shemitah – FAIL

Attacks on Israel – FAIL

Armageddon – FAIL

The Second Coming of Christ – FAIL

The Rapture of the Church – FAIL

Wow, that’s surprising, isn’t it? Not one of those things either happened or signaled anything.

What gets me is that we’ll go on about our business, get ready for fairs, go to work, cheer or lament our local football teams, and nowhere will there be an admission from all these “prophets” who made a fortune hocking End Times nonsense that they were ultimately dead wrong about everything they predicted. And nowhere will there be an apology from the editiorial staff at Charisma that they rode this nuttiness for all it was worth and that they’re sorry for having done so.

I fully believe that Jesus will return one day. I fully believe it will be during a time of great unrest and turmoil. I fully believe that a war between the forces of God and the forces of Satan will erupt sometime in the future.

But all these End Times predictions by self-anointed prophets in polyester suits seem more like astrology, numerology, divination, and outright witchcraft than anything Christian that proceeds from the throne of God Almighty.

God is not a god of error, confusion, and fear. He is not found in earthquakes and windstorms, but instead speaks in a still, small voice, yet one that carries devastating and lasting authority.

My advice to fellow believers is to stop funding and promoting charlatans who attempt to make money by peddling loud, scary predictions. Just stop. Please. Don’t buy their materials and don’t repeat their silliness in social media and elsewhere.

I also hope you will consider that today will be no different than yesterday, and that no apologies will come from those who spoke wrongly. Consider that sometime in the next year we will get another run-up of predictions heading into next September, and by the same “prophets,” and they will be wrong then too.

Whatever we do, we cannot and should not forget or excuse these failed prophetic words. We cannot go on as if the failure of these predictions does not matter. The only way the Church can be strengthened is if we stop supporting the predictions and predictors. One reason lost people no longer look to the Church for answers is because of this nonsense. It must be dealt with.

If any of us fell for all this, we should not lie to ourselves that we didn’t. Instead, we should get before God and get real with Him about our obsession with all things End Times and our tendency to fall for related nonsense. My fear is, if we don’t deal with it, should the Liar of All Liars arise in our lifetimes, we will believe his or her lies just as readily as we believed all these mistaken “prophets.”

I will add that perhaps we should examine the truthfulness of our eschatology. Is falling for this again and again a sign that perhaps what we believe about the End Times is flat-out wrong? Christians have held many differing views of the End. Perhaps the one we currently hold is incorrect.

In conclusion, I offer this.

The smartest religious people of Jesus’ day completely blew both the prediction of His first coming and its means. They got everything so hopelessly wrong that even when the anticipated Messiah stood before them, they could not see.

I believe Christ’s Second Coming will be just as surprising and confounding. It won’t occur the way we think or at the time we believe is most perfect. Yes, we are in the Last Days, but God has not stated to us the exact number of those days.

Until that Final Day of these Last Days, keep doing the work of the Kingdom and relax in letting God choose when and how He will bring it all to its conclusion.

Lord, Purge Your Church


It’s the early a.m. here and quiet as a tomb. That silence lends opportunity to think.

I’m pondering the state of the American Church. But then, I never stop.

We live in a world coming apart at the seams. Some say that’s not the case, but as I see it, the deterioration is clear. I wonder regularly how it is that all sense is missing from whichever brouhaha holds our attention this day.

It may not be much on the grander scale, but the fiasco surrounding last week’s notorious conference makes it clear genuine Christians must pray this:

Lord, purge Your Church.

If the Church in America is to have any influence at all on the larger culture and society of the United States, the dross must be removed.

Pray also that you are not the dross.

At this point in 2013, I’m fully convinced that the American Church is thinking too far ahead of itself if it continues to believe it can have such an influence. While the gates of hell cannot hold against the Church as a whole, no assurance is given for any one branch:

Ephesus in ruins

Ephesus in ruins

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
—Revelation 2:1-5 ESV

We could point to the vitality of the Ephesian Church and its contemporary influence on the world—if it were still around. But the Lord removed that Church’s lampstand and the light went out.

The American Church is at the lampstand-removal phase, if it hasn’t happened already. An opportunity to repent may still exist, but I wonder if it must come down to something more drastic than repentance.

Lord, purge Your Church.

How Being Rapture-Minded Made the American Church No Earthly Good


The Rapture--Comic book styleI started to write a clever post today on eschatology, with a setup piece of fiction about a U-Boat sinking a merchant marine ship in WWII and the merchant marine ship’s  first mate running around deck yelling, “I’m going to be rescued now, I’ll get a new ship, and I’ll be made captain!” but I just ran out of steam. Perhaps I’m weary from the mentality a good chunk of the modern American Church displays on the End Times. (A decent PDF chart of the major eschatological views.)

The prevailing view of The End among most Christians in the United States is dispensationalism. If you’re familiar with the Left Behind series of books, movies, and licensed products, you know dispensationalism. You may also have heard of it through the book The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey, which popularized the view. (And let me add, that if you have read LGPE, you’re probably a geezer, just like yours truly.)

The key pieces of dispensationalism: two distinct histories for the Church and Israel, including post-Second Advent of Christ; a removal of the Church from the earth (the Rapture—see 1 Thessalonians 4) before seven years of horrific tribulation; the Second Advent and 1,000-year Reign of Christ; the Revolt of the Nations; and the Final Judgment.

I wrote a paper in college debunking dispensationalism, but of all the things that bothered me about that view, two stick out: its youth and its presumption.

Dispensationalism as a formal Christian eschatology had no real traction until the 19th century, and it was then popularized by one man. A Christian theology that doesn’t appear until the 19th century pretty much insist that everyone who lived before that era was a moron when it came to understanding The End. This includes the folks who built the early Church, because they didn’t hold to a dispensationalist view. Nor did the great Protestant Reformers.

And as I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, when an idea starts with one man and no one else, it’s worth scrutinizing, since individuals have a strong penchant to get things wrong. And if we’re going to rejigger how the entire Church views The End, getting it wrong isn’t an option.

Part of that presumption that sticks most in my craw is the idea that the Church will be removed from the earth before the real craziness starts. Most eschatological views support the idea that the Church will be “caught up” to meet Jesus. When is the big distinction between theories, with How being secondary.

When I read the Bible, it seems clear to me that in all of human history, God never removed those who believe in Him from pain, persecution, and the fallout of a fallen world. Lot endured Sodom. Joseph lived through the famine. Joshua wandered the desert with his people. The righteous Jews went into captivity in Babylon. The faithful disciples and apostles were martyred. Time and again, the faithful went through the mess everyone else did.

Where they differed from the rest was in how they dealt with it. Faithfully. And with longsuffering.

And yet one of the hallmarks of dispensationalism is the idea that all the Christians will be removed from the planet before the real End Times suffering comes. That seems out of character with everything the Bible shows us about patient endurance in hard times.

Some Christians who follow a preterist eschatology will argue the genuine nastiness envisioned in the Bible happened in AD 70 already, and all this talk of future tribulation is a waste of time.


Regardless, dispensationalism is the predominant eschatology in today’s American Church, and it drives much of how we live.

We base our Christian theology on it.

We base our American politics on it.

We base our American foreign policy on it.

We base our American economy on it.

We base our American environmental policy on it.

We base our American lifestyles on it.

We base our Christian practice on it.

And the major mentality we espouse when we hold to a dispensational view of The End is…

It’s all going to burn,

And I’m out of here anyway.

When I look around at today’s Church in America, I see that mindset. There’s a sense that there’s no need to try to fix the Church and its problems because, hey, “It’s all going to burn, and I’m out of here anyway.”

Doesn’t matter what the issue is. Why steward the earth if God’s going to burn it up anyway? Why prepare our churches to help meet the needs of those caught up in persecution and tribulation if Christians won’t be here to do it? Why do anything that requires bold effort and genuine sacrifice if you’re just floating along before Jesus comes by with His Gospel Ship and you sail away together?

There’s a nihilism there. Can you see it? When we resign ourselves to checking out before the actual checkout, we miss whatever it is that happens before then. We forgo the opportunity to be useful.

As long as Christians have mentally checked out of the world as it is today, I think the Church will be ineffective with whatever time we have left. And it may be that instead of the 10 years some may think we have, we’re due for another 1,000 yet. How long doesn’t matter. A Church that has its Rapture bags already packed is just waiting around, killing time.

I don’t see how any of that is Biblical or even remotely Christian, though.