September 26, 2002, revised October 21, 2005
I was listening to a Christian brother on some Christian Television interview program. He was the host of that night's program and had several guests which he interviewed. He has become quite well known. After all of his guests had been interviewed he went on to explain his own views about how the Church of Jesus Christ is going to succeed in the near future in such a grand way that Jesus will return.
I was discouraged to hear that he is one who believes in something commonly called "The Kingdom Now Movement."
He did not call his position by any particular name as I have. But I recognized by what he said that he believes in one form or another of this teaching.
This viewpoint is dangerous because it teaches that the Church of Jesus Christ is going to turn some great corner and have a world-wide upsurge that will so change things that even governments will be taken over; that Christians will end up in charge of most things; that sin will be forced to lessen and lessen and lessen. In this teaching the Church of Jesus Christ does it's job so well, that in a manner of speaking, it literally rules the world. Jesus is then able to return to be crowned King of Kings, His church having stomped on the Devil's works so completely.
You might be asking "Why is that a dangerous view? It sounds pretty exciting!" Yes it does! It is quite a popular point of view. The church is kind of a "super-hero" in this teaching.
Nevertheless this teaching is dangerous in three ways. First it is dangerous because it only takes into account some, but not all Scriptures. Any teaching that avoids parts of the Bible is dangerous.
The second reason it is dangerous is because it can build a false hope and false faith in the visible church organization. It can take our eyes off Jesus, "the author and finisher of our faith." [Hebrews 12:2] And if we begin to look upon the visible church organization with false hopes, great discouragement can arise.
The third reason it is dangerous is because those who believe this way can verbally abuse church members and all Christians saying, things like: "Jesus can't come back until you get your act together. It's your fault Jesus hasn't come back. He would have been here by now if you and your parents and your grandparents and your church had done better."
How do these folk come to this view?? The answer to that is that they cling only to Scriptures like Matthew 5:5 where Jesus teaches that "the meek shall inherit the earth," and Matthew 16:18 where Jesus points out that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail over HIS church; and Daniel 7:18 where Daniel prophecies that "..the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." They receive these truths without knowing or at least without taking into account other passages that apply to the end-times just as strongly.
Of course their Scriptures are true and mean what they say they mean. However, if you don't include the whole Bible, and you just major on some of Scripture, then you don't have enough information to see that the road to Jesus ruling the whole world is more like a "cliff hanger" drama. There's real tension in the story. The church doesn't just hit the Devil over the head and take over.
These mistaken folks have the last chapter more or less correct, but they are missing some of the intervening twists and turns that bring us to the finale. What about Daniel 7:21 which is just three verses after their proof text of Daniel 7:18???
Daniel 7:21 says, "I [that's Daniel] beheld [that means he saw something], and the same horn [the Anti-Christ] made war with the saints, and PREVAILED AGAINST THEM...[that means The Beast defeated them]."
Yes people of God, a chapter that comes before the final outcome (where the saints finally reign) is a dark chapter indeed. The World Dictator, the Anti-Christ, the Beast is going to totally win the battle against the remains of the church left here on earth. He is going to persecute the church into extinction. That means that practically speaking every follower of Jesus will be murdered. The church will be nearly totally gone from planet earth, eradicated!
The Good news is that this apparent defeat will be like Jesus' Crucifixion. Jesus WAS totally eliminated. It appeared like he was totally defeated. But Christ came back on the third day! The Church is going to come back later like "gang busters!" Remember, with God appearances in the natural can fool you!
This coming horrible persecution of the Church is why God has prepared "the twinkling of an eye" ESCAPE for red-hot believers, to save them from the worst of that dark hour of bloody persecution. They have been purified and do not need to go through all of that horror. They are dead to sin, the flesh and the devil. And, Jesus hints in Mark 13:20 that these "elect" ones have to be saved by Jesus shortening the days in this horrific time, because they might be lost if they are left to go through all of it.
I believe HE shortens the days of the Tribulation by taking the pure ones out at some point along the way, either before or during the Tribulation. Revelation 3:10 has some other words of Christ spoken to John the Beloved telling the Philadelphia church that they are pure enough to have this privilege of escaping the Tribulation. No other church is promised this. That tells me that escaping the Tribulation is an honor and a privilege that not all believers will participate in.
It is too dangerous to translate carnal believers bodily into Heaven. Their carnality would draw the fire of HIS glory to incinerate them. And God loves carnal Christians too much to hurt them. So HE leaves them to be purified by persecution and death. Dying out to sin, the flesh and the Devil NOW and being filled with the Holy Ghost is the secret of being prepared to be translated like Enoch.
How could a purified saint be lost by going through the Tribulation? Well, I'm convinced that some Godly people would possibly take the Mark of the Beast and go to Hell if it would buy more time for other lost persons to get saved. Remember Paul said that he would lay his life down and go to Hell if it would save his fellow Jews? Moses asked God to blot him out of God's record if God was not going to save the Jews. Some Godly people might lay their lives down for others and take the Mark to save another.
But, Jesus has already laid HIS life down that all who believe can be saved. God's people don't have to be sacrificial lambs! That work is finished, Praise God! And so God has made a way of escape for those who are totally cleansed, purified, and filled with the Holy Ghost. HE doesn't want them to be tempted to give up their salvation for another. Only Jesus did that. We are never asked to go to Hell for another. We may lay our lives down for another....but to take the Mark of the Beast so that another person might be given time to receive Jesus, well that is a price God doesn't want his saints to pay. I believe that is why HE is going to take them home to glory, the five wise virgins with the Holy Ghost oil [see Matthew 25].
Yet, for those Christians who are NOT totally filled and cleansed, those believers who are a mixture, walking on the fence, so to speak: they will go through the whole Tribulation until they are executed for Jesus sake, or they will choose to receive the Mark and become sons and daughters of Satan.
The Kingdom Now folks teach about a great revival, or a series of great revivals and awakenings that are so big, so huge and so mighty that billions are saved. What about that?
The Bible teaches about a great Jewish revival where the nation of Israel accepts Jesus as their Messiah in Zechariah 12 and in Ezekiel 37 concerning the dry bones that rise to life.
The Book of Revelation teaches about a great revival during the Tribulation period when 144,000 Jewish evangelists go about the earth leading many to God. And then it appears that the Anti-Christ immediately executes the converts and we find these new believers in Heaven as martyrs. It says that their number is very, very great [Revelation 6 and 7].
We see the church returning as an army with Jesus. That Jesus utters from HIS mouth a word that destroys all HIS enemies and the Devil's kingdom is ended for a 1,000 years.
I don't find any place in the Bible where the Church single-handedly overthrows Satan so that Jesus can then venture back to earth.
Instead, I find the Bible teaching that the pure part of the church is taken to the Marriage Super of the Lamb, the awards banquet. The impure part of the church, the foolish virgins are left here to be purified through persecution and death. I do see a great revival in the midst of the horror of Tribulation. And I find the Bible teaching that Jesus, upon that white horse, returns leading his armies of saints and angels. I read where Jesus oversees the capture of the false prophet, and the Anti-Christ. Then I read that even the Devil himself is locked up in Hell for a thousand years, and Jesus ascends as King of Kings and rules physically on earth from Jerusalem for a thousand years.
But in our time period, the age of Grace, (which comes before the Tribulation) I see the Bible teaching there will be awakenings here and there from time to time. But, I don't see any total world-wide revival that knocks the Devil off the planet with the church doing the honors.
Well what about the "latter rain" teaching that has been so often repeated? This teaching from the Old Testament has been used again and again to say that just before Jesus comes we will see the greatest revival of all time that shall eclipse what happened at Pentecost in the beginning of the church age.
We may well see some wonderful revivals just before the great escape, or we may not see that. But I don't see any prophecy that says the church is going to knock out the Devil. Right now in Nigeria we are seeing more than they saw at Pentecost. We've seen 9 million saved and hundreds of thousands filled with Spirit of God in just four months of evangelism. Those are much greater numbers than anything in all the history of the world let alone in the Book of Acts.
If you read Zechariah chapter 10 you will see that the "latter rain" teaching has a whole lot more to do with Israel as a nation and the mighty revival they will experience. Truly the Jews will blossom in an awesome way during the Tribulation. And yes, there is a common belief that the church parallels Israel. But, I have come to believe that the great revival that many prophets foretell is in the Tribulation period. I personally believe that in the days and weeks following the departure of the wise virgins to the Marriage Supper that millions of church folk will swarm all over local churches trying to play catch up. That will be a revival, but a revival of sorrow.
This latter rain might possibly refer to the great revival that the 144,000 evangelists and "the two witnesses" will be a part of, during the darkest days of The Tribulation. The Book of Revelation hints that those who are converted and then killed will be almost numberless in quantity. [See Chapters six and seven of Revelation.] But I believe more strongly that the "latter rain" has more to do with the reign of Jesus as King of the World. See below.
History tells us that the Northern Hemisphere had it's great revival between 1750 and 1910. The Southern Hemisphere is currently having it's great revival. Why would God send another massive revival on the Northern Hemisphere when the Southern Hemisphere has had to wait so long and God's clock is so close to hitting mid-night?? The "latter rain" revival is the repentance and salvation of Israel and the showers of blessing that will fall upon this Earth when Jesus Christ rules here, in person, for a thousand years.
"In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain." [Proverbs 16:15] "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." [Hosea 6:3] "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain." [James 5:7]
The Bible is very clear about this. There can still be spot revivals and local awakenings, but the Gospel has now been preached World-wide. Every square inch of the planet is now being blanketed with Christian radio, TV and literature. Missionaries are now coming to the U.S.A. because the U.S.A. has spiritually backslidden so far. In other words the Gospel has come full circle! It is almost time for the Gentile period of history to end. It is almost time for Israel's clock to begin ticking again. Israel has a work to do.
Instead of teaching about a great world-wide revival during the age of Grace (our times) the Bible teaches about a great falling away, a time of much backsliding. Jesus Himself taught this about the end of the age:
"And because iniquity shall ABOUND [go hog wild!], the love of many shall wax cold." [Matthew 24:12] Saint Paul is even more direct. He goes so far as to say that the end of the age of Grace will be marked by "a falling away first [people slipping back into coldness and deadness of heart], and that man of sin [Anti-Christ] be revealed..." [2nd Thessalonians 2:3]
BUT when you listen to these "Kingdom Now" teachers they tell you the opposite: great revival followed by Jesus. They don't mention the Anti-Christ much.
The Bible teaches that sin and evil are going to bloom first before Jesus comes. Evil is not going to fade until EVIL has a World Wide Revival and awakening that changes governments and takes over.
It is very important that evil blooms and comes to full fruit. Then there will be no question that evil and darkness are a failure. Satan cannot make a better world. Satan's lies will be exposed because God is giving Satan every chance to prove that evil can make a better world. As this scenario plays out all will see that evil and darkness bring only a curse and death. Satan will never be able to say, "You stopped me without letting me prove my way works!" Satan's way will come to it's bitter end, a total failure, the lie that it is.
The Kingdom Now people have it backwards. Satan's church is the one that is going to arise and grow by billions. We in Jesus' church are going to fade out. Satan and his followers are going to fade in and are going to bloom greatly.
This is a very unpopular teaching! Who wants to be on the band wagon with a cause that appears to be a loser??? We all want to be supporting a winner. Well, the church IS going to win...but more like Jesus won and not until later. Remember God is a better writer of His-story or history than any novelist anywhere. This is a real cliff hanger with lots of tension! We need to also remember that God's ways have seldom ever been popular.
I'm afraid that some have been tempted to buy into a popular end-time belief because it goes down so good, it tickles the ear.
Sin must come to it's full fruit. Sin must bloom. Sin must come to it's bitter end. You ask "Why must that be?"
I believe the answer is that there are many who will be converted by no other means. They will change their mind only when they see, first hand, what horror sin brings. Revelation tells us that there is going to be a lot of these converted. I believe there are some who have laughed about God and God's ways. But, when they see the ripened fruit of sin they will turn to the Lord and be saved and then martyred. In our day we have never seen sin fully ripened. We have seen only Satan's green fruit...and that stuff is bad enough. But ripened produce of Hell is something so horrible, so awful you can hardly imagine.
The Lord God Almighty cares THAT MUCH for lost men and women, boys and girls. He will even allow Satan to rule the World for a short time so that the "hold outs" will be given every chance possible to see what sin is. Even if no one turned to God during the Tribulation, not one could later say that God didn't go the extra mile....in fact God has gone billions of extra miles that all might be saved!
This Tribulation thing is one of the mightiest acts that God will do. It will make the plagues that fell on Egypt look like Sunday School. The world is going to get an eye full of sin. The world is also going to get an eye full and a mouth full of the cost of sin. You see, as awful as the Tribulation is going to be, it will be Heaven compared to Hell and the Lake of Fire!!
I want to say that again: The Tribulation is going to be the worst thing this earth has ever seen, but it will be Heaven compared to Hell and the Lake of Fire! This Tribulation thing is going to make those who love evil cling even more to evil and those on the fence get off the fence. Those who can't take evil will turn to God. Those who can't take God and HIS goodness will turn to Satan.
I pray in Jesus Name that these words are clear to you. May the Lord witness to you the validity of this and the dangers of unbiblical ideas like "The Kingdom Now" belief.
Thank you for reading these words.