Our Itching Ears
For the time will come when men
will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they
will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching
ears want to hear. (2 Tim. 4:3)
Usually this verse is quoted in connection with some New Age
or Emerging Church teaching. But I
think it can apply to students of prophecy as well.
We're so anxious for the Rapture that we periodically go off half cocked
and wind up embarrassing ourselves in front of the nay sayers and scoffers.
This is not a new thing.
There was a great Messianic fervor in the time leading up to the Lord's
first coming as well. And even
after Israel rejected Him, the expectation of a coming Messiah was still a
strong part of Jewish life when Simon bar Kochba led a revolt against the Romans
in 135AD. He had been confirmed as
the Messiah by a leading rabbi, and actually defeated the notorious Roman 10th
Legion before being captured and killed, putting an end to both the revolt and
the Nation of Israel.
Another Messianic expectation led to the Crusades and the
belief that Jerusalem had to be conquered in the name of the Church so the Lord
could return. This was the earliest
form of dominion theology and was birthed out of an interpretation of prophecy
that was originally meant to placate the Romans.
In the Church's earliest days the Romans had rejected Christianity
because the Bible taught that Jesus would return to be King of the World.
This was a position that the Roman Emperors occupied, and they were
understandably reluctant to step aside.
Church theologians convinced them that the Millennium was taking place in
Heaven so the Lord wouldn't be returning for 1000 years.
It cleared the way for Roman acceptance of Christianity but led to the
belief 700 years later that Jerusalem had to be made a Christian city to
facilitate the Lord's return.
Untold thousands, many of them Jews, died because of this incorrect
interpretation of Scripture. Many still hold this post-millennial view.
In the time leading up to WW2 many scholars believed Hitler to
be the anti-Christ and saw WW2 as the final Battle between good and evil.
A small minority of scholars pointed out that since Israel was not in the
Land it couldn't be the End of the Age, but lots of believers thought it was
In the 1970's the Jesus movement brought thousands of young
people into the Church, and the Messianic fever broke out again.
One of the movement's well known teachers began hinting that the Rapture
would take place in 1981, based on the incorrect belief that the 2nd
Coming would happen in 1988, and the excitement level rose even higher.
When it didn't happen those who were just along for the ride fell away,
and even among true believers the pre-trib Rapture view took a real beating as
disillusioned believers looked for a way to justify their now dashed hopes.
Many resorted to an allegorical view and stopped taking prophecy
Again in the late 80's an incorrect view of Matt. 24:34
led to a book outlining 88 reasons why the Rapture had to happen in 1988.
It was a best seller but it was wrong, and the 100 thousand plus who had
bought the book had their faith needlessly shaken.
Both these last examples were based on the incorrect belief
that the Lord had promised to return within the span of one generation after
Israel was re-born as a nation. What He really said in effect was that the
generation being born when the first of the End Times signs materialized would
still be alive at the 2nd Coming. Although most agree that the
re-birth of Israel was the starting point, it's the lifetime of those being born
then that determines the time span, not the length of a generation.
But when the rapture didn't come in 1988, some of these teachers simply
switched their starting point to June, 1967, the reunification of Jerusalem, and
added 40 years to that, never realizing that it wasn't the starting point that
was wrong, it was the interpretation of the verse. June 2007 also came and went
with out a Rapture.
Today there's yet another case of Messianic fever upon us, and
it has to do with what I call the Blood Moon Scenario.
In the year 2015 there will be back to back full lunar eclipses on
Passover and Tabernacles. Each will
be preceded by a Solar Eclipse, the only such heavenly display in the 21st
Century. These tandem eclipses also
occurred as Israel was being born in 1948 and as Jerusalem was being captured in
Some are teaching that this points to a return of the Lord in
September of 2015, based again on an incorrect interpretation of Scripture.
They're claiming that Ezekiel 40:1 says that the Lord will return
on the 10th day of the first month, and are using Israel's civil
calendar to call that day September 23, 2015, 5 days before the day of the final
lunar eclipse, as the day to which Ezekiel was pointing.
I think these teachers are disregarding several facts.
To start with, Ezekiel was trained as a priest and always used the
religious calendar which begins in the spiring.
God Himself ordained this change from a fall New Year to a Spring one in
Exodus 12. The first month is March, not September.
The biggest problem might be that although Matt. 24:29
says that a darkened sun and moon will mark the end of the Great Tribulation,
the Lord clearly said that believers on Earth at the time will not know the day
or hour of the 2nd Coming. (Matt. 24:42, 44, 25:13)
Once in a century back to back solar and lunar eclipses would seem to
dispute those statements. More likely the sun and moon will appear to be
darkened because of the smoke and particulates in the air from all the
And in order for the Lord to return in 2015, Daniel's 70th
Week will have to commence in September of 2008.
That means Israel will have to experience a national conversion and place
themselves back into the Old Covenant relationship they enjoyed in the Old
Testament. (Today only about one in
four Israelis admits to being a religious Jew.) Then they'll have to make an
official decision to build a Temple in Israel, knowing that it will most
assuredly spark an unprecedented level of outrage among their Moslem neighbors
in the Middle East, and in much of the world in general.
Then a leader with sufficient clout in the world community will have to
come to their rescue and enforce a 7 year contract that permits this.
I think the Temple can actually be built anytime in the first
half of Daniel's 70th Week.
But in order for the 2015 Blood Moon Prophecy to come true we'll need to
see a major shift in Israel's attitude toward God immediately for the 70th
Week to begin. At this writing,
that leaves less than two months for 5 million Israeli Jews to suddenly become
religious and agree to put themselves under the Law.
What would it take for that to happen?
Something truly miraculous, for sure.
I believe Ezekiel 39:22 tells us that God's victory over Israel's
enemies will accomplish just that. But forget about
the false peace and unwalled villages.
Can Ezekiel's battle be mobilized, fought and won in less than 30 days?
In conclusion, I don't believe these teachers have done their
home work, and are causing more harm than good.
“Scholarship” like this would never be tolerated in the secular community
and those who proposed it would be laughed to scorn.
But Christians are so anxious for the Messiah that we'll accept anything
that helps us believe he's coming soon. And most of us don't know enough about
the Bible to exercise discernment.
Please believe me when I say I believe He's coming soon too
and I hope with all my heart that I'm right. But I'm not going to let that hope
cloud my judgment or cause me to ignore what the Bible teaches.
Advocates of this hypothesis are very popular right now and they've got a
lot of people excited. But it's only because they're saying what our itching
ears want to hear, not because they're right.
Who knows how many will have their faith in the accuracy of God's word
shaken this time?. 08-18-2008