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|Q:||My child's Sunday School class (ELCA) is currently viewing videos from "The Left Behind" series. The videos are being watched along with a "study" of the book of Revelation. From things the teacher has said regarding the videos, I would say that his Scriptural knowledge/understanding of the book of Revelation is not that good. (He has said that after watching this series, the Bible now makes sense with regard to end times.) I know that my child will hear things that are not Scripturally accurate; things that I will need to correct. |
My question to you is how do I point out the error in the "Left Behind" series in language that is easily comprehended by a child in the middle school years?
|A:||Premillennialists, like the author of the “Left Behind” series, tend to let their imaginations run when looking at symbolic language in books like Revelation, Ezekiel, and Daniel. The more difficult passages of Scripture are to be read and understood in the light of clear passages of Scripture. Please note the following things taught clearly in Scripture: |
1. When the Bible uses the terms “last times” and even “the last hour,” it is referring to the entire period from Jesus’ ascension until judgment day (Acts 2:16-17, 1 John 2:18).
2. The signs of the last times (e.g. Matthew 24:1-35, Mark 13:1-27, Luke 21:5-27) are not meant to pinpoint when our Savior is going to return, but to remind us that he will return. We are always to be prepared for his return because he will come when we do not expect him (Matthew 24:36-51). Trusting in Jesus as our Savior makes us prepared to meet him whenever he returns.
3. Jesus’ kingdom is not an earthly, political kingdom, but his gracious rule in our hearts through the gospel (John 18:36, Romans 14:17, Colossians 1:13-14, Luke 17:20-21).
4. Jesus will not come again twice but only once (Hebrews 9:28). The so-called “rapture” of believers will take place on the last day or judgment day, not a long time before it (compare 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 with John 11:24, John 5:28-29 and John 6:39).
5. The “thousand year reign” in Revelation 20 is the reign of the martyrs in heaven until judgment day (Revelation 20:4-6). The NIV translation in verse 6, “They came to life” is better translated “they lived.” Those who die in Christ will live and reign with him in heaven (John 11:25-26). The second death (eternal death) has no power over them.
To better understand the message of Revelation you might want to look at a good commentary on this difficult book. I would suggest Revelation by Pastor Wayne Mueller (a commentary in the Peoples Bible series) or Revelation: The Distant Triumph Song by Dr. Siegbert Becker. Both of these volumes are available from Northwestern Publishing House, (800) 662-6022 or www.nph.net