O.K, before you think I am going all the way left with this thing, I'm only just beginning to ask questions and haven't come to any concrete conclusions. Anonymous
I love those wild considerations that come out in the form of questions!! I used to think it was the end results of study that was the most important part, but I've come to view the stuff we encounter along the way as the real fruit of it. The end results are merely the accumulation of all that life that was lived in the process.
You know, as far as all that prophetic stuff I learned in Bible College and church it pales next to the reality of the Christ. Interesting since it was SUPPOSED to be about HIM, but it was mostly about the thrill of the sensational and the unknown.
Yes, I wonder an awful lot about the significance of many of the future suggestions that have been made over the years from this writing (Revelation). It's very popular to speculate on the rapture and the timing of this event, especially in view of the latest movies that have been put out on that concept. I watched "Left Behind" (by LaHaye) just a few weeks ago. As a movie, it was done very well, but it still played upon the old themes of getting people scared enough to consider getting ready for this future time event. Even with the mention of God and of Christ there is such an emptiness found in it all.
My college training was big-time dispensational with a heavy teaching on the Daniel/Revelation synchronization to aid in determining the Tribulation and coming Wrath, etc. We considered a good sermon to be one where you left expecting the sound of the trumpet at any given minute. We were taught that such an attitude would change our perspective and therefore influence our daily living habits. And so we kept ourselves "pumped" in hopes that we could control our sinful thoughts and habits. Amazingly, the Bible College founder and president (who was the big kahuna of prophetic teachings around there) couldn't keep himself pure and ended up leaving the college and his wife for a young Bible College student.
You know, besides using the prophetic in the attempt to keep us in line, I think there is another main reason behind the heavy prophetic teachings: it gave us something to be excited about. After all, if there is no real thrill in simply knowing CHRIST then we must fabricate it somewhere. Charismatics had their excitement in the gifts, but we had ours in the thrill of being snatched out of this world in front of everybody else, and we passed this thrill along. But as far as finding some kind of thrill or joy outside of a group excited about the prospect of being raptured there was very little. I won't say none, but it was a rarity. That's why I think the rapture concept has gained so much popularity. I know, I preached an awful lot of messages about it. :)