Monday, March 29, 2010

Christian Militias

Bad doctrine will not only get you into trouble in the next world, it has ramifications in this one as well. People who misinterpret what the Bible says about the order of certain key events associated with the Lord's return can make some serious mistakes.

The FBI said Sunday that agents conducted weekend raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and a militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one of the raids was a Christian militia group. Members of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia fear the coming of the Antichrist and feel they need a healthy inventory of weapons to survive the Tribulation. Apparently their arrests were related a plot to kill police officers which no-doubt resulted from their paranoia about government authorities. This is a case where having a mid- or post-tribulation view of the Rapture leads people astray.

People who think the Antichrist will come to power before Jesus removes His followers from earth feel obligated to do what they can to protect themselves from him. And people who believe in Christ during the Tribulation will certainly need protection from their government because the Antichrist will declare war on all who do not swear allegiance to him... "It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation" (Revelation 13:7, NKJ).

However, the Bible tells us that the Rapture will occur before we even know who the Antichrist is. The Apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians to put their minds at ease that they had not missed the Rapture. They thought that they had because they were under severe persecution and which to them looked like the Tribulation. But 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says, "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition." Some have misinterpreted the Greek word translated "falling away" in this passage to mean a falling away from the faith but in context this is clearly talking about the Rapture. For a thorough analysis of how this Greek word should be correctly interpreted, see this article in

God does not want us to live our lives in this world looking for the Antichrist, He wants us to be looking for Jesus Christ. Titus 2:12-13 says, "we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." People who take a superficial look at the prophetic Scriptures confuse the return of Christ for the church with His return to earth to establish His millennial kingdom. Jesus is coming back in two phases that is separated by a period of time that includes the 7-year Tribulation.

There are some very distinct differences between the return of Jesus for the church and His returning to earth to rule. See my Bible study and hand-out for more details. The bottom line is that, "God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Thank God for His Word.

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