Beware The Snare: Which Shall Come Upon All The World Part II
n the initial installment of Beware The Snare, we noted how the phrase is unique to the Gospel of Luke (as opposed to the other synoptic Gospels Matthew and Mark), and how its proximity to Christ’s cryptic statement concerning the arrival of the Fig Tree is very significant. We also saw the warning about how the mysterious Snare would be connected to false prophets of Christ, who would further state that “the time draweth near” (Luke 21:8).
Believers taking a non-millennial stance – immersed in the idea that we are now in the prophesied millennial reign of Christ as they’ve “spiritualized” the phenomenon -- might believe that since JESUS is describing such prophets as false, the thrust of the passage discredits futurism. For the uninitiated, futurismis simply the belief that there is more to come, prophetically speaking.
The problem, of course, is the Rapture Cult hijacked the concept of futurism so thoroughly that those who have seen through the Cult fraud, thinking they have thoroughly apprehended the present nature of the kingdom of God in the realm of the Spirit, have erroneously discarded all futurism, along with the rightly disposed of Antichrist Spirit, which resides in the faulty flesh and blood Jewish Supremacism which the Rapture Cult introduced. The truth is, the kingdom of God is past, present, and future.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever…We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come….” (Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 11:17).
The fact that many false prophets, which were foreordained to flourish at the time of the end, utilize urgency as a component of their message, is a major clue as to the nature of the Snare. Remember, the LORD plainly stated their doctrinal system included the idea that “the time draweth near.” However, simply because this attempt at generating urgency is an element common to the false prophets does not negate the concept of futurism, for it is in this very passage that Christ is describing conditions precedent to the end of the age. Thus, when He says “when ye shall see the abomination of desolation” (Mark 13:14), or “when ye see these things come to pass” (Luke 21:31), followed by instruction as to how we are to respond, He is clearly providing indications of sequence, chronology, and specific events which will challenge those who belong to Him.
Christians who have studied the progression of belief systems in a historical context have a distinct advantage – presuming they are willing to conform their own perspective to the often uncomfortable facts. For instance, in the 19thcentury when the Rapture Cult began to take shape, almost all of the churches were steeped in historicism – the doctrine which places key portions of prophetic Scripture in a symbolic, past tense. Indeed, at that time authors, pastors, and prophecy figures were largely Protestant – and historical events had instilled a powerful antipathy aimed at the Roman Catholic power which had egregiously sought to continue their theological dominance through murder, extortion, political intrigue, and every imaginable misdeed.
The Protestants (named after those who protested the Papal evil) wisely sought guidance in the Scriptures, but they widely believed the often mentioned prophetic period of 42 months (Revelation 11:2, 13:5) or its corollary 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3, 12:6) spoke of a mostly past 1,260 years. This was predicated on the assumption that the office of Pope was that of Antichrist, and that “his” successive reign was almost over.
Thus, by varying calculations as to when the Papacy actually began, by the 18th and 19th centuries, Bible prophecy leaders could convincingly promote the idea that the 1,260 year tribulation was almost over. In this way, they were able to generate urgency, and this emotional/psychological mechanism artificially provided a crucial component in conversions to Christianity. The same tactic was actually utilized by the Vatican centuries earlier, when the year 1,000 AD approached, and a virtual hysteria emerged as large numbers of Catholics, anticipating Christ’s return, were manipulated by a corrupt priestcraft into donating their houses, lands, and wealth to the Church, in order to curry favor on judgment day.
Thus, both Protestants and Catholics failed to fully grasp Christ’s stern admonition that false prophets were destined to rise and, claiming that Jesus is LORD, would deceive many.
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:11).
By the 1800’s, Christians were becoming more and more worldly, and social “progress” was rampant, with everything from Darwin’s theory (published in 1859) to Karl Marx’s godless guide to world government (Das Kapital published in 1867) profoundly impacting society. Simultaneously, the Church was losing ground to liberal thought, and many became disillusioned with the historicist practice of pushing the assumed beginning of the Papacy to a later and later date, thereby shifting the “end” of the 1,260 year tribulation to the short term future.
With the requisite urgency waning, when the fiery American preacher William Miller announced he had deduced the day of Christ’s return based on computations in the book of Daniel, he was able to draw very large numbers of believers into the expectation that Christ would return in 1843. What was then called “the great disappointment” morphed into the 7th Day Adventist movement, with the fact the entire denomination was based on a failed prophecy overwhelmingly ignored, as the legalistic system shifted to an emphasis on the Sabbath and Old Testament adherence.
In the same general time frame CT Russell formed the Jehovah’s Witnesses group with calculations of Christ’s return based on measurements derived from the Egyptian pyramids; but the big winner in the Cult sweepstakes was theRapture Cult. This European originated system delivered the needed ingredient of urgency in an unprecedented fashion, as the doctrine posits the LORD could return at any time, and would likely occur in the near term. Eventually, scholars would refine this expectation, dubbing it the doctrine of imminency. European theologians quickly recognized the “Rapture” was just what they needed to re-energize their efforts to spark revival.
With this development, Christ’s words were fulfilled again, as the doctrine swept across the Atlantic, where it spread like wildfire, and many false prophets, preaching that Jesus is indeed the LORD, drew huge numbers of adherents:
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying….the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them” (Luke 21:8).
Most moderns are unaware of it, but in its early days Rapture theorists borrowed from the same occult sources as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and claimed the pyramids predicted the day of the Rapture; but a recounting of that revealing fact will have to wait for another day.
-- James Lloyd