12 Oct A Few Comments Regarding Jack Kelley’s Recent Article
I wanted to add a few of my own brief thoughts regarding Jack Kelley’s article posted below. Although Jack and I may disagree on some finer issues, I was genuinely blessed by the measure of humility that he showed throughout this article. It is articles like this that I so yearn to see more of from popular prophecy teachers. As the last days approach, there can be no room for territorialism and ego. The watchmen have a duty to fulfill as servants to the greater body of Christ. This must be the highest priority of the watchmen, not preserving reputations as the most accurate prognosticators, etc. I believe that Jack ememplifies this spirit well.
Now, regarding the study and understanding of Biblical eschatology, I am convinced of a few things. First, I am convinced that of all of the various arenas of theology, it is eschatology that we must be the most careful not to become overly dogmatic or pharisaical regarding. When one reads the history of the early Church, we see examples of great men of God literally giving their lives for the defense of various essential doctrines. Issues such as the Trinity, the divine incarnation of God in Christ, the dual natures of Christ (fully God / fully man), salvation by grace through faith, the reality of hell as a place of conscious and eternal judgment – these are all issues that we should be willing to defend. This is Christian orthodoxy 101. These things have been believed by the Church down through the centuries and a rejection of these things constitutes a denial of basic Christian doctrine. Its good to be dogmatic about these things. But when one studies the view of the Church down throughout its history regarding the end times, there are ten thousand opinions. There has never been a comprehensive universal agreement within the Church regarding the end times. And as such, we must be gracious towards others who hold differing interpretations (within limits of course). Obviously, I have my opinions, and I have my own pet theories about how things will pan out based on my understanding of Scripture as well as my analysis of world events, combined with my own prophetic imagination etc. Others have their own theories. It is okay to teach the things that we are convinced of with conviction. But let it be clear that in no way am I under any illusion that I know all of the specifics regarding what the future holds. Anyone who claims to know exactly how it will all pan out with certainty quite simply is just full of themselves. If you have sent me an e-mail, please do not wonder if I am talking about you, but let me just say that you would not believe the e-mails that I get from folks who believe they know exactly what the future holds. So again, I believe that humility is one of the keys to understanding the end times. God exalts the humble, but resists the proud. Pride is spiritual blindness, plain and simple. If we seek his wisdom with humility, He will answer with revelation and understanding. And this is the main reason that I am so thankful for Jack Kelley’s article. Good job Mr. Kelley.
Another issue that I want to touch on that Jack spoke about is Ezekiel 38,39 / the Battle of Gog of Magog. As the majority these days do (this has not always been the case), Jack believes that Gog and the Antichrist are two distinct individuals. I believe that Gog and the Antichrist are one and the same. Dave Hunt, Irvin Baxter, Walid Shoebat, virtually every Jewish commentator down through history, John Calvin (and nearly every reformation expositor that followed), and certainly many others agree with my position as well. But it is certainly fair to say that today I am in the minority. For a fuller discussion as to why I believe that Gog and the Antichrist are one and the same, click here and here. One of the things that Mr. Kelley did not address, which I want to point out is that one of the primary reasons that many believe that the Battle of Gog of Magog is not the Antichrist specifically is because the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38,39 are not European nations. As such, many have assumed this must therefore be an entirely different evil end time world leader, a different end time invasion of Israel, a different supernatural destruction of foreign forces in Israel, etc etc etc.
Secondly, another reason that many hold that Gog and the Antichrist are separate individuals is because they need a mechanism with which to imagine that Islam will essentially disappear in the last days. Let me explain: Because so many are convinced that the nature of the Antichrist religion will be some form of New Age / Universalist / Religious Pluralistic Humanism, (???), they cannot imagine how such a dogmatic, monotheistic, anti-idolatry-based religion could be swept up into any such New Age Universalistic Antichrist religion. Therefore they need to find a way to completely rid the world of Islam in order for their end time theory to work. But if Islam continues on into the final seven years, during the reign of the Antichrist, as Jack Kelley argues (and which I would agree), then it stands to reason that that Muslims would be persecuted by the Antichrist for their refusal to accept his religion. Yet the Bible says that virtually all of the non-believers will worship and submit to the Antichrist and his religious system. You can see the numerous problems that arise.
My point is that once one entertains the possibility that Islam will not only live on into, but even thrive well into the reign of the Antichrist, then it is far more reasonable to consider the idea that Islam could in fact be the primary religious vehicle that will be used by the Antichrist. As such, one may also take a second look at Ezekiel 38,39 and consider some of the arguments that I (and many others) have made for a continuity between Gog and the Antichrist.
Lastly, I want to repost something which I have written recently that conveys my heart regarding the ongoing “East vs. West” debate:
The Parable of the Church and The Watchmen
Jesus told us that as a Church, we are ԡ city on a hillԮ His purpose was to show that as a people, we should let our presence be known throughout the earth. Our light should shine forth and beckon all to come and join our community and the safety that such a city provides. Imagine an ancient walled city magnificently perched high upon a hill with steep rocky cliffs on all sides. In this city, every member has an important part to play in the well-being of the city for the common good. Some are called by the King to be watchmen on the walls. The job of the watchmen is to stand on the walls, day or night, to attentively and soberly watch for any approaching signs of danger. When such danger arises, perhaps an invading army is seen marching over the horizon, the job of the watchmen is to sound the alarm, to blow the trumpet, to awaken the people of the city, to call for proper preparation.
When I look at the situation in the Church today, I see a cause for deep concern. As I look upon the walls, I see a large hoard of watchmen standing together on the Western wall looking toward Europe. This is partially good. We need watchers on the Western wall. But it also deeply concerning because there is also a vast Eastern wall that has gone virtually unprotected for many, many years now. Yes, there have been a few lone watchmen who have manned the Eastern walls, but only a few. Now, this has not always been the case. Down throughout the history of the Church, many very great and notable leaders and men of God have called the Church to watch for the coming of the Antichrist and his armies from the Eastern front. But over the past thirty years or so, it seems as though there has become a cementing of opinion that the only wall that really matters is the Western wall. This is very dangerous.
Today, a quickly growing base of believers, scholars, pastors, leaders and students, after considering the Biblical evidence, feel that the Eastern wall is absolutely critical. In fact, the movement is growing so quickly that it is fair to call it an eschatological revolution. And while teachers like myself who are leading the way in this revolution are confident in our emphasis on the Middle East as the primary source of the coming Antichrist, his kingdom and his religion, we are not saying that all of the watchmen need to move to the Eastern wall.
My desire is to see a balance brought into to the ranks of the watchmen and the perspective of the Church. This is just plain old common sense; we need to spread out. We need to rotate some men to the Eastern wall, but we should also continue to carefully monitor the Western front as well. There has been an imbalance for too long and the Church is in danger as a result.