By Nathan Jones
"I was wondering is Nathan Jones still on this planet? Stop it with this rapture nonsense and wake up!"
As Web Minister for Lamb & Lion Ministries, I get to reach out through the Internet and converse with people all over the world. What a great opportunity to share with them the saving news of Jesus Christ and the hope filled message of His soon return!
Sometimes the people aren't too receptive to the message, though, and share back in emphatic statements questioning my state of mind, such as the email excerpt above. I've come to realize there will always be people who disagree with your views on anything, much less Bible prophecy.
Bible prophecy is like having a thousand piece puzzle but some of the pieces are missing. We are left not quite 100% sure of all the details because the events are future and haven't happened yet.
We Christians can share in the view that we are looking forward to a future with Christ, but there is always going to be some disagreement among the non-essential doctrines such as are related to the end times. Some handle that well, and some do not.
At times when people can be kind of rude and a little hard on the Beav, and seek some comfort in Aesop's fable called "The Man, the Boy and the Donkey."
The fable tells of a boy and an old man who are taking their donkey to sell at the market. As they are walking along besides the donkey they pass by a crowd and hear some people whispering to each other saying, "Those two guys are so stupid since they could be riding their donkey." Well, the old man and the young boy agree that the people are right and so they climb up on the donkey's back.
As they move along, the boy and old man pass by another group and hear somebody exclaiming, "That poor donkey is carrying all that weight. That's a clear case of animal abuse. Let's call PETA." And so, the boy gets off leaving the old man riding the donkey.
As they continue to walk on they hear some more passerby's saying to each other, "That selfish old man, making that poor little kid walk." Feeling ashamed, the old man switches with the young boy and begins walking.
They go further on and next hear a woman chide, "That kid is so selfish to make that poor old man walk."
Well, the predicament just plain dumbfounds the old man and young boy. They can only look at each other in dismay and sigh.
After awhile of just standing there not knowing what to do, the two of them both have an "a-ha!" moment. They find some sticks and make a sort of gurney. They place the donkey on the gurney and start carrying the donkey to market.
Now, if the donkey was Balaam's donkey it would have been saying, "Suckers, this is great!" But, they were walking along a ravine and donkeys are heavy and the boy stumbled a lot. Spilling over, the donkey goes over the side and drops down into the ravine and dies, leaving them with nothing to sell.
The moral of Aesop's story is — you can't please everybody.
With Bible prophecy, everyone tends to color their interpretation of events the way they'd like them to turn out. We all agree with how it ends — Jesus wins! But, the stepping stones to the conclusion are arranged differently. Take the Tribulation for instance. Some Christians just discount the notion of a literal Tribulation altogether, some really want to participate in the horrors of the Tribulation to prove their mettle to God, while others such as myself are more than ready to go to Heaven in the Rapture beforehand. We can't all be right.
And so, while we may not always agree on interpretations of end time events, we still must stay true to a sound study of Scripture in light of who the God of the Bible is. Anything beyond those bounds, well, we know why they get those funny looks.
Anything within those bounds, we will all just have to wait for God to fill in the puzzle pieces as events occur. God makes us do this so that we continue to dive into His Word and study, resulting in a closer relationship with our Savior.
Remember, draw your guns only for the essential doctrines, and do so always in edifying speech and brotherly love.
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:35