Armageddon: Are You Seeking an Escape Route?

By William Bell
Much of what is taught regarding the end time is fear-based eschatology. The title of this blog post, “Armageddon: Are You Seeking an Escape Route?,” characterizes those influenced by the escapist of Rapture theology. At the heart of the Rapture doctrine is fear, fear to face what is believed to be the great tribulation and a coming cataclysmic melt down of the planet. Christians are not spiritual Houdini’s seeking to escape from the world. Rather, they were assured they had overcome the world by their faith. Thus, Christians do not seek escape but engagement. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith, (1 John 5:4). In Revelation, the church would not go around but through the tribulation. They were given two promises. One, they were to be faithful to death, i.e. suffer persecution and martyrdom during the tribulation in order to overcome the second death, (Rev. 2:10). Two, if they lived, they were to endure the tribulation. The 144,000, would in fact come out of the great tribulation, (Rev. 7:14). They could not come out of what they had never been in in the first place. What is significant is these are “latter-day-saints” of the first century. Why? Because they are called “firstfruits” in chapter 14:1–4. There is no way possible that 21st century saints can be the first saints of Christianity. Therefore, for the firstfruits (1st century N.T. Christians) to come out of the great tribulation which preceded the battle of Armageddon, they had to have experienced it in their day. Enduring the tribulation ensured their entrance into the kingdom. “Strengthening the souls of the disciples exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’ (Acts 14:22).

Writing to Timothy at Ephesus, Paul says: “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. (2 Tim. 2:11,12). Armageddon: Are You Seeking An Escape Route? John, knowing he would live until Christ’s return occurred, said he was in the tribulation, (John 21:22; Rev. 1:9). However, Peter, knowing that he would die before the event, spoke of his decease, (John 21: 18–19; 2 Pet. 1:14–15). Thus, they were quite at peace with the words of Christ who prayed: I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but hat you should keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15) Jesus assured the apostles they would face the tribulation. ‘In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) A Christian’s peace is not found in escape but in assurance through faith that all evil is conquered through Christ. The war in which they were engaged was not militaristic or fought with carnal weaponry (2 Cor. 10:3–5), in the literal sense, but was that involving spiritual forces of evil as with principalities and the rulers of darkness. Thus, they were to overcome by God’s word and their faith, with which they would quench all the fiery darts of the evil one, (Eph. 6:11–16). Hence as good soldiers, they were to endure hardship as good soldiers rather than seeking to retreat from the battlefield, (2 Tim. 2:3). Thus, they were more than conquerors through Christ who loved them, (Rom. 8:36–39) Not even death could separate them from God. The message of fulfilled eschatology is one of empowerment. Armageddon lies in our past not the future. Read more about Christ’s victorious return in The Re-Examination, a Study of Christ’s second coming. Order your copy today. Click here.

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