The Sunday School class at our church has been studying the end times. It’s a topic people become passionate about, and they don’t always agree. Most Lutherans are amillennialists. That means we believe the end times started when Jesus ascended. We’re in the thousand-year reign right now. When He comes again, that will truly be the end. No tribulation, no rapture. We also believe that many of the prophecies about Israel now apply to the church. We are the new Israel.
We don’t spend time trying to predict when Jesus will come, because the Bible specifically tells us that nobody will know. In the book of Matthew, we read:
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:36-37
Like the five wise virgins in the parable, we can only wait and be ready, because the Bridegroom will arrive in His own time.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13
Many Christians get caught up in speculation fueled by the Left Behind book series and movie. They seem to believe that denying the rapture is the same as denying Christ, but it’s not. As I once told someone, “I don’t believe in the rapture, but if I’m wrong and there is one, I do believe that God will take me.” This is not salvific issue (i.e., our view about this will neither save nor condemn us), and we should not allow it to separate us from other believers.
The message of the Scripture is clear: Watch and wait! Be ready!
For more about the end times see these posts: