Their Eschatology Simply Mirrors Their Theology
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Pe. 2:1)
Moriel recently received links to an author’s website for one of his books which, among other things, purports to have deciphered the true meaning of “666”. Because Jacob’s latest book on the Antichrist (Shadows of the Beast) is about to come out, it was suggested that he provide a biblical response to this specific assertion. But when we looked at the rest of the website and the other books authored, we quickly realized this was not simply the case of a brother in the Lord who was making a mistake in earnest about the mark of the Beast. His other writings were so contra-scriptural to the basic truths of biblical Christianity that we can consider him nothing less than an outright heretic regardless of what he posits about End Times issues. No one should be surprised that his notions of the meaning of “666” are bizarre when his ideas of God’s salvific plan are nothing short of heresy. Why bother responding to an error in the handling of prophecy when there is no hope until they correct the most egregious errors in their faith?
As Jacob Prasch has repeatedly preached from this verse in 2 Peter for many, many years for any number of false prophets and false teachers, it is important to note how Peter is inspired by the Holy Spirit to use “false teachers” and “false prophets” interchangeably. This is because if someone’s doctrine is wrong””if their teaching is wrong””their prophecies will be wrong. I submit that the same principle can be applied to those offering strange teachings where the End Times are concerned; their eschatology is wrong because their doctrine is wrong.
The best way I have heard it stated is that it is impossible to be successful at calculus if you haven’t first learned trigonometry, which is impossible without having first learned geometry and algebra, both of which cannot be undertaken without having first mastered basic math. This is true where rightly dividing the Word of God is concerned. If your Bible study skills cannot provide you with the most basic essentials of inductively understanding and applying the basic doctrines of salvation, justification, sanctification and the rest, you are not going to rightly handle the more difficult tasks of typology and prophecy which depend on first possessing the essentials. If, as in this gentleman’s case, one does not even believe in eternal punishment to begin with, how can they properly establish God’s plan and purpose for the End Times and the true working of Final Judgment? His eschatology is wrong because his theology is wrong.
Most recently we have seen this in the example of Harold Camping, the center of the universe when it came to the “end of the world on May 21st” nonsense. (Which he now says is October 21st…sheesh.) Yes, by the single fact alone that he previously failed in his prediction of the end in 1994 he should have been outright discounted; but when you explore some of his other material, particularly a booklet he offers on his website titled I Hope God Will Save Me, it does not take long to see that his miserable track record of handling all things prophetic is simply a reflection of his dismal handling of doctrine. In his so-called message of salvation you have to “hope” you are one of the chosen who was predestined for salvation, otherwise you have no hope. It certainly is not the scriptural teaching of either “hope” or “salvation”.
To be sure, there are genuine brethren and teachers in Christ who are not perfect where one of their teachings regarding the Last Days is concerned, but such errors are almost always in areas of an honest disagreement of what they believe Scripture is stating. When you look at the whole body of their life’s work we cannot find a basic, foundational doctrine on which we disagree. The eschatological disagreement usually comes down to a matter of scholarly debate and not something obviously strange, bizarre, or heretical. But with the false teachers””the purveyors of the strange, bizarre and heretical””it is but a reflection of how they treat the rest of Scripture.
One of the things we need to look at where a teacher’s eschatology is concerned is their theology. If they cannot handle God’s Word correctly on the fundamental issues, they will be proven incapable in the more difficult tasks of such things as the proper interpretation of biblical prophecy.
Without apology I am going to make a shameless plug at this point. After more than 20 years of ministry, and making more than 450 sermons available through CD’s, DVD’s, books and his ministry’s website, Jacob Prasch is someone whose theology is very clearly on the record. His first four books were focused on those issues of theology which are necessary to the building up of the Body of Christ on the right foundation, but now he has published two books on the more advanced concepts of eschatology. The Dilemma of Laodicea was made available this past year and is a completely unique work which is critical for Believers who want to understand the times they are living in. In about a week or so, what I consider to be the essential follow-up companion to that work is going to finally be made available, Shadows of the Beast, which is subtitled, “How the identity of the coming Antichrist will be revealed to the faithful Church”. In actuality this book will not provide a short-cut around the doctrinal basics but is the precise prerequisite for what is presented.
Having personally typed every single word in this book I can testify without reservation that there has never been a book written like this concerning the Antichrist because of how it seeks the whole counsel of God’s Word on the subject and does not overly focus on one aspect or one eschatological type. But I have also come to realize that Jacob did not come by this overnight, or in a vision, or with some kind of special knowledge that no one else can reproduce; it comes after decades in ministry, decades in the Word, and moving from the proven ability to rightly divide God’s Word on the most basic doctrinal levels as he has progressed into the more difficult and advanced methods which he shares in the book. He can do the calculus because he has mastered all the skills leading up to it.
I know that inevitably when it comes to books and sermons on the End Times that the tendency is to compare what one teacher has said about a particular thing to another and another and so on. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a website where someone has created a matrix of every theory proposed for the solution of “666”. I believe we can greatly narrow the field by first examining what all of them have to teach outside the realm of the End Times. if their soteriology is wrong, or their pneumatology, or any other typical chapter in the body of their teaching which we might call “systematic theology”, most assuredly their eschatology is wrong and there is no need to debate their theory on “666” or anything else. As their theology goes, so goes their eschatology.
If you think about it, this also explains the nature of those who follow such false personalities. The followers are characterized as either not knowing and being in God’s Word, or themselves embracing false theologies. Both tendencies make them vulnerable to embracing the strange where End Times issues are concerned. After all, that is the defining difference between the wise and foolish virgins (Mt. 25:1-13)””those maintaining themselves in the Word (which is what their lamps represent) and those who do not. It is so likewise for the false teachers they are drawn to.