The Laughable and Embrassing End Times Prophecies, Or The Easy World We Don’t Live In

Hopefully by now, if you’ve read this blog any number of times, you can guess that this post isn’t going to point fingers and laugh in the face of William Tapley and others like him.

William Tapley, who says he is also known as the “Third Eagle of the Apocalypse,” and the “Co-Prophet of the End Times,” regularly releases videos to the internet world, and therefore ridicule, detailing how the biblical end times are set to begin any minute. In a plain, straightforward manner he lays out all the reasons, citing various biblical passages related to Armageddon, rapture and tribulation and current events.

Amongst the websites and blogs I frequent, he’s a laughing stock. He’s been pure gold for their click counts. And the rebukes are effortless.

The little ditties he writes to help convey these ideas don’t help his legitimacy, to be sure. For an example see this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5PLf-2FYIM

I’ll not be joining in on the bashing, and not because I’m trying to look holier than thou. (But it’s a nice perk).

You see, I can understand where William Tapley is coming from. I understand the way he reads the Bible (not agree with). He sees the Bible as the inerrant, inflexible literal word of God, and as such takes it as seriously as possible. When he reads the book of Revelation, he takes it literally and then makes his videos outlining the troubles ahead, year by year, event by event.

And even though I deeply disagree with that way of interpreting ancient biblical literature, as it doesn’t factor in genre, intended audience, historical context and clues, and a variety of other factors, I can understand how and why people approach the Bible that way. I can see why he’d say “Oh this is a book handed down from God, I must read it all and see what it is saying to me today. Oh this is prophecy – well I must take it word for word.”

For me, the Bible isn’t as simple of a book. However, it’d be a whole lot easier if it were. I could read the crazy images of Revelation and not need to research the backstory of the book, I could just take it and try to decipher it.

I think the story of the Garden of Eden throws us off. We read of a place where life is easy and simple, and we think that life is designed to be simple and easy, and that not much effort is required.

In my experience, it’s just not so. And maybe it’s a divine compliment, maybe God put us in such a complex, complicated world because, well, he knew we had it in us to handle it.

 

So I fully see this is an odd post and I make an interesting twist, but what are your thoughts? Maybe you could defend that way of reading the scriptures and point out how freaking post modern I am by mentioning genre, context and audience, or you could comment on how life isn’t simple in this arguably complex world. Take it away!…..


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12 Responses to The Laughable and Embrassing End Times Prophecies, Or The Easy World We Don’t Live In

  1. David says:

    As always, a good starting point. Any Christian who has been around the church has wondered if there was going to be a real Armageddon; or end of the world as we know it. I believe there is. Of course there are some biblical issues that need to be resolved.

    -1 The Bible says the day and the hour are unknown. That means, to me, those that put dates on this thing are probably going to be wrong.

    -2 The Bible is complex to the natural mind, but no nearly so much to the spirit. Paul said that we can spiritually discern things. I find that most of the church intellectualizes that Bible, and even the ones that do discern things, don’t get all of it. That is why we need a body to interpret by the spirit. Even Peter and Paul disagreed. Each one of us is given certain revelation based on our level of intimacy with God, and the gifting he has entrusted us with.

    -3 The Bible is composed of facts, history, allegory, illustrations, prophecy and direct commands. Each passage needs to be discerned as to what type it is. Some passages are historical and prophetic at the same time. Proper exegesis sometimes requires historical context, other times it does not. (Good book, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth – Gordon Fee) Only by the Spirit can we truly understand spiritual things.

    -4 The Bible is also clear about the “season” in which Jesus will return. It should be pretty clear from the non-symbolic prophetic words of Jesus the things that need to take place. I have a few blogs about them. Even if we don’t agree on symbolic interpretations such as the beast, and great white whore, the words of Jesus were pretty simple and clear as to war and rumors of wars, the preaching of the Gospel in every nation to name a few.

    -5 There will be a 7 year tribulation, that will be the best clue as to the end of the age (anos in Greek). It will not be a fun time for Christians.

    – 6 Add to that a cashless money system, wide-spread persecution, and a one world government with 12 kingdoms, and I think it’s still going to take a while.

    • oh man if Peter and Paul couldn’t agree, in far simpler times….

      I agree Jesus was quite clear that the date/time will never be made known – so its totally puzzling that so much effort goes into it anyway.

      A major point I try to make in the post (but probably am not too clear about) is that there are various types of literature in the bible, and need to be treated as such, but I can understand how people like William Tapley take the shortcut of treating it all the same. I mean if you were stranded on an island without any kind of exegesis assistance the Bible would be a teriffyingly complex book. Even WITH those things it still is, in my opinion. But I also agree we can we way over intellectualize it, which is extremely annoying to me on a variety of levels.

  2. Su says:

    Funny you should mention that, because I’ve been thinking about prophecies, and how they are used in literature/movies/etc. But when it comes to the Bible… wow, I don’t know. And every time I dare think I have a handle on something, God smacks me back down again (or so it seems). So I don’t spend a lot of time on Revelation and end times, because I feel like the Christian life has a lot more complex things to deal with (like how to best show Jesus’ love to my pot-smoking neighbour) than what’s going to happen next in the grand scheme of the universe. I like leaving that one up to God.

    I do waste a lot of breath telling friends & family that there is nothing in the Bible about the United States, because I don’t believe there is. So far, they are mostly unconvinced.

    • I agree that there are more complex and pressing things to deal with than the end times – especially when Christians have thought they were imminent for the last 2000 years. It seems that those who discuss the end times are entirely and solely focused on it, and those that aren’t don’t pay much mind to it at all.

  3. David says:

    What I want to know is if the Myans know the world is going to end in 2012, why couldn’t they predict their own demise?

  4. Chris says:

    Hey Charlie,

    You said: “Maybe you could defend that way of reading the scriptures and point out how freaking post modern I am by mentioning genre, context and audience…”

    Actually taking those things into consideration would not be postmodern at all, but rather it would be quite modern. It would be modern because it implies that an actual over-arching truth could be found if the correct methods were used and the correct rules applied. I happen to agree with that idea. Not saying it’s easy, but rather that it is possible. The post-modern view would be that any notion of an over-arching truth is simply an attempt to take power over someone’s life.

    Maybe check these out if you haven’t already.

    http://www.bethinking.org/truth-tolerance/beginner/language-has-no-fixed-meaning-can-the-bible-say.htm

    or

    http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/beginner/we-cannot-know-what-happened-in-history.htm

  5. David says:

    Here is a link to what I think is a rational look at scripture and the End Times – but I am so darn logical sometimes.

    http://fireandgrace.blogspot.com/2010/02/judgement-revival-and-end-times.html

    • @Chris – I’ve heard so many times preachers argue that God wouldn’t want his truth to be super hard to find, and therefore the Bible is quite simple to understand. But you and I agree it, unfortunately, can require quite a bit of leg work. Hence my analogy that a deserted island guy who has none of those resources would struggle to understand a nice chunk of Scripture. I suppose you could still see the basic heart of the Scriptures.

  6. Chris says:

    Charlie,

    here’s a good case of taking a narrative and interpreting it through a really improper hermeneutic.

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