For the sake of study, I’m offering a different perspective to Kris Vallotton’s Eschatological Core Values. Share your perspective in the comments!
To say the devil has been disempowered is an oversimplification of a more comprehensive subject. It’s true that the death and resurrection of Jesus absolutely did grant us power over the enemy, and it would do us well to grasp that reality. The church is all too often living from a place of defeat, feeling vulnerable and afraid when we should be dominating! I agree with Kris’ assertion that Satan has been disempowered for Believers—but, we have to stand and advance in faith from that place. If we don’t, the enemy most definitely can and will attack Christian and sinner with great violence.
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:19
Luke 10:19 is a powerful verse, and it was written to Believers. This is evidenced by the very next verse:
Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
Christians are authorized to exercise power over the enemy, to trample on him and to advance into his domain. What is his domain? The Earth.
The Bible makes it clear that Satan is actually still the ruler of this world, and it’s the job of Christians to war against him.
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3
Those who are living according to the passions of their flesh are still under the leadership of a very powerful evil who is bent on devouring them. His plan to steal, kill and destroy is still in play, and those who don’t administer the judgment that was authorized by the cross and resurrection will find themselves under his influence.
This is true for Believers and unbelievers. The blood of Jesus doesn’t grant Christians immunity. It grants us authority, and if we don’t live from that place we are at threat of surrendering, in full or in part, to a ferocious beast.
From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:
Christ’s ascension seems to have cast Satan out of heaven (Rev. 12:5, 9, 10, 12, 13), where he had been heretofore the accuser of the brethren (Job 1:6-11). No longer able to accuse in heaven those justified by Christ, the ascended Saviour (Rom 8:33, 34), he assails them on earth with all trials and temptations; and “we live in an atmosphere poisonous and impregnated with deadly elements.”
Possibly this passage sums up the great battle between competing powers best:
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:10-12
The primary problem with Kris’ point is that it will result in an unprepared people. What will happen to people’s faith when they see, with their own eyes, Satan raging with fearful wrath as the end continues to draw near? Great confusion will come to the church when they see a supposedly fully disempowered devil destroying people with great, evil power.
2. I will not accept an eschatology that takes away my children’s future, and creates mindsets that undermine the mentality of leaving a legacy.
As with any of my rebuttals in this post, I do not want to presume inappropriately what Kris’ intentions were in his article. With this in mind, I will take some license to consider various perspectives, whether they were what motivated the author or not.
When I read that there is concern about theologies that will threaten his children’s future and the legacy they are to leave, I initially agree! My children will most definitely have an amazing future and will leave a powerful legacy!
However, if we were to read into it, I think the takeaway is a bit different. It seems that Kris presumes “the end of the world” equals the destruction of his children’s future. I couldn’t disagree more.
It’s quite probable that my five children will all experience the Great Tribulation. That won’t be the destruction of their legacy, but rather the very driver of their legacy! They were born for this hour!
What greater legacy could one have than to battle with Jesus against the armies of Satan? How amazing will it be for Christians during the Tribulation to lead a terrified and hopeless people to Jesus?
Additionally, to be martyred during that short season will be a mighty honor. My focus is not preserving my children’s lives on Earth, but rather on modeling a life laid down, even unto martyrdom if need be. Fighting to secure a happy 70 or so years on today’s Earth is not at all what the call of the Believer is, and eschatology that defies our opportunity to focus on that is actually more in line with the heart of God than not.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39
The difficult times during the Tribulation are not to be avoided, but prepared for. It’s true that Christians who don’t take the Mark of the Beast won’t be able to be employed, earn money, buy or sell or live as we do today. We won’t have electricity, the internet, mobile phones, cars, running water or much of anything else that’s provided by the government. But, we will have the Holy Spirit and other Believers! God will be our provider and we will experience wonders and miracles on a continual basis! What a life to live!
In fact, we will see the ancient church reemerge. It will resemble a greater version of what they saw in Acts 2:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
Now that’s Kingdom living!
If we really think about it, how could any eschatology take away from anybody’s future? We will be living with Jesus on a renewed Earth forever! It’s all about eternity!
We have to be careful not to love our lives. Our goal isn’t to experience personal satisfaction on the Earth, but rather to lay down our lives and to prepare for eternity.
…they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed. Revelation 6:9-11
3. I will not tolerate any theology that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations and the Lord’s Prayer that earth would be like heaven.
It would be hard for me to disagree with this point. I don’t. I do wonder what eschatology might actually sabotage either the call to make disciples or to see Heaven on Earth.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
This passage has the end-times woven right into it. The act of making disciples is tied directly to the reality of the end of the age.
There will come a time when disciple making on today’s Earth ceases—at the end of the age.
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Matthew 13:36-43
I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Revelation 14:14-16
Regarding the prayer that Earth would be like Heaven, that is a key mandate for us, and there is significant process involved.
Heaven won’t manifest fully on Earth until the end of the age when we see the New Heaven and the New Earth. So, our prayer for Heaven to manifest on Earth has a dual purpose.
First, we come into agreement with the cross and the torn veil. We have access to God, are seated in heavenly places and are to govern from that position. Healings, miracles, signs, wonders, prosperity, freedom and the countless other benefits and attributes of what Heaven brings are to manifest on the Earth right now.
Second, our prayer results in alignment with God’s end-time plan. When we pray this prayer, as Jesus instructed, we are praying to be prepared for the Tribulation. We are praying for the nations to hear the truth of the Gospel. We are praying for the ultimate destruction of the enemy and the start of the Millennial Reign. We are praying for the New Heaven and the New Earth to come.
4. I will not allow any interpretation of the scriptures that destroys hope for the nations and undermines our command to restore ruined cities.
Christ is the hope of the nations.
In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:21
Without any debate, our mandate is to advance the Kingdom of God on the Earth. Entire cities and nations are at wonderful risk of being freed, restored and introduced to the power and love of Jesus Christ.
I myself have a clear directive of God to see cities taken, and while it’s quite the project, I have full hope that we will see entire cities experiencing unprecedented revival.
However, we have to also understand that every nation is being presented with its “Nineveh Opportunity.” Judgment and blessing lay in the balance.
God still judges nations for their sins—just as He still judges individuals. The Bible is clear: “You may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). ~Billy Graham
From cover to cover in Scripture we see the precedent followed—God judges rebellious nations.
There will be a final judgment of all people at the end of history, Piper adds. “The death of Jesus was God’s final punitive judgment on all who believe in Christ … Individuals are sometimes judged in this life, but, for Christians, all judgments are disciplinary, not destructive. No individual in Christ needs to fear God’s judgment. We may be killed proclaiming biblical holiness, as Paul said in Romans 8:36, but in all these things we will be more than conquerors through him who loved us.” ~John Piper
God is portrayed in the Bible as sovereign over the nations and ruling them for His purposes. Second, God tolerates sin in relation to nations up to a point, and then brings calamity. ~John Piper
Remember, judgment is God’s act of love, not hate. He desires to bring people into a radical encounter of love, and during a time of national rebellion he may bring judgment to convince a greater number of people to follow him than would have had the rebellion gone unmet. Of course, revival is a much preferred method, but the church must arise in faith and prayer if we are to see it happen. The end is coming, and God will fulfill his plan to ready the church and the nations of the Earth whether it’s by judgment or revival. The choice is actually ours.
God himself may step in and bring to His church a great revival of radical obedience, and a great awakening to the countries of the West. He is able. He has done it before. We should pray that He does. ~John Piper
5. I will not embrace an eschatology that changes the nature of a good God.
God is always good, but his goodness can’t be measured through our human lens. His goodness may actually look quite the opposite at the end of the age when he is killing millions of people. Many Christians will actually accuse God of being Satan when they see their “Good God” doing such stomach turning things.
The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia. Revelation 14:19-20
The danger of promoting God in such a way that anything contrary to what humans consider good is that many Christians will actually reject him when he shows up in full, holy force.
Throughout biblical history we see Perfect Love, God himself, killing people, disciplining people and exercising judgment. In our limited human capacity we can’t easily equate that with perfect love—but it is.
God is always good, but he’s not always in a good mood.
If God is always in a good mood, he would be a monster, laughing and doing a happy dance as he casts people he loves into Hell. (It’s been said that God doesn’t cast people into Hell, but people do themselves via their own decisions to reject God. This isn’t fully accurate. People do have a significant part to play, but in the end they don’t jump into the lake of fire. They are thrown.)
If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15
If we believe God is always in a good mood, we will reject messages and revelations that don’t result in us being in a good mood. We will associate the love of God with the hate of Satan. We know that God is still wrathful. He still gets angry. He is saddened. He is joyful. He is happy. He has emotions, and the deepest place of love exists when we partner with God in his emotions. What is on God’s heart? How can we serve him and minister to him?
A good God will absolutely function in ways that confound us. The following passage further exposes his mission and methods:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law– a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39
6. I refuse to embrace any mindset that celebrates bad news as a sign of the times and a necessary requirement for the return of Jesus.
Now, this statement by Kris highlights his Partial Preterism quite well. Of course, we don’t want to celebrate bad news. I don’t know that any reputable student of the end-times would do that. However, we need to analyze what is happening as watchmen and, yes, understand that certain negative events are prerequisites for the return of Jesus.
Contrary to his position that the world is getting better and better, we simply have to admit that to be untrue.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 Timothy 3:1
Paul then defines what trouble is coming:
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:2-5
Do we see any of this on the Earth today? Is it getting better or worse?
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:3-14
People are being persecuted and martyred all over the world today, and the numbers are increasing radically.
Here’s another clear piece of bad news that indicates what time we are in:
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. Revelation 13:16-17
When that day comes, it will be bad news indeed. And, we must be able to discern the signs of the times.
He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. Matthew 16:2-3
7. I am opposed to any doctrinal position that pushes the promises of God into a time zone that can’t be obtained in my generation and therefore takes away any responsibility I have to believe God for them in my lifetime.
Many promises of God are futuristic. This argument just doesn’t hold water.
For example, a day is coming when we will be riding with Jesus in a great battle. That won’t happen while we are alive on the Earth. It’s futuristic.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16
I feel this point also reveals Kris’ focus on the here and now while not affirming the need to prepare for eternity.
Mike Bickle calls our life on Earth an internship. We are living sacrificially as those in training in preparation for the Great Tribulation, and then the Millennium.
Additionally, the promise of a New Heaven and a New Earth for us to abide in is most certainly futuristic.
We don’t want to be so invested in our personal experience now. We are to die daily, be crucified with Christ, lay down our lives and surrender all for the sake of the Harvest—who will live with us forever and ever—AMEN!
8. I don’t believe that the last days are a time of judgment, nor do I believe God gave the church the right to call for wrath for sinful cities. There is a day of judgment in which GOD will judge man, not us.
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27
Judgment is actually a key driver of the end-time timeline. While so many are proclaiming that judgment doesn’t exist in the New Covenant, I’m of the opinion that we NEED judgment!
Judgment is God at work. It’s God putting things into motion to resolve the crisis on the Earth.
Can you imagine the police ignoring the crimes of a rapist? There would be mutiny! We want justice, judgment, to come to the rapist for the sake of innocent women who are at great threat of attack.
During the Tribulation, God will be pouring out his wrath on a rebellious mankind.
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. Romans 11:22
And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth; blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2 17 – 21
It’s both a great and terrible day.
I will send you Elijah…before…the great and dreadful day of the LORD. Mal. 4:5
There will be two severe waves of death. The first wave will claim one fourth, of earth’s population. The second wave will kill an additional one third of the earth. This will total 50% of the population (or 4 billion based on a possible population of 8 billion people). ~Mike Bickle
The church will be in agreement with that judgment and will be ready to minister accordingly. The church will be in a place of intense prayer, and will, as governors under Christ’s leadership, agree in prayer with his plans. This will not be the time to intercede for the judgments to delay.
The fifth seal judgment against the Antichrist will come in the context of increased intercession. We will be crying out against the vengeance of the Antichrist.
The martyrdom of the saints will unleash a powerful movement of prayer of agreement with God’s predetermined plan.
This is why the prayer movement is so critical today. We must learn to pray according to God’s heart and biblical blueprints, and not according to our own human desires.