Bethel Says Jesus Can’t Come Back

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A recent article in Charisma entitled “Eschatological Core Values” makes the most bold and astonishing statements I have ever heard. The piece was written by Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church in Redding California, and in it he absolutely forbids Jesus to come back any time soon. Indeed, if we follow his logic, it doesn’t look like the Messiah will ever need to make the trip. Are you serious? Really????

As I try to gather my composure from the shock of such proclamations coming from such an influential person, I can only wonder if anybody else heard what I heard. I realize that most dear saints are just longing for Jesus’ appearing, as the Bible tells them to be, and are not privy to the strange eschatological teachings of the church’s dark days. They have no idea what Preterism[1] is. They have never heard of Dominion Theology.[2] Nevertheless, most should be able to detect that there is something wrong with this article – something flawed in its reasoning. And after all, what authority does he have to announce, “I won’t tolerate,” and “I won’t allow?” I realize that some of you will think I am overreacting or jumping to conclusions. Therefore, I would like to look at each of the clearly stated “Values” and explain the bankrupt and hopeless eschatology behind them.

  1. “I will not embrace an end-time worldview that re-empowers a disempowered devil.”

This statement is very cleverly crafted. Who wants to re-empower the devil? So folks are going to want to say, “That makes sense,” without understanding the broader meaning. It is true that through the cleansing blood and walking in the Spirit the devil has no power over us. However it is not true that the devil has no power in the world. John said, after the cross, that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.[3] So what Mr. Valotton is saying is that he doesn’t believe in the End-Times, the Tribulation, the Antichrist, Armageddon or any of that stuff. To believe that is to re-empower the devil. So rather than just telling us what he believes he tries to undermine us by accusing us of re-empowering the devil. 

  1. “I will not accept an eschatology that takes away my children’s future, and creates mindsets that undermine the mentality of leaving a legacy.”

This is another stab in the heart. If you believe Jesus is coming soon you are taking away your children’s future – how awful? You are creating mindsets that will keep believers from leaving a legacy. After all, that is really selfish, isn’t it? Wow! Wait a minute. Where does the Lord tell us that leaving a legacy for your children is more important that watching for His appearing? Jesus and His apostles told us to be alert and sober, eagerly awaiting, longing for and seeing the day drawing near. Peter told us to fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us when Christ appears. And Jesus Himself told us to watch for the signs of the end, and when we see them, to lift up our heads because our redemption draws near. Mr. Valotton on the other hand, finds that approach unacceptable. To him, leaving a legacy for his children is all that matters. There is no last generation or apparent end to the current state of affairs in his mind. But even if he and his fellow legacy leavers are successful in taking over the church and the world and getting it ready for Jesus, there will still have to be a last generation – one that presumably has no legacy. That’s of course, if one sees the current world system as the only place to have a legacy. I am happy to say that my children and grandchildren are not putting their hope in this world. They are instead preparing and longing for the coming Bridegroom. And if He tarries they will keep their lamps burning bright. They have been taught that their lives are hidden with Christ and that when He appears they will appear with Him.

  1. “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.”

The preaching of the true gospel is not sabotaged by the knowledge that we are at the end of the age and Jesus is coming soon. On the contrary, those who believe that are more likely to pass it on. However, the dominionists[4] have a new spin on Jesus’ words. They believe that “discipling the nations” means Christianizing them from the top down. The great commission will not be fulfilled in their thinking until all the nations are saved and governed by the church and the “New Apostles.” Jesus, on the other hand, said that the gospel would be preached in the entire world and then the end would come – then the kingdom would come. He never expected that the world would obey the Gospel, but only that it would be preached as a witness. He didn’t expect the church to make earth heaven, in fact, He wondered if He would find the faith on the earth at all when He comes.[5] 

  1. “I will not allow any interpretation of the Scriptures that destroys hope for the nations and undermines our command to restore ruined cities.”

 Are you really serious? The message that we are at the end of the age and Jesus is coming soon, destroys the hope of the nations? That’s outrageous! That’s offensive! Jesus is the hope of the nations, not the church. As much as I love the church that Jesus is preparing as His Bride, and pouring out His Spirit on, who in their right mind expects us to sort out the nations? That is not our mission. The ruling comes later. How foolish it is to put one’s hope in the church? How offensive to suggest that the world has more hope with us that they do with the return of Christ? This is very sad, but it is the doctrine of the Dominionists whose stated goal is to rule the church and then the world. That’s why they talk about restoring ruined cities. However, nowhere is the church commanded to restore “ruined cities.” These verses are for Israel. They are the ones who will see their ruined cities restored. Replacement Theology steals all these good promises for the church and leaves all the bad ones for the Jews. This is what Mr. Valotton believes since one can’t espouse Dominion Theology or Preterism without believing in Replacement Theology. It is the foundation for these erroneous beliefs. Nevertheless, with all due respect to him and his dominion buddies, where is the city that the church has restored? After over a hundred years of solid revival and more than twenty years of the “Apostolic Reformation,” where is the city, town, village or enclave that has been taken over or restored by the church? Just a quick check on some statistics will illustrate that there are none (unless of course you include the Vatican). This kind of hype packs conferences and sells books but has no life anywhere else because it is unreal. Does that mean we cannot impact a city or influence a nation? Of course not! But if you want to bring hope to the nations, bring them the gospel and the knowledge of His soon return. 

  1. “I will not embrace an eschatology that changes the nature of a good God.”

 Now we are guilty of changing God’s nature on top of all the other crimes? How can this be? If I believe that the Tribulation is coming, and the Antichrist is going to be revealed, and that the Lord is going to gather all nations to Jerusalem, and shake both the heavens and the earth, I am changing God’s nature? Really? I didn’t know, did you? But wait a minute. Didn’t God say that He would do all these things? So how can I be changing His nature if He was already like that? What Mr. Valotton means is that God is too nice to do these kind of things. However, since He believes that all this stuff happened in the First Century when God poured out all His wrath on Jesus and the Jews, He is not doing that anymore. He is too nice now to shake the world and bring judgement or war. He was once like that (the mean God of the Old Testament) but now He is so nice. But what about all the stuff that still happens? He would likely say that God has nothing to do with any of it since He is no longer in control. He passed the baton to the church and now it’s up to us to take over. Now, who do you think is changing God’s nature?

  1. “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.”

 I’m just going to let Jesus answer this one Himself.

“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. “Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.  For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Mt 24:15-22 

  1. “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.”

 This is so twisted that he is now contradicting himself. But let me tell you why. His logic is twisted because Dominion Theology is twisted. What are the promises he believes that Premillennialists[6] are pushing away? What are we pushing to another time zone? It is the promise to rebuild all the ruined cities and to reign. He doesn’t want that to be pushed to the return of Christ, he wants to enter it now, in this age. And furthermore, he wants to obtain it in his lifetime after scolding us for wanting to take away a legacy from his children and grandchildren. Is our dear brother a tad confused? As they say up north, “You beya!” 

  1. “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.”

 First let me say that I have never advocated, nor do I believe in calling for wrath on cities, but that does not mean that God doesn’t shake or judge nations anymore. We agree, of course, that God will judge every individual. Preterists have to say that to squeak into the Nicene Creed. However, to suggest that the last days are not a time of judgment is delusional. That’s the whole point of the last days. There are perhaps more Bible passages on this than any other theme. But Mr. Valotton won’t allow any other reading other than that of the Dominionists and Preterists, which says the Last Days have come and gone long ago. He has not only changed the nature of God he has also rewritten the Bible. I hope and pray that he and his colleagues in the Dominionist movement wake up before that judgement comes, for the day of the Lord is coming soon. If they don’t, I feel certain that the legacy they are leaving will not be to their liking. Furthermore, I pray that the church will begin to discern the difference between a Biblical view of the End-Times, and the strange theological concoctions dominating the Christian Media. It is time for respected Charismatic and Pentecostal Premillennialists to challenge these claims. Just because the internet is full of Heretic Hunters spewing out vitriol against revivalists, does not give you the right to be silent when you are needed most.

[1] Preterism, simply stated, is the belief that all of the prophecies concerning the last days (Daniel, Matthew 24, Book of Revelation, etc.) were fulfilled in the 1st Century or thereabouts.

[2] Dominion Theology, simply stated, is the belief that the church must take dominion over the earth and usher in the kingdom before Jesus can come.

[3] 1 John 5:19

[4] Those who espouse Dominion Theology.

[5] Luke 18:8

[6] Those who believe that Jesus comes before the Millennium or Reign of Christ.

Find more from PJ Hanley at: understandingbibleprophecy.org

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