Monday, November 2, 2015

Contemporary Heretical Eschatology (1 of 4)

A. The Pentecostals

By Protopresbyter Fr. Basil Georgopoulos.
Assistant Professr of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki

Heretical teachings about the Second Coming and the events surrounding it, already are attested from apostolic times. The Apostle Paul in his Second Epistle to Timothy mentions Hymenaeus and Philetus, who taught "that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some" (2 Tim. 2:17-18).

Heretical positions on the Second Coming, with the events preceding or directly associated with it, have spread in our time and are passionately supported by many of the novel heretical parachristian groups.

In the series of articles that follow, we will present some representations of these heretical positions associated with eschatological teachings of various heretical groups. Eschatology is a place where various heretical groups compete, not only in an unprecedented abuse in interpreting passages of Holy Scripture, but also in the spreading of false prophecies.

Pentecostals are considered today the most rapidly growing sect. Unfortunately, heretical views about the End Times are not absent from them, which are distinguished in their chaotic subdivisions. The eschatological structure of Pentecostals includes the following:

1. In opposition to Holy Scripture, which speaks of one universal resurrection of the dead (Matt. 25:32; Jn. 5:28; 2 Cor. 5:10), Pentecostals speak of three distinct resurrections of the dead. One will take place before the Antichrist appears at the so-called Rapture, in which Christ will resurrect those He considers as His own or His deceased saints. The second, after the seven year rule of the Antichrist He will resurrect those killed by the Antichrist and the righteous of all times, to live during the millennial kingdom. And the third will take place after the millennial reign, when He will resurrect the wicked ever since the creation of the world, to be punished in hell.

2. In opposition to Holy Scripture, which speaks of one universal judgement of people, Pentecostals speak of judgements. So, according to their claims, there is one that precedes the Rapture for those who will be caught up before the Antichrist. This is followed by those who will be resurrected after the seven years of the Antichrist. And another will be at the end of the millennial reign.

3. In opposition to Holy Scripture, they refer to four comings of Christ. The first took place during His earthly activity, the second before the appearance of the Antichrist for the Rapture of the Church, the third after the seven years of the Antichrist for the millenial kingdom, and the fourth at the end of the millenial reign.

4. Greek Pentecostals have dealt with the origin of the Antichrist. They made the unlikely anti-scriptural claim that the Antichrist will be Greek! (see the newspaper Christianismos, Sept. 1992, p. 3.)

5. Like all other Pentecostal movements internationally, the Greek Pentecostals have made false prophecies about the End Times. They argued that in the 1990's three events were to take place: a) the Rapture of the Church, b) the coming of the Antichrist and c) World War 3. (see the newspaper Christianismos, Jan. 1, 1991, p. 1, 4.)

Source: Orthodoxs Typos, January 23, 2015. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.