The Rev. Gerald Haug, an author and member of the Assemblies of God, the largest collection of Pentecostal denominations with some 62 million members worldwide, insists in a follow-up interview with The Christian Post that believers have been misled about many End Times events, such as the identity of "the last generation" referenced in the book of Matthew, and what the Bible says about modern-day Israel.
Haug's book, Ortho-Millennialism: Bringing Order to End-Time Chaos, focuses on analyzing the books of the Bible that might offer clues on the timing of the Rapture – and the minister claims his work dispels all speculation and proves with absolute certainty that Jesus will not be returning to Earth for at least another 100 years.
"There is no speculation in my book. It dispels any speculation. What these modern TV preachers talk about is utter nonsense – they are not understanding Revelation correctly. It is all absolutely wrong, it is unbiblical, ungodly, and it is a deception being forced on the church, which is undermining people's faith in God. That's how serious it is," he previously warned of Pre-millennial beliefs.
Haug defines Pre-millennialsm as the most recent and popular Evangelical view of the Bible, which surfaces in the early 1800s through the teachings of John Nelson Darby. A key aspect of this view is Israel – that God has not given up on His chosen people despite unbelief in Jesus as Messiah, and that End Times events will provide one last chance for unbelievers to repent.
According to this view, Haug describes the Rapture as a time when Jesus Christ will return to destroy the anti-Christ, to imprison Satan, and to introduce his millennial reign on Earth, which is believed to be a literal 1,000 years, at some point in which believers will ascend into heaven with Christ while unbelievers will be left on Earth to be judged by God for their sins.
In Chapters six and seven of Ortho-Millennialism, Haug addresses a much-discussed verse in the Bible, Matthew 24:34 (NIV), where in Jesus responds to questions from his disciples about "the sign of [his] coming and of the end of the age" by saying: "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."
The events described in Matthew, which many say unfolds in the modern-day Middle East, have prompted many evangelical Christians, including Joel Rosenberg, a New York Times best-selling author who has extensive experience in Middle East affairs, to issue a warning that biblical end-time events might be on the horizon.
Other Middle East experts in recent times have also warned of the very real possibility of a new war involving Israel soon – including Bill Salus, an author, researcher and lecturer who focuses on the prophetic relevance of current Middle East and world events. He claims that the Rapture, will soon occur – and that Christians today might be living in the last days.
These warnings are largely based on the prospect of war between Iran and Israel, as Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, allegedly continues building weapons of mass destruction despite international pressure to stop its program. Iran insists that its uranium enrichment program is not meant to create weapons, but Israel feels threatened, and concerns are that it may be planning a pre-emptive attack against Iran.
Haug, however, argues that nothing that is happening in the Middle East today relates to the events described in the Bible – because they have already occurred. He produces a detailed breakdown of biblical passages and historical events showing what he believes is how each of Jesus' prophesies have already come to pass, and that his words in Matthew 24:34 can be taken literally – as he was referring to the generation in the first century A.D., Haug insists.
This, according to Haug, means that the Rapture has already happened. By his definition, in fact, the Rapture, as believed by some evangelical Christians to be a time when Jesus will come to take believers into heaven and leave unbelievers on Earth to experience God's judgment, is a wrong understanding. He explains that the word "rapture" is never actually written in the Bible, and the above referenced theory is what evangelical followers have simply been conditioned to believe.
"What people don't understand is what is 'the end of the age,'" Haug told The Christian Post. "My book is very systematic – but most of the Pre-millennial people on the television shows, they are typically not very systematic in their discussion of all of eschatology. If you take things out of context, it is very easy to make any point."
The author insisted that people in America tend to focus only on the practical, and do not like to do any of the heavy-lifting to try and figure out what Scripture means in its original context.
"In my experience, having lived in both Europe and the United States, Pre-millennialism is very popular in America, in the Evangelical church. However, it is less popular in Europe – because Europeans tend to be a bit more thorough in their study. They want to know what is the foundation for any particular metaphysical belief. In America, however, we do not want to be concerned with such details, we want to go straight to the application."
Haug stressed that no matter how much talk there is currently about the Middle East crisis mirroring events in the book Matthew, it is simply falsehood, because those events have already passed.
"They are saying that simply because they are taking verses out of context. Jesus was very specific about which generation these events will happen. People are saying current Middle East events, such as the threat of nuclear-war hovering over Israel from Iran, are mirroring the Bible, but they are not reading it right. The current State of Israel has absolutely nothing to do with the Israel of the Old Testament," he insisted.
Haug added, "People like Joel Rosenberg have been very outspoken and would argue with me on this point. But what happens in the Middle East has no bearing on what the Bible is. This is further evidence by all the false prophesies we have had of who the anti-Christ is – we have had people say it is Henry Kissinger, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, the list goes on.
"The Bible makes it clear that many of these false prophets – who make false predictions about the anti-Christ, should be stoned. They should be punished so that they don't influence others with their false predictions."
Haug claimed that people being deceived by Pre-millennialism views are in danger of adapting a very incorrect understanding of the Gospel.
"The average Christian who just wants to serve God is very confused, because the conservative side tells him these untrue Pre-millennial views, while the liberal side tells him that the Bible can't be trusted. This leads him to a very unhappy Christian life.
"If you look at these TV evangelists, they spend most of their time interpreting the newspaper and trying to make it fit with the Bible – well that's very easy to do, I can also take Scriptures out of context and try to say it applies to this or that. As Hitler said – if you tell a lie a thousand times it becomes the truth."
The Rev. Haug is currently a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God and is active in teaching and discipling international students in the United States, China, and Russia.
In the next report on Ortho-Millennialism: Bringing Order to End-Time Chaos, Haug discusses his views of what precisely happens to believers and unbelievers once they pass away – and when the Second Coming, or Christ's return to Earth, might occur.