The End of the World is Coming!

Read: 1 Peter 4: 7-11

Yes, at some point in space and time, the end of the world is coming! And it is sooner than it was yesterday. That life and our opportunities are limited; thus… This means we must have the correct end times theory.. We must be pre mill or post mill, or pan mill or rapture ready or…what ever the trend of what is happening now, yada, yada and yada… not!

Now, what does the Bible say we are to do? We Are To Have the Attitude of Christ!

We are to make every effort to represent Christ and make the most of what we are given for His glory. We are to be stewards of all that we have, whether small or great. The better we use our gifts, the Fruit of the Spirit, God’s precepts applied, the more generous He is with us with more gifts, abilities, and opportunities.

So, what does this mean? We are called not to waste our opportunities, but to be diligent and faithful with our call, abilities, and prayer with love and hospitality. Not diligent with a theory that is not even based on God’s Word; rather from some megalomaniac pseudo-Christian. So, do what God has called you to do and do it with passion, truth, and in love!

Look at some key word from this passage: 

“Be judged” refers to that we will all die and be held accountable for what we have done with Jesus’ dying for us. Also, we have to realize that the world will not understand Christ; therefore, it will not understand you (Acts 2:22-24, 36; 3:13-15; 5:30-32; 7:51-53).

“Regard to the Spirit.” We now have spiritual renewal and assurance because Christ has obtained for us victory and triumph over death and sin (Rom. 6:5-9; 1 Cor. 15:25-26).

Pray” is meant to line us up in His will and with His empowerment (Luke 18:1; 1 Cor. 7:5; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 John 5:14-15). 

“Love covers” means that real love continually forgives (Matt. 18:21-22; 1 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 4:32; 1Thess. 4:9-10; 2 Pet. 1:7; 1 John 4:7-11). This means we are to overlook the faults and transgressions of others against us within reason and with love. We are also not to gossip or slander one another (Prov. 10:12; James 5:20)!

“Is Near” refers to the period from the Resurrection of our Lord to His Second coming; this is called the “Last Days.”

This term may get wrong and never bother to look it up in proper source and assume….  “Last Days” is not a time reference, meaning either limited or unlimited time, although it does mean that the longer we go, the less time we have. We can have a week left or another two thousand years. The point here is the End of Days is a period of time and covenant with Christ, and it will be marked by great sufferings.

Head this: No one will be immune; we will all have to give account for our life. Looking forward to the End of Days and Christ’s return is also meant to encourage and influence the attitudes and actions of suffering Christians (John 5:27; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5, 16), therefore, be in serious prayer (Dan. 12:1-2; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 1:20).

What is the point of all this, this key word most miss: “God may be praised.” Here, this means for us to be and have the Attitude of Christ, be good stewards, faithful and fruitful a Christ ambassador, as we are called to live, serve, and do all that we do in life for the honor and glory of our Lord and Savior. This is what echoes in eternity, not vain theories (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; 2 Cor. 5:20; Jude 24-25)!

 

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The Many Rooms of John 14

So, life hurts? Theories of end times have you overwhelmed and confused; perhaps frustrated that what we are discussing goes against many Christian mindsets (because we go to the Bible not to a paradigm)? Remember this, it is not about a view for eschatology, it is about Who and What Christ is doing for us. What is that?… 

          In the science and art of eschatology, there so many variant views, and the pride and the megalomaniac personalities involved, we often forget the Who and the Why of it all. Of course it is all about our Lord and Savior, our Judge and Redeemer, Who is still to come, Who has already paid for us….It is all about Christ as LORD!  

I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life! No one can come to the Father except through Me! 

          If eschatology is important, one must take from what Scripture states plainly, and embrace the wonder of our Lord and not the feebleness of our theory’s so we can get the main point. One of these main points is that when we pass away or He retunes to claim check us, we will enter into eternity. We will dwell in Him for eternity.  

Jesus fourteen tells us that, In Heaven there will be many rooms in My Father’s Home, one made up especially for each of you! I will prepare it personally and at the right time, I will come and get you and you will always be with Me. You will know all about it and how to get there.

The word, Father’s house, means, as one may surmise, Heaven where God’s presence dwells with us, as opposed to Hell where God’s presence is absent. This is our ultimate future hope and residence, our future reward and our current motivation to pursue righteousness. What eschatology must point to. Classically in Judaism, this meant the Temple, God’s dwelling on earth, where God dwelt amongst His people. How Jesus uses this term, it is our ultimate carrot on the stick, our mega reward. He is telling us about our heavenly dwelling place that God prepares for us that no mere human words could ever describe (Ezek. 43:7-9; 44:9-16; 48:11, 35; Luke 16:9; John 8:35; 14:28; Acts 1:10-11; Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 15:16-19; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 2:1).

So what is heaven going to be like? Well, beyond any words or theory could ever explain. But we are given a foretaste.

The key word of many rooms or mansions, means to dwell and remain in God. Heaven is about us being with Christ! This is figurative language because this “non-corporeal” (not a normal flesh and blood human existence) or metaphysical wonder can’t be explained in human language. In addition, “small” does not mean “limiting” here. This is also a fulfillment of the celebration of the “Feast of Booths” that acted in converse to God dwelling in the Temple as people lived in tents to dwell with God (John 2:21; 14:16-23; 15:1-7; 1 Cor. 2:9; 4:5; Col. 3:18-4-1; Rev. 22:12).

What is Christ doing for us? He is preparing a place. Jesus is preparing for us, those He chooses, an eternal home; Heaven.

This is not just a residence; rather proof that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe. He will bring all things to fruition. He brings peace and a future to those in Him. Thus, God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings and we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil. Jesus is not just preparing a place for us in Heaven; He is preparing us by our journey of faith in the here and now too (Isa. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-8)!

This is also what we receive, our reward for all that we have done and endured for Christ and His children and the opportunities He gave us. This is what we look forward to, our dwelling with Christ, and what can also motivate us in the here and now.

My Journey in Eschatology

I firmly believed in the classic dispensational view, a rapture, a seven year tribulation and Millennial reign of Christ. It was fact to me without question and a hill I would die upon—until someone challenged my on it. My very own high school youth group to whom I was teaching Revelation, kept asking me where is that? I do not see it! This does not make sense. And I could not answer their questions. I knew how to study the Bible but I was not using my own tools for Revelation or Matthew chapter twenty-four. Instead, I was relying on my prized possession a 1940’s edition of The Scofield Study Bible I received from one of my mentors, my favorite commentaries, one by Dr. John Walvoord and the other by Frank Gaebelein, not to mention I had also mostly memorized Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth. But I could not defend my positions biblically; I could only quote those who held that view. I just assumed I just did not get it and they did. So I decided to just read the Book of Revelation without reading my views into it, as many of us naturally do. I kept doing this for over ten years. During the same time, I had a run-in with one of my seminary professors about the Rapture who said none of this was biblical. I thought he was crazy; how could it not be biblical? What about all the great people who teach this, such as Ironside, Wiersbe, and Walter Martin to name a few, plus my mentor Ray Steadman who introduced me to Scofield and Darby.

So, I engaged this subject wholeheartedly; I wanted to see for myself. I read all the passages and the books, yet I could not find anything in the Bible where we could get a Rapture view or any declension of that view, or any of the classic dispensational views I thought were fact. In fact, I could not find the popular ideas of others, taught by so many people as dogmatic and even essential doctrine. The passages that are used to support a rapture and a seven year tribulation said nothing to this.

People who I would consider great exegetes and godly men were teaching this; I asked why. Why were they producing so much of these particulars of nonsense?

Perhaps they were just like all of us; maybe they made mistakes at logic or interpretation, or did not do their homework well. Or, maybe they did what I did, just relied on others and my favorite teachers and take it as that. I couldn’t get what many poplar sensationalists were saying either. What most Christians now believe and what I believed at one time was not there in the Bible’s evidence bag. I could not find a seven-year tribulation, an antichrist as a particular person, or a rapture or the Millennial reign that most pastors preach on and the plot lines of many popular Christian Books. I found that you have to read these things into the Bible because it just is not there; all the passages that were claimed were taken out of their context and twisted, and meanings subscribed to them that were not there originally or in reality.

I was upset, mad, and confused that I had missed the point. So I decided to make this a Schaeffer Institute project and then spent over ten years of careful exegetical and inductive analysis of Revelation, Matthew chapter 24 and many other Eschatological passages before I would write on this publicly as I am now. I sought what they clearly said, not what I was taught they said, or what I wanted them to say or what was popular in my theological tradition. Then I took the four main theories and laid them out side by side next to an exegetical and inductive work into the Book of Revelation. I was careful not to read into it any presumptions, leaving it up to you, the reader, to make your own conclusion—the reason it took ten years.

Yes, this was tough and cost me a lot of sleepless nights and struggles and over fifteen years to look at what I thought I already knew so well. This brought me to what real Biblical Eschatology is, to end times from what the Bible clearly speaks on.

Are you captivated by End Times Theories?

Are you a committed Christian or a surrendered Christian?

Are you waiting for the Rapture? Are you concerned about the tribulation, when it will happen, and if you have to go through it or not? Does one theory of end times have you captivated while others make you mad? Is this what fuels your faith? Is this where your time is spent? If so, take a hard look in prayer and at the Scriptures. What is God really calling your focus to be? Look at Galatians chapter five, the Book of James, or any book of the Bible. Read it through, ask inductive questions to the text, and watch your faith grow and your life be transformed by the real indwelling of His Word and Spirit. If you are just fueled by emotional drama and sensationalism, your faith is weak and on a thin bed of ice on a hot day. There is nothing to hold or shape you, nothing to transform you and build faith, character, and spiritual and emotional maturity. Yes, excitement is fun and we do need it from time to time, but real faith is fueled in the crucible of our walk in Him and His work in us. It is not about what the trends are; it is what Jesus Christ is doing in you and your church. Do not be distracted from what true faith and real Christian living is all about!

The main point of Biblical, Exegetical Eschatology is to tell us not to be discouraged, but remain faithful and vigilant. We are to live our lives as if Christ were coming tomorrow, or preparing and planning as if He were coming a thousand years from now. We are not to be preoccupied with the details and trivialities. That is why Jesus did not give them to us. Rather, our faith development and steadfastness are far more impacting and real for ourselves and others around us!

We need to read the Bible so it is more impacting to us and so we can draw out more information for personal edification and teaching. We also have to be careful that our interpretation of Scripture is accurate in word and meaning before we make an application to it! We are never to ignore His words, and absolutely never to replace them with ours! It is not about what we think or wish for; it is about His will and His timing! Jesus can come at any time; He is not bound by the limits of our understanding of Eschatology. He is God, and His timing and control are sovereign!

Revelation and Exegetical Eschatology are about our genuine discipleship and growth in Christ and how He impacts us so we can impact others. In His time, it will be clear without dispute (Acts 1:7). Revelation continues to add to our spiritual growth and faithfulness and encourage the Church through persecutions and the daily stresses of life. What we have to know is plainly what we need to know. We do not need to know what He has not yet revealed, as our duty is to our spiritual formation and the expansion of the Kingdom, not idle speculations and argumentations. The purpose for our lives here is to learn and grow in Him over any theological agenda. What we learn in our preparations is far more valuable than what will come about. To live in a sin-infused world is difficult and we need the Savior and Lord to guide us through it. Our lives, circumstances, and experiences will bring us trials and testing before we learn the lessons we are taught. What we learn from Him will help us be vigorous, victorious, and able to overcome anything life or Satan can throw at us.

Do not be distracted from that to which Christ has called you! Do not waste your time in the particulars of eschatology; it really is not important. Christ commands us to know Him and make Him known, to grow in Him and help others grow, to worship Him and help others worship Him, too. If we spend our time in the debate of eschatology, we will ignore His more vital calls, such as evangelism, discipleship, and our own growth in Him!

The Application of Eschatology?

Is there an Application for Revelation and Biblical Eschatology?

Revelation, as most evangelicals understand it, is about the last days and the judgment of evil, and, for the most part it is. “However,” (a BIG “however,” and a “however” most of us do not like to hear and will rarely study or teach on); Revelation is also about how we are called to lead faithful lives and manage HIS CHURCH! Among the questions we need to ask ourselves are, are we being a “harlot” with His Church? Consider that prostitution is a form of adultery—not just in the sexual sense, but being disloyal to God so we are committing adultery against Him. It is unfaithfulness, and thus corruption and disintegration of our life, faith, and then the family because of the breakdown of the Church resulting in the breakdown of society (Is. 57:3; Jer. 3:8-9; Hos. 2:4; Rev. chaps 1-3; 17:1-5). This is about who you pledge your life to. Is it to your own pride? Or, is it to His Church and the glorification of Christ? Or, do you chase bad trends, sin, and the ways of the world? Are you so concerned with your way of doing things that His Way is pushed aside or skewed? How do you lead your personal life or church? Perhaps you are the “harlot,” or at least acting like it. Consider the struggles of these seven churches and the struggles in your life and church. You may have some prayer and repenting to do! I know I have had to do so, and I will continue to do so!

Remember, if we feed our faith, our doubts and problems will start to starve. If we feed our doubts with sensationalisms and lust, all we will do is distort ourselves from our spiritual formation and in turn, glorify Satan and not Christ!

Real, effectual Eschatology has more to do with spiritual loyalty than about what happens in the future. This makes the question that we all need to ask is to whom and to what are we loyal? Is it fads, trends, and ideas, or is it the precepts of Scripture and the glorification of Christ? Why are Christians so interested in chasing fads? Did you know every theory and prediction of Christ’s return and the patterns of the day leading to His return all have all been wrong?

Some notable Rapture and End Time predictions include the following (From Wikipedia and CRI equip.org):

You can call this, the people of the oops!

· 1792 – Shakers calculated this date

· 1844 – William Miller, founder of the Millerites, predicted the return of Christ would occur on October 22, 1844, revised after an initial prediction for the 1843/1844 Hebrew Year. The failure of Jesus to appear on this date after his followers had sold all their possessions was referred to as The Great Disappointment.

· June 21, 1981- Maupin, a pastor in Tucson, Arizona, wrote a book predicting the date of the Second Coming. His congregation sold all their belongings and went to a hilltop on that day to await the event.

· 1981 – Chuck Smith un-dogmatically predicted that Jesus would likely return by 1981.

· 1982Pat Robertson predicted a few years in advance that the world would end in the fall of 1982.

· 1988 – Publication of 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988, by Edgar C. Whisenant.

· 1988 Hal Lindsey had predicted, in his book “The Late, Great Planet Earth,” that the Rapture was coming in 1988

· 1989 – Publication of The Final Shout: Rapture report 1989, by Edgar Whisenant. More predictions by this author appeared for 1992, 1995, and other years.

· 1992 – Korean group “Mission for the Coming Days” predicted October 28, 1992 as the date for the rapture.

· 1993 – Seven years before the year 2000. The rapture would have to start to allow for seven years of the Tribulation before the Return in 2000. Multiple predictions.

· 1994 – Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles predicted June 9, 1994.

· 1994 – Radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted September 27, 1994.

· 1997 – Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club predicted September 12, 1997.

· 1998 – Marilyn Agee, in The End of the Age, predicted May 31, 1998.

· 1999- Jerry Falwell predicted that the Second Coming would probably be within 10 years

· 1999- Nostradamus predicted that “from the sky will come a great King of Terror” (a lot of Christians were using his writings as proof for a 1999 or 2000 year return of Christ.)

· 2000- Michael Drosnin, author of “The Bible Code,” found a hidden message in the Pentateuch (the first five books in the Bible) that predicts that World War III, involving a worldwide atomic holocaust, will start in 2000 or perhaps 2006.

· 2007- September 13, 2007- Paul Sides predicted that Christ would return, (He is very popular on the internet.)

· 2007- Hal Lindsey (he says currently no longer makes specific predictions about the end of the world). In his revised book The Late Great Planet Earth he did predict the battle of Armageddon in 2000 and the second coming of Christ in 2007

These do not include the countless ones from the TV preacher crowd, cultists, the nuts, and Y2K for the year 2000…

oops….

How Important is Eschatology?

First of all this is not an essential issue, as “Eschatology,” meaning End Times Theology, is debatable and has no real bearing on orthodoxy versus unorthodoxy, unless it is distracting you from the person and work of Christ. Nor is this even an important issue, as God is far more concerned with our faith formation and practice than our debate techniques and quibbling. You can be a good, deep-seated Christian of the Faith whatever view of end times Eschatology to which you subscribe. Thus, if you hold to a Preterist view and your friend is a Futurist, neither of you is engaged in heresy, although one or both of you will be wrong! Just make sure you pray, research, and think the issues through. Most people do not think or research; they just believe by blind faith. Real faith is not blind—either to Christ or to His Word! What is really wrong and distracting to both Christians and especially non-Christians is when we allow our sensationalism to run amok, getting carried away with the latest, captivating trends of popular or Christian culture. Why? Because the future has not happened yet; Christ has not come back yet, thus it is foolish to be dogmatic on any human theory. Our sensationalism will only serve Satan and our scoffers, and not give any glory to Christ! By the way, Christ commanded us not to do this,

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Revelation 22:18-19

To begin this quest, look at the four main views of interpreting Revelation: Futurist, Historicist, Preterist, and Spiritualist; (Revelation! at http://www.churchleadership.org) as each has both merit and deficiencies, all based on human, logical reasoning. All of these views can be found in Revelation if you ignore the contexts and actual word meanings. Thus, all have significant holes that other parts of Revelation, as well as the other Scriptures, contradict. Each of these views is within the scope of orthodoxy and can be debated academically without assault to faith and practice. It is fair to both faith and academics to seek each view, taking what is biblical and merited and rejecting what is not, and still be rationally honest. In fact, this is the best approach to bring to Biblical Eschatology. This is based on how open and honest we can be and how we obey the rules of Scriptural interpretation, especially word meanings and context. Thus, I believe the proper interpretation is not any of these traditional views—specifically or dogmatically. Rather, each one has its good qualities and some of these can be incorporated into the passages where the context and purpose arises.

If Eschatology is confusing to you, be assured that there is no need to adopt or adhere to any particular viewpoint. In addition, none of us should be captivated to any one point.

Understanding Revelation and all of the various theories and perspectives is not that important. These are “debatable points” that I lay out side by side in the Bible Studies series in Revelation. This way, the research is done all you have to do is read His Word and examine the meanings and see the theories. I did this and found none of the theories are good. All that is important is Who Christ is in you and your trust in Him to work it all out!

When we look to Biblical Eschatology, it is best not to come to Matthew 24 and Revelation without a specific view, as each prophecy can have multiple applications, meanings, and fulfillments that can be true. We must come to Revelation and any eschatological passage with patience and humility, seeking dialog and cooperation rather than disagreements and strife, for that is clearly in errs. We are to interpret in light of the historical context and what it meant then. And, for us to think that Revelation meant nothing for 2000 years until our generation came is extremely arrogant and dismissive to the countless Christians who came before us, upon whose shoulders we stand. Biblical Eschatology is for all generations, not just the first century or ours or one to come! Also, we must never seek to be dogmatic with our feeble opinions and limited understandings. The applications in Revelation are for us now, as they were also active in the early Church and will have further meaning and fulfillment in the time to come. Eschatology is not just about the first Christians, nor is it just about what will happen in some distant future. These precepts are for us today, for us to know, for us to use, and for us to deploy deeply in our lives and walk in Christ. What we do know is that Christ is coming back! When Satan will be finally be defeated is not known, but God will comfort and take care of us!