Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless PIII

A look at Mathew 28 as it relates to end Times 

Jesus is risen—He is risen indeed—Hallelujah!  

           Jesus has all authority! He proved this by not only being God, but by being willing to come as a man to this earth and live the life we could not, nor would not do. He overcame our sins and our enemies (John 12:31; 16:33; Rom. 6:1-7; Rev. 1:17-18)! He kept His promise that He made to Adam to redeem us, and then He sent the Comforter to lead us on (Acts. 1:3; 2:24-35; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30-32; 13:33-37)! Jesus is risen. This means He conquered death (Acts 2:24; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:50-58). We too, in Him, will undergo a similar transformation, as we live for Him, forgive in His name, are justified (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:17), and will arise in eternity (John 11:25-26; Rom. 6; Eph. 1:18-2:10; Col. 2:9-15; 3:1-4; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; 1 Pet. 1:3).  

          Without the resurrection, we do not have Christianity—as in saving faith.

We just have some great rules and precepts to live by. Well, so do the Buddhists (1 Cor. 15:1-19)! A dead man, no matter how good and great, cannot save anybody. Buddha has saved no one! The difference is we are transformed, and saved for eternity—not just for here and now (John 10:4; 16:10; 2 Cor. 5:20). We are not called to save souls. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. Rather, we are called to help the “soul bearers” to learn and grow! 

          The people then, as well as now, were confused about the end times and wondered if this was the end of an age or a new beginning.

Jesus did not fit the expectations of the religious leaders or of His disciples. The religious leaders rejected Him. The remaining disciples had to surrender their will to His in order to know who He was and what He was doing in them (John 3:30). We cannot make disciples of others until first we, ourselves, become disciples of Jesus (2 Pet. 1:13)! The disciples bore witness to His call to make disciples of all nations; they were His witnesses and His messengers. What will you do about this today (Acts. 1: 22; 4:2, 10, 33; 2 Cor. 5:20)? The key to implement this is to realize who Jesus is—and His authority! When we have acknowledged His authority, then we can allow His work in us. Then, He can use us in the lives of others. The opportunities and potentials are limitless (Luke 10:17-20; John 15:7; Acts 20:24)!  

Questions to ponder that are more important… 

What can you do to help your church see the veracity of The Great Commission and do a better job of knowing Christ so they can then make Him known? What would your church look like doing this? What would your neighborhood look like? Verses just talking about your favorite end time’s scenario?  

What does Jesus’ statement, all authority, mean to you? How can this get deeper in you so you understand further that He is God, He is all powerful, He is all knowing, and, He is present everywhere? What would that mean to your spiritual walk with Him?  

Jesus tells us He will always be with you. How can this help give you motivation and comfort?  

What does make disciples mean to your church? What has your church done with Christ’s most important call? Why do so few churches and Christians do this? Why is this more important than a ‘correct’ and of course most if not all are not) view of End Times?  

What makes this passage the marching orders for our faith and practice? What have you done? Where are you lacking? What do you need to do?  

Do you believe that if you are committed to your beliefs (those that are not focused on Christ), and refuse to allow the Holy Spirit to convict you, you will remain in your sins and be unsaved? Why, or why not? If so, why?  

What are the barriers that keep you from knowing Christ? If your beliefs were untrue, would you want to know?

 

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Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless PII

When or if someone asks you, “what is more important the Resurrection or the Second Coming,” what would you say? Would it be biblically correct? 

We tend to think that the prime Christian climax is yet to come, a rapture, which will not happen as many people think or the Second Coming which is yet to occur. Yes, the Second Coming will be marvelous beyond expectation or description. But, the prime climax for the Christian, and the Church has already occurred, it is all about Christ, Who He is and What He has done. Thus, the prime climax is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Risen!  

The climax has already come! All of our Lord’s life and mission has reached the culmination.

The history of man, our fallen state, the move of our Lord through history and our lives have interwoven to the finishing point. He lived on our behalf. He has died in our place to absorb God’s wrath and pay our debt of sin; now, He rises back to life, conquering death, and giving us victory and grace for a life of fulfillment and fullness (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal. 5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4)!  

The passage of Matthew 28: 1- 20, contains the ultimate wonder of the universe—the incredible impossible, and the incredible triumph. Jesus was crucified; He died, and was buried. 

The magnitude of Jesus’ resurrection was beyond mere comprehension; without seeing it for themselves, as Thomas asked for and received, many refused to believe. Others truly believed by faith and worshipped Him. For us, although we do not have Jesus physically showing us His hands and feet (John 20:26-28), we do have the Spirit that reveals the truth to us. Jesus said, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20: 29). Jesus did not fit the expectations of the people, the religious leaders, or, the disciples. A total change in worldview had to occur before He could be accepted fully (Phil. 3:1-14). 

This passage has classically been called, “The Great Commission,” as these are the marching orders for our faith and practice! This is also the hallmark passage for evangelism and missions! Consider Jesus’ Statement here, All authority refers to Jesus being fully God, having all omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence; thus, He is the ruler over the entire earth. This is also a reference to Daniel 7:13-14. 

So what is our point, our climax? To ponder theories or move forward in our Christian life?

Our call here, our climax until He returns is simple, Make disciples, that is, take people under our wing and teach them the Scriptures and procedures of the Christian life (Matt. 4:17; Eph. 1:3‑14; 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:18‑2:16; 15:1‑8). (The difference is that rabbis made disciples like themselves, with their traditions and beliefs. We are called to make disciples like Christ, and teach His precepts and ways!) 

We are called to Baptize, this meant conversion and identification; the person was to become identified as a person of faith and as a follower of Christ. It does not presuppose a ritual, but rather a mindset. The physical act of baptism is essential (not for salvation), as it is a public showing of our faith and commitment. The specifics of how and when are not as important as the faith and obedience to follow Christ (Matt. 4:18-19). 

We are called to Teaching, this means to show what is in the Scriptures, how to understand God’s Word, what is God saying to us, and how to live by God’s Word. Personal instruction helps us understand and then apply His precepts into our lives. We are to live for Him and to serve Him. For the rabbi, this meant the Law, Commandments, and the Prophets. Now, it also means the teachings of our Lord. 

All nations refers to Gentiles, as in people who are pagan and not Jewish. Jesus’ dominion is all people in all places. He is not limited to time and space! This means Christianity is to all people, Jew as well as Gentile, beyond traditions and religions, and regardless of ethnicity or birthright. Isaiah also predicted this event (Isa. 42:6; 43:10; 44:8). Christ is cross-cultural; He is for all peoples in all times. Only pride can keep a person from Him! 

Observe. We are called to learn what to believe and to obey. We do this by observing; it is cemented in us by doing! This passage is called “practical holiness.” Jesus calls us to observe (to learn and grow) and then to do it! 

What is Jesus doing? Wilting to come a second time? NO! He tells us in this Matt 28 passage, He tells us that He is….Always be with you. This is the great comfort and hope we have, we have is that the God of the universe, our Creator and Lord, knows us, loves us, and will be with us! This also refers to Jesus being fully God. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God is with us (Matt. 1:23).”

Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless

 

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21:36 

Do you know good pastors who are good at teaching the Bible, but when it comes to end times, they seem to unzip their head, take out their brains and then begin to preach and teach? I know I used to do that, teach my favorite end times theories, until someone challenged me, a high school student who called me out on it and a seminary professor who told me that was not in the Bible. Ouch!

Too many ‘good’ pastors are not honestly seeking real ‘true Truth’ when it comes to eschatology. I am not talking about the faithless and mindless TV preachers and the false teachers and false prophets; rather…well I will not name names… just do not get it. It is unfortunate and fruitless that so many good pastors seem to turn off their brains and not read the Bible, rather read into it theories when it comes to end times, they seek trends and not Him, Christ as LORD!

We need to stop, focus on Christ and His Word not our feeble fruitless ideas!

The point of eschatology and the rapture is that Jesus is coming back! The ‘means’ He uses is not the point, it is that He is coming in His perfect timing, nothing needs to be done or happen first, and it will be more incredible than anyone could ever imagine. We ready ourselves by the growth of our faith not the latest silly ideas or parroting what others say that tickle us.

Focusing on the rapture is like focusing on the mustard on the hotdog while you ignore that you are at the World Series…. Spend all your time arguing about condiments and never taking a look at the game. You miss the main point! It is all about Jesus, His impact in us here and now as we wait by our due diligence to grow in Him and share Him. The timing and details are not given (Matt 24), because they are not important, our faith and fruit are far more important. People who teach and focus on the particular theorems and timing of a rapture or any end times tribulations or an antichrist scenario ignore the main things that Christ has for us. Like a mother with a baby focusing on the fashions of what it should wear and never bothering to feed and care for it (yes some people do that).

Yes we are curious of what and when, it is alluring and fun, but, let’s not lose focus. We have to get the fact it is about God’s love and plan for us. End times is to wake us up on His control, it is not to scare us but excite us, to examine ourselves to see what is in the way and trust in His plan, to not be afraid and embrace Him as LORD! We are to be ready by our faith and our obedience and loyalty not by our theories and complacency to His precepts…

How can I get my church and pastor to get it?

The only thing I seen work is what I am doing (open to any ideas, please post them), have a Inductive Bible study in Revelation and honestly look at the Text and then the 4 views side by side without taking a side and then see what The Word, in context and real word meanings has to say (this is hard, took me 2 years to set up and only 15 people come out a 5,000 member church that I am apart of).

Also, we have exegetical help in the Rapture too, you can do a Bible study, where you do not come to it with a specific view, rather really study and see what God has to say, not what man has to say. If your theory is right it will pan out, if you are mad and do not want to do that, then you are not interested in Truth only your thinking and theorems and how sad that is in the face of our Holy God and Savior!

http://www.intothyword.org/pages.asp?pageid=56857

http://www.intothyword.org/pages.asp?pageid=69539

The barriers? People, especially many pastors because of our pride do not want to be challenged or convicted or seek real Truth only chase trends, because it is easy and no conviction. Why, we can focus on what we want and not bother to really grow in the faith or our character.

Do not be caught up with the “hype” of speculations; rather, be caught up with Christ. Do not ignore the veracity of Eschatology and Revelation. His Word is explicit; He tells us what we need to know and that is that. It is a tragedy to chase what is fleeting and miss His wonders and Truth! We have nothing to add to His Word and nothing to improve about it; rather, it is we who need to be approved.

Be a church leader who follows Christ, seeks His precepts and is suspicious of man’s ideas, but embraces God’s…. Use your brain that God gave, look, observe context, look up words, do not assume, and if it is popular it may be wrong! Do not rest in pride, rather rest in Christ!

 

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….