October 22, 2014

Ebola, ISIS, Gay Marriage, Ferguson and the End Times, Part II

So , if we cannot be certain about the timing of the End Times, what can we be certain of? Well, we can be relatively certain about a few things. What I do know is that when the End Times or the End of the Age comes Jesus said the following about them when asked by the Disciples:

Matthew 24:4-7 ~ Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

Right off the bat Jesus warns of deception. Then he warns of other things. Wars? Check! Rumors of wars? Check! Nation rising against nation? Check! Is this something new? Of course not. It’s been going on since Christ made these statements and even before.

Matthew 24:7-13 ~ There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 

Famines, earthquakes, persecutions, apostasy, false prophets, increased wickedness, hatred, coldness of heart. These things can all be found since the time of Christ. These things are nothing new. Jesus is speaking of sin and human nature here. He is speaking of moral and natural evil. We see the ebb and flow of society. Ironically, we see the cyclical nature of humanity exactly as it is described of Israel in the Old Testament. 


The following verse though leads us a little closer to what we see towards the end of time. Common-sense tells us the Gospel will continue to be spread until the time Jesus returns. Again, it should not be surprising that this would be said. What should be noted is that the entire world has to have heard the Gospel preached to it before the end would come. Are we closer to this than in Jesus’ time? Yes, of course, but that was the intent, wasn’t it? As time elapses, technologies improve and more people will hear.

Matthew 24:14 ~ And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

I could continue Jesus’ Olivet Discourse but I have already began painting a pattern here. The end will be dreadful but those who are in Christ have nothing to fear. The unbelieving masses on the other hand need to get their act together. They should be sweating bullets right about now. We may or may not be in the End Times but what I am sure is that we are definitely getting closer to judgment either as a whole eschatologically or individually in our own deaths.

Yes, there will be signs in the heavens. The question is, “What will the signs be?” Revelation tells us that when Jesus returns, his return will be accompanied with angels and trumpets. For me any other sign in the heavens could more or less be the same as ones people have seen in the past: eclipses, blood moons, comets, meteors, planet alignments, etc. My question is this: Why would we be looking for comets when Jesus said He himself would return. I think we are missing the point of all of this and focusing on the wrong object. In the End Times, Jesus’ presence means the arrival of the Kingdom. 

We will recognize Him, He will not be symbolic, He will be the real deal. Every knee shall bow. That is why the Book of Revelation is not titled “The Book of Revelation of the End Times.” What is the book called? It is called, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”. Does it concern the end of time? Yes. Is that its main focus? No! The main focus is Jesus in His glory!

I see a major disconnect between proper biblical teaching and false teaching in many evangelical circles today. Those that will shanghai the book of Revelation and make it into their own personal foretelling of the “End Times” and use it as a forecasting tool are in error. Although there are some of these elements in Revelation, those that will make this book into tabloid fodder for the “the end is nigh” crowd are in serious jeopardy of misusing this book. By focusing on Revelation's apocalyptic nature they remove the focus off of Jesus Christ and His revealing of Himself in the end of days and fail to focus on the coming Day of the Lord. Revelation is not so much for people like Harold Camping to make absurd predictions, as it is to reveal the Savior’s Second Coming and the salvation and restoration He brings with Him. 

So back to the title of the last two posts.

Ebola, ISIS, severe unrest in the Midwest, etc. Are these the signs of the End Times? Perhaps. Am I oversimplifying the Scripture to make a point? Probably. You really didn't think you were going to get a definitive answer from me about a date, did you? What you will get a definitive answer about is the following thought. The events and the things we see currently happening in the world around us that are unsettling us--are rooted in sin. Many of the incidents and events being perpetrated are being done so by unbelievers (and some unwitting believers). What does the Bible say will happen to those that continue sinning?

Scripture says that they will incur the wrath of God. They will receive judgment one way or another. Judgment outright for an unbelieving sinner's behavior or residual consequences that will always come from sin. Believers might be saved but their sin still produces negative consequences. Regardless, we see the same pattern of God's chosen in the Old Testament, don't we? 

Therefore I believe a lot of what we see in the events both man-made and natural in the world around us are judgment from a sovereign omnipotent God towards sinning man. None are righteous, not one. It is Jesus' righteousness that saves us. In the events around us I see a gradual removal of God's grace which is the only thing that restrains the hand's of the wicked and the unrighteous. This follows the pattern shown in Scripture. It's on the Scripture's pages in black and white. If we believe we are seeing a prophecy unfold now about the future...we should also be seeing a piece of the past. History has a prevalence to repeat itself. It is also why Revelation echoes Daniel and Old Testament prophets in general. All inevitably point to Christ.

The believer has nothing to fear from the End Times. They might have already started, who knows? That is not the main point for the believer. Knowing you are saved in Christ through the Gospel is the main point. Evangelizing people that are not saved is the other important thing for a believer. We still need to live like tomorrow is our last day on earth. Why? It instills a sense of urgency towards the tasks set before us from Jesus like the Great Commission. We should not be pursuing the Great Commission lackadaisically. It should be done like tomorrow is our last chance to save our neighbor, our parent or our child. 

We need to stop getting so wee-wee’d up about exact dates. We need to live like He might come back tomorrow and the rest will fall into place. To be able to live like Jesus returns tomorrow requires us to read the rest of the Bible to determine what that type of living looks like. That requires reading more than Daniel, Revelation. It requires that we read the whole Bible to become more Christ-like!

We’ve seen wars before and they were worse than the ones we see now. The world didn’t end. They were called World War I and World War II. We’ve see Ebola before, and it was called the Spanish Influenza and The Black Plague. We’ve also seen the likes of ISIS, Al-Qaida and Taliban before too, they had names like the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Franks and so on. In truth we've had Muslims beheading people in the Middle East since the time of Islam’s inception which is why it spread so profusely after its commencement. It spread at the point of a sabre. We have seen sexual immorality before too in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. The sexual immorality during these empires was so bad that it included socially acceptable pederasty and/or pedophilia.

The images of today's events and knowledge of them have also become ubiquitous and pervasive. News and ability to access images and videos have become instantaneous and effortless. Decapitated bodies are a button press away on our phones and tablets. Things only seem worse now because we in the States and westernized world have had it good for too long. We have been able to view the sin, perversion and savagery at a distance. 

I suspect that is changing now. It doesn’t mean the end of the world has come. 


As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, there really is nothing new under the sun. Let tomorrow bring what it brings. The truth is that we need to stop trying to figure out exactly what day Jesus is coming back and live like He is already here….because in reality...He already is and always has been. 

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