The End is Near!!
I have been a Christian for over 40 years. When I was first saved, Hal Lindsay’s book The Late, Great Planet Earth was sweeping the Christian community. As a young, ex-hippy musician, this meant that there was no point in planning much for the future because Christ would return shortly. With Israel becoming a nation in 1948, we now knew that within a generation – which we were told was forty years – Christ would rapture His church. Actually, we were told Christ would return in 1988 but would have raptured His church 7 years earlier.
This made for great discussion! We were looking for the antichrist. First it was Henry Kissinger. Then Ronald Reagan. Of course, we didn’t realize that these names were added to a long list of previous candidates who had come and gone.
Some might remember “88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988.” When that failed, the author refigured his calculations and wrote another book that assured us that it would happen in 1989!
Another predictor had been certain that we would see the rapture in 1995. Wrong!! He recalculated and was convinced that it was 2011. Wrong again. Now many are concerned because the Mayan calendar points to December of 2012. Shortly, we will see that this idea is also false.
Then there was the mark of the beast! We heard about a computer in Brussels, Belgium that was going to be used to give us the mark. More recently, some are fearful that we will receive a computer chip that we are all going to have to have implanted to buy and sell. One thing was for certain, we really needed to escape before all this happened! Oh, how awful to be Left Behind!
Studying the history of end time views, I found out something shocking. The view that I had been taught only had a history in the church of about 150 years. I was so shocked by this fact that I began an investigation of whether or not this was true. To my amazement, it was true!
After around 3 years of intense study I began to see my way through the end-time maze. As someone said, “What’s popular is not always right, and what’s right is not always popular.” I have found that to be a very accurate statement.
I, and most of my contemporaries, had been postponing Christ’s reign until His second coming. We had totally failed to see the tremendous victory He accomplished in His first coming, death, burial and resurrection.
When Jesus sat down at His Father’s right hand after His resurrection, the Father granted Him all authority in heaven and on earth. Why do so many believe that Satan, using a human person, is going to take over the world? Satan has been stripped of his authority and is no longer in any sense the ruler of this world. Jesus commissioned His church to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. Note that descriptive term all. That doesn’t leave any that aren’t made disciples. Every nation on earth will have heard the gospel and have those in it who become disciples of our Lord.
Probably one of the most troubling passages for those who accept the popular view is 1 Cor. 15:24, 25
Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
This amazing passage suggests that death will not be destroyed until all (other) enemies are under His feet. Then He will defeat death.
How does that fit with the popular end time scenarios? Frankly, it doesn’t. And it’s not as though this idea is only mentioned in one place in Scripture. It is a reference to the 110th Psalm. This is the most-quoted passage from the Old Testament in the New Testament. You’d almost think the Lord was trying to make a point!
I think it is time we abandoned the whole system of interpretation that much of church has embraced. It produces nothing but fear and abandonment of the culture to the pagans. Before the church embraced these ideas, she thought long-term and was filled with earthly hope. The gospel will triumph! But the fear-filled, short term thinking of the modern church has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We have given away the culture and then said that its decline was fulfilled prophecy!
Jesus instructed us to be salt and light. To invade the culture with men and women who are on assignment from King Jesus and enter every area of the culture with godly wisdom and Kingdom favor.
It’s time to advance, not to retreat!