The End is Near?

Do you remember last year when Harold Camping sponsored a million dollar billboard campaign to spread his message across America? He thought that the apocalypse would begin on May 21st, 2011 and tried to warn the world. We all had a good laugh about that one didn’t we? I remember people staging pranks with “raptured” peoples clothes laying haphazardly in malls and such. I laughed too because I knew it was sure not to happen on that day because he predicted it, for Jesus has said that no one knows the day or the hour.

An Apology:

As I thought more about this, I also imagine that this episode disillusioned some who bought into his prediction. I want to apologize to you on his behalf for his foolish actions that may have caused a strain on your faith.

I also feel sorry for all the rest of you who mocked him and his prediction. His actions gave you cause to be inoculated to the very vibrant hope of Christ’s coming.

DECEMBER 21st, 2012

Disclaimer: I in no way think that the turn of the Mayan cyclical calendar in any way indicates the end of the world. That is ridiculous and superstitious. I do however think that God has given us plenty of signs that indicate “the end is near” which we all ought to pay attention to.

THE BOOK OF REVELATION

I just finished a sermon series by Adrian Rogers on the book of Revelation. I have a new healthy respect regarding what is coming soon upon the whole world. I am concerned for people who haven’t read the word of God or do not have a respect for God’s word. People are either skeptical or they just don’t believe he is coming anytime soon, yet Jesus says emphatically:

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” (Rev 22:12 NIV)

Do we believe him? Even when it isn’t popular or “cool” to do so?

Skepticism, disbelief, and mockery are the attitudes that the Bible predicts people will have regarding the second coming of Christ and the “end of this world as we know it”.

But, I ask you, isn’t the second coming of Jesus closer now than it ever has been? Shouldn’t we be more expectant and more ready for his return as we see the day approaching?

Yet expectancy seems to be the last thing that I observe among many “believers” I know. Some don’t seem to think he is coming. Many “believers” just don’t believe anymore. Even Jesus is old news. We’ve moved on. Jesus return has become irrelevant and sadly, the person of Jesus himself is no longer relevant in the lives of many who call themselves Christians. (At least this is the impression I get.)

The apostle Peter:

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation…” 2 Peter 3:3-15 NIV

ARE YOU RAPTURE READY?

Yes, I am serious. I can just imagine some reading this who mock the idea of a rapture. It’s all a big joke to those who don’t believe. But Jesus is indeed coming soon! A rapture for faithful believers is also part of the story and it could happen at any moment! The thought crossed my mind that I could be raptured before I was able to finish writing this blog and so I even scheduled this to be published automatically if I wasn’t here to press the publish button.

Remember this song by DC Talk?

Who is the rapture for?

“Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6

I seriously had questioned whether I would have been raptured considering the careless way I had lived and failed to love and submit my heart to Jesus. Every time I lose my wife in a grocery store I think the rapture has happened and I am left. I don’t fear this so much anymore because I’ve come to trust Jesus and he is faithful to his promises.

Is it silly of me to actually believe in the rapture and biblical prophecies? Wouldn’t it rather be silly to not believe? Wouldn’t it be silly and foolish to be among the mockers and scoffers? I tremble at God’s word. I respect it and hold it in high esteem because Jesus did and I trust him.

The Bible has a hundred percent accuracy rating for all the prophecies that have been fulfilled thus far and there is absolutely no reason to doubt that the future prophecies will happen as well. We would be fools to mock and disregard for one more day the certainty of that which will come soon to test the whole world. Instead the only right response is to fall to our knees, humble our hearts, and beg God for mercy. He will give us mercy as we truly repent. You can be sure of that.

We don’t often think what a gift it is to be able to repent. Repentance puts our hearts right with God and we get to part ways with our sin and most of it’s consequences. We won’t always have this opportunity. I wrote more on this here: Repentance.

Jesus tells a story about 10 virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. Five were wise and had oil in their lamps. Five were foolish and had none. The bridegroom came and the five wise were welcomed into the wedding feast while the five foolish lost their opportunity and found themselves shut out from the wedding feast.

No doubt these foolish ones (unprepared believers), that Jesus is referring to, went on to be refined by the tribulation and overcame the enemy “by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11) and were among the saved to come out of the tribulation. Will most in the church end up in this predicament? Jesus seems to indicate it will at least be half of us. If we don’t get our act together and start taking Jesus seriously, we too will be found shut out of the wedding feast and have to endure the tribulation and will likely have to die a martyrs death.

Matthew 24:36-44 (NIV)
The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Well, I’d love to hear your opinion on this topic. What do you think? Let’s dialogue. Leave a comment!

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Categories: Apocalypse | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “The End is Near?

  1. I find it quite difficult to be daily on the watch for Christ’s second coming. It’s just so easy to be distracted by the things of this world and all the worries that follow with life. It is so important to look to the signs and see that it TRULY is NEAR! I’ve had a hard time wrestling with the whole rapture deal. Just from things that I’ve read and sermons about it. I sort of totally canceled it out of my brain, and almost forgot about it. I think I’ve more been preparing myself to bear through the tribulation than for the sweeping up of the faithful. Maybe I’m wrong, but this is how I have brought it to be in my head. If Jesus wants to take me, GREAT! If He wants me to stay for tribulation, well I guess you could say that I’ve prepared my heart to endure. This is how I’ve settled the whole rapture dispute in my life. If anyone thinks that it is very important that we believe in and hope for the rapture, then I would be interested to hear why! I’m also open for dialogue and would like to hear what people think. But yeah, that’s basically my stance. To be ready for anything. Not to place my hope in the rapture entirely, but to prepare for the worst and… well, hope in Jesus to have grace on me and help me to endure anything for His sake. Even the tribulation.

    • Well, those that believe in the rapture don’t pull it out of thin air. However, as relating to the timing of the rapture, the strongest argument I have heard for it being at the begining of the rapture is extremely weak. I have heard a sermon in which they point to the greek word in revelation 4:1 “metenoua” (don’t quote me on that) which means “after this” and then they say, “after what”? And then say, well, after the “Church age” of course (speaking of Revelation 2-3). Which I completely disagree with. It was simply refering to “after the revelation of the messages to the churches”.

      The other passage that comes to mind is in Daniel chapter 9 regarding the last “week” which still remains to be fulfilled?

      The subject for study that relates to all of this is dispensationalism. I used to be extremely skeptical of dispensationalism because there were people I knew who had crazy and unbiblical interpretations of all that dispensationalism meant. They would say that only Pauls letters even related to us as Gentile Christians and that we don’t have to listen to Jesus and the sermon on the mount because that was part of a different age (still the age of law), and other such crazy notions. I believe that so much can be explained by the Holy Spirit indwelling us, not by explaining it away by misusing dispensationalism.

      I used to be very anti dispensational in reaction to these views and would say things like: There are far too many who view all of Scripture through some special “dispensational glasses” (which you can pick up at any Christian junk book store – but you have to ask the clerk at the counter for them because they are black market Christian paraphenalia.)

      Dispensationalism became a more prominent teaching in the mid 1880’s and honestly many of it’s tenents are along the lines of biblical truth.

      Yes, there is truth to most dispensational ideas, but anything taken too far can lead, as it has for some, to being doctrinally borderline if not full blown heretical. It’s kind of like using the word “evolution” to describe everything from micro to macro all with the same word. Micro evolution is of course a scientific fact – changes within species over time – macro evolution is a myth and, as you and I know full well, is a very popular religion these days.

      Dispensationalism can’t explain everything and certianly not the timing of the rapture. There is another cute idea about a biblical wedding feast lasting seven days which coincides nicely with the seven years of tribulation. Which could be true. Who knows? Thanks for making me think and study this further. here is an article I found helpful: http://www.theologicalstudies.org/resource-library/dispensationalism/421-what-is-dispensationalism

  2. It’s just so easy to be distracted by the things of this world and all the worries that follow with life. It is so important to look to the signs and see that it TRULY is NEAR!

    Isn’t that exactly what Jesus warned us not to do? He said we should live our lives in full, and not worry about the end, or what we almost always misinterpret as the signs of the end — because living life is what’s important. We’re to live our lives as if they could end at any moment. But the important thing is to live.

    • Good point Ed. Live life to the full. I’ve been on a quest to do just that. Sometimes it’s hard to find your way. That’s why we need guides/examples of those who are living life to the full – or as Jesus put it, the abundant life.

  3. Pingback: Rapture | Daniel Lovett

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