I guess from the world’s perspective I am pretty crazy.
I believe that Jesus Christ is coming back in the clouds to snatch away His bride, the church.
I believe that a time of intense tribulation is coming on the earth in which a false world leader, speaking words of peace and love, will deceive the world and eventually demand total allegiance and worship of himself.
I believe that Jesus Christ will end this time of tribulation by coming back to the earth to destroy this false leader and his followers, to rid the world of evil, to rescue His people, and to usher in the true kingdom of peace, righteousness, and love.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
But it also seems real. Something inside of us longs for peace on this earth…for meaning in this life…for justice to prevail…for hope beyond the grave.
Deep down what we are all longing for is the kingdom of God, an earthly paradise, the echo of the Garden of Eden that is still in our hearts.
The big question is, “Do we believe the governments of the world will bring about this utopia or do we believe that only God can do so?”
Is it the kingdom of man or the kingdom of God?
Is it brought about through the most powerful military or the All-Powerful Messiah?
We are part of a grand story moving toward a climax and that climax is the rule of Jesus Christ on the earth.
Of course, the order of end-time events that I mentioned above is open to debate. There are Bible-believing Christians who have a different understanding of eschatology (i.e., the study of last things in the Bible). But orthodox Christian belief has always understood that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge the earth and resurrect the dead, some to eternal life and some to eternal condemnation.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered and was buried.
The third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end. (The Nicene Creed, AD 325)
So how do we live in the light of this truth?
That seems to be one of the challenges in the church today.
Those who hold to a dispensational, premillennial eschatology (like I do) can easily drift into constant end-times speculation, “prophetic” pronouncements, date-setting, and “newspaper exegesis” (always looking for signs of the end in every major headline).
I often say, somewhat jokingly, that “all the nutcakes seem to be in our camp.”
But let’s face it, we are all interested in the future. We want to know what is going to happen down the road. That’s why we run after weather forecasts, sports predictions, political projections, economic prognostications, and, for some people, even horoscopes and fortune tellers.
Thus, the market for “prophets”–of both the secular and religious types–is always a potentially lucrative occupation.
This is where wisdom, discernment, and good ol’ common sense need to prevail.
The Bible gives us enough hints of the future to give us confidence as we face tomorrow but it does not reveal the full picture. This partial portrait of prophecy keeps us humble, prevents us from thinking we have it all figured out, and reminds us to live for Christ in the present, walking by faith each day.
Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Thus, when the Bible talks about the end times, it almost always mentions the word “sober-minded.”
- Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
- Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:12b-13)
- Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. (1 Peter 1:13)
- The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7)
- In view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge…keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1b, 5)
I like that last translation: “Keep your head in all situations.”
In other words, don’t get crazy. Don’t go off the deep end. Don’t panic and start running after wild speculations and prophetic pronouncements that some well-dressed dude on YouTube starts spouting.
Keep your head.
Check the fruit.
Know the Word.
If they claim to be prophets for God, then the standard is 100% accuracy (Deuteronomy 18:22).
If they claim to be prophets for God, then their lives should exhibit the humility of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
If they claim to be prophets for God, then their message must align with the revealed Word of God and put the focus on Jesus Christ (Jude 3-21).
The Bible warns that the last days will be filled with false prophets and increasing deception (Matthew 24:11; 2 Timothy 3:1-17).
We are seeing that happening.
Never has deception been so rampant.
Never has the world been so set up for a one-world government, for a false peace, for a globalistic agenda, for a worldwide war and nuclear holocaust that could bring about some of the cataclysmic scenes in Revelation.
As someone has said, “This may not be the end of the world but it sure does seem like the world of the end.”
The time seems to be at hand.
But we still do not know.
Thus, we live like Peter instructed us to live in the end times. It is the kind of life that we are called to live regardless of whether Christ comes back today or in the next 100 years.
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:7-10)
Open up your hands, your home, and your life.
And serve others with the gifts that God has given you.
Or to put it in the opposite terms…
Don’t be deceived.
Don’t go crazy.
Don’t hoard your stuff.
And don’t isolate your life from others.
Keep your eyes on the skies.
But keep your head at all times.
If the world thinks that you are crazy, let it be because your hope is in Christ alone.