Recently many of us have responded one way or another toward the latest doomsday scenario.
What has been interesting however is the immense interest the entire world has demonstrated over ‘the end time predictions’. Any time throughout the year it seems at least half of the current movies are ‘entertaining’ us with earthly apocalypse-or invasions from beings from another world or dimension. Books, media, tv shows are filled with segments to capture the fascination that is growing not only in our country, but throughout the world. How else could a ‘simple pastor’ with very limited resources gain worldwide support and attention?
Is it possible that the people are captivated with ‘end times events’ because they are indeed sensing the possibility of monumental worldwide change? Even the most ‘level headed’ individuals cannot deny a certain shift in world events. The Mediterranean coast has been swept away with new government regimes. We cannot escape the fact that earthquakes have hit with greater magnitude and force than ever before. Tornadoes, tsunamis and flooding are again at record levels. There is a ‘continental shift’ taking place, one that is above the subterranean plates. The ‘new world plan’ divides the globe into a unified network of regions at the loss of individual freedoms and national sovereignty. All this was foretold by Jesus and the prophets thousands of years ago (Matt. 24:7-8, Rev. 17 ).
OK-Stop! How can we live a normal life with doomsday talk all around us! Does not the Bible teach the most important part of our journey is to live it passionately-full of joy!
Matt. 22: 37-40 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalms 19:8, Ps. 95:1)
The Word clearly teaches a living relationship with the Lord brings joy, not gloom!
How can the Gods savior to the world teach the greatest treasures in life are those like that of a child’s happiness and also rebuke the religious teachers for not understanding the signs of the end of the age?
Matt. 18:2-4 He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Luke 18:15-17)
Matt. 16:2-3 He replied (to the teachers of he law), “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation…
As Jesus mentions above, I believe the answer lies in ‘the time of day’ we are in. Let’s give an example. Imagine you grew up in a town nestled in the mountains, with beautiful trees surrounding it for miles. The people were friendly and kind-the type of town that taught you the most important lessons in life, how to love one another as God has loved and provided for you and your community. Throughout your life you have had nothing but fond memories of the time spent in your home town.
There was ‘that man’ however on the city council that always talked about doom and gloom-and how to prepare for it. In the case of a fire the entire town could be completely destroyed if we were not prepared and ready. If we did not know how to react to pending disaster, all your loved ones could perish. His mission in life seemed to be to talk about impeding disaster. If truth be told-you understood the drill but really disliked him. Nothing could ever alter your love for your family and friends and the good times you shared. ‘That man’ needed to focus on what was important to most normal people in town!
Then it happened, it started on the east ridge and the swirling winds brought the fire down like thunder. You have heard that such great flames could travel faster than any human could run and come like an explosion. Fear entered your heart knowing your loved ones may not make it to safety. Panic did not completely come over the town however, for they were ready, knowing the nature of the threat and where to go. Swiftly, they all went to the center of town to a shelter ready for them. Seeing your family safely in the shelter-there was a grateful love flowing in your heart-that overshadowed the fear from a disaster that could have taken their lives. You now realized, ‘that man’ that warned us was incredibly important-as valued as any loved ones that had touched your life.
‘That Jesus’ that warned us about evil generations which will turn away from Him and even unite to fight Him (Rev. 16:12-21) is very much the same Jesus that teaches about how important it is to walk in Gods love and to love one another (Matt. 22:37-40). His blessed example to take our sin on the cross so that we may have eternal life through faith in Him(His mission for us) will never lose its significance no matter what condition the world is in.
John 3:16-17“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
There will come a time however when He warns us of a disaster that will indeed destroy the world as we know it. A generation where the vast majority will openly defy His divine sovereignty. He will allow this earthly rebellion to follow evil rulers whose desire is to destroy mankind (John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 2:2, 6:10-20). There will be a tribulation period that will bring – great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. Matt. 24:21-22 At least one third of His Word is prophetic-and hundreds of scriptures are dedicated to warn us of this real threat that will change the world forever (Matt. 24, Lk. 21).
It is true that the important things that are so dear to your heart should never change, even in difficult times. Disaster however brings a change in priority that does not allow you to practice what you treasure in a normal manner. Trials tests what is important to you and causes you to leave behind what has less value. Those that desire truth will cling to the love of God that will increase your compassion for those in your life. (2 Cor. 12:2-10, Phil. 1:12-14, Heb. 5:8-9) Many have asked why God will allow such a great tribulation. Scripture explains when we endure through trials that His love will be magnified in our hearts for eternity.(1 Pet. 1:6-9) Those who have suffered for others know how love grows because it has been tested. (James 1:2-5)
How can we know-What warning is truly From God
It is interesting to note that while studying His Word is beneficial (2 Tim. 2:15, Rom. 12:2), it is never a method for understanding revelation and truth. Spiritual insight (holy truth including revelation about prophecy) is given through the Holy Spirit
Jn. 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Lk. 8: 10 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that…though hearing, they may not understand.’
Prov. 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
In Matt. 24:25, Jesus says he ‘told us ahead of time’ what shall come about. Amos 3:7 states the Lord says He will do nothing without ‘first giving instruction to His prophets’.
If we combine the above scriptures the Lord has given us some simple and important guidelines.
1) Truth comes by revelation from Him-not by diligent study in our own understanding
Jn. 5:39-40 (Jesus talking to the teachers of the law) You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
2) What we need to know about prophecy has been written in the word and Gods true prophets will be instructed on end time events (Jn. 14:26, Amos 3:7). We will know godly prophets by their fruit (works done by the grace of His Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:19-26),their correct teaching from the Bible (2 Tim. 2:15) and the Fear of the Lord-explained next.
3) The fear of the Lord brings in Gods truth to your heart. This step is incredibly important and is the ‘failing factor’ for most ‘in and out of’ the body of Christ!
Jesus says “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” Luke 11:52.
Jesus was taking this verse directly from Ish 33:5-6 The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness…. a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. Also Prov. 1:7
The fear of the Lord is not just acknowledging His existence or even His right to rule our lives. It is crying out to Him and putting every part of our lives at His feet-under His authority. From wanting His will and direction on every aspect of our daily walk , to laying down what ‘we know’ and seeking His truth through His Spirit and Word. It is literally ‘dissecting’ every part of our heart and wanting His will and truths to direct all matters in our life (Psalms 51:6). While we will never reach perfection until we are in heaven (1 Cor. 13:12), we need to earnestly pursue this
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
This takes an enormous amount of work- of seeking His face! (Prov. 8:17). This is what Satan tries to have Christians avoid and this is why Christians disagree about major prophetic truth. The Holy Spirit does not teach opposing truths (John 14:15-31, Amos 3:7, Jerm. 14:15) (see Praying Like Daniel)
While we are all guilty of needing to be more diligent in this area (and thus not point fingers) we must realize the lack of -‘Fear of the Lord’ (being lukewarm) is the major stumbling block for Christians. Simply, this is why one preacher can predict May-21-2011 as judgment day and other preachers will have different ‘days’. They all will have their followers. There will come a time however when the Lord will come back for a ‘radiant church’ , a church who has been tested and truly fears His name! They indeed will know the truth (Jn. 10:25-30).
Eph. 5:27 to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Sorry turned to Joy
The absolute truth about ‘the end of the world’ is that it is totally false. There will be an end however to false religion, abusive governments and sinful deeds that go unpunished. God will rule a world where justice, love and blessing abound. Rev. 21,Ish. 11:6, Ps. 2:8-12, Rev. 2:27.
Joel 2:18-26 Then the LORD will..take pity on his people. The LORD will reply to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations. rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten — and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you;
Our sorrow will indeed be turned to joy
Rev. 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Our acceptance into this kingdom however is dependent on a holiness that has to be equivalent to the Holiness of God (Rom. 3:22-26, 1 Cor. 15:50, 1 Cor. 6:9-10,). He cannot abide with sin (Rev. 21:1-5). This is the most beautiful aspect of Christ sacrifice on the cross. Our ‘bridge’ into this new kingdoms comes not by what we can do-not by our puffed up merits, but by humbly believing what He did for us.
Eph. 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.
When we respond to the Spirits leading and accept His death for our sin on the cross-asking for ‘His Life’ in us…He will rejoice and enter your heart, making you a child of the living God-forever! Not the end of the world but the beginning of a world that will have endless ages of unsurpassed love and joy! (Eph. 3:14-21).
When we humbly cry out to Him for His truth, He will indeed ‘show us the way’ See Finding God.
Jn. 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Matt. 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
God bless you as you pursue His truth….we shall truly rejoice in the God who loved us by both His sacrifice and warnings-to make us ready for Him.