"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Mathew 24:36-37
Key verses: Mathew 24; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-3; 5:2; 2 Peter 3:9-11
Key personalities: Christians, those who are paid in Christ's Blood
Timeline: Unknown. The Church is established and grows by the Power of the Holy Spirit and continues until the end.
Real End Times is about the victory Christ brings, giving hope for those who are in Him and fear for those who do not know Him (Rev. 2:13; 19:20-21; 20:10-15). As Christians, we can embrace what will come rather than fearing it! God is the one who is in charge and in control. He has the big picture of the consummation of all humanity and history. He rules all of time and space, all events, and all actions; there is nothing in all of creation outside of His providence! Even in the darkest hours, God is in control. He will win and we who are in Him will be triumphant. ALL of humanity will stand before the Throne, and all will be accountable; judgment for all who ever lived, rewards, condemnation, Heaven, and Hell await, and those who have oppressed His Church and children will be severely judged (Rev.1: 12-16; 4:1-5:14)!
Key Happenings: Jesus Christ is greater than anything and everything!
What will transpire is much about how we are to live here and now rather than about what we think may come. Our purpose is to understand that no matter what we have been through or will go through, God is in control and has our best interests in hand. Therefore, we can trust Him as we see His mighty hand throughout history and also in the future. We learn here on earth, how we are to endure suffering and problems, not escape them, for there is no escape in a sin-infused world. Rather, it is how we discover and grow more from God's work in us regardless of our situation that matters.
- End Times started with the resurrection of Christ and His victory over sin and the permanence of the Holy Spirit. It comes to its consummation and fullness after Christ's Second Coming and Judgment, the anticipated eschatological climax of the events of life, matter, time and space with a new heaven and earth (Isa. 2:11-20; 13:9-13; Joel 1:15; 3:14-21; Amos 5:18-20; Luke 1:68; 1 Thess. 2:1-3; 5:2; 2 Peter 3:9-14; Rev. 21-22).
- God our Savior. Jesus authors and empowers our faith (Phil. 3:20; Heb. 6:18). What we do as Christians is because who He is in us! God has given us a covenant of grace, that we must have, personally, and then we can model it and, if in leadership, teach it to others (1 Tim. 2:3; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4).
- Christ Jesus our hope. Hope is an expression of absolute confidence, and that means Christ is our assurance, He is not a mere wish (1 Tim. 2:5; 4:10; 5:5; 6:17; Tit. 2:13).
- Why did Jesus not know, when He is the omnipresent God? God keeps most of His plans secret for good reason (Deut. 29:29; Zech. 14:6-9). We would become preoccupied with them and miss our purpose for being here on earth. Even the Holy Spirit did not have this knowledge. So, if someone says, "the Holy Spirit told me the day and time," they are either being dishonest or are deluded--to which Matthew 24 attests!
- The main point of these key passages is to tell us not to be discouraged, but remain faithful and vigilant. We are to live our lives as if Christ would be coming tomorrow, and preparing as if He were coming a thousand years from now. We are not to be preoccupied with the details and trivialities. That is why Jesus did not give them to us. Rather, our faith development and steadfastness are far more impacting and real for ourselves and others around us!
Second Coming. The Bible makes it clear, Christ's Second Coming, will happen at any time, where He will return to earth and establish His kingdom and reign (Matt. 19:28; Rev. 20-22). This will happen, as stipulated to us, as a thief in the night. We may not agree what the sequence is and the symbols mean, or if there be a rapture or not; but, we can all agree that when the last days are upon us, it will be clear. We will have at hand unprecedented suffering, evil, and persecutions, and God will pour out His wrath on an evil world while saving those who are in Him. So, be prepared by being obedient and faithful to our Lord (1 Cor. 4:5; 15:51-52; 16:22; Phil. 3:20; 4:5; 1 Thess. 1:10; Heb. 10:37; James 5:7-9; 2 Peter 3:8-15; 1 John 2:28; Rev. 1:1; 22:6)!
The return of Christ is about the importance of our continual spiritual formation. We are given the object of our faith, Christ; as He is the One who gives us our faith, we are to respond back to Him by faith. If we do not know His Word, the Bible, we do not know much about Christ and thus will not grow in Him. If we do not know and grow in Jesus Christ, why would we want His return? Our lives will backslide and fall into apostasy because of our spiritual laziness. Thus, we are given an imperative to take the Christian journey seriously and be faithful to our responsibility. If we turn our backs on Christ, we will be held responsible and receive the natural and supernatural consequences, even judgment. We must persevere in our faith and be encouragers and equippers of one another's faith too, so we all can persevere, no matter what life and Satan throw at us, as we have our High Priest at our side!
The bottom line is that the object of this faithful trust is Christ; our salvation culminates in the Person and Word of Christ.
The Return of Christ shows the world that we are in desperate need for forgiveness and for a Savior to give us mercy and grace. Christ willingly participated in our humanity without compromise and sin, and became the High Priest to not only represent us, but also to pay our debt of sin. He sees our utter exposure before God and covers us by His suffering atonement. The benefit for us is that He can help us--not just in salvation, but also in our daily life of weakness, actions, and thoughts (Psalm 110:4; Mark 12:35-37).
This means to be devoted to and obey God's precepts from His Scriptures. It also means we are called to bring God's Word not only into our lives and the Church, but also into the world--to be His instruments of peace and reconciliation, denoting faithfulness, as in to obey and to fulfill (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 4:7).
How are we to prepare for a Second Coming? By having the right view and that view is, to build our faith and live for Him. It is not about a sequence or a theory of a pre, post, millennium, millennial, rapture, or whatever, because no one knows. Read Jesus' own words in Mathew 24.
Our main call is to Walk or to Live in Him. This means going about the business of God, our service to Him and also by walking in righteousness (Lev. 26:3; Ezek. 36:27) as to regulate your life to behave according to what you believe. It is to know Christ, live for Him, and pursue Christ further beyond our salvation. To abide in His strength and not ours. We are to be obedient and constant with our learning and growth in Christ, so it is the tradition of God empowers us, learning His precepts or living and relating to God, self, and others, not the traditions of men, who deceive us (Mark. 12:38; Rom. 6:4; 8:1; 13:13; 1 Cor. 7:1; 2 Cor. 5:7; 10:3; 12:18; Gal. 5:16-25; 6:16; Eph. 2:10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8-15; Phil. 3:10-18; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 2:12; 4:1, 12; 2 Thess. 3:11; 1 John 1:6-7; 2:6; 2 John 6; 3 John 3-4).
Accepting Christ as Lord and Savior is the primary platform and only entrance to salvation and the practice of Christianity. Our call is to be united with other believers cooperating together as God is the builder; He is the Architect. We are to receive Christ as our foundation and continually adhere to His teachings. We are to remain obedient so we can continue to live and serve in the Kingdom. Life is Christ is much more than just acceptance of the Truth and teaching about Christ; it means that we have to be affected and infused as His saving faith rescues us, and then reach deep in our being so our minds, will, and lives make Christ primary in us (1 Cor. 15:1-5; 1 Thess. 2:13).
We are to live in Christ. This refers to being mentored and discipled in the Truth of Christianity and solid doctrine, and then passing on the message of God to someone else. This is not about tradition or customs or historical theology in a church. This is about receiving the good news of Christ and doing something with it, engaging the Word and Truth and passing it along--paying it forward (1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 3:6; 1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:1).
Our Inheritance is still to come. The portion and rewards received for obedience and faith, for the Christian, it is having God as our God, having Him live in us, our possession of the world to come. We become "joint heirs" (Num. 26:52; 33:51-54; Josh. 14: 1-2; Acts 3:25; Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:29; Titus 3:7; Heb. 6:17; 11:9; 1 Pet. 3:7) of His promises. He is the Light that shines on our lives, on our path. The world is the darkness, we avoid the evil, while we bear the Light by our deeds (Psalm 27:1; Isa. 9:2; 42:6; 49:6; 58:8-10; 60:1).
A Kingdom. This is referring to a community of people under the rule of a king. For us, it is the everlasting reign and Lordship of Christ where we have a personal and eternal relationship with Him (Matt. 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:11).
God's Word is True and no one can do anything to hurt it or break it; it stands on its own and forever. To listen and trust in God is a prime statute in our covenant with God as His people. It is our call and duty to pay attention to God, His precepts in His Word, the Bible, and the leading of the Holy Spirit that will not contradict the principles or character of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12).
Until Christ's return, Satan, and his agents thereof seek to destroy and manipulate us.
Satan wants others to be seduced to put their trust in him, so their eyes are not on God or His ways. He wants his arrogance and pride to be contagious and be fuel for us, and for future Christians. When we seek what we want and forget God, or think we have a chance to do it better or on our own, Satan wins. There is nothing Satan desires more than for us Christians to run our lives, our way, which are really his ways. He wants your church to be run by the will of people, governed by the trends of the day, and swayed by public opinion, where God's Word is kept out of reach or in the dark by overt or just neglected ways.
Take heart! The battle has been won, Satan score is zero; for God, the score is countless. The devil may have his anger and his bag of tricks, but He can't have those who are in Christ. We are given the Blood of the Lamb; we have the backing and His authority to win over Satan's ways and ideas. We can rejoice and live our Christian life fear-free because the devil can't get what we do not give him. So, don't give him anything--not your thoughts, plans, or agendas; let all of you be impressed in Christ and immersed in His Way.
We have to be careful that our interpretation of Scripture is accurate in word and meaning before we make an application to it!
We are never to ignore His words, and we are absolutely never to replace them with ours! It is not about what we think or wish for; it is about His will and His timing! Jesus can come at any time. He is not bound by the limits of our understanding of Eschatology (End Times Theology). He is God, and His timing and control are sovereign! Our age will end and a new age will be birthed and this will be the accumulation of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
The debates as to when and how are irrelevant; what is important is that we know it will occur. We are to be watchful and discerning that people do not deceive us falsely and that we do not give into despair when things get really tough. We are also to make sure we do not become complacent and ignore the signs, or we will be unable to flee them. Stress and tribulation will produce either panic or perseverance; this result can be in your control by surrendering yourself to His control! The possibilities are His also, even when we do not see them! Even in severe tribulation, there is hope--the hope of Christ (Psalm 19:7-14; 97:1-98:9; Rom. 8:28-39)! No matter what will or may happen, God will redeem those who are in Him!
Key Takeaway: Regardless of any charts you have seen or theories you have heard, God does not give us an eschatology that is nice and neat, all wrapped up in a stage-by-stage, play-by-play plan. God tells us everything is going to be OK, and here is My plan. Do not worry or fret over the details, just rely and trust in Me, I will be there!
The theme for the Christians in this age is to learn and to trust, to obey and remain faithful even against all odds, so we can remain spiritually pure and continue to grow. Satan seeks us to worship him; when he can't, he seeks to disrupt us from who we are in Christ. Because Satan does not want us to be a good witness of Christ, he tries to sway us to only see our struggles, be seduced by the ways of the world, to conspire, fight, and gossip amongst ourselves, and to misunderstand or misuse our faith (Rev. 12:11; 14:4; 19:8; 21:9, 22-27).
The Call to the Church? Do not be caught up with the hype of speculations; rather, be caught up with Christ. Do not ignore the veracity of His Second Coming. His Word is explicit; He tells us what we need to know and that is that. It is a tragedy to chase what is fleeting and miss His wonders and Truth! We have nothing to add to His Word and nothing to improve about it. It is us that need to be approved.
Questions to Ponder
- As Scripture tells us, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, so why do many pastors like to come up with dates? What do they end up doing with this?
- Did you know that End Times is about the victory Christ brings? How is this about hope for those who are in Him and fear for those who do not know Him?
- What would happen with all the books on the last days, if the authors actually read the Scriptures and realized what will transpire is much about how we are to live here and now as rather than about what we think may come?
- What does it mean for your faith that God is in control and has our best interests in hand? How does this help us to trust Him?
- What does it mean to you that, God our Savior?
- What does it mean to you that, Christ Jesus our hope?
- How can End Times help you realize the importance of our continual spiritual formation?
- How are we to we to prepare for a Second Coming?
- The study of eschatology is important, but, compared to issues such as prayer, Bible study, who Christ is, basic doctrine, faith development, living in the Spirit, and growing in character and service to our neighbors and people in need, it really is not that important for us to know or to teach! Do you agree or disagree, and why? (It is OK to disagree with non-essential doctrine, as long as we do not divide over it!)
- What happens when we waste our time in the particulars of eschatology? Read the key passages. Why is it; it really is not that important for us to know or to teach!
- What can you do to help your church not be distracted from that which Christ has called?
- What can you do to be careful that our interpretation of Scripture is accurate in word and meaning before we make an application to it?
© 2015 R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org