Today we are going to off ramp from our Temptation Series and take a look at what the Bible has to say about “The End Times.” For those who may not know what I am referring when I say “The End Times,” let me give you the Cliff Notes overview from a Christian perspective or worldview. You may have also heard of it referred to as the end of time, end of days, last days, final days, or Armageddon. It is a future time-period described in the last book of the Bible called Revelation. John, the last surviving disciple of Jesus Christ was visited on the Island of Patmos by Jesus Himself. He was given a unique glimpse of what future events will come to pass. Within the 22 chapters of this book of prophecy, John is shown some terrifying judgments for the people left behind after the Jesus “raptures” or takes up His Church. People who do not believe in Jesus at the time He returns will go through what is called the Tribulation, a 7 year period of judgement and great suffering. This will precede the second coming of Christ which is spoken about in Chapter 19 of Revelation. In the final battle between good and evil, Jesus will throw down the Antichrist along with his power structure and usher in the Kingdom of God with His Millennial reign (a thousand years of peace.) This doctrine is called “Premillennialism.” Here is a chart I found that is a great visual to help understand the timeline.
Even though we are pausing from the Pitfalls of Temptation, one could say that many of the signs that we are living in the End Times is indicative of the rampant immorality and yielding to carnal desires. So do you think we are living in the End Times? I saw this comic which made me chuckle…
In my teenage years and early 20’s, I was in NYC often whether for recreation or attending college. I have seen people on the street corner and subway station with a sandwich board or sign proclaiming loudly this message that “The end is near!” Many passerby’s, inducing myself avoided eye contact but you have to admit when you turn on the nightly news or check your twitter feed, the similarities are undeniable. Jesus said in Luke 21:8-11 (NLT) in response to His disciples of what will be the signs that the “End Times” are near:
“He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.”
Then He added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.”
Sound familiar? Sounds a lot like that “crazy guy with the sandwich board,” but more importantly it is what CNN is reporting daily. Before you start to think that I have gone off the deep end, I want to assure you that if you call yourself a Christian or Christ follower there is nothing to fear because Jesus will come back and Rapture [or take up] His Church to Heaven before all the terrifying events occur that the Book of Revelation tells of, (see Luke 17:26-35.)
Typically there are two positions that people take towards “End Times” prophecy and reading the Book of Revelation…either they will avoid it at all costs because of fear or because of the complexity. Or they will embrace it and try to learn and understand this elusive book. I fall in the discovery category myself and recently I have been spending a lot of time studying the subject. In full disclosure, I am far from an expert on the subject matter but I have in the course of my walk with God I have listened to great teachings from:
- Kevin Brennan, (my Pastor from our old church in NJ who led me to Christ in 1998.)
- Woodrow Kroll, (the former radio host of “Back to the Bible” and a spiritual giant in my development as a Christian after I was saved.)
- And most recently Jimmy Evans (who you may know from Marriage Today.)
My resurgence in to studying the Book of Revelation was actually fueled by my 13-year-old daughter who asked to read it with her. When I asked her out all the books to read, why Revelation? She responded:
“Because it is a complicated book and I want to understand it!”
At first I was hesitant because I felt unqualified to lead her in the readings but in the end we read it together along with the Charles Stanley Life Principles Study Bible and it was incredible! I am also a firm believer of what Revelation 1:3 (ESV) says:
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”
So if you are fearful or reluctant to read this mysterious book of prophecy, I want to encourage you to start reading it for yourself along with a good study Bible from with a respected teacher. As I have been taking in as much End Times teaching as I can to share with my daughter, I listened to an incredible series from Jimmy Evans who preached from 5 different vantage points that demonstrate how we could very well be living in the End Times. (I have copied the links below if you want to check out for yourself.) As I was listening to one of the messages, Jimmy Evans shared 2 Timothy 3:1-8 (ESV) which talks about the “Godlessness in the Last Days”…
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be
1. lovers of self,
2. lovers of money,
6. disobedient to their parents,
12. without self-control,
14. not loving good,
17. swollen with conceit,
18. lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
19. having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”
I “bulletized” or restructured this passage to go along with the observation Jimmy Evans made about how the Apostle Paul uses (19) different measures of the immorality in the End Times. Jimmy Evans said:
“Why does he use 19? It explains the full spectrum of immorality. Immorality isn’t just about sexuality. Immorality is about our character. And when a person becomes immoral, it affects every fiber of their character. It’s like cancer. Once you become immoral it just goes into every area of your being…Immorality destroys people’s lives.”
2 Timothy was written circa A.D. 66-67, so when you read this list it is quite interesting to see how much our culture, almost 2,000 years after these words were penned, perfectly reflects this passage! Immorality is all about our character and we must be very careful about the compromise we allow into our lives. I wholeheartedly agree that immortality is like a cancer that will eat us away if we do not keep up our defenses. Jimmy Evans broke down these (19) measures into (4) categories:
1. Exultation of Self and Narcissism
2. Rejection of Authority
3. Rejection of Moral Standards
4. Disloyal, Unloving and Verbally Viscous
Before Jesus Christ intersected my life in August 1998, I must confess that many of these categories were true in my life. As I shared with you in the last post ★ Thought for the Day – Avoiding the Consequences of Alcohol and Drugs (Part 2) ★, my life was full of unrighteous behaviors and as we unpack all the pitfalls or traps we can find ourselves from the various temptations that Satan lays out in front of us, every one of them can fall into one of these (4) categories. Psalm 14:1 (ESV) says:
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.”
BUT for those who know they are a sinner and believe in God’s plan of salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus, you will see that there is hope though the restorative work of Jesus in us! This week on the Church calendar is called “Holy Week,” which is the remembrance of all the events that led up to Jesus’ betrayal, suffering, death, burial and resurrection.
It started on:
For the believer this is a special week as we remember the brutal sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross as part of God’s rescue plan for humanity. John 3:16 says:
Praise God that He made a way for us to have eternal life! I love this graphic that illustrates our need perfectly…
The matter is black and white. SIN is the PROBLEM and JESUS is the ANSWER! Our choices, the temptations we decide to indulge in will lead to sin, which then in turn separates us from God. We can try all kinds of things to bridge the gap from doing “good deeds” or trying to be “religious” or deceiving ourselves that we are moral because we haven’t done ______ (fill in the blank) like he/she has. BUT hear me in this; NOTHING can help us cross the divide except faith in Jesus! 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT) says:
“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
All past, present, and future sins that anyone will ever make was paid once one and for all on the cross when Jesus took our place. Every person that will ever call on Jesus is covered by His redemptive blood and is available to anyone who asks (see Ephesians 2:8-9.)
If you are reading this and have never made the choice to follow Jesus, I want to encourage you accept God’s salvation plan through the death and resurrection of His Son. All you need to do is pray to God to receive eternal life. Below is a simple prayer you can pray to start your relationship, the words you say really don’t matter, there is nothing special about them, but the emotion and belief in your heart does.
God take this broken, sinful person and forgive my sins. I want a relationship with you I am in need of a Savior. I believe that Jesus came to die for my sins and that He is the bridge that brings me to eternal life with you forever. Please forgive all my sins. I accept the free gift of eternal life and know that I can never do enough good deeds to earn that salvation. In Jesus Name I pray! Amen!
If you earnestly prayed that prayer, you are a new creation (see Romans 10:9-10 and 2 Corinthians 5:17!) You can contact me at DailyDependence@gmail.com if you have any questions about your new life in Jesus Christ; I would love to discuss your decision more.
Now for those who are believers in Christ and you have the truth in you so the second coming of Jesus should not be something to worry about, nor should reading the book of Revelation be something to fear or dread. As believers in Christ, (including those of you who may have just prayed that prayer to receive Christ…) we will not experience any of the frightening imaginary that John speaks of. I believe it is important to study Bible prophecy because though the cross and resurrection is critical to remember and be thankful for, even more importantly is the fact that Jesus is now on His throne in Heaven making intersection between us and God the Father (see Romans 8:32-34.)
The cross is the emblem for the Christian faith but He’s not on it anymore and ultimately unless we study prophecy we will not know the signs and the times of His Second coming. We must not be ignorant of the future. Revelation 16:15 (NLT) says:
“Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.”
Jesus used similar language in Luke 12:37-40 when He warned everyone to be ready for His Second Coming. The Apostle Paul also described the second coming of Christ as “a thief in night” 1 Thessalonians 5:2. And in 2 Peter 3:10, the Apostle Peter also said the same thing “the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.” The enemy wants you scared but the only people who need to be afraid are those who are not following Jesus. Read the verse again “Blessed are all who are watching for me.” We should all be eager for His return.
Many people question “why do bad things happen to good people” and “why do good things happen to bad people.” The answer…Sin. We live in a broken and fallen world and just like those (19) measures of Godlessness that we read earlier in 2 Timothy, there is without a doubt evil in this world but take heart, judgement is coming for all those who commit unspeakable acts and refusing to repent and turn to God. Revelation 19:11-16 (NKJV) gives a vivid picture of Christ’s return on a White Horse:
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
This imaginary could be disturbing but if you are a believer in Jesus, there is nothing to worry about. I love what Woodrow Kroll said:
“The book of Revelation is a great book of encouragement if you are on the right side. You have to be on the victory side.”
And if you haven’t figured it out yet, the victory side is with Jesus! Revelation 11:15 (ESV) says:
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
Jesus is coming back for all His followers and then will judge the world after the 7 year tribulation has ended. I want to ask one more question for those who still are undecided on whether to accept Jesus as your savior or not…
If you were to die today, would you be ready to meet Jesus? Are you right now ready to stand before Jesus?
I urge you not to wait until it is too late. Like Jimmy Evans, I too believe we are living in the End Times and the last thing you want to do is to delay the decision to follow Christ and be left behind when Jesus returns for His Church!
The Choice is yours, what will you do with this truth you received today?
Today’s post covered a lot of ground so to help you in your development; here are several different resources…
If you would like to read more about God’s restorative power check out:
★ Thought for the Day – But God… ★
Though we are halfway through I made a Holy Week Reading Plan to read in my own devotion time if you would like to follow along with the last week of Jesus’ last week on Earth.
If you want to catch up on our Temptation Series you can check out these
★ Thought for the Day – Avoiding a Whole “LOT” of Trouble ★
★ Thought for the Day – Avoiding the Consequences of Alcohol and Drugs (Part 2) ★
If you would like to study more on the End Times here are the resources that I mentioned earlier:
- Back to the Bible broadcasts from Woodrow Kroll called:
Journey through Revelation
- Sermon series from Jimmy Evans on the End Times called:
Israel at a Tipping Point
Truth at a Tipping Point
Technology at a Tipping Point
Time at a Tipping Point
Morality at a Tipping Point