Earth’s Final Hours?

Is the world in its last days? Probably not, but the western world might very well be, and that’s okay. Before anything can be reborn into something better and more glorious, it has to die first.

I watched the following video and was inspired to write this article.

Many western Christians are convinced we are in the last days before Christ returns. They mostly believe this because of what they see going on in the world today. They believe that current events are fulfilling biblical prophecy before our very eyes. This is called newspaper eisegesis, and it works very well if you want it to, at any point in Christian history too. If you go outside on a cloudy day, and are predetermined to see the likeness of human faces in the clouds, it’s not if you’ll see those faces, rather how quickly you’ll see them (about 30 seconds). This is newspaper eisegesis: If I have a predetermined eschatological narrative, I can take the events of any point in Christian history and plug them into that narrative easily.

I couldn’t resist making my own Smith/Rock meme

Need an antichrist figure? Need a war? Need a pestilence? An economic crisis? Just read a history book. You’ll find an abundance of everything you need. Do you think those living in Constantinople thought they were in the last days as the Muslim armies grew closer? Or perhaps those living in Europe as Hitler expanded his power? Who is the expected antichrist now? Is it still the leader of the EU? No, that doesn’t work anymore. Bush or Obama? Nope. The leader of ISIS? Oh, they’re gone now. Carl Schwab? Almost ten years ago I wrote an article revealing who the antichrist was, and I still agree with what I wrote, and I’m still correct.

Western Christians are probably right to be worried about the end coming though. There are rough times ahead. But let’s not get all doom and gloom about it. Jesus intends on building His kingdom.

The best eschatological passage to be found in the bible is 1 Corinthians 15:20-28…

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He [the Father] puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He [Jesus] must reign till He [the Father] has put all enemies under His [Jesus’] feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He [the Father] has put all things under His [Jesus’] feet.” But when He [the Father] says “all things are put under Him [Jesus],” it is evident that He [the Father] who put all things under Him [Jesus] is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him [Jesus], then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him [the Father] who put all things under Him [Jesus], that God may be all in all.

NKJV

The “he’s” and “hims” can get confusing, so I put what I think are the correct names behind each one.

Notice, Jesus must reign until all His enemies are put under His feet, with the last enemy being death. The resurrection occurs just before the end, when Jesus hands the kingdom over to His Father. So, we know that Jesus will not reign after the resurrection (sorry premillennials), only before. This means Jesus is reigning now. He will continue to reign until all His enemies are put under His feet. Who are His enemies? All those who oppose Him.

The number one sign that we are near the end is when we see that Jesus’s enemies are nearly all put under His feet. Are we seeing this now? I don’t think so. As Christianity is stalling in the west, it is growing in the east and the south. There are far more people living in these areas than in the west. God desires to save all mankind. Why would He stop now?

Recommended books: Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom by Tom Holland; Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright

Related articles: The Pessimistic Paradigm; Take Over the World for the Glory of God; The Three Part Great Commission; Daniel, Olivet, Revelation Notes

The Fallacy of Theodicy

Theodicy: a defence of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil

We ought to reject all attempts at theodicy. God did not need sin, death, and evil to bring about His plan for creation. Sin, death, and evil did happen, but not at God’s command or decree. And, we take comfort in the fact that God hates sin, death, and evil, and He will redeem His creation from it all.

Excerpt from an article written by David B. Hart titled Tsunami and Theodicy….

“Christians often find it hard to adopt the spiritual idiom of the New Testament—to think in terms, that is, of a cosmic struggle between good and evil, of Christ’s triumph over the principalities of this world, of the overthrow of hell. All Christians know, of course, that it is through God’s self-outpouring upon the cross that we are saved, and that we are made able by grace to participate in Christ’s suffering; but this should not obscure that other truth revealed at Easter: that the incarnate God enters ‘this cosmos’ not simply to disclose its immanent rationality, but to break the boundaries of fallen nature asunder, and to refashion creation after its ancient beauty—wherein neither sin nor death had any place. Christian thought has traditionally, of necessity, defined evil as a privation of the good, possessing no essence or nature of its own, a purely parasitic corruption of reality; hence it can have no positive role to play in God’s determination of Himself or purpose for His creatures (even if by economy God can bring good from evil); it can in no way supply any imagined deficiency in God’s or creation’s goodness. Being infinitely sufficient in Himself, God had no need of a passage through sin and death to manifest His glory in His creatures or to join them perfectly to Himself. This is why it is misleading (however soothing it may be) to say that the drama of fall and redemption will make the final state of things more glorious than it might otherwise have been. No less metaphysically incoherent—though immeasurably more vile—is the suggestion that God requires suffering and death to reveal certain of his attributes (capricious cruelty, perhaps? morbid indifference? a twisted sense of humor?). It is precisely sin, suffering, and death that blind us to God’s true nature.”

Read DBH’s full article by clicking here.

The Return of the King

sunrise

In Malachi 3:1-3 we read:

“Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner’s fire
And like launderers’ soap.
He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And purge them as gold and silver,
That they may offer to the Lord
An offering in righteousness.”
(NKJV)

The messenger is John the Baptist, and the “Lord, whom you seek” is Jesus. This prophetic passage was fulfilled when Jesus came to His people and visited the temple 2000 years ago.

Jesus had plenty of warnings of judgement for His people, the Jews, at that time, and He expressed them in parables — see Matthew 21, 25, and Luke 19 for example.

The return of the King isn’t really seen as a happy time, is it? The Lord would return to Zion, but not in the way His people expected, and as a result, there would be resistance (Luke 19:14).

Today, we too are waiting for Jesus to return one day, but this idea of the King being away for a time and returning in wrath and judgment does not really apply anymore does it? I’m not saying there is no more judgement, and I’m not saying there is no more wrath. But, God’s wrath was satisfied in Christ, was it not?

Unlike in the first century, we are not waiting for Jesus to come back to Zion, to establish His kingdom, to pour out wrath, to rebuild the temple — all of that’s been taken care of. And, we the Church, now have full access to God through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was not the founder of a new religion, and His gospel teachings were not primarily teachings on how to be a good Christian — look to the other authors of the New Testament for that.

Jesus’ primary audience, in the four gospels, were the Jews. He was fulfilling Malachi 3:1-3, and proclaiming and warning of the imminent coming of the kingdom and the resulting judgement that would fall on the Jewish people.

When Jesus does return again, He will not be weeping (Luke 19:41-44), rather He will be crying out with joy as He comes to join His faithful people.

Three Viewpoints of Eschatology

For my students…

There are three points of view one can adopt when considering the return of Jesus.

The first is to believe that the world is going to get worse and worse until Jesus comes back, when, He will judge the world and pour out His wrath on sinners. Currently, many people who lean to this viewpoint believe the return of Christ is near. Mostly in the west, where Christianity is being abandoned, will you find people holding this view.

Second, you can say that God already poured out His wrath on sinners two thousand years ago, onto Jesus, and after Jesus rose from the dead we began to live in a new creation, and the world has been getting better and will continue to do so until Christ’s return. People who hold to this view tend to believe that the return of Christ is many years away, possibly thousands of years away.

And third, one can believe that, just like riding a roller coaster, sometimes the world will be good, and sometimes not. Jesus is coming back, but the roller coaster ride won’t end till He does and it won’t indicate when He will.

Technically speaking, the first is called Premillennialism, the second is Postmillennialism, and the third is Amillennialism.

Obviously these are very brief descriptions, and there are variations to each viewpoint.

The term “millennium” is found in Revelation 20, and refers to a thousand year reign of Christ. In the first viewpoint the millennium (taken to be a literal thousand years) comes after Christ’s return and takes place on the earth. With the second viewpoint, the millennium (usually not taken as a literal thousand years) will happen before Christ’s return and will take place on the earth. And in the third, the millennium (not a literal thousand years) is happening now, but in heaven.

Notes for My Students ~ Eschatology

I’m uploading some notes on the book of Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and the book of Revelation here. This is for my students to have easy access to the notes online.

If anyone else stumbles on this post, you are welcome to the notes if you are interested in the subject.

The notes on Daniel are based primarily on James B. Jordan’s commentary The Handwriting on the Wall.

The notes on Revelation are based mainly on James B. Jordan’s Revelation Lectures (which, at the time of this posting [August 22, 2016] are on sale for $40 – down from $175 – on WordMp3.com).

Click below for the notes…

Daniel, Olivet, and Revelation

**Please note: The notes have not been edited for spelling mistakes or other formatting issues.