This is some of the teaching that started to open my eyes to the biblical realities of the millennium.
“You are my son;
today I have become your Father.
Kiss His son, or He will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the LORD’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God (John 3
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1)
When Jesus’s disciples asked him about the signs of the end, and Jesus (2nd) coming, Jesus prefaced His answer with the warning:
“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.”
I’m sure that preface wasn’t insignificant or merely a throw-away line, not was it placed at the beginning of his answer by accident. End time teaching, speculation and prophetic claims are considerably prone to error and therefore we should be extra-wary – making sure we search the scriptures for ourselves, testing everything.
I started my Christian life at a time when “the end times” were a favoured topic, with best selling books devoted to near future events and the imminent fulfilment of end time Bible prophecy. In particular Hal Lindsay’s The Late Great Planet Earth was considered essential reading.
In keeping with Lindsay’s pre-trib. rapture message, I displayed a sticker in my car warning passengers of the danger of the car becoming driverless should the rapture occur during the journey.
The “threat” of an imminent rapture was commonly used in evangelism. Churches would screen a film Like a Thief in the Night and its sequels, showing the scary outcome for those who missed the rapture and were “Left Behind” (as in the popular, more recent, series of novels). It seemed many people could no longer be motivated to faith by a fear of hell, so fear of future events, of God’s wrath upon a post-rapture world were utilised instead.*
But how much of all of that was REALLY in line with biblical accounts of the end time?
Not a lot. That’s what I discovered when I finally took the time to study what scripture itself said, in contrast to what popular Christian media was promoting; or what was so often being preached in the churches I attended.
So much of what was stated as “gospel truth” turned out to be wrong. Henry Kissinger wasn’t the antichrist. The imminent rapture didn’t happen. Life went on and my passengers weren’t left alone in a driverless car. The antichrist’s Europe grew well beyond the beast’s ten kingdoms (and more recently has shown to be prone to imploding).
Most of the speculation that had been heralded as “biblical” has long become out-dated.
Maybe all of that has led to a weariness, instilling a feeling of disillusionment and forcing a reassessment of the importance of the “end times”, where the attitude has caused people to consider:
“Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
And that is the danger of unbiblical teaching. It leads to unbiblical conclusions and expectations and can make us weary of very important matters.
Regarding the end times, maybe more than many other issues, we NEED to be sure our understanding is grounded in the truth of scripture. As mentioned above, Jesus prefaced His prophecies of the end times with a warning: “Watch out that no one deceives you”. And he didn’t leave it there with a solitary statement. The whole section where He details end time events is full of warnings intended top equip the believer to overcome and survive through very difficult times, when it will seem easier to go with the flow instead of standing out from the crowd to proclaim the truth.
* I would argue that fear isn’t necessary the best motivation to get people interested in the gospel – especially fears based on false expectations, such as missing out on a pre-trib rapture.
Biblical Response to the Crisis in the Middle East
From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him
The Lord says to my Lord:
‘Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.’
The Lord will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion, saying,
‘Rule in the midst of your enemies!’
Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendour,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.
The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest for ever,
in the order of Melchizedek.’
The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook along the way;
and so he will lift his head high.
Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”