Earthquakes, Wars, natural catastrophes, signs in the heavens above, rumors of war, the whole earth in confusion, leaders calling for a ‘new world’ order, and everyone seems to be against Israel.
Could we really be in the ‘end times’? I hear this question being posed over and over again by Christian friends lately.
When I was younger I was totally convinced that we were in the ‘end times’ and that Jesus would be coming back very soon. I can remember being especially excited over those prospects after reading Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth in 1973. I was convinced at the time and still am that the reestablishment of the Jewish nation of Israel in 1948 was a major end time sign.
Over the next 15 years I read everything that came off the presses having to do with the End Times and Eschatology. PreMil, PostMil, AMil, PreTrib, PostTrib, MidTrib, and PreWrath—I studied it all with as open a mind as I could without letting my brains fall out. In the process I came away with the realization that I could find something missing and sometimes something down right wrong in every book and every eschatological tradition.
If I was forced to pick I would probably lean toward a PreMil-PreWrath approach but most of the time I like to say that I am PanMil and PanTrib—I am going to wait and see how it all ‘pans out’.
Fact is at the end of time when we look back at the final events, every single scripture and prophecy will be completely fulfilled and it won’t be necessary to stretch a thing when it comes to hermeneutics or Bible interpretation.
The only thing that I have studied more than eschatology is hermeneutics and that is why I am super sensitive to the ways many ‘prophecy’ writers run ruff shod over even basic rules of Biblical interpretation.
I have come to believe (and I have stated it before) that when it comes to the end times every single book printed regardless of the tradition has one thing in common—they are all wrong somewhere and lack something. Not only that—if I wrote a book on this subject I would be wrong also on some point or another.
This doesn’t mean that reading books on this subject is a waste of time. Many are valuable and it is important to become conversant with the basic issues and gain an understanding of the possible end time signs. However, I have come to believe that Lord has made it all somewhat cloudy in the scriptures on purpose except for the basic events. The timing and sequence is where there is the greatest disparity between the different traditional schemas.
I have come to believe that the last will be like the first. The last generation will be caught by surprise and be somewhat unprepared for the way the final events happen just like folks were not ready in the first century for a Messiah that came as a poor baby in a stable and went on to become a sacrificing servant cursed and killed on a Roman cross.
Not one ‘prophecy’ teacher in the first century was looking for that sequence of events and a ‘suffering servant’ Messiah. Also I believe that not one prophecy teacher in the end generation will have it completely nailed down either. I do believe however that the reestablishment of ‘prophetical ministry’ in the church will be helpful in preparing many for the events to come.
So, are we really in the end of the ‘end times’? I don’t know, maybe. It sure seems to be stacking up that way!