Is it the End of the World?

Is it the End of the World?

Going up to Jerusalem

posted by jfletcher

The modern air traveler, seated (hopefully) comfortably, isn’t really aware that the plane itself is “whooshing!” through the air. In a plane, you are going really, really fast.

Next week, as I travel to Israel again, the plane can’t get there fast enough for me. Friends ask if I’m afraid to go to the Middle East.

No, I’m not. In fact, I feel safer in Israel than I do at home.

Among the many places I’ll visit is Mishkenot Sha’ananim, a community just outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls. It is an astonishing fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

In Zechariah 2:4, we read that one day, Jerusalem shall be “inhabited as villages without walls.” Of course, 2,500 years ago, that was absurd. Dwelling outside the fortifications of a city offered no protection from bandits, wild animals, and foreign armies.

Yet in 1860, the prophecy was fulfilled when Moses Montefiore provided the funds for dwellings to be built outside the walls of Jerusalem.

The buildings are still there, a stone’s throw from Jaffa Gate.

Critics of the Bible often like to say it’s full of mistakes, contradictions, or that it’s outright myth. Mishkenot Sha’ananim, however, exists. The cold stones of its dwellings gradually warm throughout the day, as the regathered Jewish people pass by, themselves an astonishing fulfillment of prophecy.

Mishkenot Sha’ananim.

I can’t wait to see it again!

Groaning

posted by jfletcher

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Romans 8:22)

On a trip down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon, my guide talked quite a bit about “Mother Earth” and how “she” groans under the weight of man’s abuse of his environment.

I agree with a bit of that, although I worship Father God. In the book of Romans, Paul wrote that the whole creation is groaning under the curse of sin, and he taught that there was an end-game.

I thought of this when the killer tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri, just up the road from where I live. Even one death would have been devastating, but we are hearing about many deaths.

In the book of Isaiah, the Lord promises that one day, He will restore/remake the earth, for a final time. He promises this. I believe him.

The Harold Camping fiasco—in many people’s minds—”harmed” the teaching potential of Bible prophecy enthusiasts. I disagree.

Camping was wrong on an epic scale, and many “predicted” he would be—it was easy to see his downfall coming—but sometimes we forget that the Bible isn’t wrong.

Paul and the other apostles taught, through revelation from the Creator God, that a day was coming in which there would be no more tornadoes, and no more dead children, and no more abuse of the creation.

Because predictive prophecy in the Bible authenticates Scripture, we can be confident that that day is not only coming, but that it is near.

The Darkness

posted by jfletcher

There are all sorts of amazing prophecies in the Bible. Not all of them deal with antichrists and things that go bump in the night. But they do signal a season of darkness before the light dawns.

Among other places in the New Testament, the two letters that bear Peter’s name discuss “false teachers” and departures from the Christian.

Apostasy.

The apostle indicates that both false teachers and their “students” will do so willingly. In particular, 2 Peter 3 has a fascinating discussion of this, revealing to us that in the last days, there will come “scoffers” into the Church, specifically, and that they will first deny the origins accounts of Genesis, then they will, in effect, put up their hands and mockingly ask, “Where is the promise of His [Jesus] coming?”

It doesn’t help Bible prophecy students and teachers today that men like Harold Camping are such bunglers. Because if people were able to see past the Harold Campings of the world, they would see clearly that Peter’s predictions are coming to pass every single day, especially among the liberal wing of the Church—and this includes the evangelical wing of Christendom. It is open season on believers who actually think that Jesus will physically return to Jerusalem, as He told his disciples He would.

One blogger recently said that we must be mindful of believers struggling with the mocking and that we should be “preparing them for the coming post-evangelical darkness.”

That’s interesting; post-evangelical darkness. If you don’t realize that those shadows are already falling, pay attention. Pay attention to the mocking jabs from those in the liberal wing and the so-called “Emergent” crowd.

Be mindful of 2 Peter 3; the scoffers today—within the Church!—are fulfilling the very prophecy they deny.

Isn’t that amazing?

Is Prophecy Relevant?

posted by jfletcher

Recent world events, along with Harold Camping’s spectacular fail, have placed the subject of Bible prophecy squarely in the public square. I don’t remember a time when so many people are talking about “the end of the world.”

Except in the Church. While other religious traditions and even secularists are discussing end-of-the-world scenarios, various Christian leaders seem embarrassed by it. This is probably due to credibility problems among some prophecy teachers, and pastors’ own thirst for affirmation from the world—something Jesus cautioned them about.

I attended a service yesterday, an evangelical church of some size, and the pastor’s sermon was titled, “The End of the World.” He mentioned it in his opening sentence, meandered into other subjects, then wrapped-up by mentioning it again. He recognized the huge amount of press coverage Bible prophecy had been given recently, but he still couldn’t bring himself to actually teach any of it.

It is quite ironic that the Church today (evangelicals have now joined the mainline and Catholic traditions in their disinterest in Bible prophecy) is moving away from prophecy teaching at the very moment it is heating up.

Forget Camping. His failed prediction had nothing at all to do with the Bible.

I will be in Israel next month, and would love to know what your questions are about end-of-the-world events.

I will walk through Jerusalem and meditate on the book of Zechariah, which predicts that at some point, the world will attack Israel. Given the rift between Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama, one wonders why Bible prophecy is so difficult for many to believe.

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