Is it the End of the World?

Is it the End of the World?

Weary?

posted by jfletcher

One of the common criticisms of the Bible is that it is irrelevant, a human product full of mistakes.

Of course, the reality is, it’s neither of those things. As is discussed in this space—and will be a theme we hammer again and again—Bible prophecy is a jarring proof that Scripture is far ahead of its critics. It is a tremendous source of comfort for the rest of us.

There’s a lot of fear these days. A news report just from today tells us that widespread layoffs of state employees from around the country could commence this summer; many states are broke.

And I read last week that the earthquake that devastated Japan lifted a section of the sea floor measuring 150 miles long and 85 miles wide…and slammed it back down.

Catastrophic things are happening in our world today. But Jesus Christ, far more than a revolutionary philosopher, has told us with certainty that in Him is true peace and rest from the assaults of this life. Here is your homework: read Ezekiel 37, and then contemplate recent history and the return of the Jews to their ancestral land. This is prophecy writ quite large. Gargantuan, in fact.

Next read Matthew 11:28 and reflect on that. As an individual existing on this planet, you should listen to the voice of Jesus.

How does that make you feel?

Earth-shattering Prophecy

posted by jfletcher

When the predicted earthquake didn’t hit Rome on May 11, what did you make of that?

Rome is still there!

Reuters circulated a story about the prediction of the late seismologist Raffaele Bendandi; it is said that he predicted a devastating earthquake would hit Rome on May 11, 2011. In fairness to Bendandi, who died in 1979, it is not clear that he made the prediction.

Evidently others may have embellished.

Rome's Collesium

In any event, Rome had fewer tourists than normal that day.

The whole affair made me think that had I known in time, I would have planned for a Roman holiday (warning: bad joke in your rear-view mirror). I do not put much stock in the predictions of humans, but the predictions of God are another matter.

For example, the Rome earthquake prediction will go the way of typical human prophecies. Yet the predictive prophecy found in the Bible is breathtaking in its detailed fulfillment.

Tyre fishermen spreading out their nets

Take the strange case of Tyre. Mentioned in Ezekiel 26, the description is that the fortress at Tyre (off the coast of modern Lebanon) would one day be demolished. It is even said that it will be just bare rock, where fishermen will spread their nets.

Ezekiel lived in the sixth century B.C. Tyre was indeed demolished a few hundred years later in 332 B.C., when Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army built a causeway to the fortress and destroyed it.

I’ve seen photos of Lebanese fishermen drying their nets exactly as Exeziel said.

Some scholars would say Ezekiel’s prophecy was written after the fact, but the evidence doesn’t fit that scenario. Some people don’t like the idea of a God who can predict the future, so they twist and malign Scripture.

While man’s predictions often fail, God’s never fail. What are we to make of that?

It’s a Date

posted by jfletcher

“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. (Matthew 24:36)

Extremes are often the worst of who we are. In Christendom today, particularly among evangelicals, there is a rather nasty fight going on about eschatology (the study of “last things”). On the one hand are what I call Bible-believing Christians; critics call them Bible literalists, and it is a term of derision. In any event, the Bible-believing Christians—also known as fundamentalists—fervently believe, among other things, that we are living in what the Bible describes as the end of history.

On the other hand, there are those critics…the ones who have a different view of eschatology. This has various schools of thought, but all minimize the Bible’s predictive prophecy. For them, it is either forged history, written after the fact; myth; metaphor; or, in the case of promises to the Jewish people, a boon for the Church. The latter group essentially believes the Church has “replaced” Israel in God’s economy.

For our purposes today, I’d like to briefly discuss “date-setting.” Near my home is a mega-church that might be identified as progressive. Others would classify it as “Emergent.”

The pastor posted a couple days ago on his Facebook page that “fundamentalists” are claiming that the Rapture (the snatching away from Earth of believers by Jesus Christ) will occur on May 21.

One of these extreme groups does in fact get very close to date-setting, or in the case of the May 21st date set by the discredited Harold Camping, actually set a date. The other extreme group loves to lambast all Christians who believe in the end of days, citing such failed prognosticators as Camping.

I believe we are living in the last days, for one primary reason: the re-establishment of the state of Israel. I reject both the date-setters and their vicious critics. It is both wrong to set any date for the Lord’s return, and to ridicule the reality of Bible prophecy.

The Lord Himself told us quite clearly that no man knows the day or hour. That obviously settles Camping’s nonsense. At the same time, He gave us general clues about the time of the end.

In this space, we will have many conversations about those clues. For now, let us consider that there is a balanced way to view “last things.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

posted by jfletcher

Mother’s Day is one of our country’s best holidays; my own mother was a single mother for many years. My wife also did a terrific job alone for some years until we “joined forces.” She is an extraordinary mother.

Although not related directly to the study of Bible prophecy, I would like to point out that in the feedback I get every week from readers, women are perhaps the most astute. It is a myth that Bible prophecy is the domain of older white men. My experience tells me that women of all ages have keen insights into the wonderful topic that has so much relevance for all of us today.

To the women in particular that teach their children the Bible—often alone—I salute each one of you.

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