Is it the End of the World?

I just returned from a terrific Christian conference, Future Congress ( This was a gathering of conservative Christian thinkers, including several who teach Bible prophecy.

Although some in the Church refer to us as espousing “escapist eschatology,” I find that conservative commentators who believe in the validity of Bible prophecy are quite lucid and articulate.

I also know that in general, conservative Christians do not utilize new media as effectively as more…liberal commentators, speakers and writers. That’s why I was thrilled to see Bible prophecy “guru” Terry James (who is blind) using PowerPoint! Terrific!

I’ll write more about it later, but again, this gathering was significant and wonderful.

Terry James speaking at Future Congress

Speaking on the subject of Bible prophecy in a church last night, I was reminded again that Bible-believing Christians are not the bumpkins their critics make them out to be. There was a lively and sophisticated set of questions for me after the talk. Truly, Bible-believing Christians to do not “check their brains at the door” as certain evangelical commentators like Mark Noll allege.

It is possible to believe that the Bible is exactly what it appears to be…and be intelligent.

My overall theme last night was that since I am often asked what is the greatest sign we are living in the last days of world history, my answer is of course, “Israel.” This evidence is huge, very visible, and ubiquitous in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament.

As I talked with the people in the audience last night, I was reminded of the wonderful comedy team of Laurel & Hardy. Stan was known for saying inane things and the slightly smarter Babe Hardy would then affirm his dumb, lovable friend.

Once, Stan made the statement, “You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.” The line is so funny, I think of it often and laugh every time.

For the critics of the Bible—particularly Bible prophecy—those of us who believe in it and teach it are Stan Laurel. Dim-witted.

Ironically, our fiercest critics are in the Church. In fact, secularists or those from other religions are often quite curious about Bible prophecy and open-minded.

Bible-believers do not reject “careful thinking.” They are not Stan Laurel’s character.

That is a false charge.

Take for example the intensifying pressure on Israel, from the international community. This precise scenario is predicted in the Old Testament, in the context of the last days. Over and over. It is what we see going on right now. Remember: what we read in the Bible is what we see in the real world.

As more and more prophecy is fulfilled, who is it that has really checked a brain at the door?

Prophecy students and teachers are not Stan Laurel’s famous bumbling character. They are more like Stan Laurel himself: a sophisticated, gifted, smart man who understood human nature.

I attended my 30th class reunion this past weekend. It was just down the street from an old army surplus store that I used to frequent with my father; it was one of our hobbies—cruising junk stores.

Dad has been gone for 30 years, so it was somewhat like closing a circle.

Walking back to the hotel in the muggy night air, I thought about him, my old classmates, and everything in-between. As usual, a biblical theme came to mind, this time my favorite: God’s promises from Bible prophecy.

This is what the liberal critics (within the Church) are missing. They are so anxious to trim the supernatural out of the Bible (like Thomas Jefferson), they throw the baby out with the swimming pool. Or the ocean.

In the books of Isaiah and Revelation, in particular, God promises that in the end, He will make everything new. He will restore the universe to its original state. Among the benefits will be wonderful reunions with loved ones who have gone on before us.

At my class reunion, not surprisingly, I was somewhat taken aback by the aging process—me included. This is “natural” in our world. Hair goes gray, skin loosens, teeth are discolored and worn.

But God has literally promised that one day, known now only to Him, He will remake everything. That is a promise and a prophecy. I don’t believe it is pie-in-the-sky or some esoteric sacred writings and ramblings. It is real-life. Tangible. Future.

Then, the very best reunions will take place. We will all be in full-flower, full of joy. It’s coming, this reunion. This permanent makeover.

If all this makes me a fundamentalist nut, then thank you. I embrace it. Lash myself to it. God’s Word is sure; He said that He keeps His Word (Isaiah 46).

I need it, long for it, hope for it, expect it. So do many of us.

It’s coming.

The announcement today that Glenn Beck’s previously announced, weird event at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, has been moved due to security concerns…is weird. But welcome.

Why the popular populist announced in the first place that he’d hold a pro Israel rally at the highly sensitive site is beyond me. I’ve been there three times, but it’s just as likely that I would never have been able to ascend to the place holy to three faiths. The Temple Mount—Haram al-Sharif to Muslims—is I believe the greatest flashpoint in our world today.

After Israel took Jerusalem’s Old City in June, 1967, Moshe Dayan gave the keys back to the Arabs the next day. Why? He said he didn’t want to ignite World War III; not a small number of Israelis wanted to immediately begin rebuilding the Temple.

Periodically, a crazy or two will “try something,” although the Israeli police and army do a good job protecting the 35-acre compound. The Palestinian wakf is officially in charge, and Muslims can generally visit when they want. Not so for Christians and Jews (although few Jews visit the area, for various reasons. Some feel they will walk over the area of the Temple’s “holy of holies” and thus desecrate the spot).

For these reasons, it is hard to understand what Beck wanted to accomplish with his pro Israel rally. He has said the event will take place somewhere else in Jerusalem. Great; another security headache for the Israeli police.

Let me make some suggestions for the former FOX television host. How about a tour of Yad Vashem? A tour of Mt. Herzl, the military cemetery. Perhaps a cup of coffee at the American Colony Hotel. Or a dip in the pool at the fabled King David Hotel.

Visit the Mount of Olives. Masada. The Galilee.

But don’t stupidly announce a shindig at the Temple Mount. Pay attention to where you are. Show some understanding. I’m all for pro Israel rallies, and perhaps someday our generation will indeed go up to Jerusalem and visit the Temple.

Until, though

Jerusalem's Temple Mount, facing the Al-Aksa Mosque

, someone smarter than us comes up with a solution for the conflict, TV ratings-hounds add to the problem.