Author: 24 Hot Potatoes in the Church Today
It is indeed amazing how few churches teach or preach on the end times. Yet, many church goers and unchurched ask questions about it, especially now, as we see the chaos and frightening events taking place increasingly around us.
According to write-ups on the question of why most churches don’t talk about the end times, there are diversified reasons given. Some churches don’t take the Bible literally, particularly on the topics of prophecies and end-times. Some feel the book of Revelation is a mere allegory and therefore not a subject of belief. Others may have ministers who lack the training and education in that area and do not take the time to expand their knowledge on their own. Many have been turned off by the date setters and sensationalists. But there is another reason.
Underneath all of the diverse reasons why the church does not talk about the end times, ultimately the real reason is because of fear. Fear of offending people, because there is so much division as to the exact interpretation and understanding. Fear of dividing the church and creating arguments among the congregation. Fear of showing their lack of knowledge on the subject. Fear of the political correctness that has reached up to the church in these last days.
The various understandings never fail to raise contentions when discussions are attempted, so it seems best to leave it alone. For example, the rapture (pre-, mid- and post-), the millennium (pre-, post- a-), the representation of the woman of Revelation 17, the mystery of Babylon, the one-hundred and forty-four sealed servants, the two witnesses, and so much more.
It is said that the most neglected book in the Bible is the book of Revelation. It is often regarded as a difficult and complex book to understand. Yet it is so important that God has attached to it a special blessing for those who read, hear and keep the things that are written therein. (Revelation 1:3).
And yet again, the first three chapters are most informative and simple to understand. The next chapters, four to eighteen, are the more complex, where the unfolding of the dealings of God on earth takes place, but one can skip over this temporarily to the rest of the chapters and read about the glorious victory that is to come.
Rather than focus on the parts of doom and gloom and tribulation, we need to look at the book of Revelation as a book of hope. For the Bible tells us to be “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)
It is a book of power, throne, and victory and kingdom on earth for both Christ and His Church. His Church being not religions or denominations, but all those who believe in Him.
It would be ashamed to miss out on the most important book for the time we are living in now. We are living in the book of the end times. Everything else in the Word of God is in the past – except of course for the letters on how we should live as Christians. Of course we still need to read the past and understand that the Old Testament is history moving forward to the work of Christ on the cross for the redemption of the world through the grace and mercy of God.
Then we need to know that the death of Christ (God who came in the flesh) brought personal Salvation to each and every human being – that includes you and me – which we only need to accept and receive through repentance. We need to know and understand all that, but ‘now is the future’.
The part of the book of Revelation that is the hardest to read and understand is such because we are seeing it being revealed as we speak. We’re not quite at the end yet. And it is only as we read it week by week, month by month, that our eyes are opened to clearer vision. Nobody can claim to understand everything about it yet.
There are prophecies throughout the Word of God that lead into the last book of the end times. It is helpful to read within the books of the major and minor prophets in the Old Testament, where we see history repeating itself. The book of Daniel expands directly into Revelation. In the New Testament, Jesus gives us a good summary of things to come in Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13 and Luke chapter 21.
There is much in the Word of God that the church can use creatively to weave into Sunday sermons, to guide the sceptic, and satisfy the longing of both the beginner and the more advanced.
All sixty-six books/letters in the Word of God work together. Some places are harder than others to grasp. But, the Bible interprets itself through reading and re-reading. It has been said that the Bible does not need re-writing, it needs re-reading.
There is no limit to the time we need to spend in the Word of God in order to get it all. Even a lifetime is not enough, because as we familiarize ourselves and connect the dots of each of the passages of scriptures, we find new riches to be applied to the times we now live in.
Surprisingly, most people are eager to learn about the end times. They only need their pastors to give them the Word of God. At the very least, the church needs to guide people to do their own study of the subject by providing reading and study material from reputable sources, rather than leaving it up to them to obtain the wrong teaching from unconventional self-made or false teachers on the internet. Christians and non-Christians should be encouraged to attend regular group Bible studies facilitated by qualified teachers. And the pastor of the church should participate in them all.
For those who have fear of the things to come, Jesus says, “Fear not”. He gave the revelation of the end times to show to his servants the things that must come shortly to pass (Rev.1:1). The church must be ready for the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ as the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. The nations must be ready. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 - KJV)
There is nothing more effective to build the faith of the church then seeing the prophesies that have been fulfilled. As the Word of God says, one does not know a prophecy is true until it has come to past (Jeremiah 28:9). When we see that God’s prophecies are true, we can be certain that those that have not yet come to past will do so as declared by the Word of God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” “But how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:17 and 15). (Scripture quotations are from the King James Version).