Summary: This is the first of a four part series on the end times
There have been certain events in history that have prompted people to say, I remember where I was when. . . The assassination of JFK was one of those moments, to other folks it may have been the death of Elvis or the Shooting of John Lennon. I was only three when JFK was gunned down, so I don’t have real vivid memories of that event. Even though I was an Elvis fan and enjoyed the Beatles I don’t remember where I was when I heard about their deaths, I do however remember where I was when I heard about Harry Chapin’s death in 1981. And if we were truthful this morning most of us can remember where we were and what we doing on September 11th of last year when we heard the news of the hijackings and terrorist attacks in the US.
It was interesting I was on my way to a gathering of ministers in New Brunswick, my father in law had come with me to visit his cottage and we had picked Greg Hanson up in Aulac where he had been dropped by the shuttle from PEI. We didn’t have the radio on that morning we were listening to CD’s so we missed the news. However we did stop at a restaurant for lunch and then at Bethany Bible College so I could pick up some information on a class I was teaching. Nobody said anything about the events that were unfolding in the US. No one commented on the implications of what was happening. And so we continued on our merry way completely oblivious to the drama happening just across the border. It wasn’t until we reached Saint John and stopped at my sister’s place that my Brother in law commented “Wow that’s really something those planes flying into the world trade and convention centre isn’t it?” I thought that there’d been some tragic accident.
Later in the day, once we arrived at the conference a friend and colleague asked me, “Do you think this could be the beginning of the end times?” To which I replied, “Well that would certainly solve our pension problems wouldn’t it?” To be very frank I do not live in fear of the end times, it’s not something that I worry about, it doesn’t keep me up at night and I don’t read about it constantly. Someone asked me the other day what my thoughts were concerning the end times in relation to the West Nile virus, and I could honestly say I hadn’t really thought of it.
The Left Behind series of novels have become best sellers over the past few years and I have only read the first one and that was out of curiosity. You say “But Denn, don’t you want to know what’s going to happen?” Well, let’s not go there, no let’s go there. You understand people that the Left Behind Series are just novels, they are fiction, and not very good fiction either. I know that’s just personal taste. Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins do not have an inside track on the end times, as surprising as that may seem. They have merely fictionalized what they found in the Bible. If the Left Behind books cause you to become more passionate to see people won to Jesus they are wonderful, however if you are reading them in order to gain more knowledge about the end times you might not end up being the scholar that you hope. And maybe people will be won to Jesus with the books. When I first became a Christian in 1979 there was a movie out called “Thief in the night” and it was a fictionalized vision of what it might be like during the last days. The secret of that movie and the two that followed it was that you’d invite your pre-Christian friends out to church and the movie would scare the hell out of them, literally. Did it work? Sometimes.
I’m no expert on biblical prophesy, but I do believe that we need to look into the scriptures to see just exactly what the Bible says concerning the end times which will either begin or end with the return of Jesus Christ, depending on your theological perspective. Next week we will be looking at the Rapture, that is the event where Christians are taken from this world, and the week after that we will look at the great tribulation and finally on September 28th we’ll look at how the story ends. However we need to start with what these events are indicative of and that is the return of Jesus Christ.
The experts tell us, and we all know what an expert is right? X being the unknown quantity spurt being a drip under pressure. The experts tell us that there are over 1800 references to Christ second coming in the Old Testament alone, and that for every one prophecy concerning the first coming of Christ that there are eight prophecies concerning his second coming. We are also told by the same experts that there are over 300 references about Christ return in the New Testament, or approximately one every 30 verses.