End Times Hysteria

End Times Hysteria

I’ve pretty much just been blogging against mainstream Christianity, and I’m still getting new subscribers somehow, so I guess we’ll just keep going and see what happens!

I grew up in the midst of the Y2K scare, the dot-com bubble bust, the terrorist attacks on September 11, and of course, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ Left Behind book series that fed off of the scary times. The books were entertaining, but I never fully bought into all the theological hype that the end times are going to come with the sudden disappearance of all believers without their clothes, massive world wars, a one world government, alien-like demon creatures, and computer chip implants that will condemn everyone to hell. Just doesn't seem like something God would do -- call me crazy.

Maybe it was the idea that Old Testament prophecies read like the world is ending too. I’m sure anyone living through the fulfillment of those prophecies felt like their world was ending, but looking back at it today in historical context, their fulfillment seems like another footnote in the history books and the world continued on. It always made me wonder if maybe we were not seeing the big picture of the Book of the Revelation to John and missing some contextual reference points.

But like many believers, I didn’t look into it more because I was intimidated by the rapturing pre-post tribulational millennium eschatology futurist theology thingy. I would just focus on the rest of the Bible and let the professionals worry about that complicated theology of Revelation. But that’s ignoring what Revelation says: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” So I recently started to study the end times and discovered many more discrepancies in the usual interpretations.

End Times Confusion

The New Testament apostles were just as convinced that that end times were upon them as the street preachers on the corner are today, some 2,000 years later. Were they mistaken? In Matthew, why did Jesus’ disciples ask him, “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” At this time, the disciples had no idea that Jesus was going to die, much less be resurrected and leave them. How could they then be asking about his return? The must have been talking about something else. And in response, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” But that generation is long gone, and many people are still searching for the fulfillment of Jesus’ words. Much of Revelation hearkens back to Daniel’s vision of the end times. An angel told Daniel, “Seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” But about 600 years later, an angel told John, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” How could 600 years be far off, but 2,000 years later, we’re still waiting for that which is near? The timing just doesn’t add up. But what if I told you there was another explanation that fits shockingly well with the timeline predicted throughout the Bible?

Another Possibility

For me to propose another interpretation of the end times probably seems heretical to some of you. But my view was pretty much the only view until a the alternative futurist view was invented relatively recently, and only as the result of a politically motivated spat between the Catholics and Protestants. The reformers accused the Pope of being the antichrist, the Catholics retorted by saying the end times were a long way off, and now book publishers make hundreds of millions of dollars from the industry of end times hysteria by propagating Christian mythology. But before 1826, most Christian teachers believed the end times passed long ago and most of the prophecies in Revelation had already been fulfilled. So what if my interpretation was not an alternative, but actually the traditional one?

Now, what if there was a historical event that occurred that fulfills Jesus’ prophecy and John’s Revelation of the end times to a tee? I’ve been studying the Bible my entire life, but only recently did I hear about this event and begin to understand its significance to Christianity. I wonder how many other believers don’t know about it! Despite its significance, Christians aren’t taught about this event because it would compromise the house of cards the futurist understanding of the end times is built upon.

This powerful event that Jesus, John, Daniel, and others prophesied about was the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 AD. Seeing this event as the fulfillment of Revelation is far simpler and makes much more sense than the futurist view. When we ignore this event, we miss strong historical proof of how reliable Biblical prophecy is. We misunderstand God’s attitude toward Israel. We misunderstand how God destroyed the Old Covenant, and thus the significance of the New Covenant. We misunderstand the power of the Gospel and the strength of the Kingdom of God. The entire Bible hinges upon this point in history, and if we miss it, we risk misunderstanding so much of what God has to say to us.

The Results of Hysteria

When we believe we’re living in the end times, the enemy has successfully distracted us from the work Jesus has called us to. We’re debating theology, avoiding the antichrist, and obsessing over the mark of the beast when we should be making new disciples! We are suspicious of every new technology, reject world peace, and fear painful persecution. When we are convinced that evil is taking over the world, we suffer from a defeatist mentality. We spread the Gospel expecting persecution rather than victory, and that’s all we get. It’s very hard to fight a war when we believe the Bible prophecies our enemy will prevail before Jesus comes back to save us.

But that is not what the Bible prophecies! Most of the prophecies in Revelation have been fulfilled. The end times of the Old Covenant has already occurred. We are not living in end times, we are living in the reign of Jesus Christ our King! Isaiah prophecies of God’s Kingdom “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.” Evil is being defeated around the world and it will continue to wither as we do our righteous work of expanding God’s Kingdom. We will continue this work until Jesus’ final return when he will judge the dead and resurrect the righteous to eternal life. That is the Kingdom we are fighting for!

Further Reading

There is not room enough in this blog nor brains in my head to detail the significance of the destruction of the Jewish temple. But I urge you to not accept what you’ve heard at face value and look into this yourself. My epiphany came from two amazing books by Dr. Jonathan Welton: Raptureless and The Art of Revelation. The first book can even be downloaded for free here! Both books are available for purchase on Jonathan’s site. I highly recommend them!

I invite you to vent (comment) below.

Comments

  1. Does this author address the Revelation 11:1-13 account of the two witnesses that died and rose, and the earthquake? I'm curious who and when they could have been in this theory.

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