I must confess, this is the first time I have ever looked at end time theology and it is amazing! Apart from being completely blown away by how little I know the Word, the corona virus has brought with it a fresh eschatological wind by which the Spirit of God has allowed the development of a holy curiosity and a deep stirring to understand the times in which we live. I have never seen the Word this way.
The extent to which God has interwoven the second coming of Jesus Christ throughout Old and New Testament writings is shockingly satisfying and heartwarming. When you see it, you can't ‘unsee’ it. There is just something about sensing the momentous nature of His Story and being able to put your finger on the divine slot in which we find ourselves, as it continues to unfold. There is a peace, a fervency and a blessing to those that dare to dig and feast on the deeper things laid out before us.
From the very first prophecy, The Lord teaches humanity about the end and the climax of those days, the second coming of the Lord. In Genesis chapter 3, verse 15, the Lord speaks of the serpent bruising the heel of the seed of the woman and states He will crush the serpent's head. This may apply to the crucifixion and resurrection, but its completion is the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman and Son of God crushing the head of the offspring of Satan, the man of sin, the anti-Christ.
The Prophet Daniel's vision in Daniel 7 brings Moses' end of Deuteronomy 33 (from verse 26) to life when he wrote down the vision of one 'like a son of man, coming with the clouds" to destroy the enemies of God. This kind of prophetic language literally inundates the Old Testament! One scholar notes that seventeen Old Testament books prominently feature the second coming of Christ and the end of the age with 1,875 references to this glorious and serious season in the Old Testament alone!
No wonder the disciples thought the Messiah was going to lead a military invasion when he appeared, it's because the Old Testament teaches it! The New Testament has some 318 reference to Jesus’ return; that’s one out of every 30 verses. It’s literally unavoidable!
End times instructive
But what exactly is expected of us as believers in relation to the end of the age? The truth is, we aren't just encouraged, but rather admonished to spend time and energy examining the times and watching the seasons. The very last teaching prior to the crucifixion is known as the Olivet Discourse. This is a beautiful and instructive lesson regarding the end times and the second coming of the Lord.
Pre, Post or Mid-Tribulation
Whatever your perspective on the rapture and our glorious gathering to the Lord, in view of biblical support for, and therefore the possibility that believers will face the entire great tribulation, it would be wise for us to prepare for it! If we all will be zapped away before the trouble hits the fan, then we have nothing to lose.
But if Jesus is planning to come after the Great Tribulation, the worst time period the world has ever seen (see Matthew chapter 24, verse 21) and we plan to disappear before it, we would be caught with our emotional and spiritual pants down. Jesus plainly says in Matthew chapter 24, verses 30 and 31 that after the Great Tribulation the Son of Man will appear and gather the saints to Himself. Paul also twins these eschatological events as happening on the same day in 1st Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 16. We must be prepared for the worst!
How do we get prepared?
1. Study, don't sleep
We must be careful to study the Word regarding the end times and examine the times as the olden day Jew watched and examined the fig tree to know the season he was in (in Matthew chapter 24, verse 32). If we sink our heads in the sand, sing ourselves a shallow lullaby and play dumb how will we be prepared? And what excuse will we tell the Lord who through seven different parables in one sitting taught careful and faithful preparation? Jesus clearly encourages us to watch, examine the times and seasons and be ready! This means we cannot run from end time theology.
2. Endure, not escape
We must refine our teaching and understanding of suffering in view of Daniel chapter 7, verse 25; which teaches that for a time, the holy people will be delivered into the hands of the anti-Christ. If we are a flimsy, emotional, prosperity-preaching, victory-only people who have no understanding of God's Sovereignty in relation to difficulties in the life of the believer, how will we stand the difficult days of defeat? Some difficulties are sent by God himself (see James chapter 1, verses 2-4; Philippians chapter 1, verse 29; Philippians chapter 3, verse 10). If our understanding of suffering is immature, we will be easily offended and emotionally shattered in those days. We want to be found loving God passionately not resisting Him offensively.
3. Preach, don't play
In the last days it will be like the days of Noah. We need to prepare ourselves to function like Noah, preaching the Word faithfully and living holy in the face of mockers and men who hate God and the things of God. This is how we need to train our churches and our children.
4. Intimacy not superficiality
The parable of the ten virgins (in Matthew chapter 25, verses 1-13) points to the need to generate the oil of intimacy. To take the time to spend with the Lord in preparation for the end. That is how our lamps will remain burning in the darkest of times. We must slay the contagious superficiality of the age in which we live and pursue the beauty and glory of God with burning hearts.
May we be found faithful in our generation, which may even be the last. And may the Lord look upon us in the end saying "rejoice... for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready" (Revelation chapter 19, verse 7).
Dr. Daniel Thomas is a medical doctor and Christian Advocate who loves the Lord deeply. He currently leads a youth organization called the Love March Movement which is committed to empowering the youth to fight for sexual purity and the family in Jamaica.