I don’t know how many of your recall the book entitled “The Late Great Planet Earth” that was authored by Hal Lindsey back in the 1970’s but I recall the sensation it became quite vividly, especially in the Evangelical Christian circles that I frequented.
That’s almost 50 years ago. In the book, Hal Lindsey compared end-time prophecies in the Bible with then-current events in an attempt to predict future scenarios resulting in the rapture of believers before the tribulation and Second Coming of Christ to establish his thousand-year (i.e. millennial) Kingdom on Earth.
Unfortunately, at that time, I did not possess the biblical understanding I now have with regard to Christ’s return and the difference between the end times and the last days (Christian Eschatology). The end times of course covers a broader period of time while the last days gets down to specific years with notable occurrences being foretold that will take place.
Guess what? I’m seeing what happened with Hal Lindsey’s book “The Late Great Planet Earth” happen all over again with the coronavirus that we are currently experiencing. Conspiracy Theories abound and if I believed a good number of videos and posts that are readily available on YouTube and various other multimedia venues, Jesus is returning VERY soon.
Do I believe that we are in the end times or last age? Yes I do, but we’ve been in the end times for a considerable amount of time. Do I believe that Jesus is returning soon? Yes I do but soon to me doesn’t mean this year, or probably the next. I’d have a tendency to say that we are looking at approximately a decade, maybe more. Do I believe that we are in the last days? Not yet, we’re getting there but there are still a good number of specific events that need to come into place before we enter the last days.
The purpose of this post is NOT to define or spell out the varying schools of thought on Christian Eschatology but rather to address the apparent fear mongering tactics that I see being utilized by some well meaning Christians to persuade unsaved people that Jesus’ return is imminent and they had better get in line with God now before it’s too late.
Do I believe that we have an earnest and heartfelt responsibility to tell people about who Jesus is and why they need to give their lives to Him? Yes I do but fear mongering tactics where we are pointing to earthquakes, locust infestations, fish and bird dies and all sorts of other calamities that are happening all over the world, not to mention this latest coronavirus pandemic, as the motivating factor in moving them towards their acceptance of Jesus is not, in my opinion, the way to further God’s Kingdom.
Motivating people by fear does nothing to change people’s hearts.
No, I am not saying that we should not have a “healthy respect” for God. God is God and quite candidly, one doesn’t mess around with God. He is patient, long suffering and merciful but there is a limit. So in that respect, yes, I do fear God but when I came to ask Him to be my Lord, it was not fear that drew me to Him.
Are the escalating earthquakes, famines, pestilence etc not signs of the coming conclusion of the end times? Yes they are but they were increasing back in the 1970’s also. Did I mention that that was almost 50 years ago? This over reaction to pandemics and other world calamities by some Christians is not new, it happens quite often but that still does not make it right.
Are pandemics new? Nope. Almost every century in history you can find at least one and some are worse than others.
Time and time again I see statements or postings of videos being made by Christians, that originate from questionable or unreliable sources with unconfirmed or false accusations being made that throw the credibility of the Christian person who is quoting this misinformation into question, needlessly. I am grieved by it. It hits close to home because what we end up doing is flushing our own collective credibility down the toilet. We tarnish the credibility of our witness. And who wins there?
If the information we propagate is unsound or proven to be incorrect, how does that foster our credibility to the people we are preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to? If you wouldn’t buy a car for a used car salesman because you can’t trust what he says, why would you believe his witness to the reality that Jesus is the Son of God?
Credibility is important, value it, spend the time and effort that is required to maintain it.
Some who disseminate this continual stream of misinformation might say to me that I am not seriously focusing on the return of Christ. I would respond that it is not I that do not take His return seriously, but rather they. We have been given the responsibility of the Great Commission, not spread fear or misinformation to supposedly persuade.
Misinformation is rampant, source verification is not an option. And no, just because it’s on the Internet does NOT necessarily mean that it is true.
If you are going to speak or post information on Christian Eschatology, please take the time and effort to become conversant with all of the various aspects via the scriptures.
Read Matthew 24 again, note all of the things that Jesus indicates and in particular note verse 33 where Jesus states “when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” Jesus didn’t say some, He said ALL.
2 Timothy 2:15 NASB “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!