four things

I ran across this ABC news story this morning about the end of the world coming in 2012.

“You have to understand, there will be nothing, nothing left,” Geryl told ABC News from his home in Antwerp, Belgium. “We will have to start an entire civilization from scratch.”

That’s because Geryl believes the world as we know it will end in 2012. He points to the ancient Maya cyclical calendars, the longest of which last renewed itself approximately 5,125 years ago and is set to end again, supposedly with catastrophic consequences, in 2012. He speaks of the ancient Egyptians, who, he claims, saw 2012 as a year of great change too. And he points to science: NASA predicts a sharp increase in the number of sunspots and sun flares for 2012, he said, sure to cause electrical failures and satellite disruptions.

It is good to know such things…..Good to have a date. Better for planning and all that.

I decided several years ago that there are four things we know for sure about eschatology (the study of the end times). The rest is debatable.

From scripture we know without any doubt that:
1. Jesus is coming back
2. He could come back at any moment
3. When He comes, the Judgment happens
4. Right now is the only time that we for sure have to get ready to face that judgment.

I certainly have my opinions on pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib rapture. I have my opinions on dispensations, premillenialism, postmillenialism and amillenialism. I have opinions on preterism and partial preterism. but I have found that these are all secondary things that we can debate with a more or less loose hand. The four things above are nonnegotiable. Those four things will change your life.

Don’t get caught up in prophecy in the news. So many people waste so much time and money on something that ultimately has no value.

Do work as though the night is soon coming when no one can work any longer. Do be faithful, so that if the return of the King is today, you will not be ashamed.


8 Responses

  1. Wait!! Don’t forget “88 Reasons Why Christ Will Come Back in 1988”. Oh, sorry…I guess I’m a little late to push this book.

  2. hee hee.

  3. I agree that numbers 1, 3 and 4 are essentially agreed upon. But number 2 would find disagrement from most Amills, every Postmill and every Classical (post-trib) Premill. That’s a big group a folk…

  4. Low5point,

    thanks for stopping by. first of all, I disagree with you about the amills. Secondly, the postmills don’t have much scriptural foundation anyways, thirdly, there aren’t many post trib premills floating around.

    Finally and most importantly, the Bible teaches the imminency of Christ’s return throughout the New Testament. My eschatology starts and ends with scripture and scripture teaches that Jesus could return at any moment without any preconditions having to occur.

    Check out this article by John MacArthur for a list of the voluminous references regarding imminency and the one reference that seems to cut against it.

    Christ could come at any moment. I believe that with all my heart—not because of what I read in the newspapers, but because of what I read in Scripture.

    From the very earliest days of the church, the apostles and first-generation Christians nurtured an earnest expectation and fervent hope that Christ might suddenly return at any time to gather His church to heaven. James, writing what was probably the earliest of the New Testament epistles, expressly told his readers that the Lord’s return was imminent:

    Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.
    You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (5:7-9, emphasis added).1

    Peter echoed that same expectation when he wrote, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Pet 4:7). The writer of Hebrews cited the imminent return of Christ as a reason to remain faithful: “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:24-25). He wrote, “Yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry” (v. 37). And the apostle John made the most confident pronouncement of all: “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). When John recorded his vision in the book of Revelation, he prefaced it by saying these things “must shortly take place” (Rev 1:1).

    The New Testament writers often wrote of Christ’s “appearing,” and they never failed to convey the sense that this could happen imminently. “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28; cf. 3:2; Col 3:4; 2 Tim 4:8; 1 Pet 5:4).

    All those texts suggest that in the early church expectation of Christ’s imminent return ran high. A solid conviction that Christ could return at any time permeates the whole NT. When the apostle Paul described the Lord’s coming for the church, he used personal pronouns that show he clearly was convinced he himself might be among those who would be caught up alive to meet the Lord: “We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord . . . . we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess 4:15, 17, emphasis added). He obviously looked for Christ to return in his lifetime. He furthermore made it plain that a watchful, hopeful expectancy about Christ’s Second Coming is one of the godly attitudes divine grace teaches all believers: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13, emphasis added).

    The bottom line is that scripture teaches number two repeatedly and beyond doubt so even if you are correct that large numbers of people disagree, I frankly just don’t care except to the extent that I feel the intense desire to communicate these four scriptural things in every forum possible in order to correct such incorrect thinking.

  5. Only if one makes the consistent literary and exegetical mistake of assuming all mentions of His coming have to do with the physical Second advent. It is clear beyond all shadow of a doubt that many notations of a coming have nothing to do with that second coming.

    This would include Matt 16 where he plainly said that some standing in His midst would not die until they saw Him coming in His kingdom. He said a similar thing to the High Priest and included the term coming on the clouds.

    MacArthur, as much as i respect him on soteriology, has a seriously flawed eschatology where he makes the same mistakes.

    To dismiss with the wave of a hand the claim of the Postmills is both silly and unfortunate. To dismiss John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Warfield, Machen, Boettner, the Puritans, RC Sproul and others with a dismissive wave of the hand is ridiculous.

    The most often quoted Old Testament passage in the New is Psalm 110:1

    The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand UNTIL I make you enemies Your footstool.

    Imminence denies this demands that He returns before they are made His footstool. So it is with Matt 13 and the Wheat Field. Imminence denies the taking up FIRST of the weeds and them being bundled.

    Imminence denies the out pouring and flowing of the water from Ezekiel’s spiritual Temple that consumes the entire earth with fresh water (spiritually). It denies that one day the knowledge of God would cover the earth like water covers the sea.

    The imminence in many cases was the very imminent coming of Christ in judgment against an apostate Israel in which He promised they would would have the blood of all the saints of all time held against them (Matt 23).

    The imminence of that coming is clear and direct. It would be proven by the destruction of the city and the temple being flattened with not one stone placed upon another.


  6. Hey David,

    If we ignore the appeal to authority portion of your argument, you seem to be saying that the Bible doesn’t mean what it appears to say. I prefer to stick with the text as written.

    When Peter thought the return of Christ was imminent, he was either wrong or right, In your view, he was wrong. In my view, the Holy Spirit inspired him to write what he wrote, and it was correct.

    Jesus could return at any moment. He could have in the first century and He can now.

    If you want to explain away the text, go right ahead.


    P.S. I regret that you assume I have dismissed post mills with a “wave of the hand.” you don’t know me and to assume such a thing is uncharitable. Here is a resource that I have read and engaged very carefully just so my dismissal wouldn’t be a “wave of the hand”.

  7. No, Peter was right. the question is to what type of coming was Peter referring. Imminence makes the text wrong on several occassions as actual time text demand an immediate fulfillment. This would include Matt16, Matt 25 and the terms near, soon, at hand and this generation. Only if one “figuratizes” or simply makes those terms a lie, can one demand the coming discussed is the Second Advent. the question is not regarding the Bible’s use of imminent terms – they are clearly there – but to what type of a coming are they referring.

    Did Caiaphas “see” Jesus come or did He not? Did those who pierced His side see Him come or did they not? Did some in His midst see Him come or did they not? Let alone the plain and clear reading of Matt 24…It is you that has dismissed the plain reading by trying to make those passages mean something they simply do not.

    The ultimate point is that He did come – in judgment against apostate Israel – just as He promised He would and within the time restrictions HE placed upon that coming.


  8. no, no, no. I understand what you are saying about Jesus’ promise in Matthew that “this generation” will see what He was talking about. I have read the Hank Hanegraaf novels and the Apocalypse Code. I understand that interpretation. I am not talking about that.

    Stay with me in I Peter. Peter was writing to the elect exiles of the dispersion outside of Israel. I Peter 1:1 He told that group of people that “the end of all things is at hand” in I Pet. 4:7. (The NET bible says that “culmination of all things is near.” )

    He also told this same group of elect dispersed exiles that Elders needed to conduct themselves in such a way that when the chief shepherd appears, they would receive a crown of righteousness. I Peter 5:4.

    In Peter’s mind, the chief shepherd’s return was imminent. Now was he wrong? Or do you try to explain it away by saying that when Peter said “the end” he really meant the end of the nation of Israel at the hand of the Romans due to God’s judgment on His people; that when he told the elders to expect the return of the Chief Shepherd, he meant thousands of years after their deaths once a whole lot of preconditions had been met.

    Peter’s expectation of the imminent return of Christ fits with the entire pattern of the New Testament. If you deny the doctrine of imminency, then you have a lot of explaining away to do with a lot more texts than these.

    I prefer to take the text as written and affirm the Biblical doctrine of the imminency of the return of Christ.

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