Two things make me suspicious
- People who only seem to talk end times
- People who quote from the King James Bible
For the next while, as I’m writing my next book, I’m going to break both of these rules.
I’m thinking of calling the book “What if Jesus returns in 40 years’ time”. I wish to cover as much end times verses as I can, while offering a counter-perspective contrasting other useful and popular theories. I wish to provide a different angle to an imminent rapture squeezing many pending prophecies into seven-ish years before Jesus’ return to rule the world. Such theories can distract people from preparing for a lifetime serving God until he comes. Put it this way – for the past two millennia some have jeopardized their future ministry because they didn’t prepare to live out their lives because they believed Jesus’ return would be imminent. This could again be the case for many in the present generation – we just don’t know.
Luke 19:13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. [A mina was about three months’ wages.] “Put this money to work,” he said, “until I come back.”
For the next months, I intend to blog a lot about end times stuff as I accumulate material for this book. One topic is the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 – the war of Gog & Magog. This unfulfilled prophecy seems imminent as Russia, Turkey and Iran get chummy on Israel’s northern border. I feel I should include these two chapters entirely, but to avoid infringing copyright, I can use the KJV, which is public domain. However, I’ll translate it into modern English in consultation with other translations. This may set a precedent for this book as I cover various end-times passages with my understanding thereof.
There is a lot of weird teaching around end times, bound by very narrow interpretations and fuelled by sensational consumerism, or more commonly churches avoid the topic altogether. I think it’s really important to teach prophecy, particularly that recently fulfilled by Israel’s restoration, but also that which appears imminent and the distant end to space-time and the new creation. It’s vital to keep in mind that most prophecy teachers got it totally wrong 2,000 years ago by shoehorning everything future into their lifetime, so let’s not be dogmatic about any particular theory, but be open to possibilities of what God might do. I prefer to talk openly about what God has clearly proclaimed as well as things more obscure. Speaking on the latter naturally invites some speculation, which we need to be open about. This is far more important than throwing out the whole area of theology around our resurrection and Christ’s return to judge the world because we might interpret some points incorrectly. Embedded in end-times teaching are the clear and wonderful truths of God’s continuing plan for the restoration of humanity.
I abhor the rampant demonization of wonderful godly people who hold a different view, let’s respect other parts of Christ’s body who appear, think and function differently to us – as they complement our own impact on the world. This is a complicated topic, so let’s just chill as we discuss details which may be quite open to various interpretations. God purposed to obscure prophecies of the Messiah so that Satan instead of thwarting his plan, fulfilled it. This pattern continues to be the case, but as prophecies are fulfilled, the Bible and the truth of God is validated before the whole world.
As Martin Luther encountered, there is a huge swathe of dogmatic tradition, and emotional manipulation and arguments that disagree with my understanding of scripture. I demand that these be put aside and only consider arguments grounded in scripture. Other respected historic sources may be useful to shed light on scripture. Even there, I’m sure we can find much to disagree on in lovingly respectful discussion.
Let’s enjoy the journey and seek to understand God and his loving plan for humanity.