What a season this has been for me (and as a result, my family as well.) This last few months have been absolutely a whirlwind in my mind and heart like nothing I’ve ever been through before. I’m not talking bad things, just big discoveries – discoveries that really explain more and more what goes on around us.
But first I digress…
I made Christ my Lord and Savior when I was 18 years old. However, it’s been only the last 10 years where being ‘saved’ has transitioned from my head into my heart.
During the first 20 years of my “Christian walk” I did what many do in our margin-less society, and I lived my faith through what others (mostly pastors and teachers) said about Christ, and how a Christian is to live. I remember at one point wishing that God would just give me a “list” of rules to follow and obey (boy, am I glad He did not!)
However due to a season of personal struggle (on several fronts) approximately 10 years ago, I had reached a low point in my life. Some of us are pretty hard-headed, and God has to “forcefully simplify” our lives to make room for Him to come in and get personal – and that certainly happened in my case.
– and I would not have traded that season for the world –
Don’t get me wrong, it was an ugly season (just ask my family) but I would not trade that season for anything – as through it I discovered a very real, and very personal Jesus. Prior to that, I truly had no idea that He wanted to know me that well – that personally.
Fast forward to 2016, as the presidential race was heating up, I then came to the shocking discovery that “everything is not as it seems” – and that there are people and powers in this world that are not really on our side. I began this blog as a way to share information from alternative news media, to combat some of the biased news that was coming out, long before it was ever termed “Fake News.” A few posts into the blog, and while searching for “real” news, I became aware of a section of my faith that I’d not really explored before, and I found it fascinating – and that’s where the blog posts died, as I now was in a learning mode again. You can read some of that here.
During the last 6 months, I have “discovered” a part of my faith that I had not given any attention to previously – namely “Eschatology” or the study of biblical end times.
– you mean this thing ends? –
To my defense (and of many others,) end times, and even more the whole subject of prophecy is not touched on in most of our churches today. The reasons for that would take several more posts to dissect, so we’ll leave that for another time.
Earlier this year, I loaded up my iPad with video and web content to study on a 5 hr flight – and when I landed, I remember sending an email to my wife stating “If what I’m studying is real, then this changes everything.”
A very large chunk of the bible is devoted to discussion of the “times of the end.” To sum it up, in the end, the Church (the body of believers) is removed from the earth, and then 7 years remain where God can then redeem his beloved Israel. If you’ve ever wondered why there is so much strife in the middle east, the simple story is because God promised Israel to the Jews forever. The story of God, Christ and the Church involves good versus evil (God vs. Satan) and Israel is surrounded on all sides by evil that would like nothing more than for Jews to not exist.
Prophecy is fact – the bible contains a very accurate timeline that’s historically proven itself through the years. If I did not have a personal relationship with Christ, the knowledge of completed prophecy would have been enough to cause me to really dig into it – but again, it’s not taught much, and the first part of my “walk” was done through the eyes of others.
There is still a big chunk of prophesy yet to be fulfilled – most of it relating to the end times. The exciting part is that it is quite literally unfolding in front of our very eyes. But just as I learned how “Fake News” attempts to keep people unaware of the real truth, I discovered that much of the truth of end times is just not being discussed.
– In fact, most Christians are not even watching for Christ’s return (even though he commanded us as believers that we watch.) Oops… I was guilty.
So I began to devour bible studies on the end times – which takes you through Revelation and the book of Daniel, as well as referencing just many other corners of the bible. And I began to realize that God may have chosen us to live in and experience the end times – a piece of time written about more than any other time period in the bible, including the time that Jesus walked the earth.
I went through several phases in my mind (well, more in my heart really.) I began to understand that Jesus was coming for His bride (the Church) – and with that were many promises. I began to connect the dots – many of our modern worship songs speak of Christ coming again, but I think it’s outside so much of our normal that we just assume that nothing like that will occur during our lifetime (see previous post about normals.)
I first went through the emotion of loss – so many things in this world that were still on my “bucket list.” Whenever we see huge change ahead, our first thought is to fear it due to a perceived loss. Then that fear transitions to fear of the unknown (so do I become a cloud when Jesus comes for me? Do I even qualify?)
It did not take long for me to get through this phase on to the next, and that’s the phase where everything really changes.
– and it’s the place where I really, truly found hope. –
Boy, do I wish this stuff was taught more in the church – it’s sad that the very evil that is against God has found it’s way into our churches, and essentially put the church to sleep with regard to end times. The bible is chock FULL of promises of things to come – things that show our Father in heaven’s love for us. And really, it’s important to understand that the promises are orders of magnitude in just about every respect versus what this life we have now promises.
Consider just these promises:
- Eternal Life (we could stop here – this is a big one!)
- Death does not exist
- Loss of the dimensional restriction of time (as we know it)
- No evil (I mean completely gone)
That list can go on a lot longer, but here’s what finally wrecked me: My initial fear of the unknown and loss of the things of this world, fairly quickly transitioned into a daily prayer and longing for Christ to come for us – nothing that we have here can compare to the restored world that Christ promised us. And to think that it may be in our lifetime. I honestly, can’t wait!
This turned into a daily study of end times, unmasking prophecy, etc – so much that I hope each day that this is “the day.” We know that we are very near to the end – so much of the bible’s end-times prophecy has been “unsealed” – meaning that what seemed like allegory, turned out to line-up with actual events – and many have attempted to figure out the date of Christ’s return.
– And I don’t see anything wrong with that –
Some of the more “stuffy” Christian community will call those folks “Date Setters” as if that’s a bad thing. To me, when approached with humility (i.e. it looks like this, but it’s all up to God) trying to figure out God’s timing is completely fine – and I have followed many of these predictions. Obviously we are still here, but with each date that passes, more prerequisites to His arrival seem to get checked off of the list.
The most challenging part for me was handling disappointment. It would look like Day X was a sure-fire day for the return of the King – and I wanted it so bad. When that day would pass, my hopes would take a hit somewhat – at least until I saw how much closer daily events were taking us to His arrival.
Then today, I had a huge reset in that area. You see, I have been basing my hopes on the “event” of Christ’s coming- and every day that He did not come, was a day of sadness for me. When you read what Jesus has in store for us after his return for us (and beyond,) you truly will want nothing to do with this evil world that we are made to function in. But what I had to do was shift my hope from Christ’s coming (the specific event) to the hope of what Christ’s restored world brings with it.
– What a relief! –
After my “dark valley” experience of 2008-2009 is when I truly found a personal Jesus. Many thanks goes to Ransomed Heart Ministries and John Eldredge for the “Wild at Heart” book, and associated mens retreats that they offer – This is where I learned that Jesus cares for me personally.
John just released a new book titled “All Things New” and about a month ago. I came across this video introduction to the book – and it captivated me. I strongly recommend you take a look at this video taster – especially if you’ve had no desire or longing for heaven and eternal life up to this point:
In all truth, I had misplaced my hope during this time. In my study of Eschatology, I became enamored with the event (where Christ comes for the church) and did not look much further than that event – mostly because I placed my full trust in Jesus when He said that it would be better (than this world.) But John’s book took me through a deeper study of the promise – the hope, if you will.
Life up until now would have been a MUCH different experience, had I had that hope instilled in me early in my Christian walk.
Friends, I’m excited out of my skin for Christ to come and take the Church away. I’m even more excited to return with Christ and enjoy eternity with Him here – on this very earth – (minus the evil part.) I’m watching every day, and following many fellow “Watchmen” who are studying prophecy – in an attempt to know when He might come (again, that’s not a bad thing to watch.) When He comes is totally up to Him, although the bible tells us that those that watch will not be surprised – and those of us watching are seeing an awful lot of prophecy being fulfilled right now – which is why I still have a sense that it’s very soon (very.) Who knows for sure, it might be years away. Or it could be months, weeks, or even days (the “days” part is not just a hope – there’s some meat to it.) But my hope now lies in the amazing promises of what eternity will be like – and that’s enough to carry me all the way. But I sure do hope he comes soon 🙂
Do you know Jesus? He literally created you (in His image) – but he gave you free will to choose the world, or choose Him (I’ve tried life both ways, and I choose the latter…) He’s extremely real, and he does not want you to perish in the passing away of this world. Won’t you consider putting your trust in Him now? Simply submit your life to him, and eternity (in a much better place) becomes yours. Take a look here for more info.