Not that long ago, I would have found it hard to imagine myself writing something with End Times in the title. In fact, there is a possibility I may delete this file before it sees the light of anyone else’s screen. On the other hand, the reason I am writing this is due to the way several pieces of Scripture demanded my attention recently.
Like many people I know, I started reading my way through the Bible many times, only to quit somewhere toward the end of the Old Testament. After all, I know the New Testament reasonably well. I’ve listened to sermons, attended Bible studies for decades, was told all the Bible stories as a child. Even in the years I tried my best to shed any trappings of faith, I remembered the basics of the gospel I was trying to ignore. Well, this time, I will make it. I will finish reading the entire Bible, God willing, in the next few days.
As I wrote in “Question of Forgiveness,” part of the Lord’s Prayer caught my eye a short time ago. Suddenly it had new meaning, making me rethink what it means to forgive others as we want to be forgiven. Now, I am well into Revelation, and it too is speaking to me in a way I did not expect. As John began to relate his visions of God’s wrath smiting the Earth, I noticed a worrisome similarity to the aftermath of each bowl being poured out on the Earth. It did not take much imagination to relate them to the world in which we live today.
First, an angel pours a bowl of sickness and pain on non-believers. Next, blood flows from an angel’s bowl into the sea, and sea creatures died. Another turned the rivers and springs to blood instead of water. Yet another caused the sun to burn and parch all it touched. Darkness then fell on the world, and those afflicted by the sores and other punishment gnashed their teeth and cried out in pain. Next came dried riverbeds and marching armies, only to be followed by terrible natural disasters.
We studied all of these verses just months ago in a men’s bible study. At that time, they were just the recounting of one man’s visions. Their reality was no more significant or no more imminent than when the Apostles said His time was near, and all should be prepared. Indeed, there was no feeling of imminent or impending doom. This time it was different.
To this minute, I am not the least bit concerned that fire will be rained down on the Earth tomorrow. Oh! I am a bit worried the shirtless horseback riding president of Russia or the always smirking president of Red China may hit their big red button in frustration at some point. They might create a man-made apocalypse. Still, I do not think it will be the final devastating judgment coming down to us from Heaven. Please note, however, that does not mean the end is a thousand or even a hundred years away if one is paying attention to the world today.
Time in the Bible is one of those issues everyone loves to debate. Were the six days in Genesis 144 hours, or were they six long periods in which an immortal being labored? What does it really mean when the Bible says he will come soon, or the time is near? Is that a few months, or a few decades, or a few centuries. Obviously, it would seem, “near” in this context was not less the 2,000 and something years unless He came, shook His head, and gave up on us.
The visions related above are allegories to some extent. When they occur and what they will look like is up for debate and interpretation. Yet, if one pays attention to history and the modern world, it is clear actual events have mirrored or foretold the visions. From the plagues of earlier centuries to the coronavirus today, His wrath has been poured down on many. The sea is not filled with blood, but it is becoming cluttered with the life’s blood of modern civilization, from oil and chemical pollution to discarded plastics that harm everything they enfold.
Many, some scientists included, see damage to our atmosphere that will result in parching heat and other extreme weather patterns. Events such as millions of acres being devastated by wildfire. I could go on, but anyone with a brain can see the similarities in the visions and the world today.
Does that mean the end is nigh? Does that mean those still here are the unraptured, merely waiting for our judgment, yet to come? Like any honest believer, I cannot answer those questions. I can, however, say it seems clear the Bible was describing the times in which we live in many ways. The problem is, what do those similarities mean? I cannot venture even a guess as to what they mean in any way except one!
The authors of the Bible were either the best prognosticators to ever exist, or the One who knows all things shared His knowledge with them. I tend to believe the latter, and it makes my efforts to move closer to my Lord and Savior even more significant than it has been in times past. I do not want Him to say He does not know me when those times do come.
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