Great to see God raising up young people who understand the purpose of the church is to make disciples who complete the Great Commission. Watch this young couple as they explain the 411 Discipleship Training Course. This is just one of the many initiatives God is raising up for His purposes in the “last days”. You will be encouraged as you learn what is being accomplished to build God’s Kingdom here on earth. I hope you embark on Troy’s 411 program with your partner. It asks the following four questions. WHY?, WHO?, WHAT? & WHEN? Go watch the video and find out why.
The following article is by Michael J. Vlach, Professor of Theology, at The Master’s Seminary. The Master’s Seminary opened its doors in 1986 to provide post-graduate theological training on the campus of Grace Community Church. He specializes in the areas of Systematic Theology, Historical Theology, Apologetics, and World Religions.
It is concerning that some churches today don’t take eschatology seriously. The very fact that God has revealed so many details about events to come in both testaments tells us that it is important. At the center of biblical eschatology is the blessed hope of the appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Not only should we be interested in prophetic events to come but, we are also looking for our Savior, with whom we will spend eternity.
Why do some churches neglect serious study of eschatology? One issue is complexity. There are many eschatological details in the Bible to work through and harmonize. So there is hard work to do in this area. Also, when we see godly men disagreeing on prophetic issues, it can be disheartening. Another reason might be that some don’t want to be linked with those who have abused eschatology. There are those who have become obsessed with the end times by offering a date for Jesus’ return, or treating many current events as fulfillments of biblical prophecy. Thus, some have swung from the abuse of eschatology to no interest whatsoever.
But these are not good reasons to avoid the study of eschatology. Here are 7 reasons churches should take eschatology seriously:
1. Eschatology is a major part of the Christian storyline
Eschatology is a major part of the Bible’s story. By “story,” I’m not talking about fiction. I’m talking about the narrative of the Christian worldview. Since Christianity is rooted in history and real historical events, God’s story includes past, present, and future events. All should be taught. We simply should not ignore prophetic events that are future from our standpoint—events such as the Rapture, the Day of the Lord, the Second Coming, the Millennium, and the Eternal State. We must also talk about heaven and hell, and the coming New Earth. To avoid discussion of eschatology is to avoid an important part of the Christian worldview.
2. We are called to preach and heed the whole counsel of God
There are large sections of Scripture devoted to prophesy, many of which still need to be fulfilled from our current standpoint. For example, the events of Ezekiel 36–48 still need to occur. In the New Testament, passages like Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, much of Luke 21, 1 Thess. 4-5, 2 Thess 1-2, 2 Peter 3, and Revelation 6-22 describe events that still need to happen. We cannot ignore these passages. Paul says in Acts 20:27, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”
If your church does not teach what the Bible says about the future, the whole counsel of God is not being taught.
3. People are interested in the future
Christians are interested in what the future holds. But if we do not teach eschatology, we are denying important biblical information for those who want to know what the Bible has to say about the future. We are also withholding a major source of the hope that the Scripture wants us to have.
4. Eschatology is a motivation for believers
Eschatology changes our lives because what we do now impacts our future. Paul viewed everything he did in light of his standing before Jesus someday. In 2 Timothy 4:7-8 Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
5. Eschatology has a purifying effect on the believer
Eschatology is meant to transform our lives in the present. Why should we live sensibly, righteously and godly? Because Jesus is coming again. 1 John 3:2-3 states, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
James 5:8-9 also says, “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord, is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.”
The study of biblical eschatology is a motivation for godly living
6. Eschatology gives perspective to the troubles and trials of this age
We live in a fallen and tragedy-soaked world. We are all physically decaying and dying. Evil seems to triumph. Without Jesus, there is no hope, only despair. But for the Christian, there is the hope of resurrection and the restoration of all things (1 Cor. 15:20-28; Acts 3:21). Romans 8:18 states, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
The sufferings of this present time are real, but they are not comparable to the glory that is to come.
2 Peter 3:13 says, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
The coming of Jesus and the restoration of all things are future realities that give Christians hope and the joyful realization that the turmoils and trials of this age will not last forever. Righteousness and goodness win in the end. Christians need that message.
7. Eschatology warns the unbeliever of coming judgment
Biblical eschatology does not teach that the story ends well for everyone. It exists as a frightening warning to those who have not believed in Jesus. Eschatology warns all people that there is eternal punishment and banishment from God’s kingdom and the presence of God for those who do not repent. We should do what John the Baptist did—warn people to flee the wrath that is to come (Luke 3:7-8). Just as there is both judgment and resurrection for the righteous, there is also resurrection and judgment for the unbeliever.
In sum, biblical eschatology is an important part of Christianity. For these reasons, all true churches should embrace the importance of biblical eschatology and share its truths with Christians and unbelievers alike.
8. I would add to Michael’s reasons, an eighth, Apocalyptic Evangelism.
There are more prophecies about Jesus second coming than there were of His first coming and yet there were many of those. Christians who understand the prophetic events that are to unfold prior to Jesus return, first to rapture the church, and then after God’s wrath has been poured out on the earth with the Scroll, Trumpet and Bowl judgements, He will return to this earth and rescue Israel. He has unfinished business with His nation. All the O.T. prophets prophesied their Messiah would rule the nations from Jerusalem. Jesus will rule and reign with the resurrected saints on this earth for 1000 years. Obviously, we are in a unique position to use this knowledge in evangelism. To explain to unbelievers what is unfolding in our day and to warn the church of the coming tribulation, even great tribulation. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:8-13. Jesus spoke these words and Mark recorded them as follows ” For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. Mark 13:19-20
The German bishops’ conference has announced that a record number of people are leaving the Catholic Church, with some 272,771 exiting the faith community during 2019. That number indicates 56,000 more compared to the 216,000 who left in 2018. The previous record number occurred in 2014, with 218,000 deciding to leave the communion. The chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Batzing of Limburg, lamented the figures and noted that a large drop in baptism and wedding ceremonies demonstrated the “erosion of a personal attachment to the Church.
The loss of members did not occur exclusively within the Catholic Church with the German Protestant Church (EKD) experiencing a similar decline, losing 270,000 people in 2019, which is an increase of 22 percent on the previous year.
In Germany, the decline of half a million people in one year confirms what Jesus told His disciples would happen in the last days before He returns to rule and reign with a rod of iron. Jesus said there would be a great falling away in the church.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Thank God that Todd White’s faith has changed radically in just a matter of months. He is now preaching a gospel of repentance.
“When you come into the Gospel because you came in for a better life,” Todd explained, “you’ve come in for the wrong Gospel. When you come to Jesus because He’s gonna give you this and He’s gonna give you that, you really didn’t surrender. See, what you’re saying is, ‘I’ve come to get this.’ What you’ve done is a taste test to see if it’s true. It’s the same thing as getting a buzz: ‘Well, I’ll try this Jesus thing. Maybe there’s a buzz in it.’ That’s not Jesus.”
He went on to preach, “Your goal as a Christian is to be conformed to His image, is to be transformed into His image, into His likeness, and to actually walk like Christ walked. Jesus didn’t despise sinners, but He hated sin and He addressed it all the time.”
White told the congregation he has been spending time recently poring over the words of New Zealand-born minister Ray Comfort and 19th century theologian Charles Spurgeon.
Sixteen years after coming to Jesus, the Lifestyle Christianity pastor — a former drug addict and atheist — said he is just coming to realize the importance of preaching the law of God, because doing so reveals our need for a savior in Jesus.
“Here’s the deal,” he told the audience. “One day, you and I are going to all face the Lord. It’s the truth! Are you guys with me? Is this too much? I’ve been going through it, buddy. I’ve been in a new place to bring the reality of the law into a witness, to show a person their need for grace. How can you want to be found if you don’t know you’re lost? How can you want to see if you don’t know you’re blind? How can you want to live if you don’t know that your dead?”
It’s necessary to preach not just a “God has a wonderful plan for your life” message, but one that is more holistic, one that reveals our sinfulness and God’s holiness.
White said he has felt like he hasn’t been preaching “the whole Gospel. “I repent,” he said emphatically.
The turn around is amazing as in May of this year, Todd spoke out against a documentary series that condemned the prosperity Gospel and his preaching of it. At the time, he rebuked the show, “American Gospel: Christ Alone,” as “demonically inspired.” And he was quick to reject the suggestion he was “a heretic.”
On Facebook, the creators of the series said they “are obviously very encouraged” by White’s “change of direction in this area, and pray that this is sincere and not just a response to pressure.”
They have also invited White to sit down for an interview for the third installment of the “American Gospel” documentary series, set to release next year.
What will churches do as persecution intensifies exactly as prophesied in God’s Word? Sadly, we already know, the majority will compromise with the world and its values. Most of the major denominational churches have already accepted homosexuality, transgender and gay marriage.
We can learn from the past; during the days of Nazi Germany there arose a Confessing Church Movement that separated from the churches that became the religious arm of the Fascist Nazi socialist movement. Of the 18,000 pastors in Germany during that time (1933- 1945) less than 5,000 were aligned with the Confessing Church which came under intense persecution.
Hence, only a remnant held fast to the biblical position, with most of the churches conforming due to political and societal pressure. Unfortunately, this demonstrates that when push comes to shove, a large percentage of pastors, churches and so-called Christians will bow to pressure and allow the norms of culture to become their credo for Christianity.
Hitler said, “You can do anything you want with pastors, they will submit. They are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs and they will sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them” (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas, 180). This sounds like some of the contemporary pastors in Western culture who always acquiesce to cultural “group think.”
We see this in churches in the USA, my own country Australia, and beyond. With the accelerated pace of the attack on religious liberty today, there will develop a great divide in the church between confessing churches and compromising churches similar to what happened in Nazi Germany. This will not be a divide based on denominational affiliation but based on the degree of loyalty to biblical fidelity. It is sad but true that more and more so called Christians will compromise core biblical values and standards rather than be stigmatized or persecuted and lose influence in society.
In John 12:42-43 we see that many contemporaries of Jesus believed in Him but would not confess Him because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” John 12:42-34
God is reviving His church, to restore it back to the church as described in the Book of Acts. This is a must watch video for those interested to know what God is doing at this time in the USA. People selling their homes and going as God leads, to make disciples as God instructed. The barriers of the institutional church are being broken down and true, John 17 unity is being restored. It is exciting to hear the testimonies of these transformed Christians. I hope you will be inspired to get in step with what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do in these last days before Jesus returns.
Great testimony from a pastor, Jason Hubbard. He admits the church he led was not a praying church until God stopped Jason in his tracks and challenged him about whose church it was. Did Jason truly believe the church could function as God’s church without prayer? That was the question God put to Jason. Listen to the transformation that occurred when Jason confessed his folly to the church and they obeyed God and became a praying church.
Nelson does a great job of unpacking Scripture to reveal what the Bible shows us about end times events and what we are seeing and reading in the media of current events in the Middle East.
I doubt you will hear this message in your local church and the Bible tells us that much of the church will be asleep and even more tragic much of it will fall away and compromise with the world and its values. Hence, God brings on catastrophes to refine/test His church.
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested,” Revelation 2:10 (Church at Smyrna – persecuted church)
‘” I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” Revelation 3:1-3 (Church at Sardis- dead church)
Listen to this important, if not way out, story from Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church, Redding, California on how God spoke to Bethel church through His creation.
“Here’s a wild story for you… One year, every time we would meet at Bethel Church to pray, a roadrunner would show up outside the glass door with a lizard in its mouth! This went on for months until we realised that the Lord was calling us to go out to the roads, the highways, and the byways and compel the lost to come in! One day the roadrunner managed to find his way inside the church. In a desperate attempt to get out of the building, he hit a window and died. The Lord showed us through this event that if we did not reach out to the lost, to “go outside of our fall walls” so to speak, that our church and movement would die.“
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.“ Revelation 3:14-19
Those that have been reading my posts for awhile now, know that my call from God is to provide videos and power point sermons for the last days church (http://www.powerpointsermons.net). Believing that the end times church will be a return to the church as described in the Book of Acts – a house church movement.
Francis Chan has taken a similar position having walked away from a church of 5,000 in 2010. He recognised that God expects every person in the congregation to use their spiritual gifts for the body not just show up and hear and see Francis use his gift. Moreover, the cost of running his show was millions of dollars.
Torben Sondergaad has reached a similar view of church for 2020 and I encourage you to view his video below explaining his journey to reach this position.