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I belong to a number of online Christian groups. Someone recently posted an opinion on one of them, saying that people shouldn’t believe that the world is getting worse. People should believe that the world is getting better, since the Bible ends optimistically. He said that “end-times thinking” made people into fatalists who did not work for the kingdom. I got the impression that he wanted Christians to stop looking at the foreboding “signs of the times” altogether.
Since I am quite tuned in to world events and how they fit with Bible prophecy, I had a few words to say on the subject, and I’ve expanded on them below. I’d be interested to hear how others feel about this as well. (Note: I’m not asking for a debate about various eschatological views. My point is whether or not we should be thinking about the end times and observing the signs at all.)
The world is getting worse, and will continue to do so, until God steps in decisively and ushers in His kingdom.
Once He does that, of course everything will be incredibly better! But humanity will not bring in the kingdom. Humanity is marching lockstep towards all of the horrors of the book of Revelation which occur BEFORE God brings His kingdom to earth.
The problem is NOT that Christians recognize end-times events. The problem is what Christians do with the knowledge they have. Those who know that the end is rapidly approaching should be busy trying to win souls and fulfill whatever work God has given them to do. That's what Jesus did (John 17:4), even though He knew that Calvary was inevitably coming. He didn't sit in a corner and say, "Oh well, the end is coming, so I'll just pack my bags and wait for it." He went about doing good, preaching the kingdom, and saving souls (Acts 10:38).
The Bible pronounces a blessing on those who "keep the words" of the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:3), and rebukes those who do not recognize the signs of the times (Matt. 16:3). So we do not dare bury our heads in the sand about what is happening around us. But you are right that too many people have become fatalists. They forget that Jesus was no fatalist about the approach of His own personal apocalypse (Calvary). Instead, He said, "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work (John 9:4)."
If we are followers of Christ, we must walk as He walked. We must work all the harder as we see the night approaching, knowing that Judgment Day follows, and people need to be ready (Heb. 10:25)!
One of the scariest things Jesus ever said is, “Out of your own mouth I will judge you” (Luke 19:22). At least, it’s scary to me as a writer and generally wordy person. It’s oh-so-much easier to say things than to do them!
How am I doing? Is my end-times fascination influencing me to try to reach others more faithfully? (That’s a rhetorical question. I’m not asking for an answer.)
It’s easy to hide behind my blog and say, “I’m really trying to reach people by what I write.” That’s true, of course, and I’m not looking down on this ministry at all. But I don’t think that God intended me to ignore the people around me…neighbors, store clerks, strangers on the street. I’m not doing anything for their eternal souls, am I?
And yet, apart from having the Spirit move me toward a particular person (which He has done on rare occasions), how do I know who to talk to? I’m not a street-corner evangelist. Some (like Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort) are called to that sort of ministry, and I thank God for them. But it’s not my calling.
Talk to me, readers. Do you just “cold-call” people with the Gospel? Hand out tracts? Wait for the Spirit’s urging toward a particular person?
How do you share Christ with people outside of the Internet?