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"The sustainability ideal is not wedded to a Christian worldview; instead, individual liberty is submerged in a scientifically determined collectivist mindset with final decisions in the hands of the devilish, all-knowing Big Brothers." READ MORE: https://neonnettle.com/features/1597-trump-is-stopping-the-united-nations-from-becoming-the-single-world-government © Neon Nettle
I have been studying eschatology for more than 30 years now. Originally I believed in a pre-tribulation rapture because frankly it was the only view I had ever heard. One day I was listening to the radio and heard a man mentioning the fact that there were other views on the topic. This got my curiosity up and I decided to study the Bible myself and see if I could discover what the Bible itself actually taught about these things. I was really serious about it. The method I chose to employ was to read the Bible from Genesis through the Book of Revelation and write down every verse or passage that I believed spoke to the issue of the timing of the sequence of the Rapture of the Church with respect to the Great Tribulation. This took me eight months to accomplish. Once I had all of my notes, I copied them onto Post-it notes so that I could arrange them in a chronological sequence if something in the verse or passage had a clue about the order in which it fit with respect to the other verses and passages. This was done on a 4' x 8' sheet of particleboard laid out on a folding table. I tell you this in case you want to try this yourselves sometime to let you know what it takes and what you will be in for. My wife died recently and I myself am aging and have had some recent health issues. This has brought into focus the fact that my own time on earth may be limited. Actually this is true of every one of us, no one knows the time of their own death. You could have a stroke, or be in a car accident tomorrow. In Eschatology, the study of the last things, we usually think in terms of things prophesied in the Bible that are yet to come. Things like the Rapture of the Church, the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming of Jesus, Armageddon, the Millennium, these sorts of things. While many of us believe that Jesus could come at any moment, few of us really live as though we expect that to happen. We understand that it has been about 2000 years so far, and that casts some doubt our hearts and minds about whether he will really come today or tomorrow or even in a week or this year. Though I have always realized intellectually that my personal time on earth, my own life, could end in a moment, it is the events of this last year but it made me thoughtfully confront the reality of my limited time. What this means then is that no matter how delayed Jesus second coming might be, I will likely be face-to-face with Jesus within 10 or 20 years. Eschatology is then therefore not limited to the study of the last things predicted in the Bible, but we each have our own personal last days which are contained within our natural lifespans. Some people say that if it is true that Jesus will not be coming back until after the great tribulation that that removes the motivation to live as we should so that we will be found doing what we should be doing when he does return. I want to say to you that if that is what you think: "Shame on you!" The motivation to live correctly should not be a concern to not be caught failing to live as we should be living when Jesus comes at the end of the age. Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our sins. Gratefulness for our undeserved salvation should be more than enough motivation to live within the will of God without concern of the question of when Jesus will return. When we are not living correctly, we have already been 'caught'. The Holy Spirit is inside us if we are believers. God is omnipresent. Whatever we do, we drag Jesus with us. Nothing we do, nothing we say, nothing we think, goes unnoticed by God. So I think then, that for those of us who think that a pre-tribulation rapture of the church is a motivation to live rightly, with that thinking we are inclining ourselves to living wrongly. Rather than to live holy lives out of the gratitude we have for what Jesus has done for us - rather than live as dedicated servants who owe him everything - rather than realize that we are not our own but have been purchased - some of us shamefully take his grace as a license to sin because we know we have been forgiven. We live worldly lives because we think in our hearts that our master is delaying his return, even while we say with our lips He might return at any moment. Those of us who think and act in this manner are self deceived and we are hypocrites. In June of 2014, a couple months ago as I write this, I had the great privilege of delivering a sort of eulogy at my wife's memorial service. Gathered there were friends and family some of whom are believers, some who were not, and some who think they are believers and don't even understand what the difference is. It had been on my wife's heart for years that many of her family were likely destined to suffer in eternity. I know that like me, she was dissatisfied with the fact that it is easy to avoid speaking of spiritual things with loved ones because it feels awkward. Personally I feel shame that I have too often avoided that awkwardness and instead of demonstrating love by informing people of their peril, I have been willing to risk their eternal destiny for the sake of my temporary comfort . This is a great sin and I confess that as such and am attempting to repent of it. The eulogy I gave was the first significant step in telling people to re-examine their hearts and their lives and their need of salvation from their sins . This had been on my mind for years but having so many people as a captive audience at a time when the temporary nature of life was so obvious, was an opportunity that could not be passed up. What I was saying then was not just a recap of my wife's life, it was an expression of things that she had left unsaid. Confronting the fact that no matter how long it is before Jesus returns, it is true that we all have limited time left. So I realized that there are two kinds of the end times. There is the near-term end time which is represented by our limited lifespans, and there is the end times for mankind itself which began while Jesus still walked the earth and which we are in today as well. Both types of end times carry the same implications. Time is short, and there is a dying world out there that needs to understand that. Jesus himself near the end of his life told us to go out into the world and to preach the gospel to everyone. This was not a suggestion. Not just a nice idea. It's not optional. It is a command to every believer. Failing to do this is disobedience. It is sin. It is unloving. Penn Gillette, a self-professed atheist, said to the effect: "How much do you have to hate someone to believe that eternal life is possible and then not tell them how to obtain it?" I think those are pretty profound words on the topic for an atheist. It is too bad so many Christians don't get it. I have been one of them. So, in these last days of my own life I have determined to try to improve in a lot of things, but most specifically two things. The first is to be more active, perhaps even aggressive or at least assertive in evangelism. People need to understand that they are sinners. People need to know that their sin separates them from God. People need to understand that unless Jesus saves them from their sins, that separation from God is a permanent condition. They need to understand that that separation from God is a separation from everything good. Imagine if you will, what it would be like to spend eternity apart from good. Where there is no good, only evil remains. I believe that this concept of hell is accurate. I don't even like to think about it. When I try to imagine it, what I imagine is an eternity of suffering and pain, a despondent existence, a type of suffering worse than anything we have yet experienced in our lives while all the time knowing that this condition will be never ending and could have been avoided. What if life was so bad, that you never wanted to awaken, and you could never fall asleep again? If I really consider this all I can do is loathe my own evil and selfish heart, and at the same time feel an indebtedness and gratitude for the Savior who spares me from the eternity that I deserve and am apparently willing to let others earn for themselves. So, evangelism it is. I have to tell people. If I don't, I am a morally hideous monster. We do not need to have any special calling on our life to be ministers of the gospel. Where are all supposed to be evangelists. We do not have to wait for a leading of the Spirit to talk to a person about these things. We have already been told to just do it. Thing is when we realize what is at stake, we should not even have to be told. So then, the most important task that I have in my last days, the thing that I really want to be found doing when Jesus returns or when I go to be with Him if His return is delayed, it is to be telling others about God's love for them in the person of Jesus Christ who suffered and died for their sins to spare them from an eternity separated from God's love and goodness and filled with despair. When Jesus told us to go out into the world and preach the gospel to every creature he did not say to limit ourselves to evangelism. The purpose of evangelism is to make disciples, to make other followers of Jesus, and to teach them everything he taught us. One of the areas that Jesus taught about, that His apostles taught about, and that both Testaments of the Bible speak about frequently, are the end times and especially about warnings not to be deceived in them. So, because I have spent so much of the last three decades studying this area of Scripture, and because there are so many warnings not to be deceived, I feel a special responsibility to obey Jesus and tell other disciples about this topic because some are underinformed while others are deceived. I may at times sound arrogant due to the confidence I have in my understanding of eschatology, the study of the last things. I admit it, I am opinionated, passionate, and confident. When you put those three things together in one person, you have qualities which others may consider to be arrogance, maybe it is. Nevertheless I cannot in good conscience fail to attempt to pass on what I believe I have learned. I have been preparing questions for a trivia game on the topic of eschatology. While doing this I have been studying and reading the writings of others whose views are different than my own. There is one theologian in particular widely regarded as the foremost scholar on his particular viewpoint of eschatology. I have always had great respect for this man even though I disagree with him. He does deserve respect for his love of the Savior and his hard work and dedication to study. This is true of a lot of ordinary Christians as well. However after just having reviewed one of his books, I am finding so many unfounded presumptions, and faulty exercises and logic, that although I may respect his hard work, I have to reject his conclusions. Maybe I really am arrogant. However, even though I know this is redundant, I have to follow my convictions and make disciples, teaching them everything that Jesus taught his first disciples to teach other disciples in an ongoing chain until his return. Perhaps with this you can understand my focus. I hope that you can be patient with me while I am living out my faith and while the process of my own sanctification continues. I urge you, to also consider the shortness of time and make efforts to reach out to those you come in contact with and make a few disciples yourselves. Thanks for listening.