Podcast Transcript. To listen to the audio version click HERE
Have you ever considered the possibility that you could live to see the end of the world?
I know I have and still do think about it on a fairly regularly basis. I think it for that very reason that I have noticed a spiking popularity in apocalyptic themed movies.
It’s as if something in our collective human psyche knows we reaching the edge of a precipice that looks out and can only see an abyss of chaos without hope and so we create our own hope through our science-fiction imagination. In the story we tell ourselves over and over again – humanity always finds a way to survive
This is especially true when we examine the superhero genre of films that have dominated the box office over the last decade.
The heroes embody our hope for salvation from the inevitable downfall of our race.
But have you ever stopped to consider who they are fighting against?
The villain is often some type of alien with god-like powers coming to destroy the planet and those of us living on it
But, where does this narrative come from?
You might say, ‘oh it is just sophisticated but harmless entertainment designed to take advantage of our anxiety and curiosity about the future.”
And yes, I cannot deny the surface level truth to that statement.
But, when you take a step back and examine the meta-narrative of the many of theses apocalyptic films in the context of what the Bible teaches about the end of the world, it should at least make us ponder if perhaps they have a secondary purpose that goes beyond entertainment.
So, where in the Bible do we find a picture of earthly destruction accompanied by a god-like creature coming down to this earth to set up a kingdom?
In the book of revelation we read:
“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”” (Revelation 6:12–17 ESV)
Now if you analyze this passage you will find all the elements of modern day blockbuster action movie.
- natural disasters
- paranormal activity in the heavens
- destruction across the face of the earth
- fear and powerlessness among the politicians and army generals of the earth
- a super-human being that cannot be resisted (otherwise known as Jesus)
Now, what you don’t find is a band of heroes rising up to save the day.
Instead the earth as we know it comes to an end.
And if that was the only version of that narrative found in the scriptures, it would be quite an unhappy ending for planet earth.
However, what you can’t see in those verses is that there are 2 groups of people living on the earth when Jesus comes.
Jesus spoke of these two groups often when he taught always using different metaphors: the sheep and the goats, the wise and the unwise virgins or the faithful and unfaithful servants, and so on
Revelation adds even some cryptic symbolism when describing the groups, referring to the righteous as having the seal of God while the wicked as having the mark of the beast.
Whatever metaphor you prefer though the reality is that just before Jesus comes the individuals who comprise these groups will have already been determined.
Revelation describes the moment when this judgement is pronounced in chapter 22
“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”” (Revelation 22:11 NKJV)
In other words there is going to come a day when the fate of every human being on planet earth is fixed in one camp or another.
Thus, it is not the whole world that is in opposition to the coming of Jesus; only those who have refused to acknowledge him as Lord and Savior.
It is to this group of people that Jesus comes as an invader and enemy to their kingdom. It is this group that attempts to fight against him and his angel armies.
However there is another group that has a completely different reaction to Jesus’s coming.
This group is described in Revelation 14 as those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Instead of running to the mountains and crying for the rocks to fall on them. They cry out:
““Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”” (Isaiah 25:9 NKJV)
This podcast is dedicated to helping you be a part of this group and not the other.
This group is ready.
This group is not afraid.
This group is not destroyed.
In fact, quite the opposite. This is the remnant of humanity that will one day come back and repopulate the earth – but we will have to save that story for another episode.
For now there are other texts in the Bible that make clear what happens to this group when Jesus appears in the sky.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 ESV)
Quite a different picture than the one we read earlier in Revelation.
Can you see why being ready for Jesus is so important.
If we are ready when he comes – he is our God
If we are not ready he is our enemy.
At this point you might be thinking, “is this something I really need to be worrying about now?”
I suppose it would be akin to me saying “Get Ready! Winter is coming!”
Then it would be up to you to look at the signs around you to determine how urgent to take the warning.
If the leaves are green you might say to yourself you have plenty of time to prepare, but if the leaves are turning color you might consider taking the warning a little more seriously.
Interestingly enough, Jesus gave us signs so that we could know when his coming was near; similar to the signs nature provides us to let us know winter is coming.
“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” (Matthew 24:3–8 ESV)
So where does Jesus tell us we should be looking to discover signs that can inform as to the nearness of his 2nd coming and the end of the world?
- In Religion
- In Politics
- In Nature
The interpretive key to understanding the signs of times is built right into the text itself.
It compares the signs to birth pains of woman going into labor.
So, a skeptic might look at these signs and say to themselves, “there has always been religious deception, always been war, and always been natural disasters. How could this possibly point to the soon coming of Jesus?”
But when you look at the signs through the lens of labor pains then it starts to make more sense.
You see a woman doesn’t deliver the baby immediately after she begins to experience labor pains, but as they continue to increase in frequency and intensity she knows the time for delivery is fast approaching. She doesn’t know exactly when the baby will come but she knows it will be soon.
It is the same when it comes to looking at the signs in Religion, Politics, and Nature.
Now you don’t need me to tell you how religion, Politics, and Nature have gone to the extreme in recent history.
Globalism has changed everything in our world in a very short amount of time and we can’t even keep up with it anymore. Just watch the pendulum in Religion, the pendulum in politics, and most noticeably the pendulum in nature. They swing one way and then another until they move farther and farther in either direction.
But globalism is not only the cause it may actually be the keystone sign that we are living on the cusp of eternity.
Think about it. When was the last time a global event was recorded in the Bible?
The flood, right?
Well interestingly enough, Jesus spoke about that very same event in this same discourse in Matthew 24.
“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:37–39 ESV)
Jesus here makes it plain, in no uncertain terms that history is going to report itself. What happened in the days of Noah before the flood is going to happen again right before the coming of Jesus.
So the obvious question we have to ask is – what were the days of Noah like?
Well let’s read about it in Genesis chapter 6.
“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5 ESV)
But let me tell you that the parallels to our society today are unmistakable.
Beyond the religious, political, and environmental changes happening on our planet today, perhaps the greatest change is a moral one.
In the days of Noah there were only 2 groups as well.
The majority were engrossed with the world, but a small minority prepared for the coming flood by building an ark.
They didn’t build the ark in secret. Neither did they keep it to themselves that they believed the flood was coming. In fact the whole world was warned and given an opportunity to get into the ark before it was to late.
Month after month, year after year went by until one day the ark was complete.
It was time to make a decision.
You were either in or out.
Finally the door was shut. 8 souls in the ark and untold millions on the outside.
And seven days later the flood came and took everyone and everything outside of the ark away to destruction while everything that remained in the ark was saved.
A flood of a different kind is coming soon
Just as in Noah’s day many people today scoff at the idea.
Sadly many of these people hold positions as experts in the fields of religion, politics, and science, the very fields Jesus said to pay attention to see the signs.
However, this should not come as a surprise to us.
Most people today have been conditioned to view the coming of Jesus as a threat to their way of life rather than a blessing of the life to come.
Paul – one of the early Christian Apostles wrote about this in one of his letters 2000 years ago.
“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1–3 ESV)
However, before that time comes we have a choice we can make to avoid their fate.
We can choose to be ready for Jesus by choosing to get on the ark.
The ark of course is Jesus
And everyone who gets on Jesus becomes part of the Remnant that will one day return and repopulate the earth like noah and his family did after the flood waters departed.
But in order to be there and do that we need to get in before it is too late
I don’t know what objections may be going through your mind. I do know those objections are not any different to those living on the earth during Noah’s day.
Your objections may be rational. I am sure many who chose not to get on the ark had good reasons to believe rain was scientifically impossible. I mean, hey it had never happened before.
But God’s ways are higher than our ways and God’s throughs our thoughts.
Getting on the ark doesn’t mean turning off your brain, but it does mean turning on your heart the voice of the Holy Spirit calling you to make a full surrender into Jesus.
There is no sitting on the fence when it comes to this decision.
Jesus is coming soon
The question you have to ask yourself is, when he comes will he come to you as a hero or a villain?