The Danger of
End Time Theories
by Terry L. Craig
Lots of Christians have theories about the timing of the return of Jesus Christ. Each person's theory and $1.75 might buy you a decent cup of coffee.
People who say "Scripture clearly states" something about the timing of the return of Jesus haven't spent much time doing anything but cutting and pasting bits of verses to make them fit a pet idea. About the only things Scripture openly states about the return of Jesus Christ are:
He WILL return—at a time fixed by Father God.
NO ONE but God knows the day or the hour of Christ's return.
Jesus will return as the same guy who left 2000 years ago (not a reincarnation).
He will return the same way he left—through the sky.
The next time Jesus appears, He will be coming for those who belong to Him.
When I began writing SWORDSMAN in the late 1970's, I thought I'd been given the great task of writing a story about believers living during the time of Jesus' return. When I first started, I didn't have a clue how many theories there were about the "last days" or how contentious some people are about them! (Oh, the joys of my simplicity back then.) I still believe that I received a commission from God to write the story . . . but nearly 40 years later, I've come to understand something: The story of SWORDSMAN (and the whole Fellowship of the Mystery trilogy) is about the real hope Jesus Christ offers us in a world filled with misguided beliefs and failed dreams.
Even within the Church, it amazes me that professing a particular teaching on the timing of Christ's return can be used as a litmus test of faith. In fact, there are times where Christians are denied positions of ministry and sometimes even denied fellowship with a church unless they agree with the leadership's eschatology (end-time theory). How this must grieve the Lord, who gives us no instruction to do this. The dogmatic attempts to browbeat people into aligning with a specific timing for the return of Christ are the equivalent of the proverbial "trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic"!
This world will come to an end one day. Shouldn't your faith be placed on the fact that Jesus IS coming back, rather than when you think it will happen? Jesus warns believers that they will have tribulation here. The apostles warned us that the last days would be "terrible" times, and Peter said, believers would be taunted by scoffers who say, "Where is he? You've been claiming he's coming back all this time, but where is he?" Beloved, that would have no sting unless someone had placed their faith in a scenario that fell flat.
The center of Christianity's focus shouldn't be LEAVING, but LIVING in Christ.
Just remember—hearing and knowing the prophecies about the Messiah dying on the cross didn't help the disciples to figure it all out in advance. They kept trying to put together a scenario that zipped right to the good part—them in charge and living large. Even while the execution of the Lord was happening, they didn't connect the dots and see that everything was taking place exactly the way Jesus said it would. Then, when Jesus was buried, they figured it was just OVER. They couldn't see (until the other side of these events) just how wrong they'd gotten it. . . . Yet it was "in Scripture" all the time.
KNOW that Jesus IS coming, but ask yourself: If the timing of His return went differently than I planned, would it shake my faith? Don't get so locked into your scenario that you'd be blown out of the water by a different reality, because SALVATION DOES NOT REST IN A THEORY OR A TIME, BUT FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST WHATEVER THE TIME.
. . . "I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." [John 16:38, KJV]
Other articles on the End Times:
You will hear it said, "People in the Early Church thought Jesus could come back any moment."—and that's generally true. But some teachers then stretch that to say, "People in the Early Church believed in a 'Pre-trib' rapture, so we should, too." Did they? Should we?
Before we say we "believe" something about the end times, shouldn't we give more that a short glance at what JESUS said about those days? How many of the most popular ideas can be supported by the words of Christ? A look at what Jesus actually said with comparisons between gospels, links to the passages on Biblegateway.com, and footnotes.
This is probably one of the most "added to" or or redirected passages of Scripture. Why not simply read Paul's sequence of events of the Last Days for yourself? Not a teaching or interpretation, a step-by-step walk through the words of Paul.
Bible Study on the End Times:
Terry L. Craig is a follower of Christ, a Bible nerd, and a comparative thinker. She likes to engage people and get them thinking about why they believe what they believe. She is an author, an indie publisher, and occasional speaker.
More about her fiction books.
More about her apologetics and studies.