A friend made an interesting analogy to me when we discussed his wife’s fascination with end-time biblical prophecy.
“She’s so worried about the blood moon and the tenth toe in Daniel,” he said. “I told her these discussions were like bananas foster. It’s sweet and good but not as nourishing as meat and potatoes. Meat and potatoes is Bible study, prayer and service to God and others.”
Wow. I asked permission to quote him widely!
Many throughout church history have been fascinated with end-time events, including the identity of the antichrist — the “son of Satan” described in the book of Revelation. He’s been identified as the pope, Napoleon, Mussolini, Hitler and even Ronald Reagan, the nation’s kindly grandfather! Some radio preacher noted that Ronald Wilson Reagan had six letters in each of his names; thus 666, the biblical mark of the beast.
Many in my generation have been fascinated with end-time events, too. Much speculation centers around the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the possible return of Christ within a generation, most often identified as 40 years. Thus 1988 was key.
A philanthropist spent a lot of money to send every pastor in America a book entitled, “88 Reasons Why The Rapture Is In 1988.” Rapture is a Latin word that describes the return of Christ and believers “caught up” to meet him. According to goodreads.com, the “88 Reasons” author then reconfigured and predicted 1989, 1993, 1994 and other dates before his death in 2001.
I remember another book with maps showing the U.S.S.R.’s invasion of Israel ushering in Armageddon. Now we live in a world without a U.S.S.R. since the 15 Soviet republics split under Gorbachev.
In reality, every prediction so far about Jesus’s return has been false.
The late Dr. Dale Moody often quipped about the Old Testament punishment for the false prophet — stoning!
It’s fun to study prophecy, and it’s fascinating to discuss various theories with others. And that’s what they are: theories. By my count, there are at least four theories about end-time events, and Christians of deep conviction hold to various interpretations.
End-time prophecy is like bananas foster. It’s sweet and good, but not as nourishing. Christians need meat and potatoes to grow. Meat and potatoes for believers includes daily Bible study and prayer, ministry through a local church, giving to support God’s work financially and obedience to the will of God in all matters.
Methodist leader John Wesley noted that he wanted to be “plowing in God’s field” when Christ appeared and tapped him on the shoulder. In other words, the promise of the master’s return motivates us not so much to speculate and draw maps and charts, but to be found faithful.
“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.
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