After showing my new website to a very good friend of mine, he responded with two questions. He's a strong Christian brother with whom I enjoy exchanging banter between discussions about Jesus and other serious subjects. So when he asked me the questions I was tempted to respond with a smart aleck comment. But before I responded I thought for a moment and I decided that he had asked some great questions that were were worthy of a thoughtful, honest answer. Further, I thought maybe I should just go ahead and answer his question by posting the answer on my website.
So here's the first question, exactly as he wrote it to me:
Why do you want to know – or get as close to you can in knowing – the date or approximate timing of the Rapture?
Since it is relevant to this website, I thought maybe it worthy of answering publically.
It's a little bit of a hard question to answer but I will explain it the best I can. There are multiple parts to my answer.
First, I think Jesus has put in my heart the desire to search for the answer. Now that doesn't mean I will find the answer. There are no guarantees. What it does do is put me on a journey. Being on the journey gives me a hunger to learn, which drives me deeper into the Bible and into deeper discussions with brothers and sisters in Christ. I enjoy learning and in particular I enjoy learning and talking about stories and subjects in the Bible. It's not just the words of the Bible that I read and study but it is also the context that I enjoy learning about. Learning about the context adds colors to the words and stories of the Bible. Of all the subjects in the Bible, Eschatology is my favorite study topic. It's certainly not the most important topic in the Bible but it is something that I enjoy so I am following my passion and my passion drives me to go deeper. Prior to embarking on this journey my personal Bible study was inconsistent at best and more frequently non-existent. Since starting the journey I have become far more consistent at reading scripture and considering the various angels for what a passage might mean. I have learned so many things since I first felt called to this personal study in early 2017. I may write another post in the future just listing some of things I have learned this year about which I had no idea previously.
Second, I enjoy teaching others and studying Eschatology gives me a subject that I can about teach in the future. When I say teach I'm referring to teaching in my church and maybe some other churches. I'm not an ordained minister and I don't feel called to become one. Neither do I think that only ordained ministers should teach Bible Studies or explore difficult subjects. There's something about the process that helps everyone. If an individual feels called to learn a particular subject and teach on it, I am convinced that they can do it. All they need is the appropriate amount of effort, humility and prayer for the Holy Spirit to give them the discernment they need to learn and grow in that subject.
Third, I think Jesus expects us to watch for his return. Now when we watch we need to be careful to keep our eye on Him and not make an idol out of our efforts watching waiting for His return. I agree that it is difficult to be a watchman and avoid getting sucked into idolizing the rapture and not worshiping Jesus. For those who do not feel called to study Eschatology or they feel their personal calling is in a different direction, I think that's great. Each of us the Body of Christ should find the thing for which we have a particular passion and follow our passion to find our best way to serve the Lord. Here are a few scriptures that reference our job to keep watching.
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Finally, to me the study of Eschatology is a reminder of the hope that we have in Jesus. Let's be honest, the world is kind of a scarey place at the moment. There is so much anger and hatred between people and so much suffering in the world that we cannot seem to address. Also, there are so many natural disasters that have either already taken place or appear to be on the verge of happening that sometime I wonder if we are close to the breaking point. How much more can humanity take before collapsing into anarchy? The short answer is humanity can take a lot more stress than I imagine before it implodes. It's never quite as dark as it appears. The long answer is God Wins in the End. So, no matter how many bad things happen our faith tells us that God wins in the end. That is the reason for my hope. It doesn't matter how many bad things happen right now, God wins. Neither human depravity nor the natural disasters of the physical universe will prevent God from achieving His ultimate will. Despite what we tend to think about ourselves, humans are not anywhere near powerful to prevent God from finishing his plan exactly as he planned it prior to creating the Earth.
Hope is one of my very favorite things because we can always have hope. It doesn't matter how dark the situation is we can always have hope if we choose to accept it. Consider what Paul said here:
1 Corinthians 13:13
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Yes, Paul said that greatest of these was love. But let's not underestimate hope because the three (faith, hope and love) build upon each other. Just like we cannot have hope without faith so to we cannot have love without hope. Faith gives us the ability to have hope for the future and hope gives us the ability (and the freedom) to love others unconditionally. And that's what Jesus called us to do.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Hope is so important to me that I may write more on it in the future.
One last thought based on the other question my friend asked. My friend and I talk business frequently and he has a background in business consulting. From that business consulting background he asked this second question.
What do you hope that site will accomplish for those that read it?
- Will it get them to investigate?
- Point them to Scripture, and, ultimately Christ?
- Support the validity of the Bible and help make sense of the times we live in?
- All of these?
- Something more/else?
The thing is, if my launching this website was a business venture then his second question was were right on target. It might even apply if the staff for this website was more than just me. However, since the staff is only me, I can say for me this website is a calling and a passion and it is part of my service to the Lord. My calling is to plant and water as Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians. As for what the site will accomplish, I don't know. My job is to share what I have learned leave the rest of it to God to make it grow.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to leave your questions or comments in the section below and I will answer them when time permits. God Bless!