NOTE: For the next couple of months I’ll be teaching some concepts which will complete what we wrote in the February and March issues.
After the two controversial issues of The Traveler in February and March, I believe God wants me to follow up those issues with some more controversial thoughts the next few months . . . merely to furnish you a more complete scenario of what I currently feel we might expect to occur, possibly in the near future.
Actually, I first wrote some of these thoughts almost 3 years ago in the October and November 2012 issues of The Traveler; some of my readers have asked me to repeat the gist of what I wrote then in order to round out my thoughts about the “last days” I wrote earlier in February and March of this year.
These will be three months of a few more positive views than are currently prevalent in much of evangelical and Pentecostal Christendom.
[By the way, I have a group of about 200+ people on FaceBook to whom I send a brief, positive, encouraging note every couple of weeks or so. You’re welcome to join our group. Just “friend” me on FaceBook and I’ll add you to our group.]
I wrote in the February and March issues that most of the so-called last days occurred from the beginning to near the middle of the first century A.D., and the only major event remaining on God’s timetable is for King Jesus to return to earth to establish his Kingdom, as millions of people have been praying for centuries . . . “Thy Kingdom come.”
Do I understand all I think I know? No! I’m merely writing about what I presently understand and comprehend according to my current state of awareness. There is still so much I don’t understand . . . .
Here we go!
Essentially, I’ll be clarifying and updating some of what I wrote back in October and November 2012. As you know all too well, 2 ½ years can make a big difference in world events.
apocalypse – noun: a cataclysmic event, especially the end of the world
You’ll probably find this hard to believe, but I’ve made mistakes in the past, I’ll probably make a few today, and I’m quite sure I’ll make some in the future. Some of the mistakes I’ve made have been about what the Bible teaches. One prevailing theme found in the Bible is called biblical eschatology or the study of “end-times.” I’ve made some mistakes about that subject through the years.
Again, all I can do is share what the Bible teaches, based on my present level of understanding and current state of awareness. In The Traveler for a few months I’m going to share with you my present, current understanding about “end time,” apocalyptic events or the last days. As noted in February and March, my present views are controversial. I already know what you read will anger some of you. Others will be puzzled. A few of you will send me nasty e-mails. Some of you will angrily ask us to remove your e-mail address from our database. But . . . possibly some of you will be encouraged and perhaps even breathe a sigh of relief that I’m writing what you may have secretly been believing but were afraid to tell other people.
First, I want to state the world is not going to end soon. Or at least not for billions of years. There is no coming antichrist who will be a tool of the devil to attempt to rule the world. Russia is not going to invade Israel. An army of 200,000,000 is not going to march into the Middle East. There isn’t going to be a “Great Tribulation.” Believers in Jesus aren’t going to be “raptured” away from the earth to a “safe” location in the universe so they won’t suffer during a “Great Tribulation.” There will not be a revived Roman Empire in Europe. People won’t have “the mark of the beast” tattooed on their foreheads or inserted under their skin as a microchip. Are those enough controversial statements? I could write more, but I won’t. Instead of those controversial statements (and similar ones) what do I feel is going to happen in the future?
I’ll write as simply as I’m able to. The next event on God’s timetable for planet earth and humanity is for Jesus to return to earth and inaugurate his universal Kingdom headquartered on earth in the New Jerusalem.
And . . . the only “signs of the times” yet to occur are those found in Matthew 24: 14 in the Bible. I’ll let you look that up and ponder Jesus’ words for yourself. If I attempted to explain what Jesus said, that would be even more controversial. Why in the world am I writing like this? Why be controversial? What am I trying to prove?
First, for many thousands of people there’s a certain obsessive, perverse attraction to end-of-the-world events. Look at the tabloids in our supermarkets, for example.
Second, I often grow weary—even fed up!—with various Bible-believing followers of Jesus who continually see nothing but gloom and doom in their futures. In short, they feel the world is “going to hell in a handbasket”—and they spread that negative, stinkin’ thinkin’ to others—especially to their children.
Third, some obsessive “end-timers” almost take a perverse delight in believing they’ll be saved, whereas pre-believers will be doomed to the lake of fire. The believing end-timers are almost gleeful that pre-believers will be “getting the hell they deserve” for rejecting Jesus in this life.
There’s another side to that same end-time “coin,” too. Some who believe in cataclysmic end-time events suffer undue stress and anxiety wondering whether or not they’ll be one of those who “make it” through the Great Tribulation or wondering whether or not they’ll be “left behind” at the rapture. Some often wonder: “What if there’s unconfessed sin in my life at the moment the rapture occurs; does that mean I’ll be left behind?”
So . . . there are two sides to the coin for those who wonder about and fear cataclysmic end-time events. I try to think “outside the box,” especially about the Bible and related matters. I will be doing that in this issue of The Traveler. And for the next few months. I am convinced such gloom and doom, apocalyptic thinking is untrue. I am convinced the best is yet to be. I do not see the world going to hell in a handbasket.
Unfortunately, many conservative, evangelical, Jesus believers have a finely honed sense of impending disaster they “feed” on. I hope you’re not one of them! Some mistakenly feel there has been a great cosmic battle between God and Satan since time immemorial, with the outcome still not certain about who will win. They feel even if God wins, He will end up with only a small fraction of humanity on the winning side, whereas Satan will end up with the vast majority of people burning in hell forever. How utterly naïve to believe God is that weak and Satan that strong . . . or that human “free will” can thwart God’s will!
I Am A Futurist
I feel every Jesus believer on planet earth should be a futurist. What is a futurist? A futurist is someone who sees the “upside,” not the “downside,” of the future. God is a futurist. He sees nothing but ultimate good for the future of all humankind. Why does God see our future as good? Because He is altogether good and absolutely everything He does for us is good (Psalm 119: 68). That is a basic, bedrock belief of mine that underlies all I think and write. I choose to be optimistic rather than pessimistic. I choose to believe that the next event on God’s timetable for earth and humanity is for King Jesus to return to earth to inaugurate his wonder-full Kingdom!
Have you heard of the International World Future Society (IWFS)? It is not a Bible-based Society by any stretch of the imagination. Interestingly, however, many Bible believers belong to the Society. The Society’s members are people from around the world who choose to be optimistic about the future, rather than pessimistic. They try to seek out and find factual information about the future of the world from a positive viewpoint, rather than from a negative viewpoint.
Why Be Optimistic?
Why do I choose to be optimistic rather than pessimistic about the future? First, optimism is a belief that the future will turn out well. I honestly believe that’s what the Bible (taken together as a whole!) teaches about the future of earth and humanity. I’m well aware that anyone can take certain biblical references as “proof texts” to “prove” various events might occur in the future. But—again—we must determine what the Bible teaches –as a whole—about future events.
Second, optimism is something one does, not something one feels. Optimism is simply to choose having a more positive way of looking at life in general. Among other things, optimism actually promotes better cardiovascular health, and serves to enhance one’s immune system. In short, optimism is simply better for us in terms of our overall health and wellbeing. For example, a recent study showed that optimists are 9 percent less likely to develop heart disease than pessimists. They are only 77 percent as likely to be rehospitalized after some types of major surgery. Optimists on average have blood pressure 5 points lower than pessimists. Finally, fact-based optimists live an average of 5-9 years longer than negative, fear-based pessimists.
An authentic, fact-based optimist is far more a realist than a pessimist. And a Bible-based optimist is even more of a true realist, seeing reality through God’s eyes—having an unlimited KingdomView rather than a mere limited human worldview, no matter how expansive. I try to encourage people to adopt a secure, safe Kingdom Dream, rather than a mere elusive, transitory American Dream (or any other national dream).
Is the world really going to hell in a handbasket? Are things really getting worse and worse—to end in some sort of worldwide “great tribulation” and fiery conflagration? God is not going to destroy the earth and everything and everyone on it. There will not be a brand-new “replacement” earth inhabited by only a relatively few Jesus believers, dancing on golden streets, strumming on harps in some sort of boring, eternal church service. No. No. No! God is going to freshly restore earth and everything and everyone on it to a far greater condition than it ever was.
For a fuller teaching on the subject of restoration in the Bible, I invite you to read our teaching entitled “Restoration” on this web site.
Continued next month
“Then I saw a freshly restored universe and earth, different than the present universe and earth as we now know them; and there was no more sea. Then I, John, the writer of this revelation, saw the holy city, the freshly restored Jerusalem, coming down to earth out of heaven, as a bride prepared and adorned for her husband. Now God who sits on his throne will say: ‘Pay attention! I have freshly restored my entire creation.’” –From Revelation 21, paraphrased
To think about this month
“The world can’t end today because it’s already tomorrow on the other side of the world.” —Adapted from Charles Schulz
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Revised and Updated December 2020