By Steve Nelson
The problem and solution: Most of the world is confused about the future, and Christians are sometimes the most ignorant on this, due to misinformation. For your blessing and understanding, this article will shed light on this exaggerated and over-analyzed subject of popular controversy. We can discover what the truth is, not by watching Hollywood movies about “apocalyptic events,” nor by reading top-selling fantasy books about the “end times,” nor by listening to the next smooth-talking preachers who give us their two cents about when they guess Jesus is coming back. Scripture exclusively is how to know the truth accurately. (“Every word of God is pure…” – Proverbs 30:5)
A running head start… The Olympic Games will occur July 23 – August 8, 2021. In light of this legendary sporting event, let’s begin our discussion of time here. The pinnacle of sports achievement is earning a gold medal, and in doing so get your name etched in stone, preserved as a champion. Suppose you are a runner, about to race in the marathon. Once your race begins, what will you think about? Do you dwell upon the previous race? No!! (Philippians 3:13 says to “forget what lies behind.”) Or do you worry about the next race? No!! (Matthew 6:34 tells us “don’t worry about tomorrow.”) Think about the race going on right now.
Focus less on the past and future, in proportion to the present. To aid your performance during the long race, you might recall on occasion the successful tactics of previous runners (just like Christians do in looking at Old Testament believers). Also during the race, you might gain motivation as you imagine yourself inspiring future runners (just like Christians look forward to the ultimate future ahead when evil is defeated once and for all). Yet thoughts of the past and future are few in comparison to the many thoughts of the present. The race right now requires our urgent and diligent attention! We must adjust to the other competitors constantly, minute by minute and sometimes second by second. Also affecting our speed and endurance, we consider other dynamic factors: terrain, temperature, wind, hydration, energy and many other physical and mental conditions. (The marathon current world record is 2 hours, 1 minute, 39 seconds.)
Focusing on the PRESENT is the will of God. Distracted about the future is the will of Satan. To overlook the past completely would cause us to be ignorant. To ignore the future completely would cause us to wander aimlessly. So we keep those things in proper measure. Just like a runner, each human being could and should spend a majority of their focus, energy and effort on the PRESENT. Since this is true, then why are so many Christians distracted, consumed with tunnel vision on the future? This is because Satan prefers this distraction of converting us into fortune tellers and predictors of future events, instead of us Christians focusing on our top priority, being “witnesses unto the uttermost part of the earth” RIGHT NOW. We need to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ about God’s power – it’s available to anyone, RIGHT NOW.
The race we run is the most important to us. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to run “the race set before US,” not the race of others in the future. As Christians, we will not be around when Revelation commences anyway, so why fuss about it? Now consider this in the context of studying Scripture. Why not study those things most importantly that relate to us right now? Study the New Testament writings about the time in which we live now, before we try to master the next age, which we will not be a part of anyway. Enjoy studying Revelation, but do so in balance, not as our primary emphasis.
Evidence to consider:
- God alone created the heavens and the earth, including humans. In need of redemption, God said we would be rescued some day from our sins, from death, fromevil. It took 4,000 years until the Christ was born, with a fantastic history of God’s people recorded for our learning.
- In just over 30 years, Jesus lived and sacrificed Himself to save us, then was raised from the dead, is still alive in Heaven right now 2,000 years later, coming back at some point in time in the future. Only God knows the timing of that epic event when He will send His Son Jesus back for us (Acts 1:7 and 1:11).
- As a result of Jesus Christ’s victory over death, many new things opened up for people, including the potential to get saved and become a child of God. Starting on Pentecost, it was first available to become “born again.” This AGE OF GRACE still continues to this day and will not conclude until Christ’s return. Nor will the AGE OF WRATH begin a second before grace is gone.
- Before us believers are taken to Heaven by Jesus, we are lights in thisworld, pushing back darkness. Only when the believers leave this planet will the “wrath” of Satan commence and the book of Revelation will start to unfold. Romans 5:9 and 1 Thessalonians 1:10 document that believers alive now will not have to endure this future wrath.
- The phrase “end times” does not occur in the Bible. Suggestion: stop using it. Overall, stop listening to people who dwell on the future, emphasize it, make predictions about it, or spend their focus on trying to interpret it, as if we need to know more about dating future events than about what is going on right now. Friends, let’s wise up about this subtle distraction by Satan.
Conclusion: Just like a marathon runner, we focus on our own race. We can’t run races for others, even if we think about them periodically. Understand first the age we live in now, before we try to master understanding the next age which has not even begun yet. Let’s understand where we fit in history. God bless you!
Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from “Book of Revelation Hype” Segment 75 of “CORE,” a course for families on how to read and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at [email protected].