Dr. Doug Posey
It’s easy to mock the caricatures of the old-fashioned preachers, alarming their audiences with warnings of the coming doom and gloom followed closely by hellfire and brimstone. Indeed, some pastors love to focus on Bible prophecy and major on scaring people into the Kingdom. It’s no wonder they’re portrayed in movies and TV comedies—and sometimes more serious presentations—as a little more than joke.
These parodies of Bible prophecy presentations put an emphasis on the shock factor concerning what apparently lies ahead. They leave the viewing audience believing one would have to be insane to believe such things. Some Christians start buying into the idea that it’s a little crazy to believe in a literal interpretation of biblical end times events. And many Christians today just don’t want to hear about the end times because they consider it too negative. They’d rather focus on blessings; God’s favor—the positive things in the Bible. Before you know it, all they want to talk about is prosperity and the potential for the here-and-now, as if the hereafter has nothing to do with what we’re here after!
Despite all that, there has been an exponential rise in a genre of TV and movie offerings called “apocalyptic dramas” or end-of-the-world themed shows for the last decade plus. Few being entertained by these programs and films are aware that “apocalyptic” really comes from the Greek term “apokalypsis,” meaning unveiling or, revealing for which the book of Revelation (not Revelations) is named.
Yet, such shows have a common denominator that excludes them from the biblical scenario completely. God is uninvolved. In every case, the life-threatening, world-ending disasters can only be thwarted—and humankind spared—through the courage, ingenuity, strength and persistence of heroic humans. Every-so-often, the script includes a religious fanatic, seen as an out-of-touch joke of a person, because we all know that if the world is going to survive, salvation will come through the self-reliant, capable, level-headed non-supernaturalist.
In reality, few things in the Bible are more positive than the things to come. Aren’t you looking forward to Christ’s return? Or, have we become a little too comfortable with the kingdom of this world as our home; a bit too reliant on humankind and what people can do for us? It’s like Heaven; everyone wants to go there, just not right away. It’s the thought of getting there that can be a scary proposition.
Maybe the scariest thing about thinking too much regarding Christ’s return and all the stuff that goes with it is the implication it has concerning us and they way we ought to live now. Peter wrote about that very thing in his second letter. He said,
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, …
Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless —2 Peter 3:11-12, 14 NASB.
One couple tells the story of their little pre-school boy who had stubbornly resisted their invitations to invite Jesus into His life. Not that they were pushy, but he seemed to understand what it meant, always interested in spiritual things, but every time they asked, he would just tell them in his own way, not yet.
After resisting for many months, one morning he finished breakfast and suddenly let his parents know, he was ready. He marched up to his room, where they assumed little Ben was going to pray. Instead, he started packing his Star Wars P.J.s into his Sesame St. suitcase. After discussing with him why, they realized what he saw his commitment to be. They explained,
That’s why God reveals coming events. So we can live now in light, not only of the coming events, but the coming One, Whom we should long to see face-to-face.
We then understood why our child hesitated to give his life to Christ. He thought that in so doing, he would have to leave us and take up residence, literally, with Christ in heaven.
We should all possess the faith of little Benjamin: we should have our hearts so fixed on Christ's appearance that the attachments of our earthly life pale in comparison.
Wendy Murray Zoba, "Future Tense," Christianity Today magazine (October 2, 1995)
“And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” —Mark 14:62