My friend Terry loves to tell a story about, Johnny, a young man in Sunday School. For months, his teacher tried to help the class learn some biblical terminology. He couldn’t seem to remember the word, Armageddon.
Week after week she would question him about the word and he constantly got it wrong. Finally, in desperation, he cried out, “I’m just not going to remember it—and what’s the big deal, anyway? It’s not like it’s the end of the world!”
My subject in this last article is no small matter. It’s about the end of the world. I prefer to write about happy things. But, I’m compelled by truth. Hopefully, this article will be insightful to Christians and illuminating to those who are not.
Jesus promised that He would come again. These promises are weaved throughout the New Testament. The most concentrated teaching on the subject is found in the last book of the Bible, The Revelation (BTW the Greek word for Revelation is “Ἀποκάλυψις,” from which we get our word, apocalypse).
John, the human author, provides a prophetic overview of what Christians would call “the end times.” The epicenter of biblical prophecy is not the United States, but the Middle East and specifically the nation of Israel. Ever wonder why for thousands of years, nations have tried to eradicate Israel—and yet it’s still there?.
When considering this topic, I should point out that, last year, I spoke on the subject of the end times and did a ten-week series on the subject. I only say that to say that most of what I write here will be an oversimplification in order to provide a basic overview and not exceed my suggested word limit (by too much).
Within Christianity, there is no general consensus on “the order of events” on how or when Jesus will come back. Jesus said, “No one knows the day or the hour” (Mark 13:32). All we know is that His second coming is imminent.
He promised, “Behold, I am coming quickly” (Rev 22:20). If you’re wondering what He means by quickly, the Bible reminds us, “A day in the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet 3:8). On God’s calendar, Jesus has been gone two days.
Christians realize that when Jesus comes back, this world will be destroyed by fire. Global warming will not be the culprit. As Peter wrote, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved” (2 Pet 3:10). God, the Divine Architect, will erase the canvas and start all over. He will eliminate what is broken and make everything perfect.
The “why” question always comes up. What’s the purpose? Like everything else, this world has an expiration date. Basically, what Satan, sin, and selfishness corrupted in the garden (Gen 3), God will “fix” and create a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21).
But, before you can bring in the new, it’s out with the old. Before Jesus returns, this world will experience a time of trouble. You may be familiar with the term, “the Great Tribulation.” That phrase is taken from Matthew 24:21 where Jesus said, “There will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.”
The tribulation is a seven-year time period that will precede the end of the world. Jesus said that before the tribulation begins, there will be signs. Specifically, He told us to expect wars and rumors of war, famines, earthquakes, and plagues (see Matt 24:5-7 and Luke 21:11). These would intensify.
The last three-and-a-half years of this time period is known as, “the Great Tribulation.” This will be a time period that will be all-out chaos and quite literally hell on earth as the antichrist (aka the beast, Rev 13) brings destruction as he seeks world domination. This is Satan’s last stand.
For many years, previous generations have believed they would see Jesus’s return. Who could blame them? We all interpret the signs of the times from our personal and present perspective (fueled by our media choices). Can you imagine living in the time of the atrocities connected to World War II?
I’m sure that many believed that Hitler, who sought to annihilate Israel and take over the world, was the antichrist. It must have been a frightening time, but the end was not yet.
In our present world, many believe that we have been enlightened and have grown past the ridiculousness of the mistakes of the past. Not so much. History is cyclical. People are forgetful. Evil is real. This world will witness a time of chaos and destruction, such has never been seen, as the antichrist seeks to destroy Israel, the church, and seeks world domination.
I’ve known all of this for years. Most Christians do. The question I’ve always had was, “How does the United States factor into all this?” To control the world, you’ve got to be able to eliminate freedom, control communication, and oversee the economy. Basic ruling the world 101.
The Bible reveals that, during the end times, there will be famines. Most people make decisions based upon their own self-preservation and they will do about anything when they’re hungry (or need toilet paper, we’ve found).
The Bible says, the antichrist “causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name” (Rev 13:16-17). That’s what Christians call, the “mark of the beast.”
This satanic world leader will attempt to unite, and then control, all people groups (global accountability) and oversee a global economy. So much could be written here, but suffice to say, it’s not about a chip in the skin; it’s about allegiance to an ungodly, satanic system. I’ve always wondered how the U.S., the greatest nation in the world, would factor in.
During the coronavirus, we experienced firsthand, how a threatening virus, fear, and panic could lead people to change their behavior. I marveled at how quickly authoritative figures moved in and how Americans were willing to give up some of their freedoms for the general well-being and, perhaps, a stimulus check. (PS this is not a statement suggesting that quarantine is good or bad, but just an observation of how quickly things changed). Americans are polarized on this issue.
About 200 years ago, a fascinating document emerged. It was either written by Alexander Tyler or Alexis de Tocqueville. It says, "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.”
The premise is fascinating and frightening. Nations, primarily democracies, go through a lifecycle that includes: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage. I wonder where we are on the list?
We will never forget 9/11. But our children and grandchildren don’t remember a time when we could just walk on an airplane without taking off our shoes. Two months after 9/11, protecting airports was taken over at the federal level.
Now, taking off our shoes and banning liquids is just common acceptance and common practice. Naturally, it’s for our own safety, and I’m not advocating anything other than your consideration and introspection.
My perspective is biblical. I believe what the Bible says. I don’t always know the “how,” but I do know the “what.” Jesus will come again at the end of the world. Please understand, I’m not suggesting that we are “at” the end of the world. But I now have a better understanding of how it “could” happen.
In order for the United States to be grafted into a global system, there must be an authoritarian system of control. This control must include accountability (giving up all personal freedoms) and the control of the economy. The times, they are a changin’ and I’ve seen how this “could”, one day, happen.
As far as the church is concerned, the church is commanded, by Scripture (Rom 13), to comply to all governmental authorities—unless those authorities violate the commands in Scripture. This is not a time for anarchy or rebellion, but compliance. But, the table has been set.
I’m aware that there are various attitudes that may emerge to this article—the obvious would be belief or unbelief, acceptance or rejection. There are also various responses. One could, perhaps, focus on self-preservation, buy up all the canned goods, disinfectant wipes, and toilet paper, and hunker down in a bunker somewhere off the grid.
The better, and informed position, would be to choose to trust that God is sovereign and loving and that everything that will happen is divinely orchestrated by God’s hand and choose to trust Him, come what may. After all, it’s not the end of the world. At least, not yet.
Dr. Wayne Geiger is the Pastor of First Baptist Grain Valley, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Speech, and freelance writer.