The End could be the End of Me!

chart

I grew up with these sorts of prophecy charts. I think that they are good in that they give some clarity to various theories of how the End Times will occur.  I think they are misleading on two fronts.

First, the primary point of prophecy is not to give us a time table.  In fact, the thing that is the least clear about prophecy, in the sense of prediction, is the timing of things.  I point out that Jesus cited a passage from Isaiah 61 when he gave his message at the Synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16ff), he ended the reading at a comma in Isaiah 61, what follows the comma still awaits the future Last Judgment, which is now 2,000 years in waiting.  A comma can be two millennia. Other scriptures got the other way and events that seem far apart are brought together.  We call this sort of thing telescoping. The time frame telescopes freely in prophetic and apocalyptic literature.

Second, the charts do not indicate that even those who are in the same “camp” – eg Premillennial – do not agree on the sequence of events.

So with a certain amount of fear and trepidation, this preacher will speak on “The End” from the two chapter long “Olivet Discourse” in Matthew 24 and 25 this summer.  Fear and trepidation is not a bad thing in a preacher, as this quote from Isaiah 66:2 makes clear:

These are the ones I look on with favor:
    those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
    and who tremble at my word.

So I will try to chart the future without charts in this series.  The first fun thing we discover is that the signs people speak about, wars and earthquakes, are not signs of the end…   Matthew 24:6-8

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains….”

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