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Tag Archives: eschatology

Prepare Yourself for Perilous Times

Eschatology comes from the Greek word ἔσχατος. When translated into English, éschatos refers to the part of theology concerned with the final events of history. One of the Gospel authors devotes an entire chapter to the signs of the times. In the passage below, Matthew highlights specific events to look for as Jesus reflect upon what the end of times will resemble. This chapter serves as a map to prepare readers of the Bible for perilous times.

While He was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and said, Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age? Jesus answered them, Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet, Matthew 24:3-6.

The initial sign of the times is wars and rumors of wars. This is followed by famines and earthquakes. The imagery Jesus chooses to describe these perilous times like the pain a woman endures during the child bearing process. The book of Daniel in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New Testament refer to specific events that set in motion the arrival of the anti-Christ. If you’re not taken up into heaven by the Rapture, Jesus’ second coming, these perilous times will be beyond what most individuals can handle.

But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear], 2 Timothy 3:1.

In view of what lies ahead, I am reminded of something that Jesus says during the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. In the middle of this famous speech, Jesus provides advice to prepare yourself for perilous times. Matthew 6:34 highlights that each day has enough trouble of it’s own. Therefore, don’t be overwhelmed by the circumstances that is beyond your control. Rather, take one day at a time, with the perspective that each new day is a gift from God.

by Jay Mankus

Maintaining Consciousness

Consciousness in its simplest form is awareness of internal or external existence.  Infants, children and adolescents rarely think about consciousness, unaware of the intricacies of the human body.  As time takes it’s toll on the life, maintaining consciousness becomes an unavoidable challenge.  Between the rising concerns surrounding mental health and numerous complications with old age, staying alive can be a weekly grind.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:13.
Unfortunately, nobody knows the exact day or time of their deaths.  Some may receive inclinations, warning signs or visions, but few people live their lives as if today or tomorrow will be their last.  Thus, maintaining consciousness is in God’s hands.  Unless of course a drunk driver exercises their own freewill to use their vehicle as a tool of death.  One day you could feel great and the next you’re stricken with cancer.  Meanwhile, others show no signals of decay until an aneurysm, heart attack or gun shot wound tragically ends a life.
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect, Matthew 24:44.
While coping with this uncertainty, the Lord desires individuals to exercise a spiritual consciousness.  One of Jesus’ former disciples writes about preparing your mind for action.  This can be executed with a sober mind set fully on the grace of God.  Another disciple devotes an entire chapter on Jesus’ teaching of eschatology, what will happen in the last days.  Until these days arrive, maintaining consciousness is the least that you can do, health permitting.  Draw near to God and God will draw near to you.
by Jay Mankus

Did I Hear What I Think I Just Heard?

Back in 1995, Tim LaHave and Jerry Jenkins released their first of 15 books in the Left Behind Series.  This subject matter places readers in the last days, what life on earth will be like prior to and after Jesus’ second coming.  While seated on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gives his own disciples a sneak peek into the future as he privately shares signs to look for as the end draws near.  Beginning in 2000, Alan B. McElroy adapted these books into a series of films.  Left Behind the movie portrays the rapture leaving behind a commercial airplane pilot and a GNN reporter played by Kirk Cameron.  These two characters eventually meet, trying to figure out how and why millions of people suddenly vanished into thin air.

Jesus answered, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in My name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age], Matthew 24:4-6.

Whenever a supernatural event takes place, cable news networks bring in a panel of so called experts to logically explain what just happened.  In the first Left Behind film, Buck Williams, a famous GNN anchor is befriended by the UN Secretary General Nicolae Carpathia who is played by Gordon Currie.  This initial encounter leads to an invitation for Williams to cover a private gathering with all ten UN delegates.  During this closed door meeting, Carpathia shoots Jonathan Stonagal and Joshua Todd-Cothran, who tried to bankrupt the United Nations.  After witnessing this murder, Carpathia brainwashes everyone in the room to believe this was a murder suicide except for Buck.  This scene caused Buck to ponder, “did I hear what I think I just heard.”

But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God,  2 Timothy 3:1-4.

During his missionary journeys, the apostle Paul meets a teenager pastor named Timothy.  When the subject of eschatology comes up, Paul writes a second letter to prepare this teen and his church for end times.  As I have listened to the media coverage following the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, I find myself sensing that Christ’s return is closer than ever before.  News coverage in America has become so slanted toward a progressive and secular worldview, that I can’t believe what I am hearing.  Just as Buck Williams was dazed and confused following his UN meeting, you must test everything you hear, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 so that you aren’t deceived by partisan politics.

by Jay Mankus

When the Holy Spirit Takes Over

There are several theories about what will occur in the end times on earth.  Known as eschatology, this term refers to the theological interpretations of biblical content on this subject.  Although movies have portrayed some of  these views, few writers have touched one of the teachings of Jesus.  A sign of the last days is a supernatural phenomena where the Holy Spirit literally falls upon Christians and takes over their conversations.

Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit, Mark 13:11.

The context of the passage above will take place during a period of persecution of believers, when the world will hate Christianity.  At the looks of the current cultural climate, this day may not be far off; possibly in its infancy stage.  Often buried in the news, crucifixions, imprisonment and  mass executions of Christians is occurring throughout the world, weekly in Africa and the Middle East.

Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved, Mark 13:13.

In my life, I’ve experienced two moments where I blacked out, not knowing what I said during a conversation.  However, based upon others who came to me afterward, the only logical explanation I can come up with is the Holy Spirit took over.  During the first sermon I ever preached, crowds of people came to the altar to accept Christ and confess their sins.  I only remember my first and closing sentence, the rest is a blur.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

The only other experience similar to Jesus’ words occurred when I helped my spiritual mentor,Ken Horne, a youth pastor in Wilmington, with an overnight lock in.  After bowling at a local alley, the youth group spent the night at church.  However, one individual was a distraction, an evil presence, affecting the morale of the others.  Not sure what to do, I took him aside when the Holy Spirit took over.  The next thing I knew we were praying as this rebellious teenager was accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  Therefore, the next time you find yourself with your back against the wall, draw near to God and perhaps the Holy Spirit will take over.

by Jay Mankus

 

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