LOVING PEOPLE INTO CARING ABOUT THE END TIMES…AND OTHER STUFF.

I’m joining the ranks of recent posts on the end-times by the likes of Matt Hartke and Steve Offutt (or maybe Amanda? Or maybe both of the Offutts?:)) .  Both of them had brilliantly insightful things to say.  Check them out.

Why don’t many Christians believe that understanding the end-times is important or relevant to their life as a Christian? 

I can understand why some Christians, before receiving a certain level of information, would think this.  It is often simply a lack of information that causes people to think the way they do.  I’m not terribly upset by ignorance, though it is sometimes annoying, but that’s just my pride and I need to remember that I am ignorant about a thousand things as well.  I think if most Christians were simply given the information needed to initiate internal dialogue, many would respond.  A case in point of that opinion is IHOP.  Think how many IHOPpers did not know or care about the end-times, or held to a grossly disasterous eschatology, before coming to IHOP.  I was one of them, of the former status.  I never thought about the end-times, though I come from a Christian upbringing, with parents and pastors who clearly and wholeheartedly love Jesus.  I used to think, on those rare occasions that I actually thought about it, that when we died, we’d go to heaven to be ‘up there’ with Jesus forever, riding around on white horses in the clouds and drinking pina coladas in hammocks (because pina coladas are white, like everything else in heaven).  I actually used to tell people that heaven was simply whatever made us happy.  That theory breaks down when you think of some of things that make humans, even some Christians, happy.  Catch my drift?  Speaking of drifting….where am I?  Ah yes, IHOP – I would guess about 95% of IHOPpers believe in Apostolic Premillenialism.  Another guess is that nowhere near that percentage of IHOPpers believed in a similar eschatology before they came.  So why the change?  They were given information.  Albeit, they were given information in the context of night and day prayer from teachers who have been praying and fasting for years, even decades, but nonetheless, it is information that produced the change. 

So what is all that to say?  Simply that first of all, we should be kind in our opinions of the many Christians in the western church who do not give a second thought to the end-times.  You know that feeling you get when you overhear a visitor at a conference say something ignorant or see a group of Christians doing something ignorant?  It’s annoying.  You feel so much more enlightened than them.  Then hopefully you go the prayer room and repent for your base pride. 🙂 But, seriously, there is a level of understanding that produces contempt for others who do not have the same level of understanding.  It’s part of our human sin nature (for a really lively discussion on whether or not Jesus had a sin nature, join in on Zack Hensley’s lastest post).  I just want to suggest that roughly 75% of what we do at IHOP would be just as abrasive, ignorant and annoying to say, the underground church in China.  Or Korea.  Or wherever there exist truly radical Christians.  Don’t get me started on how radical we are not.  That’s a whole ‘nother post.  🙂

Anyways, on with it: firstly, let’s be kind in our opinions, prayers, and discussions with Christians who do not believe in the study of the end-times.  Secondly, let’s clearly understand and be able to communicate the following…

Why is it important that Christians study the end-times? I pose the following answers to two common arguments:

Why should we study something that is only going to affect the last generation?   Good question, until you realize that at the time of Jesus’ return to the planet, the final generation will be numbered at more than the entire population of the earth since creation combined. We are talking about more people than existed in each generation added together.  Woah.  Also, this subject hardly only affects the last generation.  This subject affects all Christians in every generation for all will be part of it, whether being on earth and enduring (hopefully) through the great tribulation, or having died 1500 years ago and since then being led in intercession by the resurrected Jesus in heaven, preparing to be part of the grand and final scene in which their souls will rocket to the earth to be met by their decayed or decaying bodies in the air, instantly transformed into resurrected bodies.  I doubt that Jesus is not touching on the subject of his return to planet earth in the heavenly realm right now to deceased believers.  If that is true, then the study of the end-times is very pertinent to the man or woman who died in say, 165 A.D.  And they’ve got the best teacher of all.

It’s not important to study dates and graphs and timelines.  I’ll just love God and it will all work out in the end.  The mindset is true, but the missing link is that studying the end-times (not neccesarily man-made dates, graphs and timelines, but definitely what is stated in the Word of God about it) is the very thing that produces love for God and acts as impetus for holy living.  As David Pawson states in “When Jesus Returns”,

“Revelation of end time events are given to us in order to affect our present behavior, and moreso, to stir us to align ourselves with the character and emotions of God –  not just to satisfy mental curiosity.  It is to stimulate moral consistency…to promote a pattern of righteous living.”

I like this point because it just makes sense. If we are going to know and love God, doesn’t it make sense that we would know what’s on His heart concerning the end? If we are truly in relationship with Him, we will care about knowing Him and what His thoughts and intents are. 

All for now…by the way, this makes for yet another category!  Whoo-hoo!!!

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  1. Esther Myung

    Molly, you are AWESOME! 🙂

  2. Mike,

    Talks about the 4 lies people believe about prophecy and the End Times…I believed them all and not only that sold them to anyone who would listen. All I can say is thank God He is opening my eyes and heart. He will reach more.

    Glad you are blogging!

  3. That is a really good way to look at things. I for one know that when I first came to IHOP I had no eschatology to speak of. Point in fact the end-times really sort of scared me. I mean I didnt get all the hoopla around it. But then I came to understand that it really maters. It really matters to Jesus because its the long awaited reuniting with His bride. And if for no other reason than I am included in the bride of Christ that should be enough. I mean if I dont get to be here when it all happens, the decissions that I make now still matter then. So thanks for the encouragment and the reminder.

  4. Absolutely! Thanks for the comment…




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