Apocalyptic Fervor

Apocalyptic fervor has permeated our present Christian culture: “Are these the End Times?” “Are we seeing the beginning of the Great Tribulation?”

While our culture assuredly has many elements that make the End Times as interpreted in certain texts a technological possibility, we need to beware of being so anxious to fit the puzzle together that we see evidences behind every bush. It’s a psychological fact that when we are intent on seeing signs, we’ll find them. If you look hard enough for anything, you’ll see it there, even if you have to manufacture a connection or justify a perception. It’s dangerous business that leads to both biblical textual distortion and looking like that crazy person wearing the sandwich-board signs that say “The End is Near!”

The potential for distortion is great when we are hyper-motivated to make culture events fit Scripture or to make Scripture fit cultural events. The deep symbolism of Revelation should make us pause. The words of Jesus that we will not figure this out should give us hesitancy to jump to conclusions. And the fluid nature of biblical prophecy should cause us to think deeper about biblical interpretation.

I’m sure just about every generation has thought they were in the End Times—that’s the nature of the biblical prophecies, and that should make us hold back our fervor as well. While one of these days, there will be the generation that sees the prophecies come to fulfillment, our aim is not to whip people into a frenzy, but rather to be faithful as the Day approaches. When speaking of eschatological prophecy, the Bible leads us to encourage one another, learn to stand strong and bold in our faith, and to speak the message of truth to a people hungry for truth. In other words, even if this is the beginning of the End Times, our priority is not to create charts and to garner a following on YouTube, but instead to be good and faithful people who love God with all our hearts, love our neighbor as ourselves, and be ready with a word of hope and truth as society disintegrates. We are not to yell “I told you so!” or to live in fear, but rather to be the person of help, hope, and serenity.

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