“I’m so excited Trey, I was just baptized. I’m brand new in Christ. Now, I think I want to just dive into the book of Revelation. Can you plug me into a group that is studying end times prophecy? I want to be ready?” End times prophecy, yeah it sounds pretty cool coming off of our tongue in conversation. Who’s going to be the anti-Christ? When will that temple go back up in Jerusalem, if so, exactly where does it go up? How will the Israeli military react? Who’s going to attack first? What about those seven seals? Has Jesus already made his second coming and all this speculation is a little too late? What about the seven headed dragon with the 10 horns, the plagues against the non-believers or this mark that the beast is going to place on people? It seems like so many new believers want to dive right into Daniel or Revelation or want to speculate and pinpoint end time indicators on why, when how and where Jesus will return. “Will there really be a rapture and, if it’s real, will it be pre, mid or post tribulation? Is the word rapture actually in the bible? Are John’s words literal or symbolic or both? I mean, he was dreaming in that Patmos cave, right?” Talk about getting into some serious weeds through our curiosity for knowing everything in “now time”. It can get hairy and scary very quickly. The frequency of end times conversations like this are ever increasing. I mean, all you have to do is watch the news and you can see apparent end times happenings every day on your TV, phone or computer screens. I know I see these things every day and it seems the bible is being played out in a movie right in front of me. It’s totally normal for people to question when the world is ending and when Jesus will return. Opinions from pastors, theologians, politicians and the basic “Joe Schmo” (like me) are endless through YouTube videos and multitudes of books on the subject. Whenever someone really starts focusing or seems obsessed with end times prophecy more than focusing on Jesus and their new self through grace by faith, I always ask a few simple questions, “Do you understand who you are in Christ? Do you understand what his blood and resurrection did to you? Can you tell me what you’re saved from? Who are you sharing your revelation in Christ with? Why is it so important to focus on end times right now instead of growing in the knowledge of who you are and who God says you truly are as His child?" If you can’t answer those questions, I always advise to steer clear of jumping straight to the book of Revelation and instead focus on Genesis, Isaiah, John, Acts, Romans and Hebrews, mixed in with a little Ephesians, Colossians and Corinthians. The bottom line, the more you understand who you are in Christ, the deeper you will understand end time prophecy and you will know there’s NOTHING for you to fear because you get to focus on Christ and Christ has got you covered no matter what scenario plays out according to what pastor’s opinion of end times you listen to or read. In my own life, as I continue to grow in the knowledge of who I am in Christ, every time I study Revelation something new and amazing is revealed to me by the Lord. I have to admit, when I first read the book, I was terrified. Especially reading about how God might spit me out of his mouth. Satan (and others, even in the church) used that verse to create doubt in my mind about my salvation. “You’re saved Trey, but now you need to make sure you don’t give God a reason to spit you out of His mouth.” What the heck? What Christian wants to do something that results in God spitting us up? As a believer, is there a real chance this will happen? Jesus lives in me, right? Is there a chance he will withdraw, chew me up and spit me out? I have to keep remembering to focus on Christ and God's word. His word never changes and never comes back void. Reading Revelation has taught me one thing . . . JESUS does come back, and you know what? . . . He wins . . . every single time I read it. HE WINS! And guess what? . . . For those who know Jesus, it will be a glorious ending! No fear. Only freedom as Christ comes for His bride. For those who don’t know Him. . . it’s gonna get hot, very hot. So, instead of cutting to the chase and reading the last chapter of the book to see the ending that you basically already know, focus on the deep truths God promised through Jesus and living Kingdom life, RIGHT NOW. Focus on who God says you are as forgiven, holy and righteous and sharing Kingdom with everyone you see, TODAY. Focus on shining His light to those who don’t know, so they won’t have to worry about where they will stand with God when the final days do come upon us. (Yup, they are coming guys) Help them know their hope is in Christ. They will know their salvation is secure and they won’t be spit out, because they are bold and confident in what God promised for them through Christ and the ultimate power of His blood and resurrection and who they are IN HIM upon their belief. They will know love beyond understanding and will never fear how the end times play out, even though there will be some difficult times. Though they know the end of the story, their focus won’t be on the end, but on the now, and the others who don’t believe, as they plant seeds of grace through faith every day to those who don’t know Him. Imagine that being every Christian’s focus. To grow deeper and grow His Kingdom, one man at a time. The beautiful truth about The Lord and His word, from Genesis to Revelation, is that He has never been wrong with the entirety of scripture focusing on one thing; Christ is ALL you need. As a believer, you don’t have to get ready for the end times . . . YOU ALREADY ARE!
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