“End-Time Fatigue” Has Hit an Iceberg … And That’s a Good Thing
With all the talk about Israel moving its capital to Jerusalem and how Pres. Trump is a modern-day Cyrus, you might be surprised to learn that something called “End-Time Fatigue” has settled in.
“For many on the Christian right, the state of Israel has been seen as a key to fulfilling prophecy. A new generation has other ideas.”
This “post-evangelical” generation was raised on a steady diet of low-budget movies and pulp novels that injected a potent fear of the coming Rapture, a dynamic most eloquently described by the late Billy Graham. “I pick up the Bible in one hand,” he said, “and I pick up the newspaper in the other. And I read almost the same words in the newspaper as I read in the Bible. It’s being fulfilled every day round about us.” (Drudge Now)
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I have one of the largest private libraries on the subject of Bible prophecy, have written ten books on the subject, hundreds of articles, and debated the topic on radio and before live audiences. For decades, prophecy writers have insisted that Israel becoming a nation again in 1948 (and before that in 1917 with the signing of the Balfour Declaration) was the key to the timing of the end times. The so-called “rapture” was to happen before 1988. After the passage of 40 years, the date shifted to 1967 and at the Six-day War. That brought us to 2007 (1967 + 40 = 2007). when 2007 came and went, the magic number became 70 years, making 2018 the end-point for those who insisted that Jesus must be coming “soon” to “rapture His church.”
I am firmly convinced that this preoccupation on the end times has had a deleterious effect on our culture. “Why bother fixing what can’t be fixed. The antichrist is going to come and destroy everything anyway in the battle of Armageddon.”
Don’t think every person who has invested years in this popular end-time scenario has given up on their preoccupation with end-time speculation. They’ll find a workaround to support their obsession to sell more books.
Christian publishing companies, radio stations, churches, colleges, and seminaries are heavily invested in the position.
Tom Sine offers a startling example of the effect “prophetic inevitability” can have on some people:
“Do you realize if we start feeding hungry people things won’t get worse, and if things don’t get worse, Jesus won’t come?” interrupted a coed during a Futures Inter-term I recently conducted at a northwest Christian college. Her tone of voice and her serious expression revealed she was utterly sincere.
And unfortunately, I have discovered the coed’s question doesn’t reflect an isolated viewpoint. Rather, it betrays a widespread misunderstanding of biblical eschatology … that seems to permeate much contemporary Christian consciousness. I believe this misunderstanding of God’s intentions for the human future is seriously undermining the effectiveness of the people of God in carrying out his mission in a world of need…
The response of the (student) … reflects what I call the Great Escape View of the future. So much of the popular prophetic literature has focused our attention morbidly on the dire, the dreadful, and the destruction of all that is. ((Tom Sine, The Mustard Seed Conspiracy: You Can Make a Difference in Tomorrow’s Troubled World (Waco, TX: Word, 1981), 69.))
Eschatological ideas have consequences, and many Christians are beginning to understand how those ideas have shaped the cultural landscape. A world that’s always on the precipice of some great and inevitable apocalyptic event is not in need of redemption but only of escape. As one end-time speculator put it, “the world is a sinking Titanic ripe for judgment.” Any attempt at reformation would be futile and contrary to God’s unavoidable and predestined plan for Armageddon. What’s really ripe for judgment is modern-day prophecy speculation.
Thankfully, many Christians are beginning to question this popular apocalyptic scenario, not by rejecting the Bible but by taking a closer look at the very book they were told taught these things. In addition, they have come to recognize that Western Civilization was not built by head-for-the-hills doomsayers. Unfortunately, the effects of the apocalyptic paradigm are having some unsettling results in the realm of real-world politics. Some are contending that mixing eschatology and politics could lead to some terrifying results.