My wife watched an on-line video from Pastor Mike Bickle of the director of the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City (IHOP–KC) earlier this week. In it, Pastor Mike had said that only 1% of Christians believed in the End Times and she asked me what I thought.
Well, even if he is a bit off in his estimate, I thought it was a fairly sobering statistic. Perhaps, though, some countries preach End Times more than others: Singapore for one, seems to have a higher rating in my experience, but that is a sample of 1. But Pastor Mikes assertion it made me think.
What could be the top 10 reasons for only 1% of Christians believing in the End Times?
To start with, I typed into Google “10 reasons for not believing in the end times” and got 496,000 results. Now that number left me silent and a bit stunned. Next I typed “10 reasons for believing in the end times” and got 6,270,000 results. This is some 13.37 to 1 in favour of data for believing, so there is obviously hugely more effort in trying to persuade us For, than Against. That being the case, why the miserly 1% estimate?
Here are my 10 thoughts:
|1 )||Deception. In Matthew 24:3b-4 we are warned “…Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you’.” At His return we are told that this did happen, for Revelation 18:23b confirms for us “and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.” Simply put, we are being deceived into thinking that what we see is indeed a reality, and this reality will continue.Or as Pastor Johnny Enlow succinctly to it [cite] “the spirit of religion is so persistent in mainline churches that it has suffocated the movement of the Holy Spirit out of the Church. Not only can most churches’ meetings function perfectly well without the Holy Spirit, they couldn’t function if He actually did show up.”|
|2 )||Conservative Christianity. Jesus told us in Matthew 5:13-14 “You are the salt of the earth…… You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden”. We are the salt of the earth and a city on a hill – that is not conservatism – yet most Christians are ultra-conservative. Do you know of any “Radical Christians”? We were warned against this, we are warned against conservatism in Revelation 3:6 where Jesus says “because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Instead we were told to be Bold. Act 4:13 tells us how it was, and how it should be, for “seeing the boldness of Peter and John, and perceiving that they were unlearned and uneducated men, they marvelled. And they recognized them, that they had been with Jesus.” Are we all “unlearned and uneducated men”, or have we simply lost the zeal, the commitment, faith to be bold as they were bold, relying on the Lord, rather than themselves? Because of the deception we live under, we seem to firmly believe that “doing Church” is the same as having a true relationship with the Lord. Without this relationship, we cannot expect to hear His rhēma words, his prophecies, to heal, or to do and see miracles performed in the Churches on a daily basis.We also need to remember the last 2 of the 95 Theses which Martin Luther nailed to the Wittenburg church door and see how much or little we have learnt:“#94. Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.#95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).”|
|3 )||Doctrine of Prosperity. Money and prosperity in themselves are not this issue here. Though our Lord did clearly warn us clearly and explicitly in Matthew 19:23 as “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you that a rich man will with great difficulty enter into the kingdom of Heaven’.” Yes, we in the west tend to be “well off”, rich in the treasures of this world, but destitute in the treasures of the next.Our problem is not the money, or the goods and chattels per se, but the attitude which come with their accumulation. As we grow in our wealth, we also grow in our self-centeredness. It all tends to become I, me and mine.I have read that even many of those Christians who tithe see it more as an insurance policy, rather than being a Second Corinthians “cheerful giver.” In other words they’re saying: “ I’ve said the Sinners Prayer and Tithed, so I’m in!!” When we rely on ourselves, and sincerely believe we can do so forever-and-a-day, we feel no need to trust in the Lord for guidance; no reason to understand His word; no reason to read His weather forecasts. We are warned of this in Matthew 16:3 for “in the morning, foul weather today; for the sky is red and gloomy. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky, but you cannot see the signs of the times!”|
|4)||Asleep and Unprepared. In Matthew 25:1-13 Jesus tells a parable which aligns exactly with the Church’s position today – “the Church”, being us, all Christians. For as Jesus said “the kingdom of Heaven shall be likened to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise, five were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps, but took no oil. The wise took oil with their lamps. Waiting for the bridegroom, they all slumbered and slept. At midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom comes! Go out to meet him.’ They all arose and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps have gone out’. But the wise answered, ‘No, lest there be not enough for us and you – but go to those who sell, and buy for yourselves’. While they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they who were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. Afterwards the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Truly I say to you, I do not know you. Therefore watch, for you do not know either the day or the hour in which the Son of Man comes.” (edited). Yes, not only were half of the brides unprepared, but ALL were asleep!! Two years ago I asked a Pastor how much the church was doing to prepare us for the End Times. In silence he raised his hand and gave a “zero” sign with his fingers. I really think we are both asleep and unprepared. Worse still, some of those in authority know this full well and yet do not seek to change it.|
|5 )||End Times not Taught. I guess the simplistic answer must be that the End Times as a topic is not widely preached or taught.For that to be the case, those who preach or teach in Churches must a) in themselves not believe, or c) not believe in large numbers, or c) be afraid to preach and teach it, if they do believe. Bickle’s 1% number is so low, this number can be non other than the result of congregations en mass “not believing”. Can it be other than the direct result of the church leaders not believing and not teaching?|
|6 )||The Teaching Method. The End Times – eschatology – is not perhaps being taught in the most effective manner. Each time I have heard its teachings it engenders fear and discomfort among the listeners.The good news, the gospel of the end times, seems to have been lost in translation. This is also exacerbated by the gross failures of the past predictors, who sought and claimed accuracy – but whose assertions came to grief on the rocks of Jesus’ words “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of Heaven, but only My Father.” (Matthew 24:36) The inability to knowing the exact time is surely no reason or excuse for not being prepared. Also, as Screwtape, i, C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Screwtape Letters’ observed “Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church.” This age is all about jargon, and Truth is becoming less and less relevant to the general population. Secularly, data rules now, and in all that data, it is harder and harder to separate out truth.|
|7 )||We Can Change Things. Because we can change the future through prayer and prophesying the Lord’s wishes into reality, I believe the enemy is working especially doubly-hard to support his attacks of deception and disillusionment on the Church.I believe that if the Church takes a strong position of praying for nations as per First Timothy 2:1-3 and “discipling nations” as opposed to simply saving or “discipling souls” from Matthew 28:19 where Jesus says “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” then things will change, and the End Times will take a new route, a route which leaves the nations as functioning bodies for Jesus to take over. In Psalms 2:8 the Lord clearly states “I shall give the nations for Your inheritance; and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession” and in Haggai 2:7 the Lord says “I will shake all the nations; and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory...” God was and is, planning to hand over functioning nations to Jesus, not nations under the control of the enemy and devoid of all and any of His Kingdom qualities. I know we can make a Kingdom difference.|
|8 )||We are Afraid to Make a Decision. To believe in the End Times mean we need to make a decision: a decision to believe and accept that we are not ultimately in control; that others whom we cannot see will control our lives in ways we cannot imagine. Things will or may happen that we do not want to even consider.If we do not accept, we then become like the legendary ostriches and bury our heads in the sands of indecision or the sands of fear. Regrettably, all we do by taking the ostrich track is to hasten in the future in a manner closer to the way the enemy wishes. As Christians, we were not given a spirit of timidity, but that of boldness, to speak out for the Lord. The Lord has given us a handbook for life. We just need to read it and do our part – obey that which we are called to do as Christians.|
|9 )||We don’t read the Bible. The present Church, certainly in the western tradition, are Bible owners and not Bible readers. If we don’t read and study, how can we expect to know or understand the contents? Hosea 4:6 warns us “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priest to Me. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your sons, even I.”|
|10 )||Apostasy. [ quote from Pastor James A. Wilson’s book “The Holy Spirit and the End Times” page 67 ]
The above is an extract on Apostasy is from the book entitled:
“The Holy Spirit and the End Times”
by James A. Wilson.