Editor’s Note: Joel Richardson is an author, artist, and lecturer, specializing in Islamic eschatology, and its role in how events may unfold in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
As a Christian author, teacher and commentator whose message often revolves around “the end times,” I am frequently asked how I cope emotionally with such a constant drum beat of negativity. How can anyone stomach a steady diet of such non-stop gloom and doom without developing a nervous condition?
While I understand the question, the fact of the matter is that discussing “the end times” doesn’t depress me at all, it actually excites me. But before I am quoted out of context, please allow me to explain myself. Discussing the end times actually energizes my spirit because my view of the end times is radically different than the popular understanding of the end times as it is most often conveyed and portrayed. Because the Bible informs my understanding of the end times, instead of anxiety and fear, I am filled with great hope and expectation.
You see, when most people hear the phrases “the end-times” or “the last days,” they often mistakenly understand these terms to be referring to some future destruction of planet earth or the complete end of all mankind. But from a Biblical perspective, this is not how these terms should be understood. Instead, the Bible simply portrays the end-times as the end of one particular age and the beginning of another much, much better age. The things that the Bible portrays as coming to an ultimate end are things that we should all be excited about.
Let’s consider a few examples of exactly what I am talking about.
I am a friend to a ministry called Exodus Cry headquartered in Kansas City, whose efforts are devoted to the abolition of modern day slavery. Did you know there are more slaves today than at any other time in human history? The dark and spidery fingers of the sex-slave trade have worked themselves deep into nearly every corner of the globe. The overwhelming majority of these slaves are young women and girls, some as young as five years old, forced against their wills to endure abuse and degradation beyond description. It’s impossible to hear of this reality without being overwhelmed with emotion. But to be very clear, from a Biblical perspective, when we discuss “the end-times,” this is precisely what we are discussing coming to an end.
And this is unspeakably good news.
The global sex-slave trade will be abolished, those unrepentant criminal predators that have perpetrated these evils will be judged, and every last victim will be personally comforted, healed, vindicated and beautified by the Creator of heaven and earth.
For me, this is the very heart of “the end-times” message. And you can be sure that I’m looking forward to this.
What else will come to an end in the “last-days”?
When I look back to the very first days of my children’s lives on this earth, I can’t help but to think of how absolutely and utterly dependent they were. My family lives next to an elementary school. I love to hear the sounds of laughter and shouting that fills the air during recess. But I also can’t get it out of my head that in the United States, for every twenty kids that are present on the playground, roughly ten more are missing. Where did they go? They were legally murdered by the very people that were meant to protect and care for them. The number is far higher for African Americans; for every ten, there are nearly eight that are gone. This reality should bring anguish to any who have a sense of justice.
Even more disturbing is the fact that abortion is an industry wherein multitudes are slaughtered as a few become filthy rich. I am fully convinced that God is at the same time heartbroken and enraged. With Him, I burn for the day when this great evil will be a thing of the past.
When we discuss the end-times, we are discussing the decisive end of the wholesale slaughter of the most vulnerable, the most dependent, the most innocent little lambs that this world has to offer. So yes, I’m absolutely looking forward to this.
Of course, there are multiplied thousands of other injustices that we could list. When discussing the end-times from a Biblical perspective, we are discussing the end of all of the things that mankind has groaned under for millennia. We are discussing the end of corrupt and unjust governmental leaders, the end of the exploitation of the weak and poor, the end of all war, the end of disease. Who wouldn’t look forward to this?
When I talk about the end times, I’m not talking about the destruction of this planet and all of its inhabitants. Not at all. I’m discussing its redemption, its renewal.
But wait! What about all of the death and destruction that the Bible describes will occur before Jesus returns? To be fair, the Bible most definitely describes some very dark times that will precede the redemption of creation. I believe we are seeing the beginning of those dark days right now. Yes the events in the Middle East are moving toward the unified Islamization of the region. Yes, the increase in natural disasters is going to continue. Yes, the financial crisis will get far, far worse. And for this reason, I’ll continue to blow a trumpet and sound the alarm. Dark days are coming. Wake up. Repent. Get ready.
But from a Biblical perspective, the dark days are never to be the emphasis. The focus is always to be on the Redeemer to come. According to the analogy that Jesus used, the difficulties that lie ahead are only the birth pangs and contractions; they are not the conclusion of the matter. The contractions point to and ultimately lead to birth. And despite the immense pain (or so I have been told), associated with delivery, the miracle of holding a newborn baby always eclipses the suffering that preceded it.
Yes, there are many things these days to be concerned about. There are numerous things that might cause us anxiety or even depression. But I’m looking beyond the dark days to the Messianic Kingdom that will soon be birthed in the earth. Jesus the Messiah will be King over all the earth. I believe this emphatically and I make no apologies. I’ll continue to shout it from the rooftops and yearn for it with every ounce of who I am.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly. – Richard Bach
Joel Richardson is the author of Islamic Antichrist and God’s War on Terror. His blog can be found at www.joels-trumpet.com
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