My honest opinion is that it’s a method of control. It takes the focus off of Jesus and onto signs and wonders. Matthew 12:38-39 sheds some light, that a generation that asks for a sign is wicked and adulterous. I might be stretching the context here a bit, but the Christian media is bombarded with things like “we are in the end times,” or the “final days,” and people will predict when Jesus comes back, or say that someone in power is the anti-Christ. I even hear this as an evangelistic tool, where people say we’ll be taken up in the clouds if you just accept Jesus, or some evangelists say that when they read the newspaper, they are reading the prophecies in the Bible.
Doesn’t this generate any red-flags for anyone? I thought even Jesus said things to the extent of, “don’t worry about the end times.” In fact, when I think about all the things Jesus taught, he didn’t focus too much on “the end,” but about being “born again.” When you are born again, you are at the beginning, yes? So why are people today so obsessed with the end times?
When you think the end times are right around the corner, whether you are right or wrong, you don’t think about salvation, you think about the glory you are going to inherit. I don’t mean, as Christians, we aren’t spreading the gospel, but what I do mean is we are reading our theology into Jesus’ gospel, and almost using rapture as a scare tactic.
As an example, think about the baptist church in the United States that hosts the websites “God Hates Fags.com” (and all the other God Hates _____ .com sites). They don’t even evangelize – they are the living embodiment of internet trolls.
Another great example is all the television evangelists that declare a US President to be the anti-Christ. I hear this every time the US gets a new president, and it will probably never stop.
In fact, I think most examples I have about people proclaiming the end times are negative, and seem to not jive with what Jesus taught.
One teaching of Jesus that is definitely neglected in this is to love God with all your being, and your neighbor as yourself. When we judge a person’s motivations and spirit, we throw love in the trash and move away from God. Jesus taught to encourage each other, and to pray for our governments. We are not promised tomorrow, and yesterday is too late, so live for today. Love that person who’s hard to love, and get your hands dirty for Jesus.
That’s what Jesus wants us to be concerned about.