Inclusion of a resource/presentation does not indicate endorsement of the contents. Provided for educational purposes regarding perspectives in the fields of theology and religious studies. Issachar Bible Church is conservative Trinitarian not affiliated with any organized denomination at this time.

Thursday, April 27

The Study Of The History Of The End Of The World, Part 10

 From this study, it becomes apparent that the End Times and consummation of all things is not solely a concern of the twentieth and twenty-first century church. Rather this outlook has been a part of the conceptual framework of the spiritually inclined since at least the earliest days of that institution and perhaps even earlier. Admittedly, interest in the apocalypse has ebbed and flowed throughout church history. However, given the fallen nature of the world in which humanity resides prone to an assortment of calamities both natural and man made, this sense of foreboding awareness stems from the fact that things as they are now known will indeed come to a climactic end. Apocalyptic thinking has become a permanent fixture of the Western mindset not only because it is persistent but also because it is elastic (Kyle, 185). Over time the understanding of how the symbolic prophetic outlines would be fulfilled has changed.

For example, those inclined towards apocalypticism at the time of the Middle Ages no doubt interpreted prophecies regarding the Beast that made war with the saints as a reference to a marauding Islamic conquerer. During much of the twentieth century, many dispensationalists held that Communism/Russia would play some role in the Antichrist's rise to power. More than one eschatologist wondered if Mikhail Gorbachev with his distinctive forehead birthmark and prominence during the closing of the Cold War was the Beast with the head wound that would deceive the world in the name of peace. Still others speculated if the much anticipated unification of the European Common Market would serve as the multinational confederacy that would succeed in imposing planetary rule upon the remainder of the world. Now, here as we approach the middle decades of the twenty-first century, it seems that this sort of speculative banter may have come fill circle with it once again becoming erudite and insightful to caution that the prophesied man of sin might be an adherent of some form of Islam.

Though the Bible makes no direct connection with the date as it is based upon calculations determined well after the close and canonization of Scripture, the year 2000 and those immediately following held enormous sway in the minds of those fascinated by some degree by the subjects of eschatology and the End Times. Because of embarrassment sparked by previous date setters, most ministers wanting to retain a degree of respectability were not necessarily explicit in terms of excitement sparked by the year 2000. However, one could not help but notice an undercurrent of anticipation if one knew exactly what to look for in terms of a subtle presuppositional framework. For example, a number of interwoven theological perspectives such as dispensationalism and literalist Biblical creationism no doubt harbored an affinity for the year 2000 given that those at the intersection of these beliefs often held that the world is approximately 6000 years old according to Bishop Ussher's chronology. The belief was further solidified through an interpretation of Matthew 24:34 that Christ would return within the lifetime of the generation that saw the reestablishment of Israel as a bonafide nation within a specified geographic location.

Despite no direct spiritual links to the year 2000 or its immediate time frame, secular futurists having been conceptually conditioned in a milieu at least nominally drawing from Judeo-Christian sources were themselves awed at the concept of this new millennium as something of a boundary dividing human perceptions or at least in terms of the tools individuals used to gather and process information. For it was around the year 2000 that the Internet became pervasive and soon thereafter followed the ubiquitous smartphone. It was through these relatively inexpensive gadgets that the average teenager had at their fingertips greater computer power than all of NASA at the time of the Moon landing and access to knowledge surpassing the library of Alexandria. Whether or not these opportunities were used for good or ill is beyond the scope of this particular analysis.

Probably the most open in explicitly embracing the year 2000 as humanity's gateway into the eschatological would have probably been those whose worldview was inspired by the psychic or occult. Those of such an orientation derived their predictions from a variety of sources such as dreams, channeling, and an assortment of ancient writings. For example, through calculations based on the dimensions of the Great Pyramid in Egypt, it was predicted that the Age of the Spirit would begin between 1995 and 2025 and that Christ would appear through a reincarnated form around the year 2040 (Abanes, 71-73). Occultists that predicted revolutionary transformation in the opening years and decades of the twentieth century included Edgar Cayce, Carl Jung, and Madame Blavatasky. The interesting thing, however, is how much their predictions differed if they supposedly came from a spiritual source superior to and even more ancient than that upon which Christianity was based.

This apprehension, angst, and confusion leaves the discerning Christian wondering how we as believers should approach the subject of the End Times. On the one hand, we do not want to live as those that claim not to give second thought to the reality that life in this world as now lived will one day come to a very dramatic conclusion or rather transformation. On the other, neither does the believer want to make the mistakes of the past such as those of the Millerites, in the process bringing profound embarrassment upon themselves, potentially damaging those under their spiritual influence and alienating even more from important prophetic revelation.

Foremost, care must be taken to distinguish what the Biblical text actually says from ideas that have accrued as a result of interpreting these passages. Particular note must be made whether a concept under consideration is actually Biblical in origin or if it might be derived more from occult tradition. Yet the Christian must also not be so quick to dismiss claims made in the name of science such as those regarding the dangers posed by nuclear proliferation or even climate change. For while it must be realized that these are often promoted to advance various agendas that undermine national security and imperil the country's economic way of life, these can possess enough truth to hint how events might be progressing towards the Last Days as foretold in the pages of the Bible. The portions of Scripture dealing with the climax of history as understood by the minds of we mere mortals are some of the most baffling, detailing some of the most terrifying and awe-inspiring things imaginable. As such, it is easy for even the most devout to get distracted by these essential details rather than to focus on the theme of this narrative that the Lord of all creation will one day return to this world to gather His redeemed and to impose judgment upon all who find themselves outside of that blessed throng.

by Frederick Meekins


Abanes, Richard. End-Times Visions: The Doomsday Obsession. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1988. 

Kirsch, Jonathan. A History Of The End Of The World: How The Most Controversial Book In The Bible Changed The Course Of Western Civilization. San Francisco, California: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006. 

Kagan, Donald, Ozment, Steven and Turner, Frank. The Western Heritage Since 1789 (Fourth Edition). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991. 

Kyle, Richard. The Last Days Are Here Again: A History Of The End Times.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1988. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1996. <p>

Ladd, George. The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of The Second Advent and The Rapture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1956. 

Thompson, Damian. The End Of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium

Sunday, April 23

WIll Supersoldiers, Hybrids & Cyborgs Fulfill Bible Prophecy?

Mystic Practices In The Emergent Church

What Is The Mennonite Religion?

Trusting The Church After Spiritual Abuse

Joining a Mennonite (Anabaptist) Church

Touring A Catholic Monastery

Thinking About Leaving Protestantism?: Consider These Things

Why You Should Be A Public Theologian

Transhumanism & The Quest To Be Like God

Watching The Church Die

What Is The Call To Ministry?

Popular Sayings In Light Of Scripture

A Teaching On Fundamentalism

Writing and Christian Culture

Anglican Schools Of Thought

What If Satan In Planning Extraterrestrial Conspiracies For The End Times?

Should Christians Avoid Fantasy Like Lord Of The Rings & Harry Potter?

Humans, Gods, & Technology

Eternal Life In The Cloud: Technology As Religion

Monday, April 10

So Long No Apostasy Involved, Who To Say Pastor Has No Vocational Calling?

An online theologian posted on social media, "...not everybody who is a pastor truly had a calling. Many Christians don't even believe that you need a calling to go into the ministry. Shame on them." 

But if the minister got  the position and doesn't profess any explicit apostasies, there must have been some internal and external vocational call there to begin with. 

That calling might not live up to a holy roller emotional intensity. 

However, both of these traditional criteria would have at one point intersected to an acceptable degree. 

What this statement under consideration really is is a way to place a veneer of piety on as to why you can't or are reluctant to articulate a non-Biblically based reason as to why you don't like a particular minister. 

I get accused of “individualism” repeatedly.

But isn’t this statement under consideration an example of individualism if one on one's own assumes that a minster does not have a calling when the congregation that this hypothetical ecclesiastical functionary serves holds differently if neither congregation or minister are part of an expressed heresy or form of apostasy?

Is it that the pastor does not have a calling or, if you feel inclined to this pious mysticism, is it that the Spirit is calling you as a mere pewfiller to another congregation where you might be happier or more settled? 

Such a calling has been confirmed by both the individual and the congregation if the position is granted.

You are asserting a form of individualism that not only is the individual not meant to be your pastor pastor but that he should not be anybodies pastor because he does not adhere to YOUR preferences.

Like it or not, a traditional understanding holds that the vocational calling starts within the individual and then is confirmed externally by the congregation extending the position.

So who is this online theologian, who goes on the record as one willingly subordinated to the will of the ecclesia, to state otherwise?

Perhaps it is this online theoligian that is being called elsewhere and not the pastor.

By Frederick Meekins