Late last year a work colleague and I started discussing end-time theology. The discussion was centred around the rapture and whether Christians would be raptured before, during or after the tribulation.
This lead us on a journey of reading articles, commentaries and watching various YouTube videos to try and grasp the different theories and theologies surrounding this mysterious part of biblical prophecy.
At first we did not share the same view of end-times doctrine and at one point we were quite convinced of our differing views, but in the end it was me whose mind was changed. As I started to delve deeper in research and discussion on the topic a funny thing started to happen. YouTube started recommending videos for me, based on my searches on end-time doctrine and this is where the fun began.
Rapture dreams and end-time scenes
In amongst meaty theological videos on the end-times that I was watching, these videos of people of all ages started popping up, giving their viewers a quick run-down on a rapture dream they have just had. Most, if not all stated quite emphatically: make sure you are right with Jesus, he is coming sooner than you think!
I must have watched a dozen of these videos and all of a sudden I was getting quite stressed and quite excited about Jesus’s imminent return. All of a sudden more videos started getting recommended to me. Some of the titles were provocative and loud.
‘END OF THE WORLD 2028’
‘URGENT – RAPTURE IMMINENT’
‘URGENT – END-TIMES PROPHECY’
You get the picture?
All of a sudden, I have gone from watching videos on people’s personal rapture dreams, to these other individuals who somehow know exactly when Jesus is coming back, exactly when the Anti-Christ will be revealed, and that Donald Trump will be President in 2021. I had gone from watching and reading solid biblical-based literature to being sucked in by emotional, short and high-octane videos about the end-times, that at one point I was utterly convinced that what I was watching was definitely true.
Good thing I’m pretty grounded in my faith and it didn’t take me long to settle down and go back to solid biblical doctrine, however; these videos unfortunately attracted hundreds of thousands of views, sometimes even millions.
The effect this had on Christians was quite profound. Fear and apathy abounded. What I started to see and hear about were testimonies of Christians selling up, leaving their jobs, purchasing properties in the outback, building bunkers, stocking up in supplies and people were going to wait out the tribulation because they were told Jesus is coming back this year, the end of the world will happen in 2028 etc. etc.
Then I heard another testimony from a friend of mine whose cousin and their family have decided to stop everything: no more study, no more encouraging their kids to do well at school, no longer saving their money, Jesus is coming back this year, so there is no point living life to the max., it’s time to bunker down and wait for our Lord’s return.
Whenever life hits the fan and something affects the global community, there is always a group of ‘end-times chasers’ who start spouting the age-old adage ‘the end is nigh’.
People currently warning the Christian community that Jesus is coming soon or that the world will end on particular date, are just doing what many others have done over the past 2000 years. Unfortunately for some Christians, this has caused fear to envelop them, apathy to strike and they no longer live in the confidence and fullness of life that God has given them.
What this has also revealed is that many Christians do not know their bibles, they do not wrestle with God’s word, and they do not seek understanding from those who have studied the word of God. Instead they follow thoughtlessly the many doomsday videos that have plagued YouTube.
What we know
What we know for sure is that Jesus will return one day; we know the saints will be raptured; we know there will be persecution of those who call Jesus their Lord and Saviour. This is all explicitly explained in scripture. There should be no surprise that Christians will lead a tough existence here on Earth, but this is no cause for fear and uncertainty.
Be diligent with the gifts the Lord has bestowed on you, be good stewards of the resources given to us by God, and be the shining light of the world that so desperately needs Jesus.
Things will get worse and not just for us.
We are now entering into a period where it is the Body of Christ’s time to shine. For most of my audience, we face very little persecution, and chances are we will not face prison or death for our faith, but this is a reality for millions of Christians in the developing world.
Rather than building our bunkers, giving up on progressing our lives and hiding because we think ‘the end is nigh’, pray for those who are persecuted, share the gospel with your unsaved friends and family members, love those who are shunned by society, bless your enemies.
And keep your eyes on Jesus and off YouTube.
Jarred is an HPE and Mathematics teacher on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he is married to Haley and has three beautiful children Chelsea, Nathan and Ryan.