“I am not saying that what we are seeing today is proof positive that Jesus is coming tomorrow,” opined Tony Evans in a recent sermon. “What I am saying is, it could be.”
Evans, the well-known 72-year-old preacher at the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas, is among those who are talking about “End Times” because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
His disclaimer notwithstanding, Evans went on to talk about Bible prophecy and supposedly connected the dots between the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel, the church, the Second Coming of Christ, figurative language in the book of Revelation, the price of oil, and war in the Middle East.
“You think you got high gas prices now. You ain’t seen nothing yet,” Evans declared. “Oil will become the dominant issue. And with oil being the issue, and the Middle East being in conflict with the oil-bearing nations, and Russia coming down from the North, there will be a coming together of the Middle East, of Europe, of Russia. [The Bible] says, ‘God is going to arrange for them to collect themselves against Israel.'”
“Everything revolves around the place of Israel. When Jesus Christ comes back. He is coming back to Jerusalem and He’s coming back with us,” Evans asserted.
It’s impossible to unpack all that’s wrong with these modern “End-Times” prognosticators. But such fanciful speculations are nothing new. People have been predicting the second coming for centuries. Three theologians said the world would end in 500 A.D. Various clerics predicted Christ’s coming at the end of the First Millennium, January 1, 1000. Past predictions have targeted the years 1260, 1370, and 1700. Charles Taze Russell, the first President of the Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said Christ would come in 1874. The “Witnesses” have made several other failed predictions through the years.
In more modern times the end of the world has been predicted by religious leaders Herbert W. Armstrong, Jerry Falwell, Harold Camping, and Jack Van Impe. In fact, there have been well over 200 documented predictions regarding the end of the world. Obviously, all such prophesies have not come to pass.
Here are 8 simple Bible facts that refute the “End Times” speculators and the confusing, complex web they weave.
(1) Jesus said no one knows when the end will come.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (MK. 13:32). Isn’t it amazing that while Jesus Himself doesn’t know when He’s coming again, those self-styled prophets can figure it out?
(2) Jesus coming will be when we least expect it.
Peter likened it to a thief coming in the night (2 Pet. 3:10). It will be without warning or advance notice. The supposed signs will not be obvious. People will be enjoying life. Taking vacations. Engaging in business. Getting married. Everything will seem “normal.” Then the end will come.
(3) The nation of Israel is not in God’s future plans.
God’s promise to Abraham and His purpose for Israel has already been fulfilled in bringing Christ into the world (Gal. 3-4). Christ is not returning to restore Israel to prominence. When the nation sinned and Israel and Judah fell to the nations of Assyria and Babylon they were finished. God’s promises to Israel were conditioned on their faithfulness (Deut. 28-30).
The apostle Paul argues that God’s Israel today is spiritual, not physical (Rom. 9). Those who are “Abraham’s seed” are those who are “in Christ” (Gal. 3:26-29).
(4) Christ is not coming back to Jerusalem.
The Bible says when He returns the saved will “meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17). He’s not coming back to earth.
(5) “End-times” predictors make an unscriptural distinction between the church and the kingdom.
They speak of the “church age” coming to end when Christ comes back to set up His Kingdom. However, Jesus referred to the church as the Kingdom (Matt. 16:18-19) when He promised Peter the “keys of the Kingdom” foreshadowing his preaching role on Pentecost.
On another occasion, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mk. 9:1). The Kingdom came in the lifetime of those in Jesus’ day.
(6) Jesus is King now. Not at some future time.
Peter argued in Acts 2 that Jesus was now ruling and reigning on David’s throne. Not physically in Jerusalem. But spiritually in heaven. Furthermore, Paul called Jesus “the King of kings” in the first century (1 Tim. 6:15).
(7) When Christ returns the world will be destroyed.
At the second coming, there will be no Israel, Jerusalem or world left. Peter said, “the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Pet 3;10). Everything physical will be destroyed and dissolved.
(8) We are in the “End Times” now.
However, the Bible says we’ve been in the “last days” since Acts 2. Peter said the supernatural events of Pentecost were a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God…” (Ac. 2:16).
We’ve been in the “last days” for almost 2,000 years! And all during that time, religious thinkers have been “reading the signs” predicting the end of the world.
Since none of us know when the end will come, the best thing we can do is watch. Be ready. And live holy.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman