Posts Tagged ‘last days’

Painting by Carmela Brennan

There is always a “last battle.” Not just in the heavenly realms, those extra-ordinary places that we can’t feel or see, but in our own world as well. In our individual lives, there is one last struggle. It can come in a moment during a car crash or it can be a lingering battle in a hospital bed. But it will come.

Revelation 19:11, 19
 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. . . .  Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army.

Throughout my slow read through the book of Revelation, I have been determined to find something personal in the global end time story. Otherwise, it becomes an exercise in the esoteric.

And so, as I draw to the end of the visions and prophecies, the sorrows and judgments, I am confronted by this final battle. What makes evil press on despite the odds? Why does an enemy still do battle although the end is clear? Why do they fight to the death?

I’m guessing it’s the experience of previous skirmishes won. It’s an addiction, like gambling. It’s quite illogical, since a previous win gives no advantage. Each game, each battle stands alone. There may be some experience gained, but ultimately, the outcome is not directly influenced. Look at sports teams. They can have a long list of wins and still lose the championship game. There are so many other factors.

In the last battle of a human life, the end is clear: the body will die. The battle is manifest, perhaps, in the body, but really, the battle is within. It’s the battle of the soul. With whom have we aligned that spark of energy and essence?

The battle is waged whether we engaged in spiritual things in our waking state or not. I’m sure of it.

I discourage anyone (and everyone) to dispense with these inane questions about a person “knowing” or not knowing Christ before the last hour. What the soul and inner spirit know and how that battle will be waged is not merely dependent on a deathbed confession. Each life is built on an array of experiences. That which is within stores them all: the kindnesses, the stories, the pain and the joy. It is all within and it is all part of the last battle.

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” [I Timothy 2:3-4]

The last battle is different for each person. And I do believe that people who have aligned their hearts and minds as well as their souls and spirits, will have a different kind of battle than those who have not. But God is sovereign. And none of us can know how the battle will go for others. There is strength and power in the King of Kings that may draw many more out of the fire than we can imagine. I believe in a just God. None will perish who God desires to embrace. For in this way, it is still possible, that the “last shall be first.” [Matthew 20:16]

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Oh, there’s lots to be read about the “last hour” or the “last time” or the “end times.” Books and books and books can be found so what can I possibly add. Some speak of the “last dispensation” meaning this period, after Christ, is the last big chance from God for humans to “get it.” Maybe so.

I John 2:18
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.

Clearly, John was worried about this last hour, whether it’s dispensational or just post-apostolic (since he was the last living apostle by the time he wrote this letter). And here we are, still in it: the last hour.

We’re in a time, a human time, that has stretched out for two thousand years and yet, we haven’t come to the end of the hour. Some say we’re in the last five minutes of that hour.

Is it all coming together? Is it the Christian version of 2012? Are we in the wrap-up?

The world is so full of everything: all kinds of teachings and faiths; personalities and predictions; anti-christs and anti-muslims; wars and rumors of wars; cataclysmic weather and heavenly anomalies.

And have I been chosen to walk out the last hour? Have you?

There were those who were chosen to walk in the time of Christ: a time like no other time. And yet, there is still another time: the last hour.

So many times people have proclaimed the end of time. Sometimes, the predictions were ludicrous; sometimes dangerous. More often than not, it seemed like foolish eccentricity.

And yet, and yet. I wonder.

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Acts 2:14, 16b-17
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say…. this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel [2:28-29]: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams….”

When, exactly, are the Last Days? Good luck with that. Theologians and other Christian writers have written volumes about this phenomenon while the Pentecostals and Charismatics have been waving the Last Days banner since the turn of the 19th century. People have been talking about the Last Days for a long time. Is it possible that we’re still in the Last Days? Have the last 2000 years been the Last Days?

In his post-Holy Spirit filling in Acts 2, Peter certainly implied that the Last Days were beginning that day. He saw the outpouring of power and the speaking in tongues (other languages) that day as a sure sign of Joel’s prophecy being fulfilled.

Here are the choices I see: either we are still in the Last Days… or the Last Days haven’t really started yet… or we’re on the other side of the Last Days. Pick your camp!

I think the disciples and newly committed Christ followers in Peter’s time, believed the Last Days were right then and that it was indeed … a matter of days or weeks, at best, before Christ would return and the world would end as they knew it. They lived and died as martyrs because of their commitment to this idea. They lived fully and without compromise.

But, in the same way that Nineveh was spared when Jonah finally did what he was supposed to do, e.g. warn Nineveh’s residents of coming destruction if they didn’t change… so has the world has been spared… for now. We are still here.

But are we paying attention to the Joels and Jonahs of our own age? Are we reading the signs of warning? Are we taking seriously that we may be on borrowed time?

There are still men and women today prophesying… seeing visions… and dreaming dreams. Their words speak of spiritual deserts, economic chaos, environmental collapse, human suffering at the hands of evil, starvation and traumatic illness.

Not everyone can be a prophet or a watchman on the wall, but we can be listeners. We can change our own small world. We can love our neighbor and love our environment. We can pray for change. We can pray for healing.

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