Perhaps you saw the recent Fox News story about a man who claims the world, as we know it, will end on September 23, 2017, when a planet collides with Earth. The belief is attracting attention through a YouTube video from an organization called “Unsealed.”
At issue is a complicated astronomical event said to take place on September 23, 2017. In an interview with The Washington Post, David Meade said he believes the prophecies in Revelation will manifest on September 23, 2017, leading to a series of catastrophic events that will happen over the course of weeks. Meade claims the number 33 is significant in the Bible, and he believes September 23, 2017, is momentous because it takes place 33 days after the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse.
If that explanation sounded complicated, you’re not alone.
Even many Christians are confused about eschatology or the study of “end times.” Another unfortunate reality is that claims like this supply fodder to scoffers to mock the Christian faith.
In a recent Christianity Today article, Ed Stetzer who holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College lamented: “Stories like these are an embarrassment to Christians and the faith convictions we take so seriously. Moreover, they are a distortion of God’s word and deserve to be exposed for the fabrications that they are.”
It’s time to examine the truth:
What do followers of Christ believe about the “end times?”
I’ll admit we Christians hold some incredible views, starting with the virgin birth of Jesus. I also realize it sounds far-fetched to believe Jesus was crucified and came back to life three days later. However, such is the beauty of the faith journey. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
In short, here are five common Christian beliefs about the “end times:”
- Jesus is coming back to earth physically and visibly (Acts 1:11).
- At some point, the world as we know it will come to an end (2 Peter 3:10, 13).
- Jesus will judge all people, living and dead (John 5:28-29).
- God is the only one who knows when Jesus will return to earth (Matthew 24:36).
- As the time nears for Christ’s return, the earth will experience an increase in the frequency and intensity of what Jesus called “birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8).
Many Christians, including myself, also believe in the “Rapture,” an event which will occur before Christ’s return to earth. During the Rapture, Christians who are alive will be “caught up together” in the air with resurrected saints to be with the Lord forever. Scriptures such as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 describe the Rapture.
“People who get excited about supposed signs miss the point that Jesus made in Matthew 24:36-51,” reflected Dr. Danny Faulkner, an astronomer on staff at Answers in Genesis. “Instead of setting dates, we ought to be ready for His return at any moment.”
So, go ahead and keep your plans for Saturday, September 23, 2017.
However, since no human can predict when Jesus will return, live with the expectation that today could be the day you see Jesus.
About the Author:
Laura is a blogger and Bible study leader who leverages her experience as a former television news reporter, radio show host, and magazine editor to connect the relevance of Scripture to modern issues. She writes regularly about news and faith on her website.