Darryl's thoughts on the Christian Faith, Facts, and World Events
Note: This is a continuation of a blog that I began a few months ago. I recommend that you read Part 1 (http://www.internationalfishers.com/blog/the-least-of-the-apologists-eternity-in-christ-airport-part-1-age-of-the-earth-debate)
and then continue here.
The Departure Gate: End Times Events
As the, "Least of the Apologists" I serve as low ranking security guard in the Eternity in Christ Airport. Most of the time, I work to protect the airport and passengers from attacks that come from the outside but from time to time, I am called to serve as a "peace officer" and help restore peace among the passengers. The passengers are fellow Christians. I too am a passenger, but I am working while I am waiting for my flight.
After catching my breath and settling my nerves after my stressful encounter at the Check-in Counter (see Part 2) I made my way over to the departure gate. Normally, I enjoy this gate because all Christians are looking forward to the return of Christ.
Acts 1: 6-11 NLT
So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
Since this time, Christians have been looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ in the clouds. Of course nearly two thousand years have passed and so it is a good thing that the angels encouraged us not to spend all of time looking at the sky or we would all have a terrible neck-ache. Still sometimes, I like to look up and remind myself that this world is not my home but that I am just a "temporary resident" in this world. (1 Peter 1:17) In reality, I am a citizen of heaven. "But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior." (Philippians 3:20) I am also an ambassador for Christ. "So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”" (2 Corinthians 5: 20)
I enjoy looking out at the runway and up into the sky. It is comforting to know that even though the outside world is full of storms, diseases, and wars, that one day, I will go to my true home in heaven. From flying on earthly airplanes, I know that even when it is dark, cloudy, and stormy on the ground once you get above the clouds, the sun is always shining when we look at the storm clouds from above, they are always beautiful white.
"Any second now!" "No, any second now plus three and a half years!" "No, you are both wrong! It is any second now plus seven years!" "No, you are all wrong! Jesus is going to come back and set up heaven in this airport!" My peaceful contemplation or eternity was shattered by a noisy argument that broke out among the passengers. On this, day, I really wish I could be facing down external threats to the airport, but since I am a "peace officer" I have to help restore peace.
I blew my whistle. "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen. Please calm down! First of all, could you all please organize yourselves according to groups." After some time, the passengers organized themselves into various groups. I handed out signs and asked them to label themselves.
Group 1: Pre-Tribulation Rapture
Group 2: Mid-Tribulation Rapture
Group 3: Post-Tribulation Rapture
Group 4: A-millennials
There were a few other passengers who couldn't figure out which group they were with but after a while they sorted themselves into these main groups, or drifted off into other parts of the airport such as the "Duty Free Gift Shop" where the Charismatics and Cessionists tend to hang out.
Once, the groups were organized, I had to stop them again from throwing books and videos at each other. When I finally got their attention, I said, "I just want to make sure that you all realize that you are all waiting for the same Jesus. I don't blame you for studying these topics so long as you are "eagerly waiting for Christ to return as our Savior." Do you realize that Jesus is the pilot and that He will return according to God's schedule instead of our guesses? This means the even if we are completely wrong about the end times, Jesus will still return and we can still be with Him."
I continued, "Look up at this sign, it the place where the time should be it only says, "The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. (Acts 1:7)"
"Now, look above the television monitors, that are broadcasting news of all the news of wars, famines, and diseases in the world. Do you see the sign, it says, "So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near! (Luke 21: 28).”
One of the group leaders raised his hand, "Excuse me, speaking of "standing up," there is one thing that all of the groups agree on."
"What's that?" I replied
"There aren't very many chairs in this departure lounge. Instead there are just a few uncomfortable benches. It is really hard to sit here and read our prophecy books and debate with each other on these benches. Couldn't we get some comfortable chairs and maybe even some tables? We also need some power outlets so we can play our End-Times videos."
I dug into my pocket for an aspirin for the sudden headache that came over me. "I'm sorry but this is all the of the seats that the Airport Owner will allow in this area, and He intentionally designed them to be hard and uncomfortable so no one will want to sit here very long. However, did you notice the comfortable chairs beside those telephones over there? There is also a bunch of good chairs in front of those computers and around the corner there are other communication stations, all of them have comfortable chairs. Please look at the sign above them all. It says, "Keep Busy Until I Return" (Luke 19:13)."
"So, I don't think God wants you all to spend all of your time, sitting around here arguing about when the airplane will come. Instead, I believe that he wants you to use all of the equipment that He has provided to contact your friends and loved ones and invite them to come to the airport so that they can be evacuated from this temporary earth to an eternity with Christ. You know a lot of politicians are talking about "Global Warming" and they say that if we all recycle, ride bicycles, and give up our air conditioners, that we can save the planet. But, I don't think they have read the entire Bible because those efforts will not do anything to prevent God's final judgment when elements (like oxygen, uranium, and carbon etc.) will melt (2 Peter 3:10). From the time that Adam and Eve sinned, this planet has been programmed for destruction. So, the only hope is to evacuate to heaven."
I turned over to two groups of passengers who obviously had way too much carry on-luggage and I could see crates of bottled water and freeze dried food surrounding them. "Excuse me you all must be the mid-tribers and the post-tribers. You all are going to need to check all of this luggage because it exceeds the carry-on limits for the flight. The regulations clearly say, "Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (Matthew 6:19-21) I am not criticizing your theology but I am just reminding you that we can't put our trust in bottled water, bullets, and bunkers to protect us but instead we must trust God for our protection. So, please go and check in that luggage so that you will have rewards in heaven."
I turned to the whole group. "I want to let you know that the Creator of the Airport, really doesn't want to have a bunch of people waiting around in the departure lounge or even the airport at all. Now that you have your tickets and you have checked in your luggage you don't have to stay in the airport at all. Instead, please notice the set of doors over there that are marked, "Staff Exit". If you look at the sign beside it you will read these instructions from Jesus, "Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
If you all will please leave the departure lounge and go through those doors, you will be equipped to go back out into the world and help bring more people to the airport. Don't worry about the flight because, where ever you are in the world, Jesus will pick you up. Even though we may all have our guesses about when Jesus will return, He will take us with Him, even if we guess wrong so let's go out and focus on helping do our part to help bring as many people to Eternity In Christ Airport as possible. Notice that I said, "do our part." All of the arguments that I have had to help settle here in the airport are because the passengers have been too busy trying to understand or even control "God's part" instead of being obedient in doing "our part.""
I turned and headed toward the "Staff Exit". I knew that I had done all that I could to calm down the disputes in the airport and so now all I could to was to lead by example. I went into the equipment room to have my whole armor of God repaired and cleaned and then I headed back outside to be obedient to the small part that God had made me to do. I want to keep busy being obedient to what He wants me to do, and I will wait on and trust God to do His much bigger parts that I don't fully understand. I believe that this is the best way to wait for Christ's return.
A Christian Apologist, Author, Missionary, Husband, and Father. Darryl has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University (CA), an MA in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University (CA), and a BA in Political Science from Truman State University (MO).