Are You Watching
: Today’s social media is about how many ‘views’ you get.
Things to ‘Watch For’:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Almost 9 in 10 pastors see at least some current events matching those Jesus said would occur shortly before he returns to Earth, according to a new survey focused on Christian eschatology, or the study of end times.
A study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research of pastors at evangelical and historically black churches found 97% say they believe Jesus Christ will literally and personally return to Earth again.
“While Christians prepare to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, many pastors believe they see signs his return may be close,” said Scott McConnell, executive director LifeWay Research. “These sentiments were expressed in January before the prospect of a global pandemic became known.”
In Matthew 24, Jesus’ disciples asked him about signs of his coming, and he responded by speaking of “birth pains” that would precede his return.
Darrell Bock, New Testament studies professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, noted that the Bible has several lists of potential signs of Jesus’ return, like the Olivet Discourse passages of Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21, and some include concepts of global sicknesses.
“Numerous biblical texts speak of disturbances in the creation that disorient and trouble people,” said Bock. “These disturbances have quite a range with earthquakes and wars being the most common. However, Jesus mentions plagues or pestilence explicitly in Luke 21.”
According to Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries, the idea of birth pains is not unique to the New Testament or evangelicals, as he said Ultra-Orthodox Jews also believe that these types of signs are indicators of the Messiah’s coming.
“The term used in rabbinic literature, ‘birth pangs of Mashiach,’ is similar to the Olivet Discourse,” Glaser said. “The pandemic is viewed in this way by many religious Jewish people who share a heightened Messianic expectation with evangelicals.”
In the study sponsored by a group of ministries led by Chosen People and conducted in early 2020, LifeWay Research asked pastors if they considered certain current events to be included in Jesus’ warnings.
At least 3 in 4 pastors agree Jesus was referring to current events including the rise of false prophets and false teachings (83%), the love of many believers growing cold (81%), traditional morals becoming less accepted (79%), wars and national conflicts (78%), earthquakes and other natural disasters (76%), and people abandoning their Christian faith (75%).
Clear majorities also see famines (70%) and anti-Semitism toward Jewish people worldwide (63%) as signs of Jesus’ return.
Around 1 in 10 pastors (11%) say they don’t consider any of these part of the birth pains to which Jesus was referring.
II Timothy 3:1-5, NIV. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”
[Lovers of their own selves] Selfish, studious of their own interest, and regardless of the welfare of all mankind.
[Covetous/Lovers of Money] Philarguroi. Lovers of money, because of the influence which riches can procure.
[Boasters] Alazones. Vainglorious: self-assuming; valuing themselves beyond all others.
Hupereephanoi. Airy, light, trifling persons; those who love to make a show-who are all outside; from
huper, above, and phainoo, to show.
[Abusive/Blasphemers] Blaspheemoi. Those who speak impiously of God and sacred things, and injuriously of men,
[Disobedient to parents] Goneusin apeitheis. Head-strong children, whom their parents cannot persuade.
[Ungrateful/Unthankful] Acharistoi. Persons without grace, or gracefulness; who think they have a right to the services of all men, yet feel no obligation, and consequently no gratitude.
[Unholy] Anosioi. Without piety; having no heart reverence for God.
[Without Love/Without natural affection] Astorgoi. Without that affection which parents bear to their young, and which the young bear to their parents. An affection which is common to every class of animals; consequently, men without it are worse than brutes.
[Unforgiving/Truce-breakers] Aspondoi. From a, the alpha negative, and spondee, a libation, because in making treaties libations both of blood and wine were poured out. The word means those who are bound by no promise, held by no engagement, obliged by no oath; persons who readily promise anything, because they never intend to perform.
[Slanderers/False accusers] Diaboloi. Devils; but properly enough rendered false accusers, for this is a principal work of the Devil. Slanderers; striving ever to ruin the characters of others.
[Without self-control/Incontinent] Akrateis. From a, the alpha negative, and kratos, power. Those who, having sinned away their power of self-government, want strength to govern their appetites; especially those who are slaves to uncleanness.
[Brutal/Fierce] Aneemeroi; From a, the alpha negative, and heemeros, mild or gentle. Wild, impetuous, whatever is contrary to pliability and gentleness.
[Despisers of those that are good] Aphilagathoi. Not lovers of good men. Here is a remarkable advantage of the Greek over the English tongue, one word of the former expressing five or six of the latter. Those who do not love the good must be radically bad themselves.
[Treacherous/Traitors] Prodotai. From pro, before, and didoomi, to divide up. Those who deliver up to an enemy the person who has put his life in their hands; such as the Scots of 1648, who delivered up into the hands of his enemies their unfortunate countryman and king, Charles the First; a stain which no lapse of ages can wipe out.
[Rash/Heady] Propeteis. From pro, forward, and piptoo, to fall; headstrong, precipitate, rash, inconsiderate.
[Conceited/High-minded] Tetuphoomenoi. From tuphos, smoke; the frivolously aspiring; those who are full of themselves, and empty of all good.
[Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God] This is nervously and beautifully expressed in the Greek,
Phileedonoimallonee philotheoi, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; i.e. pleasure, sensual gratification, is their god; and this they love and serve; God they do not.
[Having a form of godliness] The original word
morphoosissignifies a draught, sketch, or summary, and will apply well to those who have all their religion in their creed, confession of faith, catechism, bodies of divinity, etc., while destitute of the life of God in their souls; and are not only destitute of this life, but deny that such life or power is here to be experienced or known.
They have religion in their creed, but none in their hearts. And perhaps to their summary they add a decent round of religious observances. From such turn away-not only do not imitate them, but have no kind of fellowship with them; they are a dangerous people, and but seldom suspected, because their outside in fair.
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