Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Is this the last hour?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 John 2:18-29

TO CHEW ON: "Little Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour." 1 John 2:18

John thought it was "the last hour." that was over 2000 years ago. He's sounding a lot like some of us who also believe we're living in the last days.

Jack Hayford, commenting on this passage says:

"In this text, John describes the times in which he wrote as 'the last hour,' evidencing that he, as vital Christians in every generation, both lived in immediate anticipation of Christ's Second Coming and saw his era as one in which the present evidence seemed to argue that his was possibly the concluding generation. This is not an unhealthy attitude. Christ Jesus desires that people expectantly anticipate His return (Matthew 25:1-13; 2 Timothy 4:8)" - Jack Hayford, "The Prophecies of Last Things," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1785.

Though we don't know whether we're living in "the last hour," we do know a couple of things:

1. We are closer now than ever to Jesus' Second Coming.

2. Some of us will meet Him face to face sooner than we realize, for life is short.

Jacob's lifespan was 130 years (Genesis 47:9). The Psalm 90:10 life expectancy number of 70 to 80 years is closer to ours.

Our lives are described as:
  • a shadow - 1 Chronicles 29:15; Job 8:9.
  • passing as swiftly as a weaver's shuttle (Job 7:6), a runner (Job 9:25).
  • a fading flower - Job 14:2.
  • a handbreadth - Psalm 39:5
  • a sigh - Psalm 90:9
  • smoke - Psalm 102:3
  • a shepherd's tent - Isaiah 38:2
  • a vapor - James 4:14

It is interesting to speculate which events on the world's stage make up fulfilled prophecies, suggesting Jesus' Second Coming may be soon. But let's not get distracted from the fact of our own brief lifespan and imminent meeting with Him: "As for me .... I shall be fully satisfied when I awake to find myself beholding Your form and having sweet communion with You" - Psalm 17:15 (Amplified).

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to live with the sober expectation of seeing You soon, when You return or at my death, whichever comes first. Amen.

MORE: Misgivings about pinpointing Second Coming events

In a 1974 article that responds to Hal Lindsays' book The Late Great Planet Earth (a book that sought to make a correlation with then-current events and Jesus' imminent return), John Piper lists four problems with trying to line up Jesus' promised return with specific current events.

1. The more detailed one attempts to map out the future, the more inferences one must make which are not explicit in the Scripture. Therefore, the tendency of the imagination to fill the gaps increases and the probability of erroneous calculation grows.

2. The stress on the present course of events attracts a great deal of attention from fascinated Christians .... The description of a particular sequence of current events as a manifestation of God’s faithfulness to his predictions creates an emotional and intellectual connection between the Christian’s faith and the events around him. The result, too often, is that the ups and downs of his life of faith are caused by the fluctuations of world affairs and his ability or inability to fit these into a complex eschatological pattern.

3. When a person thinks he knows exactly what role a nation is going to play in God’s battle plan ... then he tends to think less responsibly as a citizen who is to pray for all rulers (1 Timothy 2:2) and seek peace with all men (Romans 12:18). He loses interest in such things as trade agreements, arms talks, currency stability, world food problems, etc.

4. This is the most important: among those who calculate about the time and sequence of the coming events and who try to give detailed descriptions of how it will be, there is, I think, a fundamentally wrong focus, a dislocation of our “blessed hope.” Throughout the New Testament the all-important focus of our hope is personal fellowship with God and our Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:3; 1 Peter 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Philippians 1:23; John 14:3).

Read all of "Misgivings About Hal Lindsay's 'Planet Earth" - By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

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