11. Is there anything we can do prior to the end in order to be judged to be righteous?
Yes! Repent (change your disobedient, hurtful, and harmful behavior to others), ask for forgiveness, invite Jesus and His spirit to dwell within you (Romans 10:9-13, 17), come from your highest loving self, Love God first and most, treat your neighbor as you want to be treaty (Matthew 22:37). Know the truth, see the truth, live the truth.
12. Once the end is here is it too late to get right with God?
You can get right with God right up until you take your last breath. All you need do is explained in Romans 10:9-13, 17. As soon as you do this, you will begin experiencing more peace in your life.
13. What aspects of Eschatology do you find the most interesting and the most important?
Most interesting? The fact that by His unconditional love and mercy God would allow us to know of His plans to reconcile us to Him through Christ Jesus, as our redeemer and savior. Using events which we can see and recognize as signs of His truth about the End Times and Last Days.
The most important? The Rapture because it will validate for the entire world the truth of God’s Word. For believers in Christ the rapture will be the reward He promised. For nonbelievers it will provide proof that God is real and that His word is true. It will also give every nonbeliever the opportunity to become a believer before the world ends.
The Rapture will be the single most important event in the Last Days, which by its execution will guarantee for the world that Christ’s Second Coming is on the horizon. (The four most important events in all of human history are; (1) the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, (2) the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (3) the Rapture of Jesus’ believers and followers, (4) and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ).
14. Define the Mark of the Beast, please.
The “Mark of the Beast” will be an identifying ‘mark’ visible on the hand or forehead, which will be taken and accepted by those who will worship and follow the Antichrist and Satan. Its significance is it will show separation between those who have chosen to worship Satan as god, and those who refuse. It will be the symbol that allows one to be active in commerce (to buy and sell) during the days of the second 3 ½ years of the seven-year tribulation period (Revelations 13:16-17, 14:9-11, 16:2, 19:20, 20:4).
15. Is there any thing humans have done to bring about the end more or less quickly?
No. God has His timetable and plans. Humans are merely instruments of His design. His plans include us as part of His creation so each of us can be with Him if we desire to accept His invitation of eternal life. (Old Yiddish adage; “Man plans, and God laughs”.)
16. Do you believe God knows who is going to Heaven and hell before we are even conceived?
One of the hardest questions to contemplate and attempt to find an answer. I believe God knows His ‘elect’ [those who have chosen to believe in Jesus as the Christ] (Matthew 24:31). God is ‘omniscient’, He knows all. (He is also ‘Omnipresent’ and ‘Omnipotent’; to wit: He is everywhere, all powerful and all knowing). Therefore, He knows what He knows. His desire is that all His created beings would be with Him in eternity.
To that end He sent His Spirit through [His son] Jesus of Nazareth, to show us who He is and what He is like. His required sacrifice to atone for human ‘sins’ (so that we can be with Him), was accomplished with the death and resurrection of Jesus as the Christ. Jesus redeemed us from death to reconcile us (to God the Father) through resurrection.
Jesus is our example to emulate in our responses, by our actions, and through our behaviors. God wants all His ‘children’ [those who choose to believe in Jesus Christ as His Son] (Matthew 3:17) to be in heaven and be with Him. He does however, leave that option open to each of us through ‘free will’ choice. He knows of those who will choose to believe, but I’m sure He hopes all will hear and choose wisely to be part of ‘the elect.’
17. How close do you think we are to the end of the world and what signs/actions make you feel that way?
I see increasing prophetic events signs every day, highlighted by every major news story and headline. Pick a headline and its part of one or more ‘end of the world’ prophecies.
Some of the more obvious ones:
18. Does God know who is going to Heaven and hell before we are even conceived?
I have no idea. However, I do know how to get to heaven instead of hell. Believe Jesus is who He claimed to be (John14:6), believe He is who His disciples and apostles testified He is (Mark 8:29), and believe He is who God the Father said He is (Matthew 3:17). Believe in and emulate Jesus Christ in thought and actions as much and as often as possible.
19. Will we, as Christians, see the tribulation or be gone before it happens?
Some christians may see/experience the tribulation years either in part or whole. Many will die during the tribulation years. Many more will be martyred during the ‘great tribulation’ years (second half of the seven years). Many will be ‘gone’ in the rapture. The key to your question is when will the rapture occur? Many Christians will be raptured, while other christians may not be included. The key will be if the rapture is a Pre-tribulation, Mid-tribulation, or Post tribulation event?
The tribulation is a seven-year long period of events. The seven years are separated into two defined 42 months/1260 day periods. Those who believe in a ‘Pre-Tribulation’ Rapture believe they will miss all seven years (both half’s) of the Tribulation years. Those who think the Rapture will happen at ‘Mid Tribulation’ will be alive in (unless they die during) the first 3 ½ years, but will be gone for the second 3 ½ years. Those who think the Rapture will be ‘Post-Tribulation’ will experience all seven years, unless they die at some point during the seven years.
My personal belief is that the Rapture will occur at ‘Mid-Tribulation.’ Why? There are untold numbers of ‘christians’ today who are failing to live as “Christ believing christians” even though they have heard, read, claim to know the gospel, and proclaim to know (and be followers of) Jesus Christ. I believe the love of God is so great He wants to redeem all, particularly these christians, but only after they have had an opportunity to repent and change their carnal christian (with self-righteous words and often hypocritical deeds) life behaviors (Luke 6:44a).
The Old Testament is peppered with stories of how the Israelites claimed to love God and made proclamations about wanting to serve Him obediently and yet, turned away to embrace their world’s ways. God’s response was to allow them their ‘free will’ choices and they suffered the consequences of the world’s ways. There is no reason to doubt God’s intentions may be to allow today’s ‘church age christians’ to experience the consequences of their unrepentant carnal and worldly ways, as He did before.
The first 3 ½ years of the tribulation period will be dangerous and deadly for many, with explicit warnings to all. However, as acutely destructive the events of the first half of the seven-year tribulation will be, the second 3 ½ year period will be a time as never before experienced in human history, with death and destruction never known by humans (Mathew 24:21). Prophetic scripture explains that Christ believers and followers will not be part of, or experience this second half time frame. Christians will be raptured prior to the start of the second 3 ½ years of the tribulation (at ‘mid trib’).
It's important that ‘fallen away’ christians have an opportunity to come back to Christ in heart, spirit, and soul before they are ‘caught up’ in the air and go with Christ in the rapture. The first 3 ½ year period will be proof positive, especially to christians who know, study, and share that God’s prophetic word is true and a great revival is in preparation, with anticipation of the rapture underway.
Christians who are part of the Rapture will not experience the (great) tribulation (Day of the Lord); the second 3 ½ years (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10).
20. One question I often receive is, ‘If I start a relationship with God, will I have to change my whole life’?
Many people tend to think that having a spiritual relationship is somehow outside the norm of daily life and activity. It’s as if religion have established a dividing line between itself and life. When God in His commandment says, “Keep Holy the Sabbath,” (Exodus 20:8) His request is that we set aside one day per week to reflect on and communicate directly with Him. All well and good however a growing, loving spiritual relationship with God can easily be an everyday activity. In the same way we focus time and energy on that someone special in our life with thoughts, words, and deeds the same can be said and invested with communion and communication with the Lord God, Father and Son.
It seems that man’s interpretive Sabbath or Worship “day” (be it Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or a particular day of the week) has instituted a singular time frame in the minds of many. As life has become more complex and involved, and as activities have morphed from survival to leisure, the squeezing of regulated specific time for spiritual focus or meditation has become ‘set in place’ or finite. ‘Worship services’ often become quasi social gatherings or meet ups under a guise of ‘God time’. Led by a parochial group representative with agendas and designs to influence and intervene in people’s lives. But more importantly to benefit their goals and aspirations as much as a time and place for spiritual connection, reflection, and revelation.
Time with God has been pigeonholed for and by people as if spiritual grounding and growth were adjunct to one’s real-life important issues. This mentality often produces a ‘square peg, round hole’ scenario which becomes increasingly difficult to understand and justify, even in our own minds. God’s desire is that He would be top of mind every time we need Him or choose to turn our thoughts to Him. His wish is to be an active part of our life, not a mingled thought with our worries and wishes one hour each week with a few hymns and a sermon thrown in.
God’s intent is to be with us in every instance we need or desire. This becomes increasingly difficult when we are so separated from Him by every aspect of post-modern life. Our self-centeredness, corruption and evil in the world, religions and hypocritical justifications have fomented a division between God and (wo)men as never before. All this, as we are entering a time when we need His presence and assistance more than ever before.
So what’s this leading up to? My point is this, your spiritual life and relationship with God, through Christ by His spirit dwelling in you is available now and forever. You can start, or restart this connection at any moment. Having this personal relationship with God only requires you, and Him. And here’s the ‘good news’ you don’t have to become a different person. You can still be you. Nothing is required of you to change in your life. Nothing. The sole requirement, the only thing new will be a single addition to your life. Activation of your spirt with and by His.
We each have the spirit of the Lord God within us. Each and everyone of us. It came as part of our nature and being. For most, their spirit is inactive. It’s there but it’s not communicating with us other than through a core and innate understanding of morality and ethics. God’s activity in our lives must be initiated by us. Some do this through religions, some through worship, some through spiritual acknowledgement. For the rest of us, it’s a non-issue because it’s of no issue. Most are content to live lives of spiritual non-engagement. Thinking that if they pursue active spirituality, it will somehow require they become a different person and completely change their entire life and existence.
The truth is, it will change your life, but not in the ways you may be imagining. Spiritual grounding will enable and help you grow, while not asking that you give up you, and your concept of you, that you currently have of yourself. Religions want you to change, God doesn’t. He already knows and loves you just as you are, and for just who you are. All He asks is that you invite him in, to discover who you can be with His Spirit abiding within yours.
Thank you for the questions. Hopefully these answers may hold a direction for you of spiritual growth. One thing to remember is each one of our deaths and demise can come at any moment. This is not stated as a warning, scare tactic, or morbidly frightening omen. It’s simply factual reality. Every time I see or hear of a tragedy that has claimed a life, or lives, the thought that always comes to my mind is, hopefully they were a believer in Christ. As I’m writing this, we are witnessing the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan, the onslaught of hurricane Ida, and the recent failure and collapse of the Champlain Tower condominium complex in Florida. Each of the events, like the ‘911’ World Trade Towers attacks, Covid-19 deaths and other publicized loss of life event carried and reported by news media outlets reminds us daily that anyone can become victim of unforeseen deadly consequences.
With these events and a myriad of others like them the imperative of considering a spiritual relationship with Christ is brought to bear as one of life’s choices. The moment to confront this consideration for each one of us is in the present. Can we afford to put off until some future date whether or not our spiritual grounding and growth is important?
Whether we live to see and/or experience the End Times and Last Days or not, we owe it to ourselves and to our families to decide. Is today the right time to spiritually prepare for the future?
All the best,
I was recently invited to be an On-Air guest of DeVannon Hubert’s podcast “Sex, Drugs, and Jesus” to discuss ‘Eschatology’ (End Times). As part of the program, he asked his listening audience to submit questions. I thought their questions might be a good way to finish this series. With that in mind, here are twenty questions asked along with my answers. Perhaps one or more of these reflect thoughts or questions you may have had as well. Enjoy! Click to hear the entire program interview.
First, let me thank all those who submitted questions. Your interest is truly appreciated. It’s a pleasure to interact with people who want to know more. I don’t have all the answers and there are many others who have studied, read, researched, and know far more than I. Your confidence to answer is commendable. I will answer to the best of my knowledge and ability. Hopefully this Q&A session from DeVannon will help each of you on your walk to expand your spiritual growth.
All scripture references are from an NIV study bible. If you have additional questions or individual personal queries, I invite you to contact me, follow my articles and essays, or visit my YouTube channel.
Here are the questions with my answers:
1. Is there a true end or is it the beginning of a new Era, like a purge?
If by “New Era” you mean what scripture denotes as a ‘new heaven and earth’ then, yes (Revelation 21:1). This earth and life as we know it is prophesied to end. Replaced by a new earth where Jesus Christ will live and reign for one thousand (1,000) years as King (Revelation 19:16). This “millennium kingdom” (Revelation 20:4) will be inhabited by those who believed in and were followers or adherents of Jesus Christ/Messiah. By His presence and reign, yes there will be a ‘true end’ to life as we know it and a new beginning.
At the end of His Millennial Kingdom, all, (including the souls of those who remained dead (Revelation 20:5) and were not raptured, as well as those who died between the rapture event and Jesus’ ‘Second Coming’ will face judgment by Jesus as judge (Acts 10:42, 2 Timothy 4:1, 1 Peter 4:4-6). Those he judges to not join Him in everlasting life will be banished from His presence (Revelation 20:11-15). As you describe, this will be a type of ‘purge’. Those who are judged into the presence of Jesus will live eternally in the presence of God’s Holy Trinity in what the bible describes as a ‘New Eden’ [many label as “heaven”] (Revelation 22:1-3). The bible describes and prophesies both a true end, and a new beginning.
2. Can I sin and do something or PAY to get into Heaven?
No. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Having committed sin there is something one can do to get into heaven! That ‘something’ is explained as the ‘good news’ that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah (Acts 5:42). His death and resurrection already paid the ransom price (death) required by humanity’s ‘sin’ nature.
Jesus’ death was/is the atonement (substitute) for death of His believers. He died so (y)our spirit and soul will not have to. This is accomplished for us individually if we believe in Him as the Christ/Messiah, believe His death is the ransom for ours, and that His word(s) of redemption and reconciliation are true.
It’s important to remember in the eyes of the Lord “a sin is a sin.” There are no degrees of sin. No sin is more egregious than another to God. ‘Sins’ are acts/actions/behaviors of disobedience to God’s nature, character, and commands. His nature is Morality, His character is Ethics, His teachings are Love, and His actions are Truth. His Commands are shared in Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5:1-21, and summed up in Matthew 22:37-39.
There is however a caveat to this notion of sin and its forgiveness. It’s described in John 15:22 (“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now [having heard the gospel] they have no excuse for their sin.”) What does Jesus mean by this statement? More specifically as to your question? When one does not know of Jesus (who Jesus is, why He came to be part of humanity, and what His purpose and role was/is, one is not responsible for what one does not know.
However, many on the planet today, ignorance of the Gospel of Christ is a choice. The world has been exposed to Jesus as Christ, including His commission, ministry, purposes, and roles [the Who, What, and Why of Jesus]. Despite this revelation many live, accept, and often revel in ‘sin’ behavior. This is not unusual, for ‘sin’ (moral and ethical disobedience) is our natural human inclination, it’s the ‘way of the world.’ Having heard or been exposed to the Gospel of Christ, knowledgeable responsibility now exists.
“I didn’t know, I never heard” is no longer a viable excuse. Knowing the gospel of Christ exists, negates the exclusion power and validation of Jesus’ observation stated in
When we don’t realize sin is our nature, we have an excuse [not that ignorance gives license to sin] (Romans 6:15-23). It’s like a child who doesn’t know or does not yet understand between ‘right and wrong.’ However, once the child knows and accepts the relationship between the words and the actions (right vs. wrong), ignorance is no longer a viable ‘excuse’/reason for not doing what is correct/right (obedient).
This holds true for the “christian” or follower of Jesus Christ as well. Once we have been exposed to/heard/read/studied/know of or learned [about] the Gospel and claim to acknowledge it exists and what is says, what it means, or how it applies to our daily lives we no longer have excuse for immoral and unethical (‘sinful’) choices and behaviors. We now know of the Gospel, so we now know not to sin (1 Corinthians 33-34). One can make choices that emulate the direction and lead of Jesus. Simply ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” WWJD? How did Jesus behave or respond to this situation or issue in His life? For the follower/person exposed to Jesus, His responses, His choices and actions can become ours, in a same or similar situation. When we emulate Christ’s actions as our own, we become more Christ-like (christian).
There are some who believe and gleefully promote the idea of ‘paying’ to get to heaven. These people are described in scripture as ‘false prophets’ (Matthew 7:15). We recognize many today as “carnal or purpose driven [profit driven] christians.”
3. At the end are people placed in various places and what determines where they go?
Great question and one that’s difficult to answer because many exact truths are unknown (Revelation 10:2-4). The definitive totality of some prophecies remain hidden (Daniel 12:8-9). ‘Faithful living’ can reveal aspects of God’s Will and plan that are without specifics or details (Philippians 4:7). This may not be the answer you are looking for, but I will share with you what I believe. Those who believe in and trust God’s will, words, and way as taught and shared by Jesus Christ’s gospel will have their spirited souls return to God’s presence.
Scripture relates those who love, follow and believe in Christ will be with Him in eternity. Those whom Jesus judges and forgives will also be with Him eternally. Those who are unrepentant and follow the Antichrist and Satan will be with them in the Lake of Fire (“hell”). As to others? Who knows?
Know this as your answer; in John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” God demands nothing from us except, we each will have to decide before we die, whether we will believe in and follow Jesus Christ, or not?
4. Do egregious sins place you in hell or do the worst sins leave you in limbo forever?
As stated in a previous answer, to the Lord, ‘a sin is a sin’. Many believe crimes represent different degrees of heinousness and harm. Many think crimes are ‘sins’ so therefore some are worse than others. Crimes and sins both represent ‘offenses’ against ‘laws or mores.’ Criminal behavior goes against the legalistic legislated laws and decrees of people within societies. While sins are disobedient acts that are affronts to God’s nature, character, and commands. While a ‘crime’ may be considered or deemed a ‘sin’ by one or more persons in a tribe, group, or society, a sin may not necessarily be a crime in societal terms.
God gave Moses Ten Commandments that should be used as a guide for living by those who desire to have a spiritual relationship with Him (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5:1-22). Moses also recorded six hundred thirteen ‘laws’ for the Israelites to use in their daily and worship lives (listed in the Old Testament books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
God has made His life guiding instructions known and men make rules/laws/decrees for living together. We as individuals have a need and personal responsibility to abide by both if we desire to please God and live civilly.
5. I believe there is a Heaven, a hell and a limbo. Is it possible for people to remain in limbo forever?
Only God knows. All possibilities may be viable. Given your premise, why would anyone want to spend forever/eternity in hell or limbo? Put your faith in what you have heard, read, or believe about Jesus Christ. Then decide if a spiritual relationship with God through Christ is for you. Your ‘hereafter forever’ question will be answered in due course.
6. Can you pray or PAY to get out of limbo?
See answer to question 5. Having had the offer of ‘free will’ choice of belief (or not) prior to death negates the need to do either ‘pray or pay’ later.
7. How do you feel based on their real-life experiences vs. the words in Revelation?
Not sure I understand the question, whose real life experiences? Real life experiences are exactly that for each individual. The book of Revelation is an informative guide given to John, for the world, by and from Jesus Christ as to what lies ahead for mankind at the end of this world.
Life offers each of us opportunities to make decisions and choices that determine our responses, behaviors, and actions to people and events. These produce consequences we can then use for mental, spiritual, emotional, and psychological growth, as well as for future choices. Jesus’ thoughts, words, and deeds in His teachings and parables prepare us for an abundant adult life. His words in the book of Revelation illuminate for us the end here, and the beginning hereafter.
8. Do we have to go through every variant from alpha to omega before this pandemic is over?
Possibly. Who knows? It will be over when it’s over. Most likely there will be another, or next virus or bacterial enemy of man to take its place and gain our focus. There have been a variety of plagues (and their variants/mutations) throughout history. We have eradicated many and have produced vaccines for others, and yet they still occur and spread. Microbiological entities are as much a part of life and existence as we are.
Thankfully we have the academic knowledge and technology to affect them more quickly than we did in the past. However, because our world is more accessible today than ever before in human history, we also run the risk daily of an ‘outbreak’ of some kind occurring and spreading.
No matter how ‘good’ a vaccine may be, the ‘nature’ of nature is some ‘hosts’ will be more susceptible than others. Some will get sick (vaccinated or not), some will die (vaccinated or not), and some will recover or never be infected (vaccinated or not). Listen to experts who know, not talking heads of provincial ilk or persuasions. Make informed choices in every aspect of your life.
9. How would we know when the end of the world is coming, like what are the signs?
Prophecy’s entire focus and purpose is to inform us, warn us, and alert us to the future events that allow us to recognize the end events (of this world) drawing nigh. Many of the ‘signs’ are veiled or hidden as to their specific details (at least until they come to pass). Most require some ‘digging’ or reading/research. God wants us to know, but He also wants us to believe. It often helps to see the big picture by connecting the smaller dots and relationships. He could simply tell us but even when He does, most people ignore or doubt Him. Most people don’t want to hear what He and His prophets have to say. When He speaks, tells, or shows us it requires that we trust He is telling us the truth. We live in a world that doesn’t want to know the truth, therefore we ignore Him and what He shares.
Prophecy doesn’t tell us when the world will end, but it does forewarn by giving ‘signs’ to recognize when we see them happening. There are 1817 prophecies in the Bible and every one of them pertains or refers to Jesus as the Christ/Messiah. Most have already occurred. Each one has come to be as predicted or foretold.
I am often asked about End Times or Last Days ‘signs’. At issue with some of these events is that their buildup takes years, decades, even centuries to unfold. Think of it this way, before you get a driver’s license you prepare. You get a diver’s manual and study. You get a vehicle and practice driving. You continue learning how to become more efficient and proficient ‘behind the wheel.’ When you are fully prepared and ready, you take a driver’s test.
The same holds true for End Times/Last Days/end of the world signs. Their culminations that will be revealed by what we (will) see/experience takes time and incremental steps to build to completed occurrence. However, I will share three unmistakable, undeniable, and unmissable ‘signs’ that will happen in front of the entire world, which will indicate the end is close at hand (“at the door” Matthew 24:33).
When you see these three ‘signs’ be prepared.
10. What will happen when the end of the world is here?
In prophecy, “here” is a relative term due to the lead up and precursor events needed for the end to actualize for there are “End Times”, Last Days” and “End of the World”. For at least seven years immediately prior to ‘the end’ there will be death, destruction, and devastation by and from men and nature. It will increase in frequency and intensity. It will seem as if there is no ‘good news.’
There will be storms, fires, floods, famine, wars, hurricanes, earthquakes, unending record heat and drought. There will be hatred and distrust among nations, groups, even families (Matthew 24:7). Good will be seen as evil and evil as good (Isaiah 5:20). There will be cosmic and supernatural events and consequences.
At ‘the end’ Jesus will return, be victorious at the Battle of Armageddon, and set foot on the Mount of Olives, reclaiming the world as His own and establishing His millennial kingdom reign on His new earth.
Join me next time in Part 9 when we address and post answers for questions 11-20.
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