Writing my book on the End Times has been challenging, yet publishing it this year has led to some wonderful opportunities to share on the themes of the signs of the times, how we live as disciples today and the hope of the return of the Lord. I have felt nervous too because, once you have written a book, then your teaching, viewpoints and convictions are out there, in public, ready to be weighed and critiqued.
One of my key strap lines has been ‘get ready for glory, shaking and Jesus’ return’. I wanted to put it as the subtitle of the book, but my publishers thought it might sound rather extreme for some potential readers! Yet my conviction continues to grow that glory and shaking are two overarching themes of the biblical End Times. I would say that they are actually mark the new paradigm of the context of Christianity in these coming decades of the twenty first century. A paradigm is the generally accepted perspective of a particular discipline at a given time, like Darwinism in the sciences, or secular humanism in the social sciences. To change a paradigm is to alter the collective thinking of a group of people or culture. As I read my bible, it seems fairly clear that normal life on planet earth intensifies the closer we get to Christ’s return. The generation preceding those days has to live with an intensification of both light and darkness, with both troubles and revivals. As the signs of the times increasingly point to the nearness of the coming age, I believe the church needs to wake up to a new paradigm of Christian living right now – we are not living in ordinary days, we are coming into more extraordinary days of glory and shaking!
I happen to be reading a biography of Leonardo Da Vinci right now, the great artist, inventor and scientist of the Renaissance. One of his most expansive legacies apparently is not his great paintings, but his notebooks. There are still over 7,000 pages of his notebooks in existence today, probably just a quarter of what he wrote. In them he kept a record of all his observations of the world, his fascination with nature, with the human body, with inventions, with scientific studies, and with artistic ideas for his paintings. Most of these were sketches, breathtakingly drawn, but which never became reality. Yet Leonardo stood as a genius at the forefront of the Renaissance culture, sketching out the artistic and scientific possibilities of a coming age. His notebooks are one of his most treasured legacies today.
I sketch out this paradigm of glory and shaking tentatively but with conviction. I am far from a genius, and many other voices speak with more clarity than mine. Yet I am convinced that this coming glory and shaking are real and will affect everyone living in the final generation. In my book I have traced the outlines of five marks of the coming glory of God: outpourings of the Spirit, a radically renewed church, massive harvest of faith, transformation of many communities, and a turning of the Jewish people to their Messiah. I have also sketched ten aspects of the prophesied shaking of all things: wickedness & wars, global power shifts, financial instability, environmental troubles, dark technological advances, social unrest, fully liberalised morality, emergence of a one world system, greater hostility towards Christians, and the cumulative ‘groaning’ of the earth.
These ‘signs’ of glory and shaking will need fleshing out and carefully measured against biblical prophecy. I hope to use some blogs in coming months to elaborate on the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of these marks and encourage you to read your bibles and weigh what I am sharing. This of course is far from an academic exercise, and the real application is to help us all stand well in the midst of exciting and troubling times; how to navigate our way through the glory of God coming in increasing power and diverse ways, and through the growing shaking of much in human society of what we trust in. An encouraging saying in the book of Proverbs says: ‘The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out’ (Proverbs 18v15). That is surely a good exhortation for all who follow Jesus in these times.
God bless you.