UPDATED 11th December 2018

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AUDIO SERMONS BY TONY & PATRICIA HIGTON:

Tony and Patricia met at theological college and have spoken together in many places around the world for many years.

RECENT SERMONS:

We must crucify the old nature Gal 5:1, 16-25 (Tony 26.06.16, 18 mins)

 New birth, living hope, eternal inheritance 1 Peter 1:3-9 (Tony 03.07.16, 18 mins)

 Getting to know God better Col 1:15-20 (Patricia, 17.07.16, 15 mins)

 God is in Christ, Christ is in us Col 2:6-15 (Tony 24.07.16, 22 mins)

 Listen to God, Submit to God then God will provide Psalm 81:1, 15-16 (Tony 28.08.16, 20 mins)

 How to be a true disciple Luke 14:25-35 (Tony 04.09.16, 18 mins)

 The Bible 01 – Inspiration 2 Tim 3:16-17 (Tony 25.09.16, 14 mins)

 The Spirit of power, love and self-discipline 2 Tim 1:1-14 (Tony 02.10.16, 17 mins)

 The Bible 02 – How to interpret Scripture – Different types of literature (Tony 09.10.16, 19 mins)

 The Bible 03 – A glimpse at the first five books of the Bible (Tony 23,10.16, 21 mins)

The Bible 04 – A brief look at the historical books in the OT (Tony 12.11.16, 25 mins)

The Bible 05 – A glimpse of the prophetic books in the OT (Tony 27.11.16, 24 mins)

The Bible 06 – An overview of Paul’s epistles (Tony 08.01.17 25 mins)

EARLIER SERMONS

“The vital importance of prayer” 1 Thess 5:17 etc (Tony 16 mins 11.10.15): A church must pray together other than in services.

“God’s plan for the universal church” (Tony 18.10.15 19 mins): God wants a united church not a conglomeration of individuals.

“God’s plan for the local church” Acts 2:42-47 (Tony 01.11.15 13 mins): God wants the local church to be a deeply committed fellowship

“The church as the Body of Christ” John 17:11-23 etc (Tony 01.11.15 17 mins): Jesus prayed that each church would experience deep unity in diversity.

“Baptism is not enough” 1 John 5:9-15 (Tony 06.12.15 11 mins): We must also invite Jesus into our lives.

“The church is the bride of Christ” Rev 21:1-14 (Tony 13.12.15 17 mins): The church must constantly prepare for the ‘marriage supper of the Lamb

“Gentiles are heirs together with Jews” Eph 3:1-12 (Tony 03.01.16) 17 mins)

The gifts of the Spirit are important for the church” 1 Cor 12:1-11 (Tony 17.01.16 19 mins): The gifts of the Spirit are available today.

“We have a glorious Lord” Luke 9:28-36 (Tony 07.02.16 15 mins): The Transfiguration shows how awesome Jesus is.

“The many ways Satan tempts us” Luke 4:1-13 (Tony 14.02.16 22 mins).

“As God’s chosen people put on love” Col 3:12-17 (Tony 16.03.16 19 mins)

“Knowing Christ” Php 3:4b-14 (Tony Mar 13th 18 mins)

“Taking sin, the Cross and Resurrection seriously Acts 10:34-43 (Tony Mar 27th 20 mins).

“Overcoming fear” John 20:19-31 (Tony 03.04.16 19 mins).

“St John’s understanding of Jesus as God” John 21:1-4; Rev 5 (Patricia 10.04.16 15 mins).

“The new heaven and new earth” Rev 21:1-6 (Tony 17.04.16 18 mins).

“Overcoming fear” John 20:19-31 (Tony 03.04.16 19 mins).

 “St John’s understanding of Jesus as God” John 21:1-4; Rev 5 (Patricia 10.04.16 15 mins).

 “The new heaven and new earth” Rev 21:1-6 (Tony 17.04.16 18 mins).

 “Longing for more of God” Psa 63 (Tony 01.05.16 13 mins).

“Living by faith” Luke 7:1-10 (Patricia 18 mins 29.05.16)

“The priority of loving God” Gal 2:15-21 (Tony 16 mins 18.06.16) There is a lot of loving neighbour in society but little loving God.

 Go to http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/sermons.html and click the appropriate link.


 

1. TO ENCOURAGE A SENSIBLE APPROACH TO ESCHATOLOGY (THE DOCTRINE OF THE END TIMES, THE RETURN OF CHRIST, ETC).

Many Christians (including Christian leaders) neglect this, either because they don’t feel competent to deal with it or because they are embarrassed by unbalanced extremists. I want to help rectify this by providing Christian teaching and also comment on current events and trends, with particular reference to anything relevant to Jesus’ teaching on the signs of the End Times. I try to take a constructively critical, extensively researched approach. I have completed the main (systematic) section with teaching on the subjects listed below. See http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/eschatology.html for both a Full (more detailed) Version and a Summary Version.

However you will find Updates on Eschatology on the blog below (which have also been incorporated into the main website above) and you are welcome to comment on them here.

2. TO INFORM PEOPLE ABOUT THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

For a number of years I lived and ministered in Jerusalem, leading an international organisation whose aim is to share the gospel sensitively with Jewish people and leading Christ Church, Jerusalem. Since then I have been seeking to inform Christians about the need, pain and fear on BOTH sides in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, because God loves both sides. See http://www.prayerforpeace.org.uk/index.html. My recent newsletter on the Israel-Gaza conflict is at http://www.prayerforpeace.org.uk/newsletter.html.

3. TO MAKE CONSIDERED PROPHETIC COMMENT ON CURRENT EVENTS AND TRENDS.

See below on the blog.

4. TO PROVIDE FREE, PRACTICAL, USER-FRIENDLY RESOURCES FOR CHURCHES AND INDIVIDUALS

These include apologetics (defence of the faith), biblical material, church development, church issues, devotional articles, doctrinal resources, evangelistic, interfaith and pastoral issues. Additions will be made to these materials. See http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/

ESCHATOLOGY (END TIMES) SUBJECTS COVERED
The signs of the End
Will there be a sudden, secret “Rapture” of believers to heaven?
The ‘Great Tribulation’ and the Antichrist
Secular eschatology – What secular scholars are predicting about the future of the world
The Battle of Armageddon & Cosmic signs
Old Testament Eschatology
The return of Christ
Will there be a literal Millennium?
End times judgment
Approaching death
Resurrection
The destruction of world
The truth about Hell
The hope of Heaven
Appendix: Understanding the Book of Revelation
Appendix: The Place of Islam in the End Times

What about the Good News?

I am aware that, in focusing on eschatology and prophetic comment on the news, I frequently major on bad news rather than good news. Does that mean I’m only interesting in doom and gloom? No, not at all. However, there is a lot of doom and gloom in New Testament eschatology, and we must take it seriously alongside the love, joy, peace and eternal life which results from the gospel.

Jesus himself told us to watch for negative signs of the time: wars and rumours of wars, famine, disease, earthquakes, persecution, church decline and apostasy, false prophets and messiahs, great distress (tribulation) and worrying events in the heavens. The rest of the NT has a fair amount of doom and gloom about the End Times. After all, the Book of Revelation is hardly light-hearted

So I major on giving updates on some disturbing “signs of the times”: artificial intelligence, church decline, genetic engineering, global warming, Islam, oppression & persecution of Christians, secularisation & societal decline, matters of sexuality, significant political developments, terrorism and war, world poverty, etc.

We have to take note of such things if we are to obey Jesus who said: “Watch out that no one deceives you … keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matt 24:4, 42-44).

Having said all this, I do come across Christians who take eschatology seriously but read almost everything in society and the church negatively – it’s all doom and gloom. And I don’t believe that is correct. There is a huge amount of good in the world (theologically-speaking, it is the result of God’s “common grace” or the “general work of the Holy Spirit”). We need to maintain the balance and I do seek to share some good news amidst my main emphasis of keeping watch and noting the “signs of the times.”

What is on this site?

NEW ON THE BLOG

Revival and the ‘End Times’ http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/biblical/revival-and-the-end-times/

The oppression of Christains in the West http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/biblical/oppression-of-christians-in-the-west/

The church desperately needs Revival http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/churchissues/the-church-desperately-needs-revival/

Issues of Morality (December 2017) http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/gender/issues-of-morality/

The Threat to the Family 1. The importance of the family (August 2017) http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/biblical/the-threat-to-the-family-part-1-the-importance-of-the-family/

The Threat to the Family 2. Attacks on marriage and the family (August 2017) http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/biblical/the-threat-to-the-family-part-2-attacks-on-marriage-and-the-family/

Update on Societal Decline (July 2017) http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/sexual-morality/update-on-societal-decline-july-2017/

Update on World Government and Political Oppression (July 2017) http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/justice/update-on-world-government-and-political-oppression-july-2017/

Update on Oppression of Christians (July 2017) http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/sexual-morality/update-on-oppression-of-christians-july-2017/

Update on Secularisation (January 2017) http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/interfaith/update-on-secularisation-january-2017/

Update on Persecution (December 2016) http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/update-on-persecution-december-2016/

Update on Church Decline (Nov 2016) http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/church-decline/update-on-church-decline-nov-2016-2/

Update on Anti-Semitism http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/middle-east/update-on-anti-semitism/

Update on World Government and Oppression http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/oppression-of-christians/update-on-world-government-and-oppression/

Update on Global Warming  http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/disease/update-on-global-warming/

Update on war and terrorism. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/war/update-on-war-and-terrorism/

Is the UK more Christian than the rest of Europe? See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/european-union/is-the-uk-more-christian-than-the-rest-of-europe/

Is the UK more pro-Israel than the rest of Europe? See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/anti-semitism/is-the-uk-more-pro-israel-than-the-rest-of-europe/

Update on the decline of Christian Belief. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/church-decline/update-on-decline-of-christian-belief/

What should be our attitude to the European Union? See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/what-should-be-our-attitude-to-the-european-union-2/ 

Update on Pandemics. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/uncategorized/update-on-the-danger-of-pandemics/

Update on Middle East tensions. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/middle-east/update-on-middle-east-tensions/

I agree with Peter Tatchell over Ashers Bakery! See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/oppression-of-christians/i-agree-with-peter-tatchell-over-ashers-bakery/

An update on social decline. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/justice/update-on-social-decline/

An update on Secularism. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/church-decline/update-on-secularism/

An update on anti-Semitism and some dangers in combatting it. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/evangelistic/an-update-on-anti-semitism-and-some-dangers-in-combatting-it/

World inequality. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/justice/world-inequality/

Richard Dawkins speaks positively about Christianity! See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/apologetics/richard-dawkins-speaks-favourably-about-christianity/

Update on the Oppression of Christians. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/oppression-of-christians/update-on-oppression-of-christians/

Further update on terrorism and war. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/further-update-on-terrorism-and-war/

How do we recognise God’s judgment? See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/biblical/how-do-we-recognise-gods-judgement/

Update on the serious implications of terrorism. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/update-on-the-serious-implications-of-terrorism/

Update on the Church of England. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/churchdevelopment/update-on-the-church-of-england/

Update on homosexual issues. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/churchissues/update-on-homosexual-issues/

Update on trends towards world government. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/update-on-trends-towards-world-government/

Secularisation and non-religious spirituality. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/church-decline/secularisation-and-non-religious-spirituality/

Why the church fails to teach about eschatology. See
http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/why-the-church-fails-to-teach-about-eschatology/

Chair of the Islamic Society of Great Britain says the next coronation should be Christian. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/interfaith/chair-of-the-islamic-society-of-great-britain-says-the-next-coronation-should-be-christian/

Good news: Palestinian rescues 5 Jewish students under attack in the West Bank. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/middle-east/good-news-palestinian-rescues-5-jewish-students-under-attack-in-the-west-bank/

“Jesus will return this month”. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/jesus-may-return-this-month/

Jesus preached the present and coming Rule of God. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/biblical/jesus-preached-the-present-and-coming-rule-of-god/

“Street preachers must not preach about morality”! See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/street-preachers-must-not-preach-about-morality/

Christians and others under antichrist rule. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/christians-and-others-under-antichrist-rule/

John the Baptist said Jesus would baptise in the Spirit AND judge the impenitent. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/john-the-baptist-said-jesus-would-baptise-in-the-spirit-and-judge-the-impenitent/

Update on war and the threat of war. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/update-on-war-and-the-threat-of-war/

Former imam who attacked churches converts to Christianity. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/evangelistic/former-imam-who-attacked-churches-converts-to-christianity/

Tory MP says use anti-terror laws against teachers who say gay marriage is sinful. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/tory-mp-says-use-anti-terror-laws-against-teachers-who-say-gay-marriage-is-sinful/

The Bible predicts Jesus will rule over Israel. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/biblical/the-bible-predicts-jesus-will-rule-over-israel/

Update on Secular Eschatology. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/update-on-secular-eschatology/

“Birth pangs of the Messiah”. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/birth-pangs-of-the-messiah/

Iraqi Christian leader refused entry to US to advocate for persecuted Christians. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/interfaith/iraqi-christian-leader-refused-entry-to-us-to-advocate-for-persecuted-christians/

Homosexual baker strongly disapproves of homosexuals bullying Christian bakers. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/sexual-morality/homosexual-baker-strongly-disapproves-of-homosexuals-bullying-christian-bakers/

The Middle East situation and its effects on Christians and Israel. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/the-middle-east-situation-and-its-effects-on-christians-and-israel/

So the government wants to relax Sunday Trading laws. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/secularisation/so-the-government-wants-to-relax-the-sunday-trading-laws/

You personally can combat ‘Islamic State’. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/evangelistic/you-personally-can-combat-islamic-state/

Persecution is coming in the West. See
http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/sexual-morality/persecution-is-coming-in-the-west/

Church growth and decline. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/churchdevelopment/church-growth-and-decline/

Anti-Christian attitudes in Britain: Tim Farron. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/oppression-of-christians/anti-christian-attitudes-in-britain-tim-farron/

Muslim imam raises money for church vandalised by young Muslim. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/interfaith/muslim-imam-raises-money-for-church-vandalised-by-young-muslim/

Former MI5 boss says Counter-Extremism Bill could be used against Christians. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/eschatology/ex-mi5-boss-warns-counter-extremism-bill-could-be-used-against-christians/

David Cameron doesn’t understand religion. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/secularisation/david-cameron-doesnt-understand-religion/

Thank God for this Muslim leader’s comment. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/interfaith/thank-god-for-this-muslim-leaders-comments/

Belfast Pastor to be prosecuted for saying Islam is Satanic. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/oppression-of-christians/belfast-pastor-to-be-prosecuted-for-saying-islam-is-satanic/

Bishop encouraged Osama bin Laden. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/uncategorized/bishop-encouraged-osama-bin-laden/

What about the Irish referendum on gay marriage? See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/uncategorized/what-about-the-irish-referendum-on-gay-marriage/

The Belfast “gay cake” controversy. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/uncategorized/the-belfast-gay-cake-controversy/

Serious trends in the present situation. See  http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/uncategorized/serious-trends-in-the-present-situation/

Will Artificial Intelligence be the end of the human race? See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/uncategorized/will-artificial-intelligence-be-the-end-of-the-human-race/

Why we should take note of wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilences? See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/uncategorized/why-we-should-take-note-of-wars-famines-earthquakes-pestilences/

Update on the Signs of the End: Anti-Semitism. See http://christianteaching.org.uk/blog/uncategorized/update-on-signs-of-the-end-anti-semitism/

Update on the Signs of the End: Pestilences. See http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=837

Update on the Signs of the End: Nuclear Terrorism & War.  See http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=842

Update on Signs of the End 03 – Persecution & Oppression. See http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=871

Update on the Signs of the End 04 – Preparation for the End: Movements towards World Government.See http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=875

Update on the Signs of the End 05 – Global Warming. See http://www.christianteaching.org.uk.blog/?p=883

Update on the Signs of the End 06 – Turning away from the Faith. See http://www.christianteaching.org.uk.blog/?p=886

INDEX OF RECENT ADDITIONS

ATHEISM (SCIENCE & RELIGION)

Why have atheists started their own church? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=263)

A response to Stephen Hawking’s atheism (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=172)

Has science squeezed God out? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=93)

Hawking finally disproves God – or does he? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=70)

BIBLE

The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/Inspiration&AuthorityOfScripture%2001.pdf)

The nature of God in the Old Testament (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/NatureOfGodInTheOldTestament.pdf)

An outline of the Old Testament (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/AnOutlineOftheOldTestament.pdf)

The wind could have parted Red Sea for Moses (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=79)

CHRISTIAN LIFE

·         BIBLE READING

Why read the Bible? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=46)

·          FEAR OF GOD

There is no fear of God http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=333

Miserable Sinners? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=36)

·         FORGIVENESS

God won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive everyone (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=156)

·         LOVE

Love is complicated – but good for you! (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=91)

·         PRAYER
·         RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST

What does it mean to “know” Christ? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=154)

CHURCH GENERAL

What is the best form of worship? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=60)

Why join a prayer group? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=40)

CHURCH OF ENGLAND

Is the Church of England in terminal decline? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=164)

Should we have women bishops? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=56)

CREATION & EVOLUTION (GENESIS)

How does the Genesis account of the Fall of Man relate to Evolution? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=186)

Recent Tweets/Facebook messages on Creation & Evolution (Genesis) http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=307

ESCHATOLOGY (END TIMES)

Should we be thinking frequently about the Return of Christ? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=224)

Hastening the return of Christ (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=222)

Can we ignore what the New Testament says about signs of Jesus’ return? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/CanWeIgnoreSingsOfJesusReturn.pdf))

Some thoughts on the Book of Revelation (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/SomeThoughtsOnTheBookOfRevelation.pdf)

The meteor/asteroid coincidence – what does it mean? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=256)

GOD & THE WORLD

How God operates in the world (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=181)

HOMOSEXUALITY

What about ‘gay marriage’? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=237)

Church of Scotland approves Ministers in homosexual relationships (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=168)

ISRAEL & MIDDLE EAST

Is it right to divide the Promised Land? http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=284

My attitude towards Israel and the Palestinians http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=277

The decline of Christianity in the Middle East (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=88)

World Council of Churches statement on the Middle East http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=398

Recent Tweets/Facebook messages on Israel (and the Palestinians) http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=309

 

JUSTICE

Innocent until proved guilty (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=158)

OTHER FAITHS

Respecting Muslims (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=73)

Christian Unity and Other Faiths (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=34)

My attitude towards Islam and Muslims http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=389

RECONCILIATION

Listen to both sides (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=43)

SCIENCE & RELIGION (SEE ATHEISM)

SECULARISATION OF SOCIETY

Is Britain anti-Christian? (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=95)

·         DISCRIMINATION v CHRISTIANS

Discrimination against British Christians (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/DiscriminationAgainstBritishChristians.pdf)

Discrimination against British Christians: Update 1 (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=179)

GENERAL TOPICS

 “Watching violent videos encourages violence” – fancy that! (http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=86)

Recent Tweets/Facebook messages on General Religious Topics http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/blog/?p=305

 

The doctrine of the “End Times” (eschatology) is, sadly, controversial, with some Christians polarising over different views and (many) others avoiding the subject, perhaps regarding it as a happy hunting ground for extremists. Yet nearly 10% of the New Testament is about eschatology. It is not a fringe subject. We should not neglect it.

 

The problem is that some people have a natural tendency towards naivety – readily believing assumptions about what prophecies mean and how they relate to current events. Others have a natural tendency towards rationalism – being rather cynical about the subject. I am more like the latter group but because of the importance of the subject in Scripture I seek to overcome it. However we do need to be careful in our approach.

 

Yes, there are those who jump to naïve conclusions about the eschatological significance of current events. Nevertheless I do find an approach which regards prophecies as totally symbolical, rather than referring to literal events unconvincing in the light of the evidence. For example, it is difficult to see Jesus’ prophecy of the End Times return of the Jewish people to Israel as symbolical in view of the remarkable event which has happened 2000 years later. In addition, so many of the Old Testament prophecies have come to pass.

 

One of the main areas of disagreement is over the biblical prophecy of the millennium (the future thousand year reign of Christ on earth). Some believe that happens after Jesus returns, others before he returns and others that it is symbolical about the on-going influence of God in the world. Some years ago, we brought together 75 clergy, ministers and teachers from various denominations for three days of intensive discussion on eschatology. Initially, there was a good deal of tension and apprehension. But, as we listened to one another, that disappeared and, whereas there were respectful disagreements, the conference put out a united statement as to what it agreed over (we must avoid falling out over secondary disagreements over eschatology). You can find the statement on my Christian Teaching website at http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/ChurchLeadersAgreeReturnofChrist.pdf. It ended with the words “We urge all Christians to recognize that eschatology is a vital context and incentive for growth in holiness and for evangelism.” I personally would now add “and as a motive for prayer for Revival” but that was before the Lord spoke to me about Revival.

 

We are called to live in the light of the Return of Jesus

 

On several occasions Jesus says this.

 

“Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt 24:42; 25:13). “‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: he leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. ‘Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back – whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the cock crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: “Watch!”’(Mark 13:32-37).

 

“‘Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will make them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or towards daybreak. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’(Luke 12:35-40).

 

Similarly, Paul writes:

 

“The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober” (1 Thess 5:2-6).

 

Unfortunately many Christians seem to ignore this teaching. But, the Lord says we need to be eschatological in outlook.

 

We are called to take note of the “signs of the times.”

 

It is also clear that Jesus wants us to note the signs of the End Times.

The disciples askedWhat will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Messiah,” and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth-pains” (Matt 24:3-8).

He is speaking here of long term, repeated signs pointing towards his return – false messiahs, wars, earthquakes, famines, persecution. They do not mean the End is imminent. They are like motorway signs repeatedly pointing towards a distant destination. But he goes on to refer to later signs which are closer to the destination – the ‘abomination that causes desolation’ antichrist, the great distress (often called “tribulation”), cosmic signs – and he adds “Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it [the End] is near, right at the door” (Matt 24:33). He also speaks of the fall of Jerusalem, the exile of the Jewish people to the nations and their eventual return to Jerusalem. (See the footnote for comment on the controversies surrounding Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians).[i]

 

So Jesus wants us to take note of what is happening in society and the world and to understand its significance vis a vis the End. In other words, we have to be prophetic (although we need to be careful and properly critical, rather than jump to conclusions). But many of us never stand back to see the bigger picture. We have our eyes down on the details of everyday life, including church life.

 

The interesting thing is that some secular scholars do stand back to see the bigger picture in connection with the threats to the future of the world and they speak about it in the ways prophets should do. So there is a secular eschatology over such things as dangers from global warming, viruses, war (nuclear and cyber), genetic engineering and artificial intelligence.

 

Many Christians need to wake up to what is going on. And we need to be discerning because often something developed for good reasons can go wrong and have bad effects. Here are some concerns very briefly:

  • The dangers in globalisation in our ‘global village’ becoming oppressive. (The current moves against globalisation could misfire and are very likely to be reversed by the pressures of inevitable international interdependence in trade, security, etc).
  • The dangers of the development of dictatorships (including through the growth in populism, political leaders on the extremes of politics, surveillance etc).
  • The growing influence of a major world religion, Islam, which believes in a Christ who is not divine, didn’t die on the cross or rise from the dead but who will come to earth in power.
  • More widespread worldwide persecution of Christians than has ever happened previously (Jesus foretells an increase in persecution).
  • Huge problems with water sources, extreme weather, mass migration, starvation, conflict caused by global warming, pollution etc (which seems relevant to New Testament prophecies)
  • The possibility of sudden global economic collapse (foretold in the New Testament in the End Times).
  • Israel becoming more central to world affairs and the nations (particularly the UN) becoming more negative towards her (also prophesied in Scripture). There is also a growth in antisemitism.
  • (I might also refer to the serious concern that NASA etc., have about the possibility of a large asteroid or meteorite colliding with the earth which seems to relate to the prophecies about cosmic signs, even though some of the language may be symbolical).

 

See my Christian Teaching website for detailed teaching on eschatology in both a full version and a summary http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/eschatology.html.

 

I find no difficulty in seeing the relevance of all these issues to biblical prophecy about the End Times and I think this is justified by reasonable thinking, not naïve jumping to conclusions.

 

We are called to hasten the return of Christ by praying for revival

 

We have noted that the New Testament makes it clear that we are not to ignore the “signs of the End.” Nor are we, as some do, just to be excited by the subject. We are to “look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Peter 3:12). The apparent delay in the coming of the day of God is because God is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Similarly, in Acts 3:19-20, Peter says: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus.” Hence in the predominantly eschatological Book of Revelation Jesus called the church not just to take an interest in the End Times but to come to repentance (Rev 2-3).

 

So praying for Revival (alongside evangelism and living “holy and godly lives”) is a very important way of speeding the coming of the day of God, the return of Christ.

 

What Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost is very significant:

“This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:16-21).

 

He uses the term “the last days” and we need to remember that the last days began at the time of Jesus’ first coming. When we use the term we often mean “the end of the last days.” But Joel’s prophecy about the outpouring of the Spirit is definitely related to “the end of the last days” or what we call the End Times. It is associated with cosmic signs of the End e.g. by Jesus in Mark 13:25 and Luke 21:25. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that there will be a major outpouring of the Spirit (Revival) in the End Times.

 

Some Christians who are interested in eschatology focus on doom and gloom and almost seem to be excited about it. Others are fascinated by eschatology but it doesn’t affect their lives or motivate them to greater obedience and witness. But if we are truly eschatological we will seek to do something positive in the light of the doom and gloom, including living holy lives, doing evangelism, but also praying and preparing for revival, which is much more far reaching, in terms of the numbers affected, than our evangelism. In that way, we will be speeding the return of Christ.

 

When the Lord spoke to Patricia (my wife) and me about Revival he seemed to be underlining Luke 1:17 “Make ready a people prepared for the Lord” which was John the Baptist’s calling. And that is an excellent motive for prayer and preparation for Revival. We are praying for the formation of a people prepared for the Lord – a more numerous people than can be achieved by evangelism (although evangelism remains an important priority).

 

So, by the grace of God, we are seeking to hasten the return of the Lord by making ready a people prepared for the Lord through Revival.

 

However we are also seeking to have a positive impact on society and the world by praying and preparing for Revival. It is a historical fact that the Wesleyan Revival had a profound positive effect on 18th century society which previously was described as a spiritual and moral quagmire. How we need that again.

Conclusion

 

Prayer and preparation for Revival is properly related to eschatology. We Christians are not only called by God to
live in the light of the End Times and to take note of the “signs of the times.” We are also called to pray and prepare for Revival in order to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord,” for his return and to seek to counteract the negative “signs” in society and the world.
Tony Higton

 

[i] I am very aware of the justice issues in the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. I was General Director of the Church’s Ministry among Jewish People and Rector of Christ Church in the Old City of Jerusalem and had contact both with Jewish Israelis and Palestinians/Israeli Arabs. I have seen the conflict first hand (and heard the bombs going off). For years I have encouraged Christians (via a mailing list and website http://www.prayerforpeace.org.uk) to pray about the needs, pain and fears of both Israelis and the Palestinians. Both sides act wrongly at times. But we must not ignore Jesus’ prophecy about the return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem (plus Old Testament prophecies on the issue) as a sign of the End Times.