The Apocalypse has been the subject of fascination by Bible students, Hollywood and many in between. Unfortunately there are many misconceptions about the “End of Days” that are way off base when compared to what the Bible actually has to say. Here are a few common misconceptions to help stir your intellectual juices:
Misconception #1: Apocalypse means complete and utter destruction of the world
Amazingly, if you Google Apocalypse, this is the definition you are likely to get. The definition I found even goes on to say, “especially as described in the biblical book of Revelation.” The truth is, the word Apocalypse is derived from the Greek word “apokálypsis” which means “disclosure of knowledge”. That is why we call the final book in the Biblical canon, “Revelation.” It is the unveiling of things. Careful reading of the book quickly reveals that after the Antichrist is destroyed and Jesus returns, there is another thousand-years of earth history yet to be lived with Jesus as King. At the end of that time, Heaven and Earth are both renewed and will last forever. In Matthew 24, Jesus refers to the end of the “age”, not the end of the earth.
Misconception #2: There’s no need to study Revelation or end-time prophecy
While many Christians believe that the study of Revelation and other prophetic scripture is invaluable or even counterproductive to Christian living, this belief is easily dismissed with scripture. Revelation 1:3 could not be more clear: “ God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 (NLT)
Misconception #3: End-time Prophecy is the most important study in the Bible
With all the fascination leading to television shows, books, websites and more, it is easy to get the idea that End-time prophecy is the most important topic in the Bible. In truth, the Bible again gives us clear direction on where our focus should be. After watching Jesus ascend to Heaven, the men were fixated on watching the clouds where he had gone. Two men in white robes suddenly appeared among them saying, “Men of Galilee… why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:11 (NLT) To paraphrase, I believe these men were saying, “He told you to go into all the world and tell everyone that Jesus came, died and rose again to reunite mankind with the Father. He also told you to baptize believers, heal the sick, cast out demons and disciple new believers. He will return one day the same way He left. In the mean-time, you had better get busy so you have something to show for the time you have.”
Misconception #4: Revelation is all about God’s wrath
While God’s judgment can clearly be seen in the events of Revelation, it might be easy to miss a finer point. Hell is worse than the judgment that will one day come upon the earth. God did not have to provide for Tribulation, He could have simply sent all sinners straight to Hell. Even in these horrific trials, we see God’s grace as he pleads with people to make things right with Him and avoid eternal suffering.
Misconception #5: Everything must get worse
While many of the signs of the end of the age are certainly devastating, we should not forget that there are many promises that God provides his people. For example the book of Joel foretells that in the last days, God will pour out his Spirit on all flesh which will lead to prophesying children and the release of visions and dreams. While the Bible tells us that many will fall away from the faith, it also tells us that there will be a great outpouring of His Spirit on His people. I think I will focus on the later, how about you?
While there are many more misconceptions of the end of the age, I pray the ones presented here will stir you toward that Grace and Love of God that is yours through Jesus Christ.
Blessings my Friends!