I was reorganizing some things on my desk and came across some old papers. I am one of those persons who does not throw away things in my files for I keep them, just in case I need them for reference material. Usually, I never use them but I know that just the time I throw something out I will need it. Sure!
Anyway, I want to share something that I am glad I didn’t throw out. It’s a letter to the editor I wrote to the Macomb Journal in Illinois when I was a pastor at the church there. It is dated August 7, 2002. I was writing to the newspaper in response to an article it featured where the columnist, George Plagenz, made some remarks I didn’t agree with pertaining to “the end of the world.” You might find my response informative as well as instructive:
‘Not the end, but a beginning’
It’s not the end of the world, by George—George Plagenz, that is! His column (Macomb Journal, 8/1/02) illustrates the misconception many skeptics have along with the doomsdayers and self-proclaiming experts in regard to Jesus’ return predicted in the Bible.
That’s because they don’t understand prophecies which relate to a question the disciples asked Jesus: “Tell us when shall this happen (responding to his prediction that the Jerusalem temple would be destroyed—an event which actually happened about 40 years later), and what will be the sign of your coming (his visible return to earth), and of the end of the world,” (Matthew 24:3).
Plagenz, and those who think like him, are under the mistaken notion that “the end of the world” means this planet and all living creatures will be completely annihilated by certain cataclysmic occurrences after Christians are raptured into heaven. This is not exactly true.
The Greek word for “world” in which the text was originally written, is “aion” and it means “age,” such as a period of time, not “planet,” as some think. In other words, it will be the end of one age and the beginning of a new one.
Jesus is literally coming for the faithful in Christ and he will bring judgment upon the nations (Psalm 2; Joel 2,3; 2 Pet. 3; Revelation 14-22) but he is not going to completely destroy the earth like some believe. In fact, the earth has been established forever (Psa. 78:69; 115:14-18).
Instead, God will cleanse the earth with fire (Malachi 4:1; 2 Peter 3:19,11) and restore it like new to its original, Edenic beauty (Isa. 65:17-25; Acts 3:21; Revelation 21:1-5) as he has always intended. Jesus’ coming will, therefore, signal a new “aion” or kingdom age in which he will rule the earth as King until all will be made righteous. Only those who are saved through his name will be allowed to enter that kingdom age and live forever (Daniel 12:1-3; John 5:28, 29; Acts 4:12; Revelation 20:1-14; 21:6-8).
Plagenz, like most skeptics, refers to popular Christian leaders who believe in the Lord’s return but [they] take [the scriptures] out of context.
Best-selling books like the “Left Behind” series are entertaining and do provide interesting biblical thought, but even persons like Tim LaHaye and Billy Graham, would say the Bible itself should have the last word.
Interestingly, the Apostle Peter predicted the George Plagenzes of the world, calling them “scoffers” (deriders; mockers) in 2 Peter 3:3-7. They turn to what scientists, philosophers, religious writers, politicians and the like have to say about “the end of the world” but do not open-mindedly study the Bible for themselves to see what it says.
According to the Bible, the “end” will only be the “beginning,” and the prayer Jesus taught will come to pass, “…thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” Matthew 6:10. I just hope more will search the scriptural truth in the meantime and find out about God’s wonderful plan (Matthew 6:33).
Rev. Michael P. Brown
Macomb Church of God, Abrahamic Faith
Good News to YOU!
P.S. Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, I would like to send the following blessing wishing all mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!