[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Uncovering Four Myths of the Apocalypse
Are you worried about the apocalypse? A lot of people are. Some even talk of “apocalypse anxiety.” That is, the feeling that the world will end, by any number of calamities, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Do you ever worry about the end of the world? The Bible reveals hard times are coming. But should we be distressed about it? Is fear of the future irrational and unnecessary? And can a clear understanding of scripture actually give us hope and encouragement?
Let’s explore this subject today and discover the truth, as we uncover four myths of the apocalypse.
Myth Number One: Apocalypse Means ‘The End of the World.’
Welcome to Tomorrow’s World. The world of entertainment is really the heartbeat of a culture. It reflects society’s values, hopes, and fears. But what does our entertainment say about us? I think most of us would agree, our entertainment says we are obsessed with the end of the world. And it’s not just in recent times. Consider H.G. Wells’ book The War of the Worlds, published back in 1897. It was read on the air on October 30, 1938, in the form of a radio drama. Some mistakenly thought it was the news report of Martians taking over New York, and it caused panic among some listeners. Since then, countless movies have been made about aliens, invasions, and the end of the world. Who can forget the gripping title of 1955’s “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” or lesser-known movies like 1962’s “Panic in Year Zero”? In more recent years, we’ve had “Armageddon,” “Independence Day,” and of course, the ever-popular “Avengers” movies. If you think the number of apocalyptic movies is increasing with each year, you’re right. In 2016, renowned author and Colgate University professor Dr. Anthony Aveni wrote a book entitled Apocalyptic Anxiety: Religion, Science, and America’s Obsession with the End of the World. In it, he explained:
“The number of apocalyptic-themed feature-length films produced since the turn of the millennium has topped totals over the four decades ending in 2000. Projected totals for 2011–2020 are expected to at least double the count for 2001–2010.” (Aveni, Apocalyptic Anxiety: Religion, Science, and America’s Obsession with the End of the World, p. 6, 2016).
Society is obsessed with the end of the world. And most of these fictions present what is called a dystopian picture of the world. That is, a future when society collapses, order disintegrates, and there is great suffering for humanity. When monsters and zombies lurk from behind every burned-out, smoking pile of rubble, waiting to terrorize desperate human survivors. You get the picture.
It’s only entertainment though, right? I mean, we don’t take these movies seriously, do we? We know they’re fiction, just a harmless two hours of fun. But stop and think: Is there some level of primal fear behind this growing genre of entertainment? And some of them don’t describe aliens coming to earth, but rather global collapse from climate change. They predict the polar ice cap will melt, CO2 levels will increase to dangerous levels, and coastal cities will be inundated. Or maybe an asteroid will crash to earth. Regardless, when you look under the surface, though it’s fiction, there’s something behind this. They are playing on the real fears of real people.
Now, it is true that horrific events will happen in our world. Jesus Himself said there will be great distress in the future. In Luke 21, verse 25 He said this:
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear....” (Luke 21:25–26).
But in the very same section, we read of a different response from people who are aware of the truth of the Bible, preparing for it, and ready. This is in Luke 21:28:
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:28).
How can we make sure we have this mindset when these things happen? That’s why we’re talking about it today on this program. You see, if we expose the erroneous myths about the future, we can have greater confidence and peace in our lives today. Who doesn’t want that?
So, let’s look at four myths of the apocalypse, to separate truth from fiction.
Myth Number One: “Apocalypse means ‘the end of the world.’”
To most, the word “apocalypse” refers to “the end of the world.” But does the word “apocalypse” really mean that? Many of our regular viewers will know the answer, but I’ll explain it here. The last book of the Bible is called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The word “revelation” is just the English word translated from a Greek word, “apokalypsis.” We find “apokalypsis” used in the original Greek in the first verse of the first chapter of Revelation. Notice what it says:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place….” (Revelation 1:1).
“Revelation” and “apokalypsis” mean the same thing: an uncovering, an unveiling, or a revealing. The word doesn’t necessarily mean a meltdown of society. So, why has the word apocalypse come to mean, in popular usage, the dramatic collapse and end of something? Well, because the Book of Revelation, or The Apocalypse, does contain a series of visions revealing sobering events to happen in the last days.
But notice the focus and purpose of the book of Revelation: to reveal. Your Savior, the Son of God, commissioned John to write down what he saw so the future would be foretold… what was hidden would be uncovered. He wanted His people to not be confused about the future, but be enlightened and encouraged by knowing the truth.
Was the Book of Revelation meant to be a message of doom? Not at all. In fact, read on in Revelation chapter 1 verse 3:
“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it....” (Revelation 1:3).
You can be blessed for reading this Book. It’s the God of Heaven and Earth talking to you. You can be blessed for listening to His message, doing what He says, and keeping the words written in it.
Maybe you’ve been confused reading the Book of Revelation. Don’t give up! You need to know what’s in this book! God had it recorded so that it would open our understanding, and give us comfort and hope.
Which is why on today’s program, we’re offering you the free study guide: Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled. Written by the late pastor and teacher John Ogwyn, it will take you step by step through a book many find difficult to understand. Chapter 1 asks the question, “Can You Know the Future?” Chapter 2 explains “Seven Keys to Understanding.” Chapter 3 details, “A Final Vision for the End of an Era.”
Ask God for understanding, and let this booklet help you as you learn the meaning of the Book of Revelation. Just call the number on your screen, or click the link in the description to get your free copy of Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled.
Myth Number 2: Christians Will Escape the Tribulation by Being Raptured
Welcome back. In the last segment of this program, we saw that the word “apocalypse” comes from a Greek word that just means an uncovering. It doesn’t necessarily mean doom for all mankind. And so, the book of Revelation, or we might say, “The Apocalypse,” was intended to open our understanding about the future. Which brings us to the second myth about the apocalypse:
Myth Number 2: Christians will escape the Tribulation by being raptured.
The Book of Revelation does speak of a coming Great Tribulation, the worst time of trouble ever. Many professing Christians stake their hope on being raptured to escape the Tribulation. But is that what the Bible says will happen?
The Book of Revelation does describe the saints being protected. This is what we find in Revelation, chapter 3, verse 10:
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10).
But how will God protect His Church? We find the answer a few chapters later. Revelation chapter 12 describes Satan the devil’s aim to thwart God’s plan and destroy humanity. At the very end of the age, Satan is thrown down to the earth, and is very angry. He persecutes the Church, described in symbol as a woman. But notice what happens next, in Revelation chapter 12, verse 14:
“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.” (Revelation 12:14).
Bible scholars point out that “times” represent “years.” So, three and a half “times” equals three and a half “years.” This is speaking of the Tribulation. God will take His people into the wilderness for three and a half years. But Satan will try to stop them. This is found in Revelation chapter 12 verse 15:
“So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.” (Revelation 12:15–16).
Does this sound like a church being swept up to heaven? Or rather, is it describing people right here on earth, pursued by an army, represented by a flood? God will miraculously destroy that army, apparently by an earthquake, as the earth figuratively opens up its mouth. And then God will put His shield of protection over these people, for the duration of the Tribulation. The hope of the saints is not the rapture. The hope of the saints is God’s protection during the Tribulation, and then the change into Spirit at His coming.
There is much more than we can explain in this short program. And that’s why we’re offering this free study guide, Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled. It explains how God will protect, nourish, and preserve His servants, even at the end of the age. Read it for yourself.
Order your free copy of Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled by calling the number on your screen, or clicking the link in the description. We want to send you this study guide. Order today.
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Myth Number 3: Humans Will Band Together to Fight Jesus Christ
Today we’re exposing four myths of the apocalypse. There are so many misunderstandings of what will happen at the end of the age. But God wants to reveal the truth to you and me. And He wants to show us how we can really be protected. What else does He say in His word? Well, let’s examine another myth.
Myth Number 3: Humans will band together to fight and prevail over an evil, invading alien power.
Think about it. How many books and movies have this general theme? In some stories, the humans use technology to win the day. In others, they are given or develop special superpowers to fight off their enemies. Whatever the case, it’s usually the humans who figure out a way to survive and outsmart the evil invaders.
Now, I know, it’s just fiction. We’re not supposed to believe it. People watch it just for fun. And yet, what is the message that is subtly and not so subtly drilled into our heads over and over and over again? The message is in the end, we humans win. In the end, we overcome our differences and we work together against a common enemy. We use science, strange new powers, and good-old-fashioned ingenuity and guts. In the end, someone among us will save the day.
That’s one of the common storylines of the apocalyptic genre. But is anyone asking the question, is it really going to happen this way? Where can we turn to find out? The Book of Revelation has the answer. And it reveals that the storyline of the future is not like Deep Impact or Terminator or Godzilla. The Bible shows a very different picture. Let’s look at it together.
Read with me a passage from Revelation chapter 19 verse 11:
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” (Revelation 19:11–13).
Who does the Bible reveal will come down from heaven in the last days? Not an alien invader, but Jesus Christ. This passage describes the awe-inspiring appearance of Jesus at His second coming. He won’t come in secret… John wrote in Revelation 1:7 that every eye will see Him. And Acts chapter 1 reveals another glimpse of how He will return. When Jesus ascended to the Father, His disciples watched him go up and disappear into the clouds. Then notice what an angel told these men, in Acts 1:11:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11).
The nations will see Jesus Christ visibly descending from the clouds, to the ground. And how will they receive Him? With open arms? Jubilant that the Messiah has returned, to save mankind from himself? As Revelation chapter 1 verse 7 says,
“…all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him….” (Revelation 1:7).
They’ll be upset… They’ll be angry… and they’ll try to kill Him. Now is that surprising? Well that’s what human beings did the first time the Son of God came. And they’ll try a second time. Let’s read it in Revelation chapter 19 and verse 19:
“And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.” (Revelation 19:19).
Think about those words. The kings of the earth will join together, in a concerted effort not to attack an evil, alien invader, but to destroy the very Savior Himself. Could it be that some will be deluded into thinking He is a hostile alien coming to annihilate mankind? And could Satan the devil be behind that message?
The nations fighting Christ will not prevail. Their leaders, the beast and the false prophet, will be captured and killed, and their armies destroyed. And Jesus Christ will subdue the nations, and set up His Kingdom on earth.
So what’s the value in studying the Book of Revelation? It reveals our future. And our study guide, Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled can help walk you through this vital book. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 explain who these people are who fight Christ when He returns. They explain why human armies will attempt to stop Him, and why they’ll be unsuccessful. In a time when many are throwing out the Bible, we all need to ask God to help us understand the Bible, so we can be ready for the chaotic times ahead. Read your Bible, read the Book of Revelation, and order Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled. Call, click or write today.
Myth Number 4: The Post-Apocalyptic World Will Be One of Chaos and Destruction
In today’s program, we’ve considered some of the myths of the apocalypse. What we’ve found is that apocalypse is not just about disaster and calamity, but about God revealing the future. We’ve seen that the hope of Christians is being protected by God right here during the Tribulation and being glorified at Christ’s return.
And we’ve also shown that human armies will band together to actually fight the Son of God Himself. In the time remaining, let’s expose just one more myth:
Myth Number 4: The post-apocalyptic world will be one of chaos and destruction.
What is the common theme of so many dystopic, post-apocalyptic books and movies today? The battle of earth ends in crumbling buildings, burned out vehicles, and shell-shocked survivors fighting for their lives…with no hope for the future. They struggle to live in a hopeless world where cruel enemies prey on their helpless victims. Or, they find themselves in an environment so damaged by calamity and disaster, it’s no longer fit for human life. It’s a grim and disturbing story. But what is the truth? Actually just the opposite. Again, the book of Revelation lives up to its name. It reveals the truth. Let’s listen to what God has to say. We can read it together in Revelation chapter 20 verse 1:
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years….” (Revelation 20:1–2).
Keep reading, in Revelation chapter 20 and verse 4:
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God…. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4).
What we’re reading is a true description of the post-apocalyptic world. “Tomorrow’s World,” as we call it, and it will be a brand-new civilization. The Devil will be taken away, and the righteous saints will rule in government. They will occupy positions of responsibility in Christ’s Kingdom and rule with Him for a thousand years. The Bible is filled with descriptions of that time of peace and safety and harmony. It will be a time of rebuilding cities, restoring life and teaching humanity how to live. It will be a time of renewal, and hope, and faith.
The Old Testament prophet Micah prophesied of that time as well. In Micah chapter 4 verse 1, it says this:
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains...” (Micah 4:1).
That means God will establish His Kingdom on earth, through Christ, and that government will subdue all other governments.
Micah chapter 4 verse 3:
“He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:3).
This is a prophecy of God, of what happens after the Tribulation and the Day of the LORD. Can you imagine no more war between nations? It seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? But that’s the real post-apocalyptic world!
Going on, in Micah chapter 4, and verse 4:
“But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.” (Micah 4:4).
He’s describing a world of peace. And think about what this is portraying. Imagine a man with his wife and children, sitting in the shade of a tree, in their backyard, having a picnic. Picture the smaller ones running and playing games, enjoying life. This is a snapshot of life in the post-apocalyptic world. No, it’s not what you find in the movies. But who will you believe? Hollywood? Or the Ever-living God?
Do you want to be in that number, of saints who are protected, and then glorified, and rule with Christ on earth? You can. And our study guide Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled can help you understand how. Don’t forget to order it today.
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As the media portrays false images of the future, we all need to read our Bibles in earnest, to understand what our future holds. Gerald Weston, Richard Ames, Wallace Smith, and I will continue to share with you the straight-from-the-Bible teachings of Jesus Christ, the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, and the prophecies of Tomorrow’s World. Be sure to join us again next time, right here, at the same time.