End time matters are an object of feverish fascination, even amongst non-Christians. One can look to the hysteria concerning the Mayan calendar. Because of a primitive system, some believed the world was going to end in December of 2012. Or, consider the acts of the cult known as “Heaven’s Gate.” In 1997, 39 of its members committed mass suicide, believing death was necessary in order to board an extraterrestrial spacecraft that was trailing the Hale-Bopp comet. Though there are details we won’t understand until after the end, God’s Word does give us some straightforward truth concerning the last days. Consider three characters that will appear in the last days.
The Bible teaches that the last days will be ones of great gospel advancement. Though there will be a great apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3), there will also be fresh winds of spiritual awakening. There will be times like the ones previously associated with Whitefield and Wesley. The Lord will use the proclamation of the gospel to bring in a mighty harvest (Revelation 7:1-14). The book of Revelation indicates that the Lord will use a couple of preachers to lead this work (Revelation 11:1-14). One will be Elijah-like in his ministry. The other will serve in a way similar to Moses (Revelation 11:5-6). Jesus foretold of these preachers (Matthew 17:11). They stand as a witness that God uses gospel preachers in every generation (Romans 10:14).
Because of the faithfulness of God’s end time heralds, a great number of souls will believe the good news. Though Jesus said the love of many will grow cold in the last days (Matthew 24:12), a harvest of redemption will also occur. The book of Revelation teaches that this awakening will first involve a great number of Jews. According to God’s plan (Romans 11:26), a complete number from Israel will embrace the gospel (Revelation 7:1-8). This movement of God will also entail the salvation of a large number of Gentiles (Revelation 7:9-17). People of every race and socioeconomic status will come to Christ during the last days (Revelation 21:24). This happening proves that the gospel is powerful for salvation (Romans 1:16), and that God desires for people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).
Throughout history, numerous empires have donned the annals of mankind. Many of these have intersected major Bible events. Think about the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans. All of these have served God’s purposes in one way or another (Proverbs 8:15 and Romans 13:1). At the end of time, God will raise up another nation for His purposes. The Bible refers to this world power as Babylon (Revelation 18:1-24). Most likely, the moniker is figurative. The evil empire of the last days will be led by Satan (Revelation 13:16-18), but it will be under the sovereign auspices of the Lord. He will use this last man-centered government as a instrument for His end of the world wrath. In the end, He will defeat this Babylon-like empire, proving that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:1-5 and 11-15)! Our God deserves our worship, service, and obedience!
Dr. Patrick Latham