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‘The End Is Near!’
Or is it? The Antichrist is alive and well today! Or is he? The church is about to be raptured and will certainly escape the tribulation.... right?
When it comes to the End Times, there’s so much confusion. Preachers with elaborate charts share their theories about Revelation and other prophetic books of the Bible. “Ah, Babylon stands for the United States ,” they say. But then other teachers share their theories: “No, Babylon stands for the Roman Catholic Church, or the European Union, or the literal Babylon rebuilt in Iraq ….”
Would somebody please shoot straight with me?
Finally, someone has. Gifted scholar and pastor Mark Hitchcock walks you gently through Bible prophecy in an engaging, user-friendly style. Hitchcock’s careful examination of the topic will leave you feeling informed and balanced in your understanding of events to come…in our time?
Inquiring minds want to know what the future holds for this planet: What are the signs that the end is at hand? Is America mentioned in Bible prophecy? What is the Rapture? Who is the Antichrist? What is 666? When will Armageddon occur? Will there be peace in the Middle East? What do we know about life after death?
The questions are almost endless. Many of them are questions you have probably asked at one time or another or heard someone else ask. I have asked every one of these questions myself.
My own interest in prophecy really took off in my early twenties when I began to read the book of Daniel in the Old Testament. My heart was filled with questions and a bunch of confusion. That’s when I decided that I needed to learn what the Bible teaches about the end times. Here I am, twenty years later, sharing with you the fruit of my odyssey to answer my own questions.
As I have traveled around speaking at prophecy conferences and spending time with the people at my home church, I have discovered that no matter where I go, people have the same questions about Bible prophecy and the end times. Over the years I have collected and compiled the most frequently asked questions about Bible prophecy and the end times. That’s what this book is about.
Here are two more things that make me qualified to answer tough questions: First, for the last ten years I have been the pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, where people want to know the bottom line on things. Second, I have two sons (if you’re a parent, you’ll understand why this qualifies me to answer hard questions).
This book will focus on answering 101 of the specific, most asked questions that people like you and me have about the end times. Along the way I will hopefully answer your questions about the last days—questions about what will happen in the final drama of the ages.
To make the book more accessible and user-friendly, these questions are organized into eight sections:
1. General Questions about Prophecy and the End Times;
2. Questions about the Rapture;
3. Questions about the Antichrist and His Kingdom;
4. Questions about the Tribulation;
5. Questions about Armageddon;
6. Questions about the Second Coming;
7. Questions about the one-thousand-year reign of Christ (the Millennium);
8. Questions about the Afterlife;
9. At the end, there is one final question just for you.
Before you dive into this book, let me share five personal thoughts with you that I hope will make it a better read. First, I hope you understand that there are many opinions about the end times. In this book I’m endeavoring to lay out what I have come to believe, based on rigorous biblical research, about how the final drama of the ages will play out.
I am fully aware that good Christian brothers and sisters disagree with me on numerous points. That’s fine. The only essential that we all must hold on this topic is that Jesus is the one and only Savior from sin who is coming back to earth to judge the living and the dead. However, when writing a book like this, an author has to make some decisions and interpretations. I’ll do my best to show you how I reached my conclusions, but I hope you’ll feel free to disagree and yet keep reading with an open mind.
Second, the questions in the book are not listed in the order of how frequently they’re asked. The questions are grouped in clusters, with each section laying the groundwork for the next. However, each question can stand alone. So feel free to skip around. Just keep in mind that without some of the foundation in previous answers, you might miss a beat here or there.
Third, throughout this book I will be using masculine pronouns (he/him/his), but my intent is to include female readers as well unless the context clearly indicates that I am referring to a male.
Fourth, since there are many references to Scripture sprinkled throughout the book you will get the most out of it if you keep a Bible handy as you read and take a few extra minutes to look up some of the main references. After all, God’s Word is our only source of truth for the future.
Fifth, as you read this book please know that I have already prayed and asked the Lord to use this book in your life, to answer your questions about the end times, to give you a greater interest in the study of Bible prophecy, and to draw you closer to our wonderful Savior who is the ultimate subject of all prophecy and the final answer to all our deepest questions.
“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
General Questions about Prophecy and the End Times
It’s very difficult to prophesy, especially about the future.
Only one generation in three has a chance to witness the end of a century. Rarer still, only one generation in thirty gets to see the end of a millennium. We have been privileged to experience the transition from the end of one millennium to the beginning of a new one. People seem more interested than ever in what the Bible has to say about the end times.
• 18 percent of Americans expect the end times to come within their lifetime.
• 53 percent of Americans believe that some world events this century fulfill biblical prophecy.
What should we expect? What does the Bible tell us will happen in the end times? Is there a scriptural blueprint that shows us where the world is headed?
The purpose of this section is to provide an overview of what the Bible reveals about the last days. We’ll accomplish this by answering general questions about prophecy and the end times.
But first, to whet your appetite, here’s a little chart that summarizes the grand scope of things from here to eternity!