In my opinion, the end-times is the ultimate adventure of faith. In my opinion, the end-times Christian church will likewise discover the fullness of its unique and singular calling through the divinely composed and sequenced events as experienced first-hand in the final closing chapter of human redemptive history. Again in my opinion, the final victory for the Christian church will be wholly and genuinely “not of this world.”
Due to the expediency of the running out of time, what if God allows, shapes, and channels the events of the end-times to produce a universal danger zone imposed upon the entire earth, narrowing the choices down to two…a journey of faith in God…or a journey of self-reliance…with no middle ground left for compromise or procrastination? This is the question that forms the theme of this chapter, and is a natural extension of the main theme of the book…God-scripted journeys through the danger zone of faith.
Here again…within the context of the end-times…the positive half of the danger zone of faith…the empowering, emboldening, liberating validation of God’s faith and confidence placed God-ward toward us to overcome the challenges in our God-composed adventures of faith…surfaces.
Like the confidence that God places in the unique lifestyles in nature as seen in lions, cheetahs, and leopards, or in the complex, cohesive integration of DNA at the microscopic level of living cells, or the coordination in the fine-tuned physical constants at the subatomic level and at the galactic size-scale of the universe…we see the purposes of God following their designed courses with unimaginable precision and intentional trajectory.
This loving element of God’s faith and confidence placed in us within our adventure of faith…when combined with faith on our part and the power of the Holy Spirit…is the fundamental essence of today’s Christian life in the danger zone.
This optimum, capstone journey through the universal danger zone of an end-times adventure of faith cannot happen…for the church…if it is raptured pretribulation. For me, the “blessed hope” of Titus 2:11-14 is not an early exit out of the intense troubles of the end-times. It is finding Jesus and Jesus finding us in an unbreakable bond of closeness created through shared adversity, which from an eternal perspective in the kingdom of Jesus Christ is priceless beyond measure.
Some of the attention in the end-times discussion is focused upon the fitness of the church to be raptured pretribulation. But in John 10:16 Jesus says that He has other sheep to call. Jesus has to finish His work of establishing relationships that are solid and true. In the end-times last days Jesus has to capture the affection of His beloved…the church…amidst the most difficult and trying of circumstances.
Without some measure of participation in the end-times tribulation, the Christian church cannot experience a life-and-death, Martin Luther style: “here I stand, I can do no other…God help me” moment.
At some definite point in time Joseph had to step up into his unique calling. The time of advance preparation was over…training had taken its course. David at some point in time had to become king according to his difficult training regime and God’s calling at the words of the prophet Samuel. Paul eventually had to join up with Barnabas as a teaching prophet in the city of Antioch as a prelude to his future evangelical mission. The time finally came for Peter to stand up at Pentecost in Jerusalem, and courageously step into the danger zone of leadership, following the call of his Lord and Master Jesus of Nazareth to become a fisher of men, as Peter instinctively knew would occur someday.
Christians today possess the gospel message of deliverance and salvation through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross at Calvary. The good news of the gospel matches perfectly the need of our broken world lost in sin, like the perfect fit of two jigsaw puzzle pieces. We have the winning arguments of the apologetic debate against the shallow, horizontally conventional wisdom of this world. The intelligent design facts in the realm of science are emerging in defense of theism and in refutation of atheistic naturalism. The world is showing no signs of the previous two or three century’s humanistic optimism through the “doctrine of progress,” producing instead a baffling sense of despair over the prevalence of violence, prejudice, injustice, and continual conflict despite our technological and scientific achievements.