Questions About the “End Times”

Questions About the “End Times”

Dr. Jim Denison

Questions about “end times” are the most common in Christian doctrine today. Theologians call the issue “eschatology,” meaning “a word about last things.” The area deals with such questions as the Second Coming and the nature of hell and heaven. We’ll take each question in turn, beginning with the most perennial of all: when will Jesus return?

During the 16th century, Martin Luther thought the Pope was the Antichrist, and expected Jesus’ return during his lifetime. Christopher Columbus thought the world would end in 1656, and that his explorations would lead a Christian army in the final crusade to convert the world. Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, predicted the “rapture” in 1910 and the end of the world in 1914.

Harold Camping wrote the bestseller 1994? in which he predicted the end would come on September 6, 1994. He again made news by predicting the end would come on May 21, 2011. Edgar Whisenant published Eighty-eight Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988, and sold thousands of copies. Trinity Broadcasting Network president Paul Crouch predicted an apocalyptic event for June 9, 1994. Such predictions will continue, because every believer wants to know: when will Jesus come back? Our question is not new.