Will the world come to end in four months? Some people believe ancient Mayan hieroglyphs predict the end of time in December 2012. Millions have eagerly read the “rapture” novels, offering mental pictures of people suddenly disappearing, presumably into blissful eternity, while those left behind fall into fiery torments.
The book of Revelation, placed at the end of the New Testament, paints vivid scenes of otherworldly monsters and mountains that fly away. These images, along with some from the Old Testament book of Daniel, are often blended into theories that claim to predict the end of life as we know it on a date certain.
When asked by His followers about the fulfillment of prophecy, Jesus spoke of “wars and rumors of wars.” Are we not now living amid wars (Afghanistan, Syria) and threats of wars (Iran)? The historical drought and excess heat of 2012 have cut the U.S. corn harvest by at least 12 percent, and soybean yields by about that much. Some major fisheries have collapsed.
Gary McDade, widely traveled and published student of the Book of Revelation, will address these and related issues at Central Church of Christ in its annual gospel meeting starting this Sunday, Aug. 19, and continuing through the following Wednesday evening.
Central’s members invite the community at large to attend the one-hour meetings, starting with Bible study at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, followed by worship at 10:30 a.m. McDade’s study of the stunning imagery and meaning of Revelation continues each evening, Sunday through Wednesday, at 7 p.m. The nightly programs will be broadcast live on local public radio WCPI 91.3.
“John writes five books of the New Testament – one of the four gospels, three letters and Revelation,” McDade said. “He was one of the youngest of the apostles when Jesus called him. He was old when he wrote his Revelation” while exiled on the stony, scorpion-infested and waterless island of Patmos due to his Christian confession, the visiting preacher noted.
“We must read the book through the eyeglasses of the first century. It has to be understood in its context,” McDade stressed. “Most people were under severe government persecution. Christians were being put to death for their faith. All of the sacrifices and horrors of the present life, as suffered by John and his Christian contemporaries, would soon be over. But Christianity would outlast the persecution.”
Revelation is “absolutely a message of encouragement, of overcoming,” said McDade.
Area residents will be welcomed at all events in next week’s gospel meeting, including the covered-dish meal immediately following Sunday morning worship. The popular friends-and-neighbors free luncheon will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, with McDade offering a brief inspirational talk at noon. Both events will be in the fellowship hall at Central.